Tuesday, September 28, 2010


On Saturday, we took the three youngest to the Lincoln Memorial and the Museum of American History, which was far and away our favorite museum so far.  We got to see Dorothy's ruby slippers, Julia Child's kitchen (my fave), Fonzie's leather coat, and the Bunker's chairs.  The girls and I loved the first ladies' gowns.  Henry did not.  He writhed in agony, actually, because we were taking so long looking at clothes.  Poor Jack was stuck at home.  He spent about 20 hours on homework over the weekend, trying to catch up on what he's missed.
Yesterday was Flag Day, which is was a ceremony for Mitch's Specialist class in which everyone is given the flag for the country they are assigned to.  We already knew we were going to be in DC for a while, but there was a lot of excitement in the room as people found out where they were going.  Mitch got assigned to the European Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, which may mean we will get somewhere in Europe.  Although, if I know my husband, he'll still try to get us to Africa, just to save on my shoe buying problem. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

In which I don't burst into tears waiting for Verizon to answer my call

I think I may have turned a corner.  It's already almost lunchtime and I haven't had the urge to weep (no thanks to you, Xanax fairy).   Yesterday was my lowest point.  I had spent four hours trying to deal with Verizon so we could get a phone and internet (Verizon being our only option, sadly).  I picked up the kids and we were driving home from school in 97 degree heat with 57% humidity.  Jack and Henry were asking me what exactly it is I do all day while Olivia was barfing into a Ziploc (the heat).  My cell rang and it's our old doctor's office telling me that the State Department never paid them for our medical tests and I need to give them a credit card number RIGHT NOW. Another wave of vomit from the backseat.  "She missed!" from Grace.  All I could do was hang up, finish driving to the apartment, clean the car,  and pour myself a little bucket of wine.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however.  Our stuff is being delivered sometime at the end of next week.  Yes, that's pretty vague, but I'm trying to roll with it (again, Xanax fairy, where are you when I need you?).  So, hopefully not too much longer of waking up at 5:15 to drive everyone to school. 

I have no idea what Mitch does all day, because by the time he gets home and spends time with the kids, we're all exhausted and just go to sleep.   I missed the spouses' orientation day since the kids weren't in school yet, so you could say I'm feeling pretty clueless about this foreign service lifestyle. I am really anxious to get out of these apartments with their dismal lighting and get back to my own knives and my beloved Kitchenaid Pro and my shoes.  Gah, I've been wearing the same two pairs of shoes for over a month now and I just want to  burn them.

I was going to lay down and try and take a nap today, but look who came to visit outside my window!  He's painting the balcony.  And sand blasting.  Really loud. 

On a positive note, the kids have settled really well into their school routines.  I wish I were that adaptable.  For the first time, they are all taking hot lunch, which is a miracle to me.  The food is relatively healthy and the kids think it's pretty tasty, so score one for me.  Jack is making friends at the high school, and according to him, his dad's job isn't even close to the top rung of coolness at the lunch table, which has CIA, FBI, and Secret Service kids.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still plugging away.

The tooth fairy came to Oakwood!  She gives a dollar extra when there is the added suckage of not being in your own home (or having your own home, for that matter) when you lose a tooth.  I immediately looked under MY pillow, but there was no Xanax under there.  What about MY pain and suffering? I'm one more phone call to Verizon customer service away from putting my pajamas on for a year like I did right after we moved to Whidbey Island.
Our UAB arrived, so, yay, new toys!  We still don't have a date for our HHE to arrive, so, boo, more apartment living.  Also, I already got my first phone call at home from a teacher.  Ruh-roh!  It was Grace's teacher, wondering about Grace's previous school experience and why she dallies so much between subjects.  I explained that Grace is used to the "island way" of doing things, i.e., goofing off for a while during  transitions.  Grace has also been complaining that "everyone talks really fast here, and it's hard to chat with a friend while listening to the teacher".  I know!  What's the teacher's problem, right?

