Tuesday, June 30, 2009

more summer....

Look who had their windows open today! It was GORGEOUS today. Well deserved after having a few hot days last week.

I realized one day when I was watching the photo slide show on my screensaver that I have a lot of pictures of my kids playing outside, but with my across the street neighbor's house in the background. Now their house is nice and all... but it's not my house... our house. So I thought while the kids were out front playing with some sidewalk chalk after dinner I would walk across the street and get a picture of them out in the front. This is before the driveway became covered with pictures, crime scene outlines of bodies and hopscotch.

Matthew drew an army guy, but when he was done put this red line through him. Is this some sort of anti-war protest or something? I just noticed he's about to touch a jellyfish.

Trevor stayed with us for awhile, in fact in one picture you can see the turtle that I drew for him. He ended up going behind our street to a friend's house. It was such a nice evening. One of my neighbors was going on a walk with her little girl (who loves Megan) and her baby boy. She ended up sitting out front with us for awhile. I remember when I was a kid in Phoenix and immediately after dinner my parents would pull folding chairs out of the garage and sit out front. It seemed like people used to do that more often. I brought some chairs out of the garage and we sat and talked for a long time.
Which reminds me of one thing I have to save up for. I think I am one of the only people in the state who does not own one of those circular fire pit things. On chilly nights like tonight I can smell them... and I know people are outside gathered around them on their driveway or backyard deck making smores and having a drink. I'm going to keep my eye out for one.
Another summer day down. We're just doing our best to get through them with as little boredom as possible. Days like today are perfect though.
I also want to say thank you to people who have called or emailed me after hearing the news about the Yemenia plane that went down yesterday. I've had several people stop by my house today too. People know Mike is in Yemen and heard about it, and checked up on us. Thank you! It warms the heart to know that people think about us. He's fine but my thoughts are with the people left behind.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Some photos to share from the other day.

Today we went to Cincinnati to do some errands. We stopped at Costco and had lunch. We've had pizza there before, but how did I not know that you could order a whole pizza and eat it right there? So for $15 we had a large pizza, drinks to share and dessert to share. (Those frozen yogurts are so big anyway!) Then as we walked around the kids kept eating samples. Today was a good sample day - brats with buns, chips with hummus, provolone cheese, meatballs, brownies, some starbucks type cold mocha drink and juice. We should have stayed for dinner.

Then on the way home we stopped at the library. Megan is going through books like crazy this summer. She's almost done with the second book in the Twilight series, which she's only had for a week. She reads more in one week than I read in an entire year anymore. We stopped so she could put the third and fourth one on hold, and she picked up some other books. She's determined to learn French this summer so she checked out a bunch of books on the language.

The boys are into disasters right now. Matthew went up to a woman who worked at the library (I was helping Trevor look for something, and he took it upon himself to go find help.) if they had books on science. "Because I'm into science. Like weather stuff."

Our library is the best. They have a million DVDs to check out. I got Best In Show, which I've seen before, but LOVE and can't wait to watch it again, Walk The Line, and the Gilmore Girls first season. I never got into that show and everybody who watches it loves it so I thought it would be good for Megan and I to watch over the summer. They have every season. I'm also planning on getting caught up on a lot of shows that I meant to watch before... 24, Medium, etc. Oh, and we also got Charmed, which I thought Megan would like. The boys have a ton of Pokemon videos.... which all look alike to me but don't tell them that.

I have to admit that I am sad that I haven't had a frog sighting since the other day. I miss my friend. We let him go in one of the beds in my yard.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


