Thursday, July 26, 2012

Travel Top 10

Its good to be home...even though I wish this wasn't "home". Does that make any sense? I'm just ready to move on to whatever is next in life and leave this last chapter in the military and separating BEHIND.

                                       So how about a quick Late Night Top 10?

                          Top 10 Reasons Why My 4500 Mile Vacation Did Not Suck

10. My kids automatically think "go for a ride" will be at least 10 hours in the car. So trained.

9. When car troubles arose...prayer warriors conquered them from states and states away.

8. I met internet friends for the first time ever...and they were even better/greater than I expected them to be.

7. I was not able to stay too long in any one place as I had so many places to go to. Short and sweet.

6. Cash vacation baby. Okay so it was originally saved for an overseas trip...but whatever.

5.  I managed to miss the hottest of times with my timing. Not sure how that worked out so well in my favor but it sure was great. Albuquerque was downright cool in the evening.

4. Any trip where the Purple Ponies make an appearance can be nothing less than spectacular. Bottoms up girls.

3. I was able to see my son!

2. I was able to make it to see my bestest friend in the whole world after not setting eyes on her in person for 15 years.  And it felt like yesterday instead.


The Number one reason my 4500 mile vacation did not suck:

Because both my girls can do a "bathroom only" pit stop in under six minutes. No joke.

Beat that my friends.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hot Springs

( from Google image search)

Today we decided to go into historical Hot Springs. The girls needed tshirts for a painting craft Nano has for them.

We walked around downtown also and browsed the tourist shops.

I love all the old architectural extras on the old buildings. It's my favorite part of any old city we visit.

Maybe I was a stone mason in a former life. Lol.

For dinner Songbird wanted to go to her favorite ecuadorean place. The food is always fantastic. I love the flavors they combine.

The only other excitement for the day was having the exterminator come out to moms. She found an area where something was chewing the ceiling tiles in the sun room. I was afraid of termites but it ended up being ants - which had already died for some reason. Anyways she now has a service which is good because she literally lives in the forest and there are carpenter ants all around.

I only share because EVERY time we come to see mom something breaks or needs repair on some manner. It's almost scary. At least it wasn't air conditioning this time.

Tomorrow we will stay indoors and get crafty. Fun. And Wednesday we are heading for home!

Day 22 down.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Bowling Anyone

Today we played.

We met one of moms friends at the bowling alley after lunch and played a few games.

Mouse does real well throwing her own ball but occasionally she uses the cradle.

Songbird always does well. We are both a little rusty right now.

In the hot part of the day we went back to the house for a movie and popcorn.

Then it was out to the law - which is where Mouse would like to hang all day. Sorry kid. Red heads don't do all day.

We stayed as long as the sun did and then called it a day.

And day 21 is done.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Down Day

Stayed in, watched movies, did a jigsaw puzzle and relaxed. Hopefully that will help brat child's behavior. If not its time to pack up and go home. 20 days is apparently a little much for her.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Last Leg

Hello Arkansas! Last leg of our epic girls trip.

And not a moment too soon. Mouse needs to go home. She is out if control tired and not behaving at all. Not fun.

We plan in taking it easy for a few days before heading on home. Probably won't be much to write about.

19 days and counting.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Spicy Pickle Mission

Mouse decided the Tyler Zoo was her activity if choice for today. Unfortunately, she was expecting another Omaha zoo -- which is a rather unfair comparison.

The saving grace was the bird house where Mouse was able to feed and hold the birds.

Otherwise the aquarium was her favorite. My guess is that the air conditioning is the major draw.

Afterwards we had a picnic lunch and then stopped for ice cream at Braums.

The other half of the day consisted of chasing down spicy pickles for the Mister. And then staying inside in the air conditioning.

Tomorrow we pick up Songbird and head for Arkansas.

And day 18 down.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Easy Way To Cool Off

Go to the movies of course.

It was really too hot to do outdoors so we went and watched the new Ice Age movie. Very fun. Totally recommend it.

Staying in and keeping cool on day 17.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dallas in the Rear View

Leaving another location.

I let Mouse get in one last swim before leaving her grandma's. Actually we got a much later start than I originally planned. We were around long enough to have lunch with Uncle Nate and cousin Ali.

I also made a very important stop to pick up hair supplies for my mom. Now that she is retired and doesn't have a license her friends have to be her "dealer" and the all live in DFW.

But now I have reached the land of dogs. Mouse and I are hanging out in east Texas with family for a couple of days. And family here consists of the dog pack which act like people. They are a riot.

This is tiny Cricket. She is a love.

So this will be our most kicked back and relaxed leg of our journey. It's perfect timing as I'm pretty tired. I just never sleep as well when you are away from home.

