Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Competing with Pig Pen....

So last week was Jay's Cub Scout Day Camp.  I am STILL finding dirt in places that dirt should not BE.  Jamie and I spent the week out at Camp Russell, helping out as walking leaders.  Jamie took a whole week of vacation in order to help out.  When he first told me he was doing this, I was all for it, but the closer it came to time, I started dreading it.  I mean really, what family spends a week helping out at Day Camp and counts that as a family vacation?  What about the beach?  A trip to Branson?  Or just spending the week at home and sitting by the pool?  The more I thought about it, the more I regretted that he had wasted a whole week of vacation and not only would we not be able to go anywhere, but we had to get a babysitter to watch Jane for the week.  And WAHHHHH...we had to get up early EVERY DAY.

I love it when I'm wrong.  Okay, really, that's not true (mostly because I'm NEVER WRONG...), but in THIS instance I love that I was wrong.  We had a fantastic time.  Jane was well cared for all week long and had a great time with our babysitter, who she knows and loves.  Jay, Annie, Jamie and I headed off every morning at 8:15, loaded down with sunscreen, bug spray, lunches, camera, and hats.  Annie had a great time doing arts and crafts in the children's program there, and even got to participate in the cooler activities like the zipline, marshmallow gun making and astroid shooter making (space camp theme...).  And Jay was in hog heaven with all of his friends (we had 15 boys in our group).  So THAT meant that Jamie and I got to spend the whole week actually talking to each other and managing to complete sentences without being interrupted by little people every 3.2 seconds.  Huh...that NEVER happens!  And while we were walking leaders (meaning that we actually had to CONTROL 15 boys), we had very few discipline problems.  The boys were a joy to be around and Jamie and I had a great time declaring "war" on each other with our spray bottles and marshmallow guns and having the boys pick a side.  They thought we were COOL!  And the moment I overheard Jay tell another boy who was not in our pack, "That's MY mom!"  I knew it was all worth it.  I won't get many more moments like that with him.  Especially because I TOTALLY intend to take him to school one day in my pajamas and robe and my hair in rollers.  You know, just to mess with his MIND.

And we came home FILTHY.  Filthy like you cannot even imagine filthy being.  After sweating all day (98 degrees most days were were out there), and being one with the bugs and dirt, plus my dramatic "falls" every time one of the boys shot me with their marshmallow gun, we all had a nice layer of mud on us by the time we ventured home.  We'd walk up the long hill and trek to our car.  The car that had been sitting in the sun for the past 8 hours and was approximately 4,000 degrees when we opened the door and the heat slammed us in the face. So then we'd get in, blast the air and by the time we got home, the seats would be filled with small mud puddles as the sweat on the backs of our legs combined with the dirt on our bodies.  Nice visual, no? Never been so happy to have leather seats.  

But getting home and jumping in the pool was an instantaneous relief.  And after swimming for a while, we would all be so tired that all we wanted was dinner and bed.  It was that good kind of tired where you are completely exhausted and know you will sleep like the dead.  And we did.  By Friday night, Jamie and I were asleep in our respective chairs by 8:30 pm.  Somehow the kids movie, "Mr. Troop Mom" was not entertaining enough to keep us awake.  Can't imagine how.  

So in the end, despite my reservations, it was a fantastic week.  A good week to end on since Jay won't be able to go next year since he'll be too old (sob!!).  But it's always better to leave wishing for more than to be glad it's all over with.  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Blueberry Pancake Haiku

Blueberry pancakes:
A good theory, but big mess.
Blue stains everything.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Celebration of Road Trips Everywhere...

So it's summer!  And of course, that means travel time.  The kids and I just got back from a trip to Mississippi where we surprised my mother for her 21st birthday.  It was a fantastic trip, only made better by the hour and a half that Jane spent SCREAMING on the way there.  We were in Arkansas.  Arkansas is longer than I thought it was.  Maybe it was the screaming??  The older children and I had just about had enough of it.  Our nerves were SHOT.  Even Jay, who has the patience of Job with this baby, pleaded with her, "Jane....puleeeeez stop screaming.  I'm going to lose my mind!!!!"  At which point, Jane turned the volume up to "torture everyone" and Annie said, "Way to GO Jay...now she's even LOUDER." About that time we passed by this HUGE billboard on the side of the interstate.  It said, "USE THE ROD....SAVE YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES!"  My second thought (the first being, "Wha.....????") was "Where's the rod?  I want MY stinking rod!!" They should maybe give those out at rest stops.  

All in all though, the drive went well.  Except for the part where Jane had a blow out diaper and McDonalds had no changing table.  And I couldn't figure out how to use the bathroom myself, what with having to HOLD THE BABY and all.  But, I am industrious and I figured it all out.  I pulled a high chair into the bathroom with Jane in it (after changing her clothes in the back seat of the car).  I got a lot of strange looks and laughs, but one mother stopped to tell me what a good idea that was and that she would be using it when SHE traveled.  SO THERE.  I think after eight years of traveling with small children by myself, I could probably write a book on hints and tricks.  

All jokes aside though, it was a wonderful time with Mama and Daddy.  I wouldn't have traded my time with them for anything.  Well worth an eight hour drive.  And I plan to do it again in a few weeks!! And so, in celebration of road trips everywhere, I thought I would copy this letter that I wrote to my father when he was in Iraq.  My mother and I had taken the kids to my grandparents to visit.  Annie was three and Jay was five.  It was a....memorable...ride home. The title of the email was "Guts".  Intriguing...no? 

"Dear Daddy,

Did you miss me?  I thought you might enjoy a rendition of our trip home today.  It is possible that you have already heard part of this, but I thought you might enjoy my take on the day's events...

So, we left Belzoni at 9:45 this morning after loading the car in the POURING rain.  Seriously.  Pouring.  The only time it let up was when I came inside to kiss Mimi and Papa goodbye and change my soaking wet clothes into something dry.  Of course as soon as it was time to walk out the door and get the kids in carseats, it started up again.  What FUN.  Anyway, we were about an hour into our trip when Jay nonchalantly says, "There's a fly in this car." Which apparently in Annie's mind meant, "There's a serial killer with a machete in this car."  She started SCREAMING AND SCREAMING AND SCREAMING.  I mean, she was HYSTERICAL.  You would have thought she was being attacked with the way she was carrying on.  And there was no telling her that flies don't hurt you....oh NO...in her mind they are obviously buzzing little baby eaters or something.  We opened the windows (still raining I might add....) so the fly would fly out.  It did not.  However, I have become quite adept at the art of lying, and so I LIED and told her the fly had gone out the window.  But she is a smart cookie and while she did calm down she insisted that Nana hold her hand.  "Nana...HOLD MY HAND!!!!!" Over and over again.  So, Nana holds Annie's hand until HER hand falls asleep, at which point she PRIES her hand out of Annie's and turns back around in her seat.  Annie does not like this, but we are dealing with it UNTIL Jay says, very quietly, "Mama, there's the fly again." Which translates to, "Mama, there's a large prehistoric insect getting ready to eat us back here..."  Annie starts screaming again.  By now I am on a two lane road that I did not want to get off of for fear of getting behind a big truck that I had passed a ways back.  I was on this road for 22 miles.  and for 22 miles Annie was hysterical.  I tried yelling, pinching, being funny, distraction, EVERYTHING.  What finally worked was Nana trapping the fly and smearing the fly guts all over my window while she killed with with the atlas.  But that's good though because it was EVIDENCE that the fly was dead, which Annie appreciated.  

Speaking of guts though it was not much later that we were driving down the interstate and I noticed a BIG black bird in the median.  Of course, it did what all birds in the median do.  It flew directly AT my car.  The problem was though, that this particular bird was having a nice snack of some dead animal and decided that take out was the way to go here.  So, it had some of whatever dead animal it was eating in its claws when it took off.  Apparently the bird misjudged the weight of his snack though and could not get enough lift to avoid my car, so at JUST the right moment it dropped the load RIGHT onto my windshield.  I have no idea what it was...just a big, wet, orange splatter.  Jay REALLY got a kick out of this one.  Thankfully it rained ALL the way home so I didn't have to look at smeared guts for long...at least the guts on my windsheild"

So there you have it!  Happy travels everyone!!