Tuesday, May 31, 2011

That Little Church at Cabin Run

On Friday we allowed the kids to play hooky so we could make the hour and a half drive to Ritchie and Doddridge Counties, where The Hubster was raised and his family still resides. We feel that it's important to take the kids to visit the family cemetery, to give them a feel for their roots and history, so we go each Memorial Weekend to decorate the graves of The Hubster's grandparents and Ginny.

Before the days of sprawling, multi-acre cemeteries that are now such big business, it used to be that there were small family cemeteries. Sometimes they weren't just for a single family that shared a last name, but a church family that worshiped together and grew to care deeply about one another. For that reason, many of these small cemeteries are located in churchyards. And so it is at Cabin Run.

Far off the four-lane, out a road called Sunnyside (isn't that a pretty name for a country road?) and then out a little further than even that, you'll find a rough little road that's about a lane and a half wide. A short distance on that road (and you absolutely must know where you're going or you'll never see it) you'll find a gravel drive that takes you to the Cabin Run Church and Cemetery.

(FYI, the building on the left is a new construction.)

I wish I had a before picture to share with you. Before the congregation had moved away. Before many of them were carried to the little cemetery behind their beloved church. Before it was sold and remodeled and used as a weekend retreat. Before the satellite dish, too. ; )

I did find this photo, pre-vinyl siding, and it gives you an idea of how it looked before.

Isn't it lovely?

There had been only a few things done in this pic, so this is more the way it looked when I first saw it. I used to tell The Hubster how I would love to have that old church; to clean it up for weekends in the country and lazy summer getaways.
What a wonderful place to enjoy the peace and quiet.
What a wonderful place to write. : )

The new owners have done a beautiful job of preserving the integrity of the old church. It appears that they appreciate its history and I'm happy to say it is obvious that they love the place. It is always neat and clean and in the summer there are flowers. I'm sure they enjoy their time there, away from the hustle and bustle of their life in the city.

While we were there on Friday, the skies opened and a cool spring shower began to fall. This didn't stop Tucker and The Hubster from placing our flowers, though Perri and I chose to remain under the canopy of the shade trees.

One day this summer we'll be back up there, visiting family, and we'll revisit Cabin Run as well. I'd love to have pictures of the family headstones and share some of the really old ones with you. I've always found old cemeteries to be fascinating. Reading the birth and death dates, imagining the stories of those lives that filled the years in between.

Oh, the stories that are held within the confines of that fence...

Just imagine.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remember that gift card I won?

Remember when Alabama Slacker Mama {aka: Robin} gave away a $50 Visa gift card and (so surprisingly!) I won? : ) I told you all about it here. Well, I want to fill you guys in on what I did with that 'fun money'!

First of all, my iPhone was dying a slow and painful death. (Painful for me, that is.) I was constantly having to ask the person on the other end of the line to SPEAK UP, and most of the time incoming calls didn't even register, let alone come through for me to answer. There were black lines developing across the screen and it was sssssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwww. Slower than molasses in January, to be precise.

Then came the AT&T commercial offering the iPhone 3GS for $49. (With a 2 year contract renewal...fine print, ya know. Not a problem, since I didn't plan to leave AT&T anyway.) Now I just had to make sure my original rate plan would be grandfathered in as promised. I spoke to folks at two different AT&T stores and was assured it would be. You see, I once received a bill in excess of $700 when they 'accidentally' messed up my plan. Can't have that happening again. Heart attacks are ugly and expensive.

So I took that gift card and bought myself a new iPhone, just like this one!

I was such a happy girl! :)

Came home, synced my iTunes and got my music reloaded, plus all my apps. (Just a couple of hours and already I was desperate for my ESPN ScoreCenter app. Yankees withdrawal is also an ugly thing.) Everything went so smoothly! I felt like joining Snoopy in a happy dance!

It all just seemed too good to be true!

So of course you know this means it was too good to be true.

I checked out my account online and discovered that not only were they charging me more than my old plan, they had also taken away my texting.


Though I was promised that nothing would change, it seems that little promise didn't include my texts. Texts are no longer included in any of AT&T's plans. They're always an add-on. Apparently even when you ask specifically if anything at all will change when you upgrade phones but wish to grandfather in your current plan, texts don't count.


Then my techno-guru (that would be Brie) made some phone calls and fixed it up, almost good as new. It ends up that the only way I could get back my texts without raising my monthly bill was to return my new phone and reactivate my old one. (Out of the question, since it was on its deathbed.) So I'd have to put on my big girl panties and deal with no texts.

