Monthly Archives: January 2015

Still Down In The Dumps

So after typing up my last blog, Hubby came to me and said he wasn’t feeling good again.  Yes, I can clearly see him being quite ill, and drained, but darn it, it was the weekend again. It started with him getting sick two weeks ago, he was sick for a day, then better. Then Junior got it, and then I soon followed, now he’s back being sick. I think it is indeed a conspiracy to avoid doing things on the weekend (joking… I know it isn’t). Yesterday I had to cancel going to our good friend’s child’s birthday, which I hate not attending. It killed me, but this sickness cannot leave our house. Hubby was supposed to move furniture with his dad yesterday, also cancelled. Today though, we could not cancel our events. I am adamant that before my (past) place of employment cuts us off from our benefits, that we squeeze in dentist appointments, so we jetted into the city this morning and got our toothies all shined up (only one cavity between the both of us, and of course, it’s me…and it’s in my wisdom tooth which I was supposed to have pulled two years ago but didn’t…don’t get me started on that!). Hubby was actually able to have his appointment with Junior, and Junior actually slept on top of Hubby while the tech buzzed, polished and flossed away. I was disappointed no one snapped a picture, but very happy indeed that Hubby’s efficiency meant we could make it back to the country for my interview with plenty of time to spare.

I almost don’t want to talk about it. I’m still torn on the whole thing, but the income is calling to me. I can almost reach out and feel the new clothes I could buy (even if I might still sneak off to the thrift store for treasures) or I could finally get my hair cut. Sigh. Extra money could pay off some overdue bills, and maybe, just maybe reduce some pressure on Hubby.  The interview went well. It was a company that is local, small and I would be doing very similar work to what I was assigned to at my last post. I dressed up, went in early, shook hands and made pleasantries. They asked me to describe myself and I used the word “perfectionist”.  And it is true. I hate things being out of sorts, I hate making mistakes, and I want to do things the right way, not just “get them done”.  A few minutes later they asked me about past places of employments and pointed out I forgot to change the date of one of my jobs on my resume (facepalm). What a rookie mistake!  We all seemed to laugh it off, but what a horrible dumb luck move. I scrutinized that resume before sending it in, correcting references, and updating info. Now, will they want the person who admits they aren’t perfect? Will they realize that a “perfectionist mom” is going to make a few mistakes after only getting 3 hours sleep? Yeah, you read that right. Junior had one of his most ultra-horrible nights last night and I hardly got a wink.  They said they will let me know in 48 hours. Scary. I haven’t even told my mom that I had this interview and we have no clue if we can schedule daycare for Junior around grandparents or if we will need to place him.

I’m going to keep chalking up my mood to the winter blues and a bad case of the momdays, but I could really use a pick-me-up. Not sure what… it’s -30 outside so I can’t get some fresh air, and retail therapy is very much out of reach, and since I’m probably still infected/carrying whatever sickness is in our house, coffee with a friend is also not going to happen. I will have to settle for scrubbing the kitchen clean and picking up more socks that Hubby has left around the house. Oh the simple joys!

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I’ve got a serious case of the “momdays”

Mother’s Log. January 24th, 2015. It has been 1 week. 1 week since the virus has taken hold. I have no clue what we have but the house is under quarantine. Let’s back it up a little bit shall we. This will be a long blog post.

So the month started out okay, but I quickly went downhill in spirit and self-security. With the finality of no job to return to, and our ever-decreasing time together as a family, I finally had a talk with Hubby. I’ve been starting to feel trapped. Sure, I can go to the grocery store, have coffee with friends, but for some reason I feel trapped, a bit lonely. I feel a slave to our adorable child, a constant cleaner and picker upper of Hubby’s socks, and I’m frequently yelling at our poor dogs as they follow me around the house restlessly. Perhaps it’s the dark winter days or the fact that Hubby and I don’t seem to agree on much lately (we recently had a fight about the dangers of bringing Junior outside for walks on nice winter days… let’s just say as a country girl, a little good fresh air goes a long way, meanwhile Hubby pictured me carting our child out in minus 30 degree weather), maybe it’s the financial crush, with car repairs, oil refills and dentists appointments that I can’t contribute to paying.  I’m dying for alone time with hubby. I want to feel like a wife again, hell, even a girlfriend again. I want to feel like he enjoys time with me, looks forward to spending time with me and is attracted to me.  But with our opposing shifts, and energy levels, we never seem to match up, and he sees me in yoga pants and a ponytail morning, noon and night.

