Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Latest...

We've had a little bit of snow. Today was windy, rainy and cold. I think I will have to admit that winter is on its way and that makes me glad that Rich and I are leaving on vacation next Tuesday. I know I just got back from Texas but that is what I like to call a "bonus trip" and next week we embark on our "scheduled vacation." I am fortunate that my husband has great benefits at his job and has been there so long that he has months of time off each year. And also fortunate that I only work part time and my boss is willing to let me take off to join my husband for his months of time off. Lucky, lucky us.

It's been crazy busy since I got back from Texas. Rich and I were sitting around talking about the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy (name any other city) and wishing we could join in. Yes, we are radical lefties at heart (and we do not apologize for it!) As an old community organizer (before "community" and "organizer" became two dirty words when placed side by side), I was itching to do something. We decided to invite our friends to occupy the Bering Sea with us in a symbolic show of solidarity for the 99%. We figured "Occupy the Bering Sea" was unique, as well as appropriate, because of where we live and how this place is best known. We went to the store and bought poster board and markers and sticky letters and got to work. In the shower on the morning of the action, I came up with "Corporate Greed = The Real Deadliest Catch" since you know what show is made out here on the Bering Sea, right? :)

We drove out to the beach on the spit, met our co-conspirators and hoisted our signs. Although it was only symbolic, somehow it made me feel better to connect with the rest of the people who are taking a stand. Later, we posted our pictures on Facebook and were amazed to see how quickly they spread, re-post by re-post. I uploaded a photo on CNN's i-Report and we heard back from a producer the next day, wanting us to answer some questions so we could be "vetted" for authenticity. We were later upgraded to "vetted by CNN" status with a producer's note added to our entry. :) The photo was picked up by some blogs and other media outlets so we enjoyed our few moments of fame, especially if it helped bring attention to the Occupy movement by showing that even a few people out on a remote island in the Aleutians get it. So that's what the photos in the previous post are all about!

Otherwise, we've just been swamped with work and trying to finish everything up before vacation. We fly to Anchorage on Tuesday and Honolulu on Wednesday, then straight over to Maui Wednesday night, where we're renting a condo from one of my coworkers. I can't wait for some sunshine and warm weather! We'll be in Maui for a week, then we're flying to San Diego, where Rich has convinced me to rent an RV and drive around southern California and vicinity for a couple of weeks. I've never pictured myself as an RV-er so we will see how this goes! I'm sure it will be (mostly) lots of fun and we will enjoy seeing lots of sights along the way. It may make for some interesting/amusing posts as well (if I can actually get enough of an internet fix at stops on the road) so stay tuned.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making the Rounds, Part Ten and Final Installment: Finishing in Dallas

Bonnie and Emery left early Sunday morning and Sarah and Miles arrived home on Sunday afternoon. Elle and Beck went down for naps and Beck was already up but Elle was still asleep when Mommy and Daddy arrived. There were two very happy little ones when they saw who was home! What a sweet homecoming. I know the kids really missed their parents and Sarah and Miles were so happy to see their babies, though they had a wonderful trip and came home relaxed and refreshed.

Miles and Sarah bought an old house right behind their current house and are tearing it down to build a new one for themselves. They've been renting for a couple of years while they develop their business and build or remodel homes for others to buy. This was a great deal, basically a tear-down because it was in such bad shape, but they will be able to build something they really want in a neighborhood they love. We took a walk over to see what was happening on the demolition.

Back to the yard to visit and play till I had to go to the airport. Elle was funny; at one point she told me she didn't want me to leave and her parents could go on another trip because she liked it when I stayed with her; the next moment she told me I could drive myself to the airport in their car. I asked, "How would you get your car back?" She said someone would bring it. Then she said she was ready for me to leave: "You can go now!" I think she was a little afraid that, as long as I was there, it was possible that her parents WOULD leave again!

Two of my sweeties!

Elle took this photo of Sarah and me. And off to the airport we went...another fun trip comes to an end. I had a fabulous time with all three of the girls, their guys and the grandkids and I couldn't ask for a sweeter group. I love them like crazy! Till next time.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making the Rounds, Part Nine: Soccer and other fun

Elle had a soccer game on Saturday morning. Thank goodness Bonnie was there to help me since we had to get the kids up, fed, dressed, snacks and water packed, and find the field. I made Bonnie drive again, also. :) We were extremely proud of ourselves that we left the house early. Woohoo! We found the soccer park pretty easily, but finding field 9A was a bit more difficult. We could not see any field numbers as we drove through the busy parking lot, we could not see any kids wearing jerseys similar to Elle's, and we could not see any little bitty kids close by. We hollered out the car window to a few parents, who seemed just as confused as we were. Eventually one suggested, "just park and walk around." Which we did. We finally came upon the field and we were the first ones there. Good job, Gigi and Aunt Bonnie!

