Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Delightful Dozen

Happy Anniversary to Us! It is our twelfth anniversary. Which means we were married at the young age of 22. Yikes! Now we are old. I know this because it is Saturday night and by 7 p.m. we were done with dinner and yawning - ready for sleep. We swung by S's house to pick up the kids (thanks S!) and were home before 8. Woo hoo. The excitement of it all is just too much, don't you think? In our defense, we have been battling the Never-Ending Evil Cough since before Christmas so really just wanted to stay in bed all day anyway. The fact that we got dressed and left the house at all is remarkable really. If we weren't sick I'm sure we could have stayed out until at least 9 or 10!

All of that aside, dinner was very nice. We tried a new restaurant for our annual Anniversary Steak Dinner. The food was delicious. Even the wine was good (I'm very picky - I only like sweet white!). We chit-chatted about family, friends, the kids, jobs. We reminisced a little about "best married memories" and even had dessert. Even more noteworthy, Ron ate some! I'm not sure how such a total sweet-tooth (me) ended up with such a non-sweet-tooth (him).

Speaking of food... I would like to share with you Ron's 12 Favorite Snacks. It came to my attention a few weeks ago that I had no idea what Ron's all-time favorite snack was. After 12 years you would think I would know that! So I immediately challenged him to list off his top 12 and I WROTE THEM DOWN so that I will always know and then saved the list to publish here for our anniversary. And now you will also know because here they are....

1. French bread and cheese
2. Chips and Salsa
3. Cheese and Triscuits
4. Plain Tortilla Chips
5. Potato chips without ridges (I like Ruffles so that is an important distinction!)
6. Cheez-its
7. Popcorn and milk
8. Mixed nuts, salted
9. Goldfish
10. Dried fruit, in a variety of flavors
11. Pretzels
12. Mexican food of any type - tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, etc

I know he and his family eat bread and cheese but I always thought it was just something his parents did. Now I know better! And if you had asked me if he liked any of those foods, I would have said yes. And I definitely knew that #2 and #3 were at the top of the list. So one wrong out of twelve - that's not bad, right? Right?

Ron brought home roses this afternoon. 12 Roses for 12 years. Circus Roses. Because living here is like living in a circus... heh heh. They are beautiful and even more special because of the name.

Happy Anniversary! I love you Ron! Here's to dozens more delightful years together...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Absent-Minded Housewife

I am about as absent-minded as it comes today. Seems impossible to believe after my earlier post about being a perfectionist. Are you perhaps wondering to yourself now, exactly how many different personalities does that crazy lady have anyway?!? I sure am!

So far today I have started an empty clothes-dryer. I have misplaced my Christmas Card mailing labels (that's right folks, I still don't have even half of my cards out yet!). I have left a bag of garbage out for Bailey to eat. I have no idea where that bag of garbage came from exactly (it was on the counter last night and I was taking it out but apparently it never made it out of the house) but Bailey found it and made a huge mess in the living room.

The good news is that I did not lose any children this afternoon when we went out to run our 5 errands, though we did almost get run over a couple times in the grocery store/dry cleaners parking lot. That place is dangerous! (almost as dangerous as the inside of my head...)

Updated to add: 3 days later I still can't find the stamps I bought. But I guess since there is no mail service on Tuesday, that gives me an extra day to find them!

I am a perfectionist

My name is Sheila, and I am a perfectionist.

There. I said it. It's funny, really, because I have never considered myself a perfectionist. There is absolutely such a thing as good enough. However, I read something this year (of course, who knows now what it was!) that tells me I am, in fact, a perfectionist. I'm not the kind that can't be finished with something because it's not perfect. I'm the kind that can't get started unless the circumstances are perfect to allow for perfect completion. I am a Perfectionist Procrastinator. Or a Procrastinating Perfectionist. Or even a Procrastinating Circumstantial Perfectionist. I don't want to do "It" until everything is just right and I know that I am able to complete "It" as nicely as "It" looks in my imagination. But time has a way of marching on and deadlines eventually loom and I'm forced to "Just Do It". Once I get started, I lose the perfectionism and just do the best I can and that's okay with me. Though I do regret my inability to start things a little sooner because then I would be less stressed out, less rushed, and "It" would probably turn out nicer or be received on time instead of late, as it usually is.

I found this poem in a book I bought at Michaels the other day... it kind of sums things up. This poem is about Christmas cards but really you could substitute just about anything and it would still be true for me...

The Card I Meant To Send
by Thena

Last Christmas I resolved
To start my cards righ then,
When I would have time to ponder
The cards that I would send.
The cards would be so lovely,
Beautiful beyond compare:
The lovely masterpieces I would send
To show my friends I care.
The colors would be lovely.
And the cards would be 3-D.
All created and hand-designed:
Totally and uniquely me!
Imagine the shock I felt,
When the calendar on my PC
Said my time had already run out,
And it was December 23!
So dear friends, I beg of you,
Do not despair or grieve.
For in my heart I love you still,
But this is the card you will receive...
From me.
P.S. I'm starting on next year's cards on Jan. 1st...
And they will be lovely!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Board Game Evolution

lIt's amazing sometimes how much these kids change in a short amount of time...

Today we played Clue Jr. - an exercise in patience for me. Can they be any slower as they look at the clue, check the list, color the clue/check it off the list? Oh my gosh! Almost as painful as having to sit still to watch the grass grow. Add to it the fact that we all had to cover our eyes every time so that no one was peeking at the clues since none of them is capable of hiding their list while marking it. Ay yi yi! BUT - all 3 were playing. Felisa and I were on a team so that I could help her figure out what to do each time but she was able to be a contributing player so that's an advancement in game playing skills.

Next we played Monopoly Jr. I have to say that I LOVE this game. So much simpler and faster than regular Monopoly. Here's where I saw some big evolution (and some regression!). This time Felisa played her own spot and I sat in as the banker/supervisor but did not have a game piece in the game. Ryan was compiling different combinations of money to get the amounts he needed to pay. When we played last spring, I was helping him each and every time to come up with the correct amount. This time not only did he know how to come up with the correct amount, he was also exercising some creative combinations. Instead of just handing me a $5 bill, he would give me a $2 and 3 $1 bills on time and the next time he would give me a $4 bill and a $1 bill. How fun to see how far he has come in his addition and subtraction skills! Now for the regression... this was our second game. In a row. At one point, Felisa got excited about something and did about 10 laps around the living room. Before that (and throughout the game) both girls were wiggling like crazy in their seats. Guess the ability to sit still for long periods just isn't there yet!

All in all, a pretty positive family experience. :) Now I am working on bringing order to the board games and puzzles chaos that is currently Ryan's room. Purging a few items, bagging up small pieces within games, and stacking them vertically (a little hint I found online yesterday). By vertically I mean on their sides like books instead of piled flat on top of each other. It is supposed to make it easier for the kids to get them in and out and is less wear on the boxes. I have to admit that so far it also looks nicer! I guess time will tell...

In other news, Ron changed the beds around in the girls' room. Now I just have to get in there and impose order on all those little pieces of little toys!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Order! I Want Order!

Add yesterday's marvelous gifts to the already out-of-control kid chaos here and help!!! I haven't figured out yet how to keep the toys picked up and put away. I need a combination of "just get it off the floor" which satisfies everyone but me and "everything must be sorted and put away in exactly the right place" which makes me happy. That makes it four against one though and then there's a sub-committee who believes strongly in "floor? what floor? I don't need to see it!" that just doesn't help at all. I feel like if I could just get the ground work in place, set up all those "exactly the right place" places, then it would be easier for us all to keep it put away better and thereby keeping the oldest two members of the household happy. But where do I find the time for the groundwork? Or the genius solutions? I mean, it took me two months to get a single set of shelves for Ryan's room stained and assembled. And to top it all off, I still need more shelf space in there. Or less stuff. But that's hard too. Ultimately I would like to have his room set up so that it can function as a better guest room (less cluttered and chaotic) and a little boy's room at the same time. And so that I don't have to shut the door everytime little guests come over because it is an unsafe, disorganized place. And one last complaint about that room... it used to be our overflow junk room (extra uniforms, wrapping paper collection, etc.). I have yet to find a good home elsewhere for all of that stuff.

Now today's projects: Go to the library (it was closed on Friday so we've had to wait 4 days to get our books! We won't talk about the 50 books we got for Christmas since none of them was Zack Files #30) and Clean up the Girls' Room so Ron can bunk the beds later. Since no one is regularly using the extra bed at this point, why not "store it" above the other bed? At this point, we can really use the extra floor space for toys, toys, and more toys. Not that you'll ever actually be able to see the floor...

Anyone have any great suggestions for keeping Barbie, My Little Ponies, baby dolls, and all of their accessories organized?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Santa Supports Reading

Ryan had a Cub Scout Pack Meeting last night. We considered not going, since he has developed a bit of a cough, and since we both like Den meetings better but ultimately decided to go. Our reward for sitting quietly through the extended Adult Award (Wood Chip?) presentation was a visit from Santa Claus! The Tigers got to go first and Ryan just happened to be at the front of the line. I must say that he handled the crowd well... Because he was first, EVERYONE in the room was watching and listening to his conversation with Santa.

What's that you say? You weren't there? You want to know what they said to each other? Well, here you go...

Santa: Merry Christmas! Have you been good this year?
Ryan: Yes.
Santa: Is your room clean?
Ryan: Yes. Well, except for the bed.
Santa: Oh. Is that where you pile everything when Mom tells you to clean up?
Ryan: No that's where I put my books that I'm going to read before bed.
Santa: Oh well as long as it's books, then it's okay.

How cute was that? Don't you just love the honesty of kids? If it were me, I would have told him that yes my room was clean (even though it NEVER is!) because I know that's what he wants me to tell him. And if my room were clean except for books on the bed, I still would have just said yes, it's clean.

