Monday, December 26, 2011

Missing my Daddy...

Fifteen years ago tonight, my Daddy passed away at the age of 58.  My life was changed forever that night and I have often wondered if he knew what an effect his passing would have on us, and on so many other people.  My son was just a little boy and my daughter was not yet born when Daddy died.   He would be so proud of the things his oldest grandson has accomplished and the man he has become, and he would have spoiled his only granddaughter more than she already is... she would be his little princess!

Take time to tell the people that you love exactly how you feel.  You never know when you may lose them.   Daddy knew that he was my hero and how very much I loved him, but I'm not certain he realized what a void he would leave behind after he was gone.  I miss him every single day, and so often I wish that I could lean on him or ask for his wisdom and guidance.  He was the most intelligent, most kind, most gentle person I've ever known.   

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Just want to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I hope that you get to spend the holidays doing exactly what you want to do, exactly where you want to be, with wonderful people who make you laugh, staying safe and warm, and with lots of good food to eat!   Stay safe and remember to smile at others.  It is amazing what a genuine smile can do!!

Merry Christmas!

Kerri  :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving filled with lots of laughter, delicious food, and wonderful people, no matter where you are choosing to celebrate!   I also hope that each of us takes a few minutes to truly consider the blessings we have and to thank our family, friends, and especially our local 1st responders and our military personnel for making our lives happy, comfortable, and safe.  THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Birthday K!!!

Eleven years ago today, my beautiful little girl came into this world at 9:16 am.  She was 5 weeks early and I had a very difficult delivery,  which you can read about here

Today, I cannot believe that my little girl is eleven - standing on the brink of so many changes and adventures.  Not a little girl any more, but not quite a big girl either (although I am certain she would totally disagree!)  As I look back over the last eleven years, I remember so many wonderful times we've shared and so many things I would gladly change if I had the chance for a "do-over".   But through all the changes and ups and downs, we have been together, and we are as close as any mother and daughter can be.  I longed for such a relationship as a child, and vowed that I would make sure my future daughter would  have the chance to experience it if she chose to do so -  at least I've kept one promise that I made to my childish self.

As we begin our RVing journey soon (I hope), I look forward to discovering America with this bright, vivacious, active, questioning, beautiful little soul.  Every day brings new discoveries here in our sticks and bricks, so I have no doubt that we will have some grand adventures (and more than our share of spats and misunderstandings) while on our journeys.  Since I am an "older Mom" and she is headed toward teenagehood, we may decide to dub our rolling home "The Hormone Express" with all the changes that will occur while on the road!   ;-)  But I pray that we are able to appreciate and enjoy our time together wherever we are and whatever we are doing, and that we take advantage of the opportunities as they come along.

Today we plan to spend the day having breakfast at our special place, shopping at all of our favorite stores, having lunch (haven't decided where yet but I know it will be delicious), maybe taking in a movie... whatever her little heart desires.  Tonight we will feast on Chocolate Cheesecake - YUM!  I hope that her day is as special as she deserves, and that we build another wonderful memory for her to put into her "bank"...  My goal is for that bank to be overflowing with amazing, funny, and treasured memories by the time she becomes an adult. 

Sweetie, you are one of the two most precious people in my world and I love you more than I can express.  I am so very happy that God chose me to be your Mom, and that I have the privilege of knowing and  loving you.    "As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be..."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, E!

My handsome son is 23 years old today.  I say it every year, but I simply cannot believe that he has so quickly grown from that beautiful little baby boy into a tall, strong, intelligent, capable young man.   If you haven't read my old blog entry about his birth, you can read about it in an earlier post.  It was quite an experience!

Son, I hope that you have a wonderful day.  I pray that you continue your pursuit of happiness and that your thirst for knowledge and your quest for answers never die.  I hope that you understand that life will knock you down at times, but that you must find the strength within yourself to get back up again and again, and that I will always do anything I can to help.  I hope that you know how much you are loved, no matter how grumpy you might be :-).

Happy Birthday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our 15th annual "We Don't Have to Go Back to School Today" day!! and Austin the Duck...

The local school systems had their first day of classes today.  Poor little ones, the weather has been atrocious all summer and today it was BEAUTIFUL!

Here is a quick run-down of our 15th We Don't Have to Go Back to School Today day - all scheduling done by the Little One!  Our day began with breakfast at Burger King, followed by... (deeeeeep breath) shopping at Kmart and Tractor Supply (duck needed food), 3 hours at Chuck E Cheese, a visit to our favorite thrift store, 3 hours at the splash pad - we had it to ourselves most of the day and again the weather was AMAZING! - then supper at Sweet Peppers Deli complete with a shared slice of their Chocolate Eruption Cake - *dangerous* stuff.  That, my friends, was a wonderfully exhausting day!   The weather was absolutely perfect for the first time all summer, and we've been promised more of the same for the rest of the week!

Speaking of duck food...  Austin the Duck is SO beautiful and we love him dearly, but he goes to his new home this Wednesday.  We found him a new home a few weeks ago, but the amazingly sweet young lady (who has agreed to give him a proper-ducky home) and I had scheduling conflicts, not the least of which involved me spraining my ankle two weeks ago, plus we had triple-digit heat for a couple of weeks and I did not want Austin to begin his outdoor life when it was so hot! 

But the time has now come and although he seems to be very happy with us - snuggling in our laps, running around the house - with one of us right behind him with tissues, making sure he stays off the rugs and doesn't eat anything he shouldn't!! ;-), swimming several times a day in the bathtub, and playing outside in the back yard, it is time to let him go.  He has been an amazing learning opportunity for us all and he has enriched our lives with his soft peeping and whistling, nuzzling bill, curiosity about everything, beautiful feathering, and comical antics.  He will be missed.  Very, very much.  Never would have believed I would fall in love with a duck...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hello to Ken and Some Good News!

First of all, I'd like to say "Hello and Welcome" to my newest follower, Ken Wilkes.  Ken is a really nice guy who has a blog over at     I look forward to keeping up with his adventures as he transitions into the RVing lifestyle.   Welcome, Ken!

Another quick update on the Lucky Duck... I think that I have found Austin a permanent home!  There is a young lady in our area who has an amazing farm where she takes in rescued horses, donkeys, and other animals.  She has a pot-bellied pig, baby goats, chickens, ducks - a true menagerie of rescued animals.  I wrote to her yesterday to see if she knew anyone who might be willing to give Austin a proper home, and she wrote me back within the hour, telling me that she would love to have him!  She has 3 other ducklings just younger than Austin and 4 adult ducks, so he will have a ready-made family.   I hope that they will accept him.   Although we have become quite attached to him and will miss him, we knew that we were just his foster family and are thrilled that he will have such a wonderful home!  After I meet this young lady and obtain her permission, I will post her information so that you can see what wonderful work she is doing.

Austin will be at least 5 weeks old this Friday... we found him on a Saturday and he was not much more than a day old, so we have decided that June 24th was his "hatch day".    He has quadrupled in size and is getting some beautiful feathering above and below his wings, on his tail and on his chest.  He is sort of growing into his feet and bill.  :-)  He is going to be a beautiful duck!   He is quickly outgrowing both his "pen" and his swimming pool, so we are very happy to have found him a new home.  We hope to deliver him to his new Mom either Friday or Saturday.  As I've said before, I have no idea yet if he is actually a "he".   We will know when he/she finds his/her quack in a few more weeks.   :-)

So... other than my son's little car being in the shop again - booooo, and trying to bear the unspeakable heat and humidity along with most of the rest of the country, that is about all that is going on here in Alabama.  It is Handy Fest Week here in The Shoals - the festival celebrating WC Handy, Father of the Blues, but it has just been too hot to enjoy the festivities.  I wish they would have it in October!  The music offered is amazing and I love the Blues, but have not made it to a single event this week.   The heat is just too oppressive... I hope that next summer, my house has wheels under it so that I can chase some better weather!!

The Little One and I are gearing up for our new unit studies... This year we plan to use the American Girl Historical Characters series as a basis for our unit, and also plan to study  a different country each month.   She loves her American Girl dolls, and really enjoys the books, so we are using them as a springboard for various activities.  I am tying the "Country of the Month" unit study in with the AG books when possible.  I had planned to do an in-depth study of American history in correlation with the AG unit study, but she really wants to study other countries right now, so I'm going with that.  I hope that next year we will be studying American history by traveling around this beautiful country and visiting the locations and monuments which most children only get to read about!  So American history will wait until we can experience it in person!

Hope you are all finding a way to stay cool and enjoy your summer.  Be careful out there!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Prayer request...

One of my former students gave birth to her baby boy on Wednesday, June 29th.  Brantley had to be airlifted to a children's hospital when he was just a few hours old.  He has pulmonary hypertension and a cleft lip which is causing feeding problems.   They are worried most about bleeding in his brain.   He is in very, very critical condition right now and I would like to ask everyone to put him on their prayer lists and say a very special prayer for him and his family. 

The mommy is a sweet young lady who is only 22.   Her young husband just returned safely from a 6 months deployment in Afghanistan.  Thankfully he made it home before little Brantley was born.  She lost her Mom at 16, so she has already suffered a great deal in her young life, and now is having to watch her tiny little boy suffer and fight for his life. 

Please join me in lifting up this little family in prayer.   Thank you so much!

Lucky Duck update...

Just a quick note to update you on the progress of our Lucky Duck aka Austin... He is growing like a weed and eating everything in sight.  He is a very messy little duck, so given that fact and his appetite, I am convinced he is a male!  lol  Honestly I have no idea, but it sounds good...  He loves curly endive and Bibb lettuce (organic) but is not crazy about spinach.  He loves strawberries and peaches, but won't eat blueberries.  He adores oatmeal and cornmeal mush.  And he drinks lots of water!

He is a week old now.  The research I did tells me that he was barely 24 hours old when we found him, so he had his 1 week birthday on Friday!  He has grown almost an inch !! and gained several ounces.  He is a happy little fella as long as someone is with him, talking to him, or holding him.  He will peep, peep, peep if he is left alone, though.  I can always tell when my Little One has left the room, because he begins to cry.  He likes to watch TV, and seems to prefer to listen  Journey.  Oh wait.  Maybe that is me!  But he doesn't argue about it.  :-)   I set his tub on the bed the other day while I was ironing, and he looked as though he were watching a ping-pong game - his head went back and forth, back and forth, watching the iron.  He just likes to be wherever we are...

He settles down at night as soon as we turn off the lights, but is up bright and early letting us know he is hungry.  I leave oatmeal and lettuce bits out for him at night, but I don't think he eats very much.  He is taking almost everything he eats to his water dish now, so it is difficult to keep it clean.  We change it at least a dozen times a day, and wipe out his bin more often than that!  He also could care less where he goes potty, so we usually wrap a cloth around him when we hold him!  :-)  We put him in a small tub in the bathtub and let him swim around at least twice a day.  He does not like it very much at all, but he needs to practice.  I have to remind him that he is, after all, a duck!  After his swim, he likes to cuddle up in our hands and go to sleep.  Yes we are spoiling him and no it is probably not good for him.  But he is so cute and irresistible!

