Posted in Being a Mom Mikey

A Boy & His Daddy

My son's Daddy has been very sick for about a year. He busted a hole in his heart and then four months later did the same thing again. They call it an aortic discetion. I have personally watched him suffer through so much over the last year. We have been divorced for many years now, but we share a love for this boy like no other.

Mike called me from the ER the night before Christmas Eve and then he ended up having open heart surgery on Christmas Eve. He has been close to death for months. On more than one occasion he had no pulse and was unresponsive. I have had to sit our son down and explain to him that his Daddy wouldn't make it and that he needed to be prepared for his death so many times the last six months.

But today, he got the sweet surprise of finding him at his sister’s house just about ten minutes from us. He didn’t want me to tell Mikey that he was coming home so he could surprise him. When we opened the door, he was as big as his daddy. I wake up every day and see him there, so I don’t see Mikeys growth that much from one day to the next but his Daddy hadn’t seen him but once since December so to him he shot up overnight.

I don’t really have some amazing story to tell about this. It probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone but me. But I needed to say to the universe that I am thankful today that my son got one more time that he got to wrap his arms around his Daddy and feel happy.

Posted in Carnevale Venice 2018 World Travels

Where are all the cars?

Today I was remembering the transportation in Venice while working on this scrapbook page.


One of the things I love most about scrapbooking is how much you think about the thing you are trying to remember with the page while you are making it.


In Venice your brain can never really get around there not being cars when you get there. You make the decision you are going to go someplace, and it hits you that you can’t just go out and get in the car. There are no cars. That becomes less painful once you get your bearings and realize that you truly can walk across the entire island in about an hour if you don’t get lost, but I wouldn’t count on ever going someplace that you don’t get turned around in Venice.

Several times we went out to just roam about and spent about an hour just snapping photos of beautiful doorways. We felt like we were on the other side of the world and we had seen so many things that we didn’t even care where we were.

Suddenly I stopped to catch a photo of Bill standing on a little bridge and as I backed up to get the frame I realized that we were at our hotel and the entire time we had only been on the other side of the building ?

Posted in Paris France World Travels

Paris in the snow

I love Paris. That is not a secret to the people who know me. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it in June of 2016. Of course, I was wearing my wedding dress and getting married so it was a special day already.

On my second trip to Paris it would be freezing cold and covered in the first snowfall that Paris had seen in many years. It was wet and nasty but amazingly beautiful. I am so thankful that I got to see it a different way.

The night that we walked out to see it we went to the little street where we took wedding photos especially because it is by far my favorite spot in the world. If I die, Bil knows that I am to be taken immediately to this location and my ashes scattered at the foot of the Eiffel Tower forever.

While we were walking about at the bottom of the Tower in the snow we were approached by a news crew that asked if we would care to talk about how we felt about seeing the Tower closed once we arrived. We had no idea that he meant that you couldn't go up inside of the Tower because they had shut down all of the operations due to the weather. Apparently people were pretty upset about it. We didn't plan to go up inside on this trip so we were thrilled to see it covered in snow.

This is a fast digital scrapbook page done with a photo of me being silly in the snow. I am trying to learn some advanced skills in photoshop but I am not sure I am quite ready to give my real scrapbooking up. The real pages feel so good in my hands but they take up so very much room that sometimes I want to switch over to digital scrapbooking. I am conflicted, so I will just keep doing both for now.

Posted in Friendships

Friends Forever

Friends Forever just sounds like something you write in the back of someone’s yearbook. But in this case, it’s true.

I have been friends with these girls for as long as I can remember. Though we had not all been together in the same room in the last 30 years, you wouldn’t have known it from the evening we shared. We graduated from Belfry High School in 1988 and this year will be our class reunion year.

I was thinking when I thought about writing a post on our night together that when I go to the Dr he always says, "Do you smoke" "Do you drink" as standard questions. My answer is always the same, No I don’t smoke but on occasion I do have some drinks.

Turns out last night was the occasion. Whew! Ya know that moment when you beg God to let you just live through something and swear you will never do it again, welcome to my morning.

I remember now the reason that I don’t drink.

Normally I would have a ton of photos to post but it hit me that one of the things that was so awesome about the night was that I didn’t have my phone. There wasn’t really anyone else on earth that I wanted to be talking to more than the girls there with me. That doesn’t happen very often. That and the fact that everyone agreed to no facebook photos about five minutes after we got there made it easy to put my phone away.

I don’t have a memory in my life of my childhood that doesn’t include Beckie. Her mother was like my own. She would wear me out if I needed it, talk to me like I was hers and if I fell into a ditch and nearly drowned she would always be right there to save me.

Beckie was my closest friend from the time I was in Kindergarten until forever. I have hated her and loved her and most of the memories of my life would suck if she had not been a constant that could always be counted on.

Amanda came along a few years later. To be honest, I was scared to death of her when I first met her.

She is tough. But she grew on me immediately and I can not remember my life without her in it.  Beckie, Amanda and I cheered in grade school together and between the two of them, and Chris Moon, I swear I can’t single out a memory that they are not part of.

My brother dated Angie and by the time I was in 7th or 8th grade she had become my sister and would become my sister-in-law and mother to my two beautiful nieces.  I have a dozen Christmas ornaments that are precious to me and they are all ones that came from her over the years and I cherish them. She was beautiful and sweet and had this laugh that seriously burst from her lungs like a bullet from a gun and I can’t say the word Angie without hearing that laughter over the 48 years of my life.