Maybe they should get Santa to do a PSA about reading...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No Throwing

Now as long as it's not in the heat of a battle of wills... it is SOOOOOOO cute when preschoolers scold you!

Last night I was changing into my pajamas and tossed my t-shirt over onto the dresser top. Felisa was sitting on the bed, waiting for me to be ready to lie down with her so she could go to sleep (no, she's not spoiled at all!). She said, very seriously, with her arms crossed and a stern look on her face,

"Mommy, no throwing."

"What?" I didn't understand her at first.

"Mommy, no throwing."

"No throwing? Oh, I'm sorry."

"You just walk and put it down and walk back. No throwing."

"Okay. I am very sorry. I won't throw."

"That's okay."

See - how cute is that?!?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Make or Break

This week is going to make me or break me... I'm hoping for make me but history shows that it will most likely break me. But one can hope, right?

Ryan's birthday has come and gone which puts me into the home stretch... 2 weeks until Christmas. Even with an extra week (Thanksgiving was early this year!), I'm still behind. So far behind, in fact, that I haven't even made my list yet to find out exactly how far behind I am! Yikes!

On the plus side, I made my deliveries yesterday (except for one lady who is on vacation) from the vendor night I did last month. Better late than never, right? Right?!?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My baby is 7

Ryan's seventh birthday... my baby, my first-born. Seven. How did that happen?!?

We had his party yesterday afternoon. A Spy Party. It was supposed to be more of a superhero-detective-secret agent-spy conglomeration party but life got in the way. So we had a Racinez Spy Academy Party-in-a-box, complements of the internet. Admittedly it was nice to have everything pre-planned with a script (unlike doing at all from scratch like I did for the Rainbow Fairy party). I did miss bringing some of my great ideas to fruition but there's always next year, right? And I did sneak in a couple twists of my own. The kids all seemed to enjoy themselves and I've gotten positive feedback (saw Claire's mom at the library and she told me Claire had a great time) so all is well.

It was surprising to me which activities were a hit (trying on disguises out of the dress-up box) that I was worried about and which activities didn't go as I planned (apparently not everyone in first grade can read/write as well as Ryan can nor do they all understand what a secret identity is). But all in all, things went well.

And the biggest surprise to me was how much Bella has enjoyed the spy gadgets (the classic mustache/big nose/glasses disguise and the handcuffs) since the party ended.

As an added bonus, Aunt Lana and Mike were in town for the weekend. Mike wasn't feeling well so he hid in the bedroom. Lana was a big help. Like I found at Bella's party, an extra adult (other than Ron and I) can make such a BIG difference. Thank you Lana!

And in case you are wondering, boys are definitely louder and more chaotic than girls. This party just reconfirmed it!

The Family Celebration

We went to dinner at Outback. Because Ryan LOVES Outback! Melissa was able to join us which was nice. Now that she's a big 16-year old she just doesn't have much time to hang out with us anymore. :)

Before dinner, Eleanor brought down some gifts for Ryan. The globe has been the big hit so far but he hasn't had the time to get into the Body Book yet. So many gifts, so little time! At least he shouldn't be able to complain of boredom until at least January!

Christmas Decorating

We put the tree up after dinner tonight. I was able to avoid excessive screaming - "Stop it! Just wait a minute! Quit dropping the ornaments!" so it went better than last year.

Sad news... we lost 2 playdough ornaments this year. Bella's advent wreath from last year, and my painted Christmas tree from about 1980. Needless to say, I was very disappointed, mostly about MY ornament!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another quote/Book Review

"Driving to my meeting, I pump milk. I do one side at a time so both hands are still on the wheel."

-from This Day in the Life

I have to admit, I have pumped in the car before. Several times, in fact. But I have NEVER pumped while driving. Yikes! And can you imagine what sort of looks you would get from other drivers?!?

I am just finishing up this book called This Day in the Life, Diaries From Women Across America (24 Hours of True Life Stories). Very interesting. Fun to glimpse into lives of other women. Interesting to see which ones I identified with and why. The diary from the lady serving on the Kearsarge brought back memories from the Navy. The 79-year old lady taking care of her sick husband. And little bits of lots of other ones.

A good, quick read. Broken up into 3-5 page diaries and excerpts so it it is easy to pick up and put down. That way I can read it responsibly rather than my usual method of reading a book, which involves allowing the world to collapse around me, incapable of stopping until I get to the end!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quote/Book Review/Life Analysis

"People don't just belong to themselves...they belong to the people that love them."

"I might have saved thousands and thousands from smallpox, but I had failed [my son]."

-from Saving the World by Julia Alvarez

I came across this book while volunteering at the school book fair. I considered buying it but then reconsidered since I was already buying several books for the kids. Instead I decided to look for it at the library.

This book was a very interesting story. It told of a woman, Alma, whose husband works for a "green" company working to bring self-sufficiency and other outside help to third-world nations and whose neighbor who is dying of cancer. The first quote is from a conversation about the dying neighbor and her wishes verses the wishes of those who love her and who are trying to be of help to her now through her illness. Alma is an author who has been researching an expedition to bring the smallpox vaccine across the ocean from Europe to the colonies. The vaccine must be carried live so 12 orphan boys are recruited to "carry" the vaccine, sequentially amongst them, across the ocean. The orphans' caretaker, Isabel, comes along. She brings along an orphan boy that she eventually adopts. At one point in the expedition, Isabel leaves her son in Brazil and is gone for 6 years bringing the vaccine to the Philippines. That is her quote above, lamenting how her son has grown apart from her in her long absence.

Saving the World. What is God calling me to do? These are issues that have been on my mind a lot this year. I have been told that being a parent is the most important job in the world. That nursing my babies is a form of prayer. That one in particular I struggle with understanding. How living my life is a form of prayer if I'm offering it up. How can it be that something so mundane and regular gives God glory? I feel as though my motherhood is the baseline. Of course I'm a mother. Of course I spend my day caring for my family. That's a given. But shouldn't there be something else I should be doing as well? Something Really Important that will Save the World?

So I asked God to send me a memo. With specific instructions as to what it is EXACTLY I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe it's my "always follow the rules" personality that needs to have everything laid out in front of me. I'm thinking this may be my memo. Not very specific but the message I took away from it is that saving the world is no good if you sacrifice your family to do so.

So I am turning myself back from the door, looking inward to my awesome family, and (trying to) embrace this "job" called Mom for all it's worth. Doing the best I can and not obsessing that I'm not doing enough. This job is big. And very important to my most important people. So instead of belittling it, I should praise it. Because that's all I ever ask of my children- be the best Ryan, Bella, and Felisa they can be.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

5 Random Questions

1. If you know you're going to be spending a quiet day at home reading, watching tv, etc., do you change out of your PJs?

That depends... if I really have NOTHING to do, I would stay in my pj's but unfortunately that never happens anymore now that I am a mother. I find that I can be much more productive dressed in clothes than hanging around in PJs. Growing up, though, we always stayed in our PJs ALL DAY LONG on Christmas Day. A tradition I loved and tried to hold on to for as long as possible. But, as luck would have it, my life now is different than my life then and not getting dressed on Christmas day is no longer an option. I do wait until after all the gifts have been opened though before I get dressed. And recently there have been a few lazy weekend days when Ryan never got dressed. A kid after my own heart... The girls ALWAYS get dressed. Felisa does it immediately upon waking some days.

2. What do you do to pass the time on a long car trip?

Before kids? Listen to audiobooks, talk, sleep, read...
After kids? Listen to kids' music and stories, crochet (if I'm not driving - I'm usually months behind on a baby blanket and this is something that passes the time nicely). I used to be able to read in the car but now it gives me a headache.

3. If you had to date one of the seven dwarves, who would you choose and why? (Your options are Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy).

Doc. Friendly, intelligent, nice. Not too happy. Not too sad. Of course there is some merit to a few of the other options... Sneezy (he could totally relate to me on those mornings that I just can't stop sneezing), Sleepy (he wouldn't mind that I was also sleeping my life away), Happy (well, because he's happy).

4. What one thing would you recommend that everyone try at least once in their life?

Build something. I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I open a box, follow the instructions, and end up with something that I MADE.

5. If you were hosting a dinner party and were able to have one writer, one musician and one actor of your choice as guests, who would be at your table, and what would you feed them?

Writer-Laura Ingalls Wilder (I always wanted to be her. And I look just like Melissa Gilbert!)
Musician- John Denver or The Carpenters (I can just sing, sing, sing along to their songs)
Actor- John Travolta (He's cute. And maybe he'll teach me to dance while the music is playing)

I would probably make some random new recipe that I'd never tried before, operating under the assumption that of course it will be delicious and turn out fabulously. Which it usually does. I almost always use Taste of Home or Quick Cooking magazine recipes when I do this so I am confident in the quality of the recipe.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bargains (or not!)

So, when is a bargain, not really such a bargain? Let me tell you...

We bought a frame many years ago at Marshalls. Or Ross. Or TJMaxx. I'm not sure which and I didn't really look at the price tag yesterday before I finally attempted to remove it. And since we bought it there, it must have been a good deal, right?

So said frame has been sitting around our house for who knows how long now, tucked in random corners here and there just waiting... After Felisa was born (or maybe when I was still pregnant), I decided that this frame (a long skinny one with 3 openings in the mat) would be a perfect place to put the cute baby pictures I have. All of the kids, at the hospital, with their hands in their mouths/around their faces. Basically identical poses. How perfect would that be?!?

Being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn't hang the frame until I had all 3 pictures. And being the frazzled mom that I am, I didn't have a black and white 5x7 of Felisa in the requisit pose.

Yesterday, in a moment of inspiration (or perhaps insanity!) I decided that since I did have two of the pictures, I could get at least those two into the frame, get the frame on the wall, and put away the frames that the pictures were currently residing in. Progress!

