Friday, January 23, 2015


Wednesday we took Avery to the Midwest Museum of Natural History in Sycamore. We had never heard of it so we didn't quite know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we happened to be there on FREE DAY. It ended up being a very nice place with live turtles, snakes, spiders, and other small repiles. There were also large jungle animals that were stuffed (statues as Avery said). We were doing pretty well, comparing the animal skulls and teeth they had on display to our own, and learning about various monkeys, mountain lions, mountain goats, and mammouths. And then we came across the lions.  

At first we weren't sure whether to allow Avery to see this or steer her away, which would have been next to impossible given the location. She questioned why the lion was trying to eat the goat. We could have told a story about how they play in the jungle, but she is too smart for that and saw the looks on the faces and knew instantly that the lion was eating the goat. So we compared it to the Lion King movie and talked about the circle of life and how lions survive in the jungle by eating some of the animals. Her response?  "Oh look! There IS a giraffe here!"

 After a good lunch of pancakes and bacon, we stopped at a friends farm so Avery could gather eggs. She loves to eat eggs and loves animals so we thought she would get a kick out of spending time with the chickens and gathering the eggs herself.

Once the eggs were gathered, it was time to feed the chickens, ducks, and turkeys. We now call her the turkey whisperer. Last year we visted a zoo and spent time in the baby goat pen and those little goats just followed her everywhere. This year, it was the turkeys.

All in all it was a great day. We came back to Gaga's house and made bread and had a tea party. I love spending time with her. At 5, she sounds like she is 25. Her reasoning is better than many adults. 

While the trip to the museum was fun, we don't want to over do it. Next time, we will bake cookies.

Monday, January 5, 2015

80 Days with Judy - Updates

Since I haven't posted regularly I felt it was important to bring you up-to-date on several projects I have discussed on here. I will start with my Mom since that has been the most consistent.

Dad died in April of 2013 which kicked into gear the next phase of downsizing for my Mom. She had started Phase 1 before that but had not taken it seriously. We basically cleaned her bedroom at that point, giving away books she had read and not really liked, magazines she had read, etc. After Dad's death however she realized there was no need to keep all of his clothes and knowing she would need to move "someday" she wanted me to start Phase 2 - the REAL downsizing process - preparing to sell the house.

I referred to the time I spent with my Mom as "80 Days with Judy" since frankly, given her health concerns at the time, I knew I was going to be there a while, and - her name is Judy. It was also in reference to a scrapbook I made for her of our first vacation together a few years earlier that I called "8 Days with Judy."

This was clearly going to be a longer vacation.

We made it through downsizing part 1, part 2, and part 3 and she moved to Minnesota in late September 2013. She loved her new little townhouse that was very different from the home she built with my Dad. I left her a week after getting her settled and came home to rest and get back on track with my Sabbatical, look for a full time job with benefits, and reconnect with my hubby, grandchildren, and dog.

Two months later, she wanted to come home.

Well, she lasted over a year in Minnesota, but in October of 2014 she announced that she IS moving home and directed me to start looking for a place in Minooka so her friends will come to see her. "80 days with Judy" lasted more like 380 days the first time and was rather stressful at times, but this's going to be fun. She is healthier and we have already completed Phases 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the downsizing process in Minnesota. (She discovered her small house was smaller than she thought.)

So stay tuned. "80 Days with Judy, Adventures with Mom" begins this month and you will find those stories here.