Random (but not really)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Blackwater Falls: Fun with Small People

I had the BEST long weekend!









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Categories: Family,Photos  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happy 100th Birthday Grandmom!

It’s been 100 years since Grandmom was born.

Grandmom and the Cherry Blossoms


Grandmom & Aunt Doris in daisy field behind house on Oak Grove.


Grandmom, Aunt Doris, and neighbor kids.


Aunt Sophie, Uncle John, Grandmom, Great-Grandfather Laukaitis.


Grandmom & Aunt Sophie


Albert(?) Grandmom, Popbo, Aunt Sophie.
Also: SPATS!


Aunt Sophie, Grandmom, Aunt Doris


Aunt Sophie, Grandmom, Aunt Doris


Aunt Sophie, Grandmom, Aunt Doris

93rd Birthday!

Grandmom & Aunt Doris



Cousin Pat, Cousin Jimmie, Aunt Chris, Grandmom


Grandmom & Popbo


Grandmom & Popbo




I had to put in one with curlers. :)


I still miss you Grandmom.

Grandmom & Lily

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans’ Day

Thank you, to those who have served, who are currently serving, and to their families.




Ben Klishis WWII



Thank you.

Written by Michelle at 8:27 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Holidays  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Some of my Favorite Pictures from the Weekend

I didn’t get solo pictures of each kid, because my time was short and there were various schedule issues. But these are some of the pictures that I loved.









And that was MY past weekend.

Written by Michelle at 2:19 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hiking with Kids

So this year’s birthday gifts to the small people in my life were hiking backpacks.

So what do you need for a hiking backpack?

First a foremost, a good backpack: 4-6, 7-9 (Smaller is better, since it will keep them from making it too heavy to carry comfortably.)
At least one water bottle
Naturalist notebook with pencil and a sharpie (use a sharpie to mark a ruler on the inside cover so Things Can Be Measured)
Emergency whistle
Lip balm
Magnifying glass (simple, more complex)
Compass (simpler, nicer)
A bandana or a pack towel
Trail mix or dried fruit (and chocolate milk and a pepperoni roll for a longer hike)
A first aid kit
Used ziploc bags for your trash (or trash you find on the trail)
Perhaps a pair of binoculars, or a pocket knife or matches, or a shovel, or a thermometer
Maps of your trails (Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley)

And of course, nature books:
Trees, Leaves & Bark
Wildflowers, Blooms & Blossoms
Berries, Nuts, And Seeds
Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies
Birds, Nests & Eggs
Tracks, Scats and Signs

Then you go have adventures!

Blackwater Falls



Written by Michelle at 7:07 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Hiking  

Hiking WV: Blackwater Falls

We hiked / walked a lot around Blackwater Falls, and there were lots of areas that were great for kids–rocks to climb and leap off and lots of water to play in.

The best places to play in the water were Elekala Falls (the water was low–higher water with a faster flow might not be recommended for smaller kids), and a stream just past Lindy Point–park at the Lindy Point trail head, and continue down the road that says it’s for 4×4 vehicles only. You’ll soon come to a stream.

Stop and play.

Location: Blackwater Falls State Park
Trails: Elekala Falls, Cannan Loop “Road”, Balanced Rock Trail







Written by Michelle at 6:18 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Hiking WV: Dolly Sods

We took some of the kids up to Dolly Sods, where the blueberries were in fruit.

We didn’t hike much, and blueberry pancakes were made for breakfast the next day (I didn’t get any!)





Written by Michelle at 5:36 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Family,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Maintain the Light: Up Seneca Rocks in Memory of Ben

To remember my cousin Ben, on his birthday we hike up to the top of Seneca Rocks. And because we’re doing it in memory of Ben, we go up without stopping. (Stopping is allowed on the way back down, as is resting once the summit has been reached.)

Location: Seneca Rocks
Trail: Seneca Rocks Trail
Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation: 1393-2468 feet (11% grade)
Average Speed Hiking Up: 2.3 mph



From the top of Seneca Rocks


Written by Michelle at 9:28 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, October 5, 2015

World’s Slowest Slide

This was perhaps the slowest slide EVER. And the more you weighed, the slower you went.







Written by Michelle at 8:21 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Non-Hiking Trip to Blackwater Falls

But it was better than all the other trips this year!

Ice cream was made…


…and eaten!


There was walking…


…and jumping.


Rocks were picked up and checked under.


Big sticks were found and carried.


Stairs were climbed…


…as were rocks.


It was a marvelous day.


Written by Michelle at 9:19 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fun with Jules

Like many females on the planet, I am uncomfortable with how I look in a swimsuit. I sometimes cringe when I see a picture of myself dressed, so bathing suits are like an explosion of self-loathing.

