27 January 2013

On Being Blessed

Most of my family was sick lately and our income was cut (again) and I'm still a few pounds over what I should be (or at least I'm configured differently than I think I should be at my current weight) but I am still feeling thankful and abundantly blessed.

We used a lot of this stuff below to get the family back to middling (and keep me from getting The Crud).

Not pictured but heavily used was fish oil and pau d'arco 
After the wonderful laid back holiday with family and friends and getting transitioned over to a new contract at work, and then with family getting sick, it was hard for me to feel motivated about anything extra - I was just trying to keep up with life. But that lasted for only a short time (Thank God). I was daydreaming about some realistic transformations I'd like to see in the back yard this year (aside from hopefully resurfacing the pool) and I kept coming back to my lavender plant. That plant has been hardy and fragrant and was such a good investment a couple of years ago that I decided to get more. I had my cart filled with a few (online shopping) when I came across an article on propagating lavender. It hadn't occurred to me to take cuttings to propagate from my lovely plant (except to make a peace wreath) but I quickly emptied my cart and clipped my plant. Keeping my fingers crossed because I know this particular plant is a keeper and I'd like to see more of it around the place.

Rooting Lavender

I've been wanting to get outside and prepare the yard ahead of time (for once) and I'm planning on excavating big items from the beds, then putting down a layer of paper bags and newspaper, then a layer of peat moss and compost and leaves so that the beds can be getting ready for new growth in the near future.

I haven't done that yet but I did get out in the yard today and work in a bed by the pond. It was very hard to stay on task because the kids were trying to pick up the chickens (who kept wanting to get into the bed I was working in) and Aubri wanted me to help her pick up more pecans. I still can't get over the abundant harvest we've gotten this year (Thanking God again for this wonderful food!).

Last night I shelled 3 huge bowls of pecans to add to a gallon bag that Scott started already. That barely skimmed the first trug that we are tackling. (Not complaining! But Scott and I can probably add Pecan Shelling to our skill sets for our resumes now.)

Pecan Goodness
This is about 10 pies' worth, I'm guessing...
I was able to help Aubri get her bucket filled with pecans and get busy pulling, digging, raking and bagging.


Holding Friendly

Post Weeding
This is just a start. I really wanted to tackle the pond today but it had to wait. I just don't want Spring to arrive until we've taken care of the things on our yard punch list first...

23 January 2013

Then and Now

Emi and Calum, Feb 2010

Growing Up So Fast
Emi and Calum (and Aubri and David), Jan 2013

21 January 2013

Rough vs. Ruff

Today I had a list of things to do but I had to scrap that because some of the Morgans are ailing. Scott has what I think is the flu (day 2) and David is a poor congested, runny nosed (how is that even possible?) little boy.  Aubri seems to be over her respiratory issues (but still has a nagging cough) and Emi is back to hale - recovered from her bronchitis. And this little pooch....she seems to be getting by taking her naps in the sun. Oh to be able to trade spots with her just for an afternoon...

Emi had another basketball tourney this past weekend and with Scott feeling under the weather, yesterday it was just me and her. It gave us an opportunity to talk girl talk. And I think I've scarred her for life talking about how boys act in middle school. (Just wait until high school, baby girl!) I'm sure the behavior I described has already been happening in elementary school, but just in case, I wanted her to be prepared.

I also had time to talk to her about how God plans things to prepare us for the next thing in our lives. I reminisced about how I was almost finished with school, when I lost my job and had to move in with my sister. I lost my hard fought independence and was forced to deliver pizzas again to get by until my first post-college job. It was a very humbling experience but it was necessary so I could focus on the real reason for such an arrangement...so I could be paired up with my soul mate.

I probably wouldn't have planned for something so humbling, but I am not The One in Control. ;.)

Hope you and yours are keeping healthy and hale this winter...

20 January 2013

Home Again, Home Again

During our road trip Emi had a cough that seemed to get progressively worse so I decided to take her into the Urgent Clinic when we got back to Norman. And Aubri's face had a slightly sandpapery rashy look to it, making me suspect she might have strep, so I took her in just in case. Not the best way to start off a new year...

Emi ended up with Bronchitis and while Aubri did not have strep, the doctor thought she had some sort of virus that she was fighting and just wanted me to keep an eye on her.

Emi is now bronchitis-free (Thank God) and David and Aubri are now on antibiotics for upper respiratory infections. And I am looking forward to the day when all of the coughing in my house stops...seems like everyone (besides me, thank God) has a runny nose these days...

So anyway, we're not moving to Florida (yet, anyway). We're back home waiting to find out what our new normal will be...working, back in school, yada, yada, yada...

Our little road trip was rejuvenating in that we got to hang with loved ones even for just a few days. We needed that.

And, I also almost saw an ALLIGATOR!

I was certain that this time I would spot an alligator in the creek that borders my mom's property. I had my eyes peeled when I saw movement. I almost soiled myself when I realized it wasn't a scary alligator...

But a cute little otter!

Can you see it? (Ogo Pogo?)

That's as good as it gets with capture this cute creature. I'm told that the otters came to this creek because there were plenty of tropical fish flowing over from a nearby fish farm.

Anyway, we've been busy trying to stay healthy: physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. We're purging and reusing and repurposing and trying to be good stewards of the stuff we've been blessed with. 

