Frosty morning

Spring is just a few weeks away and I am getting very tired of winter.  We have had a dark winter with a lot of rain, and a lot of snow that turned to ice too quickly to enjoy for long.  The snow all came late and while I might have wanted it a couple of months ago, I certainly do not want it anymore!  I’m done!

That said, there is something very lovely about thick frost in the morning.  I caught these just before the sun started to melt them.  






All photos taken with a Nikon D5100, 18-55 mm lens, most using macro setting.


A sigh of relief

Finally I have a full quiet day.  For longer than a week, I’ve been taking care of sick people.  Everyone in my house was sick!  And yesterday was a snow day.  Finally today I can breathe!  I have a lot of housework to catch up on, but I decided that would wait.  I have been feeling so exhausted and run down for the past few weeks that I decided I needed a day to rest. 

So what better way to get rest than to knit some Estonian lace!  Yes, I am sure that was your first thought too.  I’m so tired, why don’t I knit lace.  Sounds like a good plan!Image

I have been wanting to knit this little scarf for a long time and I finally decided I had a large enough block of time, plus a quiet house.  So I pulled out some lightweight white wool and cast on.  Lily of the valley is not only the flower for the month of May (my birthday month) but it is a flower I love not just for the looks but for the wonderful scent!  Plus I found I was able to conquer very easily a stitch that had struck fear into my heart – the nupp for any of you who have tried to knit lace or who have contemplated it.  I will be expanding on this at Finngarian Knits.  

What are you doing to nourish your soul today?


It’s the little things, right?

Everyone in my house has been sick, with the exception of me.  Which is a good thing, because someone has to take care of everyone!  I am very thankful that I’m healthy, although I am feeling a little bit run down from so many nights with poor sleep.  I had a rough night with my son the other night due to an earache, so we went to the weekend clinic yesterday.  Then today my daughter came home from school with an earache!  We will see the doctor tomorrow for her.  This equals one stressed out mama!

Today I felt an overwhelming urge to open all the windows, even though it was only about 37 degrees F (about 3 degrees C) outside.  I can hear my mother telling me to stop heating the outside!  I did turn the furnace off and because of the afternoon sun, the house didn’t cool too much.  The other thing I did was hang all the blankets from the beds outside to be in the sunshine and get aired out.  All of the beds got clean sheets.  I still have quite a bit to do inside the house but today it was sunny and warm for this time of year.  I wanted to take advantage of that because we are supposed to have snow again tomorrow.  

When my daughter came off the bus she thought I was crazy for using the clothesline in the winter.  But it felt good to look outside and see this, knowing that the bedding will all smell fresh too.



This morning when I got up at 7 I could still see the road outside.  We got a surprise of 3-4 inches of snow in the past 3 hours!  I know what my cardio will be today – cleaning the driveway since the snow blower is still broken!

In the meantime, the birds are hungry, and so is the big fat squirrel.





If you don’t like the weather in Michigan… wait a half day!

Yesterday my sweet daughter had her 6th birthday.  Unfortunately, however, as the day wore on, both the weather and the kids changed for the worse.  By the time we got home from dinner and playing at the arcade and bumper cars, both kids had tummy aches.  That all culminated with my son vomiting at 6:30 this morning, and my daughter having diarrhea (what I not so affectionately call a “runny tummy”).  So both of them are home from school today.  It is not as bad as some illnesses they’ve had in the past, but still a bummer that they don’t feel well.  Was it a virus, the greasy food or the spinny bumper cars?  Maybe all of the above.

Remember the spring-like photos from yesterday?  By late afternoon, it changed to this:


See the little bit of a “lake” that is now frozen?

But meanwhile, back in Upper Michigan, it was much, much worse.  It looked like this:



It was reported that some places got 20 inches of snow, and it still hasn’t stopped!  It could always be worse, right?


Six years ago today, after several days of on and off labor, my daughter Sophie came flying into the world.  And she has been running headlong into everything ever since!  It feels a bit strange to me to be out of the little kid stuff now.  Toddler sizes have been replaced by big girl clothes, baby toys have been replaced by Barbies and Polly Pocket.  Preschool by getting on the big yellow bus to kindergarten.  It’s OK though, while the passing of time is bittersweet, I am enjoying the people they are becoming, now that they can share their thoughts with me and I with them.

ImageI was baking bread and she decided to “help”… she takes after her mother and likes to play with, and eat, dough!

I love to be out in nature and I enjoy taking photos even more.  I am also an avid weather-watcher and we have our weather station set up to send data to the NOAA.  On the day Sophie was born, it was only about 10 degrees F (about -12 degrees C).  She was born in the morning and it was a very sunny day despite the cold.  Today it is about 36 F (about 2 degrees C) and the foot of snow we got a couple of weeks ago is melting quickly.  I am glad I got the chance to try my ski boots on the weekend!  I shouldn’t worry though because tonight it will be back to a hard freeze again and we might get a bit more snow.

Here are some photos of our February thaw.


Maple tree and the “lake”


The other lake and the neighbor’s driveway.  If we get a lot of rain or a heavy melt, the lake floods their driveway.  It is quite windy this morning and when the wind blows across the surface of this puddle it really does look like a lake!


I went to investigate the smaller lake and found about an inch of water floating on top of the ice.  I am thankful I did not slip and drop the camera!  Sophie will be happy to know that her skating rink is now properly flooded and will be ready for use tomorrow!

