The Waiting Season

Spring time is for me, a waiting season. I am desperate for beautiful sunny days which are at times successive and as is often the case, elusive. I found the spring to be largely cool and rainy but on every warm dry day that we have I make sure that both of the girls are outdoors and that I get a good walk-in. This past week I was not terribly successful with work and weather constraints however the previous two weeks I was able to walk 21 and 25 miles over the course of the week respectively. This time being outdoors brings me great joy!

I often read when I walk unless I’m hiking in the woods and I just finished a book, Inside the O’Briens: A Novel, by Lisa Genova. I enjoyed this book and it is the third by this author I have read. It discussed a families struggle with Huntington’s disease, and the ethics behind finding out if you are a carrier of a terminal disease if you are given the choice. The family in the book had different viewpoints based on each person’s personality and how they like to live. The author writes the book with the intent of the reader questioning what would they do in the same predicament. Thankfully this does not run in my family so it is not an issue for me but I felt strongly that I would want to know as how I live my life would likely be very different.

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This last week brought an end to softball season for Middle School although the playoffs are still yet to go. Shannon had an excellent time with her team and it was a lot of girls that she had been on a team with in the past so it was a bit of a reunion. Her batting was excellent and she spent quite a bit of time at second base and even did some pitching. Her travel team, East Coast Firecrackers, is on its second tournament this weekend. They have had some good games but some significant struggles as well.

The bowling and ice cream images are activities that we have done after games that were unsuccessful to bring smiles.

I am off now, game 1 of the softball tournament has started for the day!

Simple Moments

As winter is coming to an end we have spent time finding joy in small moments. It is hard to believe in a week we went from this:

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To this:

This week’s very exciting news is that our little lady made the middle school softball team which only means one thing…more pictures!

Lastly, I have wonderful news to share. I just read today that relaxing in a bath burns as many calories as a 30 minute walk! I am not bothering to check the source,  I am choosing to believe.

The Year of Savings

20170311_100126This year I spent a great deal of time working on my New Year’s resolution. My focus is that it be entirely financial based. My goals are to pay down my mortgage, have zero debt outside of my mortgage, and grow my savings account. I developed a timeline and wrote a bullet journal for the next 3 years. Developing a bullet journal was an idea from a friend. Though I am not a writer by nature, it really was quite fun and creative. It has been motivating to have an area where I check off my financial accomplishments and continue to visit my goals. I mapped out how many months I have left on my windows loan (4) and how many months I have of child care payments (40). This is a great description if anyone else is interested in lazy journaling.

http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/how-to-bullet-journal

This month I was able to check off paying extra towards my mortgage for the third month, and made my second deposit in my savings account. While the amounts toward both are not where they need to be to see a large impact, I am happy with the start.

All of this is my own quest towards financial freedom. I have fun goals for when my mortgage is paid off. I am excited to start my non-profit, self sustaining business, Envirocare. Stay tuned!

I have long been a reader towards other peoples journeys, via blog and books, so it was high time I started my own quest.

I am interested in other peoples ventures or ideas.

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Solo Vacation

img_1958Shannon headed off to Florida for her very first solo vacation to visit her grandparents. I was very impressed that I was able to walk through the airport directly up to the gate as a non passenger escort to put her on a direct flight to Fort Myers. The whole process from an airport and security standpoint was really very easy for current days. Shannon was extremely nervous and the days leading up to it but she had her eye on the prize which was surprising her West Coast grandparents who she had not seen for quite some time. I was extremely proud of her for her first venture out which was a big deal for the same child who would never go to camp.

Violet and I missed her incredibly but we had a great week of our own visiting family in Connecticut and before knew it was time for and extremely exciting reunion at the Bradley International Airport.

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Peanut butter and Fluff

Despite the fact that a container of fluff will nary be found in my cupboards,  Shannon’s sweet additions have these very cute names.  Shannon’s Uncle Ben gave her money for Christmas and as we are now petless,  having lost Dusty in November,  the twins came.  Shannon can tell them apart,  I can not.

Growing Gains

20170122_162103This past September started Shannon’s foray into middle school. The definition of foray per my home dictionary which I am not going to cite, is a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something. This sounds extreme but I did my best to ready us after many stories from other parents who had gone this path, not in any given town. I have to say, after a slightly rough start with 12 year old friendships at the heart, it has been a great year so far. Shannon was extremely excited to be asked to read to younger kids at Barnes and Noble during a school fundraising night. She joined a monthly book group that she has enjoyed. Recently she made band, which was unexpected and very exciting, and made honor roll almost in the same week. Softball continues to be her passion and as such, is where I find myself 3-4 times a week. Pitching lessons on Thursdays are a high point.

I often hear the term that childhood goes by to fast. I have not found this to be the case yet and I look forward to each new development and stage as it is such a wonder to watch her evolution. It is much more cheerful than lamenting that the preschool years are gone, and I love to focus on the moment. This being said, I am reminded by people daily that she is on the cusp of being a teen so whether she will still like me in a year or 3 remains to be seen.

On a literary note, last year brought so many great books into my life and I am excited for this year. This month has largely been taken up with other projects and I have not had the moments put aside for reading or exercise that I value. I am working an additional job right now covering a maternity leave so my time will free up in early April. I will find some treasures in the meantime so stay tuned!

