Thursday, December 29, 2005

Got one!!!

Yippee!!! Aidan was semi-cooperative for me when I did a second photo shoot with him the day before yesterday. This was definitely the cutest picture of the bunch as a whole; however, he did give a couple of great smiles on ones where you couldn't really see the Santa hat. Rob and I tried to cut the smiling face from one picture to plant it on another...unfortunately we only have PhotoShop Elements, and the functions we needed to blend the photos, etc. are only on the full version of PhotoShop. Oh well--it was fun experimenting.

The Day of the Laundry...

Hopefully not coming to a home near you. Yesterday ended up being quite interesting to say the least. David woke up in my bed and puked on me and my sheets. NOT fun. :-( I felt so bad for him yesterday because you could totally tell that he wasn't feeling well. He didn't hold anything down in the morning, and in the afternoon he started getting color back into his face, etc. so we thought that maybe the bug had passed. Plus, he got his appetite back, so we had let him eat a few things that we didn't think would be too bad on his system. Yeah, right. We fell asleep together in his bed. I woke up and came to my own room to sleep and he woke up and came to lay down in my bed with me within an hour. Then...he vominated (that's his word for it) ALL OVER my bed!!! So, we ended up washing both sets of our sheets yesterday, and I had to wash the duvet cover, our duvet and I'll get the mattress pad in today. Ugh. So glad that he's doing so much better today. The only plus of him getting sick is that he's my ultra-cuddle bug. Have to take those cuddles when I can get them. :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Just thought that I'd share some photos that Rob retouched for me from the Christmas card photo shoot I did the other day. I am so pleased with how well these ones turned out. It's fun seeing my vision for the pictures come to fruition. Hope y'all have a very Merry Christmas! **Another photo shoot is in the works within the next two days. The picture I posted of Aidan is the only one I was even remotely happy with the way it turned out...I plan to get more of him that I like, plus, I need to get some of my two cuties together!

Christmastime is here.

Lots of holiday cheer to go around. The boys had so much fun opening presents last night. Aidan and David opened their joint presents and seemed a little bit excited over what they got (especially the Polar Express engine--too bad that is the one particular toy that came broken that we have to exchange in the next few days). Aidan loved his Little People farm and the nativity scene that they both got. David saw the diaper box that his present from Aidan was wrapped in and he laughed saying, "Brother got me diapers?!?!" Rob helped him actually open the box to see what treasure was hidden inside, and the look on that boy's face was of pure bliss. He got a vintage Star Wars Millenium Falcon. Yeah, that boy was stoked! He got a bunch of Star Wars action figures from us and a couple of Star Wars books. Star Wars for David all around. Can you say boy heaven?

I took all of Aidan's present items out of their respective boxes and assembled them where needed. Didn't realize that I'd have to assemble Fisher Price Little People things (namely the barn). Ended up being more difficult than expected, with a 19-month-old trying to play with it while his mama was putting it together. :)

We left bright and early for church this morning (well, 8 is bright and early for me since I had a bit of a difficult time trying to fall asleep last night). The boys went in their jammies--fit in with quite a few people who were there in their jammies as well. :) Rob started making coffee at the espresso bar when we got there, then I took over so he could eat breakfast. I couldn't find my glasses this morning, so I was walking fairly blind. I think Pastor Kim got a kick out of it when I'd have to find her (I knew what she was wearing, so I could at least find her easily) so she could point out where my kids or hubby were. Found those elusive glasses after church though. They were in our suitcase from our Williamsburg trip last weekend. We had a big pancake and ham breakfast at church this morning, then sat around our big round tables to sing Christmas carols and listen to Nick's sermon: Wise Men Still Seek Him. So wonderful being surrounded by our church family to celebrate the birth of our Saviour. Truly felt like we were among family. Totally cool. Awesome.

I need to grab David so we can start making the birthday cake for Jesus. We're going to have a mini-party here this afternoon! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

First Christmas Photo Shoot.

Yesterday I did my first Christmas photo shoot of the boys. Definitely an interesting experience to say the least. My backdrop kept coming off the wall when the boys would start playing rough on it and Aidan wouldn't keep the hat on his head. :-( I ended up getting a few really cute ones of David (this particular photo is one of my favorites). Unfortunately, I have to try to do another session with Aidan today because I wasn't very happy with the lighting and expression on his photos. Maybe I'll even be able to get a few pictures taken of both boys together too since they weren't that cooperative about it yesterday.

I can hardly believe that today is Christmas Eve. The rib roast is sitting on the counter warming up to room temperature. David and I watched an episode on the Food Network where the host was making prime rib, so I decided that I'd try her recipe this year. (yes, my almost 4-year-old likes watching cooking shows with his mama, then helps me out tons in the kitchen) We started a tradition of having prime rib on Christmas Eve a few years ago, and I have used a different recipe every year. If I don't like how this one turns out, I may go back to the recipe I used last year for when I make prime rib in the future.

David woke up this morning stoked that today is Christmas Eve! He has probably asked Rob or myself at least 10 times if Santa is coming today. Yeah...gotta love the excitement. This holiday has truly become magical for that boy. When he hasn't been asking me if today is the day he gets to open presents and when he gets to open them, he and Aidan have been playing with their wooden Thomas and Friends train set. David got many of the pieces for his 2nd birthday, with small additions here and there--we just got the mine quarry tunnel, the gold cars and a caboose with their Christmas money from their Papa Don and Gramma Debbie Crossler. Yeah...those definitely were a hit around here. We decided to give those items to the boys yesterday morning, and they have already provided them with hours of entertainment. Aidan likes to put the train cars down the tunnel one at a time. David likes to build really long tracks on the living room floor so his train has a place to go after it gets through the tunnel. Unfortunately, the caboose is the "favorite" car right now, and there is only one of them. Guess that this is a really good practical lesson in sharing--even if lots of screaming, pushing, crying, etc. happens in the process.

Rob and David are at the grocery store (poor Rob, this is the 4th time he has run to Kroger today for one thing or another since I wasn't awake enough to dictate what I needed for dinner tonight when he first went this morning, but he had to go shopping for the coffee bar at church this morning too--we just need to work on planning our trips better). They are going to the local toy store to play for awhile too since Aidan is down for his nap. This way I can clean up downstairs. So...for productivity's sake, I should get going. I'll write more and post more pictures of our festivities later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Taking a journey back in time.

That's what you do when you go to Colonial Williamsburg. You leave the 21st century, and venture back into the 18th century. Horse-drawn carriages go up and down the streets. A team of oxen pull a cart, making deliveries of firewood to the local taverns. Men in cocked/tricorn hats, clocked stockings, frock coats and cloaks. Women in mob caps, and traditional dress. Colonial Williamsburg is being reconstructed to what it would have looked like in the 1700s. Buildings had been torn down where empty lots would have been. Houses and taverns restored to their original state. Even the governor's palace, a place where Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, two of Virginia's first elected governors lived has been rebuilt (apparently it burned down sometime in the 1800s, if I remember correctly what our guide told us when we stood in front of the palace). It was so awesome learning more of our nation's history. More about my new state of residence's history.

Our trip to Williamsburg was awesome, in spite of having 2 tired kids who wore on Mama and Daddy. :-) The sites were incredible. Both boys had fun getting to explore. Both loved the horses and other animals we saw while walking through the town. Aidan was especially fond of the horses. Rob let him pet one of the horses the first day we were there. Talk about sure joy from a certain 19-month-old! He was laughing, talking to the horses and getting really excited. You could see that he was a little bit in awe of the size of the horse, but so excited at being able to touch and experience one close up. David thought the horses were really neat too, although he didn't get as excited about them as Aidan did. He actually got a little more excited at listening to the cows moo, and seeing the sheep in one of the pastures.

