Category Archives: family

NaBloPoMo – A Walk Down Memory Lane

I was reading some of the blog posts for NaBloPoMo   and came across this one by Cyn Donnelly about old photographs. ( http://www.blogher.com/myprofile/cynd ). She got me thinking about the boxes of old photos I have of my grandparents on both sides as well as most of my parent’s pictures. They are not as organized as I would like, but we have spent a few nostalgic afternoons with my aunts and dad making sure names, places and events are on the back of them so that the next generation will know who is in each of them.

I thought I’d take a look on my laptop to see what pics I have and one of the oldest is this one:

Weston st

It was taken out in front of the house we lived in from the time I was 3 until I got married. My little brother was six years younger than me, so I assume I was eleven and he was five here. I know by my hair (I know, it looks like an old lady by I was growing out a short cut!) that was wasn’t in middle school yet.

I have no idea why we were dressed up and wearing corsages. It had to be summer because the canna lily behind us is in full bloom. My grandma gave mom the bulbs to plant, so whenever I see them I think of her.

If you look closely in the screen of the porch you can see the porch swing that my dad made. I’ve talked about it before, so sorry if this is repetitive so some. I love, love, love this swing. Many summer afternoons and evenings were spent on it while reading or talking to friends. My dad gave it to me and it is still my favorite spot to sit outside to read, relax or knit.

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Thanks Cyn for the walk down memory lane.

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Thanksgiving = Family & Tradition

I have to get a plan together. Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and there is so much to do!

The most important part of Thanksgiving in our house is family. Yeah, they want some turkey, and “fixin’s” and dessert. And more dessert…but the most important part of the holiday (or any day in my opinion) is spending time and making memories with family and a few close friends.

This year I am super excited because our son and daughter-in-law are flying in on Monday and staying until Saturday. When they come in for Thanksgiving, we like to go into Chicago and visit Christkindlesmarket at Daley Plaza. It is usually cold (and last year it was rainy) but it is a wonderland of German food and gifts. Go to their website to get all the info http://www.christkindlmarket.com/

Christkindlmarket Christkindlmarket 2

We also get a live Christmas tree and will do that before they leave to go back to home. When the boys were little, they loved going to cut down the Christmas tree. Tromping through a snowy or muddy field depending upon our fickle weather. They used to argue over who was going to cut it down. Now they argue over who HAS to cut it down. But they are good sons and don’t complain too much when I look at a dozen trees before going back to the first one :} And when in a hurry, we just go to Home Depot to get the tree. It doesn’t matter to me as long as we are spending time together.

getting the tree again getting the tree

Another yearly event, which takes much more planning than dinner or where we are getting the Christmas tree is the annual Christmas Craft. When other families are napping or watching football after Thanksgiving dinner, we clear the table of everything except the veggie dip because you have to keep your strength up when crafting.

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I’ve blogged about the craft before, because I write about what is close to me and what I love and our family getting together to do traditional things like the Christmas Craft and Christkindlmarket and cutting down a Christmas tree together.

I’ll post more once I have an idea for the craft, which is kept secret until Thanksgiving day – but I’ll share when I can. And how the Christmas tree hunt turns out.

No worries about Thanksgiving dinner though. We’ll have the traditional foods we do most every year. They are just the fixin’s that go with the main event of spending time with family 🙂

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Book Review Anatomy of a Kidnapping: A Doctor’s Story – A Gripping True Crime Book

Anatomy of a Kidnapping,  Anatomy of a KidnappingA Doctor’s Story

By Steven L. Berk M.D.

248 pages

Berk begins the fascinating account of his own kidnapping with the theory of why the agitated gun toting kidnapper did not kill him. He feels his medical history and time he spent with patients and in hospitals may have given him some tools to fall back on when he faced death at the hands of an unstable, drug addicted man. He mentions this in an almost casual way, not in arrogance, but more puzzlement. He is thankful for living through his ordeal, but doesn’t have any doubts that it could have gone bad in an instant.

The story is told in four intertwined parts. Berg gives the reader an insight to a young doctor’s life by sharing true events and encounters he had with great patients and odd patients. He doesn’t pull any punches or expound as to his greatness. He is frank and honest when telling of mistakes he made when treating some of the cases throughout his career. Everyone makes mistakes, but when doctors do, it can mean someone dies.