Anna came in later in high school. She was this amazingly strong and hard person. At the time, I didn’t have a clue just what a survivor she really was. I was young and just like my 12-year-old son today, I had my head so far up my own butt I dint know just how much she needed me and Amanda and Beckie and Angie. I admit that my heart hurts a little now looking back that the world treated her so badly at such a young age. Her brother Mike died of AIDS and it was one of the first cases of AIDS that anyone here had ever seen so close up. It was 1987.  But when I was dancing with her tonight and cracking up, I swear to you all I could think to myself was that the things that she endured, the hate, the death, the loss of her brother, just all of the things that a kid shouldn’t have to suffer, sucked but they made her the person she is today and she really is a great person. Mostly, I was just thankful that she had been added to my life and that we had so many memories together. I was also thinking that she had some awesome dance moves. LOL

I guess the thing that makes us work still today when we are all together is that you can pair up any two of us and we still work. We are all friends and we can work as a team or one on one and do anything we set our minds to. We are grown, strong, independent women but the second you reunited us we became 16-year-old girls again. For one single night, there were no kids, bills or responsibilities, just 5 five girls laughing. And dancing 😉

I am not one of those people that spends much time with friends. I love to be home and I love to be with Bill. It was effort for me to even go to be honest. But I woke up today, sick to my stomach but alive, and all I could think was how much I loved my memories with these four girls.

In life we are doing good if we just have one person who we look back and think how blessed we are to have them. If we have one friend that we know would come to us and save us if we needed them. We are lucky if we get one single person who we can say has always been a part of our lives.

But I got four. I love you girls. Lets not wait 30 more years to reunite. I am just sure I will not be able to dance like that again next time if we do.




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Death in the Family

November 24, 2018 Today is the first day that I have been able to settle down enough to write about everything that has happened this week. We were scheduled to go to China for what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. We were spending 20 days in the country and visiting so many cool things. I took my 13 year old son to stay the night with his dad so we could go to the airport to catch our flights and when we got to his house it was a bit of a shock. Mikey went in first because I was scared his dad might be asleep or taking a shower since he didn’t answer the door. He slept regularly during the day so it wasn’t out of the question that he had just fallen asleep. We knocked but he didn’t answer. I knew we had visited with him and talked on Saturday to discuss the trip plans so he would know we were coming on Wednesday afternoon around 3. Mikey opened the door with his emergency key and stepped inside but I stayed out on the porch at the door and waited. Mikey said “DAD” into the dark room and he didn’t answer. I looked up and noticed that the porch light was on. Both cars were in the driveway and I started to feel a little strange.  The door cracked a bit and it smelled unusual inside the house. I started to think that something was not right. I looked inside and the house had this look of something odd.  I pushed the door open and stepped into the dark room and saw the rugs in the kitchen seemed a mess. The garbage looked like it looks when you leave it by mistake in the can and go on vacation. Everything happened so quickly. When I am telling the story it takes way longer to tell than it took in real time.  Mikey went right to his own bedroom and said “DAD” again, but again, Mike didn’t answer. I quickly felt the need to stop Mikey and said, “Mikey wait” just as he passed me and went to his dads bedroom. He jumped. I saw his face and he screamed and ran into the room away from me and toward his dad.  Hysterically he reached down to touch him. He was terrified and ran out toward me as I entered chasing behind him. Michael Jaye Baisden was there by the bed in the floor and he had died several days before. The coroner thought that he had most likely passed away on Monday between noon and 5 since using his phone we could tell when the last time he had spoke to anyone was and when calls began to go unanswered and from the condition of his remains. Today I spoke with my ex-sister-in-law and she said that a friend of hers works at the school that Mike substitute taught at and that around lunch on Monday she saw Mike in the hallway and that he didnt look like he was feeling well and he talked to here momentarily and said he thought he just needed something to eat and that later he didnt feel better and had left the school day early to go home because he was feeling bad. I ran in towards Mike’s body laying there in the floor and Mikey and I both just panicked. We were hysterical. I look back at that moment now and I just don’t even know what to say to describe the situation beyond saying that we completely lost our shit. We were incapable of reasonable thought. We were jumping up and down and bouncing about in the space trying to do something but scared to touch what was left of him and I was sick to my stomach at the site of the room. We were just not expecting it. It came out of nowhere to us. We were busy living our lives and just didn’t have it on our minds at all that it was even possible that he would be dead. When we got there we were laughing and talking on the porch when we were waiting for him to answer the door and we made jokes that now we both look back at with regret. Mikey was expecting his dad to sell his truck the day before and he was looking forward to the video game that he had promised Mikey with the proceeds from the sale. The truck was still there and Mikey was complaining that he wasn’t going to get his game. Neither of us had a single thought in our minds that our entire world was going to change in just the turn of the knob on the door. Mikey kept screaming for me to touch him and saying, “Mom, Is he dead” ???  I finally got my senses enough to say Mikey come on and lets go to the porch. I took him outside and went back in to look at him to see if there was anything I could do and when I saw him the next time it was apparent to me that he had been there for some time and that he in fact was gone. I can’t say how long I stood there and looked at him frozen in that moment. Long enough that…

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Nov 21st – China Trip Day 1 – Preparing to Leave 🙂

