Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One Man's Junk...

Is another man's JUNK!

It is amazing how much junk people can leave lying around.  We bought our farm last summer and have spent the past year fixing it up and cleaning it up. 

This fall has been dedicated to cleaning up the junk left behind from the previous owners. According to a 1969 license plate we found the stuff has been there for a long time.  We have found an old refrigerator, bed frames, bird cages, chicken coop, oil tank, farm equipment, fencing and tin sheets, as well as a lot of unrecognizable metal.

We have spent hours pulling this junk out of the back field.  Some of it has been there so long that the trees and vines have grown up around and through it and we have had to be creative, and destructive, to remove it.  We have used the tractor to lift, push and pull trying to clear all this junk

Rod has hauled around 20 loads of  junk to the scrap yard in exchange for cold hard CASH. They pay us by the pound and some of that stuff was really heavy. 

one of our many loads of junk

junk, junk, junk

Now that the field is almost all cleaned up we can finish clearing the weeds and scrub brush. If we find a nice calm day we can burn the old scraps of wood left lying around too.  If we can haul things to the junk yard why couldn't they?  I will never understand why people leave things like that around, and spread out all over.  It would have been a lot easier if they had just one big junk pile.  It's been a lot of work but it will all be worth it in the end when we have our place cleaned up.

Next spring we have 1500 small trees arriving and our back field of junk will be turned into a forest of evergreens. This is part of the 1 million tree project, where the province provides trees to farms to plant to improve the environment.  For a small price they even come in and plant them for us.  We have decided to take them up on that.  Last year we planted 300 cedars and that took almost an entire day with 4 of us working.  I can't imagine how long it would take to plant 1500 trees.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Garden wonders

Again this year we have planted a huge garden.  There are tomatoes galore. I think Rod bought every different kind of tomato that was in the store.  We also have squash coming out of our ears.  I have tried to keep ahead of the zucchini, but once again it has gotten away from me.  I am afraid to go out and see what is hiding under the leaves.  I had yellow zucchini this year as well as the regular green.  The yellow ones are quite nice.  The don't seem to grow as big as the green ones. 

We had a very hot dry July and with everything else that was going on that month (wedding, visitors from Alberta) the garden was neglected.  This created a problem since weeds seem to be able to grow no matter what the weather is like.  It took days, and I mean days, of weeding to clear things up and find the actual plants.  We tried to keep up but the weeds seem to be winning.  Actually, the grass is covering a large section of the garden. 

This fall we plan to take round-up to the major portion of the garden, avoiding the asparagus, rhubarb, raspberries and blueberries.  Hopefully if we kill off the weeds this fall and again in the early spring we will be able to keep them from taking over the garden next summer.

I did find some interesting produce this past week.  Have you every seen anything like this?

Siamese zucchini

conjoined tomatoes

The tomatoes were separated but only one lived.One seemed to have some worm damage.   I am not sure what to do with the zucchini.  Will I be able to separate them without causing real damage?  Should I leave them joined? 

Or should I just eat them and enjoy!?!?!?  


Monday, August 15, 2011

Gamma come roll with me!

I love my grand kids.  They add so much to our lives. And they are so darn cute!!!!!

On Saturday Gracie and Sydney came to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa while their parents went out for dinner.  First place they headed was the paddock to visit with the horses.  After greeting Winston and Jasper and sharing a few treats with them it was time to go see what Grandpa was up to on the tractor. 

We watched Grandpa use the tractor to pull the T-posts out of the ground and Uncle Zach got to drag them back to the pile to be used another day.  As you know, a one-year old and a three year old have short attention spans so watching the tractor only took up about 5 minutes of our time.

Gracie soon discovered that the lawn beside the driveway has a slope to it and decided to roll down the hill.  Then she tried the hill on the other side of the driveway. Then back to the first hill.  After about 3 times she said "Gamma, do you want to roll down the hill?"  I thought about it for just a second or two and then decided that YES, I want to roll down the hill.  And I did.  It was fun.  I had forgotten how fun it is to roll down the hill.  Even though our hill was quite small it was enough to remind me of how fun it is to be a kid.



