Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finding time...

Winter is upon us here in Minnesota, and I gotta tell you, I love winter. The snow, water proof boots, thick socks, hot drinks, gray clouds, blue skies, cold air, bundled faces... not a thing I don't like about it.
2011 was insane. Just beyond comprehension. We started out thinking we would be leaving Wisconsin and moving to Tuscaloosa, but after celebrating Theo's promotion we learned we were Minnesota bound. We spent a good chunk of the year living seperately, hard enough for any family, but a military family that also never knows when we could be seperated again by deployment, it is like stealing borrowed time. If that makes sense? We begantrying to sell our house, which we did- in one day, but then that fell apart when the buyer's bank assessed our house at 20,000 lower than we owed... we tried a short sale for a few months, and now have spent 4 months trying to do a voluntary foreclosure. Legally Theo has to live where he's assigned, and we couldn't afford to live in two places. Hands tied. Then, Theo had this entire foot rebuilt, complete with metal plates, screws, and cadaver bone. Yipes. He spent 3 months on crutches, conviently right after we moved... so I had to basically unpack alone. I tell you friends, that about killed me. I also stubbornly moved a good 1/3 of my garden with me, and found thousands and thousands of hours of weeds and invasives to pull out here at our new rental home. If the moving in didn't kill me, the garden *almost* did. I almost quit my passion. But, tough as can be, I made it to fall and Theo began walking again, and I began resting, and knitting, and letting my back heal, and actually acknowledging my fibromyalgia.
I'm coming off my busiest fall ever, having knit my little hands to pieces for my Etsy shop. Making, selling, creating, had me start to believe in dreams again. Life got a little rosier, just when it really needed to. We ha da delightful two weeks with my mom sightseeing Minnesota winter (as pictured previously). And Christmas was just nice. Nice and relaxing. Once all the Christmas decorations came down and the house was cleaned up, I felt a massive weight off my shoulders. There has never been a better time to start fresh. I was so ready to move forward and never look back. On a real level. None of the promises, lofty non sense, just commited to simply being different... eating better things, purging excess, getting down to the details again, in terms of our home, and our love, and our stuff.
This winter feels like a reprieve. I am so thankful for it. I've been knitting, and reading blogs, and watching television (a year ago I could say I had no interest in TV, and now... I'm loving it). I watch Paula Dean's son's cooking show, E! News, The View, and a million dramas and comedies. I've been decorating. Framing pictures. Organizing... although my little army or tornadoes tears up most of the shit I organize. lol.
This week, I whupped out the scrapbooking stuff. In our move I lost my designated scrapbook room, so I decided to take the china out of the china cabinet and fill it with my supplies. I put them in my collection of pottery. I'll have to take pictures... looks very cute. So right now more than half my dining room table is covered in my supplies. 6 photo boxes of pictures. Long story, but I finally printed 3 years of pictures last year, and then, when we found out we were moving, I never had time to scrap it all... I am so behind. And I love it. More time to reflect. And I love to crank out layouts. I don't like to linger and debate what to say or do... just go. It has been cleansing, and somewhere inside me I'm feeling a resonating completion. Telling your family's story just feels good.
Here are some the layouts I made this week (and a few recent months):
One for the 2011 album:
Happy winter!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wrap up: Part One

We had a pleasant and relaxing Christmas break. My mom came to visit her grandbabies for the first time in almost 2 years. We suprised Ben. Before he left for school he thought we were going to get grandma from the airport when he got home, but in reality she was waiting around the corner in the dining room when he got off the bus. It was awesome.

We took a few small advetures during my mom's 2 week stay. My favorite was a trip up to the Duluth area. On the way up we passed through Moose Lake. I had to get a picture. I have a long time love of moose, and even though there aren't any moose left in the Moose Lake area, the town is not short of cute moose things.

We stayed at Duluth hotel, 'The Edge' with a water park. The place was not crowded at all. Had a nice short lazy river, a cute little kids area that dumped buckets of water over their heads, and some huge slides. This is dad and Hunter coming down the big slide.

We had a yummy dinner at Grandma's on the short front in downtown Duluth. The decor in the restaurant was adorable.

That night we went to Bentleyville, and free outdoor light display. I wasn't prepared for how awesome it was! Free entry, happy people, free cookies, coffee, and hot cocoa handed out by the most spirited people.

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when the kids were chomping on free popcorn and we rounded the corner to find a couple dozen people around a few dozen fire pits roasting free marshemellows handed to you on roasting rods. How perfect?

Despite the chilly temps in the teens, we stayed in line to see Santa, and the kids got a free hat and candy canes.

On the way out we spotted Mrs. Claus. Grandma Anita had told Hunter and Ben all week that her secret identity was Mrs. Claus. They believed her, so much so that wanted her to kiss Santa when we got to see him. Well, fortunately they forgot about the kiss when Santa time came, and just asked for their toys, and wished him a Merry Christmas. However, seeing Mrs. Claus Hunter glared at Grandma, "I tot you hed (said) you were Mrs. Claw (Claus)?" His face in the this picture says it all. He was pissed.

The next morning we woke up, ate, and drove up the coast of Lake Superior. We enjoyed seeing lighthouses, the icy rocks at the waters edge, the cabins, and lake shore homes, birch forests. So beautiful! We stopped or lunch at a little diner called Annie's- home of famous pies. We food was excellent, and the pie was also.

Just up the road from there we found Gooseberry Falls. The kids waited in the car with dad becuase it was super icy, but Grandma and I headed out. Grandma stayed behind at the gift shop, and I put my best foot forward, heading out on the paths over the slick ice to see the falls. It was so quiet and serene.

I was afraid I would fall, lots of steps caked in a sheet of inch of ice, but seeing the falls was totally worth it. The water was frozen solid and running only underneath. The sound was incredible! I could have stayed there all day, but I had to get back to the car.

Our last stop was up in the Iron Mountains to the little town of Finland. There is a resort up here that we want to stay at sometime, and we wanted to just go up and see the litte comunity built by Finns.

I was delighted when we went into the little grocery store and when we asked the woman, "Are there moose around here?" She said, "Oh yes." She explained you see Moose most often between Finland and the next town down the the road, mostly near sunset. Needless to say, I will be heading back up there soon.

Finally, we rode a train through downtown Duluth to have The Polar Express read to us, and see Santa (again). This time, the boys asked Santa what he wanted for Christmas, and what his favorite cookie was. He said he wanted cookies and milk, and his favorite was chocolate.

I have a quite a few more pictures to share... so more to come.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Two Simple Rules

I love resolutions. The whole idea of starting anew doesnt get old to me.
This year I have two simple rules for myself:

1. Take 10,000 steps a day.
2. Track my points everyday.

No excuses.
We spent the whole day cleaning the house (all rooms but the bathroom, so far). Felt awesome to wake up in clean sheets and walk downstairs to a decluttered kitchen, living room, dining room, and redecorated entry hall. Reviving.

Happy New Year!