If You Like "Quirky"...You Will LOVE "Bunheads"!

I have fond memories of the days when Caitlin was in junior high and high school.  She would come home from school, grab a snack and we would settle down in the den to watch some of our favorite television shows.  One of the ones we liked the best was Gilmore Girls.  We were so sad when that show was over, so can you imagine my elation to find out that the writers of that show had written another show with apparently just as quirky characters?!

If you were a Gilmore Girls fan, it was probably because of many of the same reasons we were.  We loved the close relationship between Lorelai, a single mother raising her daughter,  Rory,  in Stars Hollow, Conneticut.  We loved watching Rory grow up with her quirky friends and Lorelai's romantic relationships along with those feuding moments with Rory's grandmother.  We loved the quaint little fictional town of Stars Hollow and wished that our town was that quaint.  Everything about that show grabbed us and held us for years.  And I also suppose we now remember it so fondly because it was during Caitlin's own high school years that we (together...) watched that show.

Naturally, when I found out about Bunheads it had already begun.  I immediately began searching my television to see if repeats of the show were already being shown and was actually in luck since I found a Bunheads Marathon! (I love television marathons...and the ability to tape shows!).  I set my timer, taped the entire season and anxiously awaited for the moment when I would be able to just sit down and watch the episodes all at once.

Bunhead (a slang term for ballerinas...) is about Michelle, a former ballerina turned Las Vegas showgirl, who marries and moves to the sleepy little coastal town of Paradise.  She ends up teaching alongside her new mother-in-law in her ballet studio.  And guess what?!  The grandmother (Kelly Bishop) from Gilmore Girls also plays the role of Michelle's mother-in-law, Fanny, on Bunheads!  OH MY GOSH...just hearing her voice brought back memories of the Gilmore Girl days (sigh...).  And "quirky"...QUIRKY rules the day in this show!  Everyone from Michelle to Fanny to all of the girls in the studio and town have their oddities and I JUST LOVE IT! 

As I sat down and began watching the show, I found myself at the end of each episode barely being able to wait to turn the next one on.  I was so glued to the T.V. that when Robby came home from work that day, he settled in to do some work on his computer and I just continued to watch; I found myself both wanting to get to the end to see what would happen and not wanting it to end at all because I enjoyed watching it so much.  Pithy, quirky, whimsical...Bunheads is all of that and more!  I cannot wait for the next season to begin.  The only thing that could make it any better would be if Caitlin and I could sit down together in the den once more on lazy afternoons to watch it together...

                                             Tune in to ABC Family Channel to see "Bunheads"

Ummm...No; I Am NOT A "Senior"! (yet...)

It all started with those nasty AARP people.  Apparently when they find out you are about to turn 50, they put you on a mailing list and from then on you CONTINUOUSLY receive mail from them (UGH!).

The first time that piece of AARP mail arrived in my mailbox, I just sat there and stared at it for a moment...How DARE they put such a thing in MY mailbox (Hmph!).  I immediately tore it up and threw it in the trash can.  Now, THAT made me feel much better.  However, those people, I have found, are quite persistent.  They just keep on and keep on sending me that crap and I in turn keep on tearing it up and throwing it away.  HEY!  We could save an entire forest by them just taking ME off of the list!  Anyway, I try not think about my age much and do EVERYTHING physically possible to slow down the effects of aging.  Yesterday, though, I was once again slapped ever so softly in the face with yet another reminder that I could perhaps be a "Senior" (shudder...).

A few months ago, I dropped my family membership at the gym I had been going to for many years.  Robby had built me a gym here at home and it was just more convenient for me on busy days to work out here.  But, now that Caitlin's wedding is over and she has moved, Parker has gone back to school 3 days a week this year and my life has slowed down for a while, I decided that I would go back and take out a single membership.  The only thing that I really wanted the membership for was to get back in my yoga classes.  And so I made my way down there to re-enroll.

I was in luck with rejoining the gym since they had a special going on for the month of September; I could get half off of the enrollment fee if someone would recommend me as a new member; in turn, they would get one free month.  That was a win/win situation and even a complete stranger would recommend someone for a free month.  Well, I got that discount and then began signing papers.  I told the kid at the desk I felt like I was signing papers at a loan closing for a house...initial here, print your name there, sign your name on this line...I had a packet of papers when I was finished!

