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I saw on the television the other day a syndrome called Empty Nest Syndrome*. The good news is I am glad that I am not alone in my illness, the sad news is that it is incurable!

I raised four children, five and a half years apart from the oldest to the youngest. Girl, boy, girl, boy - the dream family. One day they were all living at home; life was crazy hectic running to school, after school activities, chores and life in general when all of a sudden I looked around and the house was empty. The last two left about the same time, my youngest daughter moved to the West Coast and my son joined the Army.

Thankfully my husband is pretty great. I had started going to a ceramics shop with my youngest daughter, Whitney and some friends and enjoyed making all kinds of things. The shop also had a couple of potters wheels in place so you could dabble if you felt so inclined; I was inclined often!  David purchased me a potters wheel for Christmas that year because I talked incessantly about how much I loved working on one.

That was my first step in the right direction of handling Empty Nest Syndrome. I so loved working on the wheel I decided I needed a kiln to fire my pots; so next I got a wheel. Next I needed more of the paint and tools suited to working on a wheel and stocked up on those as well. The next thing I knew I got a phone call from a friend who said, "hey, I know this woman who has a shop (ceramic) and is going out of business. Want to take a ride to see what she has?". The next thing poor David knew the garage had been emptied, all his tools and equipment had been loaded into a couple of Rubbermaid Sheds and my garage was turned into a little ceramic shop for my friends and I. I added to my collection several different types of ceramic paints and bisque ware and before you knew it, I was even purchasing used molds and pouring my own product. If the economy had not taken a dump I am certain I would still be walking out to my little shop once or twice a week to join my girlfriends for some down time at a table in front of a piece of bisqueware.

Another thing that started to happen is that my husband and I could now travel a bit. There was no need for babysitters to watch the kids so we could go away and with no one living at home, there was no concern for large parties being thrown in our absence by the children. James, my oldest son, lives not too far away from my home and helped us out whenever we went out of town by taking care of the pets.

A big trip was to the Big Apple! We went up around Thanksgiving and spent some time in the city walking around. A dream had been to go to see the Radio City Rockettes and we went and saw a Christmas show. I also wanted to take a horse drawn carriage ride around Central Park and we did that too; well. . . kind of. It is very expensive and you take a quick trip through a portion of the park and it is done before you know it. I have some pics of us in the carriage that I will share - the highlight of my trip as I crossed this adventure off my bucket list.

Just a couple of years ago Whitney and I traveled to Grafenwohr, Germany to visit with Ryan (the youngest), his wife Jessica and my grandson, Andru. Ryan was leaving for Afghanistan in a few months and I wanted to get a visit in with him before he left. He had spent most of his time living outside of the US since he joined the service so visiting with him had been limited. We could not afford for David to go, Whitney paid for her own trip and it was off to Germany I went for three weeks.

I am lucky enough to work from home which means that when I travel I can take my work with me. In Germany I worked from 3 pm to 11 pm daily (they are six hours ahead of us here in Florida) which meant I could sight see a bit in the morning and spend my day with the family and work while the house was winding down and Andru was getting ready for bed.

In the middle of our European vacation, I actually took some time off. For a week Ryan and the family took Whitney and I to Garmish for a couple of days and then on to Rome, Italy. Garmish is a breathtaking place in the mountains complete with snow topped peaks and colorful blossoms on their quaint streets. The Germans are very proud of their country and it shows, Italy for all it's prestige and implied romance, was a little less clean but did provide an overwhelming experience just the same.

While I was in Germany we celebrated Mother's Day and Ryan bought me a little Canon One Shot camera as I had been taking pictures with my ipod or my cell phone. It was perfect and I really began getting into taking pictures. About a year ago Rhiannon (oldest) took me to the Chiricahua Mountains; of course I had my little One Shot in hand to snap my pics. During our drive she told me that since I worked for a company that built websites I should consider creating a blog and talking about my travels, my crafts and the things I am filling my life with and add my pictures to give my tales life. It was a great idea!

This past Christmas David gave me a brand new Canon Rebel T3 camera with all the bells and whistles. At first I was a bit angry because I had no idea how to use it, but after I took some classes I almost understand what I am doing and can take some great shots.

If you are interested in taking a good photography class you need to check out Ashley Kuvlesky. We met two consecutive Saturdays and watched a Power Point Presentation she did and then wandered the park to begin taking shots with her in tow. She perfectly melted the teaching part with the the doing part so that you actually got to try what she was teaching. With her in tow you could get her input on how to change up a shot or make it better or even, fix a mistake - right on the spot. I highly recommend her.

I am rattling on too much (which I often do)!. Here is the long and the short of all this guys. I love being a mom! Yes, there were times when I wanted to run away from home but I love being a mom. With the children all moved out of the house I have had to redefine myself. Changing the relationship with my husband was my first task, figuring out what I wanted to do with my too empty days was my second.

Clay, cooking, gardening, photography, crafting and traveling have filled my life these past couple of years. I have even expanded my role as mom with annual visits to each child's house where I cook and help them with their daily lives as we hang out, relax and get to know each other again.

I started the blog to have a place to talk about what I am doing with my life as an Empty Nester. Whether I am cooking something wonderful, hanging out with friends, traveling to see new destinations or elbows deep in a hunk of clay; I will share it with you.

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Acccording to Wikipedia

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents or guardians may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.[1]

Since a young adult moving out from his or her parents' house is generally a normal and healthy event, the symptoms of empty nest syndrome often go unrecognized. This can result in depression and a loss of purpose for parents, since the departure of their children from "the nest" leads to adjustments in parents' lives. Empty nest syndrome is especially common in full-time mothers