A New Year

A new year has seemed to creep up on us. 365 days seem to be a long time but when living, working, and enjoying life a year is fleeting. The holidays were a great time of family. We traveled across the state to spend time with my family. We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone. I had a realization when visiting this time. It wasn’t home. Yes my childhood home and early married life. This time it felt like a visit not coming home. When driving back to the land of the flat that was home. It was like I was outside looking in. I enjoyed my visit but it no longer seemed like a place I want to go back to. We have established a life on the other side of the state. In saying that we had a great time. We shopped, visited, went out to eat. We went to a morning movie complete with recliner chairs. That was a first for Chad and I. It was quality time with family. 

I took each child individually and we did a little early morning exploring. Greta, I took her to downtown Stillwater. We drove around and checked out the ice castle that was being built. 


Henry I took to the Bayport park to check out the St Croix River. This was a place I spent almost everyday. I swam in the river everyday and we played on the ice in the winter. One of my favorite spots. 


Christmas Day was at my grandmas house like everyday since ever. We have moved up in technology. This year was a group selfie picture. 


Always a great time with everyone. Christmas Eve was at my parents house. I absolutely love watching the kids with their cousins. 


We travelled back and headed to the farm for the Lundquist Christmas. Again a very fun gathering. I can truly say I am very blessed with having 2 great families. 


Now we are in 2017. I am not a big one to make resolutions. I at least don’t say them out loud. I want my family to be healthy. That is a big one for this year. I want more unplugged times also. Games, reading, and outside time. I have taken knitting up again. Greta is playing here ukulele she received from us. Henry is planning World War 3 with nerf guns. Chad always has his nose in a book. Just need to make these things more prominent. 

So the year marches on. Henry is in basketball and bowling. He is my sports lover. Greta is in knowledge bowl, speech and numerous other activities. We are busy and that is good. 

I wish you all a happy New Years! 365 days will go fast. 

Christmas

Christmas is almost here. A favorite time of year for me. I love the time to gather with friends and family. Times to see the beauty of the lights that are strung on houses and trees. I love to see the beauty that surrounds our saviors birth. 

With living in a larger house this year comes with putting up a larger tree. I am in love with the tree, the lights and the majesty. Ornaments that my children had made look beautiful. 


I have hung a few Christmas or winter pictures around the house. 




Outside is decorated also. We took an afternoon and filled and decorated milk cans. I love these old milk cans. Brings that vintage feels to an outdoor display. 


I am ready for this season. Presents are wrapped, cards are addressed. Christmas program practice is underway at church. This year I am helping the kids sign Silent Night. It should be a beautiful performance being done in sign language and being sung. 

I want to thank you all for taking a moment to read my blog. I want to wish you all a merry Christmas. I hope you all feel the peace of the season. 

Battery Power 


Have you ever seen a hearing aid battery?  They are tiny, very tiny, and they are responsible for so much. I started with a size 10 battery. Then went up to a 13 and my current pair of hearing aids use size 312. That is a lot of batteries. I have accepted hearing loss. I have found my tribe. My tribe is composed of wonderful people from the deaf/hard of hearing community. They are funny, fearless, understanding, loving, they are what true friends and family are made of. In saying all of this there is one thing that just stuns me. My understanding is completely controlled by a small little battery. Ok that isn’t totally true. I am very visual and use lipreading and visual cues, but that battery plays a large role. 

Last weekend my husband and I attended a yoga class together. First off I never dreamed that would have happened. Chad agreed and we had a wonderful time. It was time for the two of us together with a wonderful yoga instructor at Empowered Living Company. Sorry for going on a little tangent but had to say how proud of my husband for attending with me. 

Before class, we just got to town. Yes we are rural and “get to town.” My hearing aid battery died. Ok no problem I have this new 16 pack in my purse. Well this took some time but this is truely what happened. Every battery was dead! I checked the package, expires 2018. This is so frustrating. Now my understanding in this yoga class just went to very low. 

Class went well. Great teacher that is so visual. Chad was great, a couple times we were laying and I didn’t have a clear vision line he told me or showed me what we were doing.  I should have advocated for myself instead of using my husband but I don’t think he minded. 