Both boys ended up getting wooden toy pistols (if anyone has seen the pictures I posted on Snapfish, you would have seen what I am talking about). David got his on Monday, and every time Aidan wanted to play with it, big brother didn't like ended up getting Aidan one of his own when we went back Tuesday morning. David carries his around everywhere. Occasionally he'll even put on his tricorn hat and walk around the house on the lookout for some "red coats." David even got to touch a bayonet and a real military rifle when we looked inside the Magazine, and talked to the man in costume who was telling visitors about different weapons and their functions. I definitely have two very BOY boys. :-) The other thing that they got really excited about was watching the blacksmith make nails. Aidan was enthralled with the fire and would watch intently what the blacksmith was doing. David was our question-asker. "What's he doing?" "What happens when he pulls on that string?" "Why does he pull on that string?" "Look--he's hammering!" The nails that the blacksmiths make are used for different projects around Colonial Williamsburg. If people in costume are building things, they are more than likely using the handmade nails.

Part of our trip involved driving to Costco about 16 miles away from Williamsburg in Newport News, VA. Had to get diapers, and we really like the ones from Costco (plus, you get such a good deal on them!). Ended up buying jeans for us all too which ended up being great for when we went to Virginia Beach to play after leaving Costco.

I have finally seen and touched the Atlantic Ocean. It was so crazy to think that less than 6 months ago, the boys and I were playing in the Pacific Ocean on a trip over to Heceta Head with my dad. The water was cold, but that didn't stop us crazy people! David decided to stand in the water with his socks and shoes, then after it registered that they were wet, he had to take them off. Aidan didn't want to physically touch the water, but he did enjoy watching the waves lap up on the shore. The sunset was pretty, but definitely different from watching the sunset on the Oregon coast when it looks like it's going into the ocean. It's backwards over here. :-) hehe We ate dinner at Mahi Mah's just off the boardwalk. We ended up getting a window seat, so we were able to watch all the Christmas lights turn on--they were very pretty. It was fun to walk around by the lights on the way back to our car. David liked to point out different things that he saw (and wanted to get out and touch them, but we didn't think that would be a very good idea).

Oh, on the drive from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach and back, we drove through a tunnel under water. I didn't much care for it. Truthfully, I was gripping the door handle pretty hard and was praying that I would not start getting clausterphobic and that there wouldn't be any accidents in the tunnel. I survived though. :-) It really wasn't so bad either.

We're definitely glad to be home. Glad to start getting back into somewhat of a routine. Glad to be sleeping in our own beds again (although David and Sydney are sleeping in my bed with Rob right now...very sweet). Rob and I will be going back to Williamsburg sometime within the next year for a couple of days by ourselves--then, we'll get to tour the museums and listen to the different talks that they have throughout the day.

Guess that it's time to take Sydney downstairs so she can go "night night" and then I can catch some shut-eye as well. I have a few things that I need to do tomorrow yet in preparation for Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's looking (and feeling) like Christmas around here.

My tree. My glass hurricane filled with gold colored ball-ornaments. David wearing the Santa hat that we bought the Christmas right before we got married. Every decoration I put out for Christmas carries with it some sort of story. When I take ornaments out of their boxes, I smile and remember Christmases past...when the ornament was received. What happened that year. Some of the ornaments on my tree are ones my mom made when I was in elementary school, some are ones I received when I was in my single-digit years. The big cross stitch ones I labored over the winter I was pregnant with David, my hands going numb while working on each one. There are ornaments that Rob had since he was a child. Ones that his Grandma Dorothy gave to us. Yet, other ornaments symbolize our Christmases and years together. One tradition we have is that everyone gets a new ornament on Christmas Day in his or her stocking. Rob typically always gets some sort of a Santa-themed one, the boys get one that symbolizes an interest of theirs that particular year, or a character trait. Mine are definitely a bit more obscure. :-)

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. A time to remember Christ's coming to earth as a baby, having set aside his glory in heaven for a time to live as one of us. A time to reflect on the hope that his birth brought and still brings for all of us. A time to reflect on his death and resurrection and atonement for our sin. A time to remember the gift of eternal life that we have because of his sacrifice for us. Yeah, I find that I often get wrapped up in the business of the holiday season, but now that I have young children, it is so comforting to be able to read the Christmas stories. To be sharing memories together. To teach them what the true meaning of this holiday really is. Creating new traditions as a family. Celebrating some of the old. Yet, always trying to keep in perspective the true meaning of the season--Jesus.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Cookies Galore

Almost done with all of my holiday cookie baking. Ginger Molasses cookies, gingerbread boys, old fashioned sour cream (like sugar cookies, only softer) and snickerdoodles. We've done gingerbread houses too--David was high on sugar after we decorated his. Guess I should have remembered that he'd want to eat more frosting and candy than what he was going to put on his house. :-) Tomorrow, I have to bake the snickerdoodles. I would do it this evening; however, I didn't realize how late it was until right now. Don't think that starting those at 11:05 p.m. EST would be the best idea when I have to get to church fairly early tomorrow.

This week has been interesting. Rob finished class last week, so he's been around almost all the time this week. I love having him around, but it's definitely a new experience for all of us. Something we all have to start getting used to. One thing we've found out, however, is that our days need to be more structured. Something I've known for awhile, just glad that the entire family is on the same page about it now. Totally looking forward to our trip to Colonial Williamsburg this weekend. We leave Sunday morning--yahoo!!!!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Love at 3?

The funniest thing happened this afternoon at our house. Our pastor's youngest daughter, Victoria, was over playing with David for the afternoon. After popcorn was made for a snack, they sat down on the floor in front of the TV watching The Polar Express when out of the blue David says, "Victoria (pause) I love you." Rob and I just about died with laughter (although we did make sure to keep our peels of laughter silent so we wouldn't make either child self-conscious). Truthfully, I think this little expression of emotion took its recipient a little off guard. She had to think for a little while before replying, quietly, "I love you too." Then, David went on telling Victoria that he liked her pants, and that her shirt looked really nice, and so on and so forth. Have NO idea where he comes up with this stuff. It was precious though. Something I'm going to carry with me for a very long time.

On another note. I've been in the creative flow for the last couple of days. Actually have almost 2 full scrapbook layouts complete. Amazing for me. I still have ones of Aidan that I started last year and have yet to journal. It feels so good letting this side of me come out again. The process of creating the pages is very laborious for me--looking over various design elements and color combinations in other people's layouts, and then having to actually choose what pictures I'm going to use--yikes! I wanted to scan in and submit the Trick-or-Treat layout I did of the boys yesterday, but seeing how I'm a bit technically challenged, I think I'll have Rob try to figure out how to scan in the pages, stitch them together, then he can walk me through the process.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oh what a wonderful morning...

My Bible study this morning was so incredibly awesome! We were all sharing openly. Being transparent. Learning from one another. Gleaning from the scripture. Building one another up. Growing closer to one another. Growing closer to Christ. Laughing--LOTS!!! Then again, we did go over the topic of sex and God's standpoint on it for a heafty portion of today's lesson. :)

I know that I have said this before, but I will say it yet again. I feel extremely blessed to be a part of my MOPS group and the MOPS Bible study that I am a part of. The women are all amazing, and we can learn so much from one another. There are so many different emotions and things that I feel when I think of my MOPS group--safety, love, laugther, genuine, friendship, fun...the list can go on. God brought me to this group for a special reason (I had actually been introduced to another one shortly after we moved out here, but something just didn't feel quite *right*). The upcoming days, weeks, months and years will only show what He has in store. It's so exciting to think about.

