30 June 2011

1/2 Birthday Party

 What do you do when you live far, far away from grandparents and can't celebrate your birthday with them?  Why, you celebrate your half birthday at their house!


Don't forget cupcakes (preferably with a half candle), a few presents, and dinner at your restaurant of choice.

27 June 2011

Safely arrived

Those Rockies.  Wow.  I haven't seen them in over five years.  They are magnificent.

We arrived yesterday afternoon to happy smiles, lots of hugs and a home cooked meal.  Does it get any better than that?

The weather was perfect yesterday and today is shaping up rather nicely too.  The kids are loving their bedrooms at Grandmommy and Papa's house and are having great fun with all the "new" toys.

We are here.

25 June 2011

Nearly Home

This morning we started out on the prairie, flat with farms partitioned by rows of trees serving as windbreaks.  It's been a long time since I could see that far around me in every direction.  After a short cat nap I woke to find we were on the verge of leaving the prairie--we were driving through National Grasslands and they were amazing.  I loved seeing the prairie in its natural, uncultivated state.

Not too long after passing through the Grasslands I felt a little thrill as I realized we were entering the
West.  The rugged beauty of the land, dotted with occasional evergreens, made feel suddenly comfortable and at home.  I just can't get enough of the cliff lined, swollen rivers, wild grasses and herds of cattle.  Tomorrow we will traverse the Rockies and enter my beloved Pacific Northwest.  Home is calling me.

24 June 2011

Upper Midwest

I am enamored with the Upper Midwest.  Today was my first foray in to the region.  I found Wisconsin particularly fetching.  It was just lovely--trees, hills, green, rural.  Sign me up!

As we were driving I mentioned to Craig that it was odd, but the foliage and the soil color reminded me of the Oregon coast.  When we pulled off at a rest area we discovered that we were in the Sand Counties of Wisconsin.  Who knew that a large area of Wisconsin has extremely sandy soil?  Not me.  Until today.

The highlight of the day was having dinner with our dear friends, Suzanne and Daniel.  We were neighbors in Provo during our pre-children days and Suzanne quickly became one of my best friends.  We haven't seen them in eight years.  They've added three children since the last time we met, and we've added two.  Put us all together and the result is the waitress asking us if we were there for a birthday party ("No, it's just our children.  Thanks.").


As Suzanne observed at the end of the evening, "You know when you're good friends because you pick up right where you left off.  It's not like that with everyone."  She's right, it's not, but I'm so glad it is with her.  And I sincerely hope we won't have to wait eight more years to put it to the test.

23 June 2011

Heartland

I love the heartland of America.  What feels more American than silos, red barns and white fences?  Love, love, love it.

What I don't love: Chicago.  It took us two non-rush hours to drive through Chicagoland on the interstate. And, all the gas stations had regular at $4.05+.  CRAZY!!!!  As soon as we left the Chicagoland area the gas prices dropped back down to the level we had seen across the northeast and the rest of the Midwest.

On the upside, the Ikea in Schaumburg, IL is way better than the one in Stoughton, MA.  Cleaner, more organized, more products.  It was awesome.

But, in the end, Craig and I agreed that we're glad he didn't take the Chicagoland area job offer he had last summer (during our unemployment time).  We're better where we are.

Tomorrow:  the Great Plains.  I am really excited for this because my kids have never seen the plains--we usually fly over that part.


P.S.  Are you sick of the word "Chicagoland"?  Because I am.  It just sounds ridiculous.

22 June 2011

One day down, four to go

Today's drive took us across the Northeast.  The northeast, to me, is wild and unpredictable.  I know that sounds backward from the commonly held view, but that's how I see it.  The acres of trees, vines and thick underbrush provide ample hiding places for all manner of little (and not so little) beasties.  The humidity facilitates the growth of insects and spiders (in both size and number) unlike anything I grew up with on the west coast.  The weather varies in extremes with subzero winters that include piles of snow and near triple digit summer temperature, topped off with stifling humidity.

Still, as I drive I find myself saying to Craig, "I love this.  I could live here."  The history of New England, the farms of upstate New York, the hills of Pennsylvania.  I want first hand experience with each of them.

Tomorrow my mind will turn to the virtues of the Midwest.

21 June 2011

A Midsummer's Night Dream Come True

Tomorrow we are setting out for our summer adventure.  We will be staying the entire summer in the Pacific Northwest.  I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  I can't wait to be with family, to be out of the humidity, and to be around people who use the letter R properly.

Right now I need to finish packing and arranging for the five day drive. I promise pictures and posts will come.  The only thing I can't promise is that I'll want to return at the end of the summer.

17 June 2011

Kindergarten Graduation

Dogger graduated kindergarten this morning.


Dogger with Mrs. K.  

Best friends!



When Goosey steps off the bus in a few hours I'm going to collapse.  The last few weeks have been non-stop concerts, field trips, softball games, field days, PTA meetings, etc.  Thank goodness it's the last day of school.  I need a break....

09 June 2011

Working the Windows

I love the windows in the stucco townhouse.  The second and third stories are darling with the diamond grids, and the window boxes!  I especially love the first floor with the trailing plants.  It feels so homey--a little garden in the city.

08 June 2011

Unmotivated

I am so unmotivated right now.  It's ~8 million degrees outside (okay, 95) and humid.  There are 7 days left of school.  There are so many things I should be doing: laundry, the PTA books, sewing curtains for the kindergarten teacher, etc, etc, etc.....  Instead all I can do is wish that it was already 7 days after school got out.

P.S.  I've been dealing with this again lately.  Blah.
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