What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Double Digits

That's what my kids are now...double digits. They turned 10 yesterday, which just can't be possible unless I take the world's longest blinks. Because I know I've only blinked a couple times since they were born, so they just can't be 10 already. And despite of that, they are really truly 10 years old. That's a decade. I've been a mom for a decade. Wow.

This of course got me to thinking back to that day 10 years ago. I really wanted to get this written yesterday, but I was busy working and parenting and then it was after 11:00 and I wanted to go to bed. So here it is a day late, but no less important.

This is me early on the morning of July 30, 1998. I was over 38 weeks pregnant with my boy/girl twins and was scheduled for my c-section at 10am. Which meant we had to be at the hospital at 8am. Which meant I had to get up and be out the door by 7. Which explains the look on my face. I really was glad to finally be having my babies. You can just trust me. I had a scheduled c-section because Baby A (our son) was breech and Baby B (our daughter) was transverse and still pretty high. I was not dilated at all. Those babies had no intention of coming out that day or any day soon.

The day of their birth went very smoothly. Shell's dad had flown out the night before, so he rode with us to the hospital. My mom met us there. We were pre-registered, so checking in was a piece of cake.

This is the start of finding the babies for monitoring and starting my IV and the disclosures, etc. I was a little nervous about the surgery as I had never even had a broken bone, let alone any surgical procedure. But the nurses were great and the anticipation to finally meet my babies was much stronger than my nerves.

Notice the smiles in the above picture and this one. I was really happy that we got so far with healthy babies and very minimal complications. We were going to be mommies. It really was a dream come true.

They wheeled me into the operating room and then Shell came in wearing her scrubs. My mom was in the room next door watching through a window with the video camera. The anesthesiologist talked to me for a bit while checking the level of my drugs and then my fantastic ob/gyn came in and we got started. Shell was seated at my head and tried to tell me what was happening, but I think she was overwhelmed by it all. And it went so fast! Before I knew it, they said the first baby was coming out. My boy was born at 10:54am and started to cry. I quickly followed suit. He looked so little, but he weighed a healthy 5lbs 14oz. We had a son. Soon after, our doctor warned us that we would not hear the next baby cry right away because there was some meconium present. They would need to get her suctioned out so she would not aspirate any. Our daughter was born at 10:56am and after her nurses tended to her, we heard her cries as well. She weighed 6lbs 3oz. They gave both babies a little oxygen while they cleaned them up and took their footprints.

My mom was able to come in the room and her and Shell held the babies while I got put back together. Their first picture in "the outside" was taken as my mom held my girl and Shell held our boy. The anesthesiologist said "Congratulations mom" and I lost it. These were my babies and I was their mom. Forever. I hardly remember getting stitched up and then I was off to recovery while Shell, her dad & my mom went to have breakfast. I started to get lightheaded and just as the nurse brought me a bowl, I threw up. A few times. After that, I really don't remember anything else about that day.
I know that my sisters and dad all showed up and there was a party in my hospital room (not really, but you get the picture) as the babies were passed around to many loving arms.
This picture was taken

I was very puffy from the medication, but otherwise I like it. My boy is next to me, and the girl was being supported by Shell's dad. Again, I remember none of this. I was so out of it that they didn't even take my catheter out or have me get out of bed until the next morning. What a crazy day!

