Sunday, May 23, 2010

Well, it's a START

We're a long way from where we'd like to be lawnwise but at least we feel good about what we accomplished so far.




Friday, May 21, 2010

Lose, win, um, lose?

Abby has gone next door to visit with the neighbours while I plant some flowers. She takes the Folk Fest chair over to sit and watch them gardening (apparently they're more interesting to watch than her mom?).

Jack (doing all things his sister does) follows suit. Abby is off her chair for a bit and Jackie sees his chance. Abby is NOT very pleased and proceeds to yell at her brother. (We've been discussing sharing quite a bit lately.) I promptly walk over to the yard, take apart the chair and carry it back to our yard. As you can very well imagine, I now have TWO screaming children. I explain to Abby about sharing and if she can't then... blahblahblah... you know the speech.

She storms off to the backyard slamming the gate behind her. I continue gardening fearing the worst. Oh dear, I think I might be headed for my very first I HATE YOU speech. Brace yourself.

I wait for awhile before heading to check on her. To my surprise she's looking around for the second kids' lawnchair we have. She comes out of the backyard carrying two yard chairs. I catch my breath in thankfulness. Oh my, maybe we've taught her a lesson that she's actually learned. Oh, maybe we are Good Parents. I have a daughter who shares! I have a daughter who can find solutions that are good for all!

The heavens open up and the angels begin to sing. I tell Abby how proud I am of her. I reiterate how good that was that she did that for her brother. I sing her praises.

Abby, slightly under her breath: "Oh, I thought you were going to give me something special."

Sigh. What's that adage about pride going before something?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Yes, I do realize there are actually MORE than 13 questions.

1. Why NOT use your signal light if you’re turning? Is it too much work? Are you too tired? Did you forget? Are you too important? Do you not care about other people?

2. When does THIS ever become a good choice for your lawn/garden?

3. Is there anything more lovely than buying a new cd at lunch and anticipating the drive home for some prime listening opportunity?

4. Is there anything more disappointing than getting in the car, popping in the new cd and it not working?

5. Why didn’t the cowboys win The Amazing Race?

6. How exactly are we going to have time for all of the things we have planned for the weekend?

7. Do you think maybe TONIGHT I’ll get to bed before midnight?

8. Could it BE more positively lovely out there these days?

9. What should we buy our son for his second birthday?

10. What planets were aligned that caused my daughter to wear the first pair of shorts that I chose for her this morning? And how can I assist in that happening again?

11. Concert question: Why would you sit out in the lobby during the opening act? Don’t you think you might discover a new artist that you’ve never heard before?

12. Concert question 2: What exactly are you going to do with all of those under exposed, far away photos of the singer?

13. Concert question 3: Who exactly are you texting and why is it so important to do that while sitting in a theatre with hundreds of people? You do realize you’re actually here to watch an artist that you paid a lot of money to see, don’t you?

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Trip

We've been back for a week already and I still haven't gotten around to posting ANYTHING. Here we have a laptop and all now and I thought that meant I'd post on the road but not so much. Anyway, before I forget some of the details here's a brief synapsis per day:

Wednesday, April 14
- We soon discover that the trip for Jack would be happiest if we could just stay on the road so that he could discover trucks and buses that might drive by. His delighted shouts of “chuch!” and “but!” are contagious.

Thursday, April 15
- Abby upon getting our rental car: “Mom, will you be taking THIS car to work or your other car?"
-First impressions: New Orleans: Very positive. We have the kindest man with the thickest southern accent drive us to our car and explain to us how to get out of the airport and head in the direction we want to go. “The GPS will take you about 5 blocks extra.” Mobile, Alabama? Um, not so positive. The room we stayed in still makes me shudder a wee bit and the lady that cleaned our room? Missing the majority of her front teeth, top and bottom.
- We also discover that Waffle House seems to be the fast food restaurant of the South (at least the areas we visit). And thus becomes our trip game of Spot the Waffle House. Abby might not know how to read yet but she can certainly pick out a Waffle House faster than most.