We are looking for a home for him, but my Little One will not give him up to just anyone!  Hopefully we will find a good place soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The VERY Lucky Duck

Yesterday my daughter and I went to our local Arby's for an early supper.   When we went in, we used the side door, but as we were leaving, I decided to go out the front.   Not sure why, but later I was really glad that I did.   We were walking along the sidewalk toward the parking lot and I heard a strange sound.  I told her that I thought a bird had a nest nearby because I could hear "peeping".  But it didn't really sound like baby birds.  I was looking up as I walked along and suddenly realized that the sound was coming from below me.  I looked down and a tiny baby duck came waddling out from under my car!  I stood in shock for just a minute, then set my things in the car and tried to catch it. 

This little fellow was heck-bent on heading west - maybe he'd heard the advice to "Go west young man" - and waddled straight for Woodward Avenue.  Those of you who have been in Muscle Shoals, AL know how busy Woodward is, especially on a Saturday afternoon.  For those of you who haven't, just picture any 7 lane street through a small city on a Saturday and you will get the idea.  Cars were heading both north and south, and since there are not any traffic lights in this area, most of them were going quite fast.  I could not get between the little duck and the street in time, and out he went into the traffic.   I was standing on the side of the street, waving my arms like a mad woman and pointing at the little guy, hoping that drivers would at least slow down to see what was happening.  I watched him until he crossed 4 lanes, then saw a line of traffic coming down the southbound lanes.

I just could not watch this sweet little bird be killed, so I shouted for my daughter to look away and I turned and walked to the car.  She and I were both almost in tears - I will never forget the sight of that tiny little brown and gold baby dodging across all those lanes of traffic.  We backed out of the parking space, and as I put the car in drive,  she yelled "There it is!"  It had made it across SEVEN lanes of busy traffic!!! Unbelievable!!!

There is a small strip mall across Woodward from Arby's, and the little duck was standing on the sidewalk in front of Austin's Shoe Store.  We were able to go across the street quite quickly, and I parked in front of the strip mall.  By this time, the little fellow was waddling down the sidewalk in front of the various shops.   My Little One was begging for me to "save it", so I got out and chased it down the sidewalk.  It went around the corner of the building and made tracks - webs? - for the alley behind.

I jumped back in the car and pulled around to the alley, got out again - did I mention that we are in NW Alabama and it is H-O-T?? - and chased it up and down the side of the alley.  I would go one way and it would go the other.  This went on for several minutes and I finally called to my daughter to come and help me.  I had initially made her stay in the car, even though she really wanted to help.  So... she came over and we cornered the little guy - who was panting by now - and she just scooped him up!  She did in 5 seconds what I'd been trying to do for 5 minutes!  Of course she is lower to the ground and much more nimble than I am!  :-)

She handed him to me - she wasn't at all sure about holding him at that moment - and we took him back to the car.  I was thinking to myself  "now what??".  I told her to open the trunk to see if we had anything we could safely put him in, and I saw the Rubbermaid tub I use to hold all the "stuff" I carry around - jumper cables, extra water, oil, umbrellas... you get the picture.  So we unloaded all the stuff out of the tub and put him down in it.  My Little One carries water everywhere she goes, so I wiped out a corner of the tub and poured a little water there, so it could get a sip, and put a clean rag in another corner for it to lie on.

We brought the baby home and put him in the bathtub until I could find a better home.  He is a fast little thing, and I did NOT want him getting loose in the house!  The Rubbermaid tub had worked well, so I grabbed another one that held some of my daughter's stuffed toys, poured them on my bed and brought the tub to the den.  Found a shallow lid to hold some water and a clean cloth to make a "nest".  Brought the baby - who I was calling "Lucky" and she had named "Austin" - and placed it in the tub.  He went straight for the water and took several long drinks while stomping around it, then proceeded to peep loudly for a little while.  He then promptly pooped and began to preen his feathers.

Now of course I was faced with the task of feeding the poor little thing.  I knew he had expended many calories on his mad dash across the highway and around the buildings with a crazy woman chasing him.  So I - of course - immediately turned to Google to find some answers.  He has since eaten quite a bit of cornmeal mixed with water, tiny bits of spinach and lettuce, hulled corn, watermelon, and crushed cat food (he loves that!).  He slept all night without a peep (pun intended!) and chirps loudly every time my daughter leaves the room.  She is beginning to understand the demands of "motherhood"!  She told me this morning that her cat and dog "weren't this much trouble"!!  :-)

I have read that ducks and geese imprint on whoever they assume is "Mom", and it seems as though my daughter is who Lucky/Austin has chosen.  She is - of course - totally in love with him too. 

Since today is Sunday, I can't call a local vet or the local Feed and Seed which sells baby ducks to get any advice on caring for him.  We have a cat, so we cannot keep him, but I do not yet know what we will do with him.   He is precious and I know she will not give him up easily, but I just could not leave the tiny thing alone to fend for itself.

By the way, I am saying "he", but of course I have no idea if it is male or female.  I am somewhat certain that it is a Hybrid Mallard, based on its markings, and that it is less than a week old, based on its size and feathers.  He is a pretty little thing, bright eyed and curious.  He will snuggle down in your hand and fall asleep quite easily, and seems to be eating well.

Any suggestions on care and feeding would be appreciated.  I'm making sure he stays warm and as dry as you can keep a duck.  :-)    I want to make sure he gets a good home where he can live out his days just enjoying being a duck.  I think that after yesterday's adventures, he has earned it!  He is definitely one Lucky Duck!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!!

My Daddy was a big man in every way.  Tall, large-boned, heavy-set, brilliant, with the biggest heart in the world.   Any time I had problems - which seemed all too often for one so young - he was there with assistance in any form needed.  Although at times I bucked against the advice he was giving me, he had an annoying way of being right about so many things, and would readily admit when he was wrong.  Although he was definitely not perfect - and never tried to pretend that he was - he was a wonderful person and a great Daddy.

