Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Biloxi Beach!

We took a little mini vacation over to visit Mississippi Gulf Coast. We actually stayed in Gulfport, MS as it is only a few hours away from home and we figured that would be an easy destination.  Biloxi is just a short drive from there and there's a lot to do in that direction.   It's on a much smaller scale in comparison to the bigger beach towns like Gulf Shores, AL.  We stayed in a nice condo across the street from the beach.  I was so amazed at how deserted it was.  We walked over to the beach every evening, and we were the only people out there.  Pretty as it was, the beach just isn't as nice at it is in Alabama/Florida.   Not that it was bad, but I still feel like we need to go on a 'real' beach trip to make up for it.  Overall, it was a nice little trip.  Biloxi is close enough and it would be great if we could make weekend visits there more often!

We did some shopping at the outlet mall and regular mall.  We visited The Institute for Mammal Marine studies, hit the gigantic arcade at Margaritaville, ate at several restaurants, and did a little bit of relaxing. 

And you know what?  Even though I had my pocket camera with me the entire time, not once did it leave my purse!  All I have are a bunch of iPhone pics....   oh well. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's summer!

We wrapped up the school year at the end of May...  so long 5th grade and 7th grade!  Veronica was invited to join Beta Club next year and she also signed up for 6th grade choir.  Valerie ran for Beta Club Treasurer and she WON!  Valerie also had her spring band concert.  Both girls finished the year with straight A's and received awards for their accomplishments all year.  Next year will be interesting with band, and choir, and beta, and 4-H!!

We also had our final dance recital at the school Val and Roni have gone to for the last seven years.  The owner has decided to call it quits and close the school.  Valerie has decided that she is done with dancing and will focus on band.  She will be in marching band in another year, so dancing probably would have been difficult to keep up with.  I was so sad when she told me she wanted to quit.  It was a rough moment at the end of the recital with lots and lots of tears as they said goodbye to their dancing school and friends.  The end of an era.  Veronica does want to continue, so she will go back to the school we went to before this one.

Clint set up our pool right after school let out, but it's been raining almost every day!  I've gotten in it a few times.  The kids don't have a whole lot of interest in it unless they have friends over.  I hope we have some sunshine ahead so I can have a lazy day or two in the pool!

Sunday, June 03, 2018

The summer of Bella

I've got some catching up to do....  but first, Bella.

Bella is our Siamese mix seven year old cat.  She's always been a big girl. Right from the start, she was much bigger than her brother, Perriwinkle.  At one point, she was so round in the middle she could not fit through the pet door.  She'd get stuck and rattle the door as she tried to squeeze through.  We'd open the door for her and shake our heads in disbelief that this cat was so big.

I DID put her on a diet.  I cut way back on dry food and switched to canned.  Bella DID lose some weight and could fit through the pet door again.   Bella was still pretty big, cat wise.  She'd often beg for endless water, either in the sink or in her bowl.  She was always in the litter box, like 10-15 times a day.  She was fat and lazy and we'd often watch her laying around listlessly and say, "there's something wrong with that cat."

Unfortunately, we were right.  Bella has diabetes.  A diabetic cat.  The vet referred to her as a "happy diabetic," meaning, it hasn't affected her behavior just yet.  She's still a happy cat being a cat.  All of her other labs came back normal.  So here we are with a new routine of needles, insulin, a diet, vet visits, and tests. Yes, we have to give this cat insulin shots.  Give. Cat. Shots. Twice. A. Day.  She tolerates it somewhat, but we have a long ways to go.  At some point, we need to get where we can prick her ear and test her glucose level at home with a meter.  Sounds impossible, but apparently it can be done and mastered!!  I know she's just a cat, but she isn't.  She's part of our family.  The things we do....

My whole summer is going to be spent fooling with this cat.  I just know it.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A little springtime

We had some beautiful spring days here in the South back in April.  Mild temps, sunny, and clear blue skies.  I could deal with this kind of weather all year around, but the summer heat was right around the corner....

We took the opportunity to tackle a few tasks outside.  I revamped the front porch a bit.

My Mom bought this glider swing for us the summer after our house was built 14 years ago.  It was nice to sit on but it was big and bulky.  Time had left it weathered and just not visually appealing anymore.  The arm rests were junk collectors.  I decided it was time for a change, so we did this:

The rockers take up much less space and have a nice curb appeal.

