Tuesday, May 28 Hope you had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend! Of course, having yesterday off makes today feel like a Monday... We had perfect weather for all of the Memorial Day remembrance events. It's so important to take a moment and honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start to the summer season, and Leo says it's finally going to feel like it with temperatures hitting 90 degrees several days this week. Time to hit the pool and the lake! We took our kids to Bridgewater Plaza at Smith Mountain Lake on Sunday for lunch and a fun round of putt putt. SML is one of my favorite local getaway spots. It always makes me feel like I'm on vacation whenever I head down there! What are some of your favorite local getaways? Email me your favorites at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, May 7 I truly hope you were able to catch "Susan's Story," either last night at 6 or today on WDBJ 7 Mornin'. Susan Bahorich bravely shared her personal struggle with ovarian cancer. I am so proud of her for being open and honest with what she is going through. She is a wonderful inspiration to us all, and I look forward to seeing her continue her journey to good health! It's been a busy week in the newsroom, with weather coverage as well. Our area is under a flood watch, so please be careful out on the roads today. If you see any high water, please let us know where it is. Drop us an email at email@example.com. Also, I am doing a special report airing Thursday at 6 called "Bully Boot Camp." It's in Salem, and it's run by a self defense instructor. Tom Ramsey teaches kids non-violent conflict resolution skills, as they learn to stand up to bullies. Hope you will watch! Enjoy your Tuesday, and stay safe in this rainy weather!
Friday, April 19 Just like me, I'm sure you've been monitoring this week's events in Boston. It's just always amazing to me that with all of the surveillance and smart phone technology, that anyone would dare to commit such brazen, violent crimes. I suppose some people don't care if they get caught. As you know, one of the Boston marathon suspects is dead, the other is still at large. The city is on lockdown and people there are on edge. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one one of them. I hope that once the authorities do capture the individual responsible, that we can get some answers as to why he took part in all of this. We probably still won't be able to come anywhere close to understanding. Along with the dozens and dozens of victims, I keep thinking of that little eight year old boy who died. He had such a promising life ahead of him...such a tragedy.
As you've heard, WDBJ 7 is doing extensive, live coverage of tomorrow's Blue Ridge Marathon here in Roanoke. I'm sure those runners will be thinking of the victims in Boston, and will run in their honor. Hope you will come out and support these athletes and cheer them on. We can't let fear stop us from celebrating the spirit of competition and the American spirit.
Friday, March 29 Hello! Spring break is next week for my son, Chris, along with all of the other students in Roanoke County. I am also taking next week off, and looking forward to doing some fun things with the kids! We're kicking it off this afternoon with an Easter egg hunt at my daugher's pre-school and another one here at the station for employees' children. I gave up desserts for Lent, and am craving peanut butter eggs big time! Hope you have a wonderful Easter!
Monday, January 28 Boy, it sure is feeling like winter, isn't it? Once the winter weather machine got cranked up, there seems to be no stopping it. Again, we had lots of school delays and closings on WDBJ7 Mornin' today. Sounds like it might be possible for Friday, too. Leo says we could see some snow showers then. Hope you will tune in tonight at 6 for my special report, "Kids and Cell Phones." I am looking into the issue of when is the right time for parents to buy your child his or her own phone, as well as how much parents should monitor their child's usage. Let me know what you think! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook. I love hearing from you!
Monday, January 14 Hello! Hope your 2013 is off to a good start! If you have managed to avoid the flu, that is a big accomplishment already. Local doctors say they are starting to see fewer flu patients, but they still suggest everyone gets a flu shot, just in case. Now that everyone is starting to settle back into the normal work and school mode, hope you are joining us every weekday for WDBJ 7 Mornin'! In Thursday's Early Years segment, I will have a live interview with an adoption counselor on how new laws are affecting foreign adoption.
Also, I am working on an upcoming story on children and cell phones. What is the "right" age to get your child his or her own cell phone? How much should parents monitor their child's phone usage? How much privacy should kids have? These are questions my story will ponder. I know my seven-year-old won't be getting his own cell phone for quite a while!
Feel free to email me your thoughts on this, or any other parenting story at email@example.com. Have a good one!
Tuesday, December 18 Like you, it was with a heavy heart that I watched the scenes from the terrible shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School unfold on Friday. I am still struggling, as I try to figure out why something like that happened. It was a story that took an awful turn early Friday afternoon. At the beginning of our noon newscast, all we knew was that there had been a shooting at a school in Connecticut, the gunman was dead and a teacher had been shot. About 20 minutes into the newscast, we took a CBS News Special Report and found out just how horrible the situation was there in Newtown. I went home that afternoon and watched the coverage, crying for all of those young lives lost for absolutely no reason. I don't know what the answer is to preventing tragedies like this one from happening again. I just consider this another reminder to never take any moment with our children, or any loved one, for granted. You just never know. The coming days and weeks will bring a lot of debate on gun control, school security, etc. These are important issues to discuss. I hope politics can be set aside, so that real progress can be made in helping ensure the safety of our kids. That's what it's all about. I know that as I am celebrating Christmas with my family, I will be thinking of those families in Connecticut who are missing a child at their holiday table. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Monday, December 3 Can it really be only 22 days until Christmas? Wow, this year has flown by! And if you're like me, you still have plenty to get done before the holiday gets here. I have finished Christmas shopping for the kids, but still have a ways to go for everyone else on my list. Thank goodness for gift cards! When I get a gift card, I try to hurry up and use it. If I don't, I tend to forget I have it and it ends up lost somewhere in the confines of my purse. Aside from all of the shopping, there are so many events to enjoy this time of year. Yesterday, I took the kids to see "Sesame Street Live" at the Salem Civic Center. It's always a great show...plus, you're in and out in about an hour and a half, including a 15 minute intermission. Because if you go anywhere with children, there is ALWAYS the need for a bathroom break. Yesterday, my daughter's preschool is also had its holiday music program at Tanglewood Mall. It's always such a treat to hear all those sweet little voices singing Christmas songs!
I'm also looking forward to taking my daughter to see "The Nutcracker" this weekend. She just started dance classes this year, so it will be fun for her to see all the "big" ballerinas at work! And of course, Downtown Roanoke's "Dickens of a Christmas" starts this Friday night at 5:30. Besides being FREE to enjoy, it offers a classic holiday feeling with the people dressed in Dickens-era costumes carolling, and folks actually roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Plus, there's a live nativity scene, carriage rides, and of course, Santa. We try to make sure to head to Dickens of a Christmas at least once a year...it's just a nice reminder of a simpler, more traditional way to celebrate. Friday, November 9 Greetings! Hope you are ready for a beautiful weekend. Leo says it's going to reach the 70s for highs Saturday and Sunday. It's been a nice week for me. I celebrated my birthday yesterday...good times with family and friends...that's what it's all about! And my great friends on the mornin' crew got me birthday cupcakes with candles... how sweet is that? I hope to see you out this weekend at the Junior League's annual Stocked Market at the Roanoke Civic Center. It's the organization's big fundraiser to help charities in the Roanoke Valley. It's also a great opportunity to get started (or finish) your holiday shopping. I haven't started shopping yet. Typically, stocked market is my jumping off point for the gift buying season. Several of us from WDBJ 7 will be manning the booth today and tomorrow handing out stockings to fill for a boy or a girl through the Salvation Army. Please come by our booth and pick up a stocking for a deserving child in our area.
Tuesday, October 23 My goodness, where has October gone? I can't believe it's already almost Halloween. We have enjoyed the fall festivals this month...and of course, I loved meeting so many of you at Weather Fest last Saturday! And it helped that we had sunny weather for it, too! I hope you had the chance to watch my special report, "Buying Their Love?" last night on WDBJ 7 at 6, as well as today on WDBJ 7 Mornin'. My piece was on whether parents today buy too much for their children, because kids feel entitled, or because society pushes us in that direction. What I found is that it's more the latter. There are many reasons parents told us that they buy their kids a lot of things..including making up for an absent parent, or making up for time they themselves spend working. Parents also told us they simply want to make sure their child has what other children have. We got some useful advice from Blue Ridge Parenting owner Decca Knight. She suggested teaching children how to handle money from an early age, by giving them an allowance and letting them buy things for themselves. She says it will cut down on store battles, since the child either has enough money to buy want he wants, or he doesn't. I am happy to tell you that I tried her suggestion with my own seven year old son, and it does work! It's excited when we parents can learn from one another...
Monday, October 1 Welcome to October! This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I love all of the fall festivals and trips to the pumpkin patches! We took the kids to the Harvest Festival in Downtown Roanoke on Saturday, and had the best time. The kids loved decorating pumpkins and buying fresh apples straight from the Farmer's Market. Of course, the next big holiday coming up is Halloween...definitely a biggie on the family calendar! If you are still trying to figure out costumes this year, no worries, you can find a costume at a great deal by taking part in the 2nd annual Costume Swap, starting this Thursday, October 4. We will have more details Thursday on WDBJ7 Mornin' in this week's Early Years. Have a great day!
Wednesday, September 19 Hello! Happy middle of the week to you! It's been a long week for me, since I had to work for part of the day on Sunday..but Friday is coming! Make sure you tune in for WDBJ 7 Mornin' tomorrow for this week's Early Years segment. I will be interviewing Carilion pediatrician Dr. John Moore about back to school health, which vaccines kids need, and when the best time is to get the flu shot. I had my kids in our pediatrician's office the other day for Chris' seven-year checkup, and they happened to have the flu mist available. So, I was very happy to get both kids vaccinated early this year! Last year, we had to wait until November to get it. And my kids like the flu mist much more than the flu shot. We try to avoid those needles when we can! Hope everyone in your household is staying nice and healthy...
Monday, September 10 Happy Monday to you! I almost feel like writing Happy Fall! It's so cool out there. I am definitely ready for the cooler weather! I am a huge fan of summer, but once September arrives, I love switching out my summer clothes and re-vising my fall outfits. I've been having my kids trying on some of their fall clothes to see which once still fit, and which ones will be heading to either consignment or Goodwill. It's amazing how quickly kids outgrow their clothing and shoes. My daughter, Caitlin starts dance this week, and I'm already having to exchange her ballet slippers for larger ones. Speaking of kids' clothing, there is the huge Back on the Rack consignment sale starting this Saturday, September 15 at Tanglewood Mall. It runs until September 26. Happy Bargain Hunting!
Friday, August 31 Happy Friday to you! Hope you have some fun plans for the Labor Day Weekend! I am actually working this Labor Day, but plan to hit the pool and a baseball game over the weekend! You may have seen the first of my two- part "Early Years" series Thursday on WDBJ7 Mornin' about more students choosing two-year colleges over four-year universities right out of high school. A new survey by student lender Sallie Mae finds that those families responding to the survey spent five percent less on college during the 2011-2012 school year. My story that aired this week focused on the dollars and cents aspect of community college. Next Thursday's piece will focus on some of the other reasons students choose community college, including smaller class sizes and an easier transition from high school. While interviewing students for these segments, I noticed that they all were far more money-conscious that I was at that age. It may have been because that was a different time, in the late '80s, when we weren't all worrying constantly about the economy. If there is a silver lining to our current financial climate, it is that it forces people of all ages to think more about what they spend. Kudos to those teenagers who already have a good grasp on how to be a smart consumer. Maybe they can avoid the mistakes of earlier generations (including mine)...Just sayin'. Have a great holiday weekend everyone!
Wednesday, August 22 Hello! Back today after a wonderful vacation... we took the kids to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg last weekend as a final little getaway before the start of school. We had a great time with my best friend and our families! The park is so huge, you really need several days there to do everything. I am ready to go back! However, I'm not much of a roller coaster person. DaVinci's Cradle was about as rough a ride as I am willing to get on... Yesterday, just as many other parents are doing, I sent my little one off back to school. My son is now in 2nd grade, and I am happy to report that he LOVES his new teacher! Fingers crossed for a great school year.
Tuesday, August 14 Greetings from (almost) vacationland! I will be off for a week after today's noon newscast! Going to enjoy the last few days of summer break before my son Chris heads back to school next week. We have all of his school supplies, but he still needs to pick out that all-important back pack. And he's getting his back to school hair cut this week, too...Got to look sharp for 2nd grade! I'll be off, but this Thursday on WDBJ 7 Mornin', our Early Years segment will feature some healthy ideas for the school lunch box. Be sure to tune in, and I will see you when I get back!
Thursday, August 9 Hello! The first group of school systems in our area to go back to school headed back yesterday. So, I suppose that means summer is ending. Part of me is ready for things to get back to normal, but the other part will miss afternoons at the pool and seeing the ice cream truck at my daughter's preschool every week. On WDBJ7 Mornin', we ran my back to school round-up story on various changes for several school systems. Those include price increases for school lunch in Roanoke County (10 cents) and Lynchburg (25 cents). Also, this might be the last year for Roanoke county schools to start the year before Labor Day, because of the relatively mild winters we've been seeing.
I am looking forward to my son getting his full green belt in karate tomorrow night! He started taking the classes last September, and has really grown with it. Martial arts do a lot to teach self-control and discipline in kids, which are things that many of them struggle to learn. If you have any back to school story ideas, or education questions you'd like me to find answers to, feel free to drop me an email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, August 3 Wow! Where has the summer gone??? I think many of us are asking that question, especially as we see all the Back to School ads start popping up on TV and the Web. Don't forget to shop for those school supplies and new school clothes this weekend. Beginning today, the Virginia Sales Tax Holiday will run through Sunday. You don't have to pay the five percent state tax on school supplies that cost under $20.00 each and clothing that costs under $100.00. We parents have to take advantage of those savings when we can!! I will be out there shopping for my son Christopher's second grade school supplies, too. Can't believe he's already that big... We are also heading into the busy "activity" season. Chris has just started soccer (which he loves!) and then next month, my daughter will start taking dance classes. Of course, they fall on the same weekday. Plus, Chris also takes karate. I now have a new appreciation for all moms who have been juggling activities for years. How do you gals do it? I suppose it's all about time management, and staying very organized.
Hope you enjoy your weekend. There's plenty to do. Steppin' Out gets under way today in Blacksburg. I will be out there tomorrow morning at our WDBJ 7 tent. Come by and say hello!
Tuesday, June 26 Greetings from post-vacationland! It was a great week and a day off..definitely feel like my battery is re-charged. My family and I spent last week enjoying the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That was the first time I had ever been there. If you have been there before, you know how gorgeous it is! We spent a good deal of time playing on the beach, but we also kept busy seeing the sights. There is no way to see and do everything in just a week, but we sure tried! We took the kids to see the Wright Brothers Memorial and Museum in Kill Devil Hills, near where we were staying. We also took them on a Pirate Adventures cruise aboard the Sea Gypsy. They had a great time searching for treasure and spraying water on the naughty Pirate Pete! On Thursday, we took a Hummer trip to Corolla to see the famous wild horses. We did see several horses among the dunes, which were fun to ride over...just very glad I wasn't driving!! Manteo and Roanoke Island offered a lot of great shopping and historical sites. We checked out the huge shark exhibit at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island...so fun! Again, you can't possible see everything on the islands in just a week, so we're planning to go there again next summer! It was a fun week, but it's also nice to get back to the news biz. I picked a busy day to return. As you know, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is visiting our area today. He will be speaking at Carter Machinery in Salem today at noon. Be sure to join us on WDBJ 7 for live coverage of his speech. You can also catch it live streaming, right here at WDBJ7.com. Have a great week!
Monday, June 11 Hello there! Hope you can join WDBJ 7 at Noon, 5, 6 and 11 today for live reports from the White House. Our own Hollani Davis is up there for a one-on-one interview with President Obama, as well as behind the scenes looks inside the White House You won't want to miss it! Hope you had a chance to get outside this weekend and enjoy the sunny weather! My kids and I spent a lot of time at the pool. On Saturday I took my daughter up to Mill Mountain Zoo for a birthday party. The weather was perfect...and it's always a special time to ride the Zoo Choo. We also walked up to the Mill Mountain Star. How lucky we are to live in the Roanoke Valley, where we can see the world's largest manmade star every day! We are heading on vacation next week... how about you? Please send me your family vacation plans, along with tips on keeping the kids occupied on those LONG car rides! I will share my story with you when we get back. Hope you have a wonderful week!
Tuesday, May 1 I enjoyed a trip down memory lane last night, when I had the pleasure of serving as emcee for William Byrd High School's Open House. I am a 1989 graduate of Byrd, and loved seeing the many improvements made to the school. As part of a larger Roanoke county-wide project, the school has added a new administrative office wing and auxiliary gym. There are also great improvements to the auditorium and new classroom space. I always feel at home whenever I visit there. So, it was truly an honor to be a part of last night's dedication. My station photo was even included in a time capsule! Very cool... Hope you can tune into WDBJ 7 Mornin on Thursday for this week's "Early Years," when we tackle the topic of bullying. We'll chat with the self-proclaimed "Bully Expert" Tom Ramsey. He's a self- defense trainer and martial arts instructor who is offering a workshop this Saturday to help teach kids how to handle bullies. The key, he says, is to keep the bullying from happening in the first place by using verbal, non-violent methods. Tune in Thursday morning for details!
Tuesday, April 24 It's not every day that you meet a person who is truly extraordinary. But a couple of weeks ago, I did. Hopefully, you saw my piece last night on WDBJ 7 at 6, "Disability Ability." It was a "hometown hero" profile of 32- year- old Stephen Grammer, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. He might suffer from this disease, but I found that it doesn't define who he is. Stephen spends many hours a week volunteering at places like the Roanoke Rescue Mission, Ronald McDonald House and Goodwill Industries. Someone in his shoes might very well sit quietly in a facility, but Stephen makes the most of the abilities he does have. He took it upon himself to email these organizations, asking if he could be of service to them. What a shining example of determination and generosity for the rest of us! I so enjoyed meeting Stephen and his roommate, who kindly took Stephen into his home, and is helping him live as normal a life as possible. Getting to meet people like these is one of the best perks of my job! Let me also say how proud I was to see all of the young runners (and their parents) taking part in the YMCA Kids Marathon Saturday morning, in conjunction with the Blue Ridge Marathon. I ran along with my seven-year-old son, and had a wonderful time! I work out regularly, but am not much of a runner, so I really had to work to keep up with him for that mile downtown! It's so special for families to get to play hard together...
Monday, March 26 I can't believe March is almost over. It has been a busy month for us. My son, Chris turned 7 years old on the 7th of this month. We did some home improvements around the middle of the month....love this time of year to sprucing up the house! And yesterday, my 3-year-old daughter, Caitlin had a little milestone of her own. She went with her little best friend to get their ears pierced. It may not sound like that big of a deal, but to a little girl, it is. I'm proud to say that Caitlin was a little trooper, and didn't cry at all. Just another sign that she is getting bigger...I'm sure you parents out there can relate. Although it's going to cool off a bit this week, spring is here and spring break isn't far away. In this week's Early Years segment on WDBJ 7 Mornin' Thursday, we will talk about a spring break camp being offered at Green Ridge Recreational Center in Roanoke County. Tune in for more details about that. I will also link some information about other spring break camps in our area to our Web site, WDBJ7.com. Got to keep those kids busy!
Thursday, March 15 Spring has sprung. Wait, how about summer has arrived! I am definitely loving the temperatures this week. Yes, it is very early, but I will take a taste of summertime whenever I can get it. My hubby has been on vacation this week, and we've been getting a lot of work done around the house. There's just something about this time of year that makes me want to re-do everything... March Madness is also happening. That means you won't see WDBJ7 at Noon either today or tomorrow due to NCAA basketball. But you can stay informed right here at WDBJ7.com, as well as on our later newscasts. I am working on some future stories on local hometown heroes. If you know of someone who spends their time helping others, let me know. I am especially interested in folks who are perhaps older, or who have some challenges of their own. Send any suggestions my way to email@example.com. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.
And finally, St. Patrick's Day is almost here! I hope you will join many of us from WDBJ7 at the annual parade in downtown Roanoke this Saturday morning at 11:00. Leo says it's supposed to be warm. We'll just hope for the luck o' the Irish that the rain will hold off until later in the day. Happy St. Patty's Day weekend everyone!
Wednesday, February 22 Hi there! Hope you can tune in tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 6:00 for my special report, "Forever Family." I will profile a family who has adopted not one, but three foster children...with a fourth one on the way. They will share their journey of becoming a family, and we will also get some expert advice on what prospective adoptive parents should consider. This is all against the backdrop of a pending new law in Virginia. Governor McDonnell is expected to sign legislation that would allow private adoption agencies to not allow people to adopt based on factors like age, political orientation or sexual orientation. We'll delve into the adoption issue Thursday night at 6 in "Forever Family." And before that, tomorrow on WDBJ7 Mornin' I will have two live interviews with an adoption specialist from Commonwealth Catholic Charities. She'll share her perspective on the new adoption law. Hope you will tune in!
Friday, February 10 Thanks for checking out my blog! I haven't had a chance to do it very much recently. I have been very busy working on a sweeps story that's airing later this month on adoption in Virginia. We are profiling a wonderful family who lives in Bedford County who has adopted not one, but three foster children. I look forward to sharing more of their story with you later on! Our "Early Years" segment this week on the morning show focused on child custody rules here in Virginia. There is new focus on that topic, in the aftermath of the tragic story out of Washington State. Police say Josh Powell set his own home on fire, killing himself and his two young sons. Powell was in the midst of a custody battle with his missing wife's parents. It seems every day there is a new detail that comes out about that situation. It is all so sad. I don't understand how a father could do that to his own children, especially kids whose custody he was fighting so hard to re-gain. On a much happier note, Valentine's Day is coming up. If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate this weekend, you can attend tonight's accapella concert at Virginia Tech, featuring a student group. It is not only a performance, but also a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Whatever you do this weekend, bundle up! Leo says wind chills are going to drop to near zero Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Monday, January 23 Hi there! It's a rainy Monday, but I for one will take this kind of weather over a foot of snow. Of course, there are many people who would disagree with me there! I wouldn't mind seeing one good-sized snow in February, and then move on to spring. Of course, we'll have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in mind! It was great to see so many of you out at the Roanoke Civic Center Saturday night for the Guns and Hoses hockey game to benefit the MDA. They were able to raise $27,000.00! And it was a fun way to spend a Saturday evening, too. My son, Christopher was quite taken with the "Crime Dog" mascot for the Guns team! And the Guns won it, despite the GREAT coaching of the Hoses team by my sidekick, our very own Meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner. Thanks to everyone who came out! Coming up this Thursday on "Early Years" on News 7 Mornin, we will have a live interview about the Virginia Star Quality Initiative, which serves as a guide for parents searching for good quality daycare and preschool facilities. Join us for that!
Wednesday, January 4 Happy new year! Yes, I am a few days late with that one! But hey, at least we're still just in the first week of 2012. Hope your year is off to a great start! I enjoyed having the week off between Christmas and New Year's Day. I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends, and have a few visit from out of town, which is always special. And of course, we got to break in all of the new toys the kids got from Santa! For most of us, January means New Year's Resolutions time. Today on News 7 Mornin, Bob Grebe did segments on improving both our physical and financial fitness in the new year. I do pretty well with the physical part, or at least I try! Typically, I get to the gym about four times a week. For me, it's about balancing my huge appetite with a good amount of sweat! Exercising is something I truly enjoy, so it doesn't feel like a chore to me. Better financial fitness will be a good New Year's goal for me. I don't think I am much of an impluse buyer (anymore)...but I do tend to spend a lot at the grocery store. I try to clip coupons, but then I forget to bring them with me, etc. So, I am resolving to get organized with my coupons. I know it sounds like a minor step. But hey, Rome wasn't built in a day! And just like with everything else, setting smaller, more realistic goals is the best way to actually make a change for the better. So, if you have made any resolutions, good luck to you!! I am also curious as to how many of us actually keep them. If you want, how about make a note to yourself to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org around June or July, and let me know how it's going. As always, I love to hear from you!
Wednesday, December 14 I don't know about you, but I feel like I am playing catch-up constantly these days. I love this time of year, but it is such a challenge to get everything done. The Christmas decorating IS done...I am about a third of the way finished with Christmas cards...and about three-quarters of the way done with shopping. Last weekend we took the kids to CHIP's annual Breakfast with Santa fundraiser at Hotel Roanoke. As always, the food was delicious, and Santa and his helpers were very jolly! The weekend before that, we went to Dickens of a Christmas downtown. I love that because of the people dressed in Dickens-era clothing singing carols, and of course, the carriage ride through the streets of downtown. It's very traditional and simple, and something I enjoy sharing with my kids. I try to balance all of the "work" of the holiday season with memorable events like that one. It is important to slow down every now and then and remember the reason for the season...and enjoy the great family moments. Hopefully, the rest of the season will be fairly quiet. As I am sure you are aware, our community suffered yet another tragedy last week on the Virginia Tech campus. I was about to leave after the noon newscast, when we were all told to head back into the studio for special reports on the campus shooting. It was surreal, the way it all began unfolding...and very similar to the way April 16th began. I am deeply sorry for the loss of Officer Deriek Crouse, and my heart goes out to his family and his fellow lawmen. But I am grateful that there weren't even more victims. I suppose we will never know the motive, or get an answer to the question we all have, "Why?"
Monday, November 28 Good morning to you. Hope you had the chance to check out our newly enhanced News 7 Mornin' today! We are happy to have our new co-anchor, Seth Kovar join our morning family. Seth is from Waco, Texas, and will be the fourth member of News 7 Mornin. Please drop him an email at email@example.com to officially welcome him to the Roanoke Valley! We had our first dual anchor show this morning. And aside from a few minor technical glitches, I think all went well. As always, let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. And while you're at it, head over to Twitter and follow me at KimberlyWDBJ for news updates! One other thing... a little movie review from me. Two BIG thumbs up for "The Muppets." I took my kids to see it last night, and it was fabulous. And yes, I cried when Kermit and Miss Piggy sang "The Rainbow Connection." I thought the movie was well done, and well cast, and the music was terrific! As we were walking out of the theatre last night, my son asked if we could buy it when it comes out on DVD...Absolutely!!!!
Friday, November 25 Hello there, and thanks for stopping by! Hope you are enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Our Thanksgiving was great. We took the kids to my mom's house for a delicious lunch with family. Afterwards, we were all pretty stuffed, so we all ventured outside to throw the football and frisbee. It was a little breezy, but the sun was shining and it was just beautiful. I consider myself a thankful person, and I do have many blessings. I try to remember those every day, not just on the holiday itself. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the little daily dramas at home and/or work. But you just have to put things into perspective. Be grateful for what you have...after all, it could always be worse! Okay, enough of the sermon...just enjoy your weekend!
Friday, November 11 It's been QUITE an eventful week in news. Election Day...the Penn State sex abuse scandal....missing Bedford teen Audrey McCombs' discovery in Kentucky. I was thankful to hear that 16-year-old McCombs was found safe, and I hope she is able to emotionally recover from her ordeal. I am sure there is a lot more to the story that we may never really know.
As for the Penn State story, the allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky are just unreal. Of course, my heart goes out first to the victims, and I also feel for the families of Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, who will no doubt endure a lot in the coming weeks and months because of the scandal. The fallout also casts a dark shadow on the university's students and staff, who had nothing to do with what happened. We don't know all of the facts. Hopefully, the whole truth will come out, and justice will be served. It's a tough story to handle for most anyone. But as a mom, hearing about things like this really gets to me. It's just another example of how we can't be too careful when it comes to where and with whom our children spend their time.
Friday, November 4 Hi there, and welcome to November! It's a rainy Friday morning, but Jay Webb says we're in for a sunny weekend. So, just hang in there for a few more hours. Hope you and your family enjoyed Halloween. Somehow, we have ended up with SEVERAL bags/pumpkins full of candy. Both of my children scored big while out trick-or-treating. But that is almost an afterthoughtm after all of the Halloween parties, festivals, etc. that happen before the holiday. And it is always hard to judge the exact number of trick-or-treaters coming to your home. I think we ended up with about 50 or so. I apparently bought too much candy, and now have wall-to-wall sugar at my house! I will definitely donate a good chunk of it...will just have to figure out how to do it without the kids knowing!
And now that Halloween is a memory, what are some good holiday gift ideas? If you have some suggestions for children and/or adults, send them my way. We're all thinking about our budgets these days. So if you have ideas on how to make Christmas wishes come true, without breaking the bank, email them to me at email@example.com.
Monday, October 24 Hope you had a wonderful weekend. I'm starting to get used to these sunny fall weekends. I think we've definitely taken advantage of the weather, having done a lot of pumpkin picking/fall festival going, etc. On Sunday, we went to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus at the Roanoke Civic Center. I think the kids enjoyed the "pre-game" festivities as much as the show itself! Chris was fascinated with the man on stilts, and had fun trying some tightrope walking himself (not too far off the ground). It's been a busy day in the newsroom. We started off the day following up on the reported bomb threat situation at Southern Virginia University in Rockbridge County. The campus was temporarily placed on lockdown, but re-opened later. All classes are now running as usual. Two people were questioned, but were later released. We'll of course, have the latest on that story coming up today on News 7 at Noon. And one more note, now that the weather is getting cooler, feel free to email me your suggestions for fun holiday activities and/or gifts for the family that won't break the bank. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 17 I am still smiling after such a beautiful fall weekend!! And it was the quintessential October weekend for me. On Friday, I worked a half-day and went on my son Chris' first grade field trip to Ikenberry Orchards in Daleville. It's a bit of a drive to get there, but it is so worth it! The sky was blue and the leaves were colorful. The kids enjoyed getting "schooled" about growing apples and pumpkins. But the best part, as always, was the haywagon ride. I'm happy to say we got to ride ANOTHER wagon yesterday at Sinkland Farms in Riner, for our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch. That's right...two haywagon rides in three days. So much fun!!! Yes, I know you can buy a pumpkin pretty much anywhere, but there's nothing like riding out to a field and plucking one from the patch.
Speaking of pumpkins, join us for News 7 at Noon today for a look at an 1,800 pound pumpkin in Oregon. Can't imagine how tough that was to carve!
