Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We have a local church that does a quaint little pumpkin patch every year with loads of pumpkins.  We debated taking the girls to the huge 70 acre one that is out of town but I keep hearing what chaos it is (not too mention how pricey) so last Saturday evening we just decided to keep it simple.  We let the girls dress up in their costumes and headed out.

They had so much fun just walking around and even let me take some pictures.  I know!  EVEN AVERY if you can believe it.  Of course in most of the pictures she had a spaced out look in her eyes and "the camera smile" plastered on her face but its better than last year when she just ran away and pouted.  She's really getting into it this year so it makes it a lot more fun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Sweet Kendall,

Last night at dinner Kendall said “mommy can I tell you a secret?”  Now just to let you know this normally consists of something said at the playground like “Parker said his dad had diarrhea.  What’s diarrhea?” 

But last night completely unrelated to anything we’d been talking about she said “mommy, do you know what breaks my heart?  When people are sad.  That’s why I like to help people.” 

on the floor. 

I am so proud of my sweet girl and the gentle sweet spirit that God has given her.  She's truly an old soul.  And I just love her.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oh Oh Oh....Sweet Ty-bo

Ty Hurlbut
aka Ty-Ty, Ty-bo
1999 - September 8, 2011

The details of why...(warning long sordid explanation...skip to "why we loved" if uninterested or just want to see pictures)

This has been a rough week.  Well, a rough couple of weeks.  When we were in Dallas a few weeks back, Ty, our 12 year old dog, lunged at Avery and got her pretty good on her cheek.  It didn't break the skin but it was a 4 toothed stripe down her face, bruised and raised.  He's a really nervous dog, and the situation was just that - he was uncomfortable and just went for her.  It gave us a scare.  But this wasn't the first time it had happened.  He was not hurt, he was not in any pain, he was simply uncomfortable that she was on his right, Mike was on his left and mom was behind him.  We've never allowed our girls to roll around with, hug, lay on the dog.  They have a healthy respect for Ty. I've always stressed that you don't hug dogs, you scratch them.  That's how a dog knows that you love them.  But for whatever reason, he flipped on Avery this particular time.

So after this happened we knew we had to really talk about it.  It was an awful decision.  One I never wanted to make.  Ty was pretty darn healthy for a 12 year old dog.  His blood-work was impeccable.  Sure his back right leg dragged a little when we went walking or running. And the throwing up.  Ahhh...I thought for sure he must have a tumor or something.  It was an occurrence every 1-2 weeks.  For seemingly no reason at all - upchuck, all over my carpet (because really - puking on the tile would just be too easy.)  Other than that, he was really healthy.  This made it that much harder for us to decide.

I know deep down that Ty isn't a vicious dog. However he was unpredictable and had gotten really nervous around kids.  He lunged at my neighbors son a few weeks ago when they were over.  Again, I am 100% certain that Tywas not injured because he was sitting right next to me on the floor.  The boy is a sweet boy who I know has nothing but respect and love for animals.  It just freaked Ty out that the boy started counting (playing hide and seek) right next to his hind legs.

I feel like I'm defending myself and I know that there isn't a need to but at the same time, I'm just getting it all off of my chest.  In the end it came down to if and when.  Could I guarantee that it wouldn't happen again.   No.  In fact I could guarantee that it would happen again. But the question was, would it be a worse bite?  Would it disfigure my child or another? In the end that's just what haunted us.  I loved Ty and I know he wasn't trying to be mean, he was just getting old and even more nervous than normal.

We met with the vet last Saturday and talked about possibilities like:
1)  finding another home for him. But we didn't know of anyone that would take a dog that barks at everything, sheds like mad, and throws up all the time. And even then, how could we give him to someone with the possibility that he might bite them or their child/grandchild.   I know it was a big "if" but still.  Not too mention we didn't know anyone that would take him. And...
2) taking him to a shelter would have been a more cruel way for him to die and I know this dog - he would have shriveled up and died.  Back when he was younger we boarded him at a really nice place in Richmond and I remember the girl saying "He's very timid.  He seemed really depressed."  Yep, that's my dog.  The one that's a nervous wreck.  Slowly over time it's gotten so much worse.  Anyway, the vet doubted that a shelter would even take him anyway.

