Friday, September 23, 2011

Really? August was a good time to be Gone from Culpeper!

What?  Am I that far behind?  Here is my blog from August that was waiting to be published.  My next blog will catch you up on our crazy - insane life for the last few months!

Rich and I left Charlottesville, VA on July 28th and headed into West Virginia for an extended trip to parts known and unknown.  One catastrophe after another struck our little town while we gone. 

This is beautiful Yowell Park where we walk.  It has a one mile path and a two mile path.  The path is clear under water.  The town had about 7.9 inches of water in one day.


Gabe took a picture of a Virginia Black snake sunning himself on our porch.  Yuck!  I couldn't figure out how to get it off the cell phone so I sneaked this one from the Internet.  We were in Montana when Gabe sent the picture.  I told her to get the for sale side for the yard.  I wasn't going to live with any snakes.


This is downtown Culpeper.  One building had to be completely torn down due to damage.  We had a 20 x 24 picture of our family  sitting on the mantel in our family room that was tossed to the floor and shattered.  No other damage until:


This tree is about fifty feet behind the house and was toppled in the hurricane.  Sad.  It was about 100 yrs old.  Ha Ha  my guess on age.

But our trip was fun  -- needless to say!  Here are the highlights listing where we stayed each night of our  month long sojourn.

Barboursville, WV
Somewhere along the line we stopped to see the beautiful State House in Charleston, WV.  It has a gold dome.  We think West Virginia is a most beautiful state -- such beautiful mountains.

St. Louis
Visited the Cahokia Indian Mounds in Illinois - very interesting.

Nauvoo, IL
Always beautiful!  Rich is putting together a book on the building of the Washington DC Temple.  We stopped to interview the assistant superintendent who is now living in Nauvoo.  Visited the Iowa side of the Mississippi where our ancestor John Tanner had a farm in Montrose, Iowa.

Rich and John Howell

Waterloo, Iowa
Hmmmmmmmmmm.  No highlights in  Waterloo.

Fargo, ND
Drove up through Minneapolis, MN.  One of our favorite songs is a Trisha Yearwood song about St. Cloud, MN.  So we drove into St. Cloud to check it out.  Very nice area.  We actually stopped to see if we could purchase the song anywhere, but no luck.  We had to wait until we got home to hear it.

We loved North Dakota.  It is a very pretty state.  The Badlands are beautiful.  Very different from the South Dakota Badlands.  Rich hiked a little ways down, but I discovered on the day we left that I had broken my little roe and could only wear flip flops.  No hiking for me.

Glasgow, Montana
Okay, you have to know -- I am very picky about hotels.  Glasgow has no name hotels.  We stayed in a ratty hotel in the middle of the dirt pile that is Glasgow.  So, I was happy to move one.  However, we really enjoyed driving across the two lane highway (speed limit 75mph) in Northern Montana.  Rich stopped to shoot lots of pictures for a song he recorded called, "The Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore".

Kallisbell, Montana
At this point in the trip we were headed to Glacier National Park.  We stayed in Kallisbell and then drove up to the "Road to the Sun".  Let me just say it was fantastically beautiful, but a white knuckle ride all the way.  Very scary.  We drove up into Canada and back to Great Falls.  We seemed to love Montana and stayed there for four days. 

Pocatello, Idaho
My favorite place in the world.  We stayed a few days with my brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Renee.  What a great time we had.  Rich managed to embarrass Bishop Neider in Fast and Testimony Meeting.  You can always count on Rich!  We love being with Mark and Renee.  It's always fun to see our family home in Tyhee.  It has been completely remodeled and updated.  Lots of fun memories there.   Strangers are in the house, but my hand prints are still there in the cement by the driveway. 

Pocatello - I still love it!

We attended the Hansen Family Reunion in Pocatello.  Okay this is the first reunion of my mother's family that Rich has ever attended.  We really had fun seeing all of the relatives.  Hmmmm  no pictures of the relatives.  The reunion was dedicated to the World War II veterans.  My dad, Boyd Neider was in the Navy as was Uncle Dewey Farmer and Uncle Nathan Plummer was a marine and also a prisoner of war.  Uncle Nathan was the only one at the reunion and he is in his 90s.    The trolley took us around Pocatello to see Grandma and Grandpa Hansen's old house on Mapelwood, Pocatello High School, the Neider house in Tyhee and the Dad's old store, Boyd's IGA and the old Tyhee church. 

