Zooful Impressions – WW

I think one of my favorite parts of going to the zoo is watching my kids.

It’s almost like they’re meeting their long-lost relatives.

Baby did not disappoint on our trip to the Nashville Zoo a few weeks ago.

First she sees this fella

2Nashville zoo 5
(Please don’t ask me what it’s called…I couldn’t remember it at all!)

And she needed to demonstrate for me the horns…

2Nashville zoo 6

Then we moved onto the Elephants…

2Nashville Zoo9

And we got to see her version of a trunk…

2Nashville zoo 3

And then there were the flamingos

2Nashville zoo 4

These are Baby’s FAVORITE animals! As can be demonstrated by the her fabulous impression of them!

2Nashville zoo 7

And then there was the impression I was not expecting…

2Nashville zoo 1

“Hey, Mama! Do I look just like Ariel? Like a mermaid? This is just like a mermaid rock!”

Today I’m participating in Wordless / Wordful Wednesday with

parenting BY dummies


Live and Love...Out Loud

among other people / blogs


Not Tootin’ My Own Horn – WW

Life is getting difficult.

Big is getting bigger.

Is it just me, or do those two things kinda go together?

I mean really, she IS 11 now.

She is getting picky about her clothes.

Not too much, but enough that it is throwing me for a loop.

In the past I could just hand her clothes, she puts them on and we go along our merry way!

She’s starting to develop her own style, and I’m okay with that!


This is Spirit Week at her school.

Monday was college colors day.

We just couldn’t get her into the colors of ANY university / college her parents attended…we HAD those colors – Sorry WAZZU, Whatcom, Western, Clarion, and IUP!

Dude! I went to four colleges / universities! Dang!

She chose Pitt at least it wasn’t Penn State

She decided to wear a yellow T-shirt and blue jeans.


Tuesday was Tie-Dye Day and she wore a Tie-Dyed T-shirt.


Today is Years Day.

She was supposed to wear an outfit that represented a decade of the 20th century.

Initially she wanted a Poodle skirt.

I could have made that, but she would never wear it again.

I nixed that one.

I thought she should be from the 1970’s or 80’s.

I went and got her a pair of jeans from the Salvy (my favorite costume shop).

I got a patch from Wally’s.

September 2011 025

And a T-shirt from my Mama direct from the 1970’s!

Big was disappointed.

EVERYONE else was being a 1970’s girl.

So, that is why I found myself back at Wally’s at 9 p.m. desperately searching for a pair of black pants.

Big decided to be from the 1930’s…

Years Day 7 - revised

a Jazz musician from the 1930’s.

Years Day 3 - revised

She got a button down from the closet.

She got a vest from Baby’s costume box.

And asked me for black slacks.

We didn’t have any.

I went to Wally’s.

Because I realized how I had goofed up, I decided to make it up by throwing in a cool hat!

So, she’s a Jazz musician with a cool hat, black slacks, button down shirt, vest…

Years Day 10 - revised

and trumpet!

Years Day 2 - retouched

Today I have been participating in Wordful Wednesday with
parenting BY dummies

The Difference a Year Makes – WW

We had some visitors over Labor Day weekend and it just happened to coincide with Big’s Birthday. I was watching Big and her BFF and couldn’t help but flash back to one of my favorite photos EVER

Friends 2011 - retouch

This photo is of Big and her BFF taken almost a year ago. It was taken on a trip to a DelGrosso’s Amusement Park (aka Bland’s Park) in PA just before we moved to TN. It was snapped as we were leaving the park, all thoughts of the big move had been pushed out of their heads by roller coasters, flying ships and funnel cakes. They were laughing as we walked back to the car, giggling and relishing in being 10.

This was the last HURRAH! so to speak.

Over the last year Big and her BFF have kept in touch.

They write letters to each other.

The real kind of letters that have envelopes and stamps and everything! For her birthday last year the BFF received a web camera so they can SKYPE. (Now there’s a sight to behold for reasons I’ll share another time).

Lucky for Big, her BFF is the daughter of my PiC (Partner in Crime).

And, when I wasn’t able to get back to PA, PA came to us.

So, here we are a year later, and Big and her BFF were together again.



Relishing being 11.

Friends 2011 - redo

Today I am participating in Wordless / Wordful Wednesday with
parenting BY dummies



If You Give a Big a Camera – WW

This past weekend the family and I decided to do a bit more exploring of Tennessee.

We packed a picnic lunch (Baby was a bit miffed that I wouldn’t throw in a blanket ’cause you KNOW that a blanket is a necessity in picnicing), sprayed down everyone with bug repellant, grabbed sturdy shoes (a story unto itself), a camera and headed out to explore – destination New Johnsonville!