As the young college boy was getting ready to add up my fees, he began to attempt to see if he could apply any other discounts; that was nice of him.  "Do you work?"  "Nope.  I don't qualify for the corporate discount."  And THEN it happened...with eyes averted, he said, "We have a senior discount...You're not a senior, are you?"  I had to think for a minute...what constituted being a "Senior"?  And then it hit me...CRAP!  I don't want people to start asking me that question.  The AARP people started this mess and now EVERYONE was going to get on the band wagon?! (sigh...).
As I was staring into space, pondering the answer to that question, the young guy redeemed himself be saying, "55 is a senior."  WHEW!  I said, "Nope!  I'm not a senior yet."  He then told me he didn't think so but was just trying to get me another discount.  Hmmm...I don't know whether THAT was true or not but I liked him once again.

And so, yesterday I went back to yoga. They all thought I had fallen off the edge of the earth but I assured them that I was back again...And I might add, NOT as a "Senior"! (yet...)


He Asked...She Said YES! And Now We Are Having ANOTHER WEDDING!

Secrets, secrets, secrets...Ryan had been planning this little secret and NOW I can finally tell!  He popped the question, asking Allison to marry him yesterday...she said YES!  And now here we go again; my last child is getting married.

It's funny how things happen.  Justin and Sarah were married for 5 years last February, David and Codi 2 years in July.  Caitlin and Kevin just got married in May and now Ryan and Allison will also soon tie the knot.

While I was busy with all of Caitlin's wedding planning, out of the corner of my eye, I realized that Ryan had met someone.  Between my busyness and not really wanting to pry, I didn't ask Ryan very many questions (guys don't like that sorta thing...).  Ryan lives in New Orleans and Allison lives in Tyler, Texas.  They originally met while both were attending college at East Texas Baptist University.  Her friend and roommate married Ryan's cousin and they both were in the wedding party.  It was wasn't until much later that these two reconnected.  I would like to believe it was because I had been praying for the perfect girl for Ryan.  I could see his siblings getting married and starting families and although Ryan's life motto was, "I'm not going to rush things, when the 'right one' comes along, I will know it", I worried about him having someone to spend the rest of his life with (It's just a 'mom thing', I suppose...).  And so, this relationship began to blossom while I was all tied up with Caitlin's wedding preparations.

The weekend of Caitlin's wedding was the first time I ever met Allison and everyone around me commented, "If she can make it with your family through THIS weekend...she might be a keeper!"  Well, if you knew how things (I...) tend to get under pressure, you would understand.  She showed up a couple of days prior to the wedding and it was as if I had always known her.  She was friendly and immediately fit in with our BIG, FAT, LOUD family.  And the reason for that may be because she is also one of four children.  We have three boys and one girl and her family has three girls and one boy!  Allison jumped in helped us load and unload items for the wedding and reception and spent MANY hours helping us decorate.  And HEY!  I actually wasn't a crazy lady that weekend either, so that made things kinda nice (although I warned her that the possibility was there...).

After the wedding, we made plans for our family vacation and Allison was invited to join us.  That is when I began to notice the way she and Ryan looked at each other; I began to think that perhaps this WAS the girl I had prayed for.  From there, Allison began to show up for family weekends, birthday parties and we all (definitely all the girls in the family...) KNEW it would only be a matter of time before Ryan would be "popping the question".  As a matter of fact, there were even bets made as to WHEN he would "pop the question".  I knew it was going to be "official" soon when Ryan began the search for the "Perfect Ring".

Ahhh...The search for the ring.  This part (as the mother of 3 boys...) is always interesting.  For you see, first of all, boys aren't usually even interested in shopping...for ANYTHING!  And so when "The Search" begins, it is serious business.  For Ryan, this was especially the case.  I think he actually must have taken an online crash course on "Everything About Diamonds"!  He research buying that ring like he was doing a science research paper.  He would search online, make calls, write notes on pieces of paper, take opinion polls (One has to know Ryan to know that this is quite normal behavior for him...).  And in the end I believe he made a wonderful choice...and it looks like she thinks so too!

                                                             He asked...She said YES!

                                                                             "The Ring"!

     Congratulations, Ryan and Allison!  And WELCOME to our BIG FAT FAMILY, Allison!


Simply Too Tired To Type...

I flew to Ohio for 8 days, came home for one day and then headed to New Orleans for 4 days...I am tired; very tired and oh so happy to finally be home.  I suppose that is why I went MIA on here for a few days.  When we left for New Orleans on Monday morning, it was POURING rain...

