Happy Memorial Day Everyone…

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Memorial Day, and I hope that everyone will take a moment sometime during the day to remember those who gave their lives for our country–and the families they left behind. 

Despite the fact that there are several veterans among my family, fortunately,  I don’t  know any fallen heroes personally.   However,  I am very aware of their existence and of the sacrifice that they made–and I am grateful.  I shudder to think what our country might be like if brave young men and women were not willing to serve and protect it.

We live just a few miles away from Ft. Stewart, Georgia, home of the 3rd ID.  The 3rd ID has always been a very large part of the war in Iraq, so of course there have been many casualties within the 3rd ID.  It saddens me every time I hear of another fallen soldier.  So many young husbands, fathers and sons, wives, mothers, daughters…gone too soon.

Let’s enjoy our day of family get-together, picnics, relaxing at the beach, fishing, swimming, or whatever, but as we do so, let’s remember what this holiday is really all about…Have a great day everyone!

Advertisements
Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Six Word Saturday…May 29

 

Welcome to the final Six Word Saturday of the month. Wow, where did May go? As always, thanks to Cate at http://www.showmyface.com  for hosting this great meme. 

As we all know, it’s Memorial Day weekend–the official start of the summer.  Therefore my  my six words for today are:

SUMMER’S HERE…GOING TO THE BEACH!

my hubby and our granddaughter playing in the surf...

What better weekend to have the entire family meet up at the beach, and have an old-fashioned picnic?  Wish us luck, I’m sure several thousand other families have the same idea…hope we can find a picnic table! 

Have a great weekend everyone, but don’t forget to remember what the holiday is really about.  God bless those who gave their lives in service for our great country.  My they rest in peace.

Published in: on May 29, 2010 at 7:26 am  Comments (6)  

The Tank…

In yesterday’s post I wrote about buying our first camper.  I also wrote about trying to pull it with my Mercury Monarch, and how the wind would cause the car to sway while we were going down the highway.  We traveled that first summer using my car to tow, but before the next summer came, Ed had purchased what I will lovingly refer to as “the tank”.

Ed knew what vehicle that he wanted to pull our camper–he’d always wanted one.  It was a work truck called a Suburban.  Keep in mind that this was back in the days before Suburbans became popular among the general population.  Back then, Suburbans were used primarily for work trucks, due to their size and durability.

Ed with his vehicles...his Toyota is towing his Suburban out the mud!

Again, I don’t remember how or where Ed found “The Tank”.  I do remember he said that he talked the owner into selling it to him for four thousand dollars.  It was a 1976 model truck, but it was still in pretty good shape.  It was painted a dark “gun metal” gray color, and had burgundy interior.  When Ed drove it home, my first impression was “it looks like a tank.”  The color was not especially pretty, but we weren’t worried so much about looks.

When we hooked our camper behind “the tank” our camping ensemble was l-o-n-g!  I can only imagine what we must have looked like rolling down the highway!  I was always amazed at my husband when he could back our camper into those sometimes tiny camping spots!  “The tank” was heavy enough that it never swayed, nor did it even act like towing put a strain on it.  After all, it was a work truck!

Sometimes we would take the third seat out of “the tank” so we could haul stuff in the back of it.  When we would put the third seat back in, sometimes we’d turn it facing the back of the vehicle.  The children enjoyed riding backwards!  “The tank” made a great vehicle to travel in because there was lots of room.  Again, I wonder what we looked like rolling down the road! 

Two major things that I remember about “the tank”.  First, was the gas mileage.  When we used the tank to tow the camper, we only got eleven miles per gallon. Ouch!  It was a good thing the gas tank held 40 gallons of gas, huh?  The other think I remember was the floorboard in the front would get hot after we rode for a while.  For some reason the heat from the motor made the floorboard get hot.   That was common in some of the older Chevy vehicles that we owned.

We used “the tank” to take us lots of places, and it always got us there and back.  It never left us stranded beside the road, although on one trip I was wondering…we actually turned around in mid-trip,  and headed straight for “our friend the mechanic’s” house to get the truck checked out…Luckily we knew two good mechanics who kept it in good running condition!

I used the tank one summer as a bus to pick up children for our church’s Vacation Bible School, and we used it sometimes to take church youth groups on outings.  I remember once, on a youth outing, one of the older girls thought “the tank” was ugly, and she was embarrassed to ride with us.  I had to sort of agree with her at the time…we had replaced the old rusty hood with a newer white one(see pic), and hadn’t  gotten it painted to match–yet!  We just laughed…what can you say???  It was our camping vehicle!

