I have no problem with incontinence. I’ll very likely be incontinent sooner rather than later. In fact, now and then I sneeze and have a startling moment of it already.

I woke up yesterday morning, went to the bathroom, and realized that it was that time of the month again, and I had nothing with me in the hotel Rich and I were staying in. “Can you run out and get me some pads while I get ready for the day?” He was happy to do so and even asked me what exactly I required. “I want natural cotton, WITH WINGS.” “Wings?” “Yes, wings, pads, natural cotton.” “Okay, I’ll be right back.”

I put on my make up and got all pretty for our day. Eventually, he returned, and he was annoyed.

“That CVS is terrible! They had like NOTHING. These are THE BEST I could find for you, the very best.” In all his honest manly innocence, he handed me the plastic bag and I opened it.

My heart sunk. I felt terrible. Should I pretend they were what I wanted? No, no, I had to say something. “RICH THESE ARE FOR BLADDER, NOT FOR PERIOD!”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Rich it says right on the box, look here on the back, these are made for ‘drips, spurts, bursts, surges, streams, and gushes. I can’t. I can’t wear these. I have to return them.”

I was close to tears. Somehow, although we were both laughing, the thought of using a product for incontinence just wasn’t something I could do. Is it because I could see it so vividly in my future? Or because,

on this very day,

the day Rich bought me a box of bladder pads,

we were celebrating


and my “getting older” emotions were already red-hot aching for all the years that have come and gone?

Not to mention, that after 25 years he could STILL make such a shocking error?

By the time we got in the car to drive back to CVS, I was recovered enough to start documenting the whole thing, “I truly believe God gives me experiences like this so I have fodder for my writing.”

From the outside of the box, I could certainly understand the mistake.

But the back. I can’t even tell you how my sensitive soul reacts to these words, this idea. I mean, praise the Lord we live in a time that products exist like this to help us stay dry, but still.

He eagerly went inside with me and wanted to show me exactly where he found them, “They were way back here in the far corner, come here and see!”

“Wow, what a surprise!!!” I say, sarcastically.

A sense of humor is a must. After 25 years of marriage it’s my go-to response, if I can possibly muster it up.

Happy Anniversary, husband.

Isn’t it fun to do life together?

with rich


We were really rather silly last night at the baseball game.  I guess being apart for 2 days and generally being over-exposed to little league baseball lately can do that to a couple.  It was cold!!  So he let me borrow his really nice jacket that he bought in “Norway” at Epcot in Disney.  We did a little walking before the game started.  It was just the two of us, no other children but Seth who was in the game.  Seth had left his glove in the rain and had to borrow a glove which was too big for him.  We got silly watching them play.  Our team didn’t do very well and Seth struck out all but once.  Rich says he needs another trip to the batting cages and I said, “Yes, lets go after church on Sunday, they have good food there.”  And then he looked sad because he has another business trip coming up.  And then as soon as he gets back I am leaving for 10 days on my trip to Alaska.  But we sat together on the bleachers and leaned into one another and talked and laughed.  We walked with our arms around each other trying to keep our legs going in the least awkward way.  The bathroom doors were locked and I didn’t want to use an outdoor toilet (because too many little joyous boys use them *ahem*) so I ended up leaving an inning or two early (we had driven separately) and he walked me to the car and buckled me into my seat.  I gave him back his jacket and drove home.  Later on, we watched TV.  We’ve been watching the original Star Trek series together and I almost always fall asleep before the ending.

a long & fascinating Epcot account


We went to Epcot on March 31st, Rich’s birthday.   He had been looking forward to his Disney birthday for months.

For a breakfast treat, he wanted to get a coffee from Starbucks more than anything but had mistakingly passed by the one on our way to the park.  Imagine his joy when, as soon as we got through the main entrance, there it was!  A Starbucks right in Epcot.  We had the children sit outside while we stood in line to get our special coffees.


Next stop was the “Club Cool” building for CocaCola, which has been a highlight since we first visited Epcot years ago.  If you lean in you can see the children walking in under the sign.  (I was standing outside Starbucks when I took the photo).


They had free samples of their slushy sodas.  And then, the children taste tested all the soda “flavors from around the world”.  I tasted a couple of them, too.  Rich refused.  He was content with his coffee.





Nothing like the feeling of lots of sugar first thing in the morning!


Sarah and I were happy to split from the boys and go our own way.

There were flowers in bloom everywhere we looked.