In December I finished, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, by Nadia Hashimi. It was one of the best books that I have ever read, but I must preface that by saying, I get so excited by a book that I probably over use that statement. Hopefully it is okay if I have many best books! This book took place in Afghanistan during modern day and past generations, it wove the struggles of women and men alike in a oppressed, war torn country. I highly recommend it and as I have one copy, please message me if you would like it. It brings me joy to pass books along

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I can not close without saying a few words about Violet. Violet continues to be the funniest little person. This morning she saw my coffee sitting next to me on the couch. She picked it up and said, “Mommy, we don’t have cups on the couch.” Her intention was to place it on the side table but she tripped in her rain boots and spilled it down herself, me, on the couch, floor and in my work bag. I had to laugh, so sweet!

 

New Years Resolutions

Today is my second favorite day of the year. The first is my national holiday,  my birthday.  It is interesting how many people I have heard comment that 2016 was not a good year. I think much of this has been remarked in response to celebrity deaths.  While the circle of life has been strong, there was so much to celebrate last year.

My children both grew so much,  they are happy and mostly healthy. My work has continued to inspire and push me to continue to grow.  My family and extended family are well.  Many of us came together to celebrate my Grandmothers 95th birthday. My father and his lady friend were just up for a fun and meaningful visit.

I traveled to Florida,  California,  Maine and Quebec. Each trip was about education and exploration and I am continually awed by what our world has to offer for beauty.

I may talk another day about books,  we have read so many,  for Shannon and I, this was a particularly good literary year.

The very best part of a new year is the opportunity to look at my resolutions from last year,  see my success or need for further work,  and to develop a new for the coming year.

Last year’s resolutions centered arounder finding pleasure in everyday life. The idea was to point out to myself something beautiful every day,  to take note of a moment I was fortunate to experience.  Sometimes it could start with something simple,  my morning coffee. My late step-mother once told me that coffee was one of life’s great decadence. I think of that almost every morning.  To think of my daily pleasure became quite a part of my routine. I do it by rote. Sometimes it is a quiet moment with Shannon,  a sticky kiss from Violet, the smile of a friend, or a patient reaching for my hand.  I think,  I am so fortunate for this moment.  The last part of last year was to make time for things that bring me joy. I used to think I did not have enough time to exercise or read,  for example.  Now I combine both.  I read on the treadmill or for long walks.  I feel fantastic following.

This year my resolution is basic but perhaps not so easy.  In 2011 I eliminated all debt and credit cards except for my mortgage.  Since then I’ve been paying extra on my mortgage every month to pay down my mortgage quicker and also only rely on debit cards. Still I have not made the progress that I would like, nor do I have a large enough savings. This is my resolution for this year,  I would like to pay more towards my mortgage than I already do,  and to build a nest egg. I have separate savings accounts to contribute money for general savings, vacations, the house repairs that are needed,  and for my future car.

Happy New Year to all,  and I would love to hear others resolutions either on this site or by email or text.

Ruthhall60@yahoo.com 603-247-3922

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Happy Places

Book stores and bakeries are among our happy places.  They are a beautiful way to spend time together and we all delight in finding a new spot. There is something simplistic and mood lifting about the smell and sight of books,  and the indulgence of a baked goods.  This past summer we took some day trips with the focus on finding an independent book store or trying a treat in a new environment.  We have had many successes.

My two favorite book stores are Main Street Bookends, in Warner, N.H. and Annie’s Book Stop in Wells, Maine. Both shops have their own personalities. Since books go so well with coffee and dessert, Bread and Rose’s is an idyllic bakery in Ogunquit, a short drive from Annie’s. I love,  love,  love their lemon squares!

Here are some pictures of a recent stop to our local book store,  Barnes and Noble, not small or independent but a stop we all enjoy just the same. Shannon stopped to write a letter to Santa from Violet which was so sweet.  Just in time for the coming holiday!

Christmas Spirit

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Several years ago I attended a workshop based on the book,  “Unplug the Christmas Machine,” by Jo Robinson. I highly encourage this book to anyone who feels that the pressure and commercialism of Christmas can squeeze the joy right out of December. The book really focused on identifying what each person liked about Christmas, what areas may impede celebration, and what we can do to have the type of Christmas which is important to us.  The outcome of this was that if  there is a tradition that I usually do but feel is going to make things hectic, I take it off my plate.  I dropped my shopping list exponentially. I chose new things to do each year, for fun and without obligation.  This is a link to the book,  truly I can’t rave enough:

https://www.amazon.com/Unplug-Christmas-Machine-Complete-Putting/dp/0688109616

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This year we have enjoyed Thanksgiving with the Connecticut Grandmothers, and my Brother. We started off the holiday season with some crafts to ready us, enjoyed a delicious and relaxing meal and spent time with family and friends. There is not anything that I would do differently.

Miniatures

It strikes me from time to time that the girls are miniature versions of myself. The thought does not last long as they have such different personalities. Violet is precocious. It feels like she is rarely still and her penchant for the English language astounds me daily. It is only surpassed by her ability to climb and place herself in dangers way,  hourly.

Last night I found Violet in 3 positions that were like peering into a mirror. She lept out of the tub saying, “Be right back!” and returned with a snack and jumped back in.  Violet reclines and snacks in the tub like a fully grown person. I then found her rocking wrapped in a blanket,  followed by lounging on the couch with my tea. These are funny years, thank heavens as it helps to balance out the tantrums.