45 minutes later... There has been much cursing and muttering. Apparently leaving the price tag (which, by the way, there should be a law prohibiting price tag placement on the picture frame glass!) on for several years is a very bad idea. Because it was NOT coming off. Vinegar. Rubbing alcohol. Razor blades. Did I mention curses? Nothing was working. Where is the lighter fluid when you need it?!? (Ron later informed me that the adhesive remover in the laundry room downstairs probably would have worked. Sure. But where was it when I needed it?) I just about bled trying to pry back the little metal prongs holding the backing in place. And those miniature nails that hold the hangar on? Don't even get me started! Another part of the price tag law above could be that all frames must come with the hangar already on, not just included. I'm pretty sure factory robots are more adept at attaching them than I am!

But... the pictures are in the frame. The frame is on the wall. All is well until Felisa discovers that it is her picture that hasn't been included. Uh oh. So Ron and I spent another 30 minutes or so looking for, printing, and mounting a picture of Felisa. And, at long last, the project is done! I can admire my identical triplet babies all together forever!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Can I be your servant?

Those are words you don't necessarily want to hear your baby girl saying. Bella and Felisa have taken a renewed interest in the "Princess Collection" - the magnetic wooden "paper dolls". We have a single doll with princess clothes as well as a two-doll pack with regular clothes. The Princess doll had disappeared for several months but was recently unearthed. Of course the Princess doll is the favorite because there is only one doll and there are two girls who want to play with her. Oh and the fancy princess dresses and crowns may also play a part in the favoritism!

Even though Felisa offering to be a servant is a little unsettling on the surface, when you look deeper it is a good thing. The servant's job is to pick out the clothes that the princess requests. The fact that they know this means they have been paying attention to Cinderella, retaining information, processing it, and adapting it to their own needs. It also means that they have figured out a way to play peacefully and happily together with the one princess doll. That alone is worth millions to this mother who hates fighting, disagreements, and discontent!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Catching Up

A few blog-worthy things lately that I need to catch up on...

The Bake-Off
Ryan made (with some assistance!) a chocolate chip pizza pie for the Cub Scout Bake-Off last week. It looked good, tasted good, and even won an award for "Best Pie"! Ryan seemed to enjoy himself which is good. I must admit it was a hard process for me... first the seemingly never-ending debate about what to make. Looking through Betty Crocker, narrowing the list down from 10 to 5 to 3 to finally 1. Allowing him to measure, stir, pour, crack the egg... all the things I prefer to do myself because it's just faster and usually not as messy. But it was the Cub Scout bake-off, not the overly-controlling mother bake-off so I really tried to let him do most of it all while making it a pleasant experience. Overall, a success. It looked so good apparently that Ron volunteered to bring one to work on Tuesday. Which means on Monday I get to have the overly-controlling mother chance to make my very own.

2 Down...
Ryan checked out some audio cassette books at the library and wanted to listen to them last night. I had him get my 12-year old walkman, the bright yellow shock-proof one I got since I kept dropping and breaking my walkmans on the ship. This thing survived the Navy but the kids were apparently too much for it. I changed the batteries but nothing. No signs of life. No radio, no tape, nothing. That's one...

Next I headed down to the laundry room to pull out my old boombox. The one Santa brought for me way back in about 1985. Still works. I set it up in his room, got the tape started and everything is fine. For one and a half tape-lengths. Then for some reason it quit playing. It will rewind and fast forward but won't play. Hmmm... That's two...

How many more electronic devices will I be able to kill off this weekend?

Sick Kids or Alien Invasion?
The girls have been dealing with seasonal allergies this fall. They have been off the medicine now for a week or two. They still cough a bit but seems to be manageable. Ryan was sick before Halloween. Fever and a cough. Fever is long gone but cough still lingers.

They have been cranky. They have been cantakerous. Unpleasant. Disagreeable. Crying. Fighting. Basically not the loveable kids I used to have. So my question is this... WHY?

Is it a phase that they all just happen to be going through at the same time (independent phases, joint execution)? Is it because they don't feel well? Are they not getting enough sleep?

Someone needs to tell me what to do so I can fix them. Otherwise, I may be forced to leave them on the curb with a sign, "Free to a Good Home"...

Saturday, November 18, 2006


"A model needs careful lighting, professional makeup, and expensive clothes to look as beautiful as any ordinary woman does to a man who has fallen in love with her."

-Marilyn vos Savant, "Ask Marilyn"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Official Race Results

I ran in my first race ever (not counting the one I ran at age 10 but had to drop out of because I was so slow and so far behind the pack, I ended up lost!). The official results have been posted. It was the 5K Turkey Trot. I ran it in 29:57.8 (a supposed 9:40/mile pace) and placed 152 overall out of 225 who actually showed up to run in the rain.

I am happy to report that I had the best cheering section out there. Ron, Emilio, Lourna, and the kids came decked out in rain gear and umbrellas to cheer me on. The course went down and back on the same street so I was able to see them twice. Felisa was crying when I didn't stop on my way back but all was well when I did eventually show up back at home. Yesterday she was playing "race", running in circles around the living room. Even though I was trying to sneak in a snap, she made me watch her and say "go 'lisa!" the entire time. So much for naptime. The winner of the race was a 31-year old lady who ran it in 16:51.4 (yes, that's half the time it took me!) so maybe that will be Felisa one day...

I was very excited to finish under 30 minutes. I probably wouldn't have, if it weren't for my boot camp classmates I was running with. Niza wants to do a 10K in December. I'm thinking I'll pass for now and bask in the glow of this accomplishment for a little longer.

And now I must get off the computer and get the lifeboat ready. It looks like I waited a little too long to get started on the ark... hopefully we won't wash away and even better would be if it lets up a little around 3:00 when I have to go get Ryan from school!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Leg Stories

Betty Lou was nice enough to forward some of the theories we came up with while we were in Texas since I couldn't write fast enough that day to record all of them...

1) Ryan's.....Cinderella story but the prince had a leg and foot to try on all the girls instead of a glass slipper

2) Bella's...Santa Claus made too many doll legs and they were sort of laying around the earth

3) James' ...A woman didn't want her husband to chase her so she stole his leg

4) Betty Lou's .... Guy driving down I-10 and rolled down his window and stuck his leg out window to cool off and it blew off

5) Neighbors' stories....
a) fell out of an airplane
b) guy works at I-Hop (think that's pretty funny)

More Thoughts on "The Leg" from Betty Lou

As you can see, the Mystery Of The Leg has been solved. Of course,
there are more questions than answers now.....was the leg attached to someone
who was in the back of the truck and it shook off? If not, why was the leg
in the back of the truck while driving lessons were given? Did the person
learning to drive think he only needed his right leg & foot for the brake
and gas, so took off the left leg and put it in the back to keep it out of the
way? And...since there was a 12 pack of beer, how much alcohol was
involved in this driving lesson? Was it a lesson on how to
drive one-legged while drunk? If he takes up driving one-legged and drunk
as a habit and would get stopped by the cops, when he has to get out of the car
for a sobriety test and falls on his face, he could claim he fell because
he was one-legged and not because he was drunk. I think the story could go
on and on.

Leg Mystery Solved

I don't think I ever posted the end of the leg story so here it is...

the leg has been claimed. the person's mother said it fell out of the back of
his truck when he was teaching someone to drive.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I went to boot camp as usual this morning. Our trainer, Nathan, was instructing my partner and I on improving our over-head throw technique. My partner threw the ball when I wasn't looking and it hit me on the head. Luckily it was only the 2kg ball today so it didn't hurt as bad as the 4kg ball we usually use would have hurt. I was definitely caught off guard and surprised when it hit me!

Now that I'm home, I'm feeling a little dizzy and light-headed. So is that purely a coincidence (since I'm always a little "dizzy") or is it cause and effect?!? :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Scissor Crazy Kids

I'm holding my breath, waiting to see what Bella will add to the pile of mutilated clothing. Both Ryan and Felisa have gone crazy with the scissors lately. Ryan cut a hole in his pants at school the other day. Why? Because he wanted to see what would happen. I'll tell what will happen - you'll be grounded until next year! I had the sewing box out a few days ago (emergency surgery for Buttercup and Care Bear) so I fixed that hole as well. And offered more strict admonishment to NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN! Apparently Felisa wasn't listening when I said that. And I really have no idea what possessed her to do it but this morning she cut a hole in both of her socks. Bad Baby! After many tears (mostly hers!) I told her to NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN! But Bella wasn't home which means she didn't hear me and she'll be next. Things come in 3's right? Our kids did, which gives them all equal opportunity to drive Mommy crazy!

Let's all review... Scissors for paper and ONLY for paper!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Embarrassing Moment at the Dentist Office

My gum was a little sore and red late last week... I was a little concerned that it was going to turn into a full-blown something over the weekend while the dentist office was closed. It didn't - stayed about the same. I called Monday morning for an appointment. Got one Wednesday morning so I wouldn't have to find a babysitter (school will be my babysitter!). I figured since it hadn't gotten worse over the weekend, I should be okay for another day or two.

So here it is Wednesday morning. I dropped the kids then rushed over so I wouldn't be late. Once I was there, Dr. B asked what was wrong. I told him. He looked. He couldn't see anything so he asked me to point to where it hurt. So I did. And he looked. And looked. Then he said, well you have a canker sore. Huh? A Canker Sore?!?! That's it? He told me he could give me medicine if I wanted but it should heal on its own. Well, duh. Of course it will. It's a canker sore, for crying out loud. I've had plenty of those in my life. I was SO embarrassed that I had gone into the office to be diagnosed with a canker sore. The good news is that he didn't charge me for my 30 seconds in the chair. Embarrassing, embarrassing, embarrassing! In my defense, it is all the way up in the crease where the gums meet the cheek so I had to look to find it. Once I got home I of course had to look for myself to see exactly how blind I really am. The redness of the gums must have distracted me from looking any further last week.

