Saturday, December 26, 2015

What's For Dinner?

Kerry was served some VERY fresh seafood!

Horrifyingly fresh.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hot Wings

I took the girls out for lunch today at Buffalo Wild Wings.  We were doing some last minute Christmas shopping and decided we needed sustenance and there just happened to be a BWW in the shopping center.

I love their boneless parmesan garlic wings.  Katie wisely chose honey bar-b-que wings.  Emily, however,  got a wild hair and ordered the third spiciest wings on the menu.

Those wings were forevermore hot.  I had one bite and the heat was pretty intense.  Luckily I had celery sticks, ranch dressing, my own non-hot wings, and a sweet tea to help clear the spiciness out of my mouth.

Emily kept eating those wings.  It became a source of great pride to be able to finish those wings without crying (or dying).  She has since stated that this was not her best decision.

By the end of our meal, she was slugging down water and rubbing ice cubes on her lips.

Katie, who needed to clean her Invisalign braces with water before she put them back on her teeth, asked Emily, "Can I use some of your water?"

"Like hell!" snapped Emily, snatching up her glass and slugging down more water.

I think next time she may order something a tad milder.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Puppy Steps

The puppies always want to get off the bed, get on the bed, get off the bed, get on the bed.  This is especially aggravating to me in the middle of the night.  They can't jump on the bed by themselves, so I have to pick them up and put them on the bed.  It's not difficult with Leo; I can scoop him up with one hand.  Gus on the other hand has gotten pretty hefty.  I have to get out of bed and use both hands to heft him up,

I decided to invest in some steps so they could climb up without assistance, saving me some sleep and a hernia.

I put treats on the steps.

They ate the treat off the bottom step and couldn't figure out how to get to the others.

This, despite the fact that they climb steps every day of their lives to get in the house.

How I get to treats?

Finally, Leo started to get the idea first.  But he wasn't taking his back feet off the floor.  That top step treat just wasn't tempting enough.

Leo finally got brave enough to get all the treats, but he still wouldn't go for the treats I had put on the bed.

To date, after a week of training, Leo will run up and down the steps to get on and off the bed.  No treats needed.

Gus is terrified of the steps and won't go near them.  If I put him squarely on the steps, he freezes like he thinks he's about to be eaten.  I can put my hands on his legs and physically walk him up the steps like a puppet, but if I take my hands off of him, he leaps for life off the side.

Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least he's snuggly.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


 Katie's ballroom dance class had a masquerade ball.

She went as a 50's chick.  Fortunately we had a dress from when Emily took ballroom dance.
And we had a leather jacket from when Ben was in the same ballroom dance class.

She added a mask because it was a masquerade!

It was a lot of fun to see everyone dressed up in costumes with the masks!

This is only the third week of lessons, but they've all gotten to the point where they can dance and talk at the same time!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lovin' The Leaves!

They've never experienced this before!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


 Katie's taking archery lessons again.

That girl's turning into a formidable weapon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Arm Knitting

 As part of a scout project, Katie had to learn to "arm knit".

This is where you use your arms as the knitting needles.

After a few mishaps, she got the hang of it, and even helped some of the younger girls with theirs.

She made two of them before she was finished and donated one of them to charity!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Touring A Temple

Kerry was able to visit a 600 year old Confucian Temple surrounded by high rises.

He attended a Korean tea making ceremony where he learned to make Korean tea.  It was a very ritualized ceremony all the way down to holding tea cup in left hand.  Don't use wrong hand to pour or stir tea!  This is a very important ceremony in Korean culture.

He was also able to see a traditional Korean wedding while he was there. and was able to try his hand at calligraphy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Katie and I got to visit Jamestown!
I love this sculpture at the entrance!  It looks like the sails on a ship. With the fountain shooting up around it, it looks really cool!

We went with our scout troop and Katie kept the younger girls entertained.

We went through the museum, then through the Indian Village, to the docks, and then shot through the fort.  I'd love to go back when I have time to actually look at more of the exhibits in a leisurely manner.  Touring with kids means you don't take time to read or find out what an exhibit is about!

We got to pound a giant mortar and pestle in the Indian Village.

We were able to walk onto two of the ships.

