Sunday, April 1, 2012


Here we are with Grandma and Grandpa at Disneyland.  Which is the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH - at least that's what we were told by the three million people ahead of us in each of the lines.
Chris on my favorite ride - It's a Small World. You have to be happy when surrounded by peppy music and singing dolls, right?


Okay, maybe not EVERYONE was happy with ten minutes of hearing the Small World song from peppy dolls!

This is the sand castle at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego that inspired Chris to try his hand at sand castle building.


Whaddya think?


We also got to take a hot air balloon ride over the wineries of southern California. I'm not in the picture because I was praying for rain, snow, or an invasion of aliens.  Anything that would keep me on solid ground!


Okay, so the view was worth defying the laws of nature to hop into a wicker basket and float above the earth.  You can see the mountains in the background and all the green fields of grapes AKA future bottles of wine.

Here we are in San Diego on the bay. When Grandpa said say "cheese", apparently Drew thought he said to sneeze!


Fields of grapes below.

We also went up the tram in Palm Springs to the top of a mountain where we played in snow in our shorts!

The view was awesome!

Chris being King of the Mountain!


The men walking in snow in their shorts.

Look at the size of those pine trees!

And the size of this cactus! This was actually in San Diego.


This is the view from the rotating tram car that took us up the mountain.

The pine cones on top of the mountain were as big as Lauren's head.  Granted she has a small head, but still!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Finally got my book all edited and posted.  Check it out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saving the Country, One Quarter at a Time

Our family recently returned from a trip to Washington DC. While we were visiting, many of the radio stations were discussing the mounting debt crisis and possible solutions. I might just be a small-town girl from Indiana, but it was clear to me there were many ways to solve the country’s financial crisis right there in DC. So let me offer some suggestions.

1) The Obama children are off school for summer vacation. Why not turn to the trusted way of generations of kids for earning a few bucks in the hot days of July? The Obama girls could set up a lemonade stand on the White house lawn. Tourists could buy a cup of lemonade for the reasonable price of $200 or be brought to the ground by the Secret Service. Your choice.

2) Speaking of untapped White House resources, I saw Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden. I’ve seen bigger veggie patches in window gardens in New York City. If she really wants to help the country out, she should consider a bigger spread and start selling tomatoes to reduce the national debt. At $500 a veggie, we could put a dent in that debt number in no time.

Do you see the vegetable garden that every news organization talked about when it was planted this Spring? Yeah, neither do I.  It's a tiny blob on the side.

3) As we were visiting DC, we saw many monuments and museums. Which brings me to several ways we could reap financial savings. First of all, many of the memorials had pools with big signs forbidding the throwing of coins. They said such an act would defile the monument. They say “defile,” I say cha ching…free money!”

Big fountain = big potential for quarters.

4) And speaking of monuments, there are some sort of sculpture memorial to every ethnic group we’ve ever wronged. Let me take care of this so we can stop the madness.

Really, really sorry
 We’re all really, really sorry already. 

There, I said it with sad puppy dog eyes and kitten faces. So let's move on and stop building "guilt" monuments and paying workers thousands of dollars to scrub off the daily influx of pigeon poop.

Not sure how we wronged the Easter bunny, but from the size of the monument, it must have been pretty bad!

5) Now let’s talk museums. We visited the Hirshhorn which is this huge round building next to the Mall in Washington. Let me give you an idea of where your tax dollars are going.

There was one room that had nothing except yarn hanging from the ceiling. I looked closely expecting this yarn to be made of something special like locks from Hercules’ head. Uh, no. Plain yarn like you’d buy at WalMart.

How about we stop hanging the stuff from the ceiling and crochet something useful out of it? I’m sure people (and by people, I mean the weirdo artsy types who sit around pontificating on the deeper meaning of yarn hanging from ceilings) would pay big bucks for a beanie created from artsy yarn. Even if it didn’t contain the DNA from Greek gods.

6) The Hirshhorn also has one large room dedicated to darkness. The exhibit is called “Black Box” and essentially it’s a room you walk into that has the lights turned off so you see nothing but darkness. Some artsy type with a yarn beanie was talking about how it was "life changing." I bet she’d love my basement, maybe even enough to make a large donation to the national debt.

7) Guarding all of these national “treasures” were dozens of watchful guards who made sure you didn’t get close enough to actually touch the yarn, cause that stuff’s irreplaceable. $2 a skein at WalMart. I’m just saying.

There were also lines on the floor to keep you a respectable distance from the sculptures. Cause it would be a crying shame to lose a national treasure like this:

By the way, the national treasure is the sculpture, not my son. Though he's a treasure in a different way.

Or this:

Notice all the pictures I took are outside. No cameras were allowed in the actual building.  Not sure why.  I'm thinking it was to prevent uneducated non-artsy bloggers from making fun of the yarn.  (Did I mention, $2 a skein at Walmart?). 

Or maybe the flash photography would ruin the life changing experience of being shoved into a dark room and told it was art.

At any rate, there were plenty of museum guards to tell us to keep our cameras in our bags and our grubby fingers to ourselves.

If we really have a money problem in this country, we could send those guides to more lucrative sites. Like the White House lemonade and veggie stand.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Every year we get a bird nest under the eaves in front of our garage. It’s a nice safe place, protected from the elements and high enough to keep the little birdies away from our dog and four cats.

This year, Lauren happened to go outside just as the baby birds were taking their first flight from the nest. All of them made it except for one. This little bird swooped down into the yard right in front of the dog. The dog stepped on the bird and broke it’s wing as Lauren sprang into action and saved the bird from more traumatic injury.

“Mom, it’s hurt.” Lauren looked at me with the clear blue innocent eyes of a ten year old who still believes Mom can fix anything.

“We’ll put it in the cat carrier in the garage and protect it until it’s wing heals,” I assured her, envisioning one of those warm family moments from TV where the kids nurse the baby bird back to health and marvel as it flies away in a few weeks.

Cue warm family music..... But wait a minute. We’re not a TV family.

I was still having warm, fuzzy bird healing thoughts so I named the creature George just as the boys came into the yard to see what all the ruckus was about.

“How do you know it’s a boy?” one of the kids asked.

“It’s not. If it were it would have a....” Drew commented.

“You’re an idiot,” Chris said. “Birds don’t have penises.”

“Okay, genius,” Drew said, “so tell me how they procreate.”

Both boys looked at me with expectant faces as if to say, Yeah, Mom. How are bird babies made? I realized my mom was right. No good deed goes unpunished.

I distracted them from the topic of bird sex by gently placing George in the cage and sending the kids off to dig for worms.

Cut the warm family music and cue the horror soundtrack. George lived for a day. Then he got kind of listless and stopped moving.

Lauren opened the cage door to check on him and accidentally left it open. Apparently we also accidentally let the cat in the garage. When we got up this morning, the cage was filled with feathers and the cat had a satisfied expression on its face. Poor George. He’d have been better off nesting at a TV family’s house.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Fridays are typically the day I go through the kids’ backpacks and remove all the papers for the week. So when Chris brought his home today, I thought nothing of diving right in and pulling everything out.

Now, let me preface this by saying I’ve pulled some weird things out of my kids’ backpacks. Wads of chewed gum. Bits of macaroni noodles which came detached from art projects. Rubber snakes earned as prizes for good classroom behavior. I thought nothing could startle me. I was wrong.

As I pulled out the papers, it looked like Chris had made an interesting art project. The paper was folded in such a way that I couldn’t see the title. It looked like this.

Then just as I was asking Chris what he’d created, the paper unfolded and it was clear what I was holding.

I dropped the paper and screeched. “Mouse bones? Are these really mouse bones?”

“Yeah, Mom. We dug them out of pellets of dried owl puke.”

“Owl puke?” I ran into the bathroom to wash my hands. “I was touching owl puke AND mouse bones?”

Chris affirmed that this was indeed what was now on my flesh. Washing my hands might not be enough. I might have to sterilize them in boiling water.

Next time I’m putting on rubber gloves before I venture anywhere near the boys’s backpacks.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Break Fun

We're back from a week in Virginia.  We stayed out a house near Chesapeake Bay and took the kids to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown to cram their heads full of historical fun facts.  Hey, our parents tried to make vacations educational and now it's our turn.  Mwa ha ha!

On the drive down, we tried to convince the kids the house we'd rented looked something like this.

Here's the actual house we rented.

The house had kayaks and a canoe, but at low tide, it was mostly mud. 
Chris thinking the mud is the best fun he's ever had.

Lauren wasn't quite so thrilled.

Yorktown had bunches of cannons which were fun at first.

And then, there were lots of battlefields which look to kids like nothing but fields of dirt.

Or as the kids said repeatedly, "Look, Mom.  More historic dirt!'

Williamsburg was more fun.  Probably because Drew got a historic hat.

Really, the hat was so cool he never took it off.

Jamestown was pretty neat too.  There were ships we could visit and learn about sailing in the 1600s.  The boys learned they would have been old enough to be cabin boys. Cabin boy sounded cool until they learned they were the kids who emptied the slop buckets.  Suddenly being a kid on an educational vacation in 2011 wasn't quite so bad after all!

Still wearing that hat.

Chris relaxing in the kayak.

And yes - STILL wearing the hat!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Wow, double digits. How did you go from the tiny baby I once held easily in my arms to the girl you’ve become?

I’ve been very privileged as your mother to have a front row seat to watch you mature for yet another year. I love that you’re so thoughtful and caring about others, even me. When I asked what you wanted for your birthday dinner, you said anything is fine.

“No, really. It’s your birthday. Tell me what you want,” I encouraged you.

“Well I love that lobster bisque you make from scratch,” you told me. “You know. The kind with the real lobster?”

“The real lobster I can only get from the grocery store an hour away?”

You must have seen the look of horror on my face because you quickly said, “That’s okay mom. That’s too much trouble. How about you just make me something easy instead? Like the turkey we had at Thanksgiving.”

You’re getting turkey cutlets and a store bought cake. But I know you’ll be thrilled nonetheless.

I love the way you embrace life so fully. Every day is an adventure and you make it fun. We don’t just cook together, we create amazing things which are almost too pretty to eat. Your one kitchen rule is that anything can be improved with a liberal amount of pink sugar sprinkles.

You can turn the most menial task into something so special. We don’t just dance, we turn the living room into the audition site for a dance show. We don’t just do laundry, I fold while you bring me into an adventure from the current book you’re reading.

I love that you still like to read to me. I love that we have our special books that we only read together. I love that we can talk about the mean girls in the book (did someone say, “Cheyenne?”) and you’re always appalled by the things they do.

You try so hard to do the right thing, but I know it’s hard for you. You want so badly to be liked by everyone that you’ll sometimes stand by and be quiet when you should speak up. These moments tear you apart and though I never want to see you suffer, I’m glad that you have such a keen sense of what’s right.

You’re getting bolder and more sure of yourself with each day. You’re no longer afraid to speak up in class. You no longer cry if your best friend is home sick. You’re able to take constructive criticism from your teacher without it breaking your self-confidence.

You’ve come a long way in the last year and I for one cannot wait to see how much you’ll mature and grow as you begin the journey to age 11. Happy Birthday to my precious little girl.

Angelic before being Baptized.

Ice skating with the boys.

Getting ready for the Christmas play.