Friday, July 25, 2008

Vacation blog post part 2

My husband has pretty much taken over my laptop the last couple of days working on his paper for the conference in September since we all started to feeling better, so I still don't have any photos to put up here. I guess I will just have to fill those in a bit after we get home. Here's the text summary of what we've been up to. Tomorrow morning we start the long drive back home. We hope to get to Salina, KS for the evening and plan to get hotel rooms there since we don't have a useable tent (keep reading to find out why that is ;) ). We should arrive at home on Sunday evening, barring no disasters of any kind.

July 18 Friday
CHA day 1
Meeting Holly, Ali Edwards sighting at the CK booth, Stacey Julian at dinner in the evening who stopped to say hi as she was exiting the restaurant because Tammy was with us and will be teaching a class at The Big Picture site in the fall.
Prima having internet troubles so they couldn’t DL or print the the layouts the PH team had done for the booth. The ‘retail friendly hybrid’ concept reception was going well on the first day of the show.
I really liked the Jenni Bowlin vintage lines, Pink Paislee, and Prima stuff. Most of the papers seemed pretty similar from booth to booth actually. The same color schemes, the same styles, the same brushes and images used to design the papers.
It poured buckets for about 45 minutes around dinnertime and then lightly rained all night.
We went out for drinks with Holly and some of the crew from Pink Paislee. -her mom, Amy, Tammy (Tutterow) and her daughter Anna- We sat in the restaurant until about 10 just chatting about everything under the sun and laughing and having a good time.
We came back to the room and Robin scrapped 2 layouts while I DLed and sorted pictures and tried to scrap (unsuccessfully LOL).

July 19 Saturday
CHA day 2
Mark called this morning about 9:30 and said he was planning to pick me up at the front of the hotel about 5. He had the trailer packed and had parked it in the lot at the science museum. He said the tent was soaked, but that most of the things inside it were still dry. That’s pretty good considering how much water was dumped out by the storm. According to the weather report this morning on the local news, the storm system was very large, so I’m not sure we will be able to find a dry place to dry things out tonight down the road or not.
Lunch with Jen and Jeanine, Oriana, and Connie.
We walked the floor a bit more to find some of the booths we hadn’t seen yet, did several more make and takes- our favorite was a little flip notebook with chipboard covers at the Basic Grey booth.
Mark and the kids picked me up at about 5:30 and we headed out of Chicago. We stopped and ate dinner at a buffet after we got out to the Chicago ‘burbs and then drove to Springfield where we stayed at a Motel 6 as the tent was too wet.

July 20 Sunday
Before we left Springfield we drove to the center of town and toured the Lincoln Home National Park. We watched a short film on the Lincoln home and then took a guided tour of the house. It was very hot, so we didn't spend much time walking around the restored neighborhood. We bought a few souvenirs in the gift shop and then climbed back into the van to continue our drive to St. Louis.
When we got to St. Louis, the heat and humidity were even worse than mid-day at Springfield. It was 8PM and still 95 degrees. Even just sitting still you would sweat. We located Horseshoe Lake State Park and finally the campground which is located in the middle of the island in the middle of the lake. We sent the kids off to the playground while we put up the tent. The mosquitoes were everywhere as well. I broke out the deep woods Off bug spray to try and keep the bug bites to a minimum. We got the tent up just about dark and got everyone into bed. It was a very uncomfortable night as it didn't cool off much, so we all just lay there and sweated while we tried to sleep.