I spent 3 hours trying to get home from Ikea yesterday.  The traffic here is a bit worse than Seattle, but what makes it really crazy is all the honking.  Nobody honks at you in Seattle, but here, if you hesitate even a millisecond at a light, the person behind you leans on their horn.  Now, don't even get me started on the traffic on Whidbey Island.  At the one-and-only stop light.  Sometimes, there would be a backup of, like, four cars during busy times. 

I'd like to report on how Mitch is doing at his second week on the job, and as soon as I have a chance to ask him, I'll let you know.  School and homework and getting up at 5:30 (3:30 PST!) are kicking our asses right now.  The picture below doesn't have anything to do with anything.  It was just a rare moment that Olivia wasn't punching a sibling that I was able to capture on film.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Change. The other white meat.

We are still at Oakwood.  We have the house, and it's sparkling clean and ready, but we can't get our stuff until Mitch gets his orders and he won't get his orders for, uh, almost two weeks.  We're working on it, but I'm ready to get settled.  Everyone is pretty much over living out of suitcases and sick and tired of all this "change is good for you" crappety crap. 

Olivia and Grace had a wonderful first day of school on Friday, yet Olivia was in tears when I left her this morning, which is normal for her.  Henry had a lousy day on Friday.  He misses his island school and friends, especially the "island way" of much goofing off in the classroom.  Jack also had a lousy day, but was able to articulate that it was due to being a new kid and late to every class, rather than the lessons.  He was surprised that kids here raise their hands and participate in discussions, rather than napping or playing on their phones.  He also worried that his AP classes were too hard.  When I asked him why, he said that he really had to read the instructions to figure out the homework, which took extra time.  So, um, yeah.  He's developed some great study habits over the past few years I guess.

We brought the dog to the new house over the weekend and he was so happy with the yard that he ran around in circles, pausing twice to take a couple of big dumps to lay claim on his domain.  He also had the joy of chasing a couple of little Asian ladies out of the backyard this morning.  Apparently we have a ginormous chestnut tree back there somewhere, and they were gathering the nuts.  Not the same as chasing chickens like he's used to, but it's a job just the same.  You could actually tell he was smiling.  He whined all the way up the elevator when we got back to the apartment, poor guy. 

I am trying to keep happy and positive around the kids, because what they are going through is harder than what Mitch or I have to deal with.  This involves many trips to the pool and hot cocoa maker along with ice cream (or their new favorite thing, frozen custard!). 

Also, remember how I was complaining about the apartment looking like a tornado had hit it?  When I got home that afternoon, there were cleaners in it.  The dog was cowering under the bed, and they had washed all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, vacuumed, and folded all the clothes, both dirty and clean.  So, apparently you have to tell them you DON"T want cleaners, rather than if you do.  They also replaced all the sheets and towels.  So, hives!  But, the place did look great.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peace, baby.

It is silent in our Oakwood apartment, but for the whir of the air conditioner.  All four children are sitting in their little desks at school right now, just as nature intended.  They woke up beautifully and not one tear was shed.  By them, anyway. I did reserve my drama until I was safely back in the car.  The transition was handled remarkably well by the elementary school.  They had us wait in the office, and then, just as the last kids were filing into their classrooms after the last bell, they swept my kids into their respective classrooms. There was nary a glance back.  Jack was just dropped off a good distance from the main entrance to the high school, so he wouldn't be embarrassed if people found out he had a mother.

First day of school, finally.
I can't believe that one week ago today we rolled into town and we already have a house and the kids are in school.  I even dropped the car off for a service on my way home this morning.  Ow, though.  My shoulder is getting sore from all that patting on the back.  To put myself in check, I'll glance around the wreckage that is this apartment.

There, that's better.  Hideous.  There is a free cleaning service here, but I'm reluctant to use them.  Because I don't want to clean for them.  That is how I roll and also why people always give Mitch a sympathetic look when they find out he's married to me.  I'm saving all my cleaning energy for the new house, anyway.  I went to CVS (see, how I sound like a local now?) and got a mop, tons of chemical-ly cleaning products, rubber gloves, and some lip gloss, so I look good in that pink kitchen.