We bought jewelry made by this nice lady, which she crafted from things in nature.  For example, the red in my necklace is naturally dyed orange peel!  Sarah picked out earrings.  The interesting thing was the lady was originally from Connecticut and knew our hometown.  While we were there, we also bought a map (Sarah is holding it in the photo) with Easter Egg stickers to put on each spot after we found them in the park.  It became a fun highlight of our day.


Here is the first one we found!  Do you see it?


And then Mary Poppins walked right by us!

By the way, Sarah had no desire whatsoever to meet any of the Disney characters who walked about in Epcot or any other park.  She especially disliked the costumed animals like Chip n’ Dale, or Goofy, etc.  I would have liked to take her photo with a princess but “No” she shook her head and planted her feet into the ground.  I could understand so didn’t press it.


I took a photo of the beautiful leather purses in “London”.


On our way to “France” with the Eiffel tower behind us.

I was so heart-happy to have Sarah’s hand in mine on this day, always thankful that God gave us a second daughter.  I told her so, too.  It put a sweet smile on her face.

All of my children are a blessing and a joy.


Each country had a lovely Topiary that I always pointed out thoughtfully to Sarah, who never seemed to be as impressed as I was.   She was too busy looking for the egg.


There it is!


flowers in France


thought of Joanna……with the teapots….


“Take a picture, mom!” said Sarah.  I called birds like these “Parasitic Birds” because they were just hanging around trying to steal food.


Sarah was also given a fan to carry to each country for a stamp and a picture.  It was a nice little “time out” throughout the day as she stopped to color.


This is the table in “Germany”, the girl is coloring on Sarah’s flag.  I had to take a photo because an old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales was on the table and I’ve been reading it to Sarah.


We ate in Germany and watched the little girl next to us throw chips to yet another “Parasitic bird” (a duck this time).


Norway!  My favorite section of the park!


It briefly rained.  Good thing I had ponchos in my purse (#1 Mom).   While standing in this line we made friends with the English family next to us.


I met a Viking!


We met back up with the boys after going on the Frozen ride.    Rich had gotten himself a birthday jacket from Norway and looked very handsome in it, too.  We headed to the Norwegian bakery for some treats.  I was told the Schoolhouse buns were the best so I bought one and enjoyed every single bite.  In fact, I want more than anything to find a recipe and make them myself here at home.



Sarah’s Elsa cupcake was amazing.  It was so big she couldn’t finish it so I had to take a bite.  The cake was fluffy and homemade, there was chocolate filling and frosting, both wonderfully tasty.  Seth and David finished it up.


Orchids, the way they should look.


Another pretty flower.



We went to go ride on the Nemo ride and visited the aquariums where David made friends with the fish.


And people started to get silly.


David now and David then.  Same exact spot in Epcot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t stand it.


Golden Hour in Epcot.


David in his “nerd store” (his words) he loves anime and greatly enjoyed the Mitsukoshi Department Store in” Japan.”


Sarah and I picked out some candy.  David got a shirt and a tea cup.  The shirt is a long story.  Months ago, I found him carefully cutting out a graphic and coloring it from a page he printed online.  He wanted to transfer it to a t-shirt but had to stop when he realized regular paper wouldn’t work, he needed transfer paper.  But then in Epcot he found the very shirt he had wanted to make.  Sadly, as soon as we got home, he was wearing it when he picked up his half-wild cat who got scared and scratched his way out of David’s arms, cutting a hole in his new shirt with his very sharp razor- like claws.  David said, “What about my arm?”  it was scratched and bleeding.  “Your arm will heal, but I’m the one who will have to mend your shirt, you’re special shirt you just bought in Disney!”  Thus, David has a unique shirt from Disney, already ripped and mended by yours truly (and I did the best I could but it wasn’t a mending that could be hidden very easily).

We liked all the candy but for the green tea KitKats and the bean paste gummy candy. (ew)


After the fireworks show we headed out.  The park was closing so we were in a big crowd as we tried to keep up with Rich, who walks very purposefully with his long legs.


I yelled for him to stop walking for a photo.  Thanks, Birthday boy!  It was the best day!

According to my step calculator on my phone I had walked 9.7 miles.


David’s “after a long day at Epcot” greasy cheesy hamburger at 11pm!


