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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our trip back home from Florida.

While this trip was a little stressful in that we had to come to terms with Christopher's grandfather being gone, but we also saw his grandmother who is in the dementia ward in the nursing home.  She didn't know any of us as who we really are, but definitely recognized Christopher as someone.  She wanted to say he was her little brother, but knew that wasn't quite right.  So, I felt good to know he was still in her memory somewhere. It's just so sad to see her like this.  She was such an intelligent woman.

So, after going through all of that, and the emotional job of packing up things and the physical demands of packing and loading, we decided to make the trip back home as much of a vacation as we could.  It's a 10 hour drive straight through, so we knew we'd get back late.  I do wish we'd made an earlier start, but we sort of lollygagged a bit and had breakfast first. Finally we were on the road. 

We'd be on I95 and I26 for most of the trip, but I love taking the coastal highway as much as I can.

 I love the bridge on this road in Brunswick, GA..

And the view from it!

Some were a little blurry, since we were moving, but not too bad.

First stop was our favorite restaurant in Darien, GA.  B&J's Steaks and Seafood.

Best shrimp anywhere.  All wild caught Georgia shrimp, and they're HUGE! The fish is amazing too actually. 

The shrimp boats in Darien just a few yards from the restaurant. 

Then we were on our way again.

A plantation we stopped at for a moment, outside of Brunswick (near Darien)

 I am in love with spanish moss on these old trees.

Then we headed up 95 again then cut over to Beaufort, SC. I've seen photos of the place and knew it was beautiful, but I wanted to see it.  Unfortunately, by then it was getting dark, so we saw what we could.

Just beautiful!  I could really get used to seeing this sort of thing every day!  Maybe someday.

Hope you're having a good week!  Be back soon to show some of the lovely things we got from his grandparents.

Monday, September 15, 2014

An unplanned trip to Florida.

We got the word Friday night/Sat morning that Christopher's grandpa had passed away. This news didn't hit as hard as the original news that he'd become unresponsive and would be going into hospice.  This news was more of a relief that he's no longer in pain, and is in a much better place just waiting on his bride to join him again.

The family decided not to do a memorial service at this time. Since his wife, Christopher's grandma, is also not very well off, they will wait and have one big service for them as a couple.

We did all decide for the adults in the family to go down and meet at the house and decide on who gets what, due to the insurance on the belongings in the house having to be cut way down. They used to have an excellent policy, but the company refused to renew it this time since no one technically lives in the house anymore. The new policy that was put on it isn't as good.

I was honored to get to bring home so much of her depressionware, teacups and saucers, a GORGEOUS lamp, and more. we even got Christopher's GREAT grandpa's recliner.

But to me this visit was more about seeing family we hadn't seen in over 2 years. Christopher's sister and brother in law and such great people. They've been the ones in charge of everything from way back, and we are so thankful for them.

They had to fly back out the next day so we didn't get to spend much time with them.  We had a lovely dinner all together at PF Chang's in Orlando followed by dessert at the Cheesecake Factory.

Christopher and his sister.

Christopher explaining the ceiling mural at Cheesecake Factory.
 His Mom also went down there, and will be staying in the house until next year.

Christopher and me at the Millennium Mall outside the restaurants. Beautiful place.

On our way back home, we went up part of the Coastal Highway and stopped in Darien, GA at our favorite restaurant for dinner, and did some sightseeing.  I'll do a separate post on that next.  Then I do one on some of the stuff we brought home.  Christopher's grandmother kept *everything* and had little notes in all sorts of things to tell who something belonged to and what occasion it was given for, etc. It made me realize, I have very little in the way of family heirlooms on my side.  My Granny's stuff was sold at auction when she passed (which my Mom was irate over), and I don't have anything from my Dad's parents or grandparents at all. So, I just have a vase that granny gave me when I was a little girl and I have treasured all these years, and a few things my mom gave me for my hope chest as a teenager.  So, I was in awe at the stuff his Grandma had.

So, I should get those posted soon.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stuff and things.

I'll get back to posting more photos from the summer, but right now I'm not really in the mood for that.

We got some bad news about my husband's grandfather recently. He's nearly 90, and has had declining health for a while, and battled Alzheimer's for years. He recently took a turn for the worse, and is in hospice care now.  We're told it's a matter of days. Unfortunately, we can't get to Florida to see him before he passes. I doubt he'd even be conscious to know we were there anyway, and Christopher doesn't want to see him in that condition.  He wants to remember him as larger than life and giving big bear hugs.  And so do I. Is that selfish? I'm feeling guilty that we're not trying harder to find people to cover at work, so we can be there for him. Of course, when there is a funeral, we'll be able to go. That's really the only way Christopher can get time off from work right now due to having a store check coming up. His district manager is constantly breathing down their necks. His job stress has doubled since getting the new DM. Anyway, that's what's going on here in the background. It's just like a cloud hanging over our heads waiting for it to pour.