July 21 Monday
We were woken up about 5:30 Monday morning to the sound of Carissa trying to get out of the tent, and not succeeding before she proceeded to throw up last night's dinner all over the tent and everyone's shoes piled in front of the tent door. Mark and I wearily got up and spent about an hour attempting to clean things up while Carissa sat at the campsite picnic table and heaving more.
Since we had gotten up so early we decided to make a quick visit to the St. Louis zoo to see the penguin exhibit before we had to meet Dale at the science center. What a neat exhibit! I don't think I have ever been that close to penguins before. Usually they are separated from you by a wall of glass you can hardly see through because it is so wet and dirty from the splashing water. In this exhibit the whole building is air-conditioned and there are only low glass walls to contain the swimming pools for the penguins and puffins. At the King penguin exhibit one of the birds likes to play with the people watching him and swims around the pool deliberately splashing the spectators. The kids nicknamed him 'Mr. Splashy' and Brenna exclaimed when she was splashed that the water was cold.
We drove quickly to the Science Center to meet Dale, who was waiting for us when we got there. We spent some time watching the giant Rube Goldberg machine in the lobby and then headed downstairs to see the large Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops animatronics display that Sarah had been eying from the level above. The T.Rex moved it's head, tail and front legs while making growling noises. The Triceratops was injured by the T.Rex and you could watch its chest move up and down slowly while it lay on the ground. Once we got downstairs Sarah declared the dinosaurs 'scary' and didn't want to have much to do with them. I guess being close to them, seeing how big they really were, and being able to hear the noises they were making was a bit overwhelming. We spent the rest of the morning exploring a few more of the exhibits. The kids liked the health science exhibit the best and we had to pry them away from them to go eat some lunch. After lunch we got tickets to the special exhibit called "Monsters" which explored the world of movie monsters and animatronics. There were lots of scary monsters there, but Sarah didn't seem bothered by them since they were still and didn't make noise. At the end of the exhibit was a creativity area where the kids could draw, sculpt, and craft their own monster creations. Beth took a 'class' on how to draw a dinosaur and did a really great job with her picture of a stegosaurus. Carissa spent most of her time at the modeling table where they supplied some Crayola Model magic and craft supplies to make your own monster. Bryce joined some other boys at a video game station they had set up, and Brenna and Sarah found a table with papers and markers, and things they could glue on the paper. Everyone was quite content pursuing their own version of creativity. Before too long though it was time to say goodbye to Dale who wanted to get a head start on the evening rush hour traffic. We watched a couple more shows and did a couple more exhibit areas before we left the museum. Carissa's stomach was still very unsettled.
We had dinner at a McD's and used their internet connection for a couple of hours while the kids played. When we left it was close to bed time and so we drove around the area just a bit before heading back to the camp site to head to bed. It was still quite warm, but the humidity level was dropping, so it felt a little more tolerable.

July 22 Tuesday
I woke up about midnight when a fairly strong breeze started blowing. The temperature had continued to drop, and while laying there I noticed that occasional flashes of light were dancing across the sky. It looked like lightning to me, but I didn't hear any thunder. I woke up Mark and he went to the van to check the weather forecast on the weather radio. He came back saying that there were severe thunderstorm warnings for the county we were camped in as well as many surrounding us and that they were saying there was the possibility of penny-sized hail as well as wind gusts up to 60 mph. We decided to pack up the tent and get a head start on the drive to Owasso. It took us about an hour to get the kids up and into the car and then get everything thrown into the trailer. We drove for a couple of hours before stopping at a rest area in Missouri to grab a couple more hours of sleep. After waking up again, we found an IHOP and stopped for a nice big breakfast. Carissa's stomach seemed to be settled down and she was able to join us in eating this time, though we did keep a bag handy with us in the car during the rest of the drive just in case.
We pulled up to MommyPat and Walt's house in Owasso about 12:30. We had lunch and then spent the afternoon resting/napping. It was so nice to be in an air-conditioned house for a change. We spent the evening just sitting around enjoying each other's company.
Bryce showed that he had caught Carissa's stomach bug right before bed time when he threw up everything he had eaten for dinner.

July 23 Wednesday
We spent the day relaxing at home again. Bryce was sick all day- you can tell he doesn't feel well when he spends the whole day laying on the couch and sleeping half the time. Beth and I spent most of the day laying in bed with bad stomach cramps, and Carissa complained that she didn't feel real well either though I think it was more sympathy pains than anything for her at this point. We got out the tent and ground tarp to dry out in the afternoon. We had intended to set up the tent so that it would dry faster, but we discovered that we had inadvertently left one of the long pole sets behind at the campground during our mad dash to get out of there before the storm hit. So, the tent is pretty much useless now as we can't put it up any more with one of the major supports completely missing. I guess I will email the campground when we get home and see if someone might have found it and turned it in. A quick search online makes it seem like the tent model isn't manufactured anymore, so I don't think there are many options for getting a replacement pole set, at least not at a reasonable cost.

July 24 Thursday
We were starting to feel a little better today, so we ventured out to the birthplace and memorial museum for Will Rogers "Oklahoma's favorite son." Sarah liked the animals in the barn at the birthplace stop, especially the chickens which we had to keep telling her not to chase. The kids seemed to do pretty well in the museum and found things to look at that interested them. I think it helped that there weren't that many people there and so no one was terribly concerned about them running around and making a little noise. MommyPat gave them each $5 to spend in the gift shop and they had fun spending a bit of money. Bryce, Brenna and Sarah all chose these giant cute worm things, Beth got a necklace and Carissa got a bag of marbles. We spent the rest of the day at home. The kids played games with each other and with MommyPat and Walt, watching VeggieTales videos and the Disney channel. Mark took over my laptop and spent most of the evening working on his paper.

