Heaven’s New Member

I have started to write this post many times before I was able to find the right words. It is very difficult for me to write such a painful post, but it is also healing. I hope that I am able to depict to you the woman that I fondly call grandma.

Grandma

Recently, my grandmother passed away after a long and exhausting battle with pain and cancer. I want to be selfish and wish that she would still be able to be here to be my grandmother, but I also find solace knowing that her pain is now gone and that she is in peace.

I have respect for any woman who is able to raise a large family and keep their sanity. And with many children came many grandchildren. My grandma always enjoyed having a large family. She thrived in preparing to host a family gathering at her house, and enjoyed listening to the laughter that filled her house.

I remember her always allowing us grand-girls to play dress up with her fancy dresses, shoes, and make up. One year, I desperately wanted a tea party, and grandma and my mom did not disappoint! Grandma loved seeing all of us girls dressed in her dresses with the fancy umbrellas. One of my aunts did all of our hair and makeup.  We all strolled out to the front lawn in grandma’s shoes, dresses dragging behind us, and our eye lids heavy with mascara to feel fancy for a day.  Grandma and my mom set up a beautiful table and streamers and prepared fancy finger foods for the event.

Grandma 2

For Easter, enough candy to fill a small convenience store was hidden in the woods and around her yard. All of the grandchildren were assigned an animal sound that we had to make before picking up our candy. If we failed to make the sound we would be squirted by a squirt gun and had to donate that piece of candy to grandma’s over-stuffed candy drawer.  We would continue to comb through the woods for weeks in search of any candy that wasn’t claimed.

At Christmas time, the family would gather at grandma’s house to enjoy the feast she had prepared which was served on her fine china. Our family’s traditional games were played and prizes were won. The entire house would echo with the laughter and giddy Christmas Eve spirit.  After all of the games and over-eating, we would open the gifts that would spill out from the tree and engulf her living room.

Grandma was always active and moving. Until the last couple of years when she was unable to move due to the pain, I do not recall her ever sitting still for very long. She took great pride in her lawn, garden, and household remodeling.  She always had a candy drawer stocked up for the weekly family game days or for when any of us grandchildren would have a sleep over at her house.

Grandma 3

For one of my birthdays she took me, and the other grand-girls with birthdays around the same time, on a shopping spree. She gave each of us our birthday money and spent the day driving us around town to different stores to buy whatever we wanted.

Through the years, we could see the years of enduring pain on her face.  I could tell that she was becoming exhausted with her fight to be active.  As her pain grew more and more overwhelming, her faith grew stronger. She struggled with lucidity in the last year or so of her life. Although, a few days before she passed from this world to find her peace, I was able to briefly visit with her during a lucid moment. I will never forget my last conversation with her. She said: “I hear you got engaged! How exciting! Give that good man a hug for me and have a happy life together.” Grandma was always blunt and never gave anyone the opportunity to guess her opinion of significant others. It meant a lot to me to hear her approval of my choice for a husband.

I believe my grandma is finally free of pain and at peace. It is challenging to learn the new normal for my family and me, but we will always hold her close in our hearts. I love you, Grandma, and miss you.

Grandma

Summer is for Weddings and Babies!

There have been so many great things going on this summer! It’s wedding and baby palooza! Of course, in my opinion, one of the biggest highlights recently is the new addition to the family – my very first nephew! This Handsome Little Nugget has been the center of our attention, obviously.

image

image

image

It is always fun to have a reason to walk down the baby aisle and ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’ over everything you see. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but when it comes in a miniature size it is automatically cute. I could very easily take the entire baby section home, but I did have to exercise some self control. Not to mention, The Man probably would not have been too thrilled about having a Babys R Us in our apartment…

I have seen friends make diaper cakes in the traditional three-tiered style, and have been looking for a time when I could try my hand at something crafty like that. I did want to make something along the same lines, but something that the mother-to-be hadn’t seen before. I came across the idea of a diaper cake tricycle and couldn’t get over how cute it was! I hopped on you tube to see the different ways other people had put them together, and the different tips all of them offered.

image

image

The first baby shower of the year was for a sweet baby girl. I couldn’t wait to put together the adorable pink tricycle diaper cake! Of course, everyone at the shower loved this cake!

The next baby shower cake was for my sweet first nephew. In the spirit of welcoming a boy, and The Man’s love for the Yankees, this diaper cake had to be Yankee’s themed, of course! It’s amazing how many options there are for adorable Yankees baby items! Every time I came home from the store, even for something like groceries, The Man inevitably would roll his eyes at the new Yankee baby item that I found.

image

image

Over the Summer, two of my cousins also had boy baby showers. Since they were both attending each other’s baby showers, I couldn’t get away with two more tricycles. I was finally able to try my hand at a baby carriage! Granted, next time I probably will not use so many diapers because the wheels kept collapsing, but I also didn’t want to bring them home and stuff them into a closet when someone could use them.

image

image

Best Night of My Life! (..so far)

You will not believe the week I had last week! It was the typical work week. You know, too much on my plate, very overworked, and coming home beyond exhausted. However, coming home to relax with The Man was the highlight of my day.

