Monday, September 30, 2013

Up on the rooftop

 Mike and Sarah were prowling around on the roof over the weekend.  This is what I saw when I looked up at the kitchen skylight.

Marty was very concerned about them.  She followed them around and meowed and wouldn't let them out of her sight.

 On the way down.  Notice Marty on the hose cart, making sure they made it safely.

 Sarah brought down a pretty leaf from the roof...

...and put it on Marty.

Baseball anniversary fungus

 Saturday, September 28.  Nice chilly way-too-early morning for a baseball game.  Lovely way to spend our 17th anniversary.

 When we got to the game, Sarah realized that her earring didn't have a back, and it kept falling out of her ear.  I found this leaf on the ground with fungus on it (or something)...
...and turned it into an earring back.

Mom took our anniversary picture.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Girls' night

Sarah and I are home alone tonight.  I was getting ready to get in the shower, when Sarah came along and peered at my cellulite and asked a bunch of questions about it.  Then she said, "I wish you were as skinny as Mrs. Roth.  How does she do it?"  I told her that Mrs. Roth doesn't pig out like I do.  A few minutes later, I was singing in the shower, and Sarah yelled, "Stop it, Mom!  You're embarrassing me!"  I embarrass her even when we're the only ones here??

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Sarah woke up crying.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said, "I don't want to give my shoes to China!"  Eventually, she woke up more and explained that she had just had a dream in which her daddy had made her give her favorite green shoes to China.  I was boxing them up and she said, "Goodbye forever, green shoes."  She said she was crying in the dream and woke up crying in real life.

Meanwhile, I had a dream that blood-sucking worms were all over me.  The treatment was to be locked in a room with good worms that would seek out and eat the blood-suckers.  So I was in this room with all kinds of sucking worms all over me, crawling in every orifice of my body, when the door opened and the mailman came in.  I told him to get out so the worms wouldn't get him, but he said he had a better treatment that involved swimming in some specially treated water.  That sounded better to me, so he filled the room with this water, and the worms were falling off me.  I had to pee, so I peed in the water.  Immediately after that, the mailman said, "Oh, by the way, be sure you don't pee in the pool, because that will change the chemical composition of the water and make the treatment stop working."

Friday, September 20, 2013

Homemade tomato sauce and chili

Visited a friend in the country who has a garden, and she let me pick some cherry tomatoes.  After eating a bunch, we still had a lot left, so we made sauce.  Sarah is seasoning them with salt and pepper after I coated them with olive oil.  

Putting some basil in the blender.

Roasted them for half an hour. Sarah thinks they look gross.

Put them in the blender with the leftover carrots from last night's dinner.  I always sneak extra vegetables in my sauces, and nobody ever knows the difference.  

I think I'll use it for lasagna this weekend. 
In retrospect, I should have used those tomatoes in the chili, but I didn't know I was going to make chili until after I had already finished the sauce.  My kids have been helping make chili since they were old enough to toddle into the kitchen.  It used to take me all day with their "help", but now they are truly capable of helping, so we whipped this out in about an hour. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sympathetic etiquette

Our etiquette lesson this morning was about sending sympathy cards.  One of the homework questions was, "Why is it better to send a card instead of calling in this instance?"  Noah's answer: "So you don't have to listen to them crying!"

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vacation update

To those who were following our vacation via blog, I just updated day 6 with pictures from the rafting trip.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Backhanded compliment

Sarah came home from AWANA and gave me a sticker.  I said thanks.  She said, "My teacher said to give a sticker to people who are hard to get along with."  She gave one to Noah too. 

Magazine breakfast

I bought Sarah a subscription to American Girl Magazine.  She loves it, and it really is a good magazine, but it's full of creative little crafts and recipes that she needs help with, so I get to be crafty.  This morning, she wanted oatmeal in an apple bowl for breakfast.

It took considerable time and effort hollowing out that apple, and I made the mistake of boring all the way through it to get the core out, so some liquid leaked out the bottom of the apple.  I sprinkled some cinnamon over the whole thing and hoped she wouldn't notice. 

Then she wanted to make this fall float, which is warm apple cider with ice cream and caramel sauce.

You won't see my rendition in a magazine.  I didn't have any ice cream or caramel sauce, so it's just cider with whipped cream. 

Creative girl

 Sarah has discovered my glue gun.  She will take a bunch of random junk out to the font porch and just start gluing it all together.  Whenever I'm looking for her, that's where I find her.  She spends hours gluing. 

 She had some vacation money leftover, and she bought hot pink duct tape with it.  She augmented her shoes with beads, duct tape, and glitter.  Only Sarah.  

 She picks rocks out of the landscaping and "accessorizes" them.  

Marty is always very interested in her projects.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The vacation is over.

Started the day by getting a splinter in my finger, then various frustrations at the pediatrician's office, shots for Noah, errands with both kids, and to top it all off...I got rear-ended with both kids in the back seat.  We're all OK, but it was scary.  Somehow, Mike managed to drive 3,461 across the country without incident, and I couldn't even make it across town without the car getting damaged.

BHRT stats

141 gallons of gas (ranging in price from $3.35-3.69)
$491.31 spent on gas
58 hours and 20 minutes spent in the van
3,641 miles
8 states
Saw license plates from 39 states, plus Ontario and British Columbia.

BHRT--last day

Wednesday, 9/4/13
Mike declares,"I'm out of deodorant, toothpaste, and Pop Tarts.  It's time to go home."  So after a good breakfast at the hotel, we get on the road at 9:15 a.m.  Have to stop right away for gas.  $3.49/gal x 14 gal = $49.01.
11:00 a.m. Last state line bags for the kids have balloons and fruit leather.  Trivia:  Western Avenue in Chicago is the world's longest road at 24.5 miles long.  "Illinois" means "people" in Native American.  The balloons are surprisingly popular with the kids, who are blowing them up and letting them fly all over the van.

1:10 p.m.  home.

BHRT--day 12

Tuesday, 9/3/13
8:09 a.m.  Woke up late this morning to discover my toothbrush missing, which is nightmarish for a germophobe.  Finally figured out that Sarah had used it, so I had to get one of those disposable hotel toothbrushes, which is like a plastic knife with bristles.  Pitiful, but at least it was clean. 
9:30 a.m.  Leaving hotel after a good breakfast.
11:00 a.m.Oklahoma bags have baseball keychain for Noah and butterfly notebook for Sarah. Trivia: Oklahoma means “red people”.  Its nickname is the Sooners, because the early settlers settled sooner  than they were supposed to during the land rush.
11:04 a.m.  Gas stop at Erick, OK.  $3.49/gal x 14.4 gal = $50.39.  Kids are watching (and parents are listening to) “What’s in the Bible” DVDs.  What a great series!
1:49 p.m. $4 toll 45 miles from Tulsa. 
2:20 p.m.  gas in Tulsa. $3.38/gal x 10.47 gal = $35.49.  Just passed a sign that read, “Don’t drive into smoke.”  ???
3:30 p.m. another $4 toll.
4:00 p.m.  entering Missouri.  No state line bags since this is our second time crossing the line on this trip.
6:00 p.m. playing catch with Noah in the van with a big, green koosh ball.  Sarah is coloring.
6:15 p.m.  Kids are writing a list of what they're thankful for.  I gave them 10 miles to do it.  They both made good lists.  Noah wrote 35 things and Sarah 31.
6:35 p.m.  Arriving at Drury Inn in Rolla, MO.  Good food and drinks included.  Our room is on the second floor, and there's no elevator.  No indoor pool either, but the food makes up for it.  Played Monopoly Deal with Noah.

BHRT--day 11

Monday, 9/2/13
7:40 a.m.  leaving Grand Canyon.  Kids are playing the Find It game I made before we left home.  I hid several little objects in a jar filled with beans, and they had to find each of them without opening the jar.  Saw a big bull elk on our way out of the park.
8:15 a.m.  A hitchhiker flipped us off after we didn’t pick him up.
9:20 a.m.  gas and food at Pilot in Bellemont, AZ.  $3.35/gal x 6.7 gal = $22.65.  Bought a footlong at Subway, and the worker girl asked me, “Would you like to double your meat for 2 free cookies?”  I stared at her, trying to get my road-weary brain to process that statement.  It made no sense to me at all, so I said, “What does that mean?” and she explained, “You pay $2.50 to double your meat, and you get 2 free cookies.”  I kept my meat single.  Meanwhile, Mike was having a weird conversation with a woman sitting in her car parked in front of the gas pump Mike wanted to use.  He asked her if she wanted to back up, and she said, “I have to go forward.”
10:00 a.m.  Drove through Kaibab National Forest and Coconino National Forest.  Now we’re all eating out of boredom.  I’m mowing through a whole bag of Rolos.  Just passed Devil Canyon and Two Guns, AZ.  Also Meteor Crater Rd.  Driving through AZ is almost as bad as driving through KS. 
11:35 a.m.  Mike is getting giddy.  He thinks everything is funny.  NM state line bags have a pinwheel for Sarah and keychain for Noah. NM trivia: state bird is the roadrunner, which can run 15 mph.  More people are killed by lightning in NM than in any other state.  Mike launched into an educational diatribe about Wyle E. Coyote and Roadrunner.
12:24 p.m.  gas at Jamestown, NM $3.35/gal x 9.5 gal = $32.04
2:00 p.m.  Just passed an RV with naked kids in the window.  Light rain starting, and Mike says the air smells like marijuana.. 
2:20 p.m.  Now I’m giddy.  We just passed a sign for painted ponies, and Mike quoted Seinfeld and said, “I have painted pony.”  That made me laugh for miles.  We have spent a ridiculous amount of time arguing about what time it is.  Sally’s on central time, the van clock is on Mountain Time, the computer is two hours off, for some reason, and we never, ever know for sure exactly what time it is.  Just got passed by a posse of motorcycles going well over 90 mph.
4:37 (or maybe 3:37?) gas at Santa Rosa, NM.  $3.48/gal x 9.3 gal = $32.33.  I had my own Seinfeld moment in the bathroom when I discovered I had no toilet paper.  Fortunately, the lady in the next stall could spare a square.
5:00 p.m. Kids are choosing activities from the activity envelope I made before we left.  Guess how many barns we will see in the next 5 miles (none, since we’re in the desert!).  Write down as many animals as you can think of in 5 miles (they tied at 12 each).  Make telegrams using these letters in order: BLMSTOWP.  My 2 favorites were: “Blast the lion maker so that ostriches will perish” and “Being little makes Suzie tower over wet poo.” 

Kids are going back to watching Mythbusters, and I’m giving Mike “would you rather” questions.  Would you rather lose an arm or a leg?  Would you rather have the ability of 10 athletes or the knowledge of 10 scholars ?  Would you rather sleep on the sidewalk for a week in good weather or one night in the rain? etc.
5:53 p.m.  Texas bags have bubbles in them.  Trivia: Dr. Pepper was invented in TX in 1885.  Only Alaska is bigger than TX.
7:40 p.m.  Arriving at Holiday Inn Express in Amarillo.  This hotel is great, even better than the one in Goodland, KS. 
The Texas sunset was just as good as the one over the Grand Canyon!

Everyone is dancing around, leaping from bed to bed, so happy to be out of the van. 

Eating the leftover scavenged pizza from Maswik.  Going swimming. 

Met a nice couple in the hot tub, who had been traveling for 8 hours and never left TX! 
10:30 p.m.  Getting ready for bed, and Sarah wants to sleep with Mike because he’s warm.  I said, “Daddy’s sleeping with me.  Get your own warm husband.”  She stuck a note on herself that read, “No Touching”.  She said, “I don’t want anyone touching my private parts, like my armpits.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BHRT--day 10

Sunday 9/1/13
4:23 a.m.  I’m up, because I’m determined to get to the rim and see the sunrise.  Not taking the bus, just walking in the dark.  Saw the dark outline of an elk walking near me.  A little scary.  Made it to Rim Trail in plenty of time to get a good spot for the sunrise.  Had a church service.

 8:00 a.m.  All of us starting out on Bright Angel Trail.  Amazing views everywhere, from the landscape of the canyon, to the details in the rocks, and the mule deer, squirrels, condors, butterflies, and plants.

9:30 a.m.  Made it to the 1.5 mile rest house, which must be way more than 1.5 miles.  Seemed like at least five.  Used the very gross bathroom, snacked on jerky and trail mix, and refilled our water bottles.  Mike instructed the children , “It’s going to be a difficult hike up, so you might want to conserve your breath by not talking.”  Noah said, “That sounds like a politically correct way of telling us to shut up.” And it was at this point that I first encountered the hilarious Australian couple with whom I would hike most of the way back.  Mrs. Aussie laughed a lot at the exchange between Mike and the kids while she was waiting behind us to refill her water bottles.  A squirrel was sniffing around her backpack, and she yelled at it, “Get away from my pack, you horrid thing!” in her Aussie accent, and we’ve all been quoting it ever since.  
Noah made it out of the canyon in 45 minutes with very little rest.  Mike and Sarah took a few rest stops and made it in an hour.  I spent much of my time bonding with the Aussies (and others) and resting frequently, so it took me 2 hours.  The Aussies made it  so fun that I had to break away from them for a little while, because I couldn’t spare the oxygen required to keep laughing.  
There were very few Americans, lots of Europeans, some Asians and Spanish-speakers, but we all bonded on the trail.  It was a lot more fun than I expected it to be.  An Englishman was coming down the trail with his finger bleeding , and I was coming up, panting and puffing.  He said, “Cheerio!  Can you spare an artery?”  I said, “I’ll trade you an artery for a lung,” and he said, “Deal!”  A Spanish couple was hiking with their two young daughters, and the youngest one had a screaming tantrum when she realized she had to hike all the way up.  Her fit echoed off the canyon walls and sounded like a wild animal, and it went on and on. She cried and whined most of the way.  Mrs. Aussie whispered to me, “That child needs some chocolate!”  At one point, I stopped to rest by myself and saw a stuffed animal that some kid had dropped over the edge.  A guy was coming up the trail, so I pointed over the edge and said, “Look!  A snow leopard!”  The guy looked shocked and said, “What?! Really?” and peered over, as if it could possibly be a snow leopard. When he spotted it, he said, “No, that’s a Siberian tiger.”  

 The Aussies and I stopped to take a picture of what looked like a big moth.  There were some Americans taking pictures of it too.  I asked them what it was and they said it was a hummingbird.  The Aussies and I looked at each other doubtfully.  Mrs. A said, “I may be just a stupid foreign tourist, but I know a hummingbird when I see one, and that thing is NOT a hummingbird.”  

Later we were watching condors soar overhead and someone asked us if they were condors.  Mrs. A replied seriously, “No, they are giant Grand Canyon Hummingbirds.”  Mr. A said, "No, they're pteradactyls."

12:00 p.m.  The rest of the afternoon was spent resting and eating and hanging out (literally) in our room.

  The people at the table behind us at the pizza pub left six perfectly good pieces of pizza, and Mike surprised me by scavenging them.  
6:00 p.m.  Waiting with hundreds of other people for the bus to Hopi Point to see the sunset. 

 Drunk guy doing weird gesturing and blowing.  
 Everyone cheered when the sun dipped below the canyon.  We stayed to watch the stars come out and caught the last bus back.