Canker sore. Duh.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Who's your daddy???

So on the way to Paula's tonight, Felisa was chattering about how it is Michael's birthday and that Evan is Michael's brother. Then she started listing off her family... her brother is Ryan, her sister is Bella, her mommy is Sheila, and her daddy is Aaron. Huh? Your daddy is who? Aaron and Ron sound similar, right? Needless to say, Ron was not amused. I thought it was funny though - just a little...

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Lollipop Is Worth the Sacrifice

So Bella is a picky-eater. If she doesn't like something, she will clamp her lips tightly shut. If by chance you can coerce her into taking a bite, she will gag and generally act like she is about to die. Sad but true. All of it.

So this afternoon, we went to the homecoming parade. There was much candy thrown to the kids. When we got home, I told them they could each eat one piece. Bella unwrapped her lollipop, took a couple licks and said, "This lollipop tastes a little bit yucky. But that's okay. I can still eat it."

Does anyone know of a company that makes vegetable-infused lollipops? Because then she could eat it, even if it tasted yucky!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Just a bit of Rainbow Magic

Today was Bella's birthday party. A Rainbow Fairy party. I of course had a lot of last-minute preps to do but it turned out pretty nicely, I think. A big thanks to S for helping out, keeping things running smoothly, and for being a great Goblin!

We played Fairy Freeze Tag and Musical Rainbow Pillows. We made fairies out of pipe-cleaners then "furnished" black pots for them to live in while they awaited their return to Fairyland. The girls (and Ryan!) colored in the giant map of Fairyland and Rainspell Island. How long do you think it will stay up on the living room wall?!

And in what is unfortunately becoming a tradition, there was a problem with the candles. For some reason I can't seem to have the right candles on hand for the cake. When Bella turned 1, I had to use a votive candle because the #1 candle I thought I had couldn't be found. Today when I pulled out the box of candles I saw the other day, there were only 3 candles inside. So I used those plus a #2 candle and told Bella she would have to add. Ay! When will I ever get it right?!?

Tomorrow is our family dinner. Bella requested spaghetti. Should I wrap her present or just give it to her in the bag?

Friday, September 22, 2006

A demonstration of cooperation

So S and C came over the other morning for a playdate. The two little ones were playing together very nicely all morning which apparently lured us into complacency. Eventually we realized it had been a little too quiet for a little too long... S went down to the basement to check on them and caught them working together in a great demonstration of cooperation between 2-year-olds to lift a paint can, trying to get it into the washing machine. They had already put in 3 bottles of shampoo, a roll of shop rags, and a random bike tool or two. Oops! Felisa goes into the laundry room all the time to "help" me but my kids don't ever play in there (at least, as far as I know!). C's laundry room at home is gated off. So there it was... the door to the laundry room standing wide open and the open washer just beckoning to be filled.

Isn't it nice to see the kids cooperating and playing together so nicely?!?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Losing Family Ties

Mom and I were recently discussing custody of family-history papers/pictures/etc and antiques. Since then I have been reflecting on how America (or at least the parts of America that I have lived in) seems to have drifted apart. Generations no longer live together in the same area for years and years. The closest living relatives live 900 miles away from where we live now. Most of the others are even farther. In the extended family in particular, they are like strangers. I see them so rarely. I know nothing of their daily lives. We have little to no shared history. No joint memories of growing up or of how Grandpa So-and-So always used to X. How Cousin JoeBob is just like Uncle Harry. And so on.

For myself, I have been blessed with a great network of local friends and "family". But when looking at it on a longer-term perspective of multiple generations, it's just not the same. I do want to keep the family history stuff but will my children be interested? The more years that pass, it seems the farther apart we all grow. It makes me sad, like we are missing out on something important. And who knows - maybe we'd all hate each other if we lived closer together. But from a thousand miles away, it seems like we're just missing out on good stuff.


"Today you should leave the past in the past in case it becomes you. Live your life in hope, instead of letting the past and tomorrow take control of your TODAY." ~Ivona Evans~

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Deep Thoughts

S and I went for a walk this morning. At 5:15. In the morning. Oh and did I mention that it was raining? Yes, we're crazy. I mean, dedicated! Anyway, the subject of SNL and Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy came up. Hence today's title. The deep thoughts to follow are newly developed though. My one brain cell has had a busy day!

Deep Thought #1 -
I mustn't project my own needs/feelings/issues onto others. We are who we are. We are all unique in our personalities, hang-ups, way that we deal with the world.

I love my mother. Yesterday's conversation could have gone better but I think we were both having a bad day at the same time. I will continue to pray for her and for myself and hopefully things will heal and settle and get better as time progresses.

Deep Thought#2 -
(this one isn't new - this is the one that got us started on Jack Handy this morning!)
Bella walks slowly. VERY slowly. As slow as molasses and perhaps even slower. Which drives. me. crazy! Walking to school or to anywhere with her is torture for me. Come ooooonnnnn I say for the millionth time in 2 minutes... But here's the deep part. Wait for it. I don't like to walk fast either. So I guess her slow walk is my slow walk but with 5-year-old sized legs which naturally makes it seem torturously slow to me.

Deep Thought #3 -
Team work rocks. Heard on the news that a study has been published which shows a group of average people working together can solve harder problems more quickly than a super-smarty working alone. See. There's the proof, people. We should all work together more often. What a wonderful world it would be... Teamwork within my division was one of the things I loved about the Navy. Cut-throat competition between officers for recognition and advancement made me sick to my stomach. I'm seriously considering going ahead and officially resigning my commission. But we'll save that big discussion for another day.

Deep Thought #4 -
How do we get to be the way we are? I mean, really. What makes us the people we are? Why is one person a very fast walker, almost in over-drive (as perceived by the slow walkers), and another person a slow walker? What makes one person feel guilt about something and others to not? What makes one person a fan of teamwork and another person super competitive? I could go on and on but you get my point.

Deep Thought #5 -
Should I give up my LP business? I would keep the SB Fairy but get rid of the classes/inventory portion that LP represents. I'm not a salesman. I have a limited number of hours in each day. Do I want to spend it making up newsletters and class schedules for nonexistent customers? Or would I rather just take a day or two each month to get out and get some work done on my own memory books? Spending time enjoying the company of friends while looking at pictures of my cute kids at an event which was organized with someone else's time and energy? I'm not making money. My time could be better spent focusing on ways to not spend money rather than making money. Which is a money-maker in and of itself, really. Though I think that if I were to have the opportunity to dedicate as much time each month to my LP biz that I would give to, say, USNR drilling, I could build it up into something. But there is resistance from the other half. Which makes it that much more challenging. All of this brings me to my next deep thought...

Deep Thought #6 -
What do I really want out of life? Fame and fortune? A happy, healthy family? Good times spent in the company of those I love and care about? We each get 24 hours each day. How will I spend mine?

Well, let's leave it at 6 for tonight. As you may recall, I was up very early this morning and tomorrow's exercise class starts at 0600. All these deep thoughts have worn me out and so I say Good night! Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life Sucks and then you die...

How's that for a fine how-do-you-do?!? Yesterday and today have been cloudy, cool, and rainy and my mood has fluctuated between pretty happy and not-so-happy. Not a bad day overall but one of those not quite right days. The days when things are going fairly smoothly with occasional hiccups like stubbing my toe, spilling bleach water all over the kitchen floor, and having my foot peed on by a 2-year-old. Maybe things will get better when the sun comes out on Friday. If I live that long...

So my parents are getting a divorce. Okay. Not the best news in the world but I can deal with it. Some kids get caught in he-said, she-said quandries when their parents divorce. I am in the no-one-says-a-*$%&*-thing quandry. Why? Oh the reasons are many... My dad is apparently the guilty party so probably doesn't really want to talk about it. My mom doesn't want to "burden me" and she is working very hard to shelter me from the truth, whatever that may be. So meanwhile I get lots of half-sentence phone calls that leave me saying, "Huh?!?" I may be their kid but I am not A Kid. Just spill the beans already so I can figure out exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing and if there is anything I could do to help anyone.

But no. I'm just a kid. So I'll sit here 2000 miles away from the situation and wonder. Probably worry a little. And definitely say, "Huh?" at least a hundred more times.

Life sucks and then you die.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Looking Back

Today is the five-year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. Ron is at the Pentagon today. He left this morning with a couple extra kisses and "I love you"s and strict instructions not to be killed by an airplane or in any other way today. Five years ago he was there. Standing right outside the Pentagon, waiting for a shuttle. Watching the plane coming so fast, straight at him. He doesn't ever talk about it much but it must have been very scary. I was scared for just a moment but managed to stay firmly in denial until he showed up on the doorstep a few hours after it all happened. Life for us would go on. We would live happily ever after.

I read Alas, Babylon! over the weekend. That in combination with the 9/11 anniversary makes me wish for happily ever after forever. He's not allowed to leave me. Not ever.

I have included below what I wrote on the one-year anniversary of 9/11.

Reflections on 9/11

Here it is exactly one year later... The coverage and reminders are all over the television and radio and so it is on my mind. I need to tell my story. It is still hard to wrap my mind around the enormity of it all. Over 3000 people killed. 3000. That’s a lot. Does anyone even know what 3000 people looks like? It’s 3x more students than were in my high school. It’s 2x more people than were on my first ship, USS Cape Cod. Last year, when it was happening, I was so calm. Perhaps unnaturally calm. I tell people that I was in denial. I sat with Ryan and my mother-in-law, Lourna, watching it all on TV. Here I am, 9 months pregnant, watching the fire at the Pentagon. There were conflicting reports about where the plane had hit but one report said that the plane had hit the newly constructed area. That’s where Ron’s office is. I was worried but remaining very calm. I allowed myself to briefly consider what I would do if he had been killed. Would I sell the house? I would have to find a job. Would I move back home to Colorado or maybe to New Mexico? But enough of that. He was fine. He had to be. I told Mac (that was Isabella’s nickname before she was born) that she wasn’t allowed to be born until Daddy came home. I couldn’t call Ron on the cell phone because I had it in case I was to go into labor. I had his pager number but that was it. So we waited. Lots of people called, wondering if I had heard anything. No, nothing. Again, still very calm about it all. Finally at about noon, Ron pulled up outside. Thank God!