Now I am on the look out for a large hill. Anyone want to join me rolling down a hill?  It will drive away all your unhappiness and bring you child like joy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

the new boys in my life

Well, it is official.  We have adopted two new boys into our family.  Their names are Winston and Jasper. Winston is only 4 and Jasper is 10. They are both redheads. Jasper's hair is quite thick and flowing.  Winston is quite tall for his age and Jasper could lose a little weight but we love them.  The boys are getting along quite nicely and don't mind sharing a room.  They love to eat and have their hair brushed daily.  They love to run around barefoot and play in the grass. They both love treats and attention.  Jasper has been known to pull ponytails so watch out.

Meet our new boys!

Winston

Jasper

coming for treats

sharing a room

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our busy summer thus far

Wow, this has been an action packed summer so far.

Saturday, June 25  my mother, sister and her 3 youngest girls arrived to help prepare for and celebrate Amber's wedding.

HIGHSCHOOL?!?!?!?

Wednesday, June 29  Installation of solar panels begins. Cody and Mimi arrived and Zach had his Grade 8 graduation. Zach was the last of the Merrills to graduate from Gateway Drive School (5 in total) and with HONOURS.  An era has ended.

Thursday, June 30 was spent purchasing food for the wedding.

Friday, July 1 was spent decorating and preparing food for the wedding and attending fireworks at the Hirota's. Talia went to New Hamburg and purchased her horse, a chestnut thoroughbred gelding. Completion of the solar installation today as well.

July 2 was a busy exciting day as we celebrated the wedding of Amber and Josh.  The day was hot and humid (typical summer in Ontario). The wedding went off without a hitch and the storm held off until we were almost finished (we did rush it at the end trying to beat the storm).

Sunday, July 3 was spent in Church and celebrating Gracie's 3rd birthday and my Mother's 77th.

Monday, July 4 we took Gracie and Sydney to the babysitters and then the rest of us spent the day at the Elora Quarry playing in the water and soaking up the sun.
Zach, Talia, Brock and Jenna

Tuesday, July 5 was spent in St Jacobs at the market.  Bought a new outfit at our favourite ladies shop in the outlet mall.  This is the first time since we started going there that Sheila didn't end up buying something.  What a shock.

Wednesday, July 6 Rod, Zach and I spent time working on the fencing. We stretched wire down one 450 side of the paddock 


Thursday, July 7 we packed up the crowd (14 in total) and headed to Sauble Beach for some fun in the sun.  Everyone had a wonderful day playing in the water and the sand.
playing in the water

Rebekah and Gracie
Friday, July 8 our farmer came over and mowed our hay.  He returned 3 days later to bale it and haul it away.

Saturday, July 9 Gma, Sheila and the girls, Jenna and myself we to African Lion Safari.  We spent the entire day there.  Some of the highlights were: the drive through the safari and watching the monkeys jumping on the other cars; the elephant swim, show and riding on an elephant; and of course the water park.

Sunday, July 10 was a day of rest and attending Church.

Monday July 11 the girls spent time helping Uncle Rod water his 300 little cedar trees.  They had a great time riding in the back of the trailer and taking turns holding the hose for the trees.  Sydney learned how to drink out of hose that day too.  Amber and Josh arrived home from their honeymoon in Jamaica.  For Family Home Evening we played with the water and had a water balloon toss.

Tuesday July 12 was busy getting Gma, Sheila and girls ready for their flight home.  We had a wonderful visit and it was hard to believe it was all over.
4 generations

 Wednesday, July 13 I had the day off so Rod and I worked on the fencing again. which I can finally say is done.  We had a 3 acre area we were trying to get fenced so that we could put horses in.  We started in the spring but because of the high water table were unable to complete the fence posts until the end of June.  One side (200 ft) was to be done with 3 rows of boards while the others (450 ft each) were to be done with page wire.  The fence between us and the neighbour was already finished (thank goodness).  Talia and I spent days measuring and cutting and hammering boards and completed the top two rows and Rod helped me finish the last one on Saturday night.  We spent 2 days running and tightening the wire. Rod and Zach hung the 3 gates.As earlier mentioned we have finally finished the 3 month project.

