Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Some random information

We are in Utah
and we are *mostly* unpacked
Don't ask me about the basement or the guest room.

We hung the TV over the fireplace
because it's all set up for that already
even though
I hate TVs over the fireplace
huh, no picture of the actual tv...just the process.


Without really thinking about the consequences
I started stripping the wallpaper off the wall of the dining room
Now it looks really terrible
and I'm tired of doing it


Since we arrived, Isabelle has really figured out walking!
It's so cute.

Isabelle has decided we are ok.
Yesterday she actually held her arms out for me to pick her up.
Before that, she would look away or just act like I didn't exist.
It was pretty funny to watch, but not what I wanted in the long run!
It doesn't hurt that I feed her something every time she sees me.

In only a few days time we have trained Isabelle for a little evening ritual.

We put her up on the couch and put the blanket over her legs.
Then we put on a show
It doesn't matter what show, because she's only interested in the idea of it, not the watching.
We might have a snack or we might not.
If we aren't fast enough with the show, she points at the TV so we'll hurry it up.

Then, after a couple of minutes, she feels tired and she points to the stairs...
so I take her down and she goes to bed.

We've only done it for maybe 3 nights.
But she's hooked!

During the day today, she wanted up on the couch.
Once there, she grabbed the blanket and put it over her lap
and then pointed and made a questioning sound at the TV.
It was so cute.
But we'll have to make sure we have some fun activities up here so she doesn't equate our house with lazing on the couch.

Kayley is perfectly happy with me and has been from the day I arrived.
That's the plus of me arriving before she is old enough to be scared of anyone!
I feed her and hold her and talk to her.
She has given me a few smiles in return.
So it's a good deal we have going.
I'll have to get some pictures!
Yikes! None on my phone.
Bad grandma.

Carter and I had a bit of a running joke 
wondering when our neighbors were going to stop by with cookies or brownies.
So, Amber was kind enough to send up a plate of cookies and a card made by herself and Isabelle
(Isabelle was covered in marker by the time they finished it)
They gave us more than 3 cookies...we just ate most of them before I thought to take a picture.

We did have a neighbor stop by today with bread.
So I guess we'll have to stop having a bad attitude about unfriendly neighbors

I really need some neighbor boys to come over and befriend my son.
How do I arrange that?

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Moving is:

the end

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


*ok, apparently the animals in the story I'm about to tell are actually Bison. But it's just not as good if I call them Bison (as you will see) so I'm keeping it as is. I'm sorry if my lack of accuracy bothers anyone*

As we crossed South Dakota
we saw a lot of things referring to buffalo:
names of stores
pictures on signs
big replicas in front of stores
road and towns named after buffalo

But no actual buffalo

It became a joke of sorts.

We saw a couple of big signs talking about Buffalo Bluff
and a real live buffalo herd.
So, of course, I took the exit.

There was some road construction and there was a guy sort of answering questions and directing traffic.

I asked him about Buffalo Bluff
and he said as far as he knew it was an old tourist thing that no one even went to anymore.
"Are there any buffalo on the bluff?"
"I don't think so."

"Is there anything we should definitely see here in South Dakota?"
"Wyoming? Although I'm not sure it's much better than here."

Don't get a job with the tourist department, dude.

So, I got back on the freeway.

and then we came across

Buffalo Gap

and both Carter and I said
There better be some buffalo!

We did see this on the side of the road:

Too far away to be totally sure.
But I think we finally, finally saw some buffalo.

At least that's what we are going to tell ourselves.

And then...
the magic happened.

We went to Wind Caves (just south of Mount Rushmore)
and there they were!
Lots and lots of them!
Blocking the road and staring right at us.

It was awesome.

Our buffalo wishes were fulfilled at last.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Epic Road Trip 2014

As will become obvious, the goal of this trip was not to get across the country as fast as possible.
If I'm going to drive across the country, I'm going to see a few things.
(Whether my kid wants to or not)

I made a point of bringing my "real" camera
for all of the sites we were planning to see.
It promptly died on day one.
So awesome.

Day One
July 13
Our goal on day one was to go to Western New York to stay with some friends of ours, the Duncans.
They have a cool cabin, built by George Duncan himself and even a little guest cabin.

Can you see the babies? They were so adorable!

We had a lovely, relaxing evening there.

Day Two
July 14
Chicago was the goal of Day Two.
Austin is living in Chicago now so how could I cross the country without seeing him?

I had booked all of my hotels online in advance for a couple of reasons:
to be sure I had a room waiting for me
to give me a goal to drive to every day

I booked a Hotel 6 near Boston.
and although I thought I had read reviews for the hotels I chose, I am apparently not that good at choosing hotels.
It was a bit run down and right next door to a strip club!
We tried to order a pizza for delivery and were told that they "don't deliver over there"
So I went to pick it up and asked the girl if I was in the bad part of town.
She tried to be diplomatic but in the end just said, "Lock your doors"
But we slept ok
and were safe 
so it worked out.

