Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Pie

So one of the reasons that I stopped blogging last spring was because of fear. Yes, fear. When you blog and put pictures out there, you have to remember that anyone can read your blog and get a glimpse of your life. For a few different reasons the fear grew in me. I became overwhelmed and thought that the best way for me to conquer what was going on was to take a break from blogging. In the past six months I have dealt with the fear of people knowing too much about me or my kids. I was able to overcome the fear by praying my way through it. I have renewed interest in blogging and sharing with others and feeling connected to other women whom I share common interests. So I am putting aside the fear and moving forward with my blogging.

I always have a difficult time in transitioning from summer to fall. It's not that I don't like fall with beautiful changing leaves, cooler temps, and more free time with the kids in school, it is the fact that we are so far away from my favorite season of summer. I actually mourn the loss of summer and the abundant sunshine and flip flop weather...I am a true summer girl. So last week I decided that I need to embrace the good things about fall and create new and positive memories, even if I didn't feel like it. I had to change my attitude and be grateful for this new season with so many possibilities.

When my oldest walked through the door one day last week, I asked her if she would accompany me to the apple orchard. It is rare that is she is home after school but she is on a short break from her athletic endeavors, as she has been having knee issues. I knew she would rather flop on her bed before beginning her evening studies, but I was able to convince her to go with me. As we walked outside, she asked if she could drive down the driveway. She won't get her driver's permit until January, but recently I have let her drive up and down the driveway and around our irregular circle. She has practiced parking and backing up, too. I can already see a difference in her confidence and I think this will really help her when she gets her permit and gets out on the real road. (I need to write a post on driving and teenagers and my thoughts on why kids need to get their permit and their license.)

One of the bonuses of where we live, is that it is near a wonderful apple orchard that sells fresh cider, homemade apple donuts, produce, and of course, fresh-picked apples. So after our two minute drive to the orchard we asked the salesperson which type of apples were appropriate for making a pie and we popped the apples into the bag from the indoor bin. We purchased them and were on our way out the door when I was stung by a bee. I didn't even see the bee. I just felt this horrible sting on my wrist and could feel the venom traveling downward into my arm. It hurt really badly! There wasn't a stinger and I couldn't believe how much it hurt. I was able to drive home and was glad that my daughter was with me! When we arrived home a few minutes later, I wanted to get started on the apple pie but was in pain and was feeling completely silly that I couldn't handle a little bee sting. Ana was so sweet and worried about me and she told me she thought it was a bee that flew away. She helped me peel and core several apples and it was really rare and precious mother daughter time. Then she went on her way to study.

I was alone in the kitchen and added the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples while waiting for my youngest to get off the bus. She has always baked with me and has a huge interest in watching Cake Boss. I thought it would be fun for her to make the crust. It hit me that I haven't baked with her in a long time and that is a great way to bond with her. She was so surprised that I was going to let her make the pie crust. We worked together and I let her do a lot of the work and helped her with a bit of the rolling and putting the pie crust into the pie dish. She did a lot of the venting of the pie and I had to show her how to make it look even. She was really good at pinching the layers together, so I let her take over that task! Meanwhile my arm was starting to really swell and I was in pain! At this point, the kitchen is becoming very messy with flour and dough everywhere including the floor and ingredients all over the counter.  And I still had to make dinner!

Love how the sunshine on this day streams into my kitchen!
Fresh peeled apples from the orchard
Marissa, my happy baker
Mmmmm, can you smell the apple pie wafting through the house?
Marissa was all about letting me take a few pictures of her while baking. (I didn't even ask my teenage daughter, Ana...privacy is pretty important to teenagers...even in this techno age.) Imagine my husband's surprise when he walked into a house smelling like fresh baked apple pie! He made me take Benadryl (that didn't even occur to me!) and had me keep ice on my wrist and the swelling started to subside. The next morning the swelling got a lot worse and from the lower part of my hand to my elbow was really swollen and inflamed and itchy. Thankfully, on Saturday morning I was able to start on a steroid which has helped tremendously. 

By the way the apple pie was delicious. And it feels good to have a new attitude about this fall season. 

I would love to hear how you are doing and what you have embraced lately!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Coming Back

I have decided that I am coming back to blogging. I took a much needed break to work on projects and be available to my kids for their endless activities.

After a lot of pondering and thinking, I decided that I need blogging and I need to write and I need to have a reason to take more pictures than necessary.

I will be turning on word verification (I know it is a pain and really hard to read those words!) but I have had an unusual amount of spam, that I am sick of reading via email.

I am back in the blogging world and it feels good to be a part of a team again!

