Saturday, December 31, 2011

So We Say Goodbye..

The internet is awash with people posting their top 10 projects, or recipes, or favorite this-or-that's from 2011, and while I've enjoyed reading the posts, I'm not inspired to come here and write one myself. I don't think I have 10 posts from this year that were worth revisiting, nor can I stretch my memory hard enough to come up with 10 events from this year that were worth remembering. So what I think I am going to do, right now,  is go through and upload a photo from each month of the year, and write about it. Maybe I'll get to the end and decide that 2011 had some bang-up moments after all and I can send it off with a bit of gladness. Sound fun? Let's go!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Little Word

2011 will be forever remembered in my mind, as the year that I fell apart. The year started out amazingly, and I had really strong hopes that it was going to be THE year after a string of rather craptastic years,and I can't tell you how excited I was for it.  Then, in late February, things started to fall apart, and it was one worse than the next until I got to a point when I honestly wondered if I would reach a breaking point. If you've  never had to look life in the face and wonder just how much more you were capable of taking before you couldn't take One.More.Thing., then consider yourself very lucky. It's not a fun place to be, and I can only tell you that in my life I've been through some pretty wretched things, and this year really takes the cake. I consider it a huge accomplishment that I've made it to here, this last week of the year, mostly in one piece.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Which We Find... A Fine Young Man

Just recently I had several conversations with a few different people where I've likened teenagers to toddlers. I had this revelation within the last few months and it was both startling and amusing to me at the same time. Much like toddlers, teenagers require lots of sleep, eat large amounts of foods, go through rapid mood swings and throw temper tantrums at the drop of a dime. I remember being so grateful when my children grew out of their toddler years, yet it seems they are back in them again, only this time much larger and louder. No one warned me about this part of parenting, and I felt a little bit ill-prepared for it. Having two teenagers at the same time has been difficult at best and that's sugar coating over the worst of it. I am thankful however that he is coming off the worst of it as she is heading into it, so there's that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Which We Find An Anniversary.....

In an effort to keep the blog from reflecting what's going on with me internally, I've chosen instead to remain quiet. I thought about doing some fluffy-nonsense kind of posts like I've done in the past, but really, those aren't the kind of posts that I'm all about. As I've been going back and working on labeling all the old posts on my blog, those are the ones that make me cringe when I read them. I won't take them off, but I'm certainly not going to be adding any new ones. As I look back at the number of posts I've done this year in total, I can see what a struggle the year has been overall. There are other years that have been challenging for different reasons, and the number of posts in those years reflects a similar patterns. In prior years, I used to just come here and rant and rave about whatever thing was festering inside of me. The empty space on the screen was an invitation to get it all out. Release the poisons that were trapped inside so that they weren't building up like an internal time bomb just waiting to explode. But I realized, that my blog was starting to sound whiny. That all my posts were starting to take on a similar theme, and I didn't like it. I didn't like writing them, and I can't imagine that you liked reading them.

Friday, December 09, 2011

When You Need To Change Your Focus

Today was one of those kind of days. I had taken next Friday off as a personal day to get ready for Uncle Christmas about a month ago. Then my Grampa got sick and we moved the date to this weekend so that he could join us, and then we moved the location to my brother's house so that it wouldn't be such a far drive for him. I decided that I'd switch my personal day to today and use it to get ready for my niece's visit tomorrow and Uncle Christmas on Sunday. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

130. Welcoming her into the church and celebrating her first birthday.

131. The tender way he holds my hands to warm them.

132. Hearing her laugh with the students after suffering such a tragic loss.

133. A stretch of mild days this late into the year.

134. Twilight on the way home after a long, disappointing day in Boston.

135. The excitement of a young child who turned my whole day around.

136. They came to participate in the lighting of the Advent candle and the daily reflection without being asked or complaining.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

In Which We Find a Heavy Heart..

Having never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, I felt pretty awesome about that fact that I could choose whatever dishes I wanted to make and created a completely gluten free dinner. That, aside from any epic cooking failures, I could put delicious food on the table and start a new family tradition that wasn't overshadowed by memories of years gone by. There would be no discussion of "too bad we can't have _____ this year" and "isn't it a shame mom can't eat _____". Which, even with the burnt cornbread muffins and my foolish oversight that caused a doubling of the gravy recipe, I feel was a huge success. I put a lot of mental energy into planning Thanksgiving, because in my heart I was dreading what was to follow.

