What’s next

Now that things are winding down on the house, what am I going to do with all that free time? There are still things that need to be done at the other house but we are going to work mostly on the weekends finishing those projects. So that opens up a whole lot of time for me. I definitely need to paint some of the furniture I’ve stock-piled and pay some attention to my booth. It has been sadly neglected for way too long. There are also many, many unfinished projects in our house that need some love. I have gained a whole new level of confidence after all the work I’ve done at Elliott so I am more than ready to start gutting our bathroom and kitchen, two long over due projects that I have wanted done forever. I think Dan would say I need to wait until loads of money magically appear before those two projects can be started. But that’s OK I have several projects that are only 1/2 done that need to be finished first.

But our immediate, as in right this very moment, plan is for our first ever trip out of the state together without the kids. We have travelled LOTS with the kids and LOTS separately, but strangely never together without the kids. Dan had a continuing ed/ financial seminar that he could go to at the Opryland Resort so I decided to join him for a long weekend.

I was expecting a very lush, extravagant room after hearing stories of previous trips he went on without me. And the lobby/ atrium/ grounds did not disappoint but sadly when we got into our room it was just a typical boring room with no balcony overlooking all the lush gardens. I was so disappointed! When we walked over to the convention center to get Dan registered we struck up a conversation with another family that was here for the conference. They mentioned that they upgraded their room so the could get a balcony room. Duh! why didn’t we think of that? While Dan was at the opening talk I went back to the room called guest services and asked if I could get that upgrade, yes there was one balcony room left! So the bellhop came up to the room and helped me get all settled in our new room. And here is our new view from our balcony:



And these are just a few pictures from around the atrium, well one of the atriums. This place is massive! We walked for about an hour last night trying to decide where to eat dinner. Of course, we kept getting lost and that added to the walking. I think the wine I had just drank didn’t help with us getting lost so much either.


All the waterfalls are so loud it kinda sounds like our room when we stay at the ocean. This morning when the doors were opened I could sit in bed drinking my baileys and coffee and pretend that we were in Emerald Isle. Sadly this trip has no fishing for Dan.


And this is where I’m heading in about an hour, for my pedicure and facial. Yes, while Dan is sitting through several hours of financial talks I will be having a leisurely day at the spa! I’m really wondering why I didn’t join him for these conferences in the past?


I think I’m going to really enjoy being done with that full time job I had for the past 4 months!

The Seattle Gum Wall

Our family has just returned from a 2 week vacation in Seattle. I grew up in Seattle and most of my family still lives there. Some grouping of us travels back to Seattle at least once a year to visit. The kids have made plenty of treks to Seattle throughout their lives, when we’re in town we have our favorite places we like to visit (Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Pike Place Market, Lake Washington, Ivar’s on the waterfront, Taco Time, Vince’s Pizza, Hmm I guess a few of them center around food.) But somehow in all of my many travels around the city I had never heard of “The Seattle Gum Wall.” We were with some out of state friends visiting Pike Place Market when they mentioned the wall and directed us to it. Just down the side stairs from where the fish are being thrown at the market.

Beth thoroughly enjoyed the grossness of the wall.


Don’t worry she didn’t really tough her tongue to the wall.


One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.

Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.

Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

It was quite an impressive site to see. Now that I know of its existence I noticed the souvenirs being sold at various shops down on the waterfront. How did I miss this in all of my previous trips downtown. IMG_2849


Fishing, fishing and more fishing

Every year some grouping of men and (sometimes) kids go on a charter fishing trip during our family vacation. It often has mixed reviews. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, other times no fish are biting. But this time everything was perfect. Dan, his brother Ron, brother-in-law Mike and Dad all went out on the boat and it was a perfect day of catching lots of big fish.

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Here’s Ron bringing in the huge 35 pound Amberjack (the fastest fish in the ocean, according to Dan.) It took him about 40 minutes to get it reeled in. He started tiring out (Ron not the fish) and wanted to pass the pole off to Dan, but according to fishing rules once you start reeling it in you have to see it through. Work through the burn Ron!


Mike caught a King Mackerel, 15 pounds


Ron, Dan and the Amberjack: (I made a fishing faux paux that is sure to bring bad luck to my hubby fisherman, I showed a picture of Dan holding Ron’s giant fish, big No-No! So that picture has been replaced with a picture of Ron holding theAmberjack and his dad cheering him on:


Dan’s holding 4 Spanish Mackerel, they were about 5 pounds each, which is pretty big for that fish. I’m not sure what his Dad is holding in the picture.


What a strange looking shark, its a Mako shark


A smaller Spanish Mackerel caught in the surf, catching a Mackerel in the surf is pretty exciting even if it is smaller than the ones caught off the boat.


Thomas fishing in the surf


Dan cast netting, that’s how they catch some of their bait. They usually get little minnows from cast netting.


The cast net is trickier than it looks.



That’s a pretty big sand shark Dan caught in the surf, right where all the kids are playing! They catch more sharks than anything fishing in the surf. Which is why I don’t go in the water very often.

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Little flounders caught in the surf, not enough meat to eat them so throw them back!


Jordan was sure there was a fish on so she reeled in the line. No fish…


So mommy has to cast it back out

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Dan loves to fish, he would spend every day fishing if he could and when we’re at the beach he does.

Reading on the Beach

Everyone loves to read on the beach, well everyone except my kids, Nina and Dan. You won’t see any pictures of them sitting around reading, they’re always too busy doing something else: fishing, digging, swimming, watching TV, texting anything but reading.

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Here are my non-readers…


Digging away.



I love my zoom lens!

Dan catching a shark


That’s my foot, so far that’s about the only picture of me on the beach.


My niece, Nicole (her brother Joey is working in Alaska for the summer and sister Kelly just got in last night.)


another shot of Nikki


another niece, Maddi


and another niece Jordan being held by nephew, Mark


and there’s more, Daniel holding Emmy


and yet another niece, Nina (her brother Ronnie is stuck at Case Western for the summer, so he didn’t get to join us.)


I’ve almost got them all, here’s Annie with brother Mark


I just can’t resist taking pictures of Daniel

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Emmy playing with her minnows


Dan’s oldest sister, Chris (also mom to Mark and Annie)


Dan’s mom, Marilyn


Dan’s parents strolling on the beach


The neighbor’s umbrella, seemingly ineffective


Daniel building a sandcastle

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Hmm I had to search for a picture of Beth. Here she is with her cousins; Mark, Nina and Annie.


and last but not least, Thomas


Buried in the sand

I’m not sure why this is such a common beach activity, being buried in the sand. Personally I would hate it, but all the kids seem to love being buried. They beg each other to bury them and they even bury themselves. They dig really deep holes so they are actually vertical and not just laying flat in the sand. They bury themselves close to the water so when the tide comes in they have to fight to get out. They never want help escaping from their entombment preferring the challenge of getting out all alone. They bury themselves in the heat of the day so we have to put a hat on them to avoid sunburn. Sometimes they use their sandy hole to avoid getting too much sun, like Beth did on the first day to prevent even a little bit of a tan.

Here are Jordan and Emmy enjoying all the attention from their older cousins:

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The girls weren’t so comfortable being buried together so Emmy had to do it again all by herself.


Nina’s turn:

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Next came Mark, notice the lovely lady figure his cousins gave him in the sand. Mark positioned himself in his hole sitting on his hands (no one knows why) it made his escape even that much more difficult.

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Daniel lucked out with a muscular caricature and 6 pack abs. When you’re buried you never know what type of body your cousins will give you.



More proof of that new sibling bond, a head massage. I did have to tell her you weren’t suppose to injure a person during a massage, a light rubbing will do.


Summer Reading #3

I really should change that to beach reading because there is no way I will keep up this pace the rest of the summer! I loved the last book I finished, Sister’s Choice by Emilie Richards. It was a much bigger (538 pgs) and meatier book than the other two.

It looked at the relationship between 2 sisters (how appropriate considering my last post) being a surrogate, quilting, a relationship with a sexy carpenter and living in a small town on an apple orchard. What’s not to love? Every time I read a book that includes quilting in the story line (and a lot of books do) it makes me want to start quilting this one even made me want to join a quilting bee.

Midway through the book it starts telling the story of Grandma Grace and how she ended up on the apple orchard. At first I wasn’t sure I liked the flashback since it was taking me away from the original story but it hooked me in too and I could wait for the next glimpse into the past.

Some parts were predictable, about 50 pages in I could guess how it was going to end but the journey there was worth the read. I plan on searching out more books by this author. This one was part of the Shenandoah Album series, while I’m not entirely sure what that means, I’m guessing its more books about the town where the story took place.