“The tank” gave us several years of faithful service, and it took us to many places.  We more than got our money’s worth out of it.  Finally, in the early nineties we decided to sell our faithful friend.  We decided to buy…..A NEW TANK…and that my friends is another adventure for another day…thanks for stopping by!

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 11:13 am  Comments (5)  

You Want To Buy A What???

Way back in 1986, when I was still a fairly young mother of three, my husband came home from work one day and told me that he would like to buy a camper.  My reply was “You want to buy a what?”  I didn’t know a thing about campers.  I’d only had one camping experience (in a tent–on an oyster bar) and it wasn’t a pleasant one!

Then my husband talked me into going and looking at some used campers.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how they managed to tuck all of the comforts of home in such a neat, small place.  Cute little kitchens, indoor plumbing…I was convinced–I agreed to get a camper!

I don’t remember how or where my husband found our first camper, I just remember him coming home and telling me that he’d found us a camper,  if he could work out all of the details.  It was an older camper that had just been sitting for a long time.  It wasn’t even for sale at the time.  The lady who owned it didn’t have a title for it anymore.  My husband talked her into selling it, had a title search done, and bought the camper from her for twenty-eight hundred dollars. The camper was quite dirty when Ed arrived home with it, but with some elbow grease and a  couple of cans of spray paint, it soon looked almost as good as new. 

our first camper...in the early days of camping

The best part about that camper was its layout and design.  It had a separate bedroom in the back that had two sets of bunk beds.  It had a large closet in between the beds.  We designated the whole back of the camper as the children’s space.  At that time we began camping, our children were ages 7, 4,  and eleven months.  One of the bottom bunks we made into a make-shift crib with a piece of wall paneling.  The rest of the area was large enough to hold all three children and plenty of toys to keep them occupied.  There was even a second fold-down table back there, so the children could have a table of their own.

I loved the little kitchen in that camper, and I cooked lots of meals in it!  It had lots of cabinets, a four burner stove with oven,  a large refrigerator, and a table large enough to accommodate all five of us.  There was room to sleep 4 more people when the table was taken down and the overhead cabinets were opened.  The bathroom had a cute little shower in it, which was perfect for bathing dirty little bottoms!  Best of all the air conditioner worked great!

We owned two cars at the time, and neither of them had a trailer hitch.  My car was a mid-sized Mercury Monarch, and had the power to pull a camper–even though it wasn’t really large enough.  We decided to get a friend to add a trailer hitch to my car.  The camper came with a special set of towing bars that were designed to take most of the weight of the camper off the car, and shift it to the camper wheels, so we figured we’d be okay.

We kept our early camping trips close to home.  There is a state park located just seventeen miles from our home–in the same town where my husband, Ed, was working at the time.  When Ed was “on call” at the hospital, we would spend those weekends at the state  park camping beside a large lake.  We combined work and pleasure!  If Ed got called in to do x-rays, he was usually back within thirty or forty minutes, so we barely had time to miss him.

We did venture about eighty miles away to the beach for a few times that first summer.  There is a large campground located on Jekyll Island and we’d stay there.  My car did fine as far as  towing the camper, but if the weather was windy or if an eighteen wheeler passed us on the highway, the car would sway from the weight of the camper behind it.  It soon became obvious that we would need to find something else to tow the camper with if we planned to do much traveling–but that’s a story for another day… so stay tuned!

Published in: on May 27, 2010 at 10:53 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: ,

Random Dozen…May 26

1. Would you rather host party or simply attend a party?  I’d rather host the party.  I enjoy doing all of the party preparations and decorations.

2. Tell us about the most memorable party you’ve been to.  I’d have to say our annual family Christmas Eve Party held a couple of years ago.  It was so much fun, and we laughed so hard!  One of the activities was making a Santa Suit with nothig but tissue paper and tape. (see bottom of this post for a pic)

3. What is one thing you hope for in the after-life?  being with my loved ones

4. What do you enjoy most about sunshine?  The brightness of it–the way it lights everything up.

5. When you attend a bridal/baby shower, do you prefer to bring your own gift or chip in with others to buy a larger gift?  I prefer to chip in with others.  I hate deciding what gift to give.

