October 26, 2011

Hoover Dam


The last day of our trip was from Henderson, NV to Los Angeles.  We picked Henderson as a stopping point so that we could swing by the Hoover Dam.  I was really impressed!  One thing I never knew about the Dam was that the major function is to provide water to the areas downstream, including Los Angeles.  Mostly for agriculture.  I thought that producing electricity was the primary function but that is just an added benefit.

 We took the short tour (the younger kids weren't allowed on the longer one but I think it would have been very cool).  We got to see the turbines on our tour, which Ken was very excited about.  Nick was mostly excited about the fact that the tour guides let him push the buttons on the elevator.  Liz didn't want to do any of it at all!
 All of the views from the Hoover Dam are magnificent!
We had a great day there and really enjoyed learning all about it.

We left there about 2pm thinking that the short 4 hour trip to LA would be perfect.  Um, boy, were we wrong!  Apparently, everyone who goes to Las Vegas for the weekend and is returning home to LA is on the same main road.  A 4 hour trip took us 6 and a half.  Ugh!  But, we made it!  We managed to traval across the country in 4 days and not want to pull our hair out by the end.  :)

October 24, 2011

Phase I: Home to Los Angeles


Phase I:  Home to Los Angeles

We started our trip on a Thursday.  We left home about 2 pm with the ambitious goal of making it to Kansas City that night.  It was a good plan because it meant that everyone slept a lot of the trip.  And that meant fewer stops.  We did stop for dinner at Denny's but that was it.

The next leg of the trip was Kansas City to Denver.  We had breakfast and headed out.  Kansas is a very, very big state!  We stopped for a nice picnic lunch at a rest stop along the way and that was really great--food and leg stretching!
Lunch!

Peter enjoying the sunshine.

Wind turbines were the big excitement through Kansas.

The third day we headed out of Denver and headed for Henderson, Nevada-- just south of Las Vegas.  This was the longest leg of the trip.  And the part that made the drive totally worth it.  The mountains are gorgeous and the entire day was a feast for the eyes.  Again, we stopped for lunch at a rest stop but this time it was along the Colorado River.  We could have spent the whole day playing in the river and walking the bike path.

Mountains!  With snow!





We arrived in Henderson really really late.  Or rather, early in the morning.  I was thankful that since our route took us straight through Las Vegas that all the kids were asleep in the car and didn't see any crazy billboards!  Then at 3am, Liz threw up.  All. over. Peter.  The funny part was that in my sleep, I thought Peter had spit up all over Liz and I kept saying, "Sorry,Liz, Sorry honey....Peter didn't mean it...."  THEN, I realized.... it was the reverse!  And there is nothing like having to call the front desk in the middle of the night to ask for new sheets! 

The fourth day we headed to Hoover Dam for a little sightseeing before making the last leg of the trip.  More on that in the next post!

October 15, 2011

Driving through Colorado

I thought I would be able to post pics as we've gone along but I forgot my camera wire. I wanted to be able to jot down those little memories along with the photos. We are in day three of car travel and everyone has done amazingly well. Peter especially. We left Denver this morning and will end up outside of Las Vegas tonight. This leg of the trip has been totally worth the drive for the scenic beauty. Tomorrow we hope to see the Hoover Dam.

October 14, 2011

The Adventures of Hammie.

This is Hammie.

I think a hamster has to be very special and very loved in order to warrant it's own blog post!  And, Hammie is both of those things.  Hammie is Patrick's hamster.  Like most hamsters I've known, Hammie is an escape artist.  The best of the best.  I like to call him Houdini Hammie.  But, the kids really don't get who Houdini is so... it is lost on them.

Hammie really likes his ball.  Patrick got him for doing a good job with some cavities.

We've had two instances now where Hammie has escaped and I've really really worried that he was dead or lost forever.  Patrick was so worried he wouldn't even look for Hammie.  The first time, I turned the house upside down looking for that hamster!  I was worried that I would step on him in the middle of the night because he blends into the carpet upstairs.  I kept telling the kids, look in baskets, look in the basement, Hammie is stuck somewhere and he can't get out.  Did they listen to me?  No, of course not.

So, on the evening of the third day, I ask Ken, please, please go look in the basement for Hammie.  Little Peter needed his mom, so I couldn't do it.  I just lay in bed nursing Peter and prayed to St. Anthony.  The next thing I know, Ken is running up the stairs with a garbage can.  Who is in it?  One very wet, scared, pee-covered little Hammie.  I was so excited I jumped out of bed and immediately gave him a bath in the sink.

Ken says he went down stairs to the basement and he listened.  And sure enough he heard a little scratching sound.  And he started looking and thinking and saw this pvc-pipe thing I rigged up awhile ago for holding my light for seedlings.  He looked at that and thought, it looks a lot like Hammie's little tunnels, surely Hammie might like something like that.  Sure enough, there was a warm spot in it.  And a little scratching noise.  And, by this time, Ken is really praying that this is Hammie--and not some other warm-blooded rodent!  Hammie it was.  Poor thing got in and couldn't get out.