Hoping that 2013 finds you blessed beyond words!

18 January 2013

Catching Up, Part 3

We used to get scones delivered to our door when our friends lived right next door, so when we arrived for our brief visit, they had freshly made scones for us. (And we had some freshly dug up Butterfly Ginger for them).

We sat out in the gazebo drinking some really good coffee and noshing on some really good scones (Thanks, Pete and Ruth!)

Scones and Coffee in the McFetridge Gazebo
Little slice of Heaven

High Swing
The cool tree with ferns and moss and the COOL swing

She Traded Her Brother
Aubri traded her brother for this tractor...

The Girls
Gracie played with her new friend

Emi, Calum and David
And Emi played with an old friend (David's new friend)
We were almost persuaded to stay another night with our dear friends and would have loved more time with them but we needed to head back home. They loaded us down with a Hefty bag filled with Legos.

It was hard to say goodbye to our friends and I hope that we get to see them again, Sooner rather than later (Gator). ;.)

We drove for a few hours and then stopped to eat dinner at Po Folks somewhere in North Florida (we needed to eat some Black Eyed Peas for luck).

After that, it was serious business as Scott and I decided to drive through the night to get home. The kids slept and we took turns sleeping and driving (Scott drove most of the time).

We made it back around lunch time on the 2nd. Just in time to take the girls in to Urgent Care...

Catching Up, Part 2

On the way to Lola's house we stopped by the new Trader Joe's in Gainesville and stocked up on wine and chocolate and other goodies.

We had only been at Lola's for a few minutes before the kids started harvesting citrus from her trees.


It was balmy and warm and nice. Love South Florida this time of year!
Under the Mistletoe (with Lola!)
Under the Massive Mistletoe

I actually miss the Spanish Moss

It is so beautiful and peaceful here at my mom's....

Kumquats - we brought back a ton of these!
My Family
Fishing off Lola's pier
Golf Cart
Emi testing out her driving skills with Lola's golf cart (and I'm in a tank top in JANUARY!!!)

Too Cute

We didn't do much besides eat, sleep and be merry at my mom's place. We did get to IKEA to get some wire baskets for the Little Ones' closet (and lunch) but that was the only outing...

For New Year's we made (and ate) a lot of food and karaoked with a couple of my mom's friends. It was a very laid back way to ring in the new year. Poor Emi was coughing her head off and was miserable.

David Took This on NYE
David took this picture...

Dancing with Lola
Dancing with Lola
The next day we needed to head back home so we packed up Beulah and said good bye to Lola and headed down the road.

Stuffing His Pockets
Stuffing his pockets with kalamansi

Loaded up with kalamansi

Me and My Mom
Me and My Mom
About 10 minutes after we left my mom's place, my mom called me and in a stage whisper asked "Hey Nolita, where's your dog?" Whoopsie!

So we turned around to retrieve our sweet little Gracie girl who had no idea that we had left her behind. She was sleeping in front of the refrigerator...

And then we were on on way again...

Catching Up, Part 1

I haven't had a real chance to update on what's been going on so I thought I should start with our road trip to Florida. (which seems like so long ago now!)

It was really wonderful to get away from the snow and sleet (14 degrees!) of Oklahoma to warmer temps and friends and family in Florida.

We loaded up the car and planned to head out Christmas night, but it was so blizzardy out that we decided to wait until the light of morning just to be on the safe side.

The first 3 hours on the road between Norman and the Dallas-metro area were treacherous to say the least. Snow and ice and deserted cars on the side of the highway. It was slower going as we drove into different counties and the highways were in differing states of slickness. Outside of Dallas it was smoother sailing for us. We took sweet little Gracie with us and she rotated between my lap, Scott's lap and Emi's pillow.

Where's Daddy?
Where's Daddy?
We would drive for a few hours and then stop for bio breaks and meals. We really wanted to drive straight through to Gainesville, but Google had us take a "shortcut" in Mississippi that forced us to we call "Uncle" in Daphne, AL.

On the chilly morning of the 27th, we filled our bellies with hotel breakfast and headed South.  We arrived at our friends' home mid-afternoon and hung out with them just like we used to when we were neighbors. We were so heartbroken when they left 3 years ago so it was so good to spend time with them again. It was chilly (in Florida?!) so we had a fire going and we caught up on life.

That night after we went to bed it rained and stormed and it would have been really enjoyable but we had a crazy fur ball wigging out in our room. The next morning we ate porridge and sultana for breakfast and I had quite possibly the best cup of coffee I've ever had!

After a relaxing morning, Scott and I broke away (leaving the nippers with our friends) and checked out a local mall. I got a couple of pairs of skinny jeans (the hot pink ones took me back to 1985). Later we snacked and played games...

Hanging Out

...and talked about the possibility of us becoming neighbors again. If we moved in with my mom, we'd only be a hop and a skip away!

Ruth and Aubri
Aubri loving on Ruth

Great Mug of Coffee
Scott loving on a cup of coffee...just LOOK at that beautiful mug!
The next morning after breakfast we went exploring the woods around the house. It took me back to when I was a child exploring the woods with my grandmother.



When we got back it was time to head further south to my mom's place. We knew we would see our friends again (on the way home) so it was only bye for now.

McFetridges & Morgans
Us with the Best Neighbors Ever
(Continued in the next post or two).