Nov 21, 2018 Check them out in my Etsy Shop ;:) Today is finally here. I swear I am so excited. Over the last couple years we have grown to be more and more comfortable with our travels but this last 12 months, 2017 – 2018 will go down in history as the year of amazing adventures for sure. We started out last February with a trip to Venice for Carnival. We made our costumes and got to travel there and spend a couple weeks enjoying the most amazing city. Then we took Mikey with us and took a trip to London where we got to see Stonehenge and many other awesome sites. We went on to a cruise of the Mediterranean with stops in Croatia, Greece, Montenegro and Dubrovnik and Olympia Greece. Bill and I then took a trip in February to Paris where we got to spend the most amazing time in the city that we love so much. We visited Egypt and saw the pyramids and now we are headed to the number one thing on our life bucket list. THE GREAT WALL of China !!! No year can ever top that. But we sure are gonna try !!! My aunt is staying with Mikey at our house so we are excited by the fact that he will be at home and safe and we wont have to worry about the house or him. People keep asking me if I used a travel agent to plan the adventure. I did not. I love the planning. I love sitting down at my computer with the map and google and searching the world over for the next location. Once I get that down, I start looking for things that are in the same general area that we might not plan an entire trip around that we want to grab seeing while we are in the area. In this case, the next thing on the bucket list was Angkor Wat, Cambodia so we added it to this trip. There are not a lot of things in China that we think we will want to go on a return visit for so we were trying to make sure that we saw all the major things in the country on this trip. That made it grow in size to something that boggles my mind, LOL. When we started it was a week and a half. Now its 20 days. That is the longest time I have ever spent away from my child so that part sucks but the things we will see will be amazing and I swear I begged him to go with us. The flights over to China will take us about 24 hours to complete. We leave Charleston WV on Nov 21 at 2:00am (the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd) and we land in China the next day, Thursday at 5pm. Once we get on our last flight in the US we fly from Detroit to China directly and are in the air for something like 12 hours on that leg. Heck, Maybe even more. The time changes a lot while we fly on this one so it’s a bit confusing. We have decided that someday, maybe we will go back to China and stay in a hotel for 6 months or a year. Maybe, someday. We are getting a little old so maybe is a big word 🙂 A funny story about us, when we were dating we went to Florida on our first trip together and we traveled so badly together that we broke up on the plane headed home. We just didn’t enjoy each other at all on the trip. I remember thinking that I would never travel anyplace else with this man. LOL Now, He is my very best friend on earth and my travel buddy for life. I say all the time that I am the luckiest girl in the world and I promise you I am. We travel so well together now, it is so smooth that we plan the trips ourselves because we enjoy the planning part almost as much as we enjoy actually going. I’m not saying that everything always goes perfect. It doesn’t. Every trip has things that goes wrong and we find that we missed something because of the thing that we didn’t know. But we have learnt to deal with those things really well together and those things usually become such fun stories to tell that it becomes worth the madness at the time. Anyway, we are excited and cant wait to get on the plane. On this trip we are planning to take more video than we usually do on trips. We keep promising ourselves that we will do more filming. Fingers crossed that we keep our promise on this trip. Either way, we will take lots of photos and post them here each day of the adventures in China. Thanks for reading about our trip and sharing in our excitement. Bill & Wendy Richardson ________________________________________________________________ As promised to a dozen people I am putting the cost of the trip at the bottom of each days posts so we can tally up what it would cost to do the trip for those of you who want to copy our trip itinerary to build your own trip. The flights over to China and from…

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Alma Adorable Digital Planner

I love it when I feel creative. But it is extra fun when someone commissions you to create what they want, what they have in their head and you have to find a way to get it out of their brain, into yours and then into the real world.  That’s what happened with the Alma Digital Planner. A customer contacted me to ask if another item that I had previously created could come in pink. Then the fun started. These digital planners are created to be used in the GoodNotes app on the Apple iPad. Some people do use them in Android devices but I don’t know a thing about that so I am not a good person to even ask if everything works as it should inside Android. When I make them, they are headed from my head to an Apple iPad device. This is the original design that I created and then this is the new one in pink that I made for my Etsy customer. Are they not absolutely adorable !? I am shocked by how expensive most digital planners are. I do know that it takes forever to create them. But I also think that an app on an iPad should never cost 25.00 ! All my digital items top out at 9.99 and hopefully over time those lower costs will catch on and people will start to realize what a great buy that is for the amazing digital products I create. I hope you will go over to my Etsy shop and give my digital products a try. But if you click on the contact button on this website and send me a message letting me know that you read this post, I will send you a sample digital iPad planner item for FREE. Please like, subscribe, share, follow, Help spread the word about this site and help me grow my new business. Wendy

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My New Rolodex Style Digital Planners Brain Dump

I am so excited to share my newest item in my Etsy shop. They turned out even cuter than they were in my brain late last night. I spent half the night and all of today getting them out of my head and onto the iPad. How cute are they ! I made two different versions so far. There are about four more half started so I could get the idea out of my brain. Those will be coming soon to the Etsy shop. Hope you enjoy them. They are perfect for little things you want to keep track of, out of your regular planner. Diet and Exercise, Brain Dumps, Names and Addresses that keep getting lost in the clutter of everything else, just anything you want to keep up with in a cute little way, out of your regular planner. This is the way to go. Only $9.99 in my Etsy shop.    

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My New Digital Planners for the iPad & GoodNotes

Thanks for visiting my website. You can see the full line of my new digital planners in the tabs above or visit my Etsy Store. I offer several different versions and will be adding more over the coming days.      

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How to get a Visa for a Trip to China ?

