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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Movin' on

Getting things packed up and ready to go.....

It's been a fantastic weekend. So many things going through my head but no time. We need to get everything together and the van loaded so that we can pull out by 7am.

First stop tomorrow - Columbus, OH for lunch with my niece. Then Indianapolis, IN to meet a friend. Going to be fun!

More later........

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I have awesome friends

We are partying and having a blast.

And one of my high school friends is changing my oil.

I love my friends.


Kids and a dog and lizards.....

So I mentioned earlier that we had gone to visit an old friend....

Greg and I have been friends since 1987 when we worked together at a local grocery store. We kept in touch, we lost each other, we found each other, lost each other again, we found each other again....you get the idea. I had planned to see him 2 years ago when we were back here but life got in the way and my plans got changed and it didn't happen.

Today, we made the trek across the river and we were finally able to visit in person - we were trying to figure it out, and we're thinking that it's been about 18 years since we've seen each other.

He has a couple of lizards...and a dog. Needless to say, the kids had fun playing with the animals.

Emily and Sarah were totally into the lizards. They really tried to convince me that we "needed" to get at least one. They were both shot down. Immediately and repeatedly.

Daniel wasn't too sure about it at first, and was really losing his cool over the dog for a good portion of the visit....

....not that you could tell by the end.

Greg, me, Daniel, and a critter.

Jared thought that the whole lizard thing was pretty cool.

For the record, Alex put the lizard on his own head. No one forced him to do this. Seriously.

We had a great time visiting, and I even got to have a stromboli from Your Place...mmmm....talk about heaven wrapped up in a golden crust - it was A-MAZ-ING! And it was just another comfort food that I haven't had in forever, and can only get back here.

I was thinking on the way back here about how cool it was to see Greg again after so many years, and how it seemed like it was just the other day that I saw him. Through the wonders of modern technology (aka facebook) we have been able to keep up with each others' lives and stay connected.

We are having a party here tomorrow, er, today - and there will be a bunch of people here from high school. Some I have seen in the past few years, and some I haven't seen since graduation, but yet I have "talked" to most of them fairly regularly over the past few years. It seems strange to know that we won't have to do as much "catching up" as we did at the last class reunion that I was able to attend (in 2002)

There are so many other stories about this trip and how it has been either made possible, made easier, or made more interesting by connections through the internet. As time goes on and I have more time on "real" computers, I will definitely tell some of those stories.

You might have to remind me though.....

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Magic Bus

Just a quick shot of our sleeping accommodations while we're in Dillsburg. Our own little self-contained place to stay, and we love it!

Got to visit with an old friend today and had a blast - pictures later. Next stop - my sister's place.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where in the world are we now?

So we left my parents' place this afternoon and drove the 2 1/2 hours to Dillsburg, which is where I grew up and still call "home".

We are staying with my friend Jeremy and his wife Marci. Jeremy and I graduated from high school together. We stayed with them two years ago - we stay in their camper in their yard and it is wonderful. We have our own little self-contained space! The kids are out there now watching a movie while the grownups camp out inside for a while before I head out there for the night.

Tomorrow we are visiting an old friend and one of my sisters. Saturday is a big party with people from high school.

More pictures and posts to come throughout the weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Today was full of visiting.

My alma mater for the obligatory lion shrine photo op.
My favorite diner in State College for burgers.
What used to be my great-grandmother's house.
And we said hi to some family.

Lots of running today....but now it's time for supper. I might post more later if I have time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Greetings from Altoona!

We made it to my parents' house a little after 11pm last night.

1585.0 miles so far. :)

After a good night's sleep, the kids started painting some little wooden tractors and things that Mom got them (what was she thinking???) and now they're hanging out on the porch swing until lunch. Dad is giving Sarah some tips on how to use her "real" camera and everyone is just chilling.

I made a Sheetz run to get Diet Pepsi and TastyKakes. All is right with the world.

Monday, July 25, 2011

DC in the rain

So we left Virginia. We had the most amazing weekend, and I truly hope that we can do it again - maybe in a year or two.

The day didn't go as well as hoped - the weather was incredibly muggy to start, and then we dealt with several downpours. The kids were tired and whiny, but their attitudes improved after a snack. We did quite a bit of walking and we are beat.

I'm typing this on my phone on the Metro, and I swear the driver is having issues. Jerkiest subway ride ever! But it's still fun and the kids are enjoying it.

After we get back to the van and fight traffic, we are stopping for food and then heading to my parents' house. Hopefully while I'm there I can use their computer....

Ah, a nap would be nice........

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More and more fun!

Today was filled with more swimming (for the kids), playing outside, and general goofiness. I got to drive the tractor *big redneck grin* but the video of that will have to come later - Maybe after we get back to Kansas.

Tomorrow morning we leave here and head to Washington, DC for the day and then to my parents' house in Altoona, PA. We have had an amazing weekend here and I am so thankful that we got to do this. I met some wonderful friends and hope that we get to see them again - but given the distance, it might be a while. :(

So now, the kids are bathed and (hopefully) sleeping, and we are going to hang out and visit for a while. We are going to leave here around 8:30am for what I hope will be a fun day in one of my favorite cities!

More of the day.....

We got some rain..... and it's been so long since we've seen any that I let the boys play in the puddles. And I might have joined in at one point....

Friends and neighbors came over for a cookout.... and some fireworks..... and firepit time. Everyone had a great time. The kids finally got to bed around midnight, and now a few of us are hanging out by the firepit, sharing stories while our hosts play guitar.

I have so many more pictures but my phone died and so I was using my camera - I might get those posted tomorrow. There might even be a video or two. ;)

And yes, I will be "introducing" our hosts tomorrow when I get some better pictures....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy birthday Emily!

Today is Emily's 10th birthday. :)

The kids started the day out in the pool.....Daniel enjoyed it for a while but then opted to relax on the deck with me.

The kids and I went for a little hike through the woods. We found a box turtle but his pictures are on my camera so I'll post those when I get to a computer.

Tonight includes a cookout, firepit, swimming, and who-knows-what-else........

I forgot what real humidity is like though. Ick.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We made it!

We have arrived at our friends' in VA. Took the kids about 30 seconds to be in the pool. 

Time for supper, then relaxation......

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First travel day!

We made it to our first destination - Shelbyville, KY. We stopped at the arch in St. Louis for a spur-of-the-moment visit, ate meals at rest stops, and did a total of about 738 miles. We are staying with my friend Tom for the night and have been having a blast!

Tomorrow we continue our journey to Virginia, where we will stay for the weekend.

I need to get the kids off of the Wii and calmed down. Ha.

Oh, they did great in the van - I only had to pull over and lay the law down once. ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's here....almost.

OK, so I thought that I would have more time to post something tonight. HA!!!

We are ready to go. The van is all but packed, other than a few last minute odds & ends. Realistically, once we wake up in the morning, we should be able to be on the road within about 15 minutes - long enough to brush teeth, dump ice in the cooler, get-in-sit-down-get-buckled, and GO GO GO!!! Van is gassed up (to the tune of $86.00 - holy ouch) and fluids have been checked. I also took a couple of minutes to change out my burned-out foglight. Yay me.

So, sorry, but no pictures to post tonight. I've got people nagging me from one end of the country to the other to go to bed, and that's what I need to do. I need to get at least a little bit of sleep before we pull out of here in 4 1/2 hours....

We'll be checking in along the road, so watch for updates if you're so inclined!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So I officially started packing today. And I am so very thankful for my beautiful new big suitcases! I fit everything that I need for the boys (with the exception of their shoes) into the smaller one, and all of my stuff and the girls' stuff will go in the larger one. I would have had all of their stuff done too, but I refuse to pick out their clothes - they can do it when they get back from their dad's in the morning and then I'll get everything else packed.

I put a set of pj's and a set of clothes for each of us into my tiny suitcase, and that will be our overnight bag for Thursday. We are staying with my friend Tom in Kentucky that night, and this way, we'll just have to lug one bag into his house. At least, that's the plan.

Once the suitcases are all packed tomorrow, they're going into the van, along with the sleeping bags and anything else that can possibly go in there. I need to prep the food that we're taking (as in, cut up lunchmeat and cheese to make our own version of Lunchables) and get it packed up. I want to have everything in the van before we go to VBS.

After we get home from VBS, I don't care what the kids do (within reason) - they can stay up all night and watch movies, but I'm going to do my best to sleep. If I can lay down at 9:00pm, that'll give me almost 6 hours' worth of sleep. I can do that.

I have a few errands to do tomorrow, but nothing major. I swear, come hell or high water, we are leaving here at 3:00am on Thursday. I have been thinking about this trip for a year or more, and have been seriously planning it for months - nothing is going to stop me.

And yes, we will be posting along the way. I'll be doing mobile posts here while we're on the road (ok, I'm going to teach Sarah how to do it while I'm driving), I'll do "real" posts when we can get to a computer, and I'll also be updating on twitter and facebook - both on my personal page and on my blog page - so if you're not following me on either twitter or facebook, you should, because those will probably be updated more often!

I'm sure that I'll post something tomorrow (gotta' try to maintain my daily posting) but I wanted to get some of this stuff out here now while I'm thinking about it!

Now, I must go make 87 batches of pudding for VBS tomorrow. Or maybe it was 8. Whatever.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cleaning...and VBS....and Suitcases

Today's project was the laundry room. It's hard to get pictures in there because it's a really skinny room so you really can't see the extent of the crap in there. It's not just the laundry room - it is also my closet for my hanging clothes, storage for lots of junk, and my chest freezer is in there.


After...yes, there's still laundry to be done.

Alex didn't get to participate in VBS tonight, due to multiple toileting "accidents" today. He got to sit with me in the snack room all night and watch all of his friends come and go while he was stuck there doing nothing. I did let him go to listen to a story for a little bit, but until he straightens up, he's going to be losing a lot more privileges.

Daniel with his "ice cream" that he made at VBS.

I was also on a quest for a suitcase or two to use for TMOART:2011. I really only had a small one and a bunch of duffel bags, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they weren't going to be practical. I was going to borrow one from a friend, and then I saw a posting on Freecycle last night and answered the posting - I am now the proud owner of 2 suitcases!

Tomorrow's agenda: Up early, back to the church to prep snacks for tomorrow night's VBS, home to tidy up and clean and do laundry and start packing, back to church for the start of VBS, down the street to a Policy Council meeting, back to church to finish VBS, home to clean and pack some more, and then maybe sleep....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cookie Monster

This week is Vacation Bible School at our church. I've always wanted to volunteer for it, but never have been able to in the past...but this year I'm on snack duty. :)

So part of my duties was to make sugar cookies. Big sugar cookies. I mixed and measured and baked and cooled for much of the afternoon.

Yes, there is the obligatory cup of Diet Pepsi in the middle of it all.

Of course, all of the measurements were exact and precise.

I think I had about 75 cookies by the time that I was done.

The boys and I had supper at the church before they went to their groups and I went to the snack area to perform my duties.

This year's theme is the "Shake It Up Cafe" and whoever took care of the decorating did a fantastic job.

The kids were to make faces on their cookies, using frosting, M&Ms, Skittles, Smarties, and licorice. Some got creative - I was informed that this one was "wearing a mask".

It was a fun evening, but I did learn that flip flops are not good to wear when I'm on my feet that much - my toes were a cramped up mess by the time I got back out to the van. Tomorrow, I will be wearing my sneakers!

Now, for the rest of the night, I believe I will be cleaning out the laundry room. Yikes. Scary.