We follow his life through the hospitals he’s worked in up to his current assignment in Texas. From Arizona to Boston then to Amarillo, TX Berk keeps learning and growing as a doctor. He always wanted to become a missionary doctor, but during his residency at Boston City Hospital he began to realize he really wanted to focus on academic medicine. He also became interested in infectious disease and clinical research.

When a  medical school classmate asked him to serve as the chairman of the advisory board of an Amarillo medical school, Berk agreed. He loved the challenge and the goals of Texas Tech, and felt the he could help. With his leadership, the campus grew and improved. Berk did the same. He moved his family to Amarillo and settled in to a rewarding career.

The fateful morning in March 2005 was like any other. Like any other incident of this magnitude, he could look back and say he should have done something differently and it never would have happened. Life is like that, one little pebble can begin a landslide. Seeing it from the doctor’s perspective is haunting, knowing his fear for his family and his life on that Sunday morning puts the reader in the passenger seat of the car with him.

he third part of the story we hear along the way is that of the kidnapper. Jack Lindsey Jordan was born to a wealthy TX family, but had a frightful temper as he grew older. He had spent 10 years in prison on a felony charge just before the kidnapping. We see the series of events that led up to kidnapping unfold as the book progresses.

The last part to weave throughout the chapters is the actual court proceedings as documented from the trial. So you know in the beginning that Berk has been kidnapped, Jordan is caught and goes to trial. It is fascinating to read the account from the victim’s perspective.

Berk acknowledges that in the end, life is just not fair sometimes. He questions why he was not harmed during his ordeal and other people are shot. There are no answers, only speculations and luck.

This memoir reads like a fast paced fiction novel by a New York Times best-selling author. Berk’s ability to bring all four parts of this story – his history, the kidnapping, the kidnapper’s history as well as the court documents together in a page-turning novel makes this book a must-read.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

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Filed under Book Review, books, family, memoir, True Crime

WIP Wednesday Viva Las Vegas!

This week’s WIP is pretty light on the progress side of things. I spent the a long weekend in Las Vegas with my dad and hubby and left all my yarn at home so I could take a vacation from my projects also. We had a great time just being together, laughing and playing a few slot machines. After all, if I would have been a big winner (which I was not) I could have bought more yarn!

dad and jim

I did get a couple of hats knitted, just need to add the eyes, nose and sew them together. This week I am going to work on my shawl 🙂

half bears

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Filed under baby hats, family, Knitting, NICU, Vacation, WIP Wednesday

Book Review: Dear Zoe by Philip Beard – Heart-Breaking But Beautiful Novel

Dear ZoeDear Zoe

By Philip Beard

196 pages

September 11, 2001 was a tragic day in U.S. history. Tess’ three-year-old sister Zoe died that day, just as countless others did. Many died in the terrorist attack, but others like Zoe died in other places where the magnitude of their death only devastated a family, not a nation. But each and every one are tragedies nonetheless.

In Dear Zoe, fifteen-year-old Tess begins to write a letter to the little sister who will never read it. She tells Zoe little things about her life that she may have told her when she got older. Like how they decided as a family to name her Zoe. She also tells her about how the family she left is coping with the hole left in their lives when Zoe died.

Tess is actually Zoe’s step-sister. Her mom and step-father married when Tess was young, after her mom divorced her real dad, who still plays a part in Tess’ life. He isn’t necessarily a bad person, but is more of a dreamer and sometimes a schemer who always finds a reason not to work.

David, Tess’ step-father, is a hard working family man who loves her. He didn’t really know much about being a father, but got better at it as the family grew with two more daughters, Emily and Zoe. Tess always thought of Em and Zoe as her sisters, never “half” or “step”, loving them both with her whole heart.

After Zoe’s accident the little family imploded. The only one that seemed to be “normal” was Em. The seven-year-old has always been wise beyond her years, but losing the little sister she adored and watching the rest of her fragile family float away from her was way too much for a first grader to handle.

This book is quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read. The underlying sadness of Zoe’s death mixed with the joy she brought to the family in her three short years is heart-breakingly beautiful. Now Tess has to grow up fast and could easily take the wrong path when it is practically dropped in her lap.