In fact, Seth started falling asleep right at the table.  Rich and I felt proud that we had finally made our most active child tired.







shop small saturday//Christmas decor

It’s tuesday morning.  Kevin is here working on turning the old laundry closet into a real closet.  We moved the washer and dryer downstairs in the basement.  It will be convenient to have a coat closet in the livingroom, with cubbies for backpacks and shoes.  It’s cold outside this morning, with bright sunshine.  I’m sitting in the corner of my bedroom in the leather recliner by a window and I can hear the wind chimes outside moving in the wind.  As soon as I sat down to blog, our gray cat came in and curled up on my lap, so the computer is now balancing on the arm of my chair as I type.

On Saturday, Rich and I took Ethan and his girlfriend Tessa downtown for “shop small Saturday”.  I was feeling a little blue after the excitement of Thanksgiving, and this was the perfect way to get outside with my camera and enjoy our beautiful town and the little shops.  We saw several people we knew, had some coffee, found some bargains and enjoyed some lovely Christmas decorations.

















Christmas is such a beautiful time of year.

I’m thankful I can enter into the season slowly and mindfully.


a lovely family, part 2

Sarah went to school today so I was left alone again, back to those sad weird feelings of motherhood with nobody around because they are all at school.  I left a note for Jacob and headed out.  I had a doctor’s appointment at 10 so I went to the Bookstore until it was time and then after the appointment I had my oil changed and light replaced in my car.  Then to Kohl’s to use my Kohl’s cash.  I bought a Scarlet fiesta mug for 2.77.  After that I went to Target to fill a prescription and use my coupons.  I had Chickfila drive through for lunch and came home and watched part of a movie.

It’s actually raining!!!!!!!  Soooooo happy.  (Grace and I love to say that just like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday).

David came home from school and threw a pink paper at me that has the schedule for open house tonight.  It’s not something I’m looking forward to, but I’m going to do it because it’s my motherly duty.  As an introvert, it is not fun for me to go to any school functions whatsoever.

David said that he told the assistant principal today about the girl who has been bullying him for almost 2 years.  She’s been calling him a terrorist because he sometimes wears a black hooded zip up jacket.  She is now accompanying her remarks with stabbing him in the neck with a pencil.  Hmmmmm, wonder who the little terrorist is???  Dave wasn’t planning on this being the day he told someone about his woes with the girl, but as he was called down to the office he began to stare at a paper that said, “Have a problem?  We will help you.”  The assistant principal was meeting with all the students one by one to ask how they were enjoying seventh grade so far and noticed David’s fascination with the paper offering help, so she conscientiously talked to him.

“She said she was going to talk to the girl.” Dave told me.  “I just hope when the girl finds out she doesn’t scream at me.”

“You do hate loud noises,” I agreed.

“Especially when they come from girls.” he said.



So after the family picnic Rich and I went to the mall with the kids.  It was the very mall we went to all through our growing up years, teenage years, and early marriage and parenthood years.  I hadn’t been there in a long time and the thing that struck me the most was the smell of cinnabons.  It took me right back.  Sarah had two dollars so I took her to the Hallmark store with Grace while the boys went off on their own.  While we looked at the things Sarah said, “I need to go the bathroom!!”  And when Sarah says she needs to go to the bathroom, you better listen… I grabbed her hand and took off running for JC Penny with Grace close behind.  As we ran past the Verizon store, we saw James and Janice and the boys.  (our dear dear friends)  I couldn’t stop so Grace stayed behind and I called, “We’ll be right back!”

Eventually we all decided to eat at Ruby Tuesdays together and it was such fun, such a nice gift, especially since that very morning I had told Rich that I was thinking about Janice a lot.



Sunday morning we had a very lazy morning.  Rich took the kids to breakfast and then to the pool.  I had a hard time getting out of bed.


See the photo above Dave’s bed?  That’s the building my Mom works in every day.

I asked the hotel if they had any copies of the picture but they didn’t.  I would have loved one for my house.


Jacob was snoring so loud I asked E, “Doesn’t that bother you?” but he said “no”.


I met Rich and the kids downstairs and they said, “Didn’t you notice that this is fiestaware?” to me.  And I hadn’t!


The hotel had cereal bowls, luncheon plates, and mugs, all in white.



Rich threatened to drive us all home that morning so I pushed aside my exhaustion and said that he just needed fresh air and exercise.  So we went to the bookstore where Dave found some things that he would like for his birthday.

Jacob and Ethan went to my parent’s house.  It was such a thrill for them to drive there all on their own, for the first time.

