Monday, August 31, 2009 No comments
We spent most of the time my Dad was here in the car. We drove to Gettysburg and then returned to our house for one night before loading the RV back up and driving to Boston for the weekend. Matt had a Po*rsche autocross race outside of Boston. My Dad hadn't been to Boston in 41 years, since he left the Air Fo*rce. Unfortunately, our trip into Boston to see the sights didn't pan out as planned. It poured rain. We did get to spend the morning with my cousin who has been living in Boston for the last few months for work. It was good to see Rachel even if we didn't get to see Boston's sights.

Sunday was beautiful. We woke up early and drove to Wald*en Pond to see where Henry *David* Thoreau* derived his inspiration. We also toured the charming towns of Con*cord and Lexing*ton. (Hey, when you travel with this former U.S. History teacher you're going to get the full American History tour.) Driving around we discovered a lovely farm/farmstand and we couldn't resist visiting and loading up on their produce and goodies.

While we were sightseeing, Matt was racing. He had a great autocross and came in first place. We managed to squeeze in some time at the track watching his runs in between our touring.

Matt at the start of the autocross course.

Chloe (with Lizzie in the foreground) watching her Dad race.


Friday, August 28, 2009 3 comments

The growing season has come to a standstill in Texas and the break has allowed my father to come to visit. The great thing about the area we live in is that we are a short drive from so many great sights. We decided on this visit that we would take my dad to Gettysburg and through the *Amish country, two places he has wanted to see. Matt stayed behind for work, but Chloe, the two dogs and I went with my dad last Tuesday to tour the battlefield.

On Little Round Top with PaPaw.

Chloe did surprisingly well touring the sights. I guess she really didn't have a choice considering her mom is a former U.S. History teacher. Besides, when it got boring to her she stuck with it knowing that she could go swimming when it was all over. For a five year old, she had a pretty good understanding. She asked lots of questions and freely shared what she knew---that the South lost-- and she wanted to know where the east and west were at during this conflict.

She liked seeing all the monuments (over 1300 on the battlefield) and told me while visiting the site of the Pickett-Pettigrew charge that Gen. Armisted "tripped" over a monument and fell and died there during the attack. I guess the monuments can get distracting, especially when you're 5 and don't know they were not there during the battle.

This was my third visit to Gettysburg and my dad's first. We toured the park over three days and followed along on each of the days events. I really enjoyed it and would love to return with Matt next summer to tour it again, this time on bicycles.
Now, we are taking my dad to Boston for our 2nd leg of our American History tour.

The Surprise

Sunday, August 23, 2009 1 comment

While we were camping last weekend, we watched two programs on the *Travel Channel about the best *roller coasters and *waterparks in America. Chloe was mesmerized and was making a list of the roller coasters she wanted to ride and waterparks she wanted to visit. She has been talking about it non-stop. Matt and I decided that we should take her to a nearby waterpark on Saturday. I checked around and researched which waterparks in the area were best for small kids. At 43" tall, she's off limits on a lot of rides in some waterparks.

On Friday, when it was apparent that Hurricane* Bill was going to bring us lots of rain on the weekend, I altered plans to take her to a indoor waterpark. There are several in the area, most are associated with a hotel and you can only visit the waterpark if you are a hotel guest. There is however an indoor waterpark in the area that is associated with hotels and sells day passes to the general public. By Friday, the closest one to us was sold out of day passes. There was another one, just a few miles further in Connecticut, so I purchased tickets.

Chloe knew we were surprising her with something. We had told her that. We realized she's good at guessing surprises and at eavesdropping on the phone. She knew what her surprise was and she was still very excited.

We splashed and played in the water. There were only 2 slides she was too small to go on, but she took on the large body flume, with a little encouragement from Daddy. She was scared at first but kept going back for more after her first ride.

We all had fun. Chloe was tired afterwards. We stopped for dinner on the way home and she fell asleep in the restaurant!

Complete Randomness

Thursday, August 20, 2009 No comments

It's grossly hot and humid outside. It's steamy and the air is as thick as soup. I took Chloe for a bike ride yesterday and we made it down the street before I made her turn around and return inside to the house. The dogs don't even want to go outside. It's the kind of heat and humidity that makes you sticky and sweaty and just all over gross. Our a/c is cranking it out hard and I have to empty the tank in our dehumidifier daily. I may have wished for heat back in the rain of June, but I didn't wish for the moisture to accompany it. Its so humid we get a sprinkling or two of rain in the daytime. Not heavy, just sprinkles.