Now, New Johnsonville itself wasn’t the destination; rather the New Johnsonville State Park.

It was here that I handed Big her camera and told her to go to town.

So, todays Wordful / Wordless Wednesday photos are courtesy of her and her camera (with the exception of one or two pictures).

I’m not sure what it is about kids and cameras, but for some reason they seem to find the posterior of any person in the vicinity and with a shriek of giggles they run from one person to the next gleefully snapping pictures of people bottoms.

Now when I was growing up I thought the word BUTT was a swearword (seriously). My children don’t have that problem.

First, *WARNING* Wide Screen May Be Needed. This is the end of your public service announcement. You may now return to reading this post.

But(t) pictures 1

“Mama! I just took a picture of your butt!”

“Hey, Dadddy! Come here and look at this!” and while the poor man is taking in the glorious scenery, CLICK! *Giggles* *Hysterical laughter*

But(t) pictures 4

“Mama” *snicker* *giggle* *snort* *whisper* “I just took a picture of Daddy’s butt! Now, take a picture of mine, okay?”

But(t) pictures 3

And, Baby, who couldn’t possibly be left out just HAD to have a picture taken of her butt!

But(t) pictures 2

Over the years it seems that my family has taken hundreds of butt pictures. I recall photos from a trip to Disneyland when I was around 13 when all the pictures seemed to be of people walking away. So, I guess I learned from the best and, now, here I am passing down the tradition of the butt picture to Big. Of course, she needs to work on it a little, but(t) I think it will come in time.

Butt picture 5

I think I’ve gotten better at it.

Today I have been participating in Wordless / Wordful Wednesday with Parenting By Dummies
parenting BY dummies
and Live and Love Outloud
Live and Love...Out Loud

A Girl, A Grand and a Nook – WW

Today I am participating in Wordless / Wordful Wednesday with Parenting BY Dummies and several other fabulous blogging ladies

The title of this post is not quite what you think…
This Grand does not equal $1,000 and this Nook is not an e-Reader.
This post is about what happens when My Mama (the GRANDma) and My Daddy (the GRANDpa) came to town for a few WEEKS.

Girls & Grands

When we moved into our new house in TN, we purposely bought a house we could just vaccuum and move into – i.e. NO painting and NO renovations needed. The only change I have wanted to make was to turn Big’s closet into a Reading Nook.

See, Big has never had a closet in her room. We’ve always lived in old houses (I’m talking 80-100 years) and back in the day, most average houses did not have closets, they used wardrobes or pegs to hand their clothes.

We’ve never had to deal with the idea that there was something making creepy noises in the closet.

Until now.

Big is nearly 11 and we are just now dealing with the whole spooky closet thing. The closet hasn’t even been opened except to shove another box or two into it!

The closet was a semi-walk-in with double doors AND no pole.

I had a SCATHINGLY BRILLIANT IDEA (for reference these ideas are usually met with looks of dread from the Ranger, ’cause they typically are better ideas in the mind than in actuality) we would incorporate the closet into the room and give Big somewhere to store her books!

I told My Mama this idea and she agreed that it was brilliant! (I get my propensity for SCATHINGLY BRILLIANT IDEAS from My Mama, My Daddy gets that same look of dread as the Ranger).

Big thought it was a pretty great idea too! (Her future husband will most likely learn to dread those ideas too).

So, the Grands came to visit and by the time they left an unuseable space had become a haven for a pre-teen.

Nook in progress

became this
the finished nook

the nook finished

FYI – My child takes after her parents and her books are organized into Fiction and Non-Fiction and subject matter. Makes me proud! I guess this is what happens when your Mama is a librarian.

And this young girl
Painting the nook

became this pre-teen
stocking the nook

There wasn’t enough room for all her books in the Nook, so these got added in the hallway
the bookcase
(There are still two more boxes of books that need to be shelved).

And, since you can’t put Baby in a corner, Baby got to get her paint on too and splash some in her room!
Baby's mirror

We also found this really cool mirror in the attic that some past residents left behind and decided to add it to her room. It was probably a mistake though, it takes her much, MUCH longer to get dressed in the morning.

The Nook is FABULOUS! Big spends a lot of time there and it is not unusual for her to have to evict Baby from her bench so that she can have it to herself.

the nook bench

At some point we might have to put the doors back on the closet and use it for her clothes, but for now when I can’t find my older child I just peek my head in and there she is curled up with a book.