Photo of a U14 boys soccer team and their coach after a winning game!
I hope it all comes back to me. Like riding a bike, right?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In With the New

I haven't blogged in forever!! I am sorry to my followers. I have spent a lot of time this winter focusing on things that need to get done within my life. Some inward focus on my faith and outward focus on staying fit and healthy. I hope to improve my blogging frequency, as I still love to blog. I am always looking for that elusive balance between blogging and accomplishing tasks that need to get done in a timely manner.

Just a quick catchup:

  • Even with a very mild winter, we had an awesome winter with lots of skiing (due to our local ski resort's new snowmaking abilities!)
  • I had a bad ski fall (about the worst I have ever had in 26 years of skiing) and was so grateful that I was wearing my helmet, as the brunt of the fall was on the base of my skull...I think I suffered a minor concussion and took a week of resting before I resumed my activities...time for a new ski helmet! If you ski without a helmet, please consider wearing one. I cannot even imagine what could have happened had I not been wearing my helmet. 
  • The kids were awesome in their progress in skiing and attempting new tricks and bigger air, which made their momma suffer a bit more stress!
  • My Anabear has kicked her mono to the curb and is getting more and more energy!
  • We had 10 days between ski season and wakeboarding season which is absolutely unheard of in North Central Ohio..we have had a very early and beautiful spring...tulips are in bloom and it is still March! Foster was able to go boating with some friends and he enjoyed his first wakeboarding session since his knee injury last fall. I was worried about hypothermia, but the water was already 71 degrees and he wore his wetsuit. His text to me "Mom, I don't have hypothermia". 
  • Although my MSU Spartans made it to the Sweet 16, they did not make it past that point. I was really bummed because they had an awesome season! But, my runner up fave team, the OSU Buckeyes, are in the Final Four! Do you remember my post from a few years ago explaining my team allegiances? You can go here if you want to read about it. 
  • Soccer season is in full swing. We are practicing 4 nights/week and are awaiting the game schedule. Spring is upon us!!
  • I have been playing tennis and hope my game improves before summer. My forehand has improved but my backhand has declined. Why is it that when one thing improves, another goes downhill? The kids are still playing tennis, while also playing soccer. 
  • I am the last person in the world to be reading Hunger Games. Better late than never, right? 

One reason I have been absent from my blog is because I have been working on a few projects. I have a few "teaser" pictures for you and will be sure to post the final results when I complete them.

This is our dining room turned music room. I had it painted a few years ago and I love the color. (Pratt& Lambert Safari) At that time I put in the new light fixture and plenty of can lights. It really needed better lighting. Recently, I bought the painting (Home Goods) and switched the chairs to this room from the study. This room is one of the first rooms that you see when you enter our home. This rug is going to be replaced and we already added a new piece of furniture, which I will show you in an upcoming post! (cliffhanger)

"Teaser" Pic for Music Room~The Before (Stay tuned for the After)

I posted awhile back about likes and dislikes of my laundry room/mud room. Well this room is finally getting a new paint job and hip hip hurray for new flooring. I am going with the paint color on the right (Pratt & Lambert Sea Grass). It is a soft blue/green heading toward a seafoam green.

Pergo Boathouse Pine (Lowe's~special order~) flooring..yipppeeee! It is whitewashed and distressed with some grays and natural wood peeking through. It is going to look fresh in here! I cannot wait to be rid of the "forest green marbled" linoleum, that I have endured for 9 1/2 long years.  IN WITH THE NEW!!

I was inspired to start on my new projects by reading Kim's What I Want to Be When I Grow Up and her indecision and decisions on paint colors. Thanks for getting me back on track, Kim!

My real life and bloggy friend Michelle has taken up a new/old hobby and I have enjoyed reading about it at Emerald Cove. Remember we met last year at our favorite lake? I need to get out on the water and practice my water skiing because she can SKI!

And have you heard about my bloggy friend Pam? She is moving to Paris with her family!! You can read about her exciting adventures at Views from My Kitchen Sink.

Another bloggy friend, Val, has found true love after suffering a profound loss. She is a photographer and has a very inspiring story. You can find her at  In the Moment.

I will be back with more updates and pictures.
hugs, Cathy

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Profession

I have been contemplating a new profession for awhile now. I have crossed one off the list. Sports Photographer. Whew, standing sideways in cold temps is not for me! I was happy to get a few good pictures, but could not take fumbling with the buttons (no gloves) and trying to get the right angle! I also had to make sure I was not in the path of skiers and snowboarders who might or might not hit the jump correctly. I was wearing my helmet but that wouldn't help much if someone crashed into me!

