2nd grade

May 20, 2016

is behind us.    !!

jovie is halfway through with elementary school.       !!!     and i have the pictures to prove it:

it was a bumpy start.  it wasn’t what i thought it would be.  she thrived in some areas.  she loved learning some areas.  she will improve in some areas.  she kept some friends, made some friends & overall just really enjoyed herself.  she was slow to warm up to the new class & expectations.  but once she did, she loved it.

we are both very proud of jovie this year.  she is growing to be such a very special (& smart) little girl!  she amazes us often.

Spring Break #3- MS,LA,AL

April 15, 2016

so, even though our spring break didn’t go exactly as planned, it was done almost completely, and jovie had a great time!

Sat & Sun– Biloxi, MS.

the intention was to take a ferry to an island and spend the day.  those were the only plans that got derailed.  but it all worked out fine.  spent the day at the beach anyway!   the wind was blowing; it wasn’t too hot.  gorgeous weather, but a cold Gulf!

b&j in h20

see that speck? it is between 2 barely visible lines. those are poles that say DANGER. i know this, because that speck is The Mr. & Jovie. they are standing up!



a la Galveston



not everyone gets snow!


we came back to the room & discovered National Pillowfight Day

Mon, Tue, & Wed– New Orleans, LA

one word: beignets.   The Mr. & I are now experts.  sadly, Jovie was not a fan.  The 3rd place (yep!) was my favorite place… and it also had other stuff so jovie could enjoy a brownie.  interestingly enough,  they got better at each attempt.  in order of visiting (and worst to best) Morning Call, Cafe du Monde, & Cafe Beignet.   (that one’s also the cutest name).

ok, ok…. you may want to know how the vacation part of it was.

we found lots of child-friendly things to do & we all had a great time doing it!

Monday, we went to City Park.  Unfortunately the amusement park portion was closed during the week, but we went to Storyland part.  that was cute.  jovie was over it.  then we checked into our hotel where we got upgraded to a 2BR suite.  to which i say: SWEET!  jovie loved loved that and was never over it.  if we weren’t trekking NOLA then we were either watching TV in her! very! own! room! or swimming in the pool.


Rapunzel, meet Rapunzel



that slide was FAST


IMG_1242 here, we pay homage to my first ever hotel room when I was 7. it also had an upstairs. (why, yes.  jovie is 7 and has been in a zillion hotels already)

Tuesday we bought an experience pass & spent the day at the aquarium, insectarium & butterfly garden.  we haven’t been to an aquarium since Tennessee!

the insectarium was perfectly done.  i skeeved the entire time i was there!  highly impressive.  no pictures of that though.  and the butterfly garden’s pictures didn’t have jovie in them.

Wednesday we took the trolley & went to the zoo as part of the experience package.  it was a really good zoo.  & you could not beat the weather.  still, i was surprised at how most of the animals were tired & not around.  [kinda reminded me of ATL zoo.  we used to have season passes to it;  we have gone several times.  i saw the lion 2ce.  once was only his ear.]

above you see jovie trying to be the photographer on the bridge.  she was really into her 4yo camera this trip!  also the merry-go-round was initiated and completed by herself entirely.  big girl!  (oh- this trip she also enjoyed riding the elevator alone!!)

our last night in NO:  ice cream. bed. cartoons.


Thur– Selma, AL via the Ponchartrain Causeway.

i was looking forward to this part because it’s neat showing jovie where i lived for 4 1/2 years.  (incidentally this summer she can see where The Mr. lived, too, when we go to Detroit!)

& also so so cool!!! i couldn’t wait to go over the longest continuous bridge over water!  Big Mac in Michigan is a paltry 5 miles long. (tho it looks like a bridge & not a road.  it’s awesome!) {and also jovie gets to do that this summer, too!}

also, they have been studying a lot about Martin Luther King, Jr. this year so I was excited to share The Bridge with her.  things in Selma were exactly the same & unexpectedly different & not at all where i remember them.  in fact, they moved the McDonald’s across the street (and i’m pretty sure they even re-named that street) so i was even more warped.  considering it was 29 years since i lived there; and 17 since i went back!  ( The Mr. & i got to go in ’99…. it will likely be my last time going back).

—that was about how long it took us to drive over the lake where all you see is lake. (and cars); and i actually have the sign that says 23.8 but this pic was prettier.

we came home friday & had the weekend to get out of the routine of no routine.  oh yeah! because also, the weekend before all this was easter.  & jovie was sick 3 of the 5 days before going.

getting back to the routine this week went very well!  ….except i miss them beignets!

Spring Break #3 aka road trip

April 9, 2016

So. Um. I am not sure what happened because I could’ve sworn I talked about last year’s spring break.  ??  We went to Texas.  Basically just off of Texas (Galveston Island); but rule-follower that I am I made sure to venture “mainland” & we spent a little time in Houston, too.

Ummmmm….  ?? Ok. well, spring break #2 was good.

now on to Spring Break #3.  We took a road trip to Biloxi & New Orleans (with a stop in Selma- where I lived for 4 1/2 years) on the way back.

We have known we were doing this as a road trip for quite some time.  So we went ahead and upped our schedule (just a little bit) and bought ourselves a car back in October.

And, here, may I present to you- our brand new car.  On the road trip.  In Gulfport, MS (we were taking a ferry to Ship Island for the day!)

ah, yes.  the car didn’t break down, so much as STOP WORKING….  during a left-hand turn to boot!

All was well.  I have some very very choice words for our dealer who did NOT fix the recall that was done for our car before we purchased it. And hindsight being what it is…. I can affirm, attest, promise you that THIS was the best place/time for us to be in this situation!

Some humor, a little stress, extra expense & time….  and our vacation continued.

(To be continued……)

three thirty

March 30, 2016

pretty unbelievable how it is already the end of march.  although, the month is called March for a reason, i guess.

we marched right over 2 field trips, 2 school performances, the time change, & a visit to Aunt Barb & Uncle Steve’s.  we marched past some girl scout meetings, dance classes, cookie sales, & the book fair on into easter.

easter was just like this past xmas.  very rainy. low-key. boring yet relaxing.  gramma & grampa came and jovie was ever so delighted!  we haven’t seen them since xmas itself.  ipadding, pretending, crafting, & who knows what else were done.  egg-dyeing, egg-finding, egg-eating & basket exploring were done.

all was well and good until easter dinner.  as jovie puts it, she ate “2 bites of ham, 3 bites of mac n cheese and half a roll” she asked to be excused and she then missed the last 2 days of school.  nothing ever really came of it, just belly discomfort & a small fever.

next week is spring break and we are going to be really really glad to have The Mr. home for longer than a weekend!

keep marchin’ right along…….



depends on what the definition of “magic” is

February 20, 2016

A week ago, we were walkin’ walkin’ walkin’ all over (literally) Kingdom come.  From Magic Kingdom on Saturday to Animal Kingdom on Sunday.

Jovie really enjoyed herself; but it was a very long day.  Because we didn’t have a free day in between, I had hoped to go back to the hotel and rest a bit before the fireworks show.  That didn’t happen because of the dern Fast Pass situation.  (Don’t even get me started!)

So our morning started bright and early getting on the shuttle at 7am.  We finally climbed into bed at 11:30pm.  Jovie has seen 11:00 on the clock exactly once in her (aware-non-newborn) life.  That was this summer when we were at the mountain house with her cousin.

Despite the challenges, she had a great time.  And handled it well! (Better than The Mr.)

We had breakfast with Winnie the Pooh & Friends (don’t even get me started!).  We had lunch at The Beast’s Castle (this is a rant blog post of it’s own!!  grrr; i won’t bore you) and a very late dinner just on our own with no reservations.  The Mr. said she was lying down while waiting for me to come back with the food.   We rode rides, enjoyed the ambiance & food, played on playthings [kudos to both the Winnie the Pooh Ride & Dumbo!] & walked and walked and walked.  We enjoyed sitting down to watch the Electric Parade and the psychedelic weirdness that it was.  The light show & fireworks were watched on Piggy Back.

The next day we painted a face, saw lots of animals, had a photo session with The Mice themselves, had another lunch -this time with Mickey & Friends, rode rides, enjoyed the ambiance & food, played on playthings [the Boneyard was awesome!] & walked and walked and walked.  Oh, and canceled dinner reservations because we were all spent!

For 2 days, we spent entirely too much money doing things The Mr. & i would rather not have been a part of.  We spoiled our already experience-spoiled child.  Thank goodness she was appreciative & happy.  Therefore, we can be (a bit) glad we did it.

Jovie- when you read this yourself- know that is likely your one & only time until you are old enough (and interested) to possibly maybe go to Epcot.  A girls’ trip.  MAYBE.  And know that the possibility even exists because of how well you conducted yourself.  You handled the lines (even several for the bathroom!!) The walking.  The long  days.  You enjoyed the activities.  The characters.  The food (it was all good!!!).  You were appropriately delighted at things, and didn’t come to expect.  And you thanked us and showed your appreciation.

Still, don’t count on another trip to the Magic Place….unless you are also in a fantastic band.

…OH and if anyone is wondering- Jovie’s favoritest favorite thing to do for the 3 days in Orlando— the Swiss Family Robinson TreeHouse.  I don’t even have a picture.  You literally walk up the steps of a “treehouse” and see it all decorated.  It was the first thing we did after breakfast on Saturday.  It was more a tour than an activity/ride.  She always surprises me.

Day 1 @ Hotel (thanks to The Mr. for all of his points.  saved us about the cost of lunch.)



because always


because we literally walked into the hotel to a Frozen song & it was the hotel’s bday- so cupcakes. of course


Oh! and we also enjoyed a nice dinner on the water in Disney Springs (downtown disney). We ate at Rainforest Cafe & snagged a table outside as a first-come-first served thing.  It was perfect.


Day 2 @ Magic Kingdom


Day 3 @ Animal Kingdom:

here are some animals from the Safari Ride we took last thing.  We were at the very back which was perfect…..

And this-  this about sums it all up….

we’re goin’ to Disney World…

February 4, 2016

…and we don’t even have to win the SuperBowl first!

It has been in the works for close to a year that we would go to Disney this year.

The Mr. & I have always said we wouldn’t be the parent who brings our toddler/baby/small kid to such an exhausting, expensive & fun place.

Being from GA, it is fair to say that as far as I know, Jovie is the last of her friends to discover “the most magical place on earth”.  And we are OK with that.

Our criteria was that our kid would have to:

  1. be interested
  2. be old enough to handle it
  3. be old enough to appreciate it.
  4. be old enough to remember it.

We assumed that would be around this age.  Sometime near the end of Kindergarten, Jovie casually mentioned something about Disney in the sense of “i hear people talk about this; what is it” kind of way.  That was my first clue that maybe she was starting to be interested.  We look at her age and our ability to schedule it in, and we have finally found a good time to go.

Unfortunately, we are already breaking one of our other rules- and that is that we will take her out of school for one day to be able to drive down.  To make up for that, we are not doing a week-long park-hopper madhouse excursion.

Unfortunately, Disney is no longer the place where we went way back in the 80s or 90s.  There are apps, schedules, 100000 blogs & books all dedicated to the subject.  Reservations to be made.  Not at the hotels (we are staying with The Mr.’s points off-site in Downtown Disney) but at the restaurants.

You guys, I made food reservations back in October!!  I could order lunch right now, if I so choose.  (I don’t!) And I already have fast-passes and know a general idea of where we will be at given hours of the day.  Weeks away!

I have only experienced Disney Parks a handful of times in my life; the first being an excursion with the band.  The Mr. has been one less time than me.   Back then, it was much easier.  People didn’t have to use up a FastPass to meet a princess (or not, in our case).  Characters just roamed the park and did a quick hello & pose.  Now there are lines upon lines to see anyone.  Or character breakfasts where prices are outrageous.

The Mr. & I have never been to Magic Kingdom together- and have each only been 1 time before.  None of us have been to Animal Kingdom.

It will be fun.  A 2 day, 2 park excursion that will test all of our limits.  But, she is interested.  She can handle it [we hope!!!]. And we assume she will remember it.  We think she’ll appreciate it because a few weeks ago,when we finally told her that we were taking her on a surprise trip, it didn’t even dawn on her as an option.  She was hoping for the beach.  She was delighted to hear about this other place instead!

Yesterday & this morning, she began talking about it.  She’s getting excited.  Sadly, there are no ferris wheels to be had.  (her all-time favorite ride) …. but you’ll never guess what she’s most excited for….

STORYTIME with Belle.

Her favorite princess…. who likes BOOKS… who acts out a story.

This really will be a lot of fun.  I can’t wait to share our pics upon our return…….



tiger fan

January 11, 2016

so it’s all clemson all up in here these days.

it is quite an exciting time to be a clemson fan!  no matter what, we have done excellently this year, and although we have been extremely lucky in a lot of cases, the ORANGE Bowl itself was well-earned.

it’s about time the luck has fallen our way;  you know they coined a term for the typical luck that has befallen us over the years.

“clemsoning” is taking a new form this year!

how exciting!


reasons why we will win:

  • the blind-side dude is a starting freshman (rare) that is the nephew of the last guy who did this for us.
  • we have been underdog for the past 4 bowl games and have won.
  • Danny Ford was coach of the year in 1981.  Dabo Swinney is now.
  • We haven’t beat Alabama since 1905- it’s about dang time we do!
  • we upset Nebraska when we were 7 point underdog the last time; going against a heisman winner.
  • Clemson’s Death Valley is 1,981 miles away from the stadium in Glendale.

whatever happens tonight, i firmly believe this won’t be our last chance. and i hope Dabo keeps Dabo-ing and celebrating his players/fans… even when this isn’t new!

it has been fun!





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