"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gearing Up for Retirement

The Mr. is planning (once again;) to retire (for good) at the end of 2013.  That gives us one year to adjust our budget (and attitudes) for life on his pension(s) and what savings we've squirreled away.  He deserves to hang up his badge after 25+ years of community service.  We have plans .. and then the Lord has plans .. hopefully some will be the same.

You can bet (Lord willing) we won't be sitting around (much).  We have fire wood to gather this summer, mini vacations to take (Glacier National Park), family to visit (us), and odd home repairs not to put off. Grandchildren to fuss over.

We've worked like dawgs paying off debt the past few years (knock on wood .. ) and have learned to be content not needing the latest or greatest gadgets; this all on one income.

We won't be jet setters or pet sitters.  We have a special needs son, Nathan, that will keep us young at heart and close to home; he's a blessing.

So with the New Year about to begin, may the good Lord prepare our hearts, minds AND finances to be adequate and sustaining.  May He give us peace and servant's hearts to give of our time and help to others.  Welcome 2013

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We Shall Overcome!

Last night Nathan and I had the privilege of attending a homecoming type basketball game for the local special needs community.  The event was sponsored by Real Life Ministries AND North Idaho College.  This evening was all about the participants!  They were out there on the gym floor as bright shining stars!  Each person had a grin from ear to ear as they hustled across the basketball court playing and giving the game and their teams their all.

As many of you know my son, Nathan, has Down syndrome and has only recently come out of his shell.  Loud noises, auditoriums, crowds and over stimulating events would keep him at home in the safety of his room.  With much hard work, practice going out in public and dedication, he has developed much greater tolerance for such events.

Many hours were spent into getting this event put together.  There was a high school band, cheer leaders, precision drummers, dim lights .. a tunnel of blue smoke the athletes ran through to start the game.  Any single one of these is a triumph .. put them together and we have VICTORY!

Go Nathan!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Head 'em up and move 'em out ...

We just returned from a mini vacation in Sandpoint, Idaho.  About an hour north of us, we were delighted to spend time with family at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

 This is a working 'guest' ranch that has many options when planning your stay.  They have all inclusive packages that include horseback riding, skeet shooting, meals, etc.

We opted to rent two cabins and just enjoy the relaxing scenery.  A few opted for horseback riding (which included a riding lesson).

The cabins have kitchens so we brought up pre-planned meals.

The area is surrounded by mountains, streams and Lake Pend Oreille.

Schweitzer Mountain is just a short drive from the ranch.

We took a trip up the mountain and had lunch.  The ski lifts run most of the summer and you can ride down some of the trails on mountain bikes.

Hubby wants to do this soon.  I say we take the easy route down and not go for the double black diamond trails :)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Good Old Summer Time On Lake Coeur d'Alene

.... in a zippy pontoon boat.  A great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.  Even Nathan enjoyed the ride.  He really wanted to try wake boarding.  Maybe next time we can get pulled behind the boat in a raft.  The one we were going to use flew off the boat as it was being hauled down to the lake (oooops)!

I am amazed how tired I was when we got home.  All I did was sit under the boat's canopy and watch life go by.  Eat a sandwich and grapes ... time for a good night's rest.  First I need to get my land legs back.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Historic Walking Tour

Ft. Sherman Chapel
constructed 1880

Yesterday was 'date' day.  Hubby and I visited our local museum for a nearby walking tour of historic Ft. Sherman.

 Our guide was General William Carlin, commander of Ft. Sherman ... dressed in a period uniform from the War Between the States (aka .. the Civil War).  The 90 minute walk was leisurely .. and included many shade filled stops along the way.  Wearing a boiled wool uniform is hot, no matter your rank!
Ft. Sherman Officers Quarters
constructed 1878

Three quarters size replica of original fort entrance
Fort Sherman ammunition building
 If you're up to a nice leisurely stroll around Coeur d'Alene or Ft. Sherman (now known as North Idaho College), be sure to get your tour tickets at the Museum of North Idaho.  Adults $15 and worth every penny :)
A beautiful stroll along Lake Coeur d'Alene
Our date ended with an inexpensive lunch at the Mexican Food Factory at the corner of Fourth and Birch in Midtown, Coeur d'Alene.  According to the owner/chef ... it's the oldest Mexican food establishment in CDA.  The food was very good ... and tasted like homemade.  Great salsa!!!  Lunch for two, including tea and lemonade was $13.00.   Get out and explore your neighborhood!  We did and had a blast!

Monday, June 04, 2012

It's Been A BUSY Two Months

... since my last post.

We have had gardens to put in, company ... and my little granddaughter had heart surgery.  Many times I have come here and have not known what to write.  Ideas flying out my head .. then out the window as well.  Life takes turns and sometimes the ride is a roller coaster; I don't 'do' roller coasters.  But .. lately .. I've been along for the ride.

How can summer be just a few weeks away.  I've yearned for this season since last January while snow bound at home pouring over seed catalogs daydreaming.  The garden has been planted except for one type of seed .. morning glories.  It may not be too late to stick some seeds along the fence line and hope they have time to sprout and mature in our short growing season.

The grass needs to be mowed .. and so do the weeds.  Somehow, we have had several rainy days this past week giving me a break with watering the garden ... yet causing the grass to grow with wild abandon adding to the job of mowing.

This is the last week of junior high school for Nathan ... then he gets promoted to high school.  He's excited and prepared to make the step up.  School is serving him well as he is learning many life skills that are important to his current and future life. 