Day Three
July 15
We drove straight into the city on the morning of Day Three so we could visit Austin.
We got to see his apartment, took him to breakfast and bought him some groceries.

We then drove to Nauvoo, Illinois 
where I planned to spend two whole days.
I've always wanted to spend some time visiting Nauvoo.
It is a well known site in the history of my church.

First we visited Carthage jail
where Joseph Smith was killed.
The last time I visited there, the kids were little (Carter was a baby)
and we locked the keys in the car!
We were stuck there for over 4 hours waiting for AAA.
This visit was much shorter.

 This is the window that Joseph Smith fell from as he was shot.
 The door with the bullet holes in it

 We arrived in time to see the show that night so that was awesome.

The hotel was nice enough.
Nothing special but also nothing horrible.

Day Four
July 16
We spent Day Four in Nauvoo seeing ALL the sites.
We went to the visitor's center first thing to get tickets to shows and sort of plan out what to see.
The woman kept mentioning things and saying "Oh, he'll love to do this"..referring to my bored looking teenager.
We laughed about it after we left because, really, who cares what Carter wants to do (or not do)!
This was my party.
Riding in a wagon pulled by oxen.

Carter said we could do whatever I wanted and he was a good sport.
We couldn't fit in all of the shows that were there but we saw just about everything else.
It was great!
Carter showing his commemorative Nauvoo brick
The Nauvoo Temple rebuilt just like the original
We stayed for the second show that night!

And Carter admitted to enjoying lots of it...not all...but lots.

We spent the night there again.

Day Five
July 17
We headed towards the Badlands but it was a little too far to make it all the way there.
My goal was about 8 hours of driving per day.
We stayed in another scary roadside hotel...
and I once again doubted my ability to pick hotels!

In the morning the police were in our parking lot
because someone had sideswiped a car in the parking lot and completely ripped off the whole rear side of the car
and then they took off.
I was soooo glad it wasn't me that got hit!

Day 6 
July 18
Forcing Carter to take a picture with me at a scenic overlook. This kids hatred for pictures is super annoying!
Badlands National Park
One of the first things you see when entering the park is a place where you can see the prairie dogs up close.  They were so cute!

We really enjoyed driving the loop and we got out and did a couple of short hikes.
We commented on how if Dad had been with us, he would have been off the trail, hiking all over
But Carter and I were perfectly content to stay on the trail.

excited as usual
Good reasons to stay on the trail! 

There were MANY MANY signs for MANY MANY miles as we drove
that advertised Walls Drugstore.
It has been around since the great depression
and got people to visit by offering free ice water.
We decided it was worth visiting...
the place is HUGE.
We ate lunch there and, of course, tried the free ice water.

Carter trying the ice water, which was not delicious.
They are also known for their homemade donuts, which were quite delicious!

We then drove to Mt. Rushmore
I enjoyed it more than Carter I think, but its something I've always wanted to see.
We didn't hike as far up as we could have...
we were both kind of hot and lazy.

The original, scale carving that was used to do the mountain.

It is near a little town that obviously exists only to feed and entertain the tourists.
We stopped and had an ice cream cone but didn't stay long.

We got back in the car and headed to the hotel.
We got a hotel near the Wind Caves (our next destination)
The hotel was a Super 8...not a bad hotel
but the area had SO MANY hotels
I have no idea why I had such a hard time finding a good one!

We had a decent night's sleep and no one mugged us.
We're just going to call that a success.

Day Seven
July 19
Our first order of business was to go to the Wind Cave.
We were going to try to do that on the same day as Mt. Rushmore but just got too tired.
We got there for the first tour of the day (8:40) and that was totally the right move!
There were only 17 people in our group and all the other tours were a full 40.
The cave was very cool and definitely worth visiting.
We also saw the herd of buffalo  that lives on the land over the caves
and that was super cool!
The original opening to the cave...discovered in the 1800s

My original plan was to drive 8 hours on that day,
stop at a hotel,
and then drive the 3-3.5 hours home the next morning.
But we decided at about 5 hours in that we would just keep going and get home today.

As we drove, we passed the hotel we would have stayed at
It had a beautiful view, it looked amazing on the outside
(so it was probably nice and clean and all that on the inside)
I started freaking out a little bit at missing out on our one and only nice hotel
but Carter was adamant that we keep going.
So we did.

We happened across another site related to the Mormon Pioneers so I stopped there.
It was a quick one...but I got a picture of the mountain pass called "Devil's Gate"
How those pioneers made it through those mountain passes with wagons and hand carts is beyond my comprehension!