Hopefully the hurricane that's bringing this soupy heat will clear out soon. We're supposed to have major thunderstorms just in time for the weekend and then a cool down next week. We are looking forward to that as PaPaw is coming from Dallas and Chloe and I are taking him to Gettysburg for a couple of days.

In the meantime, we seem to be trapped indoors due to the heat and humidity. I'm starting to run out of things to do with Chloe and am starting to lose sanity and patience. I've decided to share some bullet points of things I have discovered & encountered while be homebound.

  • Chloe starts kindergarten in less than two weeks. She is nervous and excited. Her teacher sent the school supply list in the mail along with a letter and I have to suspect that she will send home another supply list on the first day/week of school because I find it hard to believe all she needs for school is a box of tissue, gallon-size Zip*loc baggies and some Wet *Wipes. That list took the wind right out of our sails! Chloe and I had been planning our school supply shopping trip for a few weeks. Having her pick out a box of klee*nex to take is no fun at all. Being completely over-zealous, I checked the websites of the other 5 elementary schools in our town and found that two had the kindergarten school supply list with a more extensive list of supplies posted. I made a new list by combining the two and off to Tar*get we went. Chloe and I stocked up and she had a lot of fun packing her big girl backpack with the new supplies. I am sure Chloe's kindergarten teacher is going to think we are totally over the top, but shopping in the house goods aisle for your school supplies instead of the school supply aisle is no fun.

  • Chloe and I also did some school clothes shopping. Ok, Chloe watched tv in the store while I picked out a few outifits. Knowing Chloe well, I managed to pick out an outfit that she is head over heels in love with. Chloe has NEVER been into clothes, that's my thing, but she went totally nuts for this outfit and asks to wear it every day. We decided she will wear it her first day of school. Remember, she is a tomboy. Can you decide what it is about this outfit that makes her go ga-ga?

  • I have a sinus infection. Some plant or tree is enjoying this weather and is blooming. My ears ache and my throat is sore and I have a pounding headache. I can't put my contacts in. Matt has it too though his symptoms differ slightly--scratchy throat and eyes.

  • Chloe told me yesterday that she wants to start picking her clothes out by herself on the weekends because she wants to dress "cool", as in hip and trendy. She further explained that she wants to dress cool like her Dad because he's "the coolest person and way cooler than you mom." I thought it was sweet even though she dissed me.

  • Chloe's obsession with The* Lion* King* seems to be waning but unfortunately has been replaced by the movie Free* Willy and High* School* Musical* 3. She likes to "imaginate" (that's Chloe-speak for imagine) that she is the boy from Free* Willy* and she is working with Orkans (that would be Orkas to you and I). She also told me when she gets to school she is going to sing songs. I didn't want to burst her bubble but I tried to explain that people don't really break into song like they do in HSM* and that if she did I doubt the rest of her classmates would join in for a song and dance.

  • On the adoption front, we haven't received our referral from Ethiopia. I am looking forward to the distractions of our trip next week and the start of school. Lately I think I have had too much time on my hands to contemplate our not receiving our referral yet. We are just a few days shy of entering the referral window (4-6 months) our agency gave us so their is no need to get freaked out just yet (or at least that is what I keep telling myself).

  • Speaking of international adoption, we were contacted today by a journalist who writes for our local newspaper wanting to interview us on our international adoption experience. She's writing an article on tips for those contemplating international adoption from those who have been there and done that. Knowing that I may be published as someone who can give advice on international adoption is helping me try to keep my sanity during the wait.


Monday, August 17, 2009 No comments

We went camping this weekend to Mystic*, CT. I was looking forward to the trip as many of my friends had told me how Mystic is a great place to visit. I am also a fan of the movie My*stic Pizza. Unfortunately, my friends left out that getting to Mystic can prove quite a feat. What would normally be a 2.5 hour drive ended up taking almost 5 hours thanks to the loads of traffic on I-95. We got there and we got away for the weekend and that's a good thing.

We went to the aquarium and drove around the Long Island Sound. Chloe got to swim in the pool and play on the playground. We all got to catch up on some needed sleep and relax. We left early on Sunday morning to avoid the traffic so our camping weekend was a short one.

We made it back home in over 3 hours and were able to give the RV a much needed (and overdue) wash both inside and out.

Slugs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 2 comments
Really its just the later. I found THIS in my garden today... DIGGING.

It looks like Flash the roto-tiller has removed our pumpkin plants and our remaining beets and radishes. He apparently likes tomatoes because he ran out of the garden with one. I resecured the fence and I am hoping its "Flash-proof". I had to repair the damage and I pulled out the radishes and beets. The tomatoes are starting to ripen daily and the cucumbers are growing. Some of my tomato varieties are not fairing as well as others, as a few appear to have a fungus causing them to rot before they ripen.

Despite Flash's digging and the fungus, I was able to do some harvesting (with Chloe's assistance of course).


Thursday, August 06, 2009 No comments

Today marks one month with Flash at home. He'll be 12 weeks on Monday, 8/10. He knows his name and will look when it is called (and sometimes he may come to you), he can shake paws with you, sit (sometimes) and enjoys wrestling with Lizzie. He still loves to chew and is making small steps in the housebreaking area (ever so small steps). We are currently looking into getting Flash into a puppy kindergarten class to assist in obedience training.

Chloe declared that she THINKS "she may love Flash now" but she wishes he wouldn't chase or nip at her or try to chew the face off of every doll & stuffed animal she owns. Of course, she brings about the majority of the disagreements she has with Flash by calling his name and then running from him. Hmmmm, wonder why he chases you and nips at you?

Flash's favorite activity by far is eating. He is nuts over food, "nuts" being the operative word. The majority of his disobedience comes at meal time. He's like a velociraptor at feeding times.
We are enjoying the new member of the family. He seems to grow an inch every day!

Sorority Reunion

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 1 comment
Note: Right now as I am blogging this, Chloe is being forced into child labor (i.e. she is having to clean the family room of her toys and the remnants of Babybel cheese. She loves the cheese, but apparently doesn't love throwing the red, waxy outer wrapper away. I just found a stash of them, melted onto the top of her lapdesk she left by the window. It was gross.). She is all despondent and is acting like it is physically painful. I should get the video recorder. She keeps saying, "Mom, this makes me tired. Can just watch tv instead?" Oy!
Last Thursday, Chloe and I woke in the early hours of the morning to fly to NW Arkansas for my sorority reunion at the University of Arkansas (GO HOGS!). We stayed with one of my dear friends, Christi. Melanie, my other dear pal from college, stayed at Christi's also. Melanie, Christi and I were able to go out, have fun at our reunion and our children were in the care of Christi's husband, who I shall forever refer to as "The Saint". For two nights, he watched his & Christi's two kids (ages 8 and 6), Melanie's son Grant (age 5) and Chloe (age 5). Not only that, he took them to Chuck E. Cheese---both nights. That's above and beyond folks.
The reunion was to commemorate the 20 year founding of our sorority chapter at the U of A. There was a dinner Friday & Saturday evenings for members-only and a family event at the sorority house on Saturday. It was fantastic seeing my sorority sisters, some of whom I haven't seen since leaving college in 1995. We also took a side trip on Sunday to see the Vaughns, the parent's of our dear friend, Carrie, who died in a car accident in 1992 while we were roommates. We have all kept in contact with Carrie's parents over the past 16 years and they take a genuine interest in our lives and happiness. It was great to see them and to introduce them to Chloe.
Chloe and I returned to NJ on Monday with lots of Razorback memorbilia in tow. Chloe is refusing to take of the Razorback shirt and short set I bought her--she wore it as pjs the last two nights and kept it on all yesterday. I think I am going to have to pry it off her today.
Chloe riding Chaco with Mr. Vaughn assisting. Chloe was very nervous to ride such a big horse but Mr. Vaughn helped her calm down and "relax".
Chloe sports "the Oklahoma Rancher" look. I like the yellow jellies on her feet that complete the look.

Chloe gets some lessons from Mr. Vaughn on calf roping.

We stopped to eat at Son*ic with the kids. They were hungry and tired.

Susan, Christi, Melanie, me & Karen in front of our sorority house.

Madeline, Grant, Chloe and Tyler on the top bunk in the room I lived in my junior year. This is the same bunk I jumped out of early one morning to answer the phone and broke my foot. It was my sister, Deanna, calling and she hung up on me b/c she meant to call time and temp.

Chloe pointing to my photo as sorority president on the KD composite board. Susan is holding Chloe.

Christi out on Dickson St. in Fayetteville. We relived our college days on Friday night. We felt very old. The best moment out was when a college girl told us we were "the hottest moms" at the bar. Do a lot of moms go out with college kids?

Me, Allison, Tammy and Melanie at Jose's on Friday evening.

Cindy & I at Jose's.
The kids at a splash park on Friday afternoon.