My family

My family

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thanksgiving in Canada

We went to Michigan for Thanksgiving.  It was a weekend jam-packed with activities.....2 Red Wings games, 1 University of Michigan game, Thanksgiving dinner and 2 days at the casino!  It literally felt like we were awake for five straight days!

Sugar can always tell when we are about to leave.  She sees Jim's suitcase and crawls right in.  Bailey got to spend the holiday with her canine friends at Auntie Ruth's kennel.  Garrett and Delanie jumped a plane to Texas.  As you can see, my husband is not much company on the airplane.

After watching the Red Wings game, we crossed the border into Canada to the Windsor casino.  This is the first time I've ever been to Canada and I couldn't wait to see everything!  (It is another country, after all!).  Let me tell you......Canada doesn't know what to think of the Richardson bunch! :)
It's amazing that you can stand in Detroit & look across the river to see Canada.  You wouldn't expect things to be so different over there but they really were.  First of all, if you use your cell phone, the roaming rates are astronimical.  Truthfully, it was a great excuse to turn our phones off for a few days.  What a wonderful break from our daily life.  :)

There were tons of signs saying "Welcome to Canada".  All the signs were in English & French.....I thought that was cool. 

When we got through the tunnel under the river, we had to stop at the Customs booth.  I really wanted my passport stamped but they thought I was crazy.  Jim kept saying, "Charlotte, it's just like going from Texas to Oklahoma!"  I beg to differ......IT'S ANOTHER COUNTRY!!!  The booth attendant didn't have a stamp so I talked Jim into going into the Customs building to ask.  As we were approaching the building, there were several policement standing around.  When we started to approach them, we were quickly stopped and interrogated.  Evidently they take things very seriously!  Who knew asking for a passport stamp would be such a big deal?  Bottom stamp for me.

Check out the Canadian money.  I'm sure you can imagine Jim's reaction when I told him I wanted a copy of every denomination for my scrapbook.  :)

Stay tuned.....more details to come!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We finally got our first snow of the season!  After hearing of the Halloween blizzard several years ago, we were expecting to see the snow earlier.  It was definitely worth the wait. 

Jim and I were running errands on Saturday and, when we came out of Home Depot, it was snowing!!!  I ran outside while Jim was at the cash register and did a happy dance.  :)  I thought my sweet husband was going to wet his pants when I tilted my head back, opened my mouth wide and stuck my tongue out.  I wanted to see if Minnesota snow tasted different than Texas snow!  Nope.......snow is snow......yummy!

Bailey wasn't sure what to think of the white stuff.  She was eager to get outside and play with Delanie but that didn't last long.  This is the same dog that refuses to do her business when it's raining.  Once she felt the snow on her paws, she wanted back inside QUICK!  Poor puppy....her bootie shook like crazy while she was walking around. 

Jim took the opportunity to teach Snow-Shoveling 101 to the kids.  Of course, Delanie decided to make a game of it and shovel in patterns.....smiley face, etc.

Now comes the fun part.....driving to and from work in the snow/ice.  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have been so excited for winter to get here! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Traveling benefits

My collection of college sweatshirts is expanding as Jim travels more.  He came home from his trip last week with my latest edition....

It was really sweet of him to take the time to buy the sweatshirt.....especially since he had to go to the college bookstore to pick it up.  

Whenever anyone I know takes a trip, I always ask them to bring me back a sweatshirt.  It doesn't matter where they go.....I love getting sweatshirts from all over the country.  Here are some of my favorites....

Ole Miss
Texas Christian University
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Old Dominion
University of California at Santa Barbara

There's a funny story behind the Pepperdine sweatshirt.  I had gone to visit Denise while she was nursing in California and we stopped by the college bookstore on the way to the airport.  As I was checking out, the salesperson said, "Are you here to pick up your child for Summer break?"  Keep in mind, I was in my mid-30s at the time.  All I could think of was, "REALLY???  Do I look old enough to have a college student??"  RUDE!!!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Home sweet home

We are finally settling into the house!  Most of the pictures are hung and the furniture is where I want it.  Now comes the fun part.....decorating.  I've gotten several requests for pictures so here you go.....

First is the most used room in the house (especially with two teenagers!)......the kitchen.  I wanted granite for so long in Mansfield and I finally got it!  The color is Venetian Gold and I absolutely LOVE it.  I usually lean toward darkers colors but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Next is my favorite place in the house......the den.  This is where I spend most of my time.  The kids and Jim will always go downstairs to the basement to play video games and get onto the computer.  The den is nice and quiet....just the way I like it.  I can read a magazine, watch my HGTV/cooking shows and just chill. 

