New Life For An Old Chair

And the work outside continued this weekend.  Accomplishments:

  1. Power washing the driveway, sidewalk, porch, and patio – this was no small task.  We had some moss/algae-looking stuff on the back patio that made it kinda spotty green in color.  We spent at least an hour on that alone, and I’m happy to report that all of the concrete is a stunning white again – amazing!
  2. Mowing – this was all William, and it was also no small task.  Our grass has come back gangbusters this year, which means more mowing.
  3. Staking one of our Rose of Sharon bushes that started leaning over.  We had to do this with one of the others last year, and it straightened right out.  Here’s hoping it works well for this one too.
  4. And, as the title of this blog post would indicate, we finally dealt with the wicker chair on our front porch.  That poor chair was gifted to us almost 10 years ago, and it’s been outside in the elements for that entire time.  It had truly become a bit of an eyesore – old and weathered looking, and don’t even get me started on the not-so-off-white-anymore cushion that adorned it.  We bought paint to spray paint it over a year ago, and finally, this weekend, I made use of it.  It’s now a shiny almond chair with a happy new green cushion.

DSC_0056Here it is, all shiny and new!  (sadly, I forgot to take a before pic)

And, in other happenings in the yard, some of our irises have started to bloom this week.  There are buds on the others, and we expect them to bloom within the week as well.

DSC_0051We love how bright and happy the irises make the side of our house.  Can’t wait till the rest of them bloom!

The weekend wasn’t all work.  We did go to my mom’s for a Memorial Day party yesterday.  There was amazing food, and best of all, great company.  It was definitely worth the drive over and just having some nice time to relax outside.  My legs are a bit sunburned today because of it, but oh well…they needed a bit of color anyway 🙂

Needless to say, I’m sorry to see this long weekend end.  We had such wonderful weather and got so much done.  Next weekend, we have a bit more work to do outside, but the focus will all be inside of the house (and dealing with what we affectionately call Mt. Saint Clothing 🙂 ).

Spring Flowers!

I had hoped to post this some time last week, but alas, it was raining until pretty much today.  For the past two weekends, William and I have spent a ton of time in our yard, working in our flower beds and just generally getting everything cleaned up.  For the past couple of years, work travel has made it difficult to pay too much attention to our yard, but this year, we’ve doubled down on our efforts, and it really looks nice now.

Our activities involved: weeding, laying down weed mat, laying down 34 bags of mulch, mowing (of course!), weed-whacking, edging, trimming bushes (mercilessly, I might add), trimming around all of the iris, and planting new plants both in the ground and in pots.  It’s been work, but it’s just so nice to see the completed project, it was worth it 🙂

On top of all of that, this year, we bought our plants from a local greenhouse – Spring Creek Farm Market in Columbia City for those who are local.  If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ll remember that in one of the many bitterly cold days during the winter, we had a flat tire on our way home from work.  It just so happened that it popped right before Spring Creek Farm Market, which was very lucky for us.  We pulled in their drive – a nice flat place to change a tire on an otherwise very busy road with no shoulder because of all the snow.  While we were starting to change the tire, a nice man named Jim came out of the building and offered to help.  He made the whole process go so much faster, and we were so blessed that he was there.  As it turns out, he owns the Market, so we were just waiting for spring to pay back the favor by buying things from him.  The good news is that the plants were all super healthy and beautiful, and we were so excited to plant them in our yard this year.

And now for the part I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for – the pictures of our labor 🙂  Warning: there are a ton this time!

DSC_0026-EditView from the road of our front yard – those beds hadn’t been mulched in 2 years

DSC_0031Flower bed next to the driveway.  We added the orange coleus (from Spring Creek Farm Market) and the copper-colored pot at the top of the bed this year

DSC_0035Flower bed leading to our front door, under the dining room window.  Flowers in the pots were all from Spring Creek Farm Market

DSC_0033Flower bed under our bedroom window – I trimmed the boxwoods in this pic like a mad-woman

DSC_0040Our new copper pot with these cute little daisy-looking flowers with purple centers and underside (from Spring Creek, of course)

DSC_0007We added a birdbath to the bed under our dining room window.  As we learned from William’s Aunt Jean, planting flowers in the birdbath is an excellent way to add color and height to your flower beds – we love this idea!  The petunias are from Spring Creek.

DSC_0004Pansies in the pots on our front porch.  We can’t take credit for these – William’s parents planted them while they were here, and they are just growing gangbusters.  We love how happy and bright the pansies are.  And, it just so happens that they are my sorority’s flower too 🙂

DSC_0012Small pot of succulents on the plant stand on our front porch.  We got these at Meijer, and I just think they are so cute!

DSC_0017Geraniums and herbs on the back patio.  William’s dad and my mom and grandmother always loved geraniums.  We figured it would be nice to honor all of them with these beautiful salmon geraniums from Spring Creek 🙂

DSC_0046And finally, a house plant  that we bought at Spring Creek.  This is a jade plant.  Whenever we visit William’s Uncle Fred in Alaska, we are always so jealous of his jade plants and century plant.  As our homage to Fred, we had to get one of these 🙂

Easter Weekend = A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Things have been a tad crazy in the last couple of weeks, which is why this blog post is a little late.  No need for details, but it involved a minor medical procedure (no worries, I’m ok!) among other things.  Anyhoo…

We spent Easter weekend with at my mom’s house this year.  For Christmas, I bought her a high quality photo scanner for the sheer purpose of scanning in old family photos.  This weekend, we started sorting through the photos and making piles of scan-worthy and not-scan-worthy pics.  Among the boxes of photos, we found some other family treasures, which my mom sent home with me.

