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!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Finding Heaven in the Hill Country

Day 25 - Wednesday - August 16, 2006

0715 - Wake up. Enjoy a little time chatting with James and Betty Lou before they head off to the airport in San Antonio (3 hours roundtrip) to pick up Emilio. They were kind enough to make the drive so that the kids didn't have to sit in the car for 3 hours today. This is especially important since we are leaving tomorrow for a 2 day drive to Birmingham and we spent 12 hours traveling down on Monday. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You guys are awesome!

0815 - Felisa wakes up. Then Ryan who immediately turns on the DVD player which wakes up Bella.

0900 - Finish typing up my blog entry for Monday. Feed the kids. Enjoy coffee outside on the back porch.

0915 - Kids play outside while I grab a quick shower. The rules: stay inside the fence, don't touch any cactus.

0945 - Time to feed the animals! Call the kids then call the deer and sheep. Only a handful of deer show up this morning. We must be late! They seem a bit shy so we retreat to the back porch to watch them eat. Two fawns this morning. Bella was telling me all about which one was Bambi and which was Faline. And that when they lift their heads it is because they hear hunters coming. Our job is to feed them and protect them from the hunters while James and Betty Lou are gone.

1015 - We have moved to the front porch to watch the deer eat on the other side of the yard while we have snacks and drinks.

1030 - Playtime! The kids are playing with the driveway gravel and empty PB jars. Hopefully Betty Lou won't mind that I found two more empty ones in the garage so that they each could have one... I guess I could send her some replacement jars when we get back! :) As I'm drinking my coffee and soaking up the atmosphere, I decide that this place ranks right up at the top of the list for totally awesome, completely relaxing, fantastic vacation spots! The Beach House is the other one. Unfortunately this place is a little farther from anywhere we won't be able to come as often. But we'll love it while we're here! Three cheers for Texas Hill Country and Tierra Linda Ranch!

12:00 pm - Grandpa R has arrived! He's hardly in the door and we're doing a quick load up to take everyone to town to meet Great-Grandpa H and Evelyn at their new house.

12:12 pm - Sharing more leg stories as we drive...
Betty Lou: The man was driving across south Texas (which is of course very hot!) with his leg propped on the open window. A big blast of wind blew his leg off onto the side of the road where a deer picked it up and ran off with it. The man had only one leg now and couldn't run fast enough to catch the deer. The deer eventually got tired of carrying it and dropped it. A cow found the leg and carried it a bit further but eventually got tired and dropped it. Then a horse, then an antelope who dropped it in the field where we found it.
Ryan: A cowboy was wrestling with a horse and lost his leg.
Emilio: It's not my leg - I checked!

12:26 pm - Leaving the house again. We had to go back to get the other car seats. We hadn't been using them yesterday since we were just driving around the ranch. Today we are headed for town so we need them. And forgot to put them in!

12:30 pm - More leg stories...
Ryan: The man was driving with his leg out the window and it blew off into a stream then it floated to the meadow where we found it.
Me: It is a robot leg that ran away from home.
Emilio: Whoever lost it is probably too embarrassed to admit it!
(There was an unfinished 12-pack of beer and wheelie tracks in the meadow where we found the leg.)
James: Is there an organization that recycles prosthetics when they are no longer needed? If not, we should start one.
I think there probably already are projects like that.

12:41 pm - Reminisce about Bailey in her wild days... Last time we were at the ranch, we were moving cross-country so we had the dogs with us. Bailey ran away in the middle of a rainstorm - squeezed herself out the gate and took off. Rudy cut his foot on the lava rocks outside and bled all over the carpet in the house. Their new dog, Wrangler, was peeing all over the carpet. I'm surprised they were willing to let us come back! Just to show how much we've changed, this time my baby peed on the carpet...

12:44 pm - Grandpa H called - where are we?!?

12:51 pm - Wow - look at Grandpa's fancy red sports car!

1:47 pm - Bamboo Asian buffet for lunch

2:4o pm - Leave restaurant. Head to the grocery store for more road snacks. Betty Lou takes us on a little tour of Kerrville.

2:44 pm -Oh my gosh! Is that a Jack-in-the-Box?!?! Why oh why did I eat so much at lunch??? All those pregnancy cravings I had with the girls but couldn't satisfy because JITB was only in CA. Here it is in TX and I didn't even know it. And I'm stuffed so I can't indulge...

Cross over the Guadalupe River to the newer side of town. Stop at HEB for snacks. Stop at the corner trading post near the ranch for postcards. Girls are asleep when we get back so we put them in the bedroom where they sleep for 3 hours. I did our laundry and started packing a little. Betty Lou made dinner. She even gave Ryan an umbrella drink. Grandpa and Evelyn came out and we drank champagne, ate dinner. The kids had naked swim time in the kiddie pool then dessert and umbrella drinks for the girls. More leg stories then bed time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Is Anyone Missing a Leg???

Day 24 - Tuesday - August 15, 2006

A Very Merry Unbirthday to You...

When we arrived last night, Betty Lou had just finished decorating the cupcakes. She had planned a birthday party for all of us for today. Complete with a pinata! I told her it was kind of like the Unbirthday Party in Alice in Wonderland.

0745 - Wake up.

Coffee and breakfast outside. We all got to feed the deer and the sheep. When they heard the food rattling in the bucket, they came running! We saw the black buck pronghorn off in the distance. Betty Lou told me that the males will lie in their own scat to absorb the scent which attracts the lady pronghorns. Mmmm... I took lots of pictures! The morning continued with the kids exploring the ranch-within-a-ranch. The best of both worlds, in my opinion. James and Betty Lou have 25 acres within the Tierra Linda working ranch property. Of those 25 acres, the 2 acres around the house are completely 100% (gate and cattle-guard even) fenced! So, I feel safe knowing the kids are "caged" and the kids feel free because they have all this wide open space to explore. Wide open spaces, complete with intrigue and danger(lots of cacti!), and no mom breathing down their necks. We also enjoyed a little Dolly, water-loving labradoodle, playtime. She chases the water coming out of the hose. Very fun to watch! Dolly and Wrangler also love to fetch the frisbee and ball, though Dolly tends to be a bit of a toy hog.

Before lunch we went off for a drive to the dump. We saw cows, horses, deer, ducks, a turtle, and even an abandoned prosthetic leg! We were driving along, stopping every now and then to point out the different animals to the kids as we passed them. We came to an open field and there, about 20 feet from the road, was a prosthetic leg and foot.
Me: "What's with the fake foot?"
Betty Lou: "What?"
Me: "There's a prosthetic leg over there in the field."
Betty Lou: "What? Where?"

So we all looked out the window and wondered what on earth it was doing there. Betty Lou said we'd stop on the way back and pick it up to be delivered to the ranch office.

At the other end of the field, there were about 10 horses gathered in the shade. We stopped and one of them, Rusty, came over looking for food. I rolled down my window and he stuck his whole head in. The kids thought that was hilarious! Before he decided to bite me (after all, we had come without food!), we rolled the window back up and headed on to the dump.

On the way back, we did indeed stop to pick up the leg. I have a picture of the leg in it's original location, should the authorities need it! James measured how many paces from the road he found the leg. And we continued to wonder how it got there and who it belonged to.
James: A lady went out with her boyfriend last night. She didn't want her
husband to chase after her so she stole his leg then lost it.
Betty Lou: Maybe it fell off a cowboy while he was riding his horse.
Ryan: Maybe the guy who lost his leg was killed and he's buried over there (this idea came when he saw a horse pawing at the ground) and the horse is trying to dig him up.
(Yikes! What kind of parent am I that a six year old comes up with that theory?!) Many other theories and lots of jokes continued throughout the day. I think we'll all remember the leg forever! We dropped the leg off at the office and the ranch manager called later to get the whole story again. James promised to fill us in when they find out the true story of the missing leg, so stay posted!

1:30 pm - Lunch time. Sandwiches, veggies, and fruit on the back porch. Felisa wouldn't eat her sandwich so I told her she wouldn't get to eat her cupcake later. She wasn't phased by this but I'm sure she'll be mad later.

2:30 pm - Time for the Unbirthday Party! We each got a cupcake with a candle to blow out. We sang Happy Birthday. Then, we each licked the frosting off our candle. Except for Felisa who was trying to eat the candle. Oops! Forgot to explain the finer points of that one. Felisa did indeed get mad when I told her No Cupcake until you Finish Your Sandwich. James laughed and informed me that Mom stands for Mean Ol' Mom. Among other things... I'm sure the kids will come up with some doozies over the years.

Now time for the pinata. What can I say except that was One Tough Donkey. That, and I wouldn't want to meet Betty Lou in a dark alley! After the kids tried unsuccessfully several times, I took a turn. Also unsuccessful. So then Betty Lou stepped in and Whammo! Big hole in the not-so-tough-anymore donkey. A few more good wacks from the kids and treasure! Cars, party blowers, bubbles, Dora figurines, and twisty puzzles (like Rubic's but MUCH easier!). How fun was that! Thank you, Betty Lou, for another fun activity.

4:30 pm - Felisa finally finished her sandwich so she could have some juice. The cupcake is forgotten so she will just eat it after dinner perhaps. If she eats dinner - she just finished lunch and it's already almost time for dinner!

The kids played and watched a movie (The Shaggy Dog) while I tried to help Betty Lou in the kitchen. She offered me a drink. Rum and coke sounded good so I made one for me and a Rum and Crystal Light for her. Awesome fun hostess that she is, she provided fun fancy glasses, colored straws, and umbrellas! Definitely worth a picture so we recruited James to take a picture of us with our Umbrella Drinks.

Dinner (meatloaf and mac-n-cheese) - yum! - then more playtime outside. We fed the animals again, played fetch with the dogs, then Felisa ended up naked in the doggy/kiddie pool. Bella had a spill on the rocks but only ended up with 2 little scrapes. Then Felisa peed on the carpet. She came inside because she needed to go potty. I was in the kitchen cleaning up dessert dishes when she came running in - "Mommy I pee pee" I look up, just as she reaches the kitchen floor, pees, and slips in the puddle and falls down - all in the blink of an eye. I take her to the bathroom and put her in the bath. I go back to clean up her mess. There is a big puddle in the kitchen and little dribbles all across the dining room from the door to the kitchen. Guess she waited a little too long and couldn't hold it!

9:45 pm - after baths, it is finally time for bed. Felisa goes to sleep immediately but my coke is keeping me awake so I decide to try one of the Sudoku puzzles in the book Betty Lou gave me. She had already done all the easy ones so I tackled a Tricky one. I figured it out but it took me until midnight!

Overall, I would say that the kids and I have been having a GREAT time on the Ranch!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Heading East

Day 23 - Monday - August 14, 2006

First, my Monday Mission... Mom to the Screaming Masses tasked her readers with making a list of 5 things we are thankful for. Here's my list, in no particular order. I made the list as I was driving today.

  • Sharpies. I love them. And they come in so many colors these days, not just black anymore. They are on sale at Target this week so I mentioned my love for Sharpies to Lourna. And she bought 2 packs for me. How sweet... I love my MIL!
  • Good friends
  • Bella seems to be feeling better
  • The clouds are blocking the early morning sun from shining in my eyes as I drive. And they are so pretty. I love the clouds in CO and NM. I'm not sure why, exactly, but they are so much more complex. You can really see the shadows and shading and shapes more than you can anywhere else I've lived. Could be the altitude (putting us closer to the sky and the clouds)?
  • That I have a nice, new, dependable, comfortable car to make this loooooonnnnng journey.
  • Having the opportunity to travel and see our great American landscape in all its variety and glory
  • A husband at home who loves me

Now to the nitty gritty details of our first day on the road as we head back home...

0626 - Leave the house. Beginning odometer reading (miles we have gone since leaving home) = 2982.5 Temperature = 71 degrees. Awesome clouds over the hill.

0635 - Leave Starbucks. Bella went potty. Felisa hasn't gone yet (both girls are still in pj's - scooped out of bed and immediately to the car). Felisa will wait until we get about 10 miles down the road then she'll want to go! Oh and one last pumpkin scone... :)

0639 - On I-40 EAST!

0644 - Had the radio on scan, looking for a station. The announcer said "...oral s** doesn't count as s**..." Whoa! Hurry - change the station! Did anyone else hear that?

0653 - Top the summit. Rain begins.

0706 - Hear on the radio that the funeral for the NM soldier killed in Iraq will be at the base in Clovis today. Which is exactly where we are headed. Oh and a church group has an anti-homosexual protest planned. That just rubs me the wrong way for so many reasons. I disagree with their message, I disagree with the location and timing. It's just wrong. That guy's family is grieving enough already without all those goings-on surrounding the funeral.

0711 - Felisa is asleep. The other 2 are playing Leapster/V-smile

0730 - Deer roadkill

074 0 - Another item to add to Things To Do Before I Die... Own a hammock. And use it frequently!

0741 - Passing Milagro. I think there is a book called The Milagro Beanfield Wars. I need to read that.

074 9 - Ryan is looking sleepy...

0751 - Another new overpass. I like how they are all decorated with a different American Indian/Southwestern theme. There are a bunch along the road from Santa Fe to Los Alamos.

0758 - Bits of blue sky peeking through

0804 - Santa Rosa. Bella is wrestling with the snack box (too full of heavy snacks apparently!) Felisa wakes up and says "I wanna cookie"

0809 - We're off the interstate. Ryan wakes up and says "Hey the sun's coming up!" then goes back to sleep.

0810 - Billboard: "Tobacco contains the same chemical as toilet bowl cleaner." Ewww... another reason not to smoke!

0813 - Wisps of clouds. So close you could reach out and touch them. I would love to photograph the clouds here but I'm not sure the picture would do them justice.

0815 - Ryan wakes up again. Felisa is just chattering away - keeping herself entertained though I have no idea what she's saying.

0820 - The Snack Box. A brilliant idea! It has variety. The snacks are all in individual serving sizes. The box is solid to protect the contents from accidental crushing. Of course the kids are eating chips for breakfast but oh well - we're on vacation!

0823 - I think I should go through my notes and type up a list of all the McD's playplaces and other nice playgrounds we passed along the way and keep it in my binder for future travel reference. It has been hard sometimes to decide whether or not to stop somewhere, not knowing if there may be something better 10 miles down the road. Anyone travelling west on 70 to CO or East through Texas let me know and I'll send you a copy!

0824 - Six BIG black birds on the road but I didn't see any roadkill... Did they eat the whole thing already?

0827 - Pass a high tower. A cell phone tower perhaps? Alas, I have no service... Ryan thinks it is a "Tower of Power"

0830 - Hmmm.... what other ideas have been good on the trip so far?

  • Kleenex box
  • Paper towel roll
  • Garbage bags for the front seat and back seat
  • Wipes - especially if you pack cheetos and doritos in the snack box!

0833 - Passed another tower of power!

0838 - Bella found Care Bear in her backpack. I told her she had jumped in this morning so she wouldn't get left behind! Ryan found the Fun On the Run book I bought in ABQ. I told him he could borrow it. Maybe the games will be more fun if he picks them out!

0841 - Red Car, Blue Car... Ryan explains the rules to Bella and they both pick out their car colors. He says, "Okay, let's play" There is a pause as we all look out the windows (not a car or anything, really, as far as the eye can see...). "Okay," he says. "Never mind. There's not enough cars here!"

0844 - Fort Sumner. Final resting place of Billy the Kid. We drive under the train tracks as a train is going over. Kids think this is pretty cool.

0846 - Ryan says we must be near Texas because he sees cowboy pictures (wall murals) and old-fashioned buildings. One more hour? Yes, the states are big out here in the west!

0911 - I really hate passing on 2-lane roads. Makes me nervous.

0923 - Finally finished our excrutiatingly long round of "I'm going to Texas, and I'm bringing apples, balloons, cows, etc. all the way to zebras. Ryan did fine but it was like pulling teeth to get Bella to remember and say all the items in the list each time. If it was a competitive game rather than a cooperative game, she would have been out on her second turn! Felisa was nice enough to just listen and do her own thing for the whole game. Didn't interrupt even once!

0940 - Clovis, NM

0946 - Finally find a gas station, all the way across town. $2.79/gallon - definitely the cheapest by far of the whole trip. 200 miles down, 500 to go!

0958 - All in and buckled after a potty break at the gas station.

1000 - Movie on - Bambi and we're back on the road...

1010 - still no cell phone service.

1014 - Texas!

1019 - Passing our first cotton field.

1047 - My phone display says it is 1147. Did we lose an hour already? Noooooooo... I really needed that hour if I'm going to make it to Kerrville before dark!

1152 - Let the whining commence... Felisa is regretting her movie choice of Bambi.

12:32 pm - Lubbock loop. Hopefully we can find a nice McD's to stop at.

12:39 pm - Lubbock seems very industrial. And, umm, not that pretty.

12:45 pm - last exit in Lubbock - gas, beer, and exotic naked dancers. But no McD's! Guess I should have driven through town instead of around on the highway. But what town doesn't have any McD's along the highway?! Apparently, Lubbock...

12:48 pm - Bella and Felisa are falling asleep.

1:22 pm - 10 miles to Lamesa. 55 miles to Big Spring. Bella and Felisa are sleeping. Do I stop or take my chances and continue to Big Spring?

1:31 pm - Lamesa has a McD's playplace and a Sonic so I decide to pull over and wake everyone up to play. And eat. And get dressed (the girls have been riding in their pajamas). Ryan and Bella had a great energy-expending play time in the tunnels. Felisa hung out at the table. I wouldn't let her sit down though - told her she could go play with Ryan and Bella or she had to stand up and play by the table. I got the map and Betty Lou's directions out of the car so I can decide on which of 3 recommended paths to take. On a side note, Letonke (or whatever the previous town was) and Lamesa have the same size dots on the map. But Lamesa has 9000 people and the other one only had 2000. Makes a big difference in what sort of "amenities" they have to offer the weary traveler.

2:33 pm - Leave McD's.

2:34 pm - Stop at Sonic for a large Cherry-Lime. Still have 5 hours left to drive.

2:42 pm - Song on the radio is singing "Happiness was Lubbock, TX in the rearview mirror." How appropriate for today...

2:43 pm - Was that lightning?

2:46 pm - Red dirt fields as far as the eye can see.

2:48 pm - Yep, that was lightning!

2:51 pm - Hmmm... I wonder if those are oil wells.

2:53 pm -
Felisa: "I want to go home."
Me: Okay, I'm going as fast as I can but we're not there yet. Why don't you watch a movie.
Felisa: Backyardigans.
2:58 pm -
Ryan: What are we watching?
Me: Backyardigans
Ryan: But she already had 2 turns!
Me: Do you want to get there or don't you?
Ryan: Okay.

3:00 pm - Okay and that looks like a funnel cloud! But it's white and it keeps shifting/disappearing so it's probably just a dust devil.

3:22 - Passing through Big Spring. Betty Lou just called to check on our progress.

3:40 pm - Ron called. He's working on his painting project at home. Somehow he came across some old love letters - you know, the really mushy ones - and wants to know if I still love him. Are you really asking me this while I drive across Texas alone, with your 3 little kids, while you kick back at home?!?! Just kidding - of course I do!

4:28 pm - San Angelo. Stop for gas, $2.85/gallon. Miles so far today, approximately 500. Can't find a playground.

5:51 pm - Even the "good" kids are losing it. Felisa has been sleeping for awhile. She got mad then gave up and went to sleep so I'm not stopping now! I have about 70 miles left.

5:56 pm - Ryan and Bella settled on Leapster/V-smile.

6:02 pm - Passed an elk ranch.

6:04 pm - Once again, no cell phone service.

6:06 pm - Big black parking lot with about 100 orange cones setting on it, out in the middle of nowhere... a motorcycle training place perhaps?

6:11 pm - I-10 East. Speed limit 80 mph. Gotta love Texas!

6:22 pm - Oops - I've been lost in thought for a few minutes. I hope I didn't pass my exit!

6:23 pm - Oh, there it is. 1.5 miles.

6:25 pm - Ryan has resorted to hand vs. hand combat. We'd better get out of this car soon before we're all loony!

6:27 pm - Another sheep ranch! There sure are a lot of sheep in Texas!

6:32 pm - I'm getting hungry. I sure hope there's food in Harper or it's going to be a long night!

6:40 pm - Stop at Dauna's for hot dogs. This establishment offers gas, food, and deer storage. Okay. Good to know.

6:58 pm - Entertain the kids by zig-zag driving down the road. Stop a couple times to see deer.

7:10 pm - Arrive at "The Ranch!" Miles driven today = 661

Spend the evening playing with the dogs, unloading, and eating hot dogs and fruit!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Final Sunday?

Day 22 - Sunday - August 13, 2006

Well, here it is. Sunday. Our last day before we hit the road to head back. The last couple days I've been planning to leave early Monday morning. Unfortunately I forgot that if today is Sunday, that would make tomorrow Monday. Did I say leave early on Monday morning? Well then perhaps I need to spend a little time, oh I don't know, maybe packing?!?! We have certainly managed to make ourselves at home and spread every little thing we own to the far corners of the house so I'd better get busy. Of course I'm tired already so not sure how well I'll do... I had planned to go to bed early last night. Elena and Jared and the kids left early last night (before 9) and Felisa hadn't had a nap so I figured I was golden - asleep by 10 for sure. But no. I think Felisa must have been drinking my coffee because she would NOT go to sleep. Ryan went right to sleep. Bella fell asleep fairly easily. But not Felisa. Bella made sure to wake me up early though. At 6:50 she told me she wanted me to get up. Then she handed me her empty water cup. It's a conspiracy I tell you! A conspiracy amongst all the children of the world to make parents everywhere are sleepless.

I think I hear sweet baby squeaks from the corner... Elena and Jared dropped the boys off so they can go run a few errands. It's my last day with sweet baby Seth. The other boys are sweet as well but they are big kids now. Not as fleeting as the sweet new baby time that Seth is in. I am going to miss them all but especially Seth. He will have changed the most between now and when I see him again.
On a different note, I woke up this morning humming a Duran Duran song. mmm mmm mmm mmm Sunday... What was that song about Sunday? Well I just did a little searching around on the internet. Apparently the song I'm thinking of is New Moon on Monday. Ohhhh... Sunday. Monday. Same diff, right?! In my searching I also found a song recorded by Sting (one of Ron's favorite musicians) called Beneath a Desert Moon. Huh. Gotta love a freaky coincidence (remember this past week's Full Moon Desert Adventure?)

Well, the car is now loaded. Everything is packed and ready to hit the road. And so I will go hit the hay!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

They told pancake stories all night...

That's right folks, pancake stories. I have no idea what a pancake story is but the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. A single pancake story might not be so loud but times 5? Definitely loud. Philip and Thomas got to spend the night last night so the living room was turned into a big blanket and pillow pit. Foreshadowing of sleepovers to come?

I spent the afternoon yesterday messing around with blog templates. So when the pancake stories started to get out of control, I took my laptop and went to hide in the bedroom.

My sanctuary was soon invaded by Felisa who wanted to sleep with Mommy and a bit later by Bella who had developed a fever. And so I spent the night sandwiched between two hot bodies that just HAD to be touching me!

Went to Costco this morning to procure the salsa as ordered. Unfortunately, there wasn't any El Pinto salsa. I did get some green chiles, green chile stew, and queso. I'll have to hit Smiths maybe tomorrow and get a few smaller jars of salsa.

On the way back from Costco we stopped at Raleys to get tylenol for Bella. Came home, force-fed her medicine, unloaded then headed out all alone for another shopping trip. First stop, Sonic for a green chile bacon cheeseburger and a cherry-lime. Then I hit Goodwill (found a cute outfit for Felisa, a plate for the kids' collection, and some jeans for myself - hope they fit!), Hastings (found a book and another video), and Vitamin Cottage (yummi echineccea bears for the kids since the last ones melted). I was hungry after all this shopping so I stopped at Starbucks. I ordered a decaf but the guy made a regular by mistake (he's new). I told I'm I'd take it anyway (hate to waste it!) but that I would call him if I was still awake at midnight! They also had... pumpkin scones! So I HAd to get one... Actually I had one the other day too. Can't find any back home until the pumpkin season returns. (S, the first one was for you. The second one was for me!)

Home again to find Felisa in her third outfit of the day. This time it was a potty accident instead of the fountain.

Now, time for swimming. Got everyone changed and slathered up with sunscreen. We couldn't find Felisa's flip-flops ANYWHERE so eventually we gave up and put on her socks and tennis shoes. At the pool, Jared and I had a friendly diving board competition. He won of course, since he is a professional swimmer, lifeguard, and generally athletic guy. I am an okay swimmer but not athletic or coordinated at all as you know. It was really a lot of fun. The kids were done long before the grown-ups today but we decided to be selfish and keep swimming anyway. Eventually they started shivering though so we had to pack it in. The best 2 hours I've had in awhile.

After swimming - BBQ! Yum! Then a quiet evening just hanging around.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Desert Flower

On a completely random note... here is a picture of the cool flowers I saw at Bandelier. Ron grumbled a little that I was making him take a picture of flowers but it turned out nicely. Does it ever not work when Ron does it? Nope, never.

Finally Friday

Day 20 - Friday - August 11, 2006

Wow. What a long week. Single-parenting is rough and I hope that I don't ever have to do it for real. My prayers go out for all the single parents out there. God bless them.

So, a slow morning at home. The kids played leapster/v-smile for basically forever. I called S and caught up with her a bit. Then Felisa took a break from playing to supervise my shower. Because I'm sure I'd never be able to handle it without her direction...

Finally headed out around noon. Stopped at Hobby Lobby in my never-ending search for the perfect key box. Just like the one I saw at Cost Plus about 10 years ago and didn't buy. Why oh why didn't I buy?!? Picked up a couple scrapbook items, just because. First time this trip though so I should get credit for practicing such amazing restraint! I've been keeping my eyes open for the perfect baby girl papers for a project I have to do when I get home.

After HL, stopped at Wendy's to pick up chix nuggets and french fries for the kids. I was headed for lunch at Schlotsky's which would definitely be wasted on them so I fed them ahead of time. I tried to the basil chicken pizza this time. Pretty tasty. Still like the Original sandwich best though. And of course the BBQ chicken pizza. Yum!

Then home. Pretty exciting, eh? Felisa took a nap while I ate my lunch and watched The Family Stone. I was expecting a comedy, which it wasn't, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Made me cry so now I have a headache. Could also be a bit of dehydration.

We may be finally succumbing to the travel germs. I'm surprised the kids have all been healthy this long. They are usually sick almost right away. Felisa has been coughing a little the last two days and now Bella is complaining about having a headache. She sat on me for most of the movie practicing her melodramatic moaning. I gave her some tylenol and now she is watching Backyardigans. We are expecting Elena and the kids in the next hour or so and the grandparents should be here in about an hour and a half. We'll have Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner and life will be good...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ahead of the game?

Day 19 - Thursday - August 10, 2006

So am I ahead of the game today or just fooling myself? I am of course still in my pajamas at 1015 so perhaps a wise bet would be "fooling myself"! BUT... I have figured out what's for dinner. I have the chicken out to thaw (more than an hour ahead of time which is my usual, not very effective, thawing strategy). Actually found the recipe on-line, miracle of all miracles. I made a copy of it back in April to bring to NM and leave it here. Then I'd have one of our family favorites available anytime I decided to cook. But of course I forgot to bring it with me. Twice now. But that's okay because Taste of Home has improved its recipe database searchability and accessibility since I last tried looking up a recipe about 4 years ago.

And look at all that I have accomplished so far today...
  • Read yesterday's paper. Including the article about the winery I had planned to visit at some point and had forgotten all about.
  • Drank a cup of coffee.
  • Fed the kids breakfast. And a few snacks since it is sooooo late in the day. Not.
  • Turned on Cinderella for Felisa (who is no longer watching but Bella is)
  • Checked my email.
  • Called my dad for his new address.
  • Called Elena to make dinner location plans.
  • Made my grocery list. I'm going to try to accomplish my shopping in a single visit today.
  • Currently watching Ryan's step-by-step show-n-tell episode of putting together his new Scooby Doo puzzle. He's got about 20 of the 100 pieces together.

As amazing as that all is, I really need to get a shower and get out of here if I'm going to get to a winery and the grocery store and be back by mid-afternoon.


Okay, all I wanted was a shower. A nice, hot, no one is bothering me for 10 minutes shower. Apparently this is way too much to ask for. First Felisa comes in and wants me to open a movie for her. I tell her that I will do it after my shower. Then Bella comes to tell me that Ryan and Felisa are fighting because they both want to watch/listen in the same room. I yell for Felisa to come. After a few minutes Bella gets Felisa to the bathroom. I tell her that Ryan is already listening in the bedroom and after my shower I will help her watch in the living room. Okay she says. A minute later Bella is back to report that Felisa was confused about my perfectly clear message and is trying to watch in the bedroom so the disagreement with Ryan continues. So I call her back again. And explain that in just 2 short minutes I will be done with my shower and can help her. She says okay. No further interruptions to the shower. I go out in my towel so that I can immediately solve this EMERGENCY crisis. I turn Felisa's movie on in the living room and Ryan goes back to the bedroom to listen. I go back the the bathroom to get dressed and finish getting ready. I am just half-dressed when Felisa is back, asking for cheez-its. Okay, can you wait until I get dressed? Yes. But can you wait somewhere else, like in the living room with your movie? No. Grrrr.... 10 minutes. All I want is 10 minutes!!!!!!!!


So I'm at Sonic waiting for my breakfast burrito and cherry-lime when I realize that it is 12:00. Already? How did that happen? Oh well...

Half an hour later I am across town and lost. Of course. Why would I have expected to just follow the straight lines on the map to find where I am going? I definitely think the winery could make a couple improvements to their map. And the road construction wasn't helping matters any. There I am, stuck waiting through 3 extremely long light cycles, figuring I should be getting close. Suddenly I am at the head of the line and there is a shopping center directly across the intersection. Huh? What happened to the road? So on the next green light I turned left. Went a few blocks, turned right. And had no idea where I was. Pull over into the shade and get the real map out. Boy am I lost! Find an alternate route to try. I'm following a very slow old white minivan for awhile. Then realize I'm not on the road I thought I should be on. Oh, because it doesn't go through like the map shows. Eventually I wind my way around the neighborhood and make it over to the winery. The buildings are just as big and impressive as they look in the brochure and on the website. But the pond and the grounds are miniscule. Very disappointing. I did get a free taste though because I told the lady that I only like sweet wine. She said they only have one sweet one so she gave me a free taste instead of paying for all 6 of them and not liking any. And I got a spoonful of the chocolate wine sauce - yum! I took a picture of the mouse with the wine bottle and a picture with the kids in front of some wine barrels. Got a few nice pictures of the grape vines. Then paid for my souveniers and hit the road to drive all the way back across town. I went out the other way this time and had a nice drive through Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Lots of big estates and horses.


If Felisa doesn't stop crying every 2 minutes I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm cranky enough on my own. Her incessant whining and crying over every little thing is not helping any. Elena and the boys are coming over later which is good - I'm going to put the kids in front of the TV for awhile and hopefully enjoy a bit of quiet time.


Funny quotes from this evening...

Thomas: It's not funny, it's dessert.

Ryan: And that's how long your lung bones are.


Another nice evening all together. I'm going to miss these get-togethers when we are gone. I enjoy hanging out with Elena (and with Jared). The kids have been playing very nicely together. They haven't fought at all while causing mayhem and disaster everywhere they go. Tonight they managed to once again get the hose turned on but at least there was no mud pit since we are at Grandma's house instead of Elena's house. Keep in mind that I told them once already this evening to leave the hose off. Apparently "the babies" turned it on (that means Philip and Felisa). So that meant it was okay for all the kids to play with it. After all, I said not to turn on the water. I did not say not to play with the water if someone else turns it on. So clearly it was my mistake, not their disobedience! Oh and after everyone left I discovered the bedroom curtains almost completely pulled down. And don't forget the tent that they dismantled upstairs before dinner. And then Bella was trying to hide under the green blanket. Luckily I caught that one before she completely twisted it all up. I already had to take the duvet cover completely off and get it back on straight once. And once was enough for me! But... there was much cooperation and no fighting during all of this so that balances out the mischief. Well, a little bit anyway.


Another late movie night. Ryan was watching Bugs Bunny in the bedroom and I didn't think I could fall asleep with it on so I decided to watch Failure to Launch instead. Pretty funny. But of course I was up until midnight again. And not sleepy. Could be a tough adjustment when we return to real life. And school is only 3 weeks away so we're going to have to start waking up early to get in the habit right away. No more lazy mornings - Ryan has to be at school by 0830 EVERY DAY! Yikes!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm so out of it...

Day 18 - Wednesday - August 9, 2006

I have been out of it all day. I went to the grocery store THREE times today. With THREE kids. That alone is enough to make me shake my head and ask, "Why?!?" Aunt Flo has been kicking my butt this month, leaving me cranking and pretty much worthless. But oh well. What can you do, really?

A recap of today's activities:
- Wake up wondering if I was imagining the very loud, oh my gosh the house is shaking, thunder from last night. Scrape me off the ceiling, why don't you! As if I weren't freaked out enough, the thunder had my heart racing again at midnight. (I asked Elena later and wasn't imagining it; the thunder really was shaking the houses!)
- Out to the grocery store (need ingredients for tonight's dinner - spinach lasagna rolls) and Starbucks (self-explanatory!). I even bought a newspaper from the paper peddler outside Starbucks because wouldn't that be a nice, relaxing, vacation activity - reading the paper (something I very rarely do at home).
- Back home I bring in the groceries and immediately realize I have forgotten the lasagna noodles. A key ingredient, no?
- Tell the kids they have 5 minutes before we go back to the store. My phone rings - a message. It is Patricia. I call her back. She is inviting us to meet her at Explora this afternoon. I tell her I have to talk to Elena first to figure out our plan of the day.
- Call Elena. Decide on a late-afternoon get-together.
- Load up the kids and head to the store again. Call Patricia and tell her we should be able to make it by 1:30 depending on how quickly I can get dinner together.
- Back home the kids play while I boil, chop, mix, and assemble the lasagna rolls. Halfway through the salad-making I realize that I don't have enough lettuce. Turns out the extra head of lettuce has been in there awhile because when I take it out I discover the yucky, mushy, black bottom. Looks like we'll be stopping at the store AGAIN on the way home from the museum. As long as I'm there, I'll pick up some italian sausage to be sure we have enough food for everyone. Grandma and Grandpa R will be coming down from LA for dinner as well so that's 2 more to feed.
- Load everyone up and head to the museum. Arrive at about 2:15. Patricia is also just arriving so that worked out. Pay $16 to get in. Adults are $7. Seems a bit high for a CHILDREN'S museum but whatever. Herd my kids through the museum. They seem to be having fun and are staying together pretty well considering the age range. And the fact that there are 3 of them and only one of me. Upstairs there is an outside porch with life-size lincoln logs. Well child life-size anyway. So you can build cabins and benches and tables and... Very cool. That was the most impressive thing to me out of the whole place. (just googled and found this website. Apparently it is called slotwood. The ones at the museum were a little nicer but the whole concept is cool if you ask me!) The kids also enjoyed the laminar flow fountain. You can control the water flow with buttons. At 3:30 we head out so we can get back (after our 3rd grocery store visit!) to finish dinner preps and get over to Elena's.
- Dinner was good. I got more good snuggles time with Seth. Grandma and Grandpa made it down.
- After dinner Grandpa was outside video-taping the kids playing in the back yard. When I went outside later, the kids had filled the sandbox with water and were now playing in a mudbox. Hello?!?! Aren't you supervising them, Grandpa? Oh, he says, I was busy videotaping. Videotaping, yes. But apparently not paying attention to what he was seeing on screen!
- Hosed everyone off then borrowed a couple clean shirts to wear on the ride home. I was going to make them ride home in their underwear but Grandma found shirts for them.
- Grandma gave the kids a bath while I looked over the map and discussed travel plans with Grandpa R.
- Put the kids to bed.
- Talk to Grandma and Grandpa for awhile. Turns out they are not staying through the weekend - just came down to pick up the extra car and take it back up. Also, it turns out that TODAY is the full moon day. Maybe that's why our little adventure was so doomed yesterday - it wasn't the right day! If only I had a brain and could read the calendar...
- Put myself to bed with the portable DVD player. Watch Legally Blonde 2 until midnight. Yawn!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

All blogged out

Day 17 - Tuesday - August 8, 2006

I've been thinking and thinking about what I should title today's post. And I finally decided, as I was dragging my feet, deliberating between blogging and reading a book that I'm feeling "All Blogged Out". Guess that was bound to happen given all that I have written in the last two weeks - more than I've written all year, I think! Of course when I finally get around to scrapbooking all these pictures of our trip (I think we're up to about 450 now!) I'll be glad I have all this written to go along with them.

0730 - Wake up. I can hear Ryan in the other room trying to turn on a movie. I know he won't be able to figure out how to get the TV onto the right channel for the DVD player. Which means I'm going to have to get up. Definitely regretting staying up so late last night. But that happens sometimes when Ron is gone. Can't fall asleep. And of course that ice mocha at the bookstore definitely didn't help any!

0745 - Felisa is calling for me. Something about needing a tissue. Ewww - that's a big one. That girl has some of the biggest, uckiest, morning sneezes ever.

0800 - Breakfast. Felisa has a screaming fit because she wants the chair Ryan is sitting in. Which turns into a coughing fit. So I give her some Zyrtec and honey cough. I was going to give her an echineccea yummi bear but apparently they all melted in the hot car at some point along the way. Ewww. By the time we get back to the kitchen Ryan has finished his breakfast so she gets the chair after all.

0820 - Patricia calls to let me know we can come over to play today. I tell her I'm aiming for mid-morning.

0830 - shower time. Tell the kids that they need to get dressed after the movie is over.

0900 - I'm ready to leave. Ryan is still in his PJs, watching. I ask him if the movie is almost over. He says that this is a bonus episode (meaning the movie ended and then he chose a bonus feature). So I suggest that he can watch it later. And he whines. And so I give in because I just don't feel like dealing with it. I work on getting everything ready to go - sunscreen, cups full of fresh water and juice, DVD to return with receipt. I even paint my toenails and fingernails. Don't you just hate it when the color that looks nice in the bottle at the store is ugly once you get it on. Maybe I'll get another bottle sometime later today...

0920 - I can't take it anymore. Tell everyone to get their shoes on and get in the car. Ryan asks where we are going. For the third time I explain that we are going to a store then to meet new friends. Oh, he says. I need to get dressed. Um yeah. And make it snappy! Clearly he has not heard a single thing I said to him this morning.

0930 - off to enjoy a little Starbucks Drive Thru. What I wouldn't give for one of those back home some days... Lourna calls while I'm in line. I end up talking to her while I'm at the window. As the guy is handing me stuff faster than I can grab it I realize what I'm doing. I ask Lourna to hold on then apologize to the clerk and finish our transaction. I HATE when people are so busy talking on the phone that they don't give store clerks the courtesy of their attention during the transaction. And there I was doing it myself. I'm so embarrassed!

0943 - Funny kid conversation overheard from the backseat...
R - Do you know why I don't want to be an astronaut when I grow up?
B - You want to be an astronaut when you grow up?
R - No. I DON'T want to be an astronaut.
B- Oh. Why?
R - Because I don't want to go through a black hole.
B - Well, (in that special way she says "well...") you can just go around
R - I don't think you can do that. The closer you get, the harder it
is to get away from it.
So I guess he was paying attention and actually learned something when we saw The Black Hole movie at the Natural Science Museum in Denver!

0945 - arrive at Hastings to exchange the Wallace and Grommit DVD. Go to the kids' section to find a replacement movie. The kids are behaving fairly well which is good since I prefer shopping there alone! But it was helpful to have Ryan along as my spare memory - telling me which ones we already had at home. Then Bella found what I was hoping to find there - a Little Einsteins movie. So off we went...

1015 - Leave Hastings and head for Patricia's. I had hoped to be there by 1000 but 1030 is good considering how hard it was to get everyone going this morning.

12:40 pm - Leave Patricia's. A nice visit. A nice bonus that another friend of hers was also there with her 2 kids so my kids had someone to play with while I visited. Grandpa R called and asked if he could ride along on our return journey if Mom is unable to make it. I told him yes but he should bring a credit card in case he changes his mind and we have to drop him at the nearest airport so he can return home! Hee hee. Mom called about an hour later and said that unfortunately she wasn't chosen for the MD job so she won't be coming. She did say she has us on the calendar for September. Hope she can make it!

12:50 pm - Stop at Other Mothers, a consignment shop. Or as Ryan likes to call them - leftover stores! Picked up a couple cute dresses for Bella. Which means Felisa had to have one too. And cute winter pj's for Bella. So Felisa and Ryan needed some too... There were no books, toys or videos to speak of though.

1:15 pm - Target. They'll have a cute DVD for the ride home I think. I can't find our backyardigans that we brought with us so I wouldn't mind getting another one. And in typical Target fashion - we found 4 movies and 3 leapster games and a puzzle. Because we were there to buy one thing. It is against the natural laws of the universe to exit Target after purchasing only one item, you know.

1:30 pm - Pick up lunch at Wienerschnitzel. Satisfied that craving... I think Schlotsky's is the only one I haven't had yet on this trip...

3:00 pm - sit down with computer to blog while the kids watch the new Backyardigans DVD we got today.

3:20 pm - Phone is ringing. Which means I have to get up AGAIN and walk to the kitchen AGAIN. In the last 20 minutes I have made about 10 round-trips from the couch to the kitchen. Felisa wants a snack. I forgot my notebook. I forgot my drink. Bella wants a snack. Felisa wants another snack. I forgot my other sheet of blognotes. Man, I'm tired. Maybe I shouldn't have stayed up so late last night... Yawn.

3:28 pm - Felisa just peed in her pants. And on the carpet. No rest for the weary...

3:41 pm - get up to unlock the back door for Felisa. Tell her to STAY OUT OF THE WATER. Though I'm sure she'll find an excuse to get wet anyway. Too bad she doesn't have any more clean clothes to change into.

3:49 pm - Felisa is back inside. Dry. Said it was too hot outside. I think all the rain has been raising the humidity a bit around here the last couple of days. Of course, nowhere near the horrible humidity back home. Ron called while we were at Target. He made it home okay. Said it was REALLY hot there. And the grass was about a foot tall!

3:54 pm - Felisa has developed the annoying habit of saying, "I'm not (fill in the blank)ing." Immediately after being told to Stop (fill in the blank)ing. Which means she was in fact (fill in the blank)ing. But okay - whatever.

4:48 pm - We have entered that horrible time of day when everyone is tired and I wonder how I will ever survive the rest of the evening until I can banish them all to the bedroom and go off-duty until tomorrow.

5:05 pm - They're following me. I came to hide in the bedroom to avoid the bickering. Not 5 minutes later, two of them are here. And fighting over Goldfish. Someone save me! Or them...

5:17 pm - There's more to this entry but since it really is 5:17 pm on August 8 that means I am finally CAUGHT UP!!! And so I will publish it now and edit it later. Because I am CAUGHT UP and I want the whole world to know!!!

9:10 pm - Back from our Full Moon Adventure. Felisa blessedly fell asleep on the way home and not on the way there. The other two are in pj's and watching their new Veggie Tales video. Which leaves me free to rant and rave for a few minutes. I should be doing dishes or laundry but who cares. I'm on vacation. And clean underwear is optional on vacation.

So, back to the Full Moon. Several months ago (probably back in February or so) I was reading a book about family activities and togetherness and traditions. It was very clear that every family needs traditions and I decided that our family didn't really have many. But I didn't want to force one. So I thought and thought and suddenly a brilliant idea came to me... The Full Moon! There is one or fewer every month. It falls on a different day every month. Ryan, for some reason, is very interested in pointing out when the full moon day is on the calendar. Perfect! I put Ryan in charge of reminding me when a Full Moon day was coming up. I decided that we would do a special family activity on each full moon day. Sometimes something very simple like a special dessert or a moon-lit walk around the block. Sometimes something more exciting like spending the night at the condo. And so a family tradition was born. Of course people think it is some sort of pagan ritual but now you all can clearly see that it is not! So quit giving me such a hard time! :)

And now for this evening's activity... A drive up to the top of 4 Hills (though it was probably just one of the four that we actually were on at the time!) to take a short walk in the moonlight. Sounds simple, right? Did I mention that Ron went home last night? Which means that any activity I attempt to undertake on my own is doomed to at least a little trouble. First problem, no moon. Last night we had the most gorgeous moon I have seen in months. Right up over Four Hills area. At about 8:15 pm. Wasn't there tonight. The skies seemed fairly clear in that direction even though it is monsoon season and there has been record-breaking rain here lately. But no moon. Apparently that Navigation class I took sophomore year has all leaked out of my brain because I really thought that even though the moon is not on a strict 24 hour rotation like the sun is, it generally rises about the same general time two days in a row. Of course just typing that is making me think that I am wrong and completely crazy. Oh well. You get the idea. No moon. Bella said it was because it was too shy to come out. Ryan said it was wrestling with the clouds to get out. We saw it yesterday on our drive to and from the airport so that's good enough for me.

Second problem - all the rain has been wreaking havoc on the dirt road going up the hill. Which leads to me four-wheeling up an almost dark road in my mini-van. Oh yeah. Talk about asking for trouble. But we made it. Of course, if the car won't start in the morning, we'll know why.

Third problem - We forgot to take the flashlights out of the van. Which leads to several sub-problems. While I'm getting the camera out and pausing for just the briefest of moments to try to get a picture of the city lights, the kids going running off down the road. And a car comes from around a corner. The two older ones yell car and run back towards me, out of the way. Felisa tries to run and slips on the loose gravel and falls down. And I COMPLETELY FREAK OUT because it is dark and there's no way the driver will see her there. But luckily he was going slow and I think he did see some of our frantic movements because he had slowed way down. And we all survived. But I was still shaking 20 minutes later. And even now, a sick feeling in my stomach when I think about it. I was really scared. Second sub-problem of no flashlights - as we go hiking down the trail I start to worry about snakes and other wild animals jumping out to bite someone. I'm sure the recent car incident had my nerves on edge and we had no flashlights so we wouldn't be able to see the animals before they ate us. So we walked not very far. And I stopped to take a shaky picture of the lights and a couple of the kids. Then we turned around to go back.

Fourth problem - possibly a sub-problem of no flashlights but I'll give it its own heading. I was totally freaking out that we would be lost getting back to the car. Because we were a whole hundred feet or so away from it. And did I mention wild animals eating us? Believe it or not, I'm not usually such a "bogey man is going to get us" person but once it starts, there is no going back.

We made it back to the car without getting lost. We made it back to the paved road without falling into a hole or off the edge of the road and without getting lost. The kids all had a fabulous time. At least I think they did - they were laughing and joking the whole time. So that makes it a success. We will all remember the evening for a while - just for different reasons!

And now in closing, some advice... Don't take your kids on a night-time hike in a strange area when you are PMSing and your hormones are raging out of control. Not going to be fun for you. Oh and be sure to check the moonrise schedule in the early planning stages!

Happy Full Moon Day!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just another Manic Monday

Day 16 - Monday - August 7, 2006

I have relocated the laptop to a more central location. These 5 kids need a lot of supervision! Or at least a witness in close-pro(just settled another mid-sentence dispute)ximity for the he did it, she did it incidents. Now I will continue my typing of the never-ending blog. I really hope I can get it all caught up before we leave!

0645 - Up really early today! Sack out on the couch with Ron, watching the Floyd Landis interviews. I think those French cyclists have a vendetta against the Americans. Is there any way to get some in undercover to figure out whether all the doping is real or planted?

Garbage Day today - oh look, someone already put it out. How nice.

The boys are coming over at 1000 while Baby Seth goes to his 2-week check-up. Of course this means Ron heads out for a bike ride at 0930. Great. Thanks.

1135 - Ron is back from his bike ride.

1140 - Maybe I should have brought those PMS mood pills along after all... these kids will be lucky to survive the morning. Grrrr...

12:1o pm - Kids get their revenge by playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos - one of the loudest games EVER MADE! And I can't yell at them because they are all cooperating and playing nicely. So I will groan and bear it.

12:30 pm - Doors slamming upstairs again. Tell Ron it's time to go yell at the kids again. He says Okaaaaayyyy... and gets out of my way. I have implemented the "Keep the Doors OPEN" Rule to prevent crying when the youngest can't get in and even louder crying when someone's face, hand, etc. is inevitably slammed by the door. Offer PB&J for lunch. Tell them to keep playing upstairs while I get it ready. The last thing I need is 5 kids underfoot while I'm trying to make lunch.

12:32 pm - Having a bit of a PB&J crisis. Can't find any jelly. Can't find the peanut butter. Maybe I should have checked ingredient availability before I offered!

12:43 pm - Crisis averted. One round of PB&J's on a Hot Dog Bun for everyone! Elena and Seth come back and they all head home for naps after lunch.

1:30 pm - I have no email and no comments on my blog lately. I'm feeling a bit forgotten.

1:40 pm - Upon further reflection, decide that I probably have emails but my email at home has timed-out so it isn't forwarding anything anymore. Ask Ron to reset it when he gets home.

2:43 pm - Head out to the store(s).

4:15 pm - Back from our errands. Kinko's to send house-buying-and-selling paperwork. Barnes and Noble for a magazine for Ron. And while we're there we have to get an ice mocha for me and a book for each kid. Then Smiths to pick up some tortellini and garlic bread for dinner.

5:15 pm - headed over to Elena's. Ron asks what I'm bringing. I tell him salad, garlic bread, plain noodles and broccoli for the picky kids, and the casserole for everyone else. "Wow - you did all that in an hour?" So nice that he noticed and was suitably impressed!

Soon after our arrival, the kids have managed to get into BIG trouble. Somehow Thomas climbed up in his closet and pulled down a bag full of paint tubes and glitter glue tubes. All 5 of them have created a masterpiece and somehow, miraculously, managed to not get a single drop on the carpet. Luckily Elena became suspicious of the silence (which we all know means trouble!) and discovered them before it went too far.

7:45 pm - after a yummy dinner (if I do say so myself!) and lots of baby cuddles, we load up and head back to the house to pick up Ron's bags.

8:23 pm - Drop Ron at the airport. Everyone is sad to see him leaving already. And now we are officially back to the single-parent vacation adventures.

8:47 pm - Stop at Hollywood video. 3 movies for me and one for the kids. I'm sure I won't be able to sleep tonight after that big ice mocha I had this afternoon!

10:20 pm - Finally get around to doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Turns out Psych was on when we got home so I had to watch that first. :)

10:40 pm - More typing of the blog... getting closer to caught up.

11:32 pm - Not sleepy. Maybe I should bring one of my new movies and use the portable DVD player in the bedroom. Then when it's over all I have to do it turn it off and roll over. My blog fans (ha, ha) will have to wait.

1240 - OR... I could mindlessly blog-surf for an hour. I'm definitely going to bed now. Really. I mean it.

Divine Intervention Sunday

Day 15 - Sunday - August 6, 2006

Up early for church at 9.

You'll never guess who I ran into at church today - Patricia! When I talked to S the other day, she mentioned Patricia. Which reminded me that I needed to get a hold of her and see about getting together while we are here (she just moved back here from VA a couple months ago). I had emailed her in May but it was returned. And after S gave me her up-to-date info, I was busy and never tried to email again about our specific travel dates. And last night while I was walking Felisa to sleep outside, I was thinking that I needed to check my PDA to see if I had gotten her phone # entered. And if not, I would need to call S to get it again. Then I forgot about it again. And this morning, I looked across the aisle, in my usual I'm-not-paying-attention-during-Mass-crowd surfing, and THERE SHE WAS! Wow! Talk about God's little miracles. She saw me a little later in mass and was surprised to say the least. Talking to her after mass, I found out that just yesterday she had been really sad, missing her friends from VA. Now I'm convinced God had a hand in that one! He knew that she needed to see me before I was going to get around to calling her so he made it happen. I read something just the other day that basically said that coincidences are really just God's silent little miracles. Definitely seems true today!

After church we made our traditional trip over to Krispy Kreme for donuts. Patricia and Nathan were able to join us, though just for a bit as Nathan prefers bagels and was getting a bit antsy. We made tentative arrangements to get together this week after Ron goes home and before we leave to drive back.

After lunch, Ron and I went to Old Town to check out a bookstore that claimed to specialize in southwestern regional books. And they had a fantastic selection of kids' books. I will definitely return here for souvenier shopping in the future. We saw a couple other stores as well then headed up to Bernalillo to meet Elena and Jared. We toured a couple model home developments. I hated all the houses by the first builder but the second builder had some great ones. It also happened to be an Active Adult Community so we were scoping out Grandma and Grandpa's next house purchase. :) We all agreed on which model we liked the best so we shall see...

On the way back, we stopped at Jackalope. I was disappointed to see that most of the SW style textiles were made in India and another country I can't remember now. I'm going to have to search out a place to find authentic Indian (as in Native American) made products. We found some nice stuff in Santa Fe but it was all expensive and nothing that we really needed right now anyway. Some day...

After Jackalope, an early dinner at El Pinto. We ordered the nachos which apparently had been given the title of Best Nachos by the Wall Street Journal. They were good but too many to finish. It looked like we had barely eaten any and we were completely stuffed! Nice place. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Back home for more hanging out. Lourna and Emilio went back up the hill to LA after dinner - back to work tomorrow. Elena and Jared stayed awhile longer. We ended up watching the E! special on Reese Witherspoon. There are a bunch of her movies I haven't seen yet but now I want to. The McL's went home to bed after the show. I fell asleep trying to get Felisa to sleep.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's been 2 weeks!

Day 14 - Saturday - August 5, 2006

Wow - day 14. I have crammed a lot into these 14 days because it seems like I left home a month ago!

0730 - Wake up. Decide to go for a walk. Manage to get my clothes and shoes out without waking up Felisa.

0810 - Out the door.

0850 - Back from my walk. Cancel it out by eating Village Inn leftovers.

Today was a pretty laid-back kind of day. Elena and family came over. We took the kids swimming at the pool for about 2 hours. My back felt on fire by the end of our time even though I put sunscreen on twice. I don't think I was really burnt but the sun is definitely intense around here. For dinner we had steak AND ribs. Because Ryan likes steak and Thomas likes ribs. So of course Grandma fixed both. Oh to live the life of a spoiled grandchild. Those were the days... After dinner the parents watched Legally Blonde while the grandparents kept the grandkids occupied and supervised.

And finally - bedtime.