Inspire Musings

Still a Daddy’s Little Girl

Yep, it’s true! I still see myself as Daddy’s little girl.

Even though I am 41 (o.k. almost 42) with two children of my own, there is just something sacred about a daddy/daughter bond.

I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is. But what I do know for sure, is that it’s pure and strong, it grows through the years filled with triumphs followed by disappointments, hugs and tears, respect and honor, patience and understanding and of course love.

The above photo is an all time favorite of mine, and was taken at my college graduation party. My Daddy got me that crown to wear, symbolic of my role at the time as “princess for a day.” But somehow it ended up on his head and the title KING was born, deservedly so, earned from years of sacrifice, honor and being right about absolutely everything. (It’s kinda scary and well slightly annoying how he is so dead on about so many things.)

So still to this day he is KING.

As you can probably see, KING is no small guy. He played football for OSU under Woody Hayes and lets just say, that I was raised with that same black & white mentality. I couldn’t always see the benefits of “it’s either right or wrong… nothing in between” philosophy, but now looking back and with two daughters, well… I get it.

And I’m so grateful.

I thought that I’d share some of the things that I’m so grateful for with all of you.

So here it goes…

  • I’m so grateful that I always arrived early to everything. (I was the kid dropped off at birthday parties when they were still scrambling to finish the decorations.) But I now understand the importance of being on time and what’s the harm in blowing up a few balloons every now & then?
  • I’m so grateful that you taught me how to never leave my stuff sitting around the house. It comes in so very handy now that I have a house to keep tidy and my own kids to train.
  • I’m so grateful that you shook every hand of every boy that ever came within feet of our house until their faces turned ashen white. At the time I was mortified, but I can now see that the ones who ran off with their tails between their legs were doing me a favor.
  • I’m so grateful that you never let me stay out past midnight “because nothing good ever happens after midnight.” I can now admit that you were right and maybe just maybe I learned that the hard way in college a few times.
  • I’m so grateful that you were such a perfect role model for dignity, honor and excellence.
  • I’m so grateful for all of the Lawrence Welk episodes that we watched (and still do today.) I now have a true love/appreciation for the “classics.”
  • I’m so grateful that you always shared your soft creative side, a true renaissance man in every form of the word. I still have every greeting card that you made me by hand.
  • I’m so grateful that you showed me how to have such respect for myself, especially by watching how much you respected and loved mom. That gave me permission for the same standards and that lead me to My Yanni, who respects and loves me the same way.
  • I’m so grateful that you started the infamous rubber snake seek-n-find game that we’ve been carrying on for years now. (Especially seeing that I am deathly afraid of snakes.) Wonder where that little guy is now?
  • I’m so grateful for your sense of humor. I must admit that the elephant calls at my high school while you stopped in for yearbook meetings were a tad bit devastating at the time. But they definitely gave me character and my deep sense of humor that I have today.

O.k.- the charming fellow posing with his proud mother…that would be my Dad.

Does this give you any indication of his personality?

Pretty much sums it up!

Sorry Daddy, I just couldn’t resist.

Really, I could go on and on all day long. But what it boils down to is this.

In short, I’m just so very grateful that YOU are my Dad.

(Or Daddy, as I’d still like to think of it.)

I love you.

Happy Father’s Day!

And Happy Father’s Day to all of you other great Father’s out there, including my wonderful My Yanni!


Inspire Musings

Story of a Dust Bunny in Suburbia

Yes…this IS what you think it is.

And I must like you an awful lot to be showing you this very personal, very disturbing photo of what crawled out from under my couch the other day…

A dust bunny the size of a small rodent.

I kid you not.

It just appeared the other day out of nowhere.

Well maybe it didn’t just appear, I’m quite certain that it’s been growing and collecting for some time now…

This is the story…

It was a usual day, I was running around like a crazy person trying to do 342 things at once, AND make, bake and take photos of my triple chocolate torte (stay tuned to this station for more details) when I realized that I was sweating. And by the way, I don’t perspire, oh no, I sweat.