This poor kid has been waiting forever for his first tooth to fall out. Everybody in his class lost one this year and each time he'd come home bummed and ask me when his was finally going to come out. Then when this one finally decided to get a little loose it stayed loose for months... like it was teasing him.
Yesterday we were in the car and he screams "MOMMY!" before he said the rest I about had a panic attack because I thought something was seriously wrong but then he finished up after a pause and said, "MY TOOTH JUST CAME OUT!"
I didn't even have to play the tooth fairy thing with him because he asked me this year if the tooth fairy was real. We had a very serious conversation out on the front steps. For the record he still believes in Santa but he heard at school that the tooth fairy is really your parents. I asked him if he wanted to know the truth. I mean, I would love to have that bit of magic with the last little one in our family, and especially the first tooth, but I also didn't want him going back to school and getting laughed at while he vehemently defended the tooth fairy. So I told him the truth.
The tooth fairy here rocks anyway. We stopped doing money since I was always out of cash anyway. (Megan one year got an IOU, and Trevor got a hotel bar of soap which he knew was a joke....) Those weren't stellar tooth fairy moments, but in my defense Megan lost like 4 teeth all in something ridiculous like a week.) Just when I thought I was clear and didn't have to worry for awhile she'd come show me another one she lost. And it's always late at night... when I can't run to the bank or store. Who has kids and carries cash anymore anyway?
So while Mike was here a couple of weeks ago he grabbed a Star Wars Lego kit that Matthew had been looking at and snuck up to the front of the store to buy it while I went to another register with our groceries and the kids. This time I was prepared for when the tooth did fall out and replaced the baggie with the tooth under his pillow with the Legos.
So at 6:00 in the morning after he woke up... I was tiredly trying to put together Clone Troopers and continue sleeping at the same time. Thankfully Trevor put the ship together since he loves that sort of thing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Kids.... can I keep him?? Pleeeease?!?!?"

Just after Megan and I were watching fireflies and I said, "Dang, I love Kentucky." she went inside and I stayed out for a few more minutes. THEN I see something moving in the dark in the driveway next door to me. I knew in an instant... and I RAN!

A froggie! Well... a toad... but isn't it the cutest wittle face in the whole wide world??? I had to catch him just so I could see him. I opened the front door and called the kids so they could see what I found. All three started making this "ooooooh he's sooooooo cute!" kind of thing all at the same time. My other neighbor across the street working in his yard was probably wondering what was going on and what we were so excited about.

So he's been inside, photographed, stared at, awwed over and now we're trying to think of where to let him go. I don't want him getting smushed by a car. But it was fun having him visit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nostalgia trip... circa 1980

Not too long ago I saw a facebook flair on somebody's signature line at 2Peas. It said, "I love my computer because all of my friends live in there."

I loved that, because it feels so true. There are times that I just love technology. Today I talked via IM with Mike while he was a world away in Yemen. I've had emails from friends in Arizona, and even talked to a few of my neighbors through facebook messages today. I always laugh that I sit on my computer and talk to my neighbor across the street, or have an ongoing conversation with Lisa every single day. The cool thing is, I can sit here at night all by myself by location... but be keeping in touch with people constatly. It really is awesome, and yes I love my computer because of it.

Tonight I was sending Maddy a message and I hear this 'pop' noise and a little box that comes up saying "Hi Kerry." It was my aunt in Florida. (HEY HOLLY!) I have to say, she is by far the coolest. aunt. ever. I adored her growing up. This photo above was taken when she came out to visit sometime in 1980. Holy cow, I was 10 years old - the same age as Megan right now! - I still remember this day.... we went to Pioneer Arizona on I-17 just north of Phoenix.

I got a chance to talk with her a little bit and loved being able to catch up. So I just had to blog a little bit about her. One thing I think that made her really fun was that she could whip me in a game of Pong. How is that for dating myself? I also remember going to the beach in Florida and wading out to a sandbar where she taught me how to pick up sandollars with my toes, how to braid my Barbie's hair that I got for Christmas one year, and especially our badly sung version of Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life. See? Coolest aunt ever.

Megan has also been enjoying technology lately. She has a list of contacts in her phone that she is constantly texting. I remember when I was a kid and you hoped and wished that the walkie talkies you had would reach far enough to go to your friend's house. They never did and that was a total bummer. - Sometimes she'll text somebody "Hey what are you doing? Want to play?" and the next thing you know she's out the door. Or like the other day when a friend of hers was on her way to Indiana and was texting Megan to keep her company while in the car.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Little random life update....

That's me.

We went to the pool again today and stayed from 2:00 until 6:30. Why is it the sunburn doesn't start to show until like 15 minutes before you are ready to leave?

The kids were hoping to stay until the pool closed at 8, and at first it seemed like a very good idea since they were all happy and I knew it was good for making them tired to sleep well tonight. I was lying on my little deck chair with my eyes closed at one point thinking about how wonderful this was. This is one of the first times I could remember that my kids were old enough that I didn't have to watch every minute of them at the pool. They can all swim now, and I let the lifeguards do the watching. I did get in and play with Matthew a lot, but the few moments that I was relaxing I knew we'd end up at the pool many more times this summer.

All three kids found people their age that they played with too. It was nice.

Until we got home. Then realized how badly burnt we all were. I used a ton of sunblock on all of us but man we are all red and moving very slow. I don't know if sunblock goes bad, but I wonder since this was packed and melting in a moving box last summer if it broke down or what. So after needing to go to walgreens tonight to get some aloe spray I also stocked up on brand new sunblock, face stick stuff for noses and ears and aloe spray. We're good to go.


I got this email from Mike tonight:

I walked at least 15 miles today and have blisters on my feet and very sore ankles. I saw the Eiffel Tower, the River Seine, Champs Elysees, went to the Louvre, saw Notre Dame and a concert in the park, The Sorbonne, The Pantheon and ate a Royale with cheese. I took about 200 photos and will share with you.

He's in Paris for a couple of days before going back to work. It's how the flights ended up to make sure he could get back to work in time. Sometimes the flights just work out this way since he takes two different airlines to get back. Now, under normal circumstances I'd be somewhat jealous about having a couple of days in Paris without me, but remember that he's on his way to work - in Yemen. - Yeah... it's not necessarily a Paris vacay. Plus he's doing it like Globe Trekker.... on the cheap, hence the walking, cheap hotel and no food budget to speak of. LOL! I can't wait to see pictures!


One more random thingie for the night.... after 9:00 at night the fireflies come out like crazy. They only seem to stay out for about an hour after that. So tonight on my way home from walgreens the fields near my house and along Frogtown were literally twinkling with thousands of fireflies. It has to be one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Next month when the fireflies are gone it is time for the frogs! You can't see them, but you can hear them. Which to me... makes me happy too. Because FROGS RULE!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Sometimes going to the airport plain old sucks. That was a fast two weeks. - Yesterday was Mike's birthday, so we at least got to celebrate that together. We went to Bruesters for ice cream after dinner.

I was thinking a little bit earlier today how weird I feel. For awhile I was anxiously anticipating my mom coming out for a visit, and knowing Mike would be home during that too. I counted down the days on my calendar. While they were here it felt good to have some company. I don't really feel lonely..... I have people I see everyday, I'm happy, healthy, well adjusted.... but tonight I was just feeling kind of let down that it's over. Kind of like a kid when you go to bed on Christmas night. You know you have to wait for it to come again next year, and you don't know what to do with those remnants of feelings that you still have. I had put so much thought into what we'd do, and just the pure excitement of it. Both visits were fun but still didn't accomplish all that I wanted to. Which is OK, but I guess that just proves that there isn't enough time... and what little you have goes by so quickly. So for some reason tonight I went out and sat on my front steps and watched the fireflies... and felt kind of alone for the first time in awhile. Man, sometimes life just gets so crazy.

While Mike was home, Trevor had talked him into buying a package of water balloons. Coming home from the airport with a quiet and somber car made me think today was the perfect day to fill some of them up.

Megan was sneaky and stood behind me most of the time. She was one of the first ones to get hit and I had made a rule that no balloons were to be thrown too close to the balloon filler (me!). If you want balloons filled, throw them away from me! I still managed to get pretty wet from filling. I had planned on getting in on the balloon fight, but the kids went through the balloons as fast as I could fill them. It was the knot tying that slowed me down. Next time I think I'll fill some without them knowing it and then have about 200 of them already filled in the garage.

(below) right before Matthew got nailed in the head. I love the "in flight" balloon.

Poor Trevor never catches much of a break. I was trying to get him to get more balloons and keep them in his shirt. Megan came up right beside him and got him. (And the balloon filler and her camera. Bad Megan.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


There is something about that first smell of chlorine during summer. Not having your own pool makes you appreciate that smell so much. It hits you when you go swimming for the first time. - All of the kids have been invited over to friends houses already this summer to go swimming, but today all of us went to the little public pool that is about 1/4 mile from our house. It's up a hill and tucked away behind a line of huge trees, so I never paid it much attention. Today Megan and I drove by on our way home from dropping off books at the library and noticed nobody was there. A storm was supposed to hit later in the evening, which is the only thing I can imagine must have scared most people away. But we had this pool to ourselves today. We were only outnumbered by lifeguards. Which thankfully makes for some pretty awesome pool photos without a bunch of unknown people in the background!

Matthew was not mad or emotional, but for some reason I love this picture of him. It must be the colors with the bright orange and yellow that he is wearing and the pretty blue and green in the background. He does look pretty serious though....

But not in this one. Here's my normal happy Matthew.

Mike and Megan went off the diving board several times. Trevor took a little prodding. He had gone off diving boards before in Phoenix, but he was cautious today. The lifeguards were even playing with him and telling him he wasn't allowed to back off of the board, that he had to just run right off the end if he wanted to get off. It didn't work. It took a few tries, but finally he went off.

Finally committing to jumping off... he's at a run.....

Check out that form....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday - Ironton, Ohio.... a little bit of my history too.

My mom was born in a town called Ironton Ohio. One thing I wanted to do when we moved here was to take a little road trip there (It's not far from Cincinnati) and see if I could get a peek into my mom and my grandma's past. Especially after losing my grandma last year, I kind of felt like I really wanted to see this place and feel a little connection.

I was thrilled when it had been put of long enough that when my mom said she was coming out here for a visit I asked her if she would be interested in going. I knew it would be a much better experience with somebody who had been there and could tell me stories. I really couldn't get enough of them, and hope to get more from her. It's strange to have heard about this place for as long as I have and actually be there. There were times I could almost feel the past. It was a great experience. I'm so glad that we went... it had to have been one of my favorite days of the entire visit.

Here is downtown Ironton from a lookout on a hill. It is a beautiful little town, and happily is experiencing some renovation.
(below) These are the killer stairs going up to the lookout. Mike and the kids ran right up. My mom and I stopped every few little landing areas to check out the sights. (We couldn't breathe!! Haha! But we made it look like we had a good reason to stop.)

A little history on the area: (for the fam, click on the image to enlarge it)
My mom has a great memory. We drove by several houses that once belonged to people in my family. My favorite - the one below - was my grandma's house. In this house my mom grew up as a little girl. (She said the Ohio river summers were awful here with no a/c at the time.) but the coolest is knowing that at one time my grandma as a new mom, carried my mom up those stairs into her first house after coming home from the hospital.
She told me stories about what was behind the windows that we could see, the blue spruce tree that my grandma had planted to the left of the front porch that had grown so big she had to cut it down one winter and used it as the Christmas tree. She told me about the hours spent rollerskating on the sidewalk and the fruit tree that is still in the back. Along with the garage that is still back there that she couldn't believe was still standing. I look at these pictures and I feel my grandma. I miss her.

I saw the high school that my grandma went to, which was being restored and having an addition built onto the back of it. It's one of those beautiful buildings you see in movies. It was fenced off or I would have LOVED to have gotten closer to it. Maybe even peeked in.
We also stopped at the cemetery and found some relatives. Old town cemeteries are such a story in themselves. Families stayed together even then and weren't scattered about the country like they are now. It was interesting to hear my mom point at a stone and hear her say, "This is my uncle..." etc.
It was a great day, and an experience I'll never forget and I couldn't be happier that I got to see a glimpse of my family history. I know how I feel when I would go back to childhood homes that I grew up in. I made sure to take pictures of them and visit them one more time before I moved out here. I guess it's part of being a family historian. These kinds of stories and things are amazing to me and I love the links to the past.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday, Ironton continued..... Random downtown

There is a quick story about this building below in the next post.

My mom will have to correct me if I'm off the story a bit here. This building (below) was where her grandpa Grimes had a real estate office on the second floor (the boarded up rectangular windows.) She used to spend time there, and took music lessons (accordion) on the third floor above his office. (The rounded windows on the top.) She said at the time there was an inside staircase and you didn't have to climb those steps outside.

(below) The jail. Where my mom spent a lot of time because she was nothin' but trouble. Haha, I'm totally kidding here (she never spent time inside the jail or got into trouble!) but I loved this little building. It is so Mayberry-ish. Complete with the sign for the sheriff's parking only. Every time we walked by this building I kept thinking of Barney Fife telling the kids in Mayberry "It's no fun once that big iron door slams shut. No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!" It may only be funny to me, but I kept myself entertained with that all day! Tell me this isn't the cutest little jailhouse.
Random church:

(below) My mom looking down the street she used to walk all over as a kid. (She walked everywhere. When we were driving from her house to downtown I kept commenting on the miles she did to get places. I guess I did the same when I was growing up in my area of Phoenix, but when you get older and really see the distance, it's amazing.)
The Dollar General store was Woolworths. I need more stories about adventures in Woolworths. hint hint... mom.

We walked down to the train station where my grandma and my mom used to leave from. I don't know why I don't have pictures of the train station. It was a beautiful building. It has since been turned into a restaurant, but there are photos inside of the building back when it was an actual train station. The lady who was working that day (I'm guessing the manager) told us to come in and look around. She was thrilled to hear that my mom had come back to see the place since she loved it's history just as much.
It's always strange to think of the people coming and going, waiting inside, buying tickets, waiting on the platform..... when you are standing in a restaurant.
The woman who told us to come in and look around was also so nice to have made strawberry smoothies for the kids by the time we were done looking. She insisted that we didn't pay for them. She was very nice.
We walked around the back to see the tracks, and my train loving youngest (with his smoothie!) had to walk on the tracks. My other kids were here this day.... lol, but Matthew was the one who kept asking me to take his picture.

Saturday - Ironton, continued.....

This is the front of the courthouse. I LOVE old courthouses (one of my favorites is the one in Prescott.) I love how they used to really be the center of downtown areas where people met, sat on the lawns and on the stairs and how beautiful the buildings always are. The details on old important buildings fascinate me! Especially when you think that they didn't have the technology we do today when building them. All of the ornate, handmade pieces. I like to think of the hands of the people who built them.

When we were headed towards Ironton, my mom was telling me about this story and how she used to wait downtown after the parade. It was a huge annual thing to do. Sure enough, there is a plaque about it. (click on the image if you want to read it.....)

My mom doing what she used to do as a little girl.... walking the wall that surrounds the courthouse. The building in the background (Goldcamps) was a furniture store where my grandma bought furniture. My mom told me the bed that I slept on as a kid and was then handed down to my sister's boys was from this store.

Matthew sitting on one of the cannons on the front lawn.

Monday, June 08, 2009


(Click on the photos to make them bigger.)
I've been MIA. My mom was out for a visit the past week. I picked her up from the airport the same day that the kids had their last day of school. We were on the go since then. If we weren't out doing sightseeing, we were back at her hotel using the indoor pool which the kids LOVED.
Thursday we went to a place called Rabbit Hash. It's a small "town" not far from my house. It has one of the oldest general stores in the state, something over 100 years old. It's along the river, and for some reason it is one of the kids' favorite spots. We always have to take out of town people there. You have to pick a bottled soda from the fridge and sit outside and watch the river. They also have some antiques for sale in some of the old buildings near the general store. I got the coolest wood architectural things that go on old doors. They are big scroll type things. I'll have to take a picture of them. They are awesome. Thanks mom, I love them!
Friday Mike was also coming home and we had to kill about half a day before going to pick him up at the airport. We went to Newport on the levee in Kentucky and walked across the purple people bridge across the river to Ohio. It was perfect weather for it. We had such a great time.

Trevor after walking, taking a break.

Downtown Cincinnati: I love the skyline and all of the bridges. It was such a perfect sunny day.

Newport is a big multi level outdoor mall kind of thing with theaters, stores and the aquarium. It's such a neat place. The food smells alone were one of my favorite parts. We stopped at Johnny Rockets for a small lunch. The kids all got hats and balloons... Matthew's of course being a blue one. Later this balloon and Trevor's both got out of the car and floated away. Bummer.

After Newport we picked up Mike from the airport and went to Cheddars for an early dinner. More soon.....

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Last day of school!

The last day of school! Wow. I now have a 4th grader, 2nd grader and middle school child! The boys before school this morning. The dog in the background is my neighbor's dog Molly. She sits out there every morning and then chases the bus when it leaves. Then comes back and lays down in the yard. The day doesn't officially start without Molly.

Below: One last morning drop off at elementary school! Next year I'll be doing this across the street! (and earlier.)

After picking Megan up from school. The 5th grade did nothing but party in the middle courtyard today. They even had grills to cook hamburgers and hotdogs, karaoke, limbo, music and everything. (and some spray hair color!) Megan is already meloncholy about missing her friends. They were given cards with their pictures on them, like trading cards, and they handed them out to friends with their phone numbers and stuff on them. What a great idea.

Trevor and Matthew getting off the bus. I could hear the bus coming down the street honking all the way. They really have the best bus driver in the world. He brings them popsicles, and goodies on holidays. He started dropping them off right in front of the house this winter and they've been spoiled ever since.