Robby had a meeting in Houma first so I just plugged in my headphones and watched movies on my i-pad while we drove.

By the time we made it to New Orleans, the rain had let up some and it was almost 2 O'clock...we were STARVING!  As soon as we checked into our hotel, we set out for a late lunch at Dickie Brennan's, Bourbon House...

And then we walked...and walked...and walked...ALL OVER THE CITY.  I took lots of pictures and decided to just let them speak for themselves...


                                                                  French Market

                                                                     Art on every corner

                                                                          Time for a snack!

                                                                      And a little music.

                                                              Cathedral at Jackson Square

Needless to say, I was SO TIRED from all he walking.

Tuesday, our friends began arriving.  The guys were playing in a charity golf tournament on Wednesday so there would be a big dinner Tuesday night for all of us to attend.  However, Lynn and Lori came in early on Tuesday and Lynn, although he was born and raised in Louisiana, had not been to New Orleans in 15 years!  And you've got it...he wanted to walk through the city.  And so...we walked...and walked...and walked some more!  (See why I'm so tired?!)  I took more pictures...

                                                                    The Mississippi River.

                                     LOVE this old fan!  Wish I had one like it at my house.

                                                        Another shot of the Cathedral.

                                                                         WHO DAT!

We walked and I took pictures all day and when it was time to head back to our room to get dressed for dinner, I really needed a nap.  BUT...there was no time for a nap (sigh...).  We all headed down to Irene's, an Italian restaurant that is a local favorite.  The restaurant was small, cozy and Ms. Irene is an old school Italian lady who sent out samples of her food as we waited for ours to arrive...one word; YUMMY!  At the end of the day...I was tired (again...).

Wednesday morning, the guys got up to leave for their golf tournament and the ladies set out to explore The Garden District.  You've got it...MORE WALKING!  And by this time I had a broken blister on the back of one heel.  Thankfully, someone had a Band Aid for me, because we we did some more SERIOUS WALKING...And I took more pictures...

                                                   Look at all of the beautiful iron work.

                                                             Obviously a parade route!

Just before I thought I would drop from exhaustion, we made it to Superior Bar and Grill!  If you  have never been here, you MUST go...WONDERFUL Mexican food.  I desperately needed 3 things:  Water, Carbs. and another Band Aid!

We caught a bus back to the hotel after lunch and I enjoyed just relaxing in my room and reading for a while.  Now and then, I would also nod off and when I got up I decided I NEEDED a little snack...

                               Ummm...these brownies with ice cream just hit the spot!

It was late when Robby got back from the tournament and we ran out and got a couple of Po-Boys, brought them back to the room, watched a little T.V. and turned in for the night.

I am now home.  And Dorothy was right..."There's no place like home!"


I Am Here...You Are There...I Really Don't Like That Arrangement

My last day in Ohio was a dreary one.  Partially because the weather was rainy and partially because Caitlin and I both knew that this was my last full day there.  I decided not to let the weather deter us and so we put on our rain boots and headed out to make the most of the day.

As I was trying to decide what we should do on this cool, damp day, it suddenly hit me that we needed to get out hair done!  You know when you get your hair, nails or make-up done it always makes you feel a little better.  So, I got Caitlin to call a hair salon that I had seen down in Crocker Park and see if they could just wash and blow our hair out for us.  OK...so, this was the PERFECT  thing to do!  We got our hair done and then set out for a late lunch.

Although it was still drizzling, we decided to hit a few shops that we had missed earlier in the week...

We hit Gap Kids first and they were having a GREAT sale!  We decided that Parker Ann NEEDED this cute outfit to wear to school.

                        Here's a close up of the shoes...Aren't they just the "Cat's Meow"?!

  And, of course, we were also looking at things for Baby Jarrell.  This little sheep hat was adorable!

             One more school outfit for Parker...A bulldog with pearls and a leopard bow! 

The rain eventually quit but we didn't want to give up our street side parking so we kept going back and feeding our meters throughout the day...

Caitlin walked around the corner and showed me the gym that she an Kevin had joined; Urban Active.  It is really nice and I suggested that she start swimming a little bit every day after I left...

We eventually ended up at Barnes and Noble for a little refreshments while we waited for Kevin to get off from work...

                                   I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season...YUM!

