Monday, March 28, 2011

Life Trumps Blogging

Sorry I've been absent for a while. It's been busy around here!

With our travel plans meaning our absence in the month of June, we decided to enroll Leah in Driver's Education classes last week in order to finish them up early. That means I've been taking her to Stillwater for a three hour class, Monday through Thursday. We had Friday off but we're back at it for the second week now.

Just to add to the fun, the Stillwater bridge may be closing, increasing our drive time from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. The St. Croix River is flooding in Stillwater but the cooler temperatures have actually helped with the flooding so I'm not protesting our cool spring too much.

Once the bridge is closed, it will probably be closed for a while so I'm glad we only have four more classes until the classroom portion is completed. The behind the wheel doesn't begin until Leah turns 15 1/2 and gets her permit and that's not until July 29th so we've got a little time before we'll have another driver in the family.

I've been doing a ton of research for our trip. For all the hours I've spent on it it doesn't seem like I've accomplished much but I have been working on firming up the itinerary. We will be spending a week in Paris, France and I located and secured an apartment in a wonderful location right off the banks of the Seine River near the Notre Dame cathedral. We will be within walking distance of so many sights, shops, cafes, museums, gardens, etc.

I just purchased our Eurostar tickets on Saturday. The Eurostar is the train that goes under the English Channel from London to France. It's just over a two hour trip with 19 minutes of it being under the channel. I am slightly claustrophobic but I can do this. I plan on seeing my doctor to obtain some anxiety reducing drugs to help me in my quest.

Now I'm trying to figure out how we will spend our two weeks in England. We will be staying with my niece and her family just south of London. They live in a spacious old estate and they've got room for us. We are very fortunate to have this home base to explore from although we may venture out and stay in the Bath area a couple nights. Decisions, decisions...

We will be doing a lot of walking on this trip so the girls and I need to get our walking shoes on and get outdoors. Actually, they are doing a better job of that than I am. Between my busyness, the snow outside and this cold I picked up, I haven't been exercising much. Gotta work on that.

That, and, oh, a million other things. You know, like feeding my family, time with my husband and children, homeschooling, planning Emily's graduation party, trying to keep this place in order, dealing with the endless paperwork and paying the bills. The normal stuff of life!

I hope the stuff of your lives has been fulfilling and brings you joy and satisfaction. I love how God is at work, in even the mundane areas of my life. When I'm feeling burdened and the endless wintry weather is depressing and I'm fighting a cold, it's a good thing to remember.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gotta Get Gutsy!


I did it.

I've talked about doing this for years but I finally did it.

I booked a round-trip flight to London for myself and my two lovely daughters for three weeks in June. I'm still a little shocked that I actually did it.

We have family that lives outside London so we will be spoiled by them picking us up at the airport and providing a place for us to stay while we're in the London area. Of course we can't just fly to London to spend three weeks there so we've got to go exploring. The question is, where else should we go? I'm planning on making Paris a part of our itinerary but after that it's a big question mark. Should we head south to Spain or north to the Netherlands?

How far north do we want to go in England? All the way up to Scotland? To the lakes district to visit Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm? Questions, questions... Then there's the biggie: Can we fit everything we want to take in carry-on sized suitcases? I've always been a big believer in packing light, even before they started charging for checking your luggage.

We leave in 11 weeks and in that time we will be finishing school for the year, hosting Emily's graduation party, going up to the cabin for Memorial Day weekend and getting ready to go. I'd say that's enough to keep us busy this spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Last Snowshoe of the Season?

Last week I took the dogs out for what was probably the last snowshoe of the season. The weather is finally warming up here and we've got a few days of 50 degrees or higher predicted. Woo Hoo!

I'm going to use this opportunity to introduce our new golden retriever pup, Millie. Mike got her a couple weeks ago and she's a little sweetie. A little sweetie who seems to be having a difficult time being housetrained, unfortunately. When he mentioned getting another dog I told him that the responsibility would have to be mainly his. So Millie spends a lot of time with him and I'm hoping that she will figure things out soon.

Millie and Theodore had a great time playing in the snow.

Sniffing around...

She looks so cute with her snowy little nose!

One of my favorite photo-ops was damaged in our heavy snow earlier this winter.
There used to be three trees leaning over and one fell down.
Now there are only two.
Millie taking a break and sitting in the snow.

After leaning over all winter I wonder if this little cedar tree
will ever stand upright again!
Theodore doing what he does best: running around in the snow.

Frisky pups wrestling in the snow.
I love winter and playing out in the snow but I've got to admit
that I am SO ready for spring. Bring it on!

Monday, March 14, 2011

ADHD Cleaning House - Part 2

If you read my earlier post about my ADHD house cleaning tendencies, you'll remember the chaos that followed my attempt to clean the house, change the winter for spring decor and pull, organize and price books to sell for the upcoming used book sale.

Happily, after a lot of work on Saturday, the house is back in order and looking far more spring-like!

The china cabinet is displaying our spring-floral tea set
and the pretty colored glassware my mother gave me.

If you look closely, you'll see little shells peeking out around the candles.

Even the hall table has one of Leah's pretty little floral arrangements
that she made for me. I've got them all over the house.
They're easy to make and brighten an area like a smile on your face.

I swapped out the winter greenery and wreath with
a spring wreath, tulle and flower petals.

A close-up view of the mantle looking light and bright.

What is this you ask?! Let me reintroduce you to
my library floor. It was there all along, hiding under
piles of books. Imagine that!
Where are those books now? Well...
They've been boxed up and are hiding in the entry closet
until the book sale, four weeks away.
Thankfully, we don't use this closet much.
Last but not least, Leah cleaned the bonus room for
me yesterday afternoon. I helped a little and together
we got it spiffed up. Hurrah!
Hmmmm... I wonder where I can go and create a little chaos today? ;)
Blessings to you today in blogland, friends!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ADHD Cleaning House

This is what happens when a person with ADHD "cleans house". Not that it was perfect before I started, but it looked a LOT better than this!

I do this quite frequently. I begin one project which somehow morphs into another. And another. And another... You get the idea.

Yesterday was supposed to be house cleaning day.
This is how it looked this morning.

I thought it made sense to switch our decor from
winter to spring since I was going to be cleaning.
Not a bad plan, really.

THEN, when I was putting a few books away in the library
I thought I'd pull some books off the shelves that I want to sell
in a homeschoolers' used book sale next month.

So now there are books stacked everywhere around my home
because I wasn't content to leave the mess in just the library.

Books need to be boxed so we've got boxes everywhere too.

Here's the mess from taking the winter display down from
my china hutch in the dining area.

We can't leave the living room out of my destructive path, can we?

Guess what I'm doing today? It may take all day but I've got to restore order to our home. Preferably before my husband gets back from the cabin later this morning. Time to finish my breakfast, get off the computer and get to work!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sister Trip to Florida!

This is my sister Errin and I on the beach at Cape Canaveral.
We flew down to Orlando on March 1st and rented a car and drove
over to the Cape to stay with my other sister Elaine and her husband Tom
for a week. They live in a townhome complex right on the beach.

Elaine is my half sister and her health is not the best.
She cannot walk on her own anymore and her memory
is getting poor. Even though she was mixed up from
time to time, she never forgot who I was!

Elaine, my nephew Tom, my brother-in-law Tom, Errin and I
at Grills for lunch. They have the best breakfasts and the best
seafood. Yum! I love Grills!

We can watch the cruise ships go out because we're right by
Port Canaveral. Here goes the Disney ship!

A cat sitting on the fence that surrounds the complex.

There were beautiful flowers everywhere!
I can't wait until I can see flowers here at home
but this was a nice taste of spring.
A lizard sunning himself on a rock. I was on a
birdwatching tour at the Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge when I saw him along with tons of beautiful birds,
alligators and a rattlesnake!
A wonderful old hallway at the Lightner Museum
in St. Augustine, Florida.
The dining hall in Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.
I think I could used to eating in such elegance, couldn't you?

Firing the cannon at the old Fort in St. Augustine.

St. George's Street is the pedestrian street lined
with stores, restaurants and candy/ice cream shops.
I saw this pair of shoes just sitting there when we
first arrived and I couldn't resist taking a photo of them.
I wonder if their owner was walking around barefoot.
Errin posing by the "friendly" alligators.
Cute, aren't they?

Elaine liked having her nails painted. I don't paint
my own nails but I did a pretty good job, if I do say so!

Another glorious sunrise on the beach. We tried to
walk on the beach at sunrise every single day we were there.
My ride in Florida.
Heh heh, not really...
A fun car parked outside the tourist mecca of
Ron Jon's in Cocoa Beach, just down the road.
Another gorgeous bird, a Snowy Egret
that we saw on our morning walk. Isn't he handsome
with his beautiful plumage, black legs and gold feet?
We are back home now. Back to reality of cold and snow for a few more weeks at least. I don't care because we had a fantastic trip. Elaine and I shared many special moments. My favorites were when we prayed together when she went to bed at night. Errin and I had a wonderful time together as well. It was her first visit to Florida and I enjoyed showing her around. I love my family and am blessed that we were able to visit, connect and create special memories.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American Birkebeiner 2011

We came, we saw, we froze!

The 2011 American Birkebeiner is just a memory now but we surely had a wonderful weekend up at the cabin with family and friends. After last week's loss, it was a restorative, fun filled weekend and everyone loved it!
Our cabin was full with 12 people. I think that's about the limit with two bathrooms. ;) Our family was there along with John, Ann, Nate, TuAnn, Kim, Perky and Bruce.
This was my first Birkie experience and I fell in love with it. The Birkebeiner is not the only race run during the weekend. John and Ann participated in the Kortelopet which runs at the same time but runs in a loop and ends in Cable while the Birkie ends in downtown Hayward. Our cabin is right between the two little towns. John and Ann did very well and so did Nate, who finished his second Birkie successfully. Yay to Nate, John and Ann!
Over the course of the weekend I was overtaken by some strange force and I pinkie-promised to compete in the Kortelopet next year, a 27km ski race. What was I thinking?! I guess I'll have to strap on my cross country skis and get training next year...

Cheering on the skiers

The finish

Congratulating Nate after the long race

Everyone sacked out after a fun and exciting weekend.