Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Grant has ONE more day of school, and with the hopes of some serious intentional parenting this summer, we've created a family summer bucket list.

We have two months to finish our list!  If you're in the area, come join us for any or all of our many adventures... 100 of them--hopefully!

·         Create a summer keepsake jar
·         Go on a hike
·         Go on a geocaching adventure
·         Go on a picnic
·         Go on a nature scavenger hunt
·         Play in a park
·         Visit the ornithology center
·         Make and eat a s’more
·         Visit a waterpark
·         Visit a state park
·         Visit a military museum
·         Visit an art museum
·         Visit a cemetery
·         Take swim lessons
·         Visit elderly friends
·         Take cookies to the fire station
·         Visit the library
·         Finish sticker book
·         Have a family water fight
·         Learn to play hopscotch
·         Take a bike ride
·         Go fishing
·         Do a cannonball off a diving board
·         Study an animal (G1: colossal squid   ;G2: penguin)
·         Study someone in the Bible (David)
·         Study a country (G1: India; G2: China)
·         Study a state (South Carolina)
·         Study a president (George Washington)
·         Visit Daddy at work
·         Go to the movies
·         Go to a Lowe’s workshop
·         Fly a kite
·         Build a sandcastle
·         Make sun tea
·         Make our own soap
·         Go to a craft workshop
·         Discover a new fruit you like
·         Eat a fish taco
·         Go on a carnival ride
·         Make the best paper airplane
·         Stomp in a creek
·         Play miniature golf
·         Make pully/bucket for upper deck
·         Master a new board game
·         Learn to play German uno
·         Do a color by numbers
·         Sleep in a tent
·         Make a care package for a soldier
·         Make and play with sidewalk chalk
·         Make an outdoor obstacle course
·         Wash a car
·         Go to a farmers’ market
·         Go to a splash pad
·         Paint a picture
·         Find a treasure at a garage sale
·         Make and play with playdough
·         Catch a firefly
·         Make our own popsicles
·         Find and make a pet rock
·         Play with a cardboard box
·         Learn 5 real jokes
·         Collect shells
·         Play with shaving cream
·         Make something in the kitchen all on your own
·         Learn 10 words in a different language
·         Put on a puppet show
·         Carve names into a tree
·         Make a fairy house for the woods
·         Listen to a book on cd
·         Make a homemade instrument
·         Go on a boat ride
·         Go bowling
·         Learn to make balloon animals
·         Build something with nails and wood
·         Make homemade ice cream
·         Watch fireworks
·         Swim in a lake
·         Swim in the ocean
·         Read chapter books as a family
·         Go to a drive in movie
·         Help with a remodeling project
·         Learn a classic camp song
·         Buy a new toy
·         Find 10 toys to give away
·         Build a wind chime
·         Make root beer floats
·         Make a bird feeder
·         Complete a maze book
·         Throw pennies into a fountain
·         Shoot bb guns at targets
·         Learn to sew a button
·         Do a whole load of laundry on your own
·         Make snake or mega bubbles
·         Have a pajama and movie day
·         Make homemade salsa
·         Do a 100 piece puzzle
·         Make our own crayons
·         Learn to play marbles
·         Make giant sling shot
·         Learn how to read a map

BRING ON THE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


With just two more school days for Grant, we are counting down to summer!  Here are some latest via picture:

Grace's Graduation
Little Miss Thing graduated from Pre-K last week!  She is such an sweetheart, and I am going to miss her so much next year when she heads off to kindergarten.  But, if ever a child were ready to start school, it's miss Grace.  She's so confidant, so hardworking, so pleasant.  And, as her mommy, I am so grateful!

Grant's Busy Schedule
Grant is playing baseball again, with mixed results.  He's not terribly competitive, which is an interesting shift in character... which means that he has some decent talent but isn't interested in working too hard to get better.  But, at least he isn't running zig-zag this year!  He also joined Boy Scouts, so next year he'll begin as  Tiger Cub, which has him MOST excited!

The Drama Continues
Poor Trent.  He continues to be a difficult little peanut, which can often mean absolute exhaustion for Mommy.  He's scared of everything (plants, grass, sand, being thrown in the air), every meal time is a battle, and he wants to be held constantly.  But, he's cute, and we love him tons!  Here are a few pics of a recent haircut!

More fun to come!  Bring on summer!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


His smiles might be rare... But they are priceless!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Reading is dangerous

We just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... Any guesses what happened to Grace's hair?  We have a Violet wanna be!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Yesterday afternoon, I left the relative peace and calm of Indy for a meeting in Petal, Mississippi, a suburb of Hattiesburg.  What I didn't realize as I drove to the airport Monday afternoon was that the next 24 hours would find me in the midst of one of the crazier travel experiences of my life.