Case in point, this poem that my grandmother wrote about me when I turned 1 year old.  This would be the same grandmother that called me “Doodlebug” 🙂

DSC_0556It says:

Melinda is one!
What a glorious day.
She doesn’t do much yet
But please us and play.

Melinda is one!
With those bright blue eyes
She’s an armful of joy
With her half-whispered “hi’s.”

Melinda is one!
What a sight to behold.
Standing on tiptoe
And growing so bold.

Melinda is one!
With her ways so winning,
Before she is grown
She’ll have many hearts spinning.

Melinda is one!
Our pride & our pleasure.
She’s God’s special child
And our little treasure.

This last bit (pictured below) made me tear up.  Finding things like this makes me miss my grandmother (Dodo, as we called her) so much.  She was a treasure!

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In one of the other boxes, we also found these amazing pictures of Dodo’s parents and grandmother.  I suspect that these images were taken in the early 1900s, based on how young they look in the photos.  These are oval, convex photos, which mean they require a special frame with convex glass.  Fortunately, I found a place online that sells frames/glass such as this in a ton of different sizes.  I learned from that website that the most popular size for photos such as this is 13.5″ x 19.6″ (odd, I know), and these are just that size.  I am definitely planning on ordering some frames/glass to help preserve them.  And, I think I can find a suitable place in our house to hang them.  To me, photographs like this are fascinating, and even better, the people in them are my relatives.  Too cool!!

DSC_0550Henrik Berg, my great grandfather

DSC_0552Johanna Berg, my great grandmother

DSC_0554My great great grandmother – not sure of her name, but I’m trying to find out. After some further checking with family members, this is Henrik’s mother – Johanne Marie Berg (nee Hansen).

New Nephew!

On Wednesday, March 26th, my brother and sister-in-law welcomed Benjamin Michael into the world.  Fortunately, for William and I, Michael and Kim live just a couple hours away from us.  We have really loved going to visit our niece, Celia (as you’ve read in previous blog posts).  And, now we have a nephew to spoil as well! 🙂  This is our first nephew among four nieces (Celia on my side, and three beautiful little girls on William’s side).

Last weekend, when little Benjamin was just four days old, we went to visit my brother’s family, and I had the opportunity to take some newborn photos of him.  Here are some of my very favorites:

DSC_0433-EditMichael holding Benjamin

DSC_0442-Edit-2To get a sense of Benjamin’s size

DSC_0457Dad, Mom, and baby

DSC_0486-EditCelia loves her baby brother

DSC_0496-EditA tiny little smile 🙂

DSC_0545Asleep with Mom

 

 

Family Weekend + A Book Review

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and niece (and for those following along, yes, we made good on our promise to spend the night 🙂 ).

Kim, my sister-in-law, is getting ready to have our nephew any day now. We thought it would be nice to make a bunch of freezer meals for them for after the baby is born. That way, they don’t have to worry about cooking while taking care of a toddler and new baby all at the same time. We had fun making the meals and even more fun delivering them last weekend.

There was a daddy-daughter dance for Celia and Michael, and Kim and I even took Celia to have her hair done for the occasion:
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We laughed at their cats, especially the mountain lion that is Grayson:

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And Celia was willing to model the Burton Bear Cowl I made for her:

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We even went to Lego Brickland and saw some pretty amazing Lego creations, which I forgot to take pictures of. All-in-all, it was a fantastic weekend, and secretly, neither William nor I wanted to go home. We will have to make a habit of visiting, and next time, there will be a little nephew to spoil too 🙂

And, now totally unrelated, I have started reading again. Honestly, I don’t know why I ever quit, but reading seems to go in fits and spurts for me, despite the fact that I love it and tend to get lost in books. I mostly love mysteries and thrillers, especially if they have a bit of history mixed in as well. Recently, I devoured a new book called The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.

The story is set in two different time periods – 1991 and the late 1600s, and it goes back and forth between the stories. The heroine, Connie, is a grad student of Colonial studies at Harvard. She finds out that she needs to clean out her grandmother’s house, who has been gone for 20 years. In the house, she finds a scrap of paper in an old family Bible, with “Deliverance Dane” written on it. It turns out Deliverance Dane is a person from the 1600s…a woman convicted of being a witch during the Salem witch trials. The book goes back and forth between her story and Connie’s as well as Connie’s quest to learn more about Deliverance. There’s a bit of mystery, some history, a bit of romance, and a tiny splash of evil. It was kind of a predictable story/outcome, but I still couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it.

Now, I’m reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, set in World War II, my favorite historical time period. So far, I like it. Will report back when I’m done!

How We Spent Our Saturday

A couple of weekends ago was our 4-year old niece’s birthday party.  Unfortunately, due to the snow/ice, we couldn’t make it.  So, we decided to do a make-up birthday celebration this past Saturday.  My brother and sister-in-law live just a couple of hours away from us, and we had an absolute blast hanging out with them and spoiling Celia with presents 🙂

DSC_0275-Edit-2Uncle Billy (as Celia calls William) being a great sport playing chef with her and wearing her pink chef hat while she wore her apron.  I was served some delicious plastic bacon, pizza, green pepper, and a waffle 🙂

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The next American Idol! Grandma got Celia this microphone.  We were entertained most of the afternoon with renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, ABCs, and Row Row Row Your Boat.

photo-1And, I got plenty of snuggles while we played games and read books

We had such a great time!  Celia is hilarious and such a good-natured personality.  The part that warmed my heart the most and was sad all at the same time was that she cried when we told her we weren’t spending the night.  However, we promised that next time, we would.  We need to be sure to make good on that within the next month!