Birthday blessings…

Birthday blessings…

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ddselfieToday is my birthday.  I was born in a small town in the Delta of Mississippi, the youngest of four daughters.  When you get to be THIS old, you become a little nostalgic about your life:  your family…what you’ve accomplished – or didn’t accomplish – and whether or not you should just toss the proverbial bucket list.  I’m blessed.  I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I have a wonderful husband, amazing children and grandchildren.  I have precious family and friends scattered throughout the states.

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aptWe are happily settled in our apartment in the Chicago neighborhood of Ravenswood.  My youngest son and his family is a short 3 block walk away from our apartment.  Tonight, we will be there for my birthday dinner.  Quaint shops – and a Starbucks – are just a short walk away.  Thanksgiving dinner was here in our small apartment- all eight of us.  Doug and I cooked the ham, turkey and cranberry salad and everyone else brought the sides.  My three and five year old granddaughters decided they would rather be at the “grown-up’s table”.  We moved them there and everything was perfect.

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Doug’s ninety-seven year old mom went home to be with the Lord on October 10th.  It was a beautiful service in the Lutheran church where Doug grew up.  She would have loved the amazing blanket of Autumn flowers – accented with yellow roses – that covered the casket.  We miss her.

sch_noitems_leafI’m in the process of taking photos of our small apartment and will be sharing them soon.  In the meantime, we are enjoying our time with our family here before we head back to Iowa for a few weeks.

 

 

Joyful whirlwind…

Joyful whirlwind…

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While my goal is to post faithfully to Sweet Journey Home, life has certainly been a joyful whirlwind these past few months with very little time on the computer.

Late May, my firstborn grandchild graduated from high school.  As we watched him march into the large auditorium with his class, I realized – once again – that time marches on as well.  Early summer, we traveled to Chicago where we had a wonderful time with our sons and their families.  In July, we enjoyed having my precious granddaughter Sarah here for ten days and then the three of us traveled to Wyoming where we met my oldest son and his family in the Grand Tetons.  (Except for my sixteen-year-old granddaughter Noelle who spent the summer in Peru working in an orphanage and the medical clinic that my son started there!)  We all spent some fun time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Doug enjoying mountain biking with my son and his family.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t had quite as much experience as they have coming down the mountains.  Halfway down the trails in the mountain bike park, Doug fell and broke three ribs!  Needless to say, that put a damper on our trip and ended his mountain biking career!  Early September, we returned to Chicago to celebrate birthdays for my now three and five year old granddaughters.

Our nimg_6549-1ewest adventure???  We have leased an apartment in the neat little neighborhood of Ravenswood in Chicago!!!  We will spend at least half-time there and half-time in Iowa until we’re just too old to travel and that should be a long time since the Mega Bus is always an option!  We will actually be able to WALK a few short blocks to see these two precious granddaughters in the photos!  With two sons and their families in Chicago, we think this is an awesome idea and we are so excited about it!  Our new apartment is on a tree-lined street and in what is rated as “a walker’s paradise” – which simply means we will be a short walking distance to the train, Starbucks, many quaint little stores and restaurants.   The apartment is in a vintage, gated U-shaped set of buildings that were built in the 1930’s I believe.  We’ve purchased a few antiques for the apartment in keeping with the vintage theme.  The buildings and lawn are well kept with trees and flowers.  It’s just down the street from the mayor’s house so, hopefully, that’s a good thing.  There is so much to see and do in Chicago – including a host of museums we’ve yet to visit.   Most importantly, there will be more time with our big family in Chicago and we are thrilled about that!

I will be sharing our Chicago adventures and a lot of pictures on a brand new blog (not yet underway) at:  http://www.homesweethomechicago.net

At long last…

At long last…

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When you haven’t posted on the blog you love for over a year, you have to think you are the only one in cyberspace who will be reading it ever again.  Maybe I will just be talking to myself.  Nevertheless, it is time to share my sweet journey home again…

This past year has been wonderful.  And extremely busy!  I married the love of the last years of my life on May 24, 2015.  For the sweet ceremony held at our home, we were surrounded by children and grandchildren and Doug’s mom.  Afterwards, we had the reception, buffet dinner and dancing at the clubhouse at his mom’s condo celebrating with more family and friends.  For the most part, it was the grandchildren and us dancing – but it was fun.  It was a blessed time and one we will remember for the rest of our lives.

We have spent a lot of time this past year decorating the townhouse.  Doug finished the downstairs with a family room/office, guest bedroom and guest bath.  It added another 850 square feet.  In the future, I will post photographs of what we have done with the townhouse.