July 25 Friday
The girls and MommyPat took a short jaunt around the neighborhood with MommyPat giving us a tour of the retirement center they live in and then went to Walmart to pick up a few food items, a watch battery for Walt and a new pair of sandals for Brenna. They like it here and I have been impressed with what I've seen of the place. They are happy here and enjoying it. Walt got out his cornet while we were gone and gave Bryce a few lessons, I understand. We are headed to my cousins house for dinner in a few minutes where we are having a 'reunion' dinner with several family members that live in the Tulsa area. I will get to meet my cousin's daughters, who I've not met before. Brooklyn is just a couple of weeks older than Brenna so I think that she will have lots of fun playing with someone who is just her age for a change.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Vacation blog post part 1

I'm at the hotel with Robin and we are about ready to head out to look for breakfast and then hit the CHA show. It was fun chatting with her last night in person :) I've been trying to keep track of what we've been doing every day since we left in a 'journal' on my computer, so here's just a copy and paste of what we've been up to so far on our trip. Sorry there aren't any photos to go with this right now, but there are lots to get through and I only had an opportunity finally last night to get them uploaded to my computer from the camera card.

July 12 Saturday
We finally got on the interstate out of town about 10:30. We had gone by the Family Christian store to pick up the newest Veggie Tales release that was available today since we had prepurchased it. Of course Sarah wanted to watch it right away, but that will have to wait until we get to MommyPat and Walt’s house.
We stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s in Ft. Morgan, CO.
We arrived in Ogallala, Nebraska about 3:30. We stopped at the Lake McConaughy visitor center to register and then we found a camping spot in the campground below the dam. It was a really nice area with lots of flat grassy areas and plenty of large shade trees. It was ‘primitive’ camping though as there was no running water anywhere near us. The closest ‘modern’ facilities were across the lake from us.
While Mark, Melinda and Bryce got the tent set up the girls explored the stream near out site from the small bridge that crossed it. We had asked them earlier to help clear a spot of ground for the tent by picking up some of the fallen branches and putting them in the firepit the previous occupants had left behind. It didn’t take the girls long to begin playing ‘Pooh Sticks’ with the branches they had picked up- each throwing a stick into the stream and watching to see which one would appear on the other side of the bridge first. Our camp ground was amazing clear of small sticks and twigs once this game begun.
After the tent was in place and cots, mattress, and sleeping bags put out we got out the bag of watermelon slices that we had brought from home for a snack. By the time we were done we were covered in sticky red watermelon juice. Carissa had it dripping off her chin, it was running down Beth’s arm and dripping off her elbow, Bryce’s cheeks were sticky, and Sarah’s shirt was wet with red juice all down the front. Brenna was the neatest of the bunch amazingly and just needed a quick swipe of a wet wipe to get cleaned up. It was delicious!
We drove back into Ogallala for dinner at the Livery Barn Café and Crystal Palace Revue show. We ate dinner and strolled through the western museum while we waited for the show to start. It was over an hour of songs and comedy- lots of fun that even Sarah enjoyed most of the time.
By the time we got back to camp it was dark and time for bed. We drove over to the bathroom to brush our teeth, and then turned in. It was a peaceful night for the most part. The wind was blowing, and trains went by blowing their whistles fairly regularly.

July 13, 2008 Sunday
We woke up before 6 to the chirping of many birds. We had a quick breakfast of milk, cereal and apples, then packed up the tent and headed down Interstate 80 to Omaha.
By the time we got to Omaha, we only had a few hours to spend at the zoo before it closed. It is a great zoo, we could have easily spent all day there, so I guess that means that we will have to go back again sometime when we aren’t in so much of a hurry. My favorite exhibit was the desert dome. The upper level of the exhibit features different desert environments and their plants and animals- you wander around a narrow path and many of the animals are in exhibits where you can see them without fences between you and them. The lower level of the desert dome is the night animals exhibit- bats, alligators, beavers, and cave systems. It was very dark and you really had to stop and be quiet to have a chance at seeing the animals.
After we were done at the zoo, we got back in the van and drover further down the road to spend the night at Lake Anita State Park in Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. It was a nice park with showers, which unfortunately became a blessing. We had eaten dinner at Golden Corral for dinner, and evidently Sarah had a little too much as in the middle of the night she climbed into my sleeping bag with me and promptly started throwing up. Once her stomach was empty she seemed OK with no other signs of illness.

