sweet 16

September 14, 2018

to The Mr:

how lucky we are!  you have taken such good care of me/us for about 24 years now, and i am so glad we get to spend our wedding anniversary together for the first time in 3 years.  (the 2nd time in 6).

i thank you for your patience, your dedication to your family, your hard work, and definitely your humor.  the days you make me laugh are always my favorites!

i love what we have, and i can’t wait for many more.




fifth grade

August 27, 2018

jovie is very pleased that her BFF is back in her class (after a one year hiatus).  she has declared both of her teachers nice.  she is excited with the Enrichment class again.

she already has had one “field trip” where they explored some carved out paths on the school property & went hunting for organisms to classify.

but the coolest thing so far is that yet again, she auditioned for, and made chorus!  she was again extremely excited & proud to get her letter!  and this time, instead of 60 kids, only 50 got in!  that turned out to be less than half of the kids who auditioned.  she is very excited to find out which of her friends will be joining her for her weekly rehearsals.

extra-curricularly she has begun dance (Modern class again) and will be going for a few cotillion sessions.  we are hoping it will help her gain some self-confidence and aid her in social situations.  she’s looking forward to learning about manners & things like they did in the Felicity series of American Girl books.  she will join in a few 4H classes throughout the school year, too.

She is enjoying having a lot of down-time after school, which is why I think she decided not to continue horseback riding.

So.  FIFTH GRADE.  So far, it’s been good!


August 6, 2018

the start of the end of elementary school.



i know, come May, that dress will be shrunken!

she was more nervous than excited this year.  but she is ready to “rule the school”

ah, yes….  remember this one?



2 years in the making…

July 31, 2018

and SO worth it!

2 years ago, we biked around Macinac Island and had a blast!  we were enjoying lunch when The Mr. suggested that next we should go to Idaho.  i wasn’t even sure what was in idaho.  but of course, when we came home i began to look into everything.  i didn’t even know where to fly into!!!

long story short, i figured what we should do… but last summer we went to New England instead.  but i have been excited for our idaho trip ever since!

and WOW!

a cross-country flight, 2 gondola rides, a bike ride, the center of the universe, scenic car rides & 3 states knocked off our list!  we are now more than half-way done with our quest to see the country!

this trip will definitely be one of our favorites.  we had a great time!

settle in.  i have words.  and pictures.  and words!

day 1-  it all began with a 4:30am wake up call.  that wasn’t as bad as it coulda been.  jovie was a great trooper!  we wanted as much of the day as we could get.  we were pretty excited, but this didn’t really bode well for our expectations.  this is a picture of my view from my window seat:


out of the what? 200 seats on the plane, this was the only one like this.  when we took off, i looked across the aisle past jovie, ben, and 3 other people to squint out THEIR tiny window.    our trip made up for it, because after a stop in minneapolis, we got to do this (which is equally unheard of!):


the whole aisle next to us was free, so jovie got her first window seat!

we got to spokane, but not before i am pretty sure i saw snow on the mountaintops in ID!!  our hotel was (beautiful) right across from the Riverfront Park.  this place was super neat and we spent a bit of time here.  lots of walking paths, and a waterfall.  AND a gondola ride!!


it was hot & sunny, but it’s true what they say about the humidity!  (yes. we went out west during their heat wave! as soon as we left everything reverted back to the normal upper 70s.)

day 2- i fell asleep at 7 (!!) the night before, and we all woke up fairly early so we went to a very expensive breakfast! ($14 for a basic egg breakfast??!!?  good thing it was all yummy).

jovie was excited to ride another gondola.  when we rode the one in spokane, i told her if she enjoyed it we could take another one!  and boy did we ever!

kellogg, ID- home to the longest gondola in north america.  it is equivalent to a 5k!  (that’s 3.1 miles long)  it was as amazing as it sounds!!  jovie, who is afraid of heights, did SUCH a great job with this!  she loved it! (as did we all).



this definitely reminded me of Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.  you climb up one giant hill only to be greeted by another one behind it!

we were greeted with some nice scenery at the top!


we walked around and hiked a little bit, and then trekked back down:

why, yes.  that is the time it took one way.  and lemme remind you that is almost exactly the time it took for us to drive over a 20+ mile bridge in louisiana!

then it was on to Wallace, ID.  a very tiny, quaint, historic town.  i was amazed that all the food was good.  i love that there were no fast food options at all.  and i couldn’t believe they offered so many choices in such a small town.  [for perspective:  the high school was also the jr. high school.  i was fascinated by this and kept looking up their school “district” which only comprised of the HS and the elementary school which was in the next town over!]  I DIGRESS.

our room wasn’t quite ready, so we walked around a little bit & jovie swam while we waited.  that night we drove through town to get to dinner.  we noticed there was only one “stoplight” and it was only a blinking light!  some of the streets didn’t even have stop signs!  but, it IS the center of the universe!!


this is located in the middle of the street.  there were zero cars that interfered with my getting the picture!!  tiny & quaint, i tell you!

who’da thunk lil’ ol’ wallace!

day 3–  ah, yes, another early night! after breakfast at the inn, we finally FINALLY got to go do what i have been waiting 2 years to do!  the Route of the Hiawatha.  we were so excited!  we were a bit nervous because jovie would be on a tagalong, and we were afraid she would be too big.  and we were nervous because the very first thing you do is go through a 1.7 MILE tunnel.  pitch black.  the only lights were the ones on our bikes.

