as i was saying

October 14, 2016

so as i was saying…. October has started and so far it’s been great!

the evacuation went well! spectacularly, stunningly, amazingly so!  becky & i can’t really figure out the magic of it, but we aren’t complaining.  they got here wednesday just in time for me to pick up jovie from her first day of art club.  they left (regretfully) on sunday.


jovie is notorious for needing time on her own.  she rarely needed that.  i’m thinking the 7hrs being away for school each day helped break things up. because when she would come home, they played and played until homework & dinner time.  then played some more until bath & bedtime!   but even saturday it was difficult tearing jovie away from ansley so she could go to dance rehearsal.  this girl didn’t even want to go to the library (?!?!) because they were playing.  aside from said excursion, they played all. day. long!


and ansley was so helpful to jovie with her regularly-scheduled chores!  in fact, the night before they came, jovie came up with the idea to do an extra chore so she could get paid.  she wants to buy her friend at school a christmas gift.  (this girl is amazing!)  so she decided to start doing dishes!  i’m not complaining!  & ansley wanted in on the action, too!


…………………… i was saying….

the first weekend in october we headed to Turner Field for the last ever Braves game there.  It was a gorgeous day and we all had such a nice time!  we were there for 8 hours and it didn’t really seem so.  this time, though, jovie had some books.  she loved reading, eating & watching!  it was so bittersweet and The Mr. & I talked about it for a few days about how great it was we decided to go.  we played Detroit, Tigers, too- so that was an extra bonus!!

so far, october has been good to us!!

oh, and should another hurricane threaten SC coasts….  we have a great plan!


October 6, 2016

September has come & gone & we made the best of it.

It brought us on some back-to-back-to-back road trips.  To Amicalola Falls/Dahlonega, GA,  to meet Becky & Ansley in Augusta for a girls’ weekend!  And also to the Orchard to see Gramma & Grampa for the first time since Jovie turned 8!

(both  of those visits were long overdue, and immensely enjoyed!)

The waterfall was nice.  We even panned for gold in Dahlonega.  It was a very nice day trip!  Augusta was a whole lot of fun chilling with our friends.  The Orchard, well, it was great picking apples- but we will never go back in September.  Yes, I said that the last time we went in September (when Jovie was a toddler), but now we mean it!

90 degrees & 90,000 people don’t match very well!  However, it was all fun family & friend times.  We are super lucky!



the bottom of the falls


the top of the falls


inside (one of?) the first gold mine in US



we all found 4 flecks of gold! 













now, it’s barely October & we have already been having fun-  we went to the final Braves game @ Turner field, & are in the middle of yet another visit with Becky & Ansley, who evacuated from Charleston with this upcoming Hurricane Matthew!     More on these later…

blast from the past(s)

September 3, 2016

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes 1980


Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes 2001


Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes 2016



Mackinac Island 2001


Mackinac Island 2016


8yo pictures

August 24, 2016

Just before school started, we came in contact with a great photographer (who is a friend of jovie’s 1st grade teacher).  We miss Christina greatly but was glad to be able to finally take some more pictures that didn’t have the standard grey-screen behind it like at school!

Madalynn got some nice photos of Jovie in Mrs. Edkins’ backyard.  It was fun.

I wanted to include some of the pictures on this post- but am not getting it to work properly.  The Mr. comes in quite handy when it comes to technology….  too bad he’s not here.

Here is a link to the gallery, if you are interested.  If I can get single pix posted later, I will!

meanwhile- things are going well in THIRD GRADE so far!!!





the start of the 2nd half

August 8, 2016

the 2nd half of elementary school has begun!!


the big hall.  WOW.  third grade.  WOWWOW.

her dress matches her bookbag matches her lunchbox.  she’s still freakin’ adorable!

oh mi!