Daddy has been gone for over 14 years now.  He died the day after Christmas 1996, and I don't think a day has gone by since that I haven't thought about him and wished that he were still here.  He was a wonderful Granddaddy to my son, who was 8 when Daddy died.  My little girl never got to know him - she was born almost 4 years later.   She is the only girl in her generation and Daddy would have spoiled her rotten!  She has no contact with her father or his family, so she has really missed out on a positive male role model, which worries me very much.   Every girl deserves to be Daddy's Girl.

I would give almost anything to see my Daddy again.  To hear his voice, even if I didn't want to listen to what he was saying!  To hug him and feel his strong arms around me, reminding me that as long as he was around, I was safe.  I don't think I've truly felt safe since he went into a coma a week before he died, and wonder if I ever will. 

How I wish that my children had a father like I had.   All I can do is love them and let them know how special they are, regardless of someone elses choices.  

To every man out there who has stepped up and done the right thing by his children, grandchildren, step-children - whenever and how ever a child has come into his life - to the man who takes his responsibilities seriously and loves and protects his family - you are an amazing human being!  I pray that each and every one of the great dads out there got an extra hug and kiss today, and got to hear "I love you" from the hearts of those for who they have provided an example of how a REAL man lives.    Happy Father's Day to each of you!

I want to say "Hello" and "Welcome" to my newest follower, Four Windows with a View.  Thank you!  I really enjoy your blog and I am looking forward to following you on your adventures! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

OK... must be my turn for Blogger problems.  I cannot post a comment on anyone's blog.  When I select my Google account to post a comment, it sends me to the sign-in screen, although I am already signed in.  Then when it takes me back to the comment section on their blog and I hit the post button, it sends me right back to the sign-in screen again.  It will do this over and over again.  This has been going on for a couple of weeks and I had hoped it was just a Blogger boo-boo which would right itself soon, but no-such-luck.  Anyone have any ideas??

So to everyone who has posted anything in the past couple of weeks :-)  I have really enjoyed your blogs and had lots and lots of amazing, witty, and intelligent things to say about each and every one of them  :-), but have not been able to post many comments.  One or two have slipped through, but that is all.    I will try to see if I can find a solution soon.

The following is a comment for Jeana at "Four Windows with a View" that I tried to post in response to her welcome to me.  I sure hope you read this!

Hi Jeana!

Thank you for the welcome... I'm afraid you may be bored by my blog, but I welcome you to stop by anyway and become a follower if you'd like. :-) I have been terrible about posting, and rarely stay on homeschooling subjects, but I do occasionally post something that I feel needs to be said!

We are indeed unschoolers and while it is not for everyone, we love our lives and my children are happy, intelligent, questioning (sometimes they question TOO much!!:-) individuals who are very independent and kind. Can't ask for more than that as a parent... They are also aggravating, frustrating and annoying at times... but then aren't we all? LOL

I enjoy your blog. Love Olivia! Looking forward to reading about your adventures and hoping to join all of you "out there" soon.

LOVE the picture of the hummer on its nest. Precious!

It has been near 100 and dry yet humid here in the South... Wish I could send you some sunshine and you could send us a little rain and cooler temps! Have a great day...

Kerri in AL :-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quick update...

... Sorry it has been a while since I last posted.  Things have been very busy in our area.  Everything is more organized now than it was in the first few days following the tornadoes, of course, and we hope the death count has ceased to climb.   The areas have been inundated with wonderful volunteers and the donations of supplies is staggering.  The generosity of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me.

E was able to keep the emergency radio station running for several days, much to the delight of the residents and volunteers.  He was able to use a travel trailer which belonged to Florence City FD, which we very much appreciated.  His informative radio broadcasts helped reunite several families with loved ones with whom they'd had no contact since the storms.  This touched him deeply and - I suspect - changed him forever.   The newspaper which serves The Shoals area did a nice story on him (although they did manage to get some of the facts wrong :-).

The clean-up continues.  The rebuilding is beginning.  The towns seem to be entering a state of recovery and are beginning to come to grips with the enormity of the damage done by these storms.  Volunteers continue to come into the areas, including a wonderful group of Mennonite and Amish who have traveled to the area from Pennsylvania.  It is simply amazing what human beings can do when we work together in the service of others.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gratitude and Pride....

Well it has been 3 days since the devastating storms rolled through our area of northwest Alabama.  The death toll continues to rise.  Many people are missing.  No count yet on number of homes destroyed.  The National Guard is rolling in to give our 1st Responders some relief.  WHAT would we do without these brave men and women - the firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement officers, military - there is just NO way to express the gratitude and pride which I feel toward all of these individuals who risk their lives daily to keep us safe.  If you are in any of the above categories - whether active or retired - THANK YOU!!!!! 

I have a dear friend who is a Chief Investigator, and he told me this morning that he'd lost count of how many bodies he has personally seen in the last 3 days... He is such a great guy and it weighs so heavily on his heart and those of all the others.  Seeing families, children, elderly people who have lost their lives, having to "mark" the houses/debris piles.  Reporting their findings.  I cannot imagine having to do this, and yet he and all the others are doing it without complaint.  Again... no way to express the gratitude which I feel.

My son, E, is getting an emergency radio broadcast together.  The areas of Phil Campbell and Hackleburg, Alabama are still without electricity, etc, so no broadcasts are being made from there other than those being taped and carried back to the stations.  This area is just on the edge of major radio and TV coverage, so continuous coverage is difficult.  The emergency personnel are working with ONE satellite phone in each area right now. 