But that’s another story entirely.

So, anyway, seeing that it was a very breezy day and I was hotter than a rattlesnake in the desert I decided to open a window! How lovely I thought, some fresh air would be nice! Little did I know that my innocent act of opening a window would actually unearth a dust bunny the size of a small rodent from underneath my couch!

Yes, the wind blew THAT out from under my couch.

You see, I’m a neatnik. I pride myself on running a tidy, neat, very clean and organized house. And how this…this dust bunny rodent came to be I’ll never know.


Well…perhaps now that I think of it, I may just know how it got there …

Meet Oakley.

Our darling unassuming sweet little dog who happens to grow LOTS of hair.

Lots and lots and lots of very soft, very beautiful, very fine, white hair.

That billows around my house like tumbleweed in the desert…

And evidently gets stuck underneath my couch.

Guess next time when I’m running around like a crazy person getting all hot and cranky as a rattlesnake, I’ll spare myself the luxury of some fresh air.

Or, I’ll  just turn on the air conditioner.

Or better yet, perhaps I’ll just vacuum under the couch more than once in a blue moon when we move it.

(Or not.)

And that’s my story full of dust bunnies as big as rodents and I’m stickin’ to it.

Hope that you’ll still see me in a good light…

not a dusty one.

I need to go vacuum now.


Inspire Musings

Empty Nesters

It’s official. We’re empty nesters.

It’s been about 3 weeks now since we’ve seen any of our sweet Carolina wrens.

I was amazed at how quickly they up and left the nest. They hung around for about one day and then*poof* they were gone.

The next evening, as we were coming home and pulled into the garage, I looked over at the sacred beach bags and felt a tug at my heartstrings.

It just felt so empty.

We’ve all taken turns secretly tip toeing up the ladder just to be absolutely certain that the birds are indeed gone. We’ve all gone through a bit of a mourning period if you will. It was such a magical gift having those birds in our garage and the entire experience had meant something significant to each one of us.

I couldn’t help but to imagine, for a moment, what it would be like when our girls left our nest one day.

But then I heard the familiar song of the mama bird and two of the four baby birdies appeared on the beach bags. I was stunned. Immediately I grabbed my camera and caught this photo.

They were back!!

My heart lept with joy. But the mama bird kept calling and calling, and it was definitely a “come hear right NOW or else” kind of tone.

I know that tone all too well.

I was confused, but realized that she was calling them to leave the nest…

And they did.

They flew right out the window to join her and the two other baby birdies waiting in the dogwood tree.

I ran inside and captured this photo of one of the baby birds before they all flew away.

I remember standing there sad and longing for them to come back…

The nest was just so empty.

Except for one tiny little lonely egg.

One tiny little egg that never hatched.

The wonders of this little nest never cease to amaze me.

You see I too had an egg that never hatched.

Our first pregnancy we suffered a miscarriage- we had conceived on New Years Eve and lost the baby on Valentine’s Day…. the beautiful thing is…. I conceived our oldest on Valentine’s Day a year later… and our youngest was conceived two years after that…on New Years Eve!!!

Isn’t life fascinating?!

As I stood there holding that darling little nest in the palm of my hands with all of those memories fluttering through my mind,  I felt fortunate.

Fortunate to have experienced this little nest and all the beautiful insights that came with it.

Fortunate to have our two beautiful daughters whose lives had each been given to us in such a way to help heal the loss that we had suffered.

And most important of all…

I felt fortunate to be blessed with the two daughters that I will miss one day in the first place…

as they too will leave the nest.

But will never, ever leave my heart.


What things in your life make you feel fortunate?

Inspire Musings

The Top 4 Do’s & Don’ts at a Water Park

Sooooo, this past weekend I chaperoned my daughter’s Brownie troop while on an over night at a water park. I know what you must be thinking, “are you nuts?” I must admit that the same thought  fluttered through my mind over the past few weeks in anticipation of the big event! But you know what? It was truly a delightful experience. Really. Honestly. However, I did learn a few things about “what to do” and “what not to do” while sleeping over at a water park, with or with out a group of 20 some happy little campers.

