farewell 2015....

2015 was a bittersweet year and a year I will never forget - a definite milestone marker. The year started out great and quickly took an unexpected turn for the worst when I got the call that my dad had passed suddenly in a car accident. I was faced with things that at the time I thought would break me and in that difficulty, I realized a strength in me that I didn't know I had. I made new friends, realized how monumental acquaintances can be, overcame fears, and grew into the life that 2015 handed me. 

I went through all the emotions, moved into to my dad's home, two hours away to get my sister through the school year. I had to leave Christian, Baby, and my home behind for four months. During that time, I was able to do some soul searching. Some self-reflection. I learned a lot about myself. I was able to slowly pack up my dad's things and clean out his home and say goodbye. I slept in his bed every night and sat in 'his' chair every evening. His sneakers sat by the couch just as he had left them until the day I emptied everything out from the house and said goodbye. His change of clothes that he had laid out that day, remained on the bed and I slept next to them for four months. I stayed stuck in a period of limbo for those four months and refused to really start the healing. I was commuting two hours to and from work every day during this time, so all that windshield time was most of my 'therapy'. Listening to daddy's songs. Thinking of the last texts we sent, trying to wrap my head around the fact that his story was over. There would be no more new memories of him. 

I would come home on the weekends and see Christian, Baby, and the animals. Christian took on the role as farm keeper while I was away and Baby's time (she had been battling a brain tumor since last July) came when I was home one weekend in March. Another devastation that I thought would break me.

My dad had a horse and an old golden retriever. A tree swing was in their pasture and I would swing and speak to the animals every evening. I was alone out there aside from the animals pretty much. My sister had her friends from school, she was dealing with things her own way, and I had the animals and the tree swing.

In June, I was able to come home after the school year and after my sister finished up the 10th grade. She went to live with her other sister, who has other children and could provide more of a 'family' environment for her. I started settling back into my life, feeling very thankful to have had Christian's support during this difficult time, and grateful beyond words that my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and stepdad were such a tight-knit family. I started to really be able to see my fortune. To be able to really appreciate and be thankful for certain things, like the fact that I had the acreage to be able to take in daddy's horse. That even though I was fearful of the giant Rose, I could at least try to see what daddy loved so much about her. I had no proper place for Rose, so I had to leave Eddie and Rose at my dad's for a few weeks after I moved back into my home and drive down to feed them.

On Father's Day weekend, I was able to move Rose and Eddie. This was my gift to my dad. To know that I was able to keep all his animals safe (he also had a cat that my dear mother took in). Eddie had never known a life outside of the pasture, so he lived in the field with Rose. Rose was not in her permanent place yet, but in part of the goat's field until I could afford to fence in the 'big field' for her.

I had no experience with horses aside from the few months I was living at my dad's and cared for her the best way I could - just throwing some hay out, and calling the farrier a few times for a hoof trimming, and then a vet visit before the move. In July, I asked a Facebook friend if she would be able to give me a few 'hands on' pointers to keep myself safe, and she was happy to help, out of that act of generosity, a wonderful friendship formed. I was and still am very thankful to have the support of someone so knowledgeable about horses. Being able to build trust with Rose and work with her, has helped with the grieving process as well, and that first lesson on handling actually was the real beginning of my breakthrough in healing. I get why horses are used in PTSD therapy and I look forward to spending time with Rose every single day. I may never ride her, but we 'get' each other now. 

Eddie had a slow transition to becoming and indoor dog and in mid-October, he became a full-time house dog! This has been good for both Christian and myself. Losing Baby was hard, and no dog will ever replace her, but having Eddie and being able to show him the 'good life', sleeping in the bed, toys, and leashed walks (he is a bolter - takes off if hes not fenced in or on a leash, silly boy!) has been a treat for all of us!

Christmas was good, despite my worries that it may be sad being the first year without my dad and Baby, but it was really great after all. Christian and I ate at my mom's house with my brother, his wife, my mom and stepdad. After Christmas lunch, we opened presents. I must admit that I got some killer gifts! My brother got me some awesome car mats since the farm life can be so damaging to vehicle interiors. My mom got me a hula hoop - custom made! I got some new blades for my reciprocating saw from Eddie, and a ton of other really fun and useful gifts - a good mixture this year!! Eddie seemed to really love Christmas and I'm certain he loves his toys! Christmas night, we went to a friend's home for delicious Christmas cocktails!

So to close out the 2015, I am happy to say that it began rough, but it ended on a good note! I have almost finished Rose's big field complete with shelter from bad weather, Eddie is living the good life, I've been spending more time with my sister, and I do feel like 2016 will be a good one for us. 

Here are a few year end pics - see y'all next year! 

The December rain has been BRUTAL. If this keeps up, I may be getting a truckload of gravel just to get in and out of the driveway! 
 Check out my custom car mats from my bro! I am LOVING these!!!!! So happy!

Rose in her big field..... half has been fenced with electrical rope, and before next summer the other half will be fenced as well so that she can rotate pastures and always have grass!
 The goats had post Christmas visitors..... fully loaded with kisses.

The mud sparked me to use those stepping stones I pulled up from the front yard in the Fall... I had to buy six more, but we now have a clean little path from the driveway to the back door!
This is the back of Rose's shelter/ garden shed. This little area is what I was clearing right before my dad passed. This will be a project once again in the new year, so that my garden can be ready to go when the temps rise again!
 ...the entry of the shed for Rose.... I completely tore out everything and rebuilt using the wood and pallets to close in the poles that are sturdy in the ground...
 Amping up the hoof cleaning in these rainy days.... good thing the farrier is scheduled to come soon!
 Eddie's first Christmas..... so sweet..
 Fun girly gifts from my sister-in-law!

 I am so very happy to have this fella in my life! He was a big part in the year ending on a high note! <3
 Gifts, gifts, and more gifts! Ha! Alaskan Bush People.... Who is your fave? Mine is the sweet, kind-hearted Gabe. Awwwwww, such a sweetie!

Thanks for the blades, Eddie!
My custom hula hoop from mom!


I Am Thankful For 16 Years With My Dandy Beau!!

Last night Christian and I were watching TV (pretty sure it was something cheesy like 'Below Deck') when he gave me one of those new Snickers bars with the funny labels...Mine read "Impatient". He was like, "That is what you are" (said with a smirk), so I started singing "Patience" by Guns N' Roses and then it dawned on me that I had totally forgotten to tell him about the Guns N' Roses reunion tour for 2016 that someone told me about last week. I have been on cloud nine since I heard about it! Eeeeek! I went to pull it up on my phone because Christian was in disbelief that Izzy and Steven would do it, and there before my very own eyes was the sad, sad, devastating news.... Christian was right. I was almost in tears and soooooo upset over this. He was laughing and asking me why in the world I thought it would be original line-up, and I said, "Because I just knew that with the year I had, an original lineup reunion tour made sense!" Like I said, I was almost in tears, but his laughing got me to a better place and I started singing like Axl and going "Yowza", etc. and in that moment it hit me that Christian and I have been together 16 years and I still have the best times with him... Picture this: Me in the floor with my eyes watering all because I wanted so badly to see the original Guns N' Roses next year, Christian laughing in disbelief that I could possibly be this upset over the news that Izzy and Steven would not be performing with them, then we trade our own GNR stories from way back when, and then just a lot of ahhhhhh-eeeeeeeeahhhhhhh-yowza's and laughter. It made me feel like a kid again, and for that, I am SOOOOOO thankful that we can still do this silly stuff together and that our relationship has not gone stale....  That being said, now let me tell you about the last 16 years....
The ancient year of 1999, Christian and I started on a journey....one that taught us both a lot of lessons in life, one that helped us to grow into the tight badass duo we now are... We had crossed each others paths at friends houses, on the sidewalk, at parties, etc., and even had a lot of the same friends, but Thanksgiving of 1999 was the beginning of something more real than I had ever experienced. We were all having a 'Friendsgiving' before it was even a thing. Before it was a hip gathering. Before it even had a name. It was Thanksgiving with friends. Most of my friends at the time had families pretty far away (because they were just in Athens for school), so it makes a perfect opportunity to still celebrate and be thankful, but in a different way....
 Everyone was involved in preparing the food, we had turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the other goodies...

We played piano, sang songs, and everyone had a blast that came - it was a house-full and Christian and I actually got to know each other more than just the random passing and smile on the sidewalk, brush against at a party, or car-ride with friends to a movie.... I knew my heart never fluttered this way, and this had to be the real thing. Thanksgiving of 1999 we first kissed..... A year later we moved in together, and over the years have lived in several rental homes in the city. Today we live just outside the city in the beautiful country on a dirt road and are surrounded by lush land and my little menagerie on about 10 acres. I don't know that I could be happier. We have had so many good times and bad, and survived it because we wanted to. Either one of us could have walked away so easily seeing as we are not married, but we CHOSE to make it work. That is quite a testament of our love and looking back, it means so so much to me and how our lives are now.
I love Christian so much and appreciate the patience he has had with me (soooooo much patience) and he understands that I have the same patience with him (unless I am being 'impatient'). I have learned a ton in the 16 years we have shared.... Committing yourself to someone for the long haul, whether married or not, means you better be prepared to put in the work. Relationships are often mistaken for something that people share or that they have, and I too at the ripe ol' age of 23 believed this as well. It wasn't until a few years in, that I started to realize that a relationship has to be watered, fed, nurtured - anything living does! A relationship is something that you want to constantly grow, and evolve, otherwise you have something that just goes stagnant and stale...

Here are a few things I have learned about building a lasting relationship....

 - dance. sing. dance. sing. dance. We constantly have music playing in the house. It is so easy to just break out a move while cooking and even cleaning, really. I have no real rhythm or moves, so dancing and singing brings me to the next thing on the list as well......

 - laugh. A LOT. I also like to refer to this one as 'ab work'. Laughing not only heals the soul, but if strengthens the core!

 - have your own things going on. For instance, I have my farm stuff and my sewing that Christian has ZERO interest in, and he has his music! Works out beautifully! We have our own interests, but also really look forward to watching our shows together, going to movies, etc.

 - it's OK to go to bed angry. Sometimes when you wake up, it's easier to 'turn the other cheek' - the issue may have worked itself out or vanished altogether... if not, you will both be better equipped to communicate things through after a good night's sleep and some fresh coffee..

  - try new things together. We are both not too keen on meeting new people, going to potlucks, things of that nature, BUT this year we have actually been trying a lot of new things - venturing out of the usual boundaries that we set for ourselves. Meeting new people, making new friends, saying 'yes' to more than we would have even just a year ago.

 - ALWAYS have each other's back. Remember you are on the same team. This year was extremely tough for our relationship with my dad passing, Baby passing (she was very much like our child and we loved her so much), the financial stress of my car crapping out on me AFTER I had already spent close to $4,000 this year alone, me not really being around for the six months after my dad passing due to his place being two hours away, dealing with estate things, keeping my sister in school where she was until the summer - there was a ton of things that put stress on our relationship, but Christian had my back, supported me when I needed it, and we came out of it feeling stronger than we had in years...

So those are what I believe are the most important things that have kept our relationship in check. I claim to be no expert on anything, but these have worked for me and I am passing on my knowledge! Here's to at least 16 more years with my redhead (I will be a cool ripe old age of 55! whoop!)!!!


Friday Five

This year's El NiƱo is predicted to be one of the worst ever recorded... ANd here I wanted snow! Looks as though it might just be one super wet winter.... But I am ready! Propane tanks and a cook stove for boiling water for my coffee, wood stove for heat, and plenty of wood!
(click image for full article)

Cook the perfectly brined turkey..... 
(click image for recipe)

The best recipe for your gravy....
(click image for recipe)

....Annnnnd while you are preparing the feast for Thanksgiving, log onto SiriusXM and get a FREE 30 day subscription for your computer or device so you can start listening to Christmas tunes 24/7!! I did! 
(click image for more info)

.....and then after you are too full to move, you can start on this book ;) 
(click image for more info)


Friday Five....

CBS announced a they would be airing the "I Love Lucy Christmas Special"!!!
(Click image to read more)
This quote: "You'd rather live with that silly fool who can't open her mouth except to say "yes" or "no" and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her."  - Ha! I swear that sounds like something I would say on an extra crabby day!! ;)
Ohhhhh, these two and their past....
(Click image to read more)
THIS tweet...
(click image)
Cool article about Jemima Kirke's fitness...
(Click image to read more)


Midweek Mixtape!

The sun is shining!!! The leaves are on the ground!!! Here is some music to drive home to after work! Halfway through with this week! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEk! Can you tell I am excited about playing outside this weekend!! Come on, Friday!