We drove by the NOP (Naval Ordinance Plant)  A huge facility I drove by almost every day of my life.  I had never been to the Gun Plant.  It was off limits.  It was very interesting to see the facility.  It was built during World War II and guns from the battleships were refurbished there.
The guy standing on the gun shows the size of the gun.  Amazing.

We spent a day with Dale and Rich Kirkham -- mostly with Dale -- had a nice lunch saw some of the restored cars and the cabin.  What fun guys they are.  They are my second family for sure. 

Salt Lake City
We spent two weeks in the Salt Lake Valley visiting family and friends.  We were feeling very western by the time we left.    Here's my sweet mother.  She is 88 this year and is still amazing.  She attends all of the FIVE GUYS openings with Darryl.  She has a uniform and everything.      

Granddaughter Lauren holding Natalie's oldest adorable son Jackson and my brother, Darryl.  Darryl another fun brother that I adore.

We left Utah and headed for Colorado to spend a night with our friends, Jack and Ruth Haight in Littleton, Colorado.  We had such a nice visit and hiked the beautiful Red Rocks there.  So after a month on the road, we headed back to Virginia.  About an hour out of Denver, Jeremy called and said, "Did you know there was a earthquake in Culpeper?"  Yikes!  We couldn't believe it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lessons Learned!

Life is just one of those crazy events that happens to you when you are busy doing or thinking about something else.  Over the years I have had a few times when I have asked myself, "Why did you do that?'  Sometimes I have answers and sometimes I don't.  Often I just kick myself around the block a couple of times and just try to remember the lesson I can learn from  a mistake or even a serendipitous event. 
Some of these lessons were learned the hard way and some I wish I had known in earlier...........Hmmmmm. I gave a lesson at Relief Society once on Lessons Learned.  I made a nice pamphlet to hand out and didn't keep a copy for myself.  Now I will have it on my blog where I can find it. At any rate here are some lessons I have learned.

1.  Never serve pink punch or give the kids pink or red Popsicles.  You just don't have to do it.  Saves a lot of grief if you have carpet.  (And you thought these were going to be profound.)

2.  Never buy a glass top table for the patio or deck.  Dirt gets under the ledge and is difficult to clean.

3.  Always take the time to make your bed.  You can even trick yourself.  The rest of the room can be a mess and if the bed is made, it just looks better.

4.  Do something fun everyday.  Even if you have to do it by yourself.  (You are good company after all.)
5.  Nothing, I mean nothing, is worth fighting over.  There are better ways to solve problems.

6.  Always tell your husband how many shopping days he has until your birthday or anniversary.

7.  Give said husband a list of items you would like.  Husbands aren't mind readers.

8. Don't burn bridges.  You may have to cross those bridges again.

9.  If you can't get customer satisfaction from one rep, call back until you get someone who can help you.  it will usually be a different person.  They all have different ideas of resolution.

10.  Learn to laugh at yourself.

11.  Learn to enjoy a good soak in the tub.  Instant meditation.  A place you can do your best thinking/problem solving.  I didn't learn this until I was 45 yrs old.  I always thought you had to hurry and shower.

12.  As you age remember to fill in those thinning brows -- but don't be too heavy handed.

13.  If you want to look old and/or unkempt wear ugly or even worn shoes.

14.  Wedge shoes are much easier to walk in than heels.  I'm just sayin'.  Sooner or later I had to say something about shoes.

15.  I'm not as smart as I thought I was, but I can do more than I thought I could.  (Some days I am as smart as I think and other days I am saying to myself,  "What made you think you could do that?")

16.  If you don't like someone, do something nice for them or pray for them every day.  It's amazing how that will change how you feel.

17.  If you are in a situation where you are feeling nervous, insecure, or shy, just think to yourself, "These people do not know how cool I am."  Well, it usually calms me down.  No lack of self-confidence here.

18.  If you have bad news to deliver to a client or parent, (I worked in a high school) do it right away.  The burden is then off your shoulders.

19.  Learn to enjoy and laugh at life.  Some times the mundane is so funny and enjoyable.

20.  If you have a big--overwhelming job to complete, do one or two pieces of it at a time.  Then take a break.  It helps.

