Saturday, December 26, 2009

My arms are full and so is my heart

We always have this conversation at our house..... Do we want another dog? Yes we do! Are we crazy? Do we want to foster again? If we get another, what kind? A puppy or grown dog? A little dog or a big dog?

Last Sunday Jordan and I went out to eat at this little diner in our town. In the entryway people post ads and we always stop to read them. Wouldn't you know it? "Pug puppies for sale. 3 females (1 fawn 2 black) Born Oct. 10th". It must have been a weak moment for me because within an hour Jordan and I went and picked one out. We told Craig nothing! We weren't trying to pull a fast one on Craig, as he's always the one who wants another dog. We just wanted to surprise him.

The next day we went and picked up our new puppy and waited for Craig to get home for the big surprise. When he pulled in the driveway we tried to stuff her in a stocking but that wasn't working so instead Jordan put a red bow on her head and sat with her in front of the Christmas tree. I greeted Craig at the door and told him we had a Christmas surprise for him. He closed his eyes and I guided him into the living room. SURPRISE!
All Craig said is "What is that???!!!". And then he melted, just like the rest of us did.
We are absolutely loving her!
She's the sweetest thing ever. We haven't named her yet. We called her Raven for a few days and now we are calling her Moe. We'll see it that sticks. We are still deciding.
Zoe seems to like her. She plays with her an is very gentle with her. I know they will be fine together.
Seadra is another story. She isn't being very tolerant of her and is quite upset with us for bringing this intruder into the house. Seadra isn't eating well and she's pouting and hiding a lot. I'll need to give her extra attention and time to get used to this puppy.
As for me? My arms are full and so is my heart!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Concert

Wednesday was another one of Jordan's "lasts" for her senior year of high school... The Christmas band concert. That's Jordan in the front far left making beautiful music with her oboe. Jordan is planning on participating with the symphony when she goes to college next year. I can hardly wait to go to those Christmas concerts.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Birds Eye View

This suet log hangs just inches from my kitchen window. I love being able to see the birds up close.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Boo and The Zo

No matter what kind of day I'm having these two can melt my heart!
My Zo-Zo... cuddly, affectionate and loves everyone!
My Boo-Boo.... Affectionate, and she needs her Mommy. Guess who her Mommy is?

Monday, December 7, 2009

How much more can I take?

For 25 years I've been enduring treacherous roads on my way back and fourth to work in the winter. I live approximately 25 miles from St. Joe where most of my employment has been during our married life and most of that 25 miles is interstate driving. Maybe some of you are thinking "25 miles isn't so bad, and what's so bad about driving on the interstate?". I will be the first to tell you that I am a wimp when it comes to driving in the winter and Craig will be the second one to speak up and tell you the same thing! It absolutely terrifies me.

Now let me tell you about my drive this morning..... I walk out of the house about 7:00 this morning. As I walking out to the garage I noticed what looked like a light dusting of snow. Not too bad I was thinking and surely the highway must be fine, it wasn't too much below freezing and the salt trucks must have been out by now. I get in my car and drive about 2 miles and take the entrance ramp to West I-94. Merging into traffic I'm cautious and anxious to see if the road is slippery. I get up to about 50 mph and the back end of my car does this little fish tail thing making my blood pressure rise and my fingers tighten around the steering wheel. Immediately I lower my speed and set in for who knows what is ahead of me for the next 20 miles. It's an all too familiar feeling.

Driving a few more miles I see 2 cars in the ditch and it looks like they have hit each other. The cops are not even on the scene yet. A few more miles I see flashing red lights. By this time the traffic is down to 30 mph. As I'm approaching the flashing lights I can now see it's another car in the ditch. I slowly change lanes to be in the opposite lane as the police car (this is a law in Michigan). Trying to change lanes on a sheet of ice makes me very nervous (as if I'm not nervous enough!) but I manage to do it.

Ok, now I am past the cop car and traffic is still going about 30 miles per hour. I have no desire to go any faster but the SUV behind me thought I was going too slow and decided to pass me. When he or she was directly beside me they completely lost control. Next thing I know their headlights are shinning directly at my door. At this point I am praying "Please Lord SAVE me and don't let this SUV cram into me. Oh please, oh please oh please!". By the grace of God somehow they missed me and flew in behind my car doing about 2 complete circles.