Some of Elle's teammates showed up right away and we settled in to wait for her game to start while her coach did practice drills with the girls. They were all really cute and had some good skills for only being 3 and 4 year olds!

Sarah said Elle had not wanted to play in the last game, but she was a trooper in this one. The girl ran her heart out, did not want to come out for a sub till I finally made her take a water break because her face was getting so red, and even made a goal! Yippee, Elle! She played really hard and we were so proud of her! She seemed to have a blast and really got into it, though she didn't seem to want to try to take the ball away from anyone else. I heard the coach before the game trying to explain to the girls, "It's great to share when you are playing with your friends, and it's a really nice thing to do, but in soccer, you are supposed to try to take the ball away from the other team!" Not sure how many of them get that yet! They are also learning not to use their hands. His other quote was, "Hands are for high-fives!"

In the "small world" department, Sarah had figured out that Elle's coach is the cousin of Bonnie's college roommate, track teammate and good friend, Katie. How weird is that? So Katie and her cute little guy Carter came out to watch the game and visit with Bonnie and Emery, as well as her cousin.

Emery and Carter had fun running around and playing. Emery was posing and saying "cheeeeese" here.
Beck was all chilled out in his stroller through the whole game. We brought a blanket to sit on but he was content to hang out so it made my life easier than chasing him around while trying to watch Elle! Sweet boy!

Emery loved Katie!

Back home for lunch and naps

After another busy and fun day, they settled down for reading and playing in bed before calling it a night.

This was a great bonding visit for these two little cousins. Bonnie said it was the most fun they've ever had together and it was so cute to see.

Unfortunately, by this time we all had the sniffles and Beck was not feeling the best, waking up during the night and having trouble getting back to sleep. At first I thought it was just teething bothering him, or that he was getting a little scared about why his parents were not there. But soon he was coughing and everyone had snotty noses so we figured Elle's "allergies" were being passed around.

Bonnie and Emery had to leave very early on Sunday morning and I was going to make them take a cab again but decided I would be brave and drive them to Love Field. Actually, I made Bonnie drive us there and our directions took us a little off track but we made it in the nick of time. Poor Bonnie had a suitcase, Emery's car seat, a carry-on, and a little girl who wanted to be carried. But, of course, she pooh-poohed my idea of asking for help from a man walking up at the same time. Off she went, with everything and Emery in tow. Then came Gigi's turn to finally drive in Dallas traffic with the grandkids. Luckily, the trip back to the house was easy and everyone in the car was happy and nothing went wrong. WHEW.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making the Rounds, Part Eight: Bonnie and Emery Come to Visit

Bonnie and Emery flew in on Friday morning to spend a couple of days with us. Beck was just getting up from a nap when they arrived so I made them take a taxi. Mean, huh?! It was a good thing, though, because he had a big blowout in his diaper right about the time we would have been driving to the airport. haha

Elle got back home in the evening. After Emery got up from her nap, we all went outside to play. Emery was very interested in Elle's swing but it was hard for her to hang onto.

It was better to take a turn in Beck's!

Then we took a walk around the neighborhood, looking for the peacocks that roam free in the area.
Here's another one of my misadventures--I couldn't figure out how to get the brake off the stroller so we hadn't been able to use it. Why are these newfangled pieces of equipment so complicated??!! LOL Sarah emailed me directions but Bonnie got it working anyway.

We only saw a few of the peacocks this time. Another night, Bonnie came into the house to tell us that two of the white birds were in our front yard. We took the girls out to see them and they were so excited, especially when one flew up onto the neighbor's roof and then into a tree!

After our walk, we decided to take the kids to Chik Fil A for supper and playing. I made Bonnie drive. :) We had directions to one near Sarah's house but missed a street and instead of turning around, ended up on a highway in 5 PM traffic. What were we thinking? Luckily, we saw another Chik Fil A right off the road so pulled in there. Elle said "This is a different Chik Fil A!" but was happy that they had a jungle-themed play area. Bonnie and I were making good use of all the sterilizing wipes, having just read an article about how fast food playgrounds contain a high level of germs of all nasty sorts. *The article did note that Chik Fil A's were the cleanest of the dirty, though.*
Toothbrushing time
Elle and Emery were so cute reading books together in bed. This one had objects to find in the pictures and Elle was like a little mom. She would ask Emery "Where's the teapot?" Emery would find the teapot, point to it, and say "Right there!" Elle would exclaim "You're RIGHT! Good job!"