E has coordinated with a radio station in the next small town of Russellville to set up a remote vehicle in Phil Campbell to use to broadcast information for both the ER personnel and for victims.   They did not have the equipment or the "know how" to do this, but he does.  I am so proud of him for coming up with such a great idea! 

He could already be on the air if we had an RV for him to stay in.  We are searching for one and have some good leads, so we hope he is up and running by Tuesday at the latest.    Sure wish I had my rig already, and he would be down there doing what he could to help!   

*He just got word that the area they have reserved for him at the Rescue Squad building in Phil Campbell has RV hookups to run off of the huge generators they have in place!!  Great news!  We were going to try to find a source to donate/deliver gasoline for the generator and now we won't have to!!!*  Great news indeed!!!!!

Thank you all so much for the prayers I know are going out for all the storm victims.   Please continue to send them out, and if you are able to offer financial help, please do so.  Remember to specify that your contributions to the Red Cross or others be sent to the storm victims of the April 27th tornadoes!  Thanks so much!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayers requested...

I am asking the wonderful RVing community for prayers for the people in my hometown area.  Although my little hometown of Bear Creek, Alabama suffered little damage, our neighbors in Hackleburg and Phil Campbell (5 miles from Bear Creek to the west and north, respectively) were hard hit during the storms which hit April 27th. 

There is very little media coverage of the devastation there - still no count on how many died in Hackleburg and it stands at 25 in Phil Campbell (population is only about 1,100).   The accounts which I've heard compare it to a war zone.   They have no electricity, no water, no cell phone coverage, nothing.  This area is very rural, and unemployment had already exacted a huge toll on the economy there.  I'm sure there were many without any insurance who have lost everything.   It is a tragedy of epic proportions.

I have not been able to go down there yet - we plan to make the first trip down on Saturday to see if we can help in any way.  Please mention the victims in northwest Alabama in your posts and send out prayer requests for the families devastated by this storm.  Thank you so much!

Kerri in AL 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I'm on a roll...

... and loving it!  Thank you so much to my newest follower, Luci&Loree at!  I can't wait to read your blog and find out what adventures you are having!   Your little Luci is adorable! 

We are having a rare day of sunshine here in NW AL with a high of 53, so we are headed outside.  Have to soak up that vitamin D when we get the chance!  Hope everyone is having a great day...  If you have a preference in tonight's Super Bowl, I hope your team wins!  :-)

Stay safe...

Kerri in AL  :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another new follower!!

Thanks to my newest follower, Lynilu for taking the time to follow my blog!  I may have to pay Judy a commission for sending so many nice people my way!!  :-)  I am so excited to have new readers.  I have not gotten in the habit of posting every day (my life is too boring for anyone to actually want to read about it!) but I LOVE reading everyone's blogs and am honored that you've chosen to follow mine.

Stay safe...

Kerri in AL  :-)

A huge THANK YOU!!

Let me begin by welcoming my newest followers, Jim and Sandie @ ...  Thank you so much for adding me to your reading list!

And thank you so much to all who have commented on yesterday's post! You have no idea how much I appreciate that you took the time to read my post.  I enjoy all of your blogs and look forward to discovering the new ones!

@Jim and Sandie...Thank you for your wonderful comment! Don't you just LOVE Judy's blog???

@Dennis and Donna...You certainly can understand! You get your (un)fair share of bad weather in IL!

@MeowMamma... You too certainly understand about bad weather... My Little One can't wait to visit Kansas - she is a HUGE Wizard of Oz fan. In fact, that was the theme for her 8th birthday and she was Dorothy TWICE at Halloween! When we do get to visit, I hope to special order NO stormy weather.  Think it will work??  :-)...........Congratulations on 40 years of matrimony. What a splendid accomplishment!

@WildBlueYonder... I had tears in my eyes when writing about my little Bullet. He was named that because from the time he could run, he would rip from one end of the house to the other, a little white blur. He NEVER walked!!  He had blue eyes and the softest fur! Our pets touch us in so many ways.

@Heidi...Breathe, Heidi, breathe! :-) I'm trying all the recipes you are posting... YUM-ME! 

And again @Judy... Thank you for mentioning me in your blog and sending new friends my way... such a sweet thing to do!

And @Froggi Donna, if you read this post...  I haven't had time to put your amazing instructions into practice yet concerning links and pictures, but I will.  I promise! 

Hope you all have a great day!

Stay safe...

Kerri in AL  :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Forty years ago tonight...

Wow... Forty years ago tonight - February 4, 1971 - our home was destroyed by a tornado.  I was 6 years old at the time (so there is the answer to that question!), but remember it like it was yesterday.  

We had eaten supper at my grandparents' house - across the street and 3 houses down from ours.  It was looking stormy and my Mom wanted to go home before it began to rain.  We had walked to their house because it was an unusually balmy day for February - a "weather-breeder" my Mammow called it.  But Bewitched was about to come on, and my brother and I wanted to watch it on my grandparent's *color* TV.  We had a black and white set at home at the time and we loved watching that color set any time we got the chance!  Since Bewitched was our favorite show, we begged to stay, even pulling Mom back as she went to the door... please, please, please!!!  So she relented.  We had been in the den watching the show for about 10 minutes when the storm slammed into town.   It was amazing how quickly that the conditions deteriorated - no time at all to react.

The electricity went off immediately and we were plunged into total darkness.  There was surprisingly little lightening occurring at that time, and the adults were fumbling for flashlights, candles, etc.  Meanwhile, we could hear an unbelievably loud noise and could hear trees snapping off in the woods behind their house - it sounded like gunshots.   Understand... this all happened in about 90 seconds.   Then as quickly as the storm had hit, the winds lessened and the rain began.  Torrential rain, coming down in sheets. 

