Split trip- Gettysburg

In the run around whirl that is a life with three teens it is sometimes hard to stop and smell the roses. On any given day we are usually driving at least one teen to and from some activity. Last weekend it was a soccer tournament. It was being held in Gettysburg. PA – one of my favorotie places…but for 2 days of a long weekend? Blah!

My to do list at the farmstead was piling up. And another weekend away was not on my radar. It turns out I must have jinxed myself bc we got a reprieve and didn’t have to go on the first day of the tourney. But that was because my husband, Kevin, was getting over a terrible stomach flu that he had for a week and he ended up in the ER one stormy evening. On Saturday, he was still not feeling up to spending all day watching soccer- there were 4 games that ran all day. I got Luke a ride (thanks Coach!) and we stayed home and tried to tackle a few things on the long to do list despite my husband not be quite recovered. Half a day in and we reached our limit of outdoor work and decided to relax on the deck or nap. Even though we didn’t get much done it was nice to just do nothing for a bit. ALL the kids were out doing something – it was so quiet at home. I had a tiny bit of guilt that I didn’t watch the soccer games- but Luke broke his arm and is in a cast so I wasn’t sure how much playing time he would get – so skipping it for the day seemed ok.

But on Sunday we got up and packed the car and Kevin and I, and our two boys(my daughter opted out), headed out to Gettysburg College. There were swarms of soccer players and fans out there. I was shocked at the number. Gettysburg College is a beautiful college. I looked up online the cost to go there (hey I have three teens- gotta consider these things) and WHOA! It was pricey! Well – kids enjoy it today or get a scholarship! Of course the 14 year old boys were not as taken as we were. To them college is 100 years away. The homes surrounding the college are gorgeous. We would get excited seeing the greek letters on the outside of some of the homes. My boys werent a bit excited. Well they acted a tiny bit excited when asked -“Do you see that building? There’s the quad…look at the dorms”… I would get a slight peak of interest but not much. Oh well  – Kevin and I had fun.


Luke and the soccer ball


We watched about 2 hours of soccer – the games had a huge break in between so we decided to grab Luke and head over to the battlefield. (stopping to smell the roses- get it?) Again the interest from the boys wasn’t quite there. They did enjoy the cannons and Ozzy seemed to like looking at the grave markers in the cemetery. The cemetery is my favorite place. I feel so calm there and I love that Lincoln stood there and gave the Gettysburg address. It gives me chills.

Site of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Site of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

I am not a Civil War buff – but I do find the entire place interesting.  The history of that place (51,000 casualties in that 3 day battle) and what those battles meant can’t be lost even on the least interested in civil war history. Driving along the battlefield is cool but can get a little tedious if you aren’t into every detail of the battle.The views are worth it though. I pictured in my head what it must have been like for the soldiers on those fields way back in July of 1863. It is quite overwhelming. The rock formations of Devil’s Den are so awesome. So much fun to climb on. We did not have time this trip to do the battlefield drive nor did we do a Devils Den visit.-which may have been a smart thing to skip when you have a kid in a cast that needs to play another soccer game!

Devils Den

Devil’s Den Gettysburg, PA

The old Battle Map – it has been moved to Hanover PA

I know my fondness for Gettysburg began as a kid. I remember taking field trips with school and coming up with family. Way back when I recall a room where there was a giant map that lit up as a man talked about the battle. That map was moved in 2012 to Hanover, PA in York County. More info on that here. The Battlefield visitors center now is huge and modern. It houses a great museum that we toured a few years ago with all three kids. I hope to get back soon and tour it when there is more time.

The one thing you notice when you are in Gettysburg is it is so clean. Everywhere is clean. It reminds me of being in Disney and how you never saw a piece of trash- it was like little hands would come up out of the ground to swipe even the tiniest wrappers away…how did they do that?  The town itself is so inviting. Lots of fun shops and restaurants. Years ago Kevin and I stayed at a lovely B&B in town called the Brickhouse Inn. This place was great and still boasts great reviews I see. This time it was just a day trip as we are only about an hours drive from Gettysburg…but I fell in love with The Gettysburg Hotel and I hope to get back there for a night with Kevin maybe in the fall. This hotel is old but is renovated to add modern touches. If you want truly authentic old places stick to the B&Bs. There are many to choose from.

We dropped Luke off to get ready for his late afternoon game and we headed over to town to grab some lunch. We ate at the Pub Restaurant. It was really good. It was hopping too. Games on in the bar, seats filled indoors and out. A gorgeous Sunday will get the tourists and shoppers alike out and about I guess. The food was very good. Kevin and I opted for the same thing- a turkey club on pretzel bread. I had leftovers – it was pretty big. Ozzy had a burger which by the sheer fact he inhaled I know he enjoyed (or maybe he was just starving as it was a late lunch!) I think it was both. It was nice to get such good service and good food with a place that was so busy.