This made me really realize how dependent I am on these tiny batteries. It really boggles my mind. I am not sure why, why is this my big hang up? Why is a battery something that baffles me, causes anxiety that can come out of no where? A lack of a battery or one that works can quicken my heart, cause sweaty palms and make me want to skip what ever I was going to do. 

I contacted the battery distributor and have a new pack coming in the mail. Will I ever buy that brand again, no. I know a bad batch can happen but I won’t take my chances again. 

I will go on. Keep those precious batteries with me. I keep the old ones in an old Ball jar that was my great grandmothers. I am getting quite the collection. My family has told me having to use technology or a battery is almost like being a cyborg. I guess that is a compliment. For now it is placing great importance on a tiny silver disk. 

My DNA


A couple months ago I decided to find out what ethnicity I may be made from. This morning I opened my email and there were the results. Staring me straight in the face. I didn’t have any huge surprises but there were a couple countries listed that I didn’t expect.

I grew up knowing I was about half German and half Swedish. For the most part that is how the test came out. But I had a few little surprises.

Here are the results

Europe West 42%- This is comprised of France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

Scandinavia 42%- This is comprised of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Baltic States

Europe East 8%- This is a surprise to me. Countries comprised of Poland, Slovakia, Czech, Austria, Russia, Hungry, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia, Croatia

Then the little percentages come- as little as they are they still fascinate me.

Ireland 3%- I was always told I was a small part of Irish. So this was a good confirmation.

Italy/Greece 2%- Surprise

Northwest Russia 1%- Surprise

Great Britain 1%- This was a surprise I thought it would have been higher.

Caucasus 1%- This was a surprise. Countries comprised of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine and Romania.

So over all I knew the big amounts. I had a friend in high school that always said I had gyspy eyes. So when Romania showed up a couple times maybe that is true. It is fascinating and I am so glad I did this test.

If you are interested in your ethnicity here is a link and you can get some money off.

http://refer.dna.ancestry.com/s/tnzo6

Working on ME

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At the end of last school year I received a card, I should say my husband received a card in the mail from his employer.  It was a program that assisted you in healthy living and changing habits and losing weight.  Chad wasn’t interested in the program but I was so I signed up and it has been great.  Everything was online, even a scale that they sent me sends everything through WIFI to track your progress.  I happened to start the program the week we moved to our new house.  So it was truly new beginnings.  I have a lot of weight to lose.  Not that extra 10-15 pounds you hear women complain about consistently.  I have told very few people I am doing this program just because of fear of failure and how much I need to lose.  I am not using shakes, surgery or supplements.  Not that these things are wrong but I wanted to try and make life long changes.

I have finally had a few people come up to me and ask if I have lost some weight.  I am a tad over 50 pounds lost.  I have a lot more to go but I am proud of the progress I have made.  I notice I have more energy and buying a couple new pieces of clothes have been fun.  I hope to keep a slow and steady pace for the future.

I have been walking more and more.  I want to add in some strength exercises so a kettle bell was just purchased.  I am excited to be able to do more and more and my kids are excited to go with me and walk with me.

A good friend of mine has reintroduced me to yoga.  I did yoga when I was in college and really enjoyed it.  A couple weeks ago we went to a yoga session in Morris.  I loved it!  I kept waiting for it to get really hard to the point I couldn’t do it but that wasn’t the case.  It was a meditation yoga and I was able to do the full class.  I would love to go back to that class once or twice a month.  Last night we went to a regular yoga class in town.  Oh my, I made it through but it was so tough.  I am not in shape.  I have about zero balance so doing these things in class I felt like I was going to die.  I finished the class, let me tell you there was more than once I wanted to get my mat and walk out the door.  One thing I really learned last night is I am not at that level.  I need beginners yoga and work up to that.  Yes I pushed myself and I got a good work out but I felt lost and extremely awkward the whole class.  In saying that I am proud I stuck with it to the end.

To add to the stress of trying something new is trying to understand what the instructor was saying.  Squaring your body with the mat and turning to watch her talk was tough.  A lot of times her back was to us while she talked or her face was down to the mat while talking.  Add in some music playing- if you are deaf/hard of hearing you get it.  You aren’t going to get anything out of what is going on.