We arrived at about 10 PM

80 MPH speed limits in lots of places
listening to the Divergent series of books as we drove (still have 3 hours to go to finish)
ABBA on spottify that kept me awake when I really needed it
Watching for buffalo
Seeing lots of windmills
All the farms! Man, we grow a lot of corn in this country.
I finally got to watch the Lego Movie
My car got almost 40 MPG!
The weather!  It was perfect! Not too hot, not muggy.  We commented on it often.  We had a couple of rain storms but nothing bad.  It was just about perfect weather for our entire trip.
Spending a lot of time with Carter.  We had a good time together.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I'm not sure what is going on with me
and, yes, it might be related to moving and stress and what-not
but I am not sleeping lately!

I am getting around 3-4 hours per night.
It doesn't matter when I go to bed.
I wake up 3 or 4 hours later...
and my brain is done.

I feel tired.
But I cannot get back to sleep.

I often lay there for a long time trying.
Sometimes I get up and accomplish something 
(laundry, reading, dishes, computer)
Other times I just get up and pretend it's morning.
I take a shower and blow dry my hair.

Often, after I've showered, I feel sleepy again.
So I lay down (usually with not-quite-dry hair)
and fall asleep for an hour or so.

I wake up looking fabulous!
not really

Tonight, for example,
I went to sleep around 11:30 I think.
I laid down much earlier...10 or so.
I woke up at 2:45.
It is now 4:22 and I have not fallen back to sleep.

I moved some laundry.
Started the dishwasher
downloaded the Utah drivers booklet for Carter
Read the rules for each of the states we are driving through to see if Carter is allowed to help me drive in other states with a driver's permit
(the answer: no)
wandered the house
and laid here trying to think relaxing thoughts.

Usually at some point during the day I will feel so tired that I will lay down.
Sometimes I nap and sometimes I just lay there relaxing.

I can't imagine it will be good to be driving for 8 hours a day on 3 hours of sleep.
So I hope I sleep better this next week!
It's hard to imagine I will sleep very well in various cheap hotels, however.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The attack of the kidney stone

On Wednesday, July 1, 
Six days before my big move across the country
I was attacked by my kidney.

If you've never had kidney stones,
you should thank your lucky stars and also pray that it never happens to you.
It is horrendous.

Some people say that it is as bad as child birth.
But, as a woman who has experienced natural childbirth,
I just want to say...
It's worse.

horrible pain
and the only thing you get at the end
if you are lucky
is a little rock.

And you do all kinds of embarrassing things when you are in unrelenting pain.
Take my word for it.

I have had this stone since December.
It attacked me the day after Christmas.
Then again in April
Then again in July.

I never passed it...
it just kept moving around and blocking important bodily pathways.
then it would move a little bit and unblock
so that I could go on living with this little time bomb inside of me.

I realize the timing of this last attack could have been worse.
It could have happened while I was driving across the country.
So, even though the timing isn't very good
I see how it wasn't the worst scenario.

The doctor decided that I wasn't going to be able to pass it
and they scheduled surgery.

So I had the little sucker removed on Thursday.
5 days before my move.

As I waited for surgery,
I felt a bit of a negative vibe between my surgeon and the nurses.

I don't know about you but I want my surgeon to be the kind of guy that everyone loves.
Animosity with co-workers seems like a bad thing. 
I guess it doesn't mean anything in terms of surgical skill but it still put me on edge.

I got the impression that the doctor was trying to get this done in a hurry
and the nurses and other staff were annoyed
and feeling like "I'll get my stuff done when I get my stuff done.  Back off!"

So at one point,
the nurse asks if the doctor has been in to see me.
He had.
She says, "Did he mark you?"
Another nurse pipes up with "If he didn't mark her, I'll go get him and make him come back"
I respond, "yes, he marked me"
"Where?  Your arm?" (said with a snarky tone of voice)
"Um. No.  My leg"

Which was apparently the right place for him to have marked me.
And the poor annoyed nurses just had to let the surgeon go.

Days later...
I still have a permanent market "yes" on my right leg
even after multiple showers and lots of scrubbing.

The surgery was a success and they removed a 5mm stone.
It's now being evaluated
So that they can tell me to cut even more things out of my diet, I assume.

The unfortunate thing is that they had to insert a stent.
Which is a big tube running from the kidney to the bladder
to keep the tube open in case of swelling.
this tube does not feel good

So I have spent the last several days
doing a lot of nothing

I was thankful we had packed gradually and in advance
so I didn't have all that much to do.

The movers come today
July 7
and I will probably be trying to find ways to lay down in the midst of the chaos.
Dangit, my kidney hurts!