Friday, December 31, 2010

The Top Five

I'll admit ... I like those end of the year articles and TV shows where they pick the "25 Most Intriguing People" or the "Top Ten Moments in Sports" or the "Most Read Books of 2010." Something about the turning of a calendar inspires me to look back before I can fully look ahead.

I have shared a lot of our family moments throughout the year. If you missed them, feel free to visit the Archives and catch up on the action! For the end of the year, I thought I would create my own "Top Five" categories to share some of my favorite moments of the 2010.


Our new lamp post

The front porch received a fresh coat of paint ... transforming it from a minty fresh green (it was supposed to be sage green!) to a warm chocolatey brown which feels much more "Adirondacky."

Yard Cleanup is an ongoing chore when you live in the woods. Wayne and our friend, Wes, spent several days raking and hauling piles of leaves and pine needles.

When you live where the heating season is eight months long, nothing brings peace of mind quite like a beautifully stacked woodpile!

Lumberjack Day! Several large and potentially dangerous pines were removed from the property. I plan to write a whole blog post about that, but here's a sneak preview.


Wayne in his snowy glory at a lookout on Round Mountain

The waterfall just up the road turned into an icy wonder

Our rock garden looked especially lush and lovely this year

My favorite autumn photo ... leaves on the steps of the village church

Wait ... that doesn't look like the Adirondacks! It's La Jolla, CA!! (Stay tuned for another blog from our San Diego trip.)


Our girls are natural athletes (just like their mom! ha!).
CorrieAnne played softball and soccer this year.

Sodie won 2nd place in the state of New York at the Hershey Track and Field competition.

We enjoyed a visit from our "number one son," Christian, in early spring.

During our visit to San Diego, we spent time with Katie and her boyfriend, Deinno.

I just had to share this "TOP" moment. On Christmas morning, Sodie and CorrieAnne worked beautifully together to roll the "Mishler" muffins in cinnamon and sugar. It was sweet to see them sharing in this tradition ... and even sweeter to eat the muffins!

A human pretzel moment! I found CorrieAnne laying with her legs bent completely backward ... because it "felt good." "You should try it, Mom." Yeah.... I'd never walk again!

Sodie was very proud of her very first made-completely-from-scratch pizza!

I enjoyed attending a presentation by Linda Sue Park, a Newbery Award winning children's author. She is the one in black. The friendly look lady beside me is my dear friend, Karen, who also happens to be an awesome librarian! (I have no idea who the other woman is or why she is in our picture!)

SHAMU MOMENT!!! Ever since I was a pig-tailed little girl visiting Sea World in Ohio, I've wanted my very own stuffed Shamu. For some reason, I never got one ... until now! And when my 10-year old fell in love with a soft and very huggable BIG Shamu, I just had to say yes!

How many possible different poses can a 14-year-old strike as she snaps pictures of herself? I could do an entire blog of hundreds of Sodie faces! After finding our camera hijacked on numerous occasions, we bought her a camera for Christmas. This photo was taken about 30 seconds later ...


In April, we enjoyed a Mishler reunion at my sister, Cinda's home. A few people are missing, but it's still a pretty impressive looking gang!

Who can forget the family equine encounter?! This was definitely a Top Five moment due to bonding that takes place when you face your fear of controlling a 1500 lb creature!

In October, we enjoyed a week's visit with Wayne's parents. Here we are about to share a large pot of Zuppa Toscana ... when there is no Olive Garden within an hour's drive, you learn to improvise!

These are the family feet standing in the Pacific Ocean on Thanksgiving Day. It was a beautiful and memorable way to spend the holiday!

Our traditional Christmas Eve photo ... featuring our newest family member, Bella Noel.

Thank you for being a part of our lives during 2010.
We wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and joy-filled New Year!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Thousand Things to Love

I love a good quote! I feel a thrill each time I stumble across a simple, succinct statement whose wisdom attaches itself like a mental bumper sticker and begins to change the way I live my days.
One of my current favorites has the power to lift my spirits on any day:

"Remember that at any given moment there are a thousand things you can love."
-- David Levithan

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's the "season" to count blessings.

But what about ordinary days?
Busy days?
Silly days?
Lonely days?
Days-when-nothing-goes-right days?
Days of loss or grief or longing?

Even then, small miracles abound and we are surrounded by moments worth cherishing.

Here are a few of the "thousand things" I have loved recently:

I loved the serenity of this late afternoon at Schroon Lake ... the girls and I snuck away for an afternoon of swimming and reading before school started.

I love watching my girl, Sodie, develop as an athlete. She began the soccer season playing on the Modified team, but was moved up to Varsity about half way through the season.

CorrieAnne came home from school one afternoon, pulled out her long-ignored paint set and announced that she was going to become an artist. I loved watching her sweet face so intent on her work ... and two quiet hours later, this painting of a horse was the result of her determination!

Wayne spent hours building a beautiful bunk/loft bed for CorrieAnne. She loved it, BUT somehow sleeping way up in the air felt lonelier. So ... late one night, I came upon this scene of fatherly comfort. (Yes, they were both snoring!)

