Sunday, December 31, 2017

Our Tree ... Our Memories December 2017

Although the photos are not in any kind of order - these are some of our precious memories from years past - that we look forward to packing each December.

1987 - the year we were married - our first Christmas - this ornament given to us by my sister in law and brother (Mike and Fran) has been on 31 trees. 

Another ornament from our first Christmas 31 from Larry's sister.

And from my mom and dad.

My first teaching job was in Hamburg NY. I did full blown musicals wth 4th, 5th and 6th graders. One year it was "The Wizard of Oz" My dad built a house on stage for us, the school nurse - whose office was right next to my classroom (came in super handy when I was expecting my first son - and had terrible morning sickness) - gave this little book. The boys fight over who is gonna put it on the tree every year. 

The Santa my mom always put on the tree at my parents home when we were growing up. 

My own ornament from when I was a child 

When Larry and I went to Biltmore for our 25th Anniversary - we bought into the whole Acorn meaning :

 An acorn metaphor can remind us to look deep inside and discover the seed of something wonderful that is yet to develop.  It will take time, persistence and the right nurturing, but something magnificent is waiting inside that precious little acorn. One little acorn, with time, can also be the start of a whole forest of mighty oak trees.
Acorns are also considered to be a lucky symbol, representing prosperity, youthfulness, power and spiritual growth.  
And so bought each of the boys one for the Christmas tree. They each have their own box of ornaments from thru the years. Hopefully one day when they open their Christmas boxes - they will hang the acorns on their trees - and remember mom and dads 25th anniversary trip - and how they each have something precious inside - that will grow and develop in each of them. 

When Larry and I lived-in Virginia Beach - I missed home so much. I purchased this ornament for my parents - in 1994. Dad died in 1995, and mom in 2001. so after 6 years on their tree - it has now been on mine the past 16.

Also from our time in Virginia. Special friends came to visit - our newly built home Christmas of 1995.

Charlene ... a dear college friend - who often game me rides home during my first year of college. We kept in touch throughout the years, sadly she passed away November 6, 2015

Two ornaments of the many I received over the years from students. 

Jake's last year of high school - he took up the French Horn. 

Larry and I honeymooned in Ogunquit Maine. Bought a box of mini glass ornament balls. 31 years or trees - and only 1 has broken.

Larry's friends wife did wood burning. Another favorite of ours. 

About 1999 we took the boys camping in the Adirondaks. Went to Santa's Workshop at the North Pole (Wilmington NY) Justin and Zach got little reindeer ornaments - Jake got this little tree. 

Close family friend Flora - gave us "the disco apple' on year. The boys fight over this one too. 

So many great memories - we relive every year when we decorate the tree. 

Thanking God for the gift of memories, family, special friends and special relationship. Praying that the new year brings peace, contentment, love and joy to all. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Little Changes. June 2017

When we moved into our home in the summer of 1998 - we had the smelliest bushes lining the short walkway from the driveway to the porch. 

In 2000 I pulled all those bushes out - and we started planting flowers in there. 

In 2002  a year after my mom died and we sold the family home) I planted a  Peony Plant. It did fantastic. I kept planting large marigolds and of course some perennial coreopsis in the years following. 

Finally in 2012 I found some Peony plants - 2 white and 2 deep pink. I was so excited to make a hedge of peonies. Little did I know it would take the next 5 years before all 5 plants were blooming. And this is the year! 

The strange thing is they all ended up deep pink. My whites - changed color.  There were a few years I thought two of them would die for sure. Here is the year by year progression :)





We haven't weeded or planted anything this year yet. Hoping after school is out (although I know that is the end of June) to get some outside work done. It has been a cold and busy May. 





Sunday, April 3, 2016

How We Became a Cat Family (part II)

In October of 2015, my husband mentioned to his boss - how crazy it was - that we as 'not cat people' all of a sudden had a cat taking over our house.  Granted the cat (Nala) was our sons, but we had fallen helplessly in love with this little kitty. The thing was, she was a pretty independent kitty - and didn't care to be held and petted as much anymore. For goodness sakes - she was almost 5 months old.   And so Larry's boss said ... "have I got the cat for you."  He showed Larry this photo on his phone. 