Bonnie made a list of all the words Emery was saying. We were amazed at how many there were, and how many new ones she said in those couple of days, including yelling "Catch!" at Bonnie as she threw a toy at her. We were cracking up. She also learned "Woohoo!" from Elle, along with a fist pump. :)

To be continued....

Making the Rounds, Part Seven: Fun with Elle and Beck

Elle started missing her parents and was sad when they were not there to tuck her into bed at night so we decided to write them a note and post it to Facebook so they could see it. She loved decorating the paper and then greatly cheered up when they called to talk with her. Once she was reassured that they were coming back in a few days, she was really fine the rest of the week. At one point, she said, "I hope my mommy and daddy are having LOTS of fun." Sweet girl!

More swinging outside! The front yard was a lifesaver since I was reluctant to drive anywhere! As the days went by, Beck started looking at me a little curiously when I would get him up from a nap or in the morning, as if to say, "Hey, I am not sure you are really the one I was expecting!" Even though he couldn't talk about it, I would tell him every day that his Mommy and Daddy would be home soon and that they loved and missed him and that everything was okay. I just didn't want him to be worried about what was happening!

As you can see, he was a happy little guy!

Here we are just hanging out in the living room. We read books, worked puzzles, played with Elle's many dolls, and played kids' games on my laptop. Elle loves Sleeping Beauty right now so we had many rounds of acting out the Sleeping Beauty story. :)

Elle was coughing when I got there and Sarah took her to the pediatrician before they left on their trip, only to be told it was just allergies. A few days later, she seemed to be getting worse so she didn't go to preschool on Thursday. Miles' mom picked her up that day so she could spend the night at her other grandparents' house and then brought her back on Friday. I wasn't sure what to do with myself with just Beck for the night!

To be continued....

Making the Rounds, Part Six: Back to Dallas and Gigi Duty

We had a nice ride back to Dallas on a Sunday afternoon and then I had a couple of days with the whole family before Sarah and Miles left on their trip. There's a little park near their house so we took the kids to play after the car ride so they could stretch and work off some energy after being cooped up in the car. Beck enjoyed the swing!

Elle had fun climbing.

Here I am!

Beck wanted to put the straw in his mouth and did not even mind getting his knees all scraped up while he crawled around searching for more stuff to pick up. He's such a little boy!

Elle making things with play-doh with her mom and goofing around. She is a girl of a thousand faces!

Sarah and Miles left early on Tuesday morning for a well-deserved anniversary trip to a resort in Mexico. Elle knew they were going and didn't seem overly concerned the day before but she was a little upset that they did not tell her goodbye again that morning. She got over that pretty quickly after we talked about how early it had been and that they didn't want to disturb her sleep. Beck is too little to understand so we were hoping he would not feel abandoned or scared but he was perfectly happy when he got up. Sarah's friend Candace picked Elle up for preschool so I would not have to drive with both kids in Dallas traffic. I know, I am a wimp! But it worries me!

All ready for school! Okay, I will admit that I forgot how long it takes to get kids fed breakfast, dressed, teeth and hair brushed, lunch packed, backpack located, shoes on, and out the door! Note brother playing in the background!

Baby Beck was happy to play and we had a nice day by ourselves while Elle was at school. He is a sweet and happy boy and really no trouble whatsoever. You have to keep an eye on him because he loves to put everything in his mouth and he will crawl all over the house. But we had no mishaps. :)

They love their swings in the front yard and we went outside every morning when it was still on the cooler side and let them swing. I realized how long it has been since I had babies because I had a hard time working several of their pieces of equipment. For example, I popped the straps into the front of Beck's swing without any trouble but then I could not figure out how to get them undone. I tried everything and nearly went into a panic because I could not get him out! I was beginning to wonder if I should call someone or go to a neighbor's house when I just sort of accidentally got them open. Whew!

This was our routine just about every day!

Beck loves, loves, loves his sister and she can make him laugh so easily! They were so cute to watch.

It's funny how full the day can be when taking care of little ones. I told Sarah I was a little bit rusty but we had such a great time every day. Between meals and naps and playing and baths and bedtime routines, the time really flew by.

To be continued....