January 13, 2020

hello, all.  i use the term “all” quite loosely.

i am writing today about past holidays of xmas & new year’s on what seems to be a holiday- Football Championship Day. (c’mon clemson!!!)

just a quick note to say we had a really good christmas season.  the weather was  much more mild than years’ past.  we had some amount of rain but luckily actual christmas day was quite nice.

gramma & grampa came to enjoy our time.  and this year they brought uncle natey and his new wife tammy.  it was wonderful seeing them again.  we had a good time, but it was a short/quick visit.

we did our usual hanging out with all the yummy foods.  everything jovie had asked for this year had been lego-related.  so christmas day was pretty booked solid legoing EVERYTHING.

we hung out, took some neighborhood walks, played some games.  they all left the next day and we still hung around throughout the break.  we thought about going for some hikes, but we were kind of enjoying the lazy mornings.  (it’s hard to leave the house with so many legos to be lego’d)

new year’s eve brought a sight that is quite rare.  even though last year was kind of a dud, jovie still (of course) wanted to stay up til’ midnight again- just because she could.  and lo & behold- The Mr. stayed rang in the new year with us!

the local guy who does a phenomenal job with synchronizing a show for his christmas lights put on a NYE show, so we went to that.  it was (as usual) pretty outstanding.  we filled our time playing Headbanz and watching Home Alone 2.  then it was the new year.  it was all well-timed and more fun than last year.

we hope 2020 will be a great one!


November 25, 2019

hey.  so, yes.  we are still here.  there’s been a lot going on this month.

i had intended to post a few pictures way back.  interesting fact about updating your phone-  (way back in march)…. it has more storage than the old one;  so there’s no need to constantly upload photos.  i saw that the last photos i uploaded to my computer were the ones from the first day of school!

so, here’s a taste of some of our happiest moments of autumn thus far:

a few things of note:

  • we camped in our backyard on nov 1st.  that was a super super cold night.  tons of fun was had.
  • that tree no kidding was as green as green could be just 2 days prior.
  • the orchard and visit with gramma & grampa was very nice.  seems like word got out about “our” orchard, but it wasn’t as massively crowded as some years (we went on Columbus Day and not everyone has that day off)
  • this year jovie decided to stay home and pass out candy.  we got a few customers, but the temperature had dropped 20 degrees in just a few hours…. it was 48 degrees.  good timing with staying home!

we are very much looking forward to our Thanksgiving holiday and hope you are, as well.


well that seemed quick

October 11, 2019

so the last time i wrote, we were excited for a Labor Day visit from becky and ansley!

so much has happened since then.

  • that long weekend turned into a long WEEK.  charleston had the foresight to evacuate for the upcoming hurricane on sunday, rather than waiting to see.  so on sunday evening, becky was making plans to hang out for Evacu-cation 3.0.  she was quickly researching what the plans and forecasts were; as it was still quite early to know what Dorian was going to do.  she said “well I can’t stay til’ Friday!!”    turns out that is exactly what happened.  and it was 90% blissful.  we had a great time!


  • school is still going well.  jovie is managing all her stuff responsibly.
  • she’s still liking chorus & musical theatre.
  • it’s a new 9weeks period; and she’s (so far) enjoying her science connections class.  WAY better than health which turned into a little bit of PE.


  • unfortunately, my sister- jovie’s Aunt Kippy- has passed away.  way too young.  cancer does, indeed, suck!
  • Gramma & Grampa were able to help out & come down here to take care of Jovie and all of her things while The Mr. & I went to the funeral.
  • we will miss her & think of her on many occasions.   we definitely hope the best for all involved in her family.


  • jovie had another class at UGA.  she was able to take an “Acting & Improv” class.  she enjoyed it.  The Mr. & I enjoyed a Dine-In theatre.  too bad the movie (Ad Astra) kinda stunk.  but it was a fun outing nonetheless.
  • and now, we are gearing up for a mini-Fall Break.  we are planning a quick visit back to “our” orchard.  we love this tradition & are hoping so much that autumn has, indeed, arrived.  No more July 87th, please.


august updates

August 27, 2019

well!  middle school (!!!) started off well.

jovie’s enjoying it.  she likes all of her classes & teachers. (except one; and even there, she still likes the teacher just fine).  when i pick her up in carline, i see her chatting with friends.  she likes the freedom offered.  and she is an expert at her locker.

she also began her musical theatre classes again.

