About Me

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I like to think of myself as the 'crazy mom of four'. I'm 31 years old and I love my life, my kids, my husband and my God. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Eliot

Monday, June 22, 2009

Have you ever wondered...

...if God answers prayer?

I mean, you hear about these situations where missionaries in foreign fields have experienced miracles. Sometimes you hear about situations where someone has something wrong with them, something fatal, and then, mysteriously, it's just gone. There's no explanation, scientific anyway, to give for why these things happen. Non-believers just chalk it up to 'wow, that's amazing'.

For me though, I KNOW with 100% certainty that it is GOD intervening in those situations. To some people it doesn't make sense, why God would intervene in some situations and not others? But who are we to know the mind of God? We may never know or understand that mystery. But in some scenarios, God does choose to intervene. He hears the prayers of his children.

Most of you reading this know me on Facebook and so you know already that today my cousin's wife Kim was randomly shot in the head while she was at the park with her two children. Throughout the course of the day, we've been learning more and more about what happened. I've waited until now to post this, because we were uncertain about many of the details.

More and more details are being revealed and in fact, the man who shot her has apparently turned himself in to the police. When my mom first called me, I immediately emailed our pastor and asked that the family be put on the prayer chain. At that time (this was I guess around noon, maybe before), all I knew is that Kim was at the park with her baby in her arms when she was shot in what we were initially told was the neck. She was being air-lifted to a hospital while her baby (who had fallen to the ground when she was shot) was taken to a local hospital. The baby checked out fine, but we were still uncertain as to what would happen to Kim.

So after I emailed our pastor, I started bombarding my own Facebook and Twitter pages with requests for prayer. I had, at last count, 15 different people (not including the two churches that two of these people were affiliated with) who told me that they were praying. Those are just the ones who voiced it via Facebook. I am sure there were others committed to praying today who just didn't post to my Facebook. And I am just ONE person. I do not know how many people prayed today for this situation. But I can guarantee you it was a LOT. I still can't get over how overwhelming it is, when I think about how many people must have been praying for our family.

I found out this evening that the man approached Kim, and from what I understand was a very close range, shot her in right temple. The bullet exited through her left jaw. Now I am no doctor, and I have never done any kind of studying on gunshot wounds. I have never looked up statistics to see what the probability is of living after being shot in this manner. But my gut tells me that the odds weren't great that she could survive something like this. BUT SHE DID! And it is ALL GOD. He gets all the credit and all the glory. I know that He answered the prayers that were lifted today. He doesn't always answer prayers the way we want him to. But in this case, He did. And I am truly grateful to each one of you who took even just a moment today to lift a prayer for Kim and her family. I pray that God will bless each and every one of you in a very clear and tangible way!

And if you are reading this, and you struggle believing in God's love and God's plan for our lives, I pray that your heart will be opened to Him tonight. I have seen God's hand at work today in the horrific tragedy that took place in Texas this morning. Prayers were lifted up, heard, and answered today!! God doesn't always make sense. Tragedy doesn't always make sense. We will never understand the mind of God or all the intricacies that this life consists of. But I just can't go through life NOT believing that God is there, and that He is ready to hold and love anyone who comes to Him. We all need a Savior. God doesn't care who you are or what you've done, or how many bad things you've done. He loves you for YOU. He loves you because He created you and He wants you to know and understand His love for you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I hope that word isn't copyrighted. In my brief study, "Taggies" or tag blankets are given to babies as a security blanket, but with a little 'flair' to them. Babies typically love clothing labels, tags, satin. The feel of them is for whatever reason comforting to them. So these little blankets were designed with that in mind. They are supposed to be tactile (perceptible to the sense of touch; tangible) and visually stimulating. Here is a picture of one that I found online:

Here is my first attempt. The material was SO cute I couldn't pass it up. I hadn't gone to the store necessarily intending to purchase material and make one. I had only gone with my friend to get ribbon, since Hobby Lobby had it for 50% off. But this material just caught my eye, and I am a bit of an addict when it comes to fabrics. Anyway, let me know what you think.

Brandi, thanks for the idea!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not a fun ride

Corkscrew Roller CoasterImage by Vlastula via Flickr

I LOVE roller coasters. I always have, ever since my dad forced me at a young age to go on the Demon Drop at Cedar Point. After screaming all the way to the top, and falling faster than any human should ever fall while barely strapped in to a seat, I wanted to do it all over again! I don't have a vast experience with roller coasters. I think I was too young when we went to Disney to ride any of the 'big' rides. But I have been to King's Island, Cedar Point, and Six Flags in Missouri.