I also decided to paint my front door a deep red.  I love red and have so much red around this house...  what's a little more?!

I also made the wreath with flowers from The Dollar Tree.  Not too bad -- just don't look too closely!!

Eventually I'd like to paint the porch a shade or two darker green, but that also involves painting the gables.  That will wait for another time.

We also spruced up our flowerbed.  Surprisingly nearly everything survived the winter snow.  I only lost a lantana and my hisbiscus plants didn't fare well.  I picked up a bunch of $1 clearance flowers from Lowe's and we replaced the hibiscus bushes with a jasmine bush.  Most everything is growing nicely. 

Veronica's orange tree is doing fairly well.  I believe it was in first grade she smuggled home an orange seed from school and asked to plant it.  Clint germinated it, stuck it in some dirt, and here it is!  It has yet to produce any oranges, but we'll give it a few more years.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Happy Easter!

Apparently The Bunny's got jokes:

Easter fell on April 1st, aka April Fool's Day and The Bunny couldn't pass up the one and only opportunity to be a prankster.  Yes, that is a big ole' pile of cleaning supplies!!!  The Bunny passed rather early and went to bed.

Around 12:45am, Veronica tip-toed into our room and leaned on me to give me a big hug.

She whispered, "The Easter Bunny pranked us.  It's April Fool's.  He left us cleaning stuff.  But there's real baskets on the table.  I saw them!"

So I got up with her and was "surprised" and "amused" and shuffled her back to bed.  Thankfully we all slept in a bit Easter Sunday morning.

I do believe this was our last Easter for the bunny to visit.  Veronica seemingly still believes, but she also has her doubts.  Valerie knows but has yet to let us know that she knows.  At least she is playing along, for now.

Easter was low-key.  We barbecued and sat around most of the day.  That about sums it up!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Catching up....

Right before we left for our vacation, ten year old Veronica came home with these beauties:

APPARENTLY there was a parish awards ceremony for test scores and APPARENTLY we missed it.  We were Not.Told.About.It.  Veronica made a perfect score in Science, which is a huge accomplishment on these state required assessments.  I'm still pretty pissed that we missed the ceremony and probably will be for a long time.  I'm not even sure who's to blame, but it seems someone would have made sure the recipients were all invited to attend.

That same ten year old is now eleven!!  Gosh, it's hard to believe my baby girl is eleven.  We celebrated with a birthday party by inviting a bunch of Veronica's friends to our house.  I don't even know how many kids she invited, but she had a nice turn out and got some really cool gifts.  It was a perfect day weather wise and I think everyone had a great time.

Then THIS happened:



It's been nearly three years since she got those braces.  She was only ten when this journey began!  It's been a long road of painful adjustments and pokey wires. Valerie actually got a little teary eyed when she saw herself with out them.  She looks so different than the little kid with the overbite.  Now she has to deal with the joys of wearing a retainer, which she seems to be handling well so far.  She has to wear it almost 24/7 for three months, then she can switch to just at night.  Her smile is absolutely beautiful now!!  Not that my girl wasn't beautiful before, but nobody wants to go through life with jacked up teeth if they don't have to.  

what a difference!

As for me, I've been trying my best to get back to the gym five days a week. I haven't gained any weight in pounds, but I have put on inches for some reason.  It seems someone is always sick or there's an appointment I have to go to.  Three days a week is better than none, but I'm aiming for five!  I've been thinking about challenging myself to do six or seven days a week for stretch of time, but that might be pushing it.  I like the gym I am at, but my fav instructor just left which is a real bummer.  I am not a total class person but there are a few classes that I did enjoy every week.  There's a brand new Planet Fitness that opened a few months ago that is dirt cheap.  It's a few minutes farther from my house, but I plan on checking it out this summer.

And...  one last thing.  I'm taking bets.  How long before the 11 year old is taller than me AND Valerie??

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Us vs. The World

Disney World, that is.

Fitbit Stats 

We've been back for a few weeks from our annual visit to Walt Disney World!!  I love me some Disney World, but this trip was so chaotic from the start. We used to go during Mardi Gras break and it was busy, but bearable.  This time though -- wow WOW wow.  The crowds, the lines, the traffic...    Every year it just seems to get worse.  I don't think there is a slow time to visit anymore.

We left a day earlier than we originally planned on a Thursday after school and drove to Pensacola, FL for the night.  The kids skipped school on Friday and we drove on to Orlando.  We were using Waze to guide us and we were about 2 hours from our destination for the night when Waze had us exit off Interstate 75.  I was driving and traffic was crazy, and I was bitching the whole time.  It made no sense.  Why did it send us on these back country roads full of cows??  Little did we know there was a terrible accident ahead of us.  An SUV blew a tire and flipped several times closing the Interstate.  Our neighbors were driving to Orlando too, and they were stuck for three hours.  Okay... technology for the win!!  The detour added about 30 minutes to our trip but I will take that over sitting in gridlock for three hours any day.

Over all we had a great time.  We did all four parks - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.  Valerie was feeling brave and rode some of the bigger rides all alone.  No coasters for me!!  We ate good food.  Did some shopping.  Watched awesome parades and saw several of the fireworks shows.  Clint and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary while there on Valentine's Day, too!

Once again we attended Disney After Hours.  Only then did we catch a break from the lines and the crowds!!  I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity.  We did SO much in those three hours in a fairly empty MK in comparison to the crowded afternoons. I'm crossing my fingers it's offered next year while we are there.

The trip was non-stop, but I feel like we missed out on a lot though.  We never made it to Tom Sawyer's Island.  We didn't get to ride the train or stand on the platform and look down Main Street.  We didn't ride Dumbo.  We didn't even take that many pictures.  We met ZERO characters.  None!!  We didn't get to ride It's A Small World or Peter Pan until the very last day.  After thinking about it, I think I figured out the problem.  Our schedule was completely reversed this trip.  Usually we are up very early to hit the parks at opening before it gets busy.  This time we had many late nights and closed the parks several times, so we slept in somewhat and took our time heading out.  It seemed to really throw us off and I think we have learned we do better with our early morning routine.  Getting up early on vacation sucks, but when you can knock out all of Fantasyland before lunch it might be worth the effort.

Until next year.....

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Winter needs to die

This was a few days ago when we had our third round of arctic air dip south.  Windchill of 4 degrees in the South??  The night before this, we were on snow watch again.  It seems we just got ice though, maybe some flakes mixed in.  It wasn't anything like the unexpected snow we had in December.

School was cancelled due to the threat of ice on bridges.  This is swampland and you can't go anywhere with out crossing a bridge.  Cold temps I can deal with just fine and all was well until Wednesday afternoon.  When freezes come, people run their water to avoid busted pipes.  We're on a cement slab and our plumbing in several feet deep, so it isn't necessary for us.  Many houses are off the ground though, and frozen pipes will happen.  Running all that water puts a big strain on the water system, and it isn't out of the ordinary to have low water pressure during a freeze.

Wednesday afternoon I was cooking supper, and when I ran the water in the kitchen, I noticed the water pressure was rather low.  It had happened during the last freeze right after Christmas, so I didn't think a whole lot of it.  I took a break from the kitchen and saw several posts on Facebook of people having NO water at all.  I decided just in case, I'd fill the tub, and it filled very slowly, but I'm glad I did.  It wasn't long before my weak stream of water faded to a thin spaghetti stream.... then to nothing.  No running water at all. 


I know that sounds absurd to loose water due to a cold front, right??  Our entire small town had very little to no running water.  The FB rumors were flying and nothing was being said by local government.  Nothing at all.  Calls were made and every caller reported back with different stories.  It was a power failure at the pumps.  They were just "out of water."  How can the water company be out of water??  On and on, lots of FB drama.  Lots of angry people.  Lots.  No official word from the water district or timeline of repair.   I caved on day two after hearing it would be days or a week before water was restored and rented a cheap hotel room just so we could get a hot shower!!

In the end, the official reason given was that the running water and busted pipes put such a strain on the water system, that it couldn't keep up.  The tanks were empty.  Oddly enough, after several people reached out to the media, a news station in New Orleans paid our town a visit to do a story on our water situation, and miraculously our water was restored by that evening.  Coincidence???

Three days with out running water was miserable.  No water to wash, cook, or 'flush.'  It's predicted we'll have a few more cold spells soon too.  Winter needs to go away as we do not have the infrastructure to handle this kind of cold.