A.  MAZ.  ING!

jovie loved the tunnels  (several of them!)  and wow!  the paths.  the tressels!  the beauty!  i highly recommend it to anyone who is able to ride a bike.  it’s completely downhill (they bus you back up!  and you do the ~2mile tunnel AGAIN!)


this is the start of the 2mi tunnel that is in Montana first, before it crosses into Idaho


see that bridge???  WE CROSSED IT!  (and a couple more like it)

it was a hot day, but we went early enough, and we barely ever felt warm.  more often than not, just as you thought how warm it was getting, you zipped through another tunnel.  the first one we needed our sweaters for, as it’s a cool 47d all the time!

jovie was so very brave for this.  i was actually pretty nervous for her, because i do know that she is afraid of heights.  but i was not going to let that stop this amazing chance.  which is good, because she loved it!  except for the 15mile hiney soreness.   hey, grampa- you got any pointers for next time???

we were also glad to have gone on a monday because i have heard it can get a tad crowded.  some of the tressels had other people stopping to gawk and take pictures, too.  but it was all fine!

we got back to the hotel and did a lot of reading/relaxing before dinner.

day 4-  we wanted to take this day pretty easy, so we stayed in wallace.  it is a silver mining town, so we took a trolley and had a tour of a mine.  that was quite interesting.  the tour guide is a retired miner, and having been to Dahlonega, it was neat to do it again. unfortunately, a big part of this area of idaho has dealt a lot with fire.  a million acres fire in 1910 was mentioned in many instances.  as well a tragic mine fire nearby in the 70s.  it was fascinating to hear about some of the safety practices because of these events.

then we went to the railroad museum (another important part of the area) & got to see some of that history, too.  then we went to their cute library.  (it’s not even open on weekends!?)

the fruit of idaho is a huckleberry, so we enjoyed huckleberry ice cream after a lunch in town (delicious!)

after all the walking from the day, we went back to the hotel to read & relax before supper.

[i really loved this small town.  you could tell they were proud of all they had to offer.  it was so cool how when they build I-90 they didn’t destroy wallace!]

day 5- we were originally going to go to a nearby waterfall (an hour and a half away) but then we decided that since we were so close to montana, we should venture there so we could color it in on our map!  plus google maps didn’t even show the roads to get to Fern Falls; we would take a 12 mile dirt road to montana instead.

and, oh boy!

it started off sweet.  then it got to not dirt roads, but a rocky road! (without the marshamallows!)  it was getting rather dicey.  The Mr. was a nervous wreck trying to not make us jump all over the place.  we were deciding if we should just turn around.  but as it was a one-way mountain rocky road, that was not very easy.  we finally got to a better clearing and i made him stop so we could figure this out.  we looked at our map and saw that it was half way.  so—- do we do all that AGAIN or do we just keep forward for the same amount???  well- we decided to push on BUT we would take “the long way” back.  which was hilarious because 100 feet later, we were greeted to Montana!  and then they graveled the road so it made it a lot more as The Mr. expected.  which was really good because now we were getting super close to the edge of mountains and all i could think was “what if someone is joyriding up here and coming the other way because there IS NOWHERE to pull off!”  luckily that didn’t happen!

but what did happen was this:


oh we couldn’t stop laughing at that!  seems montana wants to warn their travelers.  idaho did not care at all!

so, all that to end up at Thompson Falls, MT.  another quaint little town.  we went there to go to the dam, but first we enjoyed their sweet library & a yummy lunch.

and then, as requested, we needed to take the “long way home” and get back on I-90 to get to wallace.

and OH!

this was the happiest accident ever!  56 of some of the most beautiful miles we have seen.  and we have seen MANY.  The Mr. & i couldn’t stop enjoying & exclaiming.  jovie took a few pictures, too!  this drive is 3rd only to our New Zealand drive and the PCH highway! (neither of which jovie has seen yet).

after this, we stop at St. Regis, MT at a tourist stop.  we grabbed some souvenirs & some more huckleberry ice cream before heading back to wallace, where we did more relaxing and reading (& swimming) til’ supper.

day 6- sadly, it was time for us to venture back to washington to get back home.  but on our way, we stopped at yet another beautiful town- Coeur d’Alene, ID.

we spent a good part of our day here.  we explored yet another library!  we had a picnic lunch in the park.  we walked around a bit.  jovie got her feet wet in the lake.

earlier, we had hiked a bit, but jovie wanted to turn around because it was 1. hot & 2. steeper than she expected.  so we sent The Mr. without us and he was able to do this:

everything was just marvelous!  we got to spokane and quick bought a souvenir before- you guessed it!- reading and relaxing before dinner!  which, by this time, we were pretty tired, so we decided to eat at the hotel.  The Mr. & i first went down alone and had a glass of wine and then got jovie when it was time to eat.  (this being 10 DOES have some advantages!)

it was hands down one of our favorite family vacations.  a bonus that nobody got sick!    2 years in the making and completely worth it!

oh. and one more thing……    this was my window coming home:


you have GOT to be kidding me!


double digits!

