Archive - February 2011

RV Trip
D is for
Year of the Rabbit
Three Months
C is For
Clones For Dinner?

RV Trip

For various and sundry reasons, we decided to drive from Colorado to Florida for our second Disney Cruise. I don’t know, it made sense at the time. Then we decided to not just drive, but to rent an RV. The children and the husband were thrilled! Me, I was just along for the ride.

As the departure date approached, the weather started looking increasingly bad. My love for snow and cold is so great that it causes a sort of inverse reaction in the universe. Where ever I happen to be experiences record heat, while at the same time, where ever I just was is now getting slammed with the Storm of the Century. I’m a sort of sun god. If I believed in such things.

So we decided to outrun the storm by leaving a day early. As I left the state, taking my heating abilities with me, the storm grew in strength and size and was unleashed like water from a broken dam. This was the storm that covered most of the country in snow and ice and below freezing temperatures. You’re welcome.

And we journeyed along in our RV. The trip went something like this:

DAY 1. We hit the road about half an hour earlier than planned. My plans of doing school and playing games in the RV along the way went quickly down the drain. The RV was loud from road noise and the rattly-bang of the stove, microwave and luggage. It was also swaying and moving in a different way than a car does. Poor Bip got car sick. He missed the bag I’d given him, but fortunately I was able to access his clothes and got him a clean shirt. The trip took longer than we planned and when we arrived at McConnell AFB (Kansas), the gate was closed. We had to drive around looking for another one. We were tired and discouraged, but the weather had been good.

DAY 2. We woke to frost on the ground, but not the ice pellets that had been in the forecast. Our destination for the day was Little Rock AFB. At some point our Triptik directed us to leave the interstate for a state road. By now it was dark and we were not quite sure where we were. Not lost, just unsure. We drove through an area that looked a little sketchy. Not inner city scary, but southern swamp scary. I told Phil that whatever he did, he should not pull over for directions. I worried that someone might decide that he had a purty mouth.

We did find the base just fine, except that the gate had barricades that our RV could not negotiate. If you’ve been to a US military base, you know what I’m talking about – those blockades that make it impossible for terrorists in Winnebagos to speed straight through the gates. So we had to turn around and find a different gate. The MP’s instructions were vague, with no street names and filled with things like “turn left at the Sonic”. We got lost of course. We did eventually make our way to the family camp site around 6:30 PM.

It began pouring rain in the middle of the night and continued on into

Day 3
When we woke the next morning, we were surrounded by huge puddles. The storm we’d been outrunning had caught us. We packed up and headed out, this time for Maxwell AFB, AL. After about an hour or so of driving through unrelenting rain, I used my phone to check the weather. The storm system was sitting right on top of us, with no real way for us to get ahead of it. The forecast called for Maxwell to be getting severe storms with the potential for tornadoes.

Have I ever mentioned my phobia of tornadoes? Yeah, and here we were, driving right at them. In an RV.

I’d been sitting in the back this whole trip, so I moved up to talk to Phil about the situation. What I saw confirmed that we needed to pull over somewhere. Visibility was down to about 2 car lengths. Between the heavy rain and the other cars kicking up water, it was not good. Phil agreed that we should find a place to stop for the night rather than try to keep going. We found a rest stop, made some calls and found another military RV near Memphis.

Once there (yes, we went in the wrong gate again) we did a lot of school reading and when the rain stopped, let the kids run around outside. I was feeling a little sheepish about making Phil pull over. Even though my fear of tornadoes is real and profound, was it really worth delaying our trip for a whole day? I thought about it for the rest of the afternoon.

Around dinner time I checked on the weather for the next day in Alabama. I saw the radar of the current weather and it showed the storm bearing down, a red band of rain right on top of Maxwell AFB. I showed it to Phil. He reminded me that we had planned to be arriving right about then, in the dark, in the storm, in the RV. It was indeed a good thing we had pulled over.

Days 4 and 5
We continued our trip to Maxwell AFB under clear skies. We arrived early and used the time to do some laundry and little more school. We woke to icy roads and a few ice-caused accidents on the highway. Icy conditions were expected to last until 10 am so we decided to wait until then to leave. Ten o’clock rolled around and the weather advisory had been extended until noon. We really couldn’t delay much longer, so we left. The roads were fine.

We arrived in Jacksonville at a decent hour and found the correct gate the first time around! We finished up the last of the precooked dinners from home that we’d brought along, as well as most of the other perishables.

Day 6

We spent the day doing laundry and repacking for the cruise. Phil walked to the commissary for food for dinner and when he returned he took the kids for a walk. There is a manatee viewing area on base, but they didn’t spot any.

Day 7
We packed up all the luggage and made sure the RV was neat and clean. Gassed up and hit the road and headed out for our last stop – Port Canaveral and the Disney Magic. That was probably the longest 2 hours of the whole trip but the last 15 minutes were a blur! As we exited the freeway we spotted the ship and she was just as beautiful as we remembered. Pulled up, handed off our cruise luggage to the porter, parked the RV and walked to the terminal. We’d made it!