I wasn't so much as thrilled about Hammie being found as I was thrilled that my dear Patrick's heart would be spared this time.  He loves Hammie.  Patrick is fond of bringing Hammie out at parties and showing off his "tricks"!  

Hammie got lost once more in the basement.  But this time, we had a harder time finding him even though we suspected he was down there.  And this time, the cat was down there and I was really worried the cat had sealed Hammie's fate.  But, thankfully, we found him in a backpack that was in an aquarium.  Go figure.  Silly hamster!  But, we've figured out that if we can keep little fingers from leaving the cage open and we tape down all the parts he can get open--we can mostly keep him contained.

Hammie has one more adventure in store.  This time he is going to Grandma's house!  Hopefully, this time he behaves himself.

October 13, 2011

Book review---Motherless.





Enthralling.

Riveting.

This book will have you on the edge of your seat!

I have just finished reading Motherless by Brian J. Gail as part of The Catholic Company's reviewer program.  I absolutely loved it. 

At 509 pages, this is no "quick" read but you won't want to put it down until you are done.  I went into this book without any idea of the content and I hadn't read either of the other books in the series.  I don't want to spoil it for you. 

I'll give you a little taste, though.

Motherless centers around the "life issues", Gail frequently repeats throughout the book, that are in such debate these days.  In-vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, end-of life care.  Obviously, the Catholic Church sees no debate.  The real issue is how, as a people of faith, are we going to respond to the Church's call for respect for life?  Motherless explores this question through the lives of the characters, such as the new CEO of a Catholic hospital or the accountant of a research lab.  Gail did a wonderful job in weaving fiction with reality and really makes you think!

And that is all I'm going to tell you!  Go, go read it! 

You can find Motherless by Brian J. Gail at The Catholic Company.

October 12, 2011

Snuggle muffin.

 This is a post purely about baby love.
I love those baby cheeks.  And the closed fists.
And the snuggles. 
Yes, yes, the snuggles. 

I love those thighs.  Chunky, snuggly thighs.

I love those blue eyes and that he likes to get his feet.
Roly, poly, feet-grabbing with a drooly chin.

I love that smile!
My snuggle muffin!

October 11, 2011

It was my birthday!


I really don't think I need to say how old I am!! :) But, I had a great birthday. Ken and I always say we have birthday "weekends"--there is just so much fun to be had and traditions we like to follow.  For my birthday weekend, we usually go apple picking or pumpkin picking.



Look at all those candles! Count them if you can!  We spent a great day with Nana (she made me her homemade banana pudding-yum!) and played games. 


Then, we hit Wendell's farm on Sunday.  Liz got to do her favorite thing--ride the pony.  She has talked about it since last year!  This pony's name is Rusty.


Then, we hit the pumpkin patch on the tractor ride and each picked a favorite.  Eight pumpkins is a lot of pumpkins!


Then, we tried to lose the boys in the corn maze but we kept finding them.  Nathan was a little disappointed because we ended up taking the emergency exit!


Ken was trying to tell us all something about corn, like a true country man.  I'm not sure any of us were paying any attention! 

It was a beautiful weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed mysef!  It was a blessing to be able to celebrate my birthday with family.

October 6, 2011

We're going to the closet...

...we're going on a trip!  We're going to the closet, gonna grab our stuff and split! 

Zooboomafoo, anyone? Let's just say I can't, can't get that song out of my head!



(go to about 2:20 for the song!)

So, yes, we are going on a trip.  A very long trip.  Across the country.  A minimum of 35 hours in the car (assuming we don't get lost and all that), 8 of us piled into our sweet, but cramped, minivan.

Are we insane???

I mean, people used to do this all the time, right?  Like, in the 70s or something.  We could have flown.  We thought about it.  But, dragging six kids, luggage, car seats, etc etc through airports and on a long flight seemed more traumatic than 3 days nonstop in the car.

I think I am crazy.

Anyway, we're heading to Los Angeles.  Hopefully, our Guardian Angels will be looking out for us the whole way.  The benefit to driving is that we get to see a lot of scenery.  We have a weekend in Yosemite planned.  A stop by the Grand Canyon.  A once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip.  I've never been across the Mississippi in my whole life!  But, Ken had to go for some training out there for two weeks and we thought we'd tag along.  Why not?

So, stay posted.  I might try to twitter along the way.  I have my twitter feed added to the upper right corner there.  And if you see that, you will see I don't really use twitter. 

Say a prayer for us--we're going to need it!  :)

October 3, 2011

Four Months!

Peter is four months!
He's always got something in his mouth.
He's getting really good with those two fingers together.

He's rolling over from tummy to back and trying real hard to go the other way.
He's talkative, likes to razz back at you, and grabs things to get in his mouth.
He doesn't want to miss out on dinner, even though he doesn't eat anything yet.
He wants to think about it though and see if he can get something off a plate.
He loves to have his diaper and his clothes changed.

He is a total smilebug right now!
And a delight in our lives.
His siblings are just as enamored by him now as they were the first week!