Thursday, July 31, 2014

Confession

 I used to love my backyard. It was one of my favorite places to be...until the past two or three years when it has stayed in standing water or mud, because we need a french drain.  You can imagine what it's been like this year with all this crazy rain!!!  Well, we are finally starting to get ready for the french drain!!!  In the meantime, my flowerbeds have gone to pot. :(  Case in point in the pictures below.  Note the tall grass around the flowerbeds.  Where we haven't been able to mow all year...only occasionally weed eat because you literally sink in the mud.
 I have worked this week getting rid of flowerbeds, downsizing flowerbeds, and getting it ready for the big french drain project!!  I had 6 - yes 6 - flowerbeds and once I married the Big Bear somehow, I just can't keep up with everything like I used to...so NOW, down to 4.  But, I cut one of those 4 (the one below) in half.  So, basically I got rid of 2 1/2 flowerbeds...much more reasonable!  All my plants are ones that come back every year, so I should be able to keep up now!  Just a little mulch and a few finishing touches and I have cut this bad boy down and gotten rid of some SERIOUS overgrown plants & weeds!!!
 Love my pig! :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Serena by Ron Rash

30
This is a must read!  I couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading it.  You will love to hate the main character!!  Great suspenseful story!!  I can't wait to see if the movie holds up to the book!

Summary from goodreads.com:
The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.

Rash's masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.



10 years ago...

 It was 10 years ago this month that I closed on this house and moved in.  I can't believe it's been 10 years!!  I remember the struggles of trying to find a place on my small teacher salary.  This one maxed out my budget, but I was going through a divorce and had to find a place for my 2 cats and 2 dogs.  Renting wasn't an option.  I remember how hard it was to find someone to take on my loan because of my small salary.  I had no debt except for student loans, and I had excellent credit, but I was a risk.  A friend who did loans stepped up and helped me out.  I can remember him telling me to really think about it because I was having to do a loan that meant I couldn't sell or refinance for a year and even after that couldn't refinance for 5 years.  Haha!  Who knew that 10 years later, I'd still be here - only with a new husband, 3 dogs and a kitten.
 I do love our house.  We honestly don't need anything bigger or nicer, but we sure wish we could pick it up and move it to the country. 
 After 10 years, I am finally thinking about moving.  We won't move just to be moving.  It will have to be the right place on some land to get us to move.  We did spend this summer cleaning out and purging.  When we get to move, every closet and cabinet only has stuff that will go with us.  Now, we are getting ready to put in a french drain and replace some floors that need replacing.  Let's just hope we aren't like that show "love it or list it" and fix stuff up only to stay! ha!
 It could be a month from now, a year from now or 2 years from now, but the search for a move in ready house in the country is ON!  I just hope we find it in Bubba Bear & Stella's time, because those two will have a ball!
This house has served us well and I hold many memories here.  I will be sad to go but excited for the next adventure.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Lord of the Rings (Book 2 & 3)

28 & 29

I have officially finished The Lord of the Rings.  I have such mixed feelings about this series.  On the one hand, I feel like it's a classic and the history behind it and the author is fascinating.  I love that it is still being read and shared all these years later!!  It is a good story!  On the other hand, I am relieved to be finished reading it.  At times, it can drag.  I mean, we are talking 1008 pages all with the same mission.  I just felt like some of the descriptions in the traveling could be cut down.  But then, how do you critique a classic?
Now...on to watch the movies (which I've never seen!)...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Camping with the Parentals :)

 You guessed it, we went camping again! :)  We left on Sunday after church and camped Sunday night by ourselves.  Then, the next two nights, Kevin's parents joined us with the fishing boat. We didn't catch a dern thing worth talking about, but we had fun!  Stella got to go on a solo trip & between kids camping nearby and having her "grandparents" with her, she got to swim and play fetch so much that she was worn out!!
We enjoyed 3 days of Arkansas beauty, family time, good food and just plain relaxing!

Kevin and his dad
They make us wear a life jacket, so I picked one up for 50 cents at a yard sale. :)
Nonnie caught the only fish worth anything!
Happy Campers
Can you believe that grey chin? :(
Camping breakfasts are the BOMB!

 July 20th - 23rd - Old Highway 25 Park - site #F8

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday :)

 Me & the Big Bear - above we were 15 and in 10th grade and below was at UofA in our college days. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Fellowship of the Ring (LOTR part 1)

27
Yes, I am JUST now reading The Lord of the Rings (many thanks to Big Bear for the Christmas present!).  That being said, I am SURE I might be in the minority in what I am about to say.  The book is good, but the pace is off.  It drags at times.  The chapters tend to be very long, and it's hard to find a stopping place.  Some explanations and details go on for much longer than needed.  BUT, it is a good story, and I will be finishing the series.  My nephews had both warned me about the first book, so I hope its only UP from here. :)

Super short Summary from goodreads.com: (I'm sure we all know what the series is about though)
Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him - and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be detroyed - in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love of Dogs and Cats Update :)

 As of Friday, we have had little miss Ruby Rue for 3 weeks now.  I fully expected it to take all summer for her and Bubba Bear to get used to each other.  I was WAY mistaken!  The first week we had her, she stayed in the master bedroom and master bathroom only to learn where her litter box was, and we used that time to let the pups just watch her play through a child gate.
 After about a week of that, we let her come out with Bubba on a very short leash.  I wasn't sure what he would do.  He seemed obsessed with her, but he didn't lunge at her or snap or growl. So, after a few days, when she was out, we kept him on a leash but let him go to the end of it.  That's when they started playing with each other!  He would lay down and put his face down and nudge her.  She would of course attack in return and he would nudge her for more.
 At this point, it mainly became teaching him "gentle" so he wouldn't play too rough.  After about a week on the leash, we got this:
 So, we let him off the leash.  A few times, I would have to say "no" if she took off running because he wanted to chase her.  At a mere 3 weeks, we are all out in the living room together.  No dogs on leashes.  Everyone getting along.  The boxers play with her. She likes to lay down with them when it's bedtime.  Obviously, with her being so small, we supervise at all times.  Anytime we leave the house, she is tucked safely away in the master bedroom/bathroom area. :)
 I LOVE the picture above!!!  She is little but she has absolutely NO FEAR!  This girl is not timid or a scaredy cat.  She thinks she is boss and one of the dogs. :)
 Funny how the one I was worried the most about is her BFF! ;)
 If she ignores him, he practically begs her to play with him!  Pitiful!
 Surprisingly (or not), it is Stella that isn't fond of her.  Poor Stella.  She really wishes to be an only dog and I just keep bringing home more siblings for her! LOL!  She just ignores her and of course her tail is SO enticing for Ruby to play with.  She has given her a few warning growls.  Just the past two days, Ruby Rue seems to have decided to try to win Stella over.  She has calmly laid down next to her.  No sneak attacks.  Stella, being the neurotic one, will tolerate for a few minutes and then gets up and moves to a new spot. Baby steps!
 Probably not the best place to make a pillow if you know boxers at all! LOL!
So, all in all, our home is complete.  Ruby Rue is fitting in just right!  I sure love my husband for letting me bring her home despite his allergy to cats. :)  He's a keeper!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not as planned...

 Yesterday was my niece's horseshow.  My Mom and niece were both riding and I planned to go and watch them, try to relax in the heat (ha), have some good family time and see the new horse my niece wants.  The new horse she wants is the gorgeous one pictured above!!  Beautiful!  I did get to watch both of them in Halter Class.  My niece placed 5th and my Mom placed 2nd!  Woohoo!
 Mom with Doc & Autumn with Dobbin

 It is an hour and a half drive for me to get to this horse show and yesterday was "120 degrees in the shade" as my Bubby said.  After Halter was over, we were sitting around talking and I asked my brother why my Tahoe would be shaking once I hit high speeds.  He said my tires probably needed to be balanced and then went to look at them.  And bam!  The days plans suddenly changed.  How I made it to Pleasant Plains without a blow-out is a miracle!

Long story short:
Bubby offered to change tire because didn't think I'd make it home.
Jack up Tahoe.  Remove tire.  
Spare won't drop.  The release to the spare is stripped.  GREAT!
Trying to get spare to drop, knock Tahoe off the jack.  Tahoe on the ground.  Good times!
Bubby gets scissor jack and get Tahoe back up (keep in mind 120 in the shade!)
We put my tire in my sister-in-laws tiny trunk and I drive 30 minutes away to a Wal-mart for a tire.
ONE HOUR AND 15 minutes later and my blood pressure through the roof, I am heading back with a tire. (We won't even TALK about the Wal-Mart experience.)
Finally get back with tire, miss numerous shows with my mom and niece in them.
Bubby gets my new tire on.  In the heat. And never complained! :)

 So, my hero for the day was my Bubby!
This morning, I find out my Mom ended up having trouble on her way home.  The truck was stuck in 4wd drive and was overheating.  Imagine THAT stress - on the road by herself, late at night, pulling a horse trailer, and breaking down!!!  Luckily, we ALL ended up making it home safely and my niece got to ride horses all night.  It's all about her and making her smile! :)  Giddy up Cowgirl! :)
Pleasant Plains - July 12th


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Back to Greers Ferry Lake :)

 Our view for the past 3 days wasn't too shabby! :)  This time we went back to my favorite stomping grounds - Old Highway 25 Park on Greers Ferry Lake.  The first two times we went camping last year, we went there, and I really struggled with pulling the camper up and down this one mountain that is curve after curve.  I had built that mountain up in my head to be HUGE at this point and my palms were sweating as we got closer and closer.  BUT, I conquered my fear!!  It may have been huge in my first trips pulling the camper, but now with a years experience, I wasn't sure what all my panic was about!  yay!!  So, our next two trips are back in that direction on the lake I love the most! :)
 This was our 12th trip in the camper and we've had it a year.  I think we are making the most of it.  It was our birthday present to each other last year for our 40th and this year we camped for Kevin's 41st birthday and he got a new griddle for his awesome outdoor stove!  There is always some cool new camping gear that is needed/wanted. :)
 It was a pretty uneventful trip.  We took Bubba Bear & Stella in hopes that watching Stella swim would inspire Bubba to swim.  We may not have accomplished that but we did get him to sleep on the couch instead of in the bed with us!  Yippee!  That means I don't have to conform into a pretzel when Bubba comes camping! haha!  Rotten dog!

 Turns out Bubba Bear at least has the instinct to doggie paddle.  He just is NOT graceful in his swimming and sometimes he can't figure out how to MOVE forward.  He just treads water!  We were hoping he would take off after Stella and just get the hang of it.  Nope.



 Towards the end, Bubba couldn't take it and actually tried to swim out to Stella.  All hands were deck because unfortunately, he went right for her and was pawing her in the face and almost took her under.  Jeez!  No worries, next trip, Stella earned a solo trip for putting up with him. :)

 Resting up after our swim and rock climbing to get to the water!  It was a good, relaxing trip.  Little swimming, reading, napping, eating, relaxing, game playing (Racko & Yahtzee - Kevin won at both!).  We love our camper!!  As soon as the laundry is caught up, we are ready for the next trip!!  Pretty sure I am done ever teaching summer school again!  I am loving my time off! :)
Old Highway 25 Park - site G22 - July 6th thru 8th