Laugh more every day

Happy 2011, please give me a Xanax or maybe just some perspective January 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 1:58 am

Time is flying by so fast.  I am finding myself a little melancholy today.  Christmas is over. New Years day is over. I go back to work on Monday after 2 very full weeks off. The kids are back to school on Tuesday. I am panicking a little because I know I have a ridiculously large pile of work waiting for me at work, spring and summer camps to plan and market, taxes to do, Camp Fair on February 5th, and no brochures, ads or exhibit planned yet!

Then I calm down and relax, and think about all the fun and exciting things I have to look forward to: Josie’s 8th birthday – she is getting her ears pierced and she is so excited! Camp Fair in February, Spring Break camp in March, Music City Family Expo and Earth Day Festival in April, Summer Camp in June, Ellie’s 6th birthday in July, Maddy’s 11th birthday in August…

Then I start to panic again because my kids are getting older, which means I am getting older, which means time is flying again, which means I am so far behind yet time won’t slow down…

For a brief moment I consider a pharmaceutical intervention.  Then I just realize that I need to seriously chill out, finish this blog post, and get some sleep.  Tomorrow will be here soon (in about 6 hours or so) and I’ll be too busy to realize that time is zipping by and before I know it it will be September 2011 and I will have delayed freaking out by another 9 months!

Hello 2011. I hope the weather is good and any residual anxiety I am having over the loss of 2010 will be gone in the morning. 🙂





Can you hula hoop? June 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 9:00 pm

My girl Josie can!  It must be genetic or something.  I can’t do this and neither can Maddy (she is so much like me!) but Josie can really hula hoop…she can walk and hula, talk and hula, and sing and hula.  She can hula with more than one hoop, and she can spin around. She is really quite talented.  I am so proud of her!

She makes it look so easy!

I think it has something to do with the ratio of your hips to the diameter of the hoop.

You know you aren’t supposed to swivel your hips in a circle at all…the motion is more like a rocking back and forth.

And it is very important to get the right kind of hoops…we prefer the 36 inch no kink hoops…they last much longer because they are stiff and do not bend easily.  Have fun trying this!


Happy Anniversary Flood and Why Did You Come Back? May 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 8:53 pm

It has taken me 9 days to write this blog entry because 1) we just got our electricity back on last Saturday and 2) I am only now realizing that I should document what happened. It started when Maddy and I went to Guitar Fest in Leipers Fork Saturday May 1st. I should have checked the weather. I should have realized what was happening when I saw the intensity of the rain. I should have worried when the rain wouldn’t stop and I saw a parked car on the road with water up to it’s door. I should have really understood what was happening when we were stuck at the Leipers Fork Recreation Center because the roads were flooded and we couldn’t drive home for several hours. But I guess I just didn’t think that it could happen again…especially on the ANNIVERSARY of the first flood. The flood last year happened to us on May 2nd 2009. We woke up to it and had to rescue the alpacas. It was like re-living a nightmare to wake up on May 2nd 2010 and see nearly the exact same thing outside.

Flood 2010

This photo was actually taken when the water level had gone way down, if you can imagine it any higher…

I mean, what exactly is UP with all this water, and WHY did it have to come back on the EXACT SAME DAY as last year? So – here we are re-living this awful experience, going back outside, moving the alpacas (this time into the barn with the poor bunny who has to be locked in her cage), hoping the rain will soon stop (but realizing it won’t anytime soon) and worrying again about the bridge and pasture. Soon after all the mayhem begins, we lose electricity and there is no contact with the outside world because soon after I called Carol on the banana phone to tell her I was most certainly not going to make it to work the next day, we lost all phone service.  We couldn’t even use our cell phones.

The water had gotten so high it was just barely below the deck…this was taken when the rain had stopped and the water level had gone down some.