Tuesday, October 11 Hi there! If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, now is the time. As I write this, I am sniffling and sneezing with what I am pretty sure is the beginning of a cold. Ugh! Despite that, I do love this time of year. We had a great time last Saturday at the Vinton Fall Festival, one of many happening last weekend. This coming weekend I think we're going to head to the pumpkin patch. Besides being lots of fun, they are the perfect backdrops for those beloved family photos. Coming up Thursday on News 7 Mornin, "Early Years" will feature a live interview with parenting expert Decca Knight, who is launching some new courses with the "Love and Logic" curriculum. If you have any specific questions for Decca, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Friday, September 30 Happy weekend to you. It's going to be a cold one! I'm trying to decide between making a big pot of chili or homemade chicken noodle soup. It's definitely a weekend to make something warm! And if you're heading out to either high school football tonight or a college game tomorrow, dress warmly. Leo says it's only going to be in the 50s for highs this weekend. Cooler weather also means cold and flu season will be here soon, and most everyone is recommended to get their flu shot. Next Thursday on "Early Years" on News 7 Mornin', we'll speak live to Carilion pediatrician Dr. John Moore about the need to schedule your children (and yourself) for the flu shot, as well as the differences between a cold and the flu. Parents need to know the facts when it comes to whether their child is too sick to go to school. Also, it's that time of year to start thinking about Halloween costumes. If you want to save some cash this year on your child's costume, National Costume Swap Day is next Saturday, October 8th. If you have a gently-worn child costume that you would like to swap, bring it by the LFA Consignment sale at the CMT Building on Brandon Avenue in Roanoke next week. You will get a ticket for the swap on Saturday. What a fun and practical idea!
Thursday, September 22 What a gray week it's been...but also perfect weather for those of us who get up at 3:00 in the morning, and like to catch a quick nap in the afternoons! It's been a busy week on News 7 Mornin. Today we previewed the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, which is happening this Saturday and Sunday at Lakewatch Plantation. 27 different wineries will be there, along with craft and food vendors, and live bands. And Leo says the sun is supposed to be shining on Saturday...Fingers crossed! If you're more into finding that perfect pumpkin, Sinkland Farms in Christiansburg is starting its annual Pumpkin Festival this weekend. It'll run every weekend until October 30th. And start checking the newspaper for all of the fall festivals. Such a fun time of the year! I am excited about my son, Christopher starting karate lessons soon! He's shown an interest in it for a while, but I wasn't sure if he knew exactly what karate involved. We observed a couple of different classes over the past week, and settled on one that I think will fit him best. He's already learned a couple of great self-defense moves (so have I). But what I really like about it is the emphasis on respect and discipline. I think it'll be really good for him. Feel free to drop me an email if your child has been involved in martial arts. I'd love to hear about their experience!
Friday, September 16 Another weekend is upon us, and it's going to be a good one for soup and hot chocolate!! I actually had to break out the winter jacket this morning as I was leaving for work at around 3:15 a.m. But I think I am ready for fall, and the cooler temperatures, changing leaves, etc. Once the school year starts, I am pretty much over the hot weather. Of course, I will be yearning for those 90- plus days once January rolls around! There are always so many festivals happening from now, right on through October. It's not quite pumpkin patch time, but close. This weekend, be sure to check out Roanoke's Greek Festival, which starts today and runs through Sunday. Bob Grebe brought back some yummy food after his morning live shot from there yesterday... Baklava is awesome!!!! Whatever you decide to do, make it a great weekend! I will be checking out the latest chick flick, "I Don't Know How She Does It," starring Sarah Jessica Parker. It's about a working mom trying to balance it all...I can totally relate.
Friday, September 9 I am extra sleepy today, but it's for a very worthy cause! Last night, I had the honor of emceeing the 3rd annual Hopes and Dreams gala at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. The event raises money for HopeTree Family Services and Special Olympics Virginia. I was touched by hearing so many wonderful stories from the people who are helped by the many services HopeTree offers...everything from foster care to residential programs for all ages. The agency does so much for the Roanoke Valley community, and beyond. I also had the honor of meeting the keynote speaker, Jennifer O'Neill. You will probably remember her from her many TV and film roles over the last few decades. She also served as a Cover Girl spokesmodel for 30 years. She gave a very personal, honest and inspirational speech about her life, and I really enjoyed getting to spend the evening with her and everyone else at the event. Of course, this Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Roanoke will host a Remembrance Ceremony on the City Market from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Congressman Bob Goodlatte will serve as the keynote speaker. Let us all pause that day, and remember the thousands of lives lost, and the MILLIONS of others that changed forever.
Monday, August 29 Labor Day weekend is coming up, and you know what that means...summer is nearly over. I have mixed feelings about that. I always love fall, with the back to school excitement and the changing colors of the leaves...however, I do enjoy those fun summer afternoons at the pool and of course, vacation!! I took a couple of days off last week to get my son, Christopher started in first grade. He just started riding the school bus this year...and yes, I took plenty of photos that first morning he stepped onto that big, yellow bus!! He seemed to grow a couple of inches over summer (I wasn't the only one to notice that). He's growing up...but still a little boy in so many ways, thank goodness! My thoughts and prayers are still with our friends on the coast who dealt with Hurricane Irene over the weekend. Many people in Virginia are still without power, and homes are damaged. Our part of the state was very lucky by comparison. Let's hope this week is calmer after the hurricane AND earthquake last week!
Tuesday, August 16 Gooooooooooooooood Morning! I had to borrow that line from the legendary radio disc jockey, Adrian Cronauer. He is the Vietnam War era jockey that Robin Williams played in the 1987 movie, "Good Morning, Vietnam." Cronauer himself stopped by our studios this morning, and did a few live segments on News 7 Mornin' with me. It was quite an honor to meet him! I informed him that I still have his broadcasting instructional textbook, "How to Read Copy" that I had to read back in college. Hopefully, I was able to learn (and utilize) his great tips! If you missed the interview segments this morning, you can check it out on our Web site. Just head to our Home page and you will find it there. And yes, he performed his well-known catchphrase, "Goooooood morning, Vietnam" on live television! He still has some powerful lungs... You can meet him yourself on Wednesday morning at 10:00 at the Friendship Retirement Community in Roanoke. The event is free and open to the public.
Monday, August 8 Welcome to another work week.The weekend flew by, as always. I did get most of my son Christopher's school supplies during the sales tax free holiday. I still have a few more things to get. Nothing like the smell of new pencils and notebooks! This week's Early Years segment on News 7 Mornin' Thursday will focus on school readiness. Find out how to tell if your little one is ready to venture into Kindergarten! It seems like just yesterday we were meeting Chris' Kindergarten teacher...now he's about to be a big first grader. Also on the kid front, I am happy to report that Caitlin is pretty much potty-trained (except for overnight and naps). I won't miss the high price of pull-ups at all! It's these little milestones that parents love celebrating. On another topic...saving for college. In these tough economic times, that seems like an impossibility. Anyone who is taking part in the Virginia 529 or other pre-paid college program, let me know. I would love to hear from you for a future segment. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, a big hello to everyone who came by our tent this weekend at the Steppin' Out festival in Blacksburg. I had so much fun handing out balloons to the kids and chatting with our viewers on Friday afternoon. And I was very grateful that the weather stayed dry while I was there!
Monday, August 1 Welcome to August! Unbelievable, I know.... Summer has flown by so quickly. I just printed out the back to school shopping list for my soon-to-be first grader! Speaking of back to school, we will be doing several stories in our Early Years segments on New 7 Mornin Thursdays this month to get families prepared for the upcoming school year. If you have any particular topics you would like to see us cover, drop me an email anytime at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you! And keep checking wdbj7.com, as well as our News 7 newscasts for updates on the debt ceiling negotiations. Congress is expected to vote on a deal today. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this matter is finally resolved, and our nation doesn't have to face default.
Monday, July 18 Hello there! Hope you have had a chance to watch my July travel series, "Family Freebies" airing on News 7 Mornin' every Monday this month. We have one more segment to go next week. So far, we have ventured to Mabry Mill in Meadows of Dan, the Peaks of Otter in Bedford and Foamhenge in Natural Bridge. All of our spots are free, fun places to take the family for a day trip. Our last segment for the month will be at the Smith Mountain Lake Community Park in Franklin County. It's a beautiful spot, but there are plenty of people who probably don't know it's there! We enjoyed this weekend's cooler weather. Aside from getting yard work done, we did have the chance to goof off a bit on Saturday. We took the kids to Natural Bridge. Not to Foamhenge this time, but to the Monster Museum, Dinosaur Kingdom and Hunt for Bigfoot exhibit. So much fun!! The kids really enjoyed the guided stroll through the woods while searching for Bigfoot. I won't tell you exactly where he is, but we did find him! I would definitely recommend a trip up there to check it out. All right, time to get back to work. Enjoy your work week!
Friday, June 24 Whew! It has felt like a long week. Monday was my first day back from vacation, and I am just now getting a chance to blog. My family and I had a great trip to Myrtle Beach last week. My mom and step-father joined us down there, so it was nice having all of us together at the beach. We did our usual stop at Ripley's Aquarium, something my two year old daughter got to enjoy more this time around. They have a new shark exhibit that both kids were very excited to see. This time, we also went on a dolphin watching cruise on the boat, Sea Screamer. We sailed out of the Little River Inlet, which was just beautiful. It was nice getting to see a different section of the area. We spotted a few dolphins, but didn't get any close-up pictures of them. They're pretty elusive creatures! The weather was sunny every day that we were down there. I believe that was the first time that we have ever gone to the beach anywhere and not seen a drop of rain. But as always, all good things must come to an end. We had some great memories, which I shared with you in a photo gallery. If you have a minute, check out our photos. Several of us from Your Hometown Station will be out at the ballpark tomorrow night for the Salem RedSox game, which will get started at 6:05 p.m. They will be playing at home all weekend, and it looks like the weather will cooperate for the most part. Hope you have a great weekend!
Friday, June 10 Hi there! As you're reading this, I'm either counting down the hours until vacation, or am finally on vacation. I am soooo ready!! It's been a really busy time in the newsroom...actually, it's ALWAYS busy in the newsroom! I believe Bob Grebe will be filling in for me in the air chair next week while I am enjoying some sand and surf with my family. This is the time of year when you will see lots of us gone from time to time. It seems like everyone picks the same couple of weeks to be off. Just glad mine is next week! Speaking of taking trips, I may bring back Travel Tuesdays on a recurring basis this summer on News 7 Mornin. Please feel free to email me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. My son Christopher is now a rising first grader. I can't believe his last day as a Kindergartner was Wednesday. Time goes by so quickly. I just signed him up for the Summer Reading program at the library. We did an Early Years segment on it last week. All Roanoke Valley Libraries are offering an incentive program to get school agers to read at least 10 books over summer vacation. As you know, kids LOVE incentives!! Caitlin, meanwhile, is enjoying preschool. She just started about a month ago and is settling in nicely. It's amazing what they learn at such a young age. Her verbal skills are really good...knows her ABCs...colors...can count to 10 and thanks to her obsession with "Dora the Explorer," she can count to 8 in Spanish! Yes, it will be nice to have some R and R with the family...you just want to freeze those special moments. Hope you have a great week, too!
Thursday, May 19 Hey there! Sorry I haven't had a chance to blog in a while, but I have been really busy working on my May Travel Tuesday series. It has been a lot of fun, spotlighting local destinations in our viewing area, as we get closer and closer to vacation season! I have toured the Bent Mountain Bed and Breakfast, the Fincastle Vineyard and Bed and Breakfast, as well as Infinity Acres Ranch and Petting Zoo in Ridgeway. I wanted to feature destinations both family-friendly and perfect for couple getaways. My last one for the month of May will air next Tuesday, and it's at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Natural Bridge Station. Hope you like it! And as always, feel free to email me your opinions about any of the places we've shown you. If you have any suggestions for future travel segments, let me know at email@example.com! I also haven't been typing anymore than I have to because of my broken wrist. I fell here at work two weeks ago, and broke my right wrist. Of course, I am right-handed, so it's been tricky trying to learn how to do everything with my left hand. You really learn how flexible (or inflexible) you really are! I am just grateful that the orthopedic surgeon just put me in a splint, instead of a full cast. I am getting a checkup tomorrow, so hopefully, it's healing quickly and I can go back to being a "two-armed" person again! I'm just glad I didn't break my leg instead...that would have been far worse. That's it for now..."Lefty" out!
Friday, April 29 Hi there! It's been short work week for me, thanks to my spring break. Well..technically my son Chris is on spring break from school..I just took some time off to hang out with him! It was nice having a little vacation..We didn't go anywhere far away...just did some fun, kid-friendly things close by. Speaking of spending vacation time close to home...my Travel Tuesday series is starting next week. We will air a travel segment every Tuesday on News 7 Mornin' during the month of May. Hope you will check it out!! Anything that reminds me of vacation season puts a big smile on my face. This morning was fun...hope you got to catch at least some of the morning news on My19 today. We were prempted from our normal WDBJ 7 this morning for CBS coverage of the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Of course, we did get to sneak some peeks at the ceremony here and there. It was nice to have some "happy" news for a change. With so much loss and devastation from the tornadoes, I think we collectively needed something more pleasant to focus on...if only for a while. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who have lost their homes here in Virginia, as well as across the south. What amazing strength they're all going to need to re-build their lives. I hope they are able to get the financial help they need quickly. This is definitely a story that we will be following up on for weeks and months to come.
Tuesday, April 12 Hello there! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Hollani Davis and I had the honor of co-emceeing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Green Hill Park in Roanoke County. The weather was cold and nasty, but it still was a beautiful day! There were so many dedicated runners, walkers, and supporters who braved the elements to be there. The efforts certainly paid off...Saturday's race raised over $307,000.00. Just hearing all of the survivor stories proves how strong and determined these women are. I wish all of them continued good health and happiness! I have missed a few noon newscasts recently, because I have been out shooting a travel series for May. It's been a lot of fun..Now I am asking for YOUR help. Please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a note to our News 7 Facebook page if you have any travel stories-- good or bad-- that you would like to share. Vacation season is just around the corner!
Monday, April 4 Hi there! Susan Bahorich is filling in the air chair me today at noon, since I have been out shooting a piece for a series we are planning for May. Hard to believe April is already here, and I am so grateful for the warm temperatures today. My son is just starting teeball again. We were freezing at his practice Saturday morning, but this afternoon's practice promises to be in the 80s. From winter jackets to short sleeves... that's spring weather for you! Enjoy our taste of summer!
Wednesday, March 16 Just checking in...It was so great to see everyone at the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Roanoke on Saturday! For the first time in a long time, the weather actually cooperated, and it was sunny and warm. And when it's like that, everybody seems to have an extra spring in their step. I know I did while walking the parade route on Jefferson Street! Thanks to everyone who came out to the parade, and was so friendly to us. It is always nice to see viewers face to face. And you all looked marvelous in your St. Patty's green! On a more serious note, let's all continue sending prayers and good wishes to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. Due to the nuclear concerns, the disaster just keeps growing. The official death toll has now reached nearly 3,700. And nearly 8,000 others are missing. Stay tuned to News 7 and CBS for continuing coverage of the earthquake aftermath. One programming note... because of NCAA basketball coverage, we will not have a News 7 at Noon either Thursday or Friday of this week.
Friday, March 11 Wow! It's already been an exciting morning around here. No doubt you have already seen/heard about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. The magnitude was 8.9. That is the strongest there in more than a century. The death toll continues rising, and I can't imagine how frightening it is to be anywhere in the Pacific right now. If you were watching News 7 Mornin' today, you may have seen our live phone interview with our own Jean Jadhon. She is on vacation in Bora Bora this week, and was told that she might have to evacuate due to the tsunami warning there. She says the locals she spoke with a pretty calm, having gone through scares like this before...but I am sure she is pretty nervous. I know I would be if I were there. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that she, and everyone else who lives in the region or is traveling there can be safe over these next crucial hours and days. On a much lighter note...I had a wonderful time as emcee during last night's annual ROTEC Extravaganza. ROTEC is Roanoke City Schools' Career and Technical Center. Last night's event was a fundraiser for all the varied educational programs that they offer. Several students gave testimonials on how the school has impacted their lives. It was a very inspirational and fun night. I appreciate them having me as emcee for a second year!
Friday, March 4 Hello there, and thanks for swinging by! You have probably read or seen that our veteran news anchor Keith Humphry will be signing off for the last time on May 27th. It's really hard to imagine News 7 without him. He has been the face of News 7 for decades, and I honestly don't remember any News 7 anchor before him. I've mentioned several times that I grew up watching him and Robin Reed, and I've never lost appreciation of the fact that I get to work with them. Many thanks to Keith for all of his hard work and dedication to journalism...his gift of storytelling... and his ability to dig the most compelling elements out of interviews. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement, and many years of enjoying long rides on his motorcycle! As for the McBroom household...it's a big weekend for us. Christopher is turning six years old on Monday, so we're having his birthday party tomorrow at our house, then taking the kids to see "Gnomeo and Juliet." When parents say that the time flies by...it is true. Raising kids is chock full of joys and challenges, but there's nothing like it! And I am so thankful to all of the people in Chris and Caitlin's lives who help me to be the best mom that I can be. Happy early birthday, Chris!!
Thursday, February 17 I am sure by now you have heard about the horrible attack on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan. For years, we have watched her cover stories on the frontlines of wartorn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Last Friday, Logan was caught up in a mob, while covering the events in Cairo following President Hosni Mubarak's resignation. She became separated from her news team and was attacked. CBS called it a "a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating." I'm glad that she is now safe, and back home in the U.S. with her family. A lot has been written and said this week about Logan, and other female journalists being in such a volatile setting in the first place. My reply is simply that she was there to do her job. Granted, I personally would not want to put myself in such a dangerous spot for work, or anything else. However, I am not a foreign correspondent. Logan is. That is what she does for a living. Unfortunately, that means she has to venture into some frightening situations. Let's not judge her, and say that she should or shouldn't have been there. Let's just wish her well, and hope for a speedy recovery both physically and emotionally.
Monday, February 7 Hope you enjoyed your weekend...mine was super busy! I managed to fit in the circus, a birthday party and a trip to see comedian Ron White at the Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre. So yes, I could use another day off just to rest from all that. And of course, we watched the Super Bowl last night. I only watched until the start of the third quarter, because of my early morning schedule. The half-time show is getting mixed reviews. I am a fan of the Blackeyed Peas, so I enjoyed MOST of their performance. But the performance getting the most attention is, of course, Christina Aguilera's flubbing of the national anthem. She says that she got "caught up in the moment." Now, this girl does know the lyrics. She sang the national anthem twice during last year's NBA finals. And she certainly isn't the first performer to have trouble with that song. So...I for one believe we should cut her some slack and move on. As long as she sang the song with sincerity and patriotism, that's what matters most, right?? In this age of Youtube, we become so obsessed with every mistake that a celebrity makes, whether it's performance- related, or not. I would rather spend the time watching the better commercials that aired last night...especially the cute Volkswagen ad with the Darth Vader kid. Now THAT I could watch over and over.
Friday, January 28 Can you believe it's been 25 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion? Today marks the 25th anniversary. It is an event that I will never forget. Like generations before us that remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot, I remember exactly where I was. I was sitting in my 9th grade social studies class. Our teacher had brought in the TV, so that we could watch the shuttle launch. We knew would be be witnessing history, but of course, had no idea just how historic it would be. It was so horrifying, watching the shuttle go up in flames before our eyes. Even today, looking at video for this morning's story on the anniversary, I felt sick watching the video again. The emotion of events as monumental as that one just never leave you. On a much lighter note, hope you got a chance to check out Bob's segment this morning previewing Monster Jam. I will actually be attending the show for the first time tonight, and I am excited! My son has gone before with his dad, but I am taking him tonight, along with his good buddy from school. We are prepared..with ear plugs, headphones, and hopefully, dirt-resistant clothing. But anytime I spend with Chris will be fun! Hope you enjoy your weekend, too!
Friday, January 21 It's not every day that you see a miraculous story in the news, but what we are seeing from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is nothing short of a miracle. Less than two weeks after getting shot in the head at close range, Giffords is leaving the hospital in Tucson for a rehab center in Houston. No one would have believed that she would have SURVIVED her wound, much less, made this much progress in such a short period of time. And even though doctors warn that she might not make a 100% recovery, she has certainly astounded everyone inside and outside of the medical community. Hopefully, we'll continue having good, positive stories to report about her recovery. Also in the news today, the unsolved Short family murders in Henry County will be featured tomorrow night on "America's Most Wanted". I can't believe it's been more than eight years since the slayings of Michael, Mary and Jennifer Short, and still no arrests. Maybe this renewed national spotlight will help police in their search for the killer. And if you didn't get to catch my "Early Years" segment yesterday on News 7 Mornin..click over to the Mornin' page and check it out. This week we profiled the babysitting course that's offered through the Roanoke Valley chapter of the American Red Cross. It's designed for 11 to 14-year-olds to teach them how to properly handle a baby, deal with emergency situations, interview with potential employers, etc. The next class is tomorrow morning. Hope you have a great weekend!!! Bundle up..it's going to be really cold!!
Wednesday, January 12 This winter is really starting to remind me of last year's....Yikes!!! Today was another snow day for my son, Christopher. But he was very excited to get to hang out with his grandma again. We have been going over material that Kindergartners are supposed to be tested on this week (that is, if they ever get back to class)...things like writing their first and last names with upper and lower case letters...recognizing certain "sight" words...counting backwards from 10, etc.. Try as I might, I can't remember much of anything like that from when I was in Kindergarten. Yeah, I know...it's been a LONG time. I remember writing block letters on those ditto sheets, lots of fingerpainting and taking naps on those red and blue mats.... that's about it. Kids have to be a lot more on the ball these, days, that's for sure! My daughter Caitlin just turned two years old last Saturday. She's still a few years away from starting school. But we are about to embark upon the lovely adventure of potty training. I keep telling myself...we survived the process with Christopher...hopefully, it'll be a bit easier this time around! Be sure to tune in to News 7 Mornin' tomorrow for this week's Early Years segment. We are profiling the fitness program, Stroller Strides, which is targeted toward moms, who want to work out WITH their kids.
Wednesday, January 5 Happy New Year!! Okay, okay....I'm a few days late with that. But seriously, Happy 2011 to you! I am finally back in the swing of things, I think, after having last week off for vacation. We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's with family and friends. It was great having the time off with my children. We basically just played all week and had fun. It was a really nice break! My son Christopher was ready to go back to school, though. He asked me several times what the next day was, and if he was going to school then. I'm thankful that he enjoys school enough to miss it, even while he's goofing off! There are lots of interesting topics in the news this week. No doubt you've seen the controversial U.S. Navy videos that prompted the "relieving" of Captain Owen Honors. But the most compelling national story that I saw from today is one you will see on News 7 at Noon about the homeless man from Columbus, Ohio who has the "golden voice." Ted Williams says he battled drug and alcohol problems for years, which derailed his radio announcing career. When video of him speaking turned up on the Internet this week, it caused such a sensation that he's receiving job offers...and hopefully, a second chance. It just goes to show that you never know what someone else has gone through just by looking at them, or what potential they might still have.
Friday, December 24 Oh wow...Christmas is almost here! I have been finished with my shopping for a week or so...and yet, I'm finding there are still a few last-minute stocking stuffers that I still need to pick up today. Try as I might to get EVERYTHING done before this week...there's always a last-minute errand. We've had a wonderful holiday season so far. My husband and I took the kids to see Santa at CHIP's Breakfast with Santa at Hotel Roanoke a couple of weeks ago...and the kids got a bit more face time with Santa last Friday, when St. Nick stopped by the station. Chris did wonder if it was the "same" Santa. I tried to side-step the question, but the older kids get, the harder it is to explain why Santa looks "different," depending on where you see him. I'm just happy that my son still believes in Santa. It seems like kids are younger and younger when they discover the "truth" about the big guy in the red suit. Of course, my daughter Caitlin is still too young to really understand the concept of Santa. I was just happy that she didn't cry on his lap either time...and actually seemed to like the Santa we had here at WDBJ. There's just no more magical moment at Christmastime than to see your children happily ripping open their presents with that glimmer of excitement in their eyes...and still believing that Santa brought some of them.
I hope you and yours have the Merriest of holidays...and a very Happy New Year. I will be on vacation next week. So, I will see you in 2011!
Monday, December 13 Hello there... Hope you've been tuning in for all of our coverage on the Brittany Smith/Jeffrey Easley story. Our own Justin McLeod and photographer Lynn Eller made the trip out to San Francisco to bring you the latest. It is certainly good news that 12-year-old Brittany is safe, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding her abduction. I'm sure all of that will come out soon. If you were watching News 7 Mornin' today, you might have seen some of Bob's segments on how to keep your live Christmas tree safe this holiday season. The best rule of thumb...common sense....don't forget to water it daily and switch off those lights when you leave the house or go to bed. And speaking of the holidays, we had a busy weekend. My husband and I took the kids to CHIP's annual Breakfast with Santa event at Hotel Roanoke on Saturday. It was a great turnout, and all of the proceeds go toward helping the Child Health Investment Partnership of the Roanoke Valley, which assists medically-underserved kids in our area...a very worthy cause. The event of course, included photos with Santa. My son Chris was very much at ease...my not quite two year old daughter Caitlin was a little more shy. But I'm happy to report that she didn't cry on Santa's lap. So, we managed to get some good pictures for holiday cards. Oh, that's right...got to get those in the mail!
Tuesday, December 7 It's good to be back after a nice, relaxing three-day weekend. Relaxing as it was, I did manage to get a lot of holiday stuff done..i.e. getting and decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, etc. I am probably 75 percent finished wtih my shopping..just a few odds and ends left to get, thank goodness! It seems to be coming quickly this year, and the lovely weekend snowfall just added to the holiday frenzy! It was my favorite kind of snow...looks pretty, but doesn't cause a massive amount of problems. I also enjoyed getting to see some of you on Sunday afternoon at "Sesame Street Live" It was fun doing the introduction, and helping count down to the big show. My kids loved it...but I think I enjoyed it just as much.
I was saddened to hear about the missing 12-year-old girl from Roanoke County. An Amber alert is still in effect for Brittany Mae Smith. Hopefully, she will be found safe and sound. Of course, she will still have to cope with the tragedy of losing her mother, Tina, whose body was found yesterday morning in their home. It's always tough reporting on stories like these, but especially upsetting here around the holidays. My prayers are with their family.
Monday, November 22 Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. What a beautiful weekend we just had! I spent part of it at the Tanglewood Mall Barnes and Nobel store taking part in the Smart Beginnings Book Fair. I was the "guest reader" at 11:00 Saturday morning...the event was to raise money for the many programs Smart Beginnings helps in the Roanoke Valley, including child care centers. And speaking of kids, we aired a story this morning about how the number of ER visits has dropped in the last couple of years, after the FDA ordered children's cough and cold medicines to be removed from store shelves, due to a large of number of incidents involving children overdosing. But that does leave parents in a bit of a predicament...trying to figure out how to treat those stuffy noses and sore throats. My five year old, Chris, often has a stuffy nose and has had some nosebleeds because of dry heat from the furnace. We've started running a humidifier in his room, which seems to be helping. Our pediatrician also recommends saline drops, just to keep the nasal passages moist. And there's always the old tried and true, Vicks Vapor Rub. Sometimes those "old-fashioned" remedies are pretty effective, and at least worth trying in this season of colds and flu. Of course, the best protection...get the flu shot. It only takes a minute, but it can save you from DAYS of being sick..
Thursday, November 11 If you are a veteran, thank you!! If you aren't, please take a moment and say thank you to our nation's servicemen and women, and pause to remember those who died while serving our country. My dad served in the Navy...my grandfather was actually a soldier in World War One. And what a gorgeous day to head out to any of the outdoor events happening in honor of the occasion. Bob was live at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford today on News 7 Mornin', and it looked absolutely beautiful with the waterfalls and the lights. Very moving indeed.... Jumping ahead to the weekend, if you are looking for something to do, head out to the annual Stocked Market at the Roanoke Civic Center. Your Hometown Station will have a booth there, and we'll be handing out Salvation Army stockings to fill for a needy girl or boy in our area. It is a lot of fun to fill the stockings (I usually alternate between filling one for a girl, then a boy each year). And it truly can make the difference for these children. For some, this stocking may be the only gift they receive. I will be at our booth Saturday morning. If you get a chance, come by and say hello, and look for some holiday bargains!
Friday, November 5 Happy Friday to ya!! Hopefully, you've been watching our special Flood of '85 stories this week. There's nothing like re-living those memories through photos, video and interviews. Check out our special Flood of '85 page on our Web site. It's definitely been a long, busy week.Not only here, but also at home. Tuesday was Parent-Teacher conference day at my son's school..Then I ended up taking the little fellow to the doctor. He'd been complaining about a sore throat, and sure enough, it was strep throat. He's on the mend, and went back to school yesterday. There is so much going around, and the weather keeps changing from warm to cold, and back again. If you haven't already done so, get your flu shot! There's plenty of vaccine to go around this year, thank goodness. I'm supposed to get mine in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I can stay healthy until then, and keep the cooties away! Have a great weekend everyone! Friday, October 29 It's finally Friday...whew!! It's been a busy week. I've been hard at it working on a sweeps piece airing next week marking the 25th anniversary of the Flood of '85. If you lived here at the time, no doubt, you remember it. I was in the ninth grade, and I remember standing outside waiting for the school bus. The wind was awful, and it kept blowing my umbrella upside down. I looked up and thought to myself, "This is bad." Of course, it got REALLY, REALLY bad. I remember the school buses weren't running, and I ended up getting a ride home with a neighbor's brother. People were catching rides with whomever they could...But in other areas, people had to resort to boats to navigate the rising waters. And for the days that followed, I remember being glued to the TV, watching the news. I remember hanging on every word that Robin Reed and Keith Humphry said. And as I've often told people who asked me when I decided to go into broadcasting, that was it. The journalism seed was planted there, and then I formally decided to go into broadcasting two years later... There are so many stories associated with the flood, but I am happy to be able to tell a couple of them. Tune into News 7 next week for that! In the meantime, hope you and your family have a wonderful Halloween. And if you're not sure when your locality is trick-or-treating this year, check the News page of our Web site. It seems like it's been Halloween for a couple of weeks now...My son Christopher's school had its pumpkin festival last week, and we've already been to one Halloween party. He has a party at his school this afternoon, and then I'll be bringing him and Caitlin to the station this evening for the yearly costume parade on the Skytracker 7 weather deck during News 7 at 5. Hope you have a great weekend...and be safe.
