Saturday, June 30, 2012

Shoo Fly!

Today's handy-dandy household tip is one to keep flies away.  I've received e-mails and have seen stories online about the magical plastic bag filled with water and pennies that repels flies.  I've read the scientific reports and they're inconclusive.  So, I admit, I was skeptical when I finally caved in and decided to try this little trick for myself.  Well, knock-on-wood, it really does seems to work.  I filled a small plastic storage bag with some water and threw in three pennies.  (Some people say to use 1 penny.  Some people say to use 5 pennies.  I chose the middle of the road.)  I then hung each bag near the outside doors and on our umbrella over our patio table.  And, voila, we haven't had any flies in the house or hovering near our food on the patio.  Of course, Matt and Keaton think I'm nuts to have bags of water and pennies hanging outside.  But, instead, I think they should be thanking me for not having to chase any annoying flies away from their food.  Plus, I found a way to use some pennies that Keaton thinks are useless and should be eliminated from the U.S. mint.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Keaton wasn't able to go on vacation with us because he began his internship a few weeks ago.  Yay!  Uh, make that a paid internship!  YAY!!  He really enjoys working in the scheduling department and hasn't complained once about having to get up 6:30 a.m. early.  He's excited about what he's learning and always has a million questions for Matt.  As a matter of fact, his questions lately are about taxes and mortgages.

I think Matt's happy that Keaton is working nearby so they can sometimes carpool together, work-out at the gym together...and, even together.  The golf league is happy to add Team Tall Guys to their roster. Last night was Keaton's first time golfing all year...and he beat his dad!

Team Tall Guys will continue their lawn care business over the summer so they can spend even more time together.  I'm beginning to think they may be spending too much time together.  Not only do they look and sound alike, but they also share the same interests, have the same sense of humor, and laugh EXACTLY alike.  Huh huh huh.

Keaton's first day of work. 
Since I wasn't there to record this momentous milestone for his scrapbook,
his girlfriend was sure to take his picture...without me even asking.  Isn't she the best?

Team Tall Guys
That black thing on Keaton's leg is his knee brace...not a sock.
He must have been worried about tan lines...or was sweating so much it just kind of slid down his leg.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

22 Years of Wedded Bliss...Most of the Time!

While we were on vacation, we celebrated our wedding anniversary.  22 fun and fabulous years.  Actually, it's 27 years if you also count the time we dated.  Each other.  That's really hard to believe because we really can't be that old.  Well, I don't feel older...thanks, in a large part, to hair color.  Anyway, after being together for so long, we've learned some tips and compromises to having a happy marriage:

