8.09.2014

Back to School

...because I couldn't come up with a more clever title for this post. 

That's right. The kids returned to school this week. On my birthday. It was a nice treat for me. Isaiah won't start back until the 18th so he is still hanging around, bumming PBJs. The drastic change in schedule is wreaking havoc on my body. I'm so tired - physically and mentally. The kids seem to be managing it well. They wake up on time every morning and don't behave as if they are sleep-deprived, so they are miles ahead of me. 

The most challenging factor about this school year is transportation for Andre. Due to behavior/maturity factors, I enrolled him in a K-6 rSTEM academy rather than sending him off to middle school. While I'm thrilled that we have this option, as I believe it's the best solution for him right now, getting him there and back requires a significant amount of effort. There is a special STEM bus that picks up at a nearby elementary school, but using this option causes him to arrive late and leave early from school. I also found out yesterday that we would have to sit in the car rider line at this other school just to drop off and pick up. Not ideal considering I have to meet Adriana at the bus stop at the same time. 

I've been driving him all the way to school. This works out ok because I can drop her off super early and still drive the 15-20 minutes to his school before the tardy bell. The afternoon is more difficult because they both get out at the same time. It is impossible to retrieve him and get back in time to meet her at the bus. The process requires two adults. One to pick up each kid. Otherwise one will just have to go to ASP. I hate doing that because I already have to pay for a sitter. It feels wrong to pay additional money for childcare that's already being provided. 

On top of the transportation challenges and my tired brain, I had a birthday on Monday and my cat of 12 years died on Wednesday. Emotional roller coaster is an understatement. Next week will not be "normal" either. I have to go to Atlanta for two days and Miss Priss starts her dance season on Wednesday. Preschool open house is Thursday. I'm tired just thinking about it. 

That's all for now...thanks for your empathy. 

7.17.2014

Summer Road Trip - Recap

Well our trip has officially come to an end. Now we begin the uphill climb of Mt. Laundry. If I don't come out alive within three days send in the search & rescue team. 

In all seriousness, though, we had a really great time. The kids saw places they'd never heard of or imagined. They met family and friends for the first time. There were plenty of recreational experiences, including giant swings, rides, games, midnight swims, fireworks, spray parks, and I think even a trampoline. Thanks to my activity binders they even learned quite a bit along the way. 



We tried to have a little fun amidst our endless driving. At one point there was an impromptu sand castle (ish) built while I relaxed on a bench at the rest stop. We made use of our jump rope to burn off a little energy. And we were just plain silly. 





And at another rest stop we saw some corvettes...



Occasionally there was ice cream or Popsicles...


We represented our school (this wasn't planned!)


We bumped into an animal on the interstate and broke our car a bit. This guy helped us patch it up temporarily:


We looked at the space needle (too cheap to go up...maybe next time.)


Rode the monorail...


Sat on the pig at Pike Place Market


Walked through the fountain at Westlake Center


A train ride at my uncle's house 



The swing was his doing too...


The spray park at Angle Lake


This bit of insanity...



An old, faithful geyser


Jumping on the bed


New hats 


New friends 



Family



One of my favorite people. An amazing hostess, beautiful person, wonderful friend. The time flew by and I miss her already. 


Now it's time to switch gears and get ready for school. Meet and greet is in two weeks and first day back is the next Monday (my birthday). At least I get to replenish my stash of crayons and spiral notebooks on the cheap. 

Thanks to all of you for following along on our journey and sending words of encouragement. It means a lot to me. I'm sorry I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to. It was a busy time for work and that took up a huge chunk of my time in Seattle. But don't fret...my 20 year reunion is just two years away, so I'll see you then! And I'll be flying for sure. My road trip days are over, per husband mandate #417. 

~fin~

7.15.2014

Summer Road Trip Day 18

I am almost home! I have about 4 hours left which I will tackle tomorrow. We stopped for the night at a friend's house, arriving around 2:30 a.m. It's been a long day - all business. We didn't make any unnecessary stops at all. Potty, food, gas, and changes due to skipped potty breaks ;)

16 hours on the road and about 1,000 miles. The epitome of cray-cray. 

Today we traveled:
-Nebraska
-Iowa
-Missouri 
-Illinois
-Kentucky
-Tennessee

High point: 
Arriving in fair condition.

Low point:
Driving in the dark in the rain. It was basically the only rain I saw the entire trip and it happened to be at night (when I'm blind) and this night (when I'm exhausted). 

I have been terrified of hitting an animal ever since our initial driving day when I hit the dog/wolf/coyote/hyena thing. I have been particularly nervous about deer because there are always signs warning about them. Excellent warning sign but how do I avoid them?? In Wyoming and Montana the signs have pictures of big horn sheep, bison, antelope, and elk. As if deer weren't enough to be worried about. Tonight I actually saw one standing next to the interstate. He was sort of looking and waiting, as if he knew there would be an opportune time to cross eventually. I'm so glad he was still and not leaping in front of my van. 

I guess I should mention kid behavior today. The offenses were directly proportionate to the age of the child. Andre started off on the wrong foot and went downhill from there. Adriana was a little rowdy at times in the car. And Isaiah was pretty normal, maybe even less antagonism than usual. I have to hand it to them, though. They travel cross country like professionals. Not too much whining and never did I hear, "Are we there yet?"

7.14.2014

Summer Road Trip Day 17

Tonight we rest our heads on fluffy Holiday Inn pillows. There's something to be said for comfort. I was tempted to cheap out and stay at the Super 8. So glad I came here instead. The guy gave me $25 off the rate. They have a 24-hour pool, so I surprised the kids with a midnight swim. The littlest things give them the greatest joy. 

The day started in our little cabin. Hubs woke me up early-ish but you'd be surprised how long it takes to get three kids up and out the door. We managed to check out an hour under deadline, but then we spent the next hour deliberating in the gift shop. We finally settled on cowboy hats for the kiddos and a little something for their daddy. I tried on several hats but walked away with none. The one I liked best was $64 and I just couldn't do it. It's not like it was a Coach cowboy hat. 

Breakfast ended up being lunch in the McDonald's drive-thru. We went in one restaurant that was far too quiet for my brood. The next place, although louder, had a 25-minute wait. We didn't have that kind of time to waste. So happy meals would have to do. We hit the road and saw some beautiful scenery. The Wind River Canyon was amazing. Pictures can never do it justice. The only way to truly experience it is to truly experience it. Here is a borrowed picture anyway. 

I guess I was having so much fun that I ended up with a speeding ticket. 85 in a 65. What's the big deal? Oh, right. Rules are rules. My kids were so chatty with the officer; you'd think he could cut me a break. He did give me a $10 discount for having all seatbelts fastened. Yeehaw. 

While it didn't seem like we made many stops today, we still only made it about 600 miles. It's discouraging because there's no way we'll get home tomorrow night. Also I have a cold and my ears hurt. I wish I could beam us home. We made it out of Wyoming, which I had sworn I wasn't going to go through again. Darn adventures ruin everything. I have about 1000 miles to go. It's impossible. Impossible. 

Today we traveled:
-Wyoming
-Nebraska

High point:
Midnight dip in the pool/hot tub (per the kids).  

Low point:
Would've been the speeding ticket but then Adriana ran a door over her toe. It was all bloody and she was hysterical for about 30 minutes. 

Wish us luck and progress tomorrow.