Thursday, October 14 Hope all is well with you.... If you're a parent, I hope you had the chance to see today's Early Years segment on News 7 Mornin. We interviewed registered dietitian Don Mankie. He brought in a healthy, delicious-looking array of foods perfect for your child's lunch box. Mankie suggests lean meat like turkey on sandwiches, but also items you might not have thought of before, like hummus. He advises chopping up fruits and veggies on the weekend, when people tend to have more time. That way you can include healthy items, without adding time on to the morning routine. And if you have kids...saving time is key!! On the flip side, this is also National School Lunch Week. Whether your kid buys or packs... the goal is to keep them full and healthy. In other news...how amazing was that rescue operation of the Chilean miners? We kept switching to live pictures from Chile during yesterday's morning show. I was just relieved to hear when ALL 33 men and their rescuers were brought up safely. Each man has such a compelling story to tell, especially when you consider that no one has ever been trapped underground for that long, and lived to tell about it. As much as I want to learn more about them, I do hope they're given the opportunity to re-connect with their families and get re-acclimated to life above ground before people start clamoring for exclusive interviews and TV specials. And I'm sure someone somewhere will want to turn it into a TV movie....
Monday, October 4 Happy Monday to you....Hope your weekend was fun. We enjoyed the beautiful sunshine on Saturday. I took my children to an outdoor birthday party...then we came home and decorated some little pumpkins. I think we're going to head out to a pumpkin patch this weekend to find the perfect "Giant Pumpkin" for actual carving. Did I mention how much I love this time of year?? And even though yesterday was cooler, it still wasn't bad for Chris' last Sunday of Fall teeball. After all, it is "Fall ball"...it should feel like fall, right? We were debating today in the newsroom, as well as on my Facebook page as to whether Halloween would be celebrated on the 31st this year..since it falls on a Sunday. My understanding is that it will be celebrated on the 31st. If you have any feelings about this one way or the other...drop me an email at email@example.com. I'm also soliciting anecdotes, memories, etc. from those of you who were here during the Flood of '85. I'd love to hear your stories as we approach the 25th anniversary. It's hard to believe that it's already been a quarter century!! I was in the 9th grade at the time..wow...time flies...
Friday, October 1 October is here, and it's definitely one of my favorite times of the year. The leaves are starting to change, and Halloween costume ideas are swirling around in my head. LOL! I am glad the rain FINALLY ended. Too much of a good thing is NOT a good thing. Hopefully you and yours made it through the latest round of rough weather without any flood damage. Tomorrow looks to be fantastic and there is plenty of fun activities to check out. This morning Bob previewed the Radford Highlanders Festival, which gets under way tonight. And tomorrow from 10 until 4 is the Harvest Festival in downtown Roanoke. There will be live music, crafts, pumpkins, and lots of fun for the whole family!
Monday, September 27 Hello there! After weeks of wishing for some much- needed rainfall, here it is. Leo and Brent say we could see as much as five or six inches by the time all is said and done. So, of course, along with the needed rain comes the risk of potential flooding. Make sure you stay informed by tuning into News 7 and also keeping tabs on our Web site! This kind of damp, raw weather makes me crave soup, chili, anything hot. So...I think I'm going to cook up a batch of white chicken chili for dinner tonight. Just thinking about it is warming me up!
Wednesday, September 15 Be sure to tune in to News 7 Mornin tomorrow to catch my latest "Early Years" segment...We're looking into childhood vaccinations. A local pediatrician with Carilion is offering some helpful tip to parents to make children dread those painful shots a little less. We'll also address the newest study to refute any connection between childhood vaccines and autism. Don't forget..That's coming up tomorrow on News 7 Mornin'. In the meantime, get outside and soak up these last days of summer weather! Brent says it's going to be near 90 this afternoon...
Monday, September 13 Hi there...hope you made the most of the weekend. They always seem to fly by, and before you know it, it's Monday again. My weekend was fun. My hubby and I went to see Liza Minnelli perform with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Friday night at the Roanoke Civic Center. She was FANTASTIC! Her voice was great...even her dance moves were good. It's just amazing how well she was able to perform, considering all of her health issues over the years. I just sat in the audience thinking to myself, "this is Judy Garland's DAUGHTER!" The film, "The Wizard of Oz" is one of my all-time favorite movies...and so is the film, "Arthur". You know, the 1981 comedy starring Liza Minnelli and Dudley Moore as the hilarious drunk millionaire playboy. So, I had several reasons for wanting to see Liza in person. And I'm happy to say that she wasn't just a fabulous performer, but she was also very gracious and down to earth. We've all read the tabloid stories about her. But it was nice to see the woman herself, on stage and in her element. If a cat gets nine lives, Liza's had about 20. Life must really be a "Cabaret"....
Tuesday, August 31 Hi there! Tonight is Back to School Night at my son's school, but Chris officially became a Kindergartner last week! I took off several vacation days so that I could be with him the first few mornings to get him settled into his new routine. He is his mischievous self from time to time. But mostly, he is doing just great at his new school! It helped that Chris already knew some children from preschool and tee ball. Familiar faces mean everything when you're in a new environment, no matter what your age is. Among the things he has been most excited about...getting to choose a dinosaur book from the school library...and getting to choose chocolate or white milk at lunchtime (he picks chocolate, of course). It's an exciting time for our family and for all of the other families just now embarking on that adventure called education. I hope that you will tune in to News 7 Mornin on Thursday. This week's "Early Years" segment is on...you guessed it....preparing your child for Kindergarten and helping them overcome separation anxiety. Let me know what you think! And as always, I welcome any story ideas that you may have.
Thursday, August 19 No doubt your heart was touched if you tuned in this morning and watched Bob's profile on seven-year-old Drew Bennett. He's a Roanoke County boy in desperate need of transplant surgery. Bennett suffers from an extremely rare condition called Pseudo-Obstruction, which means that his stomach no longer functions. Drew needs a new stomach, along with upper and lower bowels.
He is such a courageous and adorable little boy, and his family is drowning in medical bills. To help their situation, there is going to be a yard sale tomorrow to raise money for the Bennetts at Cave Spring Baptist Church Family Life Center from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Definitely check it out if you can. It is for such a worthwhile cause. As a parent, I cannot imagine what Drew's family is going through. I am sure that they are thankful for every precious moment they get to spend with him. It's a good lesson for us all.
Wednesday, August 18 Hello, and thanks for swinging by! This is a short work week for me..woo hoo! I am on vacation starting Friday through next Thursday. Yes, it is a weird way to break up a week off, but there is a reason. As you've probably ready here before, I am getting ready to start my little fellow in Kindergarten. Christopher has Kindergarten orientation this Friday morning, so his daddy and I are taking off to be there with him when he meets his teachers, new friends, takes a tour of the school, etc. His first day of actual school is Monday. I am looking forward to that with mixed emotions. It's a new milestone..a new era... a new chapter...but it's yet another sign that he is growing up. I'll let you know later how well I handle it... ie. how much time I spend in tears that day. We are planning lots of fun activities with him next week as a way to celebrate the start of Kindergarten...it'll also help give him something to look forward to at the end of each school day..just until he gets used to things. Besides the back to school shopping and gathering of school supplies, there is another way we've been preparing for Kindergarten. We've started watching a show on HBO Family (Channel 203 if you have Cox cable)...and it's simply titled "Kindergarten." It's WONDERFUL. It follows a Kindergarten class and shows how they all got acquainted on the first day...the various activities they do...etc. Christopher is mesmerized by this show. And I'm all about anything that keeps him excited and interested in school. In other back to school matters, tune in for tomorrow morning's "Early Years" segment. We interviewed a couple of pediatricians about how to prevent playground and sports-related injuries. Hope you can join us for that and all the other fun stuff on News 7 Mornin. Thursday, August 12 Hi there...hope you're enjoying the work week so far! Hot enough for you? Good Grief!!! I really am getting to the point where I am looking forward to fall. Last winter, I would have never thought that I would wish for cooler temperatures, but yes...I am now. Brent says we're supposed to get back in the 80s for highs this weekend, so that will be a little break. Hope you got to check out my "Early Years" segment this morning on school registration...all the paperwork involved, etc. I had never really thought about it until I registered my son for Kindergarten this year. They really do ask for a lot when it comes to providing proof of residency. While my visual focus in the story was on Roanoke county, I also checked on other surrounding school divisions...including Roanoke City, Lynchburg, Salem, Montgomery County, etc. And pretty much all of them require the same types of information, i.e. copies of a mortgage or lease, property tax statement, driver's license, etc. However, a couple of school systems will also accept a current utility bill or pay stub. When I encountered those requests, I was surprised that the schools wanted so much personal information...especially during this time of identity theft concerns. However, after doing the story, I understand that the school districts have to be cautious, and must make sure that a student is actually SUPPOSED to be in a particular district. And federal law has specific guidelines for schools to protect those student records, so that key information doesn't end up in the wrong hands. In Roanoke county, for instance, they are actually kept in a vault at central office. And there are both paper and electronic records.
As I do these "Early Years" segments, I am also hoping to educate myself on these issues, along with our viewers. As always, I welcome any ideas or feedback that you have.
Wednesday, August 4 Greetings! I've been busy this week working on a piece we will be airing tomorrow on News 7 Mornin'. We are bringing back our parenting segment, "Early Years," which you may remember from a few years back. This week, we're taking you back to school shopping...and offering some advice on taking advantage of Virginia's sales tax holiday this weekend. You still have to shop smart, even while surfing those sales! As always, if you have any story ideas that you would like to see us explore in "Early Years," drop me an email.
As I've told you before, my son Christopher will be starting Kindergarten in just a few weeks (gasp!), so I will be joining the fray of back to school shoppers this weekend, too. Last night, I was showing him my yearbook from Kindergarten. I think he got a kick out of seeing his mommy soooo small! It made me wonder where all my teachers are now. I'm sure most of them have retired, or are about to. I have fond memories of them all...They had to be pretty patient with me...not because I acted up, but because I was EXTREMELY shy around adults at that time. One of my most vivid memories from Kindergarten was when I came home wearing a paper sign around my neck that read "Kim Talked Today." I know that's probably hard to believe..but it's true. And I haven't stopped talking since...hahaha.
Monday, July 26 Hello there and welcome to another work week. Thank goodness it is supposed to cool down this week. Really...I said I wouldn't complain after the long, snowy winter. But even I have to complain about a heat index of well over 100 degrees! We spent most of the weekend indoors. However, we did venture out to Amazement Square in Lynchburg. What an awesome place!!! There are four floors chock full of cool exhibits for children (and big kids, too!) Christopher loved the simulated James River display with boats, canals, etc. Caitlin had fun in the toddler area, which included a big red barn. One of the best exhibits in there was a simulated cow that you can actually milk! The best part...it was AIRCONDITIONED. As much as I love getting the kids outdoors, it's even been too hot for the pool. But hopefully, the temperatures will moderate this week and we can breathe outside again. If you're able to join us today for News 7 at Noon..please do. We will be interviewing Twisted Sister frontman and current radio show host Dee Snider about his new reality show "Growing Up Twisted". It premieres tomorrow night at 10 on A & E. He is the latest in a string of rock icons to let the public peek into his private life..i.e. Ozzy Osborne, Gene Simmons, Brett Michaels, etc. It's always fun interviewing celebrities, and at noon we certainly run the gamut! Hope you have a wonderful rest of the day...and thanks for stopping by my blog on our new and improved website!
Tuesday, July 20 Hello there!! Hope you're ready for more hot weather...Brent says we'll see highs in the 90s today..and getting close to the century mark by Friday. So, if you don't have air conditioning, please try to find some. And don't forget to check on the elderly, and keep pets indoors when it's excessively hot. Animals feel the heat, too! Speaking of animals, did you happen to catch our story about overcrowding at the Roanoke Valley SPCA? There are so many deserving dogs and cats that need a home. And you can get a great bargain if you decide to adopt. To help reduce the overcrowding, the SPCA has cut prices in half for adoptions for the remainder of July. And one more thought...please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you already have your back to school shopping list. I'm interested in whether you plan to spend more or less this year on supplies and clothing. By the way, the state sales tax-free holiday weekend is August 6 through 8. I will be joining the ranks of back to school shoppers this year, since my son will be entering Kindergarten this fall...very exciting!!
Good Morning all!! Hope you are doing well. So far so good for me this week. We had a fun noon newscast yesterday featuring a live satellite interview with actress Kyra Sedgwick, star of TNT's "The Closer." She's up for an Emmy (again)..and hopefully she won't walk away empty handed this time. It's always fun to talk to the celebs...adds a little "Hollywood" to our newscast! On a much more serious note, my heart goes out to the family of Cara Holley...what a horrible way to lose someone you love. In court yesterday, the details came out as to the brutal method in which Cara was killed. No one deserves to die like that. Apparently, her SUV was the motive...but I wonder if there was something else going on. We may or may not ever find out the entire truth. It serves as a good reminder to women (and men) to be careful..and not to ignore warning signs, threats, etc. You never know when someone might make good on what they threaten. I was glad to all see our story about the new women and children's shelter opening in Altavista. We can't have too many of these facilities. Women have to know that there are options out there and they don't have to continue to be victims. With all that, hope you have a great rest of the day...and take care! Monday, June 28 Hello...I'm BAAAAACK from vacation! And I came back to the air chair EARLY this morning. In case you haven't seen the promos ( or tuned in today)...News 7 Mornin' is now starting at 5:00 am. It was a bit of an adjustment, setting the clock earlier...and resisting the incredible urge to hit the snooze button several times. But starting our newscast a half hour earlier will provide us more opportunities to get our viewers updated on what's happening ,and ready to begin their day! Let us know how we help you wake up...and what you would like to see as you first flip on the tube. As I mentioned, I'm back from a week off. My husband and I took the kids to Myrtle Beach. It was Caitlin's first time in the ocean, and she loved it! She especially loved playing in the sand with her big brother, and checking out the sites at Ripley's Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach. If you're ever in that area... go visit the aquarium. It's amazing! My favorite part in the glass tunnel in which you're surrounded by live marine life...sharks, sea turtles, sawfish, etc. It had a lot of hands-on exhibits for the kids...with a lot of interesting tidbits about various sea creatures. As you should on vacation, we ate really well... had dinner at Margaritaville ( a LONG wait there for a table, despite having reservations) and at Hard Rock Cafe..Both places have great food with really entertaining scenery. We were also quite fortunate that the weather cooperated...it was hot and sunny every day...no rain at all. Of course, here at home, we could use a good soaking rain. Our grass is the same height it was when we left. It was nice being off and getting to sleep in...but its great to be back with you all. Hope you have a great week! Friday, June 18 Hello!! I'm counting down the minutes until vacation. Bob Grebe will be in the air chair next week, while my family and I are in Myrtle Beach. This will be Caitlin's first trip to the beach...her first time dipping her toes in the ocean...I can't wait! I'm glad that we'll be well north of all the mess in the Gulf. My heart goes out to the people who live down there, and especially to the fishermen who are struggling to maintain their livelihood. Let's hope the oil gush stops sooner rather than later...although it sounds like that's not going to happen until the relief wells are finished in August. You may have seen our segment on News 7 Mornin' today with Martin Travel consultant Judy Miron...who suggests everyone purchase travel insurance. I think with all that's happening this summer in the gulf, more people are starting to thinking along those lines. Miron say so far, her agency hasn't heard from many people planning to travel to the gulf coast... Hope all is well with you...I am heading off to vacationland and will see you June 28th! Tuesday, June 8 Hi there...today felt more like a Monday to me than a Tuesday. I was off yesterday for working the Memorial Day holiday. But I got a nice break from the office today.. I was asked to help the Kiwanis Club present some student achievement awards to the kids at Hurt Park Elementary School. They were all so proud of themselves, as they should be! The students were recognized for everything from raising their grades...to making accomplishments in reading...to just having a great smile. This is the age group that we really have to support and encourage. If we can get young kids excited about their education, and keep them excited, then our world will be a much better place. So...kudos to all of the award winners!! And let me also say congratulations to my son, Christopher and all of his little friends for their pre-school graduation last Friday night. They all looked so adorable wearing their caps and gowns...the first of sooo many milestones they'll get to celebrate as they start school. Let's ALL -- parents, friends, neighbors, etc.- be cheerleaders when it comes to education! Wednesday, June 2 Hi there...welcome to the June heat! Whew...it's going to be almost 90 today..Hello summer! Of course, I made a promise last winter not to complain about hot weather. After all that snow...the summer sun feels great. Just remember to stay hydrated and don't forget the sunscreen. Hopefully, you had the chance to watch our special on Keith Humphry's 30 years here at Your Hometown Station. He's covered so many memorable stories, including the Jens Soering trial, the flood of '85, Virginia Tech and countless others. It's impressive to last that long in this business...even more impressive at the same TV station. I remember watching Keith as a child...especially seeing his and Robin Reed's coverage of the the flood of '85. I was in the ninth grade at the time, and will never forget what it was like to see Roanoke and surrounding areas under water. I remember my umbrella flipping upside down while I was standing at the bus stop that morning. Of course, I didn't realize at the time what a huge storm it actually would become. It was that event that made me want to go into the news business. While watching Keith and Robin, I decided that I wanted to do that. They were so professional and comforting during a time of great stress...it made an impression on me. Congrats to Keith on his amazing achievement. Thursday, May 27 Hello there...I'm a little drowsier than usual today because I stayed up until 10 last night watching the "American Idol" finale. I did so mostly because it was Simon Cowell's last night as a judge...and of course, to see who would emerge the winner in the Crystal- Lee Showdown. I have been pulling for Crystal a.k.a. MommaSox since the very beginning. She's extremely talented, unique, and could sing the phonebook. So..yes...I was very disappointed that she didn't win. Of course, most of the time with this show, it's the runner-up who has the most talent and goes on to sell the most albums. I feel quite confident the same will happen with Crystal. Still, I feel that the better singer should have won... Wth that and Simon's departure, I seriously doubt that I will watch "Idol" again... On a more local topic...we've gotten a lot of feedback about the Montgomery county and Botetourt county school systems' decision to hold classes on Memorial Day as a make-up day. Personally, I think they should have chosen a different day. However, I think that if the schools hold a special Memorial Day program, and educate these children on the real reason for the holiday, it could be a good thing. Truth be told, aside from military families, how many people actually spend the holiday attending services for Veterans, or discussing the sacrifices of these heroes? For most, it's a day off to cook out and go swimming. Not that there's anything wrong with that...but there should also be some acknowledgement of what the day is about. So..those kids who have to go to school while their friends are home may actually benefit in the long run. Thursday, May 20 Good morning to you!! Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to look for my story tonight during News 7 at 6. It's a preview for a longer piece airing tomorrow on News 7 Mornin' on a Pink Slip getaway offer by a Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg. It's offering a free weekend's lodging to anyone who has lost a job...but there IS a small catch. Tune in tomorrow morning for the full story! And today on News 7 at Noon, we'll have a live satellite interview with celebrity chef John Besh, who will have some grilling tips for us...just ahead of Memorial Day weekend. Wednesday, May 12 Hi there...(cough, cough....sniff sniff). And here I thought I had managed to avoid all of the allergy problems so many people have been struggling with this spring...Not so fast!!! After having a wonderful Mother's Day weekend filled with teeball, dinners out, and visits from friends and family members, I lost my voice late Sunday. Monday morning's newscast was barely audible..I think every OTHER word was actually coming out...that's about it. So, I went ahead and called my allergy doctor. The receptionist told me that she had watched the morning show and was expecting my call..LOL! Anyway, I'm taking six days of Prednisone now, which will hopefully clear away the congestion. It's not fun losing your voice when your job requires you to speak... Hope you stay healthy!! Friday, May 7 Happy Friday to you!! It's been a great week for me...my husband and children were sweet enough to send me some beautiful roses here at work for Mother's Day. I am so lucky to have them. Hope all the mom's out there have a wonderful Mother's Day...and those who aren't mothers, be sure to remember your mom, your grandmother, aunts-- all of the special ladies in your life. Those women are who make us what we are today! Yesterday we had an exciting noon newscast...a live satellite interview with actor Tom Selleck! He was one of my heroes of the '80s...I loved "Magnum, P.I." But he's gone on to do so many other memorable roles...more recently as police chief Jesse Stone. The newest installment airs Sunday night at 9 right here on Your Hometown Station. I'm happy to report that Tom was just as gentlemanly and friendly as I'd hoped he would be. It was a pleasure talking to someone I grew up watching! And speaking of growing up watching someone...congratulations to our own Keith Humphry for celebrating his 30th anniversary at News 7! Monday, May 3 Happy May to you...although it feels more like the middle of August out there this morning..The air is SOOO muggy. It does feel a bit tropical, which makes me think of vacation...only about a month and a half away for me. But we're having a fun spring with teeball in full swing for my son. This weekend was great...the weather was perfect for anything outdoors. We took the kids to the Salem Red Sox game Saturday night. Of course, when you go with the kids, you spend at least half the time in line for food, Dippin' Dots, bathroom, etc. But it was still lots of fun and great to see so many people supporting the home team! Yesterday, I took Chris to see the 3-D movie, "How to Train Your Dragon." I thought it was really good. He got a little bored about three quarters of the way through, but hung in there until the end. I think if the theatres showed fewer commercials and previews in the beginning, and just got right to the feature attraction, it would be much better. Children's attention span isn't that long, and if you put up all these previews before the movie itself...they're apt to get fidgety. The little girl sitting in front of us actually asked her grandmother to take her home..with movie prices being as expensive as they are, that should never happen.. Anyway..another work week is here. How scary is that Galax Walmart shooting story? Just imagine being a bystander out shopping when something like that happens? You just never know... One other quick note...I will be heading out shooting a story later this morning, so someone else will be anchoring the noon newscast today. But I will see you bright and early tomorrow morning!! Have a great Monday... Friday, April 23 Happy Friday to you!! It's been a long, busy week, and a busy weekend is also coming up. Don't forget about the Vinton Dogwood Festival, which is in full swing. The parade is set for tomorrow afternoon at 2:30, and Jay Webb says the skies should be dry around that time. Also, Salem After Five kicks off for the season this evening. Lots to do this time of year! As for the McBroom household, we are embarking upon our first season of teeball. My son, Chris is playing Instructional teeball this spring, and they have opening ceremonies tomorrow morning...followed by their game in the early afternoon. So yes..I am keeping my fingers crossed that Mother Nature will cooperate! I didn't realize just how "big" the little league world is. Besides games every week, there is also the fundraising aspect. I haven't sold anything in a LONG time...but I am sure this is the beginning of many years of peddling everything from candy bars to candles. (Chris' team is actually selling vidalia onions).. Tomorrow should be fun.. the opening ceremony features several vendors, a Child ID booth, even a giant bouncy. It sounds like a mini-carnival. I'm really excited about entering this phase of parenthood...helping teach my son about sportsmanship and team work. I think that's a lesson we all need a refresher course in every now and then. So...whatever you decide to get into this weekend...have fun and try to stay dry! Friday, April 16 Today we are all Hokies...that phrase still rings true three years after the devastating shootings at Virginia Tech. It's hard to believe that that much time has passed. Most of us still remember where we were when we first heard the news. Just as we remember where we were at every major tragic event. I was, of course, here at work...at the TV station. At first, we heard that it was ONE person dead. That was horrible enough. But then the news kept getting worse by the minute...two dead...then 10....then of course, the final death toll of 33, if you count the gunman, Seung Hui Cho. But I think the university has emerged from all of this far stronger, with the rest of the nation feeling a bond with the school that it otherwise probably wouldn't feel. Hokie fan or not, it's hard not to be moved by all of the events of the day. We ran video from last year's candelight vigil during News 7 Mornin' today, and it really did bring back all of the emotions from that day. While we shouldn't dwell on the past all the time...it's important once in a while to pause and remember and pray that nothing like this ever happens again. Hope you can join us for News 7 at Noon here in just a little bit...as well as for all our coverage the rest of the day. Tuesday, April 13 Many thanks to everyone who came out to Green Hill Park on Saturday morning for the Susan G. Komen Race!! It was an awesome sight....a sea of pink...runners, walkers, strollers....more than two thousand people took part. And the event raised a whopping more than $260,000.00! All of that money will go toward the fight against breast cancer...such a worthy cause. Who doesn't know someone who's been affected in some way by breast cancer...or even cancer in general. Natasha and I had the best time emceeing the event...and chatting with everyone there. Some of the stories are just heart-breaking...but these brave women carry on..and do it with such class and grace. I am so proud and honored to have gotten to take part. Hopefully, I can help out with next year's race, too. Friday, April 9 What an emotional week in news....Of course, the big story this week is the coal mine explosion in West Virginia. 25 miners are confirmed dead...and four others are still missing. Hopes are fading, though for those men...unless they managed to make their way into an airtight refuge chamber. Rescuers had to retreat again this morning because of the unsafe conditions. My heart goes out to the friends and family members of those men who died just trying to do their jobs.... And on a more upbeat and inspirational note...I'm excited about tomorrow's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Green Hill Park. This will be the first time the race to benefit breast cancer research is held in the Roanoke Valley... A whopping number of people have registered...at last count, more than 1,800!! And they've already raised more than $215,000!! Those numbers are sure to climb with last-minute partipants who sign up tomorrow morning. Even if you're not a runner or a walker, come out and support those who are. It's going to be a beautiful, sunny day! Natasha Ryan and I will be the emcees of the event, and it will be such an honor to be a part of it. Go pink!!!! Tuesday, March 30 If you haven't had a chance yet to catch Justin McLeod's piece on "Cookin' Cheap" ...be sure to tune in today at noon. It's a great feature on the longtime (27 seasons!) cooking show that was shot at WBRA TV here in Roanoke, and was broadcast on PBS stations across the country. Its two hosts, Larry Bly and the late Laban Johnson made the show a hilarious piece of TV history. I remember watching it as a child....and when I was a high school junior, I got the pleasure of working with Laban while doing a production at Showtimers' Community Theatre. He directed me in my first (and only) musical, and was absolutely wonderful. He used to joke with me about making him feel old...because he had taught my mother when she was in high school. He is missed in our community, and it was nice to see him on the small screen again...trading jokes and burning dishes on "Cookin' Cheap." Monday, March 29 Hello there, and Happy Monday!! Sorry I was lax and didn't blog last week...shame on me!! I was actually busy here at work. One highlight from last week was my noon satellite interview on Thursday with actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley (you know, the daughter from the "Father of the Bride" films?)..she's starring in a new Lifetime TV movie, "Amish Grace" based on the shootings at the Amish schoolhouse that killed five little girls back in 2006. It debuted last night, but will air again (probably numerous times) on Lifetime. Hopefully, this week will be calmer in terms of the threats and violent acts pertaining to the passage of the health care reform bill. Whichever side you are on this issue, violence is not the way to get your point across. It remains to be seen how all of this will shake out...after amendments, adjustments, etc. Of course, the big newsmaker this morning is the weather. There was a possible tornado in Halifax County yesterday. Damage assessors will have to head out there to confirm whether it actually was a twister. Either way, it brought a lot of rain... And there was a line of severe weather from Greensboro to Charlotte. Video that we aired this morning showed tons of trees down..roofs pulled off of homes, etc. There were also reports of several people getting injured. While I love the fact that spring brings warmer temperatures, I am not a fan of the severe thunderstorms. Guess no matter what season it is, you have to take the good with the bad. But I am happy to say farewell to the snow (hopefully) until next year!! While yesterday's weather was wet and icky...Saturday was beautiful. I took Christopher to an Easter Egg hunt at church...then we hit the Red Sox family day event at Salem Memorial Stadium..lots of fun...face painting, balloon animals, free food and stadium tours. Chris was most excited about seeing the basement of the stadium...kids are funny... Hope you have a great Monday! Friday, March 19 Friday's finally here and March Madness is officially under way. Just like yesterday, News 7 at Noon will be only 10 minutes long. But we'll cram as much news as we can in there, so be sure to tune in! There is some breaking news this morning...a huge fire on Main Street in Galax. We will of course, have the latest on that today at noon, as well as right here on our Web site. Monday, March 15 Welcome to the "Ides of March"...and of course, beware of them! No worries here...I'm having a pretty pleasant day back to work after a week of vacation. It wasn't ALL goofing off. I got the opportunity to emcee the Extravaganza for Roanoke City's ROTEC program. It was a wonderful dinner and silent auction benefiting a great program for the school system. I didn't realize how many programs they have...everything from cosmetology to TV Production. I could not have asked for better weather for my week off!!!! It was gorgeous for most of the week. We took full advantage of that, too...spent time with the kids at the park... and played outside in the back yard. We also did quite a bit of spring cleaning. There's just something therapeutic about getting rid of items you haven't used or even seen in years... We did one Goodwill run, but a lot of it just needed to be trashed. I even got super industrious and painted our downstairs bathroom a lovely shade of blue. It's not as good as the professionals, but I was pretty happy with it. Of course, the biggest thing we did was have Christopher's 5th birthday party at Thunder Valley last Sunday. My boy's growing up. Today we're heading to the pediatrician for his five year check-up...which yes, involves shots. Yikes! I think they bother me more than they bother him.... Anyway, it was a nice week off...and I got to wrap it up with the St. Patty's party downtown. It's always great seeing so many people get together and have fun. It was virtually a sea of green on Jefferson Street! May the luck o' the Irish smile on you this week...and of course, don't forget to wear green on Wednesday! Friday, March 5 Yay! My vacation begins right after the noon newscast today, and I am definitely ready! It's been a pretty good week. Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton live during our noon newscast about a new TV special highlighting his return to the rink after a five year absence. He is so brave...having battled both cancer and a brain tumor. And today I had the opportunity to read to some 3rd graders at Monterey Elementary School in Roanoke as part of the Dr. Seuss events. What a bright group of kids! I read "The Sneetches," and "What Was I Afraid Of?" I always love reading Dr. Seuss...not only is it rhythmic and catchy...he always had a good message for people of all ages. And he is a bed-time favorite in the McBroom house! Reading is so important for kids...gaining and keeping their interest in books gets harder and harder in this age of Wii and i-phones. The key is to get them in the habit of reading almost right from birth. Caitlin already enjoys books..and she's not quite 14 months old. And Christopher always looks forward to reading time with Mommy. Speaking of my oldest baby..he's turning 5 this weekend! Time passes by so quickly...we have to enjoy each and every moment. And on that note, I hope you have a wonderful week, and I will check back in when I come back from vacation. Tuesday, March 2 Hello all! You typically only see me on TV during the morning and noon newscasts. However, tonight, I'll be making a cameo at 6! I'm doing a story on foreign adoption...what that process involves....the waiting...the costs, etc. In our story airing on News 7 at 6, we profiled the Landes family in Botetourt County. They adopted a daughter, Talicee, from China a few years ago, and were kind enough to share their story with us. It was interesting to learn that international adoption is actually faster and more streamlined than domestic adoption, leading many people to go in that direction. And China, largely because of its population restrictions, is the top country that prospective parents in the U.S. choose. I hope you'll check out my story. Again, that's tonight on News 7 at 6. Now I need to go get ready for the noon newscast! Tuesday, February 23 Hello there, and thanks for stopping by!! I've been busy working on a sweeps story that will air next Monday during the 6:00 newscast. I won't give it away just yet, but you'll soon see the promo airing in the next few days. I enjoy getting out from behind the anchor desk and wearing my "reporter" hat everyone once and while. It's a nice change of pace! Of course, when it's cold and awful outside, I don't miss my days as nightside reporter slushing through all of that to get to a story. I must admit, I do love being warm and dry in the studio on these winter days! If you've been following the state budget stories, you'll be happy to hear that they're working hard to keep localities from taking too big of a hit. Of course, with a child about to start Kindergarten in August, I'm even more concerned about potential cuts to public education. Times are tough all over...I just really hope that the budget can be cut in other areas, and K through 12 doesn't have to suffer. Let's face it...schools are the backbone of communities. Whether or not you have kids, you have a stake in what happens to schools. Of course, there are valid arguments for closing schools, especially those that have very small populations. Still, I hate to see that happen in any of our neighborhoods. I don't envy our reps in Richmond at all this week. It's an impossible job to please everyone. We'll just have to wait and see where the budget ax ends up falling the hardest. Friday, February 12 I must say I am glad to see this week coming to an end...You know how we're always echoing VDOT's message to stay off the roads and to drive carefully in inclimate weather? Well, that message certainly hit home for me this week. My hubby and kids were in an accident Tuesday morning on the way to the babysitter's house. There was just enough snow and ice on the road to make it extremely slippery. Let me emphasize that my husband was driving very slowly..and still slid into a lady's vehicle that had already run off the road. Another vehicle then struck my husband's vehicle. Thank goodness, no one was injured...but our vehicle suffered quite a bit of damage. There's nothing like receiving a call that your kids were in an accident. Even after my husband said that everyone was okay...my mind just shut down, and I left work to go get to them. It really puts everything into perspective when things like that happen. It's one thing to report on weather-related accidents, it's another to have people you love involved in them. So, I am EXTRA thankful for my husband, family, and friends on this Valentine's Day. Hope you and yours have a great weekend...and take advantage of the sunny weather!! Monday, February 8 Whew!! We survived another hit from Old Man Winter! Wow...I know we've had big snowstorms in the past...I especially the remember the blizzard of '96, because I was still doing weekend weather back then. And the ice storm of '93 also stand out in my memory. I was in college then..and my dear boyfriend (now husband) made a special trip to bring me back to school in NC. And way back in '83, I remember a two foot snowfall that kept us out of school for several days....However, those were "stand alone" storms. This winter, the hits just keep on coming. I will offer major kudos to VDOT for doing a superb job getting those roads passable as quickly as possible. I couldn't believe that the snow plow was on our street Saturday night..I figured it would have been Sunday afternoon. I realize that there are still many neighborhoods that haven't been as fortunate...and thousands of people without electricity. I really do feel for them, especially with the frigid temperatures! But let's hope that Appalachian Power gets the lights and heat on quickly...and that VDOT does its thing. We're all in this thing together. And just think, only about six more weeks until spring!! If only Punxsutawney Phil would have been more cooperative, maybe we could have knocked off a couple of weeks from that.... Friday, January 29 Wow...what a week in news. Not one, but two major stories broke wide open. Of course, both of them were heartbreaking....the confirmed discovery of Morgan Harrington's remains on an Albermarle County farm and the believed discovery of little Aveion Lewis' body in a Roanoke County landfill. My heart goes out to both of their families. These are the kinds of stories that are so difficult to report. Of course, we have to remain objective, but honestly, I wanted to cry when I heard about both discoveries. At least this will hopefully bring some closure to their families, and let's also hope that justice will prevail for those responsible. No one's life should end as theirs did. It's also been an extra busy week for me. I'm working on a story for the February sweeps period, and went out on interviews Tuesday and Wednesday. It does make the work day speed along, when I go out on a shoot and then come back to prepare for the noon newscast. Speaking of the noon, today we will be joined via satellite by the reigning Miss America Katie Strom. So, if you're looking for something fun to watch tomorrow night, you can check out the Miss America pageant. It's on at 8 p.m. Saturday on TLC. Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron won the preliminary talent competition, so let's keep our fingers crossed for her! And finally...last but not least...get ready for another snow storm! At this point, we're expecting anywhere from four to eight inches in the Roanoke Valley. It's not starting until tonight, so you have plenty of time to head to the grocery store! Have a great weekend and enjoy this latest gift from Old Man Winter. Wednesday, January 20 I need toothpicks to hold my eyes open...it's been that kind of day. My precious one year old daughter is in the middle of getting her molars in. And if you have children, you know what that means. Teeth hurt a LOT when they first come in...and bless her heart, she's been waking up for two hours at a time in the middle of the night off and on for the last several nights...which means Mommy and Daddy are also awake for two hours. Thank goodness for Baby Orajel and Infant Motrin...and of course, the good old-fashioned rocking chair!! But before I complain too much about being tired, I have to check myself. While the HUGE breaking news story of the day were the eight murders in Appomattox county, there was also confirmation of a single death in Roanoke...of the adorable two year old boy Aveion Lewis. We still haven't heard exactly HOW the little boy died, but we do now he lost his life way too soon. I'm sure that more details about this story will come out in the coming days. My heart goes out to those who loved and took care of this child for the brief time he was here. And like always, I'm thankful to have a little one to keep me awake at night...but I really, really hope she sleeps tonight. Monday, January 11 Hello there!! Hope you had a great weekend...mine was busy busy busy!! I hope that you had the chance to see one of the performances of Walking with Dinosaurs at the Roanoke Civic Center this weekend. I took my son, Christopher Friday night and we had a blast. We had Baby T-Rex in the studio one day last week...but they brought out him and his even BIGGER comrades for the actual show. I thought one was going to take out the scoreboard, it was so huge! The show wasn't just a spectacle for kids..it was also quite educational...tracing back the prehistoric period. It discussed the different types of dinosaurs...why they went away..how climate changes affected them, etc. My one word review...AWESOME. That was Friday night...Saturday afternoon we hosted Caitlin's 1st birthday party. It's been a fast year!! Learning how to juggle daily tasks, attention, etc. between two kids is challenging...but I love it. She loved her Princess cake...but didn't smear the icing like most little ones do.. She was pretty neat about it..I even had to break apart small pieces of cake before she dove in...very ladylike! But of course, she was more about opening her presents and checking out yet a new crop of toys. The only problem with having her birthday so close to Christmas...she has to go a long time before the next batch of gifts! But mommy's purse also gets a long time to recover, too. Oh wait a minute....my son's 5th birthday's coming up in March...party time again. And speaking of Chris, he has Kindergarten registration later this week. I can't believe it. We've talked about him going to "big school" in August, but this time he'll get to actually walk though it a little and see it for himself. It'll be interesting to see if he remains the "class clown" type he is now once he switches to a different setting. I just want to prepare him for the change as best I can..if anyone has any advice on transitioning to "big school," let me know. You can always send me your comments anytime at email@example.com. I love getting feedback from you..as well as receiving story ideas. One story idea I am bouncing around in my head is about Facebook (which I'm addicted to)..how, if at all, is it affecting relationships..the good..the bad... If you have something to share, send me an e-mail.... Friday, January 8 So much for the snow!! Actually, I'm glad the storm system broke apart before it reached the Roanoke Valley. I was very happy to look out my window this morning and see bare pavement! We did, however, get off to an early start today on News 7 Mornin'. We started at 5:00 instead of 5:30...with the idea of getting a jump start on the day in the event that there was a lot of travel problems. I'm just really, really glad there wasn't.... I want to wish good luck to the 60 National Guard members who will be heading out of Lynchburg today, heading to Iraq on a security mission. They'll first report to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. You can catch our live report on their departure today on News 7 at Noon. And one more note...I want to wish my beautiful daughter Caitlin a very happy first birthday!! We'll be celebrating tomorrow with a fun party...Disney Princess theme, of course... My son Christopher will have a special treat tonight, getting to see Walking with Dinosaurs. Of course, I may be just as (or more) excited about it as he is! It's WDBJ night at the show, so hopefully we'll see you there! Have a great weekend... Monday, January 4 Happy 2010 everyone!! Yes, I realize I'm a few days late, but today is my first day at work this year...sounds rather bizarre, doesn't it?? Anyway, here's hoping that you had a great New Year's weekend. It was SOOO cold that I really didn't want to venture out very much. I'm proud that I did make it to the gym a couple of times...went out to dinner one night with friends...did some grocery shopping..that's really about it. We got to spend some quality time playing Wii tennis...my newest obsession. My son likes playing the tennis and baseball on Wii..which is perfect for his eye-hand coordination. And best of all..it's INDOORS. I'm just not a cold weather person..so I'm basically just waiting for spring at this point. Speaking of not venturing out much...how fun is it going to be now to fly anywhere?? I'll predict right here that the next step in airline security will be mandatory naked flights...Okay, I'm kidding...but seriously...how much farther will they have to go to make the skies safe?? And can they terror- proof every flight? I know that a lot of people have issues with the body scans, because of the privacy issue. But for me, I would much rather have my privacy violated than get blown up on an airliner. It's just a real shame that it's come to this. Usually, when I'm taking a flight, it's for vacation...so it should be relaxing, right?? These days...not so much. Here's to the return of the road trip! A drive to the beach on a lovely summer day sounds heavenly about right now... Thursday, December 31 Happy ALMOST New Year!! I think pretty much everyone is ready to say farewell to 2009...with the economic troubles...H1N1....huge number of celebrity deaths...it's been a rough year for a lot of folks. As for me... despite having to replace an expensive water heater and buy another vehicle just in the past few weeks, I really can't complain about this year. After all, I had my beautiful daughter, Caitlin in January! So, for that reason, it's been a banner year for me. I'm trying hard to not sweat the small stuff. That could be my new year's resolution (if I have to make one). Whenever annoying things pop up (or break down, as the case as been for me)...I remember all of the horrendous things that can happen, and realize that whatever issue I'm having really isn't the end of the world. When you're in the news biz, you're surrrounded by stories of struggle and loss...It makes you more thankful for the "normal" days. Yes, that'll continue to be my New Year's Resolution...that, and to try NOT to hit the snooze button more than twice each morning...keep in better touch with my friends....drink more water...Hey, I really DO have a lot of resolutions to keep, don't I?? However you ring in 2010, remember to be safe. I wish you all the best in the new year...and lots of GOOD NEWS! Thursday, December 24 Merry Christmas Eve!!! Hope you have safe travels if you have to go out of town to see family and friends...or even around town. Leo says we should start seeing freezing rain sometime after 2:00 a.m. tomorrow. But most folks will be sleeping, so hopefully there won't be any major travel problems. I finally have finished my Christmas shopping..hooray!! But if you haven't, the malls are happily obliging all the procrastinators by opening early today. Valley View opened at 7:00 and will close tonight at 6:00. While my shopping is done...the cooking has yet to begin. I'll be hustling in the kitchen this afternoon and tonight, but will take a break to take the kids to church. We must not forget the real meaning of Christmas...even as we're scrambling to get those last minute errands done. I wish you a very Merry Christmas. And as always, thanks for reading my blog and letting all of us on Your Hometown Station into your living room every day. Happy Holidays!! Friday, December 18 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Or, at least it will by tonight...Wow!!! A foot of snow...maybe even more is what Leo called for today. Make sure you have plenty of canned food on hand, and remember to put batteries in that flashlight, just in case the power goes out. It's been at least 10 years since we've seen a snowstorm like this one. I remember we had a doozy back in '96 when I was still doing weather on the weekends. A friend of mine visiting from NC got stuck at our apartment for five days!! Of course, I had to go to work, since I did the weather! Our assignment editor at the time had his own little taxi service and was brave enough to pick up several of us for work. There was SOOO much snow (about two feet, I believe) that I couldn't even see my own car in the parking lot for days. Good times...good times. I am excited that this will be the first really big snow that my children will see and we'll definitely be outside tomorrow building a snowman!! Hopefully, most people will heed the warnings and stay off the roads. Believe me, I plan to. Have a happy, safe weekend. And don't forget to e-mail us your snow pics! Tuesday, December 15 Hello there...greetings from the News 7 newsroom! Aside from the ongoing national stories I'm writing today about the healthcare debate and Tiger's transgressions, there's yet another recall story. This one affects parents in particular. We've all heard about the dangers of mini-blinds to children. Today the government and window covering industry are recalling more than 50 million Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds because of the risk that children may be strangled by the cords. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says five deaths and 16 near-strangulations from Roman shades have been reported since 2006. It's an important reminder to parents to look around the house for these and any other potential dangers. It seems like it's always the innocuous things that are the most dangerous... Tuesday, December 8 Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I am back at work today after a four day winter break. It was really nice to be able to sleep in a bit.... or at least until 7:00...both of my children are usually awake and raring to go by then! I got some Christmas shopping done...wrapped presents...addressed Christmas cards, etc. I also took Chris and Caitlin to see Sesame Street Live on Sunday with Leo's wife and son. This year's theme was "Elmo's Green Thumb", which was, you guessed it, all about taking care of the environment. I love how they always incorporate current issues in children's shows. Best to educate them early... It was also nice being off to enjoy our early snowstorm. There wasn't a lot to play in, but we were able to take some nice pictures! It seems everybody is talking "Tiger" these days...and not about his championship golfing talents, either. It's always a disappointment when someone of his reputation...an "idol" if you will, falls from grace in such a public manner. Of course, we all have to watchful of who we declare an "idol." We're all human...all subject to make mistakes. But I think it's just human nature to expect more out of someone who has put himself out there as such a squeaky clean sportsman. We've seen the video clips of Tiger playing golf before he was in preschool.. It's those images that have endeared him to us...even those who don't really follow golf. I do..since my husband is an avid golfer and big fan of Tiger's. But I don't think he's a fan anymore. It will be interesting to see if the big dollar sponsors like Nike stand by their man in the days and weeks to come. I just wonder how many bad headlines are going to send Nike running? Today's big development, of course, is the 911 call overnight to Tiger's home, reportedly for his mother-in-law. Makes you wonder what Christmas is going to be like in that household this year... Tuesday, December 1 Hello December!! Leo says we're in for some colder weather this coming weekend, as in highs in the 30s..yikes! I'm glad that I got my holiday decorating all done. I'm also happy that I have a four day weekend coming up, in return for working Thanksgiving Day and my birthday. You might have noticed that Bob Grebe was filling in for me yesterday in the noon anchor chair...the reason? I had a water emergency at my house, as in, the water heater went kaput and there was standing water in our laundry room and seepage on the hallway carpet. Ugh!! So, I ended up leaving work early to go deal with that, and buy a shiny, new water heater. Don't you just love it when expensive things break, right before Christmas?? Of course, I'm lucky that the plumber was available to do the work yesterday...and there are certainly worse crises. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that nothing else decides to break for a long, long time. Of course, I am scheduled to take my vehicle in for an oil change this afternoon. Let's hope that's ALL that's needed. .Maybe I need to ask Santa for a 24-hour handyman.. Tuesday, November 24 For parents of infants..what a scary story about the Stork Craft crib recalls. Fortunately, we have a different brand at my house, and it's NOT a drop-side crib. I've always been paranoid about those kinds of cribs anyway. It just seems like common sense that an active baby would shake the rail so much that it might give way, or at least loosen. We have a link to all of the recall information in the News 7 Web links section of our Web Site. It's always a good idea to periodically check the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site anyway...it seems like we're always doing recall stories!! Stay informed to stay safe... Monday, November 23 Happy rainy Monday...ick! I really had a hard time getting out of bed this morning..and not just because it was 3:15 AM. It's hard to get motivated on a cold, rainy day, don't you think?? Anyway, it's been a pretty good day at work so far. Be sure to tune in tonight to News 7 at 6 for my special piece, Consignment Christmas. We asked folks in this area what they think about giving and/or receiving gifts from used or consignment stores...and as you'd imagine, we got some interesting responses! As for myself...I have done consignment shopping a lot for children's clothing, as well as for clothing and bags for myself. But it was really interesting to explore the idea of consignment gift-giving. It's a good option to save some cash. As far as RECEIVING a used gift, I suppose it would depend on what it was. But nothing TOO personal, please!! I've been trying to decide when to buy our Christmas tree this year. We usually do it the first Saturday in December. But for some reason this year, I'm wanting to get it earlier. So..we might have to make a tree jaunt this weekend. We always get a Frasier Fir..there's just something about the smell of a real tree that you just can't get from an artificial tree. True...there are more work...but I think they're worth it... Wednesday, November 18 Whew! It's been a busy week. I've pretty much finished my special sweeps story, "Consignment Christmas," which will air on Monday, the 23rd on News 7 at 6. We got a pretty good range of opinions on the topic...and also put the question out to our viewers in a Survey USA poll. Those questions included whether they would consider giving a used or consignment item as a holiday gift...and how they would feel if they received a gift with "previous experience." Be sure to check out my story on Monday! Speaking of the holidays...it's not even Thanksgiving yet, and there does seem to be some Christmas pressure on. Bob did a story yesterday about the two area radio stations Sunny FM and Q99 FM that are already filling their airwaves with wall-to-wall Christmas music. My feeling is..if it's a holiday song that I really like, I'll listen...then change the dial to a non-holiday station. Don't get me wrong..I love Christmas music...but it's a bit early. After Thanksgiving, it's all good...and I will happily listen to holiday music 24- 7. And believe it or not, my children have already been to see Santa. Tanglewood Mall hosted its annual Breakfast with Santa last Saturday. I debated whether or not to go...but we parents are always looking for something fun to do with the kids...so I thought, why not?? Chris, of course, was excited to put in an early wish list to the big guy in the red suit. Caitlin was okay with him at the breakfast....but went into full meltdown mode on his lap when we went for the "official" Santa portrait.... But hey, it's still early. We have PLENTY of time for another visit with Santa.... Friday, November 13 Yikes! It's Friday the 13th. Beware of black cats and don't walk under any ladders. Not that I'm all that superstitious, but why take chances? I haven't gotten to blog this week due to computer problems, but hopefully those are all cleared up. Speaking of trying to clear things up, I'm ready for my cold/sinus congestion to clear up. If you've been watching News 7 Mornin' and News 7 at Noon this week, you may have thought Ken McBroom was in the anchor chair, instead of Kimberly McBroom. I sound a little better than earlier this week, but still not quite up to par.. Keith Humphry will actually be anchoring the noon today..I will be out shooting my holiday shopping story which will air later this month. Drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've already started your holiday shopping. I'm planning a story on holiday "bargain" hunting...searching for gifts at thrift shops and consignment stores. Yes, people are doing that this year. According to a blog post on the National Retail Federation's Web site, one in 10 people plan to buy a used gift this year. Give me your thoughts on the topic... Have a great weekend!! I plan to get some Christmas shopping done this weekend at Stocked Market. Can't wait!! Monday, November 2 Hope everyone has recovered from the sugar rush of Halloween weekend! I can't believe how much candy we have left over. We have at least three bags of unopened candy....PLUS Christopher's stash from two rounds of trick-or-treating, his party at pre-school and the bash here at the station. Hopefully, you got to see all of the kids of News 7 showing off their Halloween best on Friday during News 7 at 5! They were all so cute!!! And I was proud of my little Caitlin..she hung right in there for nearly an hour of trick-or-treating before getting tired and hungry Saturday night. I'm sure she'll enjoy it much more next year. I dressed up as Cleopatra on Friday, and as a witch on Saturday. I dress up every year, whether or not there's a party to attend. It's just a part of my childhood that I refuse to give up. Speaking of childhood, I took my son to see "Where the Wild Things Are" yesterday. I absolutely loved it. I think I enjoyed it just as much as Christopher did. He liked seeing the "wild things" from the book come alive on screen, running amok, destroying things in their perfect society in which a boy could be "King." However, for the adults seeing the movie, it became clear that you just can't create a perfect utopia. Sooner or later, it's time to get back to reality and go home...just as the main character, Max does in the end. I had to see for myself how director Spike Jonze could expand a book that takes two minutes to read into a two hour film. But he does it beautifully. Two thumbs up from this kid. Tuesday, October 27 Wow..what a busy news day it's been. There's been a lot of discussion on the air and off about stories like the Northwest Airlines pilots playing on their laptops with their headsets OFF during a flight that went 150 miles past its destination....the local story of Ashley Weeks facing charges of obtaining money under false pretenses for lying about having terminal cancer and accepting donations...and of course, the story about Disney, the makers of the Baby Einstein videos offering parents a refund because there was no proof the videos were making children smarter. How would they begin to be able to prove something like that anyway?? Baby Einstein has dropped the word "educational" from its marketing. I can't imagine any parent actually believing that plopping their baby in front of one of these videos would actually improve the child's IQ. My daughter Caitlin, who's nine-and-a-half months old, will only look at the TV screen for about 20 seconds at a time, if there's music. Otherwise, she shows no interest in TV. When she gets a little older, I'll show her the one Baby Einstein DVD we have..but I certainly don't expect her to suddenly recognize all letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. solely from watching it. My son Christopher watched the Baby Einstein video from time to time when he was smaller. But again, I think he's able to write his name and his letters because of pre-school and practice at home..not because of something he gazed at as an , infant. There's no substitute for one-on-one human interaction when it comes to teaching children. I'm not an educator, but it doesn't take an "Einstein" to figure that out... On the subject of Ashley Weeks, I just can't for the life of me understand her actions. As someone who's lost several family members and friends to cancer, it's really hard for me to wrap my mind around why someone would make up such a story. To lie to acquaintances is bad enough...but to also lie to her husband, children, parents, etc. is unbelievable. I truly hope that she's able to find some way to make restitution. Friday, October 23 My thoughts, prayers and good wishes are with the family of missing Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. I cannot imagine what her family and friends are going through right now. But I do admire their unbelievable strength, as shown by their presence at last night's vigil at Northside High School. And what a beautiful expression of love..the family's number code "2-4-1". I was struck by what Morgan's mother Gil said about how she's able to cope with all of this without falling apart. She said today on "The Early Show" that she and her husband's background in the medical field help them keep their emotions in check. I get that..but still I hope that in private, they are , letting the tears come. It's not healthy to keep everything bottled up inside. We also reported on the candelight vigil last night for little seven-year-old Florida girl Somer Thompson. Somer's body was found in a Georgia landfill and so far at least, police have not named any suspects and no witnesses have come forward. This little girl was just walking up from school and got separated from her group, when someone decided to take her and take her life, as well. Stories like these NEVER get easier to report. They happen, and it's our job to talk about them..but it's very difficult sometimes. Let's hope and pray that Morgan's story has a much happier ending than Somer's... Monday, October 19 INXS, Michael Jackson, Poison, you name it....the '80s tunes were turning Saturday night at 419 West Restaurant in Roanoke County. Why?? It was the "awesome" scene of my 20-year high school reunion. William Byrd's Class of '89 got together and had a blast! It was wonderful catching up with everybody, hearing about their families, their jobs, meeting their spouses, etc. It's so hard for me to believe that two decades have passed by. While we all look different (definitely with better hair now!), I think we all sort of still see each other as we were back in school. And yes, the cliques were there...but we all blended well as "grown-ups" just happy to see each other again. Of course, it was hard to see the "In Memory Of" display of those alum no longer with us. It's just more proof that time doesn't stand still for anyone, and we have to enjoy each other while we're here. And let me tell you...we sure did Saturday night. I think it's safe to say a good time was had by all...even though we did have to wear the embarassing name tags with our senior photos on them...Yikes!!!!!! Class of '89..we still rock. Tuesday, , October 13 Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We just got our monthly blog report, and I'm happy to say that I had 2,053 hits in the month of September. I appreciate everyone who stops by to check in with me!! Let's see, so far so good this week. Tomorrow I'm reading to a group of students at Cave Spring Elementary School. I always welcome the chance to visit our "youngest viewers," and take a little break from working on national stories. One piece I am putting together for sometime next month is on consignment shopping. It's an industry that's HUGE, especially since most folks are trying to save cash these days. Last weekend, I checked out the big children's consignment sale at the old A & N building on Route 419 in Roanoke County.It was packed with savvy shoppers...and it's much the same situation at consignment stores. I've picked up a lot of good bargains on clothing for my kids. They outgrow them so quickly, it's a really smart approach. SOOO...that makes me wonder...how many of you plan to shop consignment for the holidays? Drop me an e-mail at kmcbroo, email@example.com and let me know. Friday, October 9 Thank you to everyone who has called, e-mailed, posted messages on Facebook, etc. in support of our dear friend, Leo. We announced today on News 7 Mornin' that Leo is battling cancer. He's undergoing chemotherapy and will come to work as he feels up to it. The green bracelets that some of us have been wearing for the last several weeks are in support of him. It's one small gesture to show him that we love him and are behind him. Please remember him, his wife Karen and their son, Ayden in your thoughts and prayers. Monday, October 5 Gone pumpkin hunting yet?? We got our first one this Saturday at the Harvest Festival in downtown Roanoke. What a beautiful day...and perfect for decorating pumpkins. Christopher had fun coloring his pumpkin and writing his name on it. Yes, his mommy is very proud that he's working harder on his handwriting skills...after all, Kindergarten's less than a year away!! Let's see, Saturday was the Harvest Festival...Friday was th, e , final First Fridays' of the year. And again, the weather cooperated. How about The Kings?? They were awesome!! I hadn't heard them play in a while, but they rocked it. I love this time of year, because is so much to do. Last weekend, there was essentially a fall festival at every corner. This coming weekend is the Vinton fall festival...and we still need to head to one of the pumpkin patches to get the "Great" pumpkin for the year. Not sure if I'm going to do another carving attempt. Last year's was supposed to look like a bat...but instead it was a mangled mess. I noticed this weekend that the supermarkets are starting to sell the ones that are pre-decorated...Hmmmm..... Tuesday, September 29 It was great seeing everyone Sunday afternoon at the Home Show!! Thanks to all of you who came by the booth to talk to us. It's always nice to see our loyal viewers face to face. You're the reason that we do what we do.... Speaking of what we do...we try to balance our newscasts with the important news of the day, plus a good dose of human interest/feature stories. But sometimes the "heavy" stories seem to outweigh the others. For example, at noon today, we have yet another disturbing story about child abuse. A 14- year- old boy in Oklahoma City spent the past four and a half years locked in a bedroom closet. He's never been to school, and has scars from being stabbed, beaten and choked. His mother and a, friend of hers are behind bars, but haven't yet been "officially" charged. These stories NEVER get easier to report. We often wonder why the world is the way it is. But when people are tortured as children, they often grow up as tortured adults, who then inflict torture on others. It's a scary cycle of violence. I just hope that this boy is able to get the help he needs to re-build his life, so that he doesn't grow up to do the same thing to his children. Friday, September 25 It's finally Friday! Woo hoo! And it's been a busy week. We had two days of a storytelling workshop with award-winning journalist Mike Redding. It's always nice to get a new perspective from someone like him, who is a MASTER storyteller and a great journalist. Just like with every industry, it's easy to fall into the same routine while writing a news story, going out on a shoot, setting up an interview, etc. Mike gave us all some useful tools, so hopefully you'll notice some changes for the better when you watch our newscasts!! I've also been so busy this week that I haven't really had a chance to miss "Guiding Light" too much... I was happy with how the loose ends were tied up in the finale. And of course, I was thrilled that Reva and Josh ended up together. That HAD to happen!! My only complaint is that I would have liked for the writers to have stretched out some of the scenes with the characters that were brought back for the finale...like Holly, Michelle and Danny, Mindy, Dylan, etc. It felt a bit rushed, but time was running out...At any rate, it ended well and now I'm hoping to see some GL re-runs airing somewhere... Since it's going to be a rainy weekend...at least for half of the weekend...come on by the Home , Show at the Salem Civic Center. Our weather guys will be out there on Saturday...several of us ladies from News 7 will be there to meet folks on Sunday afternoon between 1:00 and 3:00. So, come by our table and say Hello! Have a great weekend! Friday, September 18 They say all good things must come to an end. I've always HATED that saying...but it's fitting for this occasion. After 72 years and nearly 16,000 drama-filled episodes, "Guiding Light" will shine no more after today. The final episode airs on Your Hometown Station at 3:00 p.m., the time slot's it's held for as long as I can remember. And I say that literally...as long as I can remember...the hour between 3 and 4 has meant something to me.