Saturday, October 31, 2009


We all awoke refreshed Sunday morning and headed just 15 minutes away to our first church history stop - Winter Quarters.

I know - it's kind of out of order, since the pioneers were in Nauvoo and THEN went to Winter Quarters but it was on the way and we weren't coming back this same way.

We went to the Visitors' Center and were greeted by a sister missionary.
There was an excellent video presentation and then the sister missionary gave us a wonderful tour and told us all about the pioneers who settled there.
She said that there were 12,000 pioneers who came there or maybe 1,200 or something with 200 in it, but then her voice trailed off.  I'm going to look it up right now.

Darn it!  Wikipedia said it was home to 2,500 people.  That's not a number with 200.  And it said there were 800 cabins.  I could have sworn someone (the sister missionary) said 500.  But there were so many numbers thrown around. I guess it doesn't really matter but I hate it when I forget stuff like that because I was trying hard to remember.

Anyway, Winter Quarters was beautiful and peaceful and we all enjoyed this stop.  We walked over to the cemetery to see some of the bronze statues that serve as memorials to the pioneers. 

Then we hopped back in the car and continued our journey to Nauvoo!

Let's see, We arrived about dinner time in a one street tourist town, at the end of tourist season on a Sunday and everything that isn't closed because of lack of tourists is closed because IT'S SUNDAY!

We check in to the Hotel Nauvoo.........not to be confused with Nauvoo Hotel.

The boys swear it's haunted.  But don't listen to them.  Just because it's an old house built in 1841 or 1865 - not looking it up, and the whole town is deserted and it's dark and blustery outside with leaves blowing past the screens and the stairway creaks as you go up it and you are the ONLY ones in the hotel but you think you hear voices outside your room but there is no one there when you open the door.....IT IS NOT HAUNTED!

They have two rooms with two queen beds but both of those were taken when I made the reservation.  (Although I don't see another LIVING soul). So we get the room with four, yes that was FOUR, queen beds.  But don't be fooled.  There is still only ONE bathroom.  I'm not complaining.  I'm not.  I'm just saying that there was one bathroom about 2 feet by 3 feet with no counter space and it was remodeled in 1972 but I could be exaggerating.

Anyway, it was dinner time.
We headed across the street to Dotties' Red Front for dinner.
I don't know what it was - Dottie's Red Front - Door?  Wall?  Room?
It was open.  They were serving dinner.

Guess what the boys had?
Yes........Chicken Wings!

They were not the buffalo style chicken wings that we were on tour for, but fried chicken wings.
They liked them.
Dinner was good.

We went back to our four queen sized beds and crashed.

Friday, October 30, 2009


We got up Saturday and loaded up the car for our Church History/Chicken Wings Across America Tour.
We usually leave at the crack o' dawn for a long drive,
but there was no hurry to get up because Garrett had to take the ACT first.

We left Denver around 1:30ish for our drive to Omaha, Nebraska.

First, let me just state that road trips are a little bit different today than when I was a kid.
1) Comfort level of the ride

Remember piling into the station wagon WITH NO SEAT BELTS!
You just sat wherever. 
The best seat in the house was in the "way back" facing backwards and rolling into each other each time dad took a curve.......unless facing backwards made you carsick.
Plus, on long road trips, the way back was filled with hard sided suitcases, the cooler full of food and the wooden porta crib.

Sometimes, we would take turns lying on the seat.
When one person was lying on the seat, the other could lie down on the floor.........
but remember how the floor wasn't flat?  It had that hump in the middle.
It wasn't very pleasant to be the one lying on the floor!

Times have changed.
My kids put down the bucket seats in the 2nd row of the Yukon.
Then they climb back to the third row of seats (still two bucket seats) and sit with their legs stretched out on top of the 2nd row.
They call it riding "Limo Style."
They put down the screen and watch DVD's.
Or they put on headphones and listen to their IPODS.
Or they pull out their IPhones and play games.

This ain't the road trip of yesteryear!

2) Options along the way.

My parents used to pack up a cooler with sandwiches and such.
We'd stop at a roadside rest stop and picnic.
Now we can stop at 87 different restaurants along the way and gorge ourselves.
Remember that this IS a Chicken Wing Tour!

Ruby Tuesdays in North Platte, Nebraska

The boys ordered the Fire Wings.

