Friday, August 31, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

And another one gone and another one gone...
And another one bites the dust!

As I mentioned the other day, our TV is broken. The repairman called Tuesday morning to tell me they had discovered another problem that was causing the original problem. Which means the TV wasn't fixed yet and may not ever be fixed since the part they need has been discontinued. We should find out next week sometime whether Ron gets to buy a new TV or not. We've been using the portable DVD player to watch movies in the TV room all month. Yesterday that one died as well. Now what will we do?!?

This morning we decided to pull out the TV/VCR from Ryan's room that has a Scooby tape stuck in it and plug it in to the cable box to see if we could get TV back. The tape came out (but is broken). The TV works (once we found the remote - a 15 minute search!). But it's not accepting the cable input for some reason. We have ABC and CBS, a little fuzzy but in color. We found PBS in fuzzy black and white. So, cartoons in B&W on a 13" TV... definitely better than nothing. We could try another video tape but I'm afraid to upset the delicate balance we have going now.

In other news...
School open houses this morning.
Corey's birthday party today - I can't believe he's 3 already!
Swimming this evening.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


"If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers." -Edgar W. Howe

5 days and counting...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cows and Sheep and Pigs, Oh My!

In celebration of the last day I have to drag my children around the Farmer's Market of the summer, I decided we should go to the special market. The one far away with not as many booths but oh look - it's on a farm! With real farm animals! Cool! Turns out Ryan has been here before on a school field trip (a good mother would have remembered that fact!). In any case, we all had a fabulous time touring around the barns and seeing all the animals and taking pictures of all of them just in case we forget what a pig looks like.

And next week... I get to go to the market all by myself! And buy, or not buy, whatever I want! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why Is the Sky Blue?

Because the moon is red...

Full Moon with a Full Lunar Eclipse today. Too bad we couldn't see it. If we lived in Oregon though, it would've been perfect.

I woke up at 0530, as promised, to check the moon situation. Light clouds and a moon that is setting too far to the west to see past the trees. I even walked all the way to the far end of the block, in my pajamas, to make sure I couldn't see the moon. Ask Bailey - she was there - she'll vouch for me. So, I decided against waking up the children, putting them in the car, and driving all over town to possibly see part of an eclipse in the half an hour we would have remaining before the sun came up.

Another full eclipse is expected on Feb. 21, 2008. I hope the elements cooperate so we can see it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pink Girl

I often manipulate, I mean guide, my children by giving them choices. As in... choose what I want you to do/have or else choose nothing. For example, you may have carrots for snack or nothing for snack. Choices are important, after all. That way they feel in control even though they aren't.

Unfortunately, Felisa has been paying attention. She has discovered the pattern. She wanted to wear pink today (which happens almost everyday!). As happens more than I like (I am the Queen of Matchy-Matchy after all), she chooses tops and bottoms that don't quite go together. Her pinks just weren't jiving so I offered to help. How about this nice pink shirt with a flower on it... goes great with these pink flower shorts! A match made in heaven! But no. Felisa says I want to be just plain. Okay then... how about these pretty (mostly pink) striped shorts to go with that plain pink shirt? Nope. The choice was plain pink or nothing. Which is pretty much almost exactly what she said to me. Alrighty then... I think I'm in control but really I'm not. Obviously.

In other news...

My children seem to have bladders of steel. A few other children we know will have to go potty almost immediately after drinking. Not my kids. Oh no. They can go practically all day without a potty break. Unless of course we are headed up a mountain pass with no shoulders or other stopping places available... then it's an emergency! I would say that falls into the Murphy's Law subset of Steel Bladders. Corey is here this morning and has had to go potty twice in the past half an hour. Not just any potty but dancing all around the bathroom, HURRY I GOTTA GO, potty. I asked him how many gallons of juice he drank this morning. He said Cranberry Juice. Still don't know how much (probably only one cup!) but I don't think he qualifies for the Bladders of Steel Club.

It's time to do the laundry... How do I know?
Sign #1: After Ron left for work this morning I discovered the basket of clean laundry dumped out on the bed. Which means his underwear drawer is empty. On the plus side, there is clean underwear available... just not where it belongs.
Sign #2: When I went to take a shower I realized my towel is still downstairs in the dryer. Along with all the kitchen towels and washclothes. But that's okay - I didn't do the dishes last night anyway so I hadn't missed them yet.
Sign #3: The dirty baskets are full. Instantaneously since Ryan had been building a stockpile of dirty laundry in his room. Putting his clean clothes away is usually how I discover Mt. Laundry (he's supposed to be putting them in the central laundry baskets daily but that doesn't always happen...). I haven't folded any laundry in, well, in a while, so I haven't been to that side of his room (the view of Mt Laundry is conveniently blocked by the bed so no one will see it unless you go all the way in). Now that the mountain has been relocated to my bathroom, it is most definitely time to do the laundry.
Maybe I'll even fold it and put it away this time. Maybe.

The Tale of the Town of BeetleBug... done. The Tale of the Town of Pumpernickel is coming up next. This is where Ryan's transformatron robots live. I'm not sure of all the details (my eyes tend to glaze over mid-story) but it involves tricking people into looking for the enemy in false locations. Mt. Everest... Eiffel Tower... I don't know. You'll have to check with Ryan to get the whole story.

Okay kids are hungry... time for a break.

One hour later... snack has been prepared and devoured. Corey has had another potty break. :) The dishes are done. The Play Triangle (similar to a love triangle but slightly different) of Ryan-Bella-Kana has been moderated. Dinner is started in the crockpot... taco night! Turns out we're out of coffee... found the empty bag on the counter amidst the dishes. Guess I'll have to go to the store after all. I need lettuce for the tacos. (I planted a fall crop of lettuce yesterday but I'm pretty sure it's not ready to pick yet!) I was going to text Shani and ask her to bring some (along with lunch for her) when she comes back from work so I wouldn't have to go immediately to the store but now that we need coffee also I'll have to go to the store anyway. Now the question is when will I go. I have to stop by the library today or tomorrow to return videos. We have uniform pickup for Bella tonight (conveniently located next to the laundry). I also need to get a 2008 calendar now that our schedules for the year are starting to come in. Looking back over the last few years' calendars it looks like Bella's turn to pick and next year will be Felisa. Which means we should go to the mall sometime this week. And while we're there I'll get the rest of Bailey's thank you gift for Grandma D. We could go to the library and the mall tonight after uniforms. Tomorrow morning the TV repairmen are coming back - alleluia - to install the repaired mother board. Which means we will have to spend the rest of the day watching TV in the TV room since we've been without it for over 3 weeks now. (Not without TV entirely of course - that would most certainly be torture - just TV in the main watching room.) No time for errands tomorrow.

And still more exciting news in the life of me... I think the yeastie beasties are back in full strength. I've had a feeling for awhile now that they are still hanging around but have been trying to ignore them. After some internet research on recurring canker sores as a symptom of candida (I've lost count I've had so many in the last couple months) I think it's time to go to battle. I've set the first day of school as my sugar-free start date. It's not going to be easy but I really wouldn't mind being happy and healthy again. And hopefully skinny and cute but that's partially another issue.

And now I'm off to... well, off to do something anyway! Never a dull moment!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And the winner is...


That's right folks. Ron is the winner of the "Get your lazy butt out of bed first" Race. The prize? The chance to do whatever you want without any children accompanying you, all in the least-hot part of the day. I would say the coolest part of the day but cool does not exist in August. Not even at 6:30 in the morning.

Which means... Ron is out on his bike. Should be home soon. Which means I need to get my lazy butt upstairs to give the kids breakfast then get dressed so I can dash out as soon as he returns. I've got important things to do after all... farmers market, dry cleaners, whole foods... whoo hoo! Look out world, here I come!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Card Playing Advice

A little advice from Felisa for those of you card sharks out there...

"You have to shovel! Don't forget to shovel!"

See, all this time you thought you were supposed to shuffle the cards. Turns out we were wrong.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Squished Penny Museum No More

I am so sad! I was just visiting a local blog that I hadn't been to in awhile. The blog where I first heard about the squished penny museum. Apparently the museum has been closed. I never got to visit. I'm so sad! I remember loving the squished penny machines as a child and I have been introducing them to the kids. They now faithfully point out every machine we see on our travels and when there are multiple designs to choose from, they lobby in favor of their choice. I had been hoping to arrange a visit to the museum this fall. But now I won't be able to.

Guess it's true... you snooze, you lose!

Shania Twain Therapy'll cure what ails you, ladies!

So the pity party is over folks... time to move on... go make someone else depressed why don't you!

I'm a new woman now... thanks to Shania Twain. Okay maybe that's exaggerating a little. I laid on the couch for awhile yesterday afternoon, enjoying the pity party. Our evening plans were cancelled so Ron and I were discussing alternatives. I told him the house was a mess and I was fat. He was nice enough to pretend that he didn't know what I was talking about. Then he suggested getting up off the couch as a plan that may yield better results than my current plan (staying on the couch until I die). I resisted for awhile but eventually I ran out of excuses. I had taken Bailey for a 20 minute walk but hadn't done any real exercise. So I changed my clothes, borrowed Ryan's CD player (because he has 3 and I don't have any!), stuck in a Shania Twain CD and off I went, into the 90 degree heat to burn off a little frustration.

I haven't run with music in a long time. I liked it. I think maybe I should do it more often. It really distracts from the pain and agony of running so I can get a little farther down the road before I wimp out and walk. The down side to my running with music is that I was using a CD player. Talk about feeling old-fashioned and conspicuous! No one runs with anything other than an Ipod these days. I told Ron I need an MP3 player (which I have been thinking about for awhile but yesterday sealed the deal for me!) so I can run with music.

So what did Shania sing to me that helped? Well the first song was Up! As in, it can only get better from here. A good positive message to get me started. Then there was one about "not just a pretty face", women are powerful. And finally, one about getting in touch with your inner "Juanita". Works for me!

So, did I run far or fast? No. But I ran. And I sweated. And I listened to a little brainwashing music about how strong I am. And I sent Ron out for Chinese food for dinner. And I finished off the evening watching one of my new favorite shows, Psych, and eating cheesecake leftover from our night out Thursday.

Now a new day has dawned. Bailey woke me up at 0645 to be let out. I almost went back to bed but the sun was up and I was awake so I made coffee and have been enjoying a little quiet time surfing the net. I'm still fat and my house is still a mess but I'm ready to face it head on again. I may not win but I'm not ready yet to give up the fight.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I Need A Plan, Stan

A trend seems to be developing... when I return from our annual big trip, I am slapped in the face by the fact that I have gained even more weight. Oh and I live in a pigsty. I made my bed (well, I haven't actually but you know what I mean!) and I don't want to lie in it.

Add this to the mini New Year's Resolution phenomenon that I seem to experience at the beginning of the new school year... This year I will do better. This year I will be organized. This year I won't be too lazy to do anything. This year...

And yet, here we are. I have gained all the weight I lost after last year's vacation gain plus one pound. I still live in a pigsty. And I'm still lazy and hardly organized.

I am overwhelmed. I know not where to start. What I really want to do is curl up in a little ball in the corner and bury my head in the sand.

I suspect that getting back to my exercise routine and losing a few pounds will improve my outlook and my energy levels. I have gained enough that I can no longer get by with my clothes. I have to actually dig out the fat clothes. Which I hate. Seeing any difference at all will take a few weeks or months to notice though and in the meantime I can't stand this messy house but I have no energy or desire to get my fat butt up to deal with the mess.

I also have a history of unfinished projects. I am easily distracted. I am often interrupted. Most likely something else will come up that is more of an emergency and whatever I was working on will fall to the wayside and just become more of the mess.

An endless vicious cycle. Mess. Depression. More Mess. More Depression.

Which came first? The energy to improve the outlook or the improved outlook that generates energy?

The Rest of the Story

Here it is... the rest of our vacation story...

Big Trip 2... Day 28... July 26, 2007... Thursday

0615 Up and time to start packing while downloading pictures from my camera to Ron’s computer.

0743 Leave hotel.

0756 Walmart done. Picked up 2 CD players and 3 bottles of water. Total $45.

0805 Stop at McD’s for breakfast. Get gas. $2.95/gallon. Weather: 62 degrees.

0817 Arrive at Dad’s apartment.

0842 Leaving Dad’s place, heading eastward and homeward bound.

0954 Lots of lightning near Limon.

1111 KANSAS and time change which makes it 12:11 p.m.

1:32 p.m. Stop in Colby for gas and lunch at Sonic. Felisa fell asleep right before we arrived and she won’t wake up. I order something for her to eat later. Ryan spilled his drink in the car while I was in the bathroom. It is 92 degrees in Colby. Once we get back on the road, it is movie time. Now showing… Night at the Museum

3:22 p.m. Stop in Phillipsburg to Felisa can go potty. Next movie Magic School Bus

6:11 p.m. Leaving Marysville where we stopped to play on a very cool wooden playground.

6:23 p.m. “I can’t hear because I have my sunglasses on.” Felisa says. Stop for gas in Marysville - $2.89/gallon. Temperature is a steamy 92 degrees. Back to the humidity already. Yuck!

6:30 p.m. Stop at Hardees on the other side of Marysville – everyone is hungry. Finally getting back on the open road.

7:25 p.m. Taking an inventory of the crops we see as we drive.

7:50 p.m. Movie time yet again. Now showing Chicken Little

8:10 p.m. Crossing the Missouri River and into MISSOURI.
9:00 p.m. Stop at hotel in Cameron, MO. This hotel has a pool with a slide. Yea, fun!

Big Trip 2... Day 29... July 27, 2007... Friday

0807 Leave hotel after breakfast.

1100 – 12:30 p.m. As promised, we stop at Mark Twain’s Cave. Last year we walked around Hannibal and saw the buildings (Tom Sawyer’s house, Becky Thatcher’s house, the white-washed fence…) and I promised when we came back through Hannibal again, we would see the cave. So, here we are…

Favorite Parts of the Cave:
Ryan – Stories from the book that the guide shared with us on the tour
Bella – Yogi Bear (rock formation)
Felisa – Horses in the gift shop
Grandpa F – the cool darkness
Sheila – the stories

After the tour we cross the Mississippi River into ILLINOIS!

1:00 p.m. Stop for lunch at Fazoli’s. Bella ate about a million garlic breadsticks. How that girl lives on bread and water alone I will never know.

3:00 p.m. Arrive at Great-Grandma’s house

5:30 p.m. Dinner. Beef and Noodles!!! YUM YUM YUM!!!

8:00 p.m. Walk around the block. We let the kids go check out the railroad tracks and so we end up at the park. How did that happen?!

9:30 p.m. The kids are in bed and I get to watch Psych

Big Trip 2... Day 30... July 28, 2007... Saturday

0715 Wake up.

Uncle Ron stops by with Teegan. Donna swings by as well. Teegan had fun coloring and playing with the kids.

12:00 p.m. Lunch. Grandma’s chicken salad – YUM!

1:45 p.m. Walmart

3:00 p.m. Stop at Dairy Queen with Grandpa. I’m not sure we’re going to be hungry in time for dinner though. Those were some very big sundaes! Grandpa and Grandma F used to bring Shannon and I here for ice cream cones when we visited in the summer.

After we get back, Felisa and Grandpa played cards. Felisa is becoming quite the card shark. She was playing a combination of Go Fish and Old Maid. At one point Dad asked her why he had more cards than she did and she told him “Because you’re going to lose!” Okay then – as long as we all understand the game plan!

6:20 p.m. Dinner of leftovers

7:30 p.m. Walk to the park. Play on the merry go round and the see saws. Dad and I even got on the see saw to play!

Back home… Get ready for bed… Do a little pre-packing. Refill the snack box (it’s almost empty!!!).

Big Trip 2... Day 31... July 29, 2007... Sunday

1030 All packed, loaded, photographed, and ready to hit the road.

1045 Stop at the Bushnell Highway Café for breakfast with Great Grandma. After breakfast, we say good-bye to Grandma. She heads back home and we try to navigate our way through the cornfields towards Peoria.

1:00 p.m. Drop Grandpa F off at the Peoria Airport so he can fly back home to Colorado. We are officially on our own now as we head for home…

2:00 p.m. Talk to Allie for awhile as I drive. She’s coming to Vienna this week so we’ll get to see her. Yea!

2:40 p.m. Stop for Felisa – she lost her book.

3:00 p.m. Stop at McD’s for a play/potty/coffee break. I check my map and realize that once again we will miss the Christopher Columbus boat in Columbus since it is closed on Sunday and Monday. Grrr!!! How many times do I have to drive through Columbus before I get to see that ship!?!? Oh well – on to Plan C.

4:03 p.m. INDIANA!

4:38 p.m. Felisa and Ryan are asleep. Bella watches Minty Christmas with the headphones so I can listen to Toby Keith. He is one of my new long-term favorite Country singers.

4:59 p.m. Time change? I guess we already passed it because the cell phone says it is 5:59 p.m.

6:41 p.m. I am noticing LOTS more traffic since we have gotten back on the interstate today. No more lonely empty cornfield highways.

7:15 p.m. To drive all the way through or not to drive all the way through? Is there anything worth seeing between here and home? Could we actually make it all the way back home tonight or is it too far?

7:22 p.m. OHIO!

7:30 p.m. Talk to Shani.

9:20 p.m. Check in at the hotel on the eastern side of Columbus. Take the kids swimming. The guy at the desk said he’d keep the pool open for an extra hour so the kids could burn off a little energy.

10:30 p.m. I’m hungry. And a random snack from the car just isn’t going to cut it. So… load up the kids in their jammies and go out searching for a Taco Bell. We’re going to have a little “Fourth Meal” action tonight. And… the moon looks full. Could this be a full-moon adventure??? Perhaps…

11:30 p.m. Watching Shark Week on Discovery Channel. Our favorite sharks:
Bella – Angel shark
Ryan – Great White Shark and the Prehistoric Shark
Felisa – the baby sharks

And as long as we’re on the subject of favorites…

Best Part of This Vacation:
Felisa – Seth’s Birthday party
Bella – Going to the pool
Ryan – the whole trip (which I would not accept as an answer so he narrowed it down to the museums)

Favorite Part of Vacation in General:
Ryan – doing lots of things
Bella – seeing people
Felisa – coloring (really her answer is “no comment”)

What Do We Miss From Home While We Are Gone?
Felisa – My friend Cameron/My ponies
Bella – Grandma Duffield/my other pink poodle
Ryan – Friends/my teacher/alone time

Big Trip 2... Day 32... July 31, 2007... Monday

0545 Wake up. Shower and watch the news

0630 Wake up the kids

0700 Breakfast at the hotel – lots of business men around this morning. No other families.

0735 Stop for gas. $2.52/gallon which is the best price from the whole trip. Temperature 72 degrees. I fixed the broken door… the gas cap was open a little which is why the side door wouldn’t open last night. Duh!

0815 Zanesville. Stop to find stuff. Stuff that the kids have dropped onto the floor of the car. I’m getting a little cranky and am ready to be home again.

830 Gearing up my brain to not be on vacation anymore… starting to think about all the things I have to do at home.

0835 See a prairie dog in the median

0838 Girls are asleep

0842 Pass a minivan with 2 tricycles on top


0924 I think we need a mountain house in WV to go with the beach house in NJ


0949 Washingon, PA – we almost got lost! Almost ended up on the wrong highway. Oops!

1003 Ryan found a map of VA and WV so he can follow along as we drive.

1015 Feeling a bit of eco-guilt. I have begun to feel very consumptive by the end of the trip. Maybe next year I can try to address some areas in the pre-trip planning. I think it’s mostly the increased use of disposable items.

1021 WEST VIRGINIA (again)!

1038 Passing Cheat Lake and Fairchance Road. I love those names!

1040 Ron called to see where we are.


1155 Leaving the Cumberland exit. We had stopped at Arby’s for lunch and potty break.

1:01 p.m. WEST VIRGINIA (again?!?!?)

1:22 p.m. VIRGINIA! Woo hoo! Finally!

1:57 p.m. The gas light is on. Uh oh!

2:13 p.m. Stop in Marshall, VA for gas.

2:50 p.m. Home sweet home. Total miles for this year: 6,750!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

We're home!

In case you thought we had dropped off the face of the planet, I just wanted you to know we are home now. We had a busy final day in CO then we left to drive back which meant 4 days without internet access. And now that we're back, it's the usual song and dance of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-hours-in-the-day...

I'm going to work on updating the final days of our trip amidst all the laundry... cooking... bathroom cleaning... never-gonna-finish unpacking... so stand by!