Instagram Feed

Instagram Feed

Nov 22, 2011

Early Thanksgiving in Newcomerstown

Thanksgiving has become kind of a floater holiday for us.

When Nan and Papa were around and healthy, we had Thanksgiving with them and my aunts and uncles and cousins from Dad's side of the family. We always had such fun telling stories and catching up. As my paternal grandparents started declining in health and inclining in years, that tradition kind of stopped. I miss it.

Sometimes we visited both sets of grandparents for Thanksgiving. I have fond memories of watching the Macy's Day parade in the organ room at Grandma and Grandpa's and then of raiding the red cream soda stash in Nan and Papa's basement.

Between then and now, we've trended toward flying by the seat of our pants for Thanksgiving. We've spent it with Rich's family a couple of times, my parents and Grandma Kraft a couple of times, in Zanesville a couple of times, and I think we even spent it alone once.

But I think we've come up with a new tradition this year, one that I love. Two Thanksgivings!

Over the weekend we went to Mom and Dad's to have an early Thanksgiving in Newcomerstown. Lori and her family were there and after we gorged on a HUGE and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving dinner, we watched the OSU game and put up Mom and Dad's Christmas tree. I swear I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. Several times. These people are the absolute best. I loved every moment of the time we were there.

Then tomorrow we'll head to Chardon to spend some quality time with Tom and Bobbie on Thanksgiving Day. I can't wait. We've done this once or twice before and it's a lot of fun. I'm sure it's not easy putting our crazy family up for a few days, but I'm really looking forward to it. And I'm pretty sure my in-laws are too.

You know, every single weekend since the beginning of November and until the end of December is booked for us. It can be exhausting sometimes to be running around so much, especially with the kids and packing and all that fun stuff. But I told Rich while we drove to Newcomerstown this weekend that it really is a testament to how blessed our lives are. To be this busy during the holiday season means that we have a lot of people who love us, and a lot of people we love. Not everyone has that.

Pastor Mike had a simple but profound quote in his sermon on Sunday - "Be grateful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference."

And boy, are we grateful. Grateful and tired. :)

Nov 14, 2011

Steel Magnolias at GWA

"I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something..."

- Quote from M'Lynn from Steel Magnolias (referring to the fact that her husband couldn't handle watching their daughter take her last breath, but she could).

This weekend was my annual Girls Week Away (GWA). And once again, I left that gorgeous cabin touched and inspired by those women. All throughout the weekend, that quote from Steel Magnolias rang loudly through my head as I talked with and learned more about my GWA girls.

And let me tell you, they are definitively steel magnolias.

Some of the stories I heard this weekend were unbelievable. I cried a few times, not with tears of pity, but of awe. I heard about childhood traumas, divorce, abuse, children's illnesses, crimes against them, deaths...and all of them have not only survived the shit, but have come out on the other side of it stronger and wiser, doing better to others than what's been done to them.

They are really something to behold. They are down to earth, fun, kind, smart women who are also extraordinary, tough and brave, although it seems many of them need reminded of that.

Maybe they forget how special and important they are. Maybe when a woman has had to fight for every single good thing in her life, when she has had to take care of so many others instead of herself, when she's had to push and battle obstacles just to get one step ahead, when she hasn't had anyone to remind her how beautiful and good and smart and unique and valuable and significant and relevant she is; maybe then she forgets that she is all of those things. And more.

And these women are.


These girls make me laugh until my side hurts, soften my heart, make me see things from completely different perspectives. They make me feel blessed that they like me as much as I like them.

For some of them, I think I'm the only "regular" Christian woman they've ever met. The only non-judging, down to earth, non-Bible-banging, non-pushy, non-in your face, sinning Christian they might know. Hell, I'm probably in the minority even among other "regular" Christians as far as those attributes go.

But none of them judge me. They treat me like one of the gang. And I love that. If they want to talk about God, then I do. But I don't bring it up.

Though that's not to say that God isn't anywhere to be found at GWA, because he was all over that place this weekend. He was in the faces and smiles and hugs and reassuring words of all of those women, even if they didn't realize it. That's how God works, you know? And he was in the beautiful weather and the fields and hills and trees and the moon and the warm sunshine...I saw an awful lot of him there.

Right there with all of my steel magnolias.

Love you, GWA girls.

Nov 9, 2011


I am not a cat person. I think they're sneaky and fickle. And they walk on kitchen counters, which disgusts me. And most people overfeed them and they become ugly, fat sloths.

But I do love my Miles.

Because he's affectionate and social, the number of injuries he inflicts on all of us while "playing" are decreasing, he's still a cute little runt, and he never attempts to walk on our counters (at least when we're home to watch him).

And most importantly because my kids adore him. Every time we leave the house, Sam yells, "Bye bye, Miles. See you later. Be back soon." Every morning when Lena wakes up, she asks for "Miles, Miles". And they both add him to their prayer lists at sweet.

The anniversary of me saving him from the cold woods of Hocking Hills is coming up this weekend. Has it been a year already?

Anyway, for a non-cat person, I am so glad that we made an exception for this little guy, because he sure has brightened up our lives and become a member of the family!

Nov 6, 2011

Artists in the Making

Sam begged Rich to draw Bumblebee the Transformer the other day. It turned out pretty good, I think. Seriously, is there anything Rich isn't good at?

Here's a few shots of the kids trying it out for themselves.

Nov 5, 2011

My Boss

Speaking of my boss, here he is at the office costume contest. He won for funniest costume.

Aren't those shoes disgusting? White patent leather booties...for men...who would have ever even manufactured those?

Nov 4, 2011

Circleville Pumpkin Festival

A couple weekends ago we ventured down to Circleville for their annual pumpkin festival.

My boss told me to keep my expectations low. "If you're expecting some charming Norman Rockwell affair, you'll be disappointed", he warned. He said it used to be like that years ago, but now it's just a mess.

I tried to heed his advice, but I was still expecting something at least resembling a small town fair.


It began with some truly insane traffic. My adventurous husband found a back road that saved us another hour of waiting on Route 23. Then we parked in some guy's backyard for $5 and walked a couple blocks downtown.

It was a mess.

Thousands of people crammed into this tiny downtown area, so many food vendors set up on every square inch of space, it made the Ohio State Fair food alley seem quaint. And hardly any of the food was pumpkin related. I mean, they had everything from fair fries to Chinese food to pizza. At a pumpkin festival.

We did manage to find a pumpkin funnel cake, which was good, but seriously, we couldn't even get close enough to the 1000 pound pumpkins to let the kids see them. Which was the whole reason I wanted to go.

It was a bust. We'll never go again and I warn anyone considering it to rethink that decision.

But we did have some laughs and had a family adventure and learned a tough but valuable lesson - my boss is usually right.

Here's a couple of shots of the kids we managed to get when the throngs of people cleared away for ten seconds.

Nov 2, 2011

Trick or Treat in Newcomerstown

After Sam's school party, we headed to Newcomerstown for Mom and Dad's trick or treat night.

It is one of my favorite days of the year to be at my parents' house. It's the cooler weather and the beautiful drive with all the changing colors and hills of trees, the warmth and delicious smells that radiate from my mother's oven this time of year, the fun of sitting on the porch and watching hundreds of kids come by for candy...I just wanted to share it with my kids.

I brought both of their costumes, but Sam didn't want to put his on again. Lena was all about it, though, so she wore hers the whole night.

We had a great time handing out (and eating way too much) candy and seeing all the costumes. It was a wonderful visit!

Nov 1, 2011

Sam's Preschool Halloween Party

My boy's first school Halloween party, complete with parade and a couple of songs. Sam's dressed as Bumblebee the Transformer, his very favorite thing right now. Isn't he the cutest?