And we sat there,  just like old times, reading all of the magazines about the glamorous yet tumultuous lives of the stars.

When Kevin got off from work, he joined us at a little outdoor bistro for dinner...

                                                              Mommy and Daddy Jarrell


After dinner, Kevin met up with a few of his friends from the hospital and Caitlin and I headed home, put on our jammies and piled up in my bed to talk and laugh one more night before I had to leave.  This had been a long trip and we had done lots of fun exploring together while I was here.  I'm not going to lie; leaving was hard.  And for Caitlin, staying was hard.  I know that we get to see each other again in October,  and in reality that really isn't too terribly long,  but I wonder...how in the world will either of us manage once Baby Jarrell arrives?  I will want to see him/her on a regular basis, just like I see Parker Ann.  This is going to call for some creative planning but I believe that I am up for that! 

So, here I am back home for only one day and I prepare to leave once again (I TOLD you I was a gypsy!).  Monday morning, Robby and I will head to Houma for a meeting he has there and then on to New Orleans through Thursday.  I am tired and actually got a nap in today before I had to unpack one suitcase and then pack another.  I wonder what the chances are that I could possibly get to sleep in on Tuesday morning?!


Sneak Peek Of Our Covered Bridge Adventure...

When I knew that I would be returning to Ohio to see Caitlin, someone suggested that I google covered bridges in the area.  I LOVED that idea and immediately did just that.  I found that most of them could be found in Ashtabula County and that was about 1 1/2 hour drive from where Caitlin lived.  That was a little far to travel with a pregnant mommy-to-be so we began to see if there were any bridges closer.  Luckily we did find some and prepared to travel some Ohio back roads to set out on our "Covered Bridge Adventure".

Caitlin found the bridges closest to her house and got the directions for her GPS.  We then checked the things off of our list that we would need for the day...

                                                               Tennis shoes...CHECK!



We packed a snack but it was almost lunch time when we left so we decided to stop and eat...who knew where we would end up later in the day?!

 We ate at this little outdoor cafe and I had this wonderful salad.  The chicken breast was stuffed with three cheeses and lightly pan fried.  There were tomato wedges, green apple slices, candied pecans and feta cheese on top.  I will definitely be trying to recreate this yummy dish!

Next, we were off to see as many bridges as we could fit in on this day.  I brought my good, professional camera just for this purpose, but unfortunately I did not bring the attachment to load those photos onto my computer.  So...the photos I share with you today will be ones that I took with my phone.  When I get home, I will load the others from my camera.  However, I hope that you do enjoy some of the beauty of the bridges and outdoors that we did yesterday...

This beautiful bridge was found only about 5 miles from where Caitlin lives; it is attached to a bike path through the woods.  No vehicles are allowed on this bridge.

The next little town we visited was Olmsted Falls.  Oh, how quaint it was with all of the little historical buildings in the city.  But we were here to see bridges and I can say that we were definitely not disappointed in this area.  The centerpiece of the park was, of course, the lovely covered bridge.  Surrounding this bridge were many walking trails that led to rock formations, small waterfalls and just down right beautiful scenery...
Only foot traffic is allowed over this bridge, were people can access the walking trails through the woods.

                                                             View from the bridge...

OK...So, Caitlin got a shot of me shooting the bridge from the ground.  HEY!  Sometimes you've just gotta get the good shot!


The next bridge we visited is actually still in use.  However, only one lane of traffic can pass through at a time; a traffic light is set up on each side to let vehicles get over it.  Beside this bridge was a horse trail...now that would've been fun if we had a horse.

The last little bridge that we sought out for the day was actually found in a very unlikely place...behind some houses.  I wish I knew the history behind this little bridge; perhaps the houses simply built up around it or maybe someone saved the bridge and moved it to the small pond behind their property.  Whatever its story is, it was on the map and we were gonna see it!

    This field surrounded the property of the tiny bridge and it was just too pretty not to photograph.

Caitlin and I had driven all over the back roads of Ohio and actually found some pretty neat areas for her and Kevin to come back and visit.  I also told her that she needed to go back to some of these bridges and photograph them when the leaves begin to turn and in the snow also; I can only imagine how beautiful they will be then!  And then, after Baby Jarrell is born I want to take that trip all the way to Ashtabula County to see those bridges.  What a wonderful way to spend a day...all you really needed was a GPS and a camera!

*****Look for my next post on Covered Bridges where I will include all of the shots from my