Thursday, July 14, back to work and a well deserved rest.

Saturday, July 16 we bought some new dappled willows to plant in the front yard and a crab apple tree for the back, along with 2 new blueberry bushes.  

This has been a very busy summer and we are loving it.  Without even trying I have a better tan than I have had in years.  I wonder what the rest of the summer will bring.

WEDDING BELLS


Saturday, July 2 dawned bright and clear.  The weather man had been predicting rain but Amber was determined that her day would not be ruined.  Last minute adjustments were made and at 3:00 our guests began to arrive.  The wedding was wonderful. The bride arrived in a fancy old truck.  The bridesmaids walked up the aisle with the three beautiful flower girls, and then Rod had the honour of walking the beautiful bride down the aisle Amber and Josh were married by Bishop Haddad under the willow tree in the front yard.

After a 2 hour photo shoot by Jody Crane the wedding party and guests sat down to a dinner of chicken Caesar wraps and salad.  Gracie had a great time putting money in the KISSING WELL and making her parents kiss.

The reception began shortly afterwards and many people came to wish the couple well.  There was the cake cutting ceremony, first dance and the the tossing of the bouquet.  Guess who caught the bouquet?  None other than TALIA.  I wonder if that means there will be a Merrill wedding again next year.?
Talia caught the bouquet

Wedding cake








The rain had been holding off all day but we noticed the sky starting to get dark. We had moved up the events of the reception and Rod and the boys decided to hurry and shoot of the fireworks to mark the end of the night.  No sooner had he finished and the skies opened up and the wind and rain came crashing down on us.  We were afraid the tent and all that was in it would blow away.  The big tent survived the storm but sadly, the tent we borrowed from the Bunn's was destroyed.  Luckily no one was hurt.  The Merrill's really know how to throw a party!



Some more Pics from the wedding:


The Bride Arrives
Bridesmaids and flower girls
first dance

Bridal Party
group hug


Family

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mamma Mia

So this all started back in February.  I went to see a friend's son in a little local play of Into the Woods.  We got talking and discovered that we were both interested in the opportunity to participate in a play ourselves.  The local Elora Centre for the Arts was putting on Mamma Mia and we decided to sign up and try out for a part.  My friend ended up as Tanya and I became Rosie.  Another friend was chosen for Donna.

Rehearsals began in mid March.  There was enough female interest to have 3 different casts of the main women's parts.  Most of the other parts only had 1 or 2 spares. This meant that everyone would have at least 2 performances, some would have 3 and a few would do all 6.

Is there a man out there?
As we got closer to the time for our performance we started holding extra practices in the park and at a local church.  Nerves were getting to us and we didn't think this would ever come together.  The nights of the dress rehearsals were very nerve racking. Would we ever be able to pull this off?  Would I be able to remember the words to my song in the right order?

The next thing we knew it was opening night.  Our cast was up first.  Surprisingly we weren't as nervous as we had expected.  The excitement was high. Adrenaline was pumping. And then we stepped out onto stage.  A few lines were forgotten but we had a great prompter (thanks Cathy) and the show went on.

What a high it was to hear the laughter from the audience. Especially the cheers from my kids (thanks to Amber for her nice loud voice).  The scenes with Tanya and Donna were sooo fun but I think my favourite scene that first night was my scene with Bill.  As the curtains opened all I could hear was the roar of the audience.  I guess my outfit was a real hit (thanks Cody for bringing the dress home from Africa).  And my song was good too!

We had a whole week before our second (last) performance.  With a whole week off it seemed like it had all been a dream and then once again we were ready to go on stage. Again I had family in the audience.  What a fun night.  It was hard to leave the stage knowing it was all over. GROUP HUG!!!

I met some wonderful people during this experience and made some new friends.  I'm looking forward to the cast party on Friday night. 

What's next?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

rain rain go away

It's a rainy day, it's a rainy day.
It's raining outside and I can't go out and play.
Why do we need the rain anyway?