They had just gotten home from vacation - and when he was out in the yard - he heard this crying - that he eventually found, was coming from this little kitty out in the woods behind his house.  He and his wife had 2 cats already (outside cats) and they didn't seem to take so well to her.  But he said, she just wants to be held and hugged and comforted.  He lives in a rural area with lots of woods. He went to his neighbors and no one had lost a kitten.  It was starting to look like someone had dumped her in the woods - after not finding a home for her.  She was well fed - and litter box trained. But after a week of having her in their home - no one would claim her. 

And so he and his wife brought her to our home. Yeah - I fell hard for her.  I said we were keeping her.  We did have to keep her and Nala separate for a while - as our new little kitty had  a terrible sneezing issue - with lots of mucous.  We took her to the vet - and they gave us some meds. They also figured she had been born near the end of July and was about 11 weeks old.   It was so hard to get a good photo of her - she is so dark. But her eyes..... 

It was pretty close to halloween - and so I tried to get some photos of her - you know the whole Black Cat and Halloween thing - I never realized that black cats were often the last to go in a litter - because people don't want them. That made me so sad - cause she was so sweet and so friendly. 

I got some mini pie pumpkins and tried to get a Halloween photo of her. I was pretty happy with this next one, as she lounged on the recliner. 

We took Nala and Lola outside when it snowed (very lightly) for the first time. 


Always trying to get a good photo of her ....  They both love to stare out the windows.

Halloween came and went and soon it was Christmas.  I was hoping to wait until after Christmas to get her spayed - our experience with Nala - had been pretty tough. Zach took the brunt of it - not sleeping and keeping her contained in a small area - with little movement and no licking of the stitches. Overall Nala fared well - but we needed to have eyes on her at all times.   So we knew - it would be best if we could have Lola's done while I was home on break. But ... it was not to be ....

Lola started laying down and rubbing her back on the floor and howling in an unearthly sound.  She laid on her belly lifting her little rump in the air.  Everything I read,  said Lola was in her first heat. 
 I called the vet and made the appointment as soon as we could.  They said it was more dangerous to have them spayed after they had gone into heat. 

All did not go well. 

We almost lost her. She came home after spending a Friday at the vet. She wouldn't eat - wouldn't drink - and the next day started vomiting. On Sunday  it got to the point she was vomiting 4x  in an hour - we took her to an emergency clinic.  Suffice it to say - we paid a ridiculous amount of money and they did nothing to help us. They gave her subcutaneous fluids - but not much else.  We brought her home - hoping she would last thru the night. Our little black marshmallow (oh she is soooo soft and squishy) had lost so much weight. 

She did last thru the night and we called the vet that did the surgery first thing Monday morning. The told us to wait it out thru the day - if she kept vomiting we were to bring her in Tuesday morning. We did. They gave her more fluids thru the day on Tuesday and prescribed an  anti nausea med and an antibiotic. When I brought her home Tuesday night - she ate .... she didn't throw up - The next day we could tell she was back to her little self. 


We celebrated Christmas - with a real tree - she and Nala - both loved it and tried to climb up the trunk. UGH!!

 But they have become best buds - our little girls ... "the sisters"

Nala is funny - almost like a momma to Lola. When Lola falls asleep upstairs - Nala sneaks over to her and grooms her and then falls asleep next to her. 


It is still so hard to get a good photo of her. He color changes, From very black to black with brown - but she still is the sweetest baby.  Never has she lashed out with claws. Never does she lose her temper with us (now - Nala is a different story - they have some knock down - drag out kitty fights). 

 But they are the best of friends.  Nala sleeps in the apartment in the basement at night - and Lola in the living room upstairs. As soon as that basement door opens up - Lola runs to it - waiting for Nala to come and spend the day with her. 

Our little Lola is getting big. 
Here are two photos - both have my youngest holding her. On the left is from October when we got her (about 3 months old)  and the right is just a few weeks ago at 8 months old.


I can't believe we waited so long to have this kind of pet. I never would have chosen a cat for myself - but we truly have come to enjoy them and their antics.