Saturday, November 16, 2013

We Survived Our Road Trip

A few weeks ago M's sister got married in Washington D.C. The wedding was on a Thursday and the kids already had Monday off school. We only had to take the kids out of one extra day of school and then we had 9 days for trip. Because we had the extra time to work with, it was SO much more economical to drive instead of fly.

If you don't factor in your sanity.

Things We Hoped to Do on the Road Trip

Things We Expected to Really Do on the Road Trip

Things We ACTUALLY Did on the Road Trip


Get such an early start and make such great time and feel so alert that we just drive straight on through the whole 1500 miles.

Get tired slightly past half way and find a nice inexpensive hotel to stay in for the night.

Wander around Jackson Tennessee for 45 minutes trying to find a non-scary hotel room only to finally find out that all the hotels are booked up because Lane college is having their homecoming that weekend.


Set the cruise control and make great time.


Hit a little traffic here and there and get in later than hoped for.


Get detoured to small country roads in the middle of the night for 30 miles because the interstate was closed just outside Memphis TN  AND hit such bad traffic in Virginia that we actually put the car in park and  turned off the engine for 30 minutes.


Enter an address in the GPS and get accurate, concise directions for getting there.

Listen to the GPS say “Recalculating” every time we had to get off the freeway to pee.


Have the GPS lose satellite reception every time we looked at it wrong.  Have it choose yet another slightly different route for getting there every time we tried to drive to the same place.  Develop suspicion that the GPS is getting paid for every unique street it makes us drive on.  End up renaming the GPS “Willis” so that we can start saying, “What choo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?”


Only go to the bathroom at meal stops.

Make pit stops every 2 hours.

Pee early and pee often. Have the dedication to pee 3 times in an hour, whether we need to or not. Pee before the meal, after the meal, and again 20 minutes after we finally get back on the road.  ALL THE SAME KID.  Get our drink privileges taken away.




Stare out the window bored.


Pick up Kate’s princess dolls from the floor of the back seat while telling the kids to stop bugging each other.


Sing songs together.


Listen to music.

Have the kids yell at each other to stop every time one of them starts happily singing a song.


Have Claire and Scott do homework while Kate played happily with toys.


Let Kate listen to a movie with headphones on while the big kids did their homework.


Inform Scott that we were not going to play the Barbie Fairytopia movie over again so he could hear it this time because we didn’t want his testicles to shrivel up and fall off.


Read out loud as a family from the Little House on the Prairie book series.

Watch a few movies.

Try to ignore threats from Kate that she will “be bossy” if we didn’t let her watch the movie she wanted… again.


Discuss family goals and aspirations.


Tell the kids to stop bugging each other.


Insist that Kate ask politely before you pick up her princess dolls from the floor of the back seat... again.


Have a neat, organized car because we had thought of everything.


Need to wash and vacuum out the car when we got back.

Cleaned up spilled orange Powerade with a pillowcase.  Get our drink privileges taken away… again.


Have the children entertain themselves so that M and I can read and talk about grown up things.


Risk throwing out our backs passing out books and snacks.

Risk throwing out our backs picking up Kate’s princess dolls from the floor of the back seat… again.

Eat up leftover snack foods from around the house.

Let the kids pick out few new snack foods from the grocery store.


Wander around Wal-Mart for half an hour buying snack food only to have the children crumble the food up and leave it in Lake Powerade.


Attend a fabulous wedding where we get to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the marriage of a beloved sister and her new husband.

Be present at the wedding.

Attend a fabulous wedding where we get to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the marriage of a beloved sister and her new husband.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pumpkins 2013

It was a bit of a tight squeeze to fit pumpkin carving into the schedule this year.  Like I said in my last post, my sister-in-law's wedding made my October a little crowded. Not that I'm complaining. I wouldn't have traded being a part of her beautiful wedding for the world. But it did mean our pumpkin carving was a little less elaborate this year.

In the past we've been able to get our pumpkins carved for the church party and still have them not entirely gross when Halloween night rolled around. But this year our party at church was almost a full week before the actual day of Halloween. Not gonna have carved pumpkins for both. Normally we would have chosen to have the pumpkins carved for our church party, but given our busy month, we ended up carving them for Halloween night.

We let each of the kids pick out a pumpkin and what they wanted carved on it.

Claire chose Angry Birds and did a lot of the carving herself:

Scott designed his own silly face and we helped him execute it.  The googly eyes were an extremely important design element for him:

And Kate really, really wanted a princess pumpkin. A Sleeping Beauty to be exact.  And because she has me wrapped around her little finger:

And then the next day I let her decorate a gold crown to put on Aurora:

M and I wanted so badly to do a design of our own choosing too, but we were running out of time.  In the end, we stayed up way too late rushing to carve one and I don't think really turned out.  Can you tell what we tried to carve?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween didn't get the attention this year that it usually does around our house. M's sister got married (WOO HOO!) two weeks before Halloween, so we were pretty busy getting ready for that. Helping with wedding plans, planning and buying outfits for the family, making flower girls dresses and accessories, and planning a 9 day road trip to Washington D.C. meant that I didn't have the time I usually do to make my kids' costume dreams come true. (I'll be subjecting you to photos from the wedding soon too, trust me.)

Kate wanted to be Merida from Brave in the blue and gold dress. I looked into buying the costume, but everything was either too expensive, too lame, or both. Some of the costumes didn't even look like anything Merida wore in the movie. Pshaw!

So I was going to try to make Kate's costume, but it soon became clear I had bitten off more than I could chew. My wonderful mother came to the rescue. She took the pattern and fabric from me and made Kate's dress mostly while we were gone at the wedding. I think she did a pretty awesome job:

M made her a little bow to complete the look.  She LOVED it.

And before you ask, yes. That is Kate's real hair, not a wig:

I got the idea for Kate's hair from this site. But I wanted a wilder look than that, so I used smaller sections, tied them in tighter knots, left them in longer, and separated the finished curls more.

I curled Kate's hair the night before using drinking straws and some mousse. I used the straws like you would do rag curls - roll the hair around the straw and then tie the straw in a knot to hold it.  I went with a full square knot so they would hold up to a four year old level of abuse for almost 24 hours. And they did hold up really well. None fell out with her sleeping in them and then wearing them all day long (even at dance class!) until the party in the evening.

This is a photo from the first time we did it for a church party. We went with rainbow straws. For actual Halloween we went with all red and orange straws to slightly give the illusion of red hair when she wore her costume at preschool earlier in the day. The second time I did it, I think I sectioned her hair even smaller than pictured here and it was almost too much. But I did cut the ends of the straws shorter the second time, and they were less cumbersome for her to wear, so I recommend that.

We're not going to talk about how long this took me. Suffice it to say that Kate and I enjoyed a nice movie together while we did this.

Then I untied all the straws and was left with a Shirley Temple look. Adorable, but unfortunately not Merida-like. I combed through all the curls pretty thoroughly with my fingers until we had a nice wild mane of curls. Then I hairsprayed it all. Finally, we covered her body and face in an old towel and sprayed her hair with a combo of half red temporary spray color and half orange temporary spray color.

The look sagged a little by the end of the evening, but still looked pretty great! It was so sad to put her in the shower at the end of the night to wash it all out, but I wasn't letting that hair color get anywhere near her bedsheets!

Fortunately, Claire and Scott picked some pretty easy costumes this year. I bought some robes, threw together some of Scott's, Claire's, and my church clothes, and sanded down and painted some sticks. A little eyeliner scar and some old costume glasses we already had from M being Waldo for Scott.  A french braid that Claire slept in overnight (Yes, my fingers were cramping by the end of doing both Kate AND Claire's hair in one night, in case you were wondering) and... Voila! Harry Potter and Hermione Granger!

It doesn't really show in the bloggable photos, but they REALLY looked like Harry and Hermione, if I do say so myself. It struck me with Claire especially. That girl basically IS Hermione, brainy sassy attitude and all.

And at the last second, I threw together a costume for myself out of a few things around the house:

Can you tell what I was?  I'll give you a close-up detail for help:

It was a very polarizing costume at the party we went to.  It was immediately obvious who was familiar with the Fruit Ninja game, and who was not.

(Do most people have Japanese toe shoes, a toy samurai sword, kick-boxing pants, and a balaclava hanging around their house?)