Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Elsie Lane

My favorite little family just weeks before their family was made complete 
by the birth of Elsie Lane.

Emolyn Kate... anxiously awaiting the birth of her baby sister.

Thanks to En Love Photography for these amazing images!

Elsie Lane's first photo shoot at 5 days old.
I couldn't stop crying when they came up on facebook.
I was so overcome with emotion.

* Shawn, Nicole, Elsie & Emolyn *

Oh my gosh, I'm en love.

* Daddy & daughters *

Randy & I took Emolyn to McDonalds today after Bible Study.
I asked Emolyn to tell me all about her sister Elsie.
She told me "Oh Mimi, she is so beautiful!"

* Mommy & Elsie *

My cup runneth over...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Arizona in Autumn

Randy & I got up Monday morning and set out to find fall foliage up north.
And we were pleasantly surprised to find such exquisite brilliance outside Flagstaff.
I couldn't believe the vivid colors!

Who needs to travel to Wisconsin when Arizona's autumn is only two hours away!

I can't tell you how much I needed to get out of the city
and take in the beauty of God's creation.
All the burdens and cares of the world faded as I was overcome with peace and quiet.

After picking up a pumpkin spice latte, we made our way down Oak Creek Canyon,
my very favorite drive in all of Arizona.

Oak Creek Canyon is a river gorge located along the Mogollon Rim in northern Arizona located between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. The canyon is often described as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its scenic beauty. State Route 89A enters the canyon on its north end via a series of hairpin turns before traversing the bottom of the canyon for about 13 miles (20.8 kilometers) until the highway enters the town of Sedona. 
The Oak Creek Canyon-Sedona area is the second most popular tourist destination in Arizona, 
second only to the Grand Canyon.

Seriously, Oak Creek Canyon is like driving down into the Grand Canyon.
Ok, maybe not as grand, but with a whole lot of trees!

* Serene * Tranquil * Peaceful *
I don't ever want to forget how I felt sitting on this rock in the middle of Oak Creek.

And just when you think it couldn't get any more grand... you're in Sedona.
And the surrounding Red Rocks take your breath away.
I'm not kidding you, I have met people that have traveled the world, 
and declared Sedona as their most favorite place.
It really is that awe-inspiring.

I could have posted a dozen more Red Rock formations, but I think you get the picture.

We finally stopped at the Wildflower Bread Company for lunch...
then shared a cup of coffee ice cream with toasted almonds at Cold Stone Creamery next door... 
all the while feasting on the Red Rocks of Sedona.
* Priceless *

 I zoomed in on the view we were feasting on.
But you can also clic each pic for an even better view.
Thanks for sharing in our road trip. 
And if autumn is not happening in your back yard, then I encourage you to take a Fall Foliage day trip.
And then tell me all about it!
I'm linking up with

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wisconsin in October

Fall on the farm
We've been driving back to the farm the past couple years- in October.
But not this year. And I am aching to be back there.
So I decided to post a few of my favorite images, so I might feel better.
Well, didn't work... it only made me more homesick.

flags on the farm
I am grateful to have grown up on a dairy farm. 
My brother Ron & his wife Debbie own the farm now
and it's as beautiful as ever.
Randy's been climbing the 90' Harvestore silo for the past 30 years.
And I'm never worried. But maybe I should be.

York Road
We love exploring all the old country roads.
I snowmobiled on this road back in the 70's.
But only just returned a couple years ago in the fall. 
Oh my gosh, York Road has definitely become one of my favorite drives.

the colors on Eimon Road
The vibrant, intensely vivid colors are breathtaking!

Buena Vista Park
A road trip along the Mississippi River with my brother Gary has become a yearly tradition.
Love all the little towns along the River.

pumpkins for sale
A pumpkin slash goat farm on one particular road trip caught my eye.
It later became my autumn blog banner.
Cain's Orchard
Apple picking at Cain's Orchard near Hixton with my Mom & Dad...
truly one of my fondest memories.
I'm really missing my Dad today.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

thrifted burlap transformation

Here's a thrift store transformation that seriously took me all of a few minutes. 
I have contemplated buying this teddy bear in a burlap bag for a couple months now, 
but each time I would talk myself out of taking it home. 
I figured it was more than I wanted to spend... seeings I only wanted it for the burlap.
Well, yesterday I actually picked it up and was told at check-out that it was only 98 cents. 
So it came home with me.

Within minutes I put together this autumn centerpiece for my farmhouse table-scape.
It's weighted with fine stones in the bottom half, 
so it's perfect for keeping anything I fill it with upright.
Don't know why it took me so long to make it mine.
The ideas are limitless!
And the best part... it's burlap.

Speaking of my favorite little thrift store- 
has the most HUMUNGOUS selection of Halloween costumes!

Racks & racks & racks of adult & children size costumes.
All costumes are half-off Oct. 14th & 15th!!
(and most costumes are $5.98 or less)
So hurry for best selection!

Check out more creative transformations at 
and FRUGAL FRIDAY @ Shabby Nest

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the yellow blanket

Shawn holding Elsie & the yellow blanket (2010)
Randy holding Elsie & the yellow blanket (2010)
Elsie is the third generation to go home swaddled in  the yellow blanket.
Elsie's Pop Pop came home from the hospital 57 years ago wrapped in the yellow blanket
Our son Shawn came home 28 years ago wrapped in
 the yellow blanket.
(so did Miranda 25 years ago & Tyler 21 years ago)
 and Shawn's daughter Emolyn went home 2 1/2 years ago wrapped in the yellow blanket.
And Elsie Lane came home last week in the yellow blanket.

Randy holding Emolyn & the yellow blanket (2008)
Proud Pop Pop holding Emolyn Kate, who was finally home from the hospital after 5 weeks.
This blanket happens to be the softest flannel blanket you have ever laid your hands on!

Randy holding Shawn & the yellow blanket (1982)
I first posted about the yellow blanket on my blog here in 2006.
Upon rereading it the other day, I realized that Randy was 28 years old when Shawn was born... 
and Shawn was 28 years old when Elsie Lane was born last week.

Randy's Mom holding Randy & the yellow blanket (1953)
And look what I found last night?!!!
A picture of Randy's Mom holding Randy in the yellow blanket!
57 years ago!
Ok, so I'm not 100% sure it's the yellow flannel blanket,
but hey, after 57 years of washings
I can see where it might not be as textured as shown in this photo.
Oh, and have I mentioned that I have the best mother-in-law...
and the best husband?
Well, I do.
* Click each of the pics to enlarge *
*** I'm linking up with

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dad's one-room school

Do you have a file of your all-time favorite photos? 
I do. And this is the only photo in that file.
I love this image.
Near the farm in Wisconsin... my favorite time of year... full of texture and nostalgia.
It was taken 25 years ago on our Canon AE1 Program.
It's the one-room school that my Dad attended in the 30's.

My Dad and his 4 brothers went through 8th grade in this one-room school,
while his 4 sisters went on to graduate from high school.
My Dad passed away last December at 83 years old,
and would tell us that the demands of farming kept the boys from continuing their education.
We still drive by the Holen School every time we're back home and it's barely standing now.
Randy & I would always dream of buying it, restoring it and making it our summer home.

This classroom photo was taken in the 30's of Holen School. My Dad's siblings are among the children sitting at their desks.

And this is one of the desks that came out of that school,
that my Dad and his siblings spent hours learning to read, write and do arithmetic!
After they closed Holen School in 1955, the desks were most likely made available
to the one-room York School down the road or put in storage.
I attended York School my first grade year in 1963.
They closed that school the following year and made the desks available to the community.
My Mom told me they bought two of the desks for a dollar or two.
Oh the hours I spent pretending on those desks.
In the 60's we were given permission to paint the desks however we wanted.
So us kids haphazardly splattered paint everywhere.
Sorta that hippie, psychedelic look, with groovy pink flowers. Wish I had photos.
Well, little did we know, we were preserving the poor desks.
Had we not piled on the oil-base paint, the desks would not have survived all those years
in our damp, musty basement.

Many years later I hauled this treasure back to Phoenix after one of our visits to the farm.
I had it dipped and restored so my kids could make memories on Grandpa's desk.
And today I dug it out of storage again...
so my granddaughters can start making memories on great-grandpa's school desk.

I'm linking to-

Sunday, October 10, 2010

repurposed sweater

I am so passionate about repurposing, recycling & restoring. 
I look at everything and think mmm, what can I do to give it another life?
Especially clothes.
With sweater vests all the rage this fall, I thought I'd take this cardigan that I rarely wore,
(sleeves were too snug) and make it into a vest.
I loved the color (gray is big this fall), the long length and the light-weight crocheted design.
So not ready to toss it in the yard sale box yet.
I also knew that if I cut a tad beyond the sleeve seam that it would most likely curl
and that's just the look I wanted. 
But if I tire of that look, I can always finish the seam for a more finished look.

Just as I was about to toss the sleeves, I remembered this amazing post at 
Check out Stephanie's detailed tutorial and make some yourself.

Ok, so I got this far and realized that I probably should have put these candles in vases
or else these sleeves will go up in smoke, if you know what I mean. Oops!
So off to the thrift store I go (and found the vase in the top pic)
and while I'm at it, might as well pick up some holiday sweaters with colorful, festive sleeves 
and make some more to scatter about the house.
And for whatever reason, I've been calling mine Candle Cozies.
I guess they remind me of those cute Tea Cozies.

I'm linking my creative blooper to BLOGGING BLOOPERS PARTY- 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Elsie's birth story

This was our first glimpse 
Elsie Lane
born October 5th, 2010
6# 5 oz.
Elsie means-
one who is devoted to God.

(named after Nicole's grandma)

This was our first glimpse of
Emolyn Kate
born February 22, 2008
2# 7oz. 
Emolyn means-
hardworking, laborious.

(named after Shawn's grandma)

I just had to post these two images together. 
I couldn't believe how similar they were,  
yet how different their beginnings were.
But they were both healthy.
And that's all that really matters.

Shawn & Nicole's friends & family gathered together at 7am 
for lots of loving & laughter & prayers. 
And yes, even Nicole's amazing Doctor prayed with us. 
The reason he's not in this picture is because 
he grabbed my camera as he was leaving 
and captured this memorable moment.

And that same wonderful DR came into the nursery while Elsie was being checked out, 
and held her up for us all to see! 
I love these two images of our little baby doll.
Could she be any sweeter!

Oh and looky here, she's smiling at her Mimi!

Ok, I'm actually crying as I type this...
then Emolyn arrived.. and I'm telling you, it was sacred. 
You could hear a pin drop. We all kinda held our breath. 

And then Emolyn said ever so softly "that's baby sister... she's so tiny". 

She didn't know it yet... 
but she had just met her bestest friend in the whole world.

"Oh Mama, can I hold her now?"

Emolyn is the most nurturing, loving, tenderhearted little girl.
She kept whispering "it's ok baby sister... I'm here now."

Is there a better feeling... than a newborn baby in your arms. 
She is so soft & warm & cuddly.
But watching Emolyn softly kissing Elsie's little fingers...
well, I was a mess.

Their first family photo!
Congratulations Shawn & Nicole!