21.  And last but not least -- always open your mail by the waste basket.  I don't do this, but I wish I did.

22.  Okay -- one more -- to smile in a photo,  for you nervous smilers, press your tongue behind your top teeth for a more natural smile.  Also when standing, bend one knee.  It always looks better

Okay -- there are my life lessons.  Do you have any to add?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fun at Yoder's with the Fresnos

We had a very fun lunch with Shelly, Tanner, Carsen and Emery at Yoder's before they left to go back to California.  Yoder's is a Mennonite store about 20 minutes from Culpeper on the way to Charlottesville with a deli, fresh baked goods, Amish furniture and lots of unique packaged foods.  Shelly bought caramels and cinnamon/white chocolate dipped pretzels.  We also bought fresh bread and cinnamon rolls to take home.  Then outside there are goats, chickens and lots of play equipment.  The pictures really speak for themselves. 

This one is too funny.   The goats can climb up this very narrow walkway to the food at the end.  None of them bother because a very large goat his taken up residence at the end.  There is a goat lying on the platform.  (You can't see him.)  There is a pully to carry the corn up to feed the goat.                                                                                                                                               

Tanner feeding the goats.  Notice he changes from the 5 Guys hat to an old hat that Grandpa Crowley was throwing away.  What a cute guys.
Carsen's turn
Tanner in Grandpa's old hat.
Emmy fed the chickens -- but not corn.  She fed them Doritos.

Ah!  Here's a Grandpa's Boy.
Wow!  Here's another Grandpa's Boy.

Here's where we had our lunch.  The sandwiches at Yoder's are well worth the drive.  But take your own iced drink.  They have bottles only.
Those Crowley kids love Doritos
Fun Times

Here's the turkey. (in the cage of course)

Little Emery swinging.
What a handsome guy!
This Tanner is perpetual motion.  He never quits having fun.
Here's Grandma's Girl
We left Yoder's and Grandpa took the boys to a movie and Emery went to play with cousin, Charlotte.  Shelly and I were going shopping, but we were tired.  We may have gone home for a nap.  I can't remember.  Those California kids love to have fun.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bear Day With the Girls

This is where the fun started.  All of the girls had birthdays recently and that meant a trip to the Bear store.  Emery and Charlotte have filled their bears and Audrey is pushing the pedal for the stuffing to go in her cat. 

It was a moment of wonder and magic for these little girls.  It was heart thumping to watch their little faces at each station. 

Charlotte grooming her kitty.
Emmy and her new best friend.

It was love at first sight.
Choosing the clothes was crazy fun.
Here are the girls with their bear houses.  Emery (3) Audrey (3) Charlotte (4)

How cute is this?  Visiting the bear store with these three little darlings tickled this Grandma's heart.  Then it was on to lunch.  This is just the beginning of fun times with my granddaughters! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June has been a Whirlwind!

What glorious month we have spent with kids and grandkids.  They can wear you out, but they are so worth it.  We have loved every minute of our time together.  Jeremy's family flew in from California on June 2nd and the fun started at the beach.

The getting ready was difficult for the kids.  They had to wait the half hour after getting the sun block to go out.


                                                          Cute cousins -- Charlotte and Emery

Emery and Audrey
                                                             jocelyn and her daddy

Is that the original wave buster?

Charlotte, Lauren 1, Lauren 2, Emmy, Tanner, Carsen

Nathan wants in on the action.

                                                       Lauren, Audrey and Charlotte


                                                         Jocelyn and Melanie
                                                               Tres Amigos
Shelly and Emery

Nathan and Jocelyn's favorite toy at the beach -- the rolling cooler.  The two one-year-olds kept us all busy trying to keep up with them.

I'm sure the wisdom of the ages is being passed along here.

The shrimp fest begins.  Much to my dismay not one of my cute daughters-in-law will eat shrimp and Rich won't touch it either for that matter.  Where did I go wrong?
                                           Gabe, Melanie and Shelly

 So.................Matthew, Andrew and Jeremy and now Tanner join in for a great shrimp feast.  Lauren use to love to come with us to Awful Arthur's but now she doesn't like shrimp.  Really Lauren?   Here we are at the pool with our shrimp for lunch.  Yummy!                           

Okay, Lauren did try one!

What a fun tradition......................eating fresh, spiced,  steamed shrimp at the beach.  It doesn't get any better.  I have tons more pictures so stay tuned.