After “the talk” Hubby agreed that we should try to spend some time together (although he admittedly thought going to get groceries together was “time together”. I try to explain it like this…. A wife wants to feel like no one else. She doesn’t want to feel like your mother, a guy friend or a roommate. She wants to feel like your wife. So if you would do it with your roomie, then it’s not called “quality time” to be spending with your wife. I’m talking about, walking hand in hand down the road, enjoying a glass of wine while playing games, maybe a cosy bonfire, heck a date night, just the two of us. So after getting Hubby on board, we looked forward to the following day, his day off. We agreed that we would do something together.

That morning came. It hit Hubby first, which of course infuriated me. I wasn’t mad at him. I mean, watching him retch his stomach contents out on his day off is proof he wasn’t faking it to get out of spending time with me, but heck, what great timing (and no, before you even think to say it, spending my day nursing a full blown man-cold is not the quality time I craved). Then Junior started with the diarrhea. And although Junior was always in good spirits, he clung to me and sadly decried being put down for a mere second. I was fuming at my luck, with a wailing baby on my hip and a full blown man cold to deal with.  I dutifully ensured that Junior was taken quietly downstairs in the morning to allow Hubby to sleep in. I watched him while Hubby napped during the day. I cleaned the house and kept the peace.

Oddly, a few days later Hubby came home from work, free hockey tickets in hand, given to him from the boss. We planned a night out, finally a second chance. Junior would go to the grand parent’s house (virus be damned), and we would enjoy a dinner out and a hockey game, with very expensive seats! The day of the game came, and that was the day that the virus took me down. Oh, the bloating, the moaning in agony, the vomiting, the runs…so much laundry!  So, you can see, I was also very infuriated, but damn it, we were going to the game.

We dropped Junior off, and headed for dinner. I ordered meat pie, but could only eat several bites before my stomach was in knots. As we later circled the stadium, I told Hubby that I didn’t think it a good idea, my stomach was having none of it, and every bump we hit had my bowels jumping. After a failed attempt to get a substitute in for me, we parked and went in, happy to at least find out that we had end seats, which allowed me to run to the ladies room whenever I needed, which of course coincided with 2 goals (my luck of course).  I survived the night, but sadly, the event drained me, the long drive home sapped me, and I was done. I certainly enjoyed the night, but knew that that was the best we’d get for a while.

For some reason my virus seems to have latched on for 4 days straight and has not let me have a break. I’ve eaten hardly anything, and only water and Gatorade seem to stay put. Now, let’s go back to when Hubby was sick. Junior wakes up around 6am. I wake up, take him downstairs and we play quietly so as to not to wake Hubby. Now, when mom is sick, here is how it all goes down:

6am Junior starts to fuss, I wake up after hearing the first mewlings, since a fly fart could wake me up. But by waking up, my bowels threaten to blow up and I lurch from the bed. I finally return to bed, my stomach now rolling from the fast movement. Junior is fussing, but not loud, but darn it I can’t sleep.

6:30am Junior is now talking loudly, and is not quite crying, but will be soon. I have no energy to get up. I’m drained from hugging the toilet all night. I roll over to Hubby and nudge him. The snoring continues loudly. My stomach continues to protest, so I nudge again. “Honey, I can’t. Can you get him?” Hubby and I have an agreement that I rarely ask him to get Junior for overnight changes or early mornings unless I NEED it.  I get a grunt of… acknowledgement?

6:45am Junior is now wailing, Hubby is back snoring. I nudge again. Now I get an angry grunt. How can he sleep through this?

6:48am Hubby flings back the covers, hitting me in the face with the duvet, and he stumbles across the room, thumping with every step, narrowly missing the doorway (I can almost hear his thoughts which would say “why doesn’t she just get up if she’s awake already?). I notice, my eyes half shut, that he has forgotten to bring a bottle with him, and he left our door open, so now I have a clear view of the nursery and an even louder earful of noise. No relaxing morning for me. I pretend to sleep/try to get back to sleep, knowing that Hubby will take care of Junior.

