Joyful whirlwind…

Joyful whirlwind…

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

April rain and catching up…

April rain and catching up…

I awoke to the sound of pouring rain this morning, accompanied by distant peals of thunder.  It reminded me of just how much I love rainy days.  I’ve often thought that I would like to be living and sleeping in a farmhouse with a tin roof…although that symphony might actually be a little too loud.  Tempted though I was to roll over and go back to sleep to the tune of the raindrops, I didn’t.  There’s too much to do and, at the moment, too much to tell…catching up on life these past few months.

When I made the journey back to the Midwest two and a half years ago, I wasn’t sure what the future would hold.  Again, I clung to the promise in Jeremiah 29:11…that my Heavenly Father had a future and a hope for me.  Almost two and a half years later, my life is new all over again.  I’m busy building a life, watching grandchildren grow up, traveling, writing and I’m engaged to be married to a wonderful man late May.  I’m happy and God is good.  The “selfie” below was taken early last Fall on my first trip ever through an Iowa corn maze!

 

So much has happened over the last few months…

Doug returned late January from a once-in-a-lifetime expedition trip to Antarctica with amazing photographs.  We’re in the process of completing a book about his journey with those incredible photos and I will post a link on Amazon when it is finished.  It will be a wonderful addition to your coffee table!  Sharing just a few pics below…

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book18

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book6

 

My daughter and her husband sold their home and moved into a rental which is less than half the size of their house…all for the sake of building their dream farmhouse on six acres in the country.  Their new home will sit on a hill overlooking sixty-two apple trees and a beautiful view of the Iowa countryside.  There is also a big red vintage barn, a stand of black walnut trees, many other trees and a large garden site – which has been tilled and is ready to plant!  Doug helped my daughter and son-in-love this past weekend to put in the posts for a tall “deer fence” around the garden for the wildlife who would insist on their share of the produce!

I have now completed cataract surgery on both eyes and can alleviate any fears those of you who are anticipating this procedure might have.  Surgery lasts all of about 20 – 30 minutes and there is no pain involved.  There are eye drops to put in your eyes on schedule and the difference in your eyesight is almost immediately recognized.  I will, most likely, still need glasses to read and fine distance focus but that’s all good.  The worst part is not being able to wear eye makeup for three weeks – or six weeks if you’re having both eyes done…but that’s okay too!

Wishing each of you a blessed and happy day!  Thanks for reading and “catching up” with me…

 

Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving…

My younger son and his precious family arrived on Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving in the midst of falling snow and a cold, cold wind.  I had not seen them for six long months and I was literally “bananas” waiting to grab my beautiful little granddaughters in my arms.  I was afraid my 15 month old granddaughter would not remember me (though we’ve talked on FaceTime).  I held her in my arms and she sweetly studied my face.  I smiled at her and said “it’s Grandmommy!” and she gave me an enormous smile which reached those beautiful blue eyes!  Needless to say, my heart melted.  I knelt down to embrace three year old granddaughter and planted kisses on her cheeks and sweet little head.  I kept saying “I’ve missed you so, so much!” and she said “I missed you too, Grandmommy!”  Again, my heart melted!

 

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s home was a wonderful time with two of my children, two of my other children (my son-in-love and daughter-in-love), six out of nine of my grandchildren, Doug and his sweet 95-year-old Mom and two granddogs, Kiana & Bernie!  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of really good food!  My daughter had purchased a 26 pound fresh turkey from a local farmer.  She brined it overnight before cooking it and the result was a moist, delicious turkey.  She prepared all the wonderful side dishes and three different pies which were excellent.  My daughter-in-love put together the large vegetable tray and made one of my favorites – a spinach-artichoke-garlic dip served with pita chips.  Delicious!  With Doug’s help, I made a cheese ball and baked dozens of different cookies the day before Thanksgiving because I knew once my little granddaughters arrived, I would just be playing!  Which I did!

A happy, blessed grandmother…

 

My daughter falling in love with her baby brother’s baby…

 

Doug and Mary, his sweet 95-year-old Mom, enjoying Thanksgiving with my family…

 

No better place to be than in the floor playing with my grandchildren!

 

In the midst of all the excitement and joy of being together, I had to pause and reflect for just a moment.  

I have so much to be thankful for and I truly am…

Penny and Mike…

Penny and Mike…

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Dianne, Penny & Bobbie – 1967.

There is something to be said for friends who have been with you for fifty years of your life – especially when that friend is also your sister-in-law…or as I like to say “sister-in-love”.

Her brother was my husband for 39 years and the father of my three wonderful children.  Sadly, he died of a massive coronary in April 2006.  Mike, Penny’s sweet husband, has been with us for most of those 50 years and is like a brother to me.

We have been together through the lean times, the good times, the hard times, the sad and happy times.  There has been a whole lot of laughter, some tears along the way and a bank of wonderful memories.

They left yesterday morning for the ten+ hour drive back home to Memphis after spending a sweet week with me.  The thing about having been together for so long is that we are family…we pick up right where we left off.  They’re at home here and that makes me glad.

They are always an incredible help.  Each time they come, Mike fixes something or makes something right here in this condo.  This time, he put together a kitchen island that I ordered which has been sitting in the box for at least two months.  I had proudly put together two bookcases “all by myself” but this island/cabinet was way beyond my expertise.  It looks great and gives me much needed storage.

 

cabinet

 

Penny took things out of the tiny pantry and organized my new cabinet and it looks great!  There are two drawers in the cabinet where I can now store my silverware instead of having to keep it in a silverware tray in the tiny pantry!  It all looks so much better and I’m thrilled with it!

Mike also hung up a rack for my broom, dustmop and mop!  No more falling behind the dryer!  😉  Such a simple thing, right?  But a nuisance when you don’t have one.  It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy and this simple rack makes me happy!

rack

Probably the biggest challenge of all was my storage room on the lower floor here in the condo building.  I had tried cleaning it out one snowy winter day but it was so overwhelming, I wound up in tears and packed it all back in!  We ended up taking a box of things to Goodwill and the rest is now so neatly organized.  There is no way I could have done it without them!  I kept saying they were going to have to go home to get a rest but they insisted they enjoyed helping.  Thank you so very much for the immense help!!!

Two of the days they were here, they drove up to the Mall of America and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had a dentist appointment this time but definitely plan on going with them on their next trip.  We also enjoyed delicious dinners at my daughter’s home three evenings plus a drive out to tour their new farm!  That was a lot of fun.  My grandchildren love Aunt Penny & Uncle Mike!

There was also a mystery that Penny solved and Mike fixed!  Over the past almost two years, I have been getting “holes” in my shirts & tops – just about at the waistline.  On some of them, there is a series of small holes.  My favorite tops that I wear more often have larger holes!  Slowly, but surely, my clothes were getting worn out and torn up!  Was it the washing machine?  No.  Did I have moths in the closet?  No.  Penny figured it out!

The granite counter top in the kitchen is made of granite floor tiles (definitely not a good idea!) and the edge all along the kitchen work surface area was sharp and rough…and consequently ruining my clothes!!!  We bought narrow, clear corner edging for the rough edges and wah-lah!  Now, it is smooth and the clear edging doesn’t really show.  I am also going to get into the habit of wearing an apron…since I had to buy several new things to replace the ones with holes!  Way to go, Penny & Mike!

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I was sad to see them go but look forward to seeing them during my two week visit home to the South in October!

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 Love these pics of them.  

Top pic:  Winter, mid 90’s in Terre Haute, Indiana.  

I appliqued the snowman sweatshirt she is wearing and she loved it.  

Below:  At my younger son’s wedding.

Penny & Mike at Justin's wedding

 

Almost six months later…

Almost six months later…

Once again, the months have flown by.  Life has been busy with travel, sewing, knitting, writing and family!  I’ve fallen behind on reading blogs and leaving comments as well as keeping up with Sweet Journey Home.  I intend to do better!

I enjoyed a wonderful visit in Dallas with my younger son and his precious family in April.  I loved every minute of it!  Who knew I still had the energy to play on the floor and keep up with a two & a half year old and a ten month old?!  Well, okay, maybe “keeping up” is stretching it just a bit!  The adorable photo at top was taken at a beautiful lake in Dallas.  We had attempted taking photos of the girls and their sweet family of four, but between the wind gusts and two little girls wanting down to play – it was funny!

 

 

 

My firstborn and his sweet family are now living in Montana where he has accepted a position with a pediatric group there.  They love Montana and especially love living in the mountains in the midst of outdoor activities!  Their sweet mom grew up snow skiing in New York and is looking forward to teaching the girls.  The photo below was taken in route to Montana after spending the night with me after a day’s journey here.  They are amazing, talented young ladies and so much fun.  They stay busy with piano, violin, soccer and running cross-country.  I can’t wait to visit them in Montana – hopefully in August!

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I am loving living close to my daughter and her precious family.  I was enlisted to pitch in to help for the month of May since my busy daughter literally had to be in several places at the same time – piano and guitar lessons, swimming, soccer and school!  I don’t know how she does it all and maintain a busy home, but she manages it beautifully.

My firstborn, almost 6’2″, grandson is taking driver’s education classes now.  He has taken up guitar as well as piano.  Occasionally, I will hear him playing a great song and ask him what it is.  Apparently, he’s creating his own music now!  I love that he has become interested in the old classic movies and comes over for some movie time with grandmom!  So far, we’ve seen “Foreign Correspondent”, “The Birds” and “Arsenic & Old Lace”.  Currently, we’re watching “Our Green was My Valley”.  It usually takes a couple of visits to see them since he’s busy and time is limited.

Bryce

 

This photo was taken one afternoon when the girls were here for a visit.  They are so much fun and sweet sisters!  They have so much energy and are busy with swimming, soccer, piano and school.  I’m glad they enjoy coming here for some fun time with Grandmom!  I would advise you not to play a “memory” game with my ten year old granddaughter.  She’s just about undefeated.  I don’t think she inherited her memory from me!  😉

Sweet sister love…

 

This adorable little bundle of energy is amazing with his big dimples, ready smile and instant yell of  “Grandmommy!!” when he hears me come in the back door.  He’s so much fun and it’s a treat at my age to “play cars” once again.  He likes his hair in a “high-top-fade”.  Grandmommy likes the curls all over his head.  😉

KandM

 

 

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