she’s in chorus.  that is no longer a once a week after school thing, but an actual class she takes daily. (in case you wonder, she is an Alto)

currently, she is excited to see our BFFs becky & ansley, who are coming to visit over labor day.  she has been waiting for this (as have i) for a zillion months!

we haven’t yet begun making plans for Fall activities-  probably mostly b/c it’s still 1000 degrees outside.  (tho’ this past sunday was lovely!).

things are moving right along….  3 weeks down in middle school ALREADY!

starting anew

August 5, 2019

i am excited to share that jovie was in a very good mood this morning.  she is very excited about middle school!

we met some of her teachers last thursday, and have seen some friends.  she even has already made a new friend (that she met on the tour in may).

we know this year will be filled with lots of new opportunities, friends & responsibilities.  she’s excited to tackle it all!

a waterfall every day

July 17, 2019

we are here.  now with an ELEVEN year old!!

for the many many readers that are wondering about the video, i didn’t do one this year <sniff, sniff> because jovie didn’t really want me to.  and we were on vacation during her birthday.

we went to minnesota & wisconsin.  since MN is the land of 10,000 lakes, i hereby dub WI the land of 9,999 waterfalls!  in my research of what to do there were so so many.  yet another state worthy to go back to.  there was a lot i wanted to do but we couldn’t.  we stuck around MN a little extra so that we could go to the mall of america on jovie’s actual birthday.  (which made her super excited to be traveling on this day!!)

i kept proclaiming that we could see a waterfall every day, and we *almost* made it!

Day 1- Minneapolis, MN


Minnehaha Falls

we had a great time and long day spent in minneapolis area.  since we were up at 4:30 am, and they are in Central Time Zone, we landed at 9am.  which led us to find a breakfast place, drop all our stuff off at the hotel and tool around Minnehaha park.  it was a HOT day.  so after we rented a surrey we definitely earned Ice Cream #1!

we also went to the sculpture garden which was a great place to meander around a giant spoon, a humongous blue rooster & view the city.  there were several sculptures.  some were witty & fun.  some were just plain weird.  one was just not even trying (but funny nonethless-  2 balls on top of each other that was titled “back of snowman“).

by this time- it was hot, late, and we walked and walked a ton.  (The Mr. & i pedaled too) so jovie & i waited on a bench across a fun bridge while The Mr. went further and checked out a cathedral downtown.

we were very excited to check into our hotel and rest our feet for a bit before heading to the mall of america for supper & to gander at that monstrosity of a place.

Day 2- St. Paul, MN


Hidden Falls

notice the name of this place.  turns out, there is a lovely part of the park that walks along the Mississippi that is not linked with the sidewalks that get you here!  luckily, we were prepared & The Mr. found where this was.  it was secluded and lovely.  we ended up going to the other parking lot to walk the other trail, and yeah—- what a pain to go there thinking you were going to reach some waterfalls!

from here, we wanted to go into downtown St. Paul & see some Peanuts character statues.  as we got there, we saw the large and stately library.  but we had to wait a bit for it to open.  but right behind it was the river.  we figured SURELY we could just walk along the MS for awhile.  so we had adventure #1….it was not easy to get to!  we walked all around, asked for help, walked around more and turned out- sure, it could’ve been done easier had we just gone a step or ten further the first time!  and then we get down there, and the part we wanted to explore had been flooded so the sidewalk part was closed.  we were hot & tired so we went back up to the park and got a hot dog from a vendor.  THEN the library opened.  we enjoyed the AC and some books for a bit before we decided, sure- let’s go to the $cience mu$eum!  it was a fun afternoon of something to do.

after we got back to our hotel from being pretty tired, jovie & The Mr. decided to swim for a bit while i chilled back in the room.  restful afternoon & evening with a break in there for dinner.

Day 3- BIRTHDAY- Mall of America


an ELEVEN year old in front of a waterfall in the aquarium in the mall!

sure, that counts!!

we woke up & had planned to just go downstairs for b’fast, but the power was out at the hotel.  [adventure # 1 1/2].we went and found a delicious place instead, and by the time we came back, it was on.  jovie was super excited for the day.  she knew we’d be out & about all day so she opened gifts in the AM.  (unheard of!!)

we had gotten her a (blue!) bike that she found before we left;  and a panda pillow she had wanted.  but we brought some up with us for her to open.  one of them was a lego book she found in the bookfair in january i’ve been holding on to.  we put a note on it that at the MOA she can choose something from the LEGO store to buy.  that thrilled her!!  along with my old phone which is now just an app machine.  she had gotten my other old one way back when.  and alluvasudden, it just EXPLODED.  if any of my readers have talked to jovie in the last 6 months, then you would know that she has been hinting, asking, begging for a phone for this bday.  so it’s a phone machine with limits that just uses apps.  no texting/calling/etc.  delighted nonetheless!