They come in normal <- okay it's not called that but I can't remember what it's called, and Spicy.
They went for spicy with cheddar fries.

They were unimpressed.
Parker said, "The spice has a weird after taste."
Garrett, "These aren't spicy."
Thanks boys for the eloquent and descriptive reviews!
They gave the wings a 2 out of 5,
the restaurant a 2 out of 5,
and the people in the restaurant a 4 out of 5 for entertainment value.
Just goes to show, you can't have everthing.

Onward to Omaha!!!

We arrived in Omaha around 9ish.

We stayed in a Fairfield Inn near Creighton University.
The hotel seemed new and was extremely clean and welcoming.

Parker was happy that it was near Creighton.
He's counting it as a "Campus visit" for a bogus school assignment. ;)

Garrett noted the two queen beds:
pointing to the first, he proclaimed,
"Here's your bed Parker."
Pointing to the second,
"Here's my bed."
Pointing to the bathroom,
"And Mom and Dad, you're in the bathroom.  It's paybacks for the time you put my crib in the closet."

Gotta love Garrett!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


We're baaaaaaaacccccckkkk!
And it's a good thing we got back when we did.
We came home to this:

We didn't see a single snowflake until we were about 50 miles from Denver.
So we were lucky to be driving home when we did.
If we were attempting to drive home today, we probably wouldn't get here. 

This is what my windows looked like this morning:

All the windows are covered in icy snow.  It's way cool.  We heard a big storm was headed our way and I wanted to hurry home so I could get snowed in!  Crazy, I know!
So ENOUGH about where I AM!  I'll get posting on where I have BEEN!
But for now, enjoy the icy pictures.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's Friday!
What's not to be HAPPY about?????

Can't tell you how HAPPY I am.
Go on over and visit Otin and get your very own Happy Hour Button.
And post your HAPPY!

* Having to decide between CHOCOLATE CAKE, A MAPLE CAKE DONUT and five kinds of HOMEMADE COOKIES for breakfast makes me happy!

* The Friday before FALL BREAK makes me happy!  No school next week.  No homework. No tests.  No getting up early.  What's not to love?

* Anticipating the Church History Chicken Wings Across America Roadtrip.  Woohoo!  Not only do I not have to cook, I don't even have to plan what restaurant to go to.......evidentally that's taken care of! ;)

* I am sooooo happy I'm not serving a meal to 300 today!  Phew!!!!  I am so happy that instead, I get to hang out at home and do laundry for the trip <- really I'm not lying.

* In our last email to Trammell, Brian asked him, "On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you?"  Trammell wrote back "A 10."  That makes ME happy.  Go Tram!  You just keep riding that bike in a monsoon and 85 degrees and lovin' it!  The monsoon season ends soon!

* Now, if I could only win $1,000,000 in the McDonalds Monopoly Game, I'd really be HAPPY!  Well.......maybe not, but I'd sure like to give it a try!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Is it Random Thought Tuesday?  I swear it is!  Or Friday.  Yeah it's Friday!  The week is over.
Don't ruin it for me by telling me I am wrong!

For some reason it feel like I got run over by a semi.
Could it be that Margaret and I met at the school at 10 am yesterday and cooked spaghetti for 275 until last night at 7:30, when I went to pick up my dad from the airport?

I smelled like an Italian restaurant and he had to ride in the back with all the coolers and crock pots rolling around.

Or maybe I'm trashed because I met with 12 out of my kids 13 teachers for Parent/Teacher conferences.
I didn't meet with teacher 13 because  he is offering extra credit to any student who accompanies their parent to the conference.  Parker has a 96% and wants the extra credit. Freak!
We'll hit that teacher up today.

When I got home last night around 9,
I just left all the coolers and bowls and crock pots in the car.
THAT was fun to unload and clean out this morning!

And then my next door neighbor called.
She needed help with a little poem.
What rhymes with "ornament?"
She is throwing her daughter and future son in law a little holiday engagement party.
Her daughter is marrying Armie Hammer III - go Wikipedia him.

Yeah - the one who is related to Armand Hammer of Occidental Petroleum.
Yeah - the one who was on Gossip Girl and Reaper last season.
Yeah - the one who is playing twins in a new movie about the "invention" of Facebook.  He's in Boston filming it right now.
Anyway, I couldn't for the life  me help write the poem. 
And that's one of my talents........along with being bossy.
That's how tired I was.

