Jul 30, 2008

Duh nuh! Duh nuh! Duh nuh, duh nuh, duh nuh...

As I sit here at the computer the slightly uncomfortable tingling on the back of my sunburned thighs reminds me of our trip to the beach a few days ago. The day I came face to face with death and laughed in his ugly face.

Allow me to set the stage:
It was another idyllic day in Destin. The water was warm, the sand white, and the waters of the emerald coast were, well...emerald!

The Chefs* and the Dubs** had bravely ventured to the beach despite adults being outnumbered by children 2 to 1.

The children were frolicking happily in the sand and Gabe and I were in knee-deep water cooling off and gazing out at the horizon.

I must have felt the stares, because something (finally) caused me to turn towards shore. Which is when I saw a large crowd gathered on the beach staring at me! "They must have heard of my blog!" I thought to myself. "Either that, or I look hotter than usual in this tankini!" (Actually, I thought: "Crap! There must have been dolphins out there and I missed them AGAIN!")

Then I realized a few things simultaneously. There were only five people left in the water, Gabe and I, two other swimmers, and a life guard. And the life guard was pointing and saying something...
about a shark.

Turns out, a shark was swimming close to shore and the life guard was getting everyone out of the water. Except Gabe and I who were/are, evidently, fearless. (read: clueless)

Unfortunately, although everyone else saw the shark, I didn't.

Fortunately, I have proof of my bravery! Joe was on the shore alternately yelling at me to "GET OUT" and snapping pictures. Which is why I have pictorial evidence of my brush with Jaws!(read: cluelessness).

Unfortunately, no matter how big I blow up the picture, it still just looks like a tiny black shadow. But nonetheless, the fact remains that I battled nature and WON!

Except that nature fried the crap out of my formerly pasty white legs.

So lets just call it a draw.

*This is a clever play on their real last name, and you'd be laughing at my cleverness if you knew what that was.

**This stands for "W" which is the first letter of Wilberforce which is my last name.

Jul 29, 2008

Dear NieNie...

Dear NieNie,

I just thought you should know that YOU are my new nemesis. Yes, you. The last time I had a nemesis, I was in San Francisco. Her name was (is) Christine and she lived one floor down. Everyday when I walked down the stairs, I could see the corner of her kitchen table through the window: And everyday, it looked just like a Pottery Barn spread. Place mats, beautiful dishes and silverware, and fresh flowers. Fresh flowers EVERY DAY!!! And despite the fact that she also had a child, she had a house plant on the floor and candles adorning the window ledge. (Two things Max would NEVER have left unmolested as a toddler.)

But now, NieNie, you have taken her place as my nemesis. Someone I've never even met. Someone I know only through the blogosphere. I know it's not fair to you, but I can't help it. It's just how I feel!

Maybe it's the fact that you have an extremely popular blog with a cute layout and a covetously cute vintage-looking wardrobe. Maybe it's how your children always look so...calm and well behaved in your pictures! Or maybe it was the art project you recently did with your kids.

(I mean, I've known how to use potatoes and apples as stamps for YEARS. I have the skills needed for that project! But do I want let my kids near that much open acrylic paint? Not in this lifetime!)

I know for SURE that it's partly because you refer to your husband as "Mr Nielson" and mostly because you've seen my cousin (MY COUSIN) more recently than I have!!! And now she's going to Arizona in a few months and NOT Japan and you'll get to see her again!


THAT is why you're my nemesis.



P.S. Wendy: You're also my nemesis, unless you make immediate plans to do a "session" in Japan.

Boy, it feels good to get that off my chest!

Jul 26, 2008

I've always wanted a girl...

Claire had finally had enough. With three older boys in the house, she was feeling severely out-numbered and sick and tired of sword fighting. She brought me a small crumpled "dress-up" and demanded I put it on Gabe immediately.

"Mommy, I don't wanna wear pink!"

"Actually, now that I have it on, it's not so bad! It's really flowy, and I like the tiara!"

"Her name is Gabrielle and she's my friend now."

Claire: "From now on, it's just you and me Gabby!"
Gab: "As long as I can always play in the fireplace..."

Jul 25, 2008


A little while ago, I heard about a Blog Swap happening over at According to Kelly. I've never participated in one before so I was REALLY sad to find I'd missed the deadline. I decided to try anyway, and sent Kelly a pleading e-mail begging to be let in. Fortunately, she took pity on me and I got matched up with Sara...

who has an Etsy Shop filled with really cute stuff.

from which I was secretly hoping she'd send something...
and she totally came through! (And then some!!!)

And I was as giddy as a school girl when I opened my box.

(There may have even been a high-pitched squeal, though it's highly unlikely considering how mature and lady-like I am.)

THANKS SARA!!! You made my week!!!