School starts today.  I will post pics after the munchkins wake up and get dressed.  Grace seemed pretty cool about her new school outfits still being MIA in UAB.  I think all this travelling has been good for her.  Olivia threw on a t-shirt last night before bed and said, "I'll just wear this tomorrow, that way I won't have to actually get dressed in the morning."  They won't be in the same class, and I'm a little worried about how Olivia is going to handle it.  Fingers crossed.

I have been insanely busy getting all the paperwork filled out for school and the new house, but I am so excited about both.  Yesterday we had an appointment with the counselor at Jack's high school and I was blown away by their academic program.  Jack's grades qualified him for all AP classes, but he ultimately only registered for two, so as to ease into a school that actually cares about academics (Um, was that a dig about his old school?  Yes, I think it may have been.).  After he picked his language (seven offered, plus American Sign Language), Spanish, he had one more elective to choose.  The counselor cautioned him to pick something fun to make his day easier.  His eyes scanned the page:  guitar, band, computer animation, game design, art, another art, another art, cooking, baking, medicine, etc.  Finally his eyes lit up.  "I found one."  The counselor looked at it, raised one eyebrow, and said, "Well, I think we have plenty of room in that one, so that's great."  Aaaaand none of you who know Jack will be surprised to know that the "fun" elective he picked was...................drumroll, please..................... 'Personal Finance'.  The only bad news is that high school starts at 7:20 am.  Yikes.

We went to Tyson's Corner Mall (huge doesn't begin to describe the enormity of this place) to celebrate and to kill a little time so the girls could get some Pillow Pets and Henry could get some more Legos at the massive Lego store.  Happily, we finally tracked down our UAB with half his Legos in it, and it will be delivered to the new house on Saturday.  The rest of our stuff will be at least another week, so will still be staying at Oakwood, which has lost it's novelty, I must say.  The dog is terrified to go outside  because of the loud garbage trucks that always seem to  be out there, so we basically have to carry him out to take a shit. The soap they use on the sheets and towels has caused two of us to break out in hives, so I've had to wash everything twice in hot water with my own soap, and the hallways are freezing.  I mean, f-f-f-f-freezing (see  what I did there?  I was implying shivering, get it?  I mean, like, it's really cold out there.)  Anyway, Oakwood tangent aside, the mall had a West Elm store, which is my favorite non-shoe store, but of course once we had the Pillow Pets and Legos in hand the kids were done.  I will revisit when the little suckers are in school, though.  We went to a sushi bar for lunch where the kids pretty much ate everything in sight.  It had a little conveyor belt where you could just grab what looked good to you.  This is not a good place to go with kids if you want to save money, however, they ate just about everything they picked and had a blast doing it.  We felt kind of bad for their Daddy, who was stuck eating crappy cafeteria food at the Foreign Service Institute. Apologies for picture quality.  It was taken with my oft-dropped phone, which actually has springs poking out of it and whatnot.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yesterday I took the kids to Target since we have no idea where our UAB is.  We got some Barbies and Legos, because Gah knows we don't have enough of those.  But we don't have a Barbie swimming pool, and that's what's important here.

I also met with our long-suffering agent to turn my nose (literally, ew, what is it with the moldy basements here?) up at more houses and townhouses.  On my way home I got a call back from a random listing I had replied to on Craigslist and was able to see the house right then.

Here it is.  It's in Fairfax and it's owned by a church, which is next door to the house.  It's some religion I'd never heard of, but the person that showed it to me seemed very down-to-earth, had all her teeth, and she didn't have snake bite scars that I could see, so I think it will be okay.  The cons: teeny, tiny closets.  Miniscule.  Small bedrooms.  No master bathroom, so we'll be sharing two bathrooms. No neighborhood pool.  The pros:  huge fenced yard with plenty of trees and privacy, central AC,  fabulous neighborhood, great schools (in fact, the woman who showed me the house just might end up as Henry's teacher), walking distance to the Vienna metro. I can garden to my heart's content (sorry, wrists-but good news, our new insurance covers acupuncture!).  It has a laundry chute, which  might be incentive for the kids to actually put their dirty clothes somewhere, plenty of storage and extra closets in the basement, a workshop, and most importantly, this:
I wrote them a check! I'm definitely going to need some cute retro shoes to go with this kitsch-en, and I'll need an apron, too.  Would you like a close-up of that oven?  Yes, I think you would:
I don't know when we'll move in, but at least I can get the kids enrolled in school.  Yay!

