Sunday, July 31, 2011

How Friday Night Lights Almost Ruined My Marriage

Do you ever feel angry at your spouse for no apparent reason?  Just me? 

Well, it happens to me every now and then and Friday night was one of those time. I was struck with a lot of frustration...all of it directed at my beautiful husband. I'm not sure exactly why this happens but it seems as though because he is my favorite person, my soul mate, my forever, I logically most often get irrationally angry at him.

Alright, it's not logical but it's how it works.  I can fake nice to almost every one else, but Alex is going to get all my emotions, even the misdirected anger.  (He also gets a huge amount of joy so let's not start feeling all weepy for Alex people.) 

I can't tell you what started it exactly but I felt irritated immediately after the kids went to bed.  I just didn't want to be around him.  Something about being back at home, adjusting to life here again? The heat? The moon?  Something.

Once we started watching Friday Night Lights, the finale was major, I was fully pissed at him.  I basically wanted to be by myself until he paid for what he did....whatever that was.

Spoiler alert!  If you haven't watched the last Friday Night Lights and you plan to do so, go do that, and then read this....but be sure you come back to read this because I have some amazing, really fantastic things to say as usual.  I'm basically going to change you life. Or not, but you'll never know.

When Eric Taylor was being a total asshole about not even considering moving to Philadelphia for Tammy's amazing job opportunity, I wanted to punch Alex right in the face.  I was so angry with him.

(Him being Alex, not Eric Taylor. Eric is just a character people, try to be reasonable.)

Did Alex agree with Eric's shitty behavior? No. 

Did he say he understood the difficulty Eric was having?  Not exactly.

Did he say I could never have a life of my own and I must forever go through life making all major decisions based on his job, his passions, his dreams?  Absolutely not....but I thought I saw him smirk a little when Eric didn't cave during Tammy's crying outside the restaurant and what else am I supposed to infer?  I know what it means when my husband shifts his mouth and blinks while watching TV. 

Oh. I. Know.

What?  You don't watch Friday Night Lights and you are totally confused?  Shame on you.  Amazing show and this would all be crystal-ish clear if you did.  I swear it's the only reason why you are confused.

And no, the fact that I started my period on Friday has absolutely nothing to do with any of this.

Just so everyone can understand what is going on, as much as that is ever going to happen here, Tammy and Eric Taylor are married and live in small town Texas.  Eric is a football coach and has been for 18 years, guiding the direction of their lives. Tammy is finally offered her dream job, but they would have to leave Texas and move to Philadelphia.  Eric was all sorts of closed off to even considering this and Tammy was crushed, but didn't want to ruin her marriage over it so she decided she would give up her dream and be the bigger person because she's amazing and I love her.

All caught up?

So that smirk.  I know I saw it.  Or imagined it really well, which is practically the same thing.

I genuinely felt angry at Alex.  He knew it too and thought it was hilarious.  (This was annoying, but also very liberating because I could fully admit he had done nothing but I was mad all the same and he was fine with that.  I love him for this.  He accepts my irrational behavior, provided I recognize it is irrational and keep saying marginally funny comments about it.  )

So why was I feeling so angry at Alex during all of this? 

I think there is always a small subconscious element of resentment I feel toward him after I return from Indiana.  I genuinely am at peace with living here, but deep down I might feel a tad angry about not feeling like there is even the option to relocate and think about how badly I want to be there.

I think my therapist would say that I felt like Alex would act the way Eric was acting in the show and that made me angry.  I think my therapist is a smart, smart man.  I think that I could totally see myself being offered my dream job as Dean of Admissions at a small college in Philadelphia and Alex not wanting to leave his football coaching career here in Texas for my dream. I'm not even sure what's going on here. 

I told Alex why I thought I was mad and you know what he said?  Brace yourself.

He thinks he would have acted the same way as Eric. 

Take a breath people.  Take a moment and chill.

He fully admitted Eric was being selfish, an asshole, but he related to why he would be like that about such a huge life move.  BUT, he also related to how Eric came around and in the last moment decided it was in fact time for Tammy to have her time to follow her dream in their life together, so he agreed to move. 

You didn't think NBC was going to end a show with everyone all pissed at the main character, right?

So, I was angry and possibly I had a validated concern (in a fictional, not in that situation at all and it's unreasonable to get angry about something that hasn't even and probably won't happen sort of way,) but by the end of the show I felt better. 

Maybe Alex isn't evil after all?

It was nice to hear Alex say that he understood the process it took Eric, but that he also realized that Eric made the right decision....otherwise I would have had to leave my husband over his thoughts on a semi-popular NBC television drama, and that just seems crazy, and I do not engage in crazy.  Clearly.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Highlights of The Return Drive

We did it.  The journey is over and I am back. 

How was the drive?  Well....

I said goodbye to my parents and my childhood home and we started off.  The tears started as soon as I pulled off their street.  I cried as my children's CD played Happy Trails and I drove out of Carmel.  I almost immediately ran a red light from feeling so disoriented and sad.

I should have been crying because I had two days of driving with my three children, dog, and Mother-in-law ahead of me.  I wasn't thinking of that pain yet though.  See how disoriented I was? 

The trip was looooong.  Each stretch of highway between cities felt like days of never ending fields.  It was boring and completely without enough Starbucks locations to keep me sane.

The highlights of the trip were:

  • The amazing assortment of adult entertainment and novelty store options between Indianapolis and Austin.  Cheesy and sleazy marketing abounds for these establishment.  Very entertaining.
  • An insane amount of construction traffic.  Grrrrrr.
  • Scare tactics of eternal damnation on billboards for an array of different sins and ominous crosses in fields.  It was a nice contrast to the adult entertainment ads.  These two groups should get together.
  • A drive up liquor store/gas station visit brought me great pride when a car of four young men in baseball hats and wife beaters decided to yell, whistle, and honk at me after they drove through the service window.  I felt so proud and classy as I waited for my dog to poop.
  • Aiden and Cole's perpetual fight over the 30 some markers they had to share.  It's really important to have the right shade of blue or green and I am choosing to commend their perfectionism in their coloring rather than screaming at the insanity of their inability to color a light saber light blue.
  • Planters Energy Mix of nuts and chocolate covered something from heaven.  Amazing.
  • My MIL and I drove 11 hours, dreaming of how delicious a margarita would taste, only to find out our hotel was located in a dry county.  WHY do those still exist?
  • Finding a "cage" to put my children and dog in outside the hotel so I could stop yelling at everyone to stay out of the parking lot.  I think it was a basketball court left unattended.  It worked.
  • My realization that rest stops creep me out and I am convinced every child I see is actually a missing child and I am watching a crime in progress and doing nothing.  Why do I feel like this?
  • Cole having some major diarrhea in a rest stop bathroom which forced me to think about all things rest stop related, and vow that Cole will never again eat licorice.
  • A fun stop at a Starbucks outside Dallas where we met Alex's Aunt Cheryl....made sweeter by the knowledge that she actually called Starbucks headquarters to ask them which Starbucks we should go to, which I just find hilarious and wonderful.
Overall it went well.  It was long, but it was relatively easy.  Other than some whining, I was reminded that my kids really are pretty good.  (I will forget this quickly.)