And the rest of us went to the park.


Grace did some sketching.



Rich and I rested on a blanket while the kids played on the big playground.


They threw things at a squirrel way up in a tree, and made up games with other children…….





Grace took this one of the treetop.


After his nap, Rich went for a long run and then he felt much better about things.  This is a man who needs to move around.


When he came back I was still in the same place.  🙂


Then I asked him if he would please please take me to Boscov’s and he agreed.  This was another store that I remember my mom taking me to when I was a little girl.  I just love going back home, we both do (Rich is from the same place).

I bought an egg plate what was on clearance, some silicone trivets, two bowls in lapis blue, and a poppy java mug.


AND THEN….we went to Humdingers ice cream for cones and slushies.


I had this ice cream sundae.


We got up early Monday morning and left for home.  It was a very nice weekend even if Sarah did get sick that very night and was sick for the next two days, poor thing.  She’s better now and will be getting home from school soon, along with Caleb and Seth.  I have to leave in an hour and a half to take the boys to practice, pick up Grace, and go to the Middle school open house.

your friend on a zip line


Rich and I went to Orlando with Caleb and Seth this summer.  I have already blogged about the majority of our vacation except for the fact that we went zip lining.  Gatorland doesn’t allow people to zip line with personal phones or cameras, so our group was photographed by a Gatorland photographer.  We purchased the CD of all the photos, and I just got them saved to my computer this past weekend.

When Rich told me that the activity for our group was zip lining, I didn’t say anything.  I was thinking that it would be a very easy thing for me to get out of.  It was an activity primarily for him and his team (from work) and I imagined I would explore the rest of the park while they had their excitement, which to me sounded exactly like a panic attack waiting to happen.

But somehow, maybe it was peer pressure, I found myself being pulled along with the whole group, until I was in the building signing consent forms for myself and my two little boys, and then watching the educational video and listening to the bearded young men teasing us about what was about to happen.

I felt like I was going to faint or wet my pants or cry, and I looked at my excited sons’ faces and thought what kind of mother am I??

But still I kept going with it!!  I didn’t want to make a scene, so perhaps it was pride that made me zip line that day.

I wasn’t the only one fearful, several of the others were obviously unsure of the whole thing, so that was one small comfort.  However, the whole group loved having the boys with us, because they were so cute and truly inspired us scared adults.  “IF THEY can do it I can do it!!”

“Clip in and ‘zip’ off on an exciting outdoor adventure with the all-new Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland  Your journey will take you along 1,200 feet of high flying, heart pounding adventure from some of the finest zip line towers in the world.  Standing over seven stories tall, these amazing towers feature multilevel launch pads and breathtaking views from high above the treetops.”  ~from the brochure



After walking up several flights of stairs we took turns getting hooked up and watching each other zip along….this is dear Caleb.

As a mother, it was hard for me to see them do this activity, but I was proud of them,  and knew they were in good hands.

They will never forget this experience, I know.


Tiny Seth sometimes felt as though he wouldn’t make it to the other end, his body didn’t gain the speed necessary to go as fast as he wanted to.

He looked concerned.


Rich loved it.


I held on for dear life.

The worst thing was the bearded young men and their teasing.  One time they got me hooked up, let me go off the platform, and as I zipped away, he leaned after me yelling, “No, WAIT!!” It took a moment to realize he was joking, and that moment was terrifying.


They took another group photo at the next platform.  We’re all happy we survived the first run.


If you click on the photo, you can see it larger.  These were the best photos of us…over the gators!


I’m thankful for Rich because if it weren’t for him I would not be having such an exciting life.


They were encouraging us all to let go and pose for the camera but I didn’t remember until I was almost to the end of the line.


There was a bearded young man waiting to catch me.

(they all had beards!  LOL)


Click on this to see Caleb’s adorable face!!  I asked him this morning if he would ever zip line again and he yelled “YES!  OF COURSE I WOULD!”


My baby boy.


He waved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t stand the cuteness.


Seth going in for the landing…….after these two zip lines there were more to do but no more pictures were taken.

Just writing this post increased my heart rate.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

There have been many times when I refused to do something because it was scary.  I will never be a daring adventurous person, but it does feels good to say yes sometimes, experience something new, and have the joy of making a fantastic memory.


gillette castle


My husband Rich took Monday and Tuesday off from work because our anniversary was Tuesday.  We went to Gillette castle on Monday and I showed no restraint when it came to picture-taking so I have sixty-some pictures to share here today.