Because I take photos of the games, I brought my heavy Canon because it has the longest lens. When we decided to walk from the visitors center to the cemetery and back I was a bit bummed I brought the heavy one. I wish I had thought to put my Fitbit on so I knew how far we walked that day. It was a good clip. I did end up getting some nice photos from the camera. I am drawn to nature and kept stopping on the path through the woods that leads to the

IMG_6596cemetery to take pictures of tree bark and wildflowers. The boys were very patient! On the way I heard a man complaining about not having the right lens and Kevin looked at me and said “every photographers complaint”. Yes it is (he has heard me say this many times), unless you lug all your gear or two(or more) cameras with different size lenses with you. I too had my complaints wishing for a shorter lens in some places and a wide angle in others.  I had my phone with me too which I used a bit.  I could have taken my second camera but with a bad shoulder I may have been pressing my luck. My lovely sons and hubby did carry things for me though. Had I known that they would do this so willingly I may have added that second camera to my arsenal.


Somehow the last two times I have been in Gettysburg it has been on Memorial Day weekend. The flags marking each grave are really something.


We watched a little more soccer(we won the last game-consolation game but its a win!) then headed to get some ice cream. We happened on a Mr. G’s home made ice cream shop right across from a beer garden and next to a wine garden…hello are we in heaven? I know where I am headed next time we come to town- hint they serve sangria…yes you know!

Line for the ice cream! You know its good stuff when there is a line out the door!


Artists along the street… and wine garden on the other side of the fence!























I have to say trying to do stuff soccer and a visit to some of the historic sites in Gettysburg is a lot to take in a day – but it was fun. I hope my sons got a little something out of it. It is hard to impress a teen unless there is food or money dangling in front of them- but I enjoyed spending time with them and I enjoyed being in such a cool town. Gettysburg, PA is definitely worth a trip to see. There is a lot to do. You wont be bored – I promise (ok I cannot say this when it come to teens but the rest of you wont be bored…).

I created a photo gallery of the day (no soccer pics). You can find that here. ( a couple photo credits go to Kevin and Luke!)

Thanks for reading….


Beer garden and restaurant..


I loved the trees in the cemetery…






Dear Nurses-

I just want to say thank you all of the great ER nurses for treating my husband with such care and concern last night. 

We were the ones parked in the hallway in front of triage. It was so busy beds were lined up all along the corridor walls. How can you forget right?  

It isn’t great not getting a room but sitting where we sat I got a small dose of what it must be like to be an ER nurse. 

I tried not to eavesdrop as you spoke to the EMTs about people who were brought in. A sweet older woman who had two glasses of wine and her blood sugar spiked. She was a great lady and you all marveled at her love for life and giggled when she said maybe she should not have had that second glass of wine. You said you wanted to embrace life like that when you were older. 

Then there were the frequent flyers. Maybe in for some pain meds. I felt so sad for them. There was a mom whose adult son had a seizure and she was making your lives a little hard with her demands that her son be seen asap. You were kind and patient and never were snarky even behind their backs. 

I am not sure how you do it. I heard a nurse getting yelled at by a patient who was clearly mad about everything.  You all just listed the patients options and tried to get her to understand them.  There was a young man brought in on a gurney in handcuffs and watched over by a sheriff and hospital security. I hadn’t even thought about that part of the job. 

 I saw a lot last night. One thing I know for sure is that I am not cut out of the same cloth as a nurse is at all. We all have our gifts and what a gift you have to tend to the sickest people and still keep smiling.  My 14 year old son was also watching intently. When we were leaving he said he might like to be a “medic” on the ambulance. I think you made an impression on this young boy. What a compliment to your good work. 

Nobody likes feeling sick and having to lay in an ER corridor but we made the best of it and you took great care of my husband in the midst of all the chaos around. Thank you. Getting this glimpse into your world was an eye opener and I have an even greater respect in all that you do. 

God Bless-

From the lady who watched in awe in the corridor. 


Healing the hurts 


He’s 14 now. Hardly a baby. But to me I feel all the hurts the same as I did when my kids were young. See an injury and I get the tingling weakness in my knees and legs. 

He doesn’t need me as much anymore but he called me twice the other evening   – once to tell me he fell at soccer practice and hurt his arm and would I come to get him and the second when I was on my way to make sure I didn’t forget him. (Sorry officer I had to use my phone while driving my kid is hurt). Forget him? I don’t think I’ve ever forgotten him anywhere ever.  

At the urgent care I asked him if he wanted me walk with him to the X-ray room. He said “if you want”. His way of saying yes. 