D is for

I totally forgot that Monday we were supposed to share our D pictures! Such a dork. So I should totally put a picture of me here, right?

Not so much. How about I give you a little preview of what our vacation was all about?

D is for Disney Cruise!

Isn’t this a great picture? I took this while riding a tender to Grand Cayman. Because of the coral reefs around the islands, cruise ships can’t dock. So they drop anchor and those going ashore ride little boats back and forth. Makes for beautiful pictures.

You know the deal – if you have a D picture, leave a link in the comments back to this post. Even if you haven’t participated yet, now is a good time to jump right in!


I’m back.

Back on land, back in the country, back at home.

Did you miss me? I’ll tell you all about it once the laundry is done, the luggage put away and the souvenirs, um, whatever it is they do. Our adventure involved causing a major storm to descend upon the country, a rescue at sea and a medical evacuation. Good times!

Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year was celebrated on February 3rd this year. I totally missed it. Oops.

This is the Year of the Rabbit. We don’t have any rabbits in our family. Two tigers, a dragon, 2 rams, 2 roosters, but no rabbits. In any case, here are the traits of those born in the Year of the Rabbit:

“People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.”

I’m one of the roosters in my family. I am a deep thinker, capable and talented. True, true. Philip insists that he is a ram, but many zodiac calendars list him as a sheep. Either way, he is warm, woolly and prone to head butts. Actually, his year description doesn’t fit him at all.

What’s your year? Does the description fit you? You can check here:
Chinese Zodiac

Three Months

Can you believe it has been 3 months since little Pipsqueak arrived? He is a joy, of course, but he sure is putting us through our paces. He is not quite so high needs as Boo was, but he is not as easy going as Pumpkin and Bip.

I remember those first few months with Boo. I had joined a new moms group that met at the mall once a week. We had a little class taught by a pediatric nurse, then social time. All the other babies played nicely on their blankets. Not Boo. During the whole class I stood and bounced and rocked and rocked and bounced. He just fussed. A friend from that group introduced me to Dr. Sears, and from there I discovered the whole concept of the high needs baby. Reading about “fussy” babies and how to help them changed our lives.

And here I am again, with another high needs little dude. Funny enough, their birthdays are 5 days apart, their birth weights were within 2 ounces of each other and they were both born in the Year of the Tiger. Hmmmmm…

But I am (much) older now, and hopefully wiser. I have more helping and eager hands. I’m also much busier, with schooling 3 other children. I am very aware that those eager helpers are watching and internalizing everything I do to mother this little needy person. Especially Pumpkin Girl. What will they take away from watching their mother care for their youngest sibling? Good things, I hope.

Pipsqueak has turned our lives upside down. But look at him! He is so worth it.


Ever since we moved in to our new house we’ve been doing our part to stimulate the economy. It’s our civic duty, you know. I lo-o-ve me some internet shopping! Never have to leave the house, lots of selection, easy to compare prices. Love, love, love.

The only problem is customer service. I’ve been sitting on a complaint I’ve been wanting to air on my blog. I ordered a product from what was clearly a work at home mom. She got it wrong. She promised to replace it. After several emails, it was clear she was ignoring me. I am out my money and the product is no good. I really want to give you more details, but I just don’t think it is the right thing to do. I’ll just assume she got in over her head and got embarrassed and didn’t think she could fix it.

That sound you hear? That’s me biting my tongue. Or sitting on my fingers. Whichever.

Anyway! How about some good customer service stories?

Lands End – if you place an order through a Sears store, you will get free shipping and they will honor any sales prices or coupon codes you have. You can return any Lands End product to Sears within 5 years, even without a receipt! AND you don’t have to pay return shipping.

QVC – I’ve shopped with QVC for years. I love almost everything I’ve purchased and what I haven’t loved, I’ve returned for a refund. Recently I bought a food product from them that was incorrectly labeled. I sent them an email just to let them know, and they ended up refunding my entire purchase price.

Yugster – I don’t know much about this company, but Philip bought something from them recently. The product broke, but the manufacturer would not honor the warranty because they said Yugster was not an authorized seller. Yugster, on the other hand, refunded the entire price – over $200.

Good customer service is just good business. It’s not about giving people their money back or about the customer always being right. It is about doing what is right and making the customer feel good about shopping with you. So many times we hear all about the bad, I just felt like sharing the good.

Do you have any good customer service stories to share?

C is For


Mmmm! These are my favorite citrus fruits ever. They aren’t oranges, they are Honeybells. They are only available at the end of January and let me tell you, they are worth the wait.

We ordered a 22 pound box of Honeybells this year and we had no problem eating them all. We eat them while wearing the enclosed bibs (seriously) and with a bowl to catch all the juice.

If you have a “C” photo, leave me a comment in this post with a link to your picture. Flikr, Photobucket, another photosharing site or your own blog…whatever you’ve got. If you missed the last letter, just jump right in anyway!


Signs that your children are enjoying Harry Potter?

When they dress their little brother up as a dementor. Anyone out there able to whip up a good Patronus?

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