Oh dear, did I just say “campers?” <gasp>

The thought of a tent and a cot and nothing but a flap of fabric for a door being all that separates me from the hot, buggy, humid, “natural ” conditions is almost more than I can bear.

O.k. after letting myself go there (in a tent) I guess that this water park stuff seems like child’s play. Nevertheless, I feel that you will all benefit from my suggestions.


1. Bring Starbucks VIA packets
First and foremost you simply MUST take a Starbucks VIA packet (or 3) with you for your caffeine consumption enjoyment. If you don’t drink coffee, trust me, you will and if you’ve never heard of such a thing, well then I’m here to enlighten you. VIA is a nifty little one serving of microground coffee that actually tastes like coffee. Not the inside of a stinky trash can on a hot summers day. Even better, you can use it with cold water or hot water and get proper dissolve results. I’ve also been experimenting with some recipes that involve VIA, stay tuned for those little gems.

2. Wear Flip Flops
Seems pretty obvious right? Well I’m not just talking about wearing flip flops around the pool. I learned at a very young age (about the same time that it was instilled in me to no-matter-what-make-my-bed-every-day) that there are things lurking in public showers that are only spoken of in whispered tones. Sadly, since I could never quite hear what my mom was saying, I cannot pass on what exactly those things are. All I do know is that it isn’t good. Not good at all. So after dutifully making my bed (every morning including vacations & Brownie sleepovers) and of course wearing flip flops because why would I stand on hotel carpet with bare feet? You better bet that my feet continue to stay fully “flopped” as it they step into the shower. Period.

3. Make Sure to Take Plenty of Water
Take plenty of water, especially if you decide to keep your bathing suit neatly folded in your suit case to ensure that there is no possible chance that you’ll have to step foot in the water. It’s hot in there. I mean like deep, deep, New Orleans muggy hot in there. You’ll need water and plenty of it. Just make sure not to plop yourself in front of the fountains (as seen in photo above) unless you’ve properly staked out the closest restroom facilities that you can get to in a hurry. And for what it’s worth, go ahead and inform all the kiddies of the closest restroom facilities as well, maybe they’ll use them. Again, in case your bathing suit is neatly folded in your suitcase

4. Encourage the Kids to use the Slides as Much as Possible
I’m assuming that if you are going to a water park, especially over night, that you have children with you. If you don’t, well then I’ll just apologize in advance on behalf of those of us who do – for the chaos that you will have to face with all of the other 432 kids that will be there. If you are indeed childless feel free to apply my suggestion to yourself. The slides are BIG the steps are MANY. To me this is the PERFECT combination for extreme exhaustion and a better chance for cough, cough sleep later on.


1. Don’t Stand in Warm Water
If you happen to be brave enough to actually put a bathing suit ON and GET IN the water, well then I only have one thing to say. Good Luck and don’t stand in warm water.

2. Don’t Wear Jeans.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can be cute and comfy in jeans (rolled up into capris) and a tee shirt. Ohhh no. It is about 110 degrees and 100% humidity in those water parks and if you are too stubborn to wear a bathing suit (like moi) may I suggest that you wear as little as humanly possible while still being “mom appropriate.” Like a sheer thin moo moo would be perfect, but since I don’t own one, shorts and a tee shirt will suffice.

3. Don’t Expect to have a Conversation Longer than 3 Words
Call me crazy, but in my delusional mind, I was looking forward to a nice chit chat with the other moms who were there to assist. Talk about wishful thinking. Just imagine those 432 kids screaming, all at the same time, in a large room that echos more efficiently than the Swiss Alps AND has about 50 plus water fountains and sprayers not to mention a HUGE bucket that dumps gazillions of gallons of water every 5 minutes onto more screaming with glee kiddos. Definitely doesn’t make for good conversation.

4. Don’t Forget to have Fun
While I’ll admit that an over night at a water park isn’t exactly my idea of a get away (unless they had massages, now THAT would be brilliant wouldn’t it?) I want to point out that even in the humid, loud sweltering chaos the time spent with my daughter while on a new adventure together was priceless. The memories that were made will be some that we will both cherish for years to come.

So now befitting of the Girl Scout motto “be prepared”…

You my friend are prepared.

So what are you afraid of?


Do you have an fun over night stories to share! I’d sure LOVE to hear them!

Inspire Musings

My Grandmother’s Makeup

This was me getting picked up for my very first sleepover with Gram.

It would become the first of many.

It was a BID DEAL on the street, just look at all of the neighborhood kids gathered in my front yard to send me off.

Isn’t it funny what we remember from our childhood?

Random bits and pieces of moments that burn impressions so deep into the recesses of our brains that it makes for a lifetime of memories.

I have vivid memories of watching my grandmother putting on her makeup. I remember my sister and me being SO excited to spend the night, so we could sip on” kiddy”cocktails while dressing up in her fancy feathered robes and then wake up in the morning, early, just to watch her put on her makeup.

Don’t ya just love the matching nightgowns? And those kiddy cocktails in fancy glasses with etched fish were the bomb.

Sometimes the moments we remember are monumental, like the special Christmas your Dad built a doll house that was an exact replica of the house you actually lived in (even down to the paint and wallpaper).

*Note, matching outfits yet again, we were big on matching outfits.

Or perhaps the time you needed stitches in your head now that has definitely left an everlasting impression on me and I have the scar to prove it.

Some moments are insignificant fragments, like chasing the ice cream truck for blocks just to get a push-up pop, or the intoxicating smell of grape Bonnie Bell lip gloss.

But for me, one of the most precious of memories will always be watching my grandmother put on her makeup. And 00000h, how I ADORED looking at all of her powders and potions. She would even let us take turns handing her each individual item as she needed them. Back and forth we would go…one would hand her liquid base,

the other one would hand her blush…

then the other one would hand her eye shadow… et cetera, et cetera. Looking back now I realize that she had the patience of a saint.

I would sit on the sink and hope that it would never end.

I’m not quiet exactly sure what I found so intriguing about her putting on her makeup? Maybe it made me feel all grown up or maybe it just made me feel happy to spend time with my grandmother-

My beautiful grandmother now 93 years young.

Even now as I dutifully perform my morning rituals, I think about my grandmother and our early morning makeup.

(Yee gadz, does it honestly take THIS much makeup for me to face my day?)

And not much has changed, except for the fact that I’M the one putting on the makeup now, while in the other bathroom my tween “Sassafras” is (gulp) putting on hers.

After she makes her bed of course.

More often than not, I find myself wondering what monumental or insignificant moments will shape my two girls memories? Will they remember the lemonade stands where they GAVE lemonade away for FREE and were so delighted that every single customer insisted on paying? To this day Sassafras insists on FREE lemonade stands only (she learns quick). Or will they remember the Christmas that we surprised them our dog, Oakley, that we rescued from the shelter?

Maybe they will remember the simple, insignificant little things like painting finger nails for hours (even Daddy’s) or making salads for the deer who live in the woods at Nana & Papa’s house, or sewing with Yaya.

But what I do know is that each little moment, no matter how monumental or insignificant, those are the moments thatmake up” the who we are… today.

Enjoy each moment.


Inspire Musings

To Make…or Not to Make

Ever since I can remember, I’ve embraced the day with the “holy morning ritual” of making my bed. Rain, snow or shine. Sick, hurried, hassled or late.

I still do my ceremonial making of the bed.


I’ve come to realize that in my (ahem) older years, I have become a hardcore creature of habit. And I blame it ALL on my parents.  Yep, it’s ALL their fault, (isn’t it always? don’t worry, I’m FULLY aware that my girls will say the same thing about me).

Since I was old enough to stand, my mom taught me (or perhaps strongly instilled in me) the “holy morning ritual”. The ritual that entails the making of  the bed before the day is able to unfold.  I learned to pull up the sheets… and blanket… and comforter. Smooth out the bumps  (with both hands, it saves time) and then the final touch – place the pillow (or in my case pillows) at the top of the bed.

I remember the sense of satisfaction, the mental CHECK that would go off in my head as I perfectly placed the last pillow in its final resting position. Simultaneously, an internal sigh would be released and I would think  “o.k.- the day can start now- all is good in the world” – at least for that single delicious moment of accomplishment.

And what would happen if I didn’t?

Well…uh, I don’t know. I’ve never dared to mess with the powers that be in dealing with the holy morning ritual. Trust me, I’ve considered it a time or two. But then I get that nagging feeling like something will go wrong, very wrong, something terrible or even catastrophic.

Like…well? I dunno, the bed sits unmade all day until it’s time to go to sleep and I don’t have to pull the sheets down?  Hmmmmmm, I MAY be onto something here.

But, for now I bite the bullet and go into make-the-bed-in-a-hurry-but-neat-and-tidy mode and rush off to wherever I’m going and try to think of a better reason for being late than “I just HAD to make my bed.”

Because that would seem a bit strange… to most people…

I am now a grown woman with two darling daughters of my own, and it only makes perfect sense that I have very delicately, very generously, passed down the tradition. The tradition of sheet smoothing, pillow fluffing goodness that comes with the satisfaction of making your bed.

(They can thank me later).

This was my duty, my motherly obligation, that I started when they too, were old enough to stand and reach the covers on their bed. I still remember the day that my Mother-in- law noticed what they were doing. She was giddy with delight and in awe of their ability to pull the covers up and place their pillows on their bed before getting dressed to start their day. She carried on about it for days…even told her friends of the miraculous events that were taking place in our home.

You see, my mother-in-law is Greek and gave birth to THREE charming sons. All of whom, never made their bed one day of their lives (at least while under her roof) it’s unheard of as far as I can tell. (At least in her book).  Don’t ask me why because I have no idea…My Yanni (her eldest son) to whom I am married makes a beautiful bed…and it’s a good thing too because you know what they say.

You don’t know what they say?

Well in my book, if you make the bed, you get to sleep in it.

So, there you go.

But I was not born Greek nor was I a charming son. I was a daughter, an OBEDIENT and caring, very UN-dramatic first born…

who made her bed…

EVERY day.

Without drama. (wonder if my mom is reading this?)

So you see the ceremonial making of the bed has, thus far, been successfully passed down to yet another generation. Loving Mother to obedient daughters.

Life marches along whether we like it or not and the rituals, or traditions or whatever you want to call them, that stem from our childhood are the ones that make us who we are today.

And Mom, I wouldn’t change a single, solitary thing.


So how about you? Do you choose to make or NOT make to the bed? Please share!


Did Someone Just Say FREE Starbucks?

Do you by chance have one of these?

If the answer is yes, then you probably love coffee, especially Starbucks coffee, as much as I do.

And if you don’t…

well, then…..

I just don’t know what to say, frankly.

BUT, if you DO have a Starbucks tumbler then this is…




Today…Starbucks is giving you a free cup o’coffee when you bring in your own Starbucks reusable tumbler.

I’m serious.

I don’t mess around when I’m talking coffee.

So grab your keys (and tumbler), jump in your car, (and buckle up)…

Safety first.

take a moment to enjoy the beautiful Spring scenery..

and drive into the parking lot of your local –

then enjoy your FREE cup of fabulously delicious perfect every time Starbucks coffee.

“One person can save the trees, together we can save a forest.” ~ Starbucks

Now if that doesn’t make you SMILE than I don’t know what will.

See ya at Starbucks!