Friday, April 16
-It’s best if the teams on The Amazing Race never have to stop to fill up gas in Mobile, Alabama. Try #1: Try to use the credit card at the pump. Nope, no good. Try #2: Go inside, get a magical code so that you can use the credit card at the pump. Nope, no good. Try #3: Go back inside and prepay with the credit card.
- Goodness is satellite radio a treat. J-L finds an 80s station and I a folk station. A continual lesson in compromise.
- Pensacola Beach, Florida. Some of the whitest sand I have ever seen. A beautiful sunny afternoon on the beach. I would go back to Pensacola Beach in a heartbeat.
Pensacola Beach
- Day winds up in Tallahassee, Florida. A pretty, green, clean town that I would also visit again in a heartbeat.

Saturday, April 17
- Well, my, my, my. Right across the street from our hotel is an outdoor market/art show in one of the prettiest parks I’ve ever seen. I’m sure you can imagine how much I HATED that.
- Off to Savannah. Oh Savannah. I’ve been wanting to visit Savannah, Georgia ever since seeing the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil back in 1997. It does not disappoint. Stunning architecture. A city ripe with ghost stories and history. Spanish moss. Big old trees and parks dotting the city.

Sunday, April 18
- Day in Savannah and in Tybee Island, beach close to Savannah. Pretty nutty, before the age of 2 my son has seen both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean (not that he’ll remember either) and before the age of 5 my daughter has played tag with waves from both of those oceans. Once again I’m reminded of how different my children’s childhood is from mine.
Tybee Island

Monday, April 19
- The day of the lost cameras. Sigh. In the morning we have the frantic look for the little point-and-shoot camera (“Abby’s camera” except we don’t call it that because it’s just WRONG a 4 year-old having her own camera.). In the afternoon, a nature tour around the grounds of a plantation where just as we left the plantation I realize that I left my camera bag with 2 of my lenses and my flash back at our lunch spot. Thankfully, both cameras are found and we’re more careful for the rest of the trip.
- Charleston, South Carolina. Lovely city. Due to our hotel booking in Columbia, South Carolina we don’t have a lot of time in the city but we do make a point of driving around the historic district and wandering along the pier a bit and doing a wee bit of shopping in the market area.

Tuesday, April 20
- Atlanta, Georgia. World of Coca-Cola: Abby discovers a wee bit of heaven in the tasting room. Various cola products from around the world that she can taste and evaluate.
World of Coca-cola
- Atlanta Braves baseball game. Pleases me that we were able to take this in. J-L got to enjoy a professional baseball game and the kids got to enjoy treats. Plus, Jack learned how to do The Chop all on his own and watching him do it (with the right arm and with the right beat) causes me to smile still.
The Atlanta Braves
Wednesday, April 21
- Our biggest driving day. Atlanta to New Orleans.
- A lovely break along the way: The Bellingrath Plantation and Gardens. Abby as the wedding photographer and bride. Jack: “the broom”, J-L the best man and I the flower girl. “Mom, don’t call us ‘Abby’ and ‘Jack’, call us ‘bride’ and ‘broom’.” Upon discovering a bench close to a lake: “We like to come here on dates. We sit on the bench and someone brings us lots and lots of tea.”
Bellingrath Gardens

Thursday, April 22
- Drive up to Baton Rouge, LA. We discover that perhaps we should have done some research before heading up as we get there and realize we have no idea what’s to see in Baton Rouge. Oh well. Thankfully, we find an absolutely STUNNING plantation. (Nottoway Plantation.) The third one we’ve seen on the trip and by far the biggest and most impressive. Although, it’s tricky trying to persuade a 2 year-old not to touch the antique piano or sit in the fragile chairs.
Nottoway Plantation
- Supper at a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurant back in New Orleans. Abby: “Mom, is Guy Fieri going to come and sit with us?”
- We also discover that it is completely possible to get lost with a GPS. Sigh. It keeps wanting to take us back to our hotel via the ferry that costs money versus the bridge that is free. We don’t know the city well enough to do it on our own entirely and didn’t bother buying a map because we have the GPS. Tiredness and frustration ensue.

Friday, April 23
- The rain she did fall. A lovely walk around The French Quarter complete with an outdoor jazz band cut short by rain. It went from 0 to pouring in less than half a block. We tried staying a bit dry by buying some rain ponchos and I think they might have kept about 4 square inches of my shirt dry. But, this is the stuff memories are made of – the four of us darting into a mall soaking wet to hide from the downpour. One minor blessing: We had tried to book and pay for a city tour for the afternoon. $60. However, the man’s credit card thingy wasn’t working so he told us just to pay when we got to the tour. We never made it to the tour. There’s just no way we could have made it, it was still about a 4 block walk and that’s the kind of rain it was. Became a bit of a joke the rest of the trip: Anytime we’d toy with spending money: “Well, we DID save that $60.”
Our little family

Saturday, April 24
- 80% forecast of rain. Weather warning. Tornado watch. Severe winds. Oh boy. What to do, what to do? This was to be our day at jazz fest. Do we go? Do we not? Do I go alone? Friday there had been a 30% chance of rain and we know how THAT turned out. We decide to start out the day with a carriage tour around The French Quarter and then make a decision. (The acts we most want to see are later in the day.)
- After our carriage tour we take a wee break for some coffee (for me) and (a second round of) beignets. Oh those delicious powdery warm beignets.
Wee coffee break
- Let’s do it! What’s the worst that can happen? We get soaked. Oh well, we’ve been soaked before (granted the first time we were a little closer to the car or at the very least shelter). Abby (under her breath) as we enter the gates: “We’re going to have so much fun.” Sitting here now I’m still a little bit stunned that I’ve been to the New Orleans Jazz Fest. How cool! I got to see Simon and Garfunkle LIVE in NEW ORLEANS! I got to eat fried green tomatoes and fried chicken and a po’boy at The New Orleans Jazz Fest! I got to see my children and husband dance to their (his) favourite Red Stick Ramblers song! I got to hear some zydeco music live in the Big Easy! Now, all those exclamation marks aside? I’d still pick WFF 100 times over the jazz fest. More organized. More laid back. Cleaner. No alcohol (outside the beer tent). No litter (or at least very little). Still crowded but sitting crowded, not standing and jammed body to body in order to catch a glimpse of S&G. It’s nice to be reminded of how good we’ve got it. Oh yeah? And OUR handmade village? You can buy stuff there for $10. Nice stuff. The “handmade” “village” at the jazz fest? I didn’t see anything that was under 3 digits. But, nonetheless, a pleasing way to wrap up our trip.
Red Stick Ramblers

Sunday, April 25
- Waking up 2 children at 3:47 am to head for the airport? Not on my list of things I was looking forward to about this trip. And yet, they were completely fine. Pleasant and awake and smiling for most of the day. Abby’s only nap was for about 5 minutes after we’d landed in Memphis and before the plane had completely stopped. She even managed to have enough energy to swim until about 9:30 that night once we’d made it to the hotel in Fargo. Wow.
- We stop at the same restaurant that we went to when we went with my sister and my mom and nieces just a few weeks prior. We stay at the same hotel. Abby and I point out to her dad various spots that she vomited (incidentally, all except for one were in proper spots such as toilets or garbage cans. I’m still rather impressed that a 4 year-old would have that much forethought) J-L (slightly teasing): Wow, Abby, I’m proud of you and all the places you vomited. Abby: I’m not proud of myself.

Monday, April 26
- We head for home. Although, not before much watersliding is done. If you were to ask Abby the highlight of her trip it would be the waterslide in the Fargo hotel. And we could have saved SO much money. Smile. Make no bones about it. This trip was not for the kids. This was a trip for the grown-ups. Someday we will take them to Disney World but while they’re too young to remember we will go to the places we want.

P.S. Abby picked out the photos for the post. If you want see more, they can all be found here.