I love these colorful zinnias that grew in our plot at the town garden! And the funky little fox vase? Made in pottery class by CorrieAnne!

I love our new "Tree of Life" piece that hangs over the diningroom fireplace. We bought it from a fair-trade store in Ballston Spa, NY ( which is owned by guests of ours. It is hammered and cut from the top of a metal shipping barrel. So beautiful! Talk about recycling!

I know it's almost time for the snow to fly ... but I just have to brag about my beautiful foxglove! These amazing blooms brought smiles to many faces.

I love serving beautifully created food to our guests .... Wayne designed this platter of fruit.

I love the pink clouds in this photo ... but even more, I love the fact that my daughter grabbed the camera to capture the moment. I love that my girls are growing up surrounded by such beauty and that they NOTICE it!

I love sunny days when friends visit! We had such fun driving up Whiteface Mountain and showing Don and Lynda the splendors of the wilderness stretching out as far as the eye could see!
Autumn leaves strewn on the steps of a small village church on a misty afternoon... simple beauty ... serenity.
This humble bowl of beans represents our entire harvest! But hey - they tasted delicious!

Roaring Brook Falls is stunning at any time of the year, but I loved this beautiful autumn day when the falls were swollen from the night's rain.

The first snowfall of the winter. I love the two seasons melting together in this photo - autumn on the right and winter on the left.
No matter what kind of day you're having today, look for the many things you can love. They surround you in patient love ... hoping that you'll take the time to notice and capture the moment.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Sad Day in Keene Valley

In 1865, a man named Orson Phelps began carrying mail to a tiny hamlet nestled among the high peaks of the Adirondack mountains and the Keene Valley postal service was born. One hundred forty-three years later, I paid my first visit to the tiny post office on Route 73. Stepping through the door, I felt transported through time to another small town post office in Damascus. OH where I spent my childhood.

Without realizing it, I had grown accustomed to assembly-line post offices - professional, efficient and almost antiseptic with their rows of stainless steel, self-serve stamp machines and winding lines of patient patrons. Now to my delight, I found myself once again surrounded by the warmth of wooden walls and antique bronze boxes with fascinating little "spinny dials" that felt mysterious and wise - like ancient compasses or sundials. I felt like a kid again and could barely resist the urge to try to figure out someone's combination!

It was an instant love affair.

I loved parking my car in one spot and criss-crossing the main street from the library to the grocery to the post office to the church to the inn for lunch. Weren't small towns really the original "one-stop" shopping spot?

I loved that motorists in town actually stopped at the crosswalk and most of them waved to you as you crossed the street.

I loved the wooden walkway leading to the post office. Each time I walked on it, I felt like I was on vacation with the weathered boards reminding me of a sandy beach boardwalk.

I loved that it only took one visit for the post-mistress, Deb, to know my name. (In fact, I think she knew it even BEFORE she met me - news travels fast in a small town!) I loved that I could walk in with an odd bunch of items, toss them on the counter and say, "What is the best way to mail this?" and she would help me choose the right box or envelope while comparing notes on our daughters or the weather or what we were making for dinner that evening.

I loved the community bulletin board that led us to our source for farm fresh eggs, pet-sitting, tutoring, massages, yard sales and the new friends who entered our lives with each discovery.

I knew I had "arrived" when I was able to join in one of the "chat groups" that gathered on the sidewalk on sunny days.

Today, I paid my last visit to the Keene Valley post office and mailed my sister's birthday card in the last batch of mail ever to leave from that location. Beginning tomorrow, Keene Valley residents will have to drive 5 miles up the road to Keene for their mail. I don't understand all of the "ins and outs" of this decision. I only know that our little town has lost a good friend - a beloved reminder of a simpler, gentler time and place.

Although our relationship only lasted 2 1/2 years, Keene Valley Post Office, I will miss you!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Evening Beauty at Chapel Pond

Recently, our family experienced one of those perfect evening where everything aligns: perfect weather, no guests checking in, no soccer games ... and the realization that the universe will survive the sinkful of dirty dishes.

We seized the moment and the canoe and headed for Chapel Pond - just a few miles from the Snow Goose on Route 73.

As we made our way down the footpath to the water's edge, Wayne was pleasantly surprised to realize that the girls are now strong enough to help carry the canoe!

Here we go! The girls were NOT SO SURE about this - it's been several years since we've all been in a canoe. Wayne is along too - he's sitting in the back of the canoe and taking the picture!

Breath-taking beauty ....

We loved the opportunity to get up close and personal with
some of the stunning rock walls that rise out of the water.

Across the road, Washbowl Cliff is a popular spot for rock climbers.
We could see a few tiny spots of color moving on the rock face.

We paddled into a little cove and pulled up on the shore to enjoy a snack and explore

This strange combination of wood and moss really looked like a fish out of water!

As the sun dropped behind the mountains, we headed back to shore -
reluctant to leave such a beautiful spot.

Family times like these are so precious. We all know that children grow up too fast but we faced undeniable proof as CorrieAnne tried on her life jacket from our last canoe trip. Hug your children often and find moments to sneak away from the busyness of life to create memories!