So, we just waited.  Waited for the rain to stop.  To make matters worse – because we were not able to drive over the bridge on Saturday evening when we finally returned home from the cancelled Guitar Fest, we parked the cars on a knoll in front by the road. I had a rental car because my car was being repaired.  The rental car got water in the hood and ended up not starting on Monday.  I am hopeful that my insurance company will pay for it. I filed the claim so now I just have to wait and see.  The good part about parking by the road is that once the water receded and we were able to get out of the house, we could actually drive.  If we had been on the other side of the bridge we would have been stranded.  Because our bridge still isn’t fixed.  The reason is that every contractor with heavy dirt moving equipment this side of the Mississippi and west of the Smoky Mountains is working on fixing public roads and bridges.

So, we hike each day to and from our cars and climb up to the bridge to get home.  It isn’t too bad.  It doesn’t look nice but it is OK. You sort of have to get over the fact that it’s inconvenient and realize that at some point you’re fortunate that you can even walk over the bridge in the first place.  Yes, we’re thankful.  We will be able to fix the bridge in time, and in the meantime, we get a little more exercise.

I think the worst damage occurred in the pasture – Eric’s favorite pavillion collapsed because the earth beneath it was washed away by flood water.

Where did the bike path go you ask?  Well – it is literally buried under a million cubic yards of gravel.  Enough gravel to cover 4 or 5 acres of land. It looks like the surface of the moon out there.  At some point we have to dig the path out from under all this rock and dirt.  On the bright side – I don’t think we will have a problem with weeds growing up through the path anytime soon.

This is the alpaca’s former pen.  I say former because I am not sure this paddock will survive…we may have to move it or rebuild it. In the meantime – the alpaca’s are happily munching grass and weeds in their temporary pen here:

This weekend my plans are to fix this:

My poor garden beds.  We lost the potatoes and carrots.  But we can re-plant!  I ordered some plants from Tally and pick them up tomorrow.  I’ll try to get some more berry plants soon…I think we lost the blueberry plants too.  My goal is to get this garden in shape this weekend.

As it turns out, unlike last year, this second flood affected not only our area but all of Middle Tennessee.  Over 30 counties in Tennessee were declared a federal disaster area.  Downtown Nashville, The Opryland Hotel, Opry Mills mall, The Grand Old Opry, Bellevue, Belle Meade, Kingston Springs, Franklin, and many many other communities were devastated by this flood. Hundreds if not thousands lost belongings, homes, pets, livestock, cars, and lives.  It is truly shocking what has happened to everyone here.  I am lucky.  I only lost a fridge and freezer full of food, some wood benches, fencing, the driveway, some garden beds, grass, trees and a bike path.  I am lucky because I have my family, my home, and all my animals still alive.  I am lucky because my business can continue despite the damage.  It may not look pretty, but the summer camp kids won’t care – they can still play in the creek.  The only activity impacted by this is bicycling on the path.  We have about 75 other things we can do around here.  It may seem depressing, but we have to accept reality, count our blessings, and move on.

I am optimistic, and I will try not to freak out every time it starts to pour rain again.


Where was I in June and July? August 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 11:22 pm

Well, frankly I was in another universe…the CAMP universe.  I was blogging here:

So…go here and see what we were up to all summer.  It was a fantastic summer!  Now, before I realize it, it will be November and time to get ready for another Spring and Summer of CAMP.


The First Day of School

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 11:09 pm

2009 first day of school

Originally uploaded by madjelly

Well, my kids are back in school. Maddy in 4th grade and Josie in 1st. I remember 1st grade being particularly difficult for Maddy. That was the grade she really learned to read, and the frustration and anxiety over it made her pretty much hate reading until 2nd grade, when it got much easier for her.

When Josie found out that one of the items on her school supply list was index cards I think she started to get nervous; I think she associated them with flash cards and sight words. We didn’t do much reading this summer – I just didn’t fight her to read – she played the entire summer at camp and had a wonderful free summer. But…I think she knew that the reading and work was coming! She kept telling me that she was “scared to start first grade”. We went school shopping, bought clothes, shoes, supplies, and talked about all the friends she was going to see. We did a bit of review of the stuff she learned in kindergarten also.

Josie 1st grade

On the first day of school, in the car, I asked her if she was still scared. She said she was not scared. However, she did explain that she was “1 percent excited and 3 percent nervous!” So cute!


Maddy 4th grade

Maddy on the other hand played it very cool. In fact, on the first day (which was only 2 hours but the teacher in Josie’s class said they could leave any time after “checking in”) she was shocked to see me come back to get her so early and really didn’t want to leave – she requested to stay 1 hour. I asked if we could meet her social studies teacher and she said NO! I asked her to introduce me to her PE teacher and she did so reluctantly, but was very nice about it. Is this the beginning of the “I am embarrassed by my mother” phase? Please say it isn’t so!


ellie birthday party


So, school is underway. Ellie starts preschool next Monday. Ellie will be a kindergardener next Fall. My baby goes to school next year 😦

Wow it sure goes by fast. I feel so old.


Flood May 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 9:06 pm


Friday night we went to bed and in the morning woke up to this:




Um, this is our front lawn.  Yeah, and that’s the bridge we use to cross the creek to get to the main road…the road that you would normally see in this photo, but is not visible at all due to the water.  All that debris on top of the bridge?  That’s from the water actually having been above the level of the bridge at one point, and the debris was deposited there when the water level receded some.  Right now the water level is down A LOT – the street is visible and drivable now.  However half our driveway on the other side of the bridge was washed away, as was part of our fence near the driveway.  There was a 3 foot vertical drop down from the edge of the bridge to the ground on the other side…couldn’t drive my car over to save my life (or go to work).  So, our friendly neighbors with heavy dirt moving equipment came by to shovel some dirt up to the bridge and now our cars are parked uphill a bit on the other side of the road.  I didn’t think I would make it to work tomorrow, but thankfully I think I will be able to.  


So many other people are not so lucky – their houses and cars were flooded (and still are).  I can still remember the first thing Eric said when he woke up Sunday morning: “Suzanne, I think we lost the alpacas.”  The kids started crying…we ran out there to check, and THANKFULLY they were OK…up to their necks in water, but still alive.  We moved them to the workshop where they are now dry and safe.  Our entire pasture was 4-5 ft deep in water.  About a third of the bike path is destroyed, and a ton of creek sediment and rock has been deposited in various places, while in other places the creek decided to carve a new path.  Not really sure what things are going to look like when it all dries out.  I just hope it dries out soon!  It’s still raining now, and supposed to rain for the next couple days. 


Ironically we watched “Evan Almighty” yesterday while we were stuck inside the house.  I think pretty soon WE are going to have to build an ARK.


Maddy’s epiphany May 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — madjelly @ 2:02 pm


What?  Two posts in one day?  Yes…that’s how I roll.  I don’t always have time to post, so I have to do it all when I can!  It’s a slow Friday around here, and there’s rain going on outside, so I might as well!

So here’s the story, as told by my dear husband Eric: 


Eric was on the computer last night and he was typing away, rapidly writing emails to potential camper parents and former camper parents.  He was trying to drum up business!  Go Eric! 

It was late and Maddy (our 8 year old) was tired.  Her little head drooping and eyes getting sleepy as she leaned on him and watched him type.  All of a sudden, as she was watching him, she must have realized that

1) he wasn’t looking at the keys while he typed, and

2) he was typing really fast. 

Her eyes get as big as saucers and she says “HOW are you doing that?”  Eric: “Doing what?”  Maddy: “Typing like that.  You are going so fast, and you AREN”T LOOKING AT THE KEYS!”  “And the keys aren’t even in ORDER…not A, B, C…it’s like “Q, W, E” “How do you do that Dad?”  Eric laughs and says “I’ve been typing a long time.  Someday when you are my age you’ll be able to do this too.”  Maddy says “but I don’t even use the computer now!”  Eric says “Well, when I was your age we didn’t even HAVE computers!”


Ahhh, now doesn’t that make you feel…old?