I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Changing Seasons

Hello, dear friends. Let’s chat, shall we? :)

My favorite season is upon us and I’m reveling in all its beauty. Yes of course the flowers haven’t bloomed and there’s still mucky snow/sleet covering most of the backyard, but have you heard it yet? The birds in the trees? The geese flying home? The tinkling of melting snow creating puddles? The wind bringing warmth our way? It’s happening. I haven’t been too economical in our house lately by having the front porch door open while the heat’s on. I’ve been doing the same when driving. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine and I promise I only leave the front door open for minutes at a time. Rusty’s been prancing between the front porch and the backyard and having a wonderful time doing so. This morning he stayed outside for over a half hour! At one point I caught him sunbathing on the concrete patio. Without a sweater on! Spring is upon us!! I’ve been diving into wonderful books lately, too. I just finished Becoming Mrs. Lewis, the love story between Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis – I couldn’t put it down! Tears, laughter, sweetness all around! And now I’m in the middle of the The Curious Gardener and it has me itching to add more to the backyard. Soon!

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks since I last wrote, so much so that it makes it seem it’s been months! It’s been filled with weather not making up its mind, nephews, nieces, and lots of hockey. Two of our darling nephews came for a solid weekend of video games, pizza delivery, movie nights, magical bubble baths, bookstores filled with cats, ferrets, rats, and ghost stories, drawing and painting, and even a visit to Uncle Paul at work. They got to play ping pong, sip hot cocoas, see Downtown views from Uncle’s desk, and meet all sorts of people. As they fell asleep to The Magic School Bus at night Rusty kept them company, practically pushing them off the bed so he could stretch his little legs.

And for the wondering minds, I did not win the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. I had a perfect board, even with the consolation games, until St. Thomas was defeated by Edina in their second game. But all’s well because my darling 10-year-old nephew defeated my sister in the championship (sorry Tone! :)) to win his FIRST hockey tournament! I told him to enjoy it because the last time I won I was also 10 years old…

We also celebrated my Dad’s 60th birthday that weekend. :) Paul and I visited on Thursday, the day before his birthday, to celebrate with him and watch the first of the hockey games. Typically we all celebrate together on the night of the championship game but with the weather predicting another huge snowstorm we came on Thursday and the others visited on Friday (we attended our alma mater’s hockey game that night – WE WON!). We brought Dad and Mom our old TV since Paul splurged and got one he’s wanted for a long time, and now my parents have graduated to the 2010’s with their new TV. It’s huge but the Master’s will look so pretty on it, and now that my DAD’S RETIRING NEXT WEEK he’ll be home to enjoy it!! :)

A couple of days after visiting my parents my poor sister-in-law was stricken so badly with the flu that we took her two boys to watch and Mom and Dad took care of her, bringing her to the doctors and making sure she had plenty of water and rest. (My brother was away for work so it was all hands on deck!) Although I didn’t enjoy knowing Kristy was too sick to move, I had a lovely time with my nephews, even though a day later the youngest spiked a fever and everything sort of went out of funk. Instead of excited long nights of movies and video games, we turned it into a relaxing, laying on the couch, popsicles and buttered toast, Rusty snuggles, medicine taking, on and off napping, water drinking, reading, type of weekend. With all the kisses and hugs they got Uncle Paul and I never got sick. I loved taking care of them and was sad to see them go, like always.

Once Mom was feeling better the boys went home – they needed to get better because in just a few nights we had already planned a night out to watch a hockey game back at our college! We took them around the big campus; we showed them where Uncle Paul spent many, many late nights studying and working in the lab and where I’d end up bringing him ravioli for dinner; where I learned how to be a teacher and where the 4-story library and bowling alley and restaurants and movie theater are. We watched our team win yet another game, keeping them #1 in the country. We screamed when they made a goal, high-fiving across the seats. (Paul and I decided we need to go to more of their games next year.)

As winter was still roaring its angry head I took my darling niece for tea at our favorite spot. We ate delicious egg salad sandwiches, currant scones, sipped hot tea, and discussed all things happening in a 12-year-old’s world. :) We drove down the road and shopped for books, all things corgi and avocados, and switched to Caribou drinks with whipped cream and chocolate. I adore the age she’s at and thank my lucky stars she loves being around me, too. We talked of one day visiting England and having tea at an honest-to-goodness English tearoom and of one day owning a tearoom where I can cook and she can waitress. Oh, to dream. :)

And then in a blink it seems that spring has just walked around the corner. The sunshine has been shoving its lovely self through every crevice in our house, warming our faces and souls. It’s been a bit of an off winter for me, not just with the never-ending snow and frigid temperatures; I’ve been in funks a lot of the season and since the weather has a taken a turn for the better I’ve been having less funks and more productivity and smiles. Paul and I say at least once a day, “Let’s go somewhere warm with an ocean.” Our next trip is just a hop, skip, and a jump away and I’m not sure we’ll come back. :) We’ll be renting a condo on the beach near Charleston, South Carolina, a corner of this country I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I saw The Notebook in ninth grade. We don’t have any major plans except a visit to a plantation. The rest of the time will be run by spontaneity and serendipity. We’ll grocery shop and have slow-cooked breakfasts on the deck and crab dinners at sunset. I’ve requested for a dusk picnic on the beach, too. Who knows how we’ll feel when we come home? :)