Back to Parent/Teacher Conferences -
#1 Comment - "I just LOOOOVVVEEE..........and they would say whichever kid they have in their class - Parker or Garrett.
#2 Comment - "I've had all of your kids now.  They are all SOOOO different.  I love all of them, but I can't believe how different they are."
#3 Comment - "Well, you know he's doing great.  There isn't a lot to say....." following by gushingly describing whichever boy.............
So yeah, if you are not their mom, it was gaggy.  But I'm their mom, so I had fun.  I even took notes so I could repeat the comments to them when I got home.  Garrett still thinks I made it all up.  I showed him the notes.  He's unimpressed.

Today will be an easier day.
We are serving 11 - 5' sub sandwhiches, chips, homemade cookies, carrots and dip and pop.

Seriously..........we can't make it much easier.
And we don't have to start getting everything ready until 1 pm.
Oh........and I have a hot date tonight at 8:30 when it's all over.
Yep - even though I'm dead, it's going to be a great day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I told you I'd share our visit to the DMV.
It's only about 5 miles from my house, but it may as well be on another planet.

We heard about 7 different languages.
It kind of smelled like athletic socks, curry and a barnyard with a little Bath and Body Works.
I could have used MORE Bath and Body Works.

We were privileged to be exposed to meet some new friends:

Why was there a 60 year old woman wearing a Broncos jersey AND A DIAMOND TIARA?
Well, she was wearing the Broncos jersey because the Broncos were playing that night.
The diamond tiara?
She was sitting next to HARLEY DAVIDSON MAN.
He had silver ringlets under his leather cap, earrings and one of those cool chains that make it impossible for people to "lift" your wallet.  He was about 60ish too. was wearing the tiara (with dead babysbreath in her updo) because SHE JUST GOT MARRIED.
Well she got married on Saturday and this was Monday.
So she had gotten married a couple of days before.
Do you think she slept in the tiara?????

There was a cute girl with her red hair in a pony tail.
She sat in front of us with her boyfriend.
The girl looked like a normal teen with a t-shirt and jeans.
The boyfriend looked like a normal teen with black plaid shorts and a white t.
He had his lip pierced and he had gauges in his ears.
He had his hair super short and spiked up with his Oakleys on the back of his head, like all the cool guys know...kind of backwards.
Anyway, I wouldn't have thought anything of this couple until they stood up and I could see HIS black sports bra.
I'm confused.

When we walked out of the DMV,
Parker notice a small canopy taking up three parking places.
There was a man selling hot dogs.
I wish you could see this for yourselves.
Our DMV is not near a while bunch of commercial buildings or even near offices.
The only people who would be buying this guys weiners hot dogs are people exiting the DMV.
It was 4:30 and we weren't eating for another WHOLE hour.
Parker wanted a hot dog.
Hey, as a reward for not throwing up while smelling all those odors passing, I figured what the heck.
So we bought a $2 dog.
I handed Romeo $2.50 which totally confused him but then he kind of took it the wrong way.

He stepped around the table and asked, "Well, don't you want anything?  What can I get you?"
As I tried to back up a tad, I answered, "Ummm... no, I'm good."
He offered, "Can I get you a drink?"
And I don't think he meant a Coke from his cooler.
Ewww..........I yelled, "Run Parker, run!"
Okay not really.
We just inched away from the table without taking our eyes off of him.

The DMV was so fun, I'm already looking forward to next year, when we go back to get Parker's license.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RTT- The DMV, Aliens & Spaghetti for 250


You can get your RANDOM on too!  Just go visit Keely at The Unmom and link up.
It's fun!  Really!

Okay so let's talk random.

*Just got back from getting a hot buttered biscuit from Chick-Fil-A and a large coke from McDonalds with Brian and we were listening to the morning news.  I guess we're too late to order this costume:

It's been removed from shelves in WalMart and Target for being offensive. It's an ILLEGAL ALIEN!  Get it?  Ha Ha.  I guess it's not "Politically Correct."
Who is complaining?  ET?  Have people lost their sense of humor?  I am so sick of the whole Politically Correct movement.  I think we should show people, all people, respect.  I think the whole movement has gone too far.  Some people LOOK to get offended.  Okay - enough of that.

