Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Monday, December 28, 2015

Some Men Stop at the Bar...

Other men put a chain on their bar and stop in the woods.

If my husband is gone longer than expected when taking the trash and recycling, I don't wonder if he's having an affair.

If he spends long hours gone from home on the weekends, I don't worry that he leaves because he's tired of us.

If he's down in the woods after work, I don't worry that he's secretly hitting the bottle.

He's a hoarder alright.... a Firewood Hoarder.  Now he has the shirt to prove it.

Amen to men like these two that keep us warm and cozy all winter long.  They are a gift.

Out with the Old....

2015 was a pretty good year.

We had some adversity (the Woodsman suffered from appendicitis and had surgery), but were blessed with his good recovery.

We spent lots of incredible time together (on the slopes - both locally and in VT, New York City, the farm, Chincoteague and of course here at home.  We surprised my parents and came home for Christmas Eve (first time in 10 years).  My sister and I even sang a duet for prelude.  It was by far the best gift I gave.

The Boy played soccer in both spring and fall, but had to take a break during November and December because of a gap in his growth plate.  We enjoyed watching him learn to really be a part of the team, as he came to enjoy being on defense.  Here's hoping to a strong recovery in time for spring soccer.  He's keeping busy with his dog, River, and has started a biking and weight lifting program to stay conditioned while his foot heals.  He's also really become a writer and a reader - this makes his English teacher mama happy.

The Girl kept lyrical dance, gymnastics, musical, violin and choir, and added classical ballet.  She also swindled her dad into letting her have another cat.  She keeps us busy, but we really enjoy watching her shine. We also like the individual time with get with both kids while we schlep them around.  She continues to love reading, and the new Kindle probably means that it will be even harder for us to tell that she's up past her bedtime deeply involved in another book.

We spent lots of time with my parents, and continue to be blessed with their gifts of time and presence.

Santa Lucia

How many years will they continue to want to make one?

We moved our Christmas Eve meal to the Sunday before Christmas - we couldn't miss getting together with this family.  

 I moved back to teaching high school English (love it!) and am still working on recovering from a bad muscle tear in my calf (I hate running, but I hate not being able to run more).

I asked for a blanket like this every night when I put the boy to bed (for 6 months) - he didn't disappoint.

They really enjoyed surprising each other this year.

What she wanted most was clothes.  We had a good time shopping together for Black Friday.
The Boy wanted a skateboard, and the Girl finally has some kind of technology so she doesn't feel 100% left out.

Wow - are they grown up!
 The Woodsman enjoyed cutting wood (he now owns two chainsaws) and watching his team (Redskins) make the playoffs.

The kids spent a lot of time and effort making presents this year.

Farmer Dan was thrilled that we decided that The Boy was old enough for a B.B. gun.  He's had it since he was born.

Another fuzzy blanket was made for my grandmother.  She's going to feel wrapped in love all year.

Boy did this remind me of myself when I was his age.  I crawled into the same corner with a book even though there were still presents to open - the books were the best parts. 

The Woodsman's favorite present was the piece of locust (and the chainsaw that came with it).

We were blessed with lots of fun times with friends and family and hope to do it all again in 2016.  We look for 2016 to be a repeat of 2015 - but hopefully without a hospital stay and surgery for anyone.

We hope your year was a good one, and you find blessings in 2016.

Monday, December 14, 2015

STEM project

Grunt work - there was a lot of it to be done in the garden before it could be put to bed for the winter.  I wanted the kids to do the work, but I dreaded the complaining (on their part) and the nagging (on my part).  I also figured that the job wouldn't be done well, and would necessitate more whining and grouching.  

So, I took a play from my teacher book and created a garden clean up rubric.  If they got 100% I'd take them to the fancy movie theater (Alamo) with a friend, and let them get endless popcorn and soda.  They could redo the job as many times as needed.  

The kids were instantly drawn in by the reward, and got right to work.  One of the requirements was that they share the workload and that they not fight while working.  They did an excellent job of being a team, and over the next several weeks finished the huge task.

We all won.  They got their reward.  I got a clean garden.  We got to spend the day together - couldn't be better.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

You with the smart phone.... drop it!

Last evening we headed out to see both kids sing in our town's annual tree lighting ceremony.  The kids sang on the courthouse steps, so everyone should have been able to get a fairly good view.

Unfortunately, what I mostly saw was the view on other people's smart phone screens.  Personally, I don't feel the need to document and video every single segment of my kids' lives.  I find it hard to be really present when I'm viewing through a screen.  So, I shoot the odd video of the kids ( a few seconds of a song here a quick clip of a play segment there).  But, I avoid taping everything, opting instead to give them 100% of my attention in the moment.

Now, if you're not like me and you want to save every moment digitally, or maybe you're recording for parents and loved ones unable to be there, then by all means tape on.  But please, please find a place to stand where your phone doesn't block the view of the parents behind you.  We all came to see our kids perform, and we all love and are as proud of our kids as you.  Don't steal our time in your quest to hold on to your time forever.

So, snap a quick pic and then drop the phone.  Maybe even turn it off and just enjoy the gift of the now.

At least I could see the tree!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Fall, and especially October, is our busiest month.  But still, it's one of my favorite times of year.  Fall for us is full of traditions.  If you were to go back through the photo albums you'd see many of the exact same types of photos - just the ages of the kids and the clothes change.  That, for me, is part of the charm.

As Anne of Green Gables said, "I'm so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers."




It was the warmest we've ever had - great weekend.

 Pumpkin Patch


Perfect fall color up on Tiber Knob

My cousin, one of my favorite people in the world, has moved to the area!


Caramel apples are our favorite fall tradition with this family.  Open wide!


The boy played mostly defense this season, a switch from previous season's midfield position, and he really learned to love it.  It's great seeing your kids start to understand that it's not all about scoring the goal yourself, but it's about the team effort.


She didn't want help from anyone this year.

The girls designed and made their costumes this year.  Flower Fairies

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Stop - De Smet - Little House on the Prairie

Although we made one more stop (at Indiana Dunes National Seashore - which was a bust and not worth writing about), our last fantastic memory stop was in DeSmet, SD.  We had planned to spend time at both the living history park set on the old Ingalls homestead, and in town.  However, the kids enjoyed the living history park so much that we wound up spending all of our time there.  Even though the drive to DeSmet is long, and there is little to see on the way, it is a not to be missed stop for Little House fans.  The owners are friendly and helpful, the history program is active and engaging, and the campground was clean and peaceful.  A+ in our travel book.  We'll be back.  It was a fantastic end to our trip.

Hay twist

The Woodsman is obsessed with The Long Winter.
He wanted to make hay just so he could have hay twists in case he ran out of wood.