Oh, and Mitch had his first day at the State Department yesterday and had a good day, too.  Something about if he tells me anything he'll have to kill me and then they will kill him or something like that.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Here are a few pics of our apartment at Oakwood.  This picture of Olivia and Grace watching TV from their beds was taken exactly two minutes after we walked in the front door for the first time.  Oh, and look!  Guess what Henry is doing, too?  I hope the UAB gets here soon.  They've read all their books and I didn't bring any toys.  Going to try and get to a bookstore today, but that's pretty far down on my list, right after Finding A Place to Live and Get the Kids in School.  Strong feelings of guilt that another Monday is going by without them being enrolled.

Yesterday, after we made all the calls we could on rental leads, we decided to take a break and head to DC on the metro.  To your left is Jack practicing looking like a bored local, which was a real stretch for him.  The bored part, I mean.  We went to a few of the Smithsonian museums, which were amazing.  We had watched Night at the Museum 2 the night before, so the kids were pretty excited to see all the stuff from the movie.  I felt like we could spend all day and still not scratch the surface at the Museum of Natural History.  We all had a pretty good day and I was able to get out of my funk for a little while.  It's not a big funk, just a "lack of control and lack of a plan".  It's hard not to dwell on the cozy, easy life we had on Whidbey Island, where there weren't a million choices for schools, everyone just went to the same semi-crappy one and made the best of it.  That being said, we are surprisingly happy living in this apartment.  Jack enjoys not cleaning out a chicken coop and without gardening or online shoe-shopping (no address to ship to), my carpal tunnel has really improved.  Seamus has a multitude of dog butts to sniff, and the kids can go swimming whenever they want.  It's gotten chillier here, according to the locals, and my kids are always the only ones in the pool.  They even went in the rain yesterday, because that's just what they're used to. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


We moved into the Oakwood yesterday.  We spent most of the day looking at rental houses, which was ultimately unsuccessful, although we did narrow down the areas we are willing to live.  We are all a bit on the fragile side (except Jack, who is deliriously happy to have his own space here, where he can finally sleep in).  The other kids and the damn dog haven't slept well, so I've got plenty of company as I burn the midnight oil with all the important worrying I've been doing. 

I would post some pictures, but I can't find stuff.  Like the camera.  We finally have clean clothes, so I'm going to be grateful for that today.  I'm also grateful that Olivia will finally eat, because she held true to her vow of not eating another bite of food that hasn't been prepared by me, way back in Wyoming or wherever it was.  We stopped for lunch at a Thai restaurant yesterday, and she barfed into a Ziploc, to not only prove her point, but to underline it, and type it in bold.

It is easy to find things to be grateful for, actually.  I'm grateful that the Oakwood placed us facing the outside of the building, rather than have our balcony overlook the pool, so our children aren't constantly reminded that they aren't IN the pool.   I'm grateful that this kitchen is so poorly stocked with cook/bakeware that I can't possibly be expected to make anything fancy.  I'm grateful that, while the GPS took me to Safeway by route of three freeways and 30 minutes of driving, it saw in it's bitch of a heart to scoot me back home in a mere five minutes. I'm grateful for the psychological effects of Pepto on a certain nine year-old boy with vague tummy trouble.

