Archive for July, 2008

Car Trips

We are getting ready to head to Colorado for a family reunion tomorrow night. Well, the girls and I are going and caravaning with my parents. T is off to Boise for drill this weekend and will fly into Denver Sunday night. It is a 15-hour drive from here to there. We are doing it mostly straight through. The plan is to drive until either my dad or I can’t see straight, pull over, sleep for a few hours, and keep on truckin’. The only part of this that overwhelms me is the fact that I’m not usually a pleasant person without my allotted 8 hours of sleep a night. So I’m hoping that by Monday I’ll be able to enjoy my vacation.

I’ve been planning this car trip for a while by stockpiling arbitrary crap to keep the kids occupied during the awake hours. My kids are pretty good in the car. When we lived in Idaho I made many a trip between there and here to visit. It’s 400 miles one way. With kid music, books, and coloring supplies along with the bribery of a Happy Meal at McDonald’s for lunch/dinner we usually made it just fine. There have been, on occasion, horrendous trips. One of them started out with B (who was about 4 at the time) asking 15 minutes into the trip, “How much longer?” That still induces a deep sigh from me thinking about it. She made this request repeatedly over the next hour. I finally showed her the clock in the car and told her that when it read a certain time we would be there, and she stopped asking. The realization of how slow time can pass was a hard one.

I am kind of a car trip nazi. Ask one of my oldest friends who made the trip from Texas to Idaho with me and B. We did Albuquerque to Nampa, ID straight. She has refused to ever take a car trip with me longer than probably 30 minutes. I have always looked at this process as I want to get to where I’m going. The more stops you make, the longer it takes to reach your goal.

I have a history of long-day car trips. I drove from northern Nevada to the panhandle of Florida alone when T was in tech school for the Air Force. It took me 3 days, one 15-hour day and two 12-hour days. T and I drove from Central Texas to Nevada straight. We alternated sleeping and driving. I don’t remember how long it took, but I remember being happy to finally get to our destination.

It’s in my blood to make these kinds of drives. My brother is the same way. We get it from my dad. We made lots of moves and there was lots of driving involved. We also took camping summer vacations when we were stateside. Those were less dramatic though because we were actually sight seeing and having fun.

I’ve been prepping the kids for this trip. I’ve compared it to our trips between Nevada and Idaho only twice as long and that’s why we are driving about half of it through the night. I don’t think they believe me that it will be less painful for them.

I’m only thankful that T is going to be driving home with us, so we can relieve each other. It’s enforced family bonding time mixed with trying not to drive each other too crazy.

So posting might not happen while we are gone for a week. I am hoping to get some awesome pictures. We are planning on taking a 12-mile bike ride (mostly coasting), a float trip, and some hikes in the mountains with maybe a few hot springs trips. This, of course, interspersed with getting to spend time with my cousins, aunts, and uncles who I really only see every couple of years during these reunions.

Anyone else want to come and be my relief driver?

202 MILES!!

So, I got my Ipod about a year and a half ago, about 14 months ago I got my Nike+ package. I enjoy running, but my motivation usually stinks. The Nike+ system gave me incentive to see how far I could go and have visual reinforcement to my runs. It gave me some motivation to keep going. I actally ran a half marathon last October. It was put on through Nike+. As long as you logged the miles on your Ipod and Nike+ system on the day of the race, you were counted as completing the race. I was very sore the next day, but I did it.

Today I finally hit the 200 mile mark. Really if I had been consistently running since the half marathon last October, I conservatively could have hit the 300 mark by now. So, really it’s a great milestone, but I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t been consistent. I guess I need to overcome by disdain of getting up early in the morning and exercising.

Pictures as Promised

Here is M. She is definitely my pink girl. She’s getting her safety brief.
Here she is after. I call her “Thinker with String Cheese”.

Here’s B. She’s got the red helmet. Actually saw her catch some air of a bump today.

Here’s the mightly leader trying to get his new 2-stroke to start.

Here’s S enjoying her string cheese. Gotta keep the one who can’t ride yet happy.


There are more cute pictures I have. I might post later with those.

Motorcycles

I’m probably going to be posting some pictures this weekend of M and B on their motorcycle. T grew up riding dirt bikes. He bought his first one as an adult after he graduated from college. A huge occurence because he was the first in his family to get his Bachelor’s degree. Then he decided it should be a family endevour, so after moving to Nevada and our house being a half mile from BLM land where they could ride, he bought a little one for the girls with training wheels. Did you know they make training wheels for dirk bikes? It is quite adorable. I have to add that I don’t ride. T keeps insisting he will get me up and going, but bikes are heavy, and I, on a good day, weigh a buck-15, and I’m a little nervous about falling over on it! I’m not the most coordinated person on the face of the earth. Heck, I had to start wearing my watch with the face on the inside of my wrist in high school because I wouldn’t take the corner into the hallway sharp enough and smack my hand into the wall. I had paint chips covering numbers on my watch. So back to the girls.

We’ve been trying to get out at least every other weekend. There is at least one weekned a month that we can’t go. T has drill for the Air Guard once a month, and I am not strong enough to get those bikes on and off the truck. The girls are doing pretty well. M has a natural grace about riding. Knows automatically how to navigate the bumps and turns. Last night T bought the girls boots. I think the training wheels are going to be coming off soon, and I want those little legs protected!

So, if I remember to take my camera, I will take some pictures of their cuteness all helmetted and booted up amongst the sagebrush and dirt.

Understanding

So tonight on the way home from my parents house for dinner I had an interesting conversation with B, my oldest. She had brought her stuffed monkey, Elizabeth, whom she made at Build-a-Bear, with her all dress up and in her “summer clothes”. During our stay Elizabeth ended up on the couch where S found her sitting. S cannot leave anything with clothes on alone. She must feel something is wrong with dolls and stuffed animals that have clothes on, because those clothes, well they are a problem. I think it is just practice for disrobing herself, which she does quite nicely in order to change into the 5th outfit for the day. (How I ended up with these girlie girls, I don’t know!) Anyway S disrobed the Elizabeth the monkey. Just as she was finishing B noticed, got mad, walked over, and took Elizabeth and all her paraphernalia away from S. This was a good thing because who knows where all those little pieces of clothing might have ended up in the hands of a 2 year old. So fast forward to us trying to leave to come home. Everyone is tired, it will be past bedtime by the time we get home. I remind both M and B to get their toys so we can leave. B can’t find Elizabeth’s clothes. For some reason that only a 7 year old can understand, she took her stuff from her littlest sister because she didn’t want Elizabeth “naked” but she didn’t immediately put the clothes back on. Tears ensued. Sighing ensued from yours truly. I walked around the house looking for said clothes, and I didn’t see them anywhere; although, they are there somewhere. I said that Gramma would keep an eye out for them and would return them as soon as they turned up. More tears.

So, the conversation on the way home:
B: Why can’t S just not touch things that she KNOWS don’t belong to her. She should know better?
Me: Well, it’s something called impulse control and most 2 year olds don’t have it. Let me ask you why, when you know better, do you go into my bathroom and put on my lipstick and take things out of my closet?
B: Well, but she should know better.
Me: Yes, but you didn’t answer my question.
B: Because I want to!
Me: But you know it’s not right because I have asked you not to do those things and yet you still do.
B: Moooommmm! (followed by a silence of understanding and a sigh of acceptance).

So, I went on to tell her that sometimes it’s hard to not do something even though you know it’s not the best decision, but that there are consequences to that action. I reminded her that there are a lot of adults who have difficulty with impulse control and so it was unreasonable to expect more control out of her youngest sister than she herself was able to have.

I don’t remember who, but someone once told me that I expect my kids to understand and comprehend things that are beyond them; that I’m explaining concepts that are too difficult for them to grasp. But my feeling is that if you don’t talk things out and help kids to understand these concepts, then you are doing them a disservice. Why others make the decisions they make and how that affects the individual and those around them is an important concept. There are so many people in this world that do things and don’t think about why they are making a choice or what impact it has and then become upset that their choice led them down a path they didn’t want to take. Empathy is so important to learn. You have to draw this out and teach it. I see so much self-centered people in this world. It’s all about them. I see this in B sometimes, and it scares me. So I explain a lot and try to put it in terms that she can understand. I want her (and all my girls) to be good people, and I do the best I know how to.

B actually seemed to understand what I was saying by the time we got home. If she didn’t full understand it, then at least I gave her something to think about. She is the most receptive kid. She hears everything and being a kid her mind sometimes puts a twist on what was really said, so we talk. I love this about our relationship. We have these talks and about a month later, she will out of the blue say something that emphasizes the fact she understood what we had talked about.

These kids – they are amazing.

Shakespeare On The Beach

Last night T and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary. The date was back in April, but he was gone for training. His dad and step-mom gave us some money, so I bought tickets to the annual Shakespeare festival up at the lake. The stage is on the beach with the lake as a backdrop. It really is a gorgeous way to spend the evening. We saw A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I know I have seen the play before, but it had been a while and I have never actually read that play. So, my memory of the play was spotty. But it was so relaxing just to be and enjoy each other’s company and not feel like we had to race home to relieve my parents (our babysitters). But because we were watching a play and there was a 30-45 minte drive home afterwards, I didn’t feel the race last night. We packed a picnic dinner and enjoyed some wine. We got home just after 11, kissed the kids, and went to bed. All in all, a perfect evening. Here are a couple of pictures from our evening.

 

 

Here’s a picture of the stage with the lake behind it from our seats.


The person sitting next to us nicely took our picture. (I was futzing with our camera and found that I can take black and white pictures. Who knew?!)


A couple of pine trees just to the right of the stage.

The same trees after dark. (I was also able to get my little camera to this, which I didn’t know it could do! It’s amazing the things you can figure out when there aren’t 3 little hoodlums talking your ear off. Your brain can actually function like a normal person!)

Rearranging and school

I was a military brat. We moved about every 2 years until I was 11. Since I graduated high school I have moved everywhere between 1 year and 4 years between at least houses if not cities. One of my quirks is that I have to rearrange the furniture in at least one of the rooms of my house every few months. Even when I wasn’t physically moving, I have still felt the need to change the look of my environment. I don’t need big changes, but just looking at furniture in a different place gives me a fresh new feeling.

I just spent the last 2 hours rearranging my office/school room. As I said before M, my middle girl, is officially starting kindergarten in the fall. She has her desk and it has been smack dab in the middle of the room, which looked odd. So, now I have what sorta looks like a school room. My desk is facing the other desks. The girls rightly assumed that this way I can keep an eye on them when they are doing their work. *smirk*

My girls think that I’ve been what I call “mean mommy”. Since school officially let out, I’ve been printing off about 6 worksheets a week. A little Math, English, geography, a little science coloring to boot. They are to get done about 2 pages a day. I’m trying to keep their little minds active. We started in a virtual school when B started kindergarten. She was already reading and fairly ahead of the game prior to kindergarten starting, and I didn’t want her to be bored. I have vivid memories from my own childhood of sitting in kindergarten while the teacher raised the fun and colorful letter cards up and everyone would say “A” together. I remember feeling like I knew all of this already. Then we moved overseas and it was even worse. There weren’t any options for schooling back then, especially in American Samoa. My parents set things up so I would meet with the 1st grade teacher’s aid (I think) either before or after my kindergarten class to work on reading. This was nice. I enjoyed that time. So my point being, if I had a choice I didn’t want B to have to go through that feeling, get bored, and maybe stop wanting to learn. This virtual school has been wonderful – really the best of both worlds. I’ve gotten to be as involved as I want to be in her education and yet I have support of a teacher and a school that does all the heavy lifting – choosing curriculum, grading, etc. In Idaho, where were living before come back to Nevada, there were so many options. Charter schools all over, plus a handful of virtual options, and even a very open outlook on homeschooling (though I didn’t feel comfortable doing it all on my own). So, come this fall I will have 2 in this program.

Granted all of this is possible because I work at home. When I started taking my course in medical transcription, I never envisioned what it really would be to my family. At the time Tim was just in his first year of active duty, and I wasn’t thrilled about the social environment we lived in at the time. Lots of ugliness going on in the city we lived in, and I didn’t want to be out there working among that. We knew we were going to have kids one day. We also didn’t know if he was going to make a career out of the military or not, so I wanted to be assured that where ever we moved in the states, that I would be able to take my job with me. I have been a medical transcriptionist for just shy of 9 years. It has allowed me to stay home, work around the kids’ schedules, and still contribute to the outside world – from the comfort of my home. I’m really an introvert, so being at home suits me. So, I work on the computer, do school through an online school, and, to me, life is good.