Sorry to start the post on such a down note.

Around here, I am still getting used to only having the 2 girls at home. I didn't wash any clothes yesterday at all.  The laundry sorters were all empty! I would have had to go into their rooms at 1am to grab clothes from their hampers (that they'd taken off when they went to bed) just to have anything to wash.  They always wake up when I do that, and I didn't want to do that to them.  So, I'll get the clothes tonight before they go to bed, and do a load tonight.  I didn't get all twitchy for not doing laundry though.... because I washed my bathroom rugs haha.  I feel like that's weird.

I'm sick of how gross our living room and kitchen floors have been lately.  We have an elderly dog who has started to lose control of things and leaves surprises, in addition to the hyperactive pup who marks everything he can hike his leg on.  We'd clean up spots and puddles and use cleaners on them, but the whole floor needed a deep good mopping.  So, I got my Flylady mop and attached an old washcloth from the rag bucket and used a bucket of hot water, dishsoap and fabuloso floor cleaner. I wasn't trying to be perfect, I just wanted to get a lot of hot soapy water on those floors.  Unfortunately I ran out of time before Christopher got up for work at 4:30am and then I had to get the girls up... well I *could* have rinsed the floor with clean water, but when C left, I was worn out from the first mopping and just sat down and watched HGTV on demand. So, anyway, the living room floor still has a sticky sort of feeling due to the soap residue that dried on it.  The kitchen floor is smaller, and I needed to do stuff in the kitchen after I'd mopped it (I forgot to pack his lunch d'oh!) so I got an old ratty towel and dried it with that, using my feet.  Whatever works! So, the kitchen floor is nice and clean and feels good to walk on barefoot... the living room, not so much.  So, I'll go back over it tonight after work, with a bucket of fresh clean hot water and a clean mop.

It's not like a deep clean or anything, like I didn't move the couch or the stove etc,  so it's still gross back in behind and under those.  The plan is to take this in baby steps.  Get the main floor nice and CLEAN, then maintain it.  Make sure any accidents are cleaned up immediately, and cleaned properly.  Dust mop it daily, and give it a good mopping every couple days or at least once a week.  I know this sounds ridiculous to normal people - planning out how to get and keep the floor clean,  but for people like me, we have to plan it out. It's taken a long time for me to think the kitchen being CLEAN is NORMAL or believe that empty laundry baskets are also NORMAL.  It's going to take some time for it to happen with the floor as well. 

Once the floor is under control, then I will move on to dusting.  There are pictures and knick knacks that haven't seen a duster or a cloth in months (at least). It's not that I prefer dust, I just never got around to it, because I was constantly doing dishes and laundry and picking up after everyone (which was apparently just Rhiannon). I do love going into someone's home where all the furniture is polished and shiny and the picture frames and knick knacks look new. To me that is normal... but it just doesn't happen here, yet.   It will!

Now, don't go thinking the girls I have left at home don't have any chores left to do now.  I do still make them do some things.  Like today, I had Faelyn unload the dishwasher, and Zoe had to bring all the laundry from all the hampers to the laundry room sorter. They also have to keep their own rooms clean and picked up. I used to let them get away with messy rooms, because I was too busy concentrating on keeping the main living areas clean.

Cooking for just 4 people has been weird too. This summer, there were the 5 of us,  Faelyn's boyfriend Austin, and Rhiannon's best friend Ducky who was living with us for a month or so. But kind of overnight I went from feeding  7-10 people (we had 3 more to feed on Family Dinner Night), to just 4 people. Last night we had C's mom for family dinner night, and tonight, Austin is here.  So, at least I have 5 people to cook for some nights.

So, here's the menu I made for the next week.

Tonight:  Spaghetti (meatless), corn, and garlic bread

Sat: Popcorn chicken (they have a really good deal on it at United Grocery Outlet), potato wedges, and corn

Sun: Crockpot Beef Stew and rolls

Mon: Hamburger Helper, green beans. (I used to always make two boxes of Hamburger Helper, now I can just make one and there's enough for everyone!  It's weird)

Tues: Fish Sticks, au gratin potatoes (they have them 3 boxes for $1 at UGO!) , and green beans

Wed: Tacos (hard and soft shells) using our home grown tomatoes!, refried beans, salsa, etc. and corn.

Thur: Popcorn chicken, potato wedges, corn

Fri: Hamburger Helper, green beans

Yeah I know, not the healthiest or most inspired menu ever. But to be honest, I'm not even sure how many of these days we'll be home. If we have to go to FL on the spur of the moment, I don't want to have spent a ton on groceries.

Well, time to go do dinner and I've got a pile of stuff gathered to take to a charity thrift store that I need to bag up.