she read her books and explored the phone for all of 20 minutes while the adults when downstairs and had coffee & watched the planes overhead.  (i loved being near the airport!!).  then we ventured on.

and we spent 6 1/2 hours walking walking walking the mall.  it was fun.  she spent a lot of time at the LEGO store, which we went to first, and then again later.  she had brought her own money so even though we got her a thing, she bought herself another littler thing.  when we went back, she spent a little more!  we also spent a good amount of time at the barnes and noble.  and just walking all over.  going to the big aquarium, ducking in and out of some shops that interested her.  then we had a blast doing a mirror maze.  we did it 3x in a row!

we had already decided we were not actually going to do the amusement park part, which i thought would take up a lot of our day.  when we had walked around it at dinner the other night, we saw that many many of the rides were pretty adventurous.  and there wasn’t really a little place she could do all on her own.  there wasn’t anything she really wanted to ride except the ferris wheel, and she said she didn’t miss that at all.  but no worries.  we still filled our time!  SIX AND A HALF HOURS OF IT.

we rested our feet and backs and whatever else for a bit before heading into downtown to enjoy all the fondues at the Melting Pot.  it was a hit!!

she loved her birthday. we did our best to make it exciting!  she has even mentioned traveling again next year. (not to MOA of course).  but she is a little torn, because according to her, she had to keep reminding herself it was her birthday since she wasn’t at home with the usual happenings.

Day 4- Duluth, MN

totally counts.

we drove up to duluth. we were excited to see lake superior.  we stayed at a quaint hotel on the marina and explored the downtown area a bit after going into lunch.  the harbor there has a bridge that raises. we witnessed this a couple times during our stay.

the hotel was nearby a public beach which turned into adventure #2.  we all walked on the rocks and dipped our feet in.  COLD.  and jovie was having fun getting a little further in.  she was trying to decide if she actually wanted to swim but we said no because of all the rocks.  and also because the beach was filled with annoying and biting sand flies!  it was not a good welcome!  we walked down the beach a little bit and had to turn around because it wasn’t fun in the slightest.  between the painful rocks and the annoying flies….

jovie then went swimming in that hotel pool.  it was fly-less!

we headed back to the canal area and had a most delicious & scenic supper.  it had rained just as we got in there & before our entrees came, we were greeted by not one, but TWO rainbows!  it was spectacular.  we went out to see them and i was pretty amazed that they didn’t even break.  you could see the whole arc.  they faded through dinner, but afterwards we went back out and i saw the end of the main one by the pier.


guess this made up for all them dern flies!

day 5- Ashland, WI

today was chock-full of waterfalling!


Big Manitou Falls  *pretend you can hear all of that rushing. it was awesome


Little Manitou Falls

we were really close to superior, WI which had Pattison State Park.  this park had both Big & Little Manitou Falls & jovie was excited by the pix of these in my searches for what to do.  they did not disappoint.  it was a lovely little trail at the Big.  but then we drove down to the Little.

From there, we found out about another nearby falls.  so- Bonus!!


Amnicon Falls

this was a great trail and lots to explore.  including a covered bridge.  unfortunately, it was mis-timed and we were all pretty hangry so we got out of there too soon.  lovely for a bit, though!

after we stopped at a pit-stop type diner down the road for lunch and ice cream #2, we went to a historic inn in Ashland, WI. it was really cool.  when they refurbished it in the 1980’s they did a good job of keeping the historic of the 1880’s.

soon after we checked in, we went to a nearby park that we drove past to get here which was a beach and playground area.  jovie got suited up and went swimming in the cold Lake Superior.  she did great.  she said it was warmer than the fly one.  and this one- BONUS no flies!!  the lake was fairly shallow (compared to our 5’1″ daughter) and she was having a good time.  but she had nobody to play with, so she asked for her favorite playmate (Dad!) to come in.  after some debating, he went in, too.  he did not look entirely comfortable (chilly!) but he swears it was fine.  and they went SO. FAR. AWAY.  they loved it.  and i loved finding some shade AND a bench.  the breeze made me need my hoodie.  it was perfect.

we headed back and jovie stayed in the room while the adults explored the landing/walkway at the hotel.  it was a hot but nice walk.  then we debated on what to do for dinner.  little miss independent wanted to stay back so we went down to the lovely restaurant ourselves.  we brought her back up the leftovers plus some sprite… she was totally fine.

it was a pretty sunset at 8:56pm.

Day 6- St. Croix Falls, WI


Morgan Falls


just one of Copper Falls

we stayed in ashland for the proximity to Mellen to see Copper Falls.  at the bar, a local plus the bartender were telling us if we are going to Mellen, we should also stop in Morgan Falls.  they said it was an easy quick little hike.

it was.

thank goodness.  because adventure #3 and the ruiningest of it all-  there were not sand flies, no. but what i think they call deerflies.  EV.ERY.WH.ERE!!!  swarming.  i cannot use that word strong enough.  disgusting, gross, huge, black, round, skeevy flies.  all over everywhere.  and this is after we put on bug spray.

we put our $5 in the slot and stepped on the trail.  and that’s where it began.  it never let up.  every one of us was getting swarmed.  think of walking thru’ a spider web and how you flail.  now think of doing that all the time that you are walking a mile and a half.  there was a point i was going to turn back b/c we couldn’t even enjoy the hike.  we passed a sweet bridge that was not enjoyed at all.  ben said we were halfway so i trekked on thinking maybe somehow we’d get to the point where they weren’t.  we didn’t.  i am not exaggerating in the slightest when i say that we got to the waterfall (so not worth it) and i snapped the mandatory picture and in the time it took me to put my phone up to my face a fly LANDED ON IT.  i ran the whole way back skeeving and disgusted.  flies were in our hair, on our clothes.  we put on more bugspray at the fall and it seemed to have helped them a little more, but i was attacked the whole way back. it. was. awful!

so now we were worried about going to copper falls.  because that was a bigger park area. and what if it was like this.  i think they were attached to the same forest.

but i guess the 10mile distance did wonders because this park was WON.DER.FUL.  it wasn’t just one waterfall but several.  picturesque rolling rapids and falls.  bridges & scenery.  we had such a good time.  there was a place for The Mr. to skip rocks & just enjoy it.  we had a lovely picnic before making the longish & peaceful drive to St. Croix Falls.

on the way we stopped in a sweet little town called Spooner to explore and stretch our legs, and get ice cream #3 for the 11year old.  coffees for the adults.

we rolled into town and chilled for a little bit before walking nearby to dinner.  we were so glad that the day ended nicer than it began!

Day 7- on our way home

we had a late afternoon flight and were fairly close to minny.  we had originally planned to see St. Croix Falls.  we had also heard about a different waterfall near the border.  but once it was said and done, we just didn’t want to get hot and tired before the flight home.  turned out the actual st. croix falls had been dammed up years back, and what i had seen pictures of were in a nearby state park.  not being sure what the hike would be like, i think we made the right call.  so- we saw 2 waterfalls in one day.  save that one for this day and there you have it (:

so instead, we headed back to the mall of america where we spent time (but no money) @ the lego store.  walked around a bit & ate lunch and a milkshake (ice cream #4)

it was a fabulous trip.  a lovely area. it would be lovely to go back and explore WI some more.  but alas….  we have 21 more states to see….




there went june!

July 1, 2019

oh hi there!  seems we must have skipped june.

we were busy doing some of this, some of that, and some of nothing.  and here we are in july gearing up for more of this and that.  and the last of nothing before MIDDLE SCHOOL!

so far this summer we have:

  • traveled back to MS to see Christina the nanny, photographer, friend.  jovie was thrilled with seeing “a 2 month old and a 1 1/2 year old”.  seriously.  she said that many times a day leading up to our trip.  of course we all had a good time.  adeline was so sweet, and james is a puff-ball of cuteness!
  • performed in version 2 of the page to stage camp.  this one [Seussical the Musical] went fine and well, sure.  but it came with more and more kids (read: chaos).  still, jovie said she enjoyed it and is hoping there won’t be so many young kids next year.
  • then we traveled to the Boston area to visit family, as Uncle Natey got married to Tammy!!  it unfortunately was cold and rainy on their special day, but it all worked out well in the end.  jovie had a great time playing with sophia & sadie!
  • sadly, a camp we signed up for had less interest and got canceled, so we did more of nothing than expected.
  • this while The Mr. traveled to Holland for a week.  we filled time by having some playdates & eating out a couple times.

now, we are looking forward to seeing gramma & grampa again for the 4th.  we will celebrate jovie’s birthday when they come, because this year for the first time, we will be traveling on her special day!

it should be a fun trip.  we can’t wait.

talk to you soon!!