The Man helped a family friend with some pretty challenging yard work last week, and one night he didn’t return home until 7:30. Since I had to go to work the next morning, I was desperately craving a little TLC in front of the TV before hitting the sack. Nope, he made up one excuse after the other as to why he needed to run back out to town. I was not really excited about the idea of not even being able to relax together at all that night, and I made my disapproval fairly clear. Naturally, we are both very stubborn, and he was sticking to his guns that the errands had to be completed right-that-second.

When The Man came home later that night, he crawled into bed and wanted to chitchat a bit before he left me to my dreams. We talked about going for a little hike to our favorite waterfall that Friday. It sounded like the perfect way to wrap up a hectic work week and I began to look forward to the weekend.

Friday finally rolled around, and I was finally heading home to spend the weekend with my Man. As soon as I walked in the door, The Man was rushing me to get dressed for our little hike and head out the door. I don’t know about you, but I am hungry for dinner even before I leave work! I was completely famished and could only think about a snack, but still ended up running out the door without eating. On the way to the waterfall, I complained a little that I forgot to grab something to eat and absolutely would not make it the half-mile walk to the waterfall without something to eat (I am so dramatic!). I finally talked him into stopping for at least a little bag of chips to eat and maybe a drink. Done. Off we were to enjoy the view of the waterfall from our bridge!

image

The day was so perfect! It was sunny and warm, but the walk to the waterfall is shady with the overhanging trees over the walkway. We were even able to see a couple deer, and talk about some of our favorite memories. We reached the top of the waterfall and leaned over the bridge to enjoy the view. We started talking about everything that we have been through, the hard times, and the great times. The Man looked at me and said “You are the only stable thing in my life right now, and I would be crazy to let you go”, he got down on one knee, and pulled a beautiful blue box out of his pocket. Inside was the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. We were both shaking so badly from excitement that we could barely put the ring on! Before we could leave, he had one last thing that he wanted us to do – forever mark the place where we became engaged. He pulled out a knife and started carving his initials, and ended up carving mine as well because I am really clumsy and was still shaking so there was no way he was going to trust me holding a knife!

I said YES!

I said YES!

The rest of the evening was such a whirlwind of excitement. Naturally, we spread the news of our engagement to the most important people first before it became ‘Facebook official’. We topped the night off with a delicious bottle of champagne, and finally dinner at 9:00.

image

image

image

image

image

Doggie Jail

Having an Aussie has definitely presented its challenges.  We knew when we brought the Little Miss home that we had picked a very smart breed of dog, but we definitely underestimated the hurdles we would face with keeping her mind challenged and active.

At first it wasn’t very difficult at all to keep her active and engaged.  The Folks have a small hobby farm, and were willing to puppy sit while we were working (who doesn’t like a little ball of fur with puppy breath?).  Little Miss loved herding the cats, the other dogs, chickens, and whatever else was wondering around.  She also thought she was big enough to take on a cow, but always turned and ran the other way if they looked at her.  We loved having a place for her to practice her Aussie tendencies!

As she got older, and became fully potty trained, there was no need for puppy sitting.  She started hanging out at the house while we were working and visiting the farm on the weekends.  She was always ready to play as soon as we walked in the door.  We made sure she had special toys that she actually had to figure out how to get the treat out of, we played with her for a while every single day, and she had plenty of interaction with people. 

We never put her in a crate as a puppy because once she was disciplined for bad behavior she didn’t do it again.  Then when we finally had to put her in a crate to take a little trip on an airplane; she was forever mortified of them.  After that time spent in a crate wasn’t fun for anybody (she’s not dramatic at all).

Not putting her in a crate was fine and dandy until she started learning how to get into the trash can.  We tried everything – we bought a can with a lid that isn’t easily opened, turned it around, put it under the table, put something heavy on top of it, and then, ultimately, she started hanging out in the bedroom.  Before long, she learned that she could occasionally work her way out of the bedroom and still get in the trash.

Last night on my way home, The Man called me.  Since the drive home isn’t that long, I know that when The Man calls before I get home that it’s important.  He needed to vent that our perfect little angel chewed a hole in the door frame.  Mind you, destructive behavior has never been tolerated, and she has never attempted anything like this.  It looked like something that a puppy would do.

image

image

What happens when you misbehave?  You get put in puppy jail.  Off we went to find a crate.  It was time, and we were tired of worrying about what she would get into while we were gone.  We decided to go with a metal crate so that she wouldn’t feel as trapped and there would be no way for her to chew a hole in an attempt to escape prison.  We’re not sure yet how this will go over, but, like it or not, it is what it is.

image

After hunting down the crate, and introducing it to her, we started doing a little research to see what we could do to prevent such destructive behavior and what could be causing it.  We have always known that she has severe separation anxiety, but that has never caused this type of behavior in the past.  We are starting to do some research into putting together a makeshift agility course to keep her active and engaged, as well as some new toys that will challenge her mind. 

Do you have any suggestions for keeping a smart dog challenged?  Throwing a ball becomes boring for her after about the 3rd throw.  We have been keeping her engaged in play time by not only throwing the ball, but then hiding while she fetches the ball.  We play ‘tag’, and The Man wrestles with her, but we are struggling to come up with new ways to keep her interested in play time.

Summer Date Checklist

With the weather becoming increasingly more enjoyable we are starting to feel the itch to get out of the house and enjoy summer activities.  We still keep a pretty strict budget, but have found many affordable fun things to do in our area to switch up the ol’ dinner and a movie date (as in we fix pizza and watch NetFlix).  I wish I had looked into all of these fun ways to mix it up sooner!  Here are some of the dates on our summer to-do list:

  • Watch a Row Competition – we are lucky enough to live near an ivy league college and enjoy the many benefits of the sporting events.  Many Saturday mornings the sleek boats launch into the inlet for the row competition.  Sometimes there are more than one race on a Saturday!  What a great way to kick off the weekend with a breakfast ‘on the greens’ date!
  • Estate Auctions – We found a multitude of auctions throughout our area that are usually held at the house of the estate.  We are excited to feel the energy of the bidders and place our own personal bets on what the items will go for.
  • Storage Auctions – We just found out that there are some storage auctions about to take place in our area.  The Man and I have talked many times about going just for the thrill of the ‘Storage War’ even though we aren’t very interested in purchasing unknown boxes.  If I really had no need for a few extra bucks in my pocket, I would do something slightly smaller such as buy a lottery ticket.
  • Horse Races – Let the fun begin!  Over the years we continue talking about going to a horse race, placing a small bet, and enjoying a lovely day of fun.  I doubt I will see all of the big hats and fancy dresses like in My Fair Lady, but I will still hope for it!
  • Feeding the Geese – We usually land places near a body of water of some sort or another.  It has always been one of my favorite pastimes to enjoy the sound of the water lapping against the shore, listening to a child’s excitement over a jelly fish or seashell, and feeding the geese.  Although, I did learn as a child to be semi-cautious of the geese because they can get mean.

I felt very strongly at the beginning of the year that we have been through a lot recently, and really need to focus on us.  What better way to do that than to explore some other interests that we might not even know that we had?!  Besides, if The Man hadn’t suggested a hockey game one night, I probably would never have realized that I have a passion for hockey.  Not just a small passion – but Jersey, colors of the team, matching scarf, undershirt, shirt, sweatshirt, you name it I pile it on for a game, even if we are only watching the game on our sofa.  I bed you never would have guessed that I was that person!

Do you have a summer date checklist?  What are some of the fun activities in your area?  Anything to switch up the typical date?

Spring is Finally Here

I know it has been a little while since we last talked.  I know you missed me terribly and have been dying to know what I have been up to!  Well, we moved just a couple weeks ago. The weeks leading up to the move were chaotic with going through things, packing up the house, and making the preparations to transfer services.  We had an amazing moving crew to help us and were able to knock out the move in a matter of hours!  We were ecstatic that the non-stop planning and preparation made it happen without a hitch, and can’t say enough ‘thank you’s to our moving crew.

IMG_1001IMG_1003

Apparently I do not have enough measuring cups and spoons

Apparently I do not have enough measuring cups and spoons

We finally had our first snow-free day of the year last week.  This last winter felt as if I would grow old in the winter and die before I could see the first buds of Spring.  Okay, that is a little over-dramatic, but only by a little.  The Man and I continually talk about all of the things that we are looking forward to with the warm weather – barbecues, long walks in the woods, enjoying a good book on the porch, and drinking a beer with the baseball game are just a few at the top of the list.

IMG_0992

IMG_0989

Naturally, we had to welcome Spring in style.  We anxiously waited until Friday night to enjoy a deliciously juicy and tender steak and to clink glasses to our recent successes.  This steak was so amazing that I have to share what we did.  Because, you know, I’m a foodie and have been dying to share this with you!

IMG_0996

Whiskey Marinade:

  • ¼ c. Whiskey – Gentlemen Jack works perfectly!
  • ¼ c. Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worchester Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to taste

Mix all ingredients and let your steak soak up that goodness while the grill warms up – about 15 to 20 minutes. Throw some zucchini on the grill with the steak and you won’t even have to dirty the kitchen much!

IMG_0987

Life Recently According to my Phone

Growing up, we had the ‘regular’ cameras with film – the point, click, and wait for the pictures to be processed kind. We learned not to expose the film to light, to wind it after every picture, and to at least take a couple pictures of the same thing to make sure one of them came out.     

I love living with the conveniences of today – I can whip out my phone at a moment’s notice (don’t have to wait for the flash to ‘warm up’ with that annoying sound), snap a picture (don’t have to wind it after the shot), and know instantly if it came out. So much easier! With the ‘camera’ being so handy it is easy to snap a quick picture of everything.  Here’s a little walk through the pictures on my phone:  

So much snow!

We are so tired of shoveling the endless amount of snow!

Orange Bowknot Rolls

Orange Bowknot Rolls

Morning cup of coffee

Morning cup of coffee

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls!

Selfies!

Selfies!

Can I please have some?

Can I please have some?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 150 other followers

%d bloggers like this: