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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!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Busy Graduation Night

Last Friday night I watched my second oldest daughter walk the stage to graduate from high school. I just new I would cry, but I didn't.  I was happy with our seats. We were sitting near the families of several of Rhiannon's friends.  Everyone around us was dressed up, happy, and energetic.

Me and Christopher

We hooted and hollered for all the kids we knew, as their names were called. Some of them we've known since 3rd grade or so.  So hard to believe they're going off to college or the military or whatever.

After graduation was over, the usual chaos ensued outside. Finding your own family members in the crowded little courtyard area is as much a tradition as the processional itself. Faelyn was with me, as we'd sort of gotten split up from the others, and we ran into Ducky.

He's a good friend of both my girls, and Christopher and I both care a lot about this kid. Of course he's no kid now, but he will always sort of be like our adopted son.  We both got big hugs, but he seemed kind of down. We heard later on that he's having problems at home, and is actually staying with friends instead of his mom and brother.  So, if it's your thing, I'd personally appreciate it if you'd say a little prayer for Ducky and his family to be able to mend the issues and work things out.  We sent word to Ducky later on that we would love for him to come stay with us as long as he needed to. Hopefully he'll take us up on it, if he needs it.

Then we finally found Rhiannon and the rest of the family outside, and got some pictures.  Her boyfriend Joe had his extended family in town, so we got to meet them, and then we found out they were all going to the same restaurant that we were for the after-graduation dinner. So, that was a nice surprise. He's heading off to basic training for the Army soon and she's got at least 4 years of college ahead of her, but I do hope they stick it out.  He's a great guy.

Then she wanted pics with us and her friends..
Corina, Rhiannon, Zoe

I don't have a pic of her getting her diploma or even just by herself yet.  The local paper was taking those at the end of the stage, so I'll grab one of those when they're available.

So, after pics, we headed to the Cancun restaurant here in town.  We had to put 3 long tables together to seat everyone.  It was great.  Christopher and I ordered 2 orders of the family fajitas special which was more than enough for our two tables. We had all 5 of us there, plus Corina and Tyler and my mother in law. Unfortunately, none of the extended family was able to make it to graduation. We actually didn't hear anything at all from Christopher's dad and half sisters other than a FB message to ask when it was.  I had FB messaged them to get their current addresses to make sure they got the invitations.  The girls all said they couldn't believe she was old enough, and his dad asked when it was.  That's all we've heard from any of them. I'm not terribly surprised though.  There's not been a lot of contact between his dad's new family and ours through the years. We had hoped that Christopher's sister and her husband would be able to make it, but they both had commitments at work they couldn't get out of.

I wish I had pics from Cancun.  I know some were taken, but not with my phone.  Someone somewhere has them haha.  The staff came out with noise makers and HUGE sombreros and put them on Joe and Rhiannon and started singing, and gave them big ice cream sundaes.  It was awesome. We didn't expect that at all.  We went to Cancun for Corina's graduation too.  it's such good food and great atmosphere and I knew it wouldn't be packed like Applebees and Fatz. Those places can't compare to good Mexican food! 

After dinner, Rhiannon headed off with Joe and his family.  They were going to head off to the Carolina coast bright and early the next morning. She'd be there with them for almost 2 weeks. So, we got hugs and said our goodbyes, and the rest of us headed back home. We had ice cream and watched an episode of Buffy, then we all headed to Corina and Tyler's place out in the boonies far away from the lights of town, so we could watch the meteor shower. We live in town, so we can barely see only the brightest stars. We took blankets and lawn chairs and had a great time, laughing and talking and watching the sky.  We stayed til nearly 2am, and I saw at least 5, and two of them were long slow ones that went across the sky. That was pretty cool. Once in a lifetime kind of thing. I wish Rhiannon had been able to join us, but I know she really wanted to go on this trip.  I could never prevent her from making such amazing memories as 2 weeks on the Carolina shore right after graduation... I mean they ought to write a song about that...

I hope she treasures every. single. moment.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Porchie had been acting like he's not happy with Merlin living here. Merlin would lick Porchie's face and clean him, and Porchie would get huffy and get up and move. But recently, I've seen them eating together. Then today, I woke up to see this...

Such a cuddly little bundle.  Aren't they cute?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day and my yard

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there, whether you gave birth, adopted, are a step mom, grandma, surrogate mom, a "second mom", or have furbabies (or any other kind of Mom I missed!)

My husband got me a card that made me cry (as always). Rhiannon made me banana bread. Faelyn made dinner on the grill since her dad was too tired from working 13 hours today and she also wrote me a very touching letter, they also helped clean my house, and Zoe made me a really nice hand made card. and Corina dropped by to wish me a Happy Mothers Day.

I had mowed the yard yesterday, so today I got my phone and went out to my back yard with my sun hat and listened to my Nora Roberts audio book as long as I could before getting interrupted by neighbor kids asking about Zoe and next door neighbors coming home. hehe.

I had gotten myself my Mothers Day present last week when I bought some marigolds, a potted plant, potting soil and caladiums.

My new caladiums with my hostas.

The potted plant fit perfectly in this old camping pot we had from hubby's grandparents. It's all rusted and rustIC.

The marigolds went into the veggie bed to help try to keep pests away.

This is the back corner of our yard. It used to always be shaded until the city came through and basically destroyed the trees behind the house.  Now, it's just shady where the hostas and caladiums are.

I like my old wooden step ladder even though the back legs rotted off.  I have it propped up against the tree so it can still hold pots and knickknack stuff.  The top one has sedum in it, which I hope will live well enough and spread over the side.  The second one down has a sweet potato vine which I hope will trail down the ladder.

My poor hotas.  The tiny one in the middle was planted in a spot where the dogs could reach with their new leads, and I didn't realize until it was maybe too late.  It's alive, but I don't know if it will ever get as big as the other two.  And yeah there's no grass in a lot of my yard. I have given up on growing grass lol. 

On the back porch, I have a container with an Early Girl tomato plant and a container with spinach seeds.

These were taken before I mowed. As bad as the non-grass areas look, the whole yard looks a lot better when it's mowed. I hate letting it go so long between mowings, but it was either too hot when I could mow, or it was raining until Saturday afternoon.

I am pretty proud of the above photo, though it doesn't look like much.  For like 3 years or so, there had been a pile of trash sitting there... old ruined tires, a trashcan full of stuff the dump won't take, broken lawn chairs, and old toys like the kitchen set, table, etc. I gave the kitchen and table to the new neighbor kids.  The bench went to the gardening spot to hold tools.  The trash was taken back to the back end of the house where it's mostly out of sight until I can manage to get the city to come pick it all up and get someone to haul it to the road for them.  So, this spot looks MUCH better than it did. I'd like to plant daylillies there.

The plant at the end of the spot by the corner is a comfry plant I got from my Mom. I moved it with me when we moved from the old house. I love the leaves and flowers. 

Also on this end of the house are the chairs...

 The red slip covers are all from one water resistant cloth table cloth from KMart. They're duct taped on the back of the chairs, but the tape doesn't like sticking to fabric very well and the old fabric it has to stick to is too brittle to staple or anything else, so I'll just keep fixing the duct tape I guess.
I don't have pics of how they looked before, but they were gross and moldy and no one wanted to sit on them.  The cushions were still cushy though, so I figured slip covering it was a good idea.

These are some of the seedlings coming up in the raised bed.

So there's my back yard and garden pics. I'll hopefully keep up with taking pics as the stuff grows and show as they change.

Hope y'all had a great Mothers Day!