Each day that I am out here in Virginia, I am realizing what a God-move it has been. The relationships that are forming. The church we have found. Everything. It's so awesome that we have walked in obedience to leave the west coast and to move out to the other side of the country so Rob could go to school. We're experiencing growth in our relationships with our maker as well as growth in our family relationships. So incredibly cool and awesome!

Oh...after rambling on about my messy bedroom/office the other day, I took matters into my own hands yesterday and worked like mad to create some sort of haven for Rob and myself. I hung pictures/college diplomas, put things away, threw things away, organized, etc. I even vacuumed the floor!!! (let's just say that Rob was a bit shocked and pretty pleased by the whole venture). Once I get candles to put on my sconces and in my big candleabra, it will be even more wonderful and relaxing. I even cleaned out our downstairs coat closet. Unfortunately, after all that work, I still am no closer to finding the glue gun. :( Oh well. The cleaned areas are more than worth the effort it took to get it done!

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today! Psalm 118:24 (NCV)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Something to make you smile.

While driving down to Christiansburg today for my little "time out" I found myself stopped behind a vehicle at a stoplight bearing this phrase on a bumper sticker:

"If God isn't a HOKIE, then why do the leaves turn orange and maroon in the fall?"

Found this to be completely hilarious and definitely added a wonderful sparkle to my day. Go Hokies!!!

A little time out does a body good.

Rob came home after class this afternoon and told me that I could have some time to myself--to just up and leave. Well...I couldn't just up and leave right away (I hadn't even fixed my hair and make-up yet. Was looking a bit scary since it's rainy outside and my hair was starting to resemble a frizzy brown mess), I had a few Christmas presents taking up room in my bedroom that I needed to wrap and get under the tree. Maybe if I get some things cleaned out of this clutter mess called my bedroom/office, I'll be able to find the actual gun part to my glue gun as the base that it plugs into is the only thing that I have been able to locate over the past couple of days. My room is currently like a black hole. A vacuum that eats whatever it can find and leaves me feeling crazy at my not being able to find what I'm looking for. Think it's time to go through some things. Maybe downsize. Put my paper boxes from IKEA together so I can get rid of the packing box that holds all my mailing envelopes, printer paper, etc.

Okay, okay...enough rambling about my messy room. After I finally left the house, I drove down to Christiansburg not knowing exactly what I wanted to do. The original plans I had before departing from my home had me doing my Bible study to be prepared for Thursday morning while sitting at a table in Starbuck's. Well...since I forgot to grab my book while trying to escape without Aidan trying to come with me, those plans were a bit ruined. So, I decided to go to Barnes and Noble first to see if I could find a book that I have been wanting to read again and to look over anything else there that might be of interest. Came home with Beauty : A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast and a National Geographic Kids magazine for David since he asked me yesterday if he could have a magazine to read. I read through Lisa Welchel's book, The ADVENTure of Christmas and perused through a couple of Rachel Ray Cookbooks before deciding that I really needed a dose of caffeine in my system. :) to Starbucks I went where I had a peppermint mocha (my absolute fave) and a slice of their gingerbread loaf with the cream cheese icing--to die for.

This little excursion, and the ability to get lost in my book tonight (yes, I read the WHOLE thing!) really lifted my spirits. Also, my conversations with my friend, Natascha and my mom helped this morning too--wonderful women and great conversations had with both! Looking forward to an even better day tomorrow (with improved health too--this cold is getting really old!).

Monday, November 28, 2005

A blue kind of day.

Today has definitely been a bit of a blue day for me. I am not completely sure what started the downward emotional spiral. All I know is that my not-quite-finished turkey (the thermometer read one temperature, but when I started to carve the bird, it was pink and definitely not finished roasting) and then the fact that I lost 3 games in a row of Carcassonne to Rob did not help matters any. Maybe the dreary weather is affecting my mood. Possibly my sore throat? Aidan was kind of grumpy today. David was a bit on the obnoxious side, and I nearly tripped over him 3 or 4 times while working in the kitchen earlier--yikes!

To top it off, my thoughts keep lingering to my dad's wedding. The fact that he had nobody there standing up for him. The fact that my grandparents weren't invited. The fact that Dustin and I really were not invited either. The fact that Darleen, in her e-mails, kept mentioning how cute her son Kyle was going to look in his tuxedo--a constant applying of salt to an open wound. Almost rubbing it in that my brother and I were not asked to be a part of the wedding. Our presence wasn't solicited...not wanted...not valued. It's going to be like ripping open a healing wound when we go back to Eugene in January and will have the pictures shown to us. Openly flaunting my absence from this big event. Truly, if one partner's children weren't invited, should the other's children be there either? I don't really think so. If it was going to be a *private* ceremony, shouldn't it have just been the pastor, the bride and the groom? Did anyone use good judgment or common sense here? (I'll just leave this as a rhetorical question...)

I know, I know...I keep mentally/emotionally rehashing the whole thing. I keep trying to let it go, but it keeps coming back to haunt me. I keep trying to take these thoughts captive--to only think on pure, lovely, holy and just things, to make my thoughts obedient to Christ; however, I'm really having difficulty seeing past my heart feeling like it keeps being broken over and over and over again. A part of me just wants to shut it not allow myself to think or feel about it anymore...anesthetizing the hurt. Then again, that's not a healthy road to take. Guess that one of the things that really gets me is that no one really seems to genuinely care (well, none of the involved parties anyways...I know that there are some people who care).

Guess that the positive of all of this though is the fact that tomorrow is another day. The day is a clean slate--unmarred by anything that has happened today. One of my favorite quotes is: Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you react to it. I know that God is going to help me through this. Only he knows what the overall outcome is going to be. My whole being just needs to be in tune to what he is wanting me to do and to walk in obedience to him.

LORD...I'm crying out to you now--please heal my pain. I lay down everything before you. Mold me into the woman you desire for me to be. I'm here Lord. Speak to me, your child, who is listening and waiting on you. Amen.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is today. The snow melted overnight, so we aren't able to go out and play in it today; however, the sky is blue, and the wind is blowing--tis the day the LORD has made! And since it is Thanksgiving, I will take a moment to reflect on a few things that I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful for my heavenly Father--the one true God whom I serve. He has taught me so much in spite of the resistence I have given him over time. The closer I draw to him, the more mature I am growing in my faith. I'm learning more every day that I can lean on and depend on him. He will never leave me nor forsake me (a promise from Hebrews 13:5). He is always faithful to his promises. He's a father to the father-less, hope for those who have not. Utterly wonderful, powerful, awe-inspiring, amazing, faithful, merciful, full of grace, he is love. Oh, and did I mention that he is wonderful? :)
  • Rob. David. Aidan. My family. Each one is such a blessing from God and enriches my life in a very special and very unique way.
  • Friends. I am so thankful for the friends that I have made over time, and for the new friends God has been bringing into my life since we have moved to Blacksburg. Relationships to cherish. Laughter. Tears. Fun times.
  • I am thankful for having a roof over my head and for food to eat and for clothing to wear. The place we live really isn't much. Frankly, there are many things about it that I do not like at all! But, it protects us from the weather. We are making memories here. God will bless us with a house that will have a yard next year when the time is right.
  • Our church. I love the church we are attending here in the New River Valley. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful pastors as Nick and Robin Gough, Kim Weitkamp, Gary and Julia Costello...they are truly wonderful people and spirit-filled individuals.

