• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 156 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 161,752 hits

A Visit from Chicky

This weekend, the Mr. and I were treated to a visit from our sweet Chicky.

When I found out that she had President’s Day off, I asked if she would consider coming home for the weekend.  The Mr. has been very ill, so I thought he’d cheer up if he could spend time with her.

Now, let me tell you that I have amazing children.  You’ve heard me wax poetic about them in the past.

Chicky has been especially attentive ever since I broke my ankle.  She stayed with us for two weeks during Christmas vacation.  We loved having her home.

She drove up on Saturday and completely surprised the Mr. when she walked in the door.

After she visited awhile, we decided to run some errands.  She was considering upgrading her phone, so off we went to the Sprint store.  She got her phone, and we drove out to the beach to do a bit of shopping.  First, though, she wanted to go to the actual beach to take some pictures with her new phone.  She wanted to try out the new camera on it.

I was a little nervous about walking on the sand but desperately needed to be in my happy place.

Y’all…the weather was perfect…the sand cool to the touch but not uncomfortably so…the water frigid.

Slipping my toes into the sand felt so very right.  I carefully walked to the shore, avoiding as many holes as I could.  My physical therapist told me it was good for me to walk on it (he said this after the fact, so at least I wasn’t in trouble!).

I snapped a few photos of her, and she even agreed to a selfie (forgive my face…I didn’t fix my hair or put on much makeup)…

Yes, I am posting her face for the FIRST TIME EVER!  I asked, and she agreed.

Isn’t she just the cutest thing ever? ❤ ❤ ❤

Because traffic was a bear, it took us forever to do just a couple of things, so we headed home to cook a late dinner.  The Mr. has been going to bed pretty early each night, so it was all he could do to hang on while we made up his fish and mashed potatoes.

She went to bed early because, heck, she’s a teacher and sleeps all the days when she’s not teaching.

We got up and went to church the next morning, and I got a good picture of her and the Mr.  I won’t post that because the Mr. is blog-o-phobic.  Ha!

Then, after lunch, Chicky and I headed out for an hour and a half drive.  I was on the hunt for new sneakers (see yesterday’s post), and we needed to return something the Mr. had bought his mom for Christmas.

I sang and car danced on the way, much to her chagrin.  It would seem that some things (or people) don’t change no matter how much time passes.  😀

Chicky couldn’t resist a little treat.  She’s a healthy eater, so the splurge was a rare one.

Yes, she is adorable, is she not?

I heart her much.

I appreciated having her feedback on the shoes, although she made me chuckle when she told me not to limp while I was trying them on.  I think she forgot that I’m recovering from a broken ankle.  Actually, she hasn’t forgotten because it permeates all of my conversations.

Ahem.

We had a grand time shopping and found a couple of good deals.  Overall, we didn’t spend much, though, despite the temptations we faced at World Market and Fresh Market.

Dinner was fish again for Chicky and the Mr. and a Tomato Basil Pasta recipe I’d made the day before (Oh She Glows has wonderful recipes) for me.

After dinner, she and I settled in for a movie…London Has Fallen…and then she headed to bed.

She and the Mr. left early yesterday morning.  She needed to go back home, and she was dropping the Mr. off at his parents’ house.  They are going to be taking him to his next doctor appointment so I can stay home and work.

Although I’m used to my life as an empty nester, it’s so easy to slip into the new-yet-familiar routine that having your children home brings.  I sure do miss my kiddos when they aren’t here, which is why Chicky’s visit meant so much.

Don’t be a stranger, sweet girl.  You are a blessing.  ❤

Blast from the Past

Last Friday, the Mr. took my car and traveled a few hours to eat lunch and spend time with his parents.

When he returned, I got ready to take the car out to my school’s football game.

“There’s a tent in the back,” he said.  “I’ll get it out this weekend.”

Well, Sunday came, and the tent was still in there, so after grocery shopping, I went to get it out.

I had to stop and collect myself for a moment or two.

Y’all…the sight of this tent brought back so many memories.

We bought it eons ago when the kids were playing travel soccer.

It was the thing that parents did.  They bought tents, bought big SUVs to hold such tents, and they traveled from one tournament to another with said tents.

