Monday, June 29, 2009

Sandwiches on vacation

When we last left the story.....

Isn't that how they do it on TV?

We were packing up and heading to Santa Fe. This was a first time experience for all of us and ended up being the best thing we have done in a long time.

Our van was full. OK, when I wrote that I realized how much of a Mom I have become having a van for this long. I still see myself with my red Volkswagen convertible, I think.

But a van is a good thing when you have 2 adults and 4 kids with plenty of room to spread out and a built in DVD player. That was probably the BEST reason to take my car!

When you viewed the pile of things that needed to fit into the car, it did not seem possible that it would ever fit, but we made it without having to resort to tying it on the top.

When facing a 10 hour drive, the first few hours seem interesting, but after that, it is just mind numbing! The doctor had told me I had to stop at least every 2 hours and stretch my legs. Even though it has been 4 weeks since my surgery, I am still at risk of developing a blood clot and certainly did not want that to happen. Besides, 2 hours driving is plenty of time to deserve a break.

One problem with our breaks is they all required everyone to get out, decide if they needed to use the bathroom, and then get back in! I seriously do not know how Dad ever tolerated all of the long road trips we made when we were younger. I would have driven me crazy!!

Mom and Dad could not understand us wanting to take this trip, but they instilled the need for a vacation from an early age. I'm not sure if the trip to Colorado was the first long trip, but it produced a slew of memories. And that is what we wanted for this trip.

I think we made them.

Lisa, who pretended that she would help drive, ended up being the navigator and learned quickly that a GPS is a great thing to have. She loved looking up addresses on her Iphone and then punching them into the GPS for all sorts of adventures.

Times have really changed from depending on a variety of maps and then going by the seat of your pants as to the best route! Now you can pick the shortest or the fastest! Lisa wasn't sure there could be a difference in the shortest and the fastest. One of our many interesting conversations somewhere in the very flat area of west Texas!

We made it as far as Amarillo for the first night but not at the Holiday Inn where I had made reservations. I'm not sure if all cities have this rule, but Amarillo will only allow 4 people to a room, even if 4 of them are children. So we had to have 2 rooms or smuggle a couple of kids in. The Holiday Inn Express could not take my "coupon" I found under the Amarillo Travelers' Guide, so we had to keep going. By that point in the trip, if the other Holiday Inn had been much further, we would have had to sleep in the car. We were just too tired to go on.

Plus, and I hate to tell it, but when Lisa gets tired, she starts getting silly and it becomes contagious, especially to kids. So being the only one left with any sanity, we pushed on to the other Holiday Inn.

If you are going to Amarillo any time soon, just go to the Holiday Inn Express and don't try to save money with the coupon by going to the more traditional Holiday Inn. YUCK! But if you are tired enough, any bed will do. The kids and Lisa swam for just a little while to work off their excess energy and I drank coffee trying to stay awake until bed time!

The plan was to drive through McDonalds for breakfast, but for whatever reason we decided to eat there. Good thing when you saw the mess we left around the table!

Our last leg of the Texas trip seemed like forever, but it was only to be forever through the flat section of New Mexico.

Somewhere in there Lisa saw an Allsups gas station and was familiar with one of their better known products, a fried burrito.

For those of us with GERD, the very thought of this burrito can make you cringe.

But in some small west Texas towns, the only service station is an Allsups, so Lisa got her burrito! She even took a picture of it for her Facebook! It smelled delicious. If my stomach ever straightens out, I am headed to the closest Allsups for one!

We were getting close to our turn off for the casita and still needed to buy groceries and everyone was ready for lunch.

I had learned early on to trust Lisa on finding good places to eat, in spite of their outward appearance, and this was no different.

The Sopapilla Factory sounded heavenly, thinking about the wonderful sopapillas at El Fenix. Only in New Mexico, they are served instead of bread. Still good, believe me!

We made our way to the Rancho de Jacona and easily found the Frog House, which was ours for the week.

This place was even better than it appeared on the internet! The rooms were huge and there was plenty of space, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, with a nice living room, kitchen, and dining room. Plus we had 2 patios! The girls got the room with 2 queen beds and 2 trundle beds, which also gave them this gigantic bathroom! The bathroom was wheelchair accessible, so it had a seat in the shower, along with a HUGE jacuzzi!

Somehow Lisa and I ended up with more of a closet bathroom, but enjoyed having our own rooms to retreat to.

The girls loved exploring the property and quickly found the rabbits, donkeys, sheep, goats, peacocks, and chickens. BUT the most important thing was the pool! For them we could have vacationed in Arlington, as long as the place had a pool!

Lisa cooked out the biggest, most delicious burgers I have ever had and we all ate too much.

It was impossible to get phone service, but every now and then we could send an email, so I was glad to let Mom and Dad know we had made it safely. It is hard to travel that far and not worry about everyone at home.

Lisa had an agenda for us each day and persevered until we saw Abiqui, the Ghost Ranch, Taos, Santa Fe, and the Bandolier Monument. Not all in one day, of course!

Each day brought new adventures and unexpected pleasures!

I will add more about the trip when I download our pictures.

The most amazing part was how well everyone got along! I don't think I heard a cross word the whole time!

Everyone chipped in on the jobs of folding clothes, setting the table, and cleaning up.

We decided to try to make it home by driving straight through on Friday.

Thankfully we made a stop in Wichita Falls and met our cousins and their families for dinner. It was a nice treat as we had not seen them in at least 2 years, maybe longer.

Somewhere around Fort Worth I decided I could not make it any further. I really wanted to pull over and just stay there. I called and begged Mom and Dad to come rescue me! About that time Gillian began rapping and changed her name to G Kittee and we all laughed so hard that the time flew and we were finally home!

Today is Mom and Dad's anniversary. 59 years today! Wow! The best part is, I think if they had to do it over again they would!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Road trip with Sandwiches!

We are taking a road trip! Some of the sandwiches!

When I was growing up, I used to worry every time we left that something would happen to Mom and Dad while we were gone. This has been since I was about 10 years old. Now of course that was irrational, but I guess it is what children do. There was nothing wrong with my parents but I think because my grandfather had died I worried about the risk of losing my parents. A LOT of wasted energy.

Now that all of us are older, I realize they are fully capable of taking care of themselves. I'm sure they are glad to know that I finally trust them!

So today, Lisa is driving up from Austin to meet us, load up the Momma mobile and head west. The temperature here next week is expected to be triple digits every single day. We are going to the mountains and I cannot wait.

It has been 5 years since I took a vacation and the first time for us to go for more than a weekend, so this will be a new experience all the way around.

Yesterday in preparation, we went to Costco.

Shopping with 3 generations is always entertaining.

A place like Costco can be overwhelming but we had just a few things on our must buy list! We bought enough snacks, water, and plates, so if we are stranded somewhere, we are in good shape.

The girls were exhausted from the strenuous work of buying junk food and did not want to eat there. I explained that was the only meal that was going to happen so they better figure out what they wanted off the Costco menu!

I could tell Mom was not feeling up to going back to even make a "simple" meal and I knew I had a LIST of tasks to do, so after a bottle of water for each, they were ready to eat!

When we got home the girls worked hard at cleaning up the car, both inside and out, then the highlight of the day.

My mother can cook the most delicious brisket you have ever had. It melts in your mouth and has the flavor of Mr. Moore's bar b que, which you would have to be an OLD Oak Cliff person to remember how delicious that was.

Everyone came over for Father's Day celebration since we hope to be on the road early today.

For Dad his FAVORITE gift is always a shirt.

For Mom her LEAST favorite gift for Dad is a shirt. She has counted how many he has and it is a LOT, but that is what he wants.

So he had picked out an Hawaiian print one at Costco, so that is what he got, along with cashews and Jelly Belly beans. He also LOVES his snacks! The only thing better would have been a box of Millionaires!

I'm not planning to take my laptop so it might be a while for another post. If we all make it without ever coming to blows then we will have really accomplished a LOT.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An even bigger sandwich

This week my nieces have joined us.

It is always so good to see them. We miss them terribly when they are not here.

So now there are three 11 year olds and one 8 year old joining in on the fun.

This usually means a lot of family meals which are always great fun. Gillian LOVES to cook and Mom appreciates her help. Only now the other girls want to help too.

Mom is so patient with them, overlooking the fact that sometimes half the strawberry is wasted, but she lets them keep trying. That's the only way we ever learned and she continues it today!

Today the girls started off their day at art camp with their older cousin Marcie. This is evidently quite fun, but the story of what they are served to eat keeps getting more unusual! Today was vienna sausages, yesterday was a bologna sandwich. Grace seems to enjoy it all, but Annabel can't find anything she wants to eat. But it doesn't matter because they LOVE being in class with Marcie!

I'm not sure what all went on this afternoon except the girls washed the dogs.

I'm sorry I missed that!

Yesterday my girls went to Art Camp but were back in time to go to Waco to pick up Gillian and Darcey. The ride home was interesting I'm sure, with Mom, Dad, and 4 granddaughters! All drinking the large economy McDonald's beverage! They meant to speak to me as they came in but were each running for bathrooms!

Last night was our last swimming class! It seemed like a good idea when I registered them, but every night for 2 weeks of rushing dinner to sit in the hot sun while the girls swim wasn't as much fun for me as I expected! Grace did excellent in her class and the teacher said she graduated to the next level. Annabel's class had a LOT of kids in it and the teacher wasn't able to spend as much one on one time with them. She really needs more classes, but they will have to wait for now.

Tomorrow the whole clan is going to Costco, just in time for lunch and hopefully lots of good free samples!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A problem with the sandwich life - funerals

Today was the funeral for a man I have known for more than 47 years.

He was an elder in our church but represented much more than that. He was a patriarch, a doyen, a sage, an honorable man. He was the father of my peers, the husband of a woman who taught me so much, and a teacher and leader for all of us.

To lose him represented for us one of the last original members of our church. The numbers continue to dwindle.

A funeral is sad anyway, but it is especially difficult when you realize the toll it is taking on everyone.

This has been an especially rough month as so many from our church have passed away.

I know it takes a toll on Mom and Dad. It is very difficult to lose your peers.

The girls had gone to camp with Marcie, but our friend was picking them up. The drop off time was right in the middle of the funeral.

So as his son was struggling to reminisce about his father, and just as I am getting teary eyed, I got the message that the girls are in the parking lot.

You have to shift quickly to get from mourning to finding a quick lunch for 2 ravenous girls who are anxious to get to bingo with their new older friends from my program at the hospital.

A quick funny when I got caught!

This morning we were on our way to Marcie's for the girls first day of art camp with Marcie as the teacher. They were thrilled by the idea and afterward was even more thrilled!

Anyway, on our way there, Grace asks if me why we call people who don't drive cars and walk instead, "street walkers"?

She reminded me that I had, in a telephone conversation, mentioned seeing a street walker at the local store, so why are people who walk instead of drive called a street walker?

OK, I take a deep breath and explain that someone who walks instead of drives is not a street walker and explain what it is instead.

More of a Sandwich Life

Yesterday, Sunday, I was so hoping for a nap. It seems like you are supposed to have a Sunday afternoon nap, doesn't it?

So after lunch with Mom and Dad, and back home again, I announce I am laying down.

The first question is how long do I think I will be asleep???

It is not a good sign!

From a dead sleep, I am woken up with the question, "Mom, do we have any duct tape?"

Huh? No.

I doze off again, not really worrying about what that was about! I really needed a nap!

Then, I'm not sure how much time has passed, but the next question is, "Mom, will you be mad if we broke something?"

That will wake you up!

Grace asks again and then starts trying to explain what got broken while I am trying to decide exactly what I am being asked. I had bought a pump for our balls and another for the bikes. For some reason they decided that while I was asleep was the perfect time to try out both! Only I bought the cheapest of each type of pump and the needles broke on the first try.

Grace is begging me to tell Annabel that I am not mad so she will stop crying. In walks Annabel with tears just streaming down her cheeks, afraid I will be mad because they broke the needles.

I assure them both that I know neither would purposely try to break something and they were just cheaply made.

So where the sandwich part comes in, the girls had evidently gone next door to Poppa and borrowed duct tape and then glue to try to put the needles back together!

Believe it or not, that didn't work, but they knew their Poppa would be there to rescue them!

In the end, Dad even provided another needle that actually did work!

Saturday as sandwiches!

This is why you should never change your blog.

I wrote for about an hour yesterday and that post is now missing.

Yesterday was a perfect example of why I am calling this my sandwich life.

The day began early as the girls were signed up for a Lowe's Kid's workshop and usually always they go with their Poppa for these!

If you are going with Dad, you have to be ready and on time! Can't risk being late.

But this time was different and Mom and I were going too.

We decided on taking my car since we did not plan to buy anything.

That is never a good idea. We should always take Dad's truck so we won't buy anything! But if they have great clearance things you are sure to find something you can't live without!

So with not planning to buy anything we came away with a safe (with no combination), two barstools, and a new freezer!

The girls made their putting greens, which will end up sitting around for months!

After Lowe's we went to Wal Mart.

Again, what is the deal with the great clearance things right inside the door? It is impossible to pass up a good bargain!

But our quest was to spend our gift cards from our friend and volunteer, Jean! Trying to plan vacation and knowing everyone needs a swimsuit, that was our goal!

Somehow we can stand and look at rows and rows of swimsuits and no one can find a single one they want! It didn't help that they only had two pieces and ones with the sides cut out!

Annabel has told me a LOT of times that she wants a 3 piece swimsuit! A top, a bottom, and shorts!!! I have tried to explain that we can buy shorts separately but unless it is all a set together, she is not interested. No, Wal Mart does not have that kind either!

Then we looked for beach towels. I could not believe how much they wanted for a beach towel at Wal Mart! The majority of our gift cards would have been for a towel!

I stopped the progress of the day by insisting on using a coupon that they could not figure out how to make work!

This left everyone out in the car patiently waiting on me getting my $.65 off of dog food!

Our quick trips to Lowe's and Wal Mart took forever, so we decided to eat at WEndy's. I keep trying to pay for Mom and Dad a meal for taking care of my girls for the summer. This was a pretty cheap way to do it!

I was sure we could find decent swimsuits if we went to Target.

OK, evidently the only swimsuits made this year are two pieces or have the whole sides cut out! But it doesn't matter, Grace just stands and stares at them.

I pull out swimsuit after swimsuit and she just knows she does not like any of them!!! We even tried to narrow it down by color, but that didn't help either.

OK, do you remember what type of swimsuit Annabel wanted? She reminded me again, twice!! While Target had some that were her "style" none in the right color and the right size. It was the cheapest trip to Target I have ever made!

Next were haircuts.

Annabel wanted her hair cut BALD! She was sick and tired of it being so hot. I made her compromise and it is short, but not TOO short! It is an amazing transformation for her. It makes her look like a pixie or something!

Grace DID NOT want her hair cut, but it stays in her eyes when she tries to do anything, I convinced her to get a little cut off. 5 inches later and no one can miss any of it!

We ended the day with dinner with Mom and Dad.

Annabel has discovered corn on the cob and cannot get enough of it! She will eat 2 ears if anyone leaves theirs, but she also LOVES sweet potatoes, so Mom had 2 of her favorites.

I will go back and add some background later. I just wanted to get started since I had publicized that I had made a switch.

I hope you will keep up with us in this new format!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Welcome!

This will be more of an account of my life, living the true "sandwich" generation. My two daughters are 11 and my parents are not!

This is our life, with me learning to be a mom, to my two fairly newly adopted daughters, living next door to my parents.