6. Would you rather have a FREE week of having your house cleaned or all of your meals cooked for you and your family? I’d rather have a free week of all meals cooked.  I hate cooking–come to think of it, I hate housework, too…

7. What song describes your mood today?  “Sunny” (thank you for the sunshine you bring…now the dark days are gone and the bright days are here…)Anyone else remember that song?  I’ve been suffering with headaches for quite a while, and they have finally gotten better!

8. What is something you received for your own bridal shower/wedding that you still own or use? (If you are not married, feel free to sub a gift you received a long time ago.)  Iced tea glasses to match my china.  My mother-in-law got them for me with S&H green stamps..(.who remembers those days??)  My husband-to-be had already bought the china  and stainless for me at Christmas while he was stationed overseas.  Wasn’t that thoughtful?

9. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is?  It’s hard to beat plain old chocolate!

10. When was the last time you felt “tested?” While trying to help plan a family vacation during the past week or so…the entire family was “tested”.

11. Movie popcorn  is a food that once I start eating I find really hard to stop.”  It’s so good!

12.Fear is the best motivation.  (It works everytime for me)

Thanks to “Lid” at http://www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com  for hosting Random Dozen. 

A fun Christmas Eve Party

Published in: on May 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm  Comments (3)  

Want A Headache? Plan A Family Vacation…

Last year eight members of our family went on a family vacation to the beach.  I rented a condo with 3 bedrooms, and 3 baths at Fernandina Beach, Florida.  I made all the plans, collected the money, everybody went, and we had a good time.  The only decision to be made was who got the master bedroom–they paid extra.  Hubby and I got the master bedroom…for sixty extra dollars a night.

family enjoying the pool last year on vacation

This year the eight of us decided to try  another family vacation, and go to Helen, in the north Georgia mountains this time.  Our youngest son, and his girlfriend also agreed to join the rest of the family, which puts the group up to ten.

  So…we set out to find a four bedroom cabin–reasonably pricedon the riverwith enough beds for eight adults and two children–preferably with a game room!  Just try finding a cabin that meets all of those requirements, and is available on the dates that we needed!  It’s a recipe for a sure-fire headache.

I can’t tell you how many of us were scouring the internet looking for a cabin!  We’d find one that we thought would do–only to find out somebody didn’t like something about it.  Heads were aching, tempers were beginning to flare.  Some of us got so aggravated we didn’t even care if we went anymore(yes, I am guilty, but not the only one…)

After finding and nixing several cabins, we finally all got together and had a family meeting discussing what we liked about this cabin and that cabin–something we should have done in the first place.  Through that meeting I think we all figured out what each family wanted in a cabin–which turned out to be the four things that I mentioned above.  

We found a listing for rent by a private owner that seemed to fit our needs, but the listing didn’t say how many beds the place had.  We sent an email and made numerous phone calls over the weekend trying to find out about the cabin.  In the meantime, we found a second cabin that had  the right amount of beds/baths, was available, but was located on a golf course instead of a river.  It had no game room, but did have access to a swimming pool and tennis courts.  I contacted the owner, and asked for reservations…then a couple of the men complained that they were not the “golf type”(my husband was one of them, but not the only oneThe headache was getting worse…

  It was nearly 24 hours later before one of us got a reply from the owner–the other two people never did get a reply…It was my daughter-in-law, Christina, who was the lucky one to get her call returned.  She found out that the cabin had just the amount of beds available that we would need!  It was too good to be true!(I sure hope not)  There is also access to the river from the backyard, and a game room! 

the perfect cabin...I hope

With the pefect cabin found, you’d think the problem would be solved…nope!  Nobody wanted to make the reservation!  Christina was willing, but didn’t have a credit card.  I had a credit card, but didn’t want to put this trip on it because I already have another trip pending on mine…My youngest son was willing, but has a low limit on his card, which may or may not be enough to cover reservations…Headache is getting worse… about to explode!   I’m thinking maybe this trip just isn’t meant to be…

Finally my daughter decides she will lend her credit card to the cause, but doesn’t want any part of making the reservation details.  Christina is willing to handle the details…As of a couple of hours ago, the reservation was made–problem solved–FINALLY–I hope!  I just broke the reservations  for the golf course cabin, so I hope this saga is over…Headache is beginning to feel better!

Stay tuned for more details of this trip in a couple of months…With a beginning like this, it’s sure to be a doozie!

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags:

The Day After, And I’m Still LOST….

Yes, I sat in front of the television with millions of other people last night and watched the season finale of Lost.  I recorded all of it, and didn’t actually sit down to begin watching until about 8:30.  I’m so glad I began an hour and a half late.  I’ve never seen so many commercials in my life!  My thumb got a real workout fast-forwarding through all of them!  I finished watching the show about the time it actually ended.  That means I saved myself an hour and a half of commercial watching.

I’m not a “die-hard” Lost fan, but I have watched most of the shows since it’s beginning six seasons ago.  I especially enjoyed the early seasons, but have become increasingly confused with the final seasons.  All of those flash forwards–then those flash sideways!  Oh, please, it was just too much for my feeble mind!  I kept wondering to myself…what are the guys writing this show smokin’?  However, I liked several of the characters on the show, and found myself drawn into their lives…especially Jack and Kate.

Despite my growing confusion, I couldn’t make myself stop watching.  For me it was sort of like watching a train wreck–I wanted to turn away, but couldn’t make myself.  I know it’s weird, but I think the show had that kind of effect on a lot of people.  The fact that my husband sat and watched the show with me each week–and sat and watched the finale until after 11 o’clock speaks volumes for the allure of the show.  Ed rarely watches any television show–especially one that lasts after 10 o’clock!

So Ed and I sat together,  and watched “The Finale”…which sort of made sense, but sort of didn’t.  We were still left with many unanswered questions–just like always.  I even sat and watched the show “Jimmy Kimmel Aloha Lost” which followed the finale.  Many of the cast members of the show were guests, and I was hoping some of them would enlighten me about the ending–like “Why wouldn’t Ben come inside the church with everyone else?” or “Did the people on the plane actually escape the island?”  Alas, it was not to be…I found no answers on Jimmy Kimmel. 

It was after 1 o’clock when I finally got in the bed–and after 3 a.m.  before I went to sleep.  After four hours of being immersed in “Lost Land”, I had trouble getting lost in “La La Land”!  Today may be a  l-o-n-g  day… 

Well, I may be a bit confused and lost about Lost, but I do have a winner for the Patriotic Wind Chime.  The number chosen by Random.org was 66.  The winner is Ruth from http://www.daretobeused.blogspot.com  Ruth guessed the number 65, which is…very close!  Congratulations, Ruth.

Published in: on May 24, 2010 at 10:09 am  Comments (1)  
Tags:

Six Word Saturday…May 22

I’m back….I took last weekend off from blogging and doing SWS.  This week I’m back to join in the fun.  If you enjoy this meme, hop on over to join up at Cate’s place http://www.showmyface.com

Junior

My six words for this Saturday are:  This dog can predict the weather!

This dog’s name is Junior and he can tell when the weather is going to get bad.  Once when he was a much younger dog, he was caught outside in a tornado.  Since then, Junior is terrified of bad weather. 

If a storm is on the way, but hasn’t reached yet reached our area, Junior starts getting “antsy”.  Once we notice his behavior, and check the weather on television–sure enough we will be under a storm watch or a storm warning.  It’s like he has a sixth sense.

Junior belongs to my daughter and her family, and is an outside dog.  He causes so much ruckus when the weather turns bad, they have to let him inside the house until the storm passes.  His place is usually inside the bathroom.

Poor Junior is getting on in years, and has  heart worm disease.  I don’t think he’ll be with us too much longer.  We’ve become so accustomed to his  weather predictions, we’ll be lost without him.  In the meantime, we’ll love him and heed his advice about the weather–he predicted another storm last night!

***Just a reminder that you can still guess a number between 1 and 100 to win this patriotic wind chime.  I’ll be taking guesses until after midnight EST on Sunday.  The person guessing closest to the number chosen by Random.org,  without going over wins.  You can guess a different number each day.  Have a great weekend!  Kathy

Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 10:35 am  Comments (6)  
Tags:

Celebrating Graduates Everywhere…

my youngest son, Brad, in 2003 before h/s graduation

It’s high school graduation weekend in our little community.  The culmination of fourteen years of schooling for most of our children.  Thank goodness, the last of my own children graduated seven years ago, but  as a former employee of our school system, this time of the year is always special to me.  Each year when the newspaper prints the pictures of our graduating seniors, I scrutinize every one of them looking for names and faces of former first-grade students. 

In my early years of working in first-grade, my teacher and I had a lot of under-achieving/problem students in our class.  We’d have about two or three top performing students,   maybe six average students, and about ten to twelve under-achievers.  We had our work cut out for us!  The teacher, Mrs.”T”,  was a strong disciplinarian, and it was a good thing.  She spent half of her time teaching, and the other half trying to keep order in the classroom.   Every year when I look at the graduating class, I usually only count five or six of our former students. This year I only counted four former students among the graduates.   Of those four students, one was an honor graduate of merit.

I can’t help but wonder what in the world became of the rest of our former class.  Nineteen or twenty children in first-grade, four of them make it to graduation–that’s three-fourths of the class unaccounted for!  Did they move away? Did they quit school and get married?  Every now and then I’ll see one of our former students on the front page of the newspaper–after they’ve been busted for a crime.  Those are the former students that kept us busy keeping order in the classroom!  It appears that they never changed their behavior. 

As a former educational assistant, I take great pride in the accomplishments of former students.  It makes me feel good to know that my hard work of teaching and laying the foundation for future learning paid off.  It was worth all of the hours spent listening to a child read aloud, or reinforcing a newly learned math skill.  All of those sight word and math games that I invented were successful after all!   

When I am at a high school graduation, you can bet that my heart is every bit as proud of my former students as it was of my own children when they walked across that stage to receive their diploma.  I’m especially proud of the average and below average students who have to work a little harder for what they achieve. 

As the parent of one “good solid average” student, and two “gifted” ones, I can tell you that my average one worked at least twice as hard for her accomplishments as her brothers did for theirs!  There should be some kind of scholastic recognition for this, in my opinion.  It’s one of those areas where life just isn’t fair. 

I’ll close in saying “Congratulations, high school graduates, everywhere.  I applaud you for your hard work and perseverance.  Best wishes to you, now and in your future endeavors.  I’m so happy that you made it.”

Published in: on May 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags:

Along For The Ride…

Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning, and think I’ve just got to get out of this house!  Yesterday was one of those days.  I called my daughter, Brandy,  and discovered that she was feeling the same way.  We quickly decided to get dressed and take what we commonly refer to as a “road trip”.  I bought the gas, she did the driving. 

When granddaughter, Madison, heard that we were going on a road trip, she asked if we were going to “Chuck E. Cheese”.  Well…not exactly where we had in mind, but what the heck!  We quickly made plans.  On the way to town to do a couple of errands,  Brandy and I noticed that my daughter-in-law was at home, so we decided to call and see if she and grandson, Caden, would like to come along on our “road trip”.  Within forty-five minutes we were  on our way to “Chuck E. Cheese”. 

loaded up and ready to go

It was a funny sight–  the two moms in the front seat, two kids in the second seats, and grandma in the back–with her pillow!  I laughed and told my daughter that when I bought the “egg van” 15 years ago, I never dreamed I’d still be riding in it–as a passenger.  It’s a good thing we kept it around–it’s the only vehicle big enough to hold everyone!  Soon everyone settled in for the hour and fifteen minute ride to Chuck’s place.

Funny thing about “Chuck E. Cheese”…Brandy and I do not like their pizza.  We’ve tried it twice, and just can’t eat it.  So…we stopped at McDonald’s halfway through the trip and ate lunch!  The McDonald’s in this particular town is decorated like none I’ve ever seen.  Apparently the people in this town love to hunt.  We ate lunch under what Madison refers to as “the reindeer”.  I just had to share a picture.

gotta' love that deer head--not!

By one o’clock we arrived at Chuck’s place, and the fun began!  Caden and his mother had never been to Chuck E. Cheese before, so boy did he have some eyes!  He didn’t quite know what to think about the giant singing mouse on the stage, but he loved all of the games and people.  He was quite funny riding those little kiddie rides–his eyes would grow very large when they began to move.  He’d run all around and say “Wats zat?”

that's some big mouse!

This was Madison’s third trip to Chuck’s, and I think she had the best time ever.  She enjoyed it more this time because she had cousin Cade along.  They had the best time together.  As Madison is growing older, she’s able to play more of the games–like whacking the sharks on the head…

bopping that shark

After spending three hours at Chuck’s place, we ended our trip by stopping for a quick trip at the Outlet Mall, followed by Sonic for ice cream!  Nothing this grandma loves any better than sitting in the backseat with her pillow–eating a banana split!  That’s pretty close to heaven on earth…

 I had such a good time!  Sometimes it’s great to be “along for the ride”.  I enjoyed watching two beautiful children having the time of their lives–and I got to watch their mothers run around and keep up with them.  I felt very grandmotherly yesterday, but it was a great feeling!  Now, when’s that next road trip???

Published in: on May 20, 2010 at 10:14 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,