6:50am Hubby loudly describes how wet, how dirty, how noisy Junior is. The crying intensifies since poor Junior doesn’t care how wet he is, just that he wants his bottle which has not appeared. Hubby tries to change Junior during this protest, which then takes twice as long since arms and legs are flailing (Junior’s…not Hubby’s).

6:55am Junior is crying so hard it sounds like he will thro- yup, he just threw up on Hubby. Sigh.

6:58am Now I feel bad…I swing my legs over the bed, and before my toes can hit the carpet, Hubby yells for to feel Junior since he seems to be running a fever (yes… he probably is, but we know that already), this also tells me that Hubby has been watching me from the nursery as well. I mix up a bottle and we meet in the hall way since Hubby was intending to bring him into the bed with us, which he had done the previous 2 mornings while I was sick which I blatantly told him was not cool (trust me, all I want to do is sleep, not have my adorable baby bounce and scream in bed with me). I feel Junior’s normally warm head, and yup, warm, but nope, not on his death bed. Junior takes the bottle from my hand and pops it into his mouth. Instant contentness. Hubby turns back to the nursery and I return to bed.

7am Finally, back under the covers, Hubby has this under control.

7:02am Hubby stomps back into room, throws himself down onto the mattress, and since we don’t have one of those fancy bowling ball mattresses with the individual springs in it, I nearly go flying. He loudly huffs and puffs and fluffs his pillows. I can almost feel him looking at me. I keep my eyes closed. I just want to sleep.

7:05am Hubby is snoring. I am awake.

7:10am Junior is done is bottle and is starting to fuss. I get up, take him downstairs and we play quietly so Hubby can sleep in.

Now along with being mentally drained, romantically rejected, reduced in health and being financially tapped, I’ve also lost all recent pictures and videos from my phone (I hate technology), and these said pictures would have proven that I have indeed had a few birds come to my feeders. Which is, I suppose, a nice positive to the month. Another positive… perhaps, is the fact that I have an interview scheduled for this Monday, for a job here in town. I want it. I want it so I can get out of the house and contribute money. I don’t want it since it means Junior will need to be placed in daycare and I won’t see him. I also don’t want it since it means I will then only get to see Hubby for 1 day out of the week. No more mornings together or Mondays. I am so torn lately, so tired. There used to be a saying… “someone’s got a case of the mondays”, but I’ve got a serious case of the “momdays”.

The Playroom

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I may have mentioned a few times that Hubby and I had been preparing or working on a playroom for Junior. So I might as well dedicate a full post to the room that I now occupy for most of my day.  When we bought this dream house of ours it came with the dreaded formal dining room. These rooms are rarely large enough to host a family gathering, and the most I could fit around a table would be about 8 without bumping elbows. We decided to only have the eat-in area as our dining room since it gave us the added flexibility of increasing our guest count (see earlier posts about hosting Christmas dinner). So we allocated the front dining room to be the dog room. Since you can access the room from both the kitchen and the front entry area, we leaned old crib sides against the openings to keep the dogs in while Hubby and I both worked. This obviously didn’t last long since my dog kept jumping the gates and our little one kept pooping on the floor even when confined into the 13 by 13 foot room. The room then became the dumping ground for miscellaneous furniture, boxes to be unpacked, and laundry to fold (the dogs got moved to the living room and the little poop-head dog is crated when we are away).  When Junior was born we had the idea to create a safe playroom for him to enjoy, in safe view of the kitchen and easily blocked off from the destructive jaw power of our dogs (toys everywhere!!!).

Last week Hubby and I painted the room blue, a cheap pre-tinted can from the big box store for all of $20. Then Hubby mounted, with pretty good accuracy, a very large chalkboard that I had come across free on Kijiji. We searched Ikea and found a blue bookcase for $40 and some picture shelves that we turned into book displays. I have an old table from my dad that is now the change table and will eventually become a craft table (a nice future project where I will cut down the legs and make a fun table top design). We added in our front porch patio furniture, this will be a seasonal thing, since they will return to the front porch come springtime, but for now they are perfect to lounge on while Junior cruises about the room on his foam puzzle mats.

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I’m working on some art, one is finished, a copy of a print I saw on Pinterest and the other “Kisses for everyone” is a bit of a joke concerning our little poop-head dog, who loves to give kisses.  It’s a work in progress, but I stuck it on the wall for now until I get the creative bug to finish it. My moms made some fun wooden letters which I’ve painted and Junior’s book collection is quite impressive.

I now enjoy my morning coffee, with my feet propped on a big stuffed toy, and I spend my afternoons reading a book on the floor while Junior climbs over me, tugging hair and ears, while he giggles and topples over my legs.

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The Bird Feeders

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For Christmas my mother bought me a bird feeder.  I immediately filled it and hung it from my clothes line. I haven’t seen a bird since.

My mom and her partner are avid bird enthusiasts. Or perhaps I should say they are bird feeder enthusiasts. They probably have about 10 different feeders and encourage every animal and bird around for miles to enjoy the seeds, peanuts, suet and dried bread that they put out. Having had these feeders out for the better part of 10 years, the feeders get very crowded each day with feathered beasts fighting over prime seed and perches. They smear suet and peanut butter on trees and toss scrap bread for the squirrels, bird feeders sway from each tree in their front yard and stand feeders provide stable bases for the heavy jays and the odd crow.

My feeder is still empty. Now, I have to admit I used seed that I’ve had in the garage for more than a year, but the new suet cakes should entice some, but I guess word has to get out to the bird community that I now offer meals. My father, during a visit last week also brought me a suet feeder (he seemed a little disappointed his little feeder wasn’t the first) but I hung that from the front porch, in clear view of the play room so Junior could enjoy.  We discovered on his last trip to my mom’s that he will sit quietly watching the birds at the feeders, so I was more than excited to show him the birds out in the country. But alas, I think I will have to advertise my feeders a bit better, start saving bread scraps (although since moving here we have yet to see a squirrel), and my mother’s advice is to buy new peanuts and scatter them about, something to do with the oils which the birds can smell from miles away. I’ve been meaning to get out to the Bulk Barn or to a local feed store but the weather has taken on an artic quality and I loathe bundling up Junior for the sake of some bird seed. I’m scheduled to go out to my mom’s tomorrow, so perhaps on my way I can stop somewhere. I’m eager to watch nuthatch, jays, chickadees and doves flock to my little feeder. We don’t have any mature trees other than a few evergreen, so I’ll also have to keep an eye out for platform feeders and shepherds hooks for next year.

From 8 hour shifts to 24 hour shifts

I cried. I didn’t think I would, but I did. On Monday, Hubby and Junior came with me to my work (work… that thing I did for 8 hours a day before I started to do the 24/7 work). We took Junior around the office, said our hellos and goodbyes to everyone. Final goodbyes. It is official that I will not be returning to work once my maternity leave is up in March. It doesn’t make sense now that we live in the country for me to place Junior in a daycare where someone else will get to see his first steps, and where someone else will wipe the paint from his hands after craft time. It doesn’t make sense to drive into town, find parking, and not get home until 6pm at night when Junior is in bed by 7pm. IF. IF I need to work, I will find something local. Finances will be very very tight, but this is one part of my life that I need to put first. A few years that will mean the world to Junior and to Hubby too. I know we will eventually need to get Junior into daycare, but we will make due until that time comes. At the office, I got all teary eyed shaking hands of the people I’ve worked with for several years. I’d miss them. I’d miss working. In fact I didn’t realize just how much I realized I missed being at that job. Sitting for most of the day, having a reason to put pants on, getting paid, not having to read “Moo, Baa, La La La” over and over again, walking downtown for lunch, peeing without an audience, and the only one yelling at me was my boss, and not my 9 month old screaming for me to hurry along with that bottle. But, it’s the right decision for now. I will miss it, but I’d rather miss pushing papers around and a salary to missing first steps and first words. Oh yes, and I brought loaves of fresh baked bread for them to remember me by.

Speaking of first words…. “Ma Ma”. Officially spoken on Sunday January 4th, and repeated many may times, usually when he is very upset, but it still counts.

Mom and Dad’s Night In

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Hubby and I have had about 2 dates since Junior was born. With Hubby working evenings and most of the weekend, and with finances pretty tight, we haven’t bothered to set aside time for being adults anymore. Our mornings are filled with tickle time (sadly not with each other, but with Junior) and after Hubby gets home at night, we both fall into the couch and sit like zombies, watching a movie. We rarely get to see our friends and if we do, it’s with Junior in tow. Before Junior came along, Hubby and I enjoyed expensive restaurants, date nights at the movies, moonlit walks downtown, spontaneous trips to Montreal, and we slept until noon. Yes those were dark, dark days. Haha. It’s been a while since we had a whiff of our old carefree lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, sleepless nights and dirty diapers are totally worth it since we do have the world’s most adorable baby, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world, but sometimes a mom just wants to let loose.