And to show for it, here are my babies, ten years later on their birthday:
Happy 10th Birthday my beautiful babies!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Another busy weekend has come and gone and it is Monday again. Yippeee... Can you sense the lack of enthusiasm? If not, trust me - it's there.
The best news coming out of the weekend is that my boy passed his testing with flying colors. He performed like a rock star. And that's not just the opinion of his slightly biased and very proud mom. I got many comments from parents, instructors, and fellow students that he really looked awesome. I'm so proud of him. The test was hard, but he persevered and made it through. So he is now part of the Black Belt Prep Cycle. This means that every Wednesday and Friday he has classes from 6-9pm and every Saturday he has class from 10am-3pm or later. This will last until October. If he makes it through (some either leave voluntarily or are dropped from the program), he will test in October for his Conditional Black Belt at a 2 1/2 day test in Breckenridge. This is in addition to the 2 classes a week he needs along with the 2 swat classes every week. The idea is to live Karate during this time. Boy will he ever!
Saturday night my girl spent the night at her friend's house, so we took the boy to Red Robin to celebrate. I had a gift card, so our dinner cost us less then $11. Then we went home and crashed. It had been a long day for both of us.
The girl was spending the day on Sunday with her friend, so we took the boy to Dave & Busters. We let him pick somewhere to go in recognition of his straight A's all year. I don't agree with paying them for good grades (that's what Shell's parents did), so we compromise by letting them do something special instead. It was fun and killed a few hours. After we got home, he went swimming with the girl and her friend, and Shell & I watched all the episodes of The Next Food Network Star competition leading up to the finale. It was the perfect way to wind down from a busy weekend. The kids were worn out after swimming and my girl has a lovely sunburn. That should be fun today as I'm sure Shell will spend her day putting aloe on her and listening to her complain about how much it hurts.
My mom and nieces left CA yesterday morning and will be back sometime today. They stopped last night and have been taking their time, so I'm not sure when, but sometime today for sure. I think that CANiece2 will want to spend a lot of time at our house, because she will get bored hanging out with my mom and her sister all the time. I hope she doesn't mind going with me to Karate, as I'll be spending a lot of time there!
Since my last post, I've been considering letting people know about my blog. I think I'm going to start with a few people who aren't part of my day-to-day life. Mostly those who I keep contact with through email or myspace. I'm not ready to break out of my comfort zone and give access to my family, as I don't want to feel like I should censor myself. And maybe this small concession will be the most I ever feel comfortable with, I don't know. We'll see what happens.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A side note

I have hesitated writing about some things, not knowing who might eventually read this. Except for my best friend, I haven't told anyone I "know" about this blog. And I'm pretty sure he hasn't even looked at it. But chances are good that I will eventually tell someone and they might read it. I'm still on the fence on how I feel about that, so for now it's just for me and the few of you out there that do find it and read it. And that's what I'll keep telling myself and I guess I'll deal with "others" when/if the time comes.
My big revelation this morning is that I really love morning sex. For years now we've labeled it as more Shell's preference and for a while it really was. I really like sleeping in on the mornings when I can, and there were times that I was a bit cranky when she'd wake me up after work (she works nights). But for the last few months, we've had sex in the morning before I leave for work. And although I do miss laying together and dozing off after, the intensity has been really incredible. So driving to work this morning and smiling with the memory of a lovely morning romp, I realized that I love it too. I still have a soft spot for falling asleep naked after, but this morning stuff has a lot going for it. Oh boy does it...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Long Week Already!

It's only Wednesday and I feel like it should definitely be Friday by now. The last week has been pretty rough on us, and I really don't see enough signs that it's going to get better. My boy has been at Karate every day possible to make up the classes he missed while in CA, and we are pretty burnt out. He aced the pretest last weekend with great compliments from the judges and lots of best luck wishes. The big test starts on Friday at 6pm, so I am leaving work early that day so we can be there on time. It should be over around 10ish and then we have to be back the next morning, probably around 8 to test all day until 6. We take a cooler with water, snacks and lunch to get us through the day. It's fun, but very stressful.
On Sunday our air conditioner stopped working. It was 98 degrees that day and inside of our house it was 85 degrees. We keep the temperature at 75, so we were a bit on the hot and cranky side. I called Sears (who installed the unit last summer) and the first available appointment we could get was yesterday (Tuesday). All night Sunday it never got below 80 in the house. I have never been so glad to go to work on a Monday, as I was that morning. The AC at work was so wonderful! Monday was a 95 degree day, and our house warmed up to a toasty 89 degrees and hovered around 84 all night. We were all miserable by this time, including the dogs. Shell called me at work yesterday after the service tech left to tell me that the house was cooling off finally. Apparently, when I replaced the filter in the furnace on Sunday, I put it in upside down which triggered some sensor and shut everything down. You know, for safety reasons. Thankfully, he didn't charge us anything, even though there was supposed to be a minimum charge of $93 just for him to show up. He did mention that a house our size should have quite a few more vents for the AC to work as efficiently as it could, but since we won't be doing that anytime soon, he gave us some suggestions for ways to cool off the larger rooms better. He was very nice. AND FREE!!
My job has been very stressful lately and I feel like I'm having a hard time keeping it from affecting me at home. Plus, with our amped up Karate schedule, I haven't really spent much time with Shell since the kids got home. We are definitely feeling the effects of that. Our mortgage payment went up this month by about $200, our water, power and electricity bills are steadily going up and the price of gas is astronomical. There is still a freeze on overtime at Shell's work which is really hurting. All of these things combined with normal life stresses are wearing on Shell and I a lot more than I would like. She is really struggling with smoking and has allowed herself a couple a day "just to get through". I can't fault her this, as I know the stress level is high. We need to make some changes and fast. But where to begin?