My husband and I have a bucket list. We pretty much sit around on our day jobs and do the things that are required of us, but secretly in our minds we are always thinking about where we will go next. Once we decided that we were going to just go straight to the top of the bucket list and clear off China (the number one must do thing on our list) it became a rush to the airport for us. That’s pretty much how most of our trips happen. One minute we are dreaming and the next we are booking tickets. I admit that this one has taken me a little by surprise in the budgeting. At this moment, I am about $1500.00 over budget on what I thought it was going to cost. One of the things I most tell people when they ask me about trip planning is to allow a markup for the things you don’t know. Something like 20-25% usually will cover it for us. This trip has, however, exceeded that for sure. I suppose, it probably speaks to my inexperience that I didn’t budget in for the cost of a visa to either China or Cambodia. Within a week of our purchasing our tickets we realized we needed to get our butts in gear fast to round those up. We used a company called Travisa for getting the Visa in China. We live in West Virginia so the nearest offices for the visa would be Washington, DC. I considered driving there myself, 6 hours one way, but in the end, did the math and determined that my lack of experience with the process could result in my having to drive there, do it wrong, drive home and then pay the company to do it. So I bucked up and ordered the kit and sent our passports to them the next day.   The way it works is fairly simple. Pay them the fees, print and fill out all the papers that they send you, sign everything and put all the required documents with the forms and your passports (good for at least six months past the date of travel) and drop it into the Fed-ex box and wait. The wait was only 24 hours before our first communications came back. The company does a fantastic job keeping you updated on where you are in the process. Today the lady informed me that our bill was ready and the visa should be ready by next week and once payment was cleared they would ship our visa and passport back to us by overnight delivery and we should be ready to go. (Did I mention the wait part?) In stark contrast to that, the Cambodian visas were a much simpler process. I used this website and filled out the paperwork online and provided everything, including a digital version of our passport photo for the visa and paid the fees associated. Within an hour, I had both mine and my husbands visas applied for and within 10 hours I had both of them printed and in my hand ready to go. You can apply for a Cambodian Visa at the airport when you land in the country but because neither my husband or I understand the language we try to take care of everything that we can in advance of  a trip to a country that will be hard to communicate in. The visa for China has not been approved yet but hopefully we will have it in hand this time next week and I can go back to sleeping at night instead of refreshing the page just in case they send me an email for any more information that I haven’t already provided.   When you apply for a visa for China you need to provide quite a bit of information. I was actually pretty impressed with their system and how much information they required for a tourist to visit the country. A US Passport that is good for at least 6 months longer than your trip dates. I imagine always that is because if heaven forbid something happens and you get sick and stuck in their country or some other unforeseen set of circumstances should happen that you didn’t get home on time you would still have a passport that was valid when it was time to come home. Yikes, lets don’t think about that. A list of every single place that you will go, sleep and be during the trip. You provide these and they literally register you with the US Embassy in the places you will visit so that you are accounted for while in the other country with both the other country and with the American government. This makes me feel safe in several ways. A copy of your flights, tickets and hotel reservations, etc. A letter of invitation from the person who has asked you to stay with them or visit them and all sorts of information on that person  are visiting them, if that is the case. I didn’t have to do this because of course, I don’t know anyone in China. They ask about your history, family to contact in emergencies and all the normal stuff that you would expect as well. Several questions asked what your plans were and why you wanted to visit China. That was not…

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The Seven Wonders of the World

Over the last couple years we have been blessed to get to travel. I have seen so many amazing things, I can’t even count. But the list of things that we still want to see is far longer than the list of ones we have already enjoyed. The Great Wall of China is always at the top of a bucket list. So we have decided to take one last trip this year to mark that one off while we are still able. I know, it sounds like I think I wont have enough time to see everything. My 13 year old son said “Mom, are you sure that you don’t have cancer or something that you are not telling me” when I told him that we were going to China. I don’t feel like I am in a hurry. But I do feel like when I leave this world I am going to not have gotten to see all the amazing things that I want to see. The truth is, so many of my friends and family say to me, YOU ARE CRAZY FOR GOING THERE when I am planning trips. Or, I AM NEVER GOING THERE, is pretty common as well. I was around 45 when I started traveling with my husband and I cant tell you how much the experiences have changed my every day life. When I eat, I have a new found appreciation for all the many choices that I have in America. When I drive my car, I find myself praying while driving, thanking God for the opportunities that I have had and the freedom to go where I wish, when I wish. Every aspect of my life has been altered by the time and sights I have seen while traveling. And Bill likes to say that good travel makes you want good travel. I have a sign in my bedroom that says, Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer. That’s so true. We can hardly wait for our November trip to China. I have been hard at the planning stage and almost have it entirely figured out. When I first started traveling I remember how scared I was. I still have moments that I have fears. But the rewards always out weight the stress or worry. Sometimes, we get lost. Sometimes, we can’t understand what people are saying. Sometimes, I even cry. But it is ALWAYS worth it for the experience.     Our list of thing to see in China:  The Great Wall Beijing City The Forbidden City The Temple of Heaven Tiananmen Square The Avatar Mountains Tianzi Mountain Cable Car Fenghuang City Hauihua & Changsha Guilin and the Li River Angkor Wat in Cambodia The current bucket list items is as follows:  The Great Wall of China Angkor Wat, Cambodia Machu Picchu in Peru The Taj Mahal in Agra, India Petra in Jordan The Red Sea The Leaning Tower of Pisa The old city of Jerusalem & places where Jesus lived Berlin and the Berlin Wall Run with the Bulls in Spain Go to the Cannes Film Festival in France See the city of Naples and visit Mt Vesuvius The City of Pompeii Visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy Sicily Cinque Terre Point Go to Ireland See Edinburgh Visit the Krampus Parade in Austria La Biennale di Venezia Arsenale in Venice, Italy Visit Seville Spain and Semana Santa: Bellavista Visit the Day of the Dead in Mexico City Morocco Switzerland Galapagos Islands Hermitage Museum The Haag Museum Stay in an Ice Hotel Prague Warsaw Madagascar Dubai Go on Safari in Africa Brussels Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro (And a visit during the time of the Carnival Festival)   A few things we hope to see eventually:  Channel Tunnel, Strait of Dover CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario Canada Golden Gate Bridge in California Panama Canal Washington State & Mount Rushmore Victoria Falls Mount Everest The Great Barrier Reef in Austrailia The South Pole The Amazon Rainforest   Some of the other amazing things we have already seen: The Roman Colosseum Stonehenge The location of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia The Pyramids of Giza & The Great Sphinx  The Belize Barrier Reef Hoover Dam The Grand Canyon Paris London Egypt Milan & The Last Supper Florence Split in Croatia Amsterdam Dubrovnik Olympia and the first Olympic Stadium Greece Athens, The Acropolis Carnevale Venice Istanbul Bath, England Belize Cayman Islands Jamaica Dominican Republic Turks and Caicos San Juan Puerto Rico St Croix St John Cockburn Town Key West Florida Nassau The Bahamas Cozomel Cancun Mexico A few things out west we want to visit: Yellowstone National Park Mount Rushmore Redwood National Park Antelope Canyon Burning Man Festival Petrified Forest South Rim of the Grand Canyon Hoover Dam (Again) Lower Antelope Canyon Bryce Canyon   I think everyone has a bucket list, right ? Ours keeps growing. We see new things in books and movies and before you know it the list needs revisions. I hope when my life is over there will be many more things that I clear from this list. But if I have to leave this life sooner than expected, I am so grateful for each and every single thing that I have already gotten to see.        