Foster hitting the jump with a grab:

I love the clouds in this photo and how he is silhouetted:

This one is a great skier for only 9 years old! All smiles from Marissa:

Hubby, looking cool in his new goggles. So glad he taught our kids to ski.

Fun shot, taken by a friend:

Notice the cloudless, blue sky:
Although it has been a very mild winter (with lots of rain), it is still winter and we are getting through it by having fun on the slopes.

I have been trying to eat healthy, but I really love snacking. This is so healthy!  Mmmm, air popped popcorn next to my cute February calendar. A great afternoon snack. Low cal, too. Sometimes I squeeze a little fresh lime and add a bit of cracked pepper for a bit of flavor.
So tell me how you are getting through the winter. Are you longing for sunshine and the beach, like I am? Are you eating healthy and exercising? Tell me. I need some tricks to get me through winter. I am ready for winter to be over and for summer to be here.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Sleeping Bear and FAITH

So this is a picture of me and my daughter Ana. Hubby took it of us while we were impatiently in line while waiting for the lift. Poor thing has mono. She has been sleeping like a hibernated bear. And it is midterm week. You know you cram review everything since August and get tested on it to make sure that you have learned something. It is tough to do when you are in the acute stages of mono. And yes, I am glad that I encouraged the doctor to do the mono test. Otherwise, I would think she is being lazy, which clearly isn't the case.
So what do you think about our kids and testing? I remember we took standardized tests every few years. I rarely remember big tests in elementary, like my little one has frequently. And how about a test to graduate from high school in 10th grade...we didn't have that either. It seems like there are way too many tests for kids, which may not be a good thing. What do you think?

And I have finally figured out my word for 2012. FAITH.
  1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

I will elaborate further on my word and what I hope to achieve this year. I'm trucking upstairs to see if my Anabear, the sleeping bear, has stirred.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My 101st Post: Going Backward to Catch Up, Part 5

Today is absolutely beautiful and it started with a gorgeous sunrise on the front of our property while simultaneously there was this surreal moon shining over our pond on the back of our property. It was truly incredible. I didn't take any photos. What was I thinking? Here is a photo of a sunset that was taken in November 2011. Love the pink reflection on the pond!

So as you have figured out, I haven't been able to sync my blog posts with the calendar! I spent a lot of time in November and December working on "organization" and cleaning out areas that needed de~cluttering! I was able to transfer about 10-15 bags of clothing, decorations and lots of unused toys. What an awesome feeling! My focus word for 2011 was "organization" so it felt good to make progress in that area. I am still working on my focus word for 2012 and have narrowed it down to 5. I like the idea of a focus word for the year, rather than all kinds of resolutions that I may or may not work on.

I really enjoy blogging. I haven't made it a priority in the past year, because I feel out of control when I spend too much time in blogland. This is my attempt to get back on track and get synched up with the calendar! I appreciate any advice on how to keep blogging with a busy life. Let me know what works for you!

November 2011
The Levy Passed!
I was asked along with a number of other people to help out on a levy campaign in the middle of October. There was a lot to be done in a 3 week period. What I will take away from the experience is that there are many wonderful and dedicated people who support education. I am so happy to say that our levy passed by about 200 votes. It took a few weeks to verify, but it is good to know that our children will continue to enjoy a very high level of least for a few more years!

A picture of some of the thousands of levy pins that were made to show our pride in our school district!

This is a rally that was held on our town square. My daughters are holding the neon yellow/green sign and they are flanked by a wonderful first grader teacher on the right and sweet friends of mine on the left:
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet some really fantastic people. It is amazing what a team can accomplish.

My kids have been playing tennis for a few years now. But, it wasn't until this year that I realized how fortunate we are to have such an awesome facility just 10 minutes from our house. I started playing in October with a group of fun women. One drives from 45 minutes away.

I am working on getting good indoor shots. This one is blurry, but I still love the action of it! This was Foster's first real tournament and he did well. He loves tennis and is addicted to it.

It seems that my tennis photos of Marissa are rather boring, so I will have to work on capturing her high energy level on the court.

Veteran's Day
I love that our schools recognize Veteran's Day and as 3 rd graders, Marissa and her classmates saluted our hardworking military and veterans with a very special music program which was created by my dear friend, their music teacher, Mrs. H. It was very inspiring and I particularly loved it when they asked for all of our veterans and military personnel to stand so we could honor them! This was the moment she spied me slipping into the filled auditorium, a few minutes late. Love that smile!

My friend, Mrs. H, the best music teacher.ever.period:

Black Tie Baby
We have 2 black tie events that we attend each year. Although it can be tiring finding an outfit to each one, I am always thankful for the date night with my well dressed hubby. The photo was taken by one of the kids, therefore shadows behind us. (I will take a slightly shadowy photo over no photo.)