Ok, I know how important the rain is but enough is enough.  A week of rain and only 9 hours of sunlight isn't fun.

The farmers are anxiously waiting for the rain to stop and the fields to dry up so they can get in there and plant their fields.  Some of the puddles in the fields are large enough that the ducks and geese are swimming in them.

Here it is the May 24 weekend and I won't be putting in my garden.  If the weather man is correct Saturday will be our first and only day of sunshine this week.  I need to get my garden rototilled before I can even think of planting anything.  The whole thing is full of weeds (mostly dandelions) and grass.  That is except for the rows of raspberries, rhubarb and asparagus.  Need to be careful when we rototill that we don't get too close to the asparagus.

And then there is my paddock fence that has 3/4 of its posts done but on hold because the last few holes are full of water. Between the high water table and the continuous rain I don't know if the holes will ever drain. The longer it takes to finish the fence the longer I have to wait for horses.  Talia and I are getting anxious and concerned.  This is our dream and it is on hold again.  Come on SUNSHINE.

My 300 little trees are enjoying the rain and growing nicely but so is the grass beside them.  Last week I spent 2 hours mowing the grass around the trees so that you could actually see them and they wouldn't get too choked out and now I need to get out there again.  All I need is some sun to dry off the grass so I don't get soaked.

UPDATE:  The rain held off on the weekend and we were able to rototill the garden. Needs one more time to get the soil just right and then we can plant.  4 more posts are in the ground but there is still a large wet area that needs to dry up before we can put the cedar posts in.  May have to put T posts in until the ground drys out - hopefully before next year.  Mowing is done around the little trees.  They are still tiny but they are growing. Too bad the grass is growing faster than the trees. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

the comfort of routine

Over the past 6 weeks I have learned the comfort of having a routine.  I was off work on medical leave for 5 weeks.  In that time I got up when I wanted, slept when I wanted, worked on my puzzle, watched TV etc, all when I wanted.  While that can be enjoyable after a while I found I was getting to the end of the day and not having much accomplished. Mind you I wasn't allowed to lift anything, vacuum, rake leaves, etc. so there wasn't a lot I should be accomplishing.  The day would just slip by and I would be surprised to realize what time it was.

Last week I returned to work.  This meant getting up by 6:45, showering, making breakfast and lunches and being out the door by 8:00.  Work starts at 8:30. This involves answering emails, scheduling rooms, working with grad students and faculty.  The first week also involved learning how to do time sheets and putting out small "fires". The days were busy and at the end of the day I could look back and tick off all the things I had accomplished.

This isn't to say that a stay at home Mom doesn't work on a schedule and accomplish things.  I stayed at home for almost 20 years with my kids and had developed my own routine for getting through the day.  Snack time was 10:00 and 2:00 or they would be looking for food all day long.  Lunch, naps and outings were scheduled.  Laundry day was the same every week. Bed time was bed time.

 Then summer would come along and schedules would be thrown out the window.  Kids would stay up late because the sun was still up.  Then they would sleep late because they were up too late.  Breakfast would happen anytime between 8:00 and noon, which would throw off all other meals of the day.  All enjoyable at the beginning but as the end of summer approached I would look forward to getting back on a schedule.

It is great to have life scheduled but I also love Saturdays because that is the day I turn off the alarm and get to sleep in.  After 15 years of getting up at 3:30 I find that 7:30 or 8:00 is sleeping in.  Then I spend the day doing all my household things - cleaning, yard work, laundry, etc.  I find them enjoyable because they are a break from the daily routine of the office.  I can't understand how my kids can sleep the day away.  Especially now that the weather has improved and we can spend time outside.

I do look forward to having time off this summer to spend with family.  I will spend 2 weeks without a scheduled routine. It is nice to have that break but I know I will also look forward to getting back into routine and knowing what my day will bring.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GRRRR

Saturday was such a glorious day we spent most of the day outside working on clearing out the flower beds and uncovering the fish pond.  I bought a wrought iron fence to put around the pond to keep the grand daughters from tumbling in with the fish.  Brock and Talia helped me get it set up.  I need to get a few more pieces to complete the fence but it will at least slow them down.
my little fence

We also spent time planning where to plant our 300 white cedar trees that will be coming next week.  We have the huge field on the north/west side of the house and the wind can really blow across there in the winter.  We are building a shelterbelt to protect our road way and our fruit trees behind the garden.  It will take a few years before the trees are big enough to do much good but you have to start somewhere.

