Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Happenings

I thought I would give a little update on what has been going on around our little acreage the last few months.

I came home from Nebraska to find my garden huge and overgrown with weeds.  I had expected it to die while I was gone, but Virginia must have received enough rain that it pulled through just fine.  The weeds were gigantic, but after a little time spent pulling them out, my garden is all neat again.  The tomato plants are loaded so I foresee lots of pico de gallo and homemade marinara sauce soon!

I have decided I am going to plant a bigger garden next year as long as my back cooperates and turn our raised bed into an herb garden. I am not going to have anything monstrous, but maybe 15x25, so I am on the hunt for a reasonably priced tiller so I can get the garden ready this fall. I have read many interesting articles on how to kill weeds/grass naturally, but you have to start the season before.  We have not had the problems with deer like I worried about, thankfully, which may be because we have cattle all around our property. I would like to add onions, carrots, broccoli, beans, potatoes, and an assortment of salad greens next year.

Remember how I was hoping someone would have some plants I could dig up for free?  Well, I found a nice lady on craigslist who already dug them and had them sitting on her driveway - free for the taking! I mostly took Hostas, but I also took a few narcissus that will come up next spring and some ornamental grass.  For mother’s day, I received money for flowers from Chad and Remy, so I bought a few other things, too.  I got a clematis plant for the decorative iron piece with the sphere, and I also bought salvia, coneflower, and phlox.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the phlox made it through my trip to Nebraska. I cut it down because the top was dead and we’ll see if it comes up next spring.  I am looking forward to this getting established and providing some color!

The flower bed

The free hostas add a nice touch!

While we were in Nebraska we decided to bring the rest of our things from our storage unit, since there were a few things I was taking from Dad’s and already needed a uhaul. Because of this it made sense to get the rest our stuff and bring it out here. People seem to think I hauled a uhaul’s worth of stuff from Dad’s, but most of the things in the uhaul were for other family members or my own stuff from storage.  When we moved last year we left most of our family mementos back in Nebraska. My kids' memory boxes, family photos, my grandma’s tea set and china and Chad’s grandfather’s silver were all left behind, as well as a few wood pieces my Dad had made me over the years.  These were things that I could not part with in my downsizing, but did not have room for in my new home. Our family will most likely be in Virginia another 5-6 years as Chad is pretty seriously looking at going on to get his doctorate.  We decided it would be best to bring our stuff out here rather than pay storage in Nebraska.  We ended up purchasing a pre-built wooded shed to house those things we are not using, but someday plan to use or pass on to our children.  It was a great savings in the long run to buy a shed rather than to rent a storage unit, and now we also have an enclosed place for tools, Christmas decorations, and other things that shouldn't be stored in an open shed. We have no storage options like an attic or basement in the house we live in and it only has 3 (very small) closets!!
The new shed

The minimalist leaning in me hates that I have so much stuff that I had to buy a shed to house it! Sometimes I just want to get rid of it all, but I know I may regret that at some point.  Plus, I am hoping my girls will someday want these family heirlooms for their own homes.

Other than a few kitchen items, a little decor, and photos, the only big thing I brought home from my Dad’s for myself was the buffet below. It is a beautiful antique and I loved cleaning it up.  It now holds my Mom’s serving bowls and silverware and Chad’s grandfather's monogrammed silverware. I had a little spot left in the living room for it!!

So that’s about it for news around the acreage.  Is it bad to say, but I am already longing for fall...and summer has only begun?  Summer in Virginia is brutal with the humidity and the fall is so long and beautiful.  I do like the break from homeschooling Remy though. We also are looking forward to a visit from Chad’s parents and a mini vacation in July, so fall can wait a little while. J

My back porch area with flower and herbs pots.

Have a great week, friends!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Health Update and June/July Goals

It has been awhile since I have updated on my health so I thought I would share today how it has been going.

With all the stress in my life over the last 5 weeks my IBS has been back.  Of course it hasn’t helped that my diet has been all out of whack as well.  Up until I headed to Nebraska I was doing great - I was able to fit back into the dress I wanted to wear for Sem Prom!

Here is the dress!

I also walked with Koda every day for 50 days in a row and was keeping up with my body weight circuit 2-3 times a week. Chad and I also went on a challenging hike in early May.  By the time I left for Nebraska I had lost another 3 pounds since my last update in April and IBS symptoms were pretty rare. 

Chad and I on our May hike.

But then May 20th hit and that all came to a screeching halt.  When I am super stressed I don’t eat, so the first week I was in Nebraska my weight dropped greatly.  Since returning home I have gained all except for 3 pounds back, bringing my total weight loss up to 20 pounds since Christmas.  I have not been this light since 2008.  I am happy with my weight now and it would not bother me if I don’t lose anymore, but we will see what my body decides. Now that I have returned home and am back on my cleaner diet and have less stress my IBS has diminished greatly. 

I have decided to cut out candy again for the next 2 weeks. (I made my last goal for no candy for 3 weeks in April/May.)  Chad’s parents are coming out the second week in July to take us to the beach and Colonial Williamsburg.  Since we are going to be at the beach I will need to buy a swim suit, and even though I am thinner that isn’t my favorite thing to buy or wear.  I also want to continue to walk Koda every non-rainy day. Once my living room is cleaned out of the storage boxes I will try to get back to my body weight circuit a few times a week as well.  I also have another hike planned in late July with my niece up in northern Virginia.

Many people have wondered about my back pain with all the work I did cleaning up my Dad’s house.  I will admit there were a few nights I was in pain to tears, but for the most part my back pain has diminished.  I was able to see my chiropractor in Nebraska and get an adjustment which I believe helped me get through the weeks without much pain.  I know the weight loss has helped it, too.

So that is it!  The hot, humid summer weather has returned to Virginia and I sweat about 5 pounds off during Koda’s walks!  Below are my goals for the rest of June and July.

June/July Goals

* No candy until July 8th
* Walk Koda every non-rainy day
* Body weight exercises 2-3 times a week
* Go on 1 hike
* Keep up no wheat/dairy 90% of the time

Have a great week, friends!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Hello, friends!

Yes, I have been MIA from my blog for over a month. For the few readers who are not my personal friends I will share a little of what has been going on.

On May 15th I called my Dad to say “hi” and could tell he wasn't feeling the best; it had been a bitter winter in Nebraska and I don’t think he ever properly recovered from it after getting a bad chest cold in February. After calling back and forth with my brother and some good friends over the following weekend, my brother and friend went to check on him Monday morning and found he was having such difficulty breathing he could not get out of bed.  Dad was taken by ambulance on May 19th to a local hospital. 

Tuesday morning I received the call from the doctor that Dad was not doing well and was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. I boarded a plane Tuesday evening for Nebraska.  I was able to get to the hospital in the middle of the night to sit with Dad who by then was very confused by where he was and all the wires hooked up to him.  I was able to hold his hand, to pray with him, and occasionally reminisce of old times.  At times he was very coherent and knew exactly what was going on, other times he thought he was home.  He knew who I was the entire time though.

Mid-Wednesday morning I left the hospital to eat and rest, since I had not done either of those things the night before.  During the 4 hours I was gone, Dad took a turn for the worse.  I was getting ready to head back to the hospital when my brother called and said to hurry, Dad was fading fast.  I was able to make it to the hospital in time.   He passed away within 15 minutes of my arrival, with 2 of my brothers and me holding his hands.  He was 75.

My Dad was a complicated man who was certainly not perfect. But then again, who of us are perfect?  We had our ups and downs over the years, but the last few years had brought us closer together.  Doing genealogy research over the last several years has brought me a greater understanding of him, his past, and what made him the way he was.  

Here is Dad with Chad, Remy, Oksana and me right before we moved to Virginia.

He was also a very talented man.  His ability to turn wood into a piece of art was amazing.  He was a gunsmith, antique horse drawn vehicle restorer, and master woodworker.

Here he is with a knife he made for Remy.

And here is a wash basin stand he made me to hold my Mom's pitcher and bowl. Something I will cherish forever because it is something of both my parents.

I think I approach death and grief differently than most people.  Yes, there have been tears of sadness over the last few weeks.  But not any of them have been for losing Dad, only for what should have been as far as my family’s past goes.  But the fact of the matter is, grieving over the past is futile.  As I have said before, how can the past be used to make the future more positive?  How can I learn from my relationship with my Dad and from the relationship he had with his other children? How can I use what I have learned to better my relationship with my family?  And it wasn’t goodbye for me, only we’ll see you later. 

The last several weeks have been a blur.  Since my mother is also gone there was much to settle with the estate, cleaning to be done, and mementos to sort through.  I am so thankful Chad was able to be there with me and for my dear friend, Sharon, who housed and fed my family for almost 3 weeks! We have been back in Virginia a little over a week now and I am slowly getting back into a routine. My living room is a temporary storage unit with things of Dad’s I have brought back; in addition to our storage from Nebraska that I cleaned out and brought back with me. I am looking forward to getting a new storage shed next week and for my house to be back in order! (I’m also looking forward to the day when my girls’ have homes of their own and can cart some of this stuff away!)  J

I plan to get back to blogging at some point in time in the near future. There are many updates I want to share and things I have learned over the last month.  I have so very much appreciated the notes from friends and family, the prayers, and words of encouragement for me and my family! 

I look forward to sharing with you again soon!!