So was born the “Mom and Dad’s Night In”. While having another couple over with their year and a half old son for dinner, we came up with the idea of finding a sitter and having a great dinner some night, maybe invite another couple. A carefree, childfree, wine filled night of adult fun. The planning began and slowly 6 adults had found sitters, the menu was planned, my house was cleaned for us to host the magical night this past Saturday, and then…..the snow decided to return. The snow began mid-afternoon. Then one couple cancelled for fear of being trapped in the country. Suddenly I was down in the dumps. It wasn’t going to happen. Our night was going to go to sht. Hubby poured me a drink and told me to buck up, and so we began calling around to other parents we knew. A friend in the next town. Nope, her husband was on call. The neighbours across the street. Nope, too last minute to find a sitter. Another couple from town, nope, they were working. We finally lowered our standards (must be a couple with children) and invited Hubby’s friend and very pregnant wife who live close by. Finally, my table that had been set for 6, would actually have 6 adults around it… and no high chair (Junior was at my moms house for the night). Hubby planned a delicious menu of salt crusted prime rib and roasted veggies. I had the dessert under control; shared skillet brownies with a scoop of ice cream. Finally, with the snow falling heavily, our friends arrived, wine was poured, and food was served. We played a fun card game that had everyone laughing and everyone seemed to have a great night. One couple left after dinner, but our other couple, our close friends from the country who have 2 kids, stayed on to help us burn our Christmas tree. At midnight the four of us stood in the blizzard around the bonfire pit watching the last of Christmas disappear. People were shoved in the snow, sparks flew high in the sky and soon Hubby and I sank into bed, our friends safely on their way home via a ride home with a friend, and the bonfire, long past turned to ashes, and we closed our eyes for a glorious 4 hours of sleep. (I bet you thought I would say I got at least 8 hours, but it would be a lie. I woke up missing Junior at 5am.)

New Years Day

Most people celebrated the new year with parties, fireworks, glasses of champagne and little finger foods. Hubby and I sat in our pjs (hubby probably didn’t even have pants on), and watched a movie. I checked my phone to see the time and the new year had rolled in. I think we were drinking our usual whisky and coke. Nothing crazy. One day is the same as the next. Exhaustion leads our day and Junior’s mood sets the tone. Our only time off is when we crawl into the mancave in the basement to watch a movie, we don’t even have cable to be able to watch the ball drop.

New Year’s day we painted the playroom a blue, and mounted a giant chalk board I found for free on Kijiji. The playroom is coming together, and although it’s filled to the brim with toys that Junior received from Santa, I’m sure it will be enough space for him to crawl around safely and I can watch while prepping food in the kitchen. Later on, Hubby, sensing my unease at the day being “just like all the rest” advised that we should go out for some drinks, Junior in tow. I crawled out of my yoga pants and into “street mom” clothes, dragged a brush through my hair and found a pair of earrings. I had one foot in my rubber boot, before changing my mind and actually wearing my black boots. It’s hard to bread habits of a country mom. We headed out to the local popular pub for our first time out in a full year. We hadn’t been to dinner in our town since we moved, almost a year ago. We settled in to a back booth while the open mic guests were regaling the tiny room with folk songs and stories. The issue with being married to a chef is that sadly we become food snobs, and the issue with being me, is that I’m cheap. So we opted for a plate of nachos and a few beer. Junior sat on the table, amazed with his surroundings, large ceiling fans, old hippies with slouching country hats, and plates mounded with food from their buffet. Hubby chatted with the chef, we made a bit of conversation with the locals and of course everyone was “making smiles” at Junior.  We stayed for a few hours, enjoyed the music, the atmosphere and the locals, and soon slid out the back door, stuffed Junior into his car seat, and drove back to our rural life.