Em is the one that broke my heart. She was so lost without anyone to tell her life would be ok I wanted to bring her home to keep her safe until her family was well enough to do it themselves. Em made me cry more than once as she watched her family disengage from the life she knew and she was too small to get it back.

Beard is an extraordinary author. He creates characters that are so well developed they don’t just seem real; they ARE real to the reader. Tess grows up in the year it takes her to write this love letter to Zoe, and it is not without pain. We are swept along through her loss of innocence, hoping she will make it through this personal journey without too many scars.

This is Beard’s first book, and has since written two more, Lost in the Garden and Swing. I’ve read Swing and plan to order Lost in the Garden today. It is rare to find an author that can write in so many different voices and make all of them come to life. The stories he tells are rich and full, giving the reader enough details to pull you into the world he has created with his words without a hint of slowing the flow of the intricately beautiful plot.

I read a lot of books. Only a handful of authors amaze me. Philip Beard is one of them.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under 9/11, Book Review, coming of age, coping, debut novel, family, Philip Beard

Book Review: Swing by Philip Beard – A Grand Slam Must Read!

Swing    Swing

By Philip Beard

317 pages

Eleven- year-old Henry Graham has a lot to learn about life. What he knows for sure is his father moved out, his mom was unhappy and the 1971 Pirates are heading for a pennant race. What he doesn’t know is how long his father will be gone, how his family will cope with the hole left in their lives  or if his beloved Pirates will win or lose the series.

Determined not to lose everything that makes his live normal, Henry decides to skip school to go to a Pirates’ game alone.  He takes the tickets that his father left behind, hops a bus and meets John Kostka. John will affect Henry’s life for years to come.

John is a man with many problems of his own, but that doesn’t stop him from reaching out to a child who seems adrift. Henry’s mother tries her best to make things as normal for Henry and his sisters Sam and Ruthie after her husband “… had gone to start a new life with one of his students”.

Sam has grown from a promiscuous teen to a bitter adult. Ruthie is failing physically but has reconciled her past and enjoys her future, no matter what it brings. Henry has demons and is at a crossroad in his life that will either enable him to go forward or slip into his family history of past mistakes.

Now married with children, Henry is working as a professor like his father did many years ago.  His life is good, but not perfect. He is up for review and may lose his job and his wife Maggie battled breast cancer and is still fighting the demons it left behind. His children have issues that they may or may not grow out of, only time will tell.

At first, I thought Beard named his book Swing because it is about baseball. Then I thought it was because John has no legs and instead of walking, he swings his torso after putting his hands on the ground to move. Then I thought maybe Swing was named for the way life is going along and all of the sudden decisions pop up that make you go back and forth like a pendulum hoping to choose the right thing to do. Or maybe it is about how your life can Swing out of control in an instant and you can go with it or fight the force of nature. Swing is all of these and more.

Beard uses every word to drive the reader toward the crossroads in his character’s lives that everyone experiences in some shape or form. On the surface this book is one of a legless man becoming a father figure to a little boy who desperately needs one, but doesn’t realize it.  The impact on young Henry and his family is pivotal. Grown-up Henry has a less than perfect life, just like most of us, yet he has learned from John that life goes on even when you think you’ve lost everything. It will be different, but can be just as rich and full.

Subtle nuances woven in tell as much about the story as the main plot. Franny the dog is so real, I see her in my aging Labrador. I held my breath when she had trouble walking, praying that on the next page Franny would slowing rise and lumber home with Henry.

Swing is one of the most compelling novels I have ever read. Beard masterfully pulls the reader into the life of Henry, both as a child and man. The depth of his characters gave them life from the very first page.  I could not put this book down. I took it to work to read on lunch and break, putting my headphones in so people would think I was listening to music so they wouldn’t interrupt me. I cooked dinner with it in one hand and read late into the night.

I like a lot of books for a lot of different reasons. I loved Swing because it was so real I felt I knew Henry and his family by the end of the book. I rejoiced in their victories, felt pain in their sadness and identified with the fact that during your life bad things happen. It is how you cope that matters. Swing deals with heavy issues but is easy to read. After reading it, I realized all of the subtle nuances that affected the story that another author may not have used with the mastery of this one. This allows the reader to think about Swing long after finishing the book.