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My hubs latest scary books 🙂

My husband is a talented writer. He writes kids books, adult only scary books with somewhat of a twisted view of things, comics, graphic novels and sweet poems and so much more. I am always amazed at the things he writes. He really doesn’t have a specific type of writing. He can write something about a sweet lover one minute and a zombie eating his children the next. I love to watch him create. Check out his work at

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Belfry Middle School Football

Belfry Middle School Football ? ? ? I’m old. But these coaches are not spring chickens. They are grown men with kids, lives, jobs and families of their own and it is no easy task for them to raise one good boy. But they are raising 40 of them. They influence their lives and what they will become as much as their parents do and sometimes, more. Certainly, they deserve our gratitude for all they do for our boys. Today I watched a ballgame. That doesn’t sound special maybe to those of you who watch ballgames on a regular basis but to me it was nearly a religious experience. I started the morning off following the bus. My first time ever following a school bus filled with middle school football players. 40 boys, one that was my own and 39 that I pretty much didn’t know. Dear God, please wrap your hands about this bus and take it safe to its destination and touch the bodies of each and every precious player on board. Please bring them all home safe to their beds tonight…. I prayed while I drove along the way. My son is 13 and he is starting at a new school this year. It will be his first public school experience in 6 years. I am nervous for him. He doesn’t know any of the other kids at the new school and he really doesn’t know what to expect. So, when he said he wanted to play football this year I was shocked and figured that he would try it but quit because it would be exceptionally hard. I was correct about the hard part. I didn’t realize the amount of laundry that would come with playing football. I didn’t realize the amount of my own personal time that would be consumed with practice. I didn’t realize how stressful it would be to watch him play and worry over his physical ability to endure all that it would require from him. I didn’t realize how many ice packs and heating pads and soaks in bath salts it would require to help him to adjust to the practices and games. I certainly didn’t realize how impressed I was going to be with him and the other boys and most especially, with the coaches. I was sitting in the stands today and I noticed that a few moms from an opposing team where running along the side of the field where the team stands, and they screamed into the game and bossed their kids on every play. I was mortified for their kids. Our coach had just sat down for a moment of rest between the games and he was beside me when I leaned over and asked if it would be okay for our moms to start huddling in and coaching from the sideline. I knew what his answer would be, but I giggled as I asked and listened to his answer. Everything is harder when you are 13. Everything is more dramatic, more embarrassing and more humiliating. I am absolutely certain that to my son it feels as if he is an outsider and that he doesn’t have a friend in the world at the moment, so I thought letting him be on the football team would help him to assimilate a bit easier into his new school and life. I was thinking today while driving behind the bus about how hard this has been for my son and feeling so proud of him for tackling this adventure head on. The entire thing has been horribly hard on him physically. He is mine, but I have to say, he’s a good kid and in spite of the fact that he can hardly climb the steps in our house he has been in so much pain, he gets up and puts his uniform on and goes back to practice every day. I sat on the bleachers in the heat today for about 5 hours and I drank ten bottles of water while there. I felt so hot and overwhelmed by the heat that I wanted to bend over and vomit once or twice. I couldn’t bring myself to complain because I knew that whatever I was feeling, those 40 boys had to be feeling it much more in their uniforms while running in the game. I ask myself daily, why do they continue to do this? Why don’t they quit? But I think I figured out the answer. On the second day of my sons practices he was struggling so hard and was literally vomiting he felt so physically drained. He was pushing as hard as he could, but he just felt so sick that he didn’t think he could go on. I saw him walk over to the coach and say he just couldn’t do it and quit. He started to walk off the field toward the locker room and I admittedly felt some relief at that moment. As he got to the center of the field I saw Coach Oliver grab him and say Where are you going? My sons motions from across the field translated in my mind as him saying I am so sick and I just can not run one more step. I quit. I sat there with my eyes stuck to the situation like they had been gorilla glued to the back of my…

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Posted in Being a Mom

Why is this time so scary?

The entire time you are pregnant you think of everything that can go wrong. They are so fragile, and it is definitely a scary time as a mother.
When they hand you a baby and you hold it for the first time, you are certain of what they will become. You imagine at that moment their entire future. They will go college, marry the man or woman of their dreams, have your grandbabies and they will be safe and happy. I think it’s a pretty standard mom dream.
When they are in this middle age, just before puberty, right after their childhood, you are just happy if they still laugh.
My daddy is 71 years old. We were talking, and he said how he would love to be 25 again, but only if he could be 25 in like 1960. He said how he didn’t really want to be a kid again if he had to do in today’s world.
I immediately thought of my son. Am I the only person who thinks it’s harder to be a child today than it was in the late 70's and early 80's ?
I pray that when he looks back on his childhood he remembers his without fear.
Every single time I walk into his room and see him there asleep in his bed, I pray for his future. I beg. I plead with God that he can go to college, meet the person of his dreams and get married and someday lay my precious grandchild in my arms.
Tonight, I was listening to him in his room playing on video games and I could hear his laughter through the wall. I walked past his room and cracked open the door and there was this man sitting there in the chair where my boy sat just yesterday.
I have made every single decision for this person up until now. When to go to bed, when to get up, when to eat, to sleep, to play and suddenly, there’s a young man sitting in my house.
I am no different than every other parent. I ache when I think of my tiny little son that once bounced about from room to room and fell into my arms like I was the greatest place on earth at the end of the day. I miss his tiny toes. They have been replaced with size 10 ½ shoes. Smelly shoes!  I miss holding him down to tickle him. That’s been replaced with me begging him to let me up before I get mad.
In like 55 days he will turn 13.
There’s a time when a child is no longer a baby. When a son is not yet a man but not really a boy.
When a daughter is no longer a girl but not yet a woman.
Why is this time so scary when you are a mother?


Posted in Carnevale Venice 2018 World Travels

Smile !

One of the things that I didn’t know in advance was how many photos would be taken of us by strangers while at Carnevale.  I guess, I thought it would be fun, but I don’t think I ever knew that photographers would come from around the world to photograph those of us in the costumes and masks.  On the first day when we put our costumes on and walked out to San Marco Square we were shocked by the fact that we couldn’t reach the square. As soon as we made our way out of the tiny little street that met up with the Grand Canal we were met with a rush of paparazzi and every single step we took for the next four days was labored.

​With what is a space that feels less than a single square mile and a gathering of more than three million people, it becomes a close encounter quickly in Venice. But the feeling of excitement when you are pursued by thousands of photographers is hard to explain. I remember thinking after a few hours that it was mad that so many people pressed for a photo. We had all kinds. Those who waited patiently in line for their turn and respectfully stepped in to snap a selfie, those who grabbed a hold of you physically and wouldn’t let go until their spouse captured the shot (witch), those that were so adorable you couldn’t resist stopping to snap a photo and hoping that you would later find it on social media and my favorite were those where a guy with a giant camera and self-contained light would pounce on you and start snapping what felt like dozens of photos and before you knew it he was directing you to move left or right and place your hand here and bend like this and had totally taken over the situation. Those are the men and women that you took the time to hand your email address to and just prayed that they would share it with you later. Some of those photos have been shared with us and it has been like an adventure every single day since we got home to search the bowels of the internet for just one more of the thousands of photos that exist now out there somewhere just waiting to be found.



Posted in Cairo Egypt 2018 World Travels

Top Things to NOT see in Cairo, Egypt (And a few you should)

When we arrived in Egypt we had been traveling for a very long time. I think we were about 14 days into the trip. We had been to Paris and Venice and it was not our first time to either, so we felt at ease in both locations.

That was not the case with Egypt.

Of all the places I have ever visited, Egypt is the one that felt the most like I was in a foreign country. It seemed like everything was odd. Simple things seemed different. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I will try.

In the United States we throw trash in a garbage can and a truck comes and gets that, and a bigger truck goes to get that, etc. I don’t even know where it ends up, but it is handled by some type of system larger than I care to think about. Its just the normal way it works here. In Egypt, they don’t handle the trash at all. If you used it, you dropped it when you were done with it. It laid there until it rotted, someone else wanted it or it got covered over with some more trash. I know, it’s a “third world country” everyone keeps telling me. But somehow in my brain I didn’t expect the trash to be like it was. I hate this hotel !

I feel spoiled by our systems. I feel blessed, but also spoiled. I love the magic system that makes old crap go away in the United States. (Yes, I know, I know, we pay for this and we make entirely too much trash but that’s not the topic of this post.) Anyway, it took a minute to get used to what in my head was one, or probably the most amazing places that I have ever been, having so much trash to wade through. How can the world let Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza, the most amazingly, spectacular place left from an ancient civilization just become a trash collection site? It stumps me.

It got me to thinking about home. I started to think of how many times people have came to our area in West Virginia and shook their heads at the crap that people toss out their car windows onto the side of the road. It really makes me angry at my neighbors.

