Saturday, July 28, 2012

Daybook {08.05.12}

FOR TODAY: August 5, 2012

Outside my window... the grass is freshly cut, thanks to my son who is looking less like a little boy and more like a young man.  The deck is cluttered and the yard is clean.  I can see the sun peeking over the neighbor's fence warming up the dewy grass. 

I am thinking... I love being up first thing in the morning.  Whether I hop on my bike and meet my friend or just have a cup of coffee.  There is something so peaceful about watching the world wake up.  I do miss my coffee on the balcony in Orange Beach... actually, I miss the person I drank it with more.

I am thankful... for coffee and my friends.  And the time we share together.  I am sure that a cup tastes so much better when in the presence of those you love.

In the kitchen... the counters are messy because I went to bed early and no one else cares about the cleanliness quite the same as me.

I am wearing... capri leggings and a fuzzy hoodie.

I am creating...meal plans. I currently have 10 meals in the freezer ready to be warmed up for suppers!

I am going... to aim for 4-5 bike rides this week.

I am praying... about the choices I will make for the kids' school this fall. Such a big decision...

I am looking forward to...seeing my sweet sister this week.

Around the looks like six people live here.  That's all.

I am pondering...Sarah.  I may (or may not) get into that later.  Just lots of thinking.

A favorite quote for today... 'Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.' Matthew 19:14-15

One of my favorite things... the one hour I'm up before everyone else and have this time to myself.

A few plans for next week...clean and organize more of the house!

Have a great week.

Little Bear

Earlier this winter, we had to make the difficult decision to put our dog Sadie to sleep.   I had then promised myself that our family was going to wait a year until we considered another one.  I didn't want the heartache of another sick dog, I didn't want to house break again, I didn't want the inconvenience that can occasionally come with having a pet such as trips and stuff.  Then as I was perusing Facebook, I came across an ad where someone was looking for a new home for their Shih Tzu (pronounced sheet-zoo).  Little Bear is a two year old, neutered, trained, purebred.  I quickly passed by it and moved on with my day.  The ad lingered in my mind constantly and I let it be for about a week.  Somehow, I came upon the ad again.  I messaged Doug with the picture and Bear's bio and he was hooked.  We decided not to tell the kids until we met the dog, and the looks on the girls' faces when I told them we were taking him home was priceless. The kids were (and are) elated.  I think having three much older kids (and no baby) will make having a pet much easier. 

I will admit that even a week ago, I said I didn't want another dog and part of me thinks I'm crazy to do it again.  I have had a dog in my life for as long as I can remember and so it does seem fitting that we are continuing with it.  I'm still working through some logistics as to how I make trips to Calgary work out.  He loves my kids, they love him and {maybe} if for no other reason, I got this pup to fill that void in their hearts that Sadie left behind.  And admittedly, as I was playing with Little Bear this morning, I could feel myself starting to really like having a pet again. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Alabama 2012 (The Coles' Notes Version)

I was trying to think of how in the world was I going to summarize a full two week vacation into a blog entry that wouldn't be too long and yet provide enough information to let people know what fun we had. 
I figured I better get a start on documenting our trip before the events of our time away were forgotten. Even though I updated Facebook quite regularly, I wanted this written down in my blog as a story that we will remember for many years.

Part I

It began on June 29 as the kids and I spent the day packing up our motor home in eager preparation for the adventure that was awaiting us. Shortly after Doug arrived home from work, we ordered a pizza, said good bye to his parents and hit the road. We made it as far as Estevan, Saskatchewan... sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning. Crossing the border was quick and smooth despite my {usual} uneasiness when traveling to the US. Since we had a destination goal in mind, the captain of our ship put on some serious miles and only slept in short spurts. Our second night {Saturday} was spent in Iowa where again, Doug snagged a mere four hours of sleep. Eager to arrive, we booked it down to Mt. Olive, Alabama... we rolled into Scott & Lelia's driveway at 8:15pm. It was so wonderful to be there again with our friends. The kids quickly found the trampoline outside and Lelia and I bathed the two little ones. We settled the kids down for bed and enjoyed a nice long (in person) visit.
Unfortunately, they still had to work that first week, but their daughter stayed home with us and we did some shopping and hanging out. It kind of felt like a summer vacation home!  We brought food in from the motorhome and soon our stuff simply mixed in with theirs.  We quickly settled into a bit of a routine and started to feel like we were on vacation.
Wednesday was July 4th and we were quite excited to be spending the holiday in the States!  Lelia and I did some kid-free shopping at the outlets and then hung out at the house.  We had dinner at Dreamland BBQ with Scott's parents.  Our first plan was to head home and then back to downtown for the fireworks but that would have been an extra hour of driving so we decided to buy our own and set them off ourselves.  What a lot of fun that was!  So much so, that Scott and Doug hopped in the truck to buy a second batch!  As it turned out, Sarah was terrified of the noise that they made so she spent the next little bit in the house watching TV with the equally scared 92 pound golden retriever!
On Thursday, two more of my online friends drove from Georgia for an afternoon visit. This was the second time I've met them in person which was really neat. The day was hot and humid and the kids spent the entire afternoon outside in the pool and on the trampoline. Thankfully, Lelia was able to be home early from work that day and could join in the company.
Saturday morning finally rolled around... we were headed to Orange Beach! The house was honestly like the opening scene from the movie Home Alone. The kids were crazy wound up and buzzing like bees, us moms were trying to ensure everything was packed and ready to go while the dads started to load the vehicles. Now I have to back up a little bit... on Thursday, Lelia wasn't feeling good. Without getting into details, she was progressively feeling worse as time went on. So, as we were just about to head out, she took a pain killer and we hit the road. We were off!  Doug, Scott, Joshua, Andrea and James were in the truck while Lelia, the middle girls, Sarah and I were in the car. We began the road trip and I noticed that Lelia was not looking well. I mean, I was beginning to REALLY worry about her.  After about 20 minutes, she pulled off the interstate and asked Doug to drive. That seemed like an ok plan... except Lelia was not doing well. At all. Scott eventually decided that Lelia needed to go the emergency room. So, the 10 of us booked it to St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham to get her checked out. Lelia was quickly admitted and Doug and I found ourselves with six slightly disappointed kids aged 3, 4, 8, 8, 11 & 13. Without going into much more detail, after 4+ hours in a hospital, Lelia finally came out having had a kidney stone. Since she was under the influence of some serious pain killers, Doug and I drove her car and she slept in the truck while Scott drove.

