When you hear a strange sound, sometimes it really is something.

Earlier this week, Hayden and I were standing outside of the bedrooms chatting.  No one else was home and we heard something down the hall in the living room.  We almost always attribute things like this to one of the cats.  Until we realized they were ALL staring off down the hallway, wondering what that sound was too.

My family and friends got a big kick out of that.  Me and Hayden, not so much.  It also triggered another memory of my pets acting strange.  This happens quite often at our house, by the way.

It was June of 2006.  I know this because it was the day before we left to visit with Denton’s parents that summer.  We had just gotten two new kittens for the kids.  Denton worked terrible hours back then and he had left for work about 4:30 AM.  Hayden was out of school so we didn’t need to be up before daylight ourselves.

When I did wake up, the sun was streaming into the bedroom and I realized that I was hearing a strange clicking sound.  I looked at the foot of the bed where the kittens usually slept and both of them were staring up at the ceiling fan of the bedroom.  Intently.  Completely focused.  Even when I called their names they wouldn’t look away.  It was very odd to say the least.  We had no attic in our house in the Kingdom, it was just the roof, the insulation and then the ceilings inside the house.

After a few minutes the weird clicking stopped and the kittens came out of their trance and started acting like normal psychopathic cats.  You know, attacking people from out of the blue, demanding food from their human slaves, fighting amongst themselves, etc.  We went about our day, preparing to leave for Florida the next morning.

We went to bed early that night so we could get an early start the next day.  Denton and I had been asleep about three hours when I felt something crawling on me.  Well.  In complete darkness – because who can sleep if it’s not completely dark – I got out of bed and turned on the walk-in closet light that was next to my side of the bed.  Flipped back the covers…..and almost had a heart attack.  I’ll show you a photo of what was crawling up my leg to devour me.

Yeah.  I know.  Seriously.  I thought I was going to die.  Imagine a nickel beside it.  That is not an exaggeration.  That’s how big this thing was.  A scarab beetle.

I quickly flipped the covers back over it, because you know –  that will surely keep this thing contained.  Then, I ran around the foot of the bed to Denton’s side, where I would surely be safe and shook him awake.  Denton!!  Wake up!! There’s a giant creeping thing in the bed with us!!

Now keep in mind that in the first tender years of our marriage Denton believed that I overreacted to things.  Ahem.  Maybe because back then I did have a tendency to do just that upon occasion.  But, in my defense, he is also the man who told me at 5:15 in the morning “No, go back to bed, your water hasn’t broken, Liva isn’t due for another three weeks”, when in fact, YES, my water had indeed broken and she was born at exactly 7:30 AM that very same morning.  So there is that to consider.

When I finally convinced him that there was something to investigate and he got out of the bed, he whipped back the covers to show me that there was nothing there so that he could please for the love of all that is holy go back to sleep – scream!  Yep, it was still there.  Denton is always calm.  In the face of bears, yes but that’s another story, angry men with guns, another story, horrible life-changing events, another story, smash his thumb to oblivion and be transported to the ER by ambulance, another story, with all of these things, he is always calm.  He wasn’t very calm that night, standing beside the bed, staring at this hideous, THING, crawling around in our bedcovers.

He quickly flipped the covers back over it – because that will contain it for sure! – and we stood there staring at each other.  I honestly cannot remember how he got that thing out of our bed that night.  What I do remember is that he took it outside and threw it into the yard beyond the deck and then of course Sampson got ahold of it and played with it until it died.

Wasn’t he adorable!!! I miss him so much.

So what did we learn?

  1.  Obviously, scarab beetles have some magic way of entering ones home through ceiling fans.  Denton still doesn’t believe that’s how it got in, but really!?!  I wake up to a strange sound that morning, the kittens are mesmerized, and that night this horror-show winds up in our bed.  Coincidence?  I. don’t. think. so.

Second, I didn’t know that we had beetles that large in Virginia.  According to National Geographic, they can get up to 6.7 inches!  And they can live anywhere on the planet except the oceans and Antarctica.  Gahhh!  If we had already been to Florida and back, I would have sworn that we brought it with us.   Just like the scorpion in my hairbrush, alas another story for later.

Thirdly, take pictures of everything, Tracie!!  I don’t know why we didn’t think to take a photo.  Oh wait.  Yes, I do.  There was a freaking BEETLE the size of my fist in my BED!!  That’s why, no photo.

IV.  When you hear a weird sound in your house and your animals are looking around like aliens are invading….they just might be.  Just don’t hide under the covers unless you check them.  Thoroughly.

