2016…transition year

front-of-house

Retirement plans and house hunting. So much happened in 2016. During the fall of 2015 my husband and I decided he should retire a few years early. We crunched the numbers and decided we could manage. Early in 2016 we started looking for houses. We finally found a house we loved as soon as we walked in. (It’s not perfect, of course, but I can see myself living here for years.) I moved into the house during the spring while my husband finished up at work and put our house in Maryland up for sale.

Flash ahead to first of July. My husband retired, we moved the rest of the household goods, thought we had the Maryland house sold and had a party for my husband here in Iowa. We had a wonderful summer just relaxing, unpacking and getting settled in. (The house sale fell through a couple more times. Finally, our Maryland house sold at the end of September. Yay!)

And now it was Autumn. We planned a road trip for much of 20160919_104029September and some of October while we meandered our way to a family wedding at the end of September. A few days before the wedding and a few miles from the U.S. border, but still in Canada we hit a deer with our car. The car was then towed almost 100 miles to Spokane, Washington for repairs. We rented a car and continued to the wedding. The wedding was wonderful and our niece beautiful. Our nephew-in-law and his family were wonderful, too. Lots of great memories.

Road trip finishes early. We continued in our rental into Oregon, visited some of my family and spent a few days at the Oregon Coast (one of my favorite places in the world). We were still hopeful our car would be repaired before we were ready to head home, but that didn’t happen. We flew home and waited for word the car was repaired. Over a month later we finally found out it was ready for the drive home and we booked tickets to Spokane. Our trip didn’t happen and we ended up shipping the car home. That was a good decision.

My husband in pain. Just a couple of days before the flight my husband had a terrible pain in his back which kept him from sleeping. After several trips to the emergency room, acute care and a hospital stay, lots of tests, pain medications, after two weeks we finally found out it was cancer. However, the oncologist is very encouraging. He started radiology and chemotherapy the first part of November. He’s doing well, is optimistic and his next chemo is scheduled around the first of February.

(You notice I didn’t include world events, politics, elections and other happenings in this post. I decided to keep this personal. I’m waiting to see what 2017 brings–and hoping for the best.)

So. . . it was a full and sometimes stressful year.

However, we have so much to be thankful for:

  1. For our children who have helped us out so much during the year
  2. For our extended family who have helped us move, cheered us on and sent good wishes
  3. For neither of us getting hurt when we hit the deer
  4. For the beautiful home we found in Iowa
  5. For the encouraging diagnosis my husband received
  6. And for so many, many other things in our lives

What about all of you? What happened in 2016 in your life? What are you thankful for?

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate

‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.
–Walter Scott

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

village-card

My three kids are with us and I feel very lucky to have them here to celebrate our first Christmas in our new house. We also have their two dogs–along with my three cats so it’s a happy house.

I made cards this year and had lots of fun making them though I got a late start. I didn’t get my  cards sent out until this week, but I did get them sent out with a short note so that made me happy!

christmas-cards

I haven’t posted much in December. It has been a very busy month plus I’ve had various computer problems most of the month. My son is here for Christmas and has solved the last of the computer problems…at least for now.

I plan to get back on schedule after Christmas. For now I hope you all have a wonderful day!

How are you spending your day?

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Thanksgiving reflections

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in Iowa. It was the 50th annual celebration! All these years my father-in-law and mother-in-law hosted it. (Unfortunately, she died before she got to see the 50th, but she was certainly present in spirit.) It is her side of the family who have come all these years to celebrate and give thanks for wonderful family. This year nearly 100 people were there on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, there are always some members who aren’t able to come each year so we could have had even more people!

As one family member posted on Facebook: “How do you fit/feed 97 relatives in a two bedroom/one bath house?? You move the party outside, of course!” Even though it was only about 40 degrees many people were outside for the day. There was a heater and tables in the garage, two brand new port-a-potties in the driveway plus some of the food stations outside! We roasted four turkeys and two hams! Plus we had lots of sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, salads, vegetables, rolls and, of course, many desserts. No one went hungry!

What about all of you? How was your Thanksgiving if you celebrate that? What are your plans for this week?

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Home again

It’s so nice to be back home again. I loved the places we visited, but I began to long for a chance to sit with my cats and gaze into my backyard. (At the moment I have two cats on my lap as well as my laptop computer–it’s a bit of a tight squeeze!)

Early mornings are my favorite time of day–especially if I’m up before my husband! I like to sit with a cup of coffee, read a little, perhaps write a blog post, perhaps read other bloggers’ posts, watch the birds outside and just enjoy the quiet.

I was also ready to come back home because Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cooler weather, the changing leaf colors, getting ready for new beginnings. Autumn always feels like the time to start new things. I think it’s because school starts then and I was always excited for my own classes to start when I was a child and young adult and for my kids to start their classes. I love the planning for classes, buying new supplies and clothes, starting new classes, meeting teachers.crabapples

So far our trees aren’t changing color very much though our two crabapple trees in the backyard are full of little crabapples. So many trees were changing color during our trip I thought the trees in our yard would show crabapple-closeup~more color by now, but during our road trip we were further north and often at higher elevations. Since we moved here only a few months ago I don’t know the rhythm of our yard yet. That’s always something I enjoy finding out about in a new home!

What about you? Do you look forward to coming home as much as you looked forward to your trip? Do you love Autumn–or not? Is it a time for new beginnings for you? And have your trees started changing color yet?

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Visiting the Botanical Gardens

(Yay! I can start blogging again and visit other blogs, too. My internet started working again! I didn’t do anything to make it start working–except I was about to call tech support again. I think it’s magic!)

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We have a wonderful botanical garden here in Des Moines. We became members when we moved here and it’s a great place to visit. I think it will be especially nice in the winter since there is a tropical portion under a dome.

I’m showing photos of our visit last week as well as photos from a visit in the spring.

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How an Oregon girl ended up in Iowa

I grew up in Oregon and though I haven’t lived there for thirtysome years I always thought when my husband and I retired we would live somewhere in Oregon or Washington. (Even though my husband did grow up in Iowa!)

My husband was in the military so we moved around quite a bit. We haven’t really had anyplace we called “home.” Even after he retired from the military we moved a few times for his second job.

The last few years we’ve talked about where we wanted to live when he retired. Even though I still love the West Coast it’s expensive.

We’ve spent quite a few years either living in the Midwest (Missouri and Ohio at various times) or visiting various family members here. And I’ve grown to love the Midwest.

Now we have a daughter in Illinois and a daughter in Iowa. (and a son in New York City, but we knew we couldn’t live there!) And lots more relatives in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Before I left Oregon I knew nothing about the Midwest–except, of course, there were tornadoes everywhere!

Des Moines, IA--state capitol
Des Moines, IA–state capitol

Now I live in Iowa–and hope to stay here the rest of my life!

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