Shortly thereafter I exit the highway. By this time I am totally stressed and I want to cry. And all these thoughts are going through my head..... How much more of this winter driving can I take? I'm too old for this s***! I've been doing this for 25 years!!!! I'm lucky to be alive. Craig only drives 5 miles to work and drives a truck! I'm quitting my job, I refuse to do this any longer! I wonder how many years all this has taken off my life?.....

When I get to the hospital and safely park in the parking garage I call Craig on my cell, who I might add is in sunny Orlando this week! When he answers I tell him I need some sympathy and he listens to my story, the same one he has heard over and over. He tells me he understands and he's sorry, but somehow I don't think he understands at all. I feel a little better being able to rant for a few minutes. It takes me well into our first surgery of the day before I'm feeling normal again.

You might think that this story is not the norm but it is! OK, maybe I don't always have headlights shinning directly at me every day but normal winter driving is seeing multiple cars in the ditch, accidents, driving 30 mph, dealing with white out conditions. Of course some winters are worse than others. Last winter was an unusually bad winter for driving to work and I haven't forgotten it yet. After this morning I'm wondering what kind of winter driving I have to look forward to for the rest of this winter... it's only Dec. 7th! Oh, and as I type this we are under a winter storm advisory this very moment. What will tomorrow morning be like when I wake up?

You very rarely hear me talk about disliking snow or winter. In fact I LOVE winter. I think it's one of the most beautiful seasons we have. Our whole family loves to play in the snow (snowmobile). I love being home on the snowiest of days all nestled in my warm safe house. I just really DISLIKE driving in it!

Sorry to be using my blog to vent.....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmases Past

Christmas 2004
5 years ago......

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today my hubby turns 46. Craig was 22 when we married. Wow, we've spent more years of our life married than not. Everyday I grow more grateful for this man.
I love you! Happy Birthday Craig.

Another Chapter

Jordan got her acceptance letter in the mail yesterday from Ferris. She was in Chicago when the package arrived. I knew what it was without even opening it. That girl is so intelligent and amazing that I knew without a doubt it was an acceptance letter. I sent her a text and told her there was a big white envelope from Ferris Office of Admissions waiting for her when she got home. Of course I got a text back "DON'T OPEN IT!".
Now the part where I get to brag on Jordan. Ferris is registering her as an honor student. She'll register for honors classes, will live in an honors dorm and have a private room. And best of all... Ferris is giving her an awesome scholarship based on her GPA and ACT scores. Her scholarship will consist of approximately half of her room and board renewable for 4 years! What a blessing that is and what an honor for Jordan. She's worked hard and has truly earned it.
I've got 9 months to get used to the fact that Jordan will be leaving us. I'm excited for her and at the same time apprehensive of not being able to tuck Jordan in each night. I know that this is just another chapter in Jordan's life with many more to come and I look forward to what the future brings.

Congratulations Jordan. I love you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like......

....Christmas. We were busy last weekend putting up our Christmas tree, decorations and lights.
Craig and Jordan didn't let the cold rainy day stop them from putting up the outdoor lights.
Now if we could just get some snow. Last year at this time we had over a foot of snow already.
We are ready to break out the snowmobiles.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This makes me happy

Josh (Caleb's buddy) was home this weekend from college so the gang got together tonight and had pizza at our house. I'm going to miss these days when all the kids grow up and go wherever life takes them. I sure am crazy about these kids!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 09

This was the beautiful Thanksgiving altar at our church last Sunday, compliments of my Mother. She arranged and set it all up. She so talented.
And here's a photo from our Thanksgiving yesterday with my parents. We really enjoyed a quiet intimate dinner with them this year. Only 6 of us around the table. But that didn't stop us from having the works! Ham, turkey, dressing, the whole nine yards!
I love this photo!
Caleb pouring our traditional sparkling grape juice.
time to eat.
This was my favorite photo from the day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My favorite thing last week....