How to Survive a Heat Wave in TN

Today I am participating in Wordful Wednesday with ParentingByDummies and Seven Clown Circus.

I’ve been to areas where hot weather is the norm.
I’ve headed out the door at 5 a.m. in New Orleans only to wilt away in the 90+ heat index on my way to catch an airplane to the blessedly cooler mountains in Pennsylvania.

I’ve lived in areas where I thought I knew heat, after all Southwestern PA is not exactly cool all summer (unless you have air conditioning).
Well, I’m here to tell ya that I knew NUTHIN!

It’s still the end of May and at 9 a.m. this morning it was 90 degrees.

At 2 p.m. it was 100 degrees! By Friday it should be around 105 degrees with the actual heat index. I am sooooooo not looking forward to that one!

This Mama just looked at the thermometer and wanted to back slowly into the kitchen where she had some air conditioning.

So, how do you do HOT in TN when it’s not even summer yet?

Well, if you’re me (and why not, ’cause I’m fabulous!) you can try these tricks.

  1. Go to the pool with everyone else, their granny and their cousin Mertyl.

    I felt kinda sorry for some of those kids…there’s little more traumatizing to a child than to see their teacher (even if she is just a substitute) in a swimsuit and a glaring white non-tan! I’m so pale, I make my kids look tanned!

  2. Enjoy watching television inside under the fan. This is a great idea if you want to be sure to get your kids into a nice vegetative state! Really, my kids don’t do this all day…sometimes they play their DS’s instead!

    In case you were wondering, the girls are watching a portable DVD player, we only own one television and for some reason it does not play Mario Bros. cartoons or Barney.

  3. Drink lots of fluids! Alcohol doesn’t count unless you have LOTS of ice or Kool-Aid in it. I’m talking to the adults here! Kids should have their Kool-Aid sans alcohol anyways! You know who I’m talking to here… Geez…
  4. Set up an entire city in your living room so you can make the little people run your errands for you!

5. Count to 1,000 on paper…after you make the counting blocks…while enjoying the feel of a fan and air conditioning!

6. Find the closest body of water that is FREE and section off an area of the beach with crime scene tape so that it remains open just to you. When you hit the beach just lay flat on your back with your arms splayed out and pretend you are dead. To make it look more real, give your kids a bottle of cheap white sunscreen and have them outline you with it…it’s white, it could work! I bet you could get a whole beach to yourself doing that!

7. Go to the library! This is not just the librarian in me speaking. There is air conditioning at the library, and it is FREE! All you have to do is make sure you get your books returned on time! They have books, newspapers, computers, magazines and ours even has a television! Oooohhhhhh…..Aaaaaaahhhhhh….OOOOOOoooooooo!! (Seriously, I think it’s kinda cool to be able to sit on a couch and watch the news in the library).

8. Read a book. You don’t have to buy these (refer to trick #4). You can do a lot of reading over the summer from the coolness of the interior of your house, from by a swimming pool and even from the porch steps in the twilight.

9. Ice cream. No explanation needed.

10. If all else fails, sit on a block of ice.

Smile for G-Ma!

Today I am participating in Wordful / Wordless Wednesday with Parenting BY Dummies and Seven Clown Circus.

My Mother-in-Law loves to have pictures of her grandchildren. They are so very spread out in age that it is getting harder and harder to get everyone together, so when they are all in one place the cameras come out!

The older cousins have the capability of taking a serious picture, but they are usually too busy trying to wrangle the younger cousins. There is nothing easy about trying to get 4 teenagers and 3 small children to all look at the camera at the same time.

So, sometimes it’s better just to go with fun. This is my all time FAVORITE picture of my children with their cousins!

Several years have passed, the older cousins are no longer kids, but they still get directed to stand together so we can get a picture for G-ma. And, the older ones are still trying to get the younger ones in place. Ironically, the window behind them reads, “Why must you persecute me?”.

But, these little chicks know exactly where the camera is…

They’d just rather have fun!

And now we are 7

Okay, so this is sorta a love letter…it’s more of a celebration of all things Baby Sister

On May 11, 2004, God answered my prayer and blessed our family with a Rainbow Baby.*

When I found out I was having another girl, I thought, “GREAT! I’ve already got one of those! I’ll know what I’m doing!”

 My friends with kids just chuckled.

I was so wrong!

This child is the pepper to her sister’s salt. To say that my girls are Ying and Yang would be an understatement.

My Baby turned 7 last week. (If my Baby gets as old as my shoe size, does that mean I’m getting old? If so, I’ve got a few more years before I’m technically old ’cause I’ve got huge HONKIN feet!)

