Monday, August 29, 2011

Hot New Shoes on an Old Fuddy Duddy

Once there was a lady who decided to attend her 20-year high school reunion.  Why she decided to travel 1000+ miles to go renew acquaintances with people she couldn't wait to get away from 20-years ago, no one can really tell, but she did.  She's always been a bit ironic like that. 

So there she was in the land of her childhood, waiting to see people with whom she's had no contact with for two decades, and she realizes that she has nary a thing to wear other than her too-busy-to-shop-mom-of-five-kids clothing.  What was the girl to do? 

What any other sleep-deprived mom on vacation would do---take the entire family to the Mall of America--so they can sight-see (and ride roller coasters) while she drags her sister with her into store after store while she deliberates the pants vs. skirt question. 

Did I mention that the girl really doesn't like shopping? 

Her husband hoped that that fact would have kept the receipt total down, but alas it worked to the opposite effect, as shown in her in the purchase of these highly impractical (but completely adorable) shiny red shoes.

So after revamping her wardrobe for the next few seasons (Glen hopes), it was time to come home and enjoy a while in the attorney hair salon.  They've always told her sister, Heather, that if she decides to get out of the busy tax attorney life, that she definitely has a future in hair styling. 

After a little while in the ginormous hair rollers and a few unnamed hair products, the girl was ready for a night on the town. 

So off, she and her hunky husband went, past the beautimous city and into the land of memories. 
And it didn't take the lady in the cute shoes very long  to realize that she's just as much of a fuddy duddy now as she was back then.  Somehow the too-loud of music, plentiful alcohol, and a bunch of almost 40-year-olds trying to act cool, was even less appealing as an adult as it was way-back-when. 

Don't be sad for her though.  Besides the hot new shoes and a visit with her sister that she got out of the deal, the rest of the reunion story is MUCH better (and may or may not  involve some anecdotal swearing.)  

To be continued....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

grizzly glen...

With a forecast like this looming back at home....

And with these kind of miles to go...

And kids that had been in the car a few hours too long...

We listened to this subtly hinted song over and over again, while we drove through the night...

And now we're very, very, very happy to be back in our own beds while Irene very anticlimatically "rages" outside and we wait for real life to kick in on Monday morning.  
Now if I can just figure out who this grizzly guy next to me in the picture is...

Friday, August 19, 2011

YS Update

Despite the rotten egg smell, we are having a fabulous time here in Yellowstone and I will blog all about it in greater detail later, when I have more access to the internet than 20-minutes a day while I sit outside a McDonald's.  In the meantime, we have only three more states to go in the license plate game,  we're eating (and looking like) like roly-poly kings, I almost beat Glen in Scrabble last night, and we saw a bald eagle today (my wildlife goal of the trip)!  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For My Dad...

In true Dad road trip-style, the other day we drove an extra 3-1/2 hours through this....

and this...

and this road construction...

Just so we could see this....    
(North Dakota is a new state for Glen and all five of the kids.)
 But if we'd gone the short way, we wouldn't have seen this....

so I guess it was worth it.  :)

Now who wants to guess which state is the only one I haven't been to?  And how many Glen has before he catches up to me? 


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

World Record Receipt

I bet you had no idea that you could max out on numbers of items purchased in an order at Walmart, but I am living proof that it is true. 

After hitting 481 items, the cash register just froze and said,

"Max number of items exceeded" 

and we had ring up the rest of the items on another order. 

  On the bright side, that record breaking trip to Walmart marked the end of my school supply shopping for 170 !!!!

 Now everything is stashed away in a classroom at school and I am completely thrilled not to have any shopping hanging over my head while we are on vacation.  Now I just need to relax, read, play games every night, go on lots of hikes, laugh with family, and not think about the fact that I still need to compile them all into kits when I get back. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Day She's Been Waiting For...

My dad had a mobile phone back in the 80's, when they were the size of a phone book and had to be plugged into the car in order to work. Glen and I, on the other hand, got our first cell phones only about 5 years ago and still are avoiding the whole "smart phone" scene like the plague. I take great pride in the fact that Glen and I  prefer to keep ourselves fashionably behind the times just a tad.   

So when Spencer went off to high school, we decided that with his crazy new sports schedule, that it was finally time to get him his own phone (a good two years later than most of his friends), so that he had a way to communicate with us.  We disabled the picture mailing capabilities and data usage, but that didn't stop him from sending thousands of texts per month in addition to the occasional phone call home.  He was a happy teenage texter until one day he was careless and got his phone wet to the point that it was ruined.  He thought that we'd just buy him a new one, but after we informed him that he'd have to purchase his own replacement phone, he entered a year of being phone-free.  He'd often use my phones in the evenings, but it definitely was not as cool having to risk friends calling or texting and reaching YOUR MOTHER. 

Then a few months ago, Glen and I started having phone issues as well and most definitely was time to get new phones.  We held out for a few weeks until our plan was ready to be renewed, but just before leaving on vacation the happy day arrived.....

There was much excitement and anticipation in our house leading up to this day, for both Spence and  Cam. Cami, in particular, was thrilled to be  included  in the excursion , since she starts high school in just a few short weeks.  

After expertly testing out a few phones, she finally decided on this cute purple phone. 

And now, I've got two kids who look like this a lot of the day...
I have to admit, that despite my reservations, it's actually kind of fun having two kids with phones....especially since it's meant that I now have a way to communicate with them in a way that they can't deny that they've heard me. 

Texts like this have been common on our trip: 

Could you please pass me the trail mix? 

Stop teasing your sister! 

What is taking you so long?

Knock it off right now! 

All without raising my voice.

Heck, maybe it's time to get phones for the rest of the kids (and the dog) too.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

EFY: Then and Now

Big hair, frosted jeans, oversized glasses....

The kids at EFY may look a little different now, 

but the experiences they have are still powerful and unforgettable. 

New friendships, memorable testimony building experiences, a new-found appreciation for mom's cooking, and a somewhat diminished aversion to the camera...

It was definitely worth every penny! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Best Recipe Ever

Okay, so I normally don't post recipes here on this blog, but this delicious one I just couldn't resist.  I got the idea for this recipe from an envelope in the mail.  In the envelope was a schedule for the upcoming events showing at the Kennedy Center this year.  After drooling over this one particular item on the schedule, Glen and I carefully concocted this recipe.  After a bunch of research and  a few set-backs along the way,  months and months later, we've  finally got the recipe just right.   Here it is for your enjoyment! 

Click here for printable recipe. 

The ingredients:
1 theater loving Daddy
5 up-and-coming theater loving children
1 excited wife (and throw in a sister for good measure)
1 medium size minivan
1 GPS (optional, but highly recommended)
20 dollars for parking
1 camera
4 rows back (preferably center seats)

Take the 7 (+1) family members and toss them into a medium-size minivan.  Buckle tightly.  Drive approximately 15 miles  to the Kennedy Center parking garage.  Beware of small signs and overgrown pigeons.     If seating has not yet opened, take some time to have a potty break (or two) and enjoy the fresh air.  Take some pictures.  Maybe even a self-portrait or a squinty eyed one staring into the sun.  Don't forget a family picture in front of the Wicked sign.  Take one more potty break for the small bladdered among you (no names mentioned...Adam...). 

Enter the theater and find your seats.  Take care not to hyperventilate upon seeing that your seats are 4th row, smack dab in the center (again, no names mentioned....Cami...).   Sit back and enjoy the amazing show! 

Make  the day complete with a rocking taco salad at the brand new Cafe Rio in Manassas, then go home and work on your callings.  Finish off with a late-night trip to three different Targets for stocking up on glue sticks before the sale ends.  Collapse into bed with "Defying Gravity" and "For Good" wafting through your brain.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Favorite Picture of the Day

and it's not even of my kids.
 I love this sweet picture of Adam's friend, Benjamin, showing his baby sister the fish he caught. 

Fish, you ask?  That must be an awfully small fish to fit in the palm of his hand like that. 

Yep.  One of our favorite summertime activities this year had been to go explore our neighborhood stream and the surrounding woods.  It's an activity that the kids never seem to tire of.    So when Adam had two friends over this afternoon, it was the first thing they wanted to do as soon as our indoor activities were finished.    There they used nets to catch little minnows (and got soaking wet in the process).  When it was time to walk back home, they couldn't bear to part with all of their new fishy friends, so they brought the best of the bunch back home in a peanut butter jar.

They boys were pretty enamored with their catches and spent the rest of their time together eating Flavor-ices and jabbering about their plans of  where they were going to keep their fish and what they were going to feed them, how often they might need to change the water, etc. 
Soon the fish were divided up into Dixie cups and sent home with the boys along with a handful of mini marshmallows for food.  Not surprisingly, a few of the minnows have already passed onto the big stream in the sky, but Adam is holding out home that at least a few will survive to be his newest pets.  (Thursday morning update:  all of the minnows are now dead)

After spending an afternoon with a couple of 8-year-old boys, I've discovered that their conversations can be highly entertaining.  There was  silliness aplenty, some competitiveness as they took turns showing off their smarts, a little bit of potty humor, and even a little waxing poetic as they shared their philosophies on being kind to animals. :)

Wildlife and Lowlife

We recently went to Mason Neck State Park  in hopes of seeing  the bald eagles that are supposed to abound there.

We never did see any bald eagles, but we did see some birds posing for us in the top of this tree. 

And we saw oodles and oodles of ruby throated hummingbirds and much to my own gleeful pride, even captured this picture of one . 

The kids got to participate in an impromptu hands-on nature demonstration, where they got to use nets to capture some pond life.  

They caught dragonfly nymphs, mosquito eaters (minnows),  and some tadpoles. 

They were wet and muddy afterward, but none of them seemed to mind a bit. 

We had a great time exploring, taking lots of pictures, and enjoying the beautiful scenery,

but when we left, we vowed that we would come back soon, but in the evening time, so that we might be able to see the eagles (and the numerous other kinds of wildlife that reside there). 

Then we arrived home to find the most exciting wildlife of the day right there at the end of our neighbor's driveway. 
And unrelated to the post, but just for your information, Cami's pint of Ben and Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream disappeared right out of the freezer tonight.  Cami immediately blamed me, however I am stating for the record that I am completely innocent. 

And Glen is not.   

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