Thursday, June 30, 2011

We're not in Kansas anymore...oh, wait....yes, we are

Specifically, we're in Topeka. Which, if you say it lots of times in a row, sounds Asian, especially if you add a "Hi-yah!" at the end.

Oddly enough.

AND we're all in one suite AND the children are all sleeping AND it's the same price we paid for two rooms and a creaky door last night.

Today's drive was long and flat and mostly ugly. I know Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri are populated.

I just don't know why.

But now we're in Kansas. Did you know there are beautiful parts of Kansas? There are. And I'm not just saying that because I have a soft spot for the state my dad grew up in and my aunt stayed in. If we had to live in Kansas, we could live in Lawrence and just never think about the fact that we would be TWO DAYS away from the coast.

Never mind. We could never live in Kansas. We could live on the coast and drive through Kansas every 5 years or so.

But I must admit we are barely in Kansas. I might be singing a different tune tomorrow when 400 miles later we are still in Kansas. Right now I'm vacillating between "We're off to see the wizard" and "We represent the Lollipop Guild."

The Roadkill Highlight of the day was a dead coyote. It was kind of a toss-up between the coyote and a dog, collar intact, that was probably loved to pieces.

Or maybe that wasn't love. Maybe that was an 18-wheeler. I really can't say. I didn't see it happen.

I'd better get to bed. I feel all peppy because we gained an hour on the road. Time zones are funny things. But I have a feeling it's not going to feel so funny tomorrow morning when everyone is up at 6:00 thinking it's 7:00.

But tomorrow (!!!) ... there will be a change in terrain and, hopefully, an end to this journey.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome, but...

I don't even know what town we're in. I know it's not Gary, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; or Taylors, Indiana. I only know it's not because those are the only Indiana towns I can think of, and it's not any of them. Actually, I'm only confident that one of those is even a real town. One of them might be just a song, and the other one might be misspelled (misspelt?).

It's the town where there's only a Motel 6, a McDonald's, a Kountry Kitchen, and a Thriftway grocery store. Do you know the one?

Nah, me neither.

But it's somewhere just over the border from Kentucky. That in and of itself is an accomplishment, as our goal was to reach Louisville (not LEWIS-ville nor even LOU-WEE-ville but LOWELL-ville thankyaverymuch) before we stopped for the night. But we reached Louisville and then just kept right on going until we hit...wherever we are. Let's just call it Vagueville.

The drive was pretty...lots of mountains and rolling hills and good ole farmland and flowers and rivers and mining towns and distilleries and even a dead mountain lion in the middle of the highway.

I know. That's so cool.

We left the house satisfyingly clean (that is, don't inspect the baseboards or open ANY closed doors, but you may admire the vacuum pattern in the sitting room) and the homebound animals in capable hands.

The children were far better than we anticipated. We listened to a really great dramatic recording (which surprised me...I'm usually not one for dramatic retellings -- just ask any tattler in our house) of The Magician's Nephew, part of the entire Narnia series that Ethan picked up thrifting.

Then came the part I've been dreading for days (maybe even weeks?). The hotel. You know, the hotel used to be my favorite part of traveling. Now it's my least. Eight children, two adults, and a dog is overwhelming. Of course we're not naive enough to announce we're eight children, two adults, and a dog; but even still, we usually have to get two hotel rooms. So tonight I'm sharing a room with two 16-mos. olds and three other girls, and Ethan has three of the boys and the dog. My room is a very "sensitive" room, as in don't-you-dare-step-on-that-grocery-bag-on-your-way-to-the-potty-or-the-babies-will-start-screaming-again. (So guess which room has the door that CREEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKS every time you open it?)

Not that I'm complaining, mind you (which, of course, is what you say when you are, in fact, complaining).  The first set of rooms they gave us after Ethan said we needed two beds in each room was a set with one queen in each. Um, no. Let me cart the kids-n-dog back outside while you explain that we need two beds in each room, FOR REAL.

But things are calmer now. Everyone's bathed and almost dry after sharing four towels amongst eight children, and the half-hour of all-out-ear-shattering-screaming from a certain toddler who takes not-so-kindly to a play pen in a hotel room has subsided.

I love road trips.

I do, really.

I hate hotels, but I love road trips.

(And, apparently-from-the-looks-of-this-post, also dashes.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer

It doesn't feel like the first day of summer. It feels like the ... 17th or 18th. Or maybe 28th or 29th. But not 1st. Not to me.

We sort of slid out of school. There was no "This is the last day of school!" or ice cream party or week of watching videos like there was when I was in school. We just sort of started dropping subjects, and then we woke up one day and spent the whole day not doing school. Shortly thereafter, one of my friends asked if I was going to continue school through the summer. "No," I said. "I mean, how can you with yard work and projects and all the stuff around the house that has to be done?"

And the very next day we did school. And life was a little bit easier, because the children were occupied and there was a semblance of order. And then I thought, "How can you NOT do school, with all of the things that have to be done and a need for order?"

Aren't I confusing?

Lately my house has been driving me crazy. The rabbit stinks, no matter how often you change his (her?) bedding, there are always crumbs on the floor (and I am up to mopping the kitchen floor daily, mind you), various pieces of laundry and swimsuits and Legos and books and shoes are always strewn everywhere.

Ethan came (again!) to my rescue last week. He marched into the girls' room and started boxing up toys. Some of them were thrown away, some were donated to thrift stores, and some were boxed for future use.  The girls were eager to help (albeit easily distracted) and thrilled that their room was made so easy to clean.

Then Ethan went with me to pick up an outside rabbit hutch (with enclosed run -- and this thing is CUTE!). So the rabbit is out of the house and happy. And I am thrilled.

And once again I reminded that less is more/less is more/less is more. I am always the one to fight it hardest, thinking that we're taking something away from the kids or getting rid of something we'll desperately need or ... I don't know ... throwing something valuable away.

We never are! We never are!

Not that things are hunky-dory, mind you. The yard is still a wreck, the flower garden is mostly large weeds, there is a large trash pile in the middle of the driveway waiting for us to borrow a truck to cart it away, and I'm not sure where to put all of the blankets that have recently taken over the upstairs hallway.

But! Little by little, things will get done. And then winter will come and give us a break from the yard work, and we will be pining for the long lazy days of summer.

Wait. Long lazy days? Who coined that phrase, anyway? Was he seven? And single?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I am here standing beside myself

(Can you name that quote?)

Abraham and Jon-Jon, wading through the creek at Braley Pond
So somewhere in the middle of the list of Habitually Neglected Things sits this blog. Also: the yard, meal planning, checkbook balancing, hanging pictures (our walls are still bare and I'm afraid I don't even notice anymore!), and every closet in this house.

So I'm going to deal with the blog today, because that's by far the most pleasant duty. (Ha! If I call it a duty, it means I need to do it, right?)

I'll start with books. Because everywhere I lookevery day, that's what I see. I won't bore you with a recitation of all of the books lying around. I'll bore you with a random collection of books we are reading:

(There are links embedded in this post. Email subscribers may need to click over.)

(on loan from a friend: thanks, AllyeB!)

From the library:

And by "reading," I mean the children are reading their books and I ritualistically pick up my book about 0.3 seconds before I fall asleep. But the books are so pretty on my nightstand.

Gideon, running away (again)
Do you have any good reads to share? I feel a nap coming on...
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