the path i have chosen

IMG_7439I’m headed back home after being in DC this past week. I finally have a bit of time to myself to reflect on the past couple of weeks (actually months) and I find myself wondering where in the world the time went. How could it already be the first week of February? This makes me think about what I have traded my days for.

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the value of a gift

I guess I’m still a kid at heart! I love Christmas and I love receiving boxes in the mail! So, when I received my box from my “Secret Santa”, I couldn’t wait to open it!

Thanks to some lovely ladies, my second year of participating in the Christmas In the Country was a success! These gals certainly know how to organize and create a fun activity during the Christmas season! Thank you Laurie, Jamie, Robyn and Erin! You gals are the best! And…Merry Christmas to you – all of you! It seems like the holiday was a year ago already but my Christmas tree and decorations remind me that it really wasn’t THAT long ago (no, I still haven’t taken any of it down)!

So, to give you a bit of an idea of what this is all about, I agreed to be a part of the gift exchange in November. Those gals that I just mentioned gathered names of people wanting to participate (from all walks of life) and then matched us with another blogger. The name I was given was Amber whose blog is, “A Gentle Word“. I, of course, had to visit her blog when I was trying to figure out what to send her and realized that she is way younger than me, has way younger children than me and yet we share some same similarities and life experiences. Her blog was something I needed at the time. Her writing provided my crazy soul with a bit of peace that it needed! I didn’t take any pictures of what I sent to her. However, I did send her an angel like the ones I had made for my girls and for some of my close friends:


This is my angel.

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meet little miss nora grace

IMG_0601“Hi Mama! It’s nice to finally see your beautiful face!” (picture credit to Auntie Taylor)

I’ve got one hour. One hour before the entire year of 2014 is in the history books.

I feel like such a BAD GRANDMA! How can Nora be 3 1/2 weeks old already and I haven’t shared her with the world? I figured I better include her in 2014 or one day she’ll be reading about the year she was born and there would be nothing mentioned about her. You see, as I’ve said before, I began this blog with the intent of having a “journal” for my kids to read one day. I’ve never been very good about keeping a written journal but if I can sit here and hammer out my thoughts on the keyboard, I seem to be able to get more written than I would any other way. So, I have one hour to have the last best event that happened to the Z Crew in 2014 added to our book. I print each of my blogging years so one day, maybe even Eli and Nora will want to read about the silly ‘ole lady they called Grandma (or Gah! – as Eli calls me).  Callie says he’s obsessed with me. I just smile cause I know it’s just a grand kid/grandma sort of relationship. And…it’s a good thing!

So…Nora Grace arrived in this world on Friday night December 5 at 8:55. She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and was 20″ long. Jamie just had her at the dr recently and she weighed over 10 lbs. I’d say things are going quite well.

IMG_0524It took a while for Eli to figure out that he’s supposed to LOVE this little creature – not hate her for ruining his life. (picture credit goes to Auntie Taylor)

IMG_0523Picture credit goes to Auntie Taylor


IMG_6003Credit for the next three pictures goes to Auntie Jenna.


unnamedWhat an angel!

unnamed (7)Welcome to this crazy place called life, Nora! And welcome to our family!! 

traditional traditions

I have to begin this with a HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY to Jamie!!!

Our family loves traditions! And, this time of the year is one time that traditions run rampant!

One tradition that was started way back when was the yearly visit to see Santa Claus. I wrote a post about the very last picture of the four girls with Santa. That’s already been three years ago. Gosh, a lot has happened in those three years! Today, Taylor and I tagged along with Jamie, Eli and Nora while they waited in line (over two hours) to see Santa. I think the outcome was worth it!

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(gmo) labeling the harvest

photo 2 (8) - CopyBefore I begin, I want to add a disclaimer to the pictures I’m using. Although this is about GMO foods, I don’t have many pictures of fall harvest (corn & soybeans) so most involve wheat. There is no GMO wheat in our food system.

The 2014 midterm elections are now history. Thank goodness! I am so glad my landline phone is now quiet again and the signs that cluttered up the landscape have been removed…until next time.

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the past six weeks in a nutshell – part 2

The next days of being home meant unloading the Cottage. You have to remember that when we left in June, I had basically loaded everything I would need from our house into the Cottage. The house was closed up to everyone and everything EXCEPT the spiders. They apparently went to work overtime this summer in making our home their home. The first thing I needed to do was recapture my home and send those nasty little devils on a hike (thanks to the vacuum cleaner)! Cleaning the Cottage is so much easier!

On Saturday morning, we were up early with a destination of Boone, IA – we being Curt, Jamie, Eli, Jim and me. Earlier in the summer, Jamie and I had purchased tickets to ride the train knowing how obsessed Eli is with trains. It was going to be Eli’s day of “go go’s”. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction once we got to the depot and he would see the trains. The day was gorgeous! A bit of a summery heat but it was better than too chilly!



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the past six weeks in a nutshell

It’s been six weeks.  Did you miss me?

The one true reason I started writing in the first place was to provide my family a written document of what has taken place at this time in history. I print my blogs from year to year so some day they will have something to look back on. I sort of blew it.

It actually feels a lot longer ago than just six weeks, to tell you the truth. We got home from Montana with the final load on September 23. And then it began…as though I had never left. The real world took over and the clock (and calendar) won out! My days have been full – too full! Could we just step back and jump into that harvest world again? No? You mean I really will have to wait for six more months to be back in my Cottage on Wheels?

What I’d really like to do is jump back into blogging beginning with today. Well, maybe a week ago would be better. However, my brain would never allow me to do that. You see, to begin now with the end-of-the-harvest story never really being told, well…that’s just not right. So, I’m going to step back to the point I left off and tell the story. I suppose, because sometimes I get long-winded, I may have to break this up for you. BUT, if I stop writing, I may never finish. So, I’ll keep writing and writing and when it becomes too long for one post, I will just continue it to the next day. Deal? Deal!

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condensing the journey

img_13812As the water swirled down the kitchen sink, I became aware that it was probably the last sink of dishes I will do in the Cottage in 2014. Suddenly everything I do tonight takes on a whole different feel.

Yep, the 2014 harvest journey is officially over. Tomorrow morning will be the first trip headed in the direction of home. The Beast will be waiting for our return in a few days.

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a generation who can’t let it happen again

I can’t believe it’s been 13 years.

In March, the Z Crew made a trip to New York City. And, of course, the one place we all agreed to visit was the 9/11 Memorial. So, today takes on a whole different feel after actually standing on the same ground where so many died. Being in the city and seeing for myself how it is laid out helped me to understand how chaotic it must have been. But really…how could I know? I wasn’t there.

IMG_3507This was the first time I had ever been in New York so the skyline of the past wasn’t being missed. I didn’t know any different.

Just as there is a generation who don’t know what our world and our country was like prior to 9/11. They don’t know any different.

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