A Year In Review

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What a year it’s been. In January we closed on our dream house, boxed up our lives and moved to the country. I don’t regret the move for a second. We were hardly contained in the tiny end unit townhouse which we rented, and the dogs were going stir crazy. Neighbours consisted of drunken students or unfriendly nosey gossip hounds and the constant screech of cats in heat drove us nuts. The month of January was filled with pregnancy appointments, ultrasounds, appliance deliveries and unpacking. February was a month of waiting for my maternity leave to begin. A harrowing ordeal of carpooling in the frigid winter months while I languished in my office chair, spinning in endless circles, waiting for freedom from the monotony of shuffling papers at my desk. March was a month of relaxation. Well, as much as a girl can get when she is so large that she can’t walk, but instead waddle, and constant kicks and summersaults from Junior kept me on my toes. But I think I managed to get my nails painted once during the month and taking the extra time was very much worth it. April brought the birth of our son. The greatest gift we could receive. Labour started on Friday the 11th, but little man didn’t want to come until Monday the 14th at 12:58pm. It was a LOOOONNNNG weekend. May’s calendar is filled, no joking, with a constant parade of visitors meeting Junior. June and July had us running about making a gigantic fence become reality. With many helping hands our dream of a secure place to play for the dogs and for Junior was able to come true, although not before we all had horrible blisters and Hubby had his head stitched up from the pole driver mishap. August marked our second year of being married. Two down….70 more to go! We also celebrated our move with a bonfire and hot dog day with neighbours and friends which was a great event with over 30 people attending. September was a poultry auction where we all desperately wanted to bring home a few feathered friends but in the end resisted the urge until we actually had a place to put them. And Hubby and I escaped for a date mid-month for dinner and a concert.  October meant a family photo shoot with a professional, Halloween decorating, and wood deliveries for the fast approaching winter months. November made me crafty with my first every craft fair which was pretty successful if I do say so myself.  December was 5 Christmas’, our first Christmas tree, and a very mild month…we currently have no snow on the ground, although it is very cold out there.  Hubby and I always buy a new Christmas tree ornament to commemorate the years happenings, and of course this year was for Junior, but what will next year’s ornament be?  I’m hoping for a lottery win, so maybe we’ll find a gold dollar sign. Maybe we’ll get my garden up and going, so a carrot ornament? Who knows.

The Barn Star

As I might have mentioned before, a barn star to me is a requirement for a country home or rustic barn, so when Hubby and I moved out to the country, I was adamant that we find and purchase a large star for the front of our house. I didn’t quite know the meaning of the stars, but all around us, on gravel roads and in local villages, the barn star seemed a prominent fixture on country dwellings.  Some looked fat, others slim, there were rust coloured ones, black ones and even white ones. The only thing I knew was that they were somehow known for their protective powers, and boy, with our luck, we needed all the protection we could get. Soon a large black star was mounted to the front of our house (as seen in the main picture).  I even received a smaller one for Junior’s room. Black of course.

As the year has gone by, I’ve become curious about why everyone else has their stars.  Was it protection? Country décor? Was it there when they moved in? Falling short of stopping in front of houses adorned by them to get pictures, I decided to post the question to a social media group.  Here are a few responses:

I put one up because I had a big bare spot on my garage. I read a legend that people with barn stars are swingers, so I kept it.  – Fiona

We have a rust colored one on our wall, I liked it with my sign “I love you to the moon and back”. I liked it for the rustic color but, am definitely interested in learning more now! – Tracy

We have one on our shed, it was here when we moved in. I thought it was good luck, so we’ve left it. I can’t say our luck has improved but no country life is easy.  –Mary

After I moved my family out to the country I went and purchased a barn star for our house. Growing up, we had one and my dad always told me it would protect the farm. So far, so good. – Doug

A little research reveals that they began as a builder’s mark, but eventually evolved simply into an aesthetic decoration.  Many consider them to be lucky, or to bring luck to the household, like a horseshoe mounted over a doorway. They are especially common in Pennsylvania. Many believe that the colour of the barn star will bring a particular type of luck, or protection.

Black means protection, also used to blend or bind elements together.

Blue means protection, peace, calmness and spirituality.

Brown means mother earth, also can mean friendship and strength.

Green means growth, fertility, success in things and ideas that grow.

Orange means abundance in career, projects and matters needing an added push.

Red means emotions, passion, charisma, lust and also creativity.

Violet means things that are sacred.

White means purity, power of the moon, allows energy to flow freely.

Yellow means health in body and mind, love of man and the sun, connection to God.