This is Delanie's piano room.  It's in the front of the house and gets tons of sunshine.  Whenever she plays, you can hear it throughout the house.  There have been tons of times when I'll come home from work to the sound of piano music.  It is truly music to my ears.

Here is the dining room.  It sits between the kitchen and den.  We've gotten into a wondeful habit of eating dinner as a family every night.  It's a good time to catch up on the day's events.  The kids usually do all the talking.  Jim and I can't get a word in! :)  Check out my lemon trees by the window.  The first one is just about ripe.  I can't wait to taste it.

The liquor cabinet is new and it's one of my favorite pieces.  It looks really good underneath the "family wall". 

Needless to say, this is our boys' favorite place in the house.....the basement!  The TV's are set up for video games - one for Jim and one for Garrett.  The whole room is decorated with Red Wings jerseys, hockey sticks, player pictures, etc.  This is definitely the warmest place in the house thanks to the fireplace. 

Here is Garrett's bedroom.  He's had the same comforter since he was eight years old.  He says it's too soft to replace it.  The paper mache' fox is a gift from Maci as are the stuffed animals. 

Here is Delanie's bedroom.  She loves the desk under her window.  It looks out onto the pond in the back yard.....great place for her to write stories and daydream. 

Finally the master bedroom. 

The thing I love most about his house is that each floor is dedicated to something specific.  The top floor is all about sleeping with the bedrooms and bathrooms.  The ground floor is where we gather as a family.  That's where the kitchen & den are.  The basement is filled with fun.  There's the gaming center, all the hockey paraphenalia and our scrapbook room. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Holy is so cold here!  This is honestly the first time I have ever seen a temperature in the teens on Weather Channel.  When I saw this, I had to break out the "hot hands" for the kids' trip to the bus stop.  They made it safe and worse for wear. 

They were both bundled up in their North Face parkas (something Texans know nothing about!) and gloves.  Delanie still won't wear a hat but give it time.  The first time her ears feel like they're falling off, she's not going to care what her hair looks like!

Garrett came up with a great plan on getting to the bus stop quicker (thus, getting to sleep longer).  He uses roller blades to go back and forth instead of walking.  Brilliant! :)  When he gets to the bus stop, he swaps out the roller blades for his sneakers and hides the skates behind a tree.  After school, he does the switch again and makes it home in record time.  Gotta love that kid.....he's always thinking!

Thank goodness for a garage big enough to squeeze both mine & Jim's cars in.  Check out the temperature reading from this morning.  Needless to say, it took a little longer than usual to warm up the car before work.  I wish my seats were heated like Jimbo's.  :)

Forecast shows a 70% chance of snow on Saturday.  I can't decide if I'm excited or dreadful.  I'm definitely enjoying a quick commute back and forth to work now while it lasts. 

Toys R Us kid

Garrett got a job!  He started working last week at Toys R Us and he loves it!  He looks so handsome in his uniform.  He said his interviewer told him he was the most polite interviewees they had ever met.  Garrett is truly a southern gentleman.

Look out he comes!! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Birthday drama

Monday was my 43rd birthday.  I woke up and found dozens of post-it notes stuck everywhere in the house wishing my a happy birthday.  There were notes in the shower, refrigerator, in my car, on the back name it.  It was so sweet!

When I got home from work, Jim & the kids had a birthday cake and presents ready to tear into.  I've been wanting a camera like Tracey's for so long and guess what I got for my birthday?!  I can't wait to use it. 

While my birthday ended up being terrific, it definitely didn't start that way.  I got to work bright and early and parked in my normal spot.  As I rounded the back end of my car to get my things together, my right heel got caught in the hem of my left pants leg and DOWN GOES FRAZIER! 

I tried to break my fall but ended up face down on the asphalt.  Before long, I had a goose egg forming on my cheek, skinned knees and I couldn't move my left arm.  After several xrays, the doctor told me I had broken my elbow again.  Really?!  ON MY BIRTHDAY?????

While the doctor was putting my arm back into the splint, she asked if I had ever been treated for osteoporosis.  I said, "No, and if you tell me I have osteoporosis on my 43rd birthday, I'm gonna smack you!"  She didn't think that was too funny......go figure.

Today was my first day back to work and I was greeted with a homemade "handicapped" placard for my car, a birthday card singing "I fell into a burning ring of fire" and lots of chocolate.  My boss is hilarious!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tooltime, Pt. 2

Our sweet Jim is finally done with his side of the closet.  Before putting all his clothes back in the new improved closet, he had to try on every pair of jeans, purge every warm-weather shirt, etc.  I thought he'd never get done. 

Check it looks good, right???

Notice the shoe bags?  EVERY pair of Jim's dress shoes are stored in purple Crown Royal bags.  What does that say about the amount of liquor consumed in our household???

Mary = Home

In Texas, we always knew we were almost home when we saw the Grand Prairie city lights heading west on I-20 just outside of Duncanville.  For as long as I can remember, when we saw those lights, my parents would say "we're home!".  I kept that tradition going with Garrett and the point that they were the ones saying "we're home!" coming down that big hill.  :) 

There is one image that stands out for me just before we enter our new neighborhood in Minnesota.  In the fields just behind our subdivision is a huge statue of Mary.  It's pretty impressive, I have to say.  The land on which our homes were built used to be owned by a local Catholic church.  When they bought the land back in the day, they installed the statue for Mary to watch over the land.  Now there's a fire station, a fairly large neighborhood and a new private Catholic school being constructed.  One thing that stays the same, though, is Mary with her outstretched hands.

The first time I saw Mary, I felt welcome.  The statue has an almost calming effect.  Jim, the kids and I got into the habit of looking for Mary as we got closer to our new home.  I would look at the kids and say, "we're home!" but I could tell they weren't buying it.  As time has passed, it's almost become a joke.  The kids will say "we're at our Minnesota home!".....almost like they feel like they're betraying the Texas home.

Those feelings all changed one night when, as we were rounding the bend toward home (the Minnesota home, that is).  Jim looked out the driver's window at Mary and made the sign of the cross and then gave her a thumbs up sign.  It was so funny!!  Since then, he has added silly little gestures to the end of the ritual like blowing a kiss or a simple salute.  Every time, the kids and I get a chuckle out of it. :)

It's taken a little time adjusting to Minnesota but it's getting easier.  I miss my family every day - some days more than others.  The kids miss their family (especially Kevin) and their friends.  The new friends they are making are easing that a little.  There aren't near as many meltdowns as we thought there would be.  

Back to Mary......Garrett and Maci decided to take a walk and check out the statue up close.  Surprisingly, Mary wasn't as tall as she looks from the road.  I thought she was at least 10 feet tall.  Nope, Garrett took his picture next to her and, if he was standing on the pedestal, they would be the same height.  

Mary remains the symbol of our new home.  It's nice to have a constant in our ever-changing lives.  Mary might not be as awesome as the city lights of good ole Grand Prairie but we are thankful for her. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lanie's new crush

I know what you're thinking......what a hunk! :)  Patrick Eaves plays hockey for the Detroit Red Wings.  When we were at the game last week watching warmups, Delanie SWEARS that he looked right at her TWICE!!!  Check out her Facebook post.....

Delanie Jo
What amazingness!! 
Garrett tosses a box upstairs while I'm getting ready to go to the store with him later. So I put it on my bed to open up later. When I do, there's a card on the front that has my aunt's name
 on it: Ann Marie. 
"Hi Lanie,
We heard you went to the Red Wings game last weekend. We thought you might like this.
Grandma, Aunt Jean, and Aunt Ann"

So I thought back, thinking of when we were at the glass and the Red Wings were shooting pucks and practicing. So just out of blue sky, Patrick Eaves looks straight at me. Twice. It was a BIG DEAL for me. 
So I open up the box and see a black box inside. I start to jump to conclusions, maybe a Red Wings bracelet or a necklace or something small that could fit in this tall box. 
I open up the top. There's a tiny note that says, "Autographed by Patrick Eaves." I start freaking out in front of the housekeeping service, and I pull out a bright red cup with a Detroit Red Wings winged wheel on it, and right above the winged wheel, I couldn't believe what I saw.
"Patrick Eaves"

The autographed cup now has a place of honor on the fireplace mantle....right next to a picture of McCarty beating the crap out of LeMieux and a signed pair of Brett Hull gloves. 

Thanks to Grandma Ruth, Ann Marie & Carol for making Delanie's day, week, month and year!!  I have to say I agree with her.....he really is a hottie!! :)