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Monday, May 22, 2017

Our Spring Surprise

Earlier this spring, when I took the kids to school one morning we saw a male mallard duck in our yard. There are parks around us that have water and trees and perfect places where ducks could live. Our yard was not a place where I expected to find a duck!

We giggled about it on the way to school and Dawn snapped a picture.  Fast forward about two week to the week after Easter. Matthew was out front on the sidewalk with two white eggs in his hand.

The kids have found a nest in the bushes out front with eggs in it. I scolded Matthew for picking up eggs from the nest. He had asked me if they were left over from egg hunting and that he didn't take them out of the nest but they were laying on the sidewalk in front of the nest.

I came out and looked and sure enough there was a nest with ten more eggs. There she was in the middle of the yard quacking at us. I told everyone to get away, put the eggs in the nest and let her get back to her babies. So that was the beginning. For three more weeks, we watched out for her on warm days in the 80's and rainy cold, and wet days in the 40's.

She would leave at about the time the kids were out of school and be back before bedtime after finding something to eat. She would cover the eggs with her down and we could not even tell there were eggs in the nest. She did a good job because at the end of those weeks one afternoon we saw her with ten babies in the front yard. 

The mama duck took them around the house with eyes watching and following all the way. She ate some of the dropped bird food on the ground under our kitchen window bird feeder. On their way back she hopped over the downspout that was on the corner of our house. One by one eight of the babies followed her right over. Two of them however, had some trouble getting over. We stood at a distance watching and the two babies kept on trying to jump and couldn't get over.

Funny thing is, if they would have just taken a few steps to the left, they could have gone around. But they were following their mama. They just keep peeping and jumping, trying to get over. Soon, mama turned back and sat herself right on the other side of the spout with a low toned slow quack, letting them know that she was there. Eventually the one got over and then shortly after that, the last one was over and they were on their way.

Not a couple hours later I walked past the front door and looked out to see a big white pick up truck stopped in the road. To my horror, she had taken her babies to the road and had started to cross. Thankful that the truck had stopped. I watched as she turned sideways and started heading down the middle of the lane until a car coming from the other direction startled her back in the direction of the other side of the street. She backed up traffic four vehicles on one side and three on the other.

The man in the truck had his phone out and was taking pictures. She got the babies safely across and headed behind the houses on the way to the creek in the park. We would like to think they are living happily. I am sure that the very next day their mama taught them all to swim! We are sad they have left but we are happy we got to host mama and see the babies she so faithfully tended.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Giggle Down Memory Lane

So today I turned 47. As my brother and I chatted on the phone we decided that yes, now I have come out of the mid 40's and into my late 40s. I felt him hesitate a bit when he was about to say "late". Age has never been a big deal to me. Life is too short to worry about getting old.

I am actually glad to be entering my late 40''s. My mid 40's were definitely not the best ones so far, so I am happy to have them behind me. I have slowly been getting back into my life the past couple of months and it is nice to feel better.

I was sitting at the computer this afternoon buying shoes with my 25% off Payless coupon. Looking at so many shoes I was remembering a pair of sandals I had when I was a pre-teen. I was trying to describe them in Google to see if there were anywhere I could see a picture of them. Well, as I have been known to do, I went off on a few rabbit trails until I found myself on a walk down memory lane. Of all places, I ended up in YouTube looking up The 20 Minute Workout videos!

Well, my doctor has said I should try to be a little more active each day and I have to admit, I haven't been very good at it. Now two months after starting the hormone pills I have been dealing with a lot joint pain. I keep hoping that it will level off but it keeps getting worse. At my appointment on Monday I told the doctor I would try to do something more active each day and see in a couple weeks if the pain levels off or gets a little better. There are a couple of other hormones I can try if this one keeps causing me grief.

So, since I need to be more active...yes, you guessed it, I cued up a video and found a place on my bed where I could put my computer and still see the screen. I put on my tennis shoes and did a 20 minute workout. I remember when I was growing up it would come on television. It actually is a pretty good "do it yourself in the privacy of your own home" aerobic workout. I have to admit, I am in no shape to be doing all 20 minutes, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I could keep up. I will work on my form as my endurance builds.

I giggled in my head as I was going through it, how silly it seems now. The true test will be if I can move tomorrow or not. I actually loved it. It is simple and can be easily done at different levels. Tonight I did just the arms sometimes or just the legs others. It was a good, quick workout. Just about what I can do for now.

And while we are talking about 80's...

P.S. I never did find a picture of those silly shoes!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Some New Little Friends

This spring in our circle of friends, there have been a few new babies. I found a really cute pattern for a baby quilt that I really wanted to make.

The fabric stash challenge I made with myself last fall is still in effect. I wasn't able to plan out the color schemes based on what was in the fabric store, but instead what is in my fabric stash.

It wasn't very hard. For my new little friend Hannah I had some very fun fabrics in the pink/green/brown family and I was super excited about how her blanket turned out. I even had enough of the same colors in my ribbon stash.

This pattern is great because it included different types and textures of ribbon/trim that is sewn into the squares for some texture for babies during tummy time. Totally loved how it turned out.

I was a little leary about Joshua's blanket. I had fabric that I wanted to use right from the start but then to find coordinating fabrics is not my best talent. I had a charm pack with what I would call more "manly" fabric but in a fun way it worked really well with the other fabric I had.

I did pick out a couple of new ribbon/trims to sew into the seams of this one because I didn't have as much in my stash from this color palette.

When all was said and done I ended up really loving this one too. It turned out kind of looking like a "little man" quilt. It makes me smile. Dawn was able to give it to him when she went to babysit Joshua's big brother and sisters.

I am working on one more baby quilt and have the front done. I will share when I get it done. What started out to be a pile of baby flannel has turned out better than I could have wanted. I have the back and quilting to finish. The great thing about baby quilts though is that they are small. Hopefully I can get back into the sewing room this week. Last week was crazy busy with four full days of work!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Oyama's for Mother's Day Eve with my favorite people in the whole world! We usually go out on Saturday night before Mother's Day to avoid the crowds. 

Next year we will check the prom schedule for the city to be sure that it isn't a night we need "reservations". Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long for a table. It was the beginning of a beautiful day!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Help, Please!

This is my jade plant. It is actually several that have been growing together in this very small pot.

I can't even imagine the roots under that dirt. Dawn and I have talked for awhile now about transplanting it. So, my question today is do we just take the whole thing out and plop it into a bigger pot where it would have room to spread out?

Or, does anyone think that we could try to separate it into the three smaller plants? I am really thinking separating them would be harmful.

Not at all a jade expert, I need a little help in this. We would like to separate and let them each grow on their own but if the roots are to tangled with each other we are figuring that we will just move it to a bigger pot.

Anyone have suggestions?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Sweet Surprise

What a super great and pleasant surprise I got today when I came home from work! There was a box from the Craftsy company (which if you have been following me much, you know that the name of the company alone makes me giddy). I wondered "what could this be? I haven't ordered anything from there have I?" I opened it and was so grateful to my dear friend Brooke McKenzie.

There was a letter inside that said this:
"Recently you were nominated by your friend Brooke McKenzie to receive the gift of craft  that's why we've sent you this special package! At Craftsy, we believe crafting is a gift. Maybe that means crafting your way through an illness or tough life transition. Maybe it means discovering a new creative outlet. Or maybe crafting is simply just something you can count on for a bit of daily calm. Whatever it means to you, the process of making is something special, and your friend thought you could use some of that special in your life."
So, thank you to the Craftsy company for allowing people to nominate those that they know who could use encouragement. It sure has encouraged me (and brought a few tears to my eyes). The gift in the box is two skeins of blue and two skeins of cream, access to a free tutorial in the form of online class, circular bamboo needles, a clipping scissors, a tape measure and...MY VERY FAVORITE yarn needles that have a little bend in the end for hiding all kinds of yarn tails on numerous projects! In fact...I have a huge stack of granny squares that need to be cleaned up and tails sewn in right now!

Brooke...I cannot tell you enough how thankful I am not only that you nominated me, but that I am in your thoughts and prayers after and through all of these years. I really cannot wait til we can get together with Tricia and talk about the old days...baby days, toddler days, (the days when our living rooms were Romper room and we had to put play gates around the Christmas tree) when our kids had playmates that they probably wouldn't even recognize today. I am sure without you and Tricia in those early triplet days, life would have felt much more isolated and alone.

I love that after all these years I receive this package and automatically start thinking about how in the world we could get together and spend time catching up in real life, not just stalking on Facebook. What a blessing to have you in my life. THANK YOU so much!

The instructions for my free tutorial "Learn to Knit: My First Scarf" has instructions to follow to pull it up on my computer. The fourth point says "If you're not already a Craftsy member..." HA! HA! Of course I am a craftsy member, silly!

Brooke, Me and Tricia (back in the days we had cameras
that printed the date on our pictures!)
What a sweet sweet friend, what a wonderful gift. I have crafted for all of those reasons that were mentioned above in the letter and I am grateful for that outlet so that when I feel like screaming or depressed, my fingers can create and something is made right before my eyes.

Thank you Brooke, for still knowing me and thinking about me and being my friend after all of these years. We really need to get together so that we can update our picture that is now almost 13 years old!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Feeling My Feet

Today I drove down to PCI for my twice a week appointment for acupuncture which is starting to help a little. As has been my routine, I walk in at the ground level. There are days when I walk a few extra steps to get to the stairs up to the second floor where the cancer center is located. Then, there are other days when I catch the elevator because it is right there when I come in and it is quicker.

To be honest, some days I just don't have the energy. That was the case today. You see, I have been back in the classroom a little these last couple of weeks. I have done three half days and yesterday was my first full day back. I took the sub job at the last minute when my plans for the day changed. It was at our school here where Matthew attends. He broke his arm last week at the top of his humerus and has just a sling because they can't cast it up that high. My thoughts were that I would be in the building for him since he was a little nervous about bumping or hurting his arm.

Well, lets just say a room full of kindergartners did me in. I spent the day on my feet wiping tears and hearing all of the tattles they had to tell. We were also "blessed" with indoor recess! Yippie! I was glad to be there but I was sore, all over when I got home. So, that being said, this morning when I arrived at PCI, I took the path of least steps.

Just in case you wanted to see what my feet look like when I am getting
I got into the elevator and there was an older woman standing in front of the door. She was looking down the way and since she didn't come into the elevator with me, I figured that she was not going up. But right before the door started to close she stepped in followed by another woman. The woman I didn't expect would ride up with me took her spot standing behind me and said matter-of-factly "Well, we are sure being lazy today. We should all be taking the stairs!" (and she did emphasize the "all")

Hmm...I wondered why she would say that "we" should be doing anything. She didn't know the "me" part of that "we" enough to know if I should be walking up a flight of stairs or riding the elevator. I knew I had made the perfect choice for me for this day. I wasn't being lazy, I just didn't have the energy today. It just struck me as odd. The more I thought about it the more I wondered if she has ever offended other people that she didn't know.

I could have very easily been offended by her statement but instead it got me to think. I wonder if I have ever said something to strangers not knowing their story. I sure hope not.