Sunday, July 31, 2011

Changing Lives

Washington DC always makes for a long day.  We rode the train (exciting if you are a little boy!), saw museums, monuments, and even fit in the zoo!

I'm trying to get the pictures ready..I was planning to try something new.  Amy uses software to get the biggest, most beautiful collages together, and I was thinking I could try (even though I have a Mac!).  It's taking me wayy longer than I thought, so I'll keep working.  We have a super-long drive tomorrow (to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!), so that should give me time to get them ready. ; )

Here are a few that I really like:
You can't learn anything from experiences you're not having.  -Louis L'Amour (and so..we give our kids experience!) : )

This was a display on medical devices that changed our lives.  Pregnancy tests...and a One-Touch Home Meter.  They've both changed my life.

Mary Claire with Michelle O'Bama's inaugural ball gown-it was beautiful.

The kids on the National Mall with the Capitol Building in the background-but it's all washed out.  (well..I know it's there.) : )

My kids in the National Zoo (sign)!  We are totally the zoo. ; )

And the big ferocious reason we took two extra Metro rides, and walked for a couple extra miles: a real, alive Tiger.  (and suffered at least 5 meltdowns and pee behind a tree on the way there)
Do you already know not to go to DC in the hot, steamy summer?  'Cause if you ask...I'd say to wait till fall.  or Christmas.  or even Easter for the Egg Roll?  Summer is so stinkin' hot!  I love it though, so we persevered.  In thin flip-flops...I gotta take a hint from the tourists and whatever book they read.  I should wear better shoes and a fanny pack.  Bahahahaha..  Not.

At least I didn't wear heels and a Chanel bag (Seriously, people-it's gravel.)  (Did you outlet shop yesterday or something?)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

American Girl + Vera Bradley = Awesome Girls Day!

We made it safely to Washington, D.C. today!  We didn