Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thoughts on New England

As I feel my time here slipping away
I find myself doing a lot of reminiscing
and a lot of appreciating.

I have really loved my time here in New England.

When we first moved here
my children were very unhappy
and so
I was very unhappy.

I remember a friend from church saying something along the lines of
"I feel sorry for people who can't live in New England"

I was thinking

long, cold winters
flying bugs that bite you in the summer

I didn't see it.

But after nearly 10 years living here, I realize
I see it now.

The trees
The way the snow piles up and looks so gorgeous
wild turkeys wandering around
the geese overhead
the ponds and lakes everywhere
I love them both frozen and unfrozen
the history
the pride
the people
-I really love the people-
and I'm going to shock  few people here:
I like the way people here drive.
assertive but with manners.
the beach is close
the mountains (ok hills) are close
and let's just talk about the amazing health care available
You know that one means a lot to me

I will miss so many things about New England.

With no family nearby its hard to imagine when I will be back to visit.
But maybe...

Frank will have to come back for work
and Carter will certainly be open to it
so maybe I'll be back.

I really really loved living here.
in my heart, I am an Easterner
I am A New Englander
and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't get a chance to live here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


My free spirit,
my adventure seeker,
the kid who has given me a lot of grief over the years...
and who is also
very fun,
very funny,
a joy to be around most of the time,
a lover of music,
and quite talented (though he doesn't seem to realize it)

left today to go live in Chicago.

He asked me if I would drive him to the airport
at 5:30 this morning.

Of course I said Yes.

Yesterday as we were running errands together he said,"Its my last day here so you know you want to drive me around and do whatever I say"
I said "of course!"

We get along really well and usually have fun together.

I arrived at his friend's house to pick him up
and the house is completely and utterly dark.
I can tell that everyone is asleep!

So I text him.
I call him.
I call him.
I call him.
I call him.
I call him.
(you get the idea)

I knock loudly on the door.
I ring the doorbell.
multiple times

These people have dogs.
Why aren't they barking?

I finally go on the internet on my phone and find the phone number for the mother of the family.
Luckily she has a business so her number is easy to find.
But I'm hoping its her cell and that she keeps it near her bed.

It rings but goes to voicemail.

I'm beyond frustrated and don't know what to do.
It crosses my mind to try the door
but I do not know these people that well
and just walking into their house while they are sleeping seems like a bad idea.
I could get shot!
Or eaten by a dog!

So I call him.
I call him.
I call him.
(add about 20 more of those in your mind)

I call the mother again.
and she picks up!
Poor woman is completely asleep.

I apologize and tell her I can't seem to wake my son up.
She finds him and hands him her phone.

I say, "I'm here and you were supposed to be out here over 20 minutes ago"
He responds,"Why didn't you just come inside?"

I don't even know which freaking bedroom he's in!
Good idea, I'll just wander aimlessly through a stranger's house!

I'm so annoyed.

We hastily load his stuff and head to the airport.
(Including old library books he wants me to return
and boxes I'm supposed to mail)

he's cranky
(not enough sleep)
and instead of being apologetic and/or thankful
he's just cranky

I want to lecture him.
I want to yell at him.
I'm cranky too!

I am wise
I am silent.

and after a few minutes of driving
he is calm
and I am no longer annoyed.
It is just a pleasant drive through a bit more traffic than we would have had 30 minutes earlier.

He arrived in time
we were not mad at each other.
He even let me take his picture.

I made him promise to visit me
even though I'm moving to Utah
and text me
even though I'm his mom, not a fun friend
and he walked into the airport.

My last morning with my son -for who knows how long- was pleasant.

Occasionally, I am wise.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Our second grand baby was born 
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Born April 13 4:48am7lbs18 inches 
Almost as soon as we found out that this baby was going to be a girl,
Frank started calling her "Lizzy"
I really can't tell you why except that it rhymes with
which is what he calls Isabelle 
(our first granddaughter)

He usually said the two names together
"Izzy and Lizzy"

He mostly calls Isabelle "Izzy" when talking about her
not so much when he is with her.
He seems to follow everyone else's example and call her
when he is with her.
side note:
He is also a little bit confused about what to call himself to be truthful.
We have always called his dad "grandaddy"
which is kind of a southern term I think.
Frank says he plans to be grandpa or whatever the grandkids want to call him
but whenever he refers to himself
he says "grandaddy"

after our newest addition was born on Sunday morning
the new parents texted to say that they had named her

Kaylee Elizabeth

Oh dear, now he really will call them Izzy and Lizzy!

But, apparently the new parents are ok with that.

Grandpas get to do pretty much whatever they want.

For Posterity

From Amber's Blog...Yay! I'm not going crazy!

Isabelles Birthday (take two)

I'm about to make an embarrassing confession

Last Saturday (the 5th) I created a blog post about Isabelle's Birthday. It originally said,
 "Today is Isabelle's Birthday...We celebrated yesterday with family and Friends."
 I posted it, and then decided to change it the next day (the 6th). While I was editing the post my pregnancy brain got the best of me and I forgot that I had started the post on the 5th and thus, that would be the date shown to viewers on my blog, so I changed the post to say, 
"Yesterday was Isabelle's Birthday..."
making anyone believe that Isabelle's Birthday was on the 4th...
Its on the 5th, always has been

I am telling you this because today, while browsing through blogs I found this:

And so Debbie, you were right all year long. 
Your congratulations were not late
You posted on Facebook on her actually Birthday
and you did not need to change your password
 (by the way I think it is super cute that that was your password)

Luckily Isabelle is only one
and will one day get a kick out of the confusion her mom caused
and that her Grandma confessed about on her blog

and hopefully everyone loves me so much, that they will forgive me :)

I am going to leave that original post exactly how it is, just because I think it is funny. I will make a new post about Isabelles Birthday today ;)

Friday, April 11, 2014

I love visitors

My niece Chelsie came for a visit!

She is living in D.C.
which is significantly closer than Utah where she used to live.
So, even though it's still a hike, I told her we HAD to get together.

Luckily she decided to hop on a bus and come up for the weekend.

I was so excited to have a family visitor.
It would be awesome if I were wining and dining her
and taking her to plays
and all kind of historical sites
but mostly we sat around a lot
and ate.
Although we did venture out a couple of times.

I'm super good at sitting around.
And eating.

It was General Conference
so we watched that on both Saturday and Sunday.
While Frank went to the Saturday evening meeting for men, Chelsie and I watched a chick flick.
Perfect evening activity.

On Saturday afternoon, between conference sessions, we went to the Lowell open studios
to see my friend (and former co-worker) Karen.
Since Chelsie is an artist she had a few fellow artists giving her advice...
which I loved!
Austin and Chelsie at the art studios
*I am an amazing photographer*
Side note:
I am now officially obsessed with a couple of Karen's pieces
and I think they need to go in my new house.
Here is the gallery

We ordered pizza
and she helped me pack boxes.
I know, I know, I am a super fun hostess

We also went to Walden Pond
and Concord
where we stood on the North Bridge and Chelsie recited a poem she learned as a child:

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard ’round the world”

I was so proud.

The poem is etched into this monument but you can't see it because
*I am an amazing photographer*
The trail to the visitors center was totally flooded
which I have never seen before

We also visited Author's Ridge

We ate lunch in Concord
and went back home and sat around
and watched one of Chelsie's favorite movies, which I had never seen,

So, basically, it was awesome.

We already have a girl's trip to NYC planned for next month!

Isabelle's Birthday

I'm about to make an embarrassing confession

For the better part of a year,
I have had the birthdate of my one and only grandchild

For some reason I had it in my head that her birthday was on April 5th
Frank's re-birthday is on the 4th
And Isabelle is on the 5th

Until her Mom posted a blog about her first birthday
mentioning that it was on the 4th

so, my congratulations were a day late.
And I posted on Facebook a day late.
And I may or may not have used her birthday (the wrong one) as a password to my phone
-note to bad people: it has since been changed-

Luckily, she's only one
And won't remember.
No doubt she'll find out when she's older
and can read the blog where I confess all my flaws

But hopefully by then she'll love me so much, she'll forgive me.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Re-birthday!

