31 October 2018

Splash - October 2018

We live in a cornfield.  Truly.  We are surrounded by crops and farming.  It's very beautiful.  Every season brings its own colors and patterns and even in the cold of winter there is something comforting in the visual simplicity of a farm.  In the fall, the corn and beans turn brown and ready to harvest.  Before the combine could take this field down, I stuck my kids out there to become - the children of the corn.  They are the Ball Team of the Corn.

12 October 2018

Fish Whistle

Samantha takes a fine selfie, huh?  This photo is in the dark of the deck, because we - James and I - were being treated to supper out.  James and Samantha picked me up from work, stopped by McDonald's and Samantha got supper for the little ladies and JMichael; we delivered it, then she took us out to eat.  We went to the Fish Whistle, a local bar and seafood place, and we had a fantastic dinner.  Good food, great company and cheesecake.

The tradition comes from the principle of the First Check.  Samantha has been working for a while now, but, the rule is that when you get a new job, you take the family out to eat.  Samantha just decided tonight is the night and it was a wonderful surprise.

08 October 2018

Oh deer.....

This is what happens when a deer decides to cross the road directly in your path.  These animals are wild.  They roam in herds.  They just jump out in the road.  In my lifetime, I've hit four deer.  I don't know where they are now.  Some did enough damage to my car that I'm sure they had to be injured or killed.  This time it was Rachel's turn to take out one of the locals.  She's fine but her car was in the shop for over two weeks - $1,500 in damages.  Lessons learned - drive with high beams at night whenever possible and always be looking for deer!

02 October 2018

PersonalBlocks - JB Items

Mom and I have always enjoyed a good craft.  I thought we might try to make some money at it, so I approached a local shop owner about carrying us in her store.  And you know what?  She said yes.  So here we are - JB Items, also known on Etsy as PersonalBlocks. 

These are a few of our offerings.  In our first month, we broke even (on rent to the generous shop keep), paid for supplies and bought a tank of gas.  Not quite killing it, but, it's a good start!
What do y'all think?

30 September 2018

Splash - September 2018

The September Splash was a re-creation of a picture from the fall of 2012 - just laying in the leaves.  In a few short years their faces have changed; their smiles are still genuine.  I just love them.
Fall 2012

18 September 2018

November Rain In September

If you look closely at this picture, you will see that the name of the candle scent is November Rain.  Josephine, always the curious one, smelled the candle and proclaimed, Maybe.  Could be August Rain, or January Rain.  Mom, why does the Yankee Candle Company think rain smells different in different months?

I have no idea, Josephine.  But, I do know that you should never stop asking questions.

17 September 2018

JMichael on two wheels

JMichael had a bike in Arkansas, but, he never learned to ride it without training wheels.  On our street in Arkansas, he had neighborhood friends who saw him at six or seven still trying to master his bike with training wheels and that was the end of that - he didn't want to hear about it from them, so he never learned.  When we moved, we gave away his bike because it was too small for him.

Now in Maryland, Eric and Abbey had Gavin's old bike and graciously gave it to the now ten year old who can't ride a bike.  It took about twenty minutes before he was racing up and down our long driveway with no trouble at all.  Charlotte and Samantha were out there, yelling pointers and pushing him to get started.  Success.

When I get home from work now, and JMichael's bike is not in its parking spot, then he's off in our little community at his friends' houses and riding around.  The rule - be home before dark and if mom or dad has to come looking for you, the bike is off limits for a while.  So far, he has loved his little taste of freedom and we can count on him to burst through the door at the setting sun and say, what's for supper?!

04 September 2018

First Day of School 2018-19

Our bunch is up this morning and ready for an early start.  School begins at seven thirty in the morning here in Maryland, and you can see by the fog behind them that the sun is not even up all the way yet.

Charlotte is at Kent County High School and starting tenth grade.  She is excited about her electives this year because they begin a "career path". Charlotte chose nursing and her class is ten girls and one boy.  They will have hands on labs and field trips all related to nursing.
Josephine is at the top of the middle school this year in eighth grade.  She is still in the STEM program and for an added challenge she has qualified (because her grades are amazing) to start Spanish.  Most kids get to start in ninth grade, but, she and a few other eighth graders get to start now.  She is ready for a new challenge.

