Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Road Trip!

 Just Sweet Mesquite and I.
We loaded up the party-mobile last Friday at lunch time, and hit the road for New.York.City!
The drive was fun--we talked about school and summer plans and life; and before we knew it, we were on the lookout for our mystery accommodations on West 38th Street.
I booked our reservations many months ago using Expedia, and found a place in the Theatre District.  Having been there before using the same planning strategy, I figured we couldn't go wrong.  Boy!  I might have been wrong.
We laughed.
First, because we followed our GPS to our destination, and drove down the street, and didn't see it. 
We circled around the block and tried again.
Then, we laughed again when we spotted the fancy entrance:
That awning with plastic and duck tape was our 'welcome home' and howdy-do to The Americana Inn.
I know--pretty snazzy.
When we climbed the narrow staircase to the tiny second floor lobby (with no air conditioning), we were met with a busy, sort of ruffled looking fellow behind an unimpressive counter.  He checked us in, gave us our room key, and told us the bathrooms were shared.
I was beginning to wonder if I had inadvertently checked the "hostel" box instead of "hotel" box on my reservation requirements.
 We made our way to the third floor room to which he gave us the key.  We opened the door to find this:
 Sweet, SWEET Mesquite exclaimed with delight 
"Oh look!... Free Stu....." 
when it abruptly dawned on her that the toiletry bag and other assorted personal belongings were NOT free stuff. 
I wasn't even remotely TEMPTED by the cool-looking red shoes.  That's how weird-ed-out I felt.
And I'm thinking "Oh fantastic... we're going to be undressing or slumbering, and someone ELSE is going to come waltzing into OUR room."   It was a tiny bit unsettling.
I wasn't really feeling up for the whole Goldilocks thing.  I laughed again, to protect very very sweet Mesquite from having terrifying thoughts (like her mother) and also because I thought of my traveling Mr. Dub, who would NOT have thought these were suitable accommodations.
I laughed nervously as we shut the door, and, because nervous adrenaline triggers the need to take care of certain bodily functions, we took turns standing guard outside the third floor bathroom with our belongings.  Then we returned to the lobby and told the even busier and more ruffled looking attendant that we needed a do-over.  Our second try was better, and we didn't have to climb any stairs this time.  I think the laughing we were doing at this point was more out of relief to finally plop our stuff down in a private (albeit VERY tiny) space.
At this point in our adventure, Mesquite did have the forethought to suggest that we study the emergency exit plan on the back of our door.  I was all for it.  As we stood there deciphering it, I realized that our designated exit plan was out the window and on to the fire escape.  I lifted the blinds and laughed again (really, sort of hysterically at this point) as I made the observation that we were not in close enough proximity to be able to reach the fire escape.  It was attached to a neighboring room, which we would only be able to enter by navigating three hallways first.  We decided that jumping from the second story window and risking broken limbs would be better than trying to find our neighbor's door and beg for admittance onto the fire escape. 
We had arrived, and we now had a plan.
( be continued...)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

A guest post by Mr. Dub
(taken from an excerpt of a letter written to his missionary son)

Today is Memorial Day.  On Memorial Day we remember the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.  (Wikipedia)

You have many ancestors who fought in various wars.
  • John Fletcher Whitcomb and Rufus Porter both fought for the Union side in the Civil War. 
  • General John Whitcomb in the American Revelution, 
  • Gramma's Uncle Harold Anderson (your great-great uncle) fought in WWI (he is the only one I know who did)
  • your great grandfather Richard Glass was enlisted during WW II
  • both your grandfathers were in the service, Grampy in the Navy and Bop in the Army. 
  • All of your great uncles on both sides were in the military, Uncle Roger fought in WWII and the Korean war as a merchant marine.
  • However, I only know of one relative who actually died in combat.  His name was Robert Anderson and he was Bop's cousin.  He died as a gunner in a bomber over Germany when his plane was shot down. 
So today, we remember Robert Anderson as our family member who died in the service of his country.  We are grateful to all who serve, but to him we dedicate this day.  Hooray for him and for us.  May we be ever grateful.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

POPS Concert

At this year's POPS Concert held in the High School Gym Sweet Mesquite had a sweet solo.
You can tell she really pours her heart into her music when she plays.  She was honored with two awards for the evening--"Leadership by Example" and "Outstanding Musicianship" in the concert band.
It was during the piece they played to honor all police and firefighters who risked/gave their lives during the events of Sept 11, 2001.
Enjoy the whole song, or skip to 2:45 to catch her flute solo:
WELL DONE, Mesquite!
You've got the music in you.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

birthday fun

We had a party for our 16 year old.
These kids know how to have a GOOD time together.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Off to camp

The boys went camping last weekend.
I'm grateful for a husband who knows how important it is for boys to have outdoor adventures.
(Even though he doesn't sleep too well on the ground.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Small town elections

Last Saturday we had a town election.
There was only one question on the ballot.
The choice was either YES or NO.
We're a small and simple town.
The NO votes won.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Courtney in Boston

 I met Courtney (a blogging friend) back in 2009 when I was taking Yonder to college.  We shared an ice cream and learned a few things about each other.  I learned that she has ties to Boston. We share a fondness for the Kennedys. (We met by the JFK statue in front of the State House) Last week she came for a visit! We found out that we both have Aunts living in Jamaica Plain.  She's wicked awesome 
(there's a little Boston for ya) 
to hang out with.  I was so happy we could meet up again, this time on the east coast.
 She took us on a walking tour in the neighborhoods behind the State House.  We visited number Ten Louisburg Square, where Louisa May Alcott once lived.  We also stopped by Acorn Street--one of the most photographed streets in the nation.

We had a chat with a dog walker.
He went into a house on Acorn Street with three dogs, and came out with four.
He said he walks 25 dogs per day, and he stopped wearing a pedometer when he realized he walks almost a marathon every single day.
Courtney was super patient with me--my cell phone rang incessantly--and she was very gracious when I had to shorten our visit.
It was a beautiful day to be with a really great friend.  Come back soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The creation of life is a great responsibility 
for a married couple. It is the challenge of 
mortality to be a worthy and responsible 
parent. Neither man nor woman can bear 
children alone. It was meant that children 
have two parents—both a father and a mother. 
No other pattern or process can replace this 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Seven and a half (childhood spoiler alert)

I found out from a first grade classmate's mother that this rugged boy of mine is done believing in the tooth fairy.  They were talking over Legos one day at indoor recess.  
We had a conversation, he and I.  
It's true.  
He's done--fine with moving on.  
Although it caught me off guard, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the caboose of six children has been paying attention to details.  And listening.  Intently.  He's okay with it.  So am I.  Now we're all in the club.  And look at those teeth!  Besides the fact that they're mighty handsome, they're still the original set.  Not a wiggly one to be found.  YET.
Even though his perspective has changed, he still plans on sticking to the culture and making some money when those baby teeth finally do fall out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Between Shades of Gray

a novel by Ruta Sepetys
My 13 year old daughter found this book while browsing the young adult book section at the library, and brought it home to read.  She hadn't read too far into the story before she commented several times that I should read it, and that she was sure I would really like it.  We've shared enough recommendations that I knew I would hang on to it after she finished.  It took me a few weeks (and a renewal) before I got to it, but boy am I glad I did.  I stayed up much too late last night, finishing the last few chapters in bed.
I've read plenty of WWII coming of age stories, but never one that dealt with the Josef Stalin/Soviet side of this war, and was intrigued to learn more.  This story starts in Soviet occupied Lithuania, and captures the struggle of the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia beginning in the early 1940s.  In June of 1941 15 year old Lina is taken from her home at night by the Soviet Secret Police with her mother and younger brother.  They are forced on an unthinkable journey to Siberia, enduring extreme hardships, torture, starvation and servitude.  Lina, her little family and the people they traveled with captured my heart.  A good book leaves you thinking, and I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

Purple Iris

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

new friends, new tricks

 Some friends of ours were recently married, and hosted a wedding reception in their lovely Westminster yard.  They bought an old house, and are going to be busy keeping the grounds beautified and remodeling the inside.  Everything was lovely.  The bride taught the girls how to smile (without squinting) into the sun while having their pictures taken.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Highlights

 I'm GRATEFUL that you can not smell my morning breath by virtue of me sharing this experience with you here.  I'm also grateful for kids who are EXCITED about waking up early on Mother's Day to make me feel SPECIAL!
Even though my focus will be on my bed head and pajamas (at a time of day that I'm not usually willing to share publicly), let yours be on how sweet my children are to want to capture the moment while I enjoyed it.

 The care they took to wrap things up just right!

The tolerance at being squished when maybe you just want to stand back and watch.
Thoughtful gifts!
Like a yo-yo

We enjoyed our first CAMPFIRE of the season, a game of croquet that went rogue,

a collaborative effort by three daughters to make sure my toes were bee-you-tiful
 SEVERAL phone calls;
one to the mother of Mr. Dub to thank her for raising such a FINE companion and father of my children
and a WONDERFUL phone call from that missionary we love in PANAMA!!
Mother's Day WAS happy.