Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 7

0650 - Wake up. Take a shower. It's nice to take my shower in the morning instead of at night. I had been showering after swimming each evening but last night I decided that I'd really rather start out the next day with a shower instead. Then time to pack. The swimsuits are still wet. I'll be glad when we get to the beach so the suits can dry between each use and we won't have to wear damp, clammy suits anymore! [updated to add: once we got to the beach we got the suits and one load of laundry dry but then it started to rain and we spent the next two days hanging and re-hanging the laundry between rainshowers trying to get it all dry! So much for being dry once we got to the beach...]

0840 - Back from the insanity that is a free breakfast in a hotel during the summer. I'm not sure how we managed to avoid it so far or maybe it was just bothering me today since we've been on the road for a week now. Too many people in too small of a space trying to feed themselves and their families. After breakfast we went back to Cracker Barrel since Grandma had promised to buy the kids something (and last night when she finally came back to find us there she had already put her purse away in the room).

0852 - Loaded in the car. Garbage is out. GPS is programmed.

0856 - Starbucks Drive-Thru. Mmmm!

0915 - Pennsylvania. Notice the color-coded detour signs once more. I wonder what it's all about. [and now I have googled it - they are pre-planned detour routes that make it easier for the police to re-route traffic in case of an accident or other emergency. Cool. More states should do that. And here is where you can read more about it.]

1017 - Gouldsborough for gas $2.69/gallon. Go to Burger King for snacks. Time for a movie. Turns out Ryan doesn't want to share. He wants to watch it alone. I told him no. In the car everyone is allowed to watch whatever is playing. He pouts a bit while the girls turn on Bolt. Then he ends up watching it anyway. After Bolt is over he takes the DVD player to watch his new Garfield movie alone with his headphones on. Strange.

1103 - Crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey.

12:15 p.m. The kids finally decide that they are close enough to play their Race game (racing other cars on the highway) to race the cousins to the beach house. About that time, Grandma called Grandpa and found out he and the cousins are still in the Chicago airport. That's the end of Race. "Never mind. Let's stop playing," they said.

12:25 p.m. Garden State Parkway

1:40 p.m. Arrive at the beach house.

2:50 p.m. Car has been unloaded and all the windows opened. A few outdoor things have been carried out of the house onto the porch. Time to go to the grocery store!

3:00 p.m. Stop at Wendys for a late lunch. I tried the new Buffalo Chicken - WAY TOO SPICY!!! The Asian Chicken that Ryan ordered was much better.

3:20 p.m. Done at Costco. I even bought a new atlas that doesn't have pages falling out!

4:58 p.m. Back at the house to unload.

5:07 p.m. Now off to the regular grocery store.

It only took us 3 hours to completely fill the empty refrigerator. Not sure we'll be able to eat it all in one weekend... The cousins have arrived and all are playing happily together once more. The Racinez-McLaughlin Beach House Invasion of 2009 has begun!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 6

Did you know there are fireworks at Niagara Falls? Neither did we. About 10:00 last night, fireworks started going off practically right outside our window, over the falls. What a fun surprise!


0650 Wake up – time to pack.
0750 1st trip to the car. The weather is gorgeous today! Cool and sunny.
0757 Leave the room for the last time.
0800 Leave the hotel – the car is getting fuller. When we left on this trip, I was thinking that maybe we could do our summer trip without the roof box. Now I’m starting to wonder.
0827 Lake Erie!
0850 McD’s for breakfast. The kids all ate cinnamelts for breakfast. They say that they like the brownie melts better. We decided that the brownie melts are no worse for you than the cinnamelts, really. Maybe next time we will eat brownies for breakfast!
0916 Leaving McD’s.
1000 Arrive at Paula’s parents’ house. 10:00 on the dot – couldn’t do that again if I tried! Guess I wasn’t kidding when I said we’d be there at 10.
1100 Leave to go on a hike at Zoar Valley. When we get there, Evan found a totally cool, totally tiny frog. Less than an inch long. I tried to take a picture but realized my lens was ruined. Must have been the water drops at the falls. I get out the other camera and get a picture but it isn’t the close-up I wanted. The state has made some improvements at the park and now we can’t easily hike down to the creek anymore so we decide to go cherry picking instead. Load everyone up and take off for the orchard.
12:15 p.m. Finished picking. Filled almost a whole bucket and had a total of 11 pounds including the ones Paula had.
12:45 p.m. Back at Paula’s parents’ house. Time for lunch – yummy hot dogs! – and then fishing in the neighbor’s pond. All of the kids caught at least one fish and posed for photos before releasing them back into the water. We terminated our fishing time when two fish in a row swallowed the hook. It was time to leave anyway. Paula drove Grandma R to buy some syrup at another neighbor’s house. Syrup from the maple trees at Paula’s parents’ house and other maples in the neighborhood.
2:36 p.m. Leaving. We had a lovely visit. The weather was perfect and the countryside was beautiful. And though we had planned to leave at 2, I knew it would probably be 2:30-3 before we actually left. Turns out I was right about that too!
3:18 p.m. McD’s in Salamanca for iced coffee and a snack and water.
3:40 p.m. Turns out they didn’t give us our water at McD’s so we stop at a gas station. $2.67/gallon. It is a full-service station which surprised me but the attendant said it was because the station was on the Indian reservation.

4:25 p.m. Oh my gosh! I FINALLY see what the highway sign is! I have been looking at every sign for the Southern Tier Expressway, trying to figure it out. I was trying to make the white part of the picture into a portion of the state but it didn't make any sense. The road runs in a fairly straight line across the southern border of New York. But the white on the left side of the sign looks like a piece of New Jersey or something. It's actually a picture of an Indian. The green part is the picture and the white part is just background. It's like that black and white picture of the old woman and the young lady - depending on where you focus that affects what you see. Click here to see a picture of the sign. I can't believe it took me this long to figure out that sign!

4:33 p.m. Stop at a scenic overlook. Once again, disappointment. We can see farther than the last overlook we stopped at but really - not all that amazing.

5:21 p.m. Pass the hotel in Corning that we stayed at the other day. The kids are in shock. We've just gone in a big circle! Highly unusual for our road trip to back-track like that.

5:51 p.m. Pennsylvania! And then less than a minute later, we are back in New York! What a crazy highway!

6:28 p.m. Arrive at our hotel in Binghamton, NY. Go to dinner at Cracker Barrel. While Grandma R is paying, the kids are I are shopping in the gift shop area. Grandma thought we had left without her so she went back to the hotel looking for us. Meanwhile, I'm at Cracker Barrel wondering where she disappeared to. I of course didn't have my cell phone with me so I couldn't call to find out. Eventually she came back to the restaurant and found us.

After all of that we go to the pool for a swim. The water is warm - yea! Even better, the hot tub is HOT! I only let them swim for an hour because it is getting close to 10:00 already. Back to the room to shower and change into pajamas. Ron skypes us and the kids get to talk to him before going to bed. Ice Age 2 is showing on Fx so we all watch while falling asleep.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 5

0645 - Wake up

0700 - Alarm goes off. Wake up the kids.

0720 - Ready to go to breakfast. Realize it's raining outside. Not the best weather for a walking tour of Niagara Falls but oh well. It's now or never!

0845 - Arrive at the Falls visitor center. Try to buy a trolley ticket. The information desk clerk tells us to go downstairs to buy a ticket. So we go downstairs, peruse the gift shop, then stop at a ticket booth. The man there tells us that we have to buy trolley tickets at the booth outside. We go to the booth outside and it is closed until 9 a.m. So we go back inside to find out where to buy tickets. The man sends us back upstairs. He tells us to use the handicap elevator since at this moment there are about a million bus tour people pouring down the stairs at us. So much for coming early to beat the crowd. Upstairs, we wait at a different ticket booth and are finally able to buy trolley tickets. We walk over to see the falls then decide to walk over to Goat Island. We'll pick up the trolley later to get a driving tour of the island and a ride back to the visitor center. Walk across the bridge. The rapids are below us. I'd love to take a picture but the bridge is very strong and tall and so full of metal that we can barely see through much less take a picture. Guess they don't want anyone to fall in. We arrive at the Cave of the Winds ticket booth and stand in line for about 20 minutes. Finally we are issued in to get our free ponchos and shoes. Then follow the signs to the elevator. Ride the elevator down and follow the crowd. It stinks of seagull poop - this is apparently their main hang out. Not completely overwhelming but definitely there. We walk along the stairs and boardwalk, eventually climbing up to the Hurricane Deck. (Grandma R opted to skip this section!) This is where we got VERY WET! Ryan of course loved it and the girls liked it to. I even went all the way to the back fence of the deck to get wet. I figured- I'm here. Already getting a little wet. Might as well go for the whole experience! Once we are completely soaked, we ride the elevator back up then get on the next trolley. Get off at Terrapin Point to look at Horseshoe Falls. The kids are getting cold now in the rain with their wet clothes. Go inside the gift shop to warm up and buy our souvenirs. Decide to eat lunch upstairs at the Top of the Falls Restaurant. It is not busy but the air conditioning is running full blast so the kids are starting to shiver and turn blue. I decide to go back downstairs and buy the tie-dye sweatshirt blanket I saw and liked. More expensive than it should be but at least it's a big blanket - twin size - and it kept all 3 of my precious babies warm while we were eating lunch. :)

After lunch we waited about 15 minutes for the next trolley. It is still raining (just a light rain thankfully!) so of course the trolley is packed. We cram ourselves in and ride around Goat Island. After we cross the bridge we drive right past our hotel. Unfortunately the trolley only stops inside the park so we had to keep riding on around the loop and back to the Visitor's Center then walk the 3 blocks or so back to the hotel. Upstairs to dry out and warm up.

Our favorite parts of Niagara Falls:
R - the Hurricane Deck
B - getting wet
F - getting to the waterfall (translation: Cave of the Winds tour)
L - the mist and the Cave of the Winds
S - Hurricane Deck and the whole Cave of the Winds, getting up close and personal with the falls

1:15 p.m. Talk to Ron. Ask him to find us a hotel for tomorrow night. Talk about other stuff like how my email program doesn't like to send outgoing mail at this hotel, how he stayed out until 2 last night with Jed, how I have to fish-sit and babysit when I get back.

1:30 p.m. Head out for the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.

3:13 p.m. Done at the museum. It was a great activity for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It is small and quiet - only a few other visitors there at the same time. They had a kids' activities section so Bella and Felisa did and art project while Ryan and I played checkers. Normally I would have been champing at the bit to keep going and finish up the tour but today it was just right. I knew it was raining (heavier at the time!) and that we had nowhere else to be today. The kids were content and happy there so there was no need to rush back to the hotel room where they could get bored and start driving me crazy!

Our favorite parts of the museum:
F - the carousel
R - the scavenger hunt
L - the painted horses
B - drawing a picture of Care Bear
S - how the 1916 carrousel can still be running today. Carrousels are so simple and classic - they are always a favorite and not so complicated that they will break down easily.

3:20 p.m. Iced coffee at McD's. They have Brownie Melts too so we order some to try out.

3:30 p.m. Stop for gas in North Tonawanda, NY $2.79/gallon

Back at the hotel we chow down on the brownie bites. Mmmmm.... sweet and chocolatey. Enjoy a bit more down time. I think one of the keys to my sanity is balancing enough down time for me with enough activity for the kids. We have the TV on and find out that Billy Mays died. Just the other day, Ryan was copying Billy Mays' speaking style. So sad to hear of his passing. Billy Mays is also the guy that Melissa thought our waiter looked like when we ate dinner on top of Sandia Peak.

Decided to be brave and adventurous again. Drove to a restaurant in Little Italy for dinner. The neighborhood between here and there wasn't the best but the food was good. Once back at the hotel the kids played while they waited for swimming time. Then an hour or so in the pool, showers, and now we're watching Wall-E before bed. Tomorrow back on the road again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 4

0630 - Wake up. Then go back to sleep.

0700 - Alarm goes off. Time to get up and get packed.

0720 - Wake up the kids.

0830 - Load up

0920 - Ithaca, NY. Ron told us to see Cornell University, so here we are! It is a very pretty campus. Not sure how cold and snowy it gets in the winter but in the summer it is very nice! It even comes with its own waterfall. What's not to like about a college campus with a waterfall?!

0954 - Reload the car after getting out to see the waterfall.

On our drive we saw a pink tractor and a couple Amish horse-and-buggies. The kids watched Madagascar 2.

1110 - I-90 towards Buffalo.

Lunch at McD's then drove along Lake Ontario towards Niagara Falls. Couldn't see the lake most of the time but still a nice scenic drive until the last 3o minutes or so when it got really slow and busy.

2:01 p.m. Listening to the radio - it turns out to be a Canadian radio station!

2:11 p.m. Old Fort Niagara - fun. The sun was out but not too hot. Living history demonstrators on hand today so we got to see a musket firing demonstration by a "French soldier". Our favorite parts are:
B - laundry demonstration ladies
F - musket demonstration
R - sounds - cannons and muskets/ also the basement cannons
L - the redoubts
S - all the stone and wood in the buildings

4:16 p.m. Leave the Fort.

4:42 p.m. Arrive at the hotel. Park next to a "Just Married" car. This hotel has been voted the #2 fanciest so far. We are awed and amazed at Daddy's ability to find all these great fancy hotels. :)

We decide to walk to the casino for dinner. Skip the buffet because the line is much too long and go to the BBQ restaurant there instead. We even ate beignets for dessert. On the way back, we were talking about all the seagulls around. Felisa said that they are here on vacation. They of course don't live here because they live at the beach and this is not the beach - this is a vacation spot!

Once back at the hotel we go swimming. The pool has no steps and the shallowest point is 3 1/2 feet so I have to get in and act as the MFD (Mommy Flotation Device) for Felisa. Bella was practicing jumping into the deep water and swimming back to the side. After swimming we ate cornbread for snack then went to bed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 3

0700 - Alarm goes off.

0744 - Decide it's time to wake up and get moving.

0815 - Rouse the sleepy children who do not want to wake up. Could that possibly be because they were awake past 11 last night?!?

0830 - Off to breakfast.

0912 - Done with breakfast. Leaving for Watkins Glen State Park.

0945 - Arrive at the park. Once again my sense of balance and order between city and country is dealt a blow. The park is sandwiched between a house and a store. A state park, especially one located near a lake, with cool waterfalls should be out away from town, not smack dab in the middle of it! The ranger told us that the rain overnight has made the falls even fuller this morning and promises us a great hike. Once we get on the trail, the town all around disappears. There is nothing left but a creek with many cascading waterfalls and 800 steps to climb to the top! A one-mile hike with plenty of photo-ops and not a single complaint from the kids.

1133 - Done at the falls. I have sore feet (my new walking shoes may have to be retired to more casual wear and replacements procured before Big Trip 4!) and there were many steps but we all had a great time. Our reviews:

B - liked the waterfalls
R - liked everything, especially the water
F - liked going under (actually it was behind) the waterfalls
L - liked the gorge trail and the steps
S - liked taking pictures of the falls

12:01 p.m. - We're lost. We were looking for Penguin Bay Winery but it turns out we were on the wrong side of the lake. Which would explain why we couldn't find it! Turn around and head back to the hotel.

12:20 p.m. Miles Winery on the Lake - decide that we should stop at a winery after all since this one will also give us a chance to stop closer to the lake and get a better look at it.

1:05 p.m. - Stop at Burger King for lunch.

1:28 p.m. - Almost done with lunch - bright flash of lightning and a huge crack of thunder hurries us back to the car!

1:38 p.m. - Uh oh! Gas light is on! I thought I could make it back to town before the light came on but I guess not. We would have made it if we hadn't gone off on a Wild Penguin Chase.

1:45 p.m. - Stop at the first available gast station. $2.84/gallon

2:03 p.m. Dunkin' Donuts for iced coffee. My new GPS is pretty cool. I decided that some iced coffee before we get back to the hotel would be pretty tasty. So I asked for a list of nearby food. Found Dunkin' Donuts on the list. Selected it and voila - directions! As a bonus, the DD had a drive thru so I didn't have to get out in the rain!

2:12 p.m. The rain has let up so we decide to go ahead and stop at the Corning Glass Museum now instead of going back to the room first. Our review:
R- hot glass show
F - hot glass show
B - guessing the temperatures (though she might have liked the hot glass show if she hadn't slept through half of it... did I mention they were awake past 11 last night?!)
L - hot glass show
S - hot glass show and the yellow glass sculpture in the lobby (too bad we skipped the sculptures section of the museum but we were having trouble finding the starting point on the map and did everything out of order!)

4:15 p.m. - Back at the hotel. Kids watch TV and eat snacks while I check email and enjoy a bit of "down" time.

5:15 p.m. - Time to swim... What I want to know is why do hotel pools have to be so cold?

5:18 p.m. - Yikes! Out of nowhere a crazy windy thunderstorm! Just a couple minutes ago we thought we heard thunder and looked out the window. No signs of rain. Then - wham! The rain is pouring down. Looks like we'll be walking through the hotel instead of cutting through the courtyard!

6:28 p.m. - Back from the pool. Shower and change for dinner.

7:07 p.m. - Okay - very clean and very hungry! Time to go to dinner. We were going to go to Curly's Chicken House but the kids vetoed it. Looks like we'll head to Bob Evans instead.

8:30 p.m. - Back at the hotel. Hoping for an earlier night tonight...

9:30 p.m. - Felisa is hungry. Head out to the car to grab some snacks. Mmm... pretzels!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 2

0700 - Wake up.

0800 - Breakfast is done. My little carb queen, Bella, ate Frosted Flakes and a donut for breakfast and was sad when I wouldn't let her top it off with a biscuit. A mini cup of peanut butter is all I could convince her to eat protein wise.

0832 - Sonic sighting! Briefly consider stopping but I'm not hungry at all. Maybe on the way back...

0840 - Find the Amish Farm at Target. The directions on the website say to look for Target and they are the farm next to it. So I drove past Target and was looking for a farm. No farms anywhere in sight. So I go back to Target. And there in the Target parking lot, directly adjacent to Target, is the Amish Farm. It was a nice tour though longer than I expected. Felisa even asked the tour guide at the very end how much longer the tour was going to last. I was a bit embarrassed of course but oh well. Though the atmosphere was lacking because of the location, the guide gave us lots of good information about the Amish.

1115 - Done at the farm. Stop at Target to buy toothpaste and new toothbrushes for the kids.

Our reviews of the farm:
B - liked the kitchen
F - liked the horse
R - liked the wood carving shop
L - liked the pygmy goats and that it was clean

What we learned:
B - that they eat chow chow which they make from vegetables from their gardens
F - how they lived - that is different from how we live
R - about the clothes they wear
L - about the simple way of life
S - I thought it was all very interesting. I didn't realize how integrated they are with the surrounding English. I never considered that there aren't many new farms to buy and so the younger generations have to find other ways to make a living. I was surprised buy how many powered appliances they use which have been modified to run with powers other than electric.

1150 - 12:35 p.m. Touring the pretzel factory in Lititz - where hard pretzels were invented. The kids got to roll and twist practice pretzels. It was nice that we arrived just in time to eat a soft pretzel before the next tour and didn't have to wait too long.

1:45 p.m. Stop at Taco Bell for lunch. Review the map to figure out the best way to get to New York. Decide on the scenic route through the "mountains".

2:06 p.m. McD's for iced coffee

2:58 p.m. pass a Polish National Catholic Church

3:07 p.m. Ashland, PA - cool garden on the hill with brick steps and a statue

4:01 p.m. Pass Grumpy Mountain Road

4:05 p.m. Pass The Scrapbook Lady scrapbook store

4:22 p.m. Road sign "Buckle up for the next million miles"

4:45 p.m. Give Felisa the DVD player to watch a movie

5:13 p.m. Now we are under the rain clouds that we have been watching for a bit. The clouds look like rain but it isn't raining.

5:16 p.m. Now it's raining! Oh and lightning too!

5:23 p.m. Mansfield, PA. I had planned to stop here for a break but not now that it's raining! The hotel isn't too much farther.

5:36 p.m. Well we either have an old map in the GPS or a new road. We have fallen completely off the "road" on the screen and the GPS lady has been "Recalculating" repeatedly.

5:38 p.m. New York!

6:00 p.m. Made it to the hotel in Corning. Even fancier than last night because it's a one-bedroom suite with two TVs! It's happy hour too so we get some snacks before unloading.

7:00 p.m. Off to dinner at Market Street Brewing Company. After parking the car, we walked a few blocks to the restaurant. On the way we stopped in the pet store. Pet Store Puppies are so sad. And of course Felisa wanted to know why we weren't buying a pet today. Bella spent the whole time looking at the bunnies. Then we found a face on the brick wall. Ryan named him Old Man Wall-ter. At the restaurant, we got to sit in the rooftop seating section which the kids thought was great fun. We played with wikkistix while we waited and then enjoyed a delicious dinner of steak, burgers, and macaroni and cheese nuggets.

8:48 p.m. Back at the hotel and it's time for the pool. The desk clerk had said that there were two pools - indoor and outdoor - but we never did find the outdoor pool. Must have been an imaginary pool! The water was of course freezing but there was a hot tub so that's always good.

10:00 Ron skyped us. The kids were still wired and not sleepy at all. Finally got them all to at least be quiet.

1206 - It's very late and I should be sleeping, not updating my blog. And so I will say good night!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mini Trip - Day 1

0530 - Awoken by the Very Thirsty Dog. Consider staying up and getting started on all the packing I didn't finish yesterday. Decide that it is just too early and go back to bed after I let Darby back inside.

0630 - Alarm goes off -time to get up. Departure goal: 0900

Finish packing. Finish gathering various items needed for the trip. Clear out the van a bit and load it all up.

1011 - Everyone is in the car. We have taken our pre-departure photo with Vacation Mouse. I program my new GPS (a birthday gift from Ron yesterday!) for Gettysburg. And we're off - only one hour behind schedule.

1020 - Stop at McD's - our traditional first stop -so I can get some breakfast (too busy packing to eat) and iced coffee.

1040 - Maryland

1116 - Ryan is reading off a list of random holidays such as National Ding-a-ling Day and National Twinkie Month from his book.

1128 - Sneaky cows! I saw some goats a few minutes ago which reminded me that we hadn't seen any cows yet. These two cows were lying down in the barnyard and I almost didn't see them. So sneaky...

1141 - Pennsylvania

1158 - Arrive at Gettysburg National Military Park visitor center. Bathroom break then we walk through the gift shop. Grandma R tells them they can all buy something. Felisa of course chose a stuffed horse that she wanted last time we were here. Bella bought a small pillow with a quote stitched on it. Ryan bought a Yankee soldier's cap and a bag of cinnamon candies. We also picked out a box of Abe Lincoln trivia cards for Thomas and Grandma bought a book.

12:25 p.m. - Back at the car. As we were headed back to the parking lot, a bus full of high school kids was loading. Very slowly. And blocking the entire sidewalk. And talking about how slowly they were moving and "how long does it take to get on a bus anyway?". I politely asked them to please excuse us so that we could cut through the line and pass through along the path. She looks at me and says, "we're getting on the bus." Um, yes, I know. We just want to pass through if you don't mind so we don't have to wait for all of you to board so that we can get through. Sheesh. Were they not just discussing how long it was taking? They were blocking the ENTIRE sidewalk for crying out loud. Oh well. I suppose my young children and I could have just walked in the road on the other side of the bus instead.

1:09 p.m. - Leaving the cemetary. Ryan was able to answer all the questions in his book so now he has earned the Gettysburg patch for Cub Scouts. We were here with the pack in April but ran out of time to finish the tour/questions. Our review of the cemetary:
S - nice breeze and great trees made it a pleasant walk through the park.
B - lots of treese
F - "I like the cemetary"
R - liked the poems that were on signs throughout the park
L - huge, clean, sad

1:45 p.m. Leaving McD's after lunch. Program the GPS for our hotel in Lancaster.

1:58 p.m. - Gas. $2.69/gallon

2:00 p.m. - I forgot my towel AGAIN!!! When we left this morning, I realized that I had forgotten to bring a towel to put on the seat so my legs don't stick. I forget it every year I think. And I even wrote it on the list. Too bad I was using the mental version of the list to pack with rather than the written version! I had planned to grab a beach towel from the back to put on my seat when we stopped at Gettysburg but I forgot. I'm not stopping now so I'll just have to suffer.

2:26 p.m. There is a lot more traffic out here today than I expected. Our estimated arrival time on the GPS keeps getting later and later.

2:48 p.m. - We're in York. We were on the highway for about 30 seconds and now we're back on a 6-lane road with lots of cars and stop lights. I don't think we're ever going to get there!

3:07 p.m. Susquehanna River

3:30 p.m. Arrive at the hotel. When we get to the room, the kids are very impressed and think that it is a most fancy hotel indeed. Bella says that it is even fancier than Fancy Nancy! It's just a Hampton Inn. Nothing too fancy, really. Just a regular nice hotel. Though our room does have a back door that opens out to the pool area which is much fancier than usual... :)

4:00 p.m. The car is unloaded for the night and we're headed to the pool.

5:35 p.m. Done swimming and now it's time for dinner! Initially we walk to the shopping center next door but the restaurant has only sandwiches and nothing Bella will like. So we pull out the GPS but nothing great shows up in the immediate area so we all pile into the car to go find somewhere to eat. I decide to program in a museum that we may go to see tomorrow and head that way, seeing what there is to see on the way. An adventure if you will. Ron would be so proud - he's always going on exploratory adventures but I never do. I prefer to stick to what I know. We end up at Perkins.

7:15 p.m. Back to the room. The kids are watching Disney Channel and playing DS. Grandma R reads for a bit while I update the blog. Now it's time to figure out the plan of action for tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Noon - Day 1

So here it is... Noon on Day 1 of summer vacation. Sort of. Day 1 for Felisa. Day -3 for the other two.

So far we have... showered, walked the dog, returned my movie to Blockbuster, shopped at Giant (which takes longer than shopping at Safeway since I have no idea where anything is), put away the groceries, read two books, eaten lunch, and did some laundry.

Still on the list for today... more laundry, go to see Ryan's show at school (Perseus and the Minotaur) which we are very much looking forward to. Which reminds me - I need to get the scrapbook for his teacher tied up in a pretty ribbon and ready to present after the play. Oh and of course I have to make dinner. Lasagna soup tonight with cheesy garlic bread. Yum!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I don't know where to begin... so I guess I'll just jump in and go for it. Hang on tight, it might be a bumpy road.

Darby peed on Bella's bed. Again. For the like the millionth time. The fact that he NEVER asks to go outside ever drives me bananas. The only thing that will make him whine - if he wants food. He doesn't go to the door. Doesn't do anything. Just goes on into the girls' room and helps himself to Bella's bed. I guess I should be happy because it's easier to clean than the carpet in the hallway. But still. Bananas!!! And to prevent him from doing this, we (try to) keep the doors closed. Which I hate. That corner between the bedrooms is so dark when the doors are closed. I like the natural light coming in and lightening the hallway. But no. Stupid Dog pees on the bed so now we have to keep the doors closed. The same Stupid Dog last week climbed up on the table and ate the chicken and chicken bones I was picking clean. Luckily he only got half so I still had enough for dinner the next night. And it is partly my fault because it was on the table and the chair was partially pulled out to allow him access. Doesn't make me any less mad though. Stupid. Dog.

My arms are irritated today. The triceps area. Maybe because it was hot today? I don't know. They just feel raw from rubbing on my shirt all day but otherwise seem fine. Maybe my girl hormones are aggravating my skin. I'm breaking out on my chin, probably from those same stupid girl hormones. Stupid hormones.

(and really, it's probably the hormones doing all the talking here tonight)

My neighbor has asked me a couple times in the past week or so if I'm okay. Says she has been thinking about me and is worried about me. Must be some killer good vibes I'm giving off, eh? She also offered to give me dirt for my birthday. Is she trying to say something? As in, I am older than - dirt - ??? Actually it was a totally sweet offer. She said she would pay for the guys to bring the good dirt mix that they put in her yard and fill up my new (Very Gorgeous Garden Boxes that Super Studly Husband built for me!) boxes. Just might have to take her up on it. Oh and back to Stupid Dog... I planted some strawberries last night in the new garden. Not even two hours later, Stupid Dog was out there eating the new dirt. Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't get the new dirt. Darby would just eat it all. Then wash his dirty whiskers in his water dish so that I have to give him fresh water twenty times a day. Grrr.

I spent all day today driving all over creation. Not really though. Just seems that way. Went to boot camp at 6. Showered and made lunches. Went to school early so I could get book-binding instructions from Ryan's teacher. Home at 10 to take Mom to the auto shop to drop off her car. Back home for an hour or so. Then pick up Felisa. Then pick up the car. Then run errands. Michaels for the scrapook I needed to finish my last teacher gift but they didn't have it. To the jewelers to get new batteries in all my watches. To Blockbuster to get a birthday gift card and a movie to watch while I'm working this weekend on the teacher gift. While I was there picked up used copies of Bolt and Madagascar 2. Back to the watch shop to pick up my watches. Turns out one of them still isn't working which means it wasn't the battery so I'll have to take it back. Then to the library to pick up my book hold and to the dry cleaners and to the grocery store to buy milk. And cheesy pretzel bites because Felisa keeps eating them all. (And now Felisa, who has learned to read, is reading over my shoulder - grr - and telling me that really it's Bella who eats them all.) And then home to drop it all off and look up what time the birthday party starts. Not till 5. So if I hurry, I can run to AC Moore to look for the album I need before the kids get out of school. Off I go. Forgot to put away the milk so call home and leave a message asking Mom and Felisa to do it. Found the album and made it to school in time for pickup. Home to wrap the present. Take a little break while I look at the library book I picked up. Dream about having an organized house. Wake up and realize that ain't likely to EVER happen. (Mom offered to get me 4 hours of maid service for my birthday but Ron said no. Guess he likes living in a messy house. Guess that means I get dinner out instead while he watches the kids. Ha.) Drop Bella off at the party. Heat up leftovers for Ryan and Felisa to eat. Do some laundry. Veg out and avoid life. Almost forget to pick up Bella. Pick up Bella. Heat up more leftovers for her to eat. Do the dishes. Listen to Felisa read. Do more laundry. Tell the kids to be quiet about a million times. Put Bella's sheets in the wash. Come here to whine and complain about my poor pitiful self. (Did I mention the hormones?)

So another day gone and I didn't get any work done on the project that is nagging at me the most. The final teacher gift. Tomorrow's schedule is pretty full with Rocket Rodeo for Cub Scouts and Bella's last soccer game/party. Plus Ron and the kids will be home and I have a hard time focusing and being motivated to work when people are in the house. Apparently I have to be alone when I need to work. Not sure why. It's actually a pretty big hindrance because there are other people in the house a good portion of the time. So there, another example of my particular brand of CRAZY.

So let's review, shall we?

Stupid Dog. Irritated Arms. Older than Dirt. Tired (hormonal) Unmotivated Mommy. Crazy Mommy.

Umm. Yeah. Not sure where to stop either. So let's just call it a day, shall we?

Oh but first I forgot to mention... I picked up a Dr. Suess book at the library today that I had never heard of before. Something about I had a Lot of Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew. Basically the book was telling us, in fun Dr. Suess fashion of course, that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and you cannot run away from your problems. How funny that I picked it up today AND read it today. Today when I am feeling like running away from (or hiding from) my "problems". I should listen to that Dr. Suess guy. He knows what he's talking about. I just need to buy a big bat and tomorrow my problems will have to start watching out for me!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


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

Just a little quote to start the summer... in exactly one week all of the kids will be out of school until September 8.

I hope we all survive!

And now I'm back to the Scrapbook Fairy Sweatshop... two more Class Gift Scrapbooks to crank out before Thursday!