Happy Birthday, Dylan🎉

I have told you all before that twenty two years ago today my life changed drastically. I transformed from a  26 year old woman to a young mother, a role that I had to learn and practice. Although it took years to learn it all, one thing I never had to try at or practice was loving my son.

As most mothers will retell their story, I cherish telling mine. I awoke at 3 am out of a sound sleep, only to be surprised with my water bursting! After a hurried call to the doctor and a quick shower to calm my nerves, Tom and I headed to the hospital and to our new life. Eight hours later after a labor that I’ll never forget, Dylan James was born. He had a full head of dark hair and peach fuzz hair all over his little body. His anxious new born cry sent shivers up in my spine, a reminder that this really happened. I cradled him in my arms, looking at his five fingers and toes. Tom proudly held his son, a moment that touched my heart and made me so thrilled that we had a son.

 

My story continues, for I need to share something that happened on that hospital floor that stays with me. That night, after visiting relatives went home after meeting Dylan, the nurses wheeled my baby away to the nursery. They insisted this so that I would get my sleep and rest as needed. I lay there still and listening and of course I couldn’t sleep a wink. Five or ten minutes raced by and suddenly I heard Dylan’s cries floating down the hall. I just knew they were his, no doubt in my mind. I had to go to him and hold him. Trudging down that cold floor, I was ready to power talk those nurses and plead for my son to come back to our room. Sure enough Dylan lay wailing in the incubator and with tears running down my cheeks, I simply said, ” please bring my son back.”

I lay on my side that night, with one eye resting and one on my new baby. No, I didn’t get much sleep that February night but my son was by my side with his dad not far off in a recliner. All was good in the world.

 

Now that my little mothering story has been told I want to wish Dylan a very happy 22nd birthday! He’s a great  guy holding down a full time job at a local garage and paying his bills responsibly. Dylan plans to marry the love of his life in August and will start his family story. Tom and I are very proud of the kind of man he is and the young lady he’s chosen to marry…she’s a peach.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

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Two Years and Counting

While browsing my blog stats and dates, I noticed that my blog has been running for two years. It all started as a simple idea and a whim. I had no expectations or plans tied with the launch. All I knew is that it was time to present my writing and satisfy my need to be complete. For as you and I both know, if you’re not practicing and doing what you love, then you’re not truly being yourself. I had to write and this blog was a way to do so.

 

I want to thank you, all of my readers who many have become lovely friends who I “talk” with back and forth such as Rhonda, Jodi, Tammy and Ellen just to name a few. Others who I check in with from time to time mean just as much. The one thing I’ve learned as a blogger is that you become a family member of the community, gaining a rich patchwork of friends. With all  you special people, I have read fascinating stories, tried delicious recipes and gawked over amazing photos and pieces of artwork! In the process I’ve shared my life stories and pictures and have put everything out on the table and trusted you all. It’s felt natural and good to trust and share my life.

I hope to continue this blog as long as I can for years to come. With this wish, my other dream is to compile alike posts and write a book someday about a mom’s life in rural New Hampshire. 

So here’s a HUGE thank you to my family and friends who regularly read my posts and offer positive comments in response. This is what has propelled me to keep moving forward…it’s something I’m very grateful for! ❤❤❤

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

Mary ❤

A February Snowstorm

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We’ve just weathered ( excuse the pun!) a snowstorm . It dumped a few inches shy of a  foot of new heavy snow. Looking outside my window all I see are mountains of white, pushed against our house in drifts. The road is encased with snowy forts up to four feet. The DOT  monstrous orange plows rumble back and forth, pushing snow up against the banks. Private snowplows rush by with the flashing lights on their roofs as the new promising day begins.

 

 

 

It started its magic about 11 am on Wednesday and continued with nature’s force until it petered out in the late evening. We were released early from school at noon, and even then teachers were already digging their cars out and roads were frosted with new snow. Most cars slowed down in slow motion, as snowflakes fell at a rapid rate.

