Saturday, April 30, 2016


It's 1:14 AM - My final paper on German Military History is Done and Submitted. 
 Whew! this one nearly did me in. 

I spent most of the day yesterday working on my FINAL Holocaust paper. That one was much easier to write. I found the topic fascinating and I learned ten times more than I ever thought I would. There is so much more to the Holocaust than the concentration camps. 

One book in particular was very disturbing for me. I read the first chapter and just had to stop. It was brutally graphic and although I know the topic is important to understand, I chose not to continue. The mental images I had of that time was more than I could handle. 

This Holocaust class has taught me so many lessons on hate, love, fear, helplessness, desperation and how the 'ordinary' person is capable of the unimaginable.

German Military History, however, was a tough class for me. Maybe if I had taken it by itself I'd applied more time toward it but in this case it took a back seat to the Holocaust class. I did well in it, as far as grading goes, but I worked hard for that grade, let me tell you. 
Today I met the morning with a bit of a skip in my step, knowing I'm d.o.n.e with all my papers. 

Thanks to those who gave me a "pep talk" when I whined about all the books I had to read.
* And remember, M., you're next*  :)

And thanks to my sister who vicariously lived through each week a paper was due, texting and calling to see how I was doing. She may be about as happy as I am that the semester is over. ha! 
29 Books Later.....


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Grateful 365

Hi ~ My name is Renae and I'm a plant hoarder.

I have always loved plants but with this sun room on the new house I have lost complete control of my senses! There is no medical term for what ails me but I swear it gets worse every year. The difference now... I have more room for more plants. And now with the new plants and flowers coming out for Spring, I just cannot resist! 

I told myself that the only way I'd get more plants is if I found a 'unique' or 'different' one. 
Well, last week I visited a local nursery and of course I could  not resist. It's like taking a kid to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and telling her she can't taste the chocolate! It just can't be done. 

Now who could resist this beauty?
Obviously not me!

One of my favorite finds at the nursery last week. A twisted celosia.
It looks like a brain to me.

I'm always looking for strange shapes or textures of leaves or maybe something that just catches my eye. (which is really any plant honestly.) 

As always, I'm learning a lot about which plants you can cut off and stick in water to root or those whose roots can be broken apart to give to someone. It's crazy how some plants can drop a piece and you can just stick it in dirt and it grows! Which of course gives me more plants! Like I said...I have plant issues. ha! 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Grateful 365 - bulbs

Last fall I decided to try something new and planted a bunch of bulbs in the backyard. My idea is to have a little bit of color in my yard from early Spring through Fall. 
This was my first experience with bulbs and I knew very little about them. I never messed with them before because I'd read about how people dig them up and lay them out on newspapers throughout the winter. No thanks...   I know now that isn't the case with all bulbs. Basically, I received these dried up looking clumps in the mail and planted them. I did look at the projected heights of them and that was about all the "planning" I did.

Within the last few weeks I have all sorts of things popping up in the yard. Mother Nature is incredibly wonderful isn't she? I do know I have some tulips, some iris, lilies and some daffodils but I don't know the exact types.  I had intended to write down each set of bulbs I planted but that didn't happen. Maybe I'll remember to jot it down as they bloom. :)  

I am loving all the changes that are happening in my yard. It's remarkable how quickly these flowers are growing! There's so much change from one day to the next.  

I can already tell it's going to be a learning process for me. The other day I was pulling weeds and dug up a bulb. Not sure what it was but it looks like a weed when it first comes up. ha! 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Grateful for K.

Friends are a rare thing. 
I know.

I have two friends. Yes, exactly two friends that I can TRUST. Two people who I trust with my life.

Some might question, "Just two?"

To that I will answer, " The Best Two!"
I know that each of them will do anything for me - whatever it takes. Both just love me for me and they don't ask questions or make suggestions for change.They accept my quirky little rants on things I'm passionate about and they listen to the rants about my family.

Last week, I had a chance to share a quick get away with one of these sweet friends.  
Thank you K. for listening to the stories that you've heard a million times before. And thank you for taking the time to simply spend time together.  

K. had planned this adventure where we were going to spend a couple days in the mountains together to just have some girl time. Because I was heading to my daughter's following our 'adventure', we drove separately, which wasn't the ideal plan but in this case was necessary. 

Because neither of us had been to this location before, K. downloaded driving directions. Oh gosh, this is where the laughs began. We followed those directions and unexpectedly ended up on numerous dirt roads.  And these weren't just the ordinary dirt roads, these were red clay dirt roads with meteor-sized pot holes for miles. 

I don't know how many times we pulled over to the side of the road to ask that proverbial question, "Is this right?" while revisiting those directions. Google maps sure does encourage the scenic route. :)

When we finally found the sign to our destination we both felt a bit of relief. Even when we met a guy on a snowmobile on the road we weren't too concerned.( that's not true, I was surprised to meet a snowmobile) 

Did I mention the wind was howling and there was snow blowing across the road as we climbed the mountain?  I just had to laugh because we could not have planned a better start to an adventure.

We pulled up to our final destination and couldn't find the office. Oh my gosh, it was so funny. K. wandered around a bit and finally knocked on a door that had a bear standing next to it, holding a "CLOSED" sign. The man pointed her in the right direction.
We checked in and were on our way...