I will try again.  I am not sure if it will be that class or a more beginner class.  I won’t give up.  I give huge virtual hugs to my friend, Beth.  She has been such an encourager.  I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for her.  She is always giving me a compliment or a little push to do something more.  I am very thankful she is in my life.

So I will keep walking, and working.  I love cooking and canning and that works great for this because I can make my family food with no preservatives, no dyes, no added items.  I am changing my whole family without their direct knowledge.  My youngest who used to be so picky has learned to love grilled chicken that was marinated in a light italian dressing.  My oldest loves to cut all kinds of veggies for a stir fry.  My husband who was a 6 cans of soda full of sugar guy, is down to 2 cans a day and one is diet.  It is slow baby steps but they say slow and steady wins the race.

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The Bus Trip

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Last night I was at a woman’s meeting at my church.  Afterwards, we were talking about things we could do for the year.  One thing that was brought up was writing a story of something maybe wacky or crazy that happened to ourselves.  I loved the idea and thought I would pen one of those crazy stories here.

First off I am not wild or crazy at all.  I was probably one of the safest and quiet people ever.  I am extremely reserved and was even more so in my high school and college career.  I was in my third year of college.  Doing pretty well and dating a man from my church.  I was happy but at the same time, I felt this inner drive to be my own person.  I saw a posting at my college for a semester abroad.  I thought about going with the school to Scotland but for some reason, this experience alone seemed to be the one I needed.  I applied for my top picks of schools and was accepted at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.  Never heard of Portales, that is because it is a small school in a small town just west of the Texas Border.  There were no big box stores there.  I wouldn’t have a car and I could walk the whole town so that is what I wanted.  I obviously like the small town life since I am raising my family in one now.  This story isn’t going to be my whole time in New Mexico but one bus trip that is etched in my memory for all time.

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While in New Mexico, I decided I wanted to go somewhere for Spring Break.  I had a great Aunt that lived in Arizona so decided to fly and visit her.  Not the party spring breaks you hear about normally but it was a very special trip and had a great time.  Here was the issue, airline ticket was purchased but how do I get to the airport in Albuquerque which was about 4 hours away.  The lightbulb moment, Greyhound bus.  The way to the airport was covered.  A couple friends I had made at school were traveling that way so another friend and I tagged along.  We had planned our flights to go out around the same time and also return around the same time.  Ok, this plan was coming together.  We flew out and each had great times during our spring break.  We both flew into Albuquerque just about the same time.

Time to head home on the Greyhound bus.  We had a few hours to spare so let’s explore this city that we had no idea where things were.  Would I be happy if my daughter did this, probably not, but we had an adventure.  We jumped on a city bus and decided to find a famous restaurant we knew President Clinton had eaten at.  Did we know how to maneuver a city bus, no?  They don’t give change.  They also have specific routes.  This should have been a given but it wasn’t.  We jumped on the first bus we saw.  This bus took us way out of the city, not good.  We rode for a while and decided we better get off.  We departed the bus and instead of another bus we started walking.  Here are two college aged girls walking through not the best neighborhoods.  We kept going, stopping to talk to a homeless man under a bridge.  He was friendly and let us know which way to continue our trek.  We found the restaurant and after eating we found the bus terminal.  This was another new experience.  People passed out in front of the building.  Men and women watching these tiny tv’s in the lobby that you fed quarters to for airtime.  My friend and I waited for our bus.  I have to admit I was nervous.

The Greyhound bus itself was nice and I kinda prepared myself for an easy 4 plus hours of driving.  Ok, let’s get this in the open, either people who ride buses are odd or people in New Mexico are odd.  There were some different characters on that bus.  People who talked to themselves, to people with no shoes.  We would stop in little towns.  The bus would just sit on a cross street for a few moments and we would wait.  I wondered what we are waiting for.  Oh wait, there is a sweet grandma running down the street to get on the bus.  She has curlers in her hair, wearing slippers and her suitcase of choice is a pillowcase.  I kid you not.  We had about 3 stops like this.  Either slippers or no shoes at all.  This was the most bizarre trip I had ever been on.  We stopped in numerous little towns that had nothing but a street light and a bench.  We would wait as these people ran with their black hefty garbage bags or more pillowcases.  Did they not expect to be on a bus this day?  Did the bus catch them off guard?  “The bus is here throw everything in the garbage bag and forget about the shoes!” I can only imagine what went on in their heads.  We ended up having a good trip and some good conversation.  There was one individual on the bus that really will stay in my heart and mind forever.  There was a severely disabled man sitting on the front seat of the bus.  He appeared to be very delayed and nonverbal.  The image of this man isn’t what stays in my mind it is what was on him.  He was placed on this bus by someone who pinned a note onto this man’s chest.  Yes a large safety pin holding a card that had a phone number and a quarter tapped to this card.  How sad is this?  His family or whoever was going to pick him up couldn’t check a schedule of when he was to come in.  My friend and I realized that this individual was getting off at the same stop as we were.  We disbarked at the Tastee Freez in Portales.  We took the quarter off this gentleman’s note and called his aunt.  We let her know he is in town and ready to be picked up.  We had our friends pick us up after some ice cream.  We watched the man with the note get picked up and we were home.

This was a culture shock like I had never experienced.  I had traveled to an orphanage in Mexico, building schools in Jamaica.  Still, I never thought in the USA I would have a day where so many people had no shoes, caring garbage bags and running for a bus.

I am glad I picked New Mexico to explore for a semester.  It opened my eyes to what life can offer.  I realized my boyfriend was overly controlling and ended that relationship, I had to find friends without the help of one or two people I already knew.  I learned to speak up for myself.  It was a time of growth and my eyes were truly opened.

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Fall

Fall is my favorite season. I love putting on a long sleeved T shirt. That slight chill in the air. Sitting outside in the evenings with no bugs. Oh yes I am excited for the month or two that is before us. This fall is busy like all others but there is an enthusiasm that fills my soul. Both kids are back at school and growing like weeds. 

Greta is in 8th grade and Henry is in 3rd. Where have my babies gone. They are both so busy. Henry is in football this fall. He plays two times a week and we can see improvement each practice. He loves it and one of his many goals is to play for the Seattle Seahawks. 

 

Henry loves when dad gets out there and plays with him. He is my sports kid. He loves them all and has 5 million questions when we watch any sporting event on tv. I am not a football person but I better start to be. 

Greta is in full swing of school. She has joined FFA, Speech and WE Day. She went to a WE event in the cities this past week. She came home so energized and ready to make a difference. She reminds me so much of me at that age. I so wanted to change the world. I didn’t get that accomplished…yet but I still try to make a difference. 


Fall is my time to get busy. I am still working as a PCA. I love the girl I watch like my own child. I am also back at the school. Time to get out the calendar so I know where to be each day. My garden is also doing wonderful this year. Best ever if I say. I have done relishes, pickled veggies, pizza sauce and salsa. My tomatoes are on overdrive. I have so many they are overtaking my freezer. Tomato juice may be next on the list. 


My cabbages have been picked and turning into sauerkraut. This is a first for me so hope it will turn out. So pretty


Chad is busy at work like always. This fall he would like to start welding some ornamental things. 


I also am starting on a new endeavor. I have been hired as a deaf/hard of hearing role model. I would describe it as a mentor for families that have a child that is hard of hearing. I am excited to learn more and pass that information on. Always a new chapter to be written. 

So fall is busy but I love every moment of it. It is crisp and cool. I think apples and fires. Sitting by the fire drinking a chai tea sounds heavenly to me. Bring on fall!!

The County Fair is done

The summer is wrapping up. School is around the corner, getting dark a tad earlier and we are getting those cooler evenings. We are emerging into fall my favorite season. Another way to know that summer is almost over is the fair. It is a time to enter projects and to see friends we haven’t seen in a while. We entered our projects last week. 


Henry as a cloverbud he receives a ribbon for every project. Greta did well also. She got all 1st place ribbons besides 2 2nd place ribbons that came from canning. We used brand new Walmart canning jars but she was docked because not name brand. That really upset me but I guess we know for next year now. Must be name brand jars. We left our projects in the judges hands. The next night we were going to be back and we could hardly wait to see how we did. 


We worked the food stand. The kids always have fun with this task. If it is taking orders or cleaning tables they enjoy it. 


Of course we had to check our projects. Greta earned a grand champion and a state fair trip. Very proud of her. Henry loved seeing his projects on display. When we went to open class I was very happy with what I saw also. 


I saw a few 1st, 2nd and 3rd’s. I saw a reserve champion also. It sure made my night. 

Sunday night back to the fair and had some family fun. Food, fun and checking out the animals and music. 


It was a good fair. Already talking what we should do next year. 


I got home and tucked everyone in bed. I took inventory of my ribbons. Just wish they gave real ribbons still. 


Now the fair is done. The birthdays are done, and the family reunions. I must focus my attention on back to school and also subbing a day or two a week. It makes me think what we didn’t do this summer. We didn’t camp, or fish but we have time. We have the beautiful season of fall. 

Summer canning 

It is summer and August which means hot and lets start canning. I am waiting for my tomatoes to turn red. I have plenty of green ones but not one that is even turning a yellow or orange let alone red. I bought a new pressure canner when we were moving. It has been staring at me. 


I also bought an outdoor two burner stove that runs on a propane tank. 


So the two items together means I NEED TO CAN. I bought 3 dozen ears of sweet corn. I was able to get 7 pints and 1 quart. It was fun and brought back the joy of why I do this fun and productive hobby. 


This is the time I enjoy. Canning, ripening of tomatoes, and the county fair. Next weekend is fair time and I am bring a bunch of my canned items. I can’t wait and I can’t wait to see if maybe someday I can get a grand champion. 

For now I just enjoy the dance of life. Just like this corn. Doing the dance. 

Last Year in the 30’s

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This past week was my birthday.  I love my birthday, who doesn’t.  My birthday often goes by without much fuss at all.  There have been many years there is no birthday cake but I really felt the love this year.  I was able to stretch out my birthday for a few days so that is always a special thing also.

This past weekend we travelled up to Hinckley MN to the Casino.  We had a Spoors’ reunion.  That would be my paternal grandfather’s family.  Grandpa was an only child so the reunion is cousins of his.  We have a great time together, laugh and eat.  Kids playing in the pool together.  It is a time to see people we see once a year, but we really need to make time to get together more than that.  Won a little at the casino so that is always a great part of going up there.  My mom made a German Chocolate cake just in honor of me.  I felt the love, thanks momma.

On our way home we knew that the next week would be busy.  Chad was back to work after a 3 week break.  Greta was off to her grandparents for the week.  Henry was finishing up summer school.  We stopped at Olive Garden and had my birthday meal with the 4 of us.  It was good and fun to go to a place that is a step up with the kids.  They loved the attention of the waitress.  Henry loved his big meatball.  Greta loved the chicken gnocchi soup.  We did some shopping and Chad surprised me by telling me he was buying me a ring.  We picked out a beautiful diamond and black onyx ring.  I love the little bit of bling on my finger.  I also like that we picked it out together.  It was a great weekend together and celebrating my birthday with family.

Monday I met with my mother in law and we had lunch with the kids.  I love that I am close with my family and my in laws.  I don’t understand when I hear jokes about your in laws.  I love mine and enjoy being with them.  A fun lunch together, again celebrating my birthday.

The 19th was finally here.  I woke up to texts from family, a call from Greta, and messages on facebook.  I felt the love.  Henry and I worked around home for the day.  Trying to get the garage a little more organized.  Found some old pictures to display.  It was a quiet day and it was perfect.  That night Chad, Henry and I went to the Mexican resturant and I got my fajitas.  It was a perfect ending to a great day.

This is my last year in the 30’s.  I really don’t dread hitting that 40 mark.  I sometime think what have a done in my life, not much.  I wonder if I am doing what I want to do in life.  Again a big unknown.  I may have a couple things coming up in the future.  Still unknown and uncertain but on the horizon.  I can just pray, work hard and pay it forward.  Those are the things I am trying to focus on right now.

Next year I might need to make a big deal about my birthday.  Maybe a party will need to be in order, I doubt it but you never know.  I just want this year to count.  I want to make a difference and make my mark on the world.  12 months till 40 time to make some waves.