Sunday, March 30, 2008
To counteract Landen being good, Ashley was in poor spirits this week. She is still not caught up on her sleep from our trips and when she is sleep deprived, everyone knows it. On the bright side, Ashley is still very manageable even when she is in a bad mood. I am thankful I have one low maintenance child!
Jessie bought a new car this week. With gas prices being astronomical, he needed a good commuter car unlike his gas guzzling truck. We got a 2004 Honda Civic. It is really cute and drives nicely. I haven't thought of a name for it yet, but it will come to me. (For those who don't know, I like to name my cars.)
Probably the worst thing about the week was me. I have been completely "off." I started the week feeling as though I was getting a cold but I never really got one. Instead, I have had a hoarse voice and feel extremely tired. It must be allergies. To top it off, I have been clumsy and forgetful. Last night I burned hot dog buns right after J told me about 10 times not to burn them. Also, I was attacked by our faucet after the nozzle came unhooked. A force greater than a typhoon hit me in the face. It has been one thing after another all week. If I could remember it all I would share it, but forgetfulness is of course one of my problems!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Favorite toys: Tools. He loves to dress up and play girlie stuff with Ashley, but if there are tools around that is what he wants to play with. His teachers are always commenting on how he is the carpenter of the class. At home he will find Jessie's screwdrivers and walk around pretending to screw the hinges on doors. If Jessie is working on something, he absolutely has to take his tool box and work with him.
Biggest Fears: Dogs and Cats
Favorite books: He loves these little letter books that Ashley also used to love. He also likes "Trucks," "Touch and Feel Tractor," "Brown Bear," any Sandra Boynton book and those little books you get from Chick-fil-a.
To sum our little man up, he is about "all-boy" as you get. He loves running, climbing, kicking balls, jumping, yelling and causing destruction. He also is very sweet and will hug everyone if they let him. This probably goes along with his very outgoing personality. He cracks us up all the time with the funny things he does and is joy and a blessing to our lives. Happy Birthday my precious baby boy!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Our original plan was to drive the 14 hours to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After some consideration, that plan was dropped for flying. Since Jessie has his Aunt Joye, Uncle Ken and four cousins I have never met in Atlanta, it made perfect sense to fly into Atlanta, spend a day, then drive on into Tenn, which was a four hour drive. Much more manageable and much to our surprise went relatively smoothly. Well....as smoothly as it gets with two little ones. Here are some memories from the trip. There are so many of them, I might have to write more another day.
- A LOT of luggage! We had two big bags, Ashley's little bag, two car seats, a stroller, Ashley's backpack, Landen's backpack, Jessie's backpack, my bag and to top it all off - Jessie's golf bags encased in a military armor style contraption. When the rental car shuttle came to get us, he looked at all of our luggage and heaved a big, exaggerated sigh. He then got on the radio and said "Overload situation, I need backup."
- Wonderful hospitality, food, and company at Aunt Joye and Uncle Ken's house. It was great to meet all the cousins and kids. There are four girl cousins and they are each married. Each couple have at least three or four kids. Add our kids to this mix and another visiting cousin and we had a party.
- All the fun toys at Joye and Ken's house - a four wheeler, a trampoline, a movie theater, a Gym. a Corvette, a Harley and a boat. We got to ride the four wheeler and watch a movie in the theater. The other toys will have to wait for another visit. We decided next vacation we will just stay there.
- A great aquarium in Gatlinburg. It was the best aquarium I have ever been to (and I have been to a lot). They had the most exotic collection of fish I have ever seen. To top it off, none of kids fell into the sting ray feeding pool, which was perhaps one of the bigger accomplishments of the trip.
- AWESOME Dickens/Head '08 shirts. Jason and Ashley worked really hard and outdid themselves on this year's shirts. We had shirts in Cancun that we ordered online but these were a lot better. We got a lot of comments and stares when we wore them and they really helped us identify each other in a crowd.
- An incredible cabin. It was so beautiful. It was three stories and had everything we could ever need - a hot tub, a big screen tv, an air hockey table, a pool table and great views.
- Ober Gatlinburg. We took a big tram up the mountain to Ober, which is a ski/amusement resort. There was a really fun bobsled ride down the side of the mountain. I loved it. Even the kids went on it. Landen even rode the ski lift up to catch the ride and didn't fall out. Another major accomplishment down.