My flight from Indy to Atlanta was normal.  No turbulence.  I slept the whole way.  The WHOLE way.  No drink.  No peanuts.  Just the warm embrace of the latest My Bloody Valentine opus blaring through my headphones.

Upon my arrival in Atlanta, I made my way to the nearest monitor to find my connecting flight to Hattiesburg. Normally when I head to this neck of the woods (a terminology chosen with intent), I fly into New Orleans or Jackson, Mississippi.  But this time, I decided to try a new flight directly into the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport.  I knew I was dealing with a small operation when the Hertz car rental outlet at the airport told me they would "leave the keys on the desk" since I would be arriving late -- 8:30pm.

Try as I might, I couldn't find the flight to Hattiesburg on any of the monitors in Atlanta, so I grabbed a Delta customer service agent.  He, too, was unable to find which gate housed my flight.  So after checking with one of his colleagues, he determined that my flight would go out of the E Concourse.

As luck would have it, the E Concourse is an oasis at the otherwise vile Atlanta airport.  The food court features several good options, and there is a live piano player sending out your usual keyboard classics -- some Ravel, some Liszt,  "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" and "Light My Fire" by The Doors.  Delightful.

After dinner, I made my way over to the very last gate -- E37 -- otherwise known as the ATL home of Silver Airways.  My flight on Silver was to depart Atlanta at 7:45pm Eastern and arrive in Hattiesburg at 8:30pm Central.  I sat about watching Downton Abbey on my tablet and waiting for the flight.

Eventually, 7:45pm came and went, and not a soul had been present at the gate.  A few other loitering customers asked if anyone had seen anyone resembling a Silver employee, and none of us had.  Eventually a nice young lady appeared and informed us that our flight was delayed.  This was around 8:15pm, so most of us had figured that part out.

One of the more vocal patrons was a lovely Korean woman who looked to be in her mid 40's.  She was very upset that the airline wasn't providing any information to its customers, and she was also upset that the native English speakers around her weren't protesting with her same voracity.  A couple of guys tried to explain to her that hollering in an airport is a good way to incur a taser burn these days, and eventually she retreated to her seat.  She continued to occasionally perk up and shout "You English no help.  They ignore me.  Crazy lady.  You English.  They listen.  You too nice.  No help."

Another couple was a husband and wife team of Indycar officials.  I spent a few minutes getting acquainted with them, and we discussed Speedway and Indianapolis in general.  They were familiar with where my office is located, and they even offered to let me join them at the track this year.  Nice folks, but very tired  from a long return trip from South America.

After a few minutes, the Silver employee departed for what seemed a long amount of time.  She returned and informed us that there was a mechanical issue.  "Probably another hour."  I could see out the window that a small prop plane was being attended to, with several crewmen working on one of the wings.  I suppose if I'm going to be delayed, I would prefer it be because a wing is trying to come off and not because a seat belt has come loose.  But either one is annoying.

For the next several hours, we played this charade of various Silver Airways employees coming in once per hour to tell us we were still delayed but that our flight was still going to happen.  During this time, I learned from another annoyed passenger, that this new route to Hattiesburg suffers many delays and cancellations.  Great.  I held out hope, in part to keep the spirits of the Korean lady up ("My name is Kim" she said, to which I replied, "Bold choice on your parents' part.")

Finally at 11:30pm, they cancelled the flight.  And to make matters worse, all other flights to Mississippi were already gone, and all they could offer was a flight the next day -- at 3:30pm.  Since I had a training scheduled for 9am, this would not do.  So I began discussing renting a car and driving six hours to Hattiesburg.  Several others were intrigued by my plan, and before long, I had a full car of strangers willing to go on an overnight car ride with a tired driver at the wheel.  Who says we're a society afraid of each other?

Around midnight, the Silver crew discovered a flight to Gulfport, Mississippi arriving the next day at 8:30am. Since Gulfport is only an hour from Hattiesburg, I decided that this was a better option than driving overnight.  The airline offered all of us a hotel stay, and after a brisk 90 additional minutes of handwriting vouchers, they had us rebooked on the morning flight.  The only unfortunate part was that they couldn't do anything about our return flights from Hattiesburg, which were now a problem given that renting a car one way from Gulfport to Hattiesburg is $300+ per day.  They assured me that calling their 800 number the next day would allow me to rebook my return.  Yeah.

