My mom just called me a few hours ago from Wengen, Switzerland. I want to be there with her so bad! I went to Europe for three weeks after my high school graduation and Wengen was by far my favorite stop of the trip. When my mom started planning her Europe trip she asked me if I had any tips on where to go. Without even thinking I said Wengen. It’s the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It’s right at the foot of the mountains and it’s just quaint and small and perfect. My dirtbag brother and step-dad are there, too. I’m so jealous. Mark my words, someday I’ll get back to Wengen. I whipped out my Europe pictures today and here are a few snippets of Wengen.
Yesterday at Wal-Mart, an employee working the customer service desk informed me that I had marks on my face. I always thought I was the kind of person who wanted to be told when something was amiss, whether it be something on me face, teeth, clothes, a zipper down, whatever. But I think that there should be some rules to telling someone stuff like that. I didn’t really appreciate this man telling me because, first of all he was a total stranger. And second of all, it’s not like I was near the bathroom where I could just go in and see what was on my face. So the whole rest of the time I was out, I had a complex that I had junk all over my face. I still don’t even know what it was, but I don’t think it could have possibly been that bad-I did look in the mirror before I left the house.
I think if it’s a family member or a close friend, it’s appropriate to point out spinach in the teeth or a pen mark on the face. I think family and friends should look out for each other like that. I don’t think I would ever tell a total stranger though. Maybe it’s just me. Do you tell strangers? Or would you want a stranger to tell you if you had pepper in your teeth? Am I the weird one, or is the Wal Mart employee the weird one?
It’s all about the animals. On Monday the boys and I went up to Cal Tech for lunch and little turtle and fish watching. The campus is really a great place for Connor to play. It’s so pretty and there are lots of fun things to look at, including the pond loaded with fish and turtles. Connor was quite enamored with this little turtle. He desperately wanted it to fall in the water, but much to his dismay, it never did.
Then yesterday I decided to take the boys to the zoo. We saw all the standard zoo features: giraffes, elephants, a lion, gorillas, lemurs (C’s favorite), flamingos, etc. As we were leaving the lemur exhibit, we ran into a peacock on the loose. I’m not sure if they always let the peacock walk around the zoo or if it had escaped. Connor liked looking at it pretty close up with a bunch of other kids until it started to charge a little bit. The kids all freaked out and in the process knocked Connor over.
I love the zoo. Now that we are zoo members, I think we will be going quite frequently. One of my favorite animals to see are the monkeys with the red butts. I can’t wait to show them to Connor!
If Connor had his way, he would play outside all day long. When we lived on the first floor, I would let him play outside alone while I watched him from the kitchen. It was great, almost like our own backyard. Now that we are on the second floor, I don’t feel comfortable letting him run around the courtyard alone, even though I can still see the whole courtyard from our window. I guess just because if he fell I would be like 15 seconds away instead of 5. Anyway, as a compromise, I let him play right outside our front door, but not dowstairs. He’ll sit there and color with chalk and drive his cars. But then he discovered another fun game: dropping his chalk off the ledge and watching it hit the ground below. Yesterday I decided to end that game. I sent him out and told him if he dropped his chalk downstairs he had to come inside for timeout. After a few minutes, I noticed him just staring at me through the screen door with a sheepish look on his face. I asked if he dropped his chalk and he said yes. He’s testing me, and I’m not going to fail. I picked him up and took him back to his room for time out. After a few minutes of wailing, I went back to release him from the prison of the rocking chair. It was then that I noticed, clutched in his tiny hand, a nubbin of orange chalk. He had in fact NOT dropped his chalk and I had just made him endure a time out for doing absolutely nothing wrong. I apologized, gave him lots of hugs, and sent him back outside to color, all the while feeling so bad for my mistake.
He hasn’t dropped any chalk since.
I had an encounter with two strangers yesterday at the DFW airport. I will remember them both for a long time. One I will remember fondly and one not so much.
I flew home by myself yesterday with the boys. This is a task I was actually terrified of. How would I manage both kids? What if they both cried the whole time? How am I going to get both kids and the three carry-ons to the gate and on the plane by myself? The time came to head to the gate. We got through security about 20 minutes before take-off. Plenty of time since our gate was only one away from the security checkpoint. Connor was having a major meltdown, wanting me to hold him which was impossible with Logan in the front carrier and three bags on my shoulders. I literally dragged him to the line of people boarding only to realize that this plane was headed to Boston. A man in line informed me that the Burbank flight had been changed to from gate C6 to gate C24. Panic hit and I started crying. It was 15 minutes to take off time, I was 18 gates away by myself with a screaming 2 year old and a newborn. I knew I wouldn’t make it unless we ran, which was impossible. I dragged Connor one gate away where he decided to throw himself on the ground, kicking and screaming. I frantically asked a gate agent for help and he told me to go upstairs, take the train one stop and I would be near my gate. He also called my gate and told them I was on my way and to hold the doors open.
Enter Stranger Number One, named Erin. She saw me struggling and offered to help get me to my gate. She took Logan and a carry-on and I grabbed Connor and the other bags. We made it to gate 24 in 3 or 4 minutes. Still a good 8 minutes before take off. I couldn’t believe that we had made it. I knew it was only because of the help of a kind stranger.
Enter Stranger Number Two, name unknown. She was the gate agent at the new gate. I ran up to her, handed her our tickets, and started thanking Erin profously. #2 informed me that she could not let me on the flight. I strated crying again and begging. I probably looked like a blubbering idiot, but I didn’t care. I just wanted on that plane and to get home. She said no, it was a security risk, she couldn’t let me on. It didn’t matter that the plane was still at the gate. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been informed of the gate change. It didn’t matter that the other gate agent had called her, and it didn’t matter that my luggage was on the flight without me. There were other people standing near the gate and they were all begging with me, pleading with her to be compassionate to this obviously frazzled mom flying alone with her two little kids. Nothing. She handed me my new boarding passes and informed me I would be on a flight leaving in two hours. I called my mom, still crying. She hadn’t left the airport and was waiting for me outside. Thank goodness because if there was ever a time I needed my mom, this was it.
Two hours later, Connor, Logan, and I left Texas for real. Considering the morning we had, the flight was very uneventful. Connor and Logan each had one meltdown, only lasting about 5 minutes a piece. Not too shabby. When we arrived in Burbank, Derek was waiting there with a big bouquet of flowers and an In ‘n Out burger in the car. It’s good to be home.
I’ve heard about the ONE campaign at from several different places, but I didn’t really get what it was all about. I finally went to the ONE website. I’ve added my signature to the ONE Declaration.
“What is the goal of The ONE Campaign?
The ONE Campaign seeks to give Americans a voice, to ring church bells and cell phones, on campuses and in coffee shops, for an historic pact to fight the global AIDS emergency and end extreme poverty. We believe that allocating an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food, would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries.”
As ONE, we call on President Bush to:
* Build on existing US commitments to the poorest people of the world with more and better assistance at a cost equal to just ONE percent more of the US budget on a clear timetable
* Cancel 100% of the debts owed by the poorest countries
* Reform trade rules so that poor countries can earn sustainable incomes
Check out the website. Seems to me like it really could make a difference in the lives as millions.
I love summer time evenings. I love the way everything looks at dusk, and the warm, but not too warm temperatures. Last night after dinner we all went to Veterans Park. It started out as Kristin promising Connor a trip to the park and it ended up with all 8 of us plus KC loading up in the van for some summer evening fun. Connor played hard with Derek, Patrick and I took pictures, Nick, Mom, Logan, Kristin, and KC walked. It was the perfect evening at the park except for the large wood chip that went straight through my flip flop, into my foot resulting in a puncture wound, a bruise, and a tetanus shot.
Our perfect summer evening ended with some ice cream straight from the ice cream truck. I love summer.
Raindrops on roses and whiskars on kittens…
Okay, those aren’t really my favorite things-well, maybe thunderstorms, but that’s another blog for another time.
We’ve been home visiting the fam for a week now. There are so many things I love about coming home. Even though we’ve lived in California for almost 6 years, I still think of Arlington as my home. Anyway, I’ve been compiling a list in my head of my favorite things about coming home and it’s time to get them written down. In no particular order…
-Strawberry cheesecake with cream snow cone from the Sno-Hut. I’ve been getting this flavor of snowcone since my junior year of high school. It’s delicious. There’s just something about their ice and syrup mixed with a little cream. Yum.
-Bath time-I love bath time at home because most of the time my mom gives the kids their baths. She really likes doing it and I really enjoy having a break from bath time.
-Help with the kids in general. Derek’s parents love picking up Connor and taking him to the park. My parents love to play with him, too. He loves getting extra attention and again, I love having a little break.
-Eating at Jason’s Deli, Taco Bueno, Sonic, and On the Border. We don’t have any of these restaurants near us in California. When I was pregnant with Connor I craved Jason’s Deli baked potatoes so much and I only got the eat them a few times. I eat at all those places at least once while I’m home.
-Shopping at Hobby Lobby. Luckily I have a gift certificate from my birthday since I’m on a spending halt. I got a new digital camera and part of the deal was not spending money on scrapbook stuff for 3 months.
-Hanging out with my dirtbag brothers and sister-My sister just got into town today so we haven’t really hung out yet. But I’ve gotten to spend time with both my brothers. Patrick and I drove down to Houston for a few days. It was so fun to spend time with James, Kathy and their kids. I love hanging out with Patrick. He’s not my annoying little brother anymore, he’s just my friend.
-Homecooked meals that I don’t cook. Nick makes a big breakfast almost every morning and my mom or Derek’s mom cook great dinners. We eat well when we come home.
-Laundry service. My mom does our laundry. We just throw it down the laundry shoot and it magically appears folded on the stairs.
Connor and Logan playing with their cousins. I hope someday we live close so that Justin, Kayla, Madison, Abby, soon-to-be Max, Connor, and Logan can be little cousin-friends. They have so much fun together.
-Catching up with old friends. This trip has been especially fun because of a 10 year reunion with some of Derek’s friends. Plus my friend Shauna had a baby and I got to go visit her in the hospital. I’ve never been in town for any babies before.
I think Dorothy said it best, “There’s no place like home.”