Then, each dad loaded his tent on his shoulders and walked the forever distance from the parking lot to the field the team was playing on.

Sometimes, it took two or three dads to put up a tent.  They weren’t super easy back in the day.

The sight resembled what I imagine to be a barn raising of old.

We got to be pros at this by the time the kids had graduated.

If those tent flaps could talk, boy would they have stories to tell.

They would tell of screams of joy and tears of sadness, depending on how the games were going.

They would speak of many shouted “Ohhhhhhhhhs” at good plays and the covering of faces at missed opportunities.

They might contain strands of pulled hair from stressful games when all we could do was grip our tendrils in desperation.

The tent would certainly tell of frigid days when prayers were offered up for the cessation of rain and, during the heat of summer, a lessening of the hotter-than-hell temperatures that rendered hair straighteners useless and wet, cold towels a blessing.

They might tell of muttered, multi-colored words spoken against horrible refs who either needed glasses or retirement papers.

Oh yes, our tent would be able to speak volumes, let me tell you.

We passed our tent down to Super Sis and her husband.  Our youngest nephew had begun his baseball career, and they were living our lives all over again, with a different sport.

Nephew boy is now a senior.  They have no need for the tent, so the Mr.’s mom gave it back.

I’ll be looking to either sell or donate it.

The memories, however, will stay.

A Fall Wedding

Yesterday, I got all gussied up so that the Mr. and I could attend the wedding of a young lady we had known for fifteen years.

We first met her when we moved to Podunk, USA, and Chicky began playing on the same soccer team as her younger sister.

When you play travel soccer, you get to be very good friends with the families of the other players.  Strong bonds are forged…bonds that don’t go away when life leads you down different paths.

It was such a joy to watch people arrive…since we always seem to be the first to arrive at every single wedding we attend.

The location was a favorite for weddings.  We have a LOT of water around these here parts, and it provides a beautiful backdrop for fancy shindigs.

We saw a lot of the kids’ friends from high school.

Oh, it was a love fest, let me tell you.

Watching this beautiful young lady walk down the aisle to the man of her dreams brought tears to my eyes.

Photo cred to a gal I snagged this from on Facebook.  I know she wouldn’t mind.  😉

You should have seen the groom’s face as his precious bride made her way down that aisle on the arm of her father.

Both men had tears in their eyes…for very different reasons.

The ceremony was very traditional and so very sweet, and it wasn’t long before they got to do the kiss thing and walk off as husband and wife.

Meanwhile, we headed to the clubhouse for the reception.  I took a few pictures because this is the same place where Rooster and his girl will have their wedding in December (remember that they are already married, but this will be the big ceremony).

Everything was so shiny and oh so classy.  The decor took my breath away.

We sat at a table in front of the wedding party’s.

As we waited for the bride and groom to arrive, we chatted with friends.  The Mr. snagged some food to munch on.  There wasn’t anything that I could eat due to my food allergies and vegan lifestyle.  I knew I would be able to eat later when I got home, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Meanwhile, the conversation was really the most important thing.  Having the chance to catch up with the young people who had been such a big part of our lives for so many years was simply incredible.  Hearing about how they were renovating homes they’d purchased and making strides in their careers made me wish that time could slow down a bit.

How sweet, too, as we watched the bridal party arrive and then participate in the time-honored traditions that make weddings the sweet events that they are…first dance husband/wife…father/daughter dance…mother/son dance.

Oh, my heart.  Moved so very much it was.

We loved hearing the bride’s sister make her toast.  These girls…so special to us.

I’m not a huge socializer…introvert that I am…but I did seek out the bride’s parents.

Her mom is a classy lady.  She wore a long blue dress that was heavenly.  I love this woman to pieces, and seeing her smile was wonderful.  We don’t get to see each other very often.

I also spent time chatting with the bride’s father.  Oh boy, it was hard to see the tears in his eyes as he described his bittersweet feelings about having his oldest daughter leave.  Being a dad and letting go is so hard.

The DJs got cranked up after the cake had been cut, and I did dance to a few songs before the Mr. and I headed home to catch the last couple of college football games on TV.