JMichael is also at the top of his school - in the fifth grade.  He has many of the kids from his baseball and soccer teams in his class and he is excited to get back into a routine.  He still gets a little help at school with reading/language for his dyslexia, but, he loves math.  JMichael is coming out of his shell a little too.  He loves to play the clown.
Yes, Charlotte wore those shoes all day.
Love these three.  2018-19

31 August 2018

Splash - August 2018

The August 2018 splash was taken on a dock.  Turner's Creek is a 1812 American landing spot on the Chesapeake Bay tributary - the Sassafras River.  It was home to a Granary and Mill, which still stands but has been idle for about a hundred years.  Once a thriving port, it now holds canoeing and kayaking day-trippers who explore the Chesapeake and its tributaries.  We took some shots of the kids on the piers but I like this one of them by the old mill house.  Bright sun and smiles all around.

16 August 2018


These two - Samantha (19) and Charlotte (15) - are pretty excited here.  You know why?  They are holding paychecks!  This is Charlotte's first ever paycheck from a real job with taxes withheld and everything.  Samantha is on her third job, so she's a pro, but, it's still exciting.  This is her highest paying job to date.  Minimum wage in Maryland is $9.50 and these two started at Aquafit at higher than minimum!  My first job paid $2.25 an hour and I thought I was rich!

They started at Aquafit, which is a physical therapy gym, with classes and yoga and personal trainers.  Samantha and Charlotte run the front desk, making appointments, taking money, renting lockers, checking in clients and answering the phone.  They plan to work up through the ladder - Samantha moving into the accounting side and Charlotte wants to be a certified life guard - both get the benefit of the whole facility, which includes a heated pool, sauna, hot tub, all the classes....what a deal.

And as an aside - do you know what these two did with some of the money from their first paycheck?  They hired someone to mow our two acres.  Dang sweet.  I mean, they win too, because they won't have to mow, but, they did it for all of us.  Mowing two acres with a push mower in summer is no joke.  Thank you ladies!

07 August 2018

Kent County AllStars 2018 Go Public

 We live in the least populated county in Maryland.  The least.  There are fewer people here in Kent County than in any other Maryland County, no matter the physical size of the County.  So here, instead of worrying about crime or environmental issues (both of which we still have, just lots less), our County Commissioners can take time from their weekly meeting to recognize this fine group of young men.  The Commissioners spoke to the boys about their baseball experience, praised them on their skills and dedication, and presented them with certificates bearing their names and position on the team.  All this took place in the public forum, with the public invited and the press there, too.
William Pickrum, President; Ron Fithian, Commissioner, then three coaches, and William Short, Commissioner, plus our team of All Stars.  All the boys live in Kent County and represented our district (including Dorchester, Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne's and Kent Counties) in the Maryland State Tournament.  JMichael is standing in the second row, just in front of Commissioner Short.

03 August 2018


This beautiful sunset is part of what makes living out in the country so amazing.  We are surrounded by beauty.  The sign in silhouette is Welcome to Kennedyville.

31 July 2018

Rachel - July 2018

Rachel headed back to Arkansas after leaving us in June at David and Dawn's house.  She took Samantha with her and Samantha was able to visit her friends and work at Tasty Freez again.  She stayed with Rachel about three weeks.  Rachel drove back here to Maryland in mid July, to bring Samantha home and she stayed a few short days - visiting her friends here and resting up for her return drive to Arkansas.  While she was here, we all went down to Eric and Abbey's house to hang out with them, too.  Abbey talked to Rachel about a possible job, and, if everything goes well, Rachel may be moving to Maryland on her own in a few weeks.  Ah, the life of the young and single!

Rachel has always been her own person - ready to leap, to try and to explore.  She wants to get her education and pay her bills - all while hiking trails and meeting new people.  She's a dreamer, with a conscience.  She's a planner - with big ideas.   For my part, I would love to see her move to Maryland and finish her degree here.  But again, this is Rachel.  She will do it her way - I just try to make the path easier.
Rachel and Samantha, from the top of Mt. Pinnacle, Arkansas.  July, 2018

Splash - July 2018

Our splash for July was taken in Kansas, while visiting David and Dawn.  All five are together for this trip, so we have another group shot this time.  It struck me recently that the fact that Rachel lives in Arkansas and we live in Maryland is not the only reason that I can't always have all five in a splash picture.  In about a year, Samantha will be finished with her second year of college and will have to transfer away to a university to finish her Bachelor's.  The year after that, Charlotte will graduate high school and she could join the peace corps or head to college on a swim scholarship, who knows?  Two years after Charlotte, Josephine graduates, and will surely leave us for college.  By then, her sisters may be married and living wherever.  It's all going to happen in an instant.  But, today, right here, they are all together and that's a lot.

26 July 2018

Samantha is Nineteen

It's still  happening.  Samantha had another birthday, even though she will tell you she doesn't want to get any older.  Recently she had to contact her bank because she needed to know about a deposit she had made while she was in Arkansas.  She was asking me if she was calling the right place and asking the right questions.  I told her she was handling it all just right.  Her response?  Ugh, mom.  I don't like this adulting thing.  Growing older is no fun.  I'm not doing it.

Instead, she is growing into an ever more responsible adult.  She handles her own financial aid forms and registrations for college.  She worked at tasty Freez while she was visiting Arkansas this summer and she is job hunting now that she's back in Maryland.  She is quite capable of this adulting thing, whether she wants to do it or not.

Samantha is single, and after her breakup with long time love Jonboy, she is having trouble finding a friend.  She doesn't want a boyfriend, she says.  She just wants friends, and boys just want girlfriends.  Samantha is attending Chesapeake College and finishing her general education requirements while deciding what she wants to be if she ever grows up.  At this point she's an accounting major, but, that is subject to change.

This year her watermelon/birthday cake was a seedless yellow melon - fruit as always, and with a twist for our nineteen year old.  We watched "NI'm Inteen" on the Frog Prince - a nineteenth birthday tradition my mom started when I turned Nineteen.  And we played Dice - more family game night.  A birthday settled in at home, with netflix, games and fruit - yup, that's our Samantha Marie.

20 July 2018

Volleyball, KCHS 2018

Charlotte is an active young lady.  She likes her netflix, don't get me wrong, but, if there's something going on, you can bet she will want to be in the midst of it.  Since school is about six weeks away, she is getting ready for volleyball season.  The team seniors sponsor unofficial 'practices', which are really just work out sessions, to prepare for the season.  These work outs are from 7 am to 9 am and they run the bleachers, stretch, sprint and work the free weights.  I can tell you that they are working hard.  Charlotte is sore, and then, this happens.

Charlotte, seven thirty on a Thursday night - I'll watch Jeopardy with you, Momma.  And then, before we even find the first Daily Double, ZZZZZZZZZ.  Yeah for volleyball season.

16 July 2018

Maryland State Tournament

The 2018 Maryland State Little League Tournament was held in Baltimore, at the South Baltimore Little League fields, right up the street from Ft. McHenry.  Kent County was there representing District Six - which comprises Kent, Queen Anne's Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester Counties.  There were eight teams there and the tournament was double elimination, round robin. 

Play Ball!
Our first game was against the team from Hagerstown - they called themselves Big C.  We lost.  We lost big.  This was the very first defeat JMichael ever had on the baseball diamond.  They had to invoke the slaughter rule - it was 21 to nothing.  The boys rallied to win their next game, and then, lost their third game, ending their tournament for this year.

Wow.  What a season.  Twleve undefeated regular season games for the Galena Lions.  Four undefeated games for the District Six tournament as the Kent County All Stars.  Then one win, two losses in the Maryland State Tournament.  Great season!

JMichael consistently played first base.  This picture was taken by Noah's mom, since he is pitching, but, there's JMichael - ready and eye on the batter - the play may go to first.  He really enjoyed his teammates, his position and everything about baseball.  He loves being out in the yard and throwing the ball with his Dad.  We are already training for next season.
The 2018 District Six Maryland Championship team.  JMichael is standing, dead center.  Coach Chris said that he made a name for himself as a first baseman to watch.  He will keep playing soccer now that baseball is over, but, he's hooked now on baseball, too, so we will be back in the spring.

11 July 2018

Kent County All Stars

Baseball, so far, has been quite a ride.  Loyal readers may notice that JMichael is now wearing a different uniform - he was selected for the Kent County All Star Team.  As an All Star, he represents the whole of Kent County.  About seven of the Galena Lions are also now all-stars, so JMichael is in good company.  He is the all-star first base man.

One double elimination round robin tournament later, the Kent County All Stars are the District 6 Champions!  Maryland is divided into 8 Districts and District 6 is comprised of Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester Counties.  Winning that tournament was great, but, even greater than that?  The team is STILL undefeated.  Crazy.  JMichael is pictured here, second from the left, standing.

He is pictured here in the Kent County News.  Front page of the sports section, too.

JMichael said, Mom, our story went on the front page, and the World Cup was on the third page!  He was pretty impressed by the fact that his team's win was considered more newsworthy that the World Cup, but, one day we will talk about this and he will realize that soccer just doesn't hold water with everyone as much as it does with him.  For now, though, we will give him his victory.