 

I arrived home quietly and greeted my two lovable  lounging cats. As I lit my candles and ate a little lunch, our road became still. There wasn’t the  usual deluge of passing vehicles going somewhere. I suppose many people went straight home, as I did and nestled in it’s comfort.

 

Is it odd to say that’s one of my favorite elements of winter? The nesting inside…beside the blazing heat and crackle of the fire. Gazing at the constant glittery show of the snowfall, sometimes pelting against the windows. The feel of snugly lap blankets and fuzzy slippers. The good hot cup of tea or rich coffee in hand and an interesting book or my iPad to write.

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That night while I prepared for bed, snowplows hurried by and I hoped the drivers would be able to rest soon, including my husband. I went to bed and left the light on for him and in the midst of the night I heard the ruffle of blankets as he tiredly climbed in our cocoon. We both fell asleep and I didn’t even get to ask him about his snowy work filled day.

 

I woke up to more plow trucks racing by with weary drivers at the helm. The school bus barreled by and as I fixed my breakfast I thought that this is a way of life here. The outside world is piled up with snow and even so, life goes on as usual. I would dress and anticipate my school day, as I always do.

 

Yes, we have to endure snow boots, gloves and hats, snow tires, huge heating bills and sometimes inconveniences of messy roads. But through all this, I’ll take it and my husband will to. For we chose to live here, to dwell in the four seasons and reap in its rewards. Winter has its lovely elements, despite nasty flu floating around as well as cold temperatures and snow.

 

A winter blessing is the sparkling beauty of snowfall and it’s magical presence hung on branches. The cold air makes you feel alive ( I’ll take this over too much heat). Winter is the perfect time to rest, to renew from the passing year and prepare for the months ahead. It’s the only time you can snowshoe and stargaze at a perfect sky frosted with unbelievable stars. Tracks from our wild friends scatter throughout the yard like a busy maze, something we can’t see in other seasons.

 

 

So winter is in full force here, in New Hampshire. Our beef stew is ready in the crockpot along with a pan of freshly baked biscuits. The stove crackles and pops and the white wonderland outside is where I live, where I rest and mostly love my family.

 

I was born in New England like my mom and my dad and both sets of grandparents. I hope to die here. I’m proud to live here! Maybe I’m crazy!  Maybe it’s a stubborn trait, to defy the odds and stay. Or maybe I’m just at home, no matter which beautiful season it is! I’ll accept winter and the rest as snow falls outside and the stars twinkle their show.

 

Are you content where you live? Do you have snow or tropical weather?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

My Journey of Patience

 

The caretakers ” cottage” where we raised our sons and called home.

 

If you didn’t already know…I waited 22 years to live in our renovated home. We already lived in a home just down the road nestled on a grand estate. A winding driveway led to a grand mansion, garages and sheds, an apple orchard, a Christmas tree field, a built-in pool, all surrounded by a serene stonewall. It was a magical place to raise our sons and we felt as comfortable as can be. But it wasn’t ours and sometimes the reality of that slapped us in the face.

 

 

Mrs. Geneen’s grand estate

As time ticked on, money and precious time were factors in a renovation standstill. The house stood lonely and cold and every time I passed it, I felt a break in my heart. Every now and then I would dream of what curtains I would have and where our furniture would go, just to keep the dream alive. Then it would fade away again, with unsettled future plans in limbo.

 

 

Finally we decided to finish the house and make the big move. Our employer and friend, Mrs. Geneen had passed away a few years before and we were eventually paying rent to stay. It was the perfect time to let go, to walk away and start a new life in our home! Now, three years later, we occupy our dream home and it’s a blessing and a relief. Sometimes I pinch myself while walking through the rooms. It doesn’t seem possible that we are finally here in our own home! The wait has gifted me patience that maybe I didn’t possess before, a strength that flows in my blood now.