We worked on pain management with some snack wraps and a vanilla shake. It helped some but when he winced bc he moved it wrong those knees of mine got weak. I don’t make a big deal and I don’t hover but inside I want to make the hurt go away. 

Today we had to wait until late to get his arm set bc I had an appt that went 2 hours over making us miss our original appt at the orthopedic. So I felt bad he had to wait so long. He dealt with it well but I knew he was anxious to get there bc he kept asking when we had to go.  

At the orthopedic he got to pick his cast color and that’s still cool to him at  14.  The doc told him he still had quite a bit of growing to do. He was pretty excited about that as his goal is to be 6ft tall. 

He was in some discomfort after the casting and I had my go to fixes -ibuprofen and food. Somehow I feel like the offering of food will cure the pain at least for a while. And maybe it did. He chose grill cheese and fries. Comfort for sure. 

He’s going to to be fine. He’s already thinking of more exciting stories to tell his friends about how he got the break. I guess a soccer injury isn’t too exciting. Maybe he just wants to razz them a bit like boys do. He tried to get another day off of school but as much as I wanted to let him stay home and hang out  (with me) I know it’s better for him to get back to school and not miss too much school work. I sent him in with Advil. He will be glad to be back even if he has some discomfort today. He will be with his buddies. I can just hear the jokes now.  

It’s hard to watch your child have pain -physical or emotional. When my child hurts their pain seeps into me. No matter how old they are you want to take the away pain. I know it’s that way for my mother as well-and I’m 51. 

Right now my 14 year old doesn’t need  me as much as he used to. That’s ok -it’s how it’s supposed to be. But I suspect we will always need each other in some way. We will always be connnected by the thread of love. I often hear my own husband talk to his now 90 year old mom and I hear the child in him. It’s a beautiful testament to the love that helped him grow, soothed his hurts and then let him go live his life. The connection is always there. 

My kids are still young enough so i have some time to grow the connections and to help fix the hurts. So bring on the hugs, the Advil, and the milk shakes and French fries. Oh and the grilled cheese  

Thanks for reading. 


All in a day

Everyday is different and really isn’t that what’s cool about life? You never know what a day will bring you even when you make the most detailed plans. 

Today I planned on working out and going to see a new oncologist. I wasn’t to thrilled about going to the doctors but it is what it is. After that I thought I’d get my blood drawn for my endocrinologist. Then maybe write bc I’ve had little time for that lately and maybe I’d get some other pending work done. Plus my husbands birthday is Sunday and I wanted to plan what cake I might try to bake for him.  It takes a lot of prep bc im not a baker. I just pretend to be one. 

But my day is turning out to be quite different than my plans. I did get my workout in. So that’s a check mark off the todo list. But before that I was awakened by one son who broke his wrist yesterday and is only splinted up pending a trip to the orthopedic this afternoon for a cast. My other son told me he has a fever. He was home yesterday with a stomach bug and I guess it still has a hold on him. My daughter got out to school fine and was probably happy to be away from the crazy of our home this morning! 

I came in from my workout to see my dog Pierce had not eaten his food. This has been going on for a bit and we changed foods yesterday for him. He ate well last night but today -again- he wasn’t interested. I was trying to think like a dog to figure him out. And after being told that he climbed up onto our kitchen stool next to my daughter this morning while she ate I realized Pierce is thinking like a person! So we need to meet in the middle. He’s not sick. Has tons of energy-he’s just sick of his food. I’ve tried to wait him out but I wasn’t winning that. So we got the new food and I was really happy when he ate last night. Well after the climbing antics this morning I decided to try something different.  

I sat on the floor with him. I pretended to eat his food and then gave him some on the floor in front of the bowl. He began eating. We went on like this until he ate all of it. He seems very happy now. But gassy!! Since he was off his food for over a day I thought introducing this food would be ok. But maybe he’ll have to get used to it. Hope it’s soon bc my dad comes next week for a visit! 

So after my docs appointment and my sons casting I will come home to soak the foot of my lame rooster and to reassess his living arrangement. I am told if he has a broken foot I need to cage him in a dog crate. I have him in a nice enclosed area now. But it might be too big. And he has two ladies w him and lame as he is he is still trying to make them happy if you get my drift.

At feed time I think I’ll feed Pierce on a plate. Hoping he realizes he has new food and it’s not the old food he is tired of. He will not be allowed on the stool. I have to draw the line somewhere. 

And see how good I am? I have readjusted my days plans and am ready to go. But you never know what else might get tossed in to mix it all up again. It’s just life. I try not to get to rattled and just go with it. Sometimes though I get a little off kilter and have to step away for a few to re-center myself. Though today I might not get that chance unless it’s in the bathroom. Well at least I got my workout in. 

Thanks for reading!