Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jumping for . . .

Joy, fun, just because . . . love the spirit and joy of this little girl!

"Just for a moment, live in joy."
"Forget about what should or should not be,
and just let yourself be as you are.
Let go of the need to need.
Feel the reality that you already are enough, and that it is truly magnificent."

Ralph Marston

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Dolphin Mis-Adventure

Maddy and Grace - Ready to see some dolphins!

Seeing that we are generally landlocked here in Nebraska, one day in Hilton Head we decided to spend a few hours going on a dolphin-watching cruise! Doesn't that sound like fun!! It was a beautiful day on HHI and off we went to the Oyster Factory to meet up with one of Capt Jim's workers, Capt Clint. We got in a cool little speedboat. Just before I was about to ask for a life jacket, Capt Clint snickered that only one time had an adult asked for a life jacket! Kids had to wear them, of course. Almost right away, we saw dolphins -- a mother and her calf! So cute and it seemed like they were tagging along right with us. Of course, it was difficult to get a photo, but see if you can find the little dolphin fin. Before we got on the boat, the kids thought it was a shark fin -- ha ha -- no sharks there! At least I don't think there were any sharks around!

Anyway, as we boated along with Capt Clint giving us the history of the area, we saw a buoy-thingy and oops -- we ran it over!! Not good!!! It was a crab-catching pot and guess what happened?? The crab net with real live crabs in it got tangled up in the boat's propeller! Oh my -- what a disaster! We were only about 30 minutes into our 2 hour cruise at the time. In an effort to get the net off the propeller, Capt Clint cut his hand in a couple places and was bleeding all over. Then, our boat started drifting toward a huge barge where they do fireworks at night. Somehow, with the tide and all, we ran into the barge and some rope holding down the barge came barreling across the front of the boat where Grace (my niece) and I were sitting. We ducked out of the way but both got pelted with nasty river gunk from the rope, ruining our shirts. Surprise surprise, the boat was a mess too. Finally, he got the boat propeller untangled and headed back to dock. Capt Clint graciously offered to reschedule our cruise, but after that little adventure, we decided that we'd probably seen enough dolphins! Now, do you understand why I don't like boats! :) We couldn't be mad though -- especially since Capt Clint was SO embarrassed by the whole episode and, after all, we did see some dolphins!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fun Times at Hilton Head Island

We had so much fun on our vacation reunion trip that I hardly know where to start. Of course, there was at least one travel snag on the way -- there's always something, right? Even though we had a Garm*in -- Ms. Garmin's directions conflicted with those provided by the Island Club properties, and I sent hubby the wrong way. Ooops! Oh well, Ms. Garmin got us straightened out and we finally arrived late Saturday afternoon. Note to self: Always listen to Garmin! :) HHI is so beautiful -- green and lush -- also warm and very humid, but with an ocean breeze to push a bit of that humidity away. The beach is so lovely there.

What special times we had with the other families! Maddy quickly made friends with the big girls (five-10 year olds) and the other two seven-year olds. It was almost as if the girls had all known each other their whole lives. Bonus - it was so fun for me to see how the tiny 9-month old babies that I met in 2000 had grown up in the past 9 years! They are beautiful and sweet girls - so fun to see them again and their parents. None of the parents had aged a single day, by the way and were just as warm and friendly as they all were when I first met them.

Most days our schedule consisted of something like this:
bicycle ride, beachtime in the morning, craft, lunch, pool time, bbq or dinner out, chatting time (lots of that) and/or evening beach walk. Oh and tennis -- Mr. Tennis played a fair amount. It was a blast hanging out with my sister and her sweet family and the other families too. They are all just as kind and welcoming as I remember them from the trip to China.

The ocean drew them all in the first evening -- in their clothes, of course!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy B-day Mr. Tennis

It's the Rickster's b-day! I try to ignore my birthday and certainly do not add to my age -- in fact, I seem to be getting younger every single year!! We had a great vacation at Hilton Head! It was fun to see everyone and Maddy and Rick made so many new friends - I was already friends with everyone. He had a blast playing tennis and living up to his "Mr. Tennis" moniker! Since we just got back home late last night/early this morning, a slight change in plans. Maddy and I were going to whip up a quick cake for him, but we're rethinking that and decided that a dinner and cake at our favorite restaurant sounds good (and much easier too)! Happy Birthday Sweetie!

On the beach at Hilton Head!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Some of my favorite memories from the Rickster's law school days are of trips to the Jersey shore. Since we didn't have a car for over 3 years (!), we took a rather convoluted path to the shore. First, we walked to the 69th Street station; then took the el train to downtown Philadelphia [I do love that city]; then a high-speed train to somewhere in New Jersey; and finally, a bus to our destination - Ocean City, NJ! Admittedly, we stayed at dive hotels -- friends at work could not believe the places we stayed -- maybe because there were no bathrooms with the rooms. But hey, there were hallway bathrooms and shower facilities, after all! To me, there is nothing much more relaxing than the beach. Unfortunately, there really isn't a whole lot of beach in Nebraska!