Today is my very best friend's birthday. Happy Birthday Eric and welcome to 34!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to Life

The days are falling back into their normal summer pace now that the kids are back. They got back last Tuesday and on Wednesday we had the boy at the doctor to look at his ears. He had inner ear infections in both ears and an outer infection (swimmers ear) in the right as well. He was on 4 medications and really only started to feel a lot better on Saturday. He went to Karate on Thursday, but had to take a break about halfway through when his ears started to really bother him. I think he healed a lot on Friday because they really didn't do anything. We did go to Chili's for dinner, because we hadn't gone grocery shopping and the food choices at home were very slim.
On Saturday we had the normal Karate Saturday: 4 classes stretching from 7:15am through 12:45pm. They had water balloon kicking at the park, which was a lot of fun. Then we had our hair appointment and went grocery shopping. It was very overdue.
My dad & I went to Pearl Street in Boulder on Sunday. We used to try to go every year before the weather starts to get cooler, but we've missed the last few years. It's a nice opportunity to just hang out together. My dad says it's like Venice Beach without the water. There are street performers and the shops range from pricey boutiques to head shops. Tourists and locals share the street with hippies and the homeless. It's something to see. We were there for a couple of hours and then after taking him home, I joined my family at a birthday party/pool party for Dana's mom. They had a blast. Then we went over to Dana & Jeannie's to play Catchphrase and then home. It was a busy weekend.
Shell took the kids yesterday to buy their school supplies. They start school on August 19, but we got their lists last week and a lot of stores had sales starting this week. So we now have everything except for backpacks. Next is to start shopping for clothes. Their school has a uniform policy; navy or khaki bottoms and white shirts. It makes getting ready for school every day really easy, but it is usually a challenge finding enough of the right sizes to start the year. So that will start soon I'm sure.
This weekend is my boy's pre-test in Karate. Next weekend is the big 2 day test for getting into Prep Cycle, but this Saturday they will decide who gets to earn a spot at the big test. The one next weekend is in front of the Master instructors, so they want to make sure that they are only sending the ones who have a good shot at passing. I am very confident that he will make it through the pretest, as long as he doesn't get too nervous. Being gone for so long has left some little holes in his memory that he needs to concentrate on, but I think he's going to do fine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

They're Back!!

I am so glad that my kids are back home. And that they are happy to be back. Well, mostly. They do miss the Wii. Oh well. More on them, but first...

Last weekend was fun. We spent Friday (the 4th) doing not much of anything, then went to the Rec Center with Dana and her family to watch the fireworks. It was nice that Shell was there too. She always works on the 4th for the overtime, but they didn't offer any this year, so she took the night off. We did miss having the kids with us though.
Then Saturday, the True Colors concert. It was the BEST! We got to Red Rocks and hiked to our seats. They weren't bad seats, it's just a hike up to the ampitheater from the parking lot. We brought a cooler with sandwiches, chips and drinks so we ate while we waited for it to start. Carson Kressly hosted, and was a lot more enjoyable than I expected. The all-girl band Girl In A Coma performed first. They did about 4 songs I think, and we thought they were pretty good. (This is one of the things I love about this tour. Last year we saw the Dresden Dolls and The Cliks for the first time and really loved them.) Carson did some more banter and then Joan Armatrading was up. As soon as she was announced, the lesbians in the audience went CRAZY. We felt like we must have been missing out on something. I thought her music was really beautiful, but Shell wasn't really excited about it. She must have done about 6 songs and then it was time for intermission. When that was over, Carson came back out to announce Rosie. I thought I was going to cry. Ok, maybe I did a little. But I couldn't help it, I really respect that woman. I do. She did about 30 minutes of stand up which was exactly as great as I hoped it would be. After Rosie, the crew set up for the B-52's. I lost track of how many songs they did, but the audience was on its feet the whole time. It was so great. They finished with Love Shack and Rock Lobster- perfect! Carson talked a little more and then it was time for Cyndi. She rocked the place just like last year. She is so amazingly talented and the fact that this whole True Colors tour was her idea is really something. Rosie sang backup on her new song Rocking Chair and then came back out to play drums during Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The big finale (same as last year) was True Colors, sung by all the performers. It's really touching and beautiful and the audience is on its feet and everyone is singing. It's really magical. I loved it.
We spent Sunday watching movies and then ordered Chinese food for dinner. It was really a good day. We watched:
Mad Money - This was funny and very light. Diane Keaton, Ted Danson, Queen Latifah & Katie Holmes who was much funnier than I expected her to be.

Evening - I read this book and had kind of a hard time keeping track of the story. It jumps back and forth in time and between characters. I had hoped that the movie would be really great, especially with a cast like this. Vanessa Redgrave, Miranda Richardson, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close... It should have been amazing. It was good.

P.S. I Love You - This was a very good movie that made us cry more than once. Hilary Swank is one of our favorite actresses and she doesn't disappoint in this film. It also has a pretty sizable role for Lisa Kudrow, who I think is really great in her own right.

Hostel 2 - This was horrible. I fell asleep when Shell watched the first one and she liked it alot. I took her word for it. She said this one was not anywhere near as good as the first. I can't compare the two, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I took the day off from work and mowed the backyard, hosed the spiderwebs and dirt off the front porch and did a bunch of laundry. We watched another movie, Flightplan. It stars Jodie Foster and we liked it, but thought that the beginning was a tad slow.

The kids flight was a little late, so they didn't get in until almost midnight, and I was really happy to see them. They had a really good flight. No snacks, but they had ginger ale and got to watch the TV feed for free, which was pretty cool for them. My boy was complaining of his ears hurting, so when we got home I put some Debrox in. Usually this solves the problem, but I thought it could also just be from 3 weeks of lots and lots of swimming. Unfortunately, Shell called this afternoon and said that they are still bothering him, so she is going to take him to the doctor and have them take a look. I hope that they get it figured out, because he needs to make up Karate classes before his next test in 2 weeks. It's going to be a lot of work, and he needs to be healthy.

The kids were very happy to hear that Shell quit smoking, and were surprised that she has done so well for this long. I am too. I think that they were also surprised that we missed them so much. I guess that I was too. A lot of people asked if we were loving it while they were gone. In some ways I absolutely was. There were no sibling arguments and bickering, no television on with no one watching, there were very little dishes, nothing scattered around the house, no running to Karate 4 times a week, no arguments about bedtime or time on the phone. So no, I didn't miss the parenting side of things, but I did absolutely miss them. I like them a lot. They are very neat people that I enjoy being with. And they are loving and snuggly, which is just icing on the cake. I'm glad they are home, Shell is glad they are home and they are glad to be home. It is as it should be. And now life will go on, at least until my mom brings CANiece1 & 2 back with her at the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Since Vacation

Ugh, I hate going back to work after vacation! I've been back to work for over a week now, and I think I have finally caught up. My kids get back home next week, and I am glad. I miss them.

