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!  😉




June 19, 2018

it seems every year i remark how busy our summers begin.  this year is no different!

the first week off included memorial day so it was great to have The Mr. home to start.  that week we just enjoyed being able to sleep late.  tho’ jovie’s definition of late that week was 6:45.  we swam with friends some & just general hung around the house not keeping to a big schedule.

then it was recital time:


those straps were both unnecessary & distracting!

after that, the 2 of us went down to charleston to see becky & ansley.  jovie couldn’t WAIT for this trip and kept asking if it was june yet.  that was a fun few days!  it was just the 4 of us since the dad was on a work trip.  the girls spent their time slime-ing, beach-ing, playing, laughing and pool-ing together.  our time was spent talking, eating, laughing & binge-ing Jane the Virgin together.   it was a long overdue trip and we hated to leave!

we came home in time for gramma & grampa to come friday to

1. be here for The Mr.’s birthday and

2. let us go to the Fox for Hamilton and an overnight.  we had a nice time visiting with them and were so grateful to be able to do that!


[The Mr. & i had really good seats, but were pretty underwhelmed by all of the hype.  they did a great job, but The Mr. was hoping all the songs would be rap.  as he put it “when the girls came on it went back to being boring, singing about love and all”  i felt somewhat the same way, though i was interested in the storyline. and i’m a sucker for lyrics.   The Mr. rightfully points out “what did he accomplish, exactly- the first act he was just a secretary.  not sure why he was so great”.   like many over-hyped things we have seen, we were afraid of being disappointed.  it was a great excursion, and not horrible.  but hoping for just a tad more.]

the next day, we jetted to the MS/TN border to see christina the nanny, the photographer, the mommy.  we were excited to see her sweet little one in person.  jovie was thrilled to be near a baby.  and as luck would have it, The Mr., who goes to this area a lot for work did not have to go this week.  so what did he do?  came with us!  that was pretty fun having him work from their home & popping down at nite for dinner & games.

and, what did christina do while we were down there?  she took amazing pictures, of course!!!

this is one she took of some random teenager she found wandering around the town:


and we came home and had a down-time weekend spent at the pool in the hot and sunny summer (hooray!).

this week, jovie is in a drama camp, working on HER LINES for willy wonka, jr!  she loved the first day yesterday and we can’t wait to see the newsreporter Phineas Trout on Friday!  (she’s also an oompa-loompa).

next week will be a soccer camp (!!) with some STEM learning mixed in.  she is looking forward to that, too!  and then, y’all, it will be JULY.

i’m not ready!!!!

what a year!

May 25, 2018

unbelievable that jovie is finished with 4th grade.

we were so lucky to have the team of teachers she had!  she learned a ton and had a lot of fun doing it.

this year brought many new experiences:

  • she had 2 teachers & changed between them for subjects. (!!)
  • she learned to do research.
  • she created a robot.
  • she auditioned for, made, and performed in chorus. [never seen such pride!!!]
  • she experienced an almost total eclipse.
  • she was a wax figure (sojourner truth).
  • she went on an extended day field trip and mined for gold.
  • she was inducted into the Jr. Beta Club.
  • she coped being separated from her BFF in a different class.
  • she had other friends, though.
  • she learned to do a lot of collaborative work.
  • she had a “name” project she enjoyed- with perimeter & area.
  • she enjoyed the potato-olympics.
  • she had 7 days off of school due to various weather events.
  • sadly, she learned about grief when Yiminy passed away.
  • she worked a bit extra to maintain and earn AB honor roll!
  • she earned the Responsibility Award- only one from each class!

The Mr. & i are so proud of the year she had.



He was a good boy.

May 18, 2018

A few days ago our cat Yiminy died. A month ago he stopped eating much and after a few visits to the vet, fluid was found around his heart, and we left with a handful of prescriptions and a tear-inducing prognosis.

It is difficult to explain exactly how Yim-boy was so much more than your average household pet. He wasn’t a typical cat that loved you when it was convenient for him. He’d come when you’d call him. He ran to meet to us at the door every blessed time we came home. He knew what you meant when we said “turkey”. He loved you when it was convenient for you.

He was different things to each of us, and more. To Michelle, he was her snuggle buddy. To Jovie, he was a fixture she grew up with and loved her entire life. To me (Dad), he was my best buddy.

He slowed down his last few weeks but he was still so eager to please. He couldn’t meet us at the door any more. Instead he’d position himself in the living room so he could see us as we came in and raise his head and look at us eagerly to greet him. His last days were spent with him in the living room, surrounding him with the only thing he wanted in life.

Now that he’s gone, our home has a heart aching emptiness. Routine tasks we’ve done for 14 years no longer need to be done. We catch ourselves unnecessarily going to the door to see if he wants to come in. Movement is caught from the corner of eyes, thinking it’s him, only to be quickly reminded of the loneliness that is now within each of us.