Those are just a few of the blessings I am thankful for this year. I hope that each one who reads this entry will reflect over the many blessings that are in each of your lives. We all have many things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let it snow!

Today was the first true snowfall of the season. So beautiful. So breathtaking. So fun! The boys, Sydney and I piled into the Tahoe and drove up to the neighborhood park (I wasn't going to walk about 4 blocks having to keep track of the 3 of them without a stroller!) and played in the snow for awhile before I had to come home to make dinner. We had so much fun--me taking pictures, throwing tennis balls for Sydney; David playing in the snow and climbing on the playground equipment; Aidan going down the slide and trying to run away from me through the snow; and Sydney running sprints around us, just excited to be in a place where she could run and be free.

The snow stopped falling sometime while I was making dinner, but it started up again when I was rocking Aidan to sleep. He noticed the falling flakes reflecting in the streetlamp outside his window and started pointing to them and chattering away. Watching his smile of awe and wonder was something to behold. I'm so glad that we were able to share that moment together tonight. Hopefully it will snow much more through the night so we can go sledding before we go to our pastors' house for Thanksgiving tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Washington DC Day 2

We're enjoying our weekend trip to our nation's capital. Yesterday (Saturday) we drove into Pentagon City and took the Metro to The National Mall area. We went to the Air and Space Museum for awhile and looked around before walking around. The inital plan was to go to the Air and Space Museum then go to the Natural History Museum so David could see the dinosaur bones; however, I think his patience was waning before we even left the Air and Space museum, so we opted to go for a walk along the mall instead. It was really surreal seeing the Pentagon from the car and the Metro, going across the Potomac River, seeing the White House (although from a fair distance since we were between the Washington Monument and the WWII Memorial). Our cousin, Jay Crossler, told David that the Washington Monument was a dinosaur toothpick, so when we saw it today on our way into Pentagon City, that is what he called it.

David loves Jay and Jackie and all their Guinea pigs and dog. I tend to think that Jay, Timber and Fanny (the 2 female Guinea pigs) are his favorites since he talks about them all fairly constantly. :) Today, he couldn't wait to get back to their apartment so he could make sure that Timber and Fanny were still doing OK. Jay thinks that I'll end up getting a Guinea pig for David...I don't think so. :)

Today Jay and Jackie had to work, so Rob, the boys and myself were on our own to go to the zoo and do whatever our hearts desired. We felt pretty proud that we were able to figure out the Metro on our own, we made it to the zoo (which was actually pretty disappointing--we liked Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle much better!). David was happy to see the Pandas. Aidan was tired and just wanted to eat his popcorn and do what he wanted to do (e.g., sit down on the ground instead of walk while trying to leave the Giant Panda exhibit. He was happy to look through the Panda activity book we picked up while he was riding in the backpack.

After leaving the zoo, we ate lunch at the Starbucks across the street before taking the Metro back to Pentagon City to get our car. Since we got back to our car early enough, we ventured down to IKEA in Woodbridge, VA to get a couple of things that have been on our list. Unfortunately they had sold out of their painting easels, so we weren't able to get that. Aidan woke up right when we got there after taking a short, but much needed nap in the car, and he screamed until after we got him some ice cream to help keep him occupied. David played in the kids' area there, so we only had one rugrat to worry about while we were shopping. Yeah, we were in and out of there in less than one hour--an amazing feat!

OK, David needs to get to bed, and I need to relax a bit more. We played Carcassonne with Jay and Jackie last night and were up until almost 2 this morning! Tomorrow we head home and I will be able to post pictures from our adventures then. Might have to scan in a copy of our Metro pass (aka David's ticket) too.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What a busy week!

Truly, it feels like when it rains, it pours as far as when busy-ness strikes on the homefront. Meetings, appointments, an awesome Mexican fiesta night with the girls (well, a couple of hubbies were there too, but for the most part it was a girls' night out). Thankfully, after I pack suitcases for our weekend trip, the business will subside.

Tonight's Mexican fiesta was a much needed escape for me. Elyn Thomas, a friend of mine that I met through my Hokie Spouses (now renamed to be the Graduate Families Network) group, and I planned tonight's event. We kind of demonstrated how to make a few different food items, talked about others, cooked, visited, drank home made margaritas...visited some more. It was awesome! My MOPS discussion group leader and her husband (and 3 boys too) came--Dan and the boys left before dinner was actually ready, but the dynamic tonight was so awesome! It was so free. So nice to be among friends. To eat great food. To make memories together.

Tomorrow after Rob's meeting on campus, we are heading for Washington DC. I have never been there before, and the last time Rob went was when he was 15 for the Boy Scout National Jamboree. All of us are very excited. David wants to go to the National Zoo and to see the dinosaur bones in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I, of course, will take many pictures and will get some posted after we get back home Monday--probably won't have much time to post them on the road.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

What is love anyways?

God has been speaking to me a lot about love and marriage in general lately. Here is something from scripture that I read a couple of nights ago: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for [each other]. 1 John 3:16 The commentary regarding this scripture in my Bible says that: Real love is an action, not merely a feeling. It produces selfless, sacrificial giving. The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others. How can we lay down our lives? By serving others (e.g., our spouses) with no thought of receiving anything in return. Sometimes it’s easier to say we’ll die for others than to truly live for them—this involves putting others’ desires first. Pretty profound stuff, huh? I know that for me, it’s really difficult to want to do things that won’t benefit myself and put Rob’s (or even my kids’) desires before myself. We’re selfish, willful beings. Without God’s help, we can only love with a selfish love—a love that cannot be given if it is not received and returned—a conditional love. Only with him can we have agape love and love others regardless of the response that is received. Wow! Now, I need to sit down and apply this to my marriage and to my own life. What steps can I take to love others (especially Rob) with God’s kind of love—a love without conditions? To love them the way they are supposed to be loved. It seems so impossible, but then again, Paul writes in Philippians that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Things are better.

Well...yesterday started out a bit rough, but the day ended on a positive note. Dad called me early yesterday afternoon, and we were able to talk a lot, and I just felt really reassured, loved and felt so much better by the time our conversation ended. The confusion, hurt, frustration, etc. have been melting away.

Last night I had my MOPS spa night. I had my nails painted, did the Mary Kay Satin Hands treatment, had a 10-minute massage that was very much needed, ate desserts (and carrots and tomatoes too). I even won a door prize last night of a $10 gift certificate for Mary Kay merchandise. It was awesome. I really like the group of women in my group. Look forward to getting to know them more.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I guess that is the best word to describe my state of emotion right now. I was happy and excited about an upcoming trip to Eugene. The prospect of catching up with friends. Visiting family. Soaking up in what was familiar. Now, we may not fly back at all. The primary purpose for our trip was to be there for my dad's upcoming wedding. Something that I was happy about earlier is now something that is, at this moment in time, a source of frustration and hurt for me. Okay, I'm happy that Dad's happy, but...(big sigh)...

Okay, I can respect the fact that weddings are special events. You can invite whomever you choose. They can be big extravaganzas. They can be small, private affairs. They can happen in a church. They can happen on the beach. They can happen while jumping out of an airplane. They can happen anywhere. But, if you're going to tell someone (especially your daughter) that you would love to have that person there, then change the date and say, well, we really would rather have a private ceremony, and you're not welcome...ugh. It's irritating.

I guess that the best way I can describe how I'm feeling right now is kind of like how I felt after a boy broke up with me. A little dejected. Hurt. Frustrated. Confused. Not quite the massive heartache that comes with a break-up, just a little tinge, but it's there none-the-less.

Ugh...I'm so mad right now. Sad. Frustrated. I would have at least liked to have been able to meet the person who is going to be my step-mother before she took that title. I feel like her kids get more consideration than Dustin and I do. Heck, we're having 3 new people added to our family that we know virtually nothing about. One of them happens to be a girl. I'm going to have a little sister. I don't know how I really like that part. Maybe I'm being selfish right now, but I am my daddy's little girl. Is she going to usurp my *throne*? Is she going to take my place in my daddy's heart and life? I may be twenty-six, but that doesn't mean that my need for him decreases. Truthfully, I desire to have a really close relationship with him. To have barriers that had been put up throughout my childhood broken down, the boundaries that had been drawn be redefined. To be able to discuss, openly and freely whatever is going on in our lives--no matter what the subject. Not to be walking in fear, or avoiding whatever the topic may be, but to embrace it and step out into uncharted waters.

Besides, how is this new family going to meld into the one whose framework already exists? I want my parents to still be able to openly communicate. I want them to still be friends. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing. Heck, to bring a very popular saying to light: What would Jesus do?

Okay, I guess now that I've gotten a few things off my chest, I am now ready to go to sleep...maybe.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Don't you just love...

thunder and lightning storms? I'm sitting upstairs in our room looking out the window at the spectacular "light show" we are getting this evening. I was sitting downstairs when I caught a flash out of the corner of my eye, so I let Sydney come inside. It's been coming pretty consistently since then.

I love the flash of the lights against the dark sky. The low rumble of the thunder following shortly thereafter. It makes me thankful for having a roof over my head. Four walls surrounding and protecting us. A Heavenly Father who has allowed me to witness this act of nature. So awesome. Oops...sounds like the thunder is closer now. I should probably turn off my computer before a potential electrical surge. :)

On the mend.

Feeling much better today than I have all week. Think that the antibiotics are doing their job! Only thing is that I am finding that I am still pretty wiped out by mid-day. My tonsils have shrunk in size and it does not hurt to swallow anymore, so I guess that I should just look at those positives! :)

I am so thankful that the guys are all doing so well. Rob seems to rarely if ever get knocked down by anything. Aidan has been a bit cranky due to his teething, I am guessing. He has been cutting 8 since Labor Day and they haven't completely worked themselves all the way above the surface. He is still pretty good natured though. David is his exuberant self. Bouncing off walls, furniture and the like. :)

Last night I had such a fabulous time with four other women from my MOPS discussion group. We met up at Daily Grind off Prices Fork Rd. here in Blacksburg for coffee and fellowship. It was neat getting to know each person who came a little bit more. They are all such amazing, wonderful women. God has truly blessed me with people that I am coming into contact with here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This Crazy Little Thing Called Life... here has been a bit crazy this week. I stayed home with David Sunday morning because he was still running a slight fever. Monday morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat--didn't really think too much about it at first. My friend, Julie, came by and we made cookies for MOPS while the kids played and watched Elmo or VeggieTales videos. By Monday afternoon, I was really feeling pretty yucky. Rob ended up coming home early and I went straight to bed after eating a dinner of chicken broth and saltine crackers--yum. After about 12+ hours of sleep, I was up and running Tuesday morning. Thought I'd try to get the rest of my baking for MOPS done since I wasn't able to get it done Monday. My muffins ended up tasting really good, but the mini muffins I wanted to take for breakfast looked pretty bad being mutilated and all (didn't have any mini-muffin cup liners--oops!). So, we left the house a bit early and stopped by Kroger to get some to take with me, since I couldn't show up empty-handed. :) After MOPS, all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed, which, of course, I wasn't able to do. I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jeremy Freeman, the husband of one of the MOPS co-coordinators at Blacksburg Baptist Church and rested assured that after Wednesday, I'd finally know what was wrong with me and I'd get something to help me feel better.

Today, my appointment went great. I think that the boys and I have a doctor for the duration we are in Blacksburg. Come to find out, I have some sort of tonsilitis. Truthfully, I feel SOOOOOO much better today than I did yesterday afternoon, so that is good. I'm on antibiotics now, and hopefully we'll beat this crud quickly.

My dear friend, Julie, was so kind to lend me the use of her sewing machine yesterday after MOPS so I could sew the patches on David's vest for Cubbies (see the above picture--I'm really proud of this accomplishment!). Well, being the remedial seamstress that I am (the lack of confidence in myself in this area stems from my mom continually calling me the remedial's kind of stuck since high school), I had to call my mom because I couldn't figure out why in the world the thread from the top spool kept getting wrapped up and getting stuck in the bobbin. Thankfully she talked me through what I should do, and then the machine started working out great! I finished ripping out all the stitches I had done by hand on the patches and proceeded to sew them onto David's vest with the sewing machine. I was kind of bummed that I was done after sewing the 5 numbers across the bottom left side of the vest and the Jumper Trail patch just below the AWANA Cubbies one on the left side by his heart. Thankfully, he earned his Lamb Walk 1 patch tonight, so I had another one to sew on for him (and he will have earned his Elephant Walk 1 patch next week after he tells Miss Tammy or Miss Nancy the next verse). This boy LOVES his vest and would wear it all day, every day if I'd let him.

Tonight was career night at Awana, so that is why he's wearing the fireman's hat. He also wore his firefighter raincoat that he wore for his Halloween costume last year. Definitely one adorable firefighter I have. :) David had a blast at Cubbies, like usual and came home with a glowing report and is anxious to get to go again next week. At least we have our bear hug lesson to work on this week, so it's something that can help tide him over until then.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

How cool is...

having Rob tell me this evening about Pastor Nick praying for people in our congregation (and those home too) to get well from whatever sicknesses they might have and right after the time Nick prayed, David was back to his normal self. I think it's awesome! I serve an amazing God! Miracles of healing still happen today--they didn't just happen in the Bible. God is the same yesterday, today and forever!

David and I stayed home from church this morning because he had been running a slight fever last night and still wasn't quite himself when he woke up this morning. You know when that boy isn't feeling well when he's ultra cuddly. He gives cuddles here and there, but he's normally high energy and is bouncing (or balancing, or jumping) on the furniture and off the walls. Plus, he took a nap yesterday that didn't mess up his internal clock. Guess that should have been my first clue. :)

He's been really into Disney's new show, Little Einsteins. He likes to pretend that he is Leo, Rob is Quincy, I'm June and Aidan is Annie (although I keep trying to get him to change it to such luck yet). When we're not the Little Einsteins (or the Little Whitesteins as he first use to call them), we are other cartoon characters. It's kind of fun, but you never know who he is going to be when. Aidan likes the music that is on the show, although he doesn't seem to be as enthralled with this one as he is with VeggieTales. :) Aidan knows when a song is about to start on the different VeggieTales movies and will put down whatever he is looking at/playing with and go closer to the TV to dance. It's really fun to watch. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Costco, Krispy Kreme and football (and some other stuff too)

This weekend has been pretty good so far. Yesterday we drove down to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a trip to Costco. Winston-Salem is about 130 or so miles away from Blacksburg, and is freeway driving all the way there. It was so pretty driving through the mountains and through the different valleys--definitely got warmer once we were in North Carolina though, by at least 8-10 degrees. We went to the mall to walk around a bit (and I got some new clothing items) before heading to Costco since we got there before it opened. Yeah, I had definitely been having some Costco withdrawls. :) Didn't realize how much I missed having one not far from my house to pick up whatever, whenever. This will be good discipline, right? :) Got LOTS of stuff this time though and found a really yummy marinade/dressing to boot that is manufactured in Redmond, Washington.

Oh, before we left for home, we had to stop by Krispy Kreme. Yum. They have pumpkin spice cake donuts rught now that are heavenly. Rob wanted the regular melt-in-your-mouth kind of donuts, and I got a chocolate donut and a pumpkin spice donut (ate the pumpkin one and saved the chocolate for later). Krispy Kreme was actually founded in Winston-Salem. Genius those creators were.

After we got home, we were scurrying to get the house cleaned before Rob's poker night began. Yeah, that worked really well with 2 busy little boys running under-foot. :) I told Rob that trying to clean with those two is often times like trying to shovel your sidewalk in the midst of a blizzard. I put away, they taketh out. Gotta love them though! We did manage to get things clean enough to be presentable, so that was good (although with everyone but me playing cards, I don't think that anyone else noticed what the house looked like). Rob lost this time. Last time he raked in the chips, but apparently the cards weren't going his way last night.

Today we ran errands and then got to play at Barnes and Noble for awhile. The boys loved playing on the 100-acre wood stage where they do storytime, and at the train table. There are so many trains and cars out to get to play with, it makes it really nice when there are other kids around. Neither boy really wanted to leave (David even had a little friend to look at books and play with today--his name was Sam and he was 4 years old). But we came home, they had naps, Rob studied, and I got to talk to my dad. It was nice getting to hear his voice and being able to communicate that way instead of just by e-mail. This afternoon we watched football. Too bad Notre Dame couldn't pull it off. At least Oregon beat UW--that was a good point, for me at least. We watched part of the NASCAR race too. Man, lots of blown tires tonight. Craziness.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Keeping With Tradition.

This afternoon warranted a drive out to Sinkland Farms in Riner to go visit the pumpkin patch. We are so glad that we were told about this place since we have had a yearly tradition of going out to the pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins. This place was great. There were pumpkins up by the check-out area for those individuals who don't want to make the trip out to the pumpkin patch itself, or you could drive out to the big pumpkin patch (since we went on a week day we had to drive out--had we gone on the weekend, the tractor and wagon would have driven us out there). Pumpkins everywhere! The boys had so much fun running from pumpkin to pumpkin. David went out into the field quite a ways. Aidan was more content to stay up at the top of the hill and play with the pumpkins and vines there. Rob and I had a blast watching them explore and try to find the "perfect" pumpkins. To end the outing, we had a bite of ice cream, then were homebound.

Have you ever...

thought that you were going completely insane due to the fact that you cannot find something? That would describe me currently. What is it with me and misplacing stuff? I'm infamous for losing my keys right before I am supposed to leave for somewhere (that, or finding out that they were locked in the car--thank goodness for Onstar! That service has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.). Thankfully after praying for help in finding them, God has directed me and has helped me see where they were. Well...I guess that finding Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in the Netflix envelope is going to require more prayer to have him help direct me to where that silly red envelope is that has been causing me so much headache this week. I had it all ready to send back (right after the mail was already picked up, go figure), thought I set it somewhere where I would remember to grab it to put in the mailbox the next day, but am completely clueless as to where that spot was.

Better get back to praying... :) just had to vent a bit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My boys.

Aidan and David. Brothers. My sons. Precious gifts from the Lord. Each as unique as a fingerprint. Growing daily. Keeping us on our toes. Full of love. Full of life. Sweet. Adorable. Beautiful. Precious. Rowdy. Busy. Laughter.

Just a few words to describe these two. It's not often that I am able to get a picture of them together. Semi-posed even. :) I feel so blessed to have them in my life--yes, even during the challenging times. They both teach me so much about life, about myself, about the world around little men.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I love the fall. The leaves beginning to change color. The crispness of the air. There is nothing quite like it. It's a season of transition. Not only in nature--vegetation and animal life preparing for the upcoming chill that winter brings, but it's also a season of transition within our lives.

~Our family is in a transition now that Rob is back in school. We are constantly adjusting. Schedules evolving. Trying to adapt to our new way of life. Trying to be a support and a help to him. Excited at the kindling of passion within him as he is pursuing different research interests (although some of what he tells me goes over my head). :)

~I'm in a season of transition in my walk with the Lord. Constantly yearning for a deeper intimacy with my creator. Seeking. Asking. Longing. Trying to see his will for my life and what direction he wants me to go. Being reminded of who I am in Christ. Excited for where He is bringing me.

~Living in a new and exciting place. Driving out of town just a few minutes and being out in the middle of nowhere. Immersed in the beauty of God's creation. I had to take a few pictures while we were on a walk/mini-hike at Pandapas Pond Sunday afternoon. The leaves are starting to change colors--splashes of yellow, gold and crimson flashing amongst the green. It's quite breathtaking! In a couple more weeks, the hillsides will be awash in color--I can hardly wait!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Internet at home...finally!

Yippee! The Adelphia guy finally came over this afternoon to hook up my Internet. I've been going through withdrawls. (just kidding...I haven't been quite that bad). :) No more driving onto the Virginia Tech campus with the laptop to check my e-mail parked along the drill field.

Life here is alright. David and I started doing preschool at home this week. We sing songs, read stories, do art projects, and other stuff too. I'm happy to say that David learned his weekly Memory verse on Monday, and has been able to repeat it to me every day since. If you asked him what his favorite things have been, he'd probably tell you 1) playing with play-dough or 2) singing songs. After my scanner arrives, I'll have to scan in a couple of his projects to share. They're too fun.

Aidan has mastered climbing up our stairs. I'll turn around for 1 second, and then I hear him and David both giggling upstairs while they're playing with toys...or, I'll hear David laughing and Aidan screaming...I'd much rather hear them giggling together. They really do get along quite well though. David just sometimes forgets that Aidan is smaller and can't quite wrestle and rough-house the way that he likes to.

We're almost all unpacked now...only a couple boxes in our bedroom and some stuff in the office. Yeah!!! We found a scrapbooking table/desk for me today. I can't wait to start letting my creative juices flow making cards and creating scrapbook pages.

Oh, I'm an official Virginian. I went to the DMV last Friday and got my Virginia driver's license and got Virginia plates for the Tahoe (Virginia Tech ones--Go Hokies!!!). The coolest thing about getting my new license is that I didn't have to take the written exam like I did when I changed from having a Washington license to an Idaho one and from my Idaho license to my Oregon one. I just went in, showed my required docs, and presto!

Tomorrow I will have a few pictures to post. I plan to have Rob walk me through what I need to do (since he was the one who uploaded the picture of he and the boys from my first post).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Home at last.

We're all getting settled into our new home. Rob and I have gotten a ton unpacked already, and still have more to do. Hopefully we'll have all but the kitchen unpacked by the time we go to bed tonight. Ambitious idea, I know. I'm currently sitting outside of the Student Services Building at VT surfing the web via the wireless connection on Rob's laptop. Finding this building was definitely an adventure--we drove the wrong way a few times before we finally found where we were supposed to be going.

This campus is beautiful--buildings made from *Hokie stone* mixed in with more modern looking brick buildings. It's HUGE though! Even the football stadium (Lane Stadium) is enormous. I'm hoping and praying that I'll be able to start figuring out where everything is around here soon. Everything is still so foreign and new. The people are great out here--so nice and hospitable. We're all learning what southern hospitality is all about. :)

Aidan and David are currently trying to escape (Aidan is almost running now when he walks around), and Rob is chomping at the bit to get to do his Internet surfing. Think I'll go play with the boys and listen to the cicadas screetch some more.