The other planning session we had was where to build paddock fences.  We would like to have the fences in by early May since the big horse auction at Carson's is mid May.  I hope we can find something suitable and affordable.  We would eventually like two horses and a pony. 

some of the junk in the back field
Rod's poor stuck tractor
Rod and Zach were busy clearing out the back field on Saturday.  They took the tractor down there and were hauling out all the old rusty scrap metal, barbed wire, etc so that it can be hauled to the scrap yard.  When he headed back in for another load the front tire of the tractor got caught in a rut and because the ground is still wet from the spring thaw the tractor is now stuck in the mud down in the back field.  We will now need to find someone with a bigger tractor to come and pull our tractor out of the mud or wait until the ground has dried out.  The problem comes in the fact that the back field is in the lowland and it stays wet a lot longer than we would like.

With a bunch of family members over we decided to have our first BBQ of the season. Hamburgers and sausages for everyone.  It was delicious!!!

After supper Brock and Gracie were playing Hide-n-Seek.  Gracie did the hiding and Brock did the seeking.  When Brock disappeared Gracie figured it was her turn to seek.  She enlisted Gma's help and we went all around the main floor looking for Uncle Brock.  He was no where to be found.  We decided to check down stairs.  Sure enough, there he was in the "man cave" playing ping pong with the big kids.  Gracie's response when she found Uncle Brock was "GRRRRRR, you were supposed to be hiding!"

2 year olds are so cute!!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

If you have to do it

If you have to turn 50 the best people to do it with is your family.

Saturday marked my 50th birthday.  It was about as regular as Saturday's go - get up later, make bacon & eggs for breakfast, head off to my primary meeting, stop for groceries, come home and clean the house.  Most everything was normal except for the Eatable Bouquet sitting on my counter when I got home from the store and the phone calls from family members and messages from facebook friends throughout the day.  It was great to hear from my sister Sheila and from my son Cody.  Cody and I talked for 1 1/2 hrs.  I think that is a record for us.  I truly enjoyed it. 

But the best phone call of all was from my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter Gracie. I answered the phone and heard her sweet voice say "Happy Birthday Gramma" and then she sang the first line of Happy Birthday.  We had a wonderful conversation.  She told me that she was having a birthday this year too and she would be 3.  Then she talked about her sister "Dinny" (Sydney) and a few other things that I'm not quite sure about.  Gracie then asked me what I was doing  and I told her I was cleaning the house so it would be all clean for her visit the next day.  Gracie's response was "On your Birthday?".  I asked her if Gramma didn't clean it who would.  With hardly a pause Gracie answered "GRAMPA!"

So on Sunday afternoon the family showed up to help celebrate my birthday.  Starla and Ryan cooked up a great enchilada type meal. Jenna and Brock brought a wonderful rice salad.  Amber and Josh supplied the tortillas and Rod provided my favourite Black Forest Cake.  We all enjoyed the wonderful Eatable Bouquet sent from Sheila and her family.  It was all so nice - I didn't have to do anything, not even the dishes! 
BEFORE


AFTER
Toad house and frogs on a log
from Gracie
Then came presents.  We have started a new tradition in the family that everyone just brings different small gifts and then we fill a basket with those treats so the gift is from the whole family.  This year I received some yummy candy, earrings, a Toad House and a ceramic frog on a log to put out beside my pond, and flowers from Gracie. 

Audrey
Then Rod brought out my big gift.  My very own John Deere tractor.  I think Gpa might need new glasses. On the box it says ages 2-4 but he must have thought it said 24.  Anyway, it was the thought that counted right?  Actually it was a wonderful gift.  It was so much fun seeing the big boys put it together and then the little girls riding on the tractor and in the trailer.  It will be fun for them to take it outside for the summer.