But mostly, I'm grateful that all these mosquito bites aren't bed bug bites.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We made it

Well, we're here, sort of.  We flew through West Virginia, blasting "Country Roads" and singing along while Jack writhed in agony in the back seat.  The Oakwood wasn't ready for us, and after a week of crappy midwestern hotels, we were happy to find a nice four-star city lodging that both accepted dogs AND did not have bedbugs.  Just typing the word 'bedbugs' still makes me itch.  Upon check-in, there was a little table with a glass pitcher filled with water and exotic-looking fruits.  A little sign proclaimed it "fruit ambrosia".  The kids all excitedly poured themselves a tiny cup, being used to only seeing Coke machines in hotel lobbies.  Olivia tried it first.  She took a tiny sip, set the cup down, and whispered, "I think it's cleaning soap.  We're not supposed to drink this."  The rest of the kids backed slowly away.  We were starving, so after we checked in, we were directed to the restaurant/lounge in the lobby, which was basically a fancy bar with tables, the kind kids would never be allowed to go in back home.  There was a particularly belligerent drunk guy at the bar, so, fortunately, the entertainment during dinner was free.

After spending the entire day in the car watching movies, Olivia wasted no time in getting the hotel TV turned on.  We weren't even in the door with our bags yet.  She also commented that yesterday was the fastest day of our whole trip (it consisted of nine hours of straight driving while the kids watched movie after movie). I have yet to gleefully remind her of the no TV rule on school days. Jack and Grace discovered the plush robes in the closet, and they claim the hotel management will have to remove them from their cold, dead, bodies.  Today we are meeting an agent to look at rental houses.  I am feeling desperate to get the kids in school, and I can't do that without an address.  They could go to school from the Oakwood, but the charming school secretary promised me that they would be kicked out the minute we moved out of the school district, and since we already know that Mitch's first assignment will be DC for two years, we need to find a more permanent place.

We are excited to be here.  The traffic is not much different than Seattle, but there are more freeways to get lost on, and the GPS can be such a bitch with her smug voice, saying, "RECALCULATING!  RECALCULATING!" every time you make a wrong turn.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I tried to change the voice to a nice British man's voice, but since it wasn't Colin Firth, it did nothing for getting me from point A to point B. Right now, however, my biggest concern is finding six pairs of clean underwear to get us through the next 24 hours.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kentucky, and some other states that I can't remember

Another hotel with s-l-o-w internet.  Sadly, we promised the kids we'd stay in a really nice hotel for the last bit of our journey, but looks and reviews can be deceiving.  It is very hard to find a nice hotel with adjoining rooms, allows dogs, has a pool, and is NOT on the bed bug registry.  That being said, though, the kids had the best time at a crappy Days Inn in Mitchell, SD, because the pool had an awesome water slide. I am beyond tired, and all the anxiety of finding a place to live in Virginia and getting the kids in school is beginning to creep up on me. 

Yesterday was our longest car day yet, but we did stop briefly at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to go up in it and check out the museum there.  They take you up in a teeny tiny, windowless pod.  Henry and I were sorry we didn't have our Ziplocs handy, but we made it, and it really was breathtaking, looking out those tiny windows at the top at all of St. Louis. Or so I hear.   I was busy hyperventilating in the corner.

After the Arch, we drove though Kentucky and are currently in Lexington, where we saw a kid casually sauntering down the highway carrying a hunting rifle.  We had a great dinner in the hotel restaurant, where we tried southern-fried catfish and hush puppies (yum!, but what doesn't taste good that has been battered and dropped into a vat of oil?).  The waitress was really nice and we gave her a big, fat tip, which was good because she brought my purse to our hotel room.  I'd left it in the restaurant.  I know!  Maybe leaving my purse is going to be my new thing, instead of squirting hand sanitizer on my family members every time they touch a public handrail.

Today we're going to try to make it all the way to our housing in Falls Church, which is a good thing, because otherwise I'm going to have to buy us all new underwear, and I am not ready to step into a Wal-mart in Kentucky.  One thing about driving from coast to coast is how much easier it is to adjust to the time zone changes.  Although we were the only family eating hush puppies at 9:45 in the restaurant last night.