This is Beard’s third book, and I already have the other two in my queue to read. I suggest you visit your bookstore, download or go to your library to get Swing and read it right now – or at least this summer. Beard has a note at the end “In memory of both the service and daily bravery of Sgt. Kenneth Kocher”. Take time to search out Sgt. Kocher’s Facebook page, to read about the person the character of John is based upon.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under baseball, Book Review, family, Philip Beard, Pirates

WIP Wednesday on Thursday

As you can see this is being posted on Thursday. Things have been hectic, but interesting to say the least. I’ve had an odd combo of crafting projects this week, but I’ll start with the socks I talked about last week. I am almost down to my toes, I figure about 4 rows and I’ll begin the decreases for the toe shaping. If I find an hour to work on them before the weekend, I will be ready to cast on the second sock, but honestly think it will be completed over the weekend instead of before. Here is a pic of the yarn I am using, it is heavier than the usual sock yarn I use, but wanted this weight for next fall to wear inside a pair of short boots that I absolutely love 🙂

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gray sock April 15 2

I also worked on fusing two tablecloths together. Sounds like an odd task, but let me explain. Back in the 80’s I was a stay at home Mom with 3 little boys. I used to read the magazines I received in the mail from cover to cover soaking in advise, tips and recipes. I read about starting a family tradition of signing a white table cloth on each holiday, then stitching the names to create a family heirloom of sorts. It seemed like a great idea until the stitching took longer than anticipated. I stitched some, my grandma stitched some, my aunt stitched some – and we still couldn’t keep up! So we switched to fabric paint. This was a good idea – or so we thought, until it started to flake off in the washing process (we actually eat with it on the table at all holidays) so we had to go to plan “C”. Now I purchase colorful Sharpie markers so that problem has been solved. Until….the younger generation started lobbying for a new tablecloth. All of the ex-girlfriends and a couple of ex-husbands were a point of contention. I was not willing to retire the tablecloth with the signatures of loved ones that are no longer with us. My grandma, mom, aunt and mother-in-law to name a few as well as the adorable signatures of the kids as they learned to print then write. So my plan was formed to make everyone as happy as I could. I purchased a second tablecloth, fused them together and will (hopefully before the next holiday) stitch a border on to even up the edges and secure the new side with the old side. Here is the pick I sent all the “youngsters” in the family to show them I was listening 🙂 They all seemed happy with the compromise.

tablecloth

The last thing I worked on this week was SOAP! I have been lusting after all of the beautiful soaps on Pinterest. My board Suds and Scrubs has tons of pins, I am obsessed. My friend Leslie got me the supplies I needed to make a simple batch of lemon soap for my birthday last week and I was dying to try it.

soap mold

The first thing that needed to be done was dry shredded lemon peels. I now have 4 naked lemons in my fridge, but the peels were fabulously fragrant after drying in the sun.

lemon for soap

The recipe was amazingly easy, soap base, essential oil, lemon peel and food coloring (note to self – one teeny speck of food coloring is more than enough). This was a super way to begin as it was easy and pretty fool proof . I made it in 2 batches, one with food coloring, one without.

setting soap

And the finished product that I am very pleased with for my first soap adventure. I am thinking soap for everyone at Christmas!!! LOL

finished soap

Now for the irons I have in the fire. The second sock is a given. I signed up for the Spring NICU challenge, so I have  newborn size baby hats to make. Read more about it here: http://www.sunsetfamilyliving.com/spring-2015-nicu-challenge-join/  I am not too concerned about getting them done, since I’ve already donated the 20 bunny hats this month, but want to complete at least 10 more. The nurse I know that works in the NICU I donate to said everyone fights over the bear hats, so I think I will focus on them.

Lastly, the gal at work that I just finished the baby afghan for in February needs another one.  I swear everyone she knows must be pregnant – with boys!!! I don’t know how happy she is going to be that I have to charge her more than I have been. I have been only a few dollars over the cost of the yarn, and honestly need to have a bit for all the hours involved.

