Monday, March 31, 2008

A Nose by any other Name....

won't be able to smell, either. The surgery is scheduled for next Monday to repair the hole in my septum and repair the valves in the bridge of my nose. It's very disconcerting to know that the doctor will make an incision and literally flip back my nose like you open the hood of your car. Still don't know what caused the hole, and there are no guarantees that the "patch" will hold. I've got a friend who offered some well-chewed bubble gum.....frankly that sounds like a viable, logical option at this time. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Bubble gum sounds infinitely more attractive than harvesting the cartilage in my ears and tissue under my scalp. "Harvesting"???? That's something you do with tomatoes, not my blasted ears, anyway!

Getting ready for 8 - 10 days without mom in charge. The laundry! The shopping! The cleaning! The cooking! The calendar! The chauffeuring! Maybe I should just wait until.....oh, next decade? But the doctor says it can't wait, so here we go! Thankfully, our family and friends have offered to stand in the gap. I'm wondering if they will still claim us after the long, hard week or so is over.....mmm?

Then there's the problem of being "out of the office". Got to catch up on correspondence, all the things I've promised folks, etc. Somehow it will all get done and who knows? maybe a miracle will take place and I'll regain my sense of smell.

Nothing very entertaining this time.....just musings on the hole in my head. Funny - all my friends always thought I had one and now it's been medically confirmed!

Monday, March 17, 2008


What a weekend! We are in the middle (actually not really started with the actual brick-laying part - just getting ready) of bricking the house, and the contractor has removed the gutters & downspouts from the drains that ever so carefully direct the water AWAY from the house. Needless to say, we had a gully-washer here on Saturday afternoon, and the new brick ledges that have been built did a very efficient job of directing the water INTO the basement. It was, of course, tinged with red mud, so we had a real mess on our hands. The baseball baron was already scheduled to spend the night with a friend, and the sympathetic mom offered to take Scooter off my hands too while I finished (with tremendous help from neighbors and my brother in law) vacuuming up the water, mopping the floor, etc. Anyway, I suddenly realized that Scooter had been subjected to beauty-party play the day before. Which means, our babysitter, the Diva and the Bookworm had been painting finger and toe nails. Well, they decided (actually I'm not sure who decided) that Scooter should join in on the fun. Yes, you've guessed it, Scooter had pink finger and toe nails. Before he left to spend the night and go to their church on Sunday, we quickly removed the finger nail polish, thinking he would have on shoes and socks at church.

Sunday afternoon was clear and bright, just the perfect weather for kids to play outside. And what do kids enjoy more than playing in the mud? And that's exactly where they headed as soon as they got home. So when it was time to leave for AWANA, much scurrying around & changing of clothes had to be done. After quick spit baths and rubbing with damp washcloths, I thought everyone was reasonably clean.......well, I was wrong!

At church later that evening, I ran into one of Scooter's teachers who was looking for me. They had removed all the kids' shoes in order to make a project with their foot prints. When they took off Scooter's shoes, they realized his socks were soaked (because his shoes were soaked - I hadn't realized that, just knew that his pants and socks were covered in mud and wet). Not only did he have on big brother's socks which were about 8 sizes too big, they saw his PINKY-TOES! We all laughed and laughed, and I was grateful that the women in his AWANA class knew us well, and best of all, have children of their own. Although to fully appreciate the situation, I feel that you would need to have multiple children and at least one boy (and a neighbor boy, too).
I guess this evening when I cut the boys' hair, I will also remove some pinky-toenail polish as well.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Back in the grind

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Friday, we rolled into the driveway in the mobile mansion. After greeting the dogs, we basically fell into bed, grateful to be home.

Would we do it again? Probably not. But at least we did it! What a grand adventure. Seeing the empty desert; knowing it teems with life, watching the birds soar over the hills of Texas; wondering how long it would take those wicked looking clouds to find us and drench us. Watching those big, fat, lazy snowflakes at the Grand Canyon.

