Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Fun with Family

Tonight we were able to do something I don't think we've ever done before.  We had all three brothers and their kids together to do trick-or-treating.  The kids seemed to have a ball and it was cute to see them get excited over all the candy.  Here is Miss Abby getting her makeup done by her Mom:

My Mother-in-Law gave me one of the sweetest compliments ever tonight.  She told me how much she enjoys the blog.  It was deeply touching to me.  After cropping pictures tonight, I realized that its a neat thing that she does enjoy it, given she is such an important contribution to what is the best part of the blog-the kids.  I mean, really-when you have faces like this to work with:

and then there is this one:

The lovely Miss Lauren.

There is of course our contribution to the gene pool:
Seriously though, they are the ones that inspire me to even write this blog.  They and our kids that aren't along for the ride.
Then again, they are the ones that inspired me to do the trip that the blog is about to begin with.

I'm so glad you do enjoy the blog, Mom.  If it weren't for you-there would be no blog.  So thank you.

Happy Halloween everyone!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Memphis TN to Virginia

As we are driving this morning, the Dora song "We Did It" is running through my head.  Yesterday I was feeling a mix of sadness over our out west trip ending and excitement to be back "home" on the east coast.  Today I just can't wait to be home as in home in Florida, mostly due to sheer exhaustion.  We had one more stop before we hit Florida, and that is Virginia where Nathan's family is.  Austin and I have not visited his Mom since last Fall, so it's been a year.  I'm hoping to be able to physically rest my back enough to be able to fully enjoy the visit with her and other family members.

For those that don't know, I have back issues.  If I manage my lifestyle in a way that lends to my back being well, I do very well and it is hardly noticeable.  When I don't, it can become quite bothersome.  I am now beyond the quite bothersome stage at this point and at the pain where I can't sleep at night stage.  It will take me a few weeks to fully get back to normal.  I don't like being at this point of pain, so I am looking forward to being back in an environment where I can start to heal again.

Now, I'm sharing all of that not to complain or crybaby but to share that this is just one small sign of how much it means to us to have travel time with our travel buddies.  Because they are not full timers, they can't do slow and steady like us.  So we push ourselves in a different way when with them.  We have been pondering the differences of how our life looks when alone and when with them.  We have been talking about making adjustments in life when opportunities are there, so you can take advantage of them and not let them pass you by.  We talked about weighing the options to decide whether it is worth it to you to adjust or not.  How when life brings new things there are always pros and cons to them.

For example, when alone, we tend to spend two to three weeks in one place.  We largely move this way due to my back, and we've learned to utilize it to enjoy the benefits of that.  Which means we may latch on to one or two things in that area and immerse ourselves in that.  We soak it up until we are full and then move on.  In the past month, on the other hand, we blew through so many things we sampled them at best.  We have this feeling of ugh...we feel as if we barely got more than a glimpse of these fabulous things.  It'll be interesting to see if we come back to them later during down times this winter and dig in deeper or if we'll wait until we can return and immerse ourselves to revisit those things.

Because we spent so much time in the truck (and it's the number 2 enemy to my back health) I had to spend much more time than normal being physically "down" or being quiet to compensate.  So that offset our ability to dig in and go deeper during our in the RV times or driving times.

The flip side to that is we saw an incredible amount of things in a short period of time.  We were able to share in so many neat things that it was hard for me to nail down a favorite when pondering it yesterday.  Our kids will no doubt have many memories, spread out over many interesting places we saw.  And all of that is so cool.  More than anything, it just switches things up for us when we travel with our buddies.  Which is a wonderful thing.  It's truly hard to bring "newness" to someone's life that experiences a new address every two to three weeks and yet they manage to do that each and every time we are with them.  They are incredible people in that way.

All of that to say, even though my body feels like it fought Chuck Norris and Chuck Norris was all worth it to me.   I'm pretty sure the guys feel the same way.  We see it as such a wonderful gift that we just had this trip together and are so humbled by the huge sacrifices that our travel buddies made in order to do this trip with us.  Even with my back stuff being a bugaboo to contend with, they had to do much more stretching of themselves to make this happen.  My BIL worked full days before then doing full driving days.  Something we never have to do.  They came out with two sick that is only three.  They traveled with a three year old...'nuff said.

It's the wonderful give and take of relationships and the meshing of one's lives when you chose to live in a way together beyond the superficial.  It's a beautiful thing really, when you think about it.  It enlarges you as people and shows your kids how community looks at its closest level.  And as I lie resting this next week, I'm gonna bask in the wonder of all of that.

Living the life fully with our family and our travel buddies!  Now, where is my cane?  If I have to feel as wretched as House, I might as well look like him too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank you...thank you very much....

That is now Austin's favorite phrase.  You are welcome, Austin.  Because I think I should be thanked for my insight and wisdom on this one!  That is what Moms are known for, after all!

I insisted that we go and visit Graceland and do the whole Elvis thing while in Memphis.  I mean really, can you even think of visiting and *not* doing this?

Austin did not really want to go.  My "I live for music" kid...didn't want to go and learn about Elvis.  He was not impressed with Elvis in the least and didn't get the whole Elvis adoration thing (no Elvis lover hate mail please-we all have our issues to work through).

He was appalled at the title "King of Rock" given to this man.  I say to him, do it for research's sake and you can decide for sure how off they were to give him that title.

Then we visited Graceland.  The first words out of the boy's mouth were, "He was a handsome man...I bet the ladies liked him some".  Some?????  Oh.My.  We have a lot of work to do here.

  As we moved through his house and he listened to the tour, I noticed that he was really..well, listening to the tour.  He let me know when I needed to put my headphones back on to listen to the tour.

Halfway through, about the time we hit the tiger jumpsuit, I could see he was impressed.  Dare I say, even inspired, by all of this.  I thought to myself, while grinning in that smug way that Moms work here is done.


Then we got back to the RV, and the boy started doing Elvis impressions.  Complete with curled lip.  And he showed us his Elvis dance moves.  Except they looked more like Forest Gump than Elvis at this point.  Oh.My. So I still have a bit more work to do here.  It's a start though....he is at least thanking me...thanking me very much...for introducing him to Elvis.

You are welcome, Austin.  Now please...stop dancing.  Love, your short sighted Mom.

Gibson Guitar Factory Tour

The guys and our travel buddies did the Gibson Guitar factory tour in the afternoon.  I will have Nathan and Austin write more about this later.  They said they had a good time and learned some neat stuff.  The few pictures I have, are from Daryl and Diana.  Thanks guys!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Checotah OK to Memphis Tennessee

Moving on, we landed in Tennessee for another stop over.  We decided to spend a day here due to all of the music related stuff.  Today Austin and I spent some special teen only time with Lauren and Diana.  We went to the Pink Palace Museum and first saw a movie at the Imax theater.  We saw the movie Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs.  We all thought the movie was very well done and found it interesting.

After the movie we visited the museum there, and even though our time was brief, we saw some cool things there too.  It was such a treat to have time like this with them.  And it had me wishing we lived near each other all year long so we could do things like this regularly.  Of course, that would require us living somewhere, lol.

The most interesting thing to me there was the model of the Piggly Wiggly set up there.  We learned that this was the first self-service store.  It was odd to realize that my grandparents would have been the generation to experience this transition and I wondered what their thoughts on it were.  Since all of my grandparents have passed away, I can't ask them.  So if anyone out there is reading this can share, I'd love to hear it. 

Some pictures of the museum and the beautiful fall leaves outside:


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Amarillo TX to Checotah OK

Still moving east, we made our way from Amarillo to Checotah, OK.  Since this was a very short visit, we didn't get past the campground as far as sightseeing goes.  We did read some of the local history and it was interesting.  We are hoping to come back and dig more into later.

Just a little something we saw while driving:

Living the life in...oh..somewhere in the USA!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tijeras NM to Amarillo TX

We are already exhausted and only on day two.  Today we went from New Mexico to Amarillo, Texas.  Nathan calls it Armarillo and I wonder if that is a common mistake.  It cracks me up every time he says it that way.  Nathan's family is notorious for saying words in funny ways.  Well, notorious in my mind at least.  It is great entertainment since the landscape is not the most entertaining here.  I'm happy to be back in Texas because I just love Texas!

Cadillac Ranch and the Giant Legs

I like unusual things so I was looking forward to visiting Cadillac Ranch.  I thought it would be cool to see cars buried in the ground for art's sake.  I didn't realize that the visitors are a part of that art, by leaving their mark using spray paint.  Even more cool!
From Roadside America: The Cadillac Ranch, located along the tatters of historic Route 66, was built in 1974, brainchild of Stanley Marsh 3, the helium millionaire who owns the dusty wheat field where it stands. Marsh and The Ant Farm, a San Francisco art collective, assembled used Cadillacs representing the "Golden Age" of American Automobiles (1949 through 1963). The ten graffiti-covered cars are half-buried, nose-down, facing west "at the same angle as the Cheops' pyramids."
The kids had a blast here and even the dog seemed to sense that this was way cool!

On the way back to the campground, we stopped off to see the "Giant Legs" that sit in a field, compliments of the same guy.  Not sure if all of Amarillo is this fun or not!

Living the life in Texas!

Palo Duro Canyon in Texas

We had more one stop before leaving Amarillo and that was Palo Duro Canyon, which is the second largest canyon in the US.

And since we are in Texas:

Living the life in Texas...even if only for a day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cottonwood AZ to Tijeras New Mexico

Today we started our journey back east.  We drove from Cottonwood AZ to Tijeras NM.  We stayed at a ROD park-Hidden Valley.  We were only there to sleep basically, but it seemed like a nice campground.  This was our first travel day with Coco and I'm thrilled to report she traveled beautifully.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our Newest Member of the Family

Ever since Ace has went to Florida with Auburn, we have been talking about getting another dog.  We were going to wait until we got back to Florida ourselves, because we are settling down there for a few months.  Then I saw an ad on Craigslist for a sweet girl and she won my heart over right away.  We went to meet her and really fell in love with her.

She is technically Austin's dog, which he is happy to tell you.  Her name is Coco and we are so grateful that she has joined the family.

 And while the boy was bonding with his dog, we had Josh and Lauren to have fun times with. 

Living the life in Arizona!