Monday, October 29, 2012


I think that's an appropriate title for today.  My mind is wandering here, there and yonder and I'm sure that's how this post will read.  

We had a long, wet weekend.  A system moved in on Saturday bringing us rain (and plenty of  it!) and now, before this one has a chance to fizzle out or move on, we're awaiting the arrival of Frankenstorm Sandy.  We're already pretty well saturated and with high winds coming, I'm expecting to see downed trees.  That, of course, brings the possibility of no electricity.  It could get ugly around here. 

But even with all the rain we still managed to celebrate Mom's 85th birthday on Saturday evening.  Thirty-four family members got together at the local Olive Garden and a great time was had by all!  Well, all but the other diners who had to share a dining room with us.  Poor folks probably had no idea what hit 'em!  ;)  We're a loud, happy group!  It is impossible to have a quiet and sedate gathering of my family and really....who'd want that?  Not me!  :)  We have FUN!  I just know that some of those folks went out to dinner expecting a nice, quiet evening.  If we had been drinking and rowdy in a rude and obnoxious way, I'd feel a lot worse about it, but that's not how we roll.  ;)  Hopefully Brie will send me some of the pics she took and I'll try to post them later. 

Yesterday we did NOTHING.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Zero.  Not. One. Thing. 

It was WONDERFUL!  :)

I can't tell you the last time we had a Sunday afternoon to do with as we pleased.  Fall softball was cancelled due to the weather and this coming Sunday is the start of winter (indoor) softball, so the break was short lived.  Still, it was a terrific afternoon of nothingness.  :)

Not sure what this day will bring, but I'm about to get off this computer and find out!  Tons of things I could/should be doing, I'm sure.  Hope all of you have a fabulous Monday!  If you're in Sandy's path, please heed the warnings and stay safe. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Hickam!

My boy was all smiles last night.
You see, he'd been waiting for this 
author of Rocket Boys 
(the book on which the film
October Sky was based)
came to our neck of the woods yesterday,
spending the day speaking to and with
area high school kids,
then speaking at a fundraising 
dinner put on by our local
community association.
It was a wonderful evening
and we were very fortunate to
be able to attend.
(THANK YOU to Brie for 
getting us tickets!)
 This was Tucker's first time attending
such a function and he was in awe.
The setting was lovely,
the food was wonderful,
and the mood was jubilant.
But the highlight for my little guy
was having the opportunity 
to meet a man whose life story
is so very inspiring.
If you don't know Mr. Hickam's story,
you absolutely MUST read 
Rocket Boys.
What a story it is!

 After such a great evening, 
I'm now back to reality.
Today I'm feeling a little sluggish
as the result of a pretty bad migraine 
last night.  :(
I felt it coming on just before the dinner,
but there wasn't much I could do.
I had hurriedly changed purses 
just before walking out the door 
and had no meds in my bag.
I wasn't about to leave the dinner early,
but the second Mr. Hickam walked off the stage,
we headed out the door.
The drive home was...
interesting, to say the least.
Bright headlights are not my friend
when a migraine is hanging around.
I took meds and was in bed 
with an ice pack on my head 
at 9:38 p.m.
The only way I can get a migraine to go away
is to go to sleep.
That's tough when you're hurting so.
It finally happened and now
I'm suffering with the
'migraine hangover'.
Those of you who have them will
 know exactly what I mean.
And best of all?
Today is our wedding anniversary!
And The Hubster will probably be 
working a little late this evening.
So between that and this sluggishness...
to me!  ; )

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something New in the Kitchen

I just posted a new recipe in Kelli's Kitchen.  
Check it out when you have a minute!  : )

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Road Trip in Pictures

 The Anna Jarvis House
in Grafton, WV.
Don't know who she is? 
She's the reason you celebrate
Mother's Day.

 Some wetlands along the way.

 The covered bridge in Philippi.
Heavily traveled daily
since it's smack-dab in the middle of town.

A couple of shots as we drove through
some of the most gorgeous

 A lovely farm we came across
as we drove along a 15 mile stretch
of narrow, winding blacktop.

 A path that leads you to
Blackwater Falls.

 We were up high enough that there
were few trees other than pines.

 A lovely walkway leading to
the falls.

214 steps, in case you were wondering.  ;)

 Blackwater Falls.
Stunningly beautiful.
I could sit there all day
drinking in the scenery
and listening to the powerful 
rushing of the water.

 Ferns growing along the path
on the way back from the falls.
This pic just doesn't capture 
the beauty of that shady area.

 Seneca Rocks.
There are actually people standing
on top of those peaks,
though they're difficult to see
in these pics.