But, I must say, I don't love ALL roller coasters. Today has NOT been a fun ride. It started out by being in a very uncomfortable confrontation at work, throughout which I felt utterly stupid and inept, while at the same time knowing that I had done my job right and handled it professionally. I cry easily. I HATE confrontation of any kind. I wear my feelings on the outside, and I had to work extremely hard this morning to control my emotions and keep from bursting into tears like a blubbering child. After an hour or so, I was able to think about the situation without tears welling up in my eyes. It was cool though that throughout the confrontation God was constantly on my mind, and I haven't felt that comfort and presence that intensely in a very long time.

The day goes on and work kept me extremely busy. I felt like I kept getting things done, but when I looked at all that still needed to be, it seemed like I hadn't accomplished anything. Days like that are hard, with my job. I love to see things go away-calendar entries, email, voicemail, etc...it gives me probably more pleasure than it should to have everything caught up and cleared out.

Around 3pm I tried to reach Kris to ask him something trivial. In this world of technology, you would think that you could actually reach someone at any given time. Around 3:30 when I still hadn't heard from him, I started to panic, just a little. I was trying to remain calm and remind myself that this kind of thing happens all the time. But every time it happens, I still get that same anxious feeling and start making up ridiculous scenarios in my head. I tried to reach him via email/chat, text message, calling his cell phone, his work phone and the house phone. I kept praying for peace and trying to turn it over to the Lord. When 4:30 rolled around, I was convinced he had for some reason decided to get out with the kids, gotten into a horrible accident and died. Yes, this is how my paranoid mind works from time to time!

FINALLY Kris called me. Now keep in mind I've just spent the last hour and a half desperately trying to focus on work and NOT think about the "what ifs". I had kept my emotions and anxiety at bay all day after a stressful confrontation, and then, once I knew he was safe, that dam that had been under pressure all day just kind of burst. Well, actually, it didn't really burst-it just sprung a small leak. I couldn't hold it back any longer...but I've pulled myself together so I can finish up my work and go home. This will be the first night we've been home in the evening before 8pm. I'm looking forward to it.

All that to come back to the beginning and say that I am not particularly fond of emotional roller coasters. I'll take a ticket for the real thing please.

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God has been working on my heart for a long time. Sometimes I let him. Sometimes I get in the way. MOST of the time I get in the way. But there are moments when he reclaims what is rightly his. In those moments, I see myself as what I really am: a sinner. And when I find myself humbled and broken before the Lord, I realize that I am not JUST a sinner. God shows me over and over again that I am a sinner saved by Grace. I've been living a life of complacency for the last few years. I've had moments here and there where I get it right, but mostly I've been content to just live in complacency. Here are some definitions of complacency, just so that we're clear on what I mean:

*the feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself
*a feeling of contented self-satisfaction, especially when unaware of upcoming trouble
*complacent - contented to a fault with oneself or one's actions
*complacent - Smug and uncritically satisfied with oneself or one's achievements

There was also one that said "complacent - (2009) Associate Producer" but I don't think that is what I am trying to say! :)

Complacency was not looked kindly upon in the Bible. In Revelation 3:15-22, there is a church that has been lukewarm, or living in complacency. This is how God feels about it, according to the New Living Translation:

"15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” Found at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203:14-22;&version=51;

That's pretty serious! That should scare us. All of us who sit on the sidelines, complacent, just waiting. Just procrastinating and saying "I'll start over again tomorrow." Tomorrow never comes. Cliche, but true. I'm tired of watching life pass me by. I'm tired of being complacent. I'm sick of the way I feel when I am not giving 100% when it comes to my relationship with the Lord. According to Revelation, God would rather I give 0% than 50%. That's how dangerous it is, to be complacent.

Switchfoot has a song called "You". It has and will always give me hope and remind me of what 'it' is all about. You can listen to the song here:


Here are the lyrics. They are very powerful.

There's always something
In the way
There's always something
Getting through
But it's not me
it's You

Sometime's ignorance
Rings true
But hope is not in
What I know
Not in me
It's in You

It's all I know

And I find peace
When I'm confused
I find hope when
I'm let down
Not in me
But in You

I hope to lose myself
For good
I hope to find it in the end
Not in me
It's You
It's all I know

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Tonight's topic is, as the subject line says, JOY. I have had more fun with my kids in these last two days than I have in a long time. I have laughed and played and just really, truly enjoyed and appreciated them. You know why? Because of JOY. Because of a kind of joy that only God can bring. For a long time I've been living my life away from God. Similar to Jonah, but worse. Jonah flat out ran away from God-physically. Me? I've been complacent.

And three days ago God rekindled a love in my heart that has been there since high school, that I somehow pushed down and let the worries and stress of daily life weigh down. I've let the burden of life and its problems trump over the joys that are there to see every day, in every moment. I used to dream about being a missionary. I wanted to focus on Latin America because I loved, and excelled in, Spanish in high school. As a sophomore in high school, thanks to the generous support of my parents, my extended family and my church, I was able to go to Panama for a week and it was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. It made me see that there was this HUGE world out there, just waiting to experience the love of God. I went to Show Low, AZ the next two years for mission trips on the Navajo Reservation there. Then, during my Freshman year of college for 'lab week' I went to New Mexico. Each of these experiences left me desiring to be on a mission field. My sophomore year of college I had another opportunity to go overseas, this time to Russia. While it was a memorable trip, it left me thinking God calls people to all kinds of places-but he is not calling ME to Russia! :) - The reason for sharing that in particular will be expounded upon at a later date.