* Speaking of offensive people.  I took Tiny Baby to the DMW to get his driver's permit yesterday.  WHAT A TRIP.  There's enough to fill a whole blog post or you'll have to come back for that one.  But I'll throw out a couple of carrots - 60 year old with a Broncos jersey AND a diamond tiara and there could be a new man in my life.  Mmmmhmmmm.  If that doesn't get you to come back.  Nothing will.

* Okay so Tiny Baby goes to take the written permit test.  He gives it back to the lady to check.  She is looking over it and Parker is thinking, "Is she just going to read it or is she going to grade it?"  She hands it back to him and says, "You got 100%!"  Unlike Richard (some poor fool) who took the test twice yesterday and failed both times.  When Parker got to the next station, the lady said it is pretty rare to get 100%.  It's kind of a common sense quiz!  How hard can it be?  Never mind.  THAT was a stupid question.

* Speaking of STUPID - Who really thought the whole Balloon Boy was real???  My cynical self called it right away.  Yep, a girlfriend called immediately when she saw it on the news and we both agreed something was up. This is why people think I am mean because I "call" stuff like this.  I'm cruel, heartless and right.

* We're getting ready for a road trip.  Yep, next week is Fall Break.  We're taking the family on a little Church History tour.  Somehow, it's turned into a Chicken Wing tour.  Yeah, you read that correctly.  The boys have mapped out every Wing Stop and Buffalo Wild Wing restaurant from here to eternity.  When we were in Italy, our goal was to have gellato every day.  This trip: chicken wings every day.

* We went to the opening of Five Guys Burgers and Fries last night for dinner.  My niece is working there and we HAD to support her. ;)  It's pretty amazing how you can go to a fast food place and spend $33 for 4.  Wow!  But it was pretty good.  And she was cute.  And isn't that all that matters?  That and the fact that I didn't have to dream up something for dinner!

* Guess what time of year it is?  Feed the masses time!  It's Parent/Teacher Conferences at the high school tomorow and Thursday.  To show our love and appreciation, we feed the teachersand staff (275ish of them) immediately after school since the conferences start right away and they don't have time to leave campus.  I'm boiling 25 pounds of spaghetti right now and thawing 100's of little meatballs in my refrigerator.  Guess what we are having?????  It's pretty exhausting but that order.

Did I satiate your desire for randomness???  Cause I'm pretty random every day!

Monday, October 19, 2009


My kids are weird.
They never want to have birthday parties.
They have an aversion to calling attention to themselves,
a trait they picked up from my side of the family. ;)

All Parker wanted for his birthday was an IPhone.
Being the youngest, he has never had a new cell phone.
We have a drawer of half working phones.
We told him to take his pick and when one conks out, we send him back to the drawer.

We have spent weeks explaining to Parker that times are tight and an IPhone was out of the question.
We've been commenting that it looks like he needs new socks and have asked if he needed new boxers.
That's how nice we are.
He didn't really fall for it.

Even though his birthday was yesterday,
we started partying on Saturday.
He received his IPhone on Saturday so he could go to the Apple store and pick out a case.

Then we were all going to the "best fried chicken" restaurant in the state and to a church dance.

But Garrett was laid out on the couch with a torn up knee from lacrosse.
And I was on the chair with no voice and a fever.
Parker and Brian brought home take out from Maggianos.  
It was delicious.

Sunday, we made Parker's favorites, ribs and artichokes, for dinner, opened the remaing presents and had dessert.
He wanted an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.
He obviously told the cake decorator EXACTLY what to write.

After buying the cake,
he hid it in the downstairs freezer.

He was afraid Garrett would see it and lick the "not" off.
Would Garrett do that??????

Tiny Baby had a great birthday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Someone is celebrating a birthday!

Happy Birthday Parker, PK, P-Sizzle, Park-Park, Bubbsy, Sir Bubs, Angelface, Tiny Baby!

In honor of this momentous occasion,
I’ll share 15 things we love about Parker.

Parker is kind and loving.
Everyone knows that those are our family bywords and he personifies them.
He’ll cook for his brother, fetch things for his mom and dad, play with babies, offer to help out, do his fair share plus everyone else’s and he NEVER complains!

Parker is big!

He may look small but he is mighty.
He stands up for what is right and he won’t be bullied.
He holds his own at home, on the field and in school.

He’s a force to be reckoned with.

Parker is athletic.