Weird things like this seem to happen at our house quite regularly.  Do things like this happen to you?  Inquiring minds want to know.








The day that Elvis died.

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley died.  I remember that day, because my best friend sobbed and sobbed.  We were only four and I didn’t have any attachment’s to musicians, actors, or anyone really except my family.

You can read more about his life here or buy his music here.  I love his Christmas album’s.

Do you remember that day?  Were you born yet?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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And then I found the swarm of bees in my car…

How has your week been going?  My parents and my brother came to visit me this past last weekend, Yay!, and it was amazing.  They haven’t all been here together with us for at least six or seven years.  Denton and the kids and I go home, but having them here was special and sweet.  I loved it.

We played in the creek and blew bubbles, drew with chalk on the sidewalk in the rain, played Uno and five card draw poker.  I loved every minute of it.

Everyone went home late last Sunday afternoon and we were back to our normal.  Which is good in it’s own way, but still bittersweet.

The previous week, we had my niece and nephew the whole week.  One of our traditions is to go to the movies or have a movie marathon.  This time it was Planet of the Apes.  We watched the second movie in this trilogy (everyone had already seen the first) and then the next night ($5.00 night!) we went to the theater and saw the new one – War for the Planet of the Apes.

On the way home, we had a flat.  Ten thirty at night on the interstate, not fun.  Then we discovered that new cars DO NOT come with spare tires anymore.  Seriously.  My Daddy taught me to change a tire when I was 15 years old.  You didn’t drive a car until you could do this.  New cars apparently come with this handy dandy compression kit to make it easier.  Well, not if you have a gash that you can push your thumb into, it doesn’t.

So, we had a friend tow the car home and Denton ordered a new tire FROM AMAZON!  It arrived in two days.  Don’t you love Amazon!  Taking off the tire, finding a place to mount and balance a low profile tile – after four tries, the trials and tribulations of living in a tiny town – putting the tire back on has taken a culmination of 6 days.

After all of that, I started driving my trusty Jeep again.  First, we replaced the battery, since it had sat since March and not been driven. Bad mistake.  Second, I took it to get an inspection sticker since this one had been out for over six months.  Gah!  Then, later that day I opened the passenger door to put my purse in the Jeep and heard a tearing sound.  My brain heard this sound and I thought, Wow that sounded bad, what could that possibly have been.  At the same instant, wasps started boiling out of the car door.  Isn’t it funny how your mind can hear, and think and realize things in fractions of a second?

Technically, it wasn’t bee’s swarming out of my car, but wasps.  Red wasps.  And they were not happy that I had just ripped their home in two.  I slammed the door shut and that effectively sealed them in.  Next, I stood their contemplating what I should do.  I very carefully opened my driver door and stood back.  Nothing.  I got in the Jeep and started it up.  Nothing.  They seemed content to stay in their door home as long as I wasn’t opening and closing it.  So, I very cautiously drove a half mile to one of my thrift store haunts.  Still nothing.  I went inside and did some thrift store shopping to soothe my nerves and came back out 1/2 hour later.  Still nothing.

After all of this, I decided that I could make it home where I would make Denton deal with the stupid things.  You know, since I had nothing to kill them with, like the sun, or a giant ray gun.  I drove very tentatively across town and started up the mountain.  I was terrified to turn on the A/C because it hadn’t been on since before spring and I had no idea what could possibly come flying out of that at me and I didn’t want to roll down the front windows because I didn’t know if that would affect the peace inside the door frame.  I compromised and cracked the back windows a little bit.  I was almost home when something flew across the car and bumped into my arm and I literally almost had a coronary.  It was a fly.  Good grief.

Finally safely home, Denton eradicated the horrible swarming things who were not happy to be evicted.  I wanted to take a photo of the nest, which was about the size of a cantaloupe, but I wasn’t taking any chances with my life after all of this.  So you will just have to imagine.  Or google wasp nest photos.  Yuck.

What’s been happening in your world?

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When things don’t go exactly as you planned. New York.

We’re home!!

We spent the last 9 days in New York City (one of the days was spent in Philadelphia, PA) and we had a blast.  We are already planning a return trip, because seriously, you could never see, do, taste, smell and just absorb everything there is in NYC in that short amount of time.

I took the photo above after we had walked the Brooklyn Bridge.  In 83* weather, with thousands of other people.  At one point, while we were trying to get a photo of us all, Hayden says, Mom, stop trying to make this into something fun.  No one on this bridge is having fun.  Hahaha, he was wrong, I saw plenty of people having fun on the bridge, but he was right too.  It was hot, we were miserable and it had been a long, long, week at that point.