July 14, 2008 Monday
We got up and all took showers, then we drove to Des Moines and spent a few hours at SCI, the Iowa state science center. They had a new exhibit on the big dinosaurs, with emphasis on the carnivorous ones. Have you ever heard of gigantosauraus? Me either. They only have a few bones from this giant. The one on exhibit was one of its neck vertebrae, and that was almost 6 feet tall. We spent most of our time in the ‘Get Moving’ exhibit room with its egg drop, domino, and rocket launcher exhibits among others. We had seem most of the other exhibits at other museums, or they were broken.
We had originally planned to drive to Indiana Dunes State Park , but we knew it was going to be an hour past sunset before we would arrive, so we opted to stop earlier. We got a spot at Illini State Park. It is right on the river with a beautiful view of the small dam they have there. The camp host was lacking in manners (or maybe we just didn’t appreciate his sense of humor), there were lots of trains going by blowing their whistles all night, and another camper felt the need to share their vintage Air Supply music with us at high volume at 5 in the morning before it was light, so the night was less than restful.

July 15 Tuesday
We changed our minds and decided to try and camp at the northwest side of Chicago instead of going the dunes. We thought that would save us some time this day at least. But, we quickly learned that the new map I bought is lacking too many details and we spent a while wandering around the outskirts of Chicago trying to figure out where we were. Finally, we found the county park we wanted to camp out only to discover that it was closed to camping due to the high level of the river. We had a picnic lunch and set off to find another option. The Paul Wolff Forest Preserve had their RV area open for camping. Given that there isn’t anything closer, we decided to stay. The campground doesn’t have any running water in the bathrooms- so no showers (my biggest complaint), but it is pretty quiet at night- only a few trains going by and the conductors don’t hang on the whistles when they go by.
We drove into Chicago for the evening after getting the tent set up. We found a parking spot and spent a little while walking along the shore. We drove back out of town and had dinner at IHOP, and then went back to camp to head to bed. The mosquitoes nearly ate us alive while we attempted to brush our teeth before getting into the tent, so I think we will do that before we go back to camp for the night from now on.

July 16 Wednesday
We are driving in to town to go to the Museum of Science of Industry. It’s only taken us an hour to get downtown and another 15 minutes to find a parking spot- not too bad. Driving in the big cities is always enough to remind us of why we don’t want to live in one.
We parked on the street and headed to the Museum of Science and Industry for the day. This science museum is impressive. We’ve been to a lot of them over the years around the country and I don’t think there are many that I would say compare. COSI in Ohio is probably the closest.
Favorite exhibits-
Toymaker, an exhibit about manufacturing and the role that robotics plays in the process. You see the different steps of the process to design and make a toy top called the Gravitron. Bryce seemed pretty fascinated with the robotics and spent a lot of time reading all of the different signs and watching the videos. We bought a personalized top for a Christmas tree ornament, which was made in front of us by a robotic assembly line.
Coal mine- an exhibit with a tour where you take an elevator down into the coal mine, ride a train in through the tunnels, and see real working coal mine machinery. It was very similar to the gold mine tour we took in Cripple Creek in June, only this tour was only in a mock-up of a mine.
Petroleum Planet- Sarah loved the bubbles in the front part of the exhibit, driving simulators

July 17 Thursday
Spent the morning at McDonald’s using their wifi connection while the kids played in the play area, well mainly Mark used the wifi, though I did get a few minutes to briefly look at my email. We had a hard time getting Sarah to leave she was having so much fun, even after two hours there.
We drove into the city and spent the afternoon at the zoo. It was a little more pleasant than we had thought it would be- clouds would occasionally give us a break from the direct sun and there was a nice breeze blowing inland from the lake.
After dinner, Mark drove me to the convention center hotel where I met Robin at visited with Connie and Jodi Lawrence for a while before we headed up to our room to chat and I could get cleaned up. We watched ‘Made of Honor’ before turning in.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

4th of July LO

credits: Americana by Dani Mogstad at SweetShoppeDesigns; LO template by Missy Strand for SSD Cookie Template challenge; fonts: TXT Abrasive and CK Becky
Technically this picture was taken today on the 5th of July, but we can pretend, right? ;)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

oh my, time sure does slip by quickly these days. It's hard to believe that June is over already. We are looking towards our vacation that starts in a little over a week. We are headed to Chicago for a week, where I am looking forward immensely to hanging out with my bud Robin for a couple of days at CHA as well as meeting up with other digi gals I've known for years too. After we are done in Chicago we are heading to St. Louis and then Oklahoma to visit Dale and my grandparents for a few days before heading home. It will be a quick week then to get the kids ready to start school the first week of August, and just like that summer will be over for us.