Priorities, people.  Males.  Sigh.  I could have stayed all night just soaking up the love that made that large reception room so very, very small.

I look forward to the next soccer girl getting married so that we can all join once together in celebration.

A Box of Goodies

Empty nesting is an active verb around here.

Namely adjusting to empty nest is the ongoing action.

It’s still hard to walk through the grocery store, see things that Rooster likes to eat, and then be slammed with the knowledge that he’s not home eating these things.

We no longer keep cereal, ice cream, or Cheez Its in the house.

It’s strange.

Unlike Basic Training, where care packages are strict no-no’s, tech school attendees are allowed to receive them.

I still had one box of Krave cereal from a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal I’d taken advantage right after Rooster went to tech school.

To this cereal, I added the other items you see below…

I got out the pad of paper I’d purchased right before Rooster left for Basic Training and discovered that I had one sheet left.

That’s a lot of letter writing, y’all.

I added my words of love to the box.

He’s probably the only Airman who’s received a box that claims it has knitting notions inside.  You’ve gotta love recycling!

This box was h-e-a-v-y.

It cost me a pretty penny to mail this thing off, but it was worth it when I talked to him a week later.

He seemed happy to receive it, although he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to finish the snacks before moving on to the next phase of tech school.

I told him to make a friend and share.

🙂

I’m eking out every last chance I get to spoil him.  His girl will be the one doing that soon enough.

Never Say Never When You’re Hodgepodging

The Hodgepodge…it’s the happening thing today.  Join in by linking up with Joyce!  Since I’m in a rush (it’s 2:30pm and I’m only now answering my questions), let’s get to it!

1.  Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around? 

I usually think of myself as a follower; however, the longer I teach, and the older I get, I’m discovering that I’m becoming more of a leader.  This could be due to maturity.  It’s probably confidence.  As such, I think I am influencing my world through my work in the classroom, my sharing (or oversharing, as the Mr. would say) on social media, and my blogging.  I’m not as quick to jump in on trends (hello, Pokemon Go…no thank you).

2.  July 14th is National Tape Measure Day…the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed ‘beyond measure’. 

I last used a tape measure two days ago when trying to determine how much fabric I would need to line two stockings I just finished knitting.

I keep this particular tape measure in my knitting bag.  I also have a tape measure by my workout DVDs so I can do before and after comparisons.

We have a couple of tape measures in the toolbox in the garage as well.

How am I blessed beyond measure?  I’d say with my husband and my children.  They are my world.  I am so grateful that God has allowed me the privilege of being a mom to two amazingly independent and successful children and having a husband who loves me the way he does.

3.  The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan)…which storybook land (on this list!) would you most like to visit and why? 

I think I’d visit Never Never Land because it’s a place where you can indulge your inner child.  That’s so important in this modern day of technology and rushed schedules.  Getting back to the simple pleasures in life sounds like paradise.

4.  Where and when do you get your best ideas? 

My best ideas ALWAYS come to me in the shower.  It’s the oddest thing, but I’ve noticed this trend for a few years now.  I suspect that I’m most relaxed in the shower, with the hot water working out the tension of my day.  I’ve had the BEST lesson plan ideas while I’m in the shower.  I kid you not.

5.  So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good? 

I love my summertime, non-teaching schedule.  My go-to shows are Big Brother, Next Food Network Star, MasterChef, Wayward Pines, and the Olympic trials.  I watched the EUFA tournament (Euro Soccer)…so much fun!! I’ve also got Netflix, so I’ve been working my way though Agents of Shield.  Oh, and there’s been a lot of Chopped playing on the TV.

6.  ‘Don’t swim for an hour after you eat’, ‘Dog days of summer’, ‘Knee high by the Fourth of July’…choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.

I’ll go with “dog days of summer.”  I’m spending a lot of time with my fur babies.  They are so funny and just plain old precious.

I took this video of Pele.  He loves bath time, so I thought he would like his own little pool.  You can see from his reaction that this wasn’t quite the case.

7.  In a single sentence, sum up one life lesson you’ve learned. 

My current motto is this:  “She believed she could, and so she did.”