Well, life happened. Kris and I got married. We had a child right away, and then another, and then another, oh and then another! ;) Kris was working. We tried living for six months down in the inner city, which is where God had been calling Kris. It was a short-term experience for us, one that honestly left me feeling 'less' called to the inner city (at least within the States since it was all I had experienced) and one that I still do not feel drawn to. I know that Kris still has a love and heart for those lost in the inner cities and perhaps someday God will place us in that setting, but for now, we are living, working and raising our family.

And somehow, in the midst of all of that, we really forgot about God. Not in the sense that he wasn't present in our lives. But in the sense that we stopped actively seeking him, personally. We taught the children about him, because it was important to us, and we went to church and we had some really GOOD times where we were on fire and living the way God wanted us to live. But for the most part, I think the majority of our last ten years we have lived in complacency. Let me just tell you, I really believe that is one of the worst places for a 'Christian' to be. And hypocritical at that! So I'm laying myself out there, right here, right now and admitting that I have not been the Christian that I should have been throughout most of my adult life. I have wanted to be that person. Many many times. I have tried to be that person, at different times in my life. But I never seem to get it right. I always seem to get in the way! You know that saying "It's not about me"? Well I have lived like it IS about me. And you can think you're doing the right thing, until God takes the veil away and you see yourself for the pathetic excuse for a Christian that you truly are.

This is what God showed me three nights ago. That it was time to step up and stop living in complacency. To start really engaging in a relationship with him-one that is two-sided. One that I am an active participant in. One that doesn't say "I don't have time for you right now." The parallels between our relationships with God and marriage are so profound. We wonder why our marriages experience lulls, or hard times. Usually, if you step back and look at it honestly, one or both of you have lost sight of what it really means to be in a relationship with God. I know that's been true for Kris and I. When we are constantly at each other, it is a mirror of what our relationship with God has become. When we are distant from one another, or discontent, we have actually truly been discontent with God and distanced ourselves from him. And maybe this is very obvious to most people. But it was eye opening for me.

Sometimes, like the "Prodigal Son", God gives us what we want. He gives us space. He gives us time. He lets us live for ourselves, squandering our lives away. He lets us run and play and pretend like we really have some sort of power in our own lives. And then, eventually, we will get so low that we realize how desperately we need him and we come running back. And he is ALWAYS ready to forgive. Always ready to sweep us up into his arms and hold us and welcome us back, as if we had never been gone at all. That's what REAL love is my friends.

BUT, sometimes, God puts a limit on how long he is going to just sit back and watch us waste our lives-sometimes he doesn't wait for us to come crawling back. That was the case for me, for Kris and I. Three nights ago I was awakened to what a pitiful, lost sinner that I am. God essentially grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me and said "LOOK! I'm tired of this. I'm tired of you just sitting there, pretending to love me. THIS is what I want you to do!" And so begins my journey. Some of you know about it already. I am going to actually start another blog to chronicle the new journey we are about to embark on. I was planning to start it tonight, but this particular blog took precedence and I really needed to get this down. So there it is. A sinner admitting her sin. A sinner admitting that she had to be jolted awake and is now ready to get up and run that race and serve the God she has always claimed to.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2009 Cross Family Reunion

We decided, even though we'd spent 40 hours on the road at the begining of the month, to drive to Indiana for a family reunion (my dad's side). The weather, while a little warmer than I would like, was actually pleasant.

The women who wanted to could participate in a skillet toss. I was pressured (by Kris) into participating in this. He didn't really pressure me...I wasn't wholeheartedly against it. I did not win the skillet toss, of course, because I am a weakling, but I actually threw the 10-inch IRON skillet farther than I thought I could! They also had a skillet toss for the younger girls too, which Abbey and Katherine both participated in. Of course, neither of them won either. I don't think any of us should pursue any kind of career in skillet tossing. I think if you click on the picture it will enlarge it so you can see it better. (I just checked and for some reason the first pictures won't enlarge but the ones with egg all over me will) I was trying to make them smaller so they would upload faster.