Ron is safe. I don’t know anyone who was killed or injured in the attacks. Life really goes on as usual. Isabella was born 2 weeks later on the 24th and that definitely kept me busy. A few times at church I was able to reflect on the tragedy and all who had lost their lives. Still it is so huge- very difficult to wrap your mind around it. 3000 people. That’s a lot of people, who left a lot of families behind. I still can’t imagine and don’t think about it too much. My daily life hasn’t been affected too much. I don’t worry about traveling. I don’t think the terrorists will have to make any more attacks for awhile. All they’ll have to do is threaten an attack and everyone will get all uptight and worried. They’ve made themselves known and can just play on our fears.

There was a documentary aired on TV of film shot inside the World Trade Center on September 11. I watched that. Very surreal. Very scary and disconcerting to watch all that is going on. People were actually jumping out of the windows. One of the firefighters’ comments was, “How bad must it be up there if the better option is to jump?!” Watching the documentary really made this whole thing more real to me. You were right there in the thick of it, not just watching news coverage from afar.

We went to NYC twice this summer. While there we went to see the WTC site. I remember thinking in general how clean the city was. In my mind, I was still imagining it covered in dust and rubble like I had seen it on TV and in the documentary months ago. The WTC site itself was nothing but a hole in the ground. The thing about it now is not what is there (all the rubble that had been there before clean-up) but what wasn’t there (two huge skyscrapers and thousands of people who had been killed).

Now it has been a year. I am thinking a lot about the tragedy. The enormity of it all is still hard to grasp. I have been watching a lot of the stories about the different families affected and I just cry every time. Even now as I think about it, I get teary-eyed. I guess I’m just having a delayed reaction! After the first few hours before Ron got home, I was no longer directly affected by the attacks and just stayed focused on my everyday life – running the household, taking care of the kids. I don’t think about it too much. Just lately with all the coverage I have been thinking a lot about it. I have had enough sadness this week. Hopefully I will be able to move it to the back of my mind again soon.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marshmallow Moon Balls

Another month, another full moon fiasco. Though this one hardly qualifies as a fiasco compared to last month's desert adventures. Though apparently I was wrong when I said that the kids would always remember our desert adventure. I asked them last night if they remembered what we did last month and they had NO IDEA! The month that we had breakfast at IHOP sticks in their memory no problem but not the super-fun drive/night hike in the desert. Oh well.

So I was walking Bailey Wednesday night when I noticed what appeared to be a very full moon. Uh-oh, I thought. Is today the full moon? Our calendar hasn't been in it's normal spot since the remodel (I have a very cool calendar hanger on order though) so maybe I had missed the moon phase somehow. When I got back, I looked at the calendar. Which very clearly stated new moon. Huh. Doesn't look like a new moon! Ron googled the moon schedule and the full moon would be officially full on Thursday. We debated for quite some time if we should go ahead and do something quick that night since the moon was already shining and looked full. Ron was too tired so we decided (against my better judgement since I was remembering last month when the moon was hidden on the actual full moon day even though it had shone brightly the night before) to wait until Thursday night for our activity. Moon rise, 7:36 pm. Okay....

I decided our activity could be popcorn balls eaten on the back porch while gazing at the moon. I remember my mom making popcorn balls in the kitchen sink once oh so many years ago. So I figured, no problem. I let the kids each add 10 marshmallows to the pot and then let them watch me try to make balls out of the VERY STICKY popcorn. So we had popcorn blobs but really they taste pretty much the same as popcorn balls, I think. Yummy Marshmallow Popcorn Blob treats, check. Moon? Um, hello? Where's the moon? At 8 pm it still wasn't up past the trees. So walked to the corner. Still no moon. Oh well. Back home and into the bathtub to wash off sticky marshmallow then off to bed. Happy Full Moon Day!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


"People talk about being successful or not being successful, but the concept of success is very ambiguous. There is no need to pursue other people's ideas of success.

-Ichiro (baseball player)

That's right folks... this was on C's Starbucks cup this morning and it really resonated with me. So... I stole it. I stole the cup from a 2-year old just so I could have the quote for my blog. I didn't steal his hot chocolate though... :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Felisa's First Day of School EVER

That's right folks... Felisa started school today. In the same class Bella was in 2 years ago. She sat right down at the playdough table and though she wasn't smiling or visibly excited in any way, she certainly wasn't sad to see me go. Will she pull a Bella and cry for me when I leave next week? Just when I'm certain she's perfectly fine with the whole idea?

I peeked in at the end and saw her singing the train song. Looked to me like she was enjoying it. Mrs. F said she thought Felisa was a little shy. Different than Ron's forecast - talks too much. Maybe she's like me - quiet and shy until we get comfortable then you can't shut us up! Time will tell...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Swimming, Swimming, All the Way to School...

So TS Ernesto has left the area. But some relative of his must be in town looking for him because it was POURING DOWN RAIN this morning. So instead of walking Ryan to the door or to his classroom, I dropped him off at the kiss-n-ride. Luckily he's not a newbie anymore so he knew where to go. I'll find out in 30 minutes if he made it... And if he survived his first day of first grade. Seems like he's been gone forever...

In other news:
*Felisa told me she wanted to go potty by herself (pull down her pants and climb up onto the toilet which I usually help her with). I was in the middle of being impressed by how well she was doing when... she fell in! Oops! A few tears and a dry shirt but she's fine now.
*Bella has perfected the ear-piercing sound of a puppy crying.
*I cleaned off my big table again - finally! - so we can have a nice family dinner together tonight on the first day of school.
*Ron and I ate some of my first-ever-canned spaghetti sauce the other day and neither of us fell victim to food poisoning. Woo hoo! I wouldn't let any of the kids have any because I was worried about whether or not it had really worked, despite all indications that all had gone well. Now I know.

Monday, September 04, 2006


"Life is like mission impossible. If you are still alive at the end of the day, that means you win. It doesn't matter if you blew up the helicopter, demolished the skyscraper, or blasted the bridge to bits; if you are still alive, you win."

-from a stranger in blogland

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Don't wake me up - I'm dreaming!

I read this post by Mir the other day and it illustrates perfectly what I am looking forward to, starting next week. Pure, uninterrupted time to do stuff. Any stuff really. Work stuff, scrapbook-for-me stuff, house projects (we'll start with the basic cleaning!), drinking coffee and reading blogs, etc. Whatever I want. And I'm envisioning great productivity because it takes a lot less time to finish things when you are not interrupted 50 million times. Just today I have spent at least 3 hours on 2 scrapbook pages. Could've done it in half the time without the interruptions. I know that reality will set in quickly and those 9 hours every week will evaporate in seconds and I will end up with little to show for it but it hasn't happened yet so I will continue to dream... And hold tight to those hours, for they are MINE!

Here's a quote from Mir's post...

And lo, it was quiet at home. It was peaceful at home! I worked for hours
without interruption. I ate chips directly from the bag and did not have to
share. My chair did not do a mysterious boogie across the room each time I got
up and left my desk for a minute. It was quite wonderful.
And the VERY MOST AMAZING PART is that with that time to sit down and focus—and not have to break up squabbling or ask why we’re playing in the sink or where are you going with THAT—by the time they got off the bus this afternoon, I was able to turn off the computer and not return to work (sans guilt) until after they went to bed. All summer I feel like I’ve been surgically attached to the computer, because it turns out that it takes a LOT LONGER to get anything done when you’re
interrupted every 15 seconds. Who knew?

Procrastination Doesn't Pay

Why is it that some lessons are so much harder to learn than others? Are we all programmed differently, leaving some more prone to procrastination than others? Or, a more exact question would be, "Why me?". Why do I put things off, over and over again? I find myself more often than not working frantically at the last minute to finish something. Even when I start early so that I won't be rushing at the end, I always am. Rushing. Frantically. Squeezing some things in and purposely dropping other things off the radar. I liken it to juggling. (Disclaimer - I can't actually juggle, not real objects, and as you will soon see, not imaginary objects either!) I have a set limit of commitments/projects/etc. that I can handle at any one given time. All my other commitments, or balls, remain in a stack next to me on the to-do list. Suddenly, a ball will jump from the list into my hands so I am forced to drop one of my currently active projects back to the inactive list. Squeaky wheel getting the grease and all.

I have no answer to this ageless dilemma. Just a resolve to continue the fight against the last-minute rush. Because then I won't be sloshing through the puddles from a tropical storm so I can take my child to the library to return the summer reading form on the very last day. Even though the form had been complete for over a month. Even though we had been to the library 3 times in the last 2 weeks, forgetting the form each and every time. And I won't be working in my office trying to finish a project even though a big ugly spider has just crawled across my desk. Even though I now have the creepy crawlies because I am sure more spiders are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. But I can't leave because I have a deadline! My dear friend, S, has promised to print out my headline Procrastination Doesn't Pay and show it to me the next time I am rushing and cursing my procrastinatory nature. Eventually, the message will sink in, right?

Or am I forever doomed?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Road Trip - Express Version

Time for another road trip, but this one will be MUCH shorter than the last. Barely qualifies as a road trip, really...

Any guesses of where my first stop was???

Day 1 - Wednesday - August 30, 2006

1048 - Starbucks. Need coffee for the trip! Did you guess right?

1054 -
Bella: Are we in Richmond yet?
Me: No. We have 2 hours to drive.
Bella: Boy you sure can drive a lot.
Ryan and Bella commenced a listing of all the states we had gone through on our last trip, plus a few that we missed (I think Ryan mentioned Michigan).

1058 - I have managed to get lost on the way to Wendy's (forgot which side of the road it was on and couldn't get across 3 lanes of traffic!) so did a loop through the dentist office parking lot. Had a couple worried passengers! Who has to go to the dentist?!? they worried...

1108 - Stop at Wendy's. They got my order wrong - not enough french fries, no straw, and after I went back to get a straw, I discovered that they had given me the wrong drink. Grrr!!! Called Allie for directions since I can't find the ones I used last time.

1134 - Traffic jam at 123. There is clearly no good time to drive without traffic issues in this large metro area. Blech. Traffic.

1223 - Felisa is sleeping but Ryan and Bella are NOT taking a nap like I told them to!

1224 - Darn! I forgot my camera.

1246 - Ryan asks Bella if she will give him half of her cookie. Never mind that he already ate an entire cookie of his own half an hour ago. And Bella being the nice sister that she is, gives him half.

1:10 pm - Stop at Memories Galore to check for paper for my baby book project.

1:30 pm - Arrive at Allie's. Mileage, approx. 145

Felisa has gone downhill on our drive today. What started out as an occasional cough is quickly becoming a constant cough with quick breathing and a hot, sweaty head. Not good when at the home of your germ-concious friend. Do you think she'll let us stay?

I was able to get 3 more pages done for the baby book before Felisa totally disintegrated. Matthew went down for a nap then Felisa fell asleep so we cancelled our eating out plans and ate the yummy kielbasa and veggies dinner that Allie made. We decided to venture out to Barnes and Noble for coffee and dessert before the rain started. I only got one nasty look (How dare you bring that child out into public when she so clearly has the plague!?!). Never mind that I was carrying her the whole time which limited her ability to spread her plague. Drove back to Allie's in the rain and got the kids into bed.

Day 2 - Thursday - August 31, 2006

Breakfast - scrambled eggs and biscuits. Yummy! A shower to make me feel more alive after a long sleepless night with Coughing Girl Who Can't Breathe. The kids got more playtime then a clean-up session to restore order after the 2-Day Kid Tornado. Loaded up the car while the kids played the Star Wars Legos computer game. Ryan was sad to leave. Richard offered to drive ahead of us and show us the way to Schlotsky's.

1142 - Leave Allie's.
Bella: That was fun.
Me: What was fun?
Bella: John's house.

Enroute to Schlotsky's. First stop... Starbucks, of course! Then when we arrived at Schlotsky's, Felisa was already asleep so Richard picked up our food also while I waited in the car. He came back with the biggest sandwich I have ever seen - I think it weighed 5 pounds. Turns out they have a family size sandwich so when I asked for extra large, that's what I got. I wanted to bring some home for Ron but yikes! But now I don't have to cook dinner. And they had S's pizza so she gets a treat too.

12:34 pm - Gas, $2.50/gallon. Pretty big price difference - just 2 hours down the road and it is 50 cents less per gallon.

12:39 pm - McD's drive thru. The line is very long but I know Ryan and Bella won't touch the Schlotsky's sandwich with a 10-foot pole. Felisa wakes up as we drive away but falls right back to sleep, thankfully. She really needs a good, restful nap.

1:01 pm - on I-64 East.

1:59 pm - Pass an AAFES truck. I don't think I've ever seen one of those before.

2:04 pm - Traffic is getting heavy. There are 6 lanes across, 3 in each direction. Traffic is moving at a steady speed but all 6 lanes are full of cars as far as the eye can see. Big difference from driving in Kansas where it was 2 lanes across and I didn't see another car for as long as 5-10 minutes at a time. Big difference!

2:17 pm - Traffic slows at... 123. Same place we slowed down yesterday - kind of weird.

2:40 pm - Deliver Chicken Pesto Pizza to S. Apparently I misunderstood - she loves the Chicken Pesto Sandwich and has never had the pizza. Oh well. I still get an A for effort, right?! :)

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig. Kids go right to the tv after 24 hours without it. Oh, the torture!

I took Ryan and Bella to see Melissa's pre-season marching band show. It was cool and windy - should've brought jackets! Good show though. I love that Melissa does the flags, just like I did oh so many years ago. The sickies, Ron and Felisa stayed home.

8:45 pm - headed for bed. I can't believe it is only 8:45. Seems like almost midnight!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Can I send them back?

Can I please send them back to school? Please? Before I kill them or run away?!

I am most definitely looking forward to shopping on my own (or with only one child) and I am also looking forward to them using up some of their boundless energy out of sight and more importantly, earshot.

I'm hot. I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm cranky. (Really, you say?!) I want to be skinny again. Which is hard to accomplish when I'm hungry.

My garden runneth over with weeds. My house runneth over with clutter. My patience disappeareth. Heaven help me get through this last week of summer vacation and into a productive fall.

And thanks to the bagger at Safeway. He very carefully placed the eggs in a safe location so they wouldn't be crushed and broken by any of the other bags of groceries. Then he put 6 pounds of spaghetti noodles right on top of the bag of tostitos. Oy!

Thankfully Felisa is now asleep and the other two are ensconced once more in Scooby Doo so I must get back to work. I will spare the world from further complaints. For now, anyway. :)

A midnight ride and a morning run

Ron spent the day yesterday (the ENTIRE day!) putting together a new bike. Finally, at midnight, he was ready for a test-ride. Umm, okay. But, you know it's, like, midnight, right?

The verdict - brakes a little iffy but otherwise good. This didn't stop him from riding the same bike to work today...

And I finished the calendar. At 1 a.m. Such is the price of procrastination and my continual, life-long, consistently underestimate the time a project will take, planning. But... it looks GOOD! Now to get the matching album done...

Went to class this morning. 2.5 miles (30 minutes), mostly jogging. The group agreed on a long run for Wednesday. Like 5 miles. I'll see if I can do 3.5 I haven't been farther than the 2.5 miles since I graduated from college. Which was, well, a long time ago.

Boomerang's character of the day today is... Scooby Doo. Guess you know what we'll be doing... :) Except for the break I will force them to take while we go to Safeway and Staples (glue sticks, remember?) Perhaps I can get some work done? Maybe? Please?! Of course I need to do laundry today also. And figure out what's for dinner. Then cook it. And... the list goes on. And on. And on. And Felisa is being whiny already. Oh no.

(brief pause)

Okay - the cause of the whining. She burned her fingers on a light bulb. The same lamp that she tried twice to burn the house down with about a year ago. We have a lamp on a table that sits by the staircase. She likes to reach through the railing and mess with the shade. Which is how she almost burned the house down. She pushed the shade over and left it resting on the light bulb. Which we now know is very hot! And of course I don't realize it until the bulb had melted a spot on the shade. Yikes! But the good news is I don't think she will be messing with it again any time soon... And yes, I have told her many times not to touch the lamp in any way, shape, or form. But, she's two. You do the math!

Okay, time to get this show on the road...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Year of the Glue Sticks

I hereby decree that this shall forever more be known as the year of the glue sticks. For some reason, Ryan's school supply list calls for 20 - count them, 20! - glue sticks. I thought perhaps it was a typo but in fact, he needs to bring 20 glue sticks. I expect to see at least 3 glued projects/day to justify all that! Last year he only needed 3. Big difference, don't you think? I bought 8 on our July shopping trip (back when I thought it must surely be a typo). Which means I still need 12. We went to Target on Friday for a few odds and ends and the last of the school supplies. Alas, no glue sticks. All the other first graders must have been there before us! Guess we'll hit Staples again tomorrow.

My last planner ended in July so I have been looking for a suitable substitute. At Target I found a hot pink 3-ring binder style set of dividers and calendar pages. Pink? Perfect! This afternoon I put it in my 50-cent hot pink 3-ring binder (bought at Staples on sale in July!) and started filling in the dates. Doesn't September and all the back-to-school hustle make it seem like New Years? A fresh start... This year, I'll be more organized... This year, I'll (fill in the blank)... We shall see. Without hope, what is there?

Enough looking forward. Let's look back... I was watching a Princess Diana movie on Oxygen this afternoon. I remember when the news broke that she had died in a car accident. We were out to sea (when weren't we?!?) and it came across the internet. Someone printed out the article and posted it outside the message center and the news spread quickly throughout the ship. I remember not believing it at first. After all, the Navy was just beginning to get on board with the internet and email for the troops while deployed. Since news from the outside world was few and far between, I figured someone must be making it up and it was just a rumor. But alas, it was true. So watching the movie today was interesting. (I know - it's just a movie so take it with a grain of salt!) It was interesting to fill in the blanks of all that missing time. All the news I missed by being in and out of port all the time. See what happened leading up to that day. Very sad, really. I'm not a big fan of papparazzi and their no holds barred tactics and this movie just reinforces that.

And now I must get back to work... Have a client's calendar to finish by tomorrow (hope S isn't reading this, ha ha!).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My first ever canning session

There it is... my project of yesterday continued into today... Behold, my very first ever self-canned product! WooHoo! I spent most of the day yesterday making the sauce then decided this morning to give the whole pressure canning thing a shot instead of freezing it as usual. What I discovered... once closed, my canner can only be opened with the assistance of a hammer. And it doesn't seal completely. I'd say about 99% sealed. Or maybe it does and I just don't know how to work it. Which is likely since I've never done or seen it done and I bought the canner on ebay and it is really old and I don't have an owner's manual for it. But all in all, it seemed to come together okay. I had a good sense of accomplishment when I pulled these 3 little jars from the canner and put them out on the counter to admire. I would even go so far as to say it was a little bit fun to finally can something. After this trial run I can say that I would be willing to buy a NEW canner and the proper accessories, such as a hot jar lifter! :) Maybe next year I can plant more green bean plants (note - 4 plants will yield enough beans for one meal) and try canning beans. 'Cuz we all know that I LOVE Grandma's green beans and she will eventually give up her garden and I can't bear to give up those precious beans! I'd like to try a trial batch while she's still around to give advice. And we have two mulberry trees - I could make mulberry jelly or something to can as well.