We were able to go on the Susan Constant and the Godspeed.  The Discovery was closed to visitors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fall Colors

 Everyone is enjoying the changing colors of the leaves!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Actual Cannibal

Emily is taking a music class in college.  One day, her professor asked them each to pick a song from thier personal playlist that was like their "theme song".  The professor had them each come to the front of the room and pull up their song on YouTube and the class would watch a minute of it and the student would explain to the class why this song represented them.

Because it's a Christian college, most of the students played contemporary Christian songs and talked about how they felt God speaking to them through the lyrics of the song.

Emily got up and pulled up the "Shia LaBeouf" video on YouTube and told the class, "This is pretty much my personality summed up in a song.  I like things that are funny, bizarre, wacky, and over-the-top!"

The teacher actually let everyone watch the entire video.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ballroom Dancing

Katie is taking ballroom dance.

This is an amazing group here in Virginia.  There are so many teens involved, they have to meet at two separate locations now to accommodate all of them!

I love it because the boys are required to wear button down shirts and ties.  The girls are required to wear skirts that come down past the knee.  

The boys have to introduce themselves to the girls at the beginning of each dance and the girls have to introduce themselves as well.  The boys have to ask the girls if they would like to dance and they have to lead the girl by the hand out onto the dance floor.  Everyone trades partners after each dance.  No one is left out and no one has to work up the nerve to ask a specific girl.  They simply move to the next girl in line after each dance.  I love it!

Katie was dancing with a boy and Emily was videoing with her phone.  When the boy realized they were being videoed, he started putting on a show for the camera!

This was only Katie's second night there, but she is loving it!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Road Dandruff

Since Katie will start learning to drive this year, I've been pointing out to her various road rules as we go throughout our day.  I'll point out when someone does something they shouldn't (swoop across four lanes with no blinker) as well as why I'm changing lanes (big slow truck up ahead in my lane).

We were on the highway this week and saw a sign stating that you can not drive on the shoulder.

I pointed it out to Katie and told her, "When traffic is slow some people will try to drive in the breakdown lane rather than wait in line with everyone else.  That lane is for people who are having car trouble or a flat tire and need to pull over."

"They just sit on the shoulder and don't do anything?" Katie asked.  "So they're like road dandruff?"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Won This Thang

My friend Mary says I win something every time there is a drawing or a contest.

It's true.  

Or, it used to be true.  When we were living in North Carolina, Mary would fuss that she never had a chance to win anything if I went, because I would always, always win a prize.  I always win small prizes though.  Only occasionally do I win a big prize.  Once I won a trip to Hawaii but I was living in Hawaii at the time.  It was to a different island though and it was a lot of fun.  Once I won a $500 gift certificate to an arts and crafts supply company.  But usually it's small stuff.

So, this week, I went to a luncheon where we played Bunco (I won nothing) and then we played Left, Center, Right and I won the grand prize:

This Halloween Wreath

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Katie was able to do something really exciting and unique!
She was able to go on a homeschool field trip to go  indoor skydiving!

She got flipped over at one point and wound up on her back on the floor!  But the instructor flipped her back over and she kept right on going!

It was very exciting to watch!  I wish I could have done it as well, but it was a special price for the kids because we had a group rate.    

Some kids paid extra and got to spin up high into the overhead tube with the instructor!

I was shaking when Katie got done!  I'm not sure if it was from nervousness or excitement!

Because it was a school group, they taught the kids about the science behind the wind tunnel and terminal velocity and such.  They threw different sized balls into the tunnel to see which ones went higher and which ones stayed low.  They even squirted water out of a water bottle and it stayed in individual drops that floated around in the wind tunnel!

The instructor showed them what sort of exciting maneuvers you could do if you went there a lot (and had a million dollars).  They even have competitive teams!

The first video is the one that I shot. THIS video is the official one, taken by the staff, and included in the price of the flight!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Katie's 15!!

Once again, it's hard to believe.....

My youngest, my little peanut, my smidgen of a girl....

Keeps growing.....

Without my permission.....

And now she is 15!  

I just can't believe it.

I know I say that every time one of my kids has a birthday, but it's really true.

Katie has the unfortunate reality that her birthday is in September.  We often move in the summer.  

This is not the first birthday where we've moved to a new area and she hasn't known enough people to have a party.