I am slowly posting about everything that we saw, ate, and did – I’m also putting New York in the title of those post’s in case you have no interest in what we saw and did and  you can skip it.

What I wanted to ramble on about today is expectations.  And what we get out of those expectations.

I freely admit that I had a lot of expectations going into this trip.  I always do!  I feel like if you don’t have a plan, any kind of a plan, you are already halfway into the weeds (Gordon Ramsey reference) and probably aren’t going to get anything accomplished.  Denton knows this about me.  He is not a planner, he loves to fly by the seat of his pants.  That makes me cringe.  We know this about one another.

To head off a lot of arguments, we had a conversation before we even started packing the car for the trip.  He didn’t want me to plan out every single moment  – of every single day of our trip.  I didn’t want to get home from our Big New York Vacation and realize that we had just wandered around like chicken’s with our heads cut off and didn’t even remember what we had done.

So we compromised.  I made a list of all the things that we definitely wanted to do and see on this first foray into the city with the understanding that it was just a guideline for us to follow when we felt like it.

I feel like this is the first time that we got it right.  He wasn’t stressed out (too much) by my big list of things to check off, and I felt comfortable that we were actually going to see and do and eat at least some of the things on our my giant list.

One of the things that made this possible was the map I created on google maps that was personalized to us.  I shared it with everyone, that way we could see in an instant what was around us that we definitely wanted to see and do.  I used this tutorial to make ours and it worked perfectly!

The first thing that knocked us for a flip on this trip was Hayden getting sick.  He wasn’t feeling well on Thursday.  By Friday when we got to Philadelphia he was feeling very nauseous.  By Saturday when we had to check out of our hotel (which was AMAZING!) he was feeling really, really bad.

We made the decision to go ahead to New York and assess things there.  By Sunday morning we had already scoped out the nearest Urgent Care facility and were waiting on a doctor.  They ran a lot of tests, did blood work, did more tests, then more blood work and finally advised us to take him back to our brownstone, keep him hydrated and if his symptoms worsened to take him immediately to the ER, where they could admit him and do a better workup.

He slowly improved each day and now he is feeling absolutely normal.   In addition to this stressful situation Denton’s back decided it didn’t like being normal and tried to rearrange itself.  His solution was to eat Ibuprofen like Smarties.  That worked.

All of that to say that nothing went as planned.  Like having to pay to use the restroom.

Unusual food that you really didn’t like.  I hate wasting food and money.

We saw the beautiful memorial where the twin towers were, but had to skip the enormous lines for the museum.   

We had great pizza, but missed so many more that we had planned for.

We went up into the One World Observatory, but were really disappointed and wished we had spent the time and money at the Rockefeller building or the Empire State building.

We didn’t have the time or energy to go and see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but stumbled upon St. Paul’s Chapel completely by accident.

We also never made it to Dumbo or the Flea Market in that area.  😥 

Sitting in traffic for over an hour to get out of the city.

The whole point of this post though is to show you this.

We passed by this rosebush every single time we trekked our way to the Subway every day.  There are so many gorgeous gardens in Brooklyn, that I was amazed. 

Life is a journey.

While you are ticking things off of your list, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, and take pictures of them too!  Those moments are the ones that are standing out in my mind already.

This was a truly amazing trip for all of us – we all actually agreed!  I am so glad that I convinced Denton to step out of his comfort zone (he is very, very protective of all of us – hence being very uncomfortable in a city with millions of people to watch out for!) and now we can’t wait to go back.

Enjoy every moment!  Even the hot, irritating ones while you are trudging along the Brooklyn Bridge with thousands of other people!






The Price of a Restroom. $2.17. New York.

Sorry for the blurriness of the photo.  It was done very quickly, because of a time constraint.

$2.17.  That is the going rate to use a restroom in New York City.

We were in Chinatown and realized that we had no idea where a bathroom was and asked a New York City Patrolman who was standing nearby, who directed us to the local McDonald’s.

As we entered the three story building a guard – uhmm – employee was shouting “Paying customers only!” and directing everyone into the line to order.  So I quickly ordered the first cheap item that popped into my head.  A small ice cream cone.

Only then, after showing our receipt were we allowed to go upstairs to the restrooms.

After Hayden and I came out of the bathrooms, we found Denton and Olivia sitting at a table, where Denton informed me that we had a time limit of 7 minutes to consume said ice cream cone.  Seven minutes!!!  He said the same dragon guard lady told them as they ascended the stairs that the time limit started from the time of the receipt.  Wow!

I suppose that it is a small price to pay for the privilege of using indoor plumbing, but REALLY?!?

A friend of mine laughed and told me about an app that you can get – it’s free – that will tell you where free bathrooms are in your vicinity.  I immediately downloaded it, but didn’t need it for the rest of our trip.

You live and you learn something new every day!

Also, this!  How crazy, strange, weird and freaky!  Our customer number was the same as our total.  Yep, I am a strange person for finding this amazing.

Has this ever happened to any of you?  Inquiring minds want to know.


The Mud Kitchen


This came through on my personal Facebook feed yesterday.  I wish I had thought of this when Liv was little, she would have absolutely loved it.


But only if she could wear her princess outfit of course.  And I would have let her.  Mud washes off, and the memories you make in the process are priceless.


If you are so inclined you can make your little ones (or big ones!) a mud kitchen too.  There are some really inventive Mama’s out there.  Look at all of the cool ones I found after just a few minutes of searching!


So cool!!  Let me know if you have built a mud kitchen before.



Thanksgiving Recap.

Hello Monday!  I am so glad to see the start of a new week.  Last week was a doozy.  Let’s recap.

We always go home to see my family for Thanksgiving.  Or ThanksChristmas as it is, because we don’t get back before Christmas time, we have that with my family during Thanksgiving.  I’m tired just writing that.

Last week we were supposed to leave on Wednesday to get in as much family time as possible.  Denton had something break at work that he had had on order for over a year, and wasn’t supposed to install until after the holidays.  The part had other ideas.  It literally had just arrived, but the installers weren’t planning to be here like I said until after the holidays.  After a few days off adrenaline, heart attack inducing days the $100,000 job was complete.  So we left for my parents on Thursday.  Traffic wasn’t too bad!  I’ll take my blessings where I can get them.

In Bristol, TN we stopped to fuel up and as I was cleaning out the truck, I stuck my hand in sauce from lunch and had to clean EVERYTHING with rags from the dispenser at the gas station.  My love ring that Denton bought me when we moved to our tiny town had that grossness all over it and I took it off to clean it too.  I put it back on and proceeded to clean out the truck floorboards.  Liv decided to go to the bathroom and I went with her and as we walked back to the truck I glanced down and noticed my ring was missing.  We searched everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  Denton literally took everything out of the gas station garbage and it was still nowhere to be found.  I was devastated.  My grandmother lost her wedding set after my grandfather passed away and I just can’t even imagine what that felt like.  Devastation.

On Friday, my brother’s kids finally get to come over to spend the night (my kids and his kids look forward to this all year long) and after a great photo taking shoot of everyone, we tromp back to the house to start supper and our baby girl of the family – who is 8 – starts vomiting.  Oh. My. Lord.  We knew that our baby nephew – who is 5 – had gotten sick the night before, but they thought it was something he ate.  It wasn’t.  My oldest nephew started with the whole horribleness that night.  In our family, because of work schedules, we generally have the big family Thanksgiving on Saturday.  At my mother’s house.  Where all of the sickness was happening.

We started the phone calls to alert everyone to stay away.  Then we made the painful decision to start home early.  Denton and I have traveled with this kind of sickness before.  I think it was 2002.  We were at his parents, which at that time was a 13 hour drive.  It was pure misery.  We decided that if we were going to get this mess, we would rather have the almost five hour drive behind us.

We made it home without any sickness so far and decided to stop and get pizza.  I ordered it over the phone and we stopped to pick it up.  Liv ran in to use the restroom and Denton just happened to check the pizza while she was gone and it was completely wrong.  Arhhhgggg!  So, we waited while the overwhelmed pizza guy redid that pizza.  Finally made it all the way home.

This morning as I gathered everything to prepare a shipment for my Etsy shop, I dropped the transferware turkey platter that I sold this weekend.  That photo above is what happened to it.

Poor platter.  Poor lady who bought said platter and poor me who had to refund all of that lovely moolah because I am apparently the klutziest human being alive.  I seriously could not believe it.

As I’m typing this my mother just texted me that she is vomiting.  Lord have mercy.  She said that my 5 year old nephew wanted to know what color it was.  Only him!

I hope that your holiday was much less eventful.  Here’s to a sick  and klutzy free December!


Irish Pub on Washington Street. Lewisburg, WV


At least once a year, Denton and I travel over to Lewisburg, WV and we make sure that we stop in here to have a pint.  I always get something different.  This time I absolutely loved what I ordered.

wp-1479744477337.jpgI wasn’t very hungry, but I can never pass up bread of any kind, so I opted to go with their Pepperoni Roll.  It was really good. Hot fluffy bread, gooey cheese and delicious pepperoni.  These are made at the local Bakery.  Note:  If you are really hungry, this isn’t going to be enough food.  It wasn’t really a meal.  Just a light snack, but that was enough for me.

Denton can never pass up their Irish Stew.  He says every single time that something about it reminds him of his Granny’s stew.  That’s enough to get him to order it.  He went with a Guinness.

wp-1479744499710.jpgThis time though, he also ordered their Corned Beef with Swiss on Rye sandwich.  He loved it.  He let me try a bite and it was scrumptious.  Bread.  Their hard rolls are amazing and perfect for finding any leftover stew……

But what I really loved this time was this.

wp-1479744510737.jpgSamuel Smith’s Cherry Ale.  Oh my.  This ale.  It was absolutely delicious.  It is imported from Tadcaster, England.  I now NEED to go to England, just to see where this stuff is made.  Not really, but I do want to go to England and I will definitely order one of these ales while I’m there.  The fruitiness is very evident with the first sip, and it is beautiful when poured into a chilled pint glass.

wp-1479744489095.jpgSorry for the blurry photo, but I wanted you to get an idea of what it looks like.  Deep purple yumminess.  Deliciousness, that’s what it is.

Their food menu is small, but very good.  But this is a pub after all.  They have over 100 beers, more than 25 types of Whiskey and copious amounts of wine and cocktails.  It’s a sweet little pub.

If you ever find yourself in Lewisburg, WV (voted the Coolest Small Town in 2011 by Budget Travel – and they have the sign to prove it) you should stop in here for a pint yourself.

There are a multitude of Antique shops that my mother-in-law loves.  Lewisburg, WV is also the home of the West Virginia State Fair that happens every August.  Liv and I saw Victoria Justice here in 2012.

cimg1997She was excellent.


Remember, it was August?  She wore that thing the entire day and through the concert.  It was well worth the $20.00 I spent on it, because she still wears it.  Beware of state fair pricing!

You’re going to love Lewisburg.  Especially the pints.

P.S.  The people at the Irish Pub have no idea who I am.  I am not being paid to endorse them or Lewisburg.  We just really like it there!




Image result for VETERANS DAY


You did know that this Friday, November the 11th is Veterans Day, right?  And that the United States Marine Corps 241st birthday is today, November 10th?  And that Saturday, November 12th is the 22nd anniversary of the day that Denton and I met?

Yes, is the answer to all three of those questions.

Veterans Day is a day for us to honor all of those who have served our country with pride and those who are serving today to defend our freedoms.  Did you know that Veterans day was formerly called Armistice Day until 1954?   Veterans Day and Armistice Day are celebrated on November 11th because World War I was formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

Image result for united states marine corps


The Marine Corps birthday is especially important to our family because this is the branch of the military that my awesome husband served in.  We are very partial to Marines in my family.  At this count we have 7 men in our families that have served in the Marines, and many, many more in the other branches of the military.  And I am hearing rumors of more ready to join.

wedding-day22 years ago this weekend Denton and I met for the first time.  We got married four months later.  True love and pheromones, with an amazing amount of perseverance, grace from God and grit, I love him more now than I did in 1994.

So in honor of my Marine, he will be getting a lovely present that I know he’s going to love.  Grunt Style is a website run by veterans for veterans and others who want to be.  They have  an amazing array of clothes, backpacks, and other gear that I know your veteran will love too.

If you subscribe for $1 through November 15th, you will get a Grunt Style Shirt. Free Shipping Included.  Happy shopping!

Thank you to all our Veterans for your service.  You are loved and appreciated!

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Going home.


Going home always entails driving for hours on the interstate which is never fun.  But there were pretty clouds this time!  Can you see the puppy dog running?


Sometimes we have time, to be able to go to church while we are there.  It always soothes my soul to be in God’s house and to be surrounded by people that have known me my whole life.

IMG_20160726_120638898One of my favorites of all time.  But, I sincerely missed hearing my brother and his praise band sing this time.  They are amazing!


IMG_20160724_143840723More pretty clouds!

IMG_20160723_193630241_HDRMy Mama and my Daddy’s view from the front porch.

IMG_20160723_193647860There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home……

IMG_20160723_193734545My daddy’s walkway to his shop.

IMG_20160723_193750770Silly puppy.

IMG_20160723_193753293I can never get a clear picture of her!

IMG_20160723_193808478She won’t stop moving.  Or maybe it’s the photographer.

IMG_20160723_195151520_HDRPretty, sweet little sheep.