Then of course, there was "she hit me for no reason" and "he pushed me for no reason" and the ubiqutous "he/she hurt me for no reason". I suppose the qualification that the injury was not in any way provoked, i.e., for "no reason", makes the offense more offensive!

Running out of milk, out of water, and almost *gasp* out of Diet Pepsi, we made it home from a journey of about 2700 miles that began in the air over a week ago. We are truly blessed. What a wonderful country we were privileged to be born in. One of the memories we have of the trip is being directed to a checkpoint somewhere in west Texas, where we were asked "all US citizens in here?" I couldn't help but think that we, especially the little ones from Russia, had won the birthplace lottery. We travel freely around our great country and for the most part are unmolested when we do so. We have "rights" that most of the worlds' citizens can only dream about. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness --- lines written by the esteemed Mr. Jefferson over 230 years ago. Aren't we blessed that we can gather freely for religious exercise (it might do us all good if church mandated some weight-lifting and exercise!), travel, work and live without fear? God is good and His mercy endures forever.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Did San Antonio survive the invasion?

Let's see.....Tuesday and Wednesday nights we actually stayed in the same place. We enjoyed San Antonio, TX at the Admiralty RV Park near Sea World. We have decided that San Antonio is one of our favorite places. We are going to try to come back sometime in the next year or so to visit Sea World, go to a minor league baseball game, visit the Riverwalk again, and do other things.

We took the bus near the RV park to downtown and went to the Alamo. First, we went to the large Riverwalk Mall in the downtown area to the IMAX theater and saw a film about the Alamo. I didn't realize all the details about the battle - that the 13 days of the siege gave precious time for the army to build elsewhere and eventually defeat Santa Ana's army.

Then we went to the Alamo itself. It is much smaller than you envision, and surrounded by tall, modern buildings. The Alamo is treated as a sacred shrine. Guards ask men entering the building to remove their hats, no photographs are allowed, and people talk in hushed tones. There are many artifacts there from the time period, including items belonging to David Crockett, Jim Bowie and the army commander Lt. Travis. I was proud to see that there were 15 Kentuckians who fought there for the freedom of Texas. Lots of Irishmen, too, but then I've always known that we Irish love both a good fight and a lost cause!

We enjoyed a boat ride down the famous Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. The river meanders through the city and provides a cool respite from the city's heat in the summetime. Many shops & restaurants line the river, with bistro tables right at the water's edge for a romantic meal. *Sigh* maybe someday without 4 kids???

Then we headed to Mi Tierra, a Mexican cafe and bakery in the Market Square area of San Antonio. We had a great meal, and I got two of the biggest pecan pralines I've ever seen! Caramel fudge, too. Oh, well, diet tomorrow, right? There was a marahachi band serenading the patrons, and they even sang "La Bamba"!
After we left the restaurant, I got turned around and we started walking in the wrong direction. For once, my dear husband's keen sense of direction based upon his superior hunting and gathering skills failed us. We walked and walked, and it was getting closer to when we would miss the last bus out to our campground. There were some rough looking characters, and I began to pray......"Lord, keep us safe, help us find our way and send your angels to guard us". No more than a minute or two later, a trolley driver pulled up beside us and offered to take us where we needed to go. When we arrived at the bus stop there were four transit police cars there with lights blazing! They sure looked like angels to me. I told hubby that sometimes I forget what a big God we serve. We finally made it back to the campground safely; what a great day in a wonderful city. Everyone there was so courteous, nice and it was a very clean city. We were surprised at the number of tourists.

We left San Antonio this morning and started out I-10. I drove for several hours, through Houston, road construction and busy traffic. I told hubby dear that if I could drive the RV through that, I could drive it anywhere and he agreed!

We are spending the night near Biloxi, Mississippi and expect to be in Bulldawg country sometime late tomorrow, depending upon how late we sleep! I don't know if we'd do a trip of this magnitude in such a short period of time ever again, but I'm sure glad we did. I think it's something like 2200 miles in 6-1/2 days!

Oh - today I read "Even Now" by Karen Kingsbury. Now I'm hooked! So many of my friends have told me what a great author she is and I was almost afraid to try her, knowing I'd love her and have to read everything she's written....well, I was right. Where's the closest bookstore??

Monday, March 10, 2008

You're invited to take a tour

Of the traveling mobile homeschooling mansion.......

We were excited to see how much room there is in the living area. Above the cab is a queen sized bunk, and in the back bedroom a king sized bed! Never enough storage, but that's the nature of the beast.

Yesterday & some today, the kids sat at the dinette and did school while traveling down the interstate. Cool, huh?

Tomorrow ---- remember the Alamo!

On the road again!

Here we are, gathered in front of the mobile homeschooling mansion. Little did we know what was in store for us ..... ROAD TRIP!

Yep, on Sunday we headed out from Meteor Crater, Arizona and drove straight through the great state of New Mexico, having taken the fateful right turn at Albuquerque. I drove the motor home for several hours that day, getting in practice for the upcoming "aunt" trip, as the kids call it. Me, the kids & Larry's Aunts are planning a trip to Mansfield, Missouri, to the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. But that's another trip.

We were fascinated by the miles and miles of nothingness. The horizon stretched all around us, and beautiful rock formations rose up from the desert floor. We saw the painted cliffs, and numerous cheesy tourist traps that we avoided despite the begging and pleading of the children amongst us.

We spent the night in Van Horn, Texas and prepared for the next day. Of course, part of that preparation involved a trip to Wal-Mart -- the traveler's friend.

And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Let's see - Friday?? How about Saturday, too?

Well, Friday was the day we took possession of the mobile homeschooling mansion. We finally got the thing to ourselves and made it to Williams, Arizona at about 1 a.m. local time. (that would be Saturday morning).

Saturday turned out better. After breakfast we drove to the Grand Canyon, which our "Diva" kept referring to as a "statue". When we got there, she said "I thought we were going to look at a statue". She's more blond than her big sister, we think sometimes.

The Grand Canyon is truly grand. We walked along the south rim and took lots of pictures, some of which I'm going to try to put on here. After we were there for a couple of hours, it began to snow - lots of heavy, big flakes that were coming down fast! We left the Grand Canyon and went to Meteor Crater, Arizona for the night. It's the largest meteor crater in North America.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Disneyland in one day

Recipe: Take two very tired, jet-lagged middle aged (ok - past middle age, I guess) parents of four children. Mix in four kids who think that 6 a.m. is 9 a.m. and who ate 12 Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast, along with organic milk (hey, at least something was healthy). Shake thoroughly over bumpy, rough California freeways with a GPS to guide them with quick turns and slightly confusing directions in an English accent. Whisk around side streets, searching for a Wal-Mart and a bathroom, not necessarily in that order. Spread thin while parking 150 miles from the tram stop. Add a smidge, no, make that a half-gallon of whine while strolling down Main Street past all the souvenier shops, all the while saying "you can't have everything you see" one hundred twenty three times. Blend with several thousand people of varying ethnicities and languages who don't understand the concept of personal space while searching for the shortest line at the perfect ride that can be enjoyed by children varying in ages from 11-1/2 to 4. Bake in a moderate oven of not too hot, not too cold, then slice each nerve thinly as the day goes on, and on, and on, and on. Leave when the adults are exhausted but the children are not, then allow the children to fall asleep while the adults struggle to stay awake on the drive back to the hotel. Enjoy thoroughly!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Here we are! Wait a minute....where are we??

Hubby dearest said tonight, "just think, we're in a Holiday Inn in Burbank, California"....and I said, "but that's not nearly as strange as hearing "just think, we're in a Marriott Grand Marquis Hotel in Moscow, Russia". Two places I guess he never expected to go. As for me, I expect to go to the unexpected. Life's easier then, I think.

We left home this morning at 4:45 a.m. Yes ..... 4:45 a.m.! I don't get up that early for much of anything. The only hitch at the airport was that dearest hubby had forgotten his drivers license. I didn't think he'd be able to board the plane, but luckily, he didn't wear his turban this morning and I was attired in something besides my burkha. So they let him on after seeing his exasperated wife and four fitful children. I guess he didn't fit the terrorist profile after all. (his secretary is Fed Exing his license and we should have it tomorrow.) We made it to the airport in plenty of time, had the first long leg of a flight to Phoenix, then barely made our connecting flight. If I hadn't thrown some granola bars in a backpack at the last minute, we wouldn't have had anything to eat. Hubby dear was truly suffering with hunger. If you don't know him, you don't get the sarcasm there. Yes, heis the one husband in the world who had to stop not once but TWICE at convenience stores to get something to eat with me in the car in LABOR on the way to the hospital. His daily schedule revolves around the need to feed.

Anyway, we made it to Burbank fine and the joke is accurate about beautiful downtown Burbank (it's not - beautiful, that is). We are staying near the Nickalodeon (sp?) studios (no, kids, we can't go there if we're going to Disney), not far from the "HOLLYWOOD" sign. I told the kids this was no big deal as you can drive up Highway 365 and go through Hollywood (Ga.) anytime you want. They didn't seem to understand.

Anyway, we toured the motor home and had our orientation. Hubby took it for a test spin around the block and said it wasn't going to be nearly as hard to get used to as he thought. It's a used 2007 model that looks to suit our needs for the next several years. We'll pick it up on Friday and start the eastward journey, meandering through the Southwest as we study geography, weather & climate, history, topography, math (miles and fuel milage) as well as lots of other stuff.

So.....tomorrow ...... [drum roll, please] ..... DISNEYLAND! Maybe tomorrow or Friday I'll have some photos to add. It's late and I'm too pooped to pop.

Oh - reading a wonderful book by Kay Warren (wife of Rick Warren "the purpose driven life" guy) called ..oh shoot, it's in the car. Anyway, I think it's called something like Desperate Surrender or something along those lines. Surrendering our ALL to Jesus and letting Him use us in every way for His good purpose. Thought-provoking and convicting. I'm sure it's available in a bookstore near you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Football won't be the same....

Brett Farve has decided to retire. I had hoped he'd hang on one more year and I was going to try to persuade hubby dearest to take me to a Packers game for our anniversary. Oh well, life is uncertain.

Speaking of uncertain, we're still coming to grips with the fact that my illness is not at all serious. We'd had so many things bandied about by the doctors, read so many things, heard so many horror stories.....but God is GOOD and His mercy endures forever! We're still facing the surgery to repair the hole in my septum (still no diagnosis as to what caused it) and subsequent biopsy; but the alternatives were very scary. Thanks to all of you for the prayers, kind words and thoughts.

We leave tomorrow at EARLY, EARLY, EARLY for the airport. What a hair-brained scheme we've cooked up. I certainly thought my husband was much more level headed that this -- but what a grand adventure! At least, that's what I told him!! My recent illness has caused us to look at our God and our family much differently. We're going to enjoy and drink deeply from God's goodness and mercy and thoroughly enjoy the kids, too. least I'll be enjoying the kids until they get on my very last nerve in the motor home after 1800 miles of "he looked at me; she touched me; I want a drink; she/he breathed on me". What do you guys think? Do you think we'll make it to the California border without "making memories" with the kids????

Monday, March 3, 2008

Just can't resist......

another photo or two of our trip to Key West. We went to the butterfly conservatory and spent an incredible amount of time there. Hannah wanted so badly to catch a blue butterfly & a lady helped her. They put out plates of fruit and the butterflies land and feed off the nectar. Gorgeous flowers, too.
Did you realize that in Key West, you are closer to Cuba than you are to Miami??

What were we thinking??

Putting a blog in my hand is like handing Al Capone an AK-47. It's very dangerous! Now I've got to take the laptop on our trip, don't I? More STUFF!

All the stuff ..... things we "have" to have.....traveling across the country. Well, at least we persuaded the Bookworm to leave Penny at home! My bedroom looks like Wal-Mart exploded. Clothes everywhere; getting sheets & essentials for the new motor home. I did find out something neat, though. I went to and found out where you can buy cheap gas or diesel fuel. I think they have a site for every state.

Our bookworm will miss the Cotillion dance on Friday night. I'm sad, but she is ELATED! I've never seen any one human being hate something so very much. She is worried sick about the dogs while we're gone. Esther the kitty is very low maintenance and is indoors all the time.

One other thing - we're bricking the house in the next couple of weeks. Something else to supervise. The front has always been bricked and hubby has always had a bee in his bonnet to brick the other 3 sides. So with brick prices down, we're going to get it over with. But I've made hubby dearest promise that this is our "feet-first" house - the only way I'll leave is feet first, straight to the cemetery!

I'd love to get the girls' bedrooms re-painted and hardwood floors installed. Then we want to ceramic tile the basement (replacing lineoleum - which is, by the way, indestructible) know the drill. You're never done. I started a load of laundry yesterday afternoon and the washer wouldn't start. My heart was in my throat......oh, no! Please last another 14 years.....! Just a blown breaker, thankfully.

Our baseball king was drafted FIRST in the minor league draft for Park & Rec baseball. We're very proud. The Diva is playing soccer again this spring, and Scooter will southpaw some T-Ball come next month. That should be cute.

Oh, well, I REALLY need to be doing something else, but I can see that this is addictive. Better close & go pick up Scooter at preschool.

On the road again

I can't believe that we're actually leaving on Wednesday for Burbank, California. We found a great deal on a Gulfstream "C" class motor home, so the logical thing to do was to just fly out there and get it. And, since we're out there, we may as well go to Disneyland, right? And since we're going to be driving it home (a mere 2800 miles or so), we may as well drop by the Grand Canyon to see how grand it really is, right? And I've always wanted to see the Alamo, and San Antonio is beautiful this time of year........!

You get the picture. All 6 of us (yes, all 6 of us) are boarding a plane in Atlanta on Wednesday morning (at what Married daughter would call the butt-crack of dawn) and flying to beautiful Burbank, California. We'll visit Disneyland on Thursday, head over to the big hole in the ground (a/k/a the Grand Canyon) on Friday/Saturday, then mosey on over to the Alamo. The baseball king is planning on wearing his Texas hat in Texas and his Reggie Bush jersey in California!

I'm trying to plot out the trip while schooling, doing laundry, working some and making a list and checking it twice.

We're so excited about the motor home, but part of me is already missing our travel trailer! We had some good trips in it. These pictures are from our trip to Key West in January.

Here we go!

Well, I'm not sure how interesting all this will be, but here we go!

We are a homeschooling family of 6 in Bulldawg country. My oldest daughter is married and lives in Philadelphia, where she is very smart, orgainized and efficient and earning her own living (!) after obtaining her master's degree in 2006. We're very proud.

The rest of us live together in God's country and keep pretty busy. Dearest hubby and I married in 1994 and proceeded to have two biological children and adopt two from Russia.

Our bookworm is 11 and a voracious reader while hating 6th grade math. The baseball king is a ball player - any kind of ball - 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. His attitude is "why do school when you can play?". Little Diva is truly our diva - 6 years old, born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She finished kindergarten work in about 3-1/2 months and is working on 1st grade material. Scooter hails from Murmansk, Russia, is 4 and is ALL BOY!

We also enjoy the company of Esther, the cat (who hates everyone but Hannah), Penny, the mini dauchsand, Kate, the black lab and two (at this moment) fish.

I have semi-retired from the practice of law and enjoy an adoption practice part time. We are busy in our church and love to go camping! You'll be hearing more about THAT later.......