Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Polar Vortex Made Me Do It

I feel almost positive that if you had asked me if I would ever put my dog in a sweater I would have said emphatically, "no."  But here we are.

I blame the Polar Vortex and having a drafty house.  I also blame the pink and the cable knit- a classic combination ;).

The children say that look in her eye is embarrassment, I say it's appreciation for all things cozy.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Trail Markers

We are fortunate that in addition to our field, part of our property is woodland.  The woods are relatively young, 60 years old perhaps, and need some cleaning up as the vines and the deer have done significant damage.  Unfortunately, the deer eat the natives which leaves the invasive species (vines, multiflora, etc.) to run rampant.  However, we are committed to helping the woods to flourish and return to a native wood.

Washington's Last (Pine) Stand

Regardless of the invasives, it's still beautiful and we enjoy taking Rosie for a daily walk in the woods.  Bryce has made trails for us and continues to improve them.  For Christmas, Grace made me signs for the trails!  The Birthday Trail is so named because it was the first trail Bryce cut for Grace's 13th birthday party. The trail leads straight down to the creek where we've put a little bench so that we can every once in a while sit and enjoy the woods and the creek gurgling.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

An Uncovered Walkway

I've been going through pictures to find some photos to use on The Flower Frog's website that we are hoping to get up and running by spring.  I came across these photos of the workshop and wanted to share the sweet little path that leads down to the doors on the shop.  When we first moved here, it seemed as if there were no path, but one day I had a shovel in my hands and hit something hard.  Al and I then spent time scrapping away the dirt and grass that was covering each stone!  It's rustic and not at all polished but I think that is what gives it its charm!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Blood Wolf Moon

It was so cold here this weekend (unfortunately, we didn't get any snow).  We spent a lot of time indoors by a fire studying for midterms, reading or watching football!  I was worried about the chickens and how they would handle the cold, we don't have electricity in the coop, but they seem to have done just fine.  Bryce and the children did brave the cold to go outside to see the Blood Wolf Moon, it was beautiful!  I hope you had a beautiful weekend!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Having an Introvert

I would classify myself as an extrovert.  I really enjoy being around people though probably in a smaller group then large.  Nevertheless, I feel comfortable and usually at ease when around people.  Grace, however, is a totally different story and it's taken me a while in my parenting journey to figure out how to parent an introvert (I know, she's almost 17 but better late than never!).

When Grace was very young I started to notice how during a playdate, if it went on for too long, she would come to me and, in a whisper, ask when it was going to be over.  I would get frustrated, after all this was a friend and one should love being with their friends!  I would often feel like it was rude of her to ask or I would think she was being inconsiderate of her friend.  I've come to realize though that it was rude of me as her Mom to not recognize that she needed time to recharge.   Being with her friends, no matter how much she loved them, could be exhausting for her.  So I needed to be putting shorter time limits on playdates.

Fast forward to high school and things haven't changed all that much!  Grace still prefers to have a few very close friends instead of a big group and she will opt out of a social gathering without looking back.  This year, her junior year, we've definitely seen an uptick of social gatherings for Grace.  In fact, I've found myself in the funny position of often encouraging her to "get out there."  Bryce is often the voice of reason since he will gently remind me of what is sometimes happening "out there" and question why I feel the need to push for it.  He's right of course, and I suppose that's why we make a good team.

For us, the balance is figuring out when she's holding back due to her introvertedness (did I just make up a new word there?) or because it's uncomfortable and hard to try new things and put yourself out there.  I suppose it's something we as parents are working on figuring out.  So while I hear the stories of teenagers who are rarely home due to their social calendars, instead of feeling like Grace is missing out on some mythical teenage experience, I"m trying to be grateful that she's at home, with us, watching a movie, playing a game or even all doing our separate things but still under one roof.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Powder Room

We have one tiny bathroom on our first floor and when we first moved here I thought it would be one of the last things we would tackle.  In fact, I didn't think we would have to tackle much except replace the wallpaper and perhaps the sink since it took up too much space in the small room.  Then an unfortunate event took place and it was discovered that the whole room had been compromised and need to be stripped down to its studs.

It turned out to be a sort of blessing in disguise (not so great: insurance was wonderful about the whole thing but did drop us the next year!!) because we were able to change the room a bit to better fit our needs.  This bathroom is tucked between the fireplace and the front wall of our house and situated between the den and the mudroom.  Originally, the door to this bathroom was in our den, by the fireplace, which was conveniently central in the house but wasn't awesome if everyone was in the room and someone had to use the bathroom!

We were able to change the entrance* to the bathroom to the other side making it accessible from the mudroom!  This way, one can come in from outside and not troop through the house to get to the bathroom, plus it's a little more private for those using the bathroom.  I wallpapered the room in my favorite wallpaper, Happy Frogs by Thibaut.  One might remember I used it in our old house but in a different colorway.  I say why reinvent the wheel when you find something you like!

I reused the lighting fixtures, mirror and the faucet which was a welcome relief since at this point in the renovation we were super tired of writing checks!  Eventually, I wouldn't mind replacing the lights if I found something wonderful.  I did replace the sink because the old one was much too big for the room.

We left the old door in the den and make a small closet where we store games, albums, etc.  

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Few Things

I didn't mean to not post this past week but we had a bit of a catastrophe with our computer!  I sat down one day to do some work and it simply wouldn't do a thing.  Apparently, the hard drive is completely shot so it has gone in for some restoration work.  We have found it difficult, to say the least, to only have one laptop for both of us to work off of.  The only upside is that Harris has read more in the last week then he has in a long, long time (no computer games!).

I've had a few things on my mind that I thought I would share and see if maybe some were also on your mind...

*My sister recently mentioned that she saw a news article that during the shutdown people are chopping down Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park.  I investigated and sure enough, people have chopped the trees down, driven in off-limit areas and made new roads in the park.  What in the what?  I"m so discouraged that when some people are given free rein and have no supervision that they go feel free to do whatever they please.  What is the matter with people?  These are our National Parks and we should be doing all that we can to protect them and preserve them for future generations.  We can and should do better.

*On the same topic, I'm completely freaking out about our environment.  We recycle religiously, I drive a hybrid and we try to be mindful of our impact but, again, we can do better.   I'm starting with plastic and trying to cut it out in any ways that I can including- not using plastic wrap, always providing my own shopping bags, not buying water/drink bottles, or using straws.  Of course, there are millions of other ways and I'm going to do my best.

*This summer, when we visited Seaside, we were shocked to find that they didn't have a recycling program (an ocean town!) and more recently I was given pause while at the Superdome in New Orleans.  I looked around as we were all streaming out leaving the stadium and watched person after person, including ourselves, throw away the plastic drinking cups and bottles. There simply has to be an answer as to how to get this under control.  Plastics are killing our ocean life, harming our bodies and creating mountains and mountains of trash that will never, ever go anywhere!

*Also, while not a global issue, I celebrated my 46th birthday last Thursday!  I had a lovely day that included lunch with dear friends, watching Grace get inducted into the National Honor Society for French and drama, and dinner with family.  On Saturday, we had dinner with my Mom and sister's family.

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Orleans and Mississippi

Years ago, even before we made the "empty nest" list, Bryce and I set a goal to visit each state before the children graduated.  Obviously, our 9 week cross country trip did a lot to help us mark states off the list, but we still have a handful to go.  This year, we found ourselves with time that both children had off so we decided to head to Louisiana and Mississippi!

Specifically, we visited New Orleans (I had never been!).  While we were making these plans, our team, the Georgia Bulldogs, were put into the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans so we excitedly made plans to see them play.  The game was awful, they certainly didn't play like they usually do, but we still had a great time seeing them and cheering for them.  It's so different than on TV, and I think Grace and Harris really enjoyed it.

After the game, we spent two days touring around New Orleans.  We did a city tour, which I always like to do because it helps get a sense of the city, and through that learned a lot about the history of the city.  The architecture of the French Quarter was really enjoyable to see, I loved the colors and the greenery!

Throughout the French Quarter, there are jazz bands playing for the crowd.

Our first day of walking around it was very foggy/misty.  Here you could barely see the Mississippi River!

Of course, we had to have beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

We rode the trolley down the St. Charles line to the garden district.

We walked through the sculpture garden at City Park.

In New Orleans the water table is so high that they must bury their dead above ground.  These cemeteries are dotted throughout the city and are beautiful.

On our last day, we rented a car and drove along the shoreline of Mississippi to Biloxi and the National Seashore.  Due to the government shutdown, the park was officially closed but after talking to the one ranger on duty she told us to park outside the gate and explore on foot- which is what we did.  It felt so cool to have it all to ourselves!

Also?  Bryce got interviewed and made the local news!

 After our exploring, we were ready for some BBQ.  The Shed came up as one of the best in the whole state but when we pulled up I was sure that it had been condemned!  We perservered though and ended up having delicious BBQ!

 We ended the trip by watching the sunset!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Friends Come to Visit

Whew, it's been a busy, but really wonderful, couple of weeks.  We arrived home from New Orleans this morning and I'm looking forward to sharing those pictures, but first I want to back up a bit to after Christmas when we had our very dear friends stay with us.  We met Thad at Young Harris College and then he and Bryce (and Brian!) were roommates at UGA.  Every Thursday night we would make dinner together and then watch Friends.  It was the best.

Thad married an equally wonderful person, Laura, and they had two beautiful girls, all of whom came to visit!  We loved having them here!  We explored Philly, ate meals together and caught up on life.  I'm so thankful that they carved out a few days of their trip to visit with us!

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