&nb, sp; When I was four years old, I started gazing at the screen when "Guiding Light" came on the TV at my babysitter's home. She watched all of the CBS soaps, but there was something about that one that got my attention. So yes, I was hooked at an early age. I think it was because I thought the people were so pretty to look at...then I was able to start following a storyline here and there. I remember Eve being blind...I remember the evil Roger Thorpe falling off the cliff to his "death", the adventures of the gang at Laurel Falls...and as I got older, I fell in love with Phillip Spaulding, who fell in love with the meek Beth Raines. But of course, the main storyline that enraptured me and still does in the romance between Josh and Reva. Will they end up together this afternoon? We shall find out if "always" means "always". If you watched News 7 Mornin' today, you saw me sharing my pictures from a couple of fan events at Kings Domi, nion, where I had the pleasure of meeting Kim Zimmer, Robert Newman, David Andrew MacDonald, Gina Tognoni, Tom Pelphrey and several other cast members. It was a dream come true for me to meet the people who came into my home every afternoon. And I'm happy to say that each was friendly and gracious, which makes me even more sad that they are now out of jobs in an economy that isn't that welcoming to job seekers. I wish them all the best in their careers. Of course, anything they find won't be the same as having a role on broadcasting's longest-running show ever. Yes, I will miss "Guiding Light". I will miss the characters. I will miss the wild storylines. , I will miss the romance and the fantasy. I will miss that 3:00 to 4:00 hour meaning something. If you're not a soap opera fan, you probably don't understand. But I'm proud to be a "Guiding Light" fan. We're among the most loyal fans in the world. And I'm grateful that "Guiding Light" was a part of my life for 33 years. One more final thought. This is an excerpt of the original character, Rev. Ruthledge's sermon to those in need. They may be lines from a soap, but they're lovely a, nd poignant and have always resonated with me: There is a destiny that makes us brothers None goes his way alone All that we send into the lives of others Comes back into our own. Farewell, "Guiding Light"....I will miss you. Wednesday, September 16 Sometimes work is fun!!! Such was the case today on News 7 Mornin' when yours truly, along with co-host Bob Grebe, and a couple of other Mornin' crew members did some not-so-fancy footwork while attempting to learn the steps to the Thriller dance. Bob was doing a preview of the big Halloween bash happening at the Roanoke Civic Center, at which there will be an attempt to break the world record for the number of people performing the Thriller dance. By the third or fourth quick lesson today , we had it down. Well, at least one segment of the dance! You could call it a fun-spirited homage to both Michael Jackson and actor/dancer Patrick Swayze...yet another celebrity that we lost this year far too early. In addition to being an '80s idol, Swayze proved he was also a courageous man...working as long as he could and fighting pancreatic cancer until the very end. Kudos to him for helping to raise $100 million for cancer research by taking part in the "Stand up to Cancer" fundraiser last year. Too bad that he won't be able to benefit from further research, but hopefully, many others will. Of course, Swayze will forever be known for his role in "Dirty Dancing"., It would have been an honor to dance with you, Johnny Castle... Friday, September 11 Many of us have been saying it all day..."I can't believe it's been eight years since 911." For our generation, it's one of those monumental events, like the Kennedy assassination, that always feels like it just happened no matter how much time passes. And we remember where we were when these kinds of events do happen. It was on a weekday morning, so I was at work, but at the old WDBJ building on Colonial Avenue. I was really tired that day (imagine that, with this schedule)...and I had actually laid down on the mini-sofa in the ladies bathroom/dressing room for a quick catnap in between morning news cut-ins. My eyes had only been closed for a minute or two, when our associate producer at the time rushed in, breathlessly saying something about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. My heart started pounding and I jumped off the sofa and scrambled into the newsroom to watch the networks, which of course, were simultaneously airing video of what had just happened. Then, horror of horrors, a second plane crashed into the other tower. And then more attacks on the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania...It felt like it was going to keep going on and on. I remember thinking that this was it...the end of the world....and I so wasn't ready for it to happen. As a journalist, you walk a fine line between being objective and being a human being. That day, and the days that followed...we were all human beings first, journalists sec, ond. We had the same feeling when the April 16th attack happened at Virginia Tech. You have to cover the news...you have to do your job...but you do it with a heavy heart. Let's all take a moment today to remember the real heroes of our country who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. No matter how many anniversaries come and go, we will never forget. Tuesday, September 8 Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend! There's something almost magical about a 3- day weekend...it's almost, ALMOST like having a week off... Anyway, we enjoyed the cool, mild weather for the most part. Of course, getting rained on at the Salem Red Sox game Saturday night was no fun. That shower just seemed to come from nowhere!! But yesterday was nice for holiday grilling and perfect for taking the kids to the park... Caitlin is crawling faster every day, and loves to make a beeline for her brother's toys. She's figured out early that his toys are way more fun than hers... Of course, the big story of the day...President Obama's speech to America's schoolchildren. My kids are too young to really "get" the message. But I've already tried to convey to my four- year-old son that it's important to listen to his pre-school teachers and do his best. I just read the transcript, of Obama's speech on-line, and that's pretty much the jist of it. Granted, there's been PLENTY of controversy over its content and the lesson plan that accompanied it (which was changed after all of the hullabaloo). Try as I might, I wasn't able to read any kind of political agenda into his remarks. And as long as the President keeps with the script, I don't think any politics will seep out to the kids. Encouraging children to stay in school, avoid taking the wrong path, and being responsible for their own future is a great message..no matter what political affiliation you happen to have. Everyone needs a pep talk every now and then...and who more than our nation's children? Tuesday, September 1 See you in September!! Oh, there you are!! What a beautiful start to the month! Cool and sunny...and it looks like blue skies right on through the Labo, r Day weekend. How lucky are we? Especially considering what those poor Southern Californians are dealing with. My husband is originally from San Diego, and we've gone out to visit several times. The first time I went was in October, right in the midst of Santa Ana season. I saw my first brush fire up close, and it is amazing. Of course, it didn't get close to where were were staying, thank goodness. It's just another way that Mother Nature proves she's boss... So far, so good this week. My seven-month-old daughter had some teething drama the other night that kept us awake. But I'm happy to report that last night, she slept just fine! Teething is tough!! Caitlin is also now crawling and growing like a weed. Thanks to all of you who ask about her and my four-year-old son, Chris. It's nice to know that viewers care!! Speaking of caring, the United Way Day of Caring is coming up this Thursday. You can check out our Web site for all sorts of ways to help..be it financially or time-wise. I'll be reading to students at the Northwest Child Development Center Thursday morning, and I'm really looking forward to it! One other note...be sure to check out News 7 at Noon today. We'll have a LIVE interview with country legen, d George Jones, who's releasing a new album today. That's all for now...have a good one! Thursday, August 27 Hi there...boy it's been a busy week in the news. Of course, pretty much every week is. The big national story is, as you know, the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. Not entirely a surprise, considering he had been battling brain cancer for a year. But there's always been something larger than life about the Kennedy clan-- a clan that keeps getting smaller and smaller. I can't help but wonder how Caroline is handling yet ANOTHER death in her family. Now she really is pretty much the last one standing. Whatever your political beliefs, you have to admire Ted Kennedy for working until pretty much his last breath. Just last WEEK, he was pushing for Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law and appoint an interim senator, instead of leaving his seat empty for five months before a special election to choose his successor. Right up unti, l the end, Kennedy was working for his liberal ideals. That's the other thing, Kennedy was actually proud to be called a "liberal". I was also touched by the fact that he had a strong friendship with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. If those two could find common ground on a personal level, there should be hope for the rest of us. One other note, I know that I have been blogging a LOT about famous deaths. But seriously, I don't recall a year in recent history in which we've lost this many prominent people. The annual end-of-the-year network obit pieces are going to run for like, 20 or 30 minutes this year.... Friday, August 21 Happy Friday to you!!! Experimenting with food is always interesting....In case you didn't see it, Bob Grebe introduced us to some vegan fare on News 7 Mornin' today, courtesy of the folks at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op. Leo and I poked fun of him all morning for taking FOREVER to finish his breakfast smoothie. But in the spirit of being willing to try new things, I sampled the various menu items he brought back to the station. The smoothie...containing banana, peach ang kale was a bit too raw for my tastes. However, I did like the chocolate truffle. The non-meat taco was good at first, but did leave a bit of an after-taste. Of course, none of it was as awful as I had feared. Eating raw foods is very good for you..I just don't think I have the stomach to go totally vegan. But I am quite proud of myself for at least trying it. It's just like the Dr. Seuss book, "Green Eggs and Ham". You don't know whether you like something until you try it. Oh and by the way, I also don't like ham. Monday, August 17 Hi there....I'm back!! Vacation was great. It just went by way too quickly! We had a fun trip to Richmond to visit some friends, and then went to Busch Gardens. Last Sunday was HOT in Williamsburg!! We drank water all day and tried to find shade where we could. The new Sesame Street Forest of Fun section was awesome...some really great rides!! One of my personal favorites...Prince Elmo's Spire. I know..what an adorable name!! Chris and his little 5- year- old frien, , , , ,,, ,, d Madison got to ride most of them by themselves..but I did get on a couple with Chris. Lines weren't too awful, either, mostly because they keep the rides fairly short. We also indulged in the buffet lunch with Elmo and Friends. Totally worth the money, I thought. In addition to kid-friendly fare like mac n' cheese, chicken nuggets and hot dogs, they had items like pork loin and fajitas for the grown-ups. While eating, we got to watch the Sesame Street characters perform on stage and afterward the kids got to have their pictures taken with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, etc. So cute!!! Aside from that trip, we spent the rest of the week doing fun things close to home..like going to the pool, Mill Mountain zoo, the park, Center in the Square and the Red Sox game. The main thing was having some good quality family time. Now...back to the grind... Friday, August 7 Yippee! Friday is finally here. But it's not just a Friday for me...it's the last day before a week of vacation. I haven't had any time off since my maternity leave, so yes, I am quite ready. We're mostly doing a "staycation" this time around, but are also heading to Busch Gardens for a quick getaway. It'll just be nice to spend some quality time with the family and relax!! If you were watching News 7 Mornin' today, you might have caught our end of the newscast ode to director John Hughes. He died suddenly yesterday morning at the age of 59 of a heart attack. I think I can safely speak for thousands, maybe even millions of people who believe that John Hughes got them through their teens. I can't imagine never having seen "Sixteen Candles, "The Breakfast Club," or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Those films are classics, and hit the nail on the head when it came to what life was like as an adolescent during the '80s. I have watched those movies, along with "Pretty in Pink" and "Uncle Buck" probably a gazillion (however many that really is) times, and have never grown tired of them. I'm not a teenager anymore, but I still get it. Those themes of coming-of-age, feeling awkward and out of place, wanting to escape authority, etc. are timeless. And you know what, those feelings don't leave you once you leave your teens. Not completely. Thanks for the life lessons, John. And on that note....have a great week everyone! I will definitely have to, set aside some time to watch "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" on one of MY days off... Wednesday, July 29 How can it already be the last week of July??? Almost time for the onslaught of Back to School ads and commercials. I remember those commercials always bringing a mixture of excitement and dread. There was, of course, the fun of buying a new outfit (or several, depending on how much $$ I'd earned that summer). I even looked forward to buying new school supplies. Yeah..I know...sounds pretty nerdy. But it all comes full circle for me this time NEXT year when Christopher starts Kindergarten. Yikes!!! And by the way, he and his little buddies had an awesome time last Saturday at the "Touch a Truck" Festival at Green Hill Park. In addition to trucks, they also had a jet that the kids could get have their pictures taken in...plus motorcycles...fire trucks..even Lifeguard 10. This week has been fairly quiet so far. One of the more noteworthy stories in my opinion...the Covington woman who admitted to making up the story about getting abducted and sexually assaulted last week in Alleghany County. Not only did she incite panic among female residents in that area (and probably surrounding areas), she also wasted the time of law enforcement. I can't say what her motive was. It's just unfortunate that sometimes when things like this happen, it can cast doubt , , on, legitimate claims of the same crime. Hopefully that won't happen in this situation. The sheriff's department says it is still actively working the first abduction- assault case, and believes that one is the real deal. Thursday, July 23 Ahhh Thursday...so close to the weekend...yet still far enough away where I can't quite get into relaxation mode. I am hoping for some nice weather, like we had LAST weekend. My friend and I took the kids to the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge last Saturday...so much fun!!! Chris loved feeding the exotic animals, and baby Caitlin just slept through it all. LOL! It took about an hour and a half to get through the whole park. So, if you're looking for something fun to do on a weekend that's fairly close by...I highly recommend it!!! Oh, and afterward we indulged in cupcakes at Bubblecake, the new shop on Crystal Spring Avenue that Bob Grebe featured last Friday on News 7 Mornin'. All I can say is YUM!!!!! , They're so big and soft, you almost need to eat them on a plate.... Today, meanwhile hasn't been too busy of a news day (so far). I just finished writing the national stories for the noon newscast with, of course, the biggest story today and probably for the whole week being the debate over President Obama's health care reform plan. It IS expensive...and it does seem to be rushing it a bit to have legislation passed before the August recess...but in my opinion something needs to be done. There are so many people who fall through the cracks when it comes to insurance coverage...and COBRA is often an expense that those who are out of work simply can't afford. I can't say that I know what the answer is...but I'm just not sure that I've heard a good one yet. In other headlines..of course, today is Walter Cronkite's memorial. You can watch it here at wdbj7.com. Our coverage will begin at 1:50 this afternoon. That's it for now...I'm about 30 minutes away from the start of the noon newscast, so I need to run. Monday, July 20 "And that's the way it is"...that phrase is forever etched in all of our minds...even those of us who were still in elementary school when the beloved Walter Cronkite retired from the CBS Evening News anchor chair in 1981. My childhood memories of watching "Uncle Walter" on the news are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember thinking of him as a wise, old man who really knew what he was talking about. It would be years later before I would realize how valuable that was. It would be years before I would learn that the very ter, m "anchor"..you know, the job I do for a living...actually came from Walter Cronkite himself. As we've all heard and read over the last few days since his death, Cronkite was in a class all by himsel, f. He was repeatedly voted the most trusted man in America. Just think about that for a minute. Is there anyone around these days that you would comfortably label that way? I can't think of anyone, and that feels a bit sad. Nowadays, there is a collective cynicism and skepticism about people in the news business. Granted, some of it is justified. I just have to believe that the majority of us are unbiased, and are working to get the real story out there. Will there ever be another Walter Cronkite? We won't see another pioneer like him, but I do hope those of us who report and deliver the news do our best to emulate him. It's important to be first, but it's MORE important to be right. See...I have learned something after more than 15 years in the TV news biz. Good night, Uncle Walter. Thursday, July 16 Kudos to Roanoke County for being featured in next month's issue of "Money Magazine" in its list of top 100 places to live in the small town category of the U.S. You might have seen Bob's story about this on News 7 Mornin' today. The Cave Spri, ng neighborhood in particular came in at number 89 on the list. Among the great qualities listed is the area's low crime rate, strong local economy and great jobs. These days, it's nice to hear some POSITIVE news when it comes to ANYTHING economy-related. And as a native of the area..I'm always happy to see national recognition for my home turf! As for the other top business story....we're still not certain IF Ukrops is indeed for sale. It's nice having it here in the area...adding some variety to the grocery shopping choices. And I must say, I LOVE its salad bar!!! So yes, I would definitely miss it if it did leave the area. I suppose we'll have to wait and see what happens...Guess that's it for now..the time slipped up on me and it's now 15 minutes before noon. Gotta get ready for news time!!! Monday, July 13 Karma is a funny thing... Just MINUTES after I made the comment that I was having an okay Monday so far, I spilled cereal in the hallway and managed to acquire some UNidentified stain on my skirt...ARRGH!!! Oh well..I'll try not to sweat the small stuff. Hope you had a great weekend. The weather messed with our plans a little bit. We were planning to head to the Salem Red Sox game Saturday night, but the sky was almost black around the time we were going to leave and then it started raining. So.., .we stayed in and I actually got some much-needed scrapbooking done. Yes, I had pictures back from Easter that were still in the Walgreens envelopes. While scrapbooking, I watched the movie, "Burn After Reading"...SOOO funny!!! Brad Pitt was hysterical as the clueless fitness trainer/wannabe blackmailer. And George Clooney..well...he's always awesome... Yesterday the sun came out really nice, so my mom and I took the kids to the park to play. I like to spend every possible minute outside this time of year, because it goes by so fast... Newswise, let's see...confirmation hearings start today for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. She's expected to sail through...barring any "bombshells"... and authorities are investigating a police-involved shooting in Roanoke. Never a dull moment in the news biz! Tuesday, July 7 Hope everyone enjoyed their July 4th weekend. It was SOOOO nice just to have three days off in a row! I took Christopher to the Salem Fair to meet up with his buddy from pre-school and his mom. Chris had a blast on the rides. His favorite one was the least "technologically advanced" of all-- the big slide. No kidding, he and his friend must have gone down that slide 20 times!!! Saturday we hit the pool and grilled out. That night we took the kids to the fireworks show in Vinton. The Kings played and were awesome!!! Chris of course was psyched to see the fireworks and even Caitlin seemed to like them. I made sure she had a bottle, so she was all full and happy while watching the show in the sky! How lucky were we to have nice weather to celebrate our nation's independence! Of course, the big story today-- Michael Jackson's memorial service. Just as he had in l, ife, the media and spectators are gathering by the THOUSANDS to watch. I will be watching from my sofa after I get home from work this afternoon. CBS coverage begins at 1:00 and is expected to run for about 90 minutes. If you've read the comments on our Web page, no doubt, you've seen that many people think Jackson's untimely death is getting too much coverage. Like him or not, he was one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Period. Elvis Presley received tons of coverage when he died, too. Of course, that was before the era of 24- hour TV news coverage and the Internet. Trust me, had the King of Rock N' Roll died during THIS decade, he too would have seen this kind of wall to wall coverage. A lot has been reported about Jackson's personal life. A lot of accusations have been made. But today...the day of his funeral...let's just agree to pay our respects and let him rest in peace. Tuesday, June 30 VERY upsetting story coming up today on News 7 at noon about a fatal accident in Botetourt County involving a baby who was only two weeks old. The car the infant was traveling in went off the road and over an embankment. My heart goes out to her and the entire family. I can't imagine wh, , ,, , at today must be like for them... And in a story that's still baffling the world...the saga continues in the aftermath of Michael Jackson's death. Now there's a debate over whether or not he even had a WILL. Supposedly, the singer had one drafted several years ago that divies up his estate among his mother, his kids and his charities. But there's NO mention of Joe Jackson, his dad...the man who could end up raising his children if the courts let Katherine Jackson retain custody. And what about the biological (surrogate?) mother, Debbie Rowe? Where does she fit into all of this? And does she even want to fit in? We've heard from Jackson's father, his sister, his brother and his former lawyer...but we haven't heard yet from his children. I wonder what they want and who they wish to raise them. It's going to be even more impossible for them to have a "normal" life, now that their father is dead. No matter who ends up with the kids, or even if (gasp) it turns out Michael Jackson is not their biological father, they will always live in the shadow of the King of Pop. The ONE person who probably can relate to them more than anyone else is Jackson's first ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley. She knows a little something about living in the shadow of a super-famous father. Maybe she can step forward and offer those children some much needed motherly advice. Friday, June 26 What a sad week in the world of entertainment. First, we lose the legendary TV host Ed McMahon....and yesterday, the very beautiful Farrah Fawcett died. We all saw that one coming, considering how ill she's been. However, news of the King of Pop dying felt like a sledgehammer against the skull. True, he has looked frail in recent years. But I think we've grown accustomed to his appearance being um...strange.... I was at the pool yesterday afternoon with Chris and Caitlin when K92 broke in to say that Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital with cardiac arrest. By the time we got home and I started making dinner, the news was growing dimmer by the minute. The next headline was "Michael Jackson's in a coma"..and minutes later...."Michael Jackson Reportedly Dies." It was one of those surreal events, much like when Princess Diana died. You don't want to believe it...but there it is...right in front of you. The ever-present montage of their lives flashing across the scree, n. Jackson was, of course, not without controversy. Even though he was acquitted on the child molestation charges, questions still linger as to what actually went on. I don't know. He's a complex figure, for sure. I have been (and continued to be) a fan of his since "Thriller" exploded on the music scene in the early '80s. And on Grammy night, 1984, I remember jumping up and down on my bed when he literally won pretty much every trophy given out that year. I felt such a bond to him and his music...so did millions of other people. , ; His body of work is like a soundtrack to my life (and many others). It's hard to think that that soundtrack could ever come to an end. Thank goodness, we still have his music to play whenever we're feeling nostalgic...and more likely...just want to get our groove on and dance. Because no matter what else Michael Jackson may have been or done...he was a talent that was matched by no one else, except perhaps Elvis Presley. Sadly, there are too many parallels to their lives and how they ended. When I was glued to the news last night, my son Christopher pointed to the TV and asked me, "Who's that?" I said..that's Michael Jackson. He looked puzzled...then got up and pointed to the "Thriller" album cover that showed a much younger Michael Jackson. "Who's THAT?", he asked again. I replied, "That's Michael Jackson...Same man..just looked different." Maybe that's how we should all remember him...., same man as the one we all came to love decades ago...just looked different. Rest in peace, MJ. Tuesday, June 23 Okay...I stayed up about 15 minutes late hoping to see the "bombshell" announcement about Jon and Kate...but alas, they apparently saved that for the end of the show. Of course, I already knew that they were going to announce they were getting a divorce. I guess I was hoping TLC was trying to trick us into thinking that, only to have Jon and Kate say they're going to seek counseling and try to save their marriage. I'm planning to watch the episode in its entirety on DVR this afternoon when I get home, even though I (and everyone else) knows what happened. It SEEMS pretty clear what happened. Kate got caught up in the fun of being a celebrity, while Jon grew to resent it (and his wife). But I can't help but wonder if there were other issues going on there, as well. Viewers weren't privy to EVERY private moment between this couple. And just the stress of raising children can create tension in a marriage. I do hope that their decision wasn't a kneejerk reaction to their differences in dealing with the limelight..and that they don't later regret splitting up once TLC and the viewing public grow tired of them. Of course, now that they're no longer "Jon and Kate Plus 8", that may happen sooner rather than later. But the real concern here is the children. It'll be interesting to see how they handle their parents' divorce under the glaring light of publicity...Let's hope that both Jon and Kate REALLY mean each and every time they say "it's all about the kids." We'll see.... Friday, June 19 Woohoo! The weekend's almost here!! Of course, it'll be hot and sticky...prime weather for flies, mosquitoes and other tiny nuisances. Yes, I'm referring to all the hoopla this week over President Obama's fly-swatting incident during an interview with CNBC. In my opinion, PETA's really gone too far this time, asking the Prez to be more "humane" the next time he's disturbed by a flying insect. The group is even sending Obama a device that catches insects so that you can release them back outside. I could get their point if it were say, a butterfly...but a common housefly?? PETA does a lot to raise awareness about cruelty to animals...I applaud their efforts there...but to raise a stink over a fly? It undermines their message and makes a mockery of them. It was a story our News 7 Mornin' producer and I agreed we HAD to air yesterday...you just can't make this stuff up. Insects aside...have an awesome weekend and enjoy the return of the sun. Wednesday, June 17 Let's all break out into a chorus of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"...of course, I prefer the song "It's Raining Men"....Yes, I'm more than a litte bit water-logged today. Enough already! I'm actually looking forward to the hot, humid weather forecast for this weekend.&nb, sp; Of course, today is a good day for me...it's my and my husband's 14th wedding anniversary. If you watched News 7 Mornin' today, you might have seen our photo on the air..It's one from a Kentucky Derby party we attended (hence, why I'm wearing the hat)... And if you're reading this, hopefully you're a regular visitor to my blog. My blog was up to 2,660 views for the month of May. Thank you so much!!! I'll continue updating it as often as I can...with meaningful observations and random thought... Probably more of the latter...LOL! And if you really love surfing the Net, you can follow me on Twitter as TVNewsgal... Monday, June 15 How can it be Monday again already?? Of course, I always seem to say that. The weekends go by way too fast! This one was espcially nice. My husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary with an overnight getaway at Bernard's Landing at Smith Mountain Lake. We couldn't have asked for bette, r weather (thank you, Leo!!) It was just nice to get away for a bit, eat a great dinner and watch the boats go by. I also managed to find time to take the kids to the pool and play out in the backyard. Did I mention how much I love this time of year?? Monday, June 8 Hi there! My Monday's just about through. I finished writing my national stories for the noon newscast, so I figured I would go ahead and write a blog entry. I was so glad the weather cleared up on Friday, so that we could go to First Fridays and hear Key West! When June rolls around, I'm all about Jimmy Buffett music. That typically lasts until September! My mom and I took Caitlin and my good friend from Greensboro to my cousin's wedding on Saturday. It was the perfect day for a wedding and outdoor reception. And yesterday, Christopher and I took a dip in the pool. I haven't decided whether or not to sign him up for swimming lessons again..if I do, I'll do the private lesson route, instead of group lessons. He'll be less apt to show off and act silly if he has a smaller audience. Yes, he's my cute little comedian... So, what's big in the news today? It's actually a preview of what's happening tomorrow, Primary Day. Three Democrats will face off against Republican Bob McDonnell in Virginia's governor's race. The latest News 7 poll shows Creigh Deeds taking a commanding lead in the race against fellow Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out. Stay tuned to News 7 and WDBJ7.com for the latest on the primary...and check out our newest feature, Hometownmom.com. Friday, June 5 Okay, I am officially waterlogged. Enough rain, already! Leo says it's supposed to taper off today, thank goodness. Of course, it always rains the day of First Fridays. I'm hoping that the weather turns out nice enough to go, but we'll see. Key West is supposed to play, and I was really looking forward to hearing them sing my favorite Buffett tunes....Tomorrow's weather should be nice and sunny. I may try to head to the pool at some point. Of course, a lot of folks will be heading to Bedford County to attend the festivities honoring the 65th anniversary of D-Day. No matter whether we're in Bedford county or not, we should all pause for a moment tomorrow and remember these heroes, and what they did for us. You may have already noticed our Web site has gotten a makeover. Check out some of the new features, including Hometown Mom. If you're a mother, you can join...post pictures, take part in forums, etc. Let me know what you think about it. Have a great weekend!! Monday, June 1 Can it really be June first already??? Where does the time go? It's also hurricane season, graduation season, vacation season... I'm down to only one week of vacation this year because I used up most of my time off for maternity leave...which I'm VERY grateful for!! We're doing short trips this year, which I think, a lot of people are doing. It's nice to stop and look around at what's close by, or at least within a few hours' drive. We're planning on hitting Busch Gardens later this su, , mmer. Caitlin's too small to really do anything but gaze from her stroller. However, Christopher will love it. And we'll make some trips up to the Mill Mountain Zoo...maybe Natural Bridge...and definitely Smith Mountain Lake. And with all the festivals that take place this time of year, there's almost always something happening downtown or in Elmwood Park. So, with gas prices on the rise (like always this time of year) and the economy still in the slow lane, why not stay closer to home and appreciate what's right under our noses? Tuesday, May 26 Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend! Mine was fantastic. On Saturday, I took Christopher to meet up with his best friend, Sheldon and his mom who moved to Atlanta in January. We met up in Mooresville, NC (busy place since it was also race weekend!) Our hotel had a Nascar theme, which Chris loved. We took the boys to the Lazy 5 Ranch...very cool safari park where you can ride a wagon on a narrated tour and feed the animals. Of course, some of the animals tried to follow us out of the parking lot as we were leaving. Hey, they see a vehicle..they think FEEDING time. LOL! The weather held up for the most part...it rained that evening and as we were heading home...but all in all it was very nice. Yesterday we grilled out around lunchtime, which was a good thing since it poured around dinnertime. Of course, while we were indoors we were glued to the "Jon and Kate Plus 8" marathon on TLC. I've kind of gone back and forth on what I think of them. I've always sympathized with poor Jon, but also defended Kate. I mean, someone has to take charge when you have EIGHT kids!! However, her recent alleged behavior leaves much to be desired. As for the rumors of cheating on both sides...who knows. I can't help but be skeptical of all the rumors since they came out just in time for the start of the show's new season. I suppose time will tell...I DVR'd last night's episode and can't wait to watch it this afternoon.. O, n, , another note, I had the pleasure of going to see Roanoke Valley Christian Schools' production of "Annie" Friday night. It was AWESOME!! Those kids are extremely talented and I had a hard time believing that they were all high school students. The singing, the sets, everything was top notch. I'm proud of all of the students who were in it, especially my dear friend's daughter, Bev Connor, who played one of the orphans. Good job!! Thursday, May 21 Okay, okay..I'm not shocked by last night's "American Idol" finale, but I am disappointed. Anyone with adequate ears should be able to figure out that Adam Lambert is a much better singer and performer than Kris Allen. True, some people don't care for Adam's "theatrical" style and heavy metal squeal...but you have to have some pretty good vocal chops to pull off those things well. Not only can he sing, but he was consistently great every week during the competition. Kris seems like a very nice guy. Plus, he's cute, clean-cut with an All-American appeal. However, he was very inconsistent with his performances and lacks star quality. He's someone I would enjoy hearing in a bar or at a beachside cafe (ahhh....that sounds wonderful. Sorry, I digressed for a second)..but you get my point. There's n, o doubt that Kris needed this title more than Adam did. Still, it would be nice for the best singer to win the competition. The other thing that happened here was the "politicizing" of the show itself. I actually saw a banner on a national news program that said "Blue states" versus "Red states" for Idol. How ridiculous is that??? It's not supposed to be about politics, lifestyles, etc. It's a SINGING competition. I'll say it again. It's a SINGING competition. But rest assured, fellow Adam fans, he will get a lucrative recording contract. We haven't heard the last of him. As for Kris...I wish him luck. I hope he's able to use his Idol crown wisely... Monday, May 18 Another work week is already here...how did that happen? It was a whirlwind weekend for me. Saturday morning I, along with weekend anchor/reporter Hollani Davis, interviewed dozens of valedictorians and salutorians from around the News 7 viewing area for our Hometown Honors segments that you'll see popping up on the air soon. Kudos to all the new graduates!!!&a, mp;, nbsp; That afternoon I took Christopher to a birthday party and then attended a wedding reception that evening with my husband. Busy Busy Busy!! And yesterday I was happy to attend my good friend and News 7 Mornin' producer Kim Pinckney's graduation from Hollins University. Congrats to her for earning her Master's degree!! And speaking of the weekend...did you feel that earthquake Saturday morning? I didn't feel anything, but I heard a loud bang and thought it was a clap of thunder. I didn't actually find out that it was an earthquake until late that morning. You just never know what's going to happen... Have a good work week!!! Tuesday, May 12 Hello!!! Hope all the mommies had a fabulous Mother's Day weekend! Mine was nice. We finally got some yard work done on Saturday. Yes, I actually enjoyed mulching and trimming the bushes..ANYTHING to be outdoors! Of course, Sunday was all about fun. We went to church and out to brunch with my mom. My hubby stayed home with little Caitlin so that I could take Christopher to the Red Sox game that afternoon. He was far more excited about wearing his new Kids Club T-shirt and getting his face painting by Ziggy, the clown than actually WATCHING the game. I think we did manage to catch an inning or two...HAHAHA! Thanks to Leo for all the sunshine!! I'm hoping today warms up quickly..I'm going out to Camp Roanoke to finish working on my upcoming summer camp preview, airing next week. If you have any old camp phot, , , , o, s you'd like to share with me (and the rest of the News 7 viewing audience), please upload them to the Younews section of our Web site, or just e-mail them to me directly.. Have an awesome day! Thursday, May 7 Very disappointed with "American Idol" voters...I can't believe they got rid of Allison last night!! She's so talented, and really rocked the house Tuesday night. True, I wasn't in love with the Janis Joplin song she chose, "Cry Baby" but I loved her duet with my Idol favorite, Adam. The two of them really complemented one another, and in my opinion, should have been the final two this season. I thought Danny's performance was horrendous...I know he's not a "rocker," but Aerosmith's "Dream On" was way out of his league. The pundits have long predicted an Adam/Danny finale, and after this week, that's looking more like it's coming to fruition. I am worried that since everyone assumes Adam's going to win it all, voters will become complacent and cast their votes for someone else. PLEASE don't do that. I know runners-up have done extremely well after Idol..i.e. Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson. But it would be nice if the singer who SHOULD win does win. Hey, it happened last season with David Cook, maybe it can happen again this time. And feel free to agree/disagree with me on this...Drop me an e-mail with your thoughts. firstname.lastname@example.org. Wednesday, May 6 Duck weather continues for another day...I'm seriously getting tired of all the rain and thunderstorms. Yes, we needed some rain, but I'm ready to see the sun again! Leo says Mother's Day weekend is looking fantastic, and that makes this mommy, very happy! I think Christopher and Caitlin are going to "treat" my mom and I to brunch on Sunday. The way to a mother's heart is definitely through her tummy..hahaha! I can't believe Caitlin is about to turn four months old this week. It really has flown by! Her latest milestone...laughing. So now I'm obsessed with trying to make her laugh, either by tickling her or making silly faces at her. Of course, her big brother is best at that!! On a different topic...News 7 Mornin' is now on Twitter!! Leo, Bob and I also have individual Twitter accounts, so you can follow each of us, or all of us. Just another way to stay up to date and connected to your favorite early risers!! We're also doing a special News 7 Mornin' Summer Camp series in a couple of weeks and would LOVE for you to send in your old photos from camp. Send them to the YouNews section of our Web site. Can't wait to see them..and they could end up on TV! Monday, May 4 Happy Monday!! Actually, this one has been...mostly because I'm coming off a fun-filled weekend. I didn't do much yesterday, but Saturday was action- packed. It was so much fun seeing everyone at the Chili Cookoff! And thank goodness the rain and storms held off, so that we could all enjoy some great chili and awesome music. And kudos to the very BRAVE gentleman who won the jalapeno eating contest. Wonder how many Tums he went through that afternoon??? And later that day, I went to our friends Steve and Nicole Pardon's annual Kentucky Derby party. I was happy the weather held out for that one, too. I couldn't have my lovely Derby hat get soggy!!! HAHAHA!! I am bummed that none of the SEVEN horses I picked won...maybe I'll have better luck next year! Thursday, April 30 Good morning! Hope you're doing well...we're getting closer and closer to the weekend, and I'm SOOO ready for it. Lots of fun things going on...of course, the Chili Festival in downtown Roanoke. Leo and I will be serving up chili Saturday from 11 until 12:30...so come sample the best chili around and don't forget to vote for Your Hometown Station's recipe!! But before that...tune in to News 7 at noon TODAY for a live interview with the folks from William Byrd High School's theatre department. Beginning tonight, they're putting on their version of "High School Musical." Catch a sneak peek this afternoon!! Wednesday, April 29 So sad to hear this morning about the first swine flu death in the U.S...even sadder to hear that it was a 23- month- old in Texas. My heart goes out to that child's family. And based on what they're seeing in Mexico, this unfortunately, probably won't be the only death in the states. Health officials say not to panic, but definitely take precautions like washing your hands. It's a simple enough way to protect yourself from this disease, as well as SO many others.... , ;Just a reminder..I'm shooting some video and interviews today for a story airing at a later date, so Jean Jadhon will be in the noon anchor chair. I'll see you tomorrow! Monday, April 27 Greetings on this Monday!! But I can't feel too blah about Monday, with another 90-degree day on the way! I'm already fully in summer mode. I'm so excited that the pool at the gym is actually opening this Friday!! Of course, this summer heat will last one more day, and then the cooler, more seasonable 70s will come back. But I'm NOT complaining...as long as it's warm..I'm happy! I'm still waiting for my ear infection to completely go away. My right ear has been stopped up for about a week now..which makes my job a bit more challenging.&, amp;, nbsp; At least it's not the same ear in which I wear my earpiece...that would be BAD... We enjoyed the warm weather this weekend and took Christopher and Caitlin to the Vinton Dogwood Festival. Chris loved the rides at the carnival..Caitlin was fine, except I think the noise got to her a little. Babies have such delicate little ears! She seemed to enjoy our trip to the grocery store later that day much better. Be sure to tune in to News 7 today for all the details on former President , Clinton's visit to the Star City! See you on the tube... Thursday, April 23 Okay, okay...I have to give credit where credit is due. Congrats to Bob Grebe for winning the "Y Not Be a Loser Challenge" with our own Joy Sutton. I really didn't think he had the willpower..but he proved me wrong!! I was on Team Joy from the beginning, but I'm still proud of her for losing five pounds and three inches off her waist! That's good work in only eight weeks. As for Bob, he did really well, losing 16 pounds! Hey, they both deserve credit for sticking to their regimen and living healthier the past couple of months. The question now, is who will stick to it over the long haul?? We'll have to wait and see. And if you happened to see the HILARIOUS doctored photos at the end of the newscast, you're probably still laughing. They put Bob's face on Daniel Craig's (James Bond's) body....Joy's face on Halle Berry, Leo's face on a sumo wrestler, and mine on some female body-builder who's WAY more toned that I'll ever be..( but also has far more muscles than I'd really care to have).... Good times, fun morning... Monday, April 20 Hi there!! Hope you got outside and made the most of an absolutely beautiful weekend!!! Savor those memories today, since it's a bleak, dreary, messy Monday....ick! We had a mixture of work and fun this weekend. My husband mowed our lawn (which it desperately needed) and Christopher helped me bag leaves and pick up sticks in the backyard. I lov, e the fact that he's still young enough to think that chores are "fun." I will remind him of that when he's in his teens...hahahaha!! But it wasn't all work..I took Chris to the park to ride his beloved Big Wheel and play at the playground. It felt good having to break out the sunscreen for the season!! , And last night, my mom, step-dad and I took Christopher to see the World-Famous Lippazaner Stallions at the Salem Civic Center. My hubby graciously stayed home with Baby Caitlin so that we could all go. She'll probably like it next year! It was truly spectacular. Those horses are gorgeous and so graceful... My favorite rider was Victor something-or-other. He literally didn't move at all in the saddle and was in total control. His horse did the most impressive tricks of standing up on his hind-quarters, bowing, prancing, etc... If you haven't gotten a chance to check out a performance, definitely go the next time it comes to town. Two thumbs up!! Thursday, April 16 Thanks for stopping by...It's of course, the Day of Remembrance at Virginia Tech. We have special coverage going on during all of our newscasts today. On News 7 Mornin', we showed you the ceremonial candle lighting at midnight, and preparations for today's 3.2 K memorial run. I can't think of a better way to honor the victims than to get out there, on foot, and run with a purpose. I think today's , events at Tech have the right balance of respect and hope. Let's all take a moment (even if w, e can't be silent) just to remember those 32 people who woke up the morning of April 16, 2007 having no idea what was ahead of them. It's just another reason to count your blessings every day.... And on a MUCH lighter note...I received a very enthusiastic e-mail from a Northside High school senior who's excited about his school's upcoming spring musical production. They're doing "Back to the 80s" on April 30th through May 2nd in Northside's auditorium. The student thought of me because, as you know, I'm a fan of pretty much all things '80s- related. He assured me that this show will feature lots of those infectious '80s pop tunes that you can't get enough of like "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "Mickey," and so on... It sounds like some great escapist entertainment during times that we could really use some...Rock on! Monday, April 13 After a gorgeous Easter Sunday, it's a gray Monday. My little fellow Christopher is home sick today. He got a little bug apparently, but did enjoy h, is Easter basket! So far, my "littlest" one, Caitl, in i, s healthy. The goal is, of course, to keep her that way. Also on the medical front, my husband had his wisdom teeth removed on Friday, and is still sore and on a soup/pudding diet. To sum up, the McBroom gals are doing just fine...but the boys are a bit under the weather... So..stay healthy and take care of those teeth!! As for the news...thank goodness cargo ship captain Richard Phillips is finally free after five days of captivity. He's a shining example of what a REAL hero is. All the best to him, and continued good wishes for his safe return home. Thursday, April 9 Does anyone have toothpicks for my eyelids?? HAHAHA! Yes, I'm sleepier than usual today...but it was for a good entertainment cause. My morning co-hort, producer Kim Pinckney, good buddy Laura Episcopo and I all ventured last night to see the Broadway in Roanoke production of "Footloose." It was awesome....to put it in '80s speak. Great singing...and of course phenomenal dancing. And I was happy to see that they kept the dialogue pretty much the same as that in the film. And who wouldn't love hearing classic '80s tunes like "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and "Holdin' out for a Hero" , , p, , erformed live on stage??? I was, however, disappointed that there was no "car straddling" scene, as Lori Singer does in the movie. But hey...that would have been a bit of a challenge on a stage. All in all, it was worth t, he sleep deprivation..or should I say the EXTRA sleep deprivation. Two big thumbs up!!! And of course, it fits nicely into my nostalgic mood these days...with the big 20th high school reunion looming ahead....AAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!!! Monday, April 6 Greetings!!! Hope you had a great weekend. We took full advantage of the awesome weekend weather and playe, d outside in the yard Saturday and Sunday. Baby Caitlin enjoyed being held in her blanket and rocking in the patio swing, while Christopher tried out his new junior golf clubs. He and I also went on an Easter egg hunt yesterday at our church. I'm always surprised by how aggressive my little fellow gets when searching for those colorful, candy-filled plastic eggs. He dashes, he darts, he'll do almost anything to get his little hands on them! I know all kids are like this, but it seems like he's even more eager. They set the limit to 25 eggs per child ( I think Chris ended up with 26 or 27). But he was good about putting his extra eggs back in the lawn for another child to get. It's a great lesson in sharing. It's in our nature to try to grab and snatch what we can. It takes real discipline to offer to give back to others. And in these times, it doesn't hurt for us adults to do the same. And keeping on the kid theme, I can't tell you how much fun it was to interview Elmo on Friday!! He even said "Hi" to Christopher, so of course, Chris made me re-play the interview about 10 times on the DVR.&nbs, p; The new Sesame Street area of Busch Gardens sounds like fun..I'm so in the mood for a vacation, which is bad since I just came back from maternity leave a month ago! Oh well...Happy Monday everyone. Thursday, April 2 Okay, I was REALLY hoping that it was just an April Fool's Day joke..But today, the story was the same. My favorite soap, and really, one of my all-time favorite TV shows PERIOD is going dark. Of course, I'm referring to my beloved "Guiding Light." After 72 years on the air, and all the drama of the Lewises, Chamberlains, Bauers and Spauldings, it'll come to an end on September 18. True enough, I knew that GL's ratings had been tanking for a while. But then again, the entire daytime drama genre has struggled in recent years because there are about a gazillion channels to watch in our era of digital cable and satellite. I guess I just hoped that with the revival of better scriptwriting and the return of many fan favorites like Grant Aleksander (Philip Spau, lding to those of you who watch) and David Andrew MacDonald (Edmund Winslow), the show would go on. How crazy was it that CBS decided to announce it was pulling the plug on broadcasting's longest-running show on April Fool's Day?? Of course, , most of us didn't believe it. But unfortunately, it's for real. Not only have I been glued to this show since I was four years old (yes, that long)...I also had the pleasure of meeting several of the cast members a few years ago at a fan event at Kings Dominion. I was fortunate enough to get passes to the V.I.P. event the night before, so it was a very private gathering and I really had a wonderful time getting to chat one-on-one with the likes of Kim Zimmer (Reva Shayne Lewis O'Neill, etc..), Robert Newman (Josh Lewis), Gina Tognoni (Dinah Marler), crystal Chappell (Olivia Spencer) and several others. I can tell you that they were all gracious and friendly, and quite appreciative of their loyal fans. I suppose , that's the main reason that I'm so disappointed by the cancellation of their show. I wish them all the best in whatever comes next in their careers. Of course, if I get my way, some other station (SoapNet perhaps???) will pick up GL and let the story go on and on.... I know that some people dismiss the soaps as just silly fantasy...maybe they are. But what's wrong with a little fantasy in the midst of all the harsh reality that we have to deal with on a daily basis? Shine on, Guiding Light... For fellow fans who would like to check out the Guiding Light message board, here's a link... Friday, March 27 Hooray!! Friday is finally here. It's been a busy week! And today's edition of News 7 Mornin' was downright dangerous! "Wil, d Kingdom's" Pe, ter Gros came in with several of his scaly friends, as part of his tour of this area promoting conservation. He brought in a couple of snakes...one of them was HUGE!! There was also an alligator, a vulture and a creepy, crawly group of giant roaches. Ugh!!! As freaked out by snakes as I typically , get, I was quite proud of myself. I actually TOUCHED both of them. But I made it clear that I wanted nothing to do with the "head" end..hahaha!! Anyway, it made for lively, fun morning T-V, and that's just what we need on a Friday. You can watch the Wild Kingdom story and check out my "heroism" for yourself... Have an awesome weekend everyone!! Wednesday, March 25 Hello there!! It's been a busy week..well busier than usual. I've been working on a story that will air tomorrow on News 7 Mornin' on how the recession is affecting the day care industry in our area. Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for that story, and of course the latest on the search for shooting suspect Beacher Hackney. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members of the victims, Dwight Kerr and Ronald Stinnett. In happier news... the headliner for us this morning was a baby announcement!! Bob Grebe and his wife, Mary welcomed a new addition to their family yesterday. The very adorable Colson Dean Grebe weighed in at six pounds, six ounces and is doing just great! This makes baby number three for the Grebe family. Congrats to them! Plus, he'll get to be a future playmate for my little baby girl! Friday, March 20 Okay, if you saw this morning's show, you know I'm probably still a lovely shade of beet red!! Bob's Hometown segment today was on Vinton, my hometown. So, of course, I was asked to bring in some old high school pictures. I submi, tted the ones that were the LEAST embarassing, believe it or not..hahahaha!!! You'll see my senior picture from 1989 (yes, my 20th reunion is coming up this fall..ARRRGHH!!). There are also a couple from my days in the Drama Club. One is from a piece with a title like ...."Bride of Dracula" or something of that nature. The other is from our production of "A Christmas Carol," in which I played the ghost of Christmas past...complete with tinsel, fur and all the trappings of that character. Fun fun fun!!! As I've said, Byrd's Drama Club has come a long way since I performed in that auditorium, and I couldn't be more proud of them!! Yes, I always welcome the opportunity to skip down memory lane...even if the trip includes EMBARASSING pictures. But then again, who doesn't have humiliating pictures of themselves from back in the day?? I've requested Hometown segments also be done on Leo's hometown of Addleboro, MA and Bob's hometown of Boyertown, PA...I think that would be worth a couple of road trips, don't you??? Monday, March 16 Top O' the Mornin' to, ya!! I'm still drying out after Saturday's St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown. It was a lot of fun getting to meet some of our viewers...not to mention handing out candy! Thanks to everyone who braved the raw, rainy weather to see the parade. Although the luck of the Irish seldom helps the weather on parade day, it didn't seem to matter. Everyone looked like they were having a great time! You, can check out pics of several of us from Your Hometown Station on the parade route by going to the you news section of our Web site. Don't forget to wear your green tomorrow...unless you WANT to get pinched! And tune in to News 7 Mornin' every day for Green Week...lots of helpful environmental tips! Friday, March 13 EWWWW!! It's Friday, the 13th...the second one in two months....how bizarre?? So far (knock on wood) this one has been okay. Of course, if you're dealing with snow/sleet, you'll want to be extra careful out on the roads. There were just a few raindrops on my windshield when I came in this morning. My week's been busy. I took both kids to the doctor on Wednesday for check-ups and they're both healthy and growing like weeds! I can't believe Caitlin a, lready weighs 11 pounds, 12 ounces. Of course, my little princess does LOVE to eat, !! Christopher had a double shot of check-ups this week..He also went to his first dental exam on Monday. He did really well. Of course, the dental hygentist made it fun for him. She put sunglasses on him, so the bright light didn't hurt him eyes. He was all reclined in the chair with sunglasses on-- it looked like he was ly, ing on the beach! No beach weather for us this weekend...It's supposed to be chilly and rainy for tomorrow's St. Patty's Day parade in downtown Roanoke. Several of us from News 7 are planning to march, so come out and see us getting drenched! Of course, it would be nice if the forecast was wrong this time......Do you hear that, Leo???? Oh, and just a reminder...there's no newscast today at noon because of college basketball. March Madness is marching on! Have a great weekend, everyone. Tuesday, March 10 Hello everyone!! Hope you're doing well on this Tuesday...what awesome weather we've had for several days now. It looks like tomorrow will be another warm one..then it all goes downhill. Oh well, it IS March after, all. But I get so spoiled by the 70s and 80s, it's hard to dig out that winter jacket again when the temperatures go back to "normal." In the news...a big milestone for the Commonwealth...Governor Kaine signing the smoking ban into law. Personally, I'm glad it passed. I'm a confirmed non-smoker and absolutely HATE to smell smoke when I'm trying to have a nice meal at a restaurant. And yes, even with designated smoking areas, the stench still drifts into the non-smoking sections. Since I've never smoked, I , guess I can't really understand the appeal/addiction. But I do sympathize with people who have tried to quit and have a hard time doing it. Just please keep trying...whether it's with a nicotine patch, gum, or just going cold turkey...do it for your health!! It's topic that I'm really passionate about, especially after losing my mother-in-law to lung cancer nearly a decade ago. Okay, sermon over. Now on to more pleasant topics like.....children!!! My son, Christopher turned 4 years old last Saturday. You may have seen his picture on News 7 Saturday Morning during the birthdays segment. Now that I'm a mom of two, I'm probably going to be looking for more tips and advice. Well, guess what? There's a new place to go for that. WDBJ recently launched our new page, hometownmom.com.&n, bsp; You can join and take part in discussions pertaining to ALL things parental, as well as post photos and videos. I've posted a few pics from Chris' birthday party, along with cute pictures of him on his sweet new rides! Check it out and let us know what you think. Friday, March 6 Wow! This week has really flown by..which is always a good thing to say about work! Thanks to everyone who's sent me E-mails of Congratulations. It took me a while, but I think I've finally managed to respond to everyone. This weekend marks a couple of milestones for our family. My son, Christopher turns four years old tomorrow...and my baby daughter, Caitlin will be two months old on Sunday. My, how time flies. And speaking of milestones..I'm heading for a big one this year...my 20th high school reunion. ARRGHHHH!!! Since recently joining Facebook (yeah, I know...I'm a little behi, nd), I found out that William Byrd's Class of '89 is tentatively scheduling a reunion this fall. I do keep in touch with several friends from high school. In fact, my best friends in the world are those who graduated with me. And those that I haven't seen in a while are frozen in time in my memory. Isn't that funny? These are now grown-up, professional people...and I still see them in my mind as teenagers. Even when I look at their recent pictures on Facebook...I still see the high school yearbook photo of them. Maybe that's because I'm still in high school mentally...still stuck in the '80s, if you will. I still long for mall bangs and shoulder pads...and when I'm working out on the treadmill or elliptical machine at the gym...I HAVE to have '80s rock, pop or metal playing through the ear buds. Hmmm...maybe it's me who's frozen in time?? Okay, not trying to get too deep here. I'm just really excited about seeing everyone...and even more determined to shed these last few pregnancy pounds. Hey, just for fun...if any of you are also heading to your 20th high school reunion this year, send me an E-mail. Class of '89 rules!!!! Wednesday, March 4 I'm baaaaaack!!!!!!! Yes, I survived my first day back at work after maternity leave. It went really well, and FLEW by! It was a blend of being really busy doing my work and catching up on E-mails. Plus, I spent a lot of time getting hugs , and Congrats from my co-workers, which is always fun!!! Of course, some things never change. Just moments ago, Bob and I were engaging in a debate over "super sizing"...that is, buying a larger amount of food because it's the better value. He was poking fun at my normal sized box of Honey Nut Cheerios...chastising me for not buying the huge box and saving a few cents per ounce. I replied that that's the super-sizing mentality of America...buying a much bigger portion that you need because it's cheaper. And it's ironic too..since Bob's in a weight loss challenge with our health reporter Joy Sutton. Geez!! And speaking of Joy, kudos to her for doing a great job filling in for me while I was off... And yes, I did miss my little baby girl yesterday ( and am missing her right now)...bu, t it h, el, ped ,, , b, , , eing busy. She did great with her babysitter and gave me a sweet smile when we got home...Okay, maybe it was just gas...but I'll take a beautiful smile from her anytime!!! Thursday, February 12 Hi there! It's been an eventful week...or should I say eventful WEEKS since I last checked in. Every time I start to blog, a little person starts crying for a bottle, a diaper change, or just wanting to be held. Then I turn around and two hours have passed. The last couple of weeks really have FLOWN by. Tuesday Caitlin had her one-month check-up at the doctor. I can't believe a month has already gone by since my little princess en, tered, my life! She checked out just great and has gained over two pounds already...at last count, she weighs 9 pounds and 13 ounces. So.....no more newborn diapers....we're moving up in the world to number , ones!!! And we're officially in the "showing off baby" phase. After her doctor's visit Tuesday, I took Caitlin to the station to meet all my News 7 cohorts. It was great to be back at work... I've missed everyone!!! Of course, she slept the entire time...which is amazing considering how noisy the newsroom typically is. I suppose she got accustomed to those sounds in utero.... Today was also a busy day. We went for her one month portrait session. My little diva wore three different ensembles (okay, Mommy wore two)....but you have to have different "looks" to choose from. Yes, I take pictures very seriously. She did pretty well... there were some crying jags, but even those can make for cute pictures!! Let's see...what else...we're still not sleeping through the night, but at least we're st, arting to stretch to around 4 hours between bottles. The ironic thing is....now that Caitlin's starting to sleep longer at night, I'm actually having a harder time sleeping because I have a cold and have started coughing at night. Geez!!!! But as long as neither she nor Christopher gets it, we'll be okay. 'Tis the season for colds and flu...yuck!! But I can't complain too much, considering it's been in the 60s every day this week. Chris has enjoyed getting "outside" time in the afternoons. And I've been making sure that I give him plenty of one on one Mommy time with me....we've been to a birthday party at Chuck E Ch, eese, the circus, etc. It really is an exercise in "balance" when you have two kids. You want to give them both as much attention as possible...but all that lovin' does wear you out! Speaking of lovin'....hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!!! I know mine will be extra special, since I have another person to love...and speaking of my darling baby girl..she's starting to wake up from her mini- nap. Gotta run! Thursday, January 29 Hello everyone!! Just checking in to let you know how I'm doing. I've had two huge mugs of precious coffee this morning, so I'm fairly alert right now. Last night was kind of a long one.&, nbsp; My beautiful daughter, Caitlin decided to be a night owl. So, every time (about 7 times at last count) I tried to put her down in her bassinet, she declined...quite vocally. I should have seen it coming, since she was a sleepy head yesterday and took a few long naps. Oh well...those lungs are good and healthy...no doubt! My little darling is three weeks old today. It's funny, but it's hard to remember a time without her. I know everyone says that, but it's true. I feel that way about Christopher, too. I know I did SOMETHING for the 33 years before I had children....I'm just not sure I remember WHAT. Oh yeah....I slept.... Hah, ah, a!!&n, bsp;Aside from the sleep deprivation (which I'm pretty accustomed to because of my job), it's been pretty much smooth sailing so far. Caitlin had a great first check-up...her one month appointment is in another week or so. I've also scheduled her one-month photo session. I'm planning to do it just like I did with Christopher...the mother and baby poses in black and white. And of course, I've been working hot and heavy on scrapbooking, although I don't always have a chance to have two free hands. So yes, I've been snapping photos of Caitlin right and left....of her at bathtime...playing in her baby gym...raising her head, etc... Of course, I'm not quite as obsessive as some mommies. I was watching an episode of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" on TLC and I couldn't believe that Kate was taking pictures of each kid with their first "successful" trip to the potty...including the...um...contents inside... I'm all for capturing milestones in pictures , and on video...but snapping full potties is where I draw the line. I do love that show...anytime I'm feeling ove, rwhelmed, I just turn it on. See, there are EIGHT of them!! Speaking of eight, how about those octuplets that were just born? How ador, able are they? So you see...those of us with just a couple of kids need never complain or feel overwhelmed... Yeah, I'll try to remember that around 1 a.m. tomorrow as I'm fumbling around the kitchen trying to make a bottle. Hey, thanks for checking in and reading my blog!! I'll keep sharing my maternity leave adventures with you...and of course, I'll have plenty more once I come back to work. Have a great rest of the week!! Tuesday, January 13 Greetings from Mommyland!! As you may have heard, my darling little daughter has arrived. Caitlin Brianna McBroom was born last Thursday at 6:21 p.m. weighing in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. It was a long day....beginning at 9:00 a.m....my epidural partially wore off for a couple of hours....but it was all worth it!! She looks just like her big brother, Christopher, except a bit smaller. He's still getting accustomed to his new role as big brother. He doesn't quite yet understand why Caitlin isn't wanting to play with his Hot Wheels cars. But he's generally interested in every facet of taking care of baby....whether it's watching us change her diaper (ooh, yucky, he says)....to noticing how many ounces of formula she's consumed (she drank to the 3!). She's alre, ady downing about 3 ounces at a time., It's good to see she's a hearty eater, just like her Mommy! You forget how tiny a newborn is...Christopher looks absolutely huge now! Each day is an adventure and we're still trying to get our rou, tine together. But I'm happy to report that Caitlin slept 5 hours s, traight last night!!! Whether she does it tonight is anyone's guess. Thank you so much for all the good wishe, s you gave me during my pregnancy and for everyone's kindness since Caitlin's arrival. And a special thank you to the awesome nurses on the 12th and 13th floors at Carilion RMH. You all took very good care of us! I suppose that's about it for now. I'll be checking in from time to time over the next seven weeks, and will look forward to re-joining my wonderful News 7 family on the air in early March. Take care, everyone! Wednesday, December 31 Well, here we are....the final day of 2008. Boy, what a year it's been! For me personally, I had the good fortune to become pregnant with my second child, whose arrival could come any day now! I'm planning to make Monday, January 5 my last day of work before maternity leave (unless, of course, Baby Caitlin decides to come earlier). You know what they say about making plans.... I'm also planning on keeping up with my blog as often as I can during my leave--provided I can muster any free moments-- just to keep you updated on how we're doing. &nbs, p;Anyway, it's been an eventful year. (Don't we always say that???) Let's all hope for better financial news in 2009. There's nothing like reporting almost on a daily basis about this being the "worst financial crisis since the Great Depression." It's quite scary to think about...especially for those folks close , to retirement age. I vowed not to check my 401-K anymore until things start turning around...way too depressing. And it will turn around...just not overnight. This year also brought an historic and entertaining election. No matter where you fall politically...you have to admit...those Sarah Palin glasses are COOL. Kudos to her for making the presidential race a lot more interesting. Kudos also to Hillary Clinton for bringing our country a step closer to having a female President. We knew going in, either way, Election 2008 would be one for the history books. Let's wish Barack Obama well as he inherits a HUGE job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue....untangling the financial mess...dealing with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the escalating crisis in Gaza....it won't be easy. But then again...I doubt it ever has been easy. So, let's raise our glasses tonight (mine will be filled with sparkling cider) and give thanks for the good things from 2008, while saying good riddance to the bad. If you watched our noon newscast from Monday, you might have seen our story about people in Times Square shredding their bad memories (financial documents, ... sheets of paper with their ex's name on them, etc.) How purifying that must have felt! Whether you choose to shred, or not to shred...let's aim for better days in 2009. Hey, if Britney Spears can make a comeback in less than a year's time, ANYTHING is possible. Happy New Year, everyone! Wednesday, December 24 Merry Christma, s Eve to ya!! If you've been watching this morning, you may have heard Leo mention that we have the NORAD Santa Tracker linked to our Web site. It's so much fun to check in every hour or so and see which country St. Nick is delivering presents to at that time (and sure, it's fun for kids, too!) I was so relieved this morning when I checked the TV listings and saw that NBC is running "It's a Wonderful Life" tonight. That's a must-watch every year, but I hadn't seen it airing anywhere so far this season. I'll be watching that tonight while stuffing stockings and carefully placing gifts to Chris from Santa under the tree. I just realized yesterday that we had wrapped his gifts from Santa with the same wrapping paper we used to wrap his gifts from Mommy and Daddy. It slipped by him last year when he was two...but he'd probably totally bust us this year at age three. So...tonight we have to strategically un-wrap the toys from Santa and of course, remember to eat the cookies left out for him. Deceptive..of course! But it's all to perpetuate that belief in Santa that's so important for children. My husband's amazed that consi, , d, ering Christopher's seen Santa three or four times this year, he doesn't notice Santa looks a little "different" each time. It's that wonderful belief that kids have....wouldn't it be nice if us big kids could have a little of tha, , , , t, too! On that note, I'll be spreading reindeer food ( seed mixed with some kind of glitter substance) out on the sidewalk tonight....just in case. Merry Christmas to you and yours!! Monday, December 22 Three more days until Christmas...can you believe it?? For those of you who still have some shopping to do, I feel for you. The malls are going to be INSANE this week! As you're frantically searching for that perfect gift ( or at least SOMETHING you can wrap and stick under three), keep in mind the true meaning of the holiday season. If you have a home and a family, you're truly blessed and already have the best possible gift. There are plenty of people out there this year who are struggling, so try not to worry about the petty things. One thing that's come out of the current economic climate is the overwhelming display of generosity in our community. All you have to do is see the huge array of bikes, toys and filled stockings being given out at the Salvation Army toy store. It seems that during the most trying of times, that's wh, en people really rise to the occasion. Think of others, , an, d b, , e , thankful for the many gifts you have...instead of fighting for that last Elmo or Wii video game. (Of course, if you ALSO manage to get your hands on those things...all the better.) Just make sure your child knows how lucky he or she is to have at least one big item checked off on their wish list. Monday, December 15 Hello! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was pretty laid back..but of course the next several will be jam-packed with the holidays and preparing for our new arrival. My last official baby errand was getting the car seat installed, which I took care of last week. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief...at least if she comes early we'll be able to get her home! I got to play "stage mother" a couple of times over the past week. Christopher's pre-school put on its annual holiday production on Wednesday night. I was so proud of my little fellow singing the three short little Christmas songs that we practiced just about every night before bedtime. I can now sing them in my sleep! Of course, when you're watching your child perform, at this age anyway, you're just hoping that they make it through the show without getting freaked out by the audience, falling off the stage, etc. And yesterday he got to play an elephant in our church's children's production. He looked so cute in his floppy Dumbo ears!! And again, he made his mommy very proud. But of course, I'm proud every day, no matter what kind of "reviews" he gets!! Wednesday, December 10 Let me start this entry with a bit of a public service announcement, if you will. It's bee, n brought to, my attention by one reader of my blog that I should show more sensitivity while sharing stories of my pregnancy. I truly sympathize with those who are fertility-challenged... it wasn't easy for me to conceive either time around...It took eight months to conceive my son, Christopher and a full year with my unborn daughter. While I understand that it might be difficult for those unable to conceive a baby to hear others share their joy...please understand that this is MY blog. This is MY small area in cyberspace in which to share a bit of personal insight-- both personal and professional-- with those who care enough to log on. I am sorry if I have offended anyone by discussing any of my personal news. However, you, do have a choice to read or not to read my blog. That being said....I'll continue sharing with those of you who have expressed an interest in my pregnancy and have paused to offer your good wishes. I am grateful for each and every one of your comments. Friday, December 5 Hello! I'm back for my whopping one-day work week...I had four vacation days this week. And boy did I get a lot done!! The nursery for Baby Caitlin is all finished. Clo, thes and blankets are washed...I even have diapers and wipes in place....batteries installed in the bouncy seats and baby monitors, etc. Plus, we decorated the Christmas tree and I managed to get all of my holiday shopping and wrapping done..except for maybe one or two things. If I sound proud of myself...it's because...I AM!!! I always take vacation time this time of year specifically to get all the holiday errands done. Because as you well know, weekends just aren't long enough. And when you add planning for a new bundle of joy to the list....it gets even busier. But it was nice getting to sleep in a bit and do, things at my own pace.... Hope you and yours are enjoying the holiday season, too!!! There are so many fun things to check out over the next few weekends. Dickens of a Christmas gets under way tonight. I think we're going to try to get down there either tonight or one of the next few Fridays..but Leo says, it's going to be really cold tonight. If we do go, I'll definitely be in search of hot chocolate!!!! And as Bob Grebe showed us this morning...."Sesame Street Live" is back at the Salem Civic Center this weekend. Christopher and I will be heading there tomorrow. I can't wait!! I mean, HE can't wait..... Monday, November 24 Good Morning! Hope you're having a fabulous Monday..after all, it's a short work week for most folks....followed by the holiday shopping rush. It'll be interesting to see how Black Friday goes this year, considering all of the troubles with the economy. Let's hope things turn around soon. I had a great Saturday...my two best friends threw me a baby shower for little Caitlin Brianna. The theme was pink and chocolate...two of the best things ever!!! And there was plenty of both. I got several adorable pink outfits...and there was lots of chocolate goodies to eat...complete with a chocolate fountain. Believe me, Baby Caitlin was kicking up a storm after the chocolate-covered strawberries...truffles...cake, etc.. Yum!! It was great to be there with close friends and family...that's what makes this time extra special. Tuesday, November 18 What a gorgeous winter wonderland we woke up to this morning! I have to admit, I was a bit surprised when I opened the door and saw the ground and my vehicle covered in white.. I was thinking we'd just see flurries...but there were some big fat flakes coming down on my way into work today. Perfect kind o, f snow around here...sticking to the grass..not the road. Of course, it's a very different story in the higher elevations...some spots in WV have about half a foot on the ground. Will we have a white Thanksgiving...who knows? Speaking of giving thanks, it's easy to do that when you see how lucky you are compared to others. You may have seen my story last night at 6 p.m. on Roanoke's changing homeless population. I profiled a local woman named Joanne Lewis who's been through foreclosure, fire, homelessness, and domestic issues....and may find herself without a home again. Hearing stories like that definitely make you grateful for what you have. If you missed the sto, ry, you can catch it here. Friday, November 14 Friday's finally here...and so is the start of Stocked Market. As you may have heard this morning on News 7 Mornin', Your Hometown Station will have a booth at this year's event all weekend. We'll be handing out Salvation Army stockings to fill for needy children in our area. And this year, as you know, there's probably even more demand because of the economic situation. I'll be at our booth on Sunday between 2:00 and 4:00, so be sure to come by and say hello! One story that really piqued my inter, est today was Justin's piece on the proposal to make teenagers stay in school and graduate in order to keep their driver's licenses. Roanoke's school board chairman David Carson wants to suspend a teen's license if they drop out before they turn 18. I think it's one of the best ideas I've heard in a long time. Why shouldn't we expect kids to finish high school? Even if they don't end up with a 3.0 or a 4.0, they can still get that diploma. It's tough enough these days in the job market for folks that have a Bachelor's or Master's degree...if you don't at least have a high school diploma, your job prospects are almost non-existent. And as Carson said...driving is a privilege, not a right...and if the incentive of keeping their license drives kids to stay in the classroom, it's all wo, rth it. Monday, November 10 Hello!! Hope you had a great weekend...Mine was awesome. Saturday was my birthday (Not going to tell you what number)... If you were watching News 7 Mornin' on Fr, iday, you might have seen the birthday photo they showed at the end of the newscast. It was from a Halloween party, where I was dressed as a shotgun bride...Yes, it's right here on my blog. I should have known they would put that on the air!! Hahaha!!! Anyway....my husband rewarded me with a spa gift certificate, which I took full advantage of Saturday morning ....massage, nails, etc... Then we went out for a date night that evening..dinner at Blue 5 downtown and a movie. And yesterday, I took Christopher to see "Madagascar 2"...Very cute!! I do always wonder why they show so many previews before a kids' movie, considering how short their attention spans are. But hey, as long as he has popcorn and candy, Chris is thoroughly entertained... Monday, November 3 Greetings!! Hope you had a fantastic Halloween weekend.... We had a busy, whirlwind of a Halloween. First was Christopher's party at pre-school. His classmates were so adorable in their costumes. Chris, of course, was Batman...and it was cute because his teachers were all calling the kids by their "alter egoes." After that, we came here to the station for the annual WDBJ kids in costume event on the Skytracker 7 Weather Deck. That's a fun tradition...we always welcome the opportunity to show off our children on TV!!!! After that, we headed home and I attempted to get Chris to eat dinner (yeah, right)...after sweets at school and treats on the weather deck, he wouldn't even touch pizza. That's right....not even pizza!! His tummy was primed for sugar and that was it!! Bob Grebe and his wife brought over their little ones, so their son Emmett and Christopher got to troll for candy together in our neighborhood. I think Chris would have walked all night getting candy!!! He was like ", Let's to go this house...let's go to that house!" Hey, the more houses, the more candy....it's just good economics... He doesn't have his first dental appointment until March...we probably need to speed that one up after this weekend!!! Monday, October 27 Halloween's almost here, and there's definitely a chill in the air....Leo's talking about highs tomorrow only in the 40s with gusty winds....ouch!!! But I'm happy that it's supposed to warm up in time for Halloween. Trick-or-treating with a coat over your costume is NO fun!! &, ;a, mp;nb, sp;And I think I'd have a REALLY tough time making Christopher wear one over his Batman ensemble.....Superheroes don't get cold! My husband and I went to a costume party this weekend. What did we dress as?? The obvious choice..... I was a shotgun bride and he was my gun-totin' dad. It was Kevin's first time in bib overalls...I think he secretly liked it! My costume came with an inflatable tummy (for those who aren't actually expecting)...but I, of course, have the real thing. If I'm brave, I'll post a picture or two.... Wednesday, October 22 Hello!! It's been a shortened work week for me, since I was off on Monday for filling in last Saturday morning for Joy Sutton. It was great having a three- day weekend. It took me until today to get back in the groove, etc. We had lots of fun on Saturday at Layman's Farm down in Montvale. We took Christopher and met up with his best buddy from school and his parents for some old-fashioned pumpkin pickin' and pumpkin blasting... There's something empowering about firing those pumpkin and corn cannons!!! And the boys had a blast riding the cow train, hiding from us in the corn shack, and playing in the "corn crib." We saved choosing the "great pumpkin" for last.. After nearly three hours of running amok, Christopher was pretty much done. He chose a b, ig pumpkin and a little pumpkin (the, only one I've actually been able to carve)...It's a respectable- looking bat, if I do say so myself. Today promises to be a bit less fun...Chris has a flu shot scheduled for this afternoon... Just a reminder, pediatricians now recommend young children aged six months and up get their flu vaccine. Friday, October 17 It's a soggy Friday..but a Friday nonetheless. And boy, what an eventful morning we had here on News 7. Of course, there was the preview of Senator Barack Obama's campaign visit to the Star City... But the BIG story of the day was a bit closer to our hearts. Our good friend and longtime News 7 videographer Steve Claris is leaving us after 25 years at Your Hometown Station. He and his lovely bride, Robin are going to go work as missionaries with the United Methodist Choctaw Mission i, n , Mississippi. They'll be working with members of the Native American community. We're so happy for Steve..but we're certainly going to miss his experience and can-do attitude around , here! He's the salt of the earth, and will do many good things down in Mississippi. We dedicated much of News 7 Mornin' to his farewell...even bringing back our old co-hort, Steve Pardon to help dig up some fond memories. Good times..good times. And in true News 7 tradition, there was an awesome farewell breakfast catered by Little Chef. So yes...prego here has a nice full belly today..and so ready for my afternoon nap. Monday, October 13 Hello! Hope you had an awesome weekend....the weather sure was great! We took Christopher to the fall festival at Cave Spring Elementary School on Saturday and he had a blast in all the inflatables...and just running around on the playground. And of course, they had the mandatory face-painting, tattoo pasting, etc... If you were watching News 7 Mornin' today, you may have seen my interview with local author Chris Manning. He's written the book "One Team, One Dream" about being a part of William Byrd's 1997 state championship baseball team. And, a, s you know, I'm a Byrd alumna and very proud of my Terriers. Plus, the football team won again on Friday night...hurray!! Monday, October 6 Another Monday's arrived...how is that possible?? Oh, well..it was a great weekend. Another busy one for us. Saturday we took Christopher to the Harvest Festival on the market downtown. He had a blast decorating his own pumpkin and of course, getting his face painted as part of the record- setting 40 faces in 40 minutes event. No, we didn't eat lunch in the newly re-opened market building. My husband had his heart set on Alejandro's, so we ate there. Saturday night, he, and, , I headed to the Roanoke Performing Arts Center and nearly cracked some ribs at the Ron White concert. He is such a hilarious guy!!! A bit filthy...yet still hilarious....My husband has a couple of his DVD's, but there's nothing like experiencing his comedy in person. And on the completely OPPOSITE end of the entertainment spectrum, I took Christopher to see the William Byrd High School production of "Seussical, the Musical" yesterday afternoon. You might recall Bob Grebe did a preview segment on it last week. It was fantastic!!! These students can really act and sing! And the costumes looked quite professional... You can tell why this group of performers is nationally ranked. As a former member of the Byrd Drama Club, I couldn't be more proud. And Chris was excited that he got his picture taken with the "Cat in the Hat," as well as "Thing 1 and Thing 2".... it's not every day a three-year-old gets that kind of brush with fame... Monday, September 29 Howdy to ya! I hope you enjoyed your half-soggy, half-sunny weekend. It was a rare TWO- MOVIE weekend for me. Friday night, I went to see the new Richard Gere-Diane Lane film, "Nights in Rodanth, e"....so awesome!!! I won't give away the plot, b, ut it was one of the most romantic movies I've seen in a long time. And it definitely makes you fall in love with Richard Gere all over again.... Saturday, we took Christopher to see the kid movie, "Igor". It was cute..but I think Chris was far more enraptured by the popcorn than what was happening on screen. Still, I think he enjoyed it...I heard some chuckles... And yesterday, we battled the crowds at the PBS KidsFest at the Salem Civic Center. Thank goodness we got there a few minute before it started. It was a madhouse!!! Anytime you combine the words "fre, e" and "children's event," that's often what happens. But it was really nice...free books...free face painting...free snacks...and of course, the kids got to get up close and personal with the likes of Elmo and Clifford, the Big Red Dog. We were never able to maneuver our way to Elmo, but Chris did get a picture with Clifford. And I was excited to meet Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood...I don't think Chris knew who he was...but I was an avid fan of Mr. Rogers as a child...and anyone connected with that show is A-OK with me! He was just as sweet and endearing in perso, n as, his character on the show. But Chris and his buddy did enjoy hopping aboard Mr. Rogers' "trolley" that was nearby. Hopefully, it was all worth it to the poor folks who arrived later in the afternoon and were waiting in HUGE lines outside. That's a true test of parental patience if there ever was... Friday, September 26 , Color me sleep-deprived, yet Razzle Dazzled. I did without my normal "healthy" six and a half hours of sleep last night to see the Broadway in Roanoke performance of "Chicago" with my friend, Laura. It was fantastic!!! I'd seen the film version several years ago with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger, but had never before seen the show on stage. At first, I had to get over the fact that the actress portraying Roxie Hart resembled Catherine Zeta-Jones, while Velma Kelly's portrayer looked more like Renee Zellweger...sort of a flip flop from the movie there....But both actresses were phenomenal....especially the one playing Roxie Hart. I'm always amazed by how physically conditioned these performers are. To dance and belt out tunes for more than two hours is so demanding. They really would have to train several hours a day, just for their bodies...not to mention learning lines, lyrics and choreography. My favorite numbers..."We Both Reached for the Gun", in which attorney Billy Flynn is holding Roxie like a marionette..great song and super complicated choregraphy there., ..."Mister Cellophane" featuring poor downtrodden Amos Hart...and of course, "Cell Block Tango" featuring Velma and all the other incarcerated ladies...awesome!! Kudos to them for a great show....and "all that jazz." Two thumbs way up!! Monday, September 22 Hi there, and welcome to Fall!! I'm typically not one of those people eager to usher in autumn and say farewell to summer...but thi, s , year, , , I , am....as I continue the countdown to the arrival of baby number 2. It's going by fairly quickly this time, since I have Christopher to keep me busy...but four months still seems like a ways away.... Anyway, fall is bringing lots to do in our area...fall festivals...hay rides...There's also a PBS Festival coming up this Sunday at Salem Civic Center. You have to love any chance to come face to face with Elmo!! And on the other end of the entertainment spectrum, my buddy News 7 Mornin' producer Kim Ortiz and I will attempt to gather some culture on Thursday night at the Br, o, adway in Roanoke performance of "Chicago." I can't wait!! I loved the movie...which I have, along with the sassy soundtrack. And who didn't fall in love with Richard Gere all over again as Billy Flynn? I'll offer my review of the musical for you on Friday morning. Now, on with the show!! Monday, September 15 Hello!! Hope your weekend was all you wanted and more... Mine was nice. But I am officially ready for fall to get here. It was actually a bit too hot for me this weekend. Yeah, I know, I'm the lover of summer. But even those of us who love basking in the sun get our fill sooner or later...especially when it gets harder to fit into the old swimsuit. In case you missed my announcement last week, I'm five months' pregnant and definitely have the tummy to show for it..hahaha! Yesterday I squeezed into my one-piece, non- maternity (but one size larger than usual) swimsuit, and took Chris to the pool at the gym. It felt great, as long as I was in the water, but boy was it hot outside!! On Saturday, my husband and I took him to the Cole Bros. , Circus, you know the one under the big top...the SWELTERING big top. I loved the show, but I think I must have swe,, , at off at least a pound or two. A big tent...lots of people...90-plus degrees...yes, it was hot. The highlight for Chris, besides the motorcycle riders braving the "globe of death," was getting his face painted by a clown. He chose to get a tiger done, and it was truly the best face painting he's ever gotten...Yes, he's had his face painted at many a festival...I'll post pictures as soon as I can. Well, time to get back to work!! The way the stock market looks today, it appears we'll all be working a lot longer than we planned.... Wednesday, September 10 Just call this "Spill the Beans Day".... If you were watching a little after 6:00 this morning, you may have heard me reveal that I'm expecting! Yes, there's a reason for all the empire-waisted duds...I'm expecting a bouncing baby girl around the 19th of January, which makes me close to five months along. We're very excited! I had an amnio done, which really wasn't bad at all.. It's just the waiting for the results afterward that's tough. But everything looks fine, and I'm having a good time getting to buy pink!! I think Christopher's excited too..., we're trying to talk about his future little sister a lot, just to get him accustomed to the idea. I was off on Monday for my Labor Day holiday, so my mom and I took him to the new Build-A-Bear Workshop at the , mall. He had a great time making himself a "Spiderman" bear...and we also made a little ballerina bear for his little sister. I'm sure there will be some sibling envy in the beginning, but he has such a sweet disposition that I think he'll enjoy looking out for his little sis. And did I mention...I get to buy pink things now!!! As time goes on, I'll provide baby blog updates on how everything's going...and growing...as in my waistline...whew!! Friday, September 5 Happy Friday to ya!! It's been a busy week..whew!! If you were watching this morning, you might have caught my interview with the "Subway Guy" Jared Fogle. He's marking his 10th anniversary of losing 245 pounds..,, wow! He's also in town for a couple of school visits as part of Subway's Fresh Fit Video and Poster Competition...Plus, he'll be rallying the Hokie nation tonight at the big pep rally at the Roanoke Civic Center. It was great meeting him, since he is a part of our pop culture...very cool. If you missed it, you can catch the story here. Also, I had a great time visiting my old stompin' grounds, William Byrd yesterday. As I mentioned to you before, I was just there last Friday night for the game against Hidden Valley. They just can't seem to get rid of me! Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to , chat with the Freshman class about my experience at Byrd. Obviously, it was a good experience, since I keep coming back. I basically just told them to work hard and get involved in everything they can. There's so much competition now for colleges, jobs, etc., you have to have an edge. Hopefully, what I said made sense to at least some of them....Ah....it seems like only yesterday I was sitting in those auditorium seats myself. But it's actually been almost 20 years....arrrgh!!!!!!! How did that happen??? Anyway, have a great weekend, and do something that makes you feel YOUNG. Wednesday, September 3 Hello...hope you're enjoying this "Hump Day" as our old friend Mike Stevens used to call it...&, amp;n, bsp; I'm just checking in today to let you know that I am including a link to my kids and cell phones story from Friday's 6 pm. newscast. I've received a couple of comments about it...feel free to let me know what you think about this topic! Or, if you have any other story ideas, let me know. Have a good one!!! Monday, September 1 Happy Labor Day! Hope you're enjoying your day off (or your, day&n, bsp;IN for those of us working, like myself). It's supposed to be a gorgeous day, and I'm cookout-bound, as soon as I get of here this afternoon. It's hard to believe that today marks the unofficial end of summer...sniff sniff... But I'm kind of ready for the cooler weather. Yesterday was nice... we, played outside with Christopher just about all day. He's going to be such a jock when he grows up. He went from hitting his tee ball to shooting baskets, to playing with his golf set to kicking around the soccer ball...and of course, he also took time out to ride his bike. And Friday night, my little football fan accompanied me and my husband to William Byrd's first game of the, season. It's always fun cheering on my alma mater!! It was a close one...but the Terriers managed to pull it out over the Titans. Whatever you and yours do on this holiday, be safe and have fun!!! Wednesday, August 27 Greetings from Congestionland....at least that's where I feel like I now reside. Yuk! I was out sick for half of Thursday and all of Friday, and my head still feels full of gunk. But at least I can talk again. I lost my voice Thursday and really didn't start getting it back until Sunday... which is tough to deal with, especially when you talk for a living. Anyway....I jumped back into the grind this week and before I knew it, it was Wednesday! Last, night, I caught my second episode of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC Family. What actually drew me to it was the fact that it stars my beloved Molly Ringwald....see, I told you I was a child of the '80s. Of course, now she's playing a MOM. And not just a mom, but the mothe, r of a pregnant teenager...Yikes!! Anyway, it's a good show with a pretty talented young cast..especially Shailene Woodley,the young actress who plays Ringwald's pregnant daughter. It is, however, a bit of an age reality check to see Ringwald in such a grown-up role. That brings me to another show I'm anxiously awaiting...the new "9021, 0." Of course, the only thing that made me interested in checking this one out is that both Jennie Garth and Shannon Doherty are going to be in the cast. Imagine..after all these years...Kelly and Brenda together again! Of course, Kelly's a guidance counselor at West Beverly, and I believe Brenda's supposed to be directing a show at the school.... Ahhh...all the great teens have grown up....but I would find it much easier to deal with if Dylan or Brandon also decided to drop by West Beverly.... <, span>Wednesday, August 20 Greetings! I'm battling a horrendous head cold (or maybe it's allergies)...either way, I'm so congested and I keep anticipating my voice is going to give out. But enough about me..haha... I received an E-mail today in response to my mentioning a story that I'm working on for back to school related to young children and cell phones. I'll give you a heads-up as to when it'll be airing. In the meantime, let me sha, re the E-mail with you... Hi Kimberly: I agree with you as well that three years old is a little young for a cell phone. My son is nine years old and wants a phone but my decision is no on the subject. I'm sure as he gets older the need for one will come about but definitely not at three years old. My true feelings on th, is is at three a child is either 1) at day care, a babysitter's, or is being cared for by a family member or friend 2) is at home with a parent…so why would a three year old need a phone to check in. My point being with a child being that age you should not have to worry about calling. I know there are people who have different views on this subject and I like to think I am a open minded person so I should listen to what other people have to say. Keep us informed with what you find out! Also, you do a GREAT job with the news. You are very professional and I don't know how you do your shift with a small child. I work 8-5 and feel like sometimes the hours spiral out of control.Sincerely, Cindy Hodges Rocky Mount Thanks Cindy! As always, feel free to E-mail me about this or any topic you see on the air or on my blog. Now, let me pop another Halls cough drop into my mouth.... Tuesday, August 19 Hi there! Hope you had a great weekend. Yes, I know I'm checking in a d, ay late on the whole "weekend" thing, but I just never got around to blogging yesterday. Forgive me!!!! We had a good one., My husband and I took Christopher to the big kids party Center in the Square hosted this weekend. He got to attend the "birthday party" for Cen, , , , ter's mascot, Super Square. As I've told you before, my son is a mascot freak. He has to hug Super Square, the Valleydale Pig, Mugsy from the Avalanche, etc. at least twice at every event, plus do the obligatory high-fives. Anyway, it was nice. They had pizza and cake and gave out goody bags to the little pint-sized guests. We wanted to get Christopher's face painted, but the line stretched all the way to Elm Avenue (I'm exaggerating)...but it was long. So, we skipped that and went outside to enjoy the live music another other fun stuff on display. I'll actually be on assignment later this morning, working on my cell phone story I told you about in Friday's blog....So, Mr. Bob Grebe will be keeping the anchor chair warm today at noon. I'll see ya tomorrow! Friday, August 15 Hello and welcome to another Friday! This week seemed long, since last week was a short one for me, with vacation days, etc. I've started working on a back to school-type story that'll, air in the next couple of weeks. It's on kids and cell phones, and how younger an, d , youn, ge, r children are getting them. I read on cnn.com that children as young as three....yeah, THREE, are getting cell phones. My son is three, and there's no way I would buy him a cell phone at this point. I try not to even let him play with my phone. But there are those who would disagree, so that's what I'm delving into..I'll also find out the best types of phones to get...what parents should find out before buying their kid a phone...important safety features to look for, as well as other pro's and con's. Feel free to drop me an e-mail at , ,,, email@example.com with your thoughts on t, his. Have you been following the Olympics?? , I haven't gotten to watch as much of it as I'd like, since I have to go to bed at dusk. But it's truly amazing to see what swimmer Michael Phelps has done to bring renewed excitement to the games. He's won six gold medals so far....will he reach his goal of eight? It's just another example of how badly in need we are of heroes. With so many celebrities, athletes, political figures, etc. falling from grace on what seems like a daily basis, we're always so eager to grasp on to someone who appears to embody everything that we aspire to be. Let's hope that Michael swims his way deeper into the history books, and doesn't end up another tabloid headline. Go, Team USA!!! Tuesday, August 12 Hi there! Whew..it's been a busy start to the week, so I'm just now getting a chance to blog. Nothing too exciting..just checking in aft, er a fun weekend.. I took Christopher to Summer Blast on Saturday at Green Hill Park in Roanoke County. We met up with his little best buddy and his mommy for a three- hour extravaganza of f, ree entertainment and fun. I honestly think their favorite part was the display of fire trucks and other city and county vehicles. They each kept hopping into the driver's seats and posing for the camera (which, of course, is ever-present). Chris managed to get not one, but two , , of those little, red plastic fire hats. And it took some careful maneuvering to avoid the fireman's foam..or as I call it..the kiddie trap. I didn't feel like walking around with a soaking wet chi, ld all day. But there were so many other booths there, I don't think the boys noticed. Chris did almost go into full meltdown mode at the wooden toys table. They each got a free wooden toy car, but Chris was not budging until he came away with something else. Yes, I know, I gave in. But if buying him a four-dollar truck keeps him happy for the rest of the day, I can deal with that. Everything else was free, which was great. The boys jumped themselves silly in the inflatable, and really loved getting to ride a pony. But honestly, I think if we'd have just stayed around, the fire trucks, Chris would have been as happy as could be. Friday, August 8 08-08-08....Ohhhh!!! For all your numerology&, nbsp;fans, it's a big day! The Chinese consider it a very lucky day..therefore the Olympics Games in Beijing are getting under way as we speak.Of course, I've always had a penchant for the number 8, because I was born on November 8th....How LUCKY is that!!!!! I did a little on-line research (very little) and found the website virtuescience.com, which has all kinds of interesting little factoids on the number 8. Did you know that 8 is a Fibonacci Number? Yeah, I didn't know what that meant, either. 8 is also an octagonal number (okay, I did know that) and 8 can be partitioned in 22 ways. Think about that for a while...I tried, but my head started to explode. A mathematician, I am not. And did you know there are not 8, but 7 films with the number 8 in the title? " 8 Crazy Nights", "Butterfield Eight", "8 Mile", "8 Seconds", "8 Women", "8 mm" and "8 1/2". I'm having too much fun with this, I know... Can't wait until 09-09-09.... Hello there!! I'm back from a mini-vacation, and it was SOOO nice. I didn't go anywhere this time..just got some stuff done around the house, spent some time relaxing at the pool, slept in, etc. I kept Christopher home from pre-school with me yesterday and we spent some quality time at Chuck E. Cheese. We got there right before 11, and I couldn't believe how crowded it was on a Tuesday morning. There were two school, busloads of kids, so the restaurant had the chaotic vibe of a Saturday afternoon. Of course, what's a trip t, o Chuck E. Che, ese wit, hout some chaos? Yesterday also brought Christopher's first trip to the dentist. It was actually my semi- annual cleaning appointment, but I wanted him to come so that he'll know what to expect when he has his first appointment next year. I had the dental hygienist on one side of me and Christopher on the other. He was totally fascinated by all the tools, asking "What's that?" every few seconds or so. And of course, he was appropriately "grossed out" by all the food particles that were removed from my teeth. I assured him that when it comes HIS turn, there's no telling what the hygienist will find...hahaha! Thursday, July 31 Yesterday was a bittersweet day around here at News 7. As you know, it was our good buddy, sports director extraordinair, , ,, e Mike Stevens' last day with WDBJ. He'll be as missed in our hallways as he will be on the airwaves. Since moving to the dark and early shift more than a decade ago, I didn't get to work with Mike that closely over the last several years. I would mostly see him in passing. He'd be in a rush, cruising through the newsroom, preparing to cover a bowl game or some other big event. I'd get his trademark peace sign gesture, and a "How are ya, K-Broom?" And he'd always be smiling and full of energy. That's our Mike. When I first started here at Your Hometown Station, I was working nights as an associate producer, which meant rolling the TelePrompter for the evening newscasts., When we'd get to the sports segment, I'd just try to hang on and keep up with Mike. When I call him the king of ad-lib, I mean it. This guy knows his stuff so well...he really didn't seem to need a , TelePrompter at all. Back in those days, he'd jokingly refer to me as the "best dressed TelePrompter operator in America." My theory wa, s, , ,, , 'dress for the job you want, not necessarily the one you have.' A lot's changed since then, but one thing that hasn't changed is my admiration for Mike as a great person and a great professional. He's deserving of every accolade he's received the past couple of days, both on the air and off. I consider him one of the best people I've ever had the privilege of working with, and he fits right in at a place known as the "City of Champions." We'll miss you, Mike. Monday, July 28 Happy Monday to ya!! I helped contribute to "The Dark Knight's" 300- million- dollar plus earnings this weekend, and was happy to do it! It's so nice when a film actually lives up to the hype, and in my opinion, this one certainly did. I didn't see "Batman Begins." That movie didn't really appeal to me...but you really didn't need to see that one to get the gist of "Knight." The acting w, as superb, which I totally expected it to be, considering the great cast. Of course, the late Heath Ledger stole the show as the Joker...but I thought Aaron Eckhart was heart-breaking as the ill-fated Harvey Dent/Tw, o-Face.&nb, sp; And legends like Morgan Freeman and Michael Kaine definitely didn't disappoint. Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance as Rachel Dawes was good, too...although we didn't get to see her enough. Of course, last but not least Batman himself, Christian Bale...absolute perfection. He has that dangerous vibe about him anyway that worked well in this role as well as others I've loved him in ("American Psycho" anyone?) And I when I say dangerous, I mean his on-camera persona..No comment on the current allegations that he assaulted his mother and sister. We'll have to wait and see how all that works out...So, if you haven't braved the crowded movie theatre yet... go. This film, at least, is actually worth the pr, ice of admission. Wednesday, July 23 Hey there...a little programming reminder here. Coming up today on News 7 at Noon, I'll be doing an interview with child advocate and "America's Most Wanted" host Joh, n Walsh via satellite. He'll be talking about ways to keep your "tween" safe online. I was just going over some stats for the interview and it was really eye-opening. 90- percent of kids who fall into this age bracket are online by the age of nine...And more than one in five post , information about themselves, including pictures and details about where they live. , And that, of course, invites danger into their lives. Anyway, if you're a parent or grandparent, be sure to check out the interview today. And remember, if you can't get to a TV at noon, you can always join us online, since we're now live- streaming News 7 at Noon at WDBJ7.com. And in another bit of "housekeeping," you can now leave comments and rate stories on our Web site. So feel free to leave me a comment about something you read here on my blog! You know I love hearing from you... Monday, July 21 Happy Monday to ya! Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was fine..and busy. I took Christopher to see a movie Friday...No, not t, he new Batman movie. Three years old is a bit too young for this version...besides, my husband and I are planning to see it this coming weekend. No, I took my boy to see "Space Chimps," which I don't think has had any promotion at all. Of course, opening the same weekend as "The Dark Knigh, t, ," they probably figured, why bother? It earned a "D" in "Entertainment Weekly," but I actually thought it was pretty cute, and offered several laughs on an adult level, too. Chris enjoyed it....along with the popcorn, of course! Besides, what's not to love about chimpanzees flying through space and saving the inhabitants of another planet?? On Saturday, we headed to Bridgewater Plaza at Smith Mountain Lake and had lunch. It's so beautiful down there...Chris had a blast just watching the fish swarming around for crumbs of bread people were tossing from the pier. All in all, a fun summer weekend. We have to soak them up while we can...I can't believe we're already in the latter half of July.&, nbsp; Summer', s going by WAY too fast!!! Wednesday, July 16 Good Morning! Hope you're having a swell day so far. I had to put in my two cents' worth on the Vinton Skating Park matter. As a former Vinton resident myself (and proud William Byrd graduate), I'm very pleased that Vinton Town Council voted last night to keep Gearhart Skate Park open...at least until late September, as long as there's adult supervision. Let's face it, there isn't a lot of options for teenagers to occupy themselves. Yes, they can hang out at the mall (until 6 p.m. on weekends), or attend school functions or sports (which are great)...but there should be other outlets for kids, especially outdoors. While it may bring some noise and the occasional incident of vandalism...at least you know where these kids are hanging out. Isn't it better for them to have a designated spot for skateboarding, as opposed to being on the streets or behind a shopping center somewhere? I also have to applaud the skateboarders who showed up at town council last week to plead their case. That was a great display of initiative....and a wonderful way for them to see first-hand how local government works....all in the middle of summer vacatio, n! Monday, July 14 Okay, so the pressure was really on this morning to update my blog, thanks to our banter on News 7 Mornin' today. Bob was doing a story on Roanoke councilman Dave Trinkle's blog, and KEPT mentioning my blog....So... I HAD to update it today, but I was planning to do it anyway...Honest. We had a nice weekend..we made it to the Salem Fair yesterday. Christopher and I met up with his best buddy and his parents, along with a couple of his older cousins. We got there right when the gates opened at noon, and the boys spent the next two hours riding everything that allowed those 36 inches and taller to hop aboard. Of course, my speed-obsessed son had to take a whirl on the race car ride three times. It was so hot, I had to forgo my annual funnel cake and opted for ice cream instead. Speaking of weather, the skies darkened jus, t as we we, re&n, bsp;gett, , i, ng re,, , ady to leave and then they opened up big-time as we were heading to the parking lot. It was a mad dash of parents and kids making the exodus out of the Salem Civic Center. And of course, my son wanted to jump in the puddles of our driveway when we got home...guess it just wasn't wet enough for him... And speaking of family stuff...congrats to Brangelina on the birth of their twins this weekend..Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon. I love the girl's name...not sure about the boy's name, though. Of course, it's not as weird as some of the other celebrity baby names like say, Apple or Banjo or Sunday Rose..which is what Nicole Kidman named her baby girl, who by the way, was born on a Monday. Go figure.... Friday, July 11 Happy Friday to ya! Another wee, kend is upon , us, and there's so much to do!! Of course, the Salem Fair is wrapping up on Sunday. I'm planning on heading over there with Christopher for our annual dose of funnel cake. I don't even want , to know how many calories and fat grams are in those things....they're delicious! And we'll spend at least 20 minutes at the petting zoo...with plenty of Purel on hand, of course. I'm sure you're as happy as I am that the whole scandalous Christie Brinkley divorce case is over. And yes, every graphic detail was played out for the media. But that turned out to be a wise thing for the supermodel. It's just hard to imagine why someone married to such a gorgeous woman would be addicted to internet porn. What was he thinking?? During testimony it was revealed that Peter Cook had spent up to three thousand dollars a month on porn. It's mind-boggling how that's even possible. The out of court settlement seems fair....Christie gets the kids and more than a dozen properties...Peter gets just over two million dollars and visitation rights. And as always, it's the children involved who are the real victims. How embarassing for them.... Tuesday, July 8 Hello, ,, , th, , e, , re! Hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend! After working my normal shift on July 4th, my husband and I took Christopher to a p, ool party at our old friend, Steve Pardon's house. Lots of fun....plenty of barbecue and friends!! It did rain on us a couple of times...but no worr, ies...I don't think the kids even noticed who were still playing in the pool! I wanted to make it down to the fir, eworks,, but we were all pretty tired after swimming all afternoon that we just headed home. I watched some of the fireworks on TV..yeah, not exactly the same thing...but still patriotic. Speaking of which..Christopher's pre-school did a nice job with its annual July 4th parade and picnic. Each class proudly waved flags...sang songs...and got to eat lunch with their parents. Our parent committee even rented an Uncle Sam costume for the occasion....our thanks to the good sport who agreed to wear it! Monday, June 30 Welcome to a new work week...of course, it's a short one for most folks, with July 4th coming up. I'll be working a half day on Thursday, the 3rd to attend Christopher's July 4th picnic and parade at his pre-school. It's so cute!! Each class dresses up and waves flags...some classes do songs or skits...quite adorable! I'm also excited that we'll actually get to go see the fireworks this year, since the 4th falls on a Friday and I can actually stay up until dark to see , the light show. Speaking of shows...my mom and I wen, t to, see the Miss, Virginia pageant Saturday night. And if you were up early yesterday, you got to see the latest crown bearer, Miss Arlington Tara Wheeler, live on News 7 Sunday morning. It's always fun to try to predict the winner...my mother actually had her pegged early on. My original choice, Miss Apple Blossom Festival didn't make the top 10..but my second choice, Miss Greater Franklin County came in a respectable 4th runner-up. My hat's off to all the girls who put themselves out there and "go for it." It takes courage to do that (especially the swimsuit competition!!). Hopefully, next year we'll have a local representative, Miss Roanoke Valley. She was sorely missed this year...especially since the pageant itself is held in Roanoke. Monday, June 23 Hi there!! I'm back from vacationland...Boo Hoo....Actually, to be a Monday and my first day back, it hasn't been bad. Today's actually gone by pretty quickly so far with my normal work, plus trying to catch up on E-mai, ls. There's always a slew of them after a weekend...but after being gone for a week...it's more like an avalanche, . Myrtle Beach was great!! We were fortunate with the weather...it was sunny and warm every day. It rained a little on Frid, ay afternoon...and there was a storm Saturday morning as we were packing to leave. But since we were leaving...who cared! We were busy the whole week (which is how it works when you travel with a three-year-old). Besides playing in the ocean, which Christopher LOVED, we hit the attractions at Broadway at the Beach. Chris enjoyed all the rides from the old Pavilion that are there...plus we toured Ripley's Aquarium. It's very cool...there's a part where you go through a tunnel and can see the sharks swimming all around you... Plus, we did Alligator Adventure. There was some excitement there. One of the gators escaped and ended up in the duck pond. They managed to capture him and "hog tie" him, and the handlers walked right by us as they were walking him back to his area. Let's see..what else. Oh, we spent Friday morning at the Nascar Speedpark. Chris loved it, since he's obsessed with cars. Of course, there were only a couple of rides that he could get on by himself. My husband rode some of the others with him...his favorite was a race car simulator that went around and around...When they got off, Chris was like, "We went really fast!!" That's my boy...little speed demon. We got home Saturday night and spent yesterday just catching up on housework and laundry...whew!! Now, I'm ready for another week off! On a work-related note, I was excite, d to find out that we're now live streaming News 7 at Noon. So, as you're sitting at your desk cruising the net at lunchtime, check us out!!! Let me know what you think.... Friday, June 13 Hello there...it's Friday the 13th...ooohhh!!!! But I must stay, I'm feeling anything but unlucky today. I'm going on vacation next week...hooray! We had an especially fun-filled News 7 Mornin' show, today featuring live musical segments from up and coming country music artist Johnny Napp. If you haven't heard of him yet, you will. He's quite talented, and you can catch his performance tomorrow night at Cattle Annie's in Lynchburg. And speaking of young musicians....I got to interview the extremely-talented Josh Groban Tuesday via satellite during our noon newscast. I genuinely enjoyed talking with him...despite his awards and accolades over the years, he remains very down-to-earth and was quite gracious during our interview. I suppose that's all the news from here. Again, I'm just gearing up for a lovely week off. My husband and I are also celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary next week....Oh, wait....that was another Number 13 reference....ooooh!! creepy!! Hey, enjoy your Friday, the 13th&n, bsp;and don't walk under any ladders....just in case... Monday, June 9 "Sex and the City" Spoiler Alert!!!!!!! Don't read if you haven't seen the movie..unless you don't care how it ends..... As promised...I am here with my "Sex and the City" review. One word sums it up-- awesome, !!!! It was a lengthy movie...clo, se to two and a half hours, but I was engrossed the entire time. Seriously...I didn't want it to end. I was hoping the projectionist would just segue into a marathon showing of "Sex and the City" episodes. It had just the right mix of funny moments (i.e. Samantha with the sushi...and , all of the scenes with her lusting after her new neighbor)....along with moments that made you want to throw things at the screen (i.e. Steve cheating on Miranda and of course, Big leaving Carrie at the altar at their "first" wedding). But in true Hollywood fashion, there's a happy ending and Big finally marries Carrie. So, two "Big" thumbs up from me for the romance, the humor, and of course, the Fashion!! I couldn't help but notice the huge presence of the color yellow...could be because of the fact that my friends and I all ended up wearing yellow cocktail attire..and NO, it wasn't planned....just beautifully coordinated. Carrie Bradshaw...er....Carrie PRESTON would approv, e. Friday, June 6 Another Friday has finally arrived!! Hurray! Tonight, several of my friends and I are going to see the "Sex and the City" movie. It', s been tough this week avoiding all reviews/interviews/spoilers, etc. I DO know that despite earlier rumors, they don't kill off Mr. Big. And hopefully, they don't kill off anyone...but we'll find out tonight. We're dressing up..doing dinner beforehand, the whole nine yards. So yes...it's an event...And I'll write my review on Monday. Let's see...what else is happening...I took Christopher to see the "Backyardigans" Wednesday night with his little buddy. Chris isn't as HUGE a fan of that show as he is say, anything on Playhouse Disney and PBS Sprout....but he s, till liked the live performance. But I have to admit, I'm not exactly sure what the "Backyardigans" are supposed to be. Are they animals, insects, fairies??? Whatever they are, they sure can sing, and kept us pretty entertained for the hour and 15 minutes they were on stage. Afterwards, we had to stop by the souvenir stand (always a scary proposition), but Chris chose wisely this time....a C.D. And I have to admit, it's pretty good. We'd almost worn out his Laurie Berkner Band CD...so this one will be a good addition to the kid music rotation. Tuesday, June 3 Hello...and thanks for stopping by! If you're able to, try to catch News 7 at Noon today. We're doing a live interview with not one, but two authors who've written what you'd consider "politically- incorrect," but quite humorous books on funeral customs...that's right, , funerals. When I first heard that we were doing the interviews, I kind of wondered how it would come off..But then I read some of the reviews and these ladies have really hit upon something that most of us have likely encountered....the "competition" among ladies to for the tastiest after- funeral fare...the uncertainty over how to word "Thank you" notes and obits, etc. But these authors write in a way that's informative, with just the right amount of comic relief. Jessica Bemis Ward's book is titled "Food to Die For," and of course, it includes over 100 great recipes for comfort food. Charlotte Hayes' book "Being Dead is No Excuse" offers the same type of information with a touc, h of humor. Tune in f, or the interview, or check it out online and let me know what you think.... Thursday, May 29 Hi there! Sorry this is the first time I've blogged this week. I was off on Monday for Memorial Day, and just hadn't had a chance to chat with ya until today. Hope you had a great holiday weekend. Mine was nice...pretty laid back..we went to the pool a couple of times and I took Christopher to Festival in the Park Saturday to meet up with his little buddy. We were there for three hours!! I think that's a new festival record for , me.&, nbsp; , B, ut w, hen you have a child, it's easy enough to get caught up in the array of shows...one right after the other. We started with the Captain Jack Sparrow magic act...then segued into the show poodles performance....then of course, the Ronald McDonald Show. You'd have thought it was Hannah Montana, the way the kids were crowding the festival stage, my son included. He managed to get Ronald's autograph..but was extremely bummed that he didn't get to give him a high-five. You see, giving and receiving high five's are VERY important to my little fell, ow, ...e, specially when mascots are involved. (See earlier notes about Chris' obsession with the Salem Avalanche's Mugsy). It's been a pretty good week so far...and a short one, thank goodness! I am count, ing , , down the days until my girlfriends and I go see the new "Sex and the City" movie. We're planning on going NEXT Friday night....so be on the lookout for my amateur movie review. As long as Mr. Big is front and center for much of the film, it'll get two "Big" thumbs up from me.... Thursday, May 22 "Ame, rican Idol" rocks! Yes, if you've read my blog before, you know that I'm very pleased with how last night's vote went...and very surprised. After all the fawning Simon Cowell & Co. did over David Archuleta Tuesday night, I just KNEW that he was the one who would walk away with the "Idol" crown last night. Therefore, I watched the first hour...then let the DVR take care of the second half. I didn't want to sacrifice precious sleep to stay up until 10:00 and watch the younger David win. Nothing against him...he's very talented and has a bright future in music ahead of him...but I didn't think he was the BEST singer in the competition. And I didn't want to be even MORE sleep-deprived this morning watching him win. So....I didn't find out about David Cook winning until I came into work this morning and hopped on the Internet. W, hat a great way to start the day!! Imagine...the singer who actually deserved to win the competition WON it. In my opinion, that hasn't happened in a couple of seasons...Of course, my first top pick to win Season Seven was Carly Smithson. But she, along with my other choice, Michael Johns, was booted out far too early. I was so happy to see the producers had the good judgment to let the pair actually sing t, ogether last night. What a fantastic finale it would have been had they been the last two standing.&n, bsp; But I dig, ress....I'm, happy with how the show turned out. So now I can watch the final hour on the DVR, and NOT dred seeing the end....But I AM dredding the fact that we have to wait until next year for our next batch of wanna-be "Idols." Monday, May 19 Hi there...hope you had a fantastic weekend. Mine was full!! I love being busy on the weekend. But then by Monday, I feel like I need another weekend to recover from my weekend. Make sense? Probably no, t...after all, it is Monday, and I could use another hour or two of sleep... , ;I took Christopher to Local Colors on Saturday, and what a perfect day it was to be out in Elmwood Park! I wore a long-sleeved shirt with walking shorts..and literally within about 10 minutes, I was regretting that decision. It warmed up in a hurry!! Anyway, Chris was fascinated by these cool little twirling toys at the Japanese booth, so we bought one of those..and of course, we had to hit the face painting booth. I took his picture in front of the Ireland and England displays..as a nod to his heritage...and we enjoyed the Parade of Nations for a little , , , while before it was getting too close to lunchtime. Later that evening, Christopher, his dad and I went out to the Salem Avalanche game. Again, perfect weather., ..We enjoyed, jamming to one of our favorite local bands, Key West, before the game start, ed. What can be better than singing along to Jimmy Buffett tunes before a baseball game?? Thursday, May 15 Well, well, well...all the "American Idol" pundits were right. (But what qualifies one to be a 'pundit'???) Anyway, it's going to be David versus David in next week's season finale. I'm not surprised..but I was hoping the lovely and very talented Syesha Mercado would have been in the finals with rocker David Cook. As I've blogged to you before, I just don't get the David Archuleta appeal. Maybe, that's because I'm not 12...Still, anyone with eyeballs can't help but notice that the poor guy looks (and sounds) like he's about to pass out at any moment. And given his tender age of 17, who wouldn't be freaked out by all that scrutiny?? Are "Idol" voters doing this kid a disservice by k, eeping him in the competition this long? I wonder...Of course, those of us who have been watching this show since the beginning know that you don't have to win the title of "American Idol" to get a big money recording contract, so both the David's will come out of this thing just fine...and so will Syesha...and likely, so will Michael Johns and Carly Smithson. Of course, from a TV biz standpoint, there is something delicious about the "David vs. Goliath" set-up heading into the season finale...More mature, confident rocker vs. young, timid child prodigy....who wouldn't want to tune in to that?? Speaking of items TV- related...yesterday during our noon newscast, I got the opportunity to do a live satellite interview with CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier. She's written a new book, "Breathing the , Fire..." which chronicles her , heroic recovery after being caught in a car bombing nearly two years ago while covering the war in Baghdad. She's not only a great journalist...but quite a tough, determined lady to have endured such a long, painful physical and emotional recovery that she has. I was also surprised to also learn that she still has a home in Jerusalem. I admire her fighting spirit so much, and am even more a fan of hers now than I was before. She's a true class act in our business. Monday, May 12 Hello everyone! Welcome to yet another Monday...yeah yeah, I know. Hope you and yo, urs had a great Mother's Day. Mine was very nice. We went out to brunch yesterday with my Mom. I don't even want to think about all the calories I consumed, but it was delicious!! I got not one, but two cards from Christopher. One he made a pre-school (with some help from his teachers). I have so many scrapbooks of his artwork, daily report sheets, photos, etc... By the time he's 18, I'm probably going to need a storage building JUST to house all that stuff. I'm a packrat by nature. I've pretty much kept every letter, card, note, school assignment, etc. that I've ever had. My mom has a few boxes of it..but I have plenty. Every time I run across those things, the more practical side of me says, "What are you keeping this for??, ?" But the sentimental side says, "You've kept it for this long....why throw it away now?" Also this weekend, we took Christopher to the skating rink for his best friend, Sheldon's birthday party. They had the best time. Instead of skating on the "sl, ow r, ollers," kids were asked to bring their riding toys. They were adorable...Christopher had fun hopping on a motorized bike..once he got a handle on the accelerator pedal..there was no stopping him! Yep, my boy has a need for speed... Thursday, May 8 To all my fellow "American Idol" fanatics..can I just say "Thank Goodness"!!!! If you watch the show, you already know what I'm talking about. It was bad enough that Jason Castro was in the top 10....then the top 5...but when he ended up in the top 4, I was seriously considering not watching the show anymore (at least not this season). I actually told my husband yesterday that if Jason didn't get voted off this week, do NOT under any circumstances, let , me tune in again this season. Since I'm addicted to the show, I'm really glad I won't have to boycott it. But seriously, how many pre-teens texted in votes for t, his guy, just because he's cute?? I understand the appeal, to a certain degree. But come on guys...he CAN'T SING!!!! He would sound fine at a beachfront cafe, while patrons are sipping margaritas. That's about it. I figured he would ha,, ve at least found his niche with the Bob Marley song..but even that was atrocious. Just so I'm not a total hater, he seems like a cool fellow, so maybe he can parlay his Idol experience into a successful career....just not as a major recording star. As always, feel free to E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your opinions about "Idol" or anything else. I love hearing from you!!! Monday, May 5 Happy Cinco de Mayo to you! Yet another occasion after an absolutely jam-packed weekend....Thanks to everyone who stopped by our tent at Elmwood Park Saturday at the Chili Cook-off! We heard over and over again how our chili was the BEST...of course, the ballots said otherwise..Hahaha! But hey, it's all in good fun and a great benefit for Greenvale School. And for the record, I thought our chili was even better than last year's. Leo and I also got a chance to meet Big Tom from "Survivor." He was out and about sampling chili and signing autographs...and yes, he too told me our chili was the best he'd tried so far... Later on Saturday, several of us from News 7 attended the annual Kentucky Derby party given by our dear friends Steve and Nicole Pardon. Steve used to be one of our Mornin' co-horts..., .The party was lots of fun...complete with Mint Juleps and a Derby hat contest. Of course, later I was saddened to learn that Eight Belles had to be put down immediately after the race, because she'd broken bot, , h front ankles. To race as well as she did, and then have that happen right there on the track is so tragic. I'm just glad I didn't see it when it happened... Friday, May 2 Hello...hope you're having a great Friday. Mine's been fine...just passing by very SLOWWWWWLYYYYY. I always feel that way when there's a lot of things coming up on the weekend. Several, of us at News 7 will be servin' up chili tomorrow at the annual Chili Cookoff in downtown Roanoke. Leo and I will be there from 10:00 a.m. until noon, so get up early and have some spicy chili for breakfast!! Leo says the weather should be nice for at least most of the day. Of course, it seems every year there's at least one shower/thunderstorm on the event. , This will be a DOUBLE public appearance weekend for me...I'll also being emceeing the exciting performance by the Golden Dragons Chines, e Acrobats at the Jefferson Center on Sunday afternoon. I checked out one of their shows on-line and they're phenomenal! Whatever you decide to do this weekend, hope you have fun! Monday, April 28 Hi there, and welcome to yet another work week. Boy, the weekend flew by! I'm having a tough time waking up today, with the rainy weather. But it sure felt like summertime on Saturday. We took Christopher to my old stomping grounds, the former William Byrd Junior High School, where the Vinton Dogwood Festival had its carnival set up. I was so proud of him..he actually won a big stuffed penguin throwing darts at balloons. Of course, with a three-year-old, you don't always know where the dart might end up..but he was on his good behavior and actually aimed where he was supposed to aim. There were also lots of rides, and of course, Chris conned us into buying more tickets tha, n we'd originally planned. He rode the "choo choo" train a couple of times, and even talked me into riding the miniature rollercoaster with him. And yes, I still closed by eyes on that one. I can only imagine the number of rollercoasters I'm going to end up riding once he gets old enough to ride the BIG ones at Kings Dominion, Disney World, etc. My favorite rollercoaster is still Space Mountain at Disne, y, World. The best part about that one...it's so dark in there you can't tell what's coming up (or down)... Friday, April 25 Another Fr, id, ay is up, on us, and what an exciting week it has been here at Your Hometown Station! Yes, we're now in HD! It took a lot of hard work and elbow grease to make the switchover officially on Tuesday evening. Kudos to our operations staff and those from other departments who also pitched in to make us look so good! Oh, and hopefully we do look good... We had a makeup consultant come in last week to give us each an "HD makeover." I scribbled down notes from her as quickly as I could, so hopefully I'm using the triangular cosmetic wedges and makeup brushes correctly! On another TV note, I have to share my rant about "American Idol" this season. What is up with the voters , this year?? Firs,, t, they vote off the talented (and yes, very hot) Austra, lian singer Michael Johns. This week, they voted out the most talented of the female singers, Carly Smithson. I just don't get it...we're left with Jason Castro, whose appeal I really DON'T understand and poor Brooke White, who's a good singer in a Sheryl Crow sort of way, but not a vocal powerhouse by any means. Now that Carly's gone, I have only David Cook to root for. He has the ability to make each performance interesting and memorable..and could possibly have a successful rock career along the same lines of Chris Daughtry (my all-time favorite Idol). So, I'll keep watching, as long as David Cook's around...after that, I may boycott.&nb, sp; Oh, who am I kidding...I'm hopelessly addicted to this show....no matter how far down the talent pool has dwindled... On that sour note, have a great weekend!! Monday, April 21, Greetings...hope you enjoyed your weekend. We had a jam-packed Friday night/Saturday morning. Mayberry Night was lots of fun at Salem Memorial Stadium Friday. Christopher was excited that he not only got to hug Mugsy (at least three times)...but he also g, ot a written "citation" from Officer Barney Fife at the ballpark. The drawback to those perfect nights at the stadium..the concession lines are so long! And of course, when you have a little one...there's the initial trip for the hotdog that you're fairly sure he'll eat....then the subsequent trip for the second hotdog that he'll ask for and MAYBE eat. Then there's always room for Dippin' Dots..and yes, another line. But it's all in the name of family fun..and weather was absolutely awesomet that night. On Saturday morning, Christopher and I met up with his best bu, ddy, Sheldon and his mommy at the Kite Festival in Green Hill Park. Again, Mother Nature was on our side. And the breeze was just right for so many kites that were waving proudly. Alas, ours was not one of them. I think the Elmo kite kit I bought was a bit too sophisticated for my lack of kite-flying skills..and we spent a large part of the day untangling the string. Note to self...next year, seek professional kite-flying counseling. And I'll share another humorous tale...the kite festival also provided Christopher with his first experience with a porta-john. B, less, his heart, he was actually looking for a sink to wash his hands in. Than, , k goodness for Purel... Monday, April 14 Hey...thanks for coming by the blog. I can't believe it's already Monday. The weekend literally flew by!! Now that it's spring-time...it seems there are festivals every weekend. So..as we launch the Festival 2008 tour....Christopher and I went to the spring fest at Oak Grove Elementary School Saturday morning and had a great time. Of course, he had to have his face painted,, but w, e stopped short at spray-painting h, is hai, r. , They had a good variety of games for the smaller kids, i.e. coin toss, as well as those ever-popular giant inflatabl, es, , ,, .&am, p;, amp;nb, sp;They'd moved everything indoors, since we were expecting rain...but it turned out just lovely!! Our next planned, stop on the "festival tour" is the kite festival this coming Saturday at Green Hill Park. Let's cross our fingers that we'll have great weather like we had on Saturday. My husband grilled dinner and we played basketball and "baseball"...i.e. Chris hitting the baseball from his tee ball stand. He has a great pitching arm..but tends to want to bat with just one hand... which is also how he likes to swing his golf club...I'm SURE that's how Tiger Woods started out, too. By the way, we were pulling for Tiger to earn another green jacket yesterday... but no such luck... Thank goodness spring is here and summer isn't far away...just doing simple things like playing outdoors is the best therapy after a long, busy week.... Hope you enjoy YOUR week... Friday, April 11 Hello there!! This is my first chance to blog this week..it's been a busy one around here. Tuesday mornin, g, I had the opportunity to do a one-on-one interview with Virginia Tech President Charles Steger. He offered some of his reflections on the April 16th shootings, now that we're coming up on the one year anniversary. That interview will be among the special pieces we'll be airing as part of our anniversary coverage. I also put together a timeline of events of that day. While reviewing the video and interviews from that infamous week, my emotions were again stirred. But I think the Tech community has made huge strides in getting past the tragedy, while still h,, o, noring those who died as a result of it. On a much lighter note..how about the awesome summer weather? , I took Christopher to the park yesterday, and neither of us really wanted to leave. It was just so nice to feel the warm sunshine..but of course, Jay Webb mentioned this morning that the warm temperatures will be short-lived..and we could actually see some flurries Sunday morning. Say what??!! Oh well..at least the warm weather will return next week sometime. Last weekend, severa, l of, us from News 7 attended the wedding of our Digital Media guru Mike Episcopo and his lovely bride Laura Whitaker in the picturesque Hinton, WV. I'd never been there before...very pretty scenery! However, our mote, l accomodations were less than four-star. I kept looking for Norman Bates to come visit me....AAARH!!! All kidding aside, we all had a great time dancing and toasting the happy couple! Congrats to them...and we happily welcome Laura into our little WDBJ family... Hope you and yours have a great weekend!! Tuesday, April 1 Happy April Fool's Day!! Be on the lookout for pranksters..We have a few here at the station, so I'm staying on guard today..hahaha! If you were watching News 7 Mornin' today (and I'm sure you were)..you might have caught Bob Grebe's preview of the show my alma mater will be performing on the Great White Way. That's right...the William Byrd Players are one of only a few schools chosen out of hundreds to take part in the National Performing Arts Festival in New York City. They'll perform a 20 minute rendition, of "School House Rocks, Live!" The group had to raise over $20,000.00 to go,, and they did it. As a former member of the William Byrd Drama Club (long before the "William Byrd Players"), I'm very proud. Of course, back when I was there (Class of '89), we didn't do musicals..just straight dialogue plays. We had the best time rehearsing and making our own props (yes, our budget was tight). My , senior year, I got to star AND direct in a one-act version of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite." I had so much fun getting to call the shots...although it's a lot harder than it seems. And there's nothing like getting that immediate response from the audience in live theatre... You know when you put just the right humorous punch on a line...They laugh. And when a joke falls flat...dead silence. So break a leg, Terriers!!
And finally, a very Happy Birthday wish goes out to my daughter, Caitlin. She turns a year old today. It's gone by so quickly...I suppose, because having two children makes things EXTRA busy. But it's wonderful, and I'm so grateful for both of my blessings. I can't wait to see her take her first bite of birthday cake...a Disney Princess theme, of course for my little princess. It's going to be a busy weekend for the McBroom house. We're heading to Walking with Dinosaurs tonight, which is WDBJ night by the way. Hope to see you there! Have a great weekend, whatever you do and try to stay warm.