  1. Always close the toilet seat and lid.  ALWAYS.
  2. Eat at least one meal together each day.  It's always nice to have your husband bring something home for dinner once in a while.  It's even better if he also cleans up afterwards.
  3. Put a new garbage bag in the garbage can immediately when you take out the garbage. (This is still an ongoing battle in our house...Matt.)
  4. Just accept the fact that guys will have ESPN/sports on the TV at all hours of the day and night.  Just expect's got something to do with the hard-wiring of the male brain. Learn to watch Lifetime on another TV.
  5. Always kiss each other goodnight.  What happens after that is your own business and this is not that kind of blog.
  6. Accept the fact that guys don't clean as well as girls. They try their best, so be sure to be thankful for what they do...and then go over what they cleaned when they're not looking.
  7. Listen to the radio station your wife would like to listen to while in the car.  And in the house.  But, the radio in the garage belongs to the husband.
  8. Aways compliment your wife and tell her she looks fabulous...even if she's having a really bad hair day.
  9. Don't get on your wife's nerves.  (Maybe this one should be at the top of the list.)
  10. Accept the fact that men aren't nearly as emotional and/or neurotic as women and don't want to talk about their feelings.  They mean what they say and then move on.  They don't analyze every single word they've said and worry what others will think.  They've already forgotten what they've said and are now thinking about either sex or sports.
  11. Have anchovies (and other yucky stuff your spouse doesn't like) on the side, not cooked on the pizza.  Especially mushrooms...unless you're trying to kill your allergic wife.
  12. Accept the fact that sometimes your spouse just seems to breathe really loud.  Don't succumb to the urge to smother him with a pillow. 
  13. Always smile and tell your wife that dinner was delicious...even if the chicken was a little dry.
  14. Bring your wife home flowers once in a while.  Or Snickers.  It may help her resist the urge to smother you with a pillow one day.
  15. Learn that there really is a difference between cream, off-white, and eggshell. 
  16. The A.I.S. (Ass in Seat) Rule does not apply to your wife.  If she needs an hour...or get ready to go out, then wait patiently.  Your wife may need extra time if her hair won't cooperate, she sneezed while applying mascara and has to start all over again, and/or there's absolutely nothing in her closet to wear.  (Or if everything she puts on just makes her look fat.)  Adjust your departure time accordingly, tell her she looks fabulous (and thin), and never, ever ask her how much longer she'll be.  You can always just watch ESPN while she's getting ready.
  17. Say 'I love you' every day. This usually works better if you say it to each other.
  18. Embrace your wife's craziness and let her have her Lucy moments. Smile when she sings commercial jingles and puts the dog's name in them. Laugh when she gets stuck in the pool without the steps.
  19. Open the door for your wife...especially in flu and cold season.
  20. Always remember the little things and celebrate them:  Valentine's Day, your anniversary, and the first time you kissed...just to name a few.  Presents are always a good option. You can never go wrong with jewelry.         
  21. Listen to your wife when she's rambling and carrying on about something that totally doesn't interest you in the least. Always sympathize and let her know she's justified in feeling like she does. You don't have to listen to every word she says...just tune in once in a while, nod in agreement, and then go back to analyzing baseball stats in your head.
  22. Just accept the fact that your wife is right 99% of the time.  Bow down and concede that fact and you'll be guaranteed a happy marriage...and life.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Corn-on-the-Cob Trick

I found a new trick for a quick and easy way to avoid fighting with de-silking corn on the cob.  It really works!  First, take a couple of ears of corn and leave them in the husk.  Don't do anything to them at all.  Just cook them in the microwave for 8-10 min.  Use oven mitts when removing them from the microwave.  (Trust me, you need the oven mitts.  I found that out the hard way.)  Then, cut off the non-tassled end...all the way through...husk, cob and all.  Invert and slide cob of annoying silks.  Assume the elbows-out position and dig in!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to Reality

Coming home from a vacation is both good and bad.  It's, be with Keaton and Cyrus again.  It's bad to have to join the real world again and go back to being responsible adults.  After all the unpacking, laundry, mail-sorting, grocery restocking, cleaning, and picture sorting, it's time to get back to the blog and finish telling the rest of our story.

Let's see...we left off with a visit to Canyonlands National Park in Utah.  Our next stop was in Flagstaff, Arizona.  After the heat and red dust for days, it was so nice to enjoy some cooler temps and TREES!  Yep...they had green trees!  During our drive, we saw lots of bikers (the pedal kind, not the Harley kind) participating in a race.  These bikers ride from California to the east coast in a week...usually riding for 22 hours per day.  CRAZY!  The hills they have to climb are unbelievable and my thighs burned just watching them.

We had to pose for a picture while at the Flagstaff KOA.
Keaton totally would have rolled his eyes at this and I'm sure he's so happy he wasn't with us
because we would have made him pose with us at the three-person sign!

We were up early to beat the other avid picture-takers to the Grand Canyon and arrived before the park officially opened.  (I'm not a patient person and don't like to wait for people to move out of my way so I can take a picture.  I have been known to use my elbows to keep others from encroaching on my prime picture-taking space.)  The Grand Canyon was...what's the right word...grand.  Really, it is gorgeous and really big.  The colors are always changing with the sunlight.

Matt never once told me to take a step back!

While we were in Arizona, we were lucky to have some of my people come up from the Phoenix area and meet us in Sedona for lunch.  It was so great to see them again and visit with them!  After spending the afternoon with them, I can put to rest my theory of possibly being switched at birth.  I definitely am a Marski through and through.  Before we headed back to Flagstaff, Matt found this sign for Keaton.  It's absolutely perfect!  I'm hanging it in his room when we get home. 