We knew it might be a challenge when the gal told us, "You might want to get a running start to make it into the driveway to your cabin." But we did get to the cabin without getting stuck in the snow and lugged our bags through a couple deep drifts to the front door. 

 Blowing snow with gale force winds didn't stop us from bundling up and wandering around in God's lovely mountain design. We traipsed through some serious deep snow and enjoyed every single minute.What a wonderful day.... 

I've known K. for 26 years and yet I learned more about her. I discovered that she can play the piano and the guitar. I had no idea! And how in the world have I gone this long without knowing her middle name?  

I can hardly wait until our summer adventure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Several weeks back my mom and sister were visiting. I had to run a few quick errands so mom decided to stay at the house. When we got back mom says, "Do you have anything in your garage that could explode?"

What? Well...not that I know of. Why?

Mom proceeds to tell us that she heard a big boom while we were gone. 
I did go look in the garage in case there had been some type of explosion (ha), but thankfully I didn't find anything.

My sister and I guessed a bird had probably flown into the big window out front but mom didn't agree.  Mom said, "Well that must of been one big bird!" *oh gosh, she makes us laugh*

Fast forward to a couple days ago when I was working in the office. I'm typing on one of my infamous German History papers, when I hear this 'BOOM'. I knew right away a bird had flown into a window. I looked out front fully expecting to see a bird that was seeing stars, but there wasn't one. Eventually I did spot a bird that had flown into the bathroom window. And the blind was closed so I have no idea why a bird would do that. 

Well... this morning I opened the bathroom blind and this is what I see! OH...MY...GOODNESS... This is seriously the craziest thing ever!

A perfect imprint of the bird flying into the window! 

It's kind of amazing but dang... poor bird.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


We have this amazing 'sun room' on the back side of our house which quickly became a selling point for me with my love of plants.
Recently, I planted some garden seeds and what a lovely surprise to see they are already sprouting!

Cucumbers are in the future!

 And green beans are enjoying the warm sunshine as well.

 At the end of last summer I had wanted to plant some tomato plants in the sun room but by the time I thought of it, I couldn't find any plants except a few yellow cherry tomatoes so I decided to try those. I've babied them along all winter and little by little they have shown some signs of growth. Once this sunshine began warming up the sun room though, those tomatoes have been happy happy happy. They are blooming!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Our Sweet Teddy

Happy Birthday Teddy !

 Teddy is a very special part of our family. 
Our second grandson, Braylon, was born with a heart problem, but we did not know that until he had come home from the hospital. Prior to leaving the hospital they had done some tests but allowed him to go home before test results were back. On the second day home, our daughter received a phone call from the doctor who said, "You need to get him to the emergency room immediately. We have a flight for life helicopter on its way." 
Needless to say, we were all extremely surprised and concerned. 

The helicopter came and got Braylon and headed back toward Omaha. Braylon's parents could not ride with him so they headed up in the car. We took our other grandson and packed some suitcases for everyone. We really didn't know what we were facing. It was all happening very quickly.

Braylon had an uncle that lived in the Omaha area so he met the helicopter when it landed. 
By the time we got to Omaha, Braylon had been put into a medically induced coma. He had cords and iv's and machines hooked to him everywhere. He even had needles in his head and his belly button.The only place that did not have something poked in it was his little left foot. :( It was a rough time for everyone.

In layman's terms, Braylon's heart had a small hole in it, but that wasn't the cause of so much concern. Off the top part of the heart is an artery that pumps blood to the lower half of the body. That artery was closed except for a pin prick sized opening. So in essence, Braylon wasn't getting blood to his lower body. It would require heart surgery to fix.
By the time he reached Children's Hospital in Omaha, he was too weak for surgery so they kept him in a coma for about a week until he could get stronger and then at nine days old he had heart surgery. That.... is where Teddy comes into the story. After heart surgery, Teddy joined Braylon in his hospital bed. Teddy shared the 'scar' on his chest just like Braylon now had. 

 Teddy and Braylon have been inseparable ever since. Teddy accompanies him to doctor's appointments, sits in the stands at basketball games and of course sleeps with Braylon every night. 

For whatever reason, Braylon has always said that Teddy's birthday is February 23rd. A few weeks ago, we were walking into the Rec center for soccer and Braylon reminded me that Teddy's birthday was almost here. 

"Maybe we should have a party for Teddy this year." I said. 

Braylon thought that was a great idea! 

So on February 23rd, Teddy had an official birthday party at Grandma's house, along with balloons, cupcakes, and presents. Braylon was so incredibly excited about it. *And it was a surprise party because Braylon hadn't told Teddy about it yet.* ha!

At first Jaxon thought it was kind of silly but he quickly got on board and then said, "Hey. what about me?"
"What about you?" I asked.  
"Well, Brown Bear's birthday is November 29th." Jaxon said.
"Well, we will definitely have to have a party for Brown Bear then." I said.
(Gosh, I love being a grandma.)

We began by opening presents, where Teddy got new pajamas, a new stocking cap, and new Legos.

We then sang Happy Birthday to Teddy before eating our cupcakes. (Teddy likes heart cakes you know.)

What a FUN birthday party we had! And Teddy said thank you for all the presents (but Teddy can't really talk  you know Grandma, he just talks inside his head.)   :)  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEDDY. You are the best bear this little boy could ever wish for.