August 2, 2016

hello, all! oh my we had another fabulous vacation to OH, MI!

we spent an entire week traveling the beautiful state of michigan with a nice little dip down into ohio so i could color that in on our map.  pretty much 15 years ago to the date, The Mr. & i went and explored michigan right before he proposed to me.  (where i fielded questions about why we weren’t engaged from both Aunt Julie & grandma katie).

it was a fabulous trip back then, and a fabulouser trip now! (yep)

i fell in love with the sweet small picturesque towns in 2001.  same towns were just as picturesque 15 years later.  we wanted to do a re-do and bring jovie.  plus we added the east coast this time.  (sorry, michigan- i have a favorite side!  here’s where i throw up my gang sign of a W)

DAY ONE had us touring detroit- i do think all 4 of my readers know that’s where The Mr. spent the first 13 years of his life.  we saw his old house, old schools, famous landmarks (the corner store!) we had a fabulous lunch a few miles away in downtown at Greektown.  & spent some nice time on Belle Isle.  (look! that’s canada!!)

belle us ca

then aunt julie & uncle tom were nice enough to host a dinner for us (in their beautiful backyard!) where jovie also got to meet 2nd & 3rd cousins.  it was nice- hadn’t seen all of them since ’07.  jovie was awfully quiet- soaking it all in.

DAY TWO had us going to visit jovie’s great grandma katie & marshall.  we spent the day with them in their beautiful backyard!  it was wonderful seeing them again!

we then left to stay at a “nearby” hotel and watched the sunset at 9:13pm


DAY THREE took us to the Glen Arbor area to go to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.  this place was amazing when The Mr. went as a kid.  it was amazing 15 years ago and it’s amazing now.  maybe moreso because we got to enjoy jovie enjoying it.  her face was priceless when she first saw the mountain of sand.  she said “i believed you that it was big, but i didn’t know it could be THAT big…. i thought it was just as tall as daddy!”  needless to say we spent a few hours here.  climbing (way harder than it seems!!) and running and digging and playing and rolling and running down and climbing again!  the pictures honestly can’t do it justice, but i’ll try:



here, you think you’re at the top.  do not let that fool you:

jovie on hill


IMG_2345 (3)


we were pretty tuckered out by the end of the day.  we drove just a little ways to Traverse City & had a nice dinner, followed by some ice cream before crashing for the night.

but before that, we drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to get a different view of the dunes & lake michigan:

DAY FOUR was a lovely drive up the west coast.  scenic. quaint.  i couldn’t wait to re-do this.  gramma & grampa recently took this drive & told us to veer off to the Tunnel of Trees.  The Mr. & i had the best time laughing at the long detour in order to get *somewhere* on this 19mi drive.  dirt/desolate roads.  Carmen the Garmin had us laughing pretty good.  i really hope that will cement as a funny memory.

we got up to Petsosky, one of the towns i’ve been talking about since ’01.  we grabbed a lunch from the exact same cafe as last time & sat at a table in the park, listening to a random day of a folk music concert.  jovie enjoyed it a lot.  she video’d them on her/my new/old phone (remember, it’s a camera & app machine)  drove on up thru’ Charlevoix (the other town i loved) and then finally got to cross “BigMac“.

here’s where i could fill up a whole book on all the pix i took of the bridge.  so if anyone’s keeping track, this year we did 20+ miles on lake ponchartrain, 20+ miles of chesapeake bay (tunnels and bridges) and now 5 miles on a beautiful suspension bridge!!   i loved it.

(we were on lake huron.  the bridge divides the lakes huron & michigan)  we went to the bridge view park and to dinner before watching another late sunset in Saint Ignace. but first jovie wanted to swim in the great lakes.  the cold water of MD/DE has nothing over the great lakes.  unfortunately, it was quite rocky so she didn’t last long.  then i took her out for a girls’ night to a cafe next door to get a grampa-sized sundae (we ate maybe half)







the moon rising at 9:23pm


DAY FIVE took us on a ferry to Mackinac Island. (that you can see in the pic above).  an island with no motorized vehicles (unless you count jazzy carts).  bikes & horses.  it’s a quaint little town we went to way back when.  we rode bikes around the island and this time we even found a stair hike that brought us to a nice view of a natural arch!  spent the day here exploring, eating lunch, going to a butterfly garden & getting some famous fudge! but FIRST we got to enjoy going UNDER big mac in the ferry!

(couldn’t get the bike picture in this big slot, so there, you have The Mr. in full size)

DAY 6 we checked out and drove down the east coast to Tawas Bay.  not before stopping at the quaintest most charming deli (take 5 deli) in alpena.  we got to the hotel at the same time as the little summer rainstorm.  so jovie swam in the indoor pool before swimming the bay of lake huron.  this was a sandy beach.  it was cold, but not very rocky.  we had dinner downtown and enjoyed another late night sunset.