What have I done since I got back from CA? Well, the day after I got home we went to PrideFest with Dana & Jeannie. I really love going to Pride. This year there were over 250,000 who attended. It was very hot, but so satisfying to be there. We were sad that the kids weren't with us, but we definitely spent less money without them. Jeannie cooked dinner for us that night, and we played many games of Catchphrase before going home.

I took Monday off from work so Shell & I could go to our gynecologist appointments. It was just my routine annual, but it was the first for Shell in 8 years! Her cycle is so screwed up, so she got some birth control to try and see what happens. I hope it helps. She also got a bunch of bloodwork done to see how everything is working. We're waiting to hear the results on that.

I went back to work on Tuesday. It sucked. I don't know what else to say, so that's all about that.

Saturday we had my dad over for dinner. I made shredded beef enchiladas and they were amazing. It was my first attempt at them and we were very pleased. He got to see all my pictures from CA too. It was nice.

Sunday we had Dana & Jeannie over to our house for dinner, this time making shredded beef tacos. Again yummy! The best part about having guests over is that it forces us to clean up our house. The main level of my house looks so pretty, I really need to work on our bedroom next.

This week at work has been more of the same - catching up. I have Friday off for 4th of July - can't wait. I HAVE to get my grass mowed, it is so long. We have really nasty weeds too, I'll need to get some weedkiller that is safe to have with the dogs.

I am REALLY looking forward to Saturday. It is the True Colors concert with the B-52's, Joan Armatrading, Girl in a Coma, Carson Kressly, ROSIE O'DONNELL & CYNDI LAUPER!!!! Excited doesn't even come close to how much I am looking forward to this.

That should bring me up to date. Oh!!! I almost forgot. While I was in CA, Shell decided to quit smoking! She has done really well, and we can't wait to tell the kids when they get home. They will be so happy. They'll also be happy because we bought tickets to see Idina Menzel next month for all four of us. Next month is going to be pretty exciting for us. My girl is going with Shell to see Martina McBride in concert; My boy is going with my dad & I to see a Beatles tribute concert; We're all going to see Idina and they start school on August 19. Whew! We're going to be busy, that's for sure.

Vacation Recap Finale

We got to Eric's late Thursday night and although I tried to stay up to watch a movie, I was falling asleep sitting up. We got our jammies on and off to bed we went. Eric mentioned that we had never slept in the same bed before, besides the day we tried to get tickets to see Janet Jackson back in 1990. We had been up all night waiting in line, and didn't get tickets so we ended up back at my house and fell asleep on my bed. I was kind of surprised, but glad that he remembered.

Eric's dog Sugar. I totally fell in love with her!

The next morning (Friday), we got up and walked to Starbucks and the grocery store. Once back at his place, we didn't do much of anything really. It was another scorcher in SoCal, and he didn't have AC either!! I ended up taking a nap. Eric bought tickets for us to go to the opening night of the Hollywood Bowl that night. It was so much fun! The orchestra played for a while; Della Reese introduced B.B. King who performed and Mary Louise Parker introduced Liza Minnelli who performed. Oh my gosh I about died when Mary Louise came out. I was excited to see Liza, but seeing Ms. Parker was a wonderful surprise. I love her! Liza looked and sounded great. What a show. After we left, we went to see Eric's friend where she works, had a few drinks, ate and went back to Eric's. That was a really great day. Spending time with Eric is priceless to me, and I enjoyed every minute.

Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl
Saturday we slept in much later then we should have. After getting all my stuff back in the car, we had lunch at a really great place, Joan's on Third. The food tasted amazing. Then we fought traffic in our rush to get to the airport. I was minutes away from missing my flight. Our good-bye was rushed, which is probably good. I hate saying good-bye to him. And then I was homebound.
I was glad to get home to Shell, but very sad to leave everyone I had spent time with. My kids will fly home on July 8; my mom will drive back with my CANieces at the end of July; Eric is coming here in November for the Madonna concert and the plan is that MOSis & her kids will come back out to see us at Christmas. Don't know when I will see CASis again as there is nothing planned at this time.

Vacation - Part 2

Monday morning we set out for Orange County to my grandparents house. These are my dad's parents and they have lived in the same house since I was about 3. I have so many fond memories of staying overnight on Saturdays and going to church with my grandma on Sundays. I adore my grandpa, and I grew up knowing the feeling was mutual. Our relationship was very strained when I came out to my family, but our relationship was mended over time and I am very grateful for that. So we all showed up and ordered pizza, which turned out to be perfect for everyone. We were there for about 4 hours or so and right before we left my uncle showed up with my cousins, who I haven't seen since before I moved to CO. About 14 years or so. So that was nice.
1.) My grandparents with their granddaughters & grandkids. 2.) My kids with my grandpa
Then we headed for my grandma (my mom's mom) and aunt's house. My grandma has lived in this house since my mom was a teenager, again lots of great memories of family get-togethers. We unloaded both cars, ate dinner and coordinated the sleeping arrangements. My mom slept with my grandma in her room, my aunt took the guest bedroom (since she still had to get up for work every morning) and MOSis & I slept in my aunt's room with MONiece in her portacrib. So that left both of my kids, MONephew, CASis and both of her girls in the living room. Luckily we had 5 air mattresses. Or so we thought. My girl took the loveseat and the rest took the mattresses. By the next morning, 2 of the air mattresses were deflated and considered useless.
The set up in the living room- on the first night

Tuesday was a very relaxed day. CASis & I went to Costco to get lots of fruit, breakfast stuff, and the makings of Taco Salad for Wednesday's dinner. My kids & I prepared for our big evening (of which they only knew we were going to dinner with Uncle Eric). We headed for Eric's in L.A. and made it without getting lost, and making good time! Had dinner at Doughboy's which was so good I am still thinking about it, and then headed to the Pantages Theater. Eric drove which was so fantastic. I hate driving when I don't know where I'm going. The kids were trying to guess where we were going and it was making them a little crazy not knowing. When they saw the theater, they knew and hid their excitement until it was time to go in. I think my boy couldn't get inside fast enough. They really loved the show, and I was so glad we were able to take them. We went back to Eric's briefly so he could take his dog out one more time and then we all headed back to Orange County. Once there, we had to rearrange the sleeping arrangements once again as we were now up a person and down 2 mattresses. So CASis moved into the room with MOSis. Eric, CANiece1 & I took air mattresses, my girl stayed on the loveseat and the other 3 kids put blankets down and slept on the floor.
1.) My girl & Uncle Eric at Doughboys 2.)At the theater

Wednesday was nice, but the hot weather was really getting to me in terms of my feet & ankles swelling - a lot. My grandma doesn't have air conditioning, so we decided to find some. MONephew went to see his grandparents (on his dad's side) so CASis, Eric & I took the rest of the kids to see Kung Fu Panda. MOSis & the baby didn't go. We went to Round Table for pizza before the movie. I haven't been to a Round Table in a really long time, it was pretty good. The movie was really cute, we all enjoyed it. When we got back, my older cousin and her daughter were there, so we visited shortly before our other visitors showed up. Two very good friends of my mom's came by with their kids, it was a great time. We ate taco salad and caught up with everyone. The kids had a lot of fun playing together. MONephew ended up staying at his grandparents that night, so he missed it. After everyone left, we played Shanghai. Unfortunately, CASis found out that night that a good friend of hers, that we all knew, had lost his battle with leukemia. We were very sad, which put a bit of a damper on the next day, but she was a trooper and didn't let her sadness affect things too much.
1.) My aunt, mom & cousin 2.) MONiece eating chili beans & avocado-yum! 3.) CANiece2 & my cousin's daughter

Thursday was my last day in Orange County. We had lunch from a hamburger place that is right up the street from where Shell & I used to live. It was very greasy but so yummy! Eric & I picked up our rental car and met everyone else at the street where we lived. My parents bought that house when I was 4 years old, and lived there until they moved to CO. Some of the same people who we grew up knowing still live there. One of my very best friends, V, met us there at her parents house with her new baby, who I proceeded to love on a lot. We visited with former neighbors for a couple of hours before heading back to my grandma's.
1.) V with her baby, MOSis & hers 2.) V's beautiful baby boy 3.) My boy with his Uncle Eric
It was a little bittersweet, as I was leaving to spend the next two days with Eric before flying home. MOSis and her kids were staying until they flew home on Saturday and CASis, her girls and my kids were driving back to Indio on Friday. So Eric & I were the first to leave. My nieces and nephew were sad, which made me sad too. We took a bunch of pictures and then we left for Los Angeles to my next vacation adventures.

1.) My grandma, mom, sis' & me 2.) Eric & Me 3.) CANieces & Me

1.) & 2.) MONephew & me being goofy 33.) Me and my cute kids
To be continued...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Vacation Recap - Part 1

I have been home for a week and a half and this is the first post I am making since. And I am going to recap my vacation and events since in more than one post. Because if I don't, it will be a crazy long post. And because it's my blog and I can do what I want.
We started out as planned early Thursday morning, June 12. My mom came over about 3:30am so we could get her car loaded up. I was pretty happy that I got to bed around 11, which was earlier then I had feared might happen. We headed out at exactly 4:00 and about 15 minutes later my boy realized that he forgot his retainer at home. I couldn't exactly buy a new one, so we turned around and went back for it. It set us back about 45 minutes, but all in all it could have been worse. The rest of the drive went as planned and the kids did great! My boy listened to the new Madonna CD almost the entire way and my girl listened to the Alvin & the Chipmunks movie soundtrack. They did some crafts that my mom brought for them and they slept. It went very smoothly. I drove the whole way there. We stopped once for breakfast in Grand Junction (about 4 hours into the drive) and the other times we stopped were for gas and we used these for bathroom breaks and snacks. It took longer then I had hoped; we didn't get to my sister's until after 9 that night, making the total time about 17 hours. But we did get there, with no car troubles, arguments or meltdowns. I think it was a success.
1.)The kids in the backseat 2.)Somewhere in Utah 3.)My boy - traveling is exhausting!

By the time we got there, we were tired and hot and so happy to be out of the car. We unloaded everything, put our jammies on and visited shortly before going to bed. I think we all slept very good that night. We spent Friday just hanging out. It was the last day of school for my nieces, so they got out early. All the kids went swimming that evening.
1.)Kisses! MONephew & MONiece 2.)What a big girl! 3.)All the big kids- swimming wore them out!

Saturday was pretty much more of the same except that early that morning we all went and had pictures taken by a friend of my sister. Considering the heat and the restless kids, they turned out pretty good. The kids went swimming again and then we baked sugar cookies and frosted them. It was a lot of fun, and kept them busy for a while. They spent a lot of time on the Wii also. What fun times they had with that! We played Scrabble that night. I had never played before, so it was a little difficult getting the hang of it. Then we played Scattergories which I LOVE! The kids all took turns playing with us, which led to some pretty funny answers.
1.)All of us 2.)Me with my kids 3.)With my mom & sisters

1.)CANiece2 and my boy on the Wii 2.)CANiece1 & MONephew frosting cookies

Sunday was Father's Day and after we all talked to my dad, we headed to my brother-in-law's parents house to grill carne asada and chicken. They have a pool and the kids were in it for hours. They had such a great time. The food was wonderful and we watched Tiger Woods play in the US Open. We went to high school with Tiger, so we really enjoy watching him do so well.
1.)All the kids in the pool 2.)My kids in the pool

The next day we headed to Orange County, and that's where I will pick up the next installment. As I've been planning these posts, I've been trying to figure out how to refer to my family members. I feel strongly about not putting the kids names on here, and I think I'm going to make that consistent with my sisters too. So I think I've decided what to do with them without it being too cryptic and confusing.
CASis - my sister who lives in California
CANiece1 - my 13 year old niece; oldest daughter of CASis
CANiece2 - my 10 year old niece; youngest daughter of CASis
MOSis - my sister who lives in Missouri; also the older twin of CASis
MONephew - my 13 year old nephew; son of MOSis
MONiece - my 1 year old niece; daughter of MOSis