Friday, January 30, 2009

Redneck Seafood

My friend, Ruhammie, sent me an e-mail today titled "Redneck Seafood." Attached was this photo. Obviously nothing else was needed to describe this, but it had the famous line of, "I don't care who you are, that's funny!" So right it was, I laughed and laughed, almost peeing myself. I quickly responded that we were having seafood tonight.

Well, true to my word, I sent Brian and the kids to the store for all the ingredients. Now some of you may think I sent all of them so I could have a little peace and quiet. That is just not true, Brian has been working long hours this week and I am sure he and the kids would enjoy this time together. We quickly made up the macaroni and cheese and heated the green beans. We decided to cut the hot dogs before cooking so that hopefully the "legs" would curl. Our octopus/squids inked red ink instead of the traditional dark ink. Ketchup was just something the kids wouldn't pass up. We all had a lot of fun making and playing with our dinners. Oh, and as a side note, yes, my mother did teach me not to play with my food, but it is just so much more fun.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Play Audition

Connor and I sat for about 2 1/2 hours today while Angela auditioned for a Missoula Children's Theater play. She said that there were many times she felt a little bit embarrassed yelling out all the things the directors asked for. She did an absolutely great job, nice and loud, much louder than some of the older kids. The only problem, they had 102 kids audition, but not enough spots for all of them. They ended up not accepting anyone under nine years old. She was really disappointed, but kept a really good attitude. We are now planning on going to watch the play on Saturday. I am so proud of her.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Making Ice Cream

For Christmas, we received a ball that you can roll around and make home-made ice cream in. Being that we are ice cream lovers this sounded like the perfect family gift. We made ice cream last night and Connor did not want to help roll the ball. Angela made it to the half-way point when we had to stop and stir. Therefore, Brian and I had the majority of the work. But, of course, the kids helped to reap the rewards. I guess at this point in our lives, a family gift is not always for the whole entire family. The recipe we used was sort of a custardy type ice cream and it was really yummy. We just need to double the recipe and maybe we will be able to freeze the extra and have it two nights in a row.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flake Out Festival

We headed up to the Wisconsin Dells today. It is about 20 minutes northwest of here. They were having their annual 'Flake Out Festival'. The big attraction was the snow sculpture competition. Teams of three got a block of snow measuring 6'x6'x10' and 48 hours to sculpt it into something amazing. The teams had about 16 hours left when we were there and the sculptures were already pretty amazing. The detail the put into the snow was really neat. They are not allowed to use any coloring, so the sculpture is all white, but perfectly shaped and recognizable. We got a picture of Angela next to a butterfly and then the three of us next to a turtle. More pictures can be seen at (about half way down the page should say snow sculptures with links to pictures of last year and hopefully by tomorrow, this year). They also had a man carving ice and a blacksmith working his forge. We really had a good time. To top it all of the temperature was in the mid to high 20's so it felt really warm to us.

Swimming Lessons

Today we started swimming lessons. The kids will be taking them every Saturday; Angela for a total of ten lessons and Connor for a total of eight lessons. Brian got to come and watch today, but he will not make it to every lesson due to school. Angela has been very excited for the past week and a half, but today wasn't quite like she expected. Her lesson is one hour long and it was a lot of hard work. At one point her instructor said, "I am not one for fun and games. I prefer to work everyone really hard." Angela's eyes got pretty big at that statement. We will have to come up with a time to just go to the pool to play. Connor's lesson is a half an hour and he and I get to do it together. We had a lot of fun playing in the water, but there was not much instruction. We just got to do whatever we wanted. He really had fun, but they both usually do in that water. (We'll have to get some more pictures of Angela as the lessons continue.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mixed Blessing

Brian's crew got laid off for the rest of the week due to temperature, but mostly due to the forcasted high winds. It is really nice to have him home, but not too much fun to have a week of unpaid work. It is a little weird for the kids having Dad home during the week.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fall to Winter

I have been home for eleven days. I have wanted to update our picture on the blog. There was just one problem, not enough snow. It seemed, before we left, that many people were warning us about the "Wisconsin Winter." So when I left Washington, and my parents had 36" of snow, I expected there to be just as much here. But then when we got here we could see the ground sticking through most of the snow. Therefore, I kept waiting for snow to take the picture. We finally got a few inches (a couple of days ago) and no wind today, which made it the perfect time for the picture. Again, not quite right. I had this vision of snow on the ground, on the barn and on the trees. The sun had melted most of it off the barn, the trees were all bare of leaves and had no way to hold the snow. All that was left was the snow on the ground. I was having a vision of a "Washington Winter," but instead I got a "Wisconsin Winter" go figure! I still do enjoy the beauty of the picture and the area, especially when the wind is not blowing so much.
Since there was no wind, we got to go out sledding today. The kids really enjoyed getting out and playing in the snow. It has been just too cold to do it until today. Maybe, if I put them in about five layers and we stayed out for five minutes we could do it, but I'd rather not. Today was perfect. At one point, Brian tied the dog to the sled and had him pull both kids. Connor had a short ride, because he did not care for it. Angela had a really long ride and eventually had the dog pull her all the way back to the camper.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bedtime Struggle

Connor seems to be going through a little bit of bedtime separation anxiety. We put him to bed at 7:30 PM. We then go through a routine of him climbing out of bed and coming out of his room, and us putting him back into bed. Brian and I try to alternate who has to deal with him, but Connor seems to be choosing Mom over Dad. I have tried singing to him, rocking him, just holding him but nothing seems to work. It is like he just needs to wear himself down. Then by about 9:00 PM he crashes. I remember Angela doing this at about the same age. The only difference, she didn't/couldn't climb out of her bed, so it was a little easier to let her cry it out. There is not much of that with Connor. I am really hoping this does not last that long as it is not a fun game to play.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How do we serve?

I believe that we all end up in places or situations that make us grumble and complain. I have heard many people that it is their jobs that make them unhappy. For others it is their family, neighbors, church, athletic club, etc. I know that for me, I have struggled with being moved into a camper and to a new state. I came here with the thought that I would not get involved in many things or try to form any relationships because we could be moving soon. This is a rather isolating thought, but today I started on the path to change that thinking. We went to church today and the pastor was preaching about a scripture referring to John the Baptist. The point and purpose of his sermon was a little more detailed, but one point stuck out in my mind. He said, "Think about if God was asking you, "What/where/how are you serving where I sent you?"." It made me realize that I am not just here by chance. Just like none of us gets put where we are by chance. God has a hand in everything that happens to us. We need to learn how to serve him no matter where we are. Therefore, I am going to try to jump in and get involved where ever we may end up. It doesn't matter if we are there for a week or a year. I would rather be part of something than part of nothing. I guess that is enough preaching to all who might read this, it was an uplifting message to me, maybe it will be to you too.

It's all okay!

Friday, we ran into the hardware store and got a powerful heater. Brian got it all set up. By that evening, everything was thawed and working fine. What an amazing man he is.

Friday, January 2, 2009

We made it home safe, but not without work to do.

We are finally home safe and sound. We flew home on New Years Day. I didn't think that would be a problem, but I don't think I will ever do it again. We went to bed at 2:30 AM and got back up at 4:30 AM. The drive to the airport was slow but good. Our flights out were very uneventful. On both flights the kids and I were together, but Brian had to be quite a few rows away. The first flight was only about two hours, but it felt much longer. I was very tired and every time I tried to nap the kids would need something. I got about 10-15 minutes of sleep. We had a layover in Minneapolis, which was just barely over an hour. We had enough time to locate our next gates, buy some sandwiches and go to the bathroom. The second flight was much shorter, just barely over an hour. I got another 10-15 minute nap. Brian fared much better as he was able to be without the kids and sleep as much as he could. Angela got to sit up in the pilots chair and see what it would be like to fly the airplane. She seemed to really like that. Fortunately, all of our luggage made it on this trip. We left the airport, shopped for some groceries, picked up the dog and made it home. Then the work started....

Living in the camper has been a bit of a stretch in many ways. First, just learning to live someplace so small. We had to condense our belongings greatly. Secondly, figuring out how to keep everything properly maintained and running. Lastly, learning to accept that we chose a very unconventional way to live. It has been humbling (and embarrassing at times) for me to tell people that we live in a fifth wheel trailer. Due to that fact, there have been times in the adjustment period (which, I believe, is still happening) when we would get upset at each other as we were learning all the quirks of living here. Not so yesterday. We got home to a freezing cold camper. Our thermometer was offline. It does not go offline as low as my parents, but at 32 degrees. We don't truly know how cold it was, but we could see our breath and we all had cold noses and fingers. We realized that the propane tank had run out and the water had frozen. Also, some soda pops had froze and exploded, the bag of potatoes froze and then gooed, and most anything else in the house that was liquid was frozen (ie: oil, lotion, canned goods, plants). This would have been perfect fighting material, but we all kind of just laughed and then bundled up in layers with hats and gloves. Brian got the propane back on and the house warming up. I was doing the happy dance that the temperature was 36 degrees. Above freezing, woohoo! We had a dinner of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches because, they were warm and did not take water to cook. By bedtime the camper was a comfortable 66 degrees. This morning most everything that had frozen was back to normal, except for the plants. Brian unfroze the water pipes and we had water. Then we noticed that the black and gray holding tanks had frozen solid. We are in the process of unfreezing these and praying that there has been no long term damage done.