We visited the Petrified Forest National Park on our way over to Albuquerque.  It was filled with sparkly logs full of crystals and the Painted Desert was beautiful.  We enjoyed chili burgers at a diner in chili peppers, not the beefy stew-like chili we eat in the winter.  Matt didn't even break out in a sweat...but that was probably because he was all sweated out by that time after being in temps of 100 for days and days. 

Next, we headed over to the Ozarks in Arkansas for the next leg of our journey.  My dad and Sharon met us in Eureka Springs and spent a couple of days with us.  The little town we stayed in was charming with its old Victorian architecture and many natural springs.  It's just funny to see Victorian architecture when I was expecting old guys sitting in rocking chairs on their porches in their bib overalls, whittling wooden teeth.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed not to hear 'Dueling Banjos' even once.  (But, we did see some kind of outdoor wedding/ritual that involved robes and candles.  Seriously.)  The Ozarks were beautiful.

Matt makes fun of me because my hand is always on my hip.

So, it was another great vacation!  We picked up three new states for our RV that makes a total of 39 states we've visited in the RV.  (We're up to 41 without the RV!)  I'm still not a fan of country music, though...and there was a LOT of country music on the radio out west.  We saw a gazillion interesting sites, had many laughs along the way (especially when I had one of my many blond moments) and even dealt with a few mishaps.  Let's see...we had the Jeep overheat while four-wheeling and trying to vertically climb huge rocks in Moab; naughty kids threw something (apples?) off an overpass and had a direct hit to our roof on the RV while on the interstate in IL (luckily, there wasn't any damage); I lost a whole day of fun by catching some stomach bug and spent the day in bed sleeping and/or throwing up;  we couldn't run the air in the Jeep since it would overheat after the Moab adventure, so we sweated off a few pounds (which I wouldn't exactly call a mishap!); we had some bloody noses and dry, peeling skin from lack of moisture out west; and I had a major freak-out in the Rockies.  All in all, nothing serious and this only gives us some extra stories to share. 

It's good to be home, but a little hard to get back in our routine.  I'm looking forward to getting in our pool and just soaking.  We definitely missed the water while out west.  Oh, and Keaton and Cyrus too!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Canyonlands National Park is HUGE!  You drive and drive and drive for miles and miles and miles to get to an overlook.  There are some trails to hike, but it's just way too hot to hike unless you go first thing in the morning or later in the evening.  We enjoyed driving and looking at the various canyon lookouts...especially seeing the Green River.  (And it really IS green...even if it doesn't look too green in the pictures!)  I'm still not exactly sure how deep the canyon is, though, because there was no way I'd get close enough to the edge to look down.  NO WAY!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

hot, Hot, HOT!!!

After roughing it for one day and night, it was time to move to the KOA in Moab and turn on our air conditioning.  With temps reaching nearly 100, we definitely need the cool air!  We got up early to catch the sunrise and do some hiking in the cool of the day.  (Since we're staying on Michigan time, it's pretty darn easy to be up at 5:00 a.m. mountain time!) We pretty much had the trail to Landscape Arch all to ourselves.  After the hike, we did some driving around the park to see...what else...more arches.  There are over 2,000 arches here in Arches National Park.  I don't think we're going to see them all though.  I'm way too hot and I don't have enough memory cards with me for all those pictures.

We had to squeeze through some rocks on our way to check out Sand Dune Arch.

But, the view of Sand Dune Arch was worth the trek through the sand.  I sure do like the sand better in Michigan leads to water!!

Red Dust

Arches National Park is incredible!  There are rock formations of every shape and size and they're spectacular.  After a long trek up into the park, we settled into our campsite amidst the rocks.  With all the rocks and desolation, it was almost like being on the moon.  We survived in my first-ever primitive campground (no water, no electricity, no cable, no wi-fi).  We still had battery power and water for showers, so it was like we almost had a full hook-up...thank goodness!

We did some climbing on the rocks behind us and Matt posed for a picture.  (This isn't as scary as it looks.  He's not allowed to do anything too crazy because I'm not driving us home.)

We've also done some hiking.  This was our hike yesterday to Broken Arch.  It was a little warm and we had some climbing to do, but it was totally worth it!  I've taken hundreds of pictures and we still have 11 more days of vacation!  Whoo-hoo!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Whew...we made it through the Rockies.  It was another stressful day, but no major meltdowns on my part.  I still don't like going through the mountains.  All I can say is thank goodness for tunnels...and alcohol!

After we arrived in Grand Junction, CO we headed over to the Colorado National Monument to take a 23-mile driving tour along the rim of the park.  We saw some awesome canyons and beautiful rock formations. 

Tomorrow we're headed to Utah and Arches National Park for some hiking, biking, and more rock formations.  We're also staying in the park...and it doesn't have electricity.  Yikes!  We'll be roughing it...with a generator.  I'm too girlie and need to use a hair dryer.  After all, I'll be taking lots of pictures and will probably even get in a few of them too.  No electricity also means no wi-fi, so I have a good excuse to miss a few days of blogging.  But, I'm sure I'll have lots of interesting things to share on the next update.  There's no telling what may happen with Matt.  It's always an adventure with him!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Westward Bound in the Bounder!

I know, I know...I've already skipped a day of blogging.  In my defense, yesterday we headed out for our vacation and had a long day of driving to Omaha, NE.  We passed lots of fields of corn and lots of cows.  We passed even more cows today as we drove to Central City, CO (just west of Denver).  We enjoyed some beautiful scenery along the way...especially the Rocky Mountains.  I'm just not a fan of having to DRIVE (well, ride) up and down them.  I'm definitely more of a tunnel kind of girl.  Or better yet, an elevator kind of girl.  I don't like heights.  I don't like crawling up mountains in an RV and towing a vehicle.  I especially don't like coming down the mountain with a steep grade.  I tend to freak out a bit when there are truck run-offs...and there are trucks on them!  Poor Matt had to drive and listen to me carry on about how much I hate the mountains. I think I even carried on a few times (as my life flashed before my eyes) that poor Keaton was going to be an orphan.  I admit I was a big baby, but facing a possible near-death experience is scary.  But, after tackling the switchbacks to get to the campground (which no RV should ever drive on those roads, in my opinion), we made it to a gorgeous campsite that overlooks a valley of a small mining town...with three casinos.  Cha-ching!  The first thing I did after Matt hooked us up to electricity (and the shaking in my knees stopped enough for me to stand upright) was fire up the blender for a very, very, VERY strong pina colada.  (Seriously...I hit the start button within one second after we had power.  It may even have been a half second after we had power.)  The alcohol helped to erase some of the scary, terrifying, stressful, awful mountain ordeal.  But, we'll have to tackle the mountains again tomorrow as we head over to Grand Junction, CO and I'm definitely not looking forward to the drive.  Luckily I saved half of my pitcher of pina coladas for tomorrow night.

The Rocky much better to go through than up and over!

Our view from the campground...and my drink.

Our view from the valley of the campground.
We're the motor home second from the right...the one with the big windshield.
If you look hard enough, you can probably see my drink.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Uh Oh!

Have you ever looked at something a million times and then one day, for some strange reason, it seemed to look totally different to you?  Today was one of those days for me.  This is an old t-shirt of Matt's that I've worn a million times.  For some strange reason this morning, when I looked in the mirror, it occurred to me that the hands on the shirt seem to touch me in an inappropriate area.  I don't think I'll be wearing this t-shirt out in public anymore!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home (for the Summer!)

We're happy to report that we now officially have a college Junior...and he's back home for the summer!  After a full weekend of activities, including a festival and a wedding (and lots of studying in between!), Keaton ended the school year with three exams on Monday...even squeezing in a doctor's appt. for his knee.  (Definitely a Level 2 sprained MCL and four to six weeks of physical therapy.)  Matt and I headed to campus on Monday night with the trailer to pick up some furniture and odds and ends.  I'm not sure how it happens, but it seems like we end up moving out MUCH more from the dorm than we moved in back in the fall.  Keaton chose to stay at school one more night to hang out with his roommates and came home yesterday with the rest of his stuff.    Now to find a place to put everything...

1 Explorer full of college stuff
+ 1 Durango full of college stuff
+ 1 trailer full of college stuff
a LOT of stuff to put away!

The "before" picture of the rug.  (It actually doesn't look as bad as it really was in this picture.) 
I cleaned the rug in all four directions three times.  (That's like cleaning the rug 12 times!) 
Then I had fun doing it all over again on another rug.  I won't show pictures of the dirty water because it's really gross.  Trust me, it's enough to probably give you nightmares.

The "after" picture could definitely be used for a carpet cleaning ad!

 On a side note, we celebrated Keaton's homecoming with a yummy homemade-from-scratch chocolate cake.
(And I have flour and cocoa powder all over the kitchen to prove it!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Matt and I packed up the RV and hit the road to enjoy Pentwater with some friends.  Keaton had planned to go with us, but opted to stay home and babysit Cyrus.  Oh, and to play video games with his friends.  Because that's pretty much all he could do with a leg immobilizer.  I received the gut-wrenching phone call..."Mom, I hurt my knee playing basketball and am going to the hospital."  Luckily, I was wearing makeup and was fully dressed at the time so I wouldn't scare anyone if I had to venture out in public.  After Keaton's initial freak-out that he tore his MCL and/or his ACL, he was diagnosed with a sprained MCL.  No tear.  No damage to his meniscus.  Just a lot of pain and swelling in the knee.  A lot.  He was put in a brace and basically spent the weekend on the couch, sucking down the Motrin (sorry...I meant ibuprofen or Matt won't know what I'm talking about) and slept in our bed so he didn't have to tackle the stairs to his room.  Cyrus was happy to cuddle on the couch between Keaton and his friend...and push Keaton to the edge of the bed every night.

Matt and I had a good weekend.  Matt got to fish while I spent some time on the beach.  Until the birds started to surround me.  When it began to look like a scene from the movie, "The Birds", I called it a day at the beach before I was featured on an episode of "When Animals Attack".

We visited the Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington and the Little Sable Point Lighthouse over near Silver Lake.  We enjoyed some nice walks along the beach...especially trying to outrun the storm coming up on shore.  But, we did stay ahead of the storm...and my hair and makeup were eternally grateful. 

Even though we missed having the boys with us, it's a good thing Cyrus stayed home.  We had rain and storms every night and in the early morning, so poor Cyrus would have freaked out.  (He doesn't do well with storms or rain...or with wind, fog, heat, humidity, and snow.)  We enjoyed some hiking, walks on the beach, sunsets, and just relaxing for an entire weekend.  When we came home, I laughed at the setup Keaton created in the living room for his gaming.  He pretty much just sat on the couch and kept his leg elevated and iced.  He wasn't happy to find out that we stole all the ice, so he improvised with bags of frozen veggies.  But hey, I definitely needed some liquid therapy after his phone call earlier in the week.  And I make fabulous frozen margaritas! 

Sewing Machine

I've been a sewing machine (pun intended) yesterday and this morning.  I bought material with the intention of making me a cover-up for my bathing suit.  (Trust me, this sounds more adventurous than it really was.  There was already elastic in the bust of the material, so all I had to do was basically cut the material and sew straight seams.  Well, TRY to sew straight seams.)  I made my cover-up and had enough extra fabric to make one for my niece so she can be my Mini-Me.  I still had enough material left over to make a third cover-up.  My sisters can fight over it...or bribe me.  (My favorite candy bar is a Snickers.)

While I had the sewing machine out, I decided to tackle the mending pile.  (I have a drawer in the closet that we put anything that needs mending.  I try to get to the pile once a year or so...depending on how quickly the pile grows out of the drawer.)  So, I cut off some of Matt's dress pants that lost the battle with the washer one-too-many times and made them into shorts.  (I'm so not a seamstress.  I can't sew a straight line to save my life.  I figure Matt can just lean a little if the legs aren't quite even.)  Then, I operated on a pair of swim trunks.  The sewn-in cord broke around the waistband, so I had to rip open the seams, remove the cord and re-thread a new cord through the waistband.  (Keaton better thank me profusely for this project because this one definitely pushed me over my patience quota for the day.)  Next, I mended a cardigan, a back pack and five dog toys. 

Life is good.  We now have an empty drawer in the closet and another project crossed off my "to do" list.  See you again next year, sewing machine!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

No Shoes

I picked up this little gem of a sign while we were in Pentwater for the Memorial Day weekend.  Our carpet in the living room is cream-colored and still looks brand new after 16 years...all because we don't wear shoes in the house.  Even the dog knows he has to have his paws wiped before he comes into the house after being outside.  He stops at the back and raises his paw, waiting for it to be wiped.  I'm allergic to everything and pretty much get closer every year to living in a bubble.  If I ever do have to live in a bubble, I hope I can find one that's pink and sparkly!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blogger Girl

I've decided I'm going to do it...I'm going to try to write daily on my blog and become a true blogger girl.  (Note:  the key word is TRY.)  I'm going to try to keep a running record of my life and the life of my guys...and all the crazy stuff that happens.  (And crazy things do happen.)  This will be a nice record of all that stuff life has thrown at us...and some laughs and bumps along our journey.  Plus, this will help us to remember when I scrapbook or when things get start to get fuzzy...and/or will provide documentation for medical and/or court appearances.  (Just kidding.  Sort of.)

First, let me be the first to admit that I am an organizational nut.  Seriously, I'm crazy and probably need medication.  I'm not OCD (yet), but definitely like things neat and tidy.  I also take a lot of pictures of our lives.  As a mother of an only child, you can imagine how many pictures and videos I take of our son. probably can't because it's a lot.  And I mean A LOT!  Tons!  Thousands!  Maybe even approaching a million!  Well, maybe not that many, but I do take a lot of pictures and video.  (Let's just say that I've transferred all our home videos to DVDs and we now have over 300.  I told you it was a lot!)  I've been trying to scrapbook each year of our son's life and have about five years completely finished.  I'm trying to keep each year of his life contained to three 12x12 binders.  Yep, three.  Even that's doing a lot of editing.  I've been putting all the duplicate pictures and pictures I don't use (remember the grand ol' days of film?) in a box and it's been driving me crazy for over ten years now because they've just been sitting in boxes.  (Yikes...all jumbled together and not organized.)  I'm not sure how I was even able to sleep at night because this has always been tickling the back of my brain.  It's been on my "to do" list for years and years.  Well, I'm thrilled to say that I've finally sorted them, labeled them and put them away in neatly labeled storage containers.  (My label maker is probably my best friend in the whole wide world.  I even gave her a name...Lola.  I told you I was crazy!)  So, here's the finished project:

TA DA!!  So, this is about five years of duplicate pictures.  (Now do you believe me when I say I take a lot of pictures?)  Why am I saving duplicates?  As a scrapbooker, most of my pictures are glued down in a book and sometimes I need a picture and I don't want to chance ruining the picture itself and/or my layout.  (Plus, I have lots of embarrassing shots of butt cracks at the beach, bad hair days, and goofy faces of my entire family and these may come in handy for blackmailing purposes one day!)  I'm a chronological order kind of girl.  But, as I tried sorting pictures by year (and losing all feeling in the lower half of my body after hours of sitting the floor sorting), I decided to go outside my comfort zone and sort by theme.  This was SO much easier (and my lower extremities were much happier) and I finished in one day.  Yay!  That night, I think I slept the best I've slept in years.  (Well, the best for me, but that will have to be another blog.)

So, another item checked off on my "to do" list.  Now I only have fifteen years of pictures left to scrapbook!  Sigh.  But, any duplicate pictures will be filed accordingly.  Oh boy...I probably really do need medication!