Texts are such handy things. This made me sad. :(

For all the trouble they'd caused, they did credit my account with $25. That was nice.

But I still wanted my texts back.

Then we found out that the old plan I had argued to have grandfathered was actually $5 more expensive than the current offering.

Are you kiddin' me?

And then we discovered that being an employee of the company for which The Hubster works gets us an additional discount.


Adding 1000 texts is only $10.

Yeah, baby!

Now, this is me:

So all's well that ends well, I suppose. THANK YOU AGAIN, ROBIN! I am now totally techno for an old grandma! ; )

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vandalia Time Again!

The Vandalia Gathering is a West Virginia tradition, now in it's 36th year. It is held every Memorial Day Weekend at our gorgeous state capitol. Isn't this one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings?

When Vandalia is in full swing and you begin to tour the grounds, you will take in so much of what makes WV a unique and wonderful place to live. There are many stages set up for the various music competitions that are held throughout the weekend, but you'll also find scenes like this:Musicians come from all over and set up in the shade
of the many beautiful trees that dot the lawn.

Square dancing and clogging to live music.

Crafts and activities for children, including this gentleman dressed as a coal miner,
telling them stories about that way of life.

And this beautiful (and HUGE!) bird, along with several of his buddies
whose pictures I didn't manage to get,
were on display from Three Rivers Avian Center.

I spotted this little guy and just had to snap a shot. Ain't he cute? : )

Then there are the crafters.
Boy oh boy, does WV have some talented artisans!

Gorgeous pottery.

Stunning woodwork.

Beautiful handmade musical instruments.

And then my camera battery died.

Can you believe it? These were taken with my new camera that Brie got me for Mother's Day and of course I had no idea how long the battery would actually hold out.

I just hate that you didn't get to see all the FOOD!
Another thing that West Virginians know how to do is EAT! ; )

Roasted ears of fresh corn,
homemade BBQs with fresh cole slaw,
funnel cakes,
freshly squeezed lemonade,
and the Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston
is positively famous for the wonderful foods they offer.
My favorite?

I'll be making a trip back to Charleston soon
just to take pictures to share with you.
The Science and Cultural Center
(located on the capitol grounds)
displays lovely handmade quilts
throughout the Great Hall.

They are AMAZING
and you deserve to see them!

Next time I'll take a freshly charged camera.


So that's my Memorial Weekend to this point.

How is yours going so far?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hangin' with Mama M

Yeah, that's me.

Just hangin' out over at Mama's Personals, sippin' sweet tea and jawin' with Mama.

I'm cool like that, ya know. ; )

Actually, I am quite flattered to have been invited to hang with Mama from My Little Life! : ) If you've never paid her a visit, be sure to do so. This lady is a nurse who has cute kids, a handsome husband, plenty of stories to share, and she is Funny! (notice the capital 'F'...and the italics) Mama's Personals is a place she created to showcase the blogs she enjoys. Cool idea, huh?

So PURTY PLEASE be sure to drop in and read MY INTERVIEW! 'Kay? And when you're done there, you can check out her main blog by clicking HERE or on the words 'Back to My Little Life' at the top of the left sidebar.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Miscellany Monday and I've Got a Date! ; )

~I'm sure you're all familiar with MamaM over at My Little Life. Well, last night I received an email from her asking if I'd be her Date of the Week! : ) How cool is that? I'll post a link as soon as my interview is ready for your reading pleasure. ; )~

~We had a 'Come and Meet the Newest Member of the Family' hog roast on Saturday! The weather was positively perfect and there was a TON of food! I'll try to post a few pics later this week. Ended up with 60 or so guests and I think everyone had a really good time! I know I did! We actually managed to get everyone to stand still just long enough to have a family picture taken and I'm gonna go ahead and share that one with you now. : )~
The Hubster with Tucker on his lap; Perri holding Eli; Drew with Hayden on his lap;
and standing in the back: me, Josh and Brie.
The Hubster says this photo is reminiscent of the Culhanes on HeeHaw. ; )

~The sky is growing darker by the minute and I do believe some nasty weather is headed our way. Last night we had fierce winds that rearranged the front porch for me. Then this morning I saw the news coverage of the devastation in Missouri. :( My heart breaks for all of those touched in any way by that disaster. ~

~Much to do here and I need to get busy. Hope all of you have a fabulous Monday! Post your Miscellany Monday happenings and join in the link party over at Carissa's. : )

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Sweet is This?