On this date, two years ago
April 4, 2012
my husband got the best gift ever.

The gift of the opportunity to live.

An anonymous donor gave his bone marrow.
So that my husband could have a fighting chance against Leukemia.

This man signed up for the registry
And when the call came to say he was a match
He said YES

That was an amazing gift 
and our whole family was happy to receive it.

It didn't feel like a "big day" to Frank, just another step in his treatment. So I added the "not so" to his sign.
I'm a little sarcastic at times!
But levity is helpful when at the hospital for months at a time...

Frank resting while receiving his new bone marrow cells

There they are! The little life savers.

today is Frank's 
second birthday?

I don't have a word for it
except that it is a day to celebrate!

My most recent picture of Frank...with his award from work

-This morning he asked if he was getting gifts and a cake-

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I am not complaining!

I'm about to tell you a funny story
and it might sound like I'm complaining at certain points
but I promise
I'm not!

Anyone who knows my husband at all knows that he loves...
no, needs,
tropical vacations
It is what keeps him going...the knowledge that he gets to be in the sun at some point. 
He prefers one every year.
But hasn't always gotten one.


-I have mentioned this before-

I don't need this like he does.
I'm more of a "visit the family" kind of gal.
But, of course, I do enjoy a good vacation.
I'm not complaining.

Over the years we've gone on a few of these vacations.
We've gone to Puerto Rico
(some were work trips so that was handy)
Turks and Caicos
and Mexico...
Mostly Cancun

We haven't ever gone to some of the more exotic tropical islands.

All he really needs is sun and beach
so we usually go with whatever is cheapest
or wherever he needs to go for work
(I like those kind the best)

Ever since his cancer diagnosis
he is a little more adamant about going on a vacation.

So with all this in mind...

We booked a vacation back in the fall, I think,
to go to Cancun during spring break.

Our hotel is not in the party zone, if you are wondering.

Carter will be on a school trip so it was the perfect opportunity.
(disclaimer: someone will be watching my house, so bad guys just stay away)

On Wednesday
(April 2)
There was a big award ceremony at Frank's work.
And he won two separate awards!

One of these awards 
includes an invitation to a company retreat.
We have never been invited to this retreat before
and it has been in some really amazing locations in past years.

2013-Cancer Survivor Celebration Trip-Cancun

This year
It is in....Cancun!

The other fun fact is that it is taking place the week after our spring break.

We will come home from our vacation
See Carter and find out how his school trip went
do laundry
and fly back to Cancun!

The one downside for me is that I had already booked a trip to Utah for this exact time.
I was going to go to Women's Conference at BYU
which I've always wanted to attend.
And I'll admit, I was hoping Amber might go into labor while I was there
so I could get a little peek at the new grand baby too.

But since this is an award
*from work*
it is pretty important that we attend the retreat.
So we are.

I cancelled my Utah trip

But since I'm moving there soon
I don't feel too bad about it.
(when I booked the trip, we had no ideas or plans to move to Utah. haa! How quickly things change)

And I am going to Cancun for a total of 11 days...
Trust me
I am not complaining!

The House

We are officially under contract for a home in Utah.
I never thought I'd see the day that my husband would move to Utah!

I hope he survives.

Anyway, here is the house!


Porch/Front door:
(I've never had a covered area by my front door so I'm pretty excited about the whole "stay dry when it's raining" thing)

After entering the door, look to the left and you see
this sunken living room
and tiny little dining room
(and I do mean tiny)

Straight ahead is the family room and stairway to the basement
to the right on the other side of those french doors are the bedrooms

Family room:
Taken just inside the french doors you just saw

Family room/kitchen

Stairway to basement with integrated baby gate
Ah, I'm all set to babysit!

The view of the entry from the tiny dining room

The laundry room!
It's pretty darn big and has a sink and space for hanging things up.
I'm so happy.

Bedroom #1:

Bedroom #2:
Can you tell a difference? Nope, they are the same
the paint is even the same because they painted since taking these pictures.

Hallway bathroom
Carter will have to share with guests.
I'm a little frightened.