This past year has also involved a lot of traveling!  We have been to the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, Holland, Belgium, England, Ireland and Scotland!  The month-long-trip to the United Kingdom, Belgium and Holland was a dream come true.  I knew I would love Scotland and Ireland…and I did.  It felt like home!  I have spent so much time this past year working on family history – mine and Doug’s!  The future holds a trip to Germany where Doug’s ancestors originated.  We look forward to that as well as returning to Scotland and Ireland.  I am getting close to finding Rev. William McGregor’s birthplace and I’d like to see it in person next time!

Below are a few scenes from our month long adventure….the first installment of a few more to come.

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Sitting on the top deck of a double decker bus in London.

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Brugge, Belgium. Doug got up at 6:30 a.m. to capture the stillness of the water in the canals and the lack of crowds! By 8:00 a.m. it is crowded!!

 

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The canals of Brugge, Belgium at 6:30 a.m.! The only way to capture the scene without a crowd of people!

 

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On top of the world of London, England… aboard The London Eye!

 

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DOUG climbed all the way to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London!!!

 

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The semi-circular gray/white building was our hotel in Ghent, Belgium. We asked for a room in the “attic” so that we would have an amazing view of the castle just across the street (out of the pic at right). It was wonderful!

 

Dianne and Doug enjoying the tulips in Holland.

Doug’s grower/exporter friend Piet in Holland entertained us for the day and took us on an up close and personal tour of his part of Holland. The tulips were breathtaking! Thanks, Piet!

 

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One of my favorite places of the whole trip – the windmills of Holland. It was cold, raining and sleeting but I loved it!

 

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Turquoise…

Turquoise…

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I love the color turquoise.  I love it paired with any number of colors – white, yellow, green, red.  I love it paired with copper.

My love affair with decorating and the color turquoise started years ago…when I was a high school student.  I had a part-time job at a neighborhood bakery after school for a while (until it appeared it would challenge keeping make my A+ average).  I remember taking part of my meager salary (we’re talking 50 years ago when the hourly minimum wage was downright sad) and surprising Mama with everything needed to redecorate our one bathroom in the little house on Victor Drive.

I was only 16 years old maybe and knew absolutely nothing about decorating.  Nevertheless, I purchased turquoise paint for the bathroom walls, white paint for the trim, and a turquoise and white striped shower curtain.  I added some new white towels to the mix and  headed home to surprise Mama.  She was surprised – though she said I shouldn’t have spent my money on the house.  Even so, I think she was happy and we set about painting.  Have you ever wished you could go back in time – knowing what you know now?  I’d like one more shot at that little bathroom with the skills and knowledge acquired over the past 50 years.  All the same, it was an improvement and Mama liked it.

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Earlier this week, I created a “board” about the color turquoise on Pinterest.  It was fun sorting and browsing through all the ways turquoise is enjoyed.   If you don’t know about Pinterest, I wrote about the joys of  Pinterest here.   If you’d like to see my turquoise board, it’s here.   These photos are on my Pinterest board and are from another favorite place of mine:  Joss and MainThere’s a link to “follow me” on my Pinterest site and I’d love it if you did!

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Decorating…

Decorating…

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The finishing of the “basement” at Doug’s townhome is progressing nicely.  The HVAC, electrical, drywall and painting are all getting close to being completed.  We’ve ordered a light beige plush carpet for the guest bedroom and purchased a cream colored stone/ceramic tile for the bathroom and a beautiful laminate wood floor for all the rest of the space:  the family room, office and my “super closet”.  The wood floor will be an enormous project!  For now, the decorating is all coming together in my head and purchasing as well.  It is very exciting!

I will post pictures of the space as soon as it is a little further along.  In the meantime, I will share a few decorating plans/purchases.  The walls of the family room and office are painted Country Linens by Behr paints.  It is a warm color but not too dark.  Our furniture will look great in the midst of it.  (We’ve ordered new furniture for the upstairs living room – that will be for a later post!)

The guest bedroom is painted several shades lighter than Country Linens but in the same “family”.  The bathroom adjoining the guest bedroom is painted a rich vanilla called Accolade by Pittsburgh Paint.  The bathroom is small and will benefit from a lighter color.

We went with a corner shower – not that large but it will be great for occasional guests.  I love the vanity we selected below.  We’re using brushed nickel fixtures.

I purchased soft “spa blue” towels called “Lagoon blue” to go in the guest bathroom.  As well as a few accessories from the Mosaic Leaves collection by Croscill.  I love the colors!vanitymosaicleavesrug

mosaicleavesMy favorite thing about the downstairs guest bath will be the artwork!  If you haven’t shopped Joss and Main, take a peek at their site!  Right now, they’re having a great sale – including their art work!  One (or two) of the 18″ x 26″ canvas paintings below will go in the master bath…just not sure which one(s) yet!  I really like them all!

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