Saturday, February 27, 2021

Well Hello Again

Hi friends! Does anyone remember me? I'm not even sure I remember how to blog anymore. It's been quite a year. 2020 was a tough one, and 2021 is giving it some competition. We've been mostly staying home, going for Sunday drives, walking the pups, and did I mention, staying home? 

Brian and I are still working, as we have throughout the pandemic. He works for the USPS and I'm a teaching assistant in third grade. My school district went remote last March for the rest of that school year, then we opened fully in September. We were able to stay open until the week before Christmas when we had to go remote. After Christmas, we returned to a hybrid model, and starting Monday, we are back to being fully open. Although the numbers are going down, and have stayed pretty low in New Hampshire, the town I work in has pretty high numbers. It is in the top five NH towns for Covid, so that's a little worrisome. And the fact that our governor has not prioritized school staff for vaccines in our state.

This photo shows where I did remote teaching. 

We haven't done a lot of new projects lately, but one of the things I've been adding to our home is more houseplants. I have found it to be a gentle and soothing hobby. I started with a few badly neglected plants, have purchased a few more, and a couple of generous neighbors have been rooting some of theirs for me. Since the plants all needed to be repotted, I had to purchase a lot of new pots and saucers. I found the terracotta pots were the most affordable option. I whitewashed most of them and I have a lot of happy plants right now.

I'm going to try to get back to regular blogging again. I have had a few requests on Instagram, where I am most active to get back at it. So consider today to be a trial run, seeing if I can get back in the game. 

And now here's a photo dump of some of our new family members. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Mid Summer

Although it is the middle of summer, the fall magazine issues are coming out and I am so excited to tell you that our home is featured in the September 2020 issue of Country Sampler Magazine!  This is a dream come true. Please go check it out!

Everything is in bloom now. The yard is bursting in a riot of color, and the trees and shrubs seem to be growing by the foot. We are in a moderate drought here in New Hampshire, but yesterday we had the most glorious thunderstorm. We don't have the kind of thunder and lightning storms some of you have in the midwest, so when we get a good one, we enjoy it. Brian had to run to Home Depot for a part he needed for a leaking outdoor faucet, and I was in the pool when the storm started rolling in. I love lying back on a float and watching the moody sky and rolling clouds. As I heard the first rumbling of thunder, I gathered the dogs and we sheltered in the screenhouse to wait it out. It started as a gentle rain that became a pounding rain which came in through the screens. We huddled in the middle as the thunder and lightning began. By the time I realized we should be indoors, it was too late to flee. The lightning was intense, and I have never heard such loud, cracking thunder. It sounded as if all the trees surrounding us were cracking. Rey jumped on my lap and buried her head under a pillow, and Harley, ever the brave one, lay guarding the door. After about a half an hour, it slowed enough for us to make a run for it. The driveway was flooded and we raced through the puddles to the front door. 

Brian has been off this week and we are mostly laying low. We did a day trip along the coast of Maine, and on a warm July day in the height of summer, there were no crowds and plenty of parking along the beaches. We couldn't go on the beach because we had the pups, but we found many beautiful trails and outdoor spots to enjoy. Any people we encountered were kind and respectful, and everyone had a mask available if they had to pass close by. We packed a cooler for a picnic lunch, and stopped for takeout lobster rolls on the way home. 

We have kept busy this summer working on the yard, tending the gardens, and doing a few small (and one large) project. We put up a privacy screen around one side of our above ground pool. It looks like a giant white wall but we love it! Then we built a small 8X12 deck on the other side of the pool. It took us about 10 days to complete since we had to work a few hours each morning before Brian left for work, but it has added so much to our pool enjoyment. Since I spend way more time in the pool than Brian, he can sit on the deck and chat while I swim about, and the dogs love lounging there where they can keep an eye on me! We attached an umbrella to the corner for shade, and it has been a delight having yet another place to relax. 

I have pretty much been failing at meal planning this summer and we have done a lot of burgers, hot dogs and tacos. Even though I think it is expensive, we decided to give Hello Fresh a try this week. The meals have been absolutely delicious and I really enjoy cooking them with all the ingredients on hand and measured out already. I love the way they are packaged and the quality has been excellent. We are going to take a look at the food budget and see if we can manage a few meals a week with it. 

Aside from seeing my mom, our kids, and some neighbors, we have pretty much stayed home and kept to ourselves. We stick to essential errands and always wear a mask. I still wash groceries and anything else that comes into the house. I have a system where I place two towels on the mudroom floor. All the groceries go on the first towel and I use a bucket of hot water and Dawn to wipe off everything before placing it on the second towel to dry. Then Brian puts it away. I know they say this is unnecessary, but it makes me feel better. I am 58 and Brian is 59, and though we are healthy and robust, we are no spring chickens and we are being very careful. This week the US surpassed 4,000,000 cases of Corona Virus and we don't want to be one of them. Brian still goes to work every day at his essential job at the Post Office, but he is an expediter who works outside on the platform and he is able to keep a distance between himself and the truck drivers. I still have no idea what school will look like in a few weeks, but I am anxious about going back. Our governor has not been very strong in his guidance for reopening the schools and 3 feet between desks and no masks for the students makes me a little nervous.

Our daughter Megan has passed her nursing boards and is now a licensed RN. She just turned in her final paper for her Master's in Nursing program and will be taking that test in the coming weeks too, all while being deployed full-time in the National Guard, testing patients for Covid-19 at a remote testing site. We are heading up north to move her from her temporary student housing to her first real apartment next week. She accepted a job at her first choice hospital in the most charming small town in the mountains of northern NH. Our son Dan lives in the same small town and he is moving too (from an apartment with roommates to his own place), so we will be quite busy helping them both.