The twins started their summer dance class two weeks ago. They are taking the Petite Tap Prep class again this summer and will be trying out for the Petite Tap ensemble group after the summer class is over.

It seems like I don't get nearly as much done these days, but here are a couple of things I finished up this week.
An envelope travel album to take on vacation with us so that I have a place to store all of the miscellaneous memborabilia I inevitably accumulate on a trip:
credits: Travel Envelope Album templates by Eva Blokker at; Down With Daisies by Carrie Stephens at
paper credits: Reverie paper (#602246) from the Caliope Collection, Elysee ribbon (#519520) and flower (#120023) by Prima, Marketing, Inc.; Textured Trio ribbon by Michaels; letter stickers by Creative Memories

If you want to see some of the inside pages, you can check out the album in my gallery.

and a couple of LOs with new kits by Chere Kaye that came out at the beginning of the week:
journaling: Sarah, we had such a busy day this day in Cripple Creek and you were just a doll the whole day- having fun and showing off your sweet smile to everyone you met.
credits: Girly Denim by Gina Miller and Chere Kaye; fonts: CK Kiddo and CK Neat Print

credits: Ka-Boom by Chere Kaye and Marcie Reckinger at; fonts: CK Becky

and last night I put together this layout with photos from one of last year's July 4th celebrations that we attended down in Pueblo at their Riverwalk park:
journaling: It was a good old-fashioned family party at the Pueblo Riverwalk on June 30, 2007. The lawn and walkways were crowded with people enjoying the oldies, but goodies, music and each other’s company. The kids thought we were just a bit silly singing along to the songs. Sarah entertained herself by pushing the stroller around in circles within the little space we had staked out for ourselves. We were a little too close to the river for comfort and had to constantly remind them to stay away from the edge so they wouldn’t fall in. We had a spectacular view of the fireworks when they went off finally though as we were sitting right in front of them.
credits: American by Redju; Doodled Acrylic Alpha by Amy Hutchinson; Templates with Attitude 14 by Tracy Blankenship at; fonts: CK Becky and Century Gothic

We were planning to head to Pueblo this evening for their beach party concert and fireworks, but it has been raining off and on since about 7- along with thunder and lightning- so we opted to stay home and save our fireworks outing for the one at Memorial Park tomorrow. The weather reports say tomorrow should be fine firework viewing.

I got to spend this afternoon with a good friend I haven't seen in a while and enjoyed that time a lot. We sit in the kitchen and do our crafty things together while the kids play together. As I was packing up my stuff to come home, I ran the little toe on my left foot into the corner of the tray she keeps the dog food and water bowls on- ouch! I'm not totally sure what I did to it, but it hurts like the dickens, is swelling up and has a rather large purple bruise on it for such a small appendage. Another foot annoyance, darn it. Once again, I've done this before and know there is nothing to do but wait it out. It's not as bad as the times I know I fractured it, so hopefully it is just a bad bruise and will heal quickly. I don't think I will be wearing shoes with toes for a few days :P

Oh, and my 20th High School reunion is coming up August 1st. I won't be able to make it again (read that first paragragh up top), so I volunteered to help put together a section for the DVD they are planning to put together to send out to people after the reunion. I will be working on the section with current photographs of my classmates and their families along with info on what they are doing. I'll probably regret the time commitment eventually, but I am looking forward to peeking a tiny bit into everyone's lives and seeing where they are now. I find it amazing how I'm not surprised by the career choices some make, while others are doing things I never would have imagined for them. I don't think anyone would have pegged me as a stay at home mom with 5 kids who did 'artsy-craftsy' things at a professional level, so I just might surprise a few of them too ;)
I got my first set of pictures from an old classmate via email last night and I've spent most of today coming up with some things to work with that will hopefully make the whole project go a bit more quickly when crunch time arrives. And that reminds me I need to go dig out my Dover books from the storage area before the girls head off to bed!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone!

Labels: , , , , ,