July 24, 2018

wow, she is TEN!  we had another fabulous birthday time.  because we no longer have parties, and in the past had performances to see on jovie’s birthday, gramma & grampa again came to celebrate the 4th with us, and celebrate jovie early.

we had a great time with them, as always!  when jovie opened the gifts from them, i threw in one myself.  jovie was thrilled; and gramma was surprised to see a box of $63 singles!

ever since jovie was born, both gramma & sometimes jovie’s great grandma katie would slip a dollar in whatever card they send.  halloween, valentines, etc…. no matter what.  i had always saved these in a special place, because what is a 4 month old baby going to do with a dollar?  however, now that jovie’s older, i had begun giving her the choice when that dollar comes in her card.  she’s very delighted and then i ask her if she wants to keep it or if i should keep it in my “special bank”.  she only kept 1 or 2 herself.

my original idea was to give it to her when she graduated HS!  but she is wanting freedom more and more these days, so i figured TEN would be a good time to do it.  so, opening a box of dollars was a whole lotta fun!


not knowing she was getting this gift, she told me a few weeks prior that if she gets any bday $ she is going to try to save it til her NEXT bday! she thinks it’d be cool to see how much she can save in a year.  we’ll see if she comes up with something neat to spend it on or not…

a few days later, we began the celebrations again, when we took one of her BFF’s Emily with us to Legoland Atlanta.  we had gone there 2ce before- for the same reward of her stopping sucking fingers when she was little.  she had this idea in February.  “now that i play with legos, i’d like to go back and explore some more”.

it wasn’t until it was time to really plan that i looked at the website and see that it’s ideal for ages 3-10.  so that meant emily & jovie would be on the upper side.  they had a decent time, but i’m sure it wasn’t as fun as jovie had hoped.  and sadly, they have left a lot of it go to disrepair, so that made me frustrated myself!

but take a gander at this:

the next day was THE day.  she woke up early & excited.  and again asked 100000 times to open the presents!  The Mr. thinks maybe it’s because I like to bring down/display all the presents.  we let her open one in the morning-  my old camera.  she LOVED it!  and uses it constantly!

it was low-key, as requested.  this year there was no performance to go to.  – well, click clack moo was back but she didn’t want to do that.  so we went to a “fancy” lunch[pasta bar] & then came home to swim.  while we were out at the pool, i totally got overruled and jovie was able to open all of her gifts BEFORE her dinner (cajun shrimp mac & cheese).  she was thrilled!  one thing she requested this year from both gramma & grampa and us was “paper, paper, more paper, all the paper you can get your hands on” so both of us came through (:

we were definitely able to surprise her with tickets to a Kidzbop concert!

and also, she had seen this in the store back in june, and was secretly hoping we’d get it….  but OF COURSE we got it.  how could we NOT???


yep. that’s a doll named Jovie.  she spells it correctly, has long blonde braids, and even comes with her own flopsy!!!!

this year’s cake of choice was a cookie cake.  she was explicit in her instructions that it be homemade.  it was DELICIOUS.  (i think it’s because the lady’s name is Sally!!)  certainly was simple to decorate!


so not cool with that number

because she opened gifts early, she pretty much just left us alone while she played with legos, books, camera, and PAPER!  she had a blast!

now if only she would stop reminding me she’s half-way to 20….

happy birthday!!!!!!!!!

July 9, 2018

oh, yes! would you just slow down already?

we are your biggest fans, and you are everything we wanted.

we are excited to see what TEN will bring.

we love you so much!

may i present

June 26, 2018

Ms. Phineas Trout, reporter in Willy Wonka:


I cannot say enough how awesome this production was!  In just a few short days, the kids opened the box, chose & learned lines/songs, decorated the set, made friends, found costumes (Goodwill- how smart!!) & performed for us parents!  They even did this during a heavy rainstorm & a 30 second power outage!!  Kudos to Ms. Dana at Creative Learning Studios!

Jovie had a great time, and the play was done so well.  She did a super job with her lines, and projected well!  The Mr. was very excited to have been able to see it.  He thought it was as awesome as “Crazy Christmas” she did in chorus this year.

If she chooses this camp again next year, we already know we can’t wait.  Lemme know if you need a ticket!  😉