Motel Question


We are going on vacation in a few weeks, to a place where we don’t have family to impose upon.  We will be taking all four kids.  Does anyone have advice on hotel accomodations for large families?  I remember a motel in college that had three double beds in it.  Is this common if you ask, or just in Mormon country?  Do they make suites with two beds and a couch?  I know all of our kids can sleep in a queen bed…but I bet they won’t let us have six people and two beds.  A roll away is an option, but I am kind of wondering for the future too. 


We took the ladies on vacation for a week to Disney World in Florida and came back with a ton of dirty laundry.  We managed to run into someone who lives just up the road from us, and the entire population of Ohio.  It was lots of fun.


GD had a customer who offered to take us out on his boat while we were in the vicinity, so we drove over to south of Tampa to see him.  He took us to eat somewhere that has been immortalized by Jimmy Buffet, (in Florida? Seriously?) where we ate shrimp that were bigger than GD’s thumb.  Our chauffeur then took us to a sand bar in the bay somewhere.  On the way there we saw four groups of dolphins and even jellyfish in the water.  GD and his sharp eyes saw a stingray too.  We floated in the water and found all kinds of shells.  I have walked maybe 10 beaches on two oceans and the gulf and never have I found shells like these.  There were tons of conch shells, many complete with the original owner.  We found a couple empties and one with a hermit crab in it.  It was crazy; my kids are ruined, now they will always expect real shells rather than broken oyster shells and the occasional tiny clam shell I was used to as a child.


GD came back from the farm with a tiny baby kitty a couple of weeks ago.  I kept her for a week then Sister-in-Law Annette babysat her while we were on vacation.  In the mean time SIL litter trained her. (Yay!)  I started feeding her formula in a dish instead of the bottle when we got home, and today I fed her some canned dog food.  She scarfed that down, so it must have been the right thing to do. She is still tiny, but she is fat now too.  We call her Pumpkin.  She is really sweet.  Paul is head over heels in love with her, and she seems to tolerate him. So what is really the difference between canned cat food and canned dog food?  I think a trucker gave this to us, so it was free.  I guess if she starts barking at the road-grader I will go buy some canned cat food.


I am reading Lizzie’s War, which turns out to be a good book, her husband has a delightful sense of humor, but he is in VietNam, so things don’t look good for him, does anybody ever come back alive in a war book?  I kinda got behind (again) on my Bible reading while I was on vacation, I left my handy bookmark at home so I had no real guidance on what I should read each day.  I am pretty much caught up except I still have half of Isaiah to read.  This of course is what I should be reading, not novels.  At the end of the month, my reading year will be done, I run on the federal government’s fiscal year you see.  I am ahead of last year, but still in the double digits.  The Pilot’s Wife was good even though Oprah liked it and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was good too.


I have to tell you a funny story.  I thought the ladies had worms, there was a lot of scratching and so on, and from my experience that meant worms.  I collected a poop sample from a random un-named daughter and made appointment for said daughter with the Dr.  I told the daughter to get the sample out of the freezer and described where she could find it.  She put it in a non-see through type grocery bag and off we went.  The Dr examined her and said he thought she had a yeast thing going on, and he could prescribe a salve, but he would look at the sample just incase.  A couple of minutes later he came back with a weird look on his face and said, “You may have put me off food forever.  I looked at the sample and looked again and, well, here it is.”  He held up a bag with three pieces of frozen sausage from a long ago breakfast. 

What I did for my summer vacation.


The day we left I ran around looking for my digital camera.  It was nowhere to be found.  I went to have my hair done and my friend loaned me her point-and-shoot 35mil camera.  I didn’t use it much because I swiped Mom’s digital camera, which was a good thing because I took some great flower shots.  More on that later.