We live in some of the most amazing mountains. The trees are beautiful and green and when you go away from here for a while you really start to need to smell the leaves again and feel dirt and rocks under your feet. I hate concrete worlds. I dream of living in Paris or Venice but so help me, I fear I may miss my mountains.

The night that we arrived in Egypt, it was late. Like 4 in the morning. So, all the things that felt so different stood out more than they would have had we seen them for the first time at say noon, with the lights on. Had we been on our own for the trip, without our guides, I really think I would have ended up spending the whole time in my room. Except, my room was so damn dirty that I couldn’t wait to go someplace else. It was a catch-22. I was afraid to go outside and inside I didn’t want to sit down anyplace.

It sounds like I didn’t have a good time at all but so help me I am so happy that I had this experience in my life. I am sure that I will always think of this trip to Egypt and be more thankful for the simple things that I am blessed to have in my life. Today is Monday. On Mondays the magic truck comes to my house and whisks away the crap that I needed to get rid of and I never see it again. Did I say that I love that?

I guess this journaling has become about the things that I didn’t like instead of about the things that I did. Sometimes those things are worth remembering too, I suppose.

While bitching, I guess I should note the man that came to let us in when we arrived at 4 am to our hotel. We were with a guy who we didn’t know  for sure wasn’t going to kill us, so we were already on edge. He turned out to be a sweetie and had he not been with us during the entire trip I would have been scared to death. He is the only person on our entire trip that did not ask us for money. Seriously, if we spoke to a person, we were asked for dollars. And apparently one of our dollars is worth a butt load of money in Egypt. I suck at exchange but when the pizza you have for dinner costs like 125 of whatever their currency is and you look at your statement later to see that they took something like $12.00 out of your account, I am thinking maybe our dollar is worth more there than it is at home.

The gentleman that let us into the huge iron gate that was protecting us or keeping us out is the case, at the moment, stumbled to the door to let us in and started to grab our luggage. We had tons of luggage since we had our costumes from Carnival still with us. He picked up one of the small bags and then yanked the large one from my hand as if to say, “NO, you must let me carry these”. I thought, okay, this is going to be okay. The man who had escorted us from the airport said in his gentle voice to Bil to just go upstairs and make sure that we were okay before he would leave us there. This just scared me even more that this person was scared for me and he actually lived there. I was scared out of my head at this point, but it was four in the morning and I figured it was far safer inside this place than it was out riding around at four in the morning. I hate this hotel.


I should tell you that the little man that let us in was shorter than me. He was wearing exactly what a costume designer in a Hollywood movie would have him wear. A long dress of an outfit and a sorta turban thing on his head, a fabric belt that tied about his waist and hung long on one side. His skin was a beautiful color chocolate and he had a face that I truly will never ever forget. He was wrinkled and worn, and he had a giant spot of some kind on one side of his face. Funny the things you remember when you think you may need to file a police report later.

I usually just carry my own luggage. I am for sure not used to someone taking it forcefully from my hands. By the time I left Egypt I would learn to just give that crap up and dig into my purse for some money because anyone who yanked things from your hands was doing it because in their world if they could knock you down and drag your luggage from your hand then that meant they had provided a service to you and by Gosh you now owe them some money !

The cost…. only $200.00. Yep, no joke. I mean in the end that only meant $5.00 but they always started high when they set their price, I guess that is so that they can force you to negotiate. It reminded me of my ex-husband. That’s his way of negotiating too. He was awesome at this. Me, I just want the sticker on the thing to say how much it costs at the start. If I pull in to your yardsale I don’t know that I want your old shitty yellow flowered dishes until I see the quarter price tag on them.  Just tell me how much it is going to cost and be done with it. No negotiating, please.

When the little man got to our room he was the first person we had really had any communication with since arriving in Egypt. He dropped our luggage in our room and pointed at things and showed us the absolutely filthy, crap soiled toilet and showed us the funny little bathtub that was completely covered in streaks of some bodily substance that I have yet to identify  and pointed at the extra cover on the beds, which would later become the most valuable commodity in Egypt when I came down with a cold when I woke up freezing to death for the fourth night in a row  and a roll of toilet paper that he had placed on a table for us. Then he stuck his hand out and asked for his tip. I think his words were, “Now, You pay me?”

Okay, I just pretended to not understand a word he was saying. Bil would later pay him but at 4 in the morning I was not ready for my lesson in the exchange of Egyptian to American money.

You get the point. It was not the Trump Towers or anything. But, Just before he left the room he said, “Oh, AND….” And I can still remember the sound of his sandy feet as he drug his slippers across the concrete floor a final time. He reached for the curtain and whipped it back in a sorta Vanna White kind of way and there it was…. The reason we had picked this nasty little hotel over the nice big hotels back in Cairo city….the window slid open and, right there, in the yard, just in front of me, not more than 500 feet from my nose, was the Pyramids of Giza. The Great Sphinx was just sitting right there outside the window.


Yes! I so love this hotel and I have decided that I am totally staying here again someday. For 4 days I would use every single spare moment standing right there in that window trying to soak up just a little more of the amazing view. I don’t think I will ever see anything more spectacular than the view out my nasty little hotel window again. Every morning the sound of muslim chants rang out on the hour at like 5 am. In the distance, it sounded exactly like that Hollywood movie we were working on before. The sun came up and cast shadows on the Great Pyramid and you could watch it move further and further up to the peeks. At night the sun would set and it would illuminate them like I had applied just a little too much saturation to the photograph in my head. In the afternoon, the sun would line up with the top of the pyramid almost like they planned it that way 5000 years ago.

This is the best hotel ever !!!


Everything I can remember about Egypt

Posted in Carnevale Venice 2018 World Travels

Italian Men Fall In Love Quickly

Posted in Carnevale Venice 2018 World Travels

To just not be forgotten

I don’t know that I will ever be able to remember everything that I hope to remember about our vacation to Venice. Some days I really can’t focus because my mind is so cluttered with the memories and it feels like I could never forget a single detail. But the truth is I do. I forget most things that are feelings or moments, sweet and precious. I have photos and I look at them often, but I find that the little things that I write down are in the end the things that I get to recycle and experience again in my mind.

Does that even make sense?

My oldest son is going to be thirty years old in January. That doesn’t seem possible to me. Am I that old? Is my youngest son really going to be 13 in May? Once, I held their little bodies in my arms and fell in love with them. I don’t think I will ever forget those days.

Once, I was published in a book. Like in a library. Those don’t exist much anymore. Libraries or books. But someplace there’s a volume sitting on a shelf with words in it that I wrote and a scrapbook page that I designed. It was amazing, and I don’t think I will ever forget how that felt.

Once, I held a geocaching event and 518 people showed up in my yard. It was the most amazing thing and I don’t think I will ever forget that day.

Once, I stood in front of the Eiffel Tower and I held so tight to the hand of the man that I love truly more than anything that I have ever known. I wore a dress that was huge, and I strolled the streets of Paris like I was a princess and I never take a breath that I don’t think of that day.

Once, I stepped out onto the streets of Venice and for that week, I was famous. Thousands of photographers, mobs of people from all over, pushed and shoved to get a photo of me. It was the single most crazy amazing thing ever and I will absolutely never forget that day.

I am going to live as much of life here as I am able and experience enough that when I am forced to go, screaming and kicking, I hope I can think to myself that I am satisfied with the life I left behind.

Tonight, I watched the movie CoCo with Bill and we both cried at the end. I felt myself thinking that all anyone ever really wants from life is to just not be forgotten.

I pray that somehow in my life I have done something that left a mark large enough that when I am gone someone just remembers me.

Posted in Grandparents Hatfield McCoy Feud Hatfields & McCoys My Childhood Memories

I am many things

Posted in Being a Mom Mikey

Please don’t ever be Aaron’s Mommy

Please don't ever be Aaron's Mommy

The sweet words of a 4 year old.

Mikey is four at the time of this story.

Aaron was 20 at the time of this tale. 


Between the two of them they have 100% of my heart.

Please don't ever be Aaron's Mommy

Mikey is 4 and Aaron is 20. Needless to say there are a few years difference in their ages. I pretty much started over a whole new family with Mikey. But for as long as Mikey is able to remember Aaron has been "Bubby" and has been a steady part of his life.

If Mikey looks outside and see's Aaron coming into the guest entrance he will run around the house and make his way to the side door to open it to let "Bubby" into the house.

Aaron likes to wrestle with Mikey and rough him up. It always ends in me saying to them "Okay thats enough" Because I'm scared Mikey will get hurt ! Although now that I am thinking back it seems I remember that Aaron is usually the one who walks away in pain ? Mikey seems to always catch him just right.


Today Aaron was with me when I went to pick Mikey up from school and it was raining and Aaron said he would just jump and go get him. As I watched out the window I thought it was sweet to see them together but I could see right away when Mikey saw Aaron that he was upset. I got out and started to walk toward them and Mikey said, " Oh Mommy, I thought you were not going to be my mommy any more !" He was so upset.

Our nightly story has always been that we tell about the day. He says, "Tell me about my day" and wants you to repeat line by line whatever he did that day. So tonight when we went in and climbed into the bed for our story he wanted to hear about how Aaron picked him up from school. "Tell me Mommy about Aaron coming to get me from school today".

I started to tell him the story and realized right away that he does not get that Aaron is my child. He realizes that he is his brother but doesn't understand that it also means that I am Aaron's Mommy.

I said to him  "I am Aaron's Mommy too" and he immediately started crying and said, "Mommy, I don't want you to be Aaron's Mommy !" I tried to explain but he just had more questions than he did answers.


"Does Aaron have a daddy" he said. I told him yes that Aaron did have a daddy and he said...NOT MY DADDY ! I think he was certain that he was not going to share his mommy and now be expected to share his daddy as well.

I guess I never really put much consideration into what Mikey thought of me and Aaron together but I realize now that he thought Aaron was "his" bubby and that was okay as long as it didn't mean that he had to share his mommy !

Funny how his little mind works. "Please don't ever be Aaron's mommy" he said.


It truly is like I raised two only children.

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Wendy Hackney Richardson
Posted in Scrapbooking

Beautiful Day

I love to scrapbook about our travels.

I am only just learning to do digital scrapbooking. I have been paper crafting for many years now but in the last six months I have tried really hard to learn to use photoshop.

I had a software by Microsoft that I used since 2016 and when I upgraded my computer this last time, sadly, it stopped working with the new windows versions. I almost took the computer back.

I figured this was the perfect time to give digital scrapbooking a try since I needed something to learn on. I discovered a website where I have spend hours downloading lots of goodies that I can use to make the pages.

I think learning shadows and layers is freaking hard. I will get there. For now, I am just thankful that every now and again I can create a page that I am not ashamed of.

The funny thing is, I could make this page with real paper in just a few minutes. LOL

I thought digital scrapbooking would be faster. NOT SO !

Does anyone have suggestions for good digital scrapbook beginner blogs or sites? Love any suggestions you may have.


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