Paul and Seyla’s coding school is coming along – construction has already started – and we’re excited/nervous/anxious/ for what’s to come. My days at home are limited and I’m excited to be useful again. We’ll be hiring and signing kids up for summer camps in just a short amount a time. They started this process in September and to be honest, I can’t believe it’s actually happening! It’s something you’ll never think will get done and now it’s truly happening. Paul’s so thrilled and happy to have a chance at a dream of his and I’m excited to get out of the house and interact with humans a bit more. :)

I turn 30 in just a few weeks – where does the time go? I swear it was not too long ago I was dancing to Backstreet Boys and Space Jam with my sister as our planetarium acted as a spotlight. I’m sure other people do this when they hit a certain milestone birthday: I’ve been trying to decide if I’m pleased with what I’ve done with my life and the time given to me. Have I accomplished enough? Am I where I thought I’d be? How are the relationships in my life? A little self-reflection never hurt anybody. Of course my life is vastly different than what I thought it would be when I was dancing around like a maniac at 10 years old; I thought I would be a stay-at-home-mother of at least four (eight eventually), getting my kids involved in baseball, bowling, Girl Scouts, nature walks, soccer, piano, etc, and cooking spaghetti every Sunday. (I knew I’d find someone like Paul, at least.) I didn’t have any huge career goals – I was going to be a mom. The romantic idea of being an author of some sort was always with me, but again, that was something I could do as a mother. Even throughout college, of course I loved learning how to be a teacher, but it was a side thing for me. I was ready to have kids as soon as we got married. My friends at school would joke with me, asking if I was pregnant within weeks of our wedding. I thought my life plan was coming along just as I had hoped. But then life gave a big blow to that perfectly manicured dream of mine: I stopped wanting children. And then Paul wasn’t all that into the idea anymore. What in the world was happening?!? It was like taking a drive on a nice long straight road and all of a sudden the GPS yells out last minute to “TURN RIGHT LEFT HERE!!!” Confusion, suddenness, whiplash. And you all know what happened next, my body was also rejecting the idea of children and we made the decision for me to have surgery and I am now officially not able to have children, a decision we are completely 100% happy with, despite the tone of this bit of the blog post. :)

Since the realization that I’m not going to be a mom I’ve also discovered I’m not going to a wedding photographer (I truly thought I’d continue with that until actual retirement years), I’m not sure if I’ll ever be a classroom teacher, I’m not going to be a librarian (another romantic dream that crashed miserably from reality), I’m not sure where my art is going although I do have big dreams…I’m not really sure what I am/going to be. Do I have to know? I know most 30 year olds know what they’re doing with their life. Have you seen You, Me, & Dupree? I now hold a soft spot for Dupree when he talks about not knowing what to do with his life and how some of us will just float along until BAM! The mothership will come to us and we’ll finally know our calling. I’m still waiting for the mothership or maybe it’s already called, I answered subconsciously and now I just have to wait so I can look back and realize I knew what I was doing all along. Sometimes that’s how the story happens, right?

I was chatting with my diary the other day about this very topic and I wrote a list of things that give me joy that aren’t monetary things. I was surprised at the length of list, extending into multiple pages and it was then I had a teeny tiny revelation that it’s the everyday things that measure my life. If I take each little joyous thing in a day and combine those days into a year, I’ve had a lovely year. If I take those joyous years and combine into a life, I’ve had a lovely life. It doesn’t have to revolve around a career or purpose, it can simply be scattered snippets of happiness. So maybe we don’t have to know what we’re going to be when we grow up. Maybe as long as we have a roof over our head, food in our bellies, and pockets of joy that’s all we really need. And maybe a puppy to love. :)

Paul’s working from home today (huzzah!) and Rusty’s laying at my feet, taking a break from yelling at people walking in front of his porch, and I’m itching to draw out some sketches for the calendar and other things. I’ve decided to attend some craft fairs this year with the calendar since I’ve slowed down my social media advertising. (My Facebook is still deleting – apparently it takes 90 days and I can’t login otherwise it cancels it – so if you’ve tried contacting me there and I haven’t responded just know I’m not allowed to!) Maybe I’ll add photo prints and other illustrated prints, too so it’s not just me and a pile of calendars at the table. If only I could bring Rusty with, I bet he’d sell way more than I ever could. :)

So my darling friends, I shall end this mini novel and let you get on with your day and weekend! Enjoy the sunshine, walk through some puddles, start some seedlings inside – I just transferred my basil into a bigger pot, letting it stretch its tiny legs – and have a lovely, lovely weekend. xoxoxo