Mouse is enjoying the Skyping with daddy. I ended up having to add more data to my plan to accommodate all the Skyping but it keeps everyone happy.

There probably won't be much to write about until Friday when we pick Songbird up from camp.

Time to go sit out with the wind chimes and fur people and enjoy some peace.

And 16 days down.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's the Little Things

I am probably asking for it by even daring to say so, but so many of the little things on this trip have gone right.

Like throwing in the ugly flip-flops and then needing them for a bruised foot.

And like throwing our sleeping bags in the car and then needing one for Songbird for camp. No problem. I NEVER pack sleeping bags for a road trip.

So I just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge and be thankful for all the things that have gone right.

The storms we drove between instead of through.

The lower gas prices.

The girls eating roadside picnics with grace.

The swimming pools that have made up for Mouses broken arm/no swimming last year.

The little stops with playmates to keep it fun for an 8 year old.

The unexpected opportunity for Songbird to go to camp.

Another unexpected delay in when Songbird needs to return to Ohio which means we will be able to spend time with my mom even with the added days in Texas due to camp.

Timing being right to meet Internet friends.

All 11 of us being able to make it to the lake house.

It's been great to have such an easy trip so far. I'm used to living a "roll with the punches" life.

So here's hoping the blessings hold out for the last half of our epic girls trip!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Four Years Of Fun

Sadly, the owners of the lake house are selling the place. It's been an amazing four years of get-togethers there and we will miss it.

Lots of fun times. No telling what we will replace it with. maybe it's time to start traveling? That could be fun.

I stuck around with the last group to leave. Since I don't usually do a meal I like to help out with clean up and shut down.

But all too soon it was time to go. And the hour and a half drive is the perfect amount of time to decompress from decompressing. Lol. I enjoyed most of the drive and even the Texas rainstorms. What a nice change from last years drought.

I had a migraine and had to pull over for awhile. But before long I was back in DFW.

And somebody wouldn't let me out of her site.

Songbird has already been delivered to camp so I won't see her until Friday.

So I will spend an extra day at the grandparents before heading to Athens.

Going to keep it low key as I am wearing myself out!!

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Saturday, July 14, 2012


Sadness in the middle of joy.

Quietness in the middle of noise.

Contemplation in the middle of celebration.

Dimness in the middle of light.

Softness in the middle of a fight.

Hope in the middle of despair.

Wondering if they will always be there.

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Hello Lakehouse

It's been a long year. So glad to be back.

One of the best kept secrets is staying in the game room. It's almost as big as my whole house. And the bathroom is huge.

This trip includes some wine tasting. I have to skip due to sulfite allergies. But that's what hard lemonade is for. Just sayin.

And that's probably all I will tell about this weekend.

Because what happens at the lake house, stays at the lake house.

Vegas has nothing on us.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

On the Road Again

Pack it up again. I'm pretty good at luggage jigsaw.

Today we headed for the DFW area to grandmas house.

On the way we thought we would stop at the Hillsboro Outlets as the teen had money and was Dying to spend it.

What a shock. There are like less than ten shops left. It's so dead. But the president assures us the economy is doing great.

3000 miles onto this trip I call BS. Shame on you.

Mouse did spend her money at the bath and bodyworks shop. All of it. Kill me now.

And she looked mighty fine while doing it.

Where did these children come from????

We made it to grandmas. We swam. We played UNO. We had dinner. And we went to bed.

Yes we did.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gimping Around

We took it fairly easy today.

In the morning we video Skyped with daddy. It was fun calling the digs names and watching them freak out and look for us.

Songbird took off with a friend afterwards and Mouse and I went to TaDonnas for a bit. This gave Mouse a chance to play with Peyton. Those little play breaks are key on a long trip.

Mouse and I did a little shopping while Songbird went to youth.

Somehow I managed to bruise the top of my foot and I cant wear shoes or even my sandals. So I'm stuck with two of the ugliest pair of flip flops known to man. I had a sudden impulse right before leaving at 4 in the morning to throw those flops into the floorboards. I can't even tell you why really as they are a little too big and are just ugly.

Thank goodness I did.

And I've had no luck finding a nice looking replacement. Oh well. I've never been fashionable - nobody will probably even notice. Lol.

I know my count is off - I think today is actually day 10 down.

Whatever. It's not even half over!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wild Things, Bush's Chicken, The Great Gum Incident of 2012 And Epic Breadness

Actually the title sounds more exciting and longer than the day - so don't be too disappointed!!

We started our day over at Kylie's house as she very generously allowed me to do our laundry at her place. It was smelling up our van y'all. Like a nasty teenaged boy. Except we didn't even have one with us.

Mouse had a great time playing zoo with Kylie's 3. So much so that she is now all on fire to get home and set up her own zoo with her own animals. So cute. (but seriously- she is only going to have a bug house since all her stuffed Animals are ladybugs)

Since Kylie happens to be The wife of Songbirds youth pastor in Waco, she also ended up with an invitation to join her old friends at summer camp this year.

As this is the last year she will have such an opportunity and she missed church camp last year, I felt it would be good to make it happen. So after some number crunching, schedule changing, calendar checking and several phone calls and emails it was determined that I could make it work.

After leaving the beautiful home of my friend we headed for Crack Chicken. I mean Bush's. For some reason Hubs and Songbird love this stuff. I mean REALLY love it. So much so that I had to text the above pic to Hubs just to tease him. Cause I'm just mean that way.

Then it was a quick shopping trip. Songbird was not packed for church camp. So we hit a few thrift stores and consignment places to find what she needed.

During all this Mouse kept not keeping her feet in her shoes and being a pain. I kept telling her to stop and wear her shoes right but she pretty much ignored me when I wasn't looking. (This has been going on for years as she cant stand to wear shoes.).

After an amazing crash I turned around to find my child had fallen and skinned her knees and was crying. I was all kinds of put out because it was the shoe thing again. But this time she learned a lesson.

We call this The Great Gum Incidence of 2012. Somehow a wad of freshly chewed gum was involved. A strangers gum. And no it wasn't on her shoe. Somehow it was either on her calf or thigh when she fell and ended up smeared all down that leg after being smash between the two On a hot summer day and on a hot little body.

It. Was. Beyond. Gross.

This is after 1/2 hour trying to remove it back at the car. It was so bad. We tried pulling it off, picking it off, using wipes to wipe it off, covering it in lotion, using nail polish remover and even coving it in cotton balls to help have something to help pull it off. Finally we gave up. I told her the pool and a shower would finish the job.

(I was not carrying peanut butter or ice or any of the other old standbys for gum. And I was NOT putting her in my car like that to go find such. )

For dinner we met up with big brother! Mouse misses him so much. Mom does too but the beard was yucky. Lol.

But I took pictures for hubs as he will have beard envy. What is it with guys and beards?? Yuck!

And of course we ended the night with a swim and a shower which did kill off the rest of the gum.

And we made it through day 10!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Maps and Birthdays

Another long road trip day. The GPS was telling me 13 hours. But the routes it kept giving me made no sense. So I pulled the atlas out of the car and found a different way that made more sense to me. I ran it up on the Mapquest site and it showed me saving an hour. It was worth a try.

So Songbird got some practice at reading a real map as a co-pilot. And we discussed the limits of the GPS and why it's good to know how to truly use a map. And I'm not talking about passing a test in Social Studies class. And now she knows why I used the GPS, carried the atlas AND had a computer printed map and different directions from the Internet. Parents - teach your kids to road travel in a manner that will empower them with choices and keep drama at bay!!

So I saved an hour and a half. And that's not counting all the stops we made.

Plus my child got a lesson in Texas friendly. I had to laugh when Mouse would ask me "Do you KNOW that person??". No baby, that's just real customer service served up deep Texas style. So nice to be home!!

We made such good time that Songbird was able to go have dinner and watch a movie with her best friend.

Mouse and I were able to go crash the birthday dinner of two of my favorite Ponies.

I can't believe I made it. I've missed all the others for the past three years.

We ate at Hotel Indigo. A very nice place. Drinks were stupid overpriced. Service was pretty much non-existent. Food was very excellent. Compliments to the chef. Fire everyone else please.

And day nine was conquered.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

More of the Same

Yep. Shopping and hanging out. My kids are pretty worn out - especially Mouse, so I pretty much let her watch Netflix while we were at the house. Getting her to map is impossible.

Time went too fast. It always does with your bestest friend. So glad I made a point of making this happen. We let too many years go by without seeing each other.

Day six ended all too soon.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Not So Hot Day

Weather wise that is. I had prepared the girls for Albuquerque to be the hottest part of out trip.

Not so much.

Thankfully they are having a week of thunderstorms and rain. This is good - they need the moisture. Hopefully the lightening won't cause problems in The form of fires.

The girls wanted a shopping day. I was looking for something hard to find so I wasn't opposed. We went to several places that were a bust. So it looked like a failed mission as Omaha was.

But Rena made a call and found what I was looking for.

We also had lunch at the Elephant Bar. Mouse was starving. So she had the best lunch ever when mom ordered her a 3 cheese macaroni appetizer to eat while she was waiting for her Mac n cheese lunch. Yes, she did eat every bit of both. It was the first Mac n cheese she had since leaving home and her low light was obviously on.

Rena also made her day later at home when she pulled out her cool toys and made Mouse a ladybug bag.

Major advantage of not having kids is all the fun toys you can buy. I'm envious.

The rest of the evening was spent just visiting. Mouse is having behavior issues with the lack of schedule and bed time. Of course the fact that we are in our third different time zone does not help.

And day six is done!

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Longest Drive

We have arrived safe and sound after our longest trip in the car. I got up at 4am and put the kids in the car. They slept another 7 hours which made the drive easier.

Nothing exciting to report. We did start the day passing through (hah!) Colon NE before hitting Wahoo. Colorado had construction delays - should have taken the toll road instead of trying to save a few bucks.

New Mexico is beautiful in all it's different looks. Although Songbird's remark was that there is a whole lot of nothing in New Mexico. She missed driving through the rainstorms (as in passing between them) and watching the lightening on both sided. Awesome.

This is when she was paying attention. Ok. There isn't much except the different colors and textures here. It's still pretty to me.

And day five down.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

A Day Off

It doesn't seem like we have done that much but we all three are worn out! A down day was in order. I think it must be the heat.

Mouse was lucky enough to go to not one, but two splash pads today.  First Butterfly took her to one down the street for awhile as the teen and I were napping. Needed that.

Later Songbird needed to go to the store and we dropped off Mouse and two others for some more fun in the sun.
Apparently the bucket dump was cold.
This child LOVES the water. I think she is trying to make up for lost time with the broken arm last year.

There was also playground time.
And then more water.
And more playground. (My favorite shot of the day.)

Meanwhile I was running errands and getting the oil changed and having the tires looked at as that crazy light on the dash keeps going on and off.

There was also lots of game playing today.
And relaxing on the couch.

And now we are all packed up and ready for our 14-15 hour road trip to New Mexico tomorrow.

And day four is down!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Midwestern Fourth

Not alot to blog about today.

Being that it was the fourth and our trip plans were solidified late...our hostesses had plans.  See, they are going to Nationals Fine Arts again this year and need to raise money to make that work. The fourth they set up a lemonade stand along the parade route in a town in Nebraska.

Mouse wanted to join them as she is fascinated with the whole selling lemonade thing. She's been asking to do so at home so when the girls asked if she could join them it was a big yes.

Mouse made fast friends with the 8 year-old of the family they spent the day with.  I knew this family through my friend and Girl Scouts from years ago when we lived in Omaha.  So it was neat seeing the pictures of the two girls that I remember as 2 year olds.

Since little Miss M is a Girl Scout she was walking in the town parade. Knowing that Mouse is a Girl Scout they checked with the leader and got permission for Mouse to join them.  So Mrs. Andrea....3**80 was represented in Nebraska this 4th!
Songbird and I opted out of the parade and sitting outside. I know, I know.  What spoil sports. Whatever.

We went shopping instead. Not serious shopping just wandering around at old haunts...and of course there was a stop at Half Price Books.

Butterfly made up a great 4th of July feast of hamburgers and hot dogs with potato salad and coleslaw. Perfect.

By that evening when we all returned home we were all beat.  But not too beat for ice cream! Butterfly showed me how to make ice cream at home.  We made peach, chocolate and vanilla.  It was so awesome!!

Again we skipped the fireworks as we were all worn out.

And day three is done!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Zoo Day

I was surprised today by all the teens suggesting a trip to the zoo as something to do. But then again the Omaha Zoo is one of the best I have ever been to.

Songbird wanted to spend time with her friend Morgan so I was prepared to drop her off. Morgan also suggested the zoo so we packed up the car and picked her up also.

The funny part about this group is that they were all in the same Girl Scout troop when they were little. It was like a little reunion. Especially since Tricia and I were the leaders. Lol.

It was hot!!! We mostly did indoor exhibits.

Funny thing is that Mouse really doesn't remember all her zoo days from when she was little so it was like a first visit ever.

Big sister got a kick out of showing it all to her. A very nice break from the usual sibling bickering.

I believe Mouse liked the aquarium best. That's my favorite also.

Phone camera doesn't show well but these little jellyfish lay upside down on the ocean floor. Really cool looking. Hate to step on that mess though.

We called it quits after the gorilla house. There was so much more we could have seen but two of the group were fading fast.

The rest of the day consisted of friends and air conditioning.

There was a room full of toenail painting.

And some crazy fakes too. There was puzzle making and game playing.

Butterfly made an awesome Asian noodle stir fry. She is a great cook.

We opted out of Fremont's fireworks display and called it a night instead.

A fun but hot day.

Day two down.

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