DAY 7 more driving, down to Toledo, OH (via Ann Arbor for lunch).  i was quite disappointed that there is no marker indicating when you get from MI to OH!  we were not staying at a very scenic place (certainly not all these water views!) so there wasn’t much to explore.  we had the rest of the afternoon so we decided to go to the movies to see Secret Life of Pets.  (nobody loved it) (only jovie’s 3rd movie experience, other 2 were on a xmas) (popcorn for dinner!!)

afterwards we got some yummy ice cream from Handel’s.  huge and delicious.  after that we drove to the downtown area and got to see some of Toledo before heading to bed.

DAY 8 we stuck around the hotel until checkout time and headed back to the mall searching for a souvenir.  i didn’t have high hopes (they don’t mark their state line!) so luckily, i had grabbed a napkin from handels, and had the movie stub.  proof that we saw ohio.  then we headed to the airport and came home in time for dinner and crashing in our own beds!

a fantastic vacation-  over 1,001 miles driven, 8miles biked, 250 steps climbed (the arch), maybe around 5 miles ferried, maybe 0.25 miles trammed, a mountain of sand climbed, a zillion miles walked and tons of smiles & memories!



eight is great

July 13, 2016

well, well, well.  what a fabulous weekend we all had!

even leading up to it was fun.  and this year was as easy as

016, which jovie enjoyed decorating herself!

Jovie woke up on Saturday giddy & excited for the day ahead!! “I’m 8! I’m 8! I’m 8!” complete with bouncing up and down.

In lieu of a party, jovie wanted to bring one of her best friends, Anna, to the American Girl store in ATL for lunch.  so after a breakfast of 8 & J pancakes, we headed up & intended to  have Clarabelle’s (and Caroline’s) hair done and have lunch.  you should see all the silly fun things they do for the dolls!  The girls were very gracious in the fact that the salon was all booked up.  So they rode the carousel in the mall instead.

The American Girl Store was pretty cool!  We all had fun looking at all the girls’ collections.  And Jovie & Anna were quite impressed with how fancy lunch was!  Ruth Ann & I were impressed with the yummy food.  It was a really fun girls’ outing.  Jovie said she really enjoyed having that time with a friend; she didn’t want to get overwhelmed at a traditional party.  The Mr. enjoyed a quiet day at the pool after all his yard work.

We came home & Jovie read and imagined and played.  she did not want to swim because she knew we had tickets to a special performance that night….   we seem to get lucky that we keep finding awesome shows playing on July 9th!  this year it was Mary Poppins at a local theater.  That has been one of her favorite movies, so I was particularly excited for it!

Meanwhile, we ate a requested dinner of homemade/healthy mac n cheese with ham & peas (mixed in for her).  Then she opened our gifts.  Books, stationery, dollhouse items were in addition to the easel & palette she has been asking for since before xmas.  (gramma & grampa included a palette in their generosity, so now she has 2!!) and she really wanted my old phone.  Which is basically an app & photo machine.  She has shown some interest in taking pictures again, so she was excited to have a camera that wasn’t so babyish.  I am interested in being able to upload these easier!

She was and is thrilled with all of her gifts, and thanked us profusely.  She had quite a few packages & cards come and was so happy with the thoughtfulness of friends & family.

Sunday we didn’t see much of her.  The Mr. & I even went swimming without her.  We came home from (a stunning performance) Mary Poppins quite late, so she was feeling tired.  And when you have 4 new books you can’t really do anything else until they all get read.  I wish someone would invent something called a bookmark!  This is on top of the 4 new books she read on July 5th after gramma & grampa gave her their gifts!**

It really was a fun weekend, even if our pretty little baby did have to turn EIGHT.


**this year, since there was no party & we were gone all day on her birthday, we got to celebrate the 4th of july with gramma & grampa!  we don’t get to do that very often and we enjoyed our time in the pool, grilling out & playing with fire (and fireworks!).  jovie wore her lovely dress & pretty cupcake necklace from her cousins to the performance, read every book before bed the next day, and painted a gorgeous picture with her paint set.  that was a great weekend, too!!