old friends are the best friends

A little piece of home flew in to visit us last week.  My sweet friend Autumn arrived with her lavender hair and avocado print shirts.

I never know where to bring guests when they visit. Sometimes I wonder if I just don’t know the good spots, but turns out there aren’t many local attractions. Members of my family tend to find places I never heard of so I shouldn’t have been surprised when Autumn arrived with a list of places to explore. Our first stop was billed as “one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders.” The website said it was a courtyard with terraces, waterfalls and “exotic flora.” We arrived to find the whole place shut down and orange netting around half of it. Autumn suggested climbing over the gate but I am no breaker of the law. We looked at the swamp and strange trees instead. Annabelle was not a fan.

Autumn’s next stop was a “prehistoric sand dune.” The gps took us on a 20 minutes drive that looped back to right by the closed garden. The sand dune with a history dating back to the early 1800’s was nothing more than a pile of dirt with a ‘no trespassing’ sign. I can’t believe someone made a website for it. These people need to redefine their definition of interesting. 

By this point, Annabelle had had enough of sightseeing flops. She was coughing, getting a fever and saying she needed to go home. I told her we’d go to the playground since she’d been asking for weeks. Autumn put the address in the gps which proceeded to send us down a dead end dirt road. The next attempt told us to turn into a cemetery. I’ll be honest. I was not my best self at this point. I had a headache and wanted to lay down but needed to give Autumn something to see, even if it was a playground. I took over the navigation and got us out of the wrong side of town. AB miraculously perked up when her feet hit the ground at the park. Funny how 45 minutes earlier she had been moaning and groaning about how she was homesick but a quick trip down the slide fixed all her problems.

That evening Autumn and I went out on the town. We poured over menus on several websites and made a list of who had the best appetizers. We made a game plan- appetizers and a drink at one restaurant than a second round of appetizers at a follow-up restaurant where we would also get dessert. In the 28 years of our friendship, it was one of our best plans and it went perfectly. We ate our weight in fried pickles and onion rings. We shared macaroni and cheese and potato skins. We talked about makeup, education and why some of our childhood friends ended up like they did. Only the most well rounded of conversations for us! We went to the next place but were too full to order more appetizers so we talked and people watched for hours. On the way home, we had to stop to put air in the tire. All the teens of the town were hanging out at the gas station. They were piled in trucks and standing around in little groups. As if the sand dune fail hadn’t been proof enough that not much goes on here, those dudes sealed the deal. We were the crotchety old women wondering why the youths of small-town America weren’t at home, tucked into their beds at such a late hour. We weren’t crotchety old ladies when we got home at 12:30 and put line dancing tutorials on youtube and danced in the living room. We might be bad with directions but we can do the Watermelon Crawl and isn’t that really more important, anyway?

house guests, heat and homes

Our most frequent houseguests arrived early this week. To be more specific, Mom and Elizabeth are here. We went to see Christopher Robin, they babysat while I did thrilling things like going to the doctor alone and Elizabeth weeded my garden. Our home is a dream destination location.

We celebrated Mom’s birthday which delighted Annabelle to no end. Any opportunity to use sprinkles, candles and flags makes her so happy. We played a few rounds of rousing party games with plastic cups, straws and jelly beans. I may not have won the jelly bean game but I did beat Christopher in the cup stacking game so I’ll be adding that to my non-existant resume. 

The ant infestation is back in my car so Elizabeth offered to vacuum it for me. A few hours later she casually said, “I think I found where the ants were coming from.” I assumed it was a stray hashbrown or goldfish. IT WAS A DEAD FROG. IN MY CAR. UNDER MY SEAT. My car used to be my safe spot. If I could get from my cockroach infested home, through the snake-filled yard I could find safety in the sanctuary of my car. No more, no more. Those days are gone. I will be setting the car on fire next week.

Thursday we went to the waterpark with Amy. It was the same waterpark we visited a few months ago where my bathing suit ripped and my butt was on full display. I refused to be put in such a compromising situation again so I brought a backup suit. When I went down the waterslide my bathing suit rode up and once again revealed my backside. I cannot win.

There are several people in my life who routinely know more about whatever town I currently live in than I do. Mom and Elizabeth are two of those people. They’re always bringing up local attractions that I never heard of. Earlier in the week I was talking to Amy and said a specific store was one of the top three attractions in the area. She said, “There are three? That many?” That pretty much sums up what I’ve found around here. Elizabeth arrived with a list of things to see. One was a Habitat for Humanity discovery center. They have a cluster of rundown huts identical to what millions of people worldwide live in. Of course I know live in poverty but it was eye-opening to go from door to door seeing the tiny, dirty huts. I felt bad for being annoyed with my livingroom decor.