It’s a motto I came across after I started “running” (more like walk/jogging) last fall.

It’s a motto that says so much to me.  I have always lacked self confidence.  I have NEVER lacked determination.  Because of that determination, when I set a goal, I usually obtain it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s getting back into shape, becoming a teacher, or learning a new skill.  I don’t let obstacles get in my way.

8.  My Random Thought

Yesterday, I had to move some things to get to my sewing machine (an epic fail, by the way).

One of the things I moved was this picture…

Oh y’all.  This picture took me back…wayyyyyyy back.  These two have my heart.  My Chicky is still every bit as spunky as you see hinted at in that mischievous smile of hers, and my Rooster is still just as cute as ever.  Both are grown and pursuing careers of their own.  I miss them so much and treasure the memories that flood in whenever I give myself a moment or two to gaze upon their faces in the framed photos that are sprinkled around my house.

Empty Nesting – A Visual Storybook

Now that I’m blogging again, I’m going through photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr to see what stuff I need to catch you up on.

I decided that pretty much all of my pictures are ones that depict the early stages of an empty nester.

It’s not an easy transition…the house too quiet.  But I’m choosing not to wallow in my sadness…at least not too often…and embrace this new phase in my life.

The Mr. and I have had a lot of time to reconnect.  You can often find us out and about at local restaurants.  Some of our favorites are those that are on the water.

Eating dinner with the backdrop of the sun setting against the water is simply breathtaking.

These photos are unfiltered, y’all.

My days are spent loving on my fur babies.

Gambit is ours until Rooster takes him to his first duty station.

Being home means taking care of the house.  One of my sprinkler zones quit working, so I had to call in an expert.  This local husband and wife team did a great job diagnosing the problem and fixing what wound up being a broken valve for a minimal charge.

There is, of course, my daily workout time.  Sometimes, I run errands afterward (I think that’s my bathing suit peeking out underneath…maybe I went to the pool afterward?).

Empty nesting means cooking whatever I want without a whole lot of repercussions…except when a recipe fails in a major way…

Um…yeah.  Those were supposed to be vegan brownie muffins.  The batter tasted great.  Apparently either the baking soda or baking powder (whichever I used…can’t remember now) had an issue.

Ahem.

Now that I’m an empty nester, I get redo’s without anyone getting mad (I’d take the mad now any day just to have my babies home, though).

I can make such things as Red Lentil and Rice Loaf (and it actually tastes delicious)…something that nobody else will touch and that my children are probably pretty glad I waited to cook until they’d moved out…

There’s midday TV…War Eagle!

There’s homemade salad dressings with small tossed salads on the plastic plates that my boy left behind from his year at Auburn.

There’s uninterrupted reading…

And shopping trips to soothe my heart when I’m having a rough day and missing my children…

 

I can often be found staying up late at night watching Agents of Shield while knitting…

There are Saturday poolside dates with the hubby…

Or trips to the beach…

Where I engage in more uninterrupted reading (unless it’s to reminisce over years gone by when I see cute toddlers testing the water for the first time…sigh)…

And post-sun dinners out…

I am such a blessed gal.  By God’s grace, I’ve raised children who are self-sufficient citizens.  After pouring so much time and energy into making sure they arrived safely into adulthood (again by God’s grace) I’m at the point in my life where I can slow down a little…at least until school starts back up…recharge my batteries…and just be.

This empty nesting thing is bittersweet, indeed, but I take joy in my children’s accomplishments…in their independence…and I will continue to follow this latest turn in the road I call life.

Five Weeks Ago – Going Home

Five weeks ago, today, I had to return home after spending the most amazing four days with my new Airman son, Rooster.

We had to wake up at o’dark’thirty to catch our early flight.

We were a quiet bunch as we left our hotel room…the Mr., Rooster’s girl, and myself.  Each of us was lost in our own thoughts.

When we got to the lobby, my heart lurched.  It was at that moment that I felt a great sense of loss, and tears started rolling down my face.

It was the realization that I was leaving my boy behind.