Hope y'all have a good weekend!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Summer of Making Memories Part 1

I guess it's appropriate that I write this on the unofficial last day of summer, Labor Day.  This was the last summer we had Rhiannon at home before college.  Of course she might be back for summers to come between years at school, but it's not guaranteed. I wanted this summer to be a great one full of memories we could all keep forever.

As I mentioned in my last post before summer, back in May, she left for the beach with her boyfriend and his family the day after graduation. I was happy she got to have that experience.

A few days after they got back, her boyfriend shipped out for Army Basic Training.

I know she missed him terribly, but we got her all to ourselves for the summer!

The Gazillion Bubble Show at Dollywood.  Really awesome!  We saw it on the first day of Great American Summer at the park.  We only got to go one more time during the GAC festival and saw the fireworks when the park closed at 10pm.  That was pretty cool. I can just imagine what it would be like to be on a roller coaster while they're going off.

 We went that last time with some great friends of ours.

 I look like a dork in every picture LOL!

And I love this big dork haha!

We will still get back to Dollywood more this year.  The fall festival is coming, and then they'll have the big Christmas lights thing.  Just wish we'd found time to ride the water rides when it was hot enough to get wet and dry off quickly!

Oh, on that same trip, we also stopped at the Bush factory store in Chestnut Hill, TN.  It's the original plant, and is still one of the only Bush plants running now.  It's huge, and the whole town smells like beans and cabbage LOL. The store though is AMAZING!  They had the CUTEST stuff.  All sorts of great stuff for a vintage kitchen (which I want!).  Will totally have to go back there when I get some spending money. We did let the girls pick out some candy from the big pick-your-own barrels. Then we got photos!

Other things that happened this year...

My family reunion (my brother and sister and their families, as well as my Dad's brothers and sisters and extended family.)

 My nephew's wife is a fantastic photographer, and took some great shots!

 Me with my sister, Connie, and brother, John.

 Rhiannon. :)

 My little family. Corina and Tyler couldn't make it, but I was glad to have Christopher and 3 of my girls there. (That's Mom's picture on the wall.)

We held the reunion at my sister's cafe that's named after our Mom.  She was certainly there with us in spirit. It was the biggest gathering we'd had of extended family (lots of folks not in these pics), which was funny since we'd decided to hold it at the cafe this year and it's the smallest venue yet.  So we were packed in there.  It was great fun though. Our great aunt (my grandmother's sister) was there, which was awesome.

My brother, sister, and me with our spouses, kids, their spouses and any grandkids. It was hard on my brother and his family, since this was the first family reunion since my brother's wife passed away.  We tried to keep him cheered up, and he did give our brother-in-law rabbit ears, so I think he was doing okay hehe.

I have so many more things to write about and photos to post, so I'll break it up into more than one post. Still have birthdays, Faelyn's trip to Berea college, the 4th of July, days at the lake, etc.

Hope y'all had a great Summer full of great memories too!

I guess I was on hiatus!

Hi y'all!

First of all, thanks SO MUCH to everyone who left messages here and on Facebook about missing my posts and hoping all was well. Seriously loved hearing from folks. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

We had a busy summer! Obviously, that meant I didn't blog. It wasn't that I didn't blog on purpose, it just sort of happened that way.

We had several trips to Dollywood, though not nearly as many as I'd have liked. In the middle of summer, when it was hot and perfect for riding water rides, we just always seemed to have other things going on, or the lake seemed like the better choice. We did go to the lake quite a lot, and I am glad we did. Lots of memories made, and Zoe turned into a fish somehow. last year she didn't want to be in water anywhere near deep enough to touch her shoulders, and this year she was doing flips off the big orange tube thing. I wish I had a waterproof camera and had actually gotten pics of everyone in the water, but I've got some great memories at least.

Other things included the County Fair, Faelyn's trip to Berea college, Rhiannon's trip to the beach, my family reunion, 4th of July in my hometown, Rhiannon turning 18, a trip to the zoo with friends, minor league baseball games, moved Rhiannon into her dorm, etc.

I do have lots of pics of other things we did, and I'll start posting about our summer, and about what's going on these days pretty soon.

Rhiannon is off to college now, so there's a new dynamic in the house. Things are calmer, quieter most of the time. This is mostly due to the two remaining girls finally having separate rooms (except when Rhi is visiting).

Around the house, it's been easier to get the house in shape and keep it in shape for a decent period of time. As we found when Rhi did visit this weekend, she tends to take over the entire space. So, when she's not here, it's a LOT easier to keep it clean, because it usually never gets out of hand. I am really glad I don't have to clean her dorm room LOL! Also glad she gets along with her roommate.

I have some projects in mind for the house that I hope to tackle over the next few months, probably after the new year actually. Wintertime is the time to do interior home projects, right?

Well, that's it for now. I know it's just a teaser kind of post, but really I will start posting more. I have a ton of photos I want to get posted.

I hope you all had an excellent summer and have a great Labor Day with friends and family!