Hello hello dear friends!
I hope spring has been treating you right, and that in between the frosts and chilly weather you’ve gotten to see some flowers bloom and enjoy some Minnesota bonfires (those are the best, right?)
I’m still on some sort of high from this past weekend, a weekend I don’t think I could ever forget (plus, it’s all written down in my little diary so I KNOW I won’t forget). It all started about two years ago when I was visiting my mom and dad. I was just about to leave their house when I noticed the most adorable book with the words “English Countryside” on it. (This was just after I started drinking tea so I was a newly claimed anglophile.) I opened it at a random page, saw the most beautiful watercolorings and quotes, and then was told by my mom that this was an author who hand-writes and paints all of her books! What?! I had never heard of such a person!! (Only weeks before, according to my diary, I had just bought my own watercolor set and stated that someday I would write my own book using my own hand-writing and illustrations – I should have known it was fate stepping in.) Mom let me borrow the book and that afternoon, with my pot of tea, I became totally immersed in this new found life of Susan Branch, her love Joe, and their trip through the English Countryside. After finishing the book in just a few hours (it was soooooooogood!!), I wanted to know everything about her. She spoke to me through her book, her quotes, her drawings, and I knew that I had found someone special.
Basically, this lady is my heroine, my inspiration. And really, finding her at the time that I did (thanks mom :)), was fate, I really think. At the time of discovering her, I was in the middle of battling a tough decision. For years I thought I would have lots of children. Being a stay-at-home-mom was my dream job! But life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes it’s your own mind and heart that can alter life plans, not just mother nature. For me, it was both. After having multiple surgeries in just a couple of years, it became clearer that having children was going to be very unlikely. And at the same time of figuring that out, my mind and heart were both changing too. I was terrified – was I a horrible person for not wanting children?? Wasn’t that my womanly instincts?? Oh gosh friends, if I could tell you the amount of times I battled with my mind…’twas a rough patch of my life. However, long story short, the decision was made and I had to have a pretty big surgery last March and now I am unable to have children. Yes it sounds sad, but my quality of life has dramatically improved and Paul and I are both on the same page. We love children. We love our nieces and nephews like crazy, but for us, we are happy just the two of us (three with Rusty, of course :)). Our dreams are so much different now than when we were just getting married and I’m so very grateful that we’ve grown together, especially having married pretty young. So anyways!
All of this was happening while I was reading more about Susan and how she didn’t have children either! I know this might sound like a no-brainer to some people, but I was very shocked! Everyone I know that is older, with very few exceptions, have children! Could someone be happy later in life without children? I didn’t know. And of course I was terrified. But reading about her and other heroines that she loved (Beatrix Potter, also no children! Jane Austen, no children!) I realized that I could lead a different life than everyone else that I knew and be perfectly happy. It was up to me to make my own happy life.
Fast forward to just a few months ago – Susan posted her book tour dates and of COURSE we had to go. The nearest one was in Iowa so my mom, sister, and I planned for our first roadtrip together to go meet the lovely Susan Branch. And since we were in Iowa, a pit-stop at the Field of Dreams was absolutely necessary. So yes, technically speaking, Iowa is definitely the place where dreams come true. This trip is proof. :) xoxo
After driving for four hours, this was a lovely sight to see. It was empty, it was cold, but to me it was perfect. The only thing that could have made it better was some corn.
The house!! So perfect!!
My sister, Toni. :) We were pretty excited.
The walk-up gift shop where we had to buy some souvenirs. :)
I take that back – the only thing that could make this better would be if my dad and brother came along too. Someday. :)
The infamous bleachers!!!
My brother’s idea. If we cross that line, who knows what could happen??
There has only been a handful of times in my adult life where I truly felt like I was an actual child all over again. This was definitely one of those times. :)
Ray loves Annie!! It’s still there!! :)
My pretty momma and our photographer who put up with the frigid wind. :)
We needed proof that we played catch on the field. It really happened. Ahhh!!
If you look closely, maybe you can see Annie and Karen on the swing.
We were quite excited to run the field. :)
Mom had enough of the cold. Taking refuge in the car. :)
The “corn”!! We’ve decided we HAVE to go back when the corn is tall and we can really see what happens when you enter…
After memorizing every wonderful thing about the Field of Dreams so I won’t forget, we drove another hour to get to our hotel. This was our very first girls roadtrip and it was so fun being with just my sister and mom. We never do stuff like this! Everything was exciting and new and it’s just something I’ll cherish forever. We had a great time watching TV, lounging around, reading, exploring the tiny city we were in, having breakfast in the cute nook, getting ready together, and of course, attending the Susan Branch book signing!!! :)
We’re here, we’re here!!!
I have so many of her books but this my first and one of the most inspiring to me. So this was the book I wanted signed. :)
Is this real?! Are we really here?!
My sister came along on this trip just to have fun. She had never read really any of her books but now, she’s hooked. As I knew she’d be. :)
Every chair had a little pile of goodies! :)
And little sugar cookies were passed out! Just waiting for Susan and Joe….
Before she came I was like a toddler in my chair. I couldn’t stop swiveling and looking over my shoulder. I wanted to see her as soon as she got in. And then I saw her and Joe walking to meet us and omigoodness, my heart skipped a beat!! My eyes watered a little and I couldn’t stop smiling- it was like meeting Santa for the first time as a kid, or going to Disney World for the first time. Absolutely thrilling!!
While Susan chatted with us and answered questions, Joe was taking photographs like the supporter he is.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip so I made sure I didn’t pass up on opportunities. I actually raised my hand (TWICE!!) to ask questions, and I even asked Joe for a photo! Such wonderful people!
There were soooo many people! We were so thankful we got there an hour and a half early (there were people that got there earlier than that!) – the line had only gotten through 3 rows by the time we left and it had already been an hour of her signing books. There were at least 20 rows!!
Mom meeting her for the first time!! :) She has a library book bag that she had Susan sign too – she loved it!
Toni meeting her for the first time!!
Ahh!! My cup runneth over. I even told her she’s like my Beatrix Potter. I had to!
Us girls as happy as can be! :)
So my dear friends, that is our wonderful trip that I’m still replaying in my head. I didn’t want it to end. It just goes to show you that magic can be anywhere, even in Iowa. ;) Happy Tuesday!!! :) xoxo