I went home for my High School reunion.  It was nice to see the people I went to school with again.  Most are still at home, or in the Eastern end of the state or in the Denver area.  I found out that I received the same degree from the same university at the same time as a high school classmate.  I don’t remember seeing him at college at all, and it isn’t that big of a school.  He was cute, I can’t believe I missed him.  That really baffles me.  The ones I keep in touch with were not there, so I had to mingle with all kinds of new people, which was a little uncomfortable.  I determined my one friend is a savant.  He can recognize anyone anywhere after any amount of time.  Even after a sex change, I believe.


I took several extra days so I could catch up with non-high school friends too, including a friend I have had since Kindergarten and then another I met on summer break from college.  She moved from Texas to my hometown, so I can see her whenever I go home.  I am so happy to have her there, even if I don’t get back but a few times a year.  Just knowing makes me feel good.  I am hoping she can get me the opportunity to take a photo of Hayden’s Penstemon (an endangered flower) next spring.  I am sure people will let her know where they grow, it is kind of her line of work now.  Hint hint.


Then I drove the ladies out to Craig, CO to visit my cousin and her kids.  The gentlemen stayed with Grandma and Papa.  We drove and drove, and the mountains and flowers were beautiful.  I was so glad to have Mom’s camera along, I am a little surprised the battery stayed charged. You may feel differently after I get all of them posted.


I found my camera today.  If I had only not purchased the UW jacket when I went to the bookstore to buy another flower ID book, can you have too many of those?  I didn’t have a Wyoming one, but now I do.  This one has a really handy id thing in the front with small photos of the flowers and page numbers under it.  Usually they are arranged by family which is a pain or if they are by color, you realize one man’s purple is another man’s blue.  Anyway, I bought the newest CJ Box book because it was there and it was signed plus a book called Wicked Plants which looked like a lot of fun, and a bumper sticker I didn’t need.  My camera was in the pocket of the jacket I packed but never wore.

Tourist X Moron = Tour-on

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I have been known to forget to pack my brain when I go on vacation.  In April 1998 GD had a business meeting in Nashville.  I had some vacation time coming so I tagged along.  I toured the Jack Daniels distillery and the state capitol while my husband attended his meetings for two days.  After the meetings were over on Thursday the 16th, we walked downtown to check out the places we had seen on CMT, like the White Horse Café, before we took an evening plane home.  It was a cloudy day and kind of spitting rain when the wind came up.  Then the air started to get a little texture, you know grit and dirt, along with more rain.  Next came pink insulation flying through the air.  At this point we ducked into a parking garage to wait out the storm.  People were wandering in looking shell-shocked and a car with elephant butt-prints on its windshield pulled into the garage.  After about ten minutes the wind died down and we walked to the front of the garage.  Insulation was strewn everywhere along with broken glass and chunks of buildings.  The first thing out of my mouth was… “It looks like a tornado went through here!”  “It did,” said GD dryly.  I don’t remember it being loud like a freight train, just really windy.  I think a parking garage is a good place to be.  They are concrete, so they would be pretty safe and you won’t get claustrophobic because you can see out.


In my defense:

  1. When we have tornadoes in Nebraska the city sounds a siren to alert us
  2. I went to college in Laramie, WY where it often is windy enough to blow rocks around


My next moment came in Georgia.  My step-son graduated from boot camp at Fort Benning in August of 2005 so GD and I took my MIL down to watch the ceremony.  Since we had never been to the area, we decided to take a small vacation.  We only had a little time so we focused on the Columbus/Atlanta/Macon area.  We visited Andersonville and the houses of a couple presidents.  We were on a back road (as all of them are in that area) when noon came around.  My MIL needs to be fed on a regular basis, but we were in the middle of nowhere.  Suddenly we came upon a gas station, also in the middle of nowhere.  I drew the short straw so I went in and asked if there was anywhere around to eat.  The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was an idiot (which I was) and said, “The Whistle Stop Café is just around the corner, you know like in the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café?”  And so it was, as well as a huge billboard in the parking lot of the gas station.  It is a good place to eat, but I still don’t know where it was!

Everything’s up-to-date in Kansas City


We had a great trip. We went to the KC zoo which is quite different from Omaha’s, and in a good way. I never once felt like I should be rappelling down the hills. We got quite a hike and the stroller came in handy. We ate at Fritz’s, the original one, not the fancy new one. A little train brings your meal in a box, which it drops off on a platform by your table. The food is good too.   DSC01252

We toured Fort Osage which surprised me. Lewis and Clark decided it would be a good place for a fort when they went by. I had never seen a fort with a wooden fence around it. All the forts I am familiar with are huge post Civil War forts and are not enclosed. We went to an Aldi (we try to hit the exciting tourist spots when we travel). Then we went to Union Station to see the train exhibit. Oh my. I officially love train stations. This photo was taken from three floors up and my camera wouldn’t quite catch it all. You can see some grownups for scale.  They had all sizes of trains, N, O etc.  Leo was beside himself.DSC01273 DSC01267 I also found a diorama of myself… DSC01270

On the way home we hit a nature place in Nebraska City. It was tons of fun and we left with a gallon of cider. This tree house is huge. It must be lots of fun when the windchill is not a factor. DSC01311

My In-laws were gracious hosts and put up with the mayhem which surrounds our family.

A photo of my two toothless daughters.DSC01145

Mini Vacation


I am taking a little vacation out to where I grew up. We left on Friday and I think we’ll go home on Weds. I stopped at the library to get a book on CD. I have five hours with four kids, a CD book is necessary. I have a hard time picking one out, because what I feel okay reading may not be appropriate for my kids to listen to. I finally chose a Picoult. Of course it ended up being about infanticide. They get to watch a movie, so hopefully they won’t be too scarred. I also made sure to check out a couple of books, including a Gabaldon, one of her shorter books from her Lord John series. About 900 pages. I am not sure why I always bring a book home, Mom was a librarian, she always has something interesting lying around. This time it was a book called Couldn’t Keep it to Myself. It was written by women prisoners, and it was quite an eye-opener. Prior to committing their crimes, these eleven women were nearly all sexually abused, and many were physically abused as well. They didn’t do a good job overcoming what happened in their youth. They were quite open and frank, they didn’t have any poor me poor me, they had accepted their circumstances and were trying to heal.

My grandma is turning 90 on Weds. By the middle of August, all of my grandparents will be 90 on up. Grandma used to do word searches, so I googled and found a site where you could make your own. armoredpenguin I typed in all kinds of family names and things she liked to do, her pets, and places they liked to vacation. It was pretty cool. A good gift for someone who needs nothing, and really doesn’t want anything either. She kind of has a shuffle thing she does when she walks. She doesn’t lift her right leg anymore. It is kind of hard to watch, she gets around fine, just really slowly. Grandpa vacuums for her.

The site I found also makes crossword puzzles. I plan to make one for my step dad, he is a crossword bum. I plan to use his definitions of squallop and snurp as clues. I have mom in on this too, so it should be fun. They want you to give them a whole bunch of clues so they can use as many as possible. I will need help.

We went to Dad’s today. He didn’t tell us he was branding this weekend until we got here, so I didn’t pack any of my icky jeans, so I didn’t help wrestle calves. The kids enjoyed themselves. Leo especially. It was kind of weird, I only recognized three people there. This is the community I grew up in, but most everyone has moved away and sold to someone else. John, Bill, Randy, Art, Kent, Bill and the list goes on, I guess some of them died too. The new neighbors don’t neighbor I guess. One of the new neighbors is the Nature Conservancy. I have only seen Dad’s hired man a handful of times, but he had quite a crew of relatives and friends to help out. Here we do it the old fashioned way with a rope and a horse and wrestlers. I took a couple of shots. Those of you who looked at the Weekendamerica site will recognize my wrestling partner of 1994. This is the front of his head. He has moved on to younger wrestling partners I guess!

I guess I am the last one who needs to shower off the dirt, so I better hit the hay. The kids didn’t get much of a nap, so they should sleep well. I sure hope Paul sleeps too, he has been better, but last night he wanted company.

Ah, I didn’t bring my cables to connect the camera to the computer, I will ammend this later, and add photos.