Part II

Orange Beach, Alabama. We had finally arrived at the condo. It was a beautiful suite. A large master bedroom, another large bedroom and then a smaller one. Each room had it's own bathroom. There was a large balcony overlooking the pool, lazy river and water slide. Just past the pool, we could see the bay full of boats. Sunday was spent at pool side. Doug and Sarah came in a little early and the rest of us swam and played until 3:00pm. It wasn't long that we found despite numerous applications of sunscreen, we were all a little sunburned. We all showered up and headed out for dinner to Lulu's. The next morning, we got up on time and headed to the beach. Just as we nicely set up, the sky darkened, the thunder began to rumble and the rain fell. Thankfully, Scott was watching the weather closely and we decided to wait the storm out. We made some lunch on the tailgate of the truck while waiting and before long, we headed back to the sand. The sun never really came back out but that actually made the temperatures bearable and not too hot. Supper that night was at The Oyster House. Once again, wonderful tasting food! All too soon, Tuesday rolled around... time to check out of our fantasy world and back to reality. The kids spent an hour in the pool that morning while Lelia and I cleaned and packed up. We enjoyed lunch together at Lambert's Cafe and the thing that they are known for is throwing rolls. Quite fun to have part of your meal tossed at you! We then continued the journey back north to the McCloud's home. There was a little sense of sadness as Doug and I and the kids planned to head home that evening. Once we arrived at their house, it was a flurry of activity as we unpacked suitcases, bags and bins, all the while sorting out whose stuff belonged to who. Pizzas were ordered in for a late supper, babies were bathed, kids showered and all too soon, we knew we had to say good bye. It was a teary farewell as we pulled out of their driveway just after 10:00 pm to begin the trek home. Let me just add that Scott and Lelia are amazing people.  They opened their home to us, treated us to many delicious meals and were the perfect hosts.  I love that we can maintain such good friendships even while living over 3,000km apart.

Part III

Because it's easier to put on the miles while the kids are sleeping, we agreed to push through the nights. Doug stopped first in Kentucky to grab a few hours of shut eye. On Thursday, we stopped in De Smet, South Dakota to visit the Ingall's homestead. The kids and I are avid Little House fans so to see some of what we've watched and read come to life was very exciting. Although the buildings are replicas, it doesn't take much to imagine what it would have been like over 100 years ago. Our second stop of the day was in Wall, SD. We walked through the shops of Wall Drug and if you have the time, you should check out
The last stop of our trip was Calgary, Alberta where my sister moved to.  We spent the evening and next day with Paul, Alicia and the kids.  That afternoon, we drove downtown to let the kids wade in the pools and visit a large playground.  Once again, we knew that an unavoidable good-bye was drawing closer.  We packed up the motor home. One. Last. Time.  The last leg of our trip was a mere 3.5 hours and we parked our home on wheels shortly before 10:00 pm. 

And that, in a nutshell, was our holiday!

Other tidbits:

  • I had promised myself I would never drive to Alabama again. I lied. There must be something pretty special down there for me to do it again.
  • This was our second trip in the motor home to visit Scott and Lelia.
  • It was neat to teach them how to say certain things without their southern accent and fun to try to repeat some words with their southern accent. I didn't do so good at that and they all laughed at me when I tried.
  • I avoided being bit by fire ants. Until 9:45, the night we left and I still have a bump on my toe from it.
  • One of my favorite times of the day was sitting on the balcony of the condo, first thing in the morning, drinking a coffee with Lelia. The days were full and busy so grabbing an early morning hour to ourselves was a wonderful way to begin our day. 
  • We have logged nearly 95 driving hours, including the trip to the beach and back.
  • Including the beach trip, we drove about 5,684 miles or 9,147 kilometers.
  • I took over 500 pictures. 
  • I lost my sunglasses to a wave in the ocean.
  • I can't promise never to do the trip again, but I'd sure like to fly next time.
  • We're already talking about when we'll visit again.


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