After arriving at the Drury Inn and getting a whopping two hours of sleep, I dragged myself out and rejoined my 10 new friends for the 5:30am shuttle back to the airport.  As I got out of bed, I noticed that I appeared to have a large bloody blotch on my face.  A few days ago, I used a bit of Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away Wart Remover to eliminate a small bump just below my lower lip.  Essentially I did everything the directions told me to do, except twice as aggressively.  The instructions said the affected area might blister, but nothing had happened to that point.  I decided that surely I would look fine after a shower, but I was wrong.  I had a bloody blotch the size of a quarter just below my lip that looked as though I'd tried to shave using spackle and a hack saw.

Eventually we all boarded the flight to Gulfport, and I dozed soundly.  Everyone had made arrangements for getting to Hattiesburg, except for one young guy who I had offered to take with me -- we'll call him Darnell.  Shortly after I made my offer to drive Darnell, he approached me and whispered that he didn't have any money, credit cards, or ID.  He said he'd returned it to his fiance in Atlanta.  At this point, I noticed that he also didn't have any luggage.  All of this should have probably told me something, but my brain was too tired to interpret, so I forged ahead.  I was concerned about how Darnell would return to Atlanta without ID.  He was not.

When we arrived at Gulfport, Darnell and I made our way to the Budget counter and rented our car.  As we began to leave, we all exchanged cards and shook hands, and as Darnell and I made our way out, Kim the Korean Lady followed us out.  Apparently her arrangement was me, so I obliged and she joined us.  I also took note of the fact that one of the business cards I had obtained was for a "couples store" featuring "couples items."  Convenient.

The hour long drive with Kim and Darnell to Hattiesburg was mostly uneventful.  This was probably due to each of us waiting for the others to brandish our weapons or expose the blood soaked rag in our carry-on.  About 10 minutes outside of Hattiesburg, Darnell described a gas station where he preferred to be dropped off.  I turned and asked Kim where she was headed, and she replied "Wah Maht."  I asked her which Wal-Mart she needed, and she replied "Hattieburrrg Wah Maht."  Apparently she was going to Hattiesburg to visit an aunt, and that aunt was expecting to find her wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart upon her arrival.

As we approached the first Wah Maht in Hattiesburg, I asked Kim if this was the right place.  She began yelling that it was not.  I quickly began trying to convince her that I would not strand her at this Wal-Mart on the SOUTH side of Hattiesburg, when clearly she needed a different one, and she eventually calmed down.  Darnell at this point mentioned that there was another Wal-Mart out on Hardy Street, and this seemed to perk Kim up.  She kept repeating "Hattiesburg...Hattiesburg...Hattiesburg," but after Darnell mentioned Hardy Street, she changed her mantra to "Hattie...Hahdy...Hattie...Hahdy."  She must have repeated it 50 times, but at some point, she realized she had mistaken "Hardy Street" for "Hattiesburg," and the discussed Hardy Street Wah Maht was the place for her.

I dumped Darnell at the gas station on the south side, and headed to the other side of town to drop off Kim. She perked up noticeably as we arrived in a part of town she recognized, and she thanked me profusely for providing the assistance.  She did finally inquire about my gigantic shaving cut, and I informed her that I had tried to freeze a wart off my face.  She exited the car quickly.

I began calling Silver Airways to deal with my return flight, but their number didn't ring or answer.  Finally I got through, and after an hour on hold, gave up.  Apparently many of us have had a similar experience.  I decided that with my remaining two hours before my rescheduled meeting, I would go to the Hattiesburg airport and politely throttle a Silver Airways employee or two.  I drove the 15 minutes out of town, only to be informed that the Silver folks only work a couple of hours in the evening.  Terrific.  I considered heading out to the "Service Animal Relief Zone" to collect a flaming gift for their return, but decided against it.  In the end, I was able to call Delta and convince them that they should issue me a new ticket out of Gulfport and terminate their relationship with Silver Airways.  The kind lady at Delta informed me that they "don't really have a relationship" with Silver beyond allowing Silver tickets to be issued through Delta's website.  Who knew.

I made my way over to Petal and decided to dine at Mama Alma's Kitchen.  Finding Mama was a stroke of shear luck, as it turned out to be the most fantastic Mexican food I've had in ages.  For those who know me, it was the first place that rivals my dear late Pancho's in Indianapolis.  Mama was a breath of fresh air, although I did notice her eyeing my massive head wound as she served me.

In the end, my afternoon meeting was a success, and I had another delightful meal of Mahi Mahi at the Crescent City Grill as suggested by my hosts in Petal.  Now I plan to retreat into the relative safety of nursing my wound, preparing for tomorrow's training session, and watching perhaps one more episode of Downton Abbey on the tablet.  I've earned a bit of rest.

P.S.  I forget to insert a part where I went to Rite Aid to buy makeup for my blotch.  I got the same approximate color that Kim might have required in a similar situation.  What a day...