 A lovely picnic area just
outside of Seneca Caverns.

 A little more of the colorful
German Valley surrounding
Seneca Caverns.

 The entrance to the Caverns.
We walked through 3/4 of a mile
of underground caverns.

 The view we enjoyed on our walk back
from the caverns' exit.

These next pics are of 
Weston State Mental Hospital,
sometimes referred to as
Transallegheny Lunatic Asylum.
This is one of the most fascinating 
places and we plan to go back 
when we can take a tour of
the building and the grounds.
This is the largest cut stone building
in the United States.

 This brick building below is one of the
annexes to the main hospital.
At one time the hospital included
666 acres of ground,
had 3 cemeteries,
a water treatment facility,
greenhouses and gardens.

I can't wait to go back there to
tour the grounds and the
inside of the building,
which closed down in the 90s.
This month they are hosting 
haunted house tours
and even haunted overnight stays.
Not interested in that, TYVM.

All in all, we drove 500 miles that day 
and saw parts of the state I'd never seen before.
A trip to the WV mountains 
in the fall of the year
is highly recommended.
It is indeed

Friday, October 19, 2012

What's it worth? Let me tell ya...

Easy-Fold WV State Map = $7.95

Gasoline to last the entire day = $60

The autumn scenery,
 a much-needed day away from the craziness 
that is real life
time to reconnect with my spouse:


A more detailed and picture laden post
is soon to come.
We spent a gorgeous and relaxing day
in the mountains of eastern West Virginia.

There's a reason this great state is known as 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Goes Around, Comes Around: Two Tales Tied Together

Tale #1:

The Hubster and I were taking Tucker to the high school for a chance to try out band instruments.  Perri had stayed after school for band and then cheer practice, so she met us there.  While we stood in the long line of parents patiently awaiting our turn to speak with the powers that be, Perri sat down on the risers to talk to a fellow band member.  I walked over to them to ask Perri a question and that young man also joined in the conversation.  He was very friendly and personable, had a good sense of humor and impressed me with the fact that he was willing to carry on a conversation with a... *gasp*... PARENT!  ; )

I knew this young man's family but had never met him.  I used to see his parents during Little League season when his younger brother played baseball with Tucker and always thought they were very nice folks.  So a few days later when I ran into his mom at a high school football game, I made sure to tell her what a polite young man she was raising.  I told her how refreshing it was to meet a high school student who is willing and able to carry on a conversation with an adult, and that he seemed to be a very bright young  man.

And then a few days later...

Tale #2:
Tucker moved down off the bleachers to stand by the fence where he could watch the band more closely.  We were only 4 or 5 rows up the bleachers and it's a small-town high school stadium.  I wasn't afraid for him to be down there alone, even with the large crowd in attendance.  He was always within my line of sight.

And then suddenly, so was a whirling dervish of a little boy who had been running wildly all evening.   He appeared out of nowhere and went barreling directly into the side of a large garbage can that was overflowing.  The little guy hit the ground rolling, got himself up and was acting silly, as if it had made him dizzy.  He laughed and then continued making his way through the crowd, never even pretending to pick up any of the garbage he had spilled. 

Tucker looked at the kid as he ran off and then looked at the garbage littering the walkway along the fence where he was standing.  Then he did something that made this momma very proud.

He started picking up the empty paper plates, the dirty napkins and the smashed cups.  He kept at it for a as long as it took him to get the area clean and all the trash returned to the can.  Then he turned, leaned on the fence and started watching the band's performance once again.  He truly thought nothing of it.  He saw something that needed done and he did it.  Simple as that.

The next thing I know, there is a lady standing beside Tucker, leaning down to talk to him so he could hear her over the crowd.  I saw him turn and point to me and the lady walked to where we were seated.  She told Tucker and then us how she appreciated what he had done, cleaning up after that little boy ran off and left such a mess, and that she admired him for doing it without even being asked.

Yes, it was a very proud momma moment.  : )


Now I suppose you're wondering what Tale #1 really has to do with Tale #2.  Well, let me tell ya all about it.

Just before that football game had gotten started, my friend Kevin and I were discussing the way things have changed; the way that people have changed.  We talked about good people who perform good deeds. We talked about good people who don't really try all that hard.  We talked about how the common courtesies we were taught as kids are no longer quite so common.  We also talked about how many of today's kids have never witnessed that type of behavior and will very likely never learn it on their own.  And we talked about how truly sad that makes us.  We are both trying hard to raise our own kids to be courteous and friendly.  We teach them the value of giving back to their communities and reaching out to those less fortunate.  And we mostly try to teach them these things by example.  It's easy enough to talk the talk, but much more effective to walk the walk.

I related Tale #1 to Kevin.  I told him that I think it is just as important to praise the good we see
in today's kids as it is to call them out on poor judgement.  In the last few years I have tried very hard to look for the good in even the most rotten of kids, and to then make mention of it.  You never know when a kind word from you may be the only kind word that child hears.  Also, to a struggling parent, such comments may bring a great deal of comfort when they're doubting their effectiveness.  As a mom I know how much I like to be informed of the good my kids do.  And honestly, if you aren't doing or saying something to make a positive difference in someone's day....well, what's the point?

So an hour and a half after Kevin and I had this conversation there is a lady I don't know taking the time to praise my child,  to tell me how much she appreciates his actions, and that I should be proud of him. 

Just exactly how cool is that?  : )

We can make a difference, folks.  It isn't going to happen all at once and there are going to be times when we don't see results right away....or even at all.  But we can't let that stop us from trying to do what's right, especially when it comes to today's youth.  They need encouragement.  They crave positive attention. 
So many of them don't get that at home.  And you may even find that you are struggling for something good to say to or about a kid who seems to be doing all he can to make life difficult.  But please hang in there.  Keep looking for the good and be sure you point it out when you find it.  Just a little praise can make a kid realize that doing the right thing is not so hard after all.  And it makes parents like me realize that all the effort we put into raising our kids to be kind, caring, productive members of society....well, it's all very worthwhile.  : )

Friday, October 5, 2012

5QF Fun

Linking up at My Little Life for 5QF.  You should, too!  : )

1. What album/cd/download are you embarrassed to admit you have?
Hmmmm.....I'm not sure that I have one that actually embarrasses me, but I have one or two that my family would just as soon forget! LOL!  I love My Best Friend's Wedding and my older daughter has the CD.  I borrowed it (like, for a really loooooong time, I'm afraid...actually, I might still have it.  OOPS!) and I put it on my iPhone.  So when things are getting boring on a long drive, I simply hook up my phone and turn on this song:
If You Wanna Be Happy

Believe me when I tell you that they like to complain that I'm playing it, but they sure do end up singing along before it's over!  ; ) 

2. What's the one thing your spouse does better than you?

One thing?  Pffffffttt.  He has a better sense of direction.  He provides for our family in ways I never could.  He can maintain a calm facade much better than I can...meaning that when we're facing a situation that causes me to fly off the handle, he just kind of stands there and takes it all in before reacting. 

This list could get long.

But I was much better at breastfeeding than he ever could be.  ; )


3. When do you start buying Halloween Candy?

At the last possible minute.  We never have trick-or-treaters (I live in a cow pasture, remember?) so I don't really have to worry about it.  But I do worry about it because what if I expect no trick-or-treaters but then there comes that knock on the door and I find an adorable little person standing there awaiting a treat?  (That has happened maybe 3 times in the 18 years I've lived here...) So the day before or (more typically) the day of, I usually pick up a bag of something or other just in case.  Of course, I have to make sure that it's something we like because we're probably going to be the ones stuck eating it.  

4. Family closets - Yay or nay?

I think I would love this.  I think.  Maybe.  Having one room-sized closet would mean that organization would be key, but I also think it would be easier than trying to organize the much smaller space in an ordinary sized closet.  Also how cool would it be to have the laundry room adjacent to this family closet?  Open a door and put away everyone's everything without walking from room to room to room!  Yes, I'm sure I would like that.  

5. Which home/cleaning chore do you hate the most? Why?

I can sum this up in one word:  

 Don't mind doing laundry.
Dusting and vacuuming are tedious
but not terrible.
Washing dishes?
Not my fave but far from dreadful.
But scrubbing toilets?

So I'll tell you what:  I'll come over and do your laundry if you'll come over and scrub my toilets.  Deal?  ; ) 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Junque

The Hubster calls it junk
but he couldn't be more wrong.
If it were junk,
I would trash it.
No, the only occasionally necessary
and I might need this someday
items that are stashed here, 
there and yonder
are much better than simply junk.
They most definitely qualify for the
 more dignified classification of
(A  'que' on the end
gives it a certain elegance.
Don't you think?)

(No, this is not my junk.  I found this pic on the Internet.
I just wanted The Hubster
to see a pic of a junk drawer that's even worse
than our own.
Hey, at least I didn't find a rubber hand!)

I should be embarrassed by the fact 
that I have not one... not two...
but THREE junque drawers.
In my kitchen alone.
(Don't judge me.  And we'll not be discussing 
the ones UPstairs, TYVM.)
However, the fact that I can typically come up 
with a needed item that no one else seems
to have on hand is enough to quell my shame
to a certain extent.

You need to move a heavy desk 
and could use a set of furniture slides?
Don't run to the hardware store. 
There's a set in that end drawer, under the
spare nightlight bulbs.

What's that?
You found that mini Simon game 
the kids misplaced 3 years ago
and you'd like to play it but can't find the little 
knobs they removed?
I can handle that.
They're right there in the second drawer
beside the battery charger for the 
RC truck that was trashed last spring.

(Okay, so that charger can go now.
Consider it history!)

Yesterday I cleaned out and organized
the closet that goes under the stairs,
then decided to attack the junque drawers.
After purging and reorganizing,
this is what one of them looks like now:
Pens, pencils, markers, highlighters...
a place for everything 
and everything in its place.
 Feels pretty good.  : )

Know what feels even better?
An empty drawer!
My mind is running a mile a minute
considering all the possibilities!
Once I cleared out the things that 
actually have a home elsewhere
(but someone was simply too lazy to 
put them where they belong)
I managed to consolidate 
the remaining items and free up
an entire drawer.

You have no idea how happy this makes me!

Bet you already know my focus for today.
What to use to refill this beautifully empty space!
Around here, the possibilities are endless,
but I can assure you one thing:
No rubber hands will be involved!  ; )

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Tumpin on My Door

I'm sure you're familiar with tumpins,
though you may not realize it 
at the moment.
You see, when my kids were small
and unable to pronounce some of the
simplest of words,
'tumpin' is the best they could do
when attempting to say 'pumpkin'.
 So, see?
You do know tumpins!
Those lovely orange fruits 
whose flesh we love to carve,
whose seeds we love to roast
and whose meat makes the most
delicious and traditional of 
Thanksgiving pies.
I made this one last year.

Anyway, I was looking 
for something a little different 
to hang on my front door this fall.
I didn't have anything specific in mind.
In fact, it was just the opposite.
I really had no idea what I wanted.
I needed inspiration and 
spent hours combing through Pinterest,
all to no avail.

Then I took a trip to Crafts 2000 
with Brie and our friend Amanda
and lo and behold,
I found just the thing.
You see, not only did it catch my eye...
it was also super inexpensive.
I had only about $12 in the entire thing.
Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.  ; )

I started with this:
Spent about twenty minutes with 
a pair of wire cutters and a hot glue gun
and ended up with this:
I'm pleased with it because it's different,
it was inexpensive,
and even though it doesn't have
the typical red/orange/yellow
color scheme
(which clashes terribly with 
my faded coral door)
it still looks plenty autumnal to me.

Now, your next vocabulary lesson
will come late next month 
when we discuss 'tippa tees'.

Come on.
I'm sure you can figure out that one on your own.


; ) 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sugar and Spice, Diamonds and...Dirt?

Friday was homecoming at her high school
and Saturday was the homecoming dance.
She loves dress shopping
(and, might I add, she is a bargain shopper!
This one set us back only $20 at Macy's!
First store we entered, first dress she tried...)
and she loves pretty jewelry and she adores 4" heels.
 Experimenting with makeup
and different hairstyles is the highlight of her day.
But there is another side to this girl.

There's the side of her that loves to compete...

...that loves the hard work of being 
on a team that expects the best you have to give.

...that loves the smack of a bat meeting a ball
that's traveling somewhere around 60 mph.

There's the part of her that needs to be out there on the diamond,
snagging that line drive and throwing out the competitor
before she can reach base.

I love that these personalities can coexist 
so beautifully.
She is a happy, well-rounded, well-grounded
young lady who likes to have fun
and knows how to enjoy every minute.  
Perri and her friends prior to the dance.
I'm proud of this girl for a bunch of reasons.
 She takes every opportunity to have fun, 
she doesn't embarrass easily, 
she'll try ANYTHING...
but she'll gladly walk away from any temptation 
that she knows is unwise.  
She has good judgement and the audacity to use it 
regardless of what everyone else is doing. 
 She is not a follower.
 She does not strive to be a leader. 
She is simply her own person.
 If others want to follow her lead, 
she's okay with that as long as they understand
 that she takes no responsibility for their actions. 
 I think that's a pretty good combination
for a 14 year old girl.

Perri and her date, Woody.

She isn't perfect but neither am I.
We have our Mom vs. Teenager moments
just like every other mother and daughter out there.
But even with our occasional disagreements
and not seeing eye-to-eye,
she's still perfect for this mom.
And I'm proud to call her mine.

Sugar and spice and everything nice;
 Softballs that go smack and a little eye-black...
That's what my little girl is made of.  ; )

The gorgeous photos were taken by my older daughter, Brie.
 : )