He crawled and then he ran.
I don’t think we have ever seen Parker walk.
He’s quick, he’s agile, he takes a lickin and he keeps on tickin!

Parker can cook.

So maybe I don’t appreciate it when he starts crème brulee at 10 pm
or when he comes up from the basement with frozen chicken breasts to make homemade chicken strips at 10:30 pm. But that boy can cook.

When he was 3, he asked for his own Kitchenaid.
When he was 8, he asked for a Panini maker.
When he was 10, he asked for a “professional” fryer.
Last Christmas, he wanted a mandoline.
And his fondest wish has always been a butane torch.

Parker is a hard worker.

Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he gives it 110%.
He takes his responsibilities seriously.

Parker is fearless.

He'll always try new things.
When he was about 10, he built a ski jump in the front yard.
It was large.
He would practice helicopters off of it.
People would drive down our street just to park and watch.

Parker makes us laugh.
He’s not the class clown,
he’s just funny.
His perspective on life is so………matter of fact
My brother was lamenting the fact that whenever he takes his children on a road trip, someone gets carsick. Everyone was sharing their horror stories.
He turned to Parker, then 9, and asked, “Have you ever gotten carsick?”
Parker: “Oh yeah, when I was 6 we were driving on these winding roads through Tuscany. We were on our way to Montepulcino to the Prada outlet…………”
My brother just burst out laughing at the ridiculous frame of reference.

Parker is wise beyond his years.
When Parker was six, he lost his first tooth.
I feigned excitement (come on, he’s my last!) and I said,

“Oh you better go get your tooth and put it under your pillow for the tooth fairy.”
He looked at me and cynically replied,
“Nah…it’s just you.”
Me: “Oh no……the tooth fairy is beautiful. She has has pink glittery wings and…”
Parker”…..right…..and she wears a white t-shirt and pink pajama pants.”
Lost childhood.

Parker is determined and he works hard to achieve his goals.
We applied to have Parker enroll in kindergarten when he was 4.
The school district routinely turns down 100% of the applicants.
But when pressed, they would allow those who successfully passed an enrollment test and had principal approval to come to school.
I thanked the principal and promised her that I wouldn’t ask anything more from her.
I wouldn’t demand morning or afternoon or request a special teacher.
Her reply: “It’s not you I’m worried about, it’s Parker.”
As we prepared to meet with the principal so that she could tell us her decision,
I prepped Parker.
“Now, Parker, if she tells you that you get to come to school, DO NOT ask for a special teacher or to be in class with friends. Just thank her.”
Principal: “Parker, I have reviewed your tests and talked to the psychologist. Congratulations! You get to come to Creekside Elementary!”
Parker: “Thank you very much. But I’ve decided I’m going to skip this school and just go on to middle school.”
The principle just turned and rolled her eyes at me. I think this is exactly what she meant.

Parker has a strong sense of right and wrong.
He’s always had to stand up for himself, so he’s not afraid to do the right thing, even when it’s not popular. He makes really good choices and is good at seeing the possible outcomes of his decisions.

Parker is respected.

He doesn’t come across cocky and he doesn’t judge.
He just does his thing.
People know he works hard.
His teammates and classmates respect that.
He was selected as the JV Lacrosse captain and elected Sophomore class president

Parker is in charge.
He’s confident and there isn’t anything he can’t accomplish.
When Parker was about 5, he went to the school pumpkin patch.
We live right behind the elementary school, so the pumpkin patch was almost in our backyard.
After perusing the goods carefully, he rolled a large pumpkin up to the cashier.
Parker: “I’d like to get this pumpkin.”
Lady: “Oh my. That’s really big. You better go ask your mom.”
Parker: “Pretty much…………..I’m in charge.”
The neighbor lady who was working the patch turned to the cashier and said,
“Yeah, he is.”
She sold him the pumpkin and he rolled it home.

Parker is loved.

He’s nice to everybody.
Everyone wants him on their team or in their group.
He gets along with elementary school kids, seniors in high school and adults.

Parker is comfortable with himself.
He knows who he is and he likes himself.
It’s working for him.
We like him too.

Parker is always up for fun.

I’ve never heard anyone laugh so much or so loud.
But then if you were Parker,
what’s not to laugh about?
We frequently say that in our next lives, we want to come back as Parker.

Happy Birthday Parker!
We love you!