We had a very low key Thanksgiving. The kids wanted to stay home and make traditional turkey and fixings. It was nice to be together for the day. We cooked, played outside on a rather warm day and then went to the movies.

A little football to stretch after Thanksgiving dinner. My girls both know how to throw a football. A skill that is necessary, if they ever go to a beach full of guys. Much easier to talk to a guy if you know how to throw a football:

I am not the best at football throwing, but I do like to get into the action and really appreciate a good quarterback & their abilities:

Enjoying being outside with my hubby, a former 8th grade QB!

Annual Buckeye Photo
Every year I take a pic of the kids on the OSU vs. Michigan football game day. This year I am amazed at how mature they look. Even though the Bucks lost this one, we had a great time watching the game!

December 2011
Choir Concert~Foster
I love snapping a photo of my kids during their concerts. When they played instruments it was so difficult to get them in action. It is much easier to get a choir photo! Foster is in the middle above the piano. I think this photo will be fun to share at graduation time!

Choir Concert~Ana
Years ago when Rich and I were newly married and I was pregnant with Ana, I sang in our church choir. It was a small group of good singers and I added some off key reality. I really did not know the notes, but for some reason they let me stay on for about 6 months, until we moved to another city as Rich had finished his doctorate. So when I see Ana on stage, I am happy to know that she is using her God given talents and I am ever so grateful for those choir members for the opportunity to let my baby hear the correct pitch and intonation. It has been years of music lessons and it is gratifying watching her and listening to her pretty voice. And as luck would have it, as a freshman you get to wear the choir robes for concerts.

One of their songs involved a bit of dancing which was fun to watch:
This concert was really such a treat. At the end of the concert the entire high school choir surrounded the audience and sang two songs. It gave me goosebumps, as it was really beautiful and put me in the perfect Christmas mood!

State Champions
In December Ana's tennis team was honored at a basketball game. The team was the Ohio State Tennis Coaches Association Division II State Team Champions. They won the title in October. Although Ana did not play in the actual event, she was there to support her team in winning the Championship. It was Lexington's 4th state championship in the past 6 years. Ana has wonderful coaches and great teammates. She is proud to be a part of this team! They are an amazing group of young women.

The following photos were taken by a professional photographer from the nose-bleed seats. I saw his big lens and asked him if he would take a few pics for me and he was so nice and agreed to. He then edited them and emailed them to me a few days later. I was very thankful that he did such a nice favor for me.

Christmas Eve
All I truly wanted for Christmas was 3 things. 1.Attend church with my family. This is the most important thing to me as it truly celebrates the birth of Jesus. We had an awesome service with incredible music! It was simply beautiful and such a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas. 2.The second thing that I wanted was for the kids to sing/play a Christmas song of their choosing. Here is a pic of them in the music room. I think they played and sang Jingle Bells. It was perfect for me!

3.The third thing that I wanted was a picture of all of us in our Christmas outfits. We set the timer on the camera and had some fun, not knowing exactly when the picture would be taken!!

This is me on Christmas Eve, I was tired from all of the preparation. Whew. The holidays can really wear a girl out!

And this is how the kids typically act at picture time (if they aren't fighting) They were really excited about getting their new pj's, and of course the picture taking:
After church we go home and the kids get to open  a gift. It is their traditional jammies and slippers. We then had some delicious food and special time just being together!

Christmas Day
Check out the sky! It was a beautiful pink as the sun rose! A fun toy for son & Dad:

The stack of gifts in the back were for Rich and I . We wrap everything and give really exciting gifts like socks and ski gloves. I was adamant that his stack of gifts would be higher than mine! The joy is in giving, right? Happiness is getting a gift you wanted but didn't expect, like these two:

Marissa enjoyed her favorite gifts at one time: baton, gloves where the fingertips light up (I am borrowing those!!), a microphone and glitter hat. I love 9 year olds!!:

Skiing with Friends
After Christmas we got away for a few days on a ski adventure with our good friends.
Piggies getting warmed by the fire after a fun ski afternoon!

Our friend Connor making the girls laugh. My goddaughter, Quinn, is in between the girls:

Rich and I with our bestest buddies, Bill & Carrie, at their gorgeous lake house that is 2 minutes from the slopes.  Carrie made us a gourmet dinner that was so delicious. Not only is she beautiful, she can cook better than my momma!!

Connor, Foster, Brennan, Bill & Marissa after a fun afternoon! Brennan is the little guy in red and he made us laugh for the entire 2 days. And he is such a good little skier!
The best skiing is with good friends. We love this family so much and can't wait to make more memories with them!

New Year's Eve, last day of 2011
I don't have any pictures of New Year's Eve. We spent the morning doing some work and then the afternoon shopping and visiting with some very good friends. We were home early in the evening and for the most part spent it together as family. It was really nice to be able to see one another at midnight. The kids are growing so fast, so I know we won't have too many more New Year's Eves together!

As I sit here with a warm mug of hazelnut coffee and reflect on 2011, I am feel that overall it was a good year. It seems trite to say that 2011 was filled with ups and downs. Isn't every year filled with highs and lows? What I can say about 2011 is that there were new challenges for me personally and for us as a family. Our family has quickly shifted from tweens to teens and that presents new challenges. It presents new situations with regard to dating, technology, social invitations, goal setting, sports and school. Some weeks go very smoothly, while others are completely disrupted with a new challenge.

For me, my mom's journey with NonHodgkins Lymphoma was very difficult. It was difficult to be apart from her as we live in different states. It is much better now that she is in remission. She is dealing with some health effects as a result of the chemo. Please keep her in your prayers.

I had a great experience with 2 different bible studies in 2011 and believe that this is what kept me sane this year; Reflecting on God's word and what my role is in this world.

2011 also brought new adventure into my life. I began kickboxing, learned to surf and started playing tennis. New sports that have me enamored! And I am proud of myself for working with a personal trainer to lose weight and learn some healthier alternatives in eating. I will be putting these newly learned skills back into practice in 2012. I hope to set a fitness goal for this year, too. Keep moving in the right direction. One step at a time.

I was able to give back by volunteering through our schools (worked with kids on spelling, levy committee, 8th grade DC trip) and church.

I enjoyed our first family trip to Cali and our favorite vacation spot at Glen Lake, Michigan and an anniversary trip with my hubby to Arizona. I was able to spend lots of time with friends and family on the boat, the slopes, and celebrating big events with family and friends.

I am glad that I also stayed true to my word for 2011 of "organization". I did wait until November, but then really worked hard in the last 2 months of 2011 to get areas of my home organized!

My next post will include my word for 2012. And some goals and of course, some fun pictures.

Thank you for reading my 101st post!!
hugs, Cathy

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Going Backward to Catch Up, Part 4

I am really having fun going back and reliving some of our summer and fall memories. The thing that keeps hitting me is that it has gone so fast. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect upon some of our fun times and the memories we have shared as a family. Of course, there are many days filled with stress and my hope is that I keep this blog real. While I have been updating this blog, I am in the process of doing laundry, dishes, helping kids with homework, listening to piano lessons and cleaning out drawers.

13th Birthday Celebration for Foster
Foster's birthday fell on a school night so we decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant. They sing Happy Birthday in Spanish, make you wear the sombrero and deliver a delicious ice cream treat. It is a great way to kick off your teen years!

A birthday hug from Dad.

Some laughs and a hug from Mom.

And some sister love to share your birthday treat!
Only 3 more years and he will be off with the car! I hope he remembers to take us along with him!

Homecoming 2011
There was a bit of stress leading up to homecoming this year. Those of you that have lived through the teen girl years can probably think back and remember all of the factors that go into homecoming including the date, the dress, shoes, hair, makeup and corsage.  And then you see your daughter grow up right before your eyes.

Trying to pin on the corsage. We had to enlist her date's mom, as I couldn't get it either!

Double thumbs up.

Ana with Mom, Dad & sis, on the dock.

Ana with her siblings.

My hubby took this and the fall colors were at their peak.

Fall Soccer
Marissa's trademark soccer stance is with her arms outstretched. The girls had a great season, especially since they combined 2 teams into one.

I love this one, too.
It is fun watching the girls improve their skills and watch how they mature and develop into such talented athletes.

Halloween 2011
This is the last year for the Halloween parade as Marissa will move on to a new school next year where the parties are much lower key and they do not have a Halloween parade. Marissa was a tennis player this year and was able to borrow her sister's team sweatshirt to play the part. {Ana and Foster did not dress up this year...I guess they are too old for Halloween}

It is obvious that I am behind on my blogging so I am "backblogging"! I am attempting to catch up the last bits of 2011 before moving on to 2012. I have really made other things my priority and I love to blog (both reading and writing). I know it is annoying to read about events that happened months ago, so I hope to be caught up soon and moving into the present to share thoughts and perspectives on current events! 

My next blog post will cover November and December 2011, as some very exciting things happened in those months. Then I will be in the present and talking about life in Ohio in 2012. Whew!!!