Friday, December 02, 2011

At the End of the Day

Some days are better than others. On those days I can ignore the eye rolling. I can shrug off the attitude, turn a blind eye to the piles and the mess that seems to follow them wherever they go and ignore that they haven't done the things that I have asked them to do at least three times already that day. On those days I can keep my voice calm and answer back with kind words and be the kind of parent that I always wished I had when I was in the same place where they are. I can offer them solutions to problems or work through situations with the voice of reason or experience.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Blessing and a Birthday

I have loved her since the first moment I laid eyes on her just a year ago this past week. I never realized that you could love children that weren't your own until my nieces came along and they have been such a wonderful addition into our lives and our family. Her sister is a firecracker, and while I love her to pieces, I have felt a special connection with Evie since the first time I held her. The Boy™ and I were honored when his sister and her husband asked us over the summer if we would be her Godparents. We of course accepted and after having to cancel due to that Nor'easter last month, had the Baptism this past weekend.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

123. How he takes it all in stride, calm and never complaining.

124. A late afternoon fall hike with some coworkers. Great way to end the day.

125. Warm November sunshine.

126. Quiet at the end of an unpleasant day.

127. Many things to give thanks for, including a delicious and safe meal and the love of each other.

128. A family trip to the movies filled with laughter.

129.  Remembering loved ones who have gone to be with God as we decorated the tree.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day To Be Thankful

Growing up we always celebrated Thanksgiving at my Gram's house. She cooked the same exact dinner every year, and we would eat it at 1pm on the dot. You were given the option of having Cran-Raspberry or Tomato Juice to drink with your meal and we always had the same 4 choices of pie for desert after the dishes were done being washed, dried and put away. The adults ate at the table, and the kids ate at a fold out table in the living room. It didn't matter how old you were, or, in my case, even if you were married and had small children of your own, if you were not one of Gram's kids or married to them, you ate at the kids table. It was how things were done, and it was comforting. Some years back, for reason's I will never quite understand, Gram started keeping bread and cookies in her oven. She also started battling Alzheimer's Disease, and we arrived at her house one Thanksgiving to discover that she had turned on the oven to pre-heat and had forgotten to take whatever she was storing in there out. That was the first year in my life we ate later than 1pm, and the last year Gram got to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Tale of One Table

Six years or so ago, my mother gave us that long white side table that currently lives in our dining room. When she bought it for her apartment, she used it in her living room. I remember that there was a table runner across the top of it and she kept some pretty decorative items and candles on it. There were two chairs that she had, one at each end and it fit in her living room very nicely. When she gave up her apartment and moved to Maryland she asked if we'd like to have it for our house and I accepted. The first place it lived in our dining room was in front of the window next to the porch, as seen in this photo from 2008. While I really liked the table there, the window is not centered on the wall, and it gave my OCD tendencies a twitch. On top of that, it was really close to the doorway. After several years of being in that spot, we moved it across the room to the space between the arches. In case you are wondering, I don't know why my dining room windows have shutters, but we haven't replaced them yet because it's one of those projects that involves more than just replacing the shutter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Thanks

Somehow we have made it past the middle of November, and Thanksgiving is next week. I'm not really sure how this has happened, but multiple trips to the calendar have confirmed this rumor, and my family has assured me that in fact, we will be eating turkey at this time next week. (well, not this exact time anyhow) There's all sorts of noise, for lack of a better work, in the world surrounding Thanksgiving. You hear about it on the radio, or the TV, or read about it in the paper or on the internet. The best way to cook a turkey or the best stuffing recipe or how to decorate your table so that even your cranky old aunt Betsy is impressed. Does it really matter? I think we place too much importance on the wrong part of the holiday. We end up tired, stressed out and cranky with dry turkeys and overcooked stuffing that took 5 hours to cook and 15 minutes to eat and ended with a table full of bickering family members. Where is the enjoyment in that?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


much like the rest of the year, the colors were a bust
It's hard to come and post about things you are thankful for, when so many things are broken right now. My laptop sits near a window, and I sit here so often and stare out the window and the things that weigh heavy on my mind threaten to bury me alive.

Instead of posting about all of these things, I've come to ask for your help. If you could send some good thoughts and prayers over here to help lift some of that weight, I would so greatly appreciate it. Just me, and all of this stuff that is crushing my spirit. If you could keep my Grandpa in your good thoughts and pray  that when his time comes  to go and join my Grandma, that it's quick and peaceful, I would greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

All is Grace

For the past few years I have purchased what has become known as the "family gift". Something that we can all do together as a family. One year it was a Whirly Pop popcorn popper, wooden popcorn bowl and a few DVD's to watch over vacation. One year it was RockBand (I got it for a steal as it was an older version of the instruments). As we head into Christmas this year, gifts have been a bit of a challenge to think about. We are going to Florida in March. The kids are going with the Band, and Neal and I are going as Chaperone's. We weren't going to originally, as even for just the two of us it's a lot of money, but we figured it's a chance of a lifetime and we likely won't get to do this again, so we are going for it. Part of the everyone's gift this year, is spending money for the strip. On top of that, we have to have our trip paid for by February. In light of that, I've been giving the family gift a lot of thought this year. The kids are getting older, and I've been finding that as they age, what they want and what they need and what they consider gifts is evolving and changing and it's hard as a parent to come to terms with.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Warm November Sunshine

my tree swing.. buried in snow
During certain times of the year, when the temperature isn't that warm, you can stand outside with your eyes closed, facing the sun and trick yourself into believing you're at the beach. I know what you're thinking, "She's finally lost it. All that snow has gotten to her and she's gone off the deep end." Not true. This trick works especially well if you are standing out on a playground and have the noise of small children to add to the beach daydream. It doesn't work come December, and if my memory serves me correctly, I don't believe it works again until April.. but it worked today. We still have about half a foot of snow on our playground, and I'm starting to doubt if it will melt by the end of the week, or before it gets cold enough to not melt at all, as we have some really high snow banks in some areas. To stand in the snow, close my eyes and feel the warm sun on my face and day dream about the beach was a little slice of heaven in November.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Month of Being Thankful

The year started out really well, as I recall. I had some major revelations about some areas of my life and was working on turning things in a new direction. This was going to be the year of change. Change that was desperately needed. Then life got in the way, as it is so often known to do, and put a screeching halt to my plans. It's harder to avoid life when it's your health that is getting in the way of things. Health issues have a way of getting in your face and becoming all consuming. They manage to take over and fill all areas until they threaten to bury your with their very existence. I have a new appreciation for people who have to live with chronic illness. I don't know how they find the strength to get through it. I really don't. Now that I finally on the other side of it all, I'm ready to put it behind me. I think I have the fortitude to deal with what's left and move on with a clearer head and less worry. I'm tired of it all, frankly, and it's time. So this month, the month of Thanksgiving, I'm going to focus on being thankful, and positive, and the blessings in my life. Work on turning my attitude and my focus around and get to a better place before the holidays and the darkness of winter set in. I don't think I can head into winter with the mindset I've been in the past 9 months. I might not come out on the other side. Today, on the first day of this month, as I get ready to embark on this journey, I leave you with this quote:

"To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,
to enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven."
Johannes A. Gaertner

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick... or Treat?

When the started talking about a Nor'Easter for Saturday we just shrugged it off. A Nor'Easter is basically just an off-shore storm and we've had them in October before. They bring strong winds and rain and no one really paid any attention to it. Early in the week they started talking about snow on Thursday. Snow in October isn't unheard of either. It's usually just a light coating that coats the pumpkins and melts fast and makes the kids happy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

End of the Month Wrap Up

last night, in the middle of the storm
I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my calendar is telling me October is almost over. I still have leaves on the ground, my fall cleaning has barely been started, and their is snow on the ground. Right after I typed my last post I came down with an awful respiratory infection that knocked me out of commission for a solid week. It was two weeks before I got my energy back and could function like myself again. Then, right after I was finally feeling better, I had surgery to  remove a tumor from my uterus  at the end of last week. I got the news yesterday that it wasn't cancerous and there were no cancerous cells detected in the lining, so praise God for that. They burnt the lining out after removing the tumor and doing the biopsy, so hopefully this will be the end of any future concerns. In between all of that, I've had visits to the doctor about a damaged nerve in my elbow, and I've gone for an MRI of my head/brain to see if there might not be something else going on that is causing my daily headaches and contributing to my migraine disorder. In a nutshell, I am a mess. 2011 will be forever known as the year I fell apart, and I can't wait for 2012 to get here so I can put myself back together.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Which I Wax Poetic About Fall

photo from 2010
It's no secret around here that I LOVE fall. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the other season's, it's just that I LOVE fall.

I love spring, with all it's new growth, flowers, and the return of migratory birds. I like to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and watch the grass green up and the leaves burst out of the buds on the trees.

I love summer, with it's glorious produce, long lazy days, and beautiful weather. I can't tell you how summer rejuvenates my soul. Sitting in the sun, or on the porch, or at the lake and just enjoying it all is one of my favorite past-times when I'm not busy working. I love swimming and camping and hiking and the farmer's market and a million other things about summer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

My Faithful Companion

He brought her home in his lunch box on afternoon in mid-August several year ago. Ms. Thang and I were in the family room watching Harry Potter (every summer we try to have a marathon and watch them all but it never happens) and she was on the couch and I was in my favorite chair knitting. He walked in the door, early from work, and I knew something was up. He walked over to my chair, so excited for the gift he had in his lunchbox and out she popped.

Monday, October 03, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

115. A simple apology, with sincere words behind it.

116. A flock of geese flying south for the winter in the early morning light.

117.A half hour of extra sleep, snuggled next to the man I love.

118. Everyone hunkered down in their favorite "family room" spot. 
119. A hand held during a trip to the grocery store.

120. Warm, hearty soup after hours spent out in the dreary rain.

122. The way the light has changed in the morning, promising cooler days.

Friday, September 30, 2011

In Which We Find a Pity Party

Most days, I am OK with it. Most days, I can focus on how much better I feel and how grateful I am for figuring out why I was feeling so lousy all the time. Most days, I think about how much better I eat now and how many new and wonderful recipes I have tried and all the new foods I have discovered like Quinoa. Today is not one of those days.

Fridays are a crazy kind of day at my house. Work, then home, then off to get the C.S.A. basket, then dinner and then errands. I used to do errands on Saturday morning, but it ended up eating half the day and I'm too fried on Friday nights to do much more than shop anyhow. A long time ago, when football games and field hockey became part of our normal routine, I instituted a "Friday night is an easy dinner" kind of rule. If it was complicated or took a lot of time, we weren't having it on a Friday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

108. The way his cool lips feel on my hot forehead, as he's not afraid to catch my germs.

109. Ironing, which quiets my soul and keeps me grounded.

110. The genuine way they were all glad to see me and inquired to how I was feeling.

111. The sweet taste of pure vanilla ice cream. The first thing I've been able to taste in days.

112. Third graders playing recorders for the first time.

113. A day to rest, and recover.

114. Warm sunshine on an early fall afternoon

Monday, September 26, 2011

Somewhere Down the Road

So much pain and no good reason why
You've cried until the tears run dry
And nothing here can make you understand
The one thing that you held so dear
Is slipping from your hands
And you say

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

101.  A steaming hot cup of coffee in the quiet morning hours.

102. Sunlight shining through the colored leaves of fall.

103. That he seems to be on the road to "better".

104. A brand new doctor who is willing to find the answers, even if I am a bit "baffling".

105. That she is not suffering any longer, and has gone home to be with our Savior.

106. A husband who picks up the slack when I am stricken ill.

107. A brief break from the splitting headache I've had since yesterday morning.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Which We Find a Day at The Farmer's Market

Each Tuesday and Saturday, from early May until early October, you can find local folks selling produce and homemade wares in the center of Keene. At 9am, a gentleman walks down the middle of the market and blows what I think is a bike horn. No one is allowed to purchase any items until that horn blasts, but you are allowed to "window shop" and you can set aside items at some of the booths.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

94. A day off to spend with my family.

95. Hugs from former students on the playground.

96. The way the light is changing, signaling autumn's pending arrival.

97. Her thoughtful words of love for me, even though I snapped at her.

98. Time spent in service of others, and deepening friendships in the process.

99. Strong, warm arms that wrapped around me during time spent together watching a movie.

100. The awesome beauty of nature.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Never Forget

"The stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the great everlasting things that matter for a nation; the great peaks of honour we had forgotten - duty and patriotism, clad in glittering white; the great pinnacle of sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to heaven."  ~David Lloyd George

Friday, September 09, 2011

Just Barely...

2011 will be a year that stays in my memory for a long, long time. I can rattle off some other significant years; the year of my car accident, the year I got married, the years my kids were born, the year we bought our house and so on and so forth. There is a year of my life where my job was so awful that I've actually lost entirely. Sad thing is, it's half of two different calendar years, but I don't remember any of it, except for how awful things were at school. I can tell you how hard the year was after my nephew Max died, or about the year that I thought for sure my entire world was going to fall apart or about the year that had that we had so many snow days we were in school until almost the end of June.

Monday, September 05, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

85. My friends and loved ones are all safe after the storm.

86. Catching up with co-workers after a long summer apart.

87. Hugs from former students who are genuinely happy to see me.

88. The soft light of the sun coming up over the mountain.

89. Scott's text of gratitude, which came straight from his heart.

90. Laughter shared around the dinner table.

91. Catching up with old friends and family.

92. Heart to heart talks that needed to happen.

93. Forgiveness and understanding.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Halls of Higher Acadameia

I still remember the day he started Kindergarten. We were living in the city then, not too far away from the elementary school. That seems to be a theme with our places of residence. He was really ready to start the year before, the one that he turned 5, but in NH the cut-off date is September 30th. His birthday is at the tail end of December and they said absolutely not. We spent that year doing alphabet writing and working on sounds and reading simple words and  cool workbook pages from a book I picked up at Wal-Mart. The first day of school we walked down the hill together, and he could barely contain his happiness about finally getting to go to school. The whole way  home he was chatty and excited about his teacher and his new friends and all the things he had learned, but he was not impressed about rest-time and did they really expect him to nap after lunch?! (for the record, he stopped napping right after Ashley was born when he was 2.5. I should've known then he'd be a handful)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Was a Dark and Rainy Day

When I was 11 and starting my sixth grade year, we were threatened with Hurricane Gloria. I remember that they talked about it on the news for days, non-stop. Adults fretted like they are prone to do, and we all mostly ignored it. My mom got the idea in her head that she should tape up all the windows in the house, just in case the wind broke them, so that the glass didn't shatter everywhere. She used masking tape, which still amuses me to this day. They cancelled school, and all we got was a really tropical day, with some rain and mostly just wind. The neighborhood kids, free from the obligations of higher learning, all got together and we played a pretty rocking game of kickball for the afternoon. The wind added a challenging aspect that we enjoyed every minute of.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Love In a Freezer Bag

Part of living in an allergic household, is having to do a lot of your own cooking and baking. I love cooking and baking, so this really doesn't bother me too much, I just don't always have the time for the things that we don't need for dinners. Part of my "New School Year's Resolutions" is to make time to get safe breakfast foods into the freezer on a regular basis. Knowing that we were due for a hurricane on Sunday with potential power outages, I spent a good part of Saturday in the kitchen.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

78. Crossing things off the never ending to-do list.

79. One last sunny day of work up the hill, and a genuine feeling of "we'll miss you" at the end of it.

80. A new, male OB-GYN doctor (it was a surprise), and the unexpected immediate acceptance of him due to his gentle and thoughtful personality.

81. The way she listens without judging, and lets me complain, even if it's about her dad.

82. A bountiful basket full of delicious produce from my C.S.A. farm share.

83. Love in a freezer bag.

84. That the storm wasn't as bad as expected, and all my family and friends are safe.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Bountiful Harvest

A tisket, a tasket, an overflowing basket....
This little rhyme runs through my head each week when I arrived at Tracie's Farm to pick up my C.S.A. share. I have wanted to buy a share each year for the past few, but finances kept me from being able to do so. Last summer, my good friend C worked at the farm for her single share, and it was more than she could eat alone, so she shared it with us. That was enough to convince me that this summer we needed to get our own. On top of that, since discovering I have a sensitivity to chemicals, pesticides and preservatives, it just made more sense. I love that I can reach into my crisper drawer and pull out, well, anything, and not have to worry about how it was grown.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Farewell to Summer

It always saddens me, every year, when we get to this day... the one before we go back to work. Oh, I know, we still have the weekend, but weekends don't really count, do they? This is, however, the first whole weekend I've had off since early July, and for that I'm thrilled. I'm less thrilled about the hurricane that is coming as it's mucked up our plans to go to the lake (sigh, why has this been such a hard thing this summer, every time we plan it, it rains!), but I think we'll head out to the movies tomorrow afternoon instead. What we do, really doesn't matter to me as much as doing it together.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Which We Find the End of My Summer Job

During a rather cold and bitter day in the middle of February, I found myself daydreaming about being up the hill at the farm picking blueberries. I remembered how warm the sun felt on my skin as I spent the days outside, picking berries in the morning and helping customers get to where they needed to be and grading/packing in the afternoon. I thought about how nice the solitariness of it was.. just me and my music passing away the time in the fresh air. It was a nice daydream that got me through some rather awful winter days.

Monday, August 22, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

71. An effort being made for more discussions.

72. A rainy day to spend doing whatever I pleased.

73. The way her bangs flip across the side of her eye, and she brushes them away while she eats.

74. The conversations they have about technology that only they can understand.

75. The gift of acceptance, and love.. no matter what.

76. A large watermelon, given away at the end of the Farmer's Market.

77. A stolen moment, shared together in the kitchen. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Randomness on a Tuesday

1. It has been raining since the middle of Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, I felt cranky about it, because The Boy™ and I were going to take a picnic and travel out to a winery in VT to celebrate our anniversary which was on Saturday. Our original plans involved a weekend away in Burlington, but that wasn't going to work, so we modified. Mother nature had other plans and so we will push it off, and maybe a winery in the fall will be nicer. As a result of all this rain, I had the day off today. It was too wet to pick berries and so I crossed a dozen things off my should've-done-this-already list, did far too much screwing off, and worked on a new crochet project that I started this weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

64. The first hug I've gotten from my son in I can't remember how many years.. as he left for his last week at MIT this summer.

65. A lovely day spent just wandering around shops with good friends, good food and good laughs.

66. He makes dinner on the nights I work at the farm so that I can come home hot, tired, and dirty and get right into the shower.

67. A pile of flip flops and some giggly girls who filled my unexpected day off with endless entertainment.

68. My boy coming home.

69. A smile and a kind word from a stranger, when I was feeling far from friendly.

70. Flowers, in honor of our anniversary, and the most touching card I've received in a long time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A New Kind of Normal

pizza dough, rising on the counter
When Ashley first was diagnosed with her food allergies back during the winter, I remember how relieved I was that it was only soy and nuts. I still recall how hard it was those first weeks when we would go grocery shopping, and realize how much of the food supply contains soy, or is manufactured on shared equipment with nuts and/or soy. We adapted, and over came, and as a result, do more of our own cooking at home. We did a lot of home cooking to start with, but now we rely on a lot less processed foods, which has been such a blessing in disguise. I have always enjoyed cooking, and as a result of all this, we have tried some pretty delicious recipes and discovered great new products, such as Back to Nature crackers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Who Has the Pause Button?

It has been a busy summer that has gone by far too fast. The weather has been beautiful, in my opinion. Sunny and hot, just like summer should be, with enough rain thrown in to keep things green and watered. On August 29th I will head back to work at school, and I am So.Not.Ready. Usually I get to the end of summer, and I feel ready to go back. That I've done all of the "summer things" I wanted to get done, and I'm ready to get back in the swing of a school routine and see the kids and my coworkers and we all know that I love fall. But not this year.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

57. The quiet voice of forgiveness, even when my heart is still hurting.

58. The rain that is watering my garden and giving life to my yard, that came at the end of my work day and not the beginning.

59. The way she smiles while she is txting her friends as she sprawls across the couch.

60. A sunny afternoon picking plums in an orchard. I love my summer job.

61. A husband who steps up and makes a delicious dinner when he knows I am too tired to lift my arms to hug him at the end of my work day.

62 .Having my boy home, even if it's just for one night and tomorrow morning.

63. Our Armed Forces, who give their lives every day so that I may enjoy living in freedom. God Bless them all.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Strong Legs Run...

.. so that weak legs may walk.

Today was the 58th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, played up in Windsor, VT. NH's All-Star football team, made up of this year's top graduated seniors took on VT's All-Star football team in a game that also serves as a fundraiser for the Shrine Hospitals of New England. The three hospitals treat children, regardless of ability to pay, for things such as burns, spinal cord injuries and orthopedic conditions. It's a great day, fueled on in part by the fact that NH has kicked VT's butt every year for the last 11, including this one.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Rainy Afternoon Fun

A while ago, I made plans with my friend to spend some time together and end the day with dinner at my house. On Thursday, I realized that I was feeling overwhelmed with how my life has been so crazy as of late and how I hadn't had a real day off in ages, and she offered to give up our plans. She's a great friend. I asked if we could change them, and instead just plan on her and her mom (who's staying with her this summer and I love) coming for dinner and games after. We play cards or a board game or something fun to pass the evening. Because she's so awesome, she never once complained about our plans changing and happily accepted.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

50. The sparkle in her eyes every time someone wishes her a happy birthday.

51. Fresh pea pods, still warm from the summer sun

52. Finding rogue plants in the garden that grew from seeds that survived the harsh winter

53. An unexpected evening alone with The Boy™

54. The rain that both watered my garden and gave me an unplanned day off

55. A summer job that lets me enjoy the outside and sunshine even when I have to work on a Saturday.

56. A quiet morning with the girl who is turning into a fine,  young woman. (she also took that photo the other day on a walk)

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Which We Find a Missed Birthday

Before you think that I'm a horrible, awful mother (though I am sure I have my moments).. I didn't miss her birthday. We celebrated it this past weekend in a grand manner that I will share about it a moment, I just missed coming and posting her birthday blog. Once my summer job starts, life tends to get a little bit crazy and I tend to be hot and exhausted when I get home. About all the energy I have left at the end of the day goes into dinner and chores. Sad, I know, but it is what it is. I love my job at the blueberry farm and wouldn't trade it for anything, but that's another post. We are here to talk about birthdays.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

43. An afternoon catching up with my oldest and dearest friend.

44. Summer days that feel like summer days should.

45. A simple dinner made with summer's bounty.

46. Getting to leave work early on a hot, sultry day when I was feeling like the heat was getting the best of me.

47. My mom and my son both here for a long weekend visit.

48. The grace of God that is teaching me when to be quiet and when to put a filter on the words that come out of my mouth when dealing with my extended family.

49. Getting to share in the Baptism of two newborn twins at church this morning. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

36. A lovely day spent with my girl.

37. Doctor visits that start early and end quick.

38. A beautiful sunny day picking berries up at the farm.

39. His willingness to be so flexible.

40. A conversation about God's grace in the middle of a berry patch.

41. A gathering of family full of laughter.

42. Witnessing and celebrating the union of two good friends. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

He Always Asks the Hard Questions

"If you could, would you do it over differently?"

I can't remember where we were now, perhaps in the car, him in the back seat, me in the front, but the question pierced through my heart. The question that I have been waiting to answer for 16 and a half years. The question that I have tried to answer in so many subtle ways over the years, hoping that I could impress upon him how much I love him and how grateful I am that he's in my life.

I took a deep breath and answered, "No, I would not." Without missing a beat, he said, "Why not?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

29. An extra week off that I was not expecting this summer.

30. A new friend who gifted me with plants for my garden.

31. Canned tomato sauce from last summer that provided us with a wonderful dinner.

32. A body that can still go out and run 3 miles, even after a few months off.

33. The bounty in my C.S.A. basket, and the people who toil in the fields so hard to bring it to me every week.

34. A glorious hour spent reading in the sunshine before dinner, followed by a night of laughter playing Scrabble with my husband and daughter.

35. Dinner  with good friends.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

In Quiet and Silence the Truth Shall be Made Clear

We drove along to the city to do our weekly errands. Him at the wheel of the car, me in the passenger seat. We traveled along this road that we have taken thousands of times in the past ten years, and the silence in the car was deafening. I sat in my seat, quietly looking out the windows and taking in the scenery that seems to change every time I pass by it. I noticed the flowers and plants that were blooming or growing in people's yards, noticed that the state had been through and done some mowing of the wild grasses and flowers that grow on the side of the road, and thought about how we got to this place in our lives. He stole glances in my directions every few minutes, and I knew he was wondering if something was wrong. Wondering if there was a reason why I was being so quiet, and trying to think if there was something that he had done to upset me. I noticed, of course, and wondered why he didn't say something.

As if on cue, he asked, "What are you thinking about?" I turned and looked at him, and asked, "Do you really want to know?" The look on his face said, "Not really, I think I might not like it." He replied, "Yes, I do." 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Evening Storms

During the past week we have had some pretty major thunderstorms roll through in the evening. Each time they send out the warning for high winds and 2" hail, I worry about my garden. I have never seen 2" hail but in early June, Keene, which is just 10 miles north of here, got golf ball size hail. That's pretty big. That would be pretty devastating. Not just for me but for the local farmers who make their living on the land. Monday evening, right around dinner time (which I'm sure ruined a lot of cookouts) we got hit with a pretty major storm. It poured like it hasn't poured in a while. As is par for the course, our road flooded right in front of our house. There are drains on both sides of the road, but they are old and can't handle this kind of rain. One of my most favorite things to do, is watch the waves created by people who are crazy enough to try and drive through it.