Have a wonderful week – mine looks to be busy 🙂

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Filed under baby hats, blanket, Crafts, Crocheting, family, Knitting, NICU, Soap Making, socks

Mr. Samuel’s Penny YA Book Review

Mr. Samuel’s PennyMr. Samuel's Penny

By Treva Hall Melvin

254 pages

Lizbeth Landers and her younger sister Lena are spending the summer with relatives in a small North Carolina town. Far from their home in Queens, fourteen year-old Lizbeth thinks she will be bored, but soon learns that small towns and relatives have secrets, some of which can be deadly.

Soon after arriving, there is a horrific car accident in which a man and his daughter drown. A mystery surrounds the accident, and deepens as the penny the dead man clutches in his hand disappears from the evidence gathered at the scene. Lizbeth is determined to find the rare 1909 penny, sure that the person with possession of it will be the one that caused the accident and consequently the deaths of the driver and his toddler.

On her search, she learns about life and herself while interacting with her relatives and other residents of Ahoskie. The teen makes assumptions about life and people in her 1972 world. She learns that things are not always as they seem and you have to really get to know people before judging them or supposing you know their motives for how they react.

Mr. Samuel’s Penny is more of a coming-of-age Young Adult book than a Young Adult Mystery. It shows the growth of Lizbeth during the summer into a young lady that is much wiser than she was before she left New York. She learns of life, death and the definition of family that reaches much further than blood ties.

The mystery of the 1909 penny and the car accident is brought to light in the final chapters, but it almost seems to me this is the subplot, not the plot. Lizbeth’s search for the penny brings her into situations that allow her to connect with other characters that she might not have had contact with, but the mystery and penny take a back seat to her growth.

The only plot point that bothered me was Lizbeth’s nine year-old sister. She was mentioned coming to meals, wearing outfits that were not hers, and getting into dangerous situations that leave the reader breathless. But she is not mentioned at the beginning during the accident. Lizbeth, her aunt and uncle are at the scene – where is this younger girl? Lena was told to go play at a little girl’s house while Lizbeth and Aunt Alice go to the laundromat; did she spend the whole summer over there unless she was needed as part of the “action”? I know that the focus of the novel is on Lizbeth, but after introducing a little sister, she has to be accounted for in the rest of the book, especially key scenes at Aunt Alice’s home.

This is Treva Hall Melvin’s first book, and well worth searching out to read. It is a quick read, with an underlying story of growing up told subtly and smoothly along with the mystery. Touching on topics you would not expect adds another layer to this novel that is deceptively complex, yet still easy to read.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Book Review, family, Mystery, YA

Book Review: Melody Jackson and the House on Lafayette Street – YA Sci Fi Gold!

Melody Jackson and the House on Lafayette StreetMelody Jackson and the House on Layfayette Street

By B.M.B. Johnson

285 pages

Johnson’s Melody Jackson novel is YA Sci Fi gold. Snappy dialog and a solid storyline make this book a winner.

Melody and her unlikely friend/accomplice in this adventure are thrust together by meddling mothers. Most, if not all teens and tweens can relate to meddling parents who mean well but totally miss the mark. Flutter’s mother and Melody’s mom were connected via a community college class, and when Flutter’s parents had to go out of town for the weekend, Melody’s mom saw a perfect (in her eyes) opportunity for Melody to spend less time alone and maybe have a friend.

Strange things began to happen on the way home from the art class the girls shared. Given the task of fundraising, Flutter was all in. Melody could care less about the whole thing until Flutter approaches the house next to the Jackson’s where the creepy old man lives. This begins a chain of events that cannot be contained.

The Jackson family is odd. Melody’s mom puts on a happy face, hiding secrets and her dad is paranoid and at times a bit disconnected from reality. All of this hinges on something in their past that Melody doesn’t know about, but soon will.

Strangers begin to mill about the neighborhood, cats are missing and most disturbing, Melody’s dad becomes zombie-like and begins on a mission known only to him. Out of fear and curiosity combined with the strong pull of love and family loyalty, Melody, her mom and Flutter are in for the duration with him.

The girls were vastly different, but the tension between them drove the story well. With all of the supernatural happenings and fear of the unknown the girls learn to work together and yet still don’t like each other very much.I don’t see them willingly hanging out at the mall together after this ordeal is over. This is much more likely than these two girls becoming best friends.

In addition to the meddling mothers, there are everyday events that occur during the craziness of the unknown that are relevant and allow the reader to relate to the characters, bringing them to life. Personally, I loved the off brand toys that line Melody’s pristine room.

This was a fun read. I’m looking forward to more of Johnson’s books.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under family, Quick Nav, Sci Fi, YA

Writing 101 Day 20 final assignment: Most Prized Possession is Not a Possession

For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual

The final assignment for Writing 101 was posted for us 2 weeks ago. Many things have happened since then, most of them just life happenings both good and bad. They interrupted, precluded and overrode my attempts to get back to blogging. But I was writing in my head the whole time (who doesn’t???).

For the second part, I am pleading exception because I tend to rattle on about the most mundane things, I am sure you don’t want a War and Peace sized post.

My most prized possession is not a possession. There are so many things in my life I love, but most of them, like my children, are not possessions. They are people, events and of course books – but maybe I should say reading. So this is what you will hear about. It is nothing I can physically possess (altho the books could loosely fall into that category) but the non-things I treasure the most.

First has to be my family. Hands down, no contest, can’t imagine life without any of them. My husband, whom I have been with for over 40 years still makes my heart happy. We argue and disagree and make up. If you’ve followed any of my other posts, you will see him pop up time after time simply because I love and trust him with my life.

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Next are my children. They are grown men now, ages 30 – 35. If anyone thinks they can tell their kids what to do, good luck with that. The only thing I can hope for is that they listened when they were younger – they had no choice since they lived with us 🙂 They have grown into fine young men, I’d like to think because of our influence, but sometimes maybe in spite of it. I miss the toddlers they were, but love them as they are, funny, intelligent guys. One of them told me a few years back that he was appalled to hear my words coming out of his mouth when someone suggested something stupid. HA!! Thank goodness they actually listened sometimes.

My extended family is also treasured. My dad, my father-in-law, aunts, cousins… the list goes on. I talk to at least a few everyday via email (don’t be a hater about electronic communication, it beats NO communication these busy days) and know in a heartbeat I can call on them if I need to. And they know they can call on me and I’ll be there for them. We laugh and cry together. Every Friday is Family Night. Whomever is free comes to eat. It could be 5 or 15 of us, but it is a fabulous way to stay in touch, end a busy work week and start the weekend in a feel-good way. Life is good.

Events are what I prefer to give and get as gifts now that we have more possessions than we really need at our house. For example, I now give my hubby trips such as a day in Chicago, or tickets to a play or show (he was really, really thrilled with the Penn and Teller tickets for Father’s Day). He does the same for me. Our sons got him tickets to a “driving experience” and went with him. They had tons of fun and hubby got what he cherished most – spending a day with 2 of his sons (the other lives out of state or he would have been there too!).

Gen Washington

We also do things on vacation to make more memories. Sometimes good, sometimes bad 🙂 The 4th of July we spent the day at Mount Vernon with our youngest son and his wife. I is an awesome place to visit, but going on Independence Day ramps it up even more. We toured the house, the museum and grounds. We watched reenactments and had birthday cake to celebrate our nation’s birthday. If you are on the east coast, you have to go see General Washington’s choppers. And the Pioneer Farm on the grounds, right now they have the cutest baby pigs! So much history and pride in our country all around. And, like 2 years ago when we were at Monticello on the 4th, there was a huge naturalization program. It is so cool to see the excitement on the faces of brand new citizens of the United States. Happiness all around, and no physical possessions needed on my part.

Mount Vernon 7.4.14

Books. What can I say? I live to read and write. It is my escape when things go bad, my joy when things are good and takes me to places I will never go to in “real” life. The reason I don’t truly consider them possession even though they fill my house, is that I can read new books online, from the library or borrowed from friends for no cost and without keeping them. That said, I am really fond of my signed book collection. It is fast outgrowing the bookcase. I would be sad to lose it, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t live without them. Just don’t tell my super indulgent, patient hubby who rolls his eyes when I ask for a new bookshelf – then builds it.

So my short long version is: my greatest possessions are not possessions, but are the people I love, life experiences I have and reading.

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