Ski Boots

I got some cross country ski boots for Christmas this year.  I was very excited because I really enjoy the sport but my old ski boots just didn’t fit me anymore and they were starting to fall apart.  My skis are pretty old, got them in the early 1980’s when I was a teenager.  They have the old 75mm, 3 pin bindings – basically 3 short pins fit into holes in the toes of your boots, then the clip would clamp down over the toe of the boot.  For years my skis sat unused in my mother’s basement until this past year when I finally decided to bring them down to my house.  We don’t get nearly the amount of snow as back home but we do usually get 1-2 good storms and depending on the weather around those storms, we can have a small window of decent skiing weather here.  (Plus there are some nice groomed trails very close to us!)

Much to my delight, I discovered that there is one company that still makes the 3 pin boots.  The name of the company is called Alpina and they are available from a number of different retailers.  They come in European sizes but they seem to run a lot smaller than what I’m used to.  Normally I’d wear around a size 40 but I got a size 42 based on their size chart.  They are pretty comfortable, they are high-tops (my old ones came to just under the ankle like regular shoes – not so cozy in deeper snow) and they have a lot of padding.  They are slightly narrow, which is not good for my bunion, but I was concerned about getting a longer boot since my heel slips around even in the best-fitting shoes.   I can live with the snug toes for now, and will probably invest in one of those shoe-stretcher contraptions.  It is not likely my bunion will get any better as I get older and I’d like to be a little more flexible with my choices of shoes.  In this case, I’m not sure there is any other alternative if I want to use my old skis.  

Here is the link to the site where I got my boots.  I’ve had other people ask me where I got them because apparently there are quite a few of us out there who don’t really need new skis except for the boots.  They seem very sturdy and warm and I’m hoping I can break them in easily.  After taking a few trips around the yard today I realized how I am not at all conditioned for cross-country skiing!  Which means I need to do more of it!


I’ve been trying to take some lessons from Mari at my new favorite blog, SaimaaLife.  She is doing a 365 ways to well-being challenge this year – each day she posts something she is doing that day to improve her well-being.  While I’m not sure I will do something different each day, I am trying to be more mindful of this.  I know that especially with the grieving process, I need to pay even more attention to my sense of well-being.  Grieving takes such a huge toll on a person, and suicide is a lot different from other deaths.  I am also trying to put forth the things I want to do into the universe, and be open to whatever comes back to me.   I’m telling it what I want, and waiting to see what happens.  I’m being more mindful of what I’m actually putting out there.

So today started out as any other regular day.  I had to go shopping for my daughter’s birthday.  I’d tried to find a few things yesterday with no luck so today I drove to a bigger nearby city to shop at a different store.  I did find quite a few of the things she wanted and at the check out I saw that my budget had definitely been met!  :O  Because I was essentially finished in one trip to one store, there were a couple of other places I wanted to go, so I went.  One of them was my favorite Middle Eastern grocery.  I was the only one in there that early so the person working there started chatting with me.  I go there often so they all know me.  He started to tell me that less than a week ago, he had a heart attack, just dropped dead in the snow while cleaning off his vehicle.  Someone saw and ran to him, started CPR right away and called 911.  He woke up in the hospital, a cardiac cath having removed the clot.  So I told him how happy I was that he was here, he looked really good, for this having happened just 5 days prior!  He said he quit smoking, quit drinking, and he said, and I’ll never forget this,  “I am learning to not get so stressed out.”  He went on to explain that he was worried about so many small things, things that made life more stressful but that he really shouldn’t worry about at all.  The majority of stress is small stress.  I gave him a hug, told him I was happy he was alive, and he said he’s telling everyone he can.  He said this can happen to anybody without warning, and it was important to never take things for granted, and to stop worrying about the little things.  I walked out of that store feeling like I’d just touched a miracle.

From there I needed do bring a check to a friend of some friends of mine.  She and I hadn’t ever had much of a chance to visit before, but today we did, and we stood there and talked about our kids, families, parenting, babies, loss, grieving… it was just such a good conversation and before I realized it I’d been there talking with her for probably an hour.   It was just wonderful to be open and have such a wonderful visit with her, I felt so instantly comfortable.  I feel really blessed today to have really had connecting conversations with two people I met a while back but didn’t really connect with them before.  It was so good and we are all connected and we need to nurture those connections with people.  The world would be a much happier place if we did.

What have you done to connect with others today?  Have any of you ever had an experience like this where you just were somehow unhurriedly drawn into conversations that resulted in connections like this?

Snow Days

This is the time of year for canceled school.  The kids had no school on Friday, due to having gotten a foot (about 30 cm) of snow the night before!  That day the kids played outside 3 times and the snowblower was broken so we had to shovel the driveway by hand.  Yooper Scoop to the rescue – made for fairly easy work.  That and the snow was very light.  We had a couple of good outings on the weekend, sledding Saturday morning and a short hike (1 mile or so) around the Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge in the afternoon.  Last night we got rain and warm temps which started melting the snow, and surprise, no school again today.  Our road is busy so it’s fine, but other roads are very icy from the rain having landed on roads that were packed with snow and ice from Friday.  So today the kids are doing their valentines and I might do some baking, I want to try making some crackers.  We all like them but the boxed ones are so full of chemicals and stuff I don’t think we should be eating.

Over the weekend I found this blog called SaimaaLife.  It’s written by a lady living in Finland and after spending quite a bit of time reading it, I can say that type of life really appeals to me.  She is also mom to two little ones and has a beautiful garden, she forages for wild foods when they are available and spends a lot of time in nature, year ’round.  Her blog makes me want to visit Finland even more.   She is currently blogging 365 Days of Well-Being – daily posts on bringing more peace into your life and family.  Her blog is full of recipes that are very familiar to me.  The blog is in English so no worries about translating.  Have a look and leave a comment!

Now here are some photos I’ve taken recently that I’m pretty happy about.  Enjoy!