The highlight of being back?  Alex had the house professionally cleaned while we were gone so I could come home to a clean house.  Amazing.  I forgot how wonderful it is to not have to work myself. 

I like him, he was good to come home to.  I guess he's sort of worth living in Texas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Last Day: Goodbye Indiana

I'm packing.  It's almost over. I will be in a car tomorrow driving west, driving south.

I'm going home.

No.  I'm going back to Texas.  This is home.  This is what made me. This is my place. 

This is where I always feel like I belong.  This is where I am never the odd one out, never the only one who's parents don't have a long history of hunting or roaming on large pieces of land or saying y'all.  No one here boasts constantly about how much better their state is than any other place on Earth, which I find so refreshing.

People here think that 90 is too hot and 40 isn't that cold and I feel that those people are sane. You know, not a single person here assumes I named my dog after Indiana Jones instead of the state.  They all get it and love it.  I like that.

I have a pit in my stomach from the ball of emotions this departure always elicits. I feel sad, anxious, excited, guilty, disappointed, ready, and unwilling.  I feel my throat tighten and my eyes well when discussing the gathering and packing of the four thousands little pieces of myself and my children that are scattered around this house...and it's not just because picking up sort of sucks.

I don't want to go, but I don't really want to stay.

Each time I start to pack I feel that I haven't had enough time to soak in the wonder of my childhood home, the peace of my family.  I don't want to end the joy of seeing my children with my parents, and the thrill of their ability to roam all around my parent's property to explore.  

I want to linger on memory lane a little longer.  I want to see the sites and soak it in.

I haven't had enough time with Alissa, Sara, and Julie to quench my need for these types of people next to me, physically present.  I have really good friends in Texas, but it's simply different with someone that has known you with braces, making bad decisions about boys, and has spent a lot of time with your family. 

I crave these friends when I am away.  On the bad days I dream about being able to hop in a car to see Kathryn or tell Alissa to come over, just because I really want her with me....and know that there is little that would keep her from coming. 

I am anxious to get back to the routine of life and a separate bedroom for my children so I have a chance to sleep again.  I know I will quickly fall back into our normal patterns of grocery store runs, trips to the gym and nap time.  I know this will feel comforting, but as I prepare to leave here it is difficult to relish in that, knowing I'm leaving all this.

I know that months will pass before I see my parents again and next time they might seem a little older, a little less capable.  While I'm cleaning children's messes and running errands my parents are here doing their thing and we are all missing out on what is left...and I pray there is a lot left.  I can't help but feel a rise of panic when I say goodbye though because it seems like far too much could change between now and our next meeting. 

How many more times do I get to come to my childhood home before my parents finally decide that the yard, the tennis court, the stairs, the space are all just too much for the two of them?  How many more nights do I get to be in MY room?  How much longer do I get to sit on the patio and listen to the click and swish of my parents' sprinkler system, which somehow has come to be extraordinarily comforting and soothing to my soul? 

When is it all going to shift?  When are my parents no longer going to be in the exact role that I left them in?  When will this no longer feel like my home?

I don't want these changes.

I haven't had enough time to marvel at my parents use of the words bowel movement when discussing my children's poop...or when they are feeling short on time, B.M.  I want my Mom to talk about "overhauls" instead of overalls and watch my Dad's face scrunch in confusion as I explain for the millionth time who Amy Winehouse is.

I want to stay.  I want to go.

I want to freeze time here and move forward in Texas.

It just doesn't seem like too much to ask, right?

Whether I want to or not though, tomorrow will come and I will find myself in a minivan with three kids, a dog, and my mother-in-law driving for a hotel in Arkansas.  Thursday I will pull into my driveway in Texas and no doubt will find that exciting. 

I will get to be with my husband again and that by itself is almost enough to make me want to hop in the van right now, but it doesn't erase the sadness of leaving here.  I will mourn the end of time here, and will no doubt find comfort in my daily life there....but right now it's killing me. 

Leaving is not fun.  Just not fun at all.

Oh, and I'm going to have to take my three kids with me everywhere when I get home since no one else will be around to watch them.  Now I am seriously crying.

Can It Be A Book Club If You Mostly Drink?

This is just an FYI post to let you all know that I am going to start a book club.  I'm going to do it in Austin, mostly with my friends, but I have little doubt that I'll be discussing the books here so I thought I'd give you all a chance to join in the fun.

I am so nice.

The first book is going to be The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. 

I've read the first twenty pages and I'm fascinated. The basic idea is that the author decided she wanted to be happier with her life.  She wanted to appreciate and enjoy her very ordinary, but fantastic life.  She's where I got the phrase "the days are long, but the years are short."  The book chronicles her twelve month journey to try to find happiness in her daily life.

So, if you want to join in then go get it and start reading.  I'll be talking about it and at some point there will be some sort of "formal" discussion....which might just be me telling you I'm done with the book, here are my thoughts, what are yours, now drink a bottle of wine and think about it. 

It's seriously intellectual around here. Brace yourself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Amish, Nor My Mom, Can Touch My Parenting Skills

I just spent the last hour and a half putting Cole back in bed one hundred and thirty freakin' two times. 

I know what you are thinking.  "But Leslie, The Bachelorette is on right now.  Didn't you tell Cole that?"

Yes, I just missed the majority of The Bachelorette. 

Yes, I told Cole.  Of course I told him. I'm not sure he could hear me though over his shrieking.

Cole has officially gone to the dark side with his sleeping behavior here.  I mean, wrecking my opportunity to watch the love story of Ashley and Ben, Ashley and Constantine, and Ashley and JP unfold on Fantasy Suite night is simply unforgivable. 

We all have limits.  I have reached mine.  You don't mess with the opportunity to forgo individual rooms.

It's simply not done.

I know it's probably just time for him to be home.  He's been begging to go home the last few days, whereas Aiden breaks in to tears at the thought of leaving Indiana.  I know that Cole desperately needs a routine to function and that has been tough here, but for the love of all that is good does he have to jack with my reality TV?!!?!?!?

 It was time for me to go Super Nanny on him.  There was no talking to him, only putting him back in bed. I was the picture of solid parenting.

I sat outside the bedroom door reading my new book, which I am loving by the way and will have to dedicate a few hundred posts to how fascinated I am, and simply picked him up and put him back in bed every time he came to the door.  It sucked.

What was super fun was that my Mom would periodically pop by, twitching from the sound of a grandchild screaming and ask me if I was sure he was OK?  Didn't he sound scared?  Why didn't I go downstairs while she tried to lay down with him?  Couldn't she just bring him a cracker?  Leslie!?!?!?