On the way there we stopped at this interesting little cafe for a bathroom break.  It was called Two Wrasslin’ Cats and there were cat figurines and pictures everywhere.  It was great.   I had a lemon ginger scone, Sarah had a cookie, and Rich had a coffee.


As soon as we got out of the truck at Gillette castle, Rich told me to take a picture of this tree. ^^


You first have to go into the Visitor Center to buy a ticket (in order to see the inside of the Castle).


The bathrooms were clean and spacious and there were a lot of stalls, but the each toilet was like a portapotty…..sort of scary for Sarah.  No flushing necessary.  The sinks were normal, however.


William Gillette had the castle built for his home, he was a famous actor in his time best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.


We bought our tickets and then went into a room to watch a movie about William Gillette.  He was the youngest of six children.  He was so much younger than his siblings that he was often treated as an only child.


“William’s parents wanted him to follow a more dignified line of work, possibly the law or politics; something more suited to his family class and background.  But William had his own thoughts.”  Love it.

The saddest thing we learned about Gillette was that his wife, whom he loved deeply, died at the age of 28 from a ruptured appendix.  He never married again.


His castle is noted for it’s creative doors.  They are all hand-carved and no two are the same.


William was fond of the railroad and built his own three mile run for a small train on his property.  Here, Sarah is sitting in one of the old cars.  ^^

We learned that he generously gave rides to his guests,  and Albert Einstein was most terrified when he was behind the wheel.  LOL


Another amusing note about William Gillette and his wishes for his property after he died.


Rich and Sarah Joy next to Gillette’s engine.



The seat Gillette sat on to drive the train!


Behind the visitor’s center is a porch with a breathtaking view.  Rich and I both said we would love to go back in a few weeks to see the fall colors.


We know nothing about the vegetable cellar but we were intrigued by it.


We were approached the castle on a nice path and stopped for a picture.

Sarah is wearing a sweater made by her Great Great Grandmother.


The castle; and the interesting walkway with rock walls.


We were greeted by an elderly lady, who took our tickets and let us in the castle.  The first picture I took from within was this window latch.


We were told that this narrow door was used by Gillette to take a peek at his guests….if he didn’t want to see them he snuck away….if he did, he jumped out to surprise them.



Tiffany light fixture.


The first room we went to was the great room (living room area).


I love the fire place and the way the wood was kept on a convenient rolling cart…..



William Gillette owned four pet frogs (no longer, of course,  in existence) and he had this fountain and greenhouse full of plants for them to enjoy.


This is a display of coins from around the world which have been thrown into the fountain.





A tour guide talked about this door, and how Gillette thoughtfully had it cut away to give it room to open around the corner chair.


He had an inventive nature and I had the feeling that he completely enjoyed his creation (which was the entire Castle).



Sarah enjoyed trying the handles of every door.


William Gillette loved his cats.


He had a lot of books, which are still all in his bookshelves.  We enjoyed leaning over the ropes to read the titles.


The office; notice the chair on the rollers.


The owls in the fire place have glass eyes that glow when a fire is lit behind them.  I want them so much!!


kitchen area


A Wonderful old stove, I think it would be fun to use one of these for a month or so.  Then, I would like my modern one back.


I love every kitchen I see!



After we explored the downstairs, we moved up a level, to the bedrooms.





Sarah and I looked out the window.


I noticed the wood work.


While she noticed the boat!


More of the *47* gorgeous doors.



He had cat figurines throughout the house.


For a time, he lived in a houseboat called “Aunt Polly” which was named for an elderly lady who nursed him back to health after a bout with tuberculosis.  It was from this boat that he saw the site which later became his castle property.  In one of the rooms there were museum pieces of some of the remains of the Aunt Polly (which accidentally burnt and is no more).


(His bedroom)



The door to his bedroom.


The lamp in his bedroom.  He could reach up and adjust it for reading in bed.


View of the downstairs from the balcony.


Then, we were on the third level, where there was a nice art display and more of his books and letters.








We exited the castle and meandered our way back to the visitor’s center for a bathroom break.  Then, we got our books out of the truck and went back to read, sitting on the benches outside the castle with a view of the river.  Sarah played with a few little toys that she brought with her.









The property is a State Park and we would love to go back to explore some more.


*All information in this post is to the best of my own sometimes faulty recollections.  For more information click here.


Thank you for visiting the blog today, my friends!