The game is over, the final out made.
Time for the weary player
to gather his equipment into his bag
and make his way out of the park.
Just outside the dugout
waits his little buddy;
his biggest admirer;
his willing helper.
He takes the bag,
reaches for Uncle Tucker's hand
and they head for home.

That baby positively adores his uncle! : )
Brie didn't have her camera handy to capture this moment,
but managed to snap a quick shot with her phone.
: )

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yoo-hoo!!! Mr. Sunshine!!! Where'd you go?

So we found time over the weekend to hit the greenhouses. There really hadn't been much point until now because it's been too cold and rainy to even consider planting anything. Sure, we'd have a warm and sunny day here and there, but we couldn't seem to string together more than two at a time. According to the weather gurus, we are more than a foot above average on rainfall. A FOOT!!!

Thankfully Saturday didn't realize that it was supposed to be yet another rainy day (this according to the aforementioned weather gurus) and the sun decided to come out and play. After Tucker's baseball game (which they WON!!! AND my little guy caught a fly ball for the final out of the game!) we headed out to a greenhouse someone had told us about.

Let me tell ya...this place was HUGE!!! I have no idea how many greenhouses there are, so I'll just say LOTS. And the grandaddy of 'em all...well, here he is. In two separate shots.

And a couple of shots of some of the other pretties we saw.

This is the cart we were filling. Tucker was in charge of maneuvering it from greenhouse to greenhouse for us and he did a great job! Never turned it over even once! ;)

And, BTW, the prices were INCREDIBLE! Flats were $8, hanging baskets were $8, hanging ferns were $7! Can't beat that with a stick! :)

I got a our window boxes planted as soon as we got home, and also put some flowers in the whiskey barrel by the garage door, but that's as far as I've gotten. Know why? Well, as the title of this post suggests, the sun disappeared and the dreary drizzlies decided to make an appearance...AGAIN! It is a damp and chilly 50* today. In mid-May!

As soon as we have some sunshine I'll be sure to post some pics of the pretties on the porch, in the beds, etc. I just need it to warm up a tad so I can get outside and enjoy playing in the dirt.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting over the hump...

This has been the longest week in recorded history.

Seriously. I don't know why that is, but it sure seems like it should be Friday already. Here it is, only Wednesday, and I'm not even halfway over the hump just yet. (It's still morning as I type this.)

I don't really have anything important to tell you today. No cute stories about one of the kids; no nifty little idea to share; no great epiphany regarding world peace. But I still thought I'd check in, just to let you know I'm still among the living and all is well.

I hate that when it comes to my blog I'm not feeling terribly inspired lately. Life is busy (nothing new there) and I just feel as if I'm walking on a treadmill, getting through each day so I can go to bed and then get up the next morning to do it all over again. Ever feel that way?

I will share a pic. It's something that makes me smile and I think we could all use a smile today, don't you? : )

How could I not smile with this little guy around?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hairy Legs, Moms Who Say No, and What NOT to Do About It...A Cautionary Tale

The summer of my twelfth year I decided it was time to start shaving my legs. Next to my best friend Arla, who was turning 14 and a leg shaving veteran of at least 2 years, I felt like Sasquatch. The hairy legs were wrecking my self esteem but no amount of begging, pleading or bribery would convince my mom that it was time to buy her little girl her first package of Gillette disposables (You’re too young for a razor!) or even a bottle of Nair (All those chemicals can’t be good for you!) So I did what any hairy legged, hardheaded 11 year old girl would do: I borrowed Dad’s safety razor.

Boy oh boy, was that ever a mistake.

After peeling my shin like a Chiquita banana and bleeding fiercely enough to soak a bath towel, I finally managed to get it under control. Then, in a frenzied fit brought on by Mom’s knock at the bathroom door, I stashed the blood soaked towel in the bottom of the trash can, covered it with the preexisting garbage, and proceeded to use medical tape to affix cotton balls to my wound. I just knew they would absorb more blood than gauze pads or Band Aids. Thanks to long pants and a stiff upper lip, no one knew of my pain and suffering.

That is, until I discovered that cotton balls hadn’t been my best option. I figured out that little tidbit the next day when I decided I’d probably better change the dressing. I learned two valuable lessons during this very trying time:

1. Safety razor is a misnomer. Deadly weapon would be far more fitting.

2. It takes a great pair of tweezers, steady hands, and as long as 6 hours total to pick from an open 6” x ½” wound all the fuzzy little cotton fibers left behind by a half dozen large cotton balls.

Mom learned a lesson, too: Raising her third and final child was going to be a more far more daunting task than either of the first two! ; )

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope you all have a fantastic Mother's Day weekend!

If you still have your mom, make some memories.

If not, celebrate her memory.

If you are a mom, bask in the glory of knowing

that you have the greatest job on earth!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Scents, Sights and Sounds of Comfort

At 2:15 this morning my alarm sounded. It was time to get Perri out of bed and ready to head out the door. Her eighth grade class is spending the next couple of days in Washington DC and with the events that have unfolded in the last few days, this makes me more than just a little nervous. DC is not the place I would have chosen to send her at this point in time, but these plans were made months ago. It has been an eighth grade tradition here for years and years. I know that security is high. I also know that she'll be having the time of her life! Her first BIG trip without her family tagging along, enjoying the sights and the history, learning so much and also having fun with her friends. Memories are being made and they're memories she'll cherish for years to come.

And yet I had trouble falling back to sleep once she was gone. You know me. I'll fret until she's safely home again.

Now I'll get to the point. ; )

In an attempt to relax and allow the Sandman to do his job (after all, the alarm would sound again at 7:00 a.m. so I could get Tucker off to school!) I used one of my old can't get to sleep tricks. I started thinking about things that bring me comfort, or take me back to a simpler time in my life. I've found that's the best way for me to drift away to dreamland. : )

The sound of a screen door.

It is one of the most identifiable sounds from my childhood. You know that stretchy-spring-sound when someone opens it and the gentle wooden-door-meets-door-frame sound when someone closes it without allowing it to slam. (You did NOT allow my Mama's door to slam!) My Mama Jones (my maternal grandmother) had a screen door on the house where she lived when I was very young. It was such a novelty to me because our house had a metal storm door. I used to delight in stretching that spring and picking it like a guitar string! :) To this day I love that sound. That is why I now have a screen door on my house. :)

The scent of these comfy old quilts
blowing in the breeze on a warm summer day.

Or bed sheets or towels or anything else that's hanging out to dry. And there's nothing quite like the feel of them and the aroma that envelopes you when you pull them out of the linen closet. Serious comfort there. : )

A beach. Soft sand, cool water, warm sunshine.

And the sound. How I love the sounds of the ocean. It is so humbling to stand on the beach and let the enormity, the vastness of it overcome you. Put you in your place, so to speak. And bring you the comforting realization that there most definitely IS a God. The proof is all around you every single day, but somehow it is even more obvious on a beach.

So tell me. What scents, sights and sounds bring you comfort?

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Little Staycation and Some Other Odds and Ends

~Hello bloggy friends! : ) It's been a little while since I've written because, without really meaning to do it, I've ended up taking a little 'staycation' from blogging. We've had ball games, practices, Scouts, a banquet, meetings, a family dinner, time spent with that beautiful new grandson...lots of things going on around here. Annnnddd....well, I just needed a break. Since a vacation wouldn't fit in our schedule or our budget, it was staycation time! ; )

~Perri's final two softball games for the regular season are today and tomorrow, and then she leaves for DC in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. It's her eighth grade trip. I'm not gonna lie to you...with this recent turn of events regarding Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, I'm just a little nervous sending my baby girl to our nation's capital. :( I'll feel much better when she's back home, safe and sound. I know that retaliation can be dealt to us anywhere, but I also know that some areas of our country will be on much higher alert than others.

Now enough political talk. (That's about as close to anything political as I care to get...)

~Do you love to read? If so, allow me to recommend Water for Elephants. WOW. What a fantastic book! This is such a gripping story and I confess that had it not been for the movie being released recently and bringing attention to the book, I probably would not have even been tempted to pick it up and try it. I love this guy:
(Robert Pattinson, in case you live under a rock...)

And I adore Reese Witherspoon, so I will definitely be seeing the movie at some point. But I am so glad that I listened to Brie and tried the book! (*If you are easily offended or can't handle deep, raw storytelling, this is probably not the book for you. This one is gritty and real, folks.)

~Only 27 school days left here!

I am very much looking forward to this school year being OVER.

~Much to do today so I have to get busy. Cookies to bake for the softball team (I try to do cupcakes for home games and cookies for away games), a birthday cookie to bake, too...and plenty of laundry and errands as well.