"In Seattle you haven't had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it's running." -Jeff Bezos

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My devils, not his

So here it is, 11 pm and I can't sleep. I have to get up early for class tomorrow -yawn. Since I can't sleep anyway, I'll take this opportunity to clear a few things up.

Ron felt that his efforts went unrecognized and that I had implied he trashed the house while we were gone. I told him I would fix it. The implication, not the house!

Here's the true story...

I am a slob. A lazy slob. Which means I live in a messy house. There are 4 of us (well, let's include Bailey and make that 5 of us) making messes left and right. Every where you look, a mess created by me or one of my children (two-legged and four-legged!). While Ron may be Super Ron, he is only one Super Ron. It is absolutely impossible for one man, super or otherwise, to stand a chance at keeping the place cleaned up. I left for a month. I took 3 of the mess-makers with me, leaving only the small furry one here. After enjoying his share of vacation time, Ron was left with only 2 short , unencumbered weeks to work with. Well, not entirely unencumbered. He still had to go to work every day. But anyway... in those 2 weeks he moved the furniture. Vaccuumed the monstrous dust bunnies from under said furniture. Dusted. Generally picked things up. Changed the faucet in the kitchen (not an easy task - we had tried this before and given up). Made sure there were no dirty dishes or dirty laundry here to greet me on our return (we won't count the basket of pink clothes which was full when I left - he doesn't wear much pink!). He removed the wood stove (all alone, I might add - I did say he was Super Ron, did I not?). Sanded, spackled, primered (x2), and painted the TV room. Changed the switch covers. Put furniture and very heavy TV back into the room. A complete room makeover in just two weeks. Super Ron.

I did say that I did not like the new furniture arrangement in the bedroom. BUT, he dusted and vaccuumed up there - another big job. One that I had been meaning to do before I left but never got around to it. The story of my life...

I said that I live in a pigsty because, coming home with fresh eyes, and carrying the guilt inside of myself for being such a poor, disorganized housekeeper, I was able to see with glaring clarity all the messy, undone projects and places I had left behind. My own messes that I made or messes made by little monsters that I didn't get cleaned up (by my hands or theirs) before I left. I, in no way, meant to imply that Ron trashed the place while I was gone. I was merely bemoaning the fact that I have a lot of work ahead of me now that I am no longer living the easy life of vacation. These are my devils, not his. Super Ron did a fabulous job with the TV room and the other projects. It would probably take more than a year without us around to undo all we've done to the place.

So, let's recap...
Me - big messy lazy slob
Ron - Superhero

I feel bad for him sometimes, having to live in such rotten conditions, but I'm doing the best I can and I appreciate all that he does to help me out. I love him (yes, just as much as before) and I can only hope that he will always love me back.

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.

Here's some visual evidence of Super Ron's hard work.

My new faucet

After a hiatus in the TV room, the southwestern couches have returned to the living room.

The new TV room, complements of the Super Ron makeover.

Another view of the TV room. The wood stove used to be where the TV is now.

The furry mess-maker! I think she is happy to have her cushy chair back to watch out the window. This spot has been one of her favorites forever.
(okay - I have 1 more picture to add but blogger is being flaky)

AD: Slightly Used Leg

Here's the ad that the ranch put out on the leg:

Lost Leg Found in TLR pasture!!

A resident found an artificial LEG in one of our pastures . If this is your leg please contact John M, Ranch manager . You should be prepared to give a description of the limb to prove ownership.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I don't have to be me...

... until Monday!

I was listening to the radio on my way back from the airport this morning (thank you again, Grandpa R for EVERYTHING - you rock!) and it seemed very appropo (how do you spell that anyway?).

Vacation is over. I lived yesterday in the state of De Nial. Today I must face reality. Which comes like a slap in the face after my awesome vacation life I have been living! I happen to live in a pigsty. Which I already knew but it always is more obvious after being away from it all for awhile. And all those energy-sucking daily chores are mine once again - dishes, laundry, dinner, etc. Today is an especially long day. The first day back always is.

At 3:00 I have accomplished the following so far today:

  • Up at 4:30 to take Emilio to the airport. Ron offered but I told him to sleep in. I needed to get up anyway to go to exercise class.
  • Exercise class from 6-7:00. Jog (mostly with a little walking) about 2 miles (probably a little less actually) then medicine balls. It was good to see everyone again, though a few people weren't there. I have really enjoyed this class over the last year even though I haven't lost any weight doing it. But I am more fit...
  • Start a load of laundry (which required me to find the 2 bags of laundry from the last days on the road - can you say unload the car and dump it all in the entryway?!?!)
  • Talk to S and decide on a gathering here
  • Decide what I can make for dinner without having to go to the grocery store. Get it started.
  • Hang out with S and kids. Look at her awesome pix and scrapbook-in-progress from her South America trip
  • Cut out coupons
  • Go to Safeway (forgot to bring my list!) with my 3 little monkeys (they were actually pretty good today). Bought my very necessary Ice Mocha from Starbucks.
  • Put away groceries
  • Add more ingredients to dinner in the crockpot (3 beans and sausage)
  • Check the laundry. Decide to hang it outside. Figure out my clothesline is broken. Use my extra drying rack I got for free from the neighbor's give-away pile.
  • Water my compost pile and the herbs.
  • Find a crib sheet to cover the ottoman top. The worn spot has gone all the way through now and the stuffing is starting to come off. Lourna was able to fix my seat cushions that wore through and we covered the couches with slipcovers. This one will be harder to fix! The fitted crib sheet is actually an almost perfect fit so now I just need to find a complementary solid color. Primary Pooh is clashing a bit!
  • Decide I need a trip to ToysRUs/BabiesRUS and maybe Target this week.
  • Looked at the school supply list for Ryan. A few things make me crazy, such as needing to buy new scissors and a new pencil box so that I can send them in UNLABELED. And they want a specific brand of pencils that can be bought at COSTCO. Too bad I don't belong to Costco. Maybe I'll wait until the last minute so I can ask the teacher about it at the open house. Or maybe I can find out who his teacher is so I can find out sooner than that. I don't really want to wait until the last minute.

And now I need to figure out what to do next. I have group tonight which will be nice. I guess more laundry and unpacking are at the top of the list...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Home at last

0650 - Wake up. It really is 0650 this time (after yesterday's confusion with my watch being off by an hour).

0715 - It must be time to go home; we are out of clean clothes. I ask "Who wants to go home?" Felisa says no.

Me: " You want to keep driving in the car every day forever and ever?"
Felisa: "Yes!"
Me: "You're crazy!"

0730 - Checking out. The sun is just coming up over the mountain. Or maybe it is just a big hill... I think I must be in a hurry to get home.

0800 - Stop at Burger King in Cleveland, TN. The service is excrutiatingly slow... there are only two people working inside. I remember those days when I worked as an opener at BK - only two people to run the whole show until about 7:00 when the reinforcements arrived. The customers always arrived in batches and we ran around like crazy trying to take care of everyone at once, drive-thru and front counter. Looks like this lady's reinforcements have called in sick!

0813 - Gas, $2.66/gallon

0954 - Pass a billboard for Tina's Scrapbook Creations

1053 - Virginia!!!

1056 - Almost got a ticket. Whew, that was close! Wouldn't that just suck to drive through 17 states without incident and get a ticket when I finally get back to VA?!? The cop pulled over someone else instead. That's not very nice really - the speed limit in VA is 65 and it was 70 in TN. I'm not sure I even saw a speed limit sign with the lower limit before I saw that cop sitting there, right on the border.

1100 - Pass the Classic Scrapbook Too store in Bristol, VA.

12:23 pm - Stop in Pulaski, VA. The billboard on the highway said that this McD's had an indoor playplace. FALSE ADVERTISING - there was no playplace, indoors or out. So we went to Wendy's instead. Both places had a line practically out the door so we had to wait a long time for lunch. Must be bad luck for food day, since we had to wait so long for breakfast also.

1:13 pm - Leave Wendy's. Gas, $2.79/gallon. Miles today 308.8. Total for the trip so far, 5046. We have about 250 miles to go.

3:45 pm - Stop at the rest area. The bathroom is closed. That seems like something they should have posted on the sign before you exit the highway! We get out to stretch our legs anyway. We met a very cute boxer puppy, Tyson, who is 7 weeks old. On the way back to the car, Felisa was running her hand along the orange construction fence surrounding the restrooms and ended up with a cut.

4:00 pm - Leave the rest area. Snacks, drinks, and a movie (Stitch - again!)

5:18 pm - Manassas. Time to start thinking about real life again. I've got 6 kid birthdays, including Bella's, in the next 2 months.

5:29 pm - We must be back in the city - we're stuck in a traffic jam.

5:34 pm - Home Sweet Home.

Total miles: 5,314

We check out the redecorating Ron has done in our abscence. The TV room looks really good. The master bedroom needs to go back to the way it was. The toys need to be cleaned out and cleaned up.

Emilio is unloading already - I told him he's supposed to take a break first but he says he had a break - sitting in the car for 3 days!

Grandma and Grandpa D stop by so the girls take off for an evening with Grandma.

I hang out upstairs, checking email and catching up on blogs. Definitely ignoring the real life outside my door.

S stops by for a visit. I haven't seen her since early July. Once again we managed to have back-to-back trips with a small overlap which makes the separation longer. We really need to work on that for next year... :)

Go to Arties for a late dinner. Find out Ron was cheating on me - went to Arties alone while I was gone. I told him he's only allowed to go with me or with other people! Saw Bill and Christy eating at the bar as we were leaving so I was able to catch up with them briefly before heading home to collapse into bed.

I'm tired!

Friday, August 18, 2006

To Birmingham and Beyond

0700 - Wake up

0810 - Ah... back to the humidity. Yuck! Load up the car. My hair has gone flat so it will be in my face all day. Grrr...

0815 - Homeless kitty at McD's. The playground is closed for some reason. Is it because the cat is out there? The kids hang out at the window the whole time playing with the cat. As we leave, Ryan spots a dead frog in the drive-thru lane. Looks like he forgot to look both ways before crossing!

0855 - Gas up then on the road. 200 miles to Alabama.

0905 - Raccoon roadkill

0907 - Passing a rest area, I start to think of ways to make future road trips more economical. Camp rather than hotel rooms every night, pack food and stop at rest areas or playgrounds instead of going to McD's every time.

0939 - Mississippi River and Mississippi!!!

0940 - Snack box is open... The kids have been asking for snacks since we got on the highway but I made them wait. They were apparently too busy playing with the cat to eat breakfast.

1009 - Pass a billboard for Scrapbook Sisters near Clinton, MS. I've never seen a billboard for a scrapbook store before!

1020 - Allie calls. I pass 5 cops while talking on the phone and driving.

1036 - Lose the call. No service.

1038 - Call back. The phone call is a nice diversion from the monotony of the road.

1116 - Total miles so far - 4384; 166 miles today

1137 - Ryan's Restaurant - a steak restaurant, of course. How fitting!

1145 - Mom called. Another nice diversion

1151 - Alabama!!!

12:03 pm - Jerk in a white car is riding my a** as I'm passing a semi. Where is the courtesy? Where are the road manners?

12:05 pm - A cop pulled someone over. Unfortunately it wasn't the jerk in the white car.

12:14 pm- 3 more cops pass me. Two others passed a couple minutes ago. Emilio says it must be shift change time!

1:42 pm - Birmingham, AL - Go to Arby's for lunch. There was a Schlotsky's in the same shopping center but it was closed for some reason. Bummer since this was probably my last chance for Schlotsky's!

1:55 pm - Call Kim for directions to her house. What time is it?!? My watch says it is 1:00 but I don't think we lost an hour today and I'm pretty sure I changed my watch when we crossed into Texas. One thing is for sure - I am losing my mind!

2:20 pm - Leave Arby's.

2:30 pm - Arrive at Kim's.

3:30 pm - The kids ask, what should we do now? It only took an hour for them to play with all of Dalton's toys? I suggest getting back in the car to drive for awhile. They say no.

4:41 pm - Head out to dinner at Chuck E Cheese. Since Kim and I are both planning to drive, with kids, after dinner, we thought this would be a nice treat for the kids and would help to tire them out. After about an hour I ask her who we are tiring out - the moms or the kids?!? On the plus side I was able to play skeeball - one of my all-time favorite games (even though I'm not especially good at it). Unfortunately, the skeeball candid camera kept turning on to me, no matter which lane I was in. And it wasn't a very flattering picture. One because the camera adds 10 pounds to my already 25 too many and because I'm taller than the average kid customer so it was getting me at chest height. My white shirt made me appear as a big white blob filling the screen. Felisa played a round with me so I tried to get her on the camera instead but she was too short. Oh well. I'll never see any of those people again except Kim and family.

6:50 pm - Blessed silence as we head over to the book store. Kim is driving to SC tonight with Dalton for a wedding tomorrow so we'll head for Chattanooga before we call it a day.

7:46 pm - Gas, $2.81/gallon. Miles so far today, 346.7

8:15 pm - Why are these kids never happy? I gave them snacks and drinks and turned on a movie before we pulled out. I give them whatever they want before we leave each stop yet they always want something else 5 minutes later. Very frustrating. (Can you tell I'm getting tired? The closer I get to home, the more I just want to be there!)

It is dark now and the lights from the other cars shining in my mirrors are very bright tonight, giving me a headache and making me cranky. Then again, maybe it is the almost 5000 miles I have driven this month that are making me cranky...

8:45 pm - Dad called. Call was dropped - no service! - so I call him back and it was dropped again. It is very dark out here now - all the other cars have disappeared. I have no idea where I am or what the landscape is outside the window. It's like driving through a tunnel.

9:30 pm - now 10:30 pm - Georgia and Eastern Time Zone!

10:51 pm - Tennessee!

11:13 pm - Made it through Chattanooga. It is hard to drive through a strange city in the dark.

11:20 pm - Checking the room. Is it too smoky? (All they have left is a smoking room). Man, this place is packed. What's going on in northeastern Chattanooga this weekend? Miles driven from Birmingham = 170.

(As I sit here typing this, after being home for two days... man, I was cranky!!!)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Texas, Texas, and more Texas

Day 26 - Thursday - August 17, 2006

After a delicious breakfast of cinnamon french toast and sausage, I loaded up the van while Emilio helped James load some furniture for Grandpa H and Betty Lou fed the animals with the kids.

1000 - On the road. About an hour later than I had hoped but we were able to do a lot this morning. I didn't really want to leave anyway... We made several stops along the ranch roads to take pictures of the "spooky trees". Unfortunately some sort of disease is killing the trees but the "skeletons" that are left make cool pictures.

1036 - Fredericksburg. Gas $2.91/gallon. Ryan is reading The Boxcar Children and wants to know what queer means (as in Queer Noises in the Night). I told him strange or unusual. As we drive through town I remember the fun shopping we did here on our last visit. Maybe next time we can try it again.

1055 - pass a sign for Luckenbach Road. Isn't there a song about Luckenbach, Texas?

1112 - Johnson City, former home of Lyndon Johnson. Along the road today we have seen lots of peach orchards and wineries. Think the girls back home would want to go to Texas for a wine-tasting weekend?

1124 - Just realized I have been driving without the radio on.

1128 - 30 minutes to Austin. Texas is just entirely too big I think.

1137 - That town had a Sonic and a Dairy Queen but no Jack in the Box.

1154 - Picking up traffic headed into Austin. Tell the kids that I'll give $5 to anyone that spots a Jack in the Box.

12:10 pm - I am eating Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges from Jack in the Box. We had to backtrack and meander through town a bit to reach the JITB we saw from the highway but we made it. A trip to JITB is worth getting lost for! I'm sure there will be a JITB on every corner now that I've finally found one.

12:28 pm - Just as I'm finishing my fries, we see a sign for another JITB at the next exit.

12:29 pm - Ryan's napkin from JITB says, "It could be a long day." Oh how true that is!

12:35 pm - Okay. Austin is really big. Also, we have seen 5 JITB's since we stopped at the first one.

1:09 pm - 50 miles to Waco. It is 100 degrees outside.

1:54 pm - leave McD's playplace. It is VERY hot outside! Backyardigans DVD is playing. We shall continue our very hot, never-ending journey across Texas.

1:57 pm - pass a 24-hour Drive-Thru Starbucks. I definitely wouldn't mind having one of those where I live!

2:35 pm - Waco, TX. Gas, $2.70/gallon. Miles driven so far today, 200. Yikes! We are NEVER going to get out of Texas at this rate. Also, next time we're in Waco, I'm going to the Dr. Pepper museum!

3:08 pm - Another small town. No sooner do I get around the slow people in front of me on the highway and get settled into a good traveling speed, than I have to slow down again for another town. Can you sense the frustration and futility that comes from driving across Texas?!?

3:09 pm - Felisa is whining. Oh and I have no cell service.

3:24 pm -
Emilio: "We're seeing a lot of Texas today."
Ryan: "Yeah, we learned that
Texas is really big and it has a lot of Jack in the Boxes, and we might not ever
get out."

3:26 pm - stop at JITB again. This time have 2 tacos for Ron! And Grandpa R gets to have an extra potty stop while we wait in line at the drive-thru.

3:55 pm - dead armadillo on the road

4:10 pm - Athens, TX

4:18 pm - I lost my road somewhere in Athens. Now we are headed southeast. Guess we'll just pick up 79 in the next town instead of following 31.

4:54 pm - Ryan woke up from his way-too-short nap and asked, Are we out of Texas yet?

4:58 pm - ask for directions at an antique store in Jacksonville because of course 79 did not intersect the road we were on like it showed on the map and there were no signs at the T-corner indicating which way we should turn to find 79. Luckily the girls sleep through all of this.

5:00 pm - It's five o'clock. What have you done today?

5:30 pm - Rush hour in Henderson.

5:38 pm - Lost again! This time I decide to do a U-turn and go back through town to find my road because zig-zagging up and down across Texas is really getting old and I just want to get to LA!

6:11 pm - NE Texas is green and has lots of trees.

6:21 pm - Ron called to check in.

6:24 pm - another dead armadillo. Wish I could have seen one that wasn't dead...

6:27 pm - Louisiana!!!

6:30 pm - LA-Tex business sign sets of ponderings in my mind of how the 2 letter state postal abbreviations were chosen. Was there a formula?

6:36 pm - See a Starbucks billboard, "Ladies and Gentlemen, start your blinkers!"

6:37 pm - See a rainbow.

6:38 pm - Sprinkles and wind to go with the rainbow.

6:47 pm - Interesting. I didn't know they have casinos in Shreveport.

6:58 pm - IHOP. Kids are very excited to be eating pancakes for dinner. Anything to break up the monotony of the driving...

7:58 pm - Gas, $2.79/gallon

8:08 pm - Starbucks.

9:39 pm - pass the last Mason exit. Oops! So much for "I'll take the next exit and find a hotel." The highway is very dark with nothing around. I call my travel agent, Ron, and ask him to find out if there are any hotels coming up. I really don't think we can make it another hour to Jackson, MS.

10:00 pm - Days Inn, Rayville, LA. Bedtime!