There is so much life to live in our short summer months.  Staying outdoors .. tending the veggie/fruit patches .. summer camp for Nathan .. watching the grand kids grow .. and soaking in the fresh mountain air.  It's time to get the kayaks and bikes out.  BBQ past 7 PM.  Star gaze around the fire pit.  Make homemade ice cream outside with chipped ice and salt, and listening to the cricket serenade.  How about you; what's up in your world?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fond Memories of Palm Fronds

The Easter season brings back so many happy childhood memories. I was raised with many religious traditions.  Ash Wednesday .. Lent .. Palm Sunday .. Easter Sunday.  These traditions made a lasting impression and really do serve a purpose to remind and reflect tangibly on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

The arrival of Easter meant a shiny new outfit.  For girls there were frilly chiffon dresses with ribbon ties, patten leather shoes, white gloves, straw hats and purses adorned with silk flowers.  What little girl wouldn't enjoy that?  The boys wore dress suits or button down dress shirts and a knit pullover vest.  The excitement of getting ready on Easter morning was almost too much to bear!

Religion took front and center stage over the secular Easter Bunny theme in our home, although he did pay us a visit .. which added to the thrill of such an important day.  Our baskets were assembled at home by our parents with real colored chicken eggs, speckled malt eggs, spiced gum drops and chocolate.  A little trinket gift could be found .. I remember getting a necklace/bracelet set.

Dinner was formal with a tablecloth and the best China dishes and stemware used.   Ham, potatoes, lime green Jello with canned pears, a green salad, green beans, rolls .. and a cake with coconut frosting.  We would eat at my grandparents home and visit with relatives.  The day was as pretty as a shiny new penny.  In all of the rush to prepare the meal, you had to be certain to have all of your supplies as the grocery stores were closed.  The day had national importance.

Today is Palm Sunday.  The day we remember Jesus arriving on a donkey in Jerusalem... also known as His Triumphal Entry.  Matthew 21:9-11 says, The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!, Hosanna in the highest!"  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"  The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."  

This is the Sunday we would get new palm fronds at mass and save them until the following year.  Ours were always stuck at the corner of a picture frame .. as a visual reminder.  The church would burn some of the leftover fronds and use to place a smudge on your forehead when attending church on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. 

I suppose this post is just a way to reflect on the importance of the Holy Season and how much that significance has (sadly) changed in today's more secular society.  It's even more important for Christian parents to teach their children while they are young because they certainly wont' find en mass community support.  Times have changed.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Birthday Boy

... a few days late.

Nathan had his 16th birthday ten days ago.  He has come so far.  Happy is written all over his face (as well as some of his dinner;)   He's been bugging us for a dinosaur shirt for the past three months.  Was he surprised .. even the ball has the mouth of a dinosaur with teeth showing.   Pants and shoes to match were also requested (LOL).  He is the biggest walking commercial addict I know.  Anything Disney or Universal Studios makes him happy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When Men Are Boys

during a sudden snow storm.

Note to hubby:  Don't let the snow pile up past six inches if you plan on snow-blowing.  Don't drive the truck in deep snow.   Don't try to plow in deep snow.  Over and out. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

One Year

... to make a difference.

Nathan had intensive behavior intervention (IBI) for one year.   Somehow, with all of the work involved, a light was switched on and family life has resumed to normal.  I LIKE the new normal.  Maturing has been a big help.  But, all of the little gimmicks we used to 'train' up our child have been dropped (for the most part) and new (much improved) behavior has been firmly established.

Nathan .. Ready for a ride
I no longer live and breath in fear and for that, I praise God.  Nathan continually brings home notes from his teacher that he had a good day.  He plays hard at P.E. ... is learning to use his iPad for communication at school, attends an after school program twice a week .. and is awaiting anxiously for spring so he can start his developmental (horseback) riding lessons.  And this from a boy that had to be pulled through the horse barn just two years ago at the fair!  A few summers ago he 'went through' three or four summer camp aides ... two days of Nathan was enough to send them looking for another job or be reassigned.  That's the summer we met Miss Paula (an interventionist).. and our journey began with IBI.

If you are the parent of a special needs child needing behavior modifications, have a talk with your pediatrician by mentioning your concerns.  We would have never gotten help had I not spoken up during a routine yearly medical exam; that's when our doctor recommended IBI.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Babysitter ... aka ...


I'm heading out the door to babysit my grandchildren ... including the youngest .. with medical needs.

Having had a child of my own with 'hardware' attached soon after birth (feeding tube & ileostomy bag), I know how hard it is to find and trust a sitter.  My daughter (the mommy) needs a little break to visit the dentist.  She promised to come straight home .... and that makes me happy :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Happy Birthday ... Papa

Today I want honor my Pop on his birthday.  He's 83 years young and has been part of my life since he scooped up my little divorced mama and her three young children 43 years ago.  His love for us has been the best blessing to our family this side of heaven.  It was not an easy task to step in and be an instant parent having never been one before marrying my mom.  There would be a huge void in my life without him that is hard to even imagine.

For all you are and all you've done for our family, thank you Papa.


Your Forever Daughter

Friday, January 06, 2012

More and More ...

Nathan as a wee babe 1997
independent.  That Gift of mine (Nathan .. the possessor of an extra chromosome) has got his groove on.  Pretty self reliant of late is he!  After spending months and months with an in home therapist, he has got himself in order.  Bathing, washing his own hair, eating at the Christmas table with eleven people, brushing teeth, shopping, extra outings after school twice a week .. just to name a few improvements.  God is good .. and I am blessed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Grandma love.  I can't even describe the warm feeling when I hold my youngest little grandbaby.  She's a trooper after having heart surgery four days after birth.