Baseball is continuing now, with the Maryland State Tournament - which will be in Baltimore.  If the boys can win the State, we move on to a tournament in Rhode Island.  So far Kent County has been very generous and proud of the boys - the County has bought all the uniforms and gives the team manager a budget for trophies and water for the games.  If we have to travel to Rhode Island, let's hope the State can help out with travel vouchers.  Go get 'em boys!

James is loving this adventure with JMichael and his team.  He's reliving his younger days as a boy of summer, plus, he's getting to help out with coaching.  Don't they look happy?  On to State!!!

07 July 2018

Kings Dominion, 2018

Our dear Arkansas friends, the Hazeslips, were visiting the east because Sydney was traveling with the marching band to perform in the Independence Day parade in DC.  We took the opportunity to get together for some fun, with the Krenzes, also friends from Arkansas, but, now living in the VA suburbs of DC.

the KrenzBallSlips
Krista, Lynn, Lindsay, Sydney, Charlotte, Tina, Josephine, Liam, Myles, Megan and Matt.  In front are JMichael and Noah.

This is the Intimidator.  Five stories high - almost a vertical drop.  Josephine said she started to black out.  Megan said her hair was in a ponytail when she got on the ride, and loose when she got off.  Charlotte said she felt like she left her body.  I like roller coasters, but, I did not dare try this one.

This is more my speed of roller coaster.  Everyone loved this one with its quick twists and turns.  My favorite part of the day was just walking around and catching up with everyone.   We were there when it opened and closed the place down.  It was so good to relax with friends.

30 June 2018

IN to KS to MD, 2018

School was out on June 15 this year, but, we got permission for the little ladies and JMichael to miss the last day so we could leave town.  We covered ten sates in just over a week.  Here we go:
ladies in the hotel mirror - getting ready for a day of fun.

the day of fun - it was hot and muddy.  they drove these four wheelers all day.  all.  day.  Thank you Uncle Sam!  Sam told me he had new helmets for everyone, the path cut and the gas tanks full, all ready for the ladies and JMichael.  Charlotte is driving the green four wheeler with JMichael holding on tight.  Samantha drove the red one with Josephine holding on.

Beautiful scenery - this barn lives in Indiana.

Father's Day, while James stayed home in Maryland, I went with Mom and Uncle Kenneth/Aunt Donna to the branch in Tell City, IN.  I had no less than five people introduce themselves to me and ask if my beautiful family was moving in to the area.  Sorry, no, but, yes, they are beautiful.

After three days with Mom's family at Aunt Tammy's, we traveled to Kansas.  This is Josephine's arm out the window playing with the wind.

Rachel beat us p to David and Dawn's; this is the back of her ear.  She brought henna and gave everyone tattoos.

Chess games.....

Charlotte did Abby's makeup and this is Eric and Abby's duck face - I told her just say Abu!

Mom had homework to do, so she was working during some down time.  In the pen is Penny - Adam's new puppy.  We wore that dog out.

Me in the middle of my ladies.

Samantha in the pen with Penny.

Charlotte playing with Arya.

Laying out at the community center.  front to back we have: Charlotte, Josephine, Abby, Eric, Rachel and Samantha, upside down....   See those green tubes at the very back on the building?  Those are the water slides inside - you slide outside the building and come back in again inside.  The boys said the slides are kinda bumpy, but, they were on there at least a dozen times.  There was also a hot tub that was divine, and a "lazy" river with a pretty swift current.

Inside, Arya and David.

Adam and Dawn

Mom and me



On our way out we stopped for pictures.  Cousins:
Gavin, 18, Adam, 4, Rachel, 20, JMichael, 10, Arya, 2, Charlotte, 15, Samantha, 18, Josephine, 13

Adam, enjoying his fries.

Daddy daughter hair styles.

Samantha - yes, balancing a chair on her head in a kitchen.

games of Uno.

Samantha and Rachel left on Thursday for Arkansas.  Samantha will stay with her part of the summer and work at Tasty Freeze again and then Rachel will come back with her for a visit maybe in late July.  When they left, Samantha forgot her bear and blanket - she would have made Rachel come back from AR just to get it.

JMichael had my phone in the car a lot while I was driving.  Of the tons of pictures he took, he got some good ones - this round building is a hotel in Louisville, KY.

And this is Bengal's stadium in Cincinnati.

We saw all of Mom's sister and brothers and some of their families.  We sat and talked and talked and talked.  We made WalMart runs and Gavin fixed our air conditioning and windows!  Sam fixed my headlight.  Everyone was wonderful and we had a great trip.  We left James home, since he didn't think he could travel - we had four days of ten hours drives - and we missed him.  It's good to get out and see family, but, it's great to come home, too.