(Can't you almost hear the waves???)

Guess what -- we are at the beach. Not Ocean City, NJ though that is high of my list of places to go! I really hate to go anywhere with my Mom being so ill, but this trip has been planned for over a year and she said to "go, have fun, frolic on the beach, take pictures, come back and tell me all about it!"

This is a special trip. We're with my sister and her family and some of the other wonderful families from CCAI Travel Group 182 at Hilton Head for a reunion. In March, 2000, I traveled with Amy to China to meet her sweet daughter, Grace, and watched as the others in her travel group became parents too. It was the sweetest time ever!

The little girls were only 9 months old at the time. Now, they are a pretty amazing group of 10-year olds! Bonus - there are also a couple of little sister 7 year-olds, so Maddy has some friends her own age too. My Mom would be upset at me and Amy if we changed our plans, but we are definitely wishing we could be in two places at once. We will be keeping our Mom in our hearts and prayers and checking in daily (if not more) on her during our trip.

(Sunset at Hilton Head)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Golfing -- It's All in the Look, Right?

Much like tennis (where I think the skirts definitely have an impact), I believe that to be good at golf, you need to look good! I think Miss M agrees! Shortly after this was taken, I got a hole-in-one!! Woohoo for me! But Miss Maddy never did get a hole-in-one and was a bit bummed about that. I reminded her that I've had years (and years) of practice at miniature golf. She's still learning, so there's plenty of time for her. And really -- a hole-in-one in miniature golf is more luck than skill -- at least for me! So, keep putting Miss M -- you'll master it someday! :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hydrangea Update!

Remember back in April when I was whining about how my baby hydrangea had been hacked to almost nothing by an over-zealous yard worker? Many of youtold me that hydrangeas are pretty hardy and I could expect it to come back. Well, you were right! I worried that it wouldn't bloom this year, but it has!

Last year after I planted it, I religiously gave it a monthly dose of some special stuff mixed in water (yeah, I'm such a gardener!) so that the blooms would be bluish/purple and not white. Didn't really know if it would work, but look, it did!! I admit that I do baby it and generally ignore every other plant in the yard. But the hydrangea gets watered regularly and it's special dose of whatever to make the soil more acidic.
Isn't it so beautiful! I love it! And yes, I will guard it from the pruning scissors as I think it would have been quite huge had it not been trimmed so much.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Maddy and Her Pets

Unfortunately, the Fourth of July weekend was dreary, rainy and chilly around here. I don't remember when we've had such a downcast day for the 4th. Usually, we head to a big pool party, but that was not to be this year. But, we made our own fun! Maddy and her dogs, Biscuit and Lucky, both animatronic (?) had fun indoors and posed for pictures.

And we did get to visit my parents and Philip and Catherine too. Philip and Catherine were babysitting a friend's dog, a Pekepoo named Lulu. Larry (their dog, a Bichon) and Lulu had so much fun together. Maddy loved seeing them. I'd show a photo, but it would just be a big blur as those dogs were tearing around like crazy.

But, not to worry about our dreary day, it cleared off enough Saturday night to join neighbors and set off lots of fireworks! And here's one of the big differences between raising boys and girls. The boys would have been setting off fireworks all day long and we would have made numerous trips to the fireworks stands to replenish. Maddy was fine with doing a few sparklers and even sat on my lap to watch some fireworks. A much calmer and safer 4th than some when the boys were growing up! :)

P.S. I'm not the meanest mom on the block . . . Maddy does have a pet -- meet her fish Janie!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flashback 4th & Recipe

Posting a little early for the 4th and this is going to be 2 -- 2 posts in one! Flashing back to the 4th of July, 2007 with Miss Maddy and the neighbor! Such sweet girls --we are so lucky to have so many kids in our neighborhood!

And here's a great easy-peasy recipe. If you know me, you know it has to be easy! It was printed recently in Family Circle, so you may have already seen it and tried it. Yummy!!

Turkey Waldorf Salad [ makes 6 servings; prep time - 10 minutes; refrigerate - 1 hour]

3/4 cup low-fat ranch salad dressing
3 tablespoon cider vinegar (I used Apple Cider and it was delish)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 bag (16 oz) cole slaw mix
1 bag (10 oz) shredded carrots
1 package of precooked turkey pieces (or just turkey slices - you can cut up yourself)
1 Fuji apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

In small bowl, stir together ranch dressing, vinegar, sugar and black pepper - set aside.

Combine cole slaw mix, carrots, turkey, apple and walnuts in large bowl. Drizzle salad dressing over top and toss well to combine. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before service.

Per serving: 268 calories; 14 g fat (2 g. sat.); 15 g. protein; 24 g. carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 615 mg. sodium; 38 mg cholesterol.