Oh, one last thing--lightning bugs are SO freaking cool! We saw some a couple of nights ago on a walk we took. At first I wasn't sure what I saw, then I saw all these flashes of light swarming just above the grass. So cool. So awesome. Can't wait to see them more!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bowling Green, Kentucky or bust

Well...we ended up not getting to go to the St. Louis zoo this morning. Rob and David hit the hotel pool after they got up and took Sydney to the bathroom. I'm so thankful that Rob let me sleep in a bit this morning. It really helped me not feel so tired today on our journey from O'Fallon, Illinois (in the greater St. Louis area) to Bowling Green, Kentucky.

For those of you wondering what states we have driven through so far: we began in Oregon, then drove through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, back into Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and are currently sitting in Bowling Green Kentucky at the home of Rob's former adviser at the University of Idaho, Dr. Jeff Butterfield and his family. Lauren and A.J. (Jeff and Wendy's 2 kids) have been angels with our 2 boys. They've played on the trampoline, Lauren took David to play on their "playground" equipment, played with action figures, the x-box and some other things. Glad to have that boy of mine burn some of that pent-up energy--he should sleep well tonight. Poor Sydney though, she isn't sure what to think of the Butterfields' Boston terrier, Pepper, so she barks most times when she sees him. Currently, she's sleeping in her kennel in the garage so she won't be keeping all the neighbors up this evening with her fairly constant barking. She LOVES the woods on the property though. The house is in a wooded lot, and there are lots of sticks that she can play with. There are actually houses all around Jeff and Wendy's home; however, the trees hide them, so you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere.

The drive today was pretty. Lots of corn and soybean fields in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. We also got to see the pretty yellow leaves of the tobacco plants growing out in the fields after getting into Kentucky. One thing we found as a surprise was the sight of oil rigs in Illinois and southern Indiana--who knew that oil was found there (we sure didn't!). :) We actually drove into some rain again once we were in Kentucky. Rob took David in for a potty stop, and I saw lightning flash two or 3 times while I sat in the Tahoe feeding Aidan.

Today's drive was fairly uneventful though. Had our first experience with a toll highway driving from Evansville, Indiana to Bowling Green, Kentucky. It wasn't too bad--too bad that each of the stops didn't make you pay an even toll charge. One toll booth required us to pay 60 cents to pass, 2 required us to pay 50 cents and then another one had us pay 40 cents. It wasn't so bad as long as you had exact change (no lines at those lanes), but if you didn't have exact change, the line to get through was longer. Bowling Green was definitely a welcome sight though. The boys were definitely ready to be done driving for the day. I'm so proud of them. They have really been so good on our trip. Tomorrow will be so nice when we get to Blacksburg--no more long days of driving in the car for awhile. Yeah!!!

We got to try a southern appetizer this evening when we went out for dinner at Toots! restaurant--fried dill pickle chips. They were so yummy, especially dipped in ranch dressing. I'm salivating right now thinking of them. :) They don't sound that great, but they really are good. That restaurant was good though. The kids got free meals: hot dogs, curly fries and a cup of ice cream, and I had a wonderful chicken caesar salad. I think Rob enjoyed his hot wings--it looked as if he polished them off.

The houses here are beautiful. Most of the homes' exteriors are either constructed of brick or stone and are just amazing. I'd love to be able to go through a tour of homes here just to catch a glimpse of the insides. Maybe I'll get to see similar homes when we get to Virginia. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Yikes...I just looked at the clock and noticed that it's almost 10 p.m. I had better get to bed since Rob was kind of hoping to get an early start in the morning. Blacksburg is having some sort of festival this weekend that we'd like to go to, and we've got a bit of a drive to take to get there. We're driving down to Nashville, then to Knoxville and up to Blacksburg tomorrow. We're even driving through Bristol--might have to take pictures of the speedway if I can see it so I can send them to Grandpa Stan and Dad. ;)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

St. Louis, here we come!

We left Omaha, Nebraska this morning and set off for the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. We saw lots of corn fields all over Iowa and Missouri. Both states are beautiful though, and have really kickin' rest stops. One that we drove by in Iowa even had wireless Internet access! These rest stops aren't like anything I had ever seen in Washington, Idaho or Montana, they look kind of like little houses from the road and are really nice on the inside. David and I liked the sinks that dispense soap and water itself and then when you're done washing your hands, the water turns off and the dryer turns on. Too cool, if you ask me!

The drive was a lot more "interesting" today as far as scenery goes. More trees, rolling landscape...lots of green. We stopped in Kansas City for lunch, then were bound for St. Louis. Our friend, Dan Mitchell, from Eugene, called us somewhere between Columbia and St. Louis and asked us about the latest post to our Yahoo! group--something about me being booked into a jail in Wyoming after supposedly going into a fit of road rage chasing Dennis Rodman. Sorry to disappoint any of you who may have bought into this humorous satire of our trip; however, NONE of it was true. It gave us a really REALLY good laugh though. My stomach still hurts from laughing so hard.

We ate at Cracker Barrel for dinner tonight--thanks Dan and Tam for your suggestion! It was so nice being able to eat some real good homestyle comfort food.

Well, Syd is in her kennel for the night, David is laying down and needs "mommy cuddles" and Aidan is crying, so I need to wrap this up. Tomorrow we're hoping to visit the St. Louis zoo and then we're off for Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Good night. :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

On the road.

Wow! It is hard for me to actually comprehend that we are over half-way done with our drive from Eugene, Oregon to Blacksburg, Virginia. I'm currently sitting at the desk in our hotel room in none other than Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha isn't anything like I thought it would be. In my mind, I pictured this city in a really flat area (probably because Dustin and Mom told me that Nebraska was pretty flat and boring when they drove over to South Carolina a couple of years ago); however, there are hills all over the place, and trees too! From what I have seen, it's really pretty here. It is sure hot and muggy though! When we rolled into town between 7 and 7:30 (central time) this evening, our car themometor read between 95-99 degrees Ferenheit. Even while we were down at the hotel pool, it really hadn't cooled down much. Thank goodness for air conditioned rooms! :) We were all really happy to get out of the car so we could stretch our legs and feel somewhat human again.

We have definitely been to and through some fun places. Saturday we drove from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana. The skies were blue, roads were good so we set cruise to 80 mph and were on our way. Grabbed lunch at Taco Bell in Missoula, MT and found a place to play in the Clark Fork River just east of Clinton, MT at a little fishing access point. That stop wore out Sydney and both boys, so they slept for quite awhile afterwards. Sydney played fetch with sticks, and the boys waded (or sat in the water, as was Aidan's case) and threw rocks to their hearts' content. After we left there, until he fell asleep somewhere between Butte and the Continental Divide, whenever David saw water he said, "I'm listening, can we go to the river or to the lake?" "I'd like to go swimming in the river now."

After leaving there, we continued our trek on I-90 until we had to turn south to head toward West Yellowstone. Man, I am continually in awe of God's hand when I drive through the Rocky Mountains. He's so amazing! His creation is so beautiful and breathtaking. I feel so thankful to be able to partake of what he has made and to be able to experience the different sights and sounds.

Virginia City (aka "Cowboy Town" in David-ese) was a great stop. We walked up and down the streets (or if you were David, you ran), had our pictures taken at an old-time photo shop, bought David some new cap gun pistols since his other one broke between Coeur d'Alene and Virginia City and ate some home made ice cream. If we had arrived just 15-20 minutes earlier, we could have taken the steam engine to Nevada City. David was the most bummed about not being able to ride the train. He had fun doing other stuff though--especially getting to play with guns in the photo shop and with his own six-shooters. I wish that we would have had more time to spend there. Hopefully we will make another trip in the future. From there, we drove to West Yellowstone where we stayed for the night. The next morning we were up early, ate breakfast and set off for the park.

Yellowstone was great. We didn't see much wildlife (just a couple herds of elk, some Canadian geese, and a couple of chipmunks). I had really hoped to see some bear, buffalo and some other things, but I guess that it wasn't meant to be this trip. :( At least I got to see a few geysers, and was able to just enjoy the scenery. The next trip I take to Yellowstone might have to be over a week or something. David clapped the entire time Old Faithful was spouting, and Aidan was just oblivious to it all. He was happy just playing in the dirt and gravel just behind the observation deck.

I drove through the Grand Tetons in northwestern Wyoming--another beautiful spot. We stopped to take pictures there before continuing eastward to Casper and even got to see a moose eating out in the water just off the road. Man, I was so excited to get to see a real moose out in the wild! Whem leaving the Tetons, we saw lightning in the distance. By the time we arrived to DuBois, Wyoming, we were in the midst of the storm. Lightning was flashing overhead almost nonstop until after I got east of town. So much for trying to eat lunch there. The rain was also coming down so hard that it washed some of the red colored soil from the hills into the Wind River, leaving the water resembling the Chocolate River from Roald Dahl's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. David thought that comparison was great, and made sure we all knew that he was NOT Augustus Gloop and wasn't going to be falling into the chocolate river. :) The drive to Casper was LONG. The boys (and Rob too) ended up napping for a stretch, so I was listening to the stereo and was singing along. Casper was a welcome sight after having passed through a bunch of range land, where grass and cattle grazing is pretty much all you see for miles and miles. It's beautiful but monotanous (sp?) at the same time.

While in Casper, we stayed with my Uncle Rick and Aunt Shannon Gibson (Uncle Rick is one of my mom's brothers) and their 3 boys, Patrick, Nathan and Eli. Patrick had just returned home from a missions trip to Seoul, South Korea and had stories and pictures to share. We actually haven't seen this crew since we all met up in Bozeman, Montana to go camping about 5 years ago, so I was completely floored by how much the boys had grown. Uncle Rick and Aunt Shannon graciously allowed us to impose upon them for 2 nights, and we had a blast getting to visit and experience just a wee bit of Casper. One of Rob's favorite things was getting to eat fried Oreos at the Philly Cheese Steak place where Patrick works. They take an Oreo and coat it in the funnel cake batter and deep fat fry it. Sounds kind of weird, but they taste wonderful and are very rich. The Oreo softens and takes on a more cake-like texture. Yum! David would say getting to play with Eli (or E-why as he calls him) and Nathan. He and Aidan were in "boy heaven" having the 3 big boys to play with and follow around. I think that Aidan was particularly fond of Patrick--their quiet, somewhat laid back personalities seemed to mesh well.

I was sad to leave Casper because it always seems like we never have enough time to catch up and visit with Rick and Shannon. Hopefully we will get to see each other again sooner, rather than later.

After leaving Casper, our next stop was at Mt. Rushmore and Rapid City in South Dakota. We stopped at Newcastle, Wyoming for lunch and let the boys get out of the car to play at a park. Dogs weren't allowed off leash at this particular park, so we had to put her on her tether. Well...I was playing fetch with her (while holding Aidan), and she ran around one of my legs and I wasn't able to get it moved completely out of the way before her tether caught me, so I ended up with a nice little rope burn around my left ankle. Rob teased me this morning and said that it kind of looks like I'm abused. At least we both know the truth. :) Mt. Rushmore was a VERY short trip. We parked, walked up to the observation area, went into the gift shop to get a few souveniers and went back to the car. David kept saying that he was "sick" while we were there--we believe that he was just tired, but we went back to the car for him anyways.

Rapid City was awesome!!!!!! After checking into our hotel, we went for a little drive. We drove by Dinosaur Park, then went in search of the Rotary Storybook Island Park. Storybook Island was so stinkin' cool! The park is 13.6 acres of child heaven. There are models of story book characters all over the park, and there are lots of fun places to play. We arrived an hour before closing time, but it was definitely an hour well spent (wish we could have had longer here too since the boys were having such a blast, but oh well). David was literally running to and fro, trying to see and play with everything that he could. Aidan liked getting to climb up on different things, and toddled around a bit on the different paths. I think his favorite part was throwing rocks on Aladdin's magic carpet--go figure! My boys definitely love their rocks. :)

After leaving Rapid City, we drove across South Dakota and down into Iowa before stopping for the night in Omaha. Since Rob had never been in South Dakota before, we stopped at Wall Drug--the ultimate tourist trap. It was a nice little stop, although it was only 42 miles east of Rapid City. It helped prime the boys for the next part of the journey, so that's all that counts. Our next somewhat major stop was along the Missouri River/Lake Francis Case reservoir near Chamberlain, South Dakota. This was another fun time of throwing rocks and playing fetch. Sydney actually got brave enough to swim after a couple of sticks. If she didn't like where they were at, she waited until they went down river just a bit and were closer to the shore before she ventured out. She found one stick that was almost too big, but she loved it. Although everyone involved had fun, the drawback of that whole stop was having a car that smelled of wet dog. Oh well.

Our hotel room in Omaha is really cool! I'd say that it was more like an apartment, a loft and master bathroom upstairs, a living room (complete with a fireplace), dining area, kitchen, murphy bed and a 2nd bathroom were all downstairs. David got the upstairs to himself and Rob, Aidan and I had the downstairs. This hotel is definitely one that I'd consider staying at again.

Well, I've written a novel about our travels thus far, so until later, God bless!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

So much to do...

I'm looking at my house and am trying not to become too overwhelmed at everything that still needs to be done before we can take off next Friday morning. So many boxes to be packed. Need to figure out how/when I'll be able to clean the house, etc. It doesn't help that we still have a couple of projects that we need to finish before we leave too.

Aidan isn't feeling so well today. He actually fell asleep this morning between 9:30 and 10. When I felt his forehead and the top of his noggin, I noticed that he felt really warm. Guess I'll have to dig out the thermometer after he wakes up. I'm not sure if he is actually coming down with something, or if the fever is teething-induced.

David is currently lounging in the family room, chowing down on a Pink Lady apple. Those things are so good! Just the right amount of sweet and tart. Wonderfully crunchy and juicy. I think I will have to go and find one for myself too.

After Aidan wakes up, a quick trip to the park might be in store (if he's feeling up to it, and if I get a couple of things done before then too). Have a blessed day.

A New Beginning...

My first post. My jump into the Blogging world. :) An exciting adventure. A place where I can record my thoughts. A place where I can just say what is going on in the world I live in (the one with my 3 guys and my puppy-girl, Sydney).

About my picture--I took this one of Rob, David and Aidan playing by the water at Multnomah Falls (just east of Troutdale, Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge) on our way home from Coulee City, Washington earlier this month. It quickly became my favorite. My guys. 1 man, 2 little men. Him, him and him. Playing together. Exploring together. Being together. Experiencing what life has in store with each other. I was so glad to be present to witness them being together. They bring so much joy into my life, those 3 do.

We're supposed to be packing stuff tonight in preparation for our big move to doesn't look like we may get much done tonight (due to the boys trying to break the CD drive on the computer and us frantically trying to figure out how to fix it--we did get it fixed though). Maybe tomorrow.

My vanilla bean ice cream is calling out to me, as is my dear husband. Good night.