 

 

If you can learn anything from my circumstance it is this…sometimes all that you desire or think you need isn’t meant to happen right away. For the journey you travel while you wait makes up who you are and why would you pass up something so teaching and beautiful? If you’re being tested and have to wait, remember my story and keep marching on. Stay strong and hopeful during your journey. Eventually events happen as you wish, but not on your timeline but God’s. Trust it…for such beauty lies in the wait!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Raise Your Daughter to…

I don’t have a daughter but will be gaining a daughter-in-law in a few months. Despite raising sons, I know raising daughters can be difficult especially in times like this. You don’t have to go far to see slim looking Barbie doll women in the media, magazines, tv and movies. Even when I was growing up it was so easy to see perfect sized women in the media.  I never seemed to fit the mold, being overweight and not having a thread of confidence. Yet here I am…I managed to overcome all that pressure girls are thrust in and I can only hope that girls of today (including my sweet niece) make it unscathed.

With these thoughts, I hope moms and dads can raise their daughters to:

 

 

Be themselves and not waste energy comparing to others

 

 

 

Believe in themselves despite what others say or do

 

Look in the mirror with a strong love and acceptance

 

Love their body and accept it

 

 

We can only hope that our girls and young women are taught to thrive, being entirely who they are despite messages from society. 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

 

❤️❤️❤️

A Diner in the Eighties

 

 

A smokescreen curled round a red neon sign,

clouding my vision as a shrill whistle hovered

in the air-conditioned room.

A patchwork of various people chitter chattered

amongst themselves,

with a whinny shrieked laugh in the background.

Some fussy youngsters sat with grandma,

as she attempted to quiet their cackles.

The blazing sun beat on the windows,

melding with the intense cooking of the kitchen.

The sweat and frenzy of the summer day

wore on people’s faces like masks.

Mens’ shirts were unbuttoned with being free

and women wore short snappy sundresses and

tank tops.

A pungent smell of fried foods hung thick

in the air as exhausted waitresses flung their orders

at the stout short order cook.

A strong essence of vanilla

and a rich burst of coffee brewing enticed me,

convincing me to order a piece of

homemade pie.

A diner of the eighties…can you picture it?

I started writing this piece in 1992 and here I am finishing and polishing it 25 years later! 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

 

I missed making this treat for Christmas so managed to get it done this weekend.

 

 

 

I remember that many years ago my mom made a cream cheese Bisquick Raspberry coffee cake for Christmas morning. She had a special book in the eighties with the recipe and now my sister has the book. It’s a delicious and easy coffee cake to try for your family.

I don’t usually buy Bisquick but I do especially for this delicious coffee cake!

 

 

 

I’ve made it several Christmases, switching the raspberry jam for strawberry and it still had the same delicious taste! It’s been a few Christmases since I’ve made this , so this weekend I decided to try it again. It’s yummy warm and accompanied with a cup of coffee.

The recipe- Bisquick Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

You will need for the cake:

1 ( 3 oz) pkg. cream cheese

4 Tbsp. butter

2 c. Bisquick mix

1/3 c. milk ( I used Lactose free for Lactose Intolerance)

1/2 c. raspberry jam ( can substitute strawberry)

 

For the Glaze:

1-2 Tbsp. milk

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Maraschino cherries

 

Cut cream cheese and butter into Bisquick. Mix until crumbly. Blend in milk. Knead with hands into a smooth ball. Tear off two pieces of waxed paper the size of a cookie sheet. Place the dough on one piece of paper with the second piece on top. Roll out dough to a 12 x 8 rectangle. Remove the top paper and flip the dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spread jam down the center. Make 2 1/2 inch cuts at one inch intervals on each side of the dough. Fold the strips over the jam. Press lightly so that the strips seal together. Seal ends so the jam doesn’t seep out. If you noticed I didn’t seal it up on one end by mistake but it came out okay.

Bake at a preheated 425 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool. Drizzle coffee cake with the icing. Garnish with cherries or walnuts if desired.

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite coffee cake recipe? Is there a story with it?

I battled a flu-like cold the last few weeks and finally I’m on the other side. After almost three days inside resting,  I had a bout of cabin fever from being cooped up. It was quite liberating going to town yesterday. Then I came home, fashioned my trusty apron, plugged in my new Kitchenaid mixer ( which I love by the way) and baked this coffee cake. 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul