Sunday, 30 October 2016

Vaction Day 2

Edited to add: This is part of a series. The Vacation 2016 story begins here.
I thought about not posting this until I got a comment on day 1, but since I already wrote it...

Vacation 2016 day 2

The printout for today read:

Tuesday drive 6 hours and stay 8-23 in Rodeway Inn 3975 Peoria Way Denver (two double rooms and 1 king)
Optional stop 1.Mushroom rock State Park. (adds 37 minutes total drive time) 5 acre park with a couple of big mushrooms. (directions)
Optional stop 2. St Fidelis Church (Cathedral of the plains), in the town of Victoria. (old Catholic church)
(Non)Optional stop: Burlington, Colorado Old Town Museum (entrance fees total $34) - 21 restored buildings including sod house, saloon, Emporium. (3.5 hours from Salina hotel) Exit at Burlington CO welcome center.
Comanche Crossing Museum - Strasburg, Colorado, (directions).  trains. free. grounds open til dusk.
(directions to) Sleep at Rodeway Inn. Outdoor pool.

We had breakfast in the hotel and then headed to the State Park. It was fun: our children love running and climbing on rocks. We filled up with gas in the little town before getting back on the interstate and heading west.
We did stop at the Catholic Cathedral, which was bigger than I expected, and in a picturesque town. We picnicked in a city park, though it was very windy and our plates kept blowing away. The children weren't quite as impressed with the stained glass as they had been with the rocks, but they got to learn a bit about different worship styles so it was a good visit as well.
Burlington Old Town wasn't impressive from the street, and I was already tired from the complaining about when we were going to "get there", etc, so I suggested skipping it, but Bob thought it would be nice after all, so we went on in. It was a good decision, as it was more authentic on the inside (the area visible from the parking lot was brightly painted, with manicured lawn, and just didn't have an "Old West" vibe). The children enjoyed many of the buildings, and Ruth spotted a rabbit on the grass.

It wasn't dark yet when we left, so we went across town to the Kit Carson County Carousel. That was also really cool, and only cost 25cents each.
We skipped the Comanche Crossing, and arrived late at our hotel, which was kind of scuzzy, but we didn't have any problems. There, Bob and I had our own room with a king-size bed, and the girls and boys each had a room with 2 beds. We didn't bother about the pool and went right to sleep.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Vacation 2016 Day 1
My overview for the first day read:

Monday leave home Drive 6 hours and Stay 8-22 in Super 8 Salina, Ks; 2 rooms, 2 qn ea

The detail page was moot, because we changed our plans a week out. So here's what I remember that actually happened:

We had breakfast, cleaned up behind ourselves, packed up and locked up in good time. We drove to my aunt's house in Edmond, Oklahoma, stopping once on the east side of Tulsa to use bathrooms and get coffee. We arrived right on time - lunchtime! Another aunt was there for the day, so we all got to visit and introduce Cookie to her temporary home. The aunts provided pizza and ice cream cones as well as lively company.

We left Cookie there for the remainder of our trip, as Aunt was lonely for doggie company and it really helped us out a lot.
From Edmund we drove on to Salina, Kansas, where we found our hotel without much trouble, though it was the beginning of an enduring trend of staying in hotels at the far side of town. If memory serves, we drove into town after checking in, and ate supper at a city park. There was an old wooden playground which was lots of fun. Then it seems like we went on to a grocery store, though I can't imagine being out of water after just one day. However, that's the way I recall it. 
There was an indoor pool, and I swam with the children. Well, I sat on the steps while Ruth went from "scared to death of the water" to "trying to drown herself by jumping in without warning" in about 5 minutes. Daniel and Elijah stuck close to me, doing flips on the handrail and testing their depth. The others swam and played at the "deep" end, and Bob watched from a deck chair.
I suppose I washed the swimwear before falling into bed, but I have no memory of that.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

vacation 2016

Well, I am working with Swiss cheese for brains, but somehow I want to try to get this down even at this late date.

We took a family road trip/vacation from August 22 to Sept 6 (ish) this year in honor of Bob and I being married 20 years. I will work out each day as a separate post, but here's the overview.
I started planning this beast the minute Bob gave the go-ahead, beginning with reservations IN Yellowstone National Park made in October of 2015. Even at that advanced date, I booked the only 2 cabins left for the entire season; that was what determined our dates and the route of the rest of the trip.

Another determining factor was that we planned to bring our dog with us. That narrowed our hotel choices considerably. As it turned out, we got an offer from my aunt to keep the dog while we traveled. This allowed much greater enjoyment for the trip, and I *could have* gone back and changed all our hotels, but never got around to it. One thing I tried to convince myself of (over and over) as I was selecting routes and rooms, was that if what I picked was "good" for us, it didn't have to be the absolute best possible choice. This made it possible to make decisions and move forward.

So, knowing how things get lost and mixed up, I started way early in my planning, made copies on the computer, and printed it all out. I bought several paper folders, labeled each one to represent 2 days of vacation, and hid them so the children wouldn't lose them. In each folder went the state highway map for the area we would be driving, my printed directions, our hotel reservation confirmation letter, and any info I could find about possible roadside attractions/stops/points of interest along the way. There was a single page "overview" to remind us what was coming up the next day or two.

I made an effort to alternate between hotels with 4 total beds and those with 6 total beds (sometimes a big room with a sofa bed, sometimes 3 rooms). I tried to get pools, especially in boring areas. This almost worked, but we'll talk more about that later.

To make packing easier/possible, we went light. We each had 4 pair of clothes, including one set for cooler weather, 1 swimming outfit, 1 extra pair of shoes, and 1 jacket. We took a cooler, a stroller, a couple of camp chairs, and lots of food. Taryn found some travel games, and made a packet for each person, as well as 2 decks of cards for playing in the hotel. We brought 2 cameras and 1 laptop. (And for the first day, a standard Poodle, crate, bowls, food, and toys. HOW??? You may ask. Well, somehow a brainstorm hit, and we bought plastic totes. We fit 1 days' worth of clothes into a single tote (plus extra diapers, wipes, first aid kit), and they stacked very nicely behind the back seat. Smaller totes held paperwork, picnic supplies, and food, and easily slid under various seats. It really was genius. Of course, totes aren't approved for airline travel, but I highly recommend them for road trips.

Every 2 or 3 days someone would spend a few minutes cleaning out the van and restacking everything, and it worked really well. We kept our rule of no eating in the car except for the occasional Tootsie Roll when absolutely necessary.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


How're we doing lately?

Foot has been hurting for over a year. Got in to the VA last month; they promised another appointment to be fit for insoles, but we haven't heard from them yet. Works part time for the Post Office, delivering mail. It's a good job and he doesn't mind it most days.

I lost 5 pounds on our vacation, and a couple more since then. Not sure exactly. To put a number on it, I was 265 after Ruth was born, and am now 223. Went down a single dress size. (That one boggles my mind, but anyway.) I have been focusing on no snacks, and smaller portions at table with no seconds. I feel good most of the time, and am energetic (thanks to my daily 2 cups of coffee), but not very strong. I've been knitting (washcloths), teaching school (at home), and generally trying to ignore politics and other depressing things.

Heard Bill Gaither say the best way to have a career in music is to go to college.  Took GED classes for 2 weeks, passed the exams, and then studied another 2 weeks before taking the ACT. Got a 27 on the ACT, which is apparently good, and started looking at colleges. Applied at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, College of the Ozarks in Missouri, and has had some contact with Liberty University in Virginia (looking at their online school). Last night she got a call from JBU that she was accepted. That was her first choice, but there is still a big IF of finances (and a little audition for the music program). So we are waiting and trusting God on that score. She has also been working part time for a friend, and is hoping to save enough for a newer car before college starts in the Fall.

What a do-er! She teaches a few subjects every day, keeps us all on schedule, and is learning for herself as well. Apart from bookwork she is also learning to decorate cakes (thanks for all those magazines, Mom!), crochet, and sew. She washes dishes faster than I ever could, grooms the Poodle, and keeps the dining room clean and decorated for each season. She got the Serger to work! She made a cape dress pattern for me! She just blows my mind. Naysha has been going to the local Beachy Mennonite church for a couple of months now, and is starting to figure out who is related to whom and so forth. The girls all went to revival meetings last week, and learned some stuff and had some discussion afterwards with each other and their parents.

13 years old, and as tall as I am. Still eats like a horse. Doesn't take himself as seriously as he did at 3, but still thinks a lot. He reads fast and fairly well. Is interested in Fantasy/SciFi. He read The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, and has started on The Two Towers. He's learning a lot about mechanic-ing by helping Bob; he enjoys power tools.

As tall as Riah, but thinner. He is more thoughtful, and will often ask if I need anything done. He's reading much better now. Still really wants a Cocker Spaniel, but is willing to work with Cookie. He's doing really well in school.

Growing up faster than she wants to. Very sociable. Smart. Has a different way of looking at things and so often finds herself at odds with her teachers. Has learned to crochet and wants to sew. Inspired the whole family to learn cursive handwriting.

Still hasn't "got" reading. Thinks everything is boring, because Math is too easy and everything else is too hard. Has a beautiful giggle. Broke the filling off his chipped front tooth yesterday.

My sidekick. He's young for his age and checks in with me frequently. Has begun school in earnest and is doing brilliantly. When he manages to sit right side up. He's very affectionate and silly and wiggly and everything a 6 year old ought to be. The older ones complain of him following them, and he complains of being followed by Daniel.

More independent than Elijah, but still quite close to me. He is pale no matter how much he plays outside, but isn't anemic (had him tested last year). Eats better than he used to. Has learned to write his name, and various preschool stuff.

So bossy! If you tell her "no" she will shake her finger in your face and declare "In a minute!" She has learned to use full sentences. She keeps us all laughing and loving. She likes kisses and hugs and changing clothes.

Is in heat and it stinks! No boy poodle to be found. :(

Ok, time's up.

hey, I wrote a poem

Words, words, words!
Rattle in my head
Words, words, words
which must be said
words make me want to shout
words must be let out
words are full of meaning
words of hurt and healing
words to offer friendship
words to explain myself
words that can bring kinship
words can close me off
words that I read
words that I sing
words that are said
words in my head
my thoughts are always full
of words!