After the skillet toss, they decided to do the ever-so-popular egg toss. I wasn't going to, but was easily persuaded. Kris and I were partners. We made it pretty far; not to the end, but we made it to where there were half as many people left. This is where it got a little tricky. Kris and I did great throwing and catching. Until that last throw, from Kris. It was a great throw, and I actually caught the egg. However, I must have been too 'rough' (or Kris threw it too hard) because the egg exploded. And not only did it just break in my hand, it broke in my hand AND splattered itself all down my right arm/chest, got some on my capris, and a little bit of the egg white found it's way to my face. I really DID have egg on my face-it's not always just a 'saying'. It wasn't pleasant. So I'm holding the egg shell in one hand, the other arm is dripping with egg yolk and I'm kind of frozen in place for a few seconds. They had gone on with the remaining competitors. As the egg was coming back towards the direction where I was standing, the person beside me caught their egg, but it burst, throwing egg yolk on my foot. I was a mess. We got a couple of pictures (of course!).

Every year they have an auction-usually the things you are bidding on are...well...not always the MOST desirable items. Kris and I had won $5 by tying for 'farthest travelled' and Katherine got $5 because she apparently won the egg toss (I didn't know this until now-I just knew she had money). Abbey and Katherine also both got a dollar for participating in the skillet toss. So we told them they could use that money for the auction. I can't remember how I got my other dollar, but I had an extra so I gave it to Kaleb to use at the auction. It was cute watching the kids 'learn' how an auction happened. They were all (except for Livvy) sitting there watching, and from time to time they would bid. Most things went for well over the $5-13 we had that we could use (if we combined it all), so Katherine and Abbey couldn't get anything they wanted. Kaleb was able to get a set of homemade bunny rabbits (for my $5) and he gave one to Livvy, which was really sweet of him. What's funny about the bunnies is my uncle (who was the auctioneer) asked Abbey if she wanted to bid on the bunnies. She said "No. I hate bunnies!" I didn't know she hated bunnies, but it was funny to hear her say that in this group of 20 or so people. When I told her later I didn't know she hated bunnies, she told me that she doesn't hate all bunnies-just those. They were too big and she didn't like their clothes. She informed me she likes little bunnies.

The auction ended and Abbey walks over, head down, looking sad. I asked her what was wrong. She told me that she didn't get the picture she wanted. I asked her what she had wanted, and she pointed to this oval-framed picture of flowers. My other uncle had bid on and won a bowl my mom wanted and when it ended, he gave her the bowl. So my mom had actually won the painting, which she then turned around and gave back to my uncle, to repay the favor. Abbey said "I wanted that picture and when he said one dollar I held my dollar up, but I didn't get it." It was cute. So I told her that maybe if she asked, my uncle would sell her the painting for $1. We tracked him down and she asked him if she could give him a dollar for the painting. He whispered something in her ear, and she turned to me smiling and said "He said I could keep my dollar AND have the painting!" She was excited. Just now, as I was typing this, (after saying nothing for a while because they are watching a movie) Abbey said, "It was really nice of your uncle to give me that picture." It really made her day. Here is a picture of Abbey with her newly acquired painting. The first one is because she was really self-conscious about being 'seen' with the painting, because she was afraid someone would think she was stealing it. She said she didn't want people to be jealous, which didn't make any sense to me, so I knew it wasn't what she meant. After further discussion, I realized she was trying to say that she was nervous about someone thinking maybe she wasn't supposed to have it. So cute!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Still testing, but need to sleep!

Red HotsImage by bgautrea via Flickr

So I wanted to test this a different way to see what will happen.

Let's start with Red Hots.
From what I can tell you can only do the one picture on each post. Everytime I try to put another one, it just changes the one that I already have. I'll have to do some further research on this one, which really means that I will have to have KRIS do some further research on this!

It's late and I'm tired...

...which most likely means this will be boring rambling on my part.

We made it to my parent's house in Martinsville around 8:30pm here (7:30 STL time). I left work a little bit early, hoping to beat traffic and also get here so my parents could see the kids before they went to bed. All of those things were accomplished. My dad's side of the family is having their annual family reunion, so we are in for that.

We've missed church back home for two weeks in a row, as well as Engage. We're really itching to get back to church, now that we have found a 'home' after a couple of years of wandering from place to place. So, after the reunion, we'll head back tomorrow afternoon so that we can be sure to make it to church Sunday morning and Engage Sunday night.

So I'm testing out this blogging tool called Zemanta. I can't remember how I found out about it. I was looking at something and read a brief description. I still don't know it's full ability, but it is supposed to be able to go off of key words in your blog and suggest pictures that might 'go' with your post. Or you can type a word into the search bar, and it will pull up pictures. From there, my understanding is that you can click on the picture and it will automatically insert it into your blog. I suppose it is meant to enhance your blog. Let's test it. We'll start with my favorite band Switchfoot. So I typed that in the search bar and it pulls up pictures related to Switchfoot. Then I can click on it and it adds it to my blog. But so far, it seems like you can only add one picture per post. I'll have to look into this further.

Told you this might be boring. Maybe next time it will be more interesting.

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The Early Years: 1997-2000 album coverImage via Wikipedia

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Really, why? Why would someone hack into someone else's profile? I mean, I get that you are trying to send your porn or whatever else it is that you want to advertise. But do you do this for a living? Is it just fun for you to hack into someone's account. HOW do you hack into someone's account, and how does changing my password keep you from hacking into it again? And if I use that password for other things, are you going to be able to now access anything else that I can access with that password?

I'm freaking out a little bit here and apologize to anyone on Myspace who got some sort of bogus link from me. I'm not really trying to run some side business. Maybe that's it. I was just sitting here thinking that would NOT make a good side business for me, as there would be little traffic to the site. So, maybe THAT is why people hack into things. Their businesses are doing so poorly that they NEED all the advertisement they could get. It's like someone insulting you to compensate for something they are lacking. Get a legitimate job and stay out of my stuff! It's personal now. Not that I am going to do anything about it. But I don't like feeling violated, you know?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A strange sight to see

I have a long commute to and from work and because my stereo in my car can't decide whether it is going to work or not, I have done a lot of people watching while I drive home. Today, I just HAD to grab my phone quickly and try to get a picture of something I saw on my drive home. There was this woman in a van, driving along, with her windows down. And I had to do a double-take. The picture below is really difficult to see clearly because I took it quickly from my phone as I was approaching, all while driving safely and responsibly of course! So I have circled and labeled the picture, but it's just not as good as actually seeing it in person. Now keep in mind, I'm talking about the DRIVER. Not a passenger. Not a child. A woman, DRIVING.

It amused me. So much that before I wrote it down, I just HAD to tell Kris. We were rushing, as always, to get out the door for church. I didn't have a chance to start telling Kris about it until we were on our way to church. We're driving along, and I get to the point where I am telling him how this woman basically had her bare foot hanging out the window, and I stopped short. I had just told him that her foot was hanging out the window and realized that something just didn't look right. See below the picture I got before I could finish telling my story to Kris.

Apparently that woman was not the only one who drove this way. Apparently my husband drives this way. An my overactive imagination is already predicting an accident while he's driving like this, and his leg getting crushed and broken, or him losing his leg completely. So I'm freaking out over a made up scenario and he's just sitting there laughing at me. The kids are in the van with us, and a conversation ensues about what Kris would look like without a leg. We were talking about prosthetics and my inability to deal with 'sick' Kris. I finally had to tell them to stop talking about Kris losing his leg because I was getting too anxious over nothing!

Back to busy

Having a week off really made me appreciate time. I am SO busy all the time now, when I am not on vacation. It struck me last night, since the kids slept in for Kris of course (but never for me!), that the only kid I saw in the morning yesterday was Kaleb. And then last night, after work I went out and didn't get home until after 9pm. Katherine and Abbey were still awake so they came out and gave me hugs and kisses. But I didn't see Olivia at all yesterday. And now, everyone is still asleep. Abbey must have heard me moving around this morning getting ready for work because she came into the kitchen and hugged me. She asked if I was going to be home with them today. I told her that I had to go to work and Daddy was going to be home with them this summer. But I assured her that I would be home earlier today than I was yesterday. She told me that she hardly got to spend any time with me yesterday. It made me realize that I'm really, truly back home and back into the routine. How sad that while I woke up and went to sleep in the same house as my family I didn't even see one of them at all yesterday. So, Abbey being Abbey, brought something to me this morning and said "So you don't forget about me while you're at work."

I'm not sure whether to laugh at her cute ways and sweetness or cry becuase I'm really back to the real world!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Katherine's letter

Kris' dad called him today. He wanted to thank Katherine for her letter. Right after Katherine got baptized, she decided, on her own, to send Grandpa Ken a letter. I forgot to write about it when it happened; I'm glad Kris reminded me about it though so I could share it here. She put the date on the letter and it said:

"Dear Grandpa Ken,

I got baptized today. I hope to see you again soon.

P.S. I love you and hope you stop smoking.

Love, Katherine

So sweet and funny and honest. Let me just add that we don't sit around and tell the kids to tell everyone they know to stop smoking. She did that all on her own. She's very concerned that smoking will harm her grandpa and she wasn't afraid to tell him!

Kris took the older kids to the library this evening. I made Livvy stay home with me, mostly because she needed a bath and I didn't want to go to the library with everyone. So, we took a shower and afterwards she just sat on the couch and played Abbey's V-tech. About 20 minutes ago though, she came over to me and said "Am I sick so I can't go?" It took me a minute to figure out she was talking about not getting to go to the library with Kris and the others. I told her that she stayed home because she needed a bath and because I loved her and wanted her to stay home with me. She was insistent though. She then said "No, I'm sick so I can't go."

And then, she went on to tell me that she was very hungry and that she would keep coughing if she couldn't eat something. Of course because she is spoiled and cute, I let her have fruit snacks. She seems to be better now. Not that she really seemed sick before!

I love watching people's reactions when I am out and about with all four kids. It doesn't happen often where I take them all four by myself. But today I was feeling ambitious, and hungry, and we didn't have any food in the house from being gone 8 days. So we went to Taco Bell. There was this older lady in there who was laughing at the kids interacting with one another. She looked at me and asked "Are they yours?" And I smiled and said "Yes." She then said "All four of them?" It made me laugh. So I told her that yes they were all mine. People still have this look of shock (that I privately enjoy seeing) when I tell them that the kids are 8, 7, 6, and 3. At some point, it won't shock people nearly as much. I mean, at some point, they'll be 16, 15, 14, and 11. That won't seem so 'crazy' then, will it? What I remind myself is that 8, 7, 6, and 3 sounds much less crazy and when they were 5, 4, 3, and newborn!! Now that was CRAZY!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You've got to be kidding me...

We have been trying to traverse 120 miles for about 4 hours now (by the time I actually finish this we'll be in St. Louis), and I'm starting to get irritated. We're STILL about 2 hours away from home. Why is it that the last hour or so takes the longest? For us, quite literally...

I can tell that vacation is over. I can tell that it is time to get back to reality and stop pretending that I live on the beach in Miami! Here's how:

We were making REALLY good time. The GPS was showing we would be home by 8:30pm, which further shows that you cannot TRUST the GPS since it is now 8:23pm and we are NOT 7 minutes from home. And it's not like we can just go straight home. We have to pick the kids up at Cindy's house, drop off the rental car and THEN go home. Who's brilliant idea was this? Uh...probably mine.

Around 6:20 we saw signs that the left lane was closing. So of course, being the good, law-abiding citizens that we are, we got over into the right lane. Where we stayed for over an hour. We got really excited the couple of times we started going 20 mph, for about a second before it went back down to 0. At one point, Kris just put the car in park and we just sat there. Watching the people in the left lane continue to pass by one by one.

After an hour of just waiting, we found out that it was OUR lane, and NOT the left lane that was closed. So then we had to try to merge into the left lane and we finally came upon the reason for the delay. A truck had jack-knifed and the front had caught fire and burned up.

A few moments after we passed the accident scene, we found out why we saw a sign that said the left lane was closing. There was construction. Nice. Oh, and after waiting in that traffic, I hope no one had to go to the bathroom because the rest area was closed.

We FINALLY passed through the construction and decided to stop for dinner at McDonald's. It would be a quick in and out-we would order and eat on the road. I haven't seen a McDonald's this slow since I was in St. Louis at the one on North Hanley! Kris told me they had the McRib but I told him just to order me a burger. When HE tried to order the McRib for himself, of course the employee told Kris that they had just sold out. Of course. Why not? We had a pleasant enough conversation with a man who was also waiting for his food, although he was getting on my nerves because he kept repeating two phrases over and over again, which were really funny (in an annoying kind of way) at the time and yet I cannot remember what they were. And to top it off, the burgers were cold and we couldn't finish them (I took one bite only and had to spit it out) so we are both still hungry. After we'd been back on the road for about 20 minutes Kris said to me "Now I want you to be thinking about what you want for dinner." It was funny.

THIS is how I know that vacation is over. It's all these little things that typically bother me. I'm getting back to my normal, pessimistic self. Oh nice, traffic in 5.5 miles, another accident according to the misleading GPS.

All in all, it has been a really good vacation, a great way to celebrate 10 years of wedded sort-of-bliss. I am sad to see it ending but happy to see my babies again...if we can ever actually get to Cindy's house!


People annoy me. Well, not ALL people. Just the idiots. For instance, I am somewhere in Kentucky. I know that every state has its jokes about the other surrounding states and people tease all the time about people being rednecks/hillbillies/hicks/hoosiers (not the GOOD, capitalized Indiana basketball Hoosier fan kind either, as I was raised to understand it). Whatever you want to call it, every state thinks another state is inferior to itself.

So I mentioned that I am somewhere in Kentucky. We stopped to get gas at the local BP in whatever small Kentucky town we happened to be in. And I'm standing there waiting for Kris so he can pay for my soda, because he's really stingy about the money-just kidding-I was just too lazy to carry my purse in! As I am standing there, in prances this tall man. Average looking, middle-aged, talking on his cell phone. Which of course (in his mind) puts him far above anyone else standing around. Little did he know the reason I didn't have MY phone out is because it was hooked up to my laptop, working as a modem so that I could of course write down all the odd things that happen to me.

Okay, so there are a few people milling about. A young girl, probably about 20, is holding what appears to me to be about a 2 month old, adorable baby boy. Across a small table from her sat what appeared to me to be an older woman, probably around 65/70 and the presumed grandmother of the cute little baby.