The kids have been unbelievably good.  It just goes to show that you CAN pay cold, hard cash for good behavior, and it's money well-spent, too. Three of them are complete misers, and have racked up a tidy sum of savings.  The other one, well, she has racked up a tidy sum of stuffed animals. Seamus has been good, too, but we fear he is showing signs of depression.  His wag has lost it's pep, despite the steady supply of midwestern treats we've been giving him.  He did corner a possum outside our hotel last night, and that seemed to perk him up a bit. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More tourist stuff.

After trying to wake them up four times.
I got some beautiful shots of Mt. Rushmore, but this one is my favorite, because all of my children's personalities are defined by their expressions.  Especially Olivia's.  She looks two seconds away from ripping Grace's head off.
By far, our favorite place was Bear Country USA.  Their faces look so happy because we were watching about 20 bear cubs playing and being adorable.

We also went to the Reptile Museum.  It was okay.  The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle was just as good, though.  The girls loved the eye-level view of the prairie dogs after we saw their colonies at Devil's Tower.  We had some drama when I realized I'd left my purse at the restaurant.  I ran back in, but the purse was gone with my camera, ipod, cash, two pairs of glasses, and credit cards. Unbelievably, a kind soul had turned it in with everything inside it. 

Wall Drug.  Kitchsy and dusty, but good milkshakes.

The Corn Palace.  They were in the process of changing some of the murals, which was cool, but Henry was disappointed we didn't see any rats. We made it all the way to Columbia, Missouri, where I am proud to report that we got some good salad AND vegetables.  There was a weird little detour through the backwoods of Nebraska.  The banjos from 'Deliverance' were running through my head as I ran out of a little gas station where I was told, "ye don't wanna go inther, miss" when I headed for the bathroom. 

Technical Difficulties

The Wi-fi in Mitchell is so slow that I'm going to post about our adventures in South Dakota tomorrow.  Kisses!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The salad chronicles

The drive to Devil's Tower yesteday morning was pretty easy, owing to a fresh DVD for the kids and the latest episode of Mad Men for me, which I downloaded to my laptop from Amazon before we checked out of the hotel.  Who doesn't love the internet?  And who doesn't love Jon Hamm?  I'll tell you what I don't love.  Iceberg lettuce.  I know, I won't shut up about the iceberg lettuce, but we eat a lot of salad in our family and it's driving me crazy.  Another weird thing about this part of the country is that none of the kids' meals come with a side vegetable in any of the restaurants.  Last night they had a dollop of mashed potatoes, mini steaks (of course), and...that's it.  I had a sad little pile of broccoli and the kids pounced on it.  And they don't even like broccoli, much.  Fortunately, there's plenty of wine here, so at least Mitch and I are getting our fruit servings. 

Devil's Tower was amazing, but really cold.  I only packed summer clothes, so we had to take a trip to a mall when we got to Rapid City in South Dakota, as Mitch refused to let his children be seen in public wearing their Snuggies from Aunt Kimmy.  Fleece for everyone!
Safely back in their Snuggies and sawing logs.
Hey, that's not the shopping mall!
More than Devil's Tower, the kids appreciated the Prarie Dog colonies down at it's base.  We sat there for a long time watching the little squirts.  Seamus really wanted to get out of the car and eat some of them, too.

We were going to try and make it to Mt. Rushmore last night, but everyone is really worn out.  I had two "I want to go home"s last night.  We haven't felt like we've been "home" since we left Whidbey Island at the end of June.   They make really good salads on Whidbey Island, too.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Similarities in temperament
It took a lot of encouragement to get those little twins to stand in fron of this monster for a photo.
Yesterday we started out in Bozeman and made it as far as Cody, Wyoming, where we filled our first few Ziploc bags with barf.  We walked it off with a visit to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which was amazing.  Even my cynical fourteen year-old boy loved it. There was something for everyone, a gun museum, native american displays, pioneers, the Wild West, and tons of  taxidermied animals.  Olivia really loved the art gallery and could have spent the whole day gazing at the paintings of horses.  Henry and Jack spent a fair amount of time in the gun museum, which is where having two parents comes in handy, because, BORING.  Grace loved the Native American exhibits best of all, because of all the CUTE! Baby moccasins!  And CUTE! Papooses! And CUTE! Beaded dolls!