Not huge but I don't spend that much time in the bedroom anyway

Master bath:
My own sink makes me happy

huge space

Basement view if standing by the stairs:
I like the built-ins and the desk area

Interesting room off of the main basement room...
It's officially a bedroom but has a sink in the corner and mirrors
(Apparently they had a teenage girl in here)
For us, it could be an office maybe...

Lots of storage
and a second laundry room

Separate basement apartment:
small but very functional
2 bedrooms

Covered back porch

Nice yard with fruit trees
(apple, cherry and walnut)
a garden spot
and a shed

Two neighbors have chickens so I'm hoping for some eggs

A big ol' swingset
All we need to add are the baby seats for the grandkids...

And, hopefully, it will be ours in about 30 days!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Homemaker of the year!

Can we talk about my faults?
I'll feel better if I do.

I consider myself to be a fairly neat, organized and tidy kind of person.
I mean, I'll never end up on an episode of "Hoarders, Buried Alive"
But I'm not a great housekeeper
only just adequate.

And, honestly, when Frank's out of town
I'm much worse!

But overall, on most days, I could have someone over with short notice and not be mortified.

But there is one thing I am terrible at.
Really terrible.


I have always hated dusting.
Whenever my mom would ask me to dust on Saturday morning
(cleaning day)
I was always bummed out.
I'd much rather do just about any other job than dusting.

It is still true.

It feels like something that just never ever is finished.
I know that's true for all housework
but it feels more true for dusting!

Laundry-you get to wear the clothes
Bathrooms-who doesn't love a clean bathroom or mirror?
Vacuuming-those lines in the carpet just make me happy
Dishes-clean stuff sitting in the cupboard ready for use!

Dusting-you get a surface that you may or may not ever notice that is, for a minute, free of dust.
But I swear, it's only a minute!
The stuff settles right back down where it was
(and I don't care what dusting method I used)
It's just in the air!

Here is a little peak at my problem
I'm sorry to gross you out, but really, it'll help you.

You'll either look around your house and see that you have a problem too
(and knowing is the first step they say)
or you'll feel better about yourself because you are a better housekeeper than I am.

You're welcome

If you aren't grossed out by these pictures
then you really have a problem
and I cannot help you.
Dusting is not my thing!

TV cabinet
(black furniture is a bane!)

Hey, this one doesn't look that bad in the picture!
I'll take it

I need an intervention.
or a maid

It's the black furniture, isn't it?
Not me

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Finally finished

I finally finished my chair!

I didn't take a single picture this monday morning because
there was no time!
I got there at about 7:30 and we got right to work.
Since I didn't sign up for the next class,
I only had until 9:00 a.m. to work
before the next group showed up.
and they would all have chairs and projects with them
so no room for me!

We worked frantically
and I felt a bit stressed
but Kathleen kept saying "take your time"
(she could tell I was rushing and getting stressed)

I can't even remember what all we had left to do.
But I know we:
finished attaching sides and welting
made welting for back
attached welting along all the wood areas
attached the top and bottom of the back piece
put welting along the bottom of the chair
and attached the dust cover on the bottom of the chair
Then we tacked the front of the sides (by the wood)
and the sides of the back (where it meets the arms)
so that I could go back and sew it down.

When I left, all  I had left to do was the blind stitching of the back and sides.

Yes, hand sewing!
She kept telling me that it is a relaxing thing to do 
but I had a hard time imagining that to be true.

Here is Kathleen standing by my almost finished chair

This is the moment when I looked at the hand sewing that I needed to do and thought
"Maybe its time to go home!"
I wasn't excited to start that part...

But I brought it home and vowed to finish asap
rather than having a mostly finished chair sitting in my house
mocking me

You use a curved needle and strong nylon thread to do the blind stitching
And you know what?
It wasn't that bad!

I stitched and stitched and stitched

I "watched" movies and tv shows on my iPad while I stitched.
I watched Lilo and Stitch!
get it?

Here are all my leftovers from class.
What should I make next?

Carter thinks it looks orange
but to me it looks like a nice yellow.

In these pictures, I can see what he means though.

My fingers are sore