THIS year however, we happened to move to a place where she does know someone.  A friend from Hawaii who lives here now.  We had her whole family over for dinner.

 We gave Katie a messenger bag which is modeled after Kaylee's coveralls.

 I took her shopping and let her pick out a dress.

 It's very twirly!

 We took her out to lunch.  Ben ordered a drink which came in a "girly" glass.

Then back home to open more gifts!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Consumer Demand

Emily is home for the weekend and we're making Stroganoff.  I always have to buy dairy-free sour cream when Emily is here due to her dairy allergy.

Since we are new in town, I wasn't sure where I could find some so we've went hunting this weekend.  I usually can find it at Whole Foods but we don't live near one of those any more.  We tried Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Martins, Walmart, Fresh Market and Farmer's Fresh Market - and came up with nothing.  Zip.  Nada.

Usually the organic/organic type stores have it so I was really surprised that the two fresh market places didn't have anything.

I stopped an employee and asked if they had dairy-free sour cream.

"No, sorry," he told me.  "It really isn't cost efficient to carry things we don't have a lot of demand for."

And yet they were selling tubs of rendered duck fat.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Church Candy

We're doing the "church search" at our new home in our new town in our new state.

One church that we went to also had a youth group that Emily and Katie decided to try.  Emily was really too old to go, but she knew Katie would appreciate having her there for moral support.

The youth leader gave the girls a bag with items to welcome them.  It included info about the church and youth group as well as a small box of Russell Stover chocolates.

Another kid brazenly walked up to Emily and said, "Can I have your candy?"

"No," Emily responded. "But thank you for asking!"

Emily said later she wished she'd though to say, "No, but you can watch me eat it!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Losing Ringo (Again)

We had an electrician and the owner of the house we live in come over today to fix a couple of things.

The puppies greeted them with great enthusiasm - jumping up on them, barking like crazy.  I'm having a hard time trying to teach them to behave!  Ringo sniffed them and followed them about the house.  The electrician thought Ringo didn't like him because the hair on his back was standing up.  I told him it's always like that and Ringo liked him just fine.

After they left, I asked Katie to walk the puppies.  I was surprised Ringo didn't come surging forward to go out as well.  Usually if anyone walks the puppies, he thinks he needs to go too.

I started looking around for him and couldn't find him.  I called upstairs to Ben to see if Ringo was up there with him.  I thought he said yes and I continued fixing dinner.

When dinner was ready, Ben came downstairs and said, "Where did you find Ringo?"

"I thought you said he was upstairs with you," I said, looking at him in shock.

"No, I said he wasn't up there," Ben responded.

We started looking around the house.  The electrician and owner had gone all over and we thought Ringo must have gotten into a different area of the house.  I checked the garage, Ben checked the basement, Katie checked her room, and I checked my bathroom and closet.  We were all calling his name and the entire time I was doing my special whistle that brings them all running.   It usually means I have a treat for them.  The puppies were at my feet in hysterics wondering why I wasn't giving them a treat.

Just as I headed into the living room to get my keys and go out looking, I spotted him - lying asleep on the sofa in the living room.  Ben walked in and saw him at the same time.

"I swear that dog is deaf," Ben said.

It's true.  He's not totally deaf, but he's clearly missing a lot of sounds.

Except for the sound outside at 2:00 a.m. that had him barking his head off this morning.  That one he heard without a problem!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Moving into a new house always requires a LOT of work.  

I fool myself on every move thinking about how we've purged so much stuff and unpacking will be a breeze this time.

It never is.  We always get rid of just as much stuff when we are unpacking and we wonder why we didn't get rid of all of it before we moved.  

There's also the issue of curtains.  I have curtains that I haven't used in years but I can't get rid of them because you never know how many windows you will have in the next house.  I've bought curtains for houses all around the country only to find they won't work in the next house we move to.

Fortunately on this move, I didn't need to buy new curtains, I already had a set that will work.  But we did need to buy several curtain rods.  Kerry had already installed a couple of them before Ben got here but we still needed one in the living room.

I suggested that he get Ben to help since Ben will be a husband soon and will have to be doing this sort of thing on his own.  Then I set off to work on the kitchen.  When I came back, this is what I saw:

 Ben was reclining like Cleopatra on her barge while Kerry hung the rod supports.

I have to admit, I laugh my head off every time I look at this picture!

Then Kerry decided to change jobs with Ben!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First Day As A Freshman!

Emily's first day as a freshman in college (well, this college anyway) got off to a rollicking start!

They were divided into "teams" and had to play games and get to know the other freshmen.

At one point they had to write down answers to questions and a boy, (young man, guy, man-cub) asked to borrow a pen.  Emily usually has about twenty different pens on her at any given time and they are all different colors and serve different purposes. Saying that she is very attached to her pens is putting it mildly.

"Don't be surprised if I forget to give this back to you," the man-cub told her as she handed it to him.

"Well, I could just stab you and take it back," Emily responded to him (she's good at interpersonal communication).

She said she apparently terrified him and she got the pen back, pronto.

Lunch was a giant pizza buffet with salad off to one side.  Since Emily is allergic to dairy, she bypassed the pizza and headed for the salad.

"Sorry," the guy guarding the salad said.  "This pizza is only for people who are allergic to gluten because they can't eat the pizza."

"I can't eat the pizza," Emily told him.  "I'm allergic to dairy."

"Pizza has dairy in it?" he asked.

"Pizza has cheese on it, "Emily reminded him.  "So, I need to have some salad."

"But the salad is only for the people who are allergic to gluten," he told her.

"No," Emily snarled, "The salad is for the people who can't eat the pizza!"

She finally got some salad after a little more haggling.

Then she peeled the cheese off a piece of pizza and ate it just for spite.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Off To College!

We took Emily to college.

We never did this with Ben.  He flew straight to his college from his summer mission trip.  That hadn't actually been the plan when he left for the summer, so I didn't even know when we said goodbye that he wouldn't be back before he moved to the dorms.

So this was my first time taking a kid to college.

We left early that morning because Emily could hardly wait to get there.

Thirty minutes into the drive Emily suddenly remembered that she had left all her new dorm bedding at home.....

We turned around, drove thirty minutes back home, then drove the first thirty minutes again.  Then drove the rest of the trip.

We watched Emily get her student ID.

We got her checked into her dorm - it's actually like an apartment.  It has a living room with a sofa and three desks.

There is a separate bedroom with three beds. She wisely chose the bottom bunk.

 And a FULL kitchen.  This is great because Emily loves to bake when she's stressed.

We did great all day and said goodbye with no problem.

Until I got to the stairwell after leaving her in her room.

I was talking to Kerry and I choked up and couldn't go on.

But I held it together and we all kept the tears at bay.

 I don't think Emily had any problem with crying.  She seemed pretty excited about starting her next chapter!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Going Ape Videos!

I ran all of our videos together into one rather than put a dozen individual videos on here.  They are completely out of order but I'm sick and I don't feel like going back and doing it all over again!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Go Ape!

Yes, I know this is a ton of photos.  This isn't even all of them!

It was just so much fun I can't find many pictures that I don't want on here!

Ben got here last night.  Emily leaves for college tomorrow.

Today is our last day with all five of us for who knows how long?

So we decided to make sure it was a memorable day and we went to a zip line/tree top adventure!

 This is us getting ready to start the course.

 The first course and zip line are very low.  You learn how to hook yourself up to the lines while you aren't worried about falling.

 We had to walk across a tightrope in this area but because it was low, it didn't feel scary.

 The instructors hook you up in your harness, teach you the safety rules and then leave you after the first level.

 We were all hooked to the cables by two separate lines on our harnesses.

 So even if one failed, the other would hold you.

 There's very little chance of injury if you just follow all the safety rules.

 It still FELT scary in some of the areas.

 We had to climb up rope ladders to get to each course.

 And some of them were pretty tricky!

 You just have to remind yourself a LOT that you can not fall.

And then double check your harness!

 I was worried that I would be too old for this, but most of it wasn't too difficult.

The hardest part was climbing those rope ladders.

That's hard on the arms!

 The second hardest part is making yourself step off a very high platform.

 Ben, of course, was like a monkey through the whole thing.

 We got pretty good at hooking ourselves to the cables.  At first you feel really anxious about being able to do it.  After a while, you barely even think about it.

Afterwards, we intended to go to lunch, but we were so sweaty we could smell ourselves!

We ended up going home for lunch instead!