I was fairly confident that she placed this sign in my room right before we arrived to remind me that I'm too hard on my kids.

Thank you MaryAnn and the Amish artists of the 80s, I'll keep this in mind.

Tough love is difficult for her.  Actually so is being laid back.  There really isn't a happy place if a problem arises.  She is understandably uncomfortable when one of the kids has a tantrum.

I considered it a huge success though when after the hour and a half and 132 returns to his bed, Cole came to the door while my Mom was talking to me and said, "Good night Mommy.  Would you cover me with my blanket?  I love you.  I'll see you in the morning."

Parenting GENIUS!  The Amish never would have gotten Cole to that place.

They also wouldn't have been concerned about The Bachelorette though......probably. It's a really good show.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Doesn't Like Rock A Bye Baby?

I know, I know.  I lied again.  There was no recipe-ish for the third week in a row yesterday.  My deepest apologies for those of you that are actually worried about these sorts of things.

The recipe-ish is officially on hold. I am back to being honest with myself, and the truth is that writing while I am in Indiana, 100% without a routine, it's just more difficult than I can handle.  I'm on Pause.

(Side note: Please take a moment to listen to Pitbull's song Pause in my honor today.)

I had a rough day yesterday.  A day filled with tears behind sunglasses and lingering moments in the bathroom while I sobbed.  I was oh so very sad.

I tend to have days like this. I feel overwhelmed by what I have to do, what I can't do, what I am not doing well and it rests on me, presses on my very being, so much so that the only way to release a little pressure is through some tears. 

Does everyone have days like that?

I have lost my van key.  It's been gone since the first day and I'm sick of looking for it, sick of hearing my Father ask me if I've found it, and sick of thinking about paying for the overpriced replacement key with money we don't have. It's a tad frustrating to feel so irresponsible.

I have library books stacked at home that I meant to return before I left, but I just didn't. Then I thought I asked Alex to do it while I was gone, but apparently we had some communication failure because that didn't happen. 

The books have been sitting there and the emails from the library explaining my increasing fines might as well include a brief statement about how surprised they are that I can actually handle three children because I can't even get it together to return some freakin' books without paying the actual cost of the books in fines.  And P.S. why can't you get your middle child to stop hiding in the damn pretend dog house and scream for you whenever you visit?  Get it together lady.

The library actually might be on to something in the judgement of my inability to get it together because the last few days I haven't even been able to handle my kids. I know it's not going to surprise that many people, but Cole is wreaking me.  Wreaking me.

Cole has decided that any time he is told "no" or he has to be in bed he is going to whine with the most annoying of sounds a child is capable of making.  I have held my hand over his mouth more than a few times over the last few days in an attempt to prevent him from waking the entire house.

I find that when one of my children is behaving horribly at my parents' house, or anywhere other than home, there is an extra sting to it.  It feels like my failure is on display, even though I realize that is crazy.

I feel judged though. I feel like my Mother is saying to everyone behind my back how she doesn't understand what is wrong with Cole or me because Kyle and I never acted like that. 

(We also never left an area if she told us to stay, even if we were one.  We never yelled at her or had problems with potty training.  We did as we were told and we ate everything. We must have been amazing...or perhaps the message is that she was so amazing?  Hmmmm, either way it's super helpful to hear in the middle of your child's worst moments.)

I feel like I don't really blame my entire family for thinking that Cole's tantrums are beyond annoying, but I also feel frustrated that anyone is thinking anything not so great about my kid.  It doesn't matter whether or not I agree, because it feels like everyone must be also thinking not so great things about me.

My brother and my sister-in-law are amazingly patient and supportive in helping me with the kids, even Cole, but I would be lying if I said I don't feel embarrassed when Cole starts into one of his moods.  Did I just call the most annoying thing on Earth a "mood?"  See, I'm disillusioned, I'm getting "used" to it.  It's a state of horrific behavior, it's no mood.

After a hellish trip to the Children's Museum with him yesterday where he peed his pants in the Diego exhibit and screamed bloody murder when I informed him there was no way we were going to see the dinosaur exhibit....again. He even woke me up from a nap to whine and complain about his desperation for chocolate and vanilla bunny crackers.

(This was an unforgivable offense. I'm confident I am going to hang on to at least a little bit of anger about this for the next 10-12 years.)

While trying to get ready to go out with my girlfriends for dinner last night Cole decided he was going to melt into his tantrum and whining mode just before I left.  It was more than I could bear. 

I wrestled him into a bath, pajamas, and informed him there would be no stories due to his behavior.  He thrashed and yelled at me about his hatred of me, something fun he picked up from his big brother.  He wouldn't talk, only screamed or made some sort of whining combination of the words mama and dada.

Can I blame this on his being a middle child?  He is seriously jacked up right now.

I actually told him that I couldn't talk to him because all I wanted to do was slap him due to my anger. Yikes.  That is some solid parenting. I wish I scrapbooked and could make a page about this entire episode.  I think I'd use orange paper and try to find some cool stickers depicting full blown rage.  It'd be nice for him to look back on and remember. 

What is wrong with me?

When he asked me to sing to him as he went to bed I informed him I needed a 10 minute cool down period before I could do that.  I felt so very adult and responsible in trying to give myself some time to step away before I was more angry toward him.  I felt a slightly renewed belief that I might not need CPS to stop by to protect him from me.

When I finally was able to calm down and returned to sing Cole the one short song I had promised, I sang him Rock a Bye Baby.  I was feeling better, regrouped and encouraged at how calmly Cole was lying in the bed....until he interrupted the song to say, "I hate this song."

Yep, I was done.  Just left. 
And that's how I ended up like this exactly 40 minutes later.

I had two of these Razzamatazz martinis, a rum and coke and a Baileys.

It was such a good relief, mostly because I was with these amazing ladies, who never add to my feelings of inadequacy, irresponsibility and poor parenting.  I so very needed a little time out for myself with some women that I love. 

I cried the entire car ride on the way to see them, and then didn't stop smiling once I was with them. 

Now if only a night out and four drinks could help me find my van key.  I might try that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did You Know I Was Almost Ann Taylor?

Did any one think I was perhaps trapped underneath a large object?  Kidnapped?  Lost in the joy of Indiana life?  Sitting in the corner with a glass of wine and crying about the dramatic change in weather here? 

(It's over 90 and basically 95% humidity.  It's swell. It's cry worthy.)

Well, the truth is that I've been overwhelmed by the family activities around here.  Survival has taken all of my available resources and there has been nothing left for the blog.  Sorry folks.

I'm back though, at least for tonight to give you a quick run down on things.  I don't want to leave everyone hanging for too long. I certainly don't want everyone getting hooked on all the other more amazing blogs out there and ditching out on me

Please don't leave me.  I need you.  I'm lost without your comments of camaraderie and support.

Moving on....Alex has come and gone since I last posted and it was wonderful to have him here.  Believe it or not he did not suggest we move here, nor did he hand his resume to even one person.  He didn't even try to get a job here. Not once.

He left earlier today and ever since I have been regrouping my plan to convince him Indiana desperately needs us. It's a pretty rough, extremely lame plan currently.  I'm not optimistic.  Texas seems to be forever in our future.

While he was here we went to the Children's Museum, the zoo, had a birthday party for my niece, had our family pictures taken by the amazing and much loved Sara Morris (and felt extreme disappointment in our children's ability to smile and sit, which we were sure they could handle and were proven incorrect over and over again,) welcomed the arrival of my brother, his wife and two kids, and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get away from our own children. 

It turns out that after a week or so in Indiana, they are equally annoying here as they are in Texas. 

This was a really devastating discovery.  I'm still trying to recover.
Let there be no doubt.  Joy still abounds here in Indiana, but it is definitely peppered with a lot more of real life.  Remember how annoying real life can be? 

Cole's been sleeping on the floor of our room since my brother arrived and has started a fun habit of whining around 3 or 4 in the morning.  He sounds like a sick cat or a really, really annoying baby.  I don't know what a sick cat sounds like but I have reasonably confident that I never, ever want to be around one.

Dealing with Cole like this every night has been challenging to say the least.  Aiden is also sleeping on our floor and everything feels very desperate when he starts this.  Making him stop is next to impossible and the ridiculous forms of discipline we are using at 4 am are sad to say the least.

So far we have threatened to zip him upside down into his sleeping back, take away juice from him forever, force him to sleep in the basement and steal his new Star Wars figures.  It's solid Midwest parenting.

Life is definitely tainted when your children are regularly jacking with your sleep.  Stella also has been extremely defiant and very challenging to keep up with this last week.  I'm not sure exactly what happened but I'm not enjoying it at all.

Yes, she's playing with a trap my Dad uses to catch chipmunks.  It's how she rolls here.  Do not try to take it, or anything else she wants, away from her.  She will attack you, and any chipmunks you have caught.

The good news is that I found prom dress from my junior year in high school.  I went through great lengths to draw this dress, design the perfect straps, find the perfect fabric,  and then work with a very old lady to actually sew it.  I loved it. 

So when I saw it sitting in my closet, the only dress my Mom has saved from my time dressing up for formal events, I had to see if it still was as magical as I remembered it.  Well....

Imagine my wonderful high school boyfriend, Mike, dancing with me instead of me looking sort of weird.  See how excited my baby nephew is in the background.  He was elated about being able to see the dress for the first time.

Here is a more clear photo of the dress, but even worse photography done by my brother. 

He probably was too distracted by how he would capture the essence of the real show stopping feature of this dress.  The bow.

I think you'll agree that the size of this bow is 100% appropriate. 

Why I have never been asked to design a dress for anyone is beyond my comprehension.  That bow is simply genius.  After this dress was finished I was fairly confident I would soon be designing an entire line...sadly it never happened. 

Can you believe that this is the sum total of my experience as a designer? Shocking, I know.

What was most sad is how my boobs were too small for the chest of this dress and my hips were definitely pulling.  I'd like to thank my three children for these phenomenal changes to my body. I can't believe my boobs are actually smaller than when I was 17.  It just feels mean.

I'm going to do my best to be back with a recipe-ish tomorrow folks, but I have kids to discipline, weather to bitch about, and most likely there is a whole hidden world of things from my past that would amuse me almost as much as that dress did, so I'm not sure I'll have time. 

I hope you all are doing well!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I've Now Resorted To A Photo Post To Get Out Of Any Work And Share My Annoying Joy

I am in full slacker mode folks.  Please lower your expectations and read some of your favorites from the past.  Or, just this once, find another, slightly less fantastic blog to fill your moments.  Be sure it is slightly less fantastic though, I need you back here soon.

Alex has arrived and is enjoying the escape from the fire that is Texas.  I even took him to the rec center and had him float around on the lazy river to push him over the edge of simply needing to move here.  I think that if the temperature could remain below 90 for the duration of his visit I could persuade him, but since the forecast is not cooperating I assume we'll be returning to Texas. 

What happened to my meteorological magic?  I'm such a failure.

Remember how I've been talking about all these photos I've been taking but I haven't been able to get a cord to connect my camera to my computer?  Well, I know many of you have been up late imagining what all of these photos are and when, for the love of God am I going to get that freakin' cord!??! 

First, calm down.

Second, you will probably be disappointed.

Third, here we go.

There are few things Stella loves more than a ride on the Tractor, with Tractor.

I have no idea what is going on here, but I like pictures where she looks funny, so here you go.

Aiden just learned to ride on a borrowed, very big bike and he was elated. 

Why would you play tennis on your Grandparent's tennis court when you can race bikes on it?
Cole melts my heart.

This was the most adorable fight ever captured.

Peppered with hugs and LOTS of giggles.

Seriously, her face keeps contorting and it's hilarious.

I have never seen Cole more delighted about falling water. The sprinkler was a big success with the boys.

This is basically all Stella cared about though.  This cat makes her beyond happy.
I vividly remember doing this with neighborhood friends and seeing my boys relish in the fun of backyard sprinklers is so wonderful, I love it.
Even Indiana wants to play in Indiana
Stella is very reflective here.  There's a lot on her mind.
That's it people.  I'll keep posting photos as they happen. But, I don't promise to do it in a timely manner.

I'm trying to take a bit of a break while I am here and focus more on relaxing and less on trying to figure out how to make baking banana bread amusing. It's a very challenging role I have.

I hope you all are enjoying summer and have found some of your own magic, even if you aren't fortunate enough to be in Indiana.   I suppose there are a few other places that might be OK.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Variety of This Post Is Sort of Like A Really Small Newpaper, Without Any Actual News

Apparently Alex ran into a telephone pole with his car today. I say apparently, because I haven't heard from him. I called, but no return call yet.

You know how I found out?


I love me some Facebook, but I would prefer to find out information about members of my immediate family running into large, potential harmful, pieces of wood via the phone or in person.

I'm very touchy-feely like that.

Since Alex was able to post on Facebook I am assuming he is alright, but I guess he could have asked someone at the hospital to log in to his account and update his status.  Does that happen often?


Before we left for Indiana I did a little research to find a Crossfit location near my parents' home so I could workout.  I was convinced that I would want to continue the intense workouts, even informing my parents that I would probably be going three times a week to the 6:30 am class.

This is where you take a moment to sit back and laugh. 

Crazy Leslie.  I haven't been once and tomorrow marks a week here.

I do need some form of exercise in order to stay reasonably sane so I have started running around my parents' neighborhood.  This is strange because I despise running outdoors.  It might be psychological, allergy related, or just my weakness in any sort of heat, but running outside is too painful for me that I have to stop right away. 

I'm a very complicated, delicate person.

Fortunately it's been working really well here.  I've actually enjoyed my running outings.  Sometimes I run, sometimes I walk, sometimes I sprint and feel like an idiot when a car drives by, but I'm loving it.


Whereas yesterday we were living large at the fancy pool at the rec center, paying $18 just to walk through a gate toward the pool, this afternoon we've chosen a more simpler time.

Bathing suits are optional here in Indiana.  It's such a slutty state.

I'd like to say that Cole enjoyed this just as much as the lazy river and the fun slide and shooting water at the rec center, but that would be a huge lie.  He realized that he was lying in a $5 piece of discarded plastic that just appeared in my parents' yard. 

He played, but he knows there is something better out there.  I'm not raising a fool...well, not about this.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Reform Released Sex Offender Tracking Options and Watch Stella Eat Onions - No They Do Not Overlap

First, just in case you saw some strange posts from me, I was not posting random old pictures which I have previously used in posts as an attempt to get out of blogging while I am on vacation in Indiana. 

(I am having motivation trouble, but have not yet gone to those lengths.  I like to think that I would at least always use a new photo.)

I posted four old photos when trying to delete them because I was trying to watch TV while blogging, something I am apparently incapable of doing. 

Last night I decided to throw a dark cloud over my time here in Indiana.  I had been feeling so happy that I was starting to itch.  It was very uncomfortable for me. 

What can bring sadness and doom fast?  A Diane Sawyer ABC Special on Jaycee Dugard. 

I don't usually take the time to watch too much beyond highly intellectual programming like The Bachelorette, American Idol, Modern Family and such, but last night I was drawn in fast.  My mother often likes to watch British television on PBS so when I glanced up from my computer while she was searching for the PBS station and saw Diane, I spoke up.  It was time to hear from an American on the TV. 

I was entralled and disgusted and terrified throughout the interview.  There are just so many aspects of this heinous crime that are difficult to comprehend, but I think what struck me most was how amazing Jaycee reacted to it all.  She was a phenomenal example of perservering after a tragedy, not holding on to anger and living life for now.

I could not believe that this girl (woman really) was not completely jacked up. She appeared to be so rationale.  She expressed her love for life now and I didn't see a moment of bitterness.  How could someone in such a horrible situation not be filled with resentment and rage? 

I see people still stewing over wrongs against them from high school that had nothing to do with any physical or psychological damage.  Jaycee Dugard is amazing. I am grateful to her for writing her book honestly and at least appearing to be a woman of values and grace despite her situation.

On the other hand....geez oh man.  I found myself on that watchdog website for hours searching for sex offenders near my house, near my parent's house, my in-laws, etc.  I clicked on creepy looking men and attempted to memorize their address and facial features so that I could be sure that I never roll the windows down in the minivan when we cruise by those houses.

I am fairly confident I won't remember any of their faces though so I felt like a failure as a protector of my kids. It seems like it would be far easier to just tattoo the words "I AM DISTURBED" accross the offenders' foreheads immediately following their trials in order to allow me to give my kids a more clear cut warning about who to stay away from while out biking and what not.  

That Bearenstein Bears book on stranger danger is helpful, but a large tattoo would really clear things up.  It also would shorten that story a lot and that would help me get to the point when reading that to my kids for a casual teaching moment. 

Who do I take this brillant idea to?  Perhaps Obama or Oprah?

I also spent way too long reading their convictions and wondering how the hell someone gets to the point where they find it OK, or at least worth doing, to sexually abuse a child of 11 or 8 or 5 or whatever! What is going on inside their heads?  I don't know if I want to know.

All I do know is that none of my kids will be walking to or from the school bus stop until I feel comfortable with them carrying a knife and/or reciting the entire Bearanstein Bears book to me verbatim.  Seriously, it's long.  Why do those books have to be so long?

In other sad news, my joyful and perhaps boastful post about the joy of Indiana weather has come back to bite me in the ass.  It has given several individuals ammunition for blaming me for forcing the temperature here up past that horrid 90 degree mark.  Yes, it was 93 today and it sort-of, kind-of  sucked.

I can't tell you how many times I heard, "oh you're from Texas?  So YOU are the one that brought this heat here." 

Yes people, I have a confession.  I can actually control weather patterns. 

It's pretty amazing. I'm pretty amazing. 

We did pathetically need to escape the heat and therefore spent this morning inside the cool and magical confines of the Carmel, IN public library.  I would move here tomorrow for the library alone.  It is huge and jam packed with fantastic things to entice children to fall completely in love with the idea of reading.  My boys didn't want to leave. 

Well, until a mentally disabled woman started to follow us around and ask Cole, very loudly, why he was wearing those cowboy boots!?!?  He wears his boots around often, but this did not sit well with this woman. 

You know what else did not sit well with her?  The fact that we were from Texas. 

I'm not sure if she hated the idea of the state by itself, since she kept mumbling about how scary Texas is, or that we were clearly going to have to steal someone's card to check out all our books.

She was a bit unsettling, but she wasn't aggressive or anything.  I was proud of the boys for not saying any inappropriate comments out loud about this woman's off behavior.  She really was a gold mine for obnoxious statements that could have easily poured out of either of their mouths. 

I also was really proud of myself for not grabbing the boys and running after watching that Jaycee Dugard special.  Did I mention that I was amazing?

Later this afternoon my parents kept Stella so that I could take the boys to a local recreation center.  The pool there is simply amazing.  If you live around Indy and haven't been to the Monon Center, please go there as soon as possible because I believe happiness might be one of the chemicals in the pool water. 

There is a lazy river that we cruised around four times.  I literally sat in an inner tube and so did Aiden and Cole and we floated around.  Best pool activity EVER. 

It could have only been improved by an adult beverage to sip on while we drifted.  Apparently that isn't allowed.

It was relaxing and completely absent of any physical exertion on my part.  If I could get Alex on that river a few times I think he might want to move here too. 

The main pool area was almost better.  The boys could walk the entire time and spent 90% of the time climbing up this large play structure, going down a slide where I would wave from my lounge position near the bottom, and then giggling with other children.

Do not be concerned.  I never let them out of my sight.  There was zero chance of someone successfully stealing either of the boys. 

I was so happy to be at the pool with the boys and not even have to do anything with them, I bought them a slushie right before we left.  This was pretty much crazy Mommy behavior since it was dinner.  (I was drunk on the joy I felt about my low level of involvment in an entire two hour pool experience.)

Please, no one tell my mother.  She is already convinced that I don't feed my children vegetables and am jacking up all things food related in general with them so this would sort of push her over the edge. 

If you need incentive to keep this secret, just look at the joy the boys felt after I told them we were in fact not buying water, but instead ice with sugar poured over it.

To wrap up the day of Indiana excitement, Stella ate a large pile of sauteed onions, an entire chicken sausage link, yellow squash, zuccini, a pile of blueberries, half a banana, three large strawberries, a glass of milk and a graham cracker.  Keep in mind that she still only has TWO teeth.  She's clearly inheirted those amazing genes I have. 

I wonder if she will be able to control the weather too?

And if you haven't seen a baby shovel in strips of onion, it's pretty awesome. 

Pretend she's feeding herself, that you can actually see that it's an onion, and that I have a bra on so that you can pretend that I do in fact have breasts.

I have no idea why I felt I should include that photo, but it's late and it makes sense now. 

Have a great day everyone!  You know it's going to be good in Indiana!

Also, if you haven't clicked on the Top Mommy Blogs icon on the right side of my blog in a while, please do it again!  You can click daily and each time you do it I get a vote.  The more traffic I get, the better life gets, or perhaps not much changes but it's fun for me.

Thanks for all the support everyone!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Brace Yourself, I'm Really Freakin' Happy

You might not get an overwhelming number of posts from me about how gosh darn fantastic life is, not because it isn't, but more because I'm not designed for an outpouring of that much optimism all the time...especially during the grind of daily life with my three children at home.

I also like to vent and release in this space where my sarcasm can make me feel better and your "me-too's" cure my loneliness. 

But today?  Well, today was just about as good as it gets for me and other than the absence of my love. (Alex, just to be clear) I pretty much never want to leave summer in Indiana.

Yesterday's high was 82 people.  Eighty-freakin-two!  Can I try to describe how life altering it is to not sweat when I simply walk 30 feet in the sunshine?  It changes everything.

My kids know it's different too.  They've been different.  It's hard to articulate the exact emotion they have been feeling, I see it so rarely in them.  I think, but I can't be sure, but it might be....


The boys are so confused by all the wonderful roaming around here that they have completely forgotten that they are supposed to be fighting non stop and bitching to me about, well, everything that isn't going exactly as they think it should.  I think they've even forgotten to not cooperate, they've been awesome.

I have watched my boys run outside with pure joy from 8:30 am until 8:30 pm.Amazing.

The neighborhood here is filled with little boys for Aiden and Cole to play with and yards without fences that allow them to roam in freedom. They can explore different places and find a friend along the way.

There are woods for them to hike through and discover.  The path leads to a creek for throwing rocks and stomping in knee high water.  The opportunities for little boy fun abound.

My father has filled their stalled moments with tractor rides (for Stella too), setting traps for chipmunks, watching chipmunks run free when set loose, slip n'slides, tennis lessons, and long discussions about insects and shucking corn.

He even lets Stella climb all over the gazebo and explore...well, anything she wants to and she loves it.

All three kids are eating mass quantities of food.  There is something so very satisfying about seeing them devour salmon, corn, green beans, all the berries they can get their hands on then washing it down with huge glasses of ice cold milk.

Even Stella will lay down in the heavenly grass that is here.  It's soft and bright green and so unlike the straw we have at home.  Even on it's best days, Texas grass is prickly and uncomfortable.  I want to roll up all the grass here and take it home for my children to enjoy, to play in, to roll in without fear of fire ants and even do crazy things like walk in it....without any shoes.

This is where an adorable photo of Stella being walked by my father through their backyard would be inserted if I could find the appropriate cord, but fear it might be in Texas. 

It isn't just the kids though.  Things are just easy here.  Life flows freely and without discomfort. I want to permanently live in summer vacation in Indiana....someone please tell me how this could be so.

This morning I went for a run at 11 and didn't even vomit or pass out from heat exhaustion.  I was so confused by how fit I was that I felt the need to do push ups and sit ups to "challenge" myself.  I'll clearly drunk on joy.

I went to out for Starbucks and some shopping with my life long best friend, Alissa and just enjoyed being able to get away for a few hours together without an intricately planned and expensive vacation to one another's home. There is nothing like being so comfortable, so free with a life long friend.  The love runs deep and the joy of just hanging out is unmatched. 

As an extra bonus I ran into a friend from my sorority back in the Purdue days.  She is oh so funny and wonderful to be around, I was elated to see her and her sweet family.

I never run into sorority sisters from Purdue around Austin, which is just mean.  Thank you Indianapolis.

I even found a bargain of a dress for my upcoming family portrait. 

To add to the magic around here, I won a blog giveaway today on Pink Stitches which I was able to enter in multiple ways because I had someone else entertaining my kids for a while on Friday.  I never win!  It was thrilling. 

To see what I won click here.  It's pretty fun.

I loved the stuff on the Etsy store that I even ordered these vintage inspired hair pins which I am fairly confident will turn my hair into the most amazing thing people have seen since JLo if I can just stay in Indiana long enough for the magic to work into my locks.

The best event so far?  The Costco here carried the amazingly delicious ice cream sandwiches that I haven't been able to find for over a year in Texas.  They've probably been forced to discontinue them there because no one can get them home from the store without melting.

Life is just better below 90 degrees. 

How am I going to convince Alex to move here?  Brainstorm people.

Linking Up to Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading Link Up!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Five Question Friday, From Indiana

Here it is again. My Five Question Friday answers. 

I don't write the questions, I just read and type whatever comes to mind.

You can visit here for the original post and how this whole thing works.

1. Do you think cursive writing is overrated? (Schools in Indiana have now voted to take teaching cursive writing out of their curriculum.)

I do not remember the last time I wrote in cursive.  I would like to say that it is sad to see cursive no longer being taught, but I don't know why I would think that is sad?  It seems like a waste of my sad emotions, and there are only so many of those to go around.

I think that if it isn't being used, there are plenty of other things to fill the time in school kids would have used to learn to write like that.  Like teaching them Spanglish, or how to wear a belt or, how to drive on a roundabout.  Those seem like good uses of our tax payer education dollars.

I have really good ideas. I should be a part of education reform.

2. Do you still use a pocket calendar or notepad or do you keep your info on your smart phone?

I really want to be someone that uses only my smart phone, but I just really like writing out my lists.  I do use the calendar on my phone though. 

I actually rewrite my list every day, transferring over the undone items from the day before and writing ones that I completed but forgot to write down, just so I can cross them off.

I really crave a feeling of accomplishment.

3. What 3 things would you save if your house was burning down? (family & pets are already safe)

My magic bullet. I've used it daily since purchasing it so clearly it's become pivotal in my life.  Plus a smoothie would probably make us feel a little better when we no longer have shelter.

The boys sleeping bags (which I am counting as one item since no one is here to tell me the official rules.)  Traveling with them the last few days has taught me that no way am I sleeping with them for any duration of time and grabbing those bags is like grabbing two beds.  I'm smart.

Our family picture hanging in our dining room...that was the most I have ever spent on a frame in my life. No way am I letting that burn down with the house.

4. Country Mouse or City Mouse, err Person?

Mostly city.  I think I only really enjoy the country for short periods of time.   I need reasonable access  to the important things in life, like Starbucks and oh sweet Lord, Target.

If I were a mouse though, I think I'd definitely be country, it just seems like it would be easier to find food and it's important to be practical when answering these questions that really dig deep into the soul.

5. If you could pick ANY reality show to go on, which would you pick?

What a tough question, there are so many gems out there.
The Bachelorette comes to mind first because it's just such a fantastic concept.  It's full of crazy, over the top dates and exotic locations.  Also, all the bachelorettes seem to have some well put together outfits and I enjoy a nice outfit.
There are also other fun ones though like Jersey shore.  It would be fun just to attempt to hang with that crowd.  Could Snooki and I really be friends? 
Real Housewives of Orange County/New York/Atlanta would be fun because then I'd be some rich lady....but then I'd also probably be more or less crazy and that would be really inconvenient. 
I can not answer this question.  I guess I pick the Bachelorette, except for the dating other guys thing, I'm sort of nuts for the guy I have.  Maybe that would be too big of a problem in light of the entire concept of the show.  Would it be cool to just shake all the guys' hands at the end of our dates and play board games when we are offered the chance to stay in the Fantasy Suite?
Fine, I'd be a friend of Kate's on Kate plus Eight who pops by sometimes and performs miracles organizing eight children.  That sounds safe.
Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If It Weren't For Neighborhood Porn Surfers I Would Have Told You Last Night

It's official. We are residents of Grandma and Tractor's house for the next 21 or so days. 

I would have posted last night about day two of the trip, but my Mom apparently turns her modem off at night so that other people can't use her Internet access for porn, so I was fresh out of luck at midnight after everyone else had gone to bed. 

At least we know no one was looking at porn.

I even was attempting to morph day two's recap into a recipe-ish so I could maintain my streak of Wednesday being recipe-ish days since March.  It would have been magnificent. 

Or it would have sucked so I'm not putting forth all that effort for a recipe-ish on a Thursday. 

That would be nuts.

If you are new around here and you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, I do a recipe-ish every week where I give a semi-convoluted recipe in the form of an email (usually) that I would write to someone else to teach them how to make it.  Yes, it is confusing, thank you for noticing.

If you were devastated to see that there was no recipe-ish to be had, or if you haven't read them and think I'm potentially high while writing this, here are some of my favorite re-runs. 

Greek Salad
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Sweet Tea
Chicken Sausage

If you didn't read Tuesday's post about day one of the trip you should read it here or else there is no way you would be able to keep up with all the intricate plot twists and complicated story lines which I am about to reveal. 

Or it might not matter at all, carry on.

So, all my dreams of a good night sleep in the hotel the night before were shattered when Cole decided he should wake up frequently and incoherently cry/moan and wake up Aiden which would then wake up Stella.  It was really fun. 

It was actually a fantastic reminder that Alex and I can never stop being ambitious enough to at least afford a home where we do not all have to sleep in one room.  Life would not be worth living so that is the new minimum goal.  It's important to have goals.

Day two of our trip was long. It was really, painfully long, but I guess I'll try to be more of a half-glass-full girl today and say that it wasn't that bad because it wasn't....except when it was.

Cole chose to take charge of Indiana right before we left the hotel yesterday morning and in his sleep deprived state, allowed Indiana to drag him into a drainage ditch in the parking lot.   He ended up covered in mud and grass clippings from his toes to his waist.  Indiana was also sufficiently covered. 

That was an awesome way to start the day.

Overall the kids really did do wonderfully. Stella had some rough moments, but when fed enough raisins and given enough rocks to place in alternating cups, she was reasonably peaceful.  I also might have sung Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 568 times which I am pretty positive makes me Mother of the Year.

(Will some one please take the proper steps for nominating me through the appropriate channels?)

Here's a view of all the kids during our travels.

After being on the road with my parents, dog, and three children for 33 hours, it just seemed appropriate that I would be able to get a Starbucks for a little personal indulgence amongst the pain of being in that minivan for so long. Did you know that Starbucks has more or less completely abandoned the coffee market along the route between say Dallas and Indianapolis?

It’s sad....and mean.

Don't I look like someone that could use a delicious beverage?

If you want a McDonald’s you will definitely be in luck. Subway? Just look to your right when you walk in to the convenience store. Wendy’s or other seemingly higher class fast food, you might have to wait a little, but never more than an hour.  Your french fries and crappy hamburger will be accessible.

Starbucks or anything that might possibly have a piece of fresh fruit or skim milk or real juice? It's just not going to happen. You might as well buy a Monster at the convenience store and pretend it's an espresso.

I did manage to discover that my iPhone map will point out all the Starbucks near our current location.

(Can we talk about my new found love for satellites?  Dave Matthews Band really was on to something when they sang that song about them 15 or so years ago.)
The satellite did find me one Starbucks in Marion, IL off I-55 in a Kroger store. It was a lone dot on a large map of Arkansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois.  I was relieved to see that dot, until I actually visited the dot.  It is a sad, sad place.

If you were thinking of voluntarily popping by, I'd advise against it.  The Starbucks might not even be worth it, especially if your mother is in the car shaking her head in exasperation the whole time you are taking the extra 10 minutes to pop in to get a chai tea latte.  This might be countered by the joy you feel from being the most beautiful person in the world when you walk in the grocery store though.  I don't care who you are, you would be the most beautiful person in the world in there. 

Let's just say it was complicated.  Very, complicated.

We stopped at rest stops and made our own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while my father tried to sell Stella to a variety to truck drivers.  Every single one of them was so sweet to her and she loved them.  This might have warmed my heart if I didn't have 20 years of Dateline child predator stories in my head. TV really does ruin everything.

Wait.  Did I say that? 

If you read yesterday, you are probably wondering about my threats to abandon the family along the way. Well, I chose not to be ditched on the way home, primarily because we didn’t stop at Cracker Barrel even once yesterday, and what's the point of leaving your whole family to live on the interstate if you aren't going to be near a Cracker Barrel? I have to have standards.

We finally pulled in to my parents' around 9 pm and everyone was elated.  The kids didn't go to sleep until after 11, but they all did go to sleep and actually slept all night long.  Fantastic!

Today was a shining example of why I come for three weeks every day. First, it was only 85 and that's a whole 20 degrees cooler than it usually is at home right now.  It's profound to see how much happier we all are when we don't feel like we've been set on fire when we walk outdoors.

The boys ran around my parents neighborhood, relishing in the freedom their neighborhood here offers.  Stella actually tried to get into the grass because here it is soft and green and nothing at all like the straw we have in our yard at home. 

I have found that comfort that I rediscover each time I come home and sleep in my childhood room.  It's relaxing and soothing. 

We did a whole lot of nothing today and that is exactly how I want it to stay.  Unless of course I am abandoning my children to go shop or hang out with my friends. I also have a pedicure on my radar.  I will make it happen.

Here was the highlight of the day though. 

This was not her most impressive amount of steps today, but of course it was the only time I was able to capture it with my phone.  She probably took 8 through my parent's kitchen this afternoon.  These are the moments people. It was so fun to watch. 

Just FYI, her off the shoulder apparel is just standard dress for Indiana.  All the girls dress a little risque and hum John Cougar Melloncamp here. It's true.

I haven't asked in a while, but if you have a chance and can click on the Top Mommy Blogs link on the right side of my blog I would love you for all eternity.  Or I might just say thank you some time in one of my posts about poop. 

Also, if you want to retweet or repost on your FB I would probably be your best friend.  Just probably though, I'm on the fence about committing to this.  Just do it and see what happens.  Fair?

Thanks for the support everyone!  It means a lot.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'll Probably Be Living At A Cracker Barrel off I-55 By Tomorrow Night

Remember when MTV used to have spring break from Cancun and Ft. Lauderdale and other equally disgusting but tropical locations? 

Well, I'm basically going to be doing the same thing the next few weeks.  Tonight I'm in Bryan, Arkansas and this place is on fire!  If there were a stage and some sort of drinking contest or a booze cruise, this would be televised.  I'm confident Pitbull would be making an appearance, maybe even with JLo.

(When am I going to stop talking about these two people?)

Since I'm hovered in the corner of a luxurious Comfort Inn with my three children sleeping, I'm going to make this short. 

Overall the trip went well.  We had two meals at Cracker Barrel which is a surprising hit with all the travelers, proving itself as the restaurant/store that can cross generations.  It also has a fabulous pumpkin spice candle right now that everyone should purchase immediately, they surely will sell out by the time you should be burning a pumpkin scented candle in October.

We only drove 500 out of the 1100 total we have to travel, and tomorrow has all the makings of a rough day ahead of us. The good news for you all is that I'm sure there will be all sorts of stories  and emotions and freak outs to come out of this.

I'll try to take good notes and/or photos so you can laugh at my misery later.

Best traveler of the day?
Indiana.  He willingly slept on the floor, never made a sound, much less a request or demand, and didn't require any amount of effort to convince to eat, drink or use the bathroom.  Fantastic. 

Worst Traveler of the day?
Stella.  If she wasn't asleep or eating she was uber pissed about being strapped into a seat.  She threw anything given to her and only found joy in a bag of wire nuts and this little musical toy that I believe is stolen merchandise from my sister-in-law's children.  The joy she had only lasted in about three minute intervals though.   
My Mother comes in second for worst traveler of the day due to her horrible back pain and all the discussion and limitation that comes out of that.  Since she really is in a lot of pain though, and I can't believe how much she is trying to help, she'll just be classified as traveler with the most ailments.

So far so good on the going to sleep angle of things here.  Stella even sported her big brother's t-shirt for bed since I totally forgot to pack her pajamas...a shining example of  my disorganization and overall lack of preparation for this trip.

She also might have colored on the pillowcase and on part of the sheet.  Oops.  It's washable ink though and significantly less disgusting than all the stuff you find when someone on Dateline shows that black light over the hotel bedding. 
I wonder who gave her all those markers?

We'll start again tomorrow and hopefully make it to Indiana before 10 pm and/or before any of us decide to just live forever in somewhere like the Cracker Barrel in West Memphis, Arkansas....which I could definitely see myself doing if they could promise me a booze cruise.

P.S.  I really hope this makes some level of sense.  I'm not proofing it because I am not sure I'm going to stay awake long enough to make that happen.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Is Packing Really That Important for Three Weeks Away?

I have intended to post the last two days, but things keep getting in the way.  Honestly, I have been super busy.  Primarily I'm diligently packing for the three week trip to Indiana which starts tomorrow morning. 

Alright, I haven't done all that much packing, but I have thought about it a lot while doing some other fun things.

We've gone to the pool, we set up that elusive Slip N Slide for the kids, and I went to Target and was forced to buy a big floppy straw hat which I convinced myself I would wear all the time because I was in Target and they have all those fumes that make you buy shit you don't need. 

I did wear it today to the Round Rock Fourth of July parade.  I kept asking Alex if I could handle a hat like this, to which he always said "Yes," because he isn't stupid. 

Aiden and Cole were mostly concerned with the candy collection, and eating.

My parents mostly sat in the shade and took turns trying to entertain Stella.

We also went to a Fourth of July party and sat in a pool for two hours and chatted and mingled. Since my parents didn't feel they were fully recovered from the parade excitement, they stayed with Stella so we got to be a functioning family of four!  No baby!  This is life altering by they way.

I sipped a margarita out of my thermos which usually contains water, which definitely messed with my head when considering how much I should drink.   This is a significant factor in my apathy toward packing right now. I'm sleepy.
I did do a decent am out of laundry and there's a very impressive pile of clean, yet disorganized, clothes on the floor of my bedroom.  They are piled on top of two large duffel bags which I intended to pack yesterday, but I just haven't been able to force myself yet. 

I believe all this will be sitting there until tomorrow morning when I am forced to throw something into the bags in order to prevent my Mother from having a stroke.

 Stella is ready to go though.

I have been looking forward to this trip for months. Other than my annual weekend with my high school girlfriends, which is basically laughing and hanging out with my girls for three days, this is my favorite time of the year hands down.  I am happiest, most relaxed and so full of joy I don't recognize myself while I am enjoying an Indiana summer.

I seem to have stalled in my preparations though.  I am lagging in motivation to find the perfect car trip activities for the kids, particularly for Stella.  I won't lie, I am afraid of her on this 22 hour trip.  It might be rough.  I should be preparing, training, possibly drinking.

I should be putting Benedryll in easy to reach spots in the van to knock out unruly children.

I should be figuring out how to buy a new wire for our jacked up DVD player so I don't have to break up fights between Aiden and Cole for 1,100 miles. 

I should be refilling prescriptions and depositing checks and returning that crappy trash can I ordered from Amazon, since all that seems crazy to do from Indiana.

But I'm not.  I'm just not.

Instead I'm sitting up late, drinking wine and playing Mexican Train dominoes with my parents and Alex.  I'm watching HGTV with my Mom and finding the Old El Paso commercials about deciding whether or not to have hard or soft taco shells for dinner are hilarious...have you seen that wheel they spin?  Am I the only without Tivo that is forced to watch advertising?

I am confident I will pull through though.  We will leave tomorrow, even if I have no clue about what is packed in those bags.  I'm totally taking the Benedryll though, keeping that inside my bra for easy access. 

I'm going to do my best to blog from the road.  At the very least I'll be taking good notes so I can give you a full recap once we're safely in Indiana.  It should be interesting.