However, I’ve refused to let that stop me from swimming, because the only person who cares about what I’m wearing is Jules, who needs me to be able to swim and horse around with her.




We also went to Valley Falls.





It was a very good day.


Written by Michelle at 8:03 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Seneca Rocks: Hike in Memory of Ben

My cousin Ben would have been 34 today.

Just as we did last year, this year we hiked up Seneca Rocks in his memory.


20140523_Seneca Rocks_048

20140523_Seneca Rocks_050

20140523_Seneca Rocks_091


Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos,West Virginia  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I have eaten chocolate ice cream and chocolate truffles and lemon ice cream…

…and I still miss Grandmom.

Written by Michelle at 10:18 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Family  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Broken Ankle Day

Today is Broken Ankle Day.

It’s strange, how one single step could have changed not just my life permanently, but also the lives of others so drastically.

For me, there is the obvious change–I live with regular aches and pains associated with the hardware that remains screwed into my bones.

But it was the other, less obvious changes, that had an even greater impact.

After I returned home from the hospital, it was glaringly obvious that Michael couldn’t take care of me and help Grandmom with her day-to-day things. So on the 16th, she packed some bags and my parents drove her to my aunt’s house, where we figured she’d stay until I was (literally) back on my feet.

Then Grandmom fell and broke her femur, and things changed yet again.

She spent months in rehab, and we were suddenly traveling to the DC area every three to four weeks. We eventually realized that Grandmom wouldn’t be coming back to live with us, and that meant changes for my aunt and uncle, as they arranged their home and lives for her.

I never thought, that Friday evening, as a grabbed my camera and went out to take some pictures of flowers, that my life would change so drastically with a single step.

And that’s what I try to remember today. Not the pain, not missing Grandmom (well, ok, there is that), but the realization that things can change in an instant. We cannot fully control our lives, and we can never take back things once they have happened.

We can only accept them–the good and the bad–and move on, making the best of what we have.

After all, if Grandmom hadn’t been in VA, I’d never have taken my two favorite pictures of her, and my memories of those days.

Grandmom & Lily

Grandmom and the Cherry Blossoms

So, on Broken Ankle Day, I have no regrets, only acceptance.

I love you and miss you Grandmom.

Written by Michelle at 10:17 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Michelle Is Clumsy  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pretty Good Day




Let me help you up Aunt Michelle!


Yes, I did give the camera to Michael, so you get somewhat rare pictures of me.

Except for the last picture, I am NOT in the last picture.

Written by Michelle at 8:11 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Of Course You Give the Camera Remote to the 3 1/2-Year Old


Written by Michelle at 6:58 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Family Visit: Blackwater Falls

Friday we took the day off to visit my family who were spending the week in Blackwater Falls. The skies were grey, and it was rainy, but we were there to see my family, so that didn’t much matter.



Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Metal Chickens,Photos,West Virginia  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Setting Sun


Written by Michelle at 8:03 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  

The Passage of Time

One year ago today, my cousin Ben died while climbing in Peru.

I didn’t learn he was missing until two weeks later, and then there were three long miserable days until his body was discovered.

It took another week and a half after his body was recovered to return him to the US and bury him.

After all this time, I’m still mad at him, and probably always will be to some small degree. But the anger isn’t the greatest part of what I feel.

If you love somebody,
Better tell them while they’re here, ’cause
They just may run away from you
You’ll never know what went well
Then again it just depends on
How long a time is left for you
I’ve had the highest mountains
I’ve had the deepest rivers
You can have it all but life keeps moving
Now take it in but don’t look down

‘Cause I’m top of the world, ‘ay
I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
‘Waiting for this for a while now,
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for awhile, ‘ay
Take it with me if I can,
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world

I’ve tried to cut these corners
Try to take the easy way out
I kept on fallin’ short of something
I coulda’ gave up then, but
Then again I couldn’t have, ’cause
I’ve traveled all this way for something
Now take it in but don’t look down

‘Cause I’m top of the world, ‘ay
I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
‘Waiting for this for a while now,
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for awhile, ‘ay
Take it with me if I can,
Been dreaming of this since a child

And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground
Get up now, get up, get up now
And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground
Get up now, get up, get up now

Written by Michelle at 9:58 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

This Is Not a Goodbye, This Is a See You Later…

My cousin Eric and his family are preparing to leave the country for three years.

We did have a good time, on my last visit with him before they leave.


James does NOT enjoy group pictures.


But he wasn’t All Grumpy All the Time.


Sally will turn two momentarily. And in another blink of an eye she’ll be five.


But, this is not a goodbye, this is a see you later…

Written by Michelle at 6:38 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Photos  
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