As we all struggle to accept his loss, we try to remind ourselves of the happiness he brought to us for so many years.

He was a good boy.









goings on

May 7, 2018

wow, our spring break seemed so long ago.

right afterwards, jovie geared up for the end of the year testing. [i will not write my 1,000,013 thoughts on the subject]

she ended april with more chorus practices for the spring performance of High School Musical Jr. [i will ignore my 113 thoughts on that subject].

we all went to my niece’s wedding reception.  what was going to be a nice date weekend in columbia for The Mr. & me turned into a quick 24hour trip with jovie in tow.  carolyn was so sweet that when gramma & grampa were no longer able to come here to watch jovie (sadly) & that meant i would be coming alone, she insisted that Uncle Ben was important to her as well so we must all come.  i thought it was sweetly fitting that at our wedding, we broke our “over 10” rule & had carolyn in our wedding at 9 1/2.  then she broke her own “no kids” rule & had our own 9 1/2 crash, too.  [let it be known that carolyn was the 1st ever to call him ukka ben!]

last week was the chorus performance.  she was a supporting chorus member, and luckily for high school musical, she got to wear basically her own clothes- with flair (;

and now that may has begun (rather quickly), we are gearing up for the end of the year fun stuff:   field day, field trip, awards ceremony & who knows what else in the next few weeks….     even our weather is cooperating.  it looks, smells, & feels like spring!  this morning we celebrated that there’s only 2 more monday wake-ups.

NC, Yiminy & the rest of us enjoyed the perfect evening weather yesterday!



April 9, 2018

welp!  jovie successfully got out the door this morning for school.  and bonus! no tears!!  funny how sleeeepppyy she was, as she woke up at 6:30 or earlier every day of spring broke!  tho’ to be fair, we were in central time zone, so that made sense at the beginning.

so from the title, you might wonder if i’m speaking jibberish now.  but alas, no, i am speaking the states.  (:

our main focus of the trip was St. Louis.  my friend heather told me about it a year or 2 ago and said how kid-friendly it was.  and in our quest to do all 50, we had to add in kansas.  so we flew into KC & out of STL.  but then!  THEN!!! i looked (closer) at the map and saw that we could sneak yet another state in.  i didn’t realize St. Louis was the border of illinois!

we all had such a great time, and it seemed to just get better and better.  we were sad to leave, but ready to leave the cold.  so of course when we landed in ATL, it was overcast & mild.  it was the coldest day of the week, according to my weather apps.

so, in researching what to do in kansas city, most of what pops up is the missouri side!  but of course, we wanted to give kansas a color-in on the map.  so we found Great Wolf Lodge.  last year jovie showed interest in a water park, but we chose “the palace” instead.  funny how she always reads my mind b/c shortly after i booked the trip & she had no idea, she said she had hoped maybe for spring break we can go back to indiana to do the water park.

here was our week:

Sun- Kansas City, KS

we left easter afternoon and landed close to dinner time in the snow.  nothing really special day 1.  jovie enjoyed exploring some of the hotel and having her “own” room.  went to bed at a normal time, gearing up for the next day!

Mon- Great Wolf Lodge, KS

so, truly, this coulda gone either way.  after a yummy breakfast (bob evans!) we headed for the water park.  and so did the very many people that were also there.  we scoured the place & there were no seats.  anywhere.  jovie & i jumped into the lazy river.  and so did the very many people that were also there.  we finally got one float.  jovie didn’t like sitting inside with her legs draped, and every other way we were crashing and bumping into everyone.  she even said “i’m too tall for in here”.  it wasn’t the greatest welcome.  meanwhile, The Mr. was (patiently) standing nearby while we watched jovie wander a little and try to figure out what she could/would do next.  the inside of my head was justifying the expense of this place as “well, we needed to sleep SOMEWHERE” and was prepared to venture off into other things KC had to offer.  but then i spotted some chairs.  2 together.  front & center.  and then jovie got her wits about her and explored and played and slid and splashed everywhere.  7 hours later, she was a prune & we needed to eat supper so we left!  we got so very lucky!  The Mr. & i even ventured into the hot tub for awhile while she played around.  so it was a successful day.

jovie must’ve done that splash bucket 34 times; and that was where our seat was!

Tue- Lake of the Ozarks, MO

wow.  what a pleasant drive!  lots of winding roads.  farmland.  hills.  it was a great and quick couple hours to get to the ozarks.  we got there early, and they were able to check us in.  they had a beautiful (and necessary!) fireplace in the lobby.  perfect for a coffee & a book, which we did later.  the throw blankets in our (shared) room were cozy!  in fact, after a most delicious dinner, i went on the balcony with said blanket and was quite protected in the 31 degrees.  if it weren’t for the 19mph winds blowing my hair everywhere i woulda enjoyed a bit more.  our view was overcast, but the resort was lovely & peaceful.  unfortunately we weren’t able to stay there 2 nights because they had a conference going on.

Wed- Lake of the Ozarks, MO; Ha Ha Tonka State Park

we got to see pretty sun-shining on the lake the next day before we left.  we actually stayed in our room until checkout time because we had hoped for a hike in a nearby state park, but as it was in the low 30s we waited til the last possible moments for it to warm up to the low 40s.  once we did the very easy, picturesque, sunshiny hikes, we warmed up to a nice time before our drive to St. Louis.  more lovely drives through farmlands. …. i wished i could’ve gotten some pictures of some of the drives.

after the ozarks, we drove the few hours to get up to St. Louis.  we really just checked into our hotel & walked to dinner.  then we spied the arch from afar that evening.

Thursday- St. Louis, MO

jovie woke up fairly early with a slight fever.  complaining of her belly & not being able to talk well.  so we had a very lazy late start in the morning.  The Mr. & i were obviously wondering if this would be a re-do of the grand canyon, but we were also hopeful.  we were silently willing her to feel normal because THIS would be the only day it would near 60 degrees!  it worked.  i got her to take a shower & she said she felt better so we went to the arch.  some people call that the Gateway Arch.  i think it needs to be re-named the Wait-way Arch.  because we did a lot of that!  jovie was feelin pretty anxious about it, too.  we only asked her 216 times if she wanted to go up.  (she did).  it tests your anxieties and patience, that’s for sure.  luckily it was a gorgeous day, so it was (mildly) worth it for the views.  it’s amazing we can do it at all, and i really don’t know the right answer.  but by the time we were leaving the views and going down i think we were all just wanting to shout COME ON ALREADY.  it did not help that jovie was feeling complainy,sick,rundown too.  so we didn’t get to explore all that we could have, but we made it back to the hotel for some chill time.

the only other thing we had planned to do that day was go to the big, beautiful library we passed on our evening stroll that first night.  however, The Mr. being a genius & all found some indian mounds to explore in illinois that was a 15 minute drive away.  we wanted to take advantage of the one “spring-ish” day and save the library for the next day when it would be cold again.  once jovie was up for it, that’s what we did, and it was so neat!

jovie & i enjoyed the mounds near us in Macon this past summer.  it was neat to see a whole different view.

(that’s me, touching the very top of the arch)

getting to illinois:

(i kinda like the side view of the arch!)

Cohokia & Monks Mounds:

maybe THIS is the windy city in illinois?

IMG_6533 (2)

Friday- St. Louis, MO

well, as expected, it was a chilly day so we knew we’d wanna stay inside.  luckily jovie seemed a bit better after having a dose of tylenol before bed.  the only plan we had was to NOW go to that library….   but before that, we went to a place called City Museum.

this place defies all explanation (& logic!)  i could show you a thousand-word-picture that could NOT do it justice.  i can write a million words on the topic and you still wouldn’t have a clue what amazingness it was.

when researching our trip, i saw this place, and the thing they tout a lot is an outside thing, so i immediately dismissed it.  but luckily The Mr. also happened on it in his own google search and saw that it was INSIDE.  and boy was it ever!

all i can really say is- if you have a kid, or know a kid, or used to be a kid, you gotta go to this place!  if your mobility is ok with stairs, go.  if you want to test yourself on slides, go.  if you wanna see what some crazy imagination looks like in real life, go.  i truly think it’s worth the trip just for this, b/c St. L has lots to offer!  we didn’t get to take advantage of their supposedly stellar zoo & botanical garden.  it would be awesome to go back!

basically this is a place to explore to the fullest.

  • nooks & crannies galore.
  • cave rooms.
  • airplane.
  • 2 story colorful slide? ✅!
  • 5 story twirly slide? ✅!
  • 10 story twirly slide? (not to be outdone)- ✅!
  • regular slides galore? ✅!
  • holes you would be afraid to go into? ✅!
  • paths you have no idea where they end up? ✅!
  • paths you think surely you shouldn’t crawl THERE, but yes! go ahead and crawl there!  ✅

The Mr. said it defied even HIS imagination as a kid.

so, here’s a couple of pictures that really and truly can’t even show you the scope.  but let’s just say our less-than-daring kid had a GREAT time and we spent 5 hours there, only leaving so we’d have time for a coffee & GET TO THE LIBRARY ALREADY!!


look close enough and you can see people in almost every wired structure.  at one point there’s even a place to slide on your back to maneuver.  (no, not for jovie.  but i did see ben on the airplane wing at one point!)


example of: probably aren’t supposed to go here, but sure go ahead.  there’s a kid is going from one wire tunnel thing to the whale fin up at the roof. 


here’s my favorite example of looking below my own feet while standing in line for the 2 story slide and seeing people crawling out of a hole below even that!

asked 100 times, and jovie couldn’t pick a favorite of this trip.  but each new place, she seemed more and more excited.

all in all, i’d say our spring break #5 was a great success!