Those Balloons Again

Every year, on the 4th of July, we wake up at the crack of dawn.

And every year, on the 4th of July when we wake up at the crack of dawn…

I, without fail, think to myself…

“what on EARTH are we doing?!! And…

…why on EARTH are we doing it?!”

But also, without fail, as we drive down to the park and start to see all the familiar things…

the balloons…

the foooooood…

the people…

the sleepy people,

the fascinated people…

the happy-to-be-here people…

the loving people…

I am once again reminded why it is that we do this…

all of this.  It’s because we will take…

all the opportunities that we can to pull all these sweet, dear people together…

to remind each of  us of everything there is to be grateful for…

so that we never,  ever forget.

Happy 4th of July my friends.

A Trip To Hogwarts

All these lucky ducks must have gotten their “letters” because they all got to go to HOGWARTS for Spring Break.

Kindly note who is not in these pictures. *Welp.* Alas, I wasn’t tough enough for all the walking that this trip would mean.

But the pictures soothed my whiney, ache-y heart. Would you look at THAT?! It’s the Hogwart’s Express! Who wouldn’t want to ride on that awesome thing?!!

And there she blows–just coming into view…

that mystical, magical Hogwart’s castle!! Isn’t it just beautiful?

They had lunch in Hogsmead…

…and even found good, old Hagrid’s house.

It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t go. I love magical, fanciful, whimsical places and things too much to be satisfied with a “fly by.” I would have wanted to stay for dayyyyyys and dayyyyyys…

and days.

My sweet boy brought back some awesome prizes for me though. These are Exploding Bon Bons. They were orange and pineapple flavored white chocolate with fizzy bits inside. Think Pop Rocks.

Of COURSE he brought home a Chocolate Frog!

I’d love to show you the whole, actual, chocolate frog…but something…ummm happened to it. ANYway…

…some lovely cards came with it too. So glad to have Dumbledore.

Ton-Tongue Toffee is probably my favorite. English Toffee with almonds on top. Yummo.

And now…to the dreadful part. Jelly Slugs?! Gag. The very idea is hideous.


we opened the box and this is how we found them. Doesn’t it look like they are trying to crawl out? Yak!

I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to taste them and good thing too. Everyone who did said they were disgusting. Honestly, what could you expect?!  Barf.

Ooooooh–a Dark Mark sucker!!! Spooky! We haven’t tried this one yet because it’s a gross and horrible thing and looks more spooky left in the package.

My very best prizes of all are the Love Potion and Felix Felicis Potion that he brought me. Hee heee! If you need any liquid luck, you know where to go.

What a ton of fun they had. SOME day, I’m determined to go myself. I will. I will.

And it will be simply magical.

To Find My Boy

Out of the blue–we got news that our Daney boy and his family would be in Las Vegas for about a week–there was only one thing to do…


Awesome too that Lily & Beckham both had soccer games there that week as well. Double duty roadtrip! Wahoooo!

We made a quick stop at the Creamery–you know…

long enough to get and ice cream cone, and get our picture taken with  a cow. Heh, heh.

We drove, and drove and drove until the lights of the city came into view.

Now, honestly, none of us are particularly huge fans of Vegas. The whole place feels kinda creepy to tell the truth. But if my wandering Texas boy and his birdies are here then we’ll forge ahead!!

Ok, nowwww I feel better. Haha. Seriously though, it did make me happy to see the Trump hotel. So dang awesome.

Good old Nate found our hotel in no time and checked us in. Then all we had to do was wallllllllk to our rooms.

This place was so huge that there was an airport type moving walkway just in the nick of time!

Though I whined…I did not, in fact, die–as you can see.

Ahhhhhh….what a lovely room!! And what cute kids!

After a good night’s sleep, we were off to find my Texas boy!

We found them!!! Oh, it was so good to see Dane and Kortney, sweet little Merrick and Skylie and Linky.  I didn’t take the pictures that I should have because I was too busy hugging them all.

This breakfast joint was the meetup place for the rest of the family travelers!

I know that other than Dane’s family–we all live right by each other, but for some reason it was just so nice to sit there and look around at everyone. I kept thinking–“These are allllll mine.”

So, so good to see them again. And SO incredibly good to have all my family in one room– even if it was just for a little while.

And did I mention–the food here was great too! The pancakes were bigger than the plate!

My BLT looked positively dangerous!

It was scrumptious, although I had to dismantle it before I could eat it. Nobody’s mouth opens that big.

After that– some folks went shopping…

site seeing…

did some soccer-y stuff…

and caught the water show at the Bellagio. Believe it or not, I stayed in the car in the parking lot because it was just too much walking for me. Look at these little treasures, would you?

Mine. Mine. Mine.  Heh, heh.

I spent the last night at the soccer condo so that I could teach my class from there, Saturday morning.

The crazy boys stayed up half the night playing games. They laughed so much I thought someone would be sick.

We came home after two lovely days with all my kiddos together. I’m pretty sure that this is what Heaven is like.

My Heaven anyway.


2023 For Real

For anyone who doesn’t think time is going by SO much more quickly than ever before in human history…


Not, complaining, mind you. I mean, I’ll take any chance I can get to hang out with all these cool people–playing games…

working puzzles…

eating April’s INCREDIBLE Cheese fondue…

or just sitting quietly on the carpet with a couple of fan girls.

But so help me, I was just getting used to writing 2022–kinda liked it actually- very fun and curly–and now, forget about it. Start practicing your 3’s.

My girl even set me up, nice and slick with a popper of my own. I don’t really ever pull those strings because….well, you know….they POP. And I don’t like that. Just sit still and mind your own business. No popping.

But in an effort to be a good sport–I tried it this year.  Being the ridiculous novice that I am–I held onto the wrong part so when I pulled the string, it popped in my hand instead of wherever else it’s suppose to pop.


Serves me right. I knew it was an evil popper when I picked it up.

I think Miss Chompy knew too. Haha.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

wake me at noon.



Gingerbread Houses 2022

Ohhhh my goodness! How many times have we made these crazy little houses?!

However, we haven’t actually done one quite like this. Notice the double chimneys. There’s your first hint.

See if you can figure it out.

I worked on this side of the house with my little brick planter and flowers and sweet rock pathway…

and only the stuff I particularly love– on the roof.

Ok, on half the roof.

There was someone else making a whole different building, with a totally different vibe, on the other side of this house.

Think of it like the ultimate Christmas duplex–if you will.

Mrs. Claus on one side and Mr. Grinch on the other. Haha.

It was very him–if you get my drift.

Hazel said that her house looked so good that she wanted to eat it. No one could think of a reason for her not to do it…

…so she did.

I hope we do this every year…