The next houses were replicas of Habitat homes built in 16 different countries. It was fascinating to see the styles and decor vary by the needs of the people.

The weather made things a little too accurate. Somewhere between Zimbabwe and Uganda I was sweating so much my sunglasses were sliding off and I had to peel the shirt off my back. Annabelle’s face was as red as a lobster. I now understand why women in some countries go topless. Nobody has time for a bra when it’s 104*. 

Today we took a day trip to Columbus. Our first stop was a little botanical garden. 

We saw a couple tour the gardens as a possible location for their wedding. I wanted to ask if they’d tell me the wedding date so I could crash it but Christopher didn’t want me to. He is such a party pooper. 

The second stop of the day was a space museum. When we visited NASA we played the spaceship landing simulator. I wasn’t good then but today I landed it without crashing twice. I’d apply to NASA for a part-time position but I couldn’t find the radio button. 
I’ll need a little music while soaring through the cosmos. 

Linking up with Cup of Tea


Monday we went to the zoo with Mom, Grandma and Joanna. I liked that the adult/child ration was so high. Every so often when we’re out with other adults I forget I’m the one who’s supposed to know where Annabelle is at all times. (Don’t act like you’ve never momentarily lost your child. I know I’m not the only one.) One of these days I’ll remember I’m the parent in our relationship.

Two years ago we visit this zoo and fed the goats. Annabelle and her superb memory have never forgotten. She LOVES goats and seeing her with them is like watching long lost loved ones be reunited.
Everyone’s first thought upon seeing the goats was “look how pregnant they are! It must be twins.” They had huge stomachs and waddled around like a 10 month pregnant woman. There was a sign across from the pen that said “NO, the goats are NOT pregnant.” They can hold between 3-6 gallons of food in the stomachs which leads to their bloated look. For the one millionth time I’m glad I’m not a goat.

This sign made me roll my eyes. “Don’t climb on the zoo fence. If you fall, animals could eat you and that would make them sick.” I’m more concerned about not being eaten FOR MY SAKE not the animals, but that’s just me.

 Four generations of meerkats.

Long arms and round ears run in the family.

here’s to our 26th year of friendship

Normally when I have lengthy blog breaks it’s due to lack of action in our neck of the woods. This time we’ve had some much excitement I’ve been too busy to blog.

My very best friend Katie came to visit last week. We hadn’t seen each other in two years and four months. TWO PLUS YEARS. We used to be sad when three months went by without visits. Three months seems like nothing now.

The itinerary Katie emailed me said they were landing at 4:15. That gave me plenty of time to leisurely do all the last minute preparations, make muffins, change into a cute outfit and possibly take a short afternoon nap before I had to leave for the airport. I was feeling good about my great scheduling when I received a text from Katie at 2:13 that said “just landed!” After being stranded at the airport last month with no one to pick us up I was very concerned about arriving at the airport before them so they wouldn’t have to wait. Instead I had to get Annabelle up from her nap, put the second car seat in the car, leave the vacuum in the middle of the floor in multiple pieces and run out the door in my cleaning/gym/look like I’ve been exercising but really been watching shows clothes. I took this selfie as I was rushing out the door.

Most of the activities we planned for the visit were things we did during our sleepovers in years past. We watched movies while eating popcorn, did our nails and talked for hours. One day we went to Niagara Falls and another we replanted my garden. We took the girls to the playground and had picnics. It wasn’t quite like sleepovers of yore thanks to the constant demands of the girls, but it was 
so fun.

On Monday night Christopher watched the girls while Katie and I went out. A pottery painting studio near us teaches silver jewelry making classes and I signed us up for a class. The instructor kept telling us we had to work fast and once we did something it couldn’t be undone. “It will be garbage. Garbage. If you mess up I can’t fix it. It will be garbage. Work fast or you’ll have to throw it away. It will be garbage.” It wasn’t a very motivating pep talk. Things were going very well until Katie dropped her tool and cracked her pendant. Garbage Lady tried to patch it up but said we wouldn’t know if it was fixed until after it was taken out of the kiln. She came back a while later and said “The kiln gods have shone upon you! It’s not garbage!” I’ve heard of many different gods but never the a God of the Kiln. 

I had to buy diapers for the 554th time so we swung by Target after our class. I always hope it will be my last time buying diapers but it never is. At this rate I’ll be getting her diapers instead of a crockpot for her wedding. Anyway. When we had sleepovers before we were married talked about fun things. This visit we discussed onesie styles and the different patterns on Honest Company diapers. How the times have changed. We did laugh just as much as we always have. We kept saying we need to have more visits so we can have these fun outings. It’s not fun living thousands of miles from your best friend.

The final stop on our moms night out tour was the Chinese restaurant. I asked the waiter if a specific meal was sweet or savory. He hesitated a minute so I said, “I mean, is it sweet or salty?” English was obviously his second language so I wasn’t sure if he know what savory meant. He replied, “Its more…tasteless.” What a rave review! I don’t know how the dish isn’t a best seller. 


One day we we played in the river. It’s all peaceful and fun until you start floating down the river and your mom can’t get to you in time so Aunt Katie has to rescue you. Poor Annabelle was traumatized and has talked about it every day since. “I was foe-ting away so Mama telled Aunt Katie to catch me but Mama was too slow.”

My main goal is for Annabelle and Kezia be to best friends. It’s not going so well. They like each other part of the time but they’re very much 3 year olds. There was a good amount of squabbling and arguing over toys. We had many moments of drama and tears. Other times they played so nicely and I’d think for the 8,000th time how I’m so happy Katie and I both had girls.

thursday tidbits

Many many years ago I held a week old little boy and fell in deep love with him. We attended the same church and were joint at the hip every Sunday and any visits in between. Every person who knows us both knows we were, to use Noah’s words, “best buds.” At one point he said he wanted to marry me but couldn’t do the wedding on Saturday as he had to be at karate. We planned a Friday wedding instead. Taking my own offspring out of the picture, I never loved a child more. 

He wrote me a collection of “love letters” which I saved and have no intention of ever throwing away.

“I think I’ll follow you for the rest of my life.”

Dear sarah I hop you hav a grat time wiel wer gon yer one of my best pals and happy birthday. Love Noah

Dear sarah I love you so much. I hope you had a grat thanksgiving i love you. from: Noah

to: sarah I love you

All that to say- I saw him on Sunday and he is a giant. 


Uncle Ronnie has an extremely busy social schedule but he managed to squeeze in a Dunkin Donuts date with us. It really confused people when I first started calling Aaron by the name Ronnie. It seemed an obvious nickname to me.

We’ve mostly visited family so far, but one afternoon we went to a nursing home to see a sweet friend from back in the day. She’s known me from the day I was born and it’s special that Annabelle got to see her too.
Annabelle asked Memere if she knew how to play the battery operated piano. Memere didn’t understand what she was supposed to do so she shook the piano like a rattle. Then she asked if AB knows the very old song “I’m a Lonely Little Petunia in the Onion Patch.” Annabelle did not. I think they’re dealing with some generational gaps. 

paintbrushes and waterfalls

We brought a stowaway with us when we left Daniel and Erika’s- Joanna came for her third annual summer visit. Of everyone who says they’ll come visit she’s one of the few who actually does. 

We went out for a girls night on Tuesday. There’s very little going on in this neck of the woods but I discovered a gem in a restaurant called The Chocolate Bar. CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE. It was a delight. I wanted every single one of the 30+ chocolate cocktails and pages of dessert. It was a small restaurant and at one point there where 16 diners. Fifteen of them were women. The Chocolate Bar knows how to cater to a specific audience. I think they’d make a killing if they gave PMSing ladies a discount. People would be knocking down the doors.

We went to a paint class after supper. I’d never done one but I know my painting skilz well enough to keep my expectations low. I’m shocked that my painting turned out so well. Feel free to call me Mrs. Sarah Michelangelo.

The next day we took a day trip to Niagara Falls. I have fond memories of giving Joanna an award winning Fort Campbell tour so I imagined myself giving a Niagara Falls tour of the same quality. It was going well until we got lost and ended up on the border of Canada with a man asking for our passports. By the time I explained I didn’t want to leave the country, two cars were in line behind me. The man made them go in another lane then told me to back up the one way road, do a Uturn down a restricted lane and get back onto the main road. Instead of a leisurely ride to a natural wonder I almost got us questioned for trying to cross the border without proper papers. 

Annabelle’s stylist did an excellent job matching her bow to her top. Someone needs to give that lady a raise.

Joanna went home this morning and left me to handle a potty training toddler on my own.

It’s not going as successfully as I’d like so I’m already planning my next visit to The Chocolate Bar.