Today I’ve been counting my blessings and what I’ve learned from this magical child (besides patience). Here are just a few things I’ve learned from my Baby:


There is no such thing as too many Barbie dolls.

DO NOT BELIEVE the phrase, “Mama, I just need 1 more Barbie and then I will have just enough!” There will never be enough Barbies! They just keep making more of those stinking things! And they aren’t smart enough to paint the shoes on all of those stupid feet! And, that is why many of our Barbies appear sans shoes. “I’m sorry, Baby, I guess they forgot the shoes for this Barbie.” This also works for Polly Pockets.

Cookies need to be watched at all times when they are cooking. They might disappear from the pan between the time they go in the oven and the time they come out.

The more colorful the tights, the more stunning the outfit! This child owns tights with polka dots, stripes, flowers, panda bears, bows, etc. If it comes on tights, she owns them. She loves to wear dresses, so in the winter the tights are a staple of her wardrobe. 

Her Sissy would refuse to wear tights. Actually her Big would throw a door-slamming, scream-pitching hissy fit if I tried to get her to wear any tights that were more than plain white or black (and even then it is done with frowny faces and fussy noises).

Goggles aren’t JUST for swimming, they are a fashion accessory. Apparently swim goggles are a must when playing with a Barbie doll who is also a mermaid. “I’ve got to be able to see what she’s doing under water, Mom!” It just didn’t matter that she was only pretending that her Barbie was under water.

An outfit is not complete without accessories! “Do I look ridiculous in this, Mom?” No, Baby, you are gorgeous!

Nothing compliments an outfit better than a nice smile. (I had to come up with something, ’cause she’s sooo sweet in this picture!).

Costumes, what every fashionable Baby girl is wearing! This child would live in costumes, which should never be confused with theme oriented outfits like she would wear to school.

If you are lacking a costume, use whatever you can find and your imagination to make one.

There is nothing that a Pink Teddy can’t fix.

There is no such thing as too much pink.

It’s all about the ‘tude.

Flowers are for picking, even if some would consider them weeds. We do not treat our lawns (I’m sure our neighbors just L-O-V-E us!) so we grow dandelions and daisies. Every little girl should be able to make flower chains.

Santa is a shady character, ’cause he spies on you all year long!

It’s just NOT NICE to laugh at someone. Baby is one of those children who is just funny, especially when she’s being serious about something. It is so very hard not to chuckle at her, but she gets so very upset when you do! “I wasn’t telling a joke, Mom! I’m being serious here!”

And, when you forget the steps in the dance of life; just sit down and blow a kiss!

This list could just go on and on and on and on, but I’m going to stop here just for length reasons. 

So, these are just a few things that I might not have learned if it weren’t for my Baby. I can’t wait to see what she teaches us in the coming years, goodness knows it won’t be what we are expecting!

*Some of you may know the meaning of the term “Rainbow Baby,” but for those that don’t – a Rainbow Baby is a promise from God that someday you will hold a child in your arms in place of a child who never made it to your arms but forever remains in your hearts.

Big Foot, the Bad Kitty

Today I am participating in Wordful Wednesday with ParentingBYDummies.

We have been adopted by “Bad Kitty.”*

– illustration by Nick Bruel from “Bad Kitty.”

At least he looks like Bad Kitty.

Bad Kitty showed up on the Saturday before Palm Sunday looking ragged. He had big feet, so we called him Big Foot.

Bad Kitty looked so pathetic that I decided to feed him. We should have called him Big Mouth.

I know, I know… you shouldn’t feed strays, they’ll never leave.

Bad Kitty hasn’t left yet, at least not for long. He goes home for awhile and then comes back.

We have come to find out that Bad Kitty actually belongs to a house two away from ours, but apparently they have trouble keeping up with his stomach.

He has no problem eating out of our food dishes.

Hazel isn’t too thrilled with this new addition, notice the slightly arched back and concentrated glare she directed toward the interloper.

Queenie isn’t too thrilled either, but she isn’t quite as concerned because Bad Kitty isn’t allowed in the house.

If this were the stray cat we thought it was, I would have scooped it up and run it to the vet to check the health of the cat and to be sure it has all its’ shots and had been spade. But, this is the neighbor’s cat so we’ll keep putting out food. I’ll keep putting some topical flea and tick gunk on it. My cats will keep glaring at it. And, we’ll keep calling it Big Foot the Bad Kitty.

*Bad Kitty is a character that is the brain child of Nick Bruel and is the star of a series of fabulous children’s books.