Granted, the mother of the little baby didn't seem to have all of her teeth, but I am pretty confident that prior to entering the gas station the IDIOT in question did not know this. And in her defense, maybe she was recently in a car accident where she hit the steering wheel and lost some of her teeth, or perhaps she does ballet and there was some sort of freak ballet accident or fall that caused the loss of her teeth-maybe her ballet partner didn't catch her during a very critical jump and she landed face-first on the floor. We'll never know. There is also a young girl behind the counter, who appeared to be, based on her shirt, a co-worker of the aforementioned girl with the baby.

And here is the scene I find myself in. This man walks in on his cell phone, saying how he was "in the middle of an altercation when you [whoever he was speaking to] called". The man went on to say how he was in the middle of nowhere hillbilly heaven, and kept loudly rambling insults about the town and how everyone was related, and rednecks, etc...

At this point, I stopped listening. I tune out idiots upon learning that they are in fact idiots and this seemed like a good time to tune out the idiot before me. Am I calling this man an idiot because he was insulting some random Kentucky town to which I have no ties? Of course not. You know there has to be some reason, something said or done or seen, that would prompt me to document this event.

What the man failed to see from his pompous, arrogant position above everyone one of us in the tiny gas station, was what I saw, from my vantage point. What I saw was a tall man on a cell phone, attempting to insult everyone in sight and what struck me was the man's appearance. What do you think he was wearing? A business suit? Jeans and a nice, pressed polo shirt? A dress? No. This man became an idiot in my mind because he had some sort of hat/bandana on his head, jean cutoff shorts, and a flannel shirt cut off at the biceps. Now please don't misconstrue that. If you dress that way, that's fine by me. However, if you dress like that and then start insulting other people who dress in similar fashion, I make no apologies.

Free isn't always free...or is it?

So in my previous post I wrote about our room 'upgrade' at the Drury Inn in Morrow, GA. Kris and I have been Gold Key members (Drury's reward program) for about 4 years now and whenever we are able, we stay at a Drury. We had finally earned enough points so that our room last night would be free. Since we only had a certain amount of money saved for our anniversary trip, it was really helpful that we didn't have to pay for this hotel stay on our journey back home to St. Louis.

You can imagine our surprise when we looked at the bill they had slipped under the door in the amount of $565.00! I'm not making this stuff up:

But as the Drury has proven itself (or is it 'herself'?) time and time again, they fixed the problem and assured us that the room really was free. And of course, Kris was pleased that they were well-supplied with biscuits and gravy this morning!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I can't stop laughing!

I wasn't planning to write again tonight. I usually don't write unless something happens to provoke me :). So as you might guess, because I am writing, something has happened. Something quite funny has happened. At least, Kris and I think it's funny. And because we think it's funny, you get to read about it.

We LOVE the Drury Inn. With the exception of being out of biscuits and gravy in Ohio over spring break (which upset Kris more than me), we have never had a bad experience at the Drury. In fact, sometimes when we are fortunate enough to get away for a night, even in St. Louis, we go to the Drury. There is a story behind how we wound up falling in love with the Drury, but now is not the time. Now is the time for the culmination of the evening.

It was a long day in the car. We left around 10:30am and got to the hotel at 9:12pm. Yes, 9:12. The GPS SAID 9:10, but they were wrong. Besides my usual distrust, after the GPS/Florida Turnpike Conspiracy, I don't believe a word that the GPS says. Two minutes. It was off by two minutes. Technology has come so far...it should be able to detect the exact moment, down to the second, that I will arrive somewhere. (If you're new to my blog or don't know me well, insert sarcasm here).

So anyway...let's get on with the story. We got checked in and went up to our room. It smelled horrible! If you smoke, you smoke. That's your prerogative. I didn't know until just now that it was spelled with that extra 'r' in it. Good to know for my next spelling bee. So, back to the smoking issue. Kris and I do not smoke and we do not make it a habit to sleep in rooms with people who do, or in this case, did. It was very obvious that it was a smoking room, even though we had requested a non-smoking room. We love Drury so much that we don't care that they put us in a smoking room. What we care about is that they fix whatever problem we have. And fix our problems they do.

We called down to the front desk and told them that we would like to be put in a non-smoking room. There are a lot of people here, and so they didn't have any regular rooms to give us. We always get a king size bed when we go to the Drury, and when they asked if we were sure we wanted a king (bed, not person), Kris told them yes. The only thing they could give us that was non-smoking and had a king size bed was a King Conference. Now we've stayed in a lot of different rooms at the Drury. King size rooms, King size suites, room with 2 double beds. I have never before stayed in or seen a King Conference. I was joking around with Kris about staying in a conference room...you know the big ones at hotels where there are a lot of tables set up and there is a little table with cups and ice water? So I'm picturing that kind of room, with a king size bed placed somewhere in it.

Well, I wasn't far off, though I have to say I was completely shocked when I saw the room. Kris and I just laughed and laughed. And of course, I HAD to take pictures to show you. We have had a great week and been able to share some really funny and memorable experiences together. Tonight was just another to add to the list. Check out what our hotel room looks like.

Hey, we have 8 extra seats. Anyone want to drive to Atlanta, GA for a conference? Ha ha...don't really. We won't open the door for you! Enjoy the pictures.

In the words of Shane "Are you kidding me?"

Ok, I don't care how hard times are. This is just wrong! We stopped for dinner and gas just outside of Valdosta, GA and saw the sign below. Note: we did NOT fill up at that gas station!

I am SURE it must have been a typo! Makes for a great picture though right?

Oh the romance...

Have you ever gone on a dinner cruise? I hadn't. It's something Kris and I have talked about doing, but have never done. So we heard about the GREAT dinner cruise in Fort Lauderdale, on the Jungle Queen. Beautiful scenery, great dinner on a private island, entertainment. Sounded good to us. Sounded like a wonderful way to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary yesterday. We got a little more (or less perhaps) than we bargained for. The tickets were about $40/person, and it was cheaper than most of the ones we've seen advertised in the past, so don't get me wrong. I wasn't expecting to go sailing on a yacht and feast on lobster. However, I also wasn't expecting it to be as bad as it actually was. Are you ready for the story of our anniversary adventure last night?

It started out pleasant enough. The storms we had yesterday were just in Miami, and they were not predicting anything more than cloudy skies in Ft. Lauderdale. As we drove to Ft. Lauderdale, sure enough, the rain died down and the sky cleared up. We were told to get to the boat at 5:15 to get our tickets; the cruise didn't actually start until 6:00pm. Because we weren't sure how long it would take to get there, we left early and ended up getting there by 5pm. We parked the car at the marina and walked around until we found the Jungle Queen (see below).

Once we got seated on the boat and surveyed our surroundings, this is what we saw. In case you are wondering, YES THOSE ARE LAWN CHAIRS!!! Oh and we have NO clue why there were rolls of paper towel on the fake steering wheel.

I do have to admit that while they looked tacky and the boat itself seemed 'run down' those lawn chairs were actually pretty comfortable.

And then it started to rain. Actually, it started sprinkling. No big deal, of course. The boat was covered and while open on the sides, we weren't getting wet. But there was this couple behind us. I think based on their thick accents, they were from Texas, or somewhere else where you can hear that distinct Southern drawl. Kris and I had trouble containing our laughter, before the boat ever set off. The couple was two rows behind us. And when it started sprinkling (I must emphasize that it is BARELY raining at this point!) the woman starts talking to the man. They are two rows back, so we can hear their conversation. The woman says "It's really raining. I'm sopping wet!" At this point, she proceeds to pull out an umbrella and utilize it to shield herself from the torrential downpour that was actually just a very mild sprinkling. It was quite amusing. We tried to pretend like we were taking a picture of ourselves, which is why our faces are cut off; we really wanted to get a picture of this woman holding her umbrella up for what apparently she felt was heavy rain (sorry for the poor quality-we took this one from Kris' phone).

The cruise got underway just after 6pm. The 'captain' was this older gentleman, who kept telling all these ridiculously stupid jokes. As we 'cruised' along, making our way to the private island where we would have dinner, he pointed out what we were looking at along the way.

So, after about 45 minutes of this beautiful scenery, we made it to the private island for dinner. Here is where we ate:

So it wasn't quite what we had expected, at all! But we had a great time with one another, laughing at how the evening turned out. For those of you who don't know, on our wedding night, after we left the reception, we took a trip to the Martinsville Walmart because one of Kris' friends had gone back to St. Louis early and had Kris' tennis shoes and toothbrush, etc...so the limo driver took us to Walmart, then waited outside for us, while we went in (wedding clothes and all) and picked up the essentials! This dinner cruise kind of reminded us of that. What classy people Kris and I are!

Seriously though, it was not actually quite as bad as I made it out to be. Well, it was. But the area we went through on the cruise actually had some really nice houses and yachts. The guy who started Waste Management owns this HUGE house on the water. Here are some pictures of the nice things we did actually get to see on the trip. Dad, you could buy one of these houses. Some of them were on sale. Granted, they cost upwards of $$5.7 MILLION, but we'd come visit you with the kids ALL the time!

Oh yeah. We spent about 3 hours out in the Miami sun yesterday and burned worse...myself included. So in addition to all the craziness of the cruise, we were SO sore last night it was ridiculous. We stopped at Walgreens on our way back to the resort to get some Solarcaine to help take some of the burn away. We were a miserable pair. We were laughing at ourselves for how 'old' we've gotten in just 10 years and how we are falling apart at the seams. Can't wait to see what the next 10 years have in store for us!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More FL pictures

Miami in the morning.

Miami by night.