Monday, June 30, 2008

This is my vacation blog. Because I cannot work my sister's laptop, you'll just have to deal with my typing starting where it did.

OK, the above photo is my sister Pamela gracefully showing you the Arkansas sign. Woohoo! We made it to Arkansas!

When we hit Little Rock, well, actually Conway, we met our cousin Taylor and his son, Aaron, for lunch at El Chico's and then had to hit Starbucks since, apparently, Taylor is addicted, I mean very in to Starbucks. He even has a card (envision a gift card) with his order on it. He even knows every one there by name, and they him. In fact, one of them took a picture of all of us, but, you won't see it on here because, although I haven't seen it, I can't imagine it is doing me any justice and since it's my blog...

We were seeing lovely vistas out the windows but by the time I would get my camera turned on it would be gone. I tried taking one just holding my camera (tightly) out the window and this is the result. Not too bad, but really, a road?
Admit it, if you went through a town called "Toad Suck" you'd take a picture, too. Really and truly, that was the name of the town.
Missouri! We couldn't take a picture by the sign because we would have fallen off into the raven. Yeah, I know it's ravine but it's a family joke.
Finally, after being in the car since 6:30 a.m. we finally arrived at Holiday Hills where we were staying. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I was glad to get out of the car, only to get in again to go to Wal-Mart for provisions.
While driving through town, Pamela says, "Look, dead people on top of that building!". I, of course, had to take a picture. Not the best one, but it gives the same effect.
Pictures of our place. This is the living room. Obviously, I have already started scrapbooking.
OH yes, I plan on using this big ol' bathtub, soon!
Another view of the living room. Obviously, Pamela has started working, too. The coffee table looks like a sleigh!

Oh, yeah, we played scrabble last night. Now, you might be thinking "Lisa, are you crazy? Your sister is getting her Doctorate in English!". Worry not, my dear internet friends, I trounced her like she was an ESL student.

(She cheated! She is evil and she cast some sort of wicked spell, took advantage of my tiredness, and otherwise cheated, cheated, cheated! Yea, I had the best words, but somehow HERS always got on the triple word squares. I called my mother and aunt to inform them that they had raised a wicked, wicked, wicked cheating child. EVIL, I tell you, EVIL!!!!) lovingly written by my sister, Pamela. She hijacked my blog!

It's a really nice place and we're happy to be here. It's very quiet (in our unit). Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An odd post



What is this? Heck, I don't know. But, I was sitting outside making sure the kids don't kill themselves and the neighbor kids in the new little pool we got for these hot summer days when I looked over and saw this hanging in the tree. I can't remember where the alien came from, I think a goodie bag from a birthday party. Ethan's I think (like y'all know Ethan). Anywho...it fascinated me so I took a pic with the phone and here it is for all of you to see.

You never know what you'll see at my house.

I will be gone for the next week. Notice I said "I" not "we". I, me, just moi, get to go to Branson, MO with my sister for a week of rest and relaxation. I have a friend who casually mentioned she had a timeshare that she wouldn't be able to use this year, "would anyone like to use it?". Oh, did my mouth open quick? So, it's gone from our little family going (too expensive with all the extra attractions up there) to trying to get the females in the family to go to just Wendy, Pamela and I and now it's just down to Pamela and I.

Wendy's husband is being sent to Afghanistan July 22. Please pray for him, for her, and for the kids. That's going to be almost a full school year that he'll be gone and Austin (their son) will be starting middle school this year. Just keep him in your prayers. "Dear God, place angels all around James while he is in Afghanistan. Let him be wrapped in your arms of safety. Be with Wendy and the kids during his absence. Let his time away seem short and give Wendy patience and forebearance to withstand all that will come her way during this time. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen." I'm sorry, did I pray that out loud? Well, allrighty then. Now, we'll just trust that God will do his job.

OK, that brings up another subject in the same realm. Pretty deep so strap on your boots...

Let's say your beloved one is out late and you pray to God for his/her safety. Is it showing no faith when you pray it over and over? I mean, really, He heard you the first time. Do you think that saying it again and again is going to help? I tend to be a repeat pray-er. Almost a mantra. "God be with him, keep him safe" over and over. Then one day, I thought, "my goodness, leave the Man alone! Do you not think he heard you the first time? He's tuned you out by now just like you do your kids when they say 'mama, mama, mama' a thousand times". So, now, I say "God be with him, keep him safe - sometimes I pray for no policemen to be around if he's speeding- and I trust you to do that and I will not worry about it anymore". Sometimes that's enough and sometimes it's not. Enough for me. I'm sure it's plenty for Him. Does any of this make sense?

That's my deep thought for the day. Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me with your thoughts. I'd really like to hear them.

And, please pray for safety for my sister and me on our journey. For us not to end up killing each other. After all, we haven't spent more than a few hours with each other since, heck, I don't know when. A few years, anyway. I love her and she loves me but sometimes....well, you can figure out the rest, especially if you have sibilings. And remember to keep James and Wendy and the kids in your prayers. I'm all for a mantra on that one.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How not to paint

The girls have been bugging us to paint the little house out back for several days now and Conrad has been successfully putting them off. Until today.



Somehow they got him to get the paint down and, while I wasn't there, I am guessing he told them they could paint. Well, later on, I can hear squeals of laughter and I'm thinking that that can't be good and so I look out the window and here is what I see...

I could not believe the amount of destruction in such a short period of time. Nor, did I know we had two of "the kids" over "helping" paint. I called their mother and apologized in advance for what her children would come home looking like.




Sunday, June 22, 2008

Eight things...

OK, I got tagged by Elaine at MissElaine-eous life to do a meme. Still don't know how to pronounce it but here goes.

It's called Eight things:

Eight things I have a passion for:

1. Family
2. Friends
3. Travel (rekindled by my trip with Mumsey and my upcoming trip with the "girls" in the family)
4. Blogging
5. Helping others
6. Sweets
7. Eating out (don't get to do it nearly often enough - probably why God doesn't let me win the lottery - that and I usually don't play)
8. Scrapbooking

Eight things I want to do before I die:

1. Go on a cruise
2. Go to Europe (with my husband) and actually take my children
3. Have a clean house for more than a day
4. Go see all the movies nominated for "Best Picture" for the Oscars
5. Have clothes that fit each occassion
6. Do a family reunion at a place that does all the work so we can all just enjoy each other
7. Have season passes to all the fun things that are around here
8. Have a job to pay for all the things listed above

Eight things I say alot:

1. Clean up the ___________ (you fill in the blank)
2. What did you do?
3. I don't know where your binkie is
4. What do you want for dinners this week? (usually this is a weekly request before I go to the grocery store)
5. Hello (answering the phone)
6. Where did this mess come from?
7. Who took/moved/used__________(you fill in the blank, there are numerous answers)
8. Yes, I'll help you

Eight books/magazines I have read lately:

1. Predator (Patricia Cornwell) read it while in WA
2. People Magazine (read it on the plane to WA)

Well, I'll have to cheat on that one, don't get alot of chances to sit down and read

Eight movies I've seen eight (or more) times

1. A Knights Tale
2. Princess Bride
3. Napoleon Dynamite
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark
5. Shawshank Redemption
6. Every Disney movie ever made
7. The Sixth Sense (never gets old)
8. Grease

Eight people I am tagging to do this meme:

1. Jennifer (hey, VBS buddy, it's your turn!) view her blog here
2. Wendy view her blog here

Well, I'll have to cheat on this one, too, as I don't know that many people who blog. Oh well.

Hope you enjoyed the little insight into my psyche!

Monday, June 16, 2008

We know you have a choice when flying...

So, sit back, relax and enjoy our trip to Washington State. It all began 18+ years ago, when I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy (after much pain and suffering, but I won't get into that) and now, here it is, 18 years later and that same baby boy, whom I named Aaron, is graduating high school. I am so proud.

So, the actual trip began Thursday afternoon. We boarded an Alaskan Airlines flight to Seattle/Tacoma and after renting our car with GPS - thank heavens for Karen (that's the GPS's voice's name) she got us EVERYWHERE we needed to go. First, she took us to the hotel and on the way, we saw this mountain. It looks like it's floating out there in the distance. I'm pretty sure it's Mt. Rainer but I could be SO wrong about that. I don't think I ever got a definitive answer to that one. But, I'm not so sure I asked, either.
Our hotel was nice and large. I say large because we were at the farthest room from the front desk and after going to Aaron's house and playing dominoes until after 10 (midnight our time) my card key didn't work to get into the corridor where our room was. Mom was already asleep. So, I walked up to the front desk. They "fixed" my card key and back to the room I went. Same thing, still didn't work. Back up to the front desk. This time they sent a man with me to make sure it would work. He went as far as the first card key door and it worked there. Back to the room. Same thing, still didn't work. Back up to the front desk I went. Very unhappy. I told them "either send him all the way with me or I'm sleeping in here". So, back to the room we went and it did work and he made sure it worked in the room, too. Very nice man.

Just as an aside to that story...when I checked out, the girl at the front desk asked how our stay went and I told her "everything was fine except I had to walk from my room to the front desk 3 times on Thursday night because my card key wouldn't work". She said "really?" (not really caring at all). Then she handed me my receipt and said "was everything OK during your stay?" Disbelieving what I heard, I said "Yes, except I had to walk to the front desk 3 times on Thursday night because my card key wouldn't work". She looked at me (probably because I said it very emphatically) and said "oh, I already asked you that, didn't I?" OH. MY. GOODNESS. Listening skills, people!

OK, back to fun things.

On Friday, Mom, Aaron, Jon, Anne, Walt (Aaron's grandparents on his dad's side) and I went to Seattle and went to Pike Ave. market and the Space Needle. What a cool place that downtown Seattle is. On the way, we saw Safeco field (where the Seattle Mariners play) and the place where the Seattle Seahawks play (I don't know the name of that one).

A far off picture of Safeco Field.
One of the things I wanted to do while in Seattle was see the first Starbucks. See where this whole thing started. This is what we thought was the original Starbucks. More on that in a bit.
We ate lunch on the pier at Ivar's. I had shrimp and chips, Jon and Aaron had clam chowder in sourdough bowls and I don't remember what everyone else had. But, there were seagulls!
These are the seagulls that don't fly up, they just wait for the food to drop down to them.
Aaron, feeding a seagull. There is a sign on this pier that says "do not be afraid to overfeed the seagulls".
That seagull has in it's mouth one of the croutons that Aaron was feeding them. The seagull didn't care for it, he dropped it after I took this picture.

Here I am having a seagull eat out of my hand.
Outside the Pike Ave. marketplace. What a totally cool place.
My boys and I went to find the original Starbucks, the grandparents stayed back and rested on a bench.
Here it is - the original Starbucks. So, we went to the other Starbucks thinking that it was the original. I wanted to use my giftcard (thanks Guadagnolo family!) at the original so we ordered at the other Starbucks and when we were checking out, I said "this is the original one, right?" The guy said "no". I told him to cancel my order that I wanted a hot chocolate from the original Starbucks. He asked if I was serious and while part of me was, I said "no". But, he did give us directions to the original one and I'm glad we already had our Starbucks fix because the line out this door was long.
Then we went to the Space Needle. Mom and Aaron went up, Jon and I stayed down, figuring the cost would be wasted on us since neither of us would probably venture out from the center of the building to see the view.

We did send the camera up with them, however. Here is the view from the Needle.





This looks like it is a bunch of trash or something but, it's actually the EMP or Experience Music Project. It is a totally cool building and this is what it looks like from atop the Needle.
Then, Friday night, we went back to Aaron's and had tacos and then rode a 4-wheeler or quad as they called it. This picture is of me my first solo time on the quad. Christina is giving me instructions. Christina is one of Aaron's neighbors. Or should I say Aaron's coolest neighbor. She was not just a hoot but also a holler. She kept us in stitches and probably was a very good neutralizer in what could be a very acidic situation. I mean, Jon (my ex) did have his ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law plus his parents around alot this weekend. And eventually, both ex-wives and his parents and my mom so it could have gotten out of hand but laughter and good humors got us all through. Thanks, Christina, for helping out!




There I go! What fun that was!
Now to the reason why we were there...GRADUATION!!!
I wanted to get video of Aaron coming in to "Pomp and Circumstance" and this is what happened instead...
video
How funny is that? They told us his robe was short and it was.
A girl sang the National Anthem (found out later that was Aaron's prom date). Then after some speakers and the choir, this group performed. After thinking about it more, I thought that it takes some guts for senior guys to get up and sing in front of all their peers so I decided to put it on here. I thought they did a pretty good job.
video
Then they called Aaron's name and he went up on stage to receive his diploma. While this video depicts that, it also shows the girl who gets her diploma before him almost fall down the stairs. Just watch.
video
Then pictures after graduation. A ritual.
All us happy people. Mom, Jon, Aaron, and me.
Then, back to Aaron's for spaghetti lunch and cake. Oops, concentrating a little too hard on making sure the writing was legible. Lisa made sure Aaron had all his favorites: Spaghetti, not chocolate cake and Cyndi's pasta salad (yummy). She was a delightful hostess and a delightful person. I really enjoyed meeting her.
Aaron, with all the women in his life. From left to right: Cyndi (Aaron's ex-step-mom - I don't know how else to put it), me, Mom, Aaron, Anne (Aaron's grandmother on Jon's side), Lisa (Jon's girlfriend). Just for the record, ex-step mom shouldn't be put there, Cyndi is still in Aaron's life and always will be.




Aaron and the Grandmas.
Jon, Aaron and Lisa
Christina, Aaron, Kelsey (Lisa's daughter) and Cameron (Lisa's son).
Jon took me for a ride on his motorcycle (got the need for speed while I was up there, I guess) and Aaron had to fasten my helmet for me. I see what the future holds. He also had to zip my zipper on my jacket because I already had my gloves on.
My new friend, Christina and me.
It really was a fun trip. Ooops, I forgot to put the picture of Lake Tahoe from above on here. Oh well. I'll put it on here tomorrow.
We had alot of fun playing dominoes and card games, riding the quad and seeing the sights. What a great place Washington is. Nice weather (I don't think it ever got to 70 degrees while we were there and it didn't rain) and beautiful scenery. I love seeing mountains everywhere. If you want to get away from the heat of Texas, I can heartily suggest the Seattle area or anywhere in Washington for that matter.
Thank you, Jon and Lisa, for being a great host and hostess. You really went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and a part of the festivities. And, thank you for helping Aaron become the wonderful young man he is.







































































Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hair raising update

First of all, if this is your first visit to the blog today, STOP! SCROLL DOWN AND LOOK AT THE POST BEFORE THIS ONE OR YOU'LL BE LOST!

After reading my previous post, my friend, Jessica e-mailed me and asked if I would like her to cut Anna's hair. She cuts her children's hair and it always looks cute. She said she would come over here and I took her up on it. Here she is, fixing Anna's mess.


This is after she asked Anna if she had ants in her pants. Anna immediately started looking to see if, indeed, she did.


The finished product...


It's almost not the same child. When we went outside, it took me a minute to recognize her. I am a little sad that our long, blonde-haired girl is gone. But, in her place we have a cute, blonde-haired bundle of sweetness (and hopefully scissor-less).

Thank you, Jessica for helping us out. Anna's cut looks so sweet (even if unfamiliar) and the fact that you did it made it easier for me.

it was inevitable

This day has come in both my other daughters' lives so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when it came to Anna's. The self-haircut.

Let me start by saying that this morning, while getting ready to go, I noticed a "rat's nest" in the back of Anna's hair but figured she'd gotten gum or some piece of candy in there last night. I know, I already sound like such a good parent. Anyway... Going out the door, I noticed tendrils of Anna's hair and thought it was odd and then with the addition of the nest in the back, it was too much hair to think about. So, the girls were going to Susan's and of all my friends, I know Susan won't judge me for the rat's nest in my daughter's hair. In fact, she ended up giving her a bath and washing her hair and putting peanut butter, conditioner and other things I can't remember in there and combing it out. She had a ziploc bag full of her hair that had come out of her head. All I can figure is that she was cutting little chunks out and they didn't all fall out, like the ones laying on the living room floor and instead, tangled themselves up in her hair, creating the masterpiece "rat's nest".

No, I didn't take a pic of the rat's nest, however, I have these pics of her mullet in progress.


I'm not sure how we'll get her hair cut. I leave tomorrow to Seattle to see my baby boy graduate from high school. Conrad will have to deal with it or it will have to wait until I get back. I have a feeling it will still look like this or worse when I get home. Maybe we'll just leave it in a mullet.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Campout

Friday night the school had an ACA Dad's club Campout. The first of what I hope becomes an annual or semi-annual event. I can totally see one of these in the fall as well as the weekend after school gets out. Great job by the Dad's club (Bill Depoy). Yummy food, great location (Loyd Park in Arlington, on Joe Pool Lake) and wonderful company.


Home away from home. Yeah, the pegs don't really hold it down when you can't get them hammered into the ground. That's why it looks like it's floating.
My friend, Susan, has a sixth grader who decided to use terribly inappropriate language at school two days before school was out. One (and he had several) of his punishments was that he had to wear this sign at the campout. And, while it doesn't look like it phased him in this picture, he was actually embarrassed at having to wear it. (I'd be embarrassed because inappropriate is spelled wrong - sorry, Susan, I couldn't help myself.)


Here are the fellas playing poker. Conrad (bottom left hand corner) came in third.
Anna finally conked out about midnight or so.
Our campsite had the tree everyone liked to climb. I can see why.

We also planted a geocache in the park. My first ever to plant, however I wasn't aware when I planted it that I couldn't use UTM coordinates so I can't put it on geocaching.com until I can convert the coordinates. If that totally confused you, sorry. I know I have a cousin (Hey, Taylor) who can probably help me out on this one. Probably knows a site to go to, etc. I've found sites, but I don't know what zone I'm in or other important questions they ask. I'll let you all know when I finally have my first geocache posted on the geocaching website.

I went through a scare with my camera. After the campout, I couldn't find my camera. I knew I had it on Sat. before we left, but after that, I don't remember seeing it at all. Well, lo and behold, after everyone left yesterday (some of Conrad's family came over, including John from New Mexico) it came tumbling out of my bag. It had been hidden in some clothes. Whew! I've got graduation pictures to take this weekend!