- Ober Gatlinburg's less than five star restaurant. We probably should have had a clue when we couldn't even find the "acclaimed" restaurant. Upon finding it, we were the only ones there. After our waiter took our order he disappeared for a really long time. When I requested his presence, another person told me that a cook had quit so our waiter, who was about 17, was cooking our food. Hmmmm.... The food was actually fine and Ashley declared her meal the "best chicken fingers ever." Of course this is the same girl that declared the breakfast buffet at Comfort Suites the best breakfast ever. Maybe we need to expose her to more food.
- Fudge, fudge and more fudge. It was our mission to find the best fudge. We had some at Ober that didn't measure up at all. Later, we bought some more in downtown. I never felt like we found the very best fudge but it was fun trying.
- Pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes. Before we hit town, Jessie said he wanted to make sure and get some pancakes for breakfast at some point during the trip. Well, he was in luck. There was literally a pancake house on every corner. Pancake houses are like gas stations are here. We ate at the Flapjack House one morning and that was ok, but the Pancake Pantry in downtown was YUMMY! They were the best pancakes I have ever had.
- Hillbilly Golf. One night we decided to do mini golf. Mini golf courses are a lot like the pancake houses, one on every corner. We picked one that proclaimed itself as the "most unique mini golf course in the world." I don't know about the world, but it was the most unique I have ever played on. You had to ride this tram thing to the side of the mountain where the course was. The kids loved hitting the balls around. Dickens and Heads tied.
- Yahtzee. Unfortunately, the game tie was soon to be broken as we embarked on a Dickens/Head Yahtzee match. To give you an idea how this went over, in one game Jessie scored three Yahtzees and I scored three Yahtzees. It was amazing and am sure has never been done before. We were the undisputed champions. Later the boys calculated the statistics on such a feat and it was like 1 in a 5 trillion I think. I am not sure though because the girls were in the hot tub while the boys were being nerds.
- Hot Tubbing. Speaking of the hot tub, we used the hot tub every night. That is what I call a vacation. The small B.B gun pellets we found in the water were a little disturbing and caused us to ponder how they got there, but did not force any kind of evacuation of the tub.
- Girls Day Out. Another true vacation moment was when I indulged in a facial and a massage at the local spa. It was a little different than some of the spas I have been too, but still relaxing.
- Boys Day Out. Don't worry, Jessie got his indulgence too. The boys played golf one day while we took the kids to a petting zoo. My kids were of course scared to death of all the animals. Ashley did get to ride on a little pony named Smokey. I didn't know until I paid that I was the one responsible for the leading the pony around. Those of you who know me, know I am not exactly an animal person. I did manage to lead that little pony around and didn't even step in any horse poop. Check another major accomplishment off the list.
- Bandits and a Southern Belle. To commemorate our trip, we took the kids to get their "old time photo" done. Again, these are like the mini golf and pancake houses, there are plenty to choose from. Jackson didn't care for the costume too much but the picture turned out great. It makes me laugh every time I look at it.
- Motion sickness. Neither one of us had third row seats so two people had to sit in the back cargo area. I always ended up being one of those people and I would get terrible motion sickness.
- Food City. I think I visited that store at least a dozen times.
- Wedding chapels. BFF Ashley loves wedding stuff as much as I do, so on our girls day out we went and looked at a couple of chapels. I had no idea it was such a popular wedding destination.
- Psalty. The Heads brought this video for the kids to watch. It is a Christian video and I am not against Christian kid videos in any form or fashion. However, I am against gargantuan sized noses that blow confetti out of its nostrils when it is time to praise the Lord. It is not bad enough that Psalty's costume is enough to give me nightmares the rest of my life, but his partner in praise is a huge nose. At one point, this nose come alive and walks on its own. Call me old fashioned, but Jesus and enormous noses don't work for me.
- Super nice people. I think Tenn has the nicest people in the world. Everyone we came across was sincerely friendly. I really loved their accents. Maybe that is what made them seem so friendly. Everything sounds better with an accent.
- New catchphrases. The first night Little Ashley got in the hot tub with us she declared it was hot, "Hot like a dolphin." So, pass it around. All the cool kids are saying it.
- Fans. When I sleep I have to have a fan on to block out noise. It used to drive my BFF and college roommate, Kristen, nuts. It turns out there are a lot of closet fan sleepers. When we arrived I looked at the fans at Food City and a big, burly man pulled one down from the shelf. He told me that he could not sleep without his fan. The next day I went back for the fan, after I indeed could not sleep without it. I had to ask another man to help me get it down. He asked if I was on vacation and told me he couldn't sleep without a fan either. So, I say it is time to make a stand. All of you fellow fan sleepers come out and be proud.
- Jessie, the Mountain Man. For some insane reason, the boys decided to take two 2 year olds and a four year old princess girl on a 1. 3 mile (each way) hike to see a waterfall. It went up a mountain so high that a sign half way up warned "Danger, Child Deaths Have Occurred." I was at the spa this day, otherwise there is no way we would have done this hike. However, Jessie is relentless about the kids' exposure to nature, especially when a waterfall is at stake. The hike was every bit of a disaster as you could imagine. Landen was hard to contain and Ashley didn't want to walk. She is a big time diva, no walking, no bugs, and no sweating are her motto's. Jessie ended up carrying both kids at the same time, the majority of the trail. Now that is a weight loss program.
- Babyland General Hospital. As a child I loved Cabbage Patch Kids. I had several of them. It would have been my dream to go to the actual place they are made. Well, Ashley got to live my dream. Uncle Ken told me that the hospital where the kids are "born" was only about an hour from their house. On our way back we took the slight detour and arrived. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind. In fact, most people would probably pass by and never give the small little building another glance. Inside, it was just a bunch of dolls. I thought we were going to see the kids being made but it was just a fancy store. Ashley and Landen both loved playing with the dolls though, until I found out one of these "original" kids was between $175 and 350 each. I put an end to that playing. We also got to see a kid being born. They do a little show where a doll pops out of a cabbage. Ashley got to name her. There is now a kid that bears the name Ashley Abigail. If I had been willing to pay a million dollars she could have been all ours. Of course, we couldn't leave without something. Ashley got her first "toy" Cabbage Patch. It was the more reasonably priced $20. To make a long story short, we traveled hundreds of miles to buy Ashley a $20 doll that we could have bought 2 miles from here at Toys R US.
It was a wonderful trip. All the exhaustion was worth all the fun we had and we can't wait for our next adventure with the Heads. Here is a pic of us in our shirts. The front of the shirts are cars with each person's head stuck on a person. The sleeve had another car with the opposite fam's pics. On the back it summed up the trip perfectly:
Dickens Head Vacation
1. Miles to Smokey Mountains: 1339
2. Hours in car with screaming kids: 21 (the kids' shirts said Hours in car with boring parents!)
3. Potty breaks along the way: 32
4. Dickens Heads together in the wilderness: Priceless!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
- A fun drive down as described in my Dr. Pepper Dreams post.
- Upon arriving in San Antonio, it was late and we just wanted food fast. We chose a mall because we knew there would be a lot of options for the kids. After arriving and walking for a few minutes, it became obvious we were out of our element. I was a tad scared for my life as some unsavory characters looked at us in disdain. Needless to say, this was our first and last visit to this mall.
- More unsavoriness followed us at a local arcade. We had a little bit of time one day, so we decided to let the kids play a few games. I think our first hint of sketchiness should have been the two guys that looked like they were 17 with three kids in tow. One of the kids, a baby, about 8 months was set on the floor and allowed to just crawl around the arcade himself without any supervision. I think that qualifies as sketchy behavior.
- On our second day of the trip we took the kids to the zoo. It was a lot of fun. There was a butterfly exhibit where you could walk into a special tent and see tons of beautiful butterflies. I have been to something like this here in town but the butterflies at this exhibit were really incredible. At one point Landen reached down to touch one and I am pretty sure he squashed it to death. The butterfly was still moving a little but I don't think it was going to last. We left very quickly. I was sure we were going to be taken in by the high butterfly security they had going on. These people searched us going in and going out. If they knew we had killed a butterfly, I am pretty sure we wouldn't be seeing anyone again.
- At the zoo was a little train stop that promised a train ride around Breckenridge park. All day Ashley wanted to ride this train. She didn't care about anything else but getting on that train. When it came time to ride we had to wait in line forever. As the train approached the stop, Jessie proclaimed, "That's it??" It was not exactly the train we pictured but much, much smaller. Some might even question the use of the term "train" to describe this particular ride. False advertisement comes to mind. It didn't matter to the kids, they still loved it.
- When you go to San Antonio one of the best parts is eating. I had purposely avoided Mexican food for a couple of weeks so I could be prepared for all the yummy food I was going to eat. We ate at Casa Rio on the riverwalk a personal fave of mine that Jessie didn't care for. Off the riverwalk we ate at Alamo Cafe which had to die for tortillas and queso. I have decided that there is just not one perfect Mexican food place. Each place has their own strengths. For example, Casa Rio has awesome enchiladas but the salsa is a little lacking. Alamo cafe had great tortillas and queso but the food was lacking. Why can't there be one perfect place??? If you know about one, let me know.
- We did take the kids to the riverwalk. I was nervous about this because when Landen sees water he wants to touch it. I could just envision my son falling head first into that dirty water. I had nothing to worry about though, the kids both survived. They especially loved the bridges that crossed over the water.
- If you go to San Antonio with kids I highly recommend taking them to the Children's museum in downtown. It was the best children's museum I have ever been to. It was raining on the day we had planned to go to Sea World, but this turned out to be the best rainy day activity. They had the neatest exhibits, like a real plane the kids could sit in and fly.
- Because of the rain our Sea World trip got postponed by a day. This turned out to be for the best because the weather was absolutely gorgeous and there were no crowds. The kids loved Sea World. Even Landen sat and watched all the shows quietly. They were mesmerized. I think both of their favorite parts was feeding the dolphins and Jessie's favorite part was the free beer in the beer house.
- Of course our trip wouldn't be complete without one poop incident. One evening after the kids had gone swimming, they were playing in the bath. Landen had not had a poopy diaper in a couple of days, so he was due for one. As I was sitting on the computer I heard the familiar noises. I yelled at Jessie to get him out but it was too late. The damage had been done. Jessie ended up having to use a spoon to scoop it out of the drain.
- The trip was extremely exhausting. We never put Landen down for a nap because we were always out. At night, he didn't like his pack and play and wouldn't go to bed very easily. So, we were on the go all day until about 11 at night and then started back up again at about 9.
- The best part of the trip was hearing Ashley's responses to everything. This is the first vacation where she is fully aware of everything. She was always saying things like "this is the best breakfast ever," when in fact it was the worst breakfast I had ever had. She declared " I want to live at this hotel forever," when I don't care if I ever see another hotel again. And on everything we did she proclaimed "this is the funnest thing I have ever done." Just for all of that excitement, it made the exhaustion worth it.
I am including the only family photo we got of the trip. If you notice, Jessie's hand is in a tight fist. I think the long days with the kids and myself stressed him out a little.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
P.S. I think one of the best things about going on vacation for a long time is the amount of mail you collect. I had our mail held and the postman delivered it today. It was a HUGE bundle. I just love mail and I love the 10 magazines I pulled out even more. It was like Christmas morning!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Now on to more important matters, I have been tagged!! It is so awesome. I haven't been tagged in years. For those of you new to blogging (for example - my mom), when you are tagged, that means someone has invited me to answer questions or follow their lead on their blog. I feel so honored to have Michelle tag me.
What I was doing 10 years ago?
It was the second semester of my junior year at A&M. I was living in the University Commons apartments with Suzanne. We were so excited about these apartments because we each got our own bedroom and thought it was party central. We were right on that. Unfortunately, there was a fire alarm that was easily pulled by any drunk party attendee. So, on weekends and many weeknights our fire alarm would shriek as loudly as you can imagine at all hours. It was torture. I eventually hammered a pillow over the siren but it still didn't help.
I think the most surprising thing to note about me 10 years ago is the fact that I hardly ever watched tv, didn't care about celebrities, didn't have any magazine subscriptions, didn't use the Internet, didn't email and didn't have a cell phone. What kind of world was I living in???? It is amazing to think how far we have come in such a short amount of time. I can not imagine my life without our modern technologies. At the same time, I do miss the old fashioned letters I used to receive and write to friends.
As for the tv, I did watch Friends but that was the only show I remember watching. Now, I am addicted to tv, celebrity gossip and magazines. These interests developed when I started working and had more time to read and do other things besides study and go out with friends.
5 Things on To Do List
My list today was crazy long. Here are just 5 selections:
Laundry from San Antonio, Pack for tomorrow, Mail Landen's invites, Buy 2 new bags for trip, Make baggage tags
My Favorite Snacks
I am not a big snack person. I prefer to eat a solid meal. If I have to snack I usually eat a piece of bread with butter and maybe a piece of cheese. Of course I love chocolate and sweets and could always eat these for snacks.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire
My list would be endless. I would give tons of money away to all my closest family members (you might want to start kissing up just in case...). I would also make sure the kids were taken care of for a good education and in the future. I would also give money to several of my favorite charities. Of course I would save a lot to make sure we never ran out. Finally, I would just have fun by traveling and buying myself and the people I love things they wanted.
3 Bad Habits
1. I leave the cap or lid off of things.
2. I take a nap most days when Landen takes a nap.
3. I can be wasteful. My first instinct is to always buy something new rather than look and see what we have to use.
5 Places I have Lived
Midland, TX; College Station, TX; Dallas, TX; Plano, TX; and Denver CO for a brief time.
5 Jobs I have had
Assistant Manager of a bridal store; Assistant to the Brand Manager at the Association of Former Students; Assistant Buyer at Neiman Marcus; Account Manager in Public relations; Assistant Recruiting Admin at a law firm.
I just noticed there is a lot of "Assistant" titles. I guess I was just preparing myself for the permanent personal assistant job I have taken on around here.
Now I answered my tag, I now tag the following people, Amanda, Kristen, JaLisa, Brit, Jessie, Amy, Sarah, and Darby.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Our first day of the Dickens' road trip started out good. We stopped in Waco for some Rudy's BBQ. Mind you, we can eat at Rudy's fairly close to our house, but things always taste better on the road. The kids were well behaved and my brisket was to die for. After Rudy's we took a mini tour of Baylor. The kids loved a bear statue but we didn't actually see the real bear. Oh how easily they are entertained. Waco could have been our final vacation spot.
Once we had our fill of bears, we headed over to the spot I had been looking forward to all day, the Dr Pepper museum. Waco was where the magic all started. We paid our overpriced admission tickets to see the original bottling plant. It was interesting for me to see all the old memorabilia, but J and the kids were unaffected. The best part for them was the real soda fountain. They made our Peppers the old fashioned way, with real syrup and pure soda water. To be honest, it tasted like any other Dr Pepper, but still was exciting to me, a true Pepper lover. FYI, originally Dr Peppers were called "Wacos" since that was the only place you could find them. People would go to the bar and say "Shoot me a Waco."
Once we arrived in San Antonio it was late and happened to hit bad traffic. We were tired and hungry and decided the mall close by the hotel was the best place to eat for the kids. This mall was not the usual mall we were used to. It was a little sketchy to say the least, but we survived. Now, we are back at the hotel and baby boy will just not go to sleep. We are trying to "go with the flow" but it isn't very easy. I am quickly remembering why we haven't traveled much in the past couple of years.
Like I said, we will be traveling on and off for the next two weeks. We have San Antonio for the next couple of days and later a brief stop in Atlanta followed by a cabin in the Smoky Mountains for a Dickens/Head annual vacay. If you want to follow our many adventures the next two weeks keep checking for updates and you can always go to J's blog at the Family Guy for pics.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
What I am watching
Still loving Heroes. We watched the entire second disc of season two on Friday night, all four hours of it. I believe Real Housewives of New York premiered this week too, but I missed it. I forgot to Tivo it, but will catch it on one of the thousand reruns they no doubt will show.
What I am reading
I finished Waiting and am now onto Pledged, The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins. I told you there would be a pattern in my reading. I like to call it my "memoir period." I still owe you reviews for Martha and Waiting, they will come one day.
What I am clicking
I guess I will take a break from sharing my celeb sites with you and direct you to something more worthwhile. I came across Blurb awhile back and it looks like it can be a really great gift idea (mom close your eyes while reading this part). You can make and print your own little book with pictures. I think this would really make the grandparents cry.
What I am listening to
I like the Jack Johnson song, Flake. The best part is it features Ben Harper. I love Ben Harper, it reminds me of when J and I started dating.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
It is snowing. We were wearing shorts yesterday, how weird is that? Only in Texas. What is even weirder is how life turns out. I remember as a kid praying that school would be cancelled due to snow. Nothing was better than a snow day. Unfortunately, I never got very many. Now, I find myself praying school won't be cancelled tomorrow. I have a million things to do, my kids have to go to school. I wonder who I can call about that?
Sunday, March 02, 2008
At this point, I seriously considered giving up and just going home. I was near tears and stressed beyond belief, but for some reason I kept going. I was just about to cross the street to the bar when a car drove by and splashed me with muddy water. At this point in the story you probably are thinking I am making this up, it sounds like a movie, but honest to goodness it is all true, every last bit of it. I am not embellishing at all. So, there I was standing on the corner wet and seriously unhappy, but again I kept going. Luckily I was wearing a black suit that seemed to absorb a lot of the water but there was mud on the purple shirt I was wearing under my suit. To make myself presentable, I went into the bathroom and turned my shirt around backwards so the mud wouldn't show. My hair was still frizzy and I have never felt worse, but what the heck, I was here now.