Sydney and Gracie
Rod did actually get me a present that was age appropriate.  A rocking chair for the back deck!  Believe me, I am going to use it! I will rock in my chair and watch the grand-kids ride my tractor.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to become the COOL mom

I didn't wake up that morning planning to be the cool mom, it just happened that way.

Zach's class at school has been studying cells and their assignment was to create an eatable cell.  They needed to be as creative as possible.  Zach decided to use a cake as his cell with different kinds of candy to represent the different parts of the cell.

So it became Mom's job to bake a round cake for the base of his eatable cell.  Now most cake mixes are for a large rectangular cake, two small cakes or 24 cupcakes so once I  had made a round cake I had left over batter and so of course I made 12 cupcakes for eating later.

He then spent the evening decorating the cake for school.  He used 1/2 a kinder surprise for the nucleus, 2 different kinds of blue licorice for endoplasmic reticulum, twizzlers for the Golgi apparatus, skittles for the lysosomes, a flattened starburst for the vacuole and green jelly bellies for chloroplast and a fruit by the foot around the outside for the cell wall. I then found a cake tray from a store bought cake Rod had fed to his Priest's quorum and we put the finished cell on the tray with the clear lid over top.  It looked like this:

Eatable Cell for Science

Now here's the part where I became the cool mom. While Zach was getting ready for school I took one of the cupcakes and decorated it to match his cell for class.  When Zach opened his snack at school all the kids noticed he had a eatable cell for his snack.  His friends told him he had a cool mom who would make him such a cool treat for school.
cupcake made by the Cool Mom

I'm sure by the next day they had all forgotten about Zach's snack but for one day at least, I was the COOL mom. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things your Mother says

How many times have you said something and realized that it is exactly what your mother used to say?  Or what crazy phrases do you repeat on a daily basis and not even realized?  I'm sure there are lots of examples.  

I know of a few that I have used with my kids and it is so fun when they find a way to use them back at me.  For Mother's Day Cody and Mimi gave me some Word Signs to put on my walls.  It has taken me a while but I finally got around to putting them on plaques. Now I just need to find the best place to hang them up.


What do you think?   Ever used this phrase before?  


 
And how many times have you wanted to tell your family this?



So now you know some of my well used sayings what are some of yours?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bullseye

Another Sunday and another day full of family time.  Sunday afternoon the kids showed up again to hang out at the farm.  It had snowed over night so I quickly went out before anyone showed up to snow blow the driveway.  Normally this would be Rod's job but he had some minor surgery on Friday so he wasn't able to wrestle the snow blower.  I finished just in time for the cars to start arriving. 

Ryan came prepared for a ping pong tournament. He even brought his own paddles.  I didn't actually get to watch much of the games as I was busy making cinnamon buns for my family.  Mmmm, they were a big hit, along with my puffed wheat squares.  Audrey took the opportunity to show Gma her new words, PLEASE and THANK YOU, as she got Gma to share her yummy cinnamon bun.

When the ping pong tournament was over it was time to try out the new Dart Board.  Brock and Jenna had a game against each other.  Jenna kicked butt with this wonderful shot:

Jenna's Bulls-Eye
Honestly, she threw this shot. I was standing there and saw it with my own eyes.  When we pulled the dart out the hole was almost exactly dead center in the red dot.  I wonder how long it will take before that happens again. 

The girls got a chance to check out the bouquets for Amber's wedding
Bride's bouquet
Bridesmaid bouquet

and then a sneak peak at the bride in her wedding dress too.  Sorry, won't be posting pictures of that one until after July 2.

 Cody and Mimi, get your butts back to Ontario! We need you at our family gatherings.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

FAMILY IS THE BESTEST THING IN THE WORLD

I have a wonderful family.  Now that they are growing up and moving away it is harder to keep track of what they are doing.  It is hard having Cody and Mimi and Ginamarie and her family living so far away in Edmonton (at least they are close to each other). We miss out on so much of what they are doing and they miss out on spending time with us.

With the size of our family we have a birthday in every month of the year. This has made it easy for us to find an excuse to get together at least once a month for a family activity. 

Now that my kids are almost grown it is fun watching the grandchildren grow.  We have 3 beautiful granddaughters who live close to us and we get to see often.  They are a real joy to our lives. They are close in age so they have great fun together.

This past Sunday, Feb 27,  we celebrated Talia's 19th birthday.  While Gracie was napping I caught Audrey and Sydney playing together.  Even though they are 6 months apart they have similar interests and are almost the same size. 

Audrey and Sydney. Aren't they cute?
This was a milestone day for Audrey.  At almost 16 months she has been teasing us with the thought that she might walk.  She can move all around the house as long as there is something to hold on to.  Well, on Sunday she surprised us all by taking her first steps.  With the cheering of the crowd she turned around and did it again.  There will be no stopping her now. 
video


Over the past few months Rod had been working hard on building his "man cave" in the basement.  He has put up walls and run power and lights to what was once a laundry room.  We also put down a carpet to keep the floor warm.  We now have a room where the family can go and play games.  We had a new ping pong table that needed to be tested out so it was time for a family tournament.  I think Jenna and I were the champions!!!!  Even Gracie got into the action.

Video coming



I am so thankful for the wonderful family that I have.  We have a great time together.  Now if I could only move the rest of them closer to home.  What fun times we would have then.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Learning to enjoy the winter

As a kid I remember winters of building snow men, snowball fights, and tobogganing.  We would spend time outside getting fresh air and playing with our friends.  When my children were smaller I would take the time to help them build snow men (even a snow missionary) and go tobogganing. As they got older and didn’t need my help anymore I found I spent a lot of time inside trying to stay away from winter.

My 15 year newspaper job gave me about as much winter as I could handle, outside in the cold from 4-7 am every day was not always fun.  I did see some beautiful night skies though.  The most beautiful one involved a full circle of light around the moon.  The problem with night beauty is there is no one to share it with.

Since moving to the country I have tried to find joy in the winter.  We have had cross country skis around for years, collected at garage sales, but never really used them.  So this year I decided it was time to put them to use.  I have been out about 6 times this winter.  The first time I created a few trails to take around the field.  As I continued to use them they became quite nice to travel on.  I even got Rod out there with me and he helped make new trails in the front yard.  Then the snow fell and I had to go out and make new trails.  Last week I had a friend over and we went out skiing.  The trails were completely gone and so I was breaking ground with snow up to my knees.  It was hard work but we had fun. Once again it has snowed and covered up my trails.  So I will be out again this weekend making new trails thru the deep snow.

My next goal is to get a pair of snow shoes so I can get around without sinking so deep.  We have some snowdrifts that are up to my hips so it would be nice to stay on top.  Maybe next year we can get a ski-do and really have some fun.

Gracie and Mr. Snowman
On Sunday Gracie and I went out and built my first snowman in many years. He wasn’t very fancy but we had fun building him.  Gracie was so cute because when our little friend was built she knew exactly what he needed “A Carrot, A Carrot. We need a carrot!”

So I have found that winter doesn’t seem so bad or long when you take the time to get out and enjoy it. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

A name, a name, we have a name!

When we first moved to our little piece of heaven people started asking us what we were going to call it.  I even started a group on face book hoping for a spark of ingenuity in coming up with a name for our new home.  There were plenty of suggestions including, Merrill Meadows, Barbara's Vineyard (because Martha has one), Merrilly we Mow the Lawn,  Moschetta Acres (to celebrate our friendly mosquitoes), Belly Acres East (to remember Rod's farm in the West) and so on.

One day as I was thinking about the farm it was like a bolt of lightening hit me.  Why not combine the family's most common phrase and Rod's farm. I shared my idea with some of the kids and they thought it sounded pretty good.

As Christmas approached the kids started sharing secrets and getting all mysterious.  The closer Christmas got the more excited and nervous Talia seemed to be.  Christmas morning arrived and the kids were very determined as to which present Mom and Dad would open first.  This is what we found in our most prized Christmas gift:

So if you have a tendency to be a belly acher, come on over and join us at the BellyAcher Acres, and "Quit Your Belly Achin"