(I laughed out loud when I saw the little garden gnome peeking up at me. I love him! I love everything you sent! Thanks so much!!!)

Jul 24, 2008

Let's Kick It Up A Notch!

Today is a special day. It's Bam's birthday. That's Bammy/Sammy/Sammers/Bammers/Sammy-boy to you.
Bammy likes cake. And he likes parties, and birthdays, and party hats, and pwesents, and cake, and parties, and cake, and cake. His favorite color is "all da cuh-lows" and "gween" and "oh-ang". His favorite food is "cah-kwit". And, though he's too diplomatic to admit it, his favorite human is Mommy.
And he's four today. And we had a little party. Just a little one, because Daddy isn't here. But the neighbor kids came, and cupcakes were eaten, and presents were opened. And Sammy was happy. (But I'm not sure how Jesus felt about everything. I'm going to assume he's happy too.)

Only a few of the many things I love about Sammy:
His looooooong--sometimes juicy--always serious--kisses.
How much he loves babies and how he tries to shush them when they cry.
His cute voice.
When he's throwing a tantrum and wails "But Mom! I can't take it anymow!" and/or "But I can't calm down!"
That he can play happily by himself for hours.
How he dances.
When he sings to himself.
How when he's plays he and gives his toys different voices.
That he loves to read.
His beautiful smile
and big brown eyes!

I sure love you, Sammy-boy!!!

(Bi-polar split-personality and all!)


Jul 23, 2008

Jim 'n Nick's Bar-B-Q: It's not just for Baptist's anymore!

As a Mormon, I believe in "keeping the Sabbath Day holy". This has many different implications and interpretations, but for most Mormons it means (among many other things,) that usually we don't eat-out, or shop, or work, (or do anything too raucous) on Sundays. I say "usually", but in my family, I mean we never eat-out on Sunday. Ever.
Except for this last Sunday. Because I was in Alabama visiting Doug and didn't have enough food in the hotel room to feed us all. (Because I barely made it out Ang's door and into the car with my kids and sanity intact on Saturday and therefore didn't plan ahead and buy groceries for the next day.) (I also didn't know the hotel had a kitchen with fridge until I got there.)

Anyway, that's how come Sunday afternoon after attending a local L.D.S. church, we found ourselves in the highly unusual situation of being in a restaurant--

Jim 'n Nick's BBQ

--with a BUNCH o' Baptists. I would even go so far as to say there was a plethora of Baptists! We were surrounded and got to hear re-caps of some of the sermons! (Alabama has Baptist churches like Utah has Mormon churches! i.e. LOTS of them!)

We chose this particular restaurant because;
a) it said "Southern Kitchen" on the sign above the name and I figured since we're in the South we should experience some southern cooking, and
b) because the parking lot was FULL! Which is always a good sign especially when you're on a street with 50 other different dining options. Which we were.

Well, we were not disappointed. The food was great, the portions were HUGE, (enough to provide dinner as well) and the service was very friendly AND accommodating.

So accommodating, that when Doug asked the server about "the BBQ pit" in the back, he (the server) arranged with the manager for us to have a tour. A very nice chef met us in the back and showed us around.

This thing is a ginormous rotisserie: (This one had chicken on it. The other one had pork and beef on it.)

This is where they add wood to the humongo smoker:

It was a really neat tour! I guess there is such a thing as Southern Hospitality after all!

Oh, and thanks for hangin' with us, Baptist's! It wouldn't have been the same without you!

Jul 22, 2008

Late Night Ramblings...

It's one a.m. and because I'm an idiot, I'm still awake. But it's a good thing I am, because if I'd gone to sleep at a reasonable hour I wouldn't have been able to
a) take Sam to the bathroom when he came stumbling out in a daze a few hours ago, or
b) hear Max madly yelling "I WANTED TO WATCH IT!!!" over and over in his sleep. So see? The crappy day I'll have tomorrow as a result of sleep deprivation will be WORTH IT! (Actually, I would have been able to do both of those things since both boys have taken to sleeping in my bed with me in Doug's absence. But que va.)

Speaking of kids, (weren't we at some point?) today when I was talking to Sam I said "You can go swimming in 7 minutes." To which he replied "But that will take hours and hours!!!" Only he said it in his high-pitched, r-less, th-less, l-less little voice which I LOVE but don't know how to translate into type! (As long as it's not coming at me as a whine. 'Cause then I hate it and want to duct tape his lips together. BUT I DON'T, CPS!) (Joe says he can't hear a word Sam says because it's above his hearing level. But the neighborhood dogs seem to hear it just fine!)

Speaking of Doug, (well we are now!) today he left for "mock deployment". This is (evidently) where they go camp out for a few days and do obstacle courses and pretend they're competing on Survivor! He was pretty excited to go until he called me tonight and mentioned a large thunder storm headed their way which dampened (pun intended) his enthusiasm a drop. (intended and even pre-meditated!)

Speaking of Doug's call, he wasn't supposed to call me tonight, but he did because HE GOT OUR PASSPORTS!!! Maybe you don't realize what great news this is.
That's because you don't know how the lady at the base Passport Office tried to ruin my life two weeks ago! Allow me to reminisce a moment...

Me: "Hi, I need to turn-in these passport applications..."
Lady: "I can't accept these. They need to be typed." (I still had writers cramp from filling out four, yes FOUR, applications just before entering that &#&*@! office! Plus also, I have excellent penmanship when I fill out applications...making it extra insulting!)
Me: "Uh, okay Jerk-face! blah blah blah."
Jerk-face: "What is your departure date?"
Me: "SAM AND MAX! KNOCK IT OFF!!! Um, probably August 1 or 2. My husband finishes COT on the 30th. You guys, just hang on! Sit still. No! SIT! SIT STILL AND BE QUIET!!!
Jerk-face: "OH! Oh no. These are taking 4-6 weeks to come back right now. You wont have them that soon."
Me: "Seriously you guys, stop it. Do you want a time out Max? Sammy SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW! Soooo...I'll have to fly to Japan by myself? Gabey, let go of the cords..."
Super Mean Jerk-face: "Yes. You should have started this process weeks ago!"
(Couldn't. Doug wasn't 'Active Duty' yet.)
Me: brain aneurysm.

That's when I kicked her in the shins and stormed out. Then came back with 2 dozen eggs and taught the Air Force a lesson!

Which is why our passports came TODAY and not four weeks from now!!!
VIOLENCE, PEOPLE! It's how things are done!

(Some of the above retelling may be slightly exaggerated/completely fabricated...)

Speaking of eggs, I think I'll make French Toast for breakfast. Or German Pancakes. Or Crepes! UMMMM....breeeeeeeakfaaaaaaaaast! Gotta go to bed!

Jul 21, 2008

How to Acquire a Step-Twin

(This is where I would place a scanned copy of Ang's 8th grade class picture. IF all my scrapbooks weren't on a Slow Boat to China! er, Japan!)

Angelique and I met in Mrs. Ball's 8th grade History Class. The class was full of perverted pre-pubescent boys (Standard Butler Middle School fare) and only 4 or 5 girls. I remember scoping out friend prospects and sensing that Angie and I might be compatible. Similar height and build, of average coolness and popularity; not a nerd, but not stuck up. I thought we might get along. And I needed someone to pass notes to so I wouldn't have to pay attention. (Can you say ADD? See the "C" grade on my report card.)

It didn't take long for me to realize I'd been very wrong. I had WAY underestimated her coolness.

We got to be good, but not close friends that year. I still have a note from her from that class. I stuck it on one of my many "Ang pages" in my scrapbook. It's scrawled on a little torn scrap of paper that was crumpled and probably thrown to me 4 seats back. It says "Some people drive me CRAZY!!!"

Yep. We were kindred spirits right from the start.

In 9th grade my family moved and I had the option to change schools. I was thrilled to leave skeezy Butler behind so the next year I transferred to Wasatch Junior High and joined the cream of the Wasatch Front. Unfortunately, Ang and I lost touch as un-cell-phoned, pre-computered kids tended to do in those days.

(Insert scanned copy of my 9th grade picture showing me with a space between my two front teeth (I'd just had a palate expander put in) and a flat-chest. We're late-bloomers in my family. Like really really really and expensively late!)

BUT then (fortunately) I went back to Brighton for High School (fed by Butler) instead of staying with the Upper Crust at Skyline High.

And that's when it happened... 1st day, 1st class, I looked down the row of kids lined up along the gym wall in Phys Ed...and saw Angie. In that class we realized our mutual love of Badminton and we've been BFF's ever since.

Angelique has done so much for me over the years, it's hard to know where to begin. First of all, she instantly accepted me and made me part of her group of long-time friends. When I was 16 and my parents were on the verge of separating, Ang would come over and drag me out of the house and out of my funk. (Even though I would tell her I just wanted to stay home and sleep.) She defended me from a VERY livid father when I got in a fender bender on the way to a Brighton football game. When I moved to Carlsbad, she wrote hilarious letters faithfully and came to visit more than once. When I went back to Salt Lake to visit, I stayed at her house. When we graduated from High School, we moved into my sister's basement together and started UVSC together.
Then we moved to The Glenwood together.
Then we moved to Carlsbad, CA together.

That's probably where we made our big plans. We were going to stay in Carlsbad and go to school there. (The community college was super cheap and we were making pretty big bucks working office temp jobs.)
Then we would go on missions at the same time.
Then we were going to be roommates again until we were 30...
when we would get married on the same day...
wearing Austen-era inspired wedding dresses.
Then we'd live next door to each other forever.

I messed things up first when I decided to move back to Utah to go to BYU.
And then dropped out, (I did love me some short-shorts in those days.)
and went to UVSC,
but did not drop out,
and did not go on a mission.
Then got engaged,
and un-engaged,
then met Doug at "The Rock Garden,"
and got married 4 months later,
while Ang was still on her mission.
(My bishop told us not to wait for her! Oh, he of little faith!)

Needless to say, we didn't stay roommates until we were 30.

But we're both 30 now, and we're housemates. So that's something!

(This is where I wish I could insert a current picture of Ang and I together, both looking fabulous and happy in front of our beautiful mansions right next door to each other in Carlsbad.)

(Except I don't have one of those. (I'm sure it's somehow Bush's fault.)
So I'll just say this;)

"I love you Angelique! Thanks for letting me be your housemate (if not your roommate) one more time. Thanks for everything. And I mean everything. You rock!!!"

Now everyone else, quit blubbering into your tissue and go call your friends and tell them you love them. DO IT NOW! (See how bossy I am?)


Jul 20, 2008

Ode to Ang

Me, Lesley, and Ang circa 1998-ish. Carlsbad, CA
Who is this Angelique who's letting Emily and three small (but powerfully hyper) boys stay at her house you ask? (What, you didn't ask? Tough!)
Allow me to introduce her with an incident that took place a few days ago.
(If this starts to sound a little like a love letter at the end, that's 'cause it is one.)
(This is the "C" family a year and a half ago when we met them at D-world.)

The kids had just gotten into the pool. Claire (almost 3) and Curtis (4) are both proficient swimmers. Max is getting there, and Sam was wearing a life jacket.

I was outside watching them, but then went in to get something. Only a minute later, Ang started heading out the back door and I was just a step behind her. All of the sudden, I hear "CLAIRE, OH MY GOSH...!" and watch as Ang does a perfect swan dive, fully clothed, into the pool. Just before she goes in, I see the top of Claire's head over her shoulder, but I can't see anything wrong.

Ang saw Claire drowning. Her forehead was above water, but her mouth and nose were under and she wasn't able to get up. Luckily, Ang had her out of the water in about 3.5 seconds.

Evidently, Claire was chasing a noodle and ended up in the deep end of the pool. I don't know if she got tired, or just started to panic when she couldn't reach it, but when Ang saw her, she was grasping the pool-vacuum tube trying to pull herself up, kicking and panicking. Unfortunately, the tube barely has enough buoyancy to keep itself afloat so it wasn't helping.

Not only did Ang save her daughters life, she did it with perfect grace and agility.

This is a good introduction to my best friend. She's pretty much just a better version of me. Let's put it this way, she's a brand spankin new I-Mac and I'm a 5-year-old Dell Inspiron 6000 that breaks down CONSTANTLY and always needs tech support from India! (Not that I would know anything about a piece of crap 5-year-old Inspiron 6000 that is constantly getting the Blue Screen of Death and has to have its whole system rebooted on a regular basis!!!!!!!)

She's more spiritual, more practical, more educated, much more thrifty, more patient with her kids, and WAY more athletic, graceful, and coordinated. Not only that, she doesn't boss! (Now don't start getting a complex all you P.C.'s out there! You're good enough and smart enough, and a few people even like you too!)

When we're together, people ask us if we're sister's (or twins) all the time. She says "No, we're step-twins." and walks off leaving them looking baffled. I wish we were related, but I'll take what I can get! P.C.'s can't be too picky, ya know.

Tomorrow...the story of how we met!

P.S. Yes. I have learned my lesson. I will never, ever, ever again shirk my life-guarding duties even for one minute. Not ever ever ever. Ever. So help me.

Jul 18, 2008

Life and Times in Niceville

So what's it like being a sister-wife with a cumulative total of 6 kids? It's pretty awesome. And pretty tiring.

In case you're confused, right now I'm in Florida staying with my friend Ang while Doug is in Alabama. Ang has three kids, I have three kids. In case you're not following the math, that's six kids. One 6.5 year old, one 4.5 year old, one almost 4 year old, one almost 3 year old, one 1 year old, and one 6 week old. And for the man of the house, that's one wife, and one wife's step-twin/sister-wife. (What, you didn't know Ang and I are step-twins? We are.) Poor Joe.

So what have we been doing? Besides crowd control, Ang and I have been talking incessantly. (I don't think there has ever been a time we've run out of things to talk about.) At least when we can hear each other over the constant din. And then there's swimming, (usually in the late afternoon right before dinner) Free Movie day, Story Time at the library, the splash park...Ang keeps busy and we're happy to tag along.

The boys are surviving their father's absence but it's making Max a lot more sneaky and Sam a lot more whiny. And unfortunately, Gabe has an ear infection, so that's not helping matters. (See, Gabe sucked on Adia's bulb syringe and now has her ear and eye infections!) It makes me very grateful I'm not a single mom and that USUALLY, the boys get to see (and wrestle) their Daddy every day. Fortunately, Joe is exerting some manly influence over them in the evenings so they're not turning into mini-me's. (With all that implies)

The good news is, this weekend we're headed up to Maxwell AFB for a visit! It's about a 3 hour drive. We're going to hang out Saturday and Sunday on the base with Doug! His "flight" (aka group of 15) earned permission to leave their complex, (like a dormitory, I think) but not permission to leave the base. So we'll probably bowl on base, do a little shopping on base, play at a playground on base, and then we'll leave and go to a hotel off-base--without Doug--for the night.

On Sunday, he's allowed to leave base for church, so we'll go with him, then probably head back down here Sunday afternoon.
This is why we're staying here. So we can see Doug any chance we get. Which is obviously not very much. We can't even spend all day Saturday with him because he has a lot of studying to do that morning for an upcoming test. They have lot's of tests.

BUT, we're all surviving. And we're half way through. (YAY!) And then maybe someday, we'll get our passports and make it to Japan! But in the mean time, Ang and I have to discuss hair high lights. And children's nutrition. And boys.

Just like old times.


P.S. Just because I've done a new post, doesn't mean you still don't have to comment on the last one.
Get on it!
Chop Chop!
(I can't let the bossiness go. It's in my nature. Now, COMMENT!)

Jul 16, 2008

YOU do the work for once!

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one (0r twelve) memory(ies) that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

1a) Try not to embarrass me too much. 1b) Try to make me look really awesome.

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog. But only if you want to. I don't want to be bossy. I've left my bossiness behind me. Don't post any memories of me when I was bossing you! I've turned over a new leaf!!! Wait. I mean do whatever you want! OR NOT! I'M NOT TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO!!!

Items expressed in purple are the sole responsibility of "acte gratuit" and were not written by the creator of this Blog Meme. (Whomever he or she may be.) The creator of this Blog Meme does not know "acte gratuit" and takes no responsibility for her editing, additions, and/or commentary.

Jul 12, 2008

Review Number Two!

Many weeks ago I got my second (FREE!!!!*) item in the mail from Team Mom. I was supposed to review it in June, but (obviously) didn't.
(See, the item is a DVD. And well, the DVD player is ALL the way downstairs. And um...I was upstairs that month.)

Anyway, like I said, the item in question is a DVD. A TRAVEL DVD.
(Pretty apropos, don'tcha think considering all of my cross country flitting?) So, despite my procrastination, I was excited to check it out!
It's called "TripFlix" and it's designed to make road trips a little more fun with a little less "Are we there yet?".Let's get the negative part of this review out of the way first. Here's the downside:
I know we don't judge books by their cover's. ('Cause everyone says we shouldn't.)

But no one ever said don't judge a DVD by it's cover.

So I can.

And I did.

And it was weighed in the balance and found wanting.

What I'm trying to say here is, I REALLY don't like the DVD jacket. I don't like the graphics, and I don't like the lay-out. I think it looks unprofessional and I personally wouldn't stop to pick it up off the shelf at the store.

Here's a real live quote from Max (age 6.5) upon seeing it:
"I can tell I'm not going to like this."

So, for the second edition, I recommend a re-design. (I personally would like to see it go in a vintage direction. I LOVE vintage travel posters. But that's just me. And I don't know how appealing that would be to kids either. But whatever. Just hire a new designer next time.)
Now. That said, the actual DVD is great! The kids loved it. All of them. I watched it at my sister's house so we had a large and diverse audience. Ryan was the oldest at 13, Gabe was the youngest at 1, and there were two seven-year-olds, one six year old, and one 3 year old inbetween.

They all liked it!!!

They all got sucked in and watched intently. And later, almost all fought over where to go next. (The interactive menu allows you to choose a region or a particular state so you can pick and choose where you want to go.)

In the next few days, then watched it numerous times, going to different destinations and repeating favorites over and over.

It was definitely a success and I imagine it would be equally popular viewed in the car.

For the next edition (I recommend a next edition(s)) I'd make regional DVD's and feature more destinations in each state in that region. That way, you could buy the DVD for the region you live in, and learn about all the kid friendly stuff near-by and in neighboring states. (As well as teaching the kids facts and trivia about those states.)

Anyway, for what it's worth:
Maxwell and Samuel give it two thumbs up!!!
(as do their cousins.)
Emily gives the cover thumbs down, but content thumbs up!

So if you want a fun show for your next road trip,
or if your kids are learning about the 50 states,
jaunt on over to Amazon and grab a copy.
You'll be glad you did!

*This blog is paying off BIG time!

Jul 10, 2008

From Montgomery Alabama to Niceville Florida

Well, I made it! I finally reached my destination Tuesday night after what seemed like WEEKS of car travel. The boys and I are finally here in Niceville, Florida. (Right next to Destin.) We stayed in Montgomery, Alabama one night and actually got TWO visit's with Doug on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon. It was hard for me to leave him, but it was NOT hard for me to say good-bye to Alabama! That place made me sweat in a MOST un-ladylike fashion. In fact, I think it's fair to say 'ah wuz sweatin' lahk uh stuhk pig in Ju-ly!' (I must confess, I do like the quaint southern accents!)

(Seriously Alabama! What is your deal?!? Don't you know that 101 degrees with 100% humidity is NOT the way to impress tourists? And furthermore, have you no sympathy for the men and women who have to march around all day in the heat??!!?? Well guess what? You are NOT my favorite state! Take THAT!!!)

Anyway, my experiences of Tuesday are still a little too tramatic for me to want to blog about. Needless to say, when the woman in the passport office told me it would take 4-6 weeks for my passport to come, and that Yes, I'd have to travel to Japan alone with my three kids, without Doug, I about lost it then and there.

Fortunately, Doug's Major stepped in, helped me (us) to finish everything we needed to do, and I was able to leave Alabama and Maxwell Air Force Base behind me and finish my journey to the promised land of white sand beaches. (And more importantly, to the home of my BFF, Angelique who has gratiously taken me in...with my brood.) Which is where I am now.

I think it's safe to say I have a Major crush on Doug's Major. (But it's the strictly platonic, you- saved-my-life-and-sanity, extreme gratitude kind of crush! I have the same crush on our R.I. mechanic. Doug understands. He has the same crush. Don't tell him I told you.)

Anyway, it's good to be in a home again (not that the boys didn't LOVE Hampton Inn's breakfast buffet...) and it's FABULOUS to be with Ang. If only my scrapbooks weren't busy travelling around the world, I could show you a pleothora of pictures of Ang and I through the years. (We've been friends since middle school and were college roommates.)

But more on Ang later. It's late and I no longer drink caffinated beverages so I'm pretty darn tired. I fell asleep while tucking the boys in, missed my nightly call from Doug, and forced myself to stay awake just to update both blogs. Which reminds me: I updated Doug's blog with an e-mail from him. Check it out here!


Jul 7, 2008

He's an Airman, not a Soldier

I'm not gonna lie. It's been a bloody long day. (If you're new to this blog, you should know that I don't count swearing in foreign languages as swearing. Although, in this case, it should definitely count as swearing. Because it really has been a BLOODY.LONG.DAY!!!)

It started at a Hampton Inn in Knoxville, Tennessee about 15 hours ago. And it's ending at a Hampton Inn in Montgomery, Alabama. And how we got from there to here, well...it's like I said;

But there was ONE (only one) absolutely, positively, fabulous thing that happened today.

But before I tell you what it was, I need to preface with a little history:
(I don't actually need to, but evidently I'm in an over-sharing mood because today I drank Mountain Dew. The pink kind. Yes, it was extremely disgusting.)

ANYWAY, I don't know about you, but I was not raised in or around "the military". My dad was never drafted into Vietnam, my grandpa never told war stories, (at least not to me) and as far as I knew growing up, "war" and "soldier" were terms associated with other people far removed from me. (I was in High School when I heard my Uncle's Vietnam story. Before that, I don't think I even knew he had been there.)

Fast forward to my early 20's. While living in Carlsbad, I had a few dates with Marines and even went on-base at Camp Pendelton once. (Eric, I still think you're a crazy stalker, I'm afraid of you, and I hope you never find me!) I remember thinking the Base was sorta creepy, but didn't think anymore about it.

So because I never dated a military boy seriously, I never considered being a military wife. Not ever in my entire life not even for a second!

When I married Doug, I thought I was marrying someone who wanted to be a Dentist. (A GENERAL Dentist to boot! None of this "2-year-pediatric-residency" nonsense!)
When Doug started considering the military as a means for paying for Dental school, I was totally opposed at first. It took me awhile (a long while) to warm up to the idea. (I'm still warming.) And frankly, I still think Military bases are a little creepy! (Which is unfortunate considering I'm about to move on to one.)

What I'm trying to say is...
There is nothing in my realm of experience, past or present, that could ever have prepared me for this:

or that...
Or this:
And yet, here we all are.

In Alabama.

Wearing camouflage.

(Hey, remember that 80's song "Camouflage" by Stan Ridgway? Yep. It's rad. I guess I do have some experience with Camouflage. It seems that 'Things are never quite the way they seem'.)

So anyway, it's like I said before. It's been a bloody long day. But seeing Doug, even in camouflage, made it all worth it.

The Mountain Dew has now officially warn off...

and I'm exhausted.

Good night!

Jul 6, 2008

NOT the Pelican State!

You'll never guess where I am right now.
I'll give you a hint: Davy Crockett.
(No, NOT the Davy Crockett in my UVSC Accounting class. The one I laughed at when he told me his name...and then I realized the was serious. No, I'm talking about the ORIGINAL Davy Crockett! King of the wild frontier!)

Not helpful?

How 'bout this: Home of the Grand Ole Opry AND Graceland.

Still clueless? (I would be...)
Okay, I'll just tell you!

I'm in Tennessee. Knoxville, to be precise.
And I got here by driving.
In my stalwart Grand Caravan.
All the way from Virginia. I mean Washington D.C. (Sorry Jenny!)
With all three of my sons...

And we all made it alive!!!

Yes, the first leg of my North to South journey is complete in just a SHADE under a decade. (Actually, it only took 10 hours, which is good considering it's a 7 hour trip and we like to stop for potty breaks every 10-12 seconds.)

***{Speaking of North to South, while staying at Jenny's we watched the movie North and South. A four-part BBC mini-series based on the Victorian Era book by Elisabeth Gaskell. It was so good. SOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD!
Rent it and watch it. You'll love it. (If you're in to that...)
It inspired me to start a Victorian Era Author On-line Book Club. Want to join?}***

So anyway, back to my point.
We're here. We made it.
We're safe and secure at a lovely little Hampton Inn.
(I love Hampton Inn's...they always have pools AND hot chocolate in the lobby!!!)
This particular Hampton Inn has the added benefit of FREE Internet access.

This is a good thing because I'm wide awake.
Because I drank a Coke today.
On a SUNDAY, no less!
Yep. I'm a no caffeine kinda girl. (Chocolate does NOT count.)
It's a Mormon thing. But not all Mormons. (Definitely not all! Diane, you little Mountain Dew rebel!)
It's pretty much up to one's discretion.
In my family growing up, caffeinated beverages were strictly verboten. EXCEPT as a cure for excessive vomiting.
***{Did you know Coke is good for settling upset stomachs? It is. Just ask my mom. So the only Coke drinking I've done in the past has been to cure extreme nausea.
Which means I've had Coke probably less than 20 times in my 30 years of life.}***

But today I made an exception to my personal "only-in-times-of-vomit" rule and ordered a Coke float from Wendy's.
(When the only Coke you've had your entire life is associated with stomach flu, you need a little Frosty-action to help it go down easier. But yeah, it was pretty gross.)

So anyway, I drank it and it prevented me from falling asleep and I'm okay with it, and myself, and my eternal salvation, ALRIGHT?!?!?!

(Am I over justifying now?)

The only draw back is, it's 11 and I'm not the slightest bit tired.

So, now for the important stuff. How was it driving with three boys? Honestly, it wasn't too bad. My bum is numb and my nerves are a bit frayed, but all in all, they did alright and I did alright. Thanks in large part to technology. Here's how it went down: Max and Sam were in the back of the van, with Gabe in the middle. They have a little DVD player in back with them, so they kept busy watching Hairspray and Winnie-the-Pooh, and Cheaper by the Dozen 2. (Eclectic mix, I know.)

Interspersed with these were a few books on C.D. including "Chocolate Fever", a "Magic Treehouse" volume, and one more I'm forgetting.

Add to that some souvenirs from our Saturday visit to the Smithsonian, two Kids Meal Transformer toys, occasional snacks thrown at them from the front row, promises of Frosty's for good behavior, and you get two relatively good boys.

Gabe was a little less content. He did quite a bit of sleeping throughout the day, but when he was awake, he got a bit restless. For the most part he was happy, but there were a few times I dislocated my shoulder to reach back and tickle him, feed him, or bink him. One time, I had to stop at a gas station and warm up a bottle of milk for him, but that was pretty much as bad as it got.

As for me, Doug kindly loaded my i-Pod with audio books which is how I kept myself entertained. (Right now I'm listening to "Pretties" by Scott Westerfield and it's definitely keeping me engaged.)

Speaking of Doug, he is still getting his bottom kicked at COT (Commissioned Officer Training). He's up at 4 every morning and is busy until 11 at night. They do a lot of running and marching when they're not in class learning about procedure and protocol. It sounds pretty dang exhausting and frankly, I think I prefer gallivanting around the country in the Caravan to getting screamed at all day and being forced to RUN.
Like I discussed with my SIL Beth this evening. The only way they could get me to run any significant distance would be to hold a plate of French Toast out in front of me. That MIGHT work, but no guarantees. (I'm allergic to exercise, you know.)

Anyway, tomorrow we're back on the road headed for Montgomery, Alabama and DOUG!!! He's been authorized to do a "hand-off" of some paperwork. That means I get to see him for at LEAST 10.3 seconds tomorrow!!! YAY!!!
They better give me at LEAST 10 seconds!) And then we'll finish up the rest of our trip to our final destination: Destin, FL.

Why there? Why not!

(Just kiddin'. I'll tell you later!)
I'm going to try to sleep off my Coke Float now.


Jul 4, 2008

HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!

This morning we're going down the street for a church breakfast. There will be lot's of yummy stuff to eat AND a bike parade. I love parties that revolve around breakfast!

Tonight there will be more treats and lots of fireworks! I can't wait.

Need something to read that will REALLY get you in the spirit, check out John Adams by David McCullough. Even better, get it on C.D. and listen to it while you clean the kitchen. It's history that's actually interesting and entertaining to read (or listen to.)

Hooray for America!
Hooray for Independence!

Jul 3, 2008

Washington D.C.

Highlights of our trip so far:

Being here for Darren's baby blessing. (And being able to walk to church since it's right down the street!) Obviously, we're the favorite relatives now since we're the only one's who came to the blessing!!!

Swimming at the pool and playing at the park across the street from Jenny's home. AND, not that I've noticed, but Jay's pool has the cutest, nicest, tannest Russian Eye-Candy, I mean, LIFE GUARDS, I've ever seen. (But really, they are super nice guys and play games with all the little kids.)

Going downtown and finding TWO parking spots RIGHT where we needed them!

Seeing the United States Botanic Gardens and the Air and Space Museum for FREE! (EVERYTHING is free here--except the parking!)

A late-night Target run with Jenny.

Watching "North and South" while eating yummy snacks.

The cousins keeping busy for hours building awesome configurations with Braden's GeoTrax.

It's been a great trip so far.

More fun to come!!!

Jul 2, 2008

On The Road by Emily Kerouac

Well, we're here in WASHINGTON D.C. and I can't think of a better place to spend the 4th of July than in the Nation's Capitol! The only thing that could possibly make it better would be to have Doug here with us. (That's Captain Doug to you!) BUT, he's off learning to salute, march, stand in formation, and address everyone as "sir" or "ma'am". (See his blog post (written by me) for more details.)

So, how was the drive to D.C. you ask? Judge for yourself:

3:00 p.m. we leave the Miller’s house only 5 hours behind schedule. We always leave late so we weren't too upset about it. The Miller’s are our friends and ward members who were good enough to put us up for two nights in a row.

As we're leaving the Millers, Max starts his litany of questions:

Max: Dad, can we have the movie on?

Dad: No.

Max: Can we listen to Scripture Scouts then?

Dad: No.

Max: When can we turn on the movie, Dad?

Dad: Let’s wait until we’re on the freeway.

Max: Why?

Dad: Because it’s a long trip. We don’t need to start it right now.

Sam: Ahwha we on da fwee way yet?

Dad: Let’s play I Spy

Sam: I shhhpy wif my witto eye sum-ping wed.

Dad: is it James?

Sam: YEAH! It’s Games!

Me: is it Lightning?

Sam: YEAH! It’s Yightning too!

Max: Is it an Apple?

Sam: Yeah! It’s a wed appo, too!


later, we're playing 20 (to 2,000) questions. Doug is describing the Slip 'n Slide the boys were playing with at the Millers. After Max guesses wrong about 60 times, Sammy gets it:

Sam: Is it da fwip n’ fwide???


3:15: Doug lets Max turn on the movie. (Ahhh....peace!!!)

4:15. Someone forgot to use the bathroom before leaving the house!!! And it was me. (Whoops!) We stop at McD’s. We decide we may as well grab dinner to prevent another stop.

5:00: Back on the road in record time!

5:40: We pull over to the side of the road for a Sammy Potty Stop. The excessive luggage prevents Sam from standing and peeing directly out of the van. So Sam hops down onto the shoulder.

Doug: “Sammy, wait! Mom will help you.”

Mom hops out.

Sam pees all over mom’s foot and sandal. Darn that Daddy!


Baby wipes and bottled water are produced

5:43 trip continues.

6:23 Hit New York traffic, but it's not too bad.

6:38 Enter New Jersey

6:40 Pull over for Max to pee. I stay in my seat.

7:18 Pull over for another potty break. Sam doesn't bother to wait until the car is stopped. Paper towels and wipes are once again employed.

On and on until we arrive at Jenny's after 1 a.m. We have a special talent for prolonging all roadtrips by at least a few hours.

In other words, It's good to be here.

Too bad I have to drive to Florida in a few days.

With the boys.

But without Doug.

That should be fun!