Some months ago Sarett Nature Center announced their used "nature" book sale that was coming up. They asked for gently used nature themed books to be donated for a book sale they had planned as a fund raiser. I rounded up 4 bags of books (thank you Anne for your donation too) and donated them. I could hardly wait for the sale to start Saturday morning. What could be more up my alley??!! I love books, I love nature, and I love a bargain. Do you know that I came home with about 30 books!!!! And I only spent $20!!! I could have spent more than that on ONE book at the book store. I got books on nature quotes from famous people, nature artists, nature photography, bird field guides, bird life, mammals, wildflowers, wild mushrooms, alaskan adventures, national parks, insects, sea life, hummingbirds..... the list goes on. I have my whole winters reading and then some.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I love my birdies!

We've been so busy lately that I haven't gotten outside much to photograph my birds. I managed to get outside for a few minutes yesterday. Mr. Redbellied is so beautiful!
I'm looking forward to snow arriving soon. Winter is my favorite time to photograph birds as well as all things in nature. The birds are always abundant and active and everything is so crisp and clean.

Craig was busy all weekend with the snowmobile club marking the snowmobile trails. It's official now..... winter will be arriving soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seadra and Zoe's new friend

When I got home from church this afternoon this was the view outside.
And this was the view from inside the house. Seadra and Zoe have a new friend.
This drives Seadra nuts! Nothing gets her more excited than a squirrel.
Now I have to figure out a way to keep their new friend off the bird feeder.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why am I smiling?

Take a good look at this photo. Why do you think I'm smiling? Why am I hugging on Craig? Could it be because I'm on a cruise in the Caribbean with my wonderful husband? Could it be because we are on St. Maarten, a beautiful island? Could it be because we are posing in front of our amazing cruise ship? Or....... could it be that Craig just bought something and he's carrying it in that bag? And could that something in the bag be for me?????
The last thing I expected to come home with from our cruise was the camera that I've been dreaming about for the last 6 months. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this camera. It's a canon T1i, SLR, 15mp, and it shoots HD video too.

Now you know why I was smiling in that photo!

Our Cruise

We had a wonderful time on our cruise! Back in Feb. Kay and Roger invited us to join them on a 7 days Caribbean cruise in Nov. The time finally arrived and we really enjoyed it all! Trying to go through all 500 photos and pick out a few to show you is nearly impossible........
We had 4 stops, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Princess Cays (a Princess owned Bahama island).
Just like everyone talks about who have been on cruises... the food was wonderful, the sights were fantastic, the entertainment was awesome, the ship was magnificent.... and they treated us like royalty!
The first 3 days we had really rough seas from Hurricane Ida. Even though we were 500 miles from the hurricane we still had the winds from her. I was really surprised at how much our ship rocked around, so much so that you occasionally you needed to grab onto something to stay standing. As long as I kept Dramamine in me I was fine and didn't feel sick.
Of course I was hoping to see some whales or dolphins. We didn't see any whales but we did see some dolphins jumping along side the ship.
On Grand Turk we took a small boat ride out to a reef and snorkeled. It was soooooo beautiful. I could have stayed there all day.
On the deck pulling into Grand Turk.
On the dock at St. Maarten.
Our ship docked one evening.
This was the view from our balcony at night.... breathtaking!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nature Reserve in Lakeland Florida

Some friends of Kay and Roger (Craig's parents) told them about a nature reserve in Lakeland Florida where they enjoy visiting. Knowing I would like this place we went on Saturday afternoon. What an amazing place! Wow, I would love to live close to this reserve so I could visit more often. The name of this place is Circle B Bar Reserve. If you ever get to Florida and have an opportunity to visit here it is a must see.
The reserve is over 1200 acres and used to be a cattle ranch. In 2000 the land was acquired by the county and they are returning it to it's original state as a nature reserve for wildlife. There is just something special about seeing an animal/bird in it's natural habitat. All the photos you see in this post were taken at the reserve and all the birds were wild.
I just couldn't get enough of this place. We didn't arrive until mid afternoon so we only had a few hours of daylight before having to leave. There were a lot more trails and areas to see that we didn't get to.

This guy was my favorite! His head was featherless and all scaly. I looked him up and he's a "Wood Stork", the only north american stork and he's only found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.
I've never had an appreciation for wading birds. I guess mostly because there is rarely such birds here in Michigan but after visiting this place I have a new fondness for them. They are beautiful!
There were a lot of hawks flying around.

Even bald eagles were there! The trails to their nesting area was blocked off so we couldn't get very close to them.
Rosetta Spoonbills.

Looking forward to my next visit to the "Circle B Bar Reserve", whenever that shall be.