CUTE! It's eating a little woodland creature!
Not too far from the truth.  Just add Ziploc bags.
We ended up spending the whole day there, but decided to put a few miles behind us, so we made tracks for Sheridan, Wyoming. On the map, it didn't look that far. Four hours later, we arrived. We drove through the Bighorn National Forest, which was breathtaking, but did require more Ziploc bags. Red rock canyons with the Black Hills rising above them.  I even saw a real live moose, just casually eating grass by the side of the road. I was able to see this amazing creature because I wasn't playing a video game on the laptop or watching a DVD, or even playing with my Nintendo DS.
 We finally got settled into our hotel in Sheridan, where we ordered pizza for the kids.  Mitch and I went to the restaurant downstairs for dinner after Olivia proclaimed she wasn't going to put one more bite in her mouth that wasn't cooked by me. (Not including pizza.  Obviously.) We both ordered local beef (Mitch's third meal of beef that day. Love you Montana and Wyoming! Sorry arteries!) It was so good, though.  I really could have cut it with the side of my fork.  One strange thing about Montana and Wyoming is that meals don't come with salad, you have to order them separately, and then, of course, it's iceberg lettuce, which Jack has discovered he loves.  Swimming marathon in the hotel pool, and straight to bed for another day of driving. We are learning that ending every day with a swim and a cup of hot cocoa erases the memories of vomiting and sore butts from driving all day, because each night, a couple of the kids thank us for taking them on this awesome trip (not including Jack, obviously.  The most we can get out of him, is 'it doesn't suck').

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Well!  Our first day and here we are in Montana.  The day before we left, Grandpa took us to a swanky restaurant, which the girls are still talking about.  The bathroom stalls actually had their own private doors, which Grace thought was awesome, because she could sing as loud as she wanted while she pooped.  Olivia was pleased with the real cloth hand-drying towels.
The restrooms in Idaho and Montana were not even comparable, and since that's now the gold standard for the girls, I have to hear all about it, every time they go to the bathroom.  However!  We were able to make our own fun by wrapping our heads with leftover Snuggie (yeah, thanks Aunt Kimmie, for the Snuggies) fabric.
I wish you could have seen the look on Mitch's face when I walked out of the gas station bathroom looking like this.  We went to a coffee place and I insisted on wearing it.  The barrista about choked when she saw me, but it wasn't until she only charged me half that I realized she didn't think I was bringing old-school glamour to Montana, but rather that I was probably going through chemo.
We made it all the way to Bozeman.  The plan was to explore the Lewis and Clark Caverns, but we missed the last tour by minutes, owing to too many bathroom breaks.  The kids did great in the car.  Olivia likes to tie stuff around her head for fun.  I really don't know where she gets it.
They all got to keep their daily $5 in bribe money, except for Jack, who only got to keep $3 due to general smart-assiness.
The boys got their own room, and they're playing XBox over there right now.  The kids spent the rest of the evening swimming in the hotel's Lilliputian pool.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Well, we made it through the week in Spokane.  Yesterday we went to a gross gorge-fest called Pig Out in the Park.  The food was lackluster, but how would my kids know? They only tried the pizza.  My little urban cowboy hurt his neck on the electronic bull, after which time Olivia burst into tears and could only be consoled with a $5 ride on the blow-up slide.  Grace was so worried about me getting a good photo of her going down it that I'm not sure how much she actually enjoyed it.  Henry's neck felt instantly better after a new video game for the car was purchased, THANK GAH.

Mitch is finally on his way in my beloved minivan, which will be ditched lovingly placed at Grandpa's house while we roam the wilds of DC.  We head out in the morning and I'm really going to miss my family and waking up to this gorgeous backyard view of my sister and brother-in-law's: