Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Little Girl's Dream

The heart of this country girl fluttered nervously...unbelievably...
as this little lady took the stage at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

As a young girl, I spent hours listening to the stories she told through her music. I would entertain the idea of one day meeting the woman whose voice was like a familiar friend, but I knew it was only a dream.

But sometimes dreams do come true, as Ron and I landed coveted tickets to a historic concert that sold out in 30 minutes (thank you, Kiahra).

And we sat in awe throughout the entire concert, as Dolly may be a little lady, but she has a big personality and even bigger voice! The Ryman Auditorium is acoustically a perfect showcase for her stunning vocals.

As a kid with limited exposure to Hollywood and the rich and famous, I am not enamored with celebrities. Dolly is an exception. She is talented beyond belief as a songwriter and vocalist, but she exudes a genuine humility with a deep pride in her roots. And just as reminder of how she takes care of her family and community, it was a benefit concert for the Dustin J Wells Foundation. The proceeds support the W.O. Smith Music School which share the gift of music with underprivileged students in the region. A few of the students performed during the opening act...and what an opportunity...and what talent.

Dolly performed a second concert the following evening to support her fellow musicians and the Ryman Auditorium. It wasn't planned, but after recognizing the demand for  concert tickets I suspect she felt she could fill a need for everyone...
her generosity is inspiring!

This evening will stay close to my heart forever.

Now, if only I could take my children to a concert...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer Days

The sultry summer evenings are disappearing, and a crispness in the air is emerging~autumn is coming.

I look back with nostalgia at what this summer looked like...

Swim team


Fishing in the backyard

Hockey Camp (and a serious growth spurt)

Pittsburgh revisited...old friends...familiar streets...

...infamous sandwiches and fancy nails.

 A favorite city scape with old friends after a late night run on the incline car!

Road trip with friends

Badlands ballerina~Dances in Sky (bestowed upon her by her brother)


The Black Hills of home...

with one of my girls.

Did I happen to mention fishing?

With an uncle?

And more laughter?

Historic Deadwood~Days of '76

 Two Top juts out of the South Dakota prairie marking the region my great-grandparents homesteaded...

And generations later the love of family!

Quiet country roads

I may have forgotten, but bow fishing...

Friends pondering the meaning of life...

or perhaps more likely~ why summer days are so fleeting?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Christmas Road Trip

Christmas vacation continued with a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. 

Our first stop was lunch~Tennessee BBQ!

The dry rub ribs were amazing! My grandpa and grandma loved them, as did we!

Then we were off to tour the Ryman Auditorium where early country legends oft performed. 

Afterwards, we walked the streets of Nashville past the honky tonks and bars. Music blared into the streets. 

Later we returned to the Ryman again for a performance of the Grand Ol' Opry.

The next morning we ventured down to the Belle Meade Plantation. 

Crazy girl!

Pausing along the train will my big girls!

The cozy cabin was a stark contrast to the opulence of the mansion.

Afterwards, we headed south to Franklin, Tennessee. Clouds were gathering when we arrived and purchased our tickets to tour the Carnton Plantation. Then the story of how the bloodiest battle of the Civil War unfolded, resulting in the mansion becoming a makeshift hospital. 

Afterwards we walked over to the Confederate Cemetery in the drizzle. We saw the rows and rows of headstones~proof of the carnage of battle. As we embraced the somber reality the rain came pouring down.

Then we settled in for the ride home in the rain.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Christmas in July

Sometimes when the kids were younger I would torment them by humming Christmas carols in July...or even break out in song in the kitchen.

"Mom! It's July!" they would admonish me.

So now sultry, hot July has arrived, and my mind drifts back to Christmas.

The first Christmas in our new home in Indiana made special by a visit from with my parents. 

The kids shopped (aka schemed) carefully for each other. Kiahra cleverly boxed Kade's present in a Victoria's Secret box much to her delight and Kade's surprise captured in this photo!

Kade found the perfect book for his little sister...

And he knew that his big sister (well she was taller than he was at Christmastime anyway) loved snow globes.

Our annual Christmas puzzle was unwrapped by grandparents!

Photo bomb.

And special framed photos with daddy brought lots of smiles!

Boots. I soon would discover these are the most comfortable boots ever! I didn't take them off for the entire winter. Seriously.

Hubby's smile is my favorite. He wore it all night watching his delighted kiddos.

And the biggest surprise of the night~a carefully wrapped scarf and hat concealed the "real" present.  The utter delight on her face will not be forgotten. This little bug is hard to surprise...and did I mention she is snoopy??

It was Christmas Eve filled with laughter and smiles wrapped in the comfort of our living room where the fire crackled and my heart danced.

I cannot explain why it was so special to me...was it because it was our first Indiana Christmas? Or that we shared it with grandparents? Or that I managed to surprise the kids? Or all of those things? And more?

Always I will recall Christmas 2014 with fondness~and treasure these photos of unabated emotion.

Monday, June 29, 2015


I even missed seeing his stinky socks laying all over the house.

He was gone that long...exploring Washington, DC with his scout troop.

I swear he grew another inch while he was gone...and then his sister commented that it seems like he is taller too. Did he grow? Or is he walking a little straighter?

Just listening to his stories is almost better than seeing it myself. 

And his photography is my favorite, so I made sure I packed his camera prepped and ready to go. He has a perspective that always intrigues me. The places he went are oft photographed, so I have seen them before, but I couldn't wait to see his trip through his eyes.

Father's Day at the Vietnam Memorial


Holocaust Museum


I love our son and the way he looks at the world.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


23 years together today.

Recently, we hung our wedding pictures on the wall in our bedroom again. 

Our children don't recall seeing them before, as many pictures have stayed tucked away safely in a box amidst all the moves. 

And all these years later, I gaze at the pictures, wondering where those young kids are?! 

In our hearts, of course.

In the early years, my sweet husband often bought me red roses on special occasions 
or even just because.

Amidst the chaos of raising our family, flowers arrived less frequently, but I really didn't notice.  Instead I noticed when he would take our little kids for a drive in the old truck in Montana. The kids would be grinning from ear to ear waving goodbye to me (almost too willingly) in anticipation of an adventure with daddy. 
I noticed as he taught the kids how to build a campfire and then helped them roast marshmallows, and he would reach over and give me a quick squeeze, eyes twinkling as we watched our kids together.

More recently, I love the boisterous banter around the table, as the kids chatter about whatever is on their mind. Their dad often teases them, but just as quickly offers love and encouragement, 
and often he meets my eyes and winks or smiles.

These moments always make my heart flutter. 

But so did the delivery this morning!

Growing together for the past 23 years...but young at heart. Always.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Night brings a cacophony of sounds from the pond. 

Night is great for frog hunting, as my son is teaching his cousin!

Two toads and a frog came knocking on the door, anxious to meet my 7 year-old niece, so I consented to an introduction.

Now, as I have mentioned before, our yard is a catch and release refuge ONLY; however, I forgot to clarify that the release is outside, as tonight the bullfrog leaped across my kitchen~and you should have seen my leap! 
Apparently it was highly entertaining.

Do not be swayed by the charismatic grins.

After my heart rate returned to normal, I heard a cautious tapping on my door...and I agreed once again to admire their frogs...OUTSIDE.

Due to my increased vigilance around the famous jumpers, I cannot recall what I was told about these two little fellows.


In the event I need to identify any errant frogs.