If you ever knew Ty, you knew I called him my chicken in dog's clothing.  He barked when a car door slammed, when the FedEx truck drove by, the garbage truck passed, a leaf fell,  and God forbid someone knock on the door.  Every night when Mike would come home at the same time, in the same car, in the same way, Ty would bark like someone was about to break down the door. Seriously - it was more than annoying.

I've joked for years about giving him away and how quiet the house is going to be when he went, but I don't think you are ever really ready for the reality.

why we loved him so much...

He loved to run.  He was my running buddy and went berserk when he saw me pull out my sports bra, running shorts, socks and then tennis shoes.  Each piece of clothing sent him spinning and spinning into hopeful oblivion.  However, he really did slow me down with all of his pee stops.  I guess now I'll have no one to blame but myself for long runs times.

He loved chasing squirrels at mom and dad's house.  Just running free in general.  Mom and dad have an acre, no fences, he'd just run and run and then come back in the house, and then want to immediately go back outside, and then come back in, and then go back outside, inside, outside, inside, outside until we made him lay down.  Then two hours later he'd puke on mom's carpet.  Every.  time.  Now it's funny, then - not so much.

He was definitely an inside dog.  He didn't want to lay on laps or snuggle too much but a good brushing and tummy rub were always his favorites.  Especially the spots on either side of his neck.  He'd go out, do his business and only stay out on occasion when the weather was just perfect - in the 70s or 80s.  He'd roll in the grass for a few minutes, soak up the sun.  If Jack (our cat) was out, he'd stay out and enjoy the company a bit longer but usually he was back to the door within 5 minutes.  

He never played fetch with a ball or a frisbee but pull out his stuffed squeeky squirrel from Target and he'd get riled up and ready to fetch, play, run.  Throw a ball and he'd look at you like "well, what'd you do that for?"  But throw the squirrel?  He was ready to kill! I'm surprised he didn't shred the carpet tearing across the room.  There was NO toy that got him as excited.

He loved chewing on bones too but his poor gums would just bleed.  Not to mention that he'd gnaw it down to nothing, eat it and then throw it right back up.  We gave him one for his last couple of days.  He barely chewed it at all, I'm sure his teeth hurt too much but he'd carry it around and sleep next to it.

I always felt safe with him around.  I knew that no one would mess with a house with a 50 pound mean sounding dog.  Anytime Mike was gone - no worries.  Was that the wind or a bear?  Who cares!  Ty will scare them away!  Comcast?  Lawn guys?  Yep - be afraid, be very afraid!   I'd tell them he was nice but they rarely believed me.  And that was ok.  

what we won't miss...
Let's be honest, every dog has their thing.  Crotch sniffing, drooling, barking, peeing, jumping...I'm convinced there is no perfect dog.  Ty's thing was barking.  I swear I hear him still barking two days later.  The backyard is so quiet. He'd have a bark off with the dogs behind, diagonal and to the left of us every day.  You'd often hear me yelling "TY SHUT UP!!!!!"  Yep, that's me, setting the great example for my children.

He'd bark when we pulled into the garage. Bark if he saw us walk out the garage door and then pass in front of our front door.  He'd bark if I left the house to go check the mail.  I could hear him all the way down the street.   Talk to a neighbor "bark bark bark bark bark bark bark."  It was something that we lived with but now looking back, we shouldn't have.  No bark collar or deterrent worked.  And we tried them!  

The hair...oh, the hair.  Enough said.  I could gently run my fingers through his hair and get a huge clump.  It's amazing that he wasn't hairless.  Good grief!  Note to self: next time you adopt a dog, research their breed and rate of hair loss.  What can I say?  12 years ago I was young and he was just too cute.

love this dog I did.  For all of the nuisances, irritations, and inconveniences, he was my dog.  And I loved him.  I knew that this day would come but it was harder than I ever imagined.  We were with him but it was still horrible.  It was just so fast.  I know that he died with dignity, he wasn't in any pain that I am aware of, but I still have the guilty feeling that we somehow robbed him of a full life.  Deep down, I know that we did what was right but I am just still so heartbroken.  He was my companion for so long.  He was there for me in really bad times and really good times, he's been with me through it all.  He will forever hold a place in my heart.

And now....for one million pictures...
 Ty sleeping on my bed the day before he died.  
One the of the only luxuries he got when it was storming outside.  He hated storms!  
But on the last few days he was on it as much as he wanted although I really had to coerce him to get up there.  Of course he'd be all over it the minute we were out of the house but at least he wouldn't do it to our face.  

Everyone was so excited when it snowed in 2010.  
Everyone but Ty.

I took these pictures of Ty back when we were in our old house on Havenfield Court.  

The best running buddy ever
April 7, 2011

This is how we expressed our love for Ty and said goodbye with the girls.  
We put together a list of all the things we loved about Ty.  
I laminated it and we put it in a book "Dog Heaven".
Then we each wrote on a card or drew a picture and we attached it to a balloon and let them go out in the backyard.  
Daddy drew a bone, I wrote a note, Kendall drew Ty in a heart and Avery just scribble-scrabbled.

Ty, you are forever in our hearts and I miss you terribly.  
Thank you for 12 years of your companionship, loyalty and love.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer fun with Grant

Every summer my nephew Grant comes down from Michigan to stay with his dad for a few months.  (He is Mike's brother's son.)  Luckily we got Grant all to ourselves for a few days here and there.  We'd go to the pool, play hide and seek, build forts, play video games, cool off with water balloons, and occasionally the girls would talk him into playing one of their girly games like the "count the cherries on the tree" game.  The girls absolutely adore him.

He's 11 years old - was just a few months old when Mike and I got married.

What a kid this is!  If I could have had him at the house every day and night of the summer I would have loved every second of it.  He is kind, courteous, polite, protective of the girls.  We'd go to the pool and he wouldn't take his eyes off of the girls or if he did, he'd let me know he was going to go down the slide or to the other side of the pool.  He was very hands on and it was incredibly nice - especially with 2 young kids at a pool - to have an extra set of eyes.  

He was so much fun to have around and we miss him very much already.

Dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings - this kid can EAT.

Playing video games at Buffalo Wild Wings.  I love the reaction to whatever happened on the game!

Playing around the house.  They actually obliged when I asked to take a picture.  Even Avery!

This is one of the creative ideas they had.  Grant was worn out after dragging those girls around on the carpet!  

Just a couple of random pictures...

One time this summer the girls stopped screaming.  I thought for sure they'd killed each other.  But no, Kendall was reading to Avery.  I got one quick snapshot before they discovered me spying.

This was a before shot of Avery's curls.  In this picture she is 2 and 1/2 years old and she's never had a haircut.    I noticed 3 REALLY long hairs that occasionally would fly around and it was really getting a little too bird's nesty, so it was time for a cut!  Well a trim.   After I cut Kendall's hair for the first time her curls never came back.  Luckily I took a picture of hers as well.  So I wanted to get a snapshop of Avery's too.
Since the cut her hair has stayed curly.  I wonder if she got Mike's waves?  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A test and praying for rain

I"m just testing out the update blogger interface in Google Chrome really quickly.  AND I LOVE IT!

Here's a picture from June 5th.  We've only had one really soaking rain like that since!  We are at least 20 inches behind our normal rainfall.  Everything is drying up!  Temps have dropped to the mid-90s today.  We are praying desperately for rain and that the disturbance in the gulf turns into something for us!  The whole state of Texas is in some serious drought right now (but I'm sure you've already heard that).  Anyway - perhaps this picture will bring some luck.

Here's to movin' on!

It's the end of summer and I've officially done a TERRIBLE job of blogging. So here's to hoping that eventually I'll get caught up but in the meantime I've got to stay with current events!

First things first - Kendall lost a tooth! It was already just a little loose. Neither of us knew this until the dentist pointed it out. Well, we went to G&G Brewer's house the week of August 8th. Within 30 minutes of being there Kendall comes down crying and her tooth is bleeding. Apparently her meanie little sister pulled the tubing of a toy out of her mouth and it just yanked that tooth really loose! So for the next 2 days we had to listen to Kendall wail everytime she even attempted to eat. She'd bang it with a fork - cry, crunch on it wrong - cry.

Finally at dinner one night as she was finally starting to suck it up and deal with the pain I said "Why don't you try wiggling it with a napkin? That's what I did when I pulled my teeth" and sure enough, she'd barely gotten that napkin in her mouth and pop! out it came! She was on cloud nine. Upon further examination of the tooth we were shocked at how sharp the root was. It was honestly no wonder she cried every time. We (mom and I) consequently felt least for a whole minute.

That first night that we were there she and Grandma made a special tooth fairy pillow. Whew - that was good timing. Not sure I could have pulled off a pillow of that caliber. The tooth fairy brought her a silver dollar and also a $5 bill. She was thrilled and it was probably a record for how fast and willingly she went to bed that night.Our other big news...Kendall had her first day of Kindergarten on August 22nd. She absolutely loves it. Her teacher is Mrs. Vilorio (below in the orange shirt). She gets to sit next to her friends from preschool Matthew and Alexandra. It's totally coincidental that they were all assigned to seats in a row at the table. I'm not sure Ms. V knew what she was getting herself into.

She says she loves everything about school but that lunch is boring and recess is too hot. I totally understood that! It's been in the 100s every day for the past few weeks. No complaints so far. She's very happy.

In her classroom! Ready to go - all smiles, no tears (from me either).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bustin' it

So tonight we decided to live it up and take the girls out to dinner since school is starting for Kendall on Monday. Who am I kidding. It's just another typical night but we'll use anything as an excuse to go out. There's a new place a few miles out with 2 huge playgrounds, patios, TV's galore, lots of room, free ice cream, you name it. It's a "family grill." So we ventured out to try it. The girls were enjoying it outside eventhough it was still 97 degrees. Amazingly the playgrounds were NOT scalding their flesh as they climbed, jumped, slide and careened off of them.

So at this restaurant you have to order up front then go and pick up your food. Our "food is ready" buzzer went off, Mike brought back the food and I thought he went back to grab silverware. After a minute I walked to find him and low and behold he's upfront ordering something else.

(HUFFF!) (Sigh) (exasperated me) Didn't he KNOW we were all STARVING and the random flies that had meandered in from the children opening and closing the doors a million times were literally about to carry off our plates? Not to mention Avery was already up to her elbows in hot dog grease. One hot dog. Hold the bun please.

So I stomped back to the silverware...well, I almost made it to the silverware. (sidenote) I've got these really great flip flops that I LOVE and they are made of yoga mat material. Very cushy and comfy for my old woman feet. However, they have zero. tread.

So as I hurriedly rush to the silverware, I walk around this guy and slip on a small spot of a spilled drink. I didn't slip. I ATE IT. I fell hard, fast and straight on my right knee cap.

What was that slap sound?! Oh that was just my entire body hitting this polished concrete floor like a 300 pound anchor was just dropped on my head. It had to have looked like an episode of Coyote and Road Runner where the Road Runner drops a Grand piano yet again on the unsuspecting Wile E. Coyote. I fell so hard I'm surprised my neck didn't stretch out and whiplash my forehead against the floor as well. It may have. Bruising is sure to be evident in the morning.

So let's see if I can create this mental picture for you...
--right knee cap bent at 90 degree angle crushed into the concrete.
--left leg stuck straight out to the side of my body
--both hands smack in front of me to keep my face from breaking the floor.

Did I mention there was a guy standing a foot in front of me?!

It had to have looked like I was either playing a game of twister by myself, or getting ready to spring into action as the sole beginning starter of a flash mob.

Never one to be down for too long, I attempt to gracefully recover. I pop up, say "whoops!" and head over to where Mike is standing so that I can tell the girl behind the counter to please mop it up since I just slipped.

"Slipped" sounds so graceful doesn't it?! I wanted to say "busted my a$$" but my momma raised me better than that.

Now the pain and burning is starting to set in. I walk/hobble 3 steps back to the silverware/drink station where the guy is still standing working his way down and cooly try to play it off by saying "Geez, I haven't fallen that hard since I was a kid!" He chuckled. I refused to make eye contact.

Thank the Good Lord above there weren't other tables of people right there. I'm sure half of the restaurant saw me but luckily I was far enough away that I didn't hear their gasps and giggles or see them pointing fingers. I didn't hear any other slaps of flesh hitting the ground so I'm assuming people weren't falling out of their chairs laughing.

Mike gets back to the table a few seconds after I sit down and I'm borderline laughing and borderline about to lose it crying from pain. It really hurt. It's been a long time since I've had that many parts of my body hurt simultaneously. I've heard that breaking your knee cap is one of the most painful injuries you can have and I'm not in that much pain. However there is a dime size lump on it and I may have thrown my hip out.

Now it's 3 hours later and I'm icing my knee. My whole body feels like it's been jarred. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it. We'll see in the morning.

So there's my story about my 60 mph collision with the concrete floor of All Stars Family Grill. Now I've got to get another pedicure because my feet slid so fast out from under me that my toenails rubbed against the floor and it took off some of the polish on 4 of my toes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nebraska - Sunday night at Aunt Chris' house

Picture of all of the Anderson's for the last Memorial day rally. Very bittersweet.

From left to right - My cousin Jeff, Aunt Janet, Jeff's wife Vicki, Cousin Julie, my Uncle Ron, Aunt Janet, her husband Dave, Aunt Shirley, Uncle Kent

After leaving Gothenburg we traveled to Lincoln to my Aunt Chris' house. She's the lucky one that is married to Uncle Ron (see previous post). We had such a great time. The guys/boys played wiffle-ball/baseball for an hour or so. I'm pretty sure that Mike and Kyle were about to die. But they had fun. Aunt Chris has the most beautiful backyard - it is huge!!! She's a busy lady and I have no idea how she keeps it up.

Aunt Chris spinning Avery. She's got 3 boys so she loved doting on the girls!

Avery getting a little one-on-one baseball time of her own with my cousin Julie.
The Game

Oh yeah...outta the park

My cousins Jake and Danny. These boys. Gentlemen, sweet, kind, courteous. Their momma and daddy are doing something right. I guess that's the thing about family. It doesn't matter that we don't see each other every weekend...there is just that bond - the immediate connection. The fun (and chaos) just starts immediately!

Avery spraying me with water "ssssssssssptttttttthhhhhhhh"

Avery parked it on Aunt Chris' lap as much as possible. Again - the doting. Luckily we didn't stay there too long or I would've quickly been replaced as Avery's favorite.

Nebraska - Bonfire!

Yep, still posting on Nebraska!

This is my Uncle Ron. This picture should be by itself - it deserves to be by itself... alas, I'll add more pictures of the rest of the bonfire. The Anderson group does this at least once a year. We burn any old stuff in that is trash or around the farm, old desks, newspapers... newspapers.... newspapers. Unlike Texas, Nebraska had gotten a lot of rain recently so all of the wood was really wet so we weren't able to get a good blaze going, but when we did get it going we snapped a few pictures.

My Uncle Dave and cousin Julie

My cousin Jeff and his sister (my cousin Julie)

Us! a new favorite picture

The girls on the farm porch. It'd been a long day - you can tell from their crazy hair.

Sparklers that may have expired 50 years ago. They were found in the basement. We let Uncle Ron (see first picture) test one before giving them to the precious children.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Nebraska

Well, I'd hoped to have gotten more Nebraska chronicles done by now but real life has prevented that. Here are more pictures from the rest of our time in Gothenburg.

We visited the Sod House Museum. I used to go here all the time when I was little and it's where I got my very first rabbit skin. I loved that thing. Weird. I know.

This morning was quite chilly and before we got out of the car I told little miss "run from the camera" that you ARE going to act happy and you ARE going to smile for me when I take pictures. Mommy's threatening looks and mean voice do work on occasion. Sweet victory!

It was shortlived, they were just worn down for the long drive. They were back to ignoring me within hours.

The little sod house is located behind the museum and is an original house. Sue Peeden (the lady who runs the museum) offered to give us a tour but it was muddy and chilly and really - old people like to talk and talk and talk and little ones like to destroy so I figured it best if we just had a little looksee and then got the heck outta dodge.

I did get to chat for a few minutes with Sue in the gift shop as I tried to keep Avery's grimy little hands from breaking EVERY SINGLE THING in the shop. She was sweet as could be (Sue - not Avery - come on!) and when I told her who I was she said "Oh I knew your dad! He used to fly in and out of our airport all the time." (note to myself for posterity sake - I believe she said that she and her husband ran the airport, they weren't the owners). Where was I? Ah yes, it was neat to meet someone who normally would be just a random person, but in a small farm town of 3,000 there are no chance meetings - especially with the old people! Ahem, older people.

This is my grandparents farmhouse. My Aunt Shirley has lived there for a while and it's had many people through it doors - doesn't every farmhouse? My grandparents lived in town for a long time but we lease the farmland out. The rest of the family hunts on the land, burns stuff, looks for dead carcasses (Jules & Vicki) know...the usual. As soon as we arrived the girls started in on the hundreds of dandelions. It's a shock they weren't passed out in minutes with all the huffing and puffing going on.

Just a little behind...

As in only 5 months 3 weeks late on blogging about Avery's birthday. I'd be flat out lying if I told you it just slipped my mind. It didn't. It's been haunting me for 5 long months. As in true second child form I didn't even take Avery to her well-visit until a month after her birthday. A month and one week to be exact. She'd had a lot of ear infections and I just didn't want to anty up that copay again. Not too mention the dreaded shots, but no - mainly the copay. I wanted to wait and see if she'd get another ear infection so that we could just get it all done in one fail swoop but she was suddenly the spitting image of health and I didn't want the government questioning me about her immunizations so I gave in and took her.

Her stats for 2 years, 5 weeks old were 29 pounds (75%) and 35.5 inches (82%).

For the party, it was more of a playdate party. I figure that Avery's not really going to remember anyway and so far she still gets a little overwhelmed by all the hub-bub. Well, she used to. But she's becoming more and more of a ham so we may have to do a little something more next year.
I used leftover cake from Kendall's birthday and made cake balls. My first attempt and they were really good! And despite only having a few people over I totally did it up with some Elmo decor and spent way too much time on it but I guess it was my guilt from not having a big party. After a whole evening in the kitchen Mike threw in the comment "I thought you weren't having a party?" I was sweating it out running around staying up late like I WAS having a full blown party. At the end of the day she had fun and we are so glad for the sweet friends that came to play!
I didn't get as many pictures as I'd hoped but those that were able to stop by were: our neighbors the Simanks (Leslie, Gracie, Mikah, Luke and Eli), the Ellis family (Melanie, Keifer, Cooper and Spencer), the Hare family (Ashley, Matthew and Audrey) and the Mitchell family (Marsha, Jackson and Jameson). I think that is everyone. It's been 5 months and the brain is a bit rusty!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nebraska - Day 2

We finally arrived in Gothenburg on Friday. It definitely seemed like day 2's "brief" 6 hour drive took a lot longer....and it did...I think we stopped 4 times and Avery kept saying "my's bottoms huts" [translation: my bottom hurts]. I'm assuming it was going numb...

But we made it...without anymore puking.


The day was filled with reminiscing over the house...the memories...the smells. The goal was for all of the kids (my aunts and uncles) to clean out the house of what they would like to have and then auction off the rest and ultimately sell the house in town. My grandparents have both passed away. It was a very bittersweet trip. It was, as always, so fulfilling to see my family but so deeply saddening knowing it would be the last time in the house.

The girls had a great time, but as is every Grandma's house it is FULL of breakable things!!!! Precious valuable things. We tried to sort out a few things for Avery to play with that, if broken, would not be mourned. She affixed herself to a small table in the kitchen next to the sliding door that was just her size and covered in small glass salt and pepper shakers. She proceeding to prepare "tea" for all of us over the next 3 days anytime we were there. I should have taken a picture.

My Aunt Janet took the girls downstairs for a pretend tea party with one of Grandma's real tea sets. Of course Avery is like a bull in a china shop and I was waiting for an explosion of shards of very valuable teapot parts. We managed to keep it all in one piece and then found "alternate" means of a tea party - paper plates, cups and really old dusty plastic fruit.

Kendall asked if my "grandma" (she was talking about my Aunt Janet) could do another tea party with us the next day. I guess since I kept saying "my grandma's house" and Aunt Janet was one of the pre-dominant people in the house, she assumed that she was my grandma.

Then I explained that actually Janet is my aunt, and her Great-Aunt, and that my grandma and grandpa died. Well, that really confused her and she called Janet her Great-great Grandma. Poor Janet! But "from the mouths of babes." She definitely doesn't look old, it's all just terminology to Kendall - not age association.

So all in all, Friday was a long day but short on extraordinary festivities. We made it to the house for a quick dinner and a little play time (the neighbors were gracious enough to let the girls play on their swingset). After it all we headed back to the hotel for some rest and I snapped possibly my favorite photo ever.

The Chronicles of Nebraska

It's that time of year again--summer and that means it's time for a...road trip. Is there anything better than traveling with 2 young children for 17 hours confined in a vehicle?! Yes, there is and it includes a beach, a blended beverage and neither of the aforementioned. But enough day dreaming already.

Our journey takes us to the great state of Nebraska. What's in Nebraska you ask?! What isn't in Nebraska I say! Corn, endless amounts of farmland, 2 large cities, a big ol river and of course, the Cornhuskers! MY cornhuskers. My mom's family and my dad's family that is. My mom grew up in Omaha and Lincoln and my dad grew up in Gothenburg. As I get older I find that exotic vacations are nice, but family brings fulfillment and ultimate happiness to me. I adore my family. We live so far apart but when we are together we are thick as thieves. My heart is full when I am with them.

So off we go. First stop - Gothenburg to the family farm. Well, technically, Wichita, KS. The first day of traveling was very much a success. It went quickly with only 2 stops, or maybe 3. There was a brief incident of vomit so I guess it could have gone better but luckily the vomit was in a restaurant and not in the car. Hallelujah for that. We think it was just a bought of car sickness. I took the girls to the bathroom before we ordered and I noticed that Avery kept walking a little crooked. No really - she kept walking diagonally but I didn't really think anything of it. Then we ordered and got our drinks. I took the girls to the table and then got halfway to the salad bar before I heard "Moooommyyyy!!! Avery just threw up!"

Yeah. Every mom loves hearing that. My kids puke about as much as they poop these days it seems. Just ask my best friend - she agrees. Luckily it wasn't too much and it only happened once. She freaked out but we got her cleaned up and then she started to stuff her face with food. I looked at Mike with panic and could tell we were both thinking "do we let her stuff her face and possibly get projectile vomited on at the table?!" Too late. We just set an empty bowl to the side, crossed our fingers. By that time I'd lost my appetite.

After dinner we went directly to the gas station across the street and got trash bags and paper towels "just in case" and for the next 2 hours every time Avery burped, farted, coughed and cried I spun around in my seat so fast I'm surprised the car didn't veer off the road. I wouldn't have been shocked to hear Avery spout out "duuuude. mom I'm NOT going to throw up. SIT DOWN already" because that's exactly what her face said. I think I asked her at least 30 times "Does your tummy hurt? Are you going to throw up?" Eventually she just gave me those blank teenage stares that I know are coming all too soon as she tried to drown out my repetitive questioning with TV.

Luckily there were no more puking incidents but don't think I wasn't ready for it.

We pulled into Wichita around 10:30 pm (we'd left Houston about 10:30 am). So the timing wasn't bad. We stayed at the awesome Hotel at Old Town. Mike found it years ago when we were first married. Actually, I think he may have stayed there once when we were dating and he had driven up to Nebraska to visit my family. You know that boys was smitten if he did that drive and he didn't have too. There was no family obligation! We always try to stay there now.

So this is our spot and every time we go we swear that we are going to someday spend an extra day because it is in a great spot with lots to do around it. But really, who plans to spend a family getaway in Wichita, KS? The manager of the hotel said they have a really great zoo and botanical gardens though. Who woulda thunk? Next time! Next time.

So that's day one. This picture was an absolute FAIL by the way. We walked out and it was a bit chilly! I had to get a picture of the sign though. And I need to see if I can find the old one of Mike and I when we were young and newly married.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bluebonnet Photo Session: FAIL

So the state flower down here is the bluebonnet and some people try to take their kids out, take pictures and risk the weeds, burrs, spiders and fire ants in hopes of capturing THE perfect shot. Like this one…(this is Kendall’s teacher and her family)

Well...our photo session should be called "Itchy and Scratchy go see the bluebonnets." To say it was a disaster photo session is an understatement.
However I managed to capture a few decent shots. Like 14 okay pictures out of 215 shots (okay maybe not that many but close). But it was because:

#1) there were weeds and bugs galore amidst the ever-so-lovely bluebonnets. #2) Avery just hates the camera. You'd think by her reaction that I have a permanent disfigurement on my face to which she makes awkward faces and tries to politely look anywhere but my eyes/lens. So here you go already.

Oh wait, it gets better. I didn’t even mention my embarrassment as I’m yelling at my kids to “JUST FREAKING STAND STILL AND SMILE FOR ONE MINUTE SO THAT I CAN GET ONE DECENT SHOT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!” as a lovely lady that lives in the neighborhood was walking past with her dog.

I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

Then to make matters worse she was really nice and offered to take a picture with me in it as well. I did not take her up on her offer but she let the girls pet her dog and it gave them a brief break from their mommy forcing them to smile and stand still and ACT LIKE THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS. Ok, no really, here are the pictures. I need to get some sleep. Much love to you all!!!!!