For some reason - and I do not know the answer and never thought to question it until recently since I was only 6 at the time -  we went out in this rain and got into my granddaddy's pickup - he, Mammow, Mom, my brother and me.  Maybe we were going to a storm cellar, although I don't remember one nearby at that time.  Maybe Pappow - who was the Chairman of the Road Commission in our county and a very good neighbor - was going out to see if there was damage or if anyone needed help.  Not sure why he would take us all with him, if that were the case though! 

Anyway, when we backed out of their drive - remember it was still pitch black outside - and the headlights of his truck shone down the street, we could see debris everywhere.  We only drove about 30 feet and Pappow saw a power line down in the road and stopped.  At that point, my mother gasped and I remember saying "Mommy, what is that?" and pointing at all of this "stuff" in the street.  She immediately began to cry.  Pappow left the truck where it was, got out and walked down the street in the pouring rain.  He came back in a few minutes, and I can still remember how serious he looked.

"It's gone" was all I remember him saying.  Mammow began to cry and pray,  and I was sitting in my mother's lap thinking "What?  What is gone?"  Had NO idea they were talking about our home.

Turns out that our home was lifted off its foundation, flipped over and set back down in almost the exact same spot.  The roof was still there and was within about 6 feet of the original foundation site.  The floor and walls and contents were swept across the street, almost demolishing the house that sat there.  It was like a giant had picked it up, turned it over, and then took his big foot and kicked it to the curb.  Literally.

I don't remember much about the days that followed, but I do remember some of the amazing events that occurred.  My mother had taken off her beautiful Keepsake engagement ring and wedding band when she was doing housework earlier in the day and left them in her "ring minder" (remember those?) above the kitchen sink.  She assumed they were gone forever!  The next day, when neighbors and the Rescue Squad were helping to salvage what we could, one of the men found her rings - still together ON the ring minder!! - in the mud about 75 feet from where our house had stood.  I do remember that this young man came running toward her, waving his hands in the air, so excited.  Mom was very grateful, of course, and I am sure she expressed it - being her - but since then I've often wondered if that young man was thanked enough.  He could very easily have taken those rings (over 2 carats worth) and never said a word.  I hope that God has blessed him for his honesty that day.  We had many things that simply disappeared, and I am sure looters were to blame.  But his honesty remains in my memory of an example of how people SHOULD behave during a crisis. 

Our neighbors whose house was struck by the debris from ours told us that they had been in the basement when the storm hit.  She went to the door to open it after the storm had passed only to find debris piled so high they could not step out.  She had on house shoes at the time, and as she turned to go back in the house (remember it was very dark) her foot brushed something warm and soft.  She began screaming and fainted, because she thought that it was one of us, lying dead on her porch.  It was actually my little white cat, Bullet.  He was still alive, but terribly injured.  My Pappow put him into a box the next day, and told me that he took him to the vet but they couldn't save him.  Years later, I figured out that there was no way that Pap could have gone to the vet 10 miles away with the roads closed and all the damage in the area.  He just didn't want me to see my little kitty suffering.  I never knew what happened, but I am sure that Pap did what he had to do.  I never asked.

About a week after the storm, after the papers had carried the story "Bewitched Saves Family" and everyone in the area had heard about our house, a man and lady from the next town north of us came to my grandparent's house one afternoon.  They lived over 15 miles away, but a few mornings after the storm, she had noticed something pink in one of the trees behind their house.  Her husband went down to investigate and found a tiny pair of panties with Saturday embroidered on them.  Just below the "day of the week", was my name.  My Mammow had given me the "days-of-week" undies - most of you ladies have owned them, seen them or bought them for your daughters! - and then embroidered my name below the day.  Those undies traveled over 15 miles in the storm before being deposited in that tree!  And that nice couple drove down and brought them back to me.    Amazing.

There was, of course, damage to other areas of our tiny, tiny town.  My best friend's house was badly damaged, and her oldest brother and his wife were injured.  Several other houses were badly damaged.  The school's new gym had the roof ripped off.  Two old buildings (of about 7)that still housed businesses on "Main Street" were completely destroyed.  Several mobile homes in the area were damaged or destroyed.  Chicken houses at a farm about 5 miles away were destroyed and hundreds of chickens killed.  One farmer lost most of his cattle.  And in all of this destruction, only one person was killed.  An elderly lady died when hit by flying debris going to a storm shelter.  As tragic as that was, it was amazing that more people were not hurt. 

I have NO doubt in my mind that my mother, brother and I would have been killed if we had been in our home.  Bewitched did indeed "save" our family.  My Daddy was in Arkansas on business, and couldn't get through to us by telephone.  It was 3 or 4 days before he was contacted by the Highway Patrol - on his way home to see what had happened - and could get back to Alabama.   I still remember how glad I was to see him and how upset he was that he wasn't there to help Mom through the initial shock of it all. 

So forty years ago tonight I experienced one of the most life-changing events of my life.   Witnessing the power of nature first-hand was terrifying, especially through a child's eyes.  We lost everything we had that night except each other.  Mom's rings, some of our clothes and our washing machine were basically all that survived.  Oh............ and my pink Saturday panties..........

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yea!!! NO Snow!

I am doing a happy dance right now.  Woke up this morning to NO white stuff on the ground and the rain moving on outta here!  The sun is coming out and it is supposed to be in the mid-40s today.  Windy, but I'll take it...  This weekend the predictions are for sun and temps in the mid-50s!!  Yeah Baby... that's what I'm talking about!  Bring it on...

I want to say THANKS!! to Froggi Donna for the info on posting links and pictures.  That was so very kind of you to take the time to do that!  I am going to practice at the first available opportunity, so maybe in a few days my blog won't be so boring any more!  Well... at least you will have something to look at and maybe a link to click on, anyway.   Doubt it will improve the content any..........  :-P

We are making plans to visit the RV Super Show in Huntsville, AL again this year.  Although I have SO much more to learn, I definitely know more than I did at this time last year when we attended.  I hope to get ideas on floor plans, furniture, and storage, specifically.    We really enjoyed it last year and are looking forward to returning.  It is scheduled for February 18th - 20th at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, if anyone is close by... they have wonderful parking and the area is not so large that you are totally exhausted when finished.   I'm not sure I would call it a "Super" show, but it is quite nice.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Stay safe....

Kerri in (NO SNOW!!!!) AL  :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No, No, NO More Snow!!!

Welcome to my newest followers Craig and Karin! (I have GOT to learn how to do links in my posts!  AND post pictures!) I just discovered their blogs and really enjoyed reading about their first year as FTers! Thanks for becoming followers of my blog!

I am thinking of changing the name of my blog.  Although I would love to have lots of homeschooler/roadschoolers "following" me, I also hope to be writing about FT RVing soon, plus lots of other subjects.   I feel that some people see the title and feel they couldn't possibly find anything of interest here.   How about "... And the Kitchen Sink"??  You know, as in "they brought everything AND the kitchen sink".  My Mammow used to say that all the time when one of us grandkids would be dragging stuff around with us!   :-).......  Or how about "A Little Bit of Everything". Or "No, There Is Nothing Interesing Here But I'm Bored"  :-)...  I don't know..............  Something will smack me in the forehead soon, I'm sure!

MORE ???!!!****### snow is predicted for us tonight and tomorrow. You know -----  I live in A-L-A-B-A-M-A.  It is NOT supposed to snow this much here! It is supposed to snow ONCE a year so we can watch it fall and all the kids (both big and little:-) can play in it and build a little snowman and have a snowball fight and we can make snow cream. Then it is supposed to MELT AND GO AWAY!!   I guess the weatherman didn't get the memo...... I pray that we are on the road next winter so we (hopefully) won't have to deal with this. Of course, if I leave, Alabama will have 60 degree sunny days with NO snow all winter!! :-)  And southern Florida or Texas or Arizona or wherever we happen to be will have the coldest winter in history...  I have such *good* luck.   (BIG grin)

Thank you to everyone who left a comment the other day.  I truly do love reading your blogs! 

@ Judy... I am in NW Alabama in The Shoals area, so I'm about 380 miles away.  Let me know if you head further north at any point... would love to meet you!

@ Froggi Donna...  Your blog STILL helps me.  I love reading about the adventures you and your handsome hubby and sweet puppy have...  You seem so happy together!

@ Randy and Pam...  You're welcome!  I am trying to write more often on this thing, but *life* gets in the way sometimes.  Since I'm not on the road, I doubt anyone is very interested in my boring life here!!  ;-)

@ Mike... You are very welcome and I truly meant them.  I really hope that I get to meet you and Heidi "down the road" someday! 

Hope you are all warm and dry!  January is almost over!!  Yea!

Stay safe......

Kerri in AL  :-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Thank You!" to my followers...

I have decided to steal an idea from Randy and Pam Warner (Roadrunner Chronicles) and thank each of my followers as they arrive.  While I am sure other bloggers acknowledge newcomers, Randy and Pam were the first ones which I noticed doing it.  I just thought it was so very nice of them to say hello to the new additions that I decided to do it, too!

Since I have some "catch-up" to do, I thought I would thank my current followers now.  If you are reading this and not a follower, I would love to add your name to my list! 

So....  Thank You to Deb, Intense Lives, Heidi, Randy and Pam, Judy and Emma, Tonya, Freely Living Life, Sheri, Visionquest, Wild Blue Yonder, and Froggi Donna. 

Deb at One Single Minute has been a good friend for many years.  We met when she began homeschooling her children and soon felt like old friends.  She and her husband have a wonderful marriage and have done an amazing job raising two great young people. 

I must relate that when I began researching the RV lifestyle, Froggi Donna's blogs were some of the first I discovered.  She answered so many questions for me, questions which I didn't even know enough to ask!!  She is an amazingly strong lady who persevered through heart-break and came out triumphantly on the other side. 

Judy of Travels with Emma is an inspiration to everyone who reads her blog, and I look forward to her posts every day.  She has a seemingly unending amount of knowledge about most subjects in general, and birding in particular, and shoots breathtaking photographs!

Randy and Pam (Roadrunner Chronicles) are wonderful people who enjoy each other and life to the fullest.  Their family has had it's share of heartache too, but they have been an inspiration to their readers throughout it all.  We *almost* got to meet when they were in Red Bay, AL having some work done at Tiffin.  It was definitely my loss.   Maybe next time, guys!

Tonya at Live the Adventure  is a wonderful homeschooling mom who writes with honesty and candor about their adventures.  She and her family have experienced life in a S&Bs in Ohio, hotel rooms around the country, their RV, and now back to a S&Bs here in AL.  Thought you were getting away from snow and cold weather, didn't you??  ;-)

Heidi (Vansteaders) and her sweet husband Mike (Visionquest) are my go-to blogs for innovative and creative ideas for renovations and for delicious food!   Keep those recipes coming, Heidi!  And yes, the stir-fry was amazing!   You and I must be soul-sisters...  :-)

I would love to read Wild Blue Yonder's blog.  If you'll send me an invitation, I would be happy to become a follower!  ;-)

Sheri at SmittysInfo is the mom of six beautiful children and an inspiration to all of us who are roadschoolers (or wannabees!:-).   I really enjoy reading her posts about her family's adventures.

Freely Living Life has wonderful posts about their adventures, written in a warm and pleasant way, supplemented with beautiful photographs!  I love reading about families who are experiencing the full-time lifestyle.

I have lost my link to Intense Lives, so if you are reading this, please get me back on track!  I am sure that it is something I did... :-)

I so look forward to meeting as many of you as I can someday.  Until then I hope you stay safe, happy, and content.    Thanks again!

Kerri in AL  :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow, snow, go away...

... DON'T come back another day!  I live in A-L-A-B-A-M-A.  What is up with this???  Bama fans are saying that it is hell freezing over because Auburn won the National Championship.  I won't go there, although I do consider myself a Bama fan all the way... :-)

We had about 8 inches of snow where we live.  Other areas here in The Shoals had from 7 - 12.  I know that is not a lot to those of you in/from the North, but here it is a MAJOR deal!!  We just aren't equipped to deal with it.  We still have about 6 inches in most places in our yard.  The streets are slowly clearing up, which is good.  The Little One has played in the snow and built snowmen until she is tired of it.  Hasn't even asked to go out today!  Which is good, since the temp is 22 and the wind chill is 12!!  Brrrrrr....  I looked at the national map a few minutes ago and it is chilly, cold, or downright frigid almost everywhere!!!  I am picturing all of the wonderful people who are RVing out there with their rigs circled up like covered wagons in the half-dozen or so warm spots in the country!!  Hope I am there with you next year...

So.... yeah.  It is cold.  That is about all that is happening here.  I am VERY thankful that we didn't lose electricity, water, nor DSL.  I am shocked and amazed that we didn't lose DSL (see earlier posts :-) but very grateful!  It kind of comes and goes, but as long as it comes back, I can deal with it.  Plenty of food in the kitchen.  Everyone safe and sound.   Just wish it was warmer! 

The dog (who lives outside) is in the laundry room, making a mess.  She is SO funny when I let her out... she has no desire whatsoever to get out in that white stuff, but she has to "go" so she goes.   But Miss-Usually-Sniffs-Everything-In-Her-Path wastes NO time getting back in the house!  

I watched a squirrel skate across the yard yesterday, and it was as though he is thinking "ifIjustdon'ttouchthegroundmaybeI'llbeallright"!!!  He was moving-on and wasted no time going up the first available tree.   Didn't look like he even left a mark in the snow!

So cabin fever has definitely set in... We've watched movies and played games.  Cooked and eaten too much food.  Read books and cleaned house.  Surfed the 'net and chilled out.  I'm ready to get out and about.  Take a long walk.  Go out to eat.  Go for a drive.  I might even enjoy a Walmart visit....  Nah, I'm not THAT desperate!  :-)

Hope everyone is warm, safe, and dry...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I am reeling from the price I was just quoted to repair my car!!!!!!!!!!!   Unbelievable!   I think I'm in shock!

Last Wednesday, my Little One and I went to Walmart.  Came out, cranked up, put the car in reverse... and nothing.  Didn't shift.  Didn't move.  Uh-oh....  So I slid the gear shift back into park and tried again.  And again.  And again.  Got out, looked under the car to see if any pertinent parts were on the ground.  Checked the fluid level.  Wiggled and jiggled things for good measure.  Got back in.  Shifted.  Nada.

Double uh-oh.   Waited for a guy to walk by who looked like he might know something about cars.  Two older men saw that I had my hood raised and asked if they could help.  (BTW, they were the 7th and 8th man, respectively who walked by, and were the ONLY ones to ask!)  They tinkered with it and said I would have to call a tow truck. 

So I made a few phone calls.  Couldn't reach my regular mechanic.  Talked with another guy.  Called a third.  Then I called a good friend of mine at work.  He asked if I had a ride home.  Told him yes I could get a ride.   So he told me to meet him in the parking lot when he was finished for the day and he would try to at least get the gears to engage so I could get the car home.

So I called my mom and she came over and picked us up.  I ran in and told a manager that my car wouldn't move and that I would be leaving it there for a few hours and was that ok?  She laughed and said they had cars sit in the parking lot for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time.  A few hours would not be a problem.    So I reluctantly left BamaGirl sitting all alone at Walmart...

Met my friend about 6:30.  It was COLD.  He worked and worked to get the car to go into D, and finally it did!  It also just so happened that the space in front of me was empty, so I could pull through.  Got home safely and tried to put it in gear again.  Nothing.  My friend went home, since it was dark and cold and late and there was nothing he could do...

He came back over on Saturday and worked on it for about 3 hours, trying to find a way to repair it.  Meanwhile, I'd been on the Internet searching forums for answers.  Seems the ONLY solution is to replace the cable from the shifter to the transaxel.  The part is manufactured in such a way that when this little piece breaks off/wears out on the end of the cable, the WHOLE thing must be replaced.  The cable is almost $200.   Have to order it from Atlanta.  It will take 2 or 3 days.   Labor is going to be $500, minimum!!!!!!  Yep, that is what I said. 

They have to pull the axle, remove a huge part of the dash, and remove several components on top of the motor in order to replace it.   He estimated that it will take between 8 and 12 hours of labor to make the repair.  And from my research, I believe it.  I trust this guy - he's been in business for years and has a great reputation.  He has done a lot of work for me and has always been honest and given very accurate estimates.  He was apologizing the whole time.  Good guy.  But $700+ to replace a cable????????!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I know that something on our vehicles has to go "in the middle".  I know that something has to be in an out-of-the-way place.  But it really seems that something which is OH SO VERY DIFFICULT to repair would be made a little better!!  Engineered in such a way that a smaller part could be replaced.  Or so that it would not wear out/break off.  Sheesh!

So here I sit... wheel-less for the next week.  About to be several hundred dollars poorer.  I think I need a nap........  :-)