To make things worse, it was his birthday.  Although I’d given him a card the evening before, shortly before our last hug goodbye, it just wasn’t the same as getting to tell him on his day.  He wouldn’t have any way to communicate with us; he wouldn’t be getting his phone back until the following Monday, and I had no idea when he would be able to call during this eighth week of training, called Airman’s Week.

The pain is still as fresh right now as I’m typing this as it was that morning.

Rooster’s girl sensed the change in my demeanor and said, “I’m not looking at you.”  She was trying to hold herself together too.

She then said, “Gus pooping, Gus pooping.”

Gus is her dog.  She kept saying the above phrase to distract us from our sad feelings.

We did chuckle together as we made our way to the car, but my tears returned as I struggled to pull up the directions to the car rental place and, ultimately, the airport.

It’s a good thing it was dark.

The weather matched my mood.  The much-touted rain had finally arrived.

Ugh.

We got through security without having to wait long (that’s what happens when you leave at 4:30am), and we sat down to wait.

We grabbed something to eat to pass the time, and I began uploading pictures from my trip.

We finally boarded.  You can see how spent, emotionally and physically, we were just by looking at our faces.

I saw other Air Force families on the plane.  Most of us were easily recognizable with our flight shirts on or other Air Force attire.

I looked outside and saw that the rain had slowed but not stopped completely.

The first half of the flight to Houston was not good.  At all.  The weather tossed us about, and we were required to wear our seat belts for a good portion of the trip.  I prayed like crazy.  I’m a big fan of the old show Lost.  Unfortunately, I’d watched too much of it.

The skies did clear up three quarters of the way there.  I was extremely relieved to see the light-dappled horizon peeking over the clouds.

Landing in Houston was a relief.  So much so that Rooster’s girl and I did a bit of browsing in the shops.  We found a candy store called Dylan’s Candy Bar.  I guess it must be famous.  When you live in Podunk, USA, you aren’t always in the know about such things.  The merchandise certainly wasn’t cheap, but if you’re a sugar addict, this is the place to be!  I bought a few goodies…vegan candy bars and this cute container that I filled with cherry candy.  Yum!

Our connecting flight was much smoother.  We were able to enjoy refreshments served by kind flight attendants.

We did have one hiccup when we were very close to home.  As we circled around the beach, I felt the plane begin to climb instead of descend.  I knew the airport was nearby, so I didn’t understand.  The pilot came on the PA system and announced that, “there was a little problem,” and we were going to gain some altitude to run some tests.

Say what?  At that point, I wanted to be home.  I mean, I would have gladly stayed in San Antonio to be close to my boy, but since the Air Force has a policy that mamas can’t stay on base forever (I’m kidding…sort of), home it had to be for me.  I didn’t want there to be a problem with the plane (remember my love of the show Lost?).  Ugh.

Fortunately, we weren’t up too much longer and made a smooth landing.

I might have kissed the ground if the Mr. wouldn’t have been embarrassed.

We made our way home…dropping of Rooster’s girl en route.  The dogs were beside themselves when we walked in the door.  They were happy to have their people back again.

My heart was in Texas, though.  Even the drive home from the airport had reminded me of what a different world my son had entered into…one that was faster paced.  If you’ve ever driven around San Antonio, you understand what I mean.  We had come home via back roads…it’s the country way of life for us.

It took me awhile to process all that we had been through from last July, when Rooster had told us he was enlisting, through BMT, and then finally during graduation.

We’d all become a part of something bigger.  Rooster’s decision has broadened our worldview.  I cannot hear the name of a base without thinking of the servicemen there…the jobs they may be doing…the families back home waiting and praying for them.

I never fully understood why people went quite so crazy over parades…or other patriotic events.  Yes, I have always loved America, but boy did I take things for granted.

I will be that crazy lady who has a lot of red, white, and blue in her wardrobe and has a lot of decorations (sorry, Rooster, but this mama is fully invested now).  I have already become the woman who tears up when I hear the National Anthem played.  When I see an Air Force sticker on a car, I want to find the owner and ask if they’ve served or have a loved one serving.  Seeing an Airman in uniform, whether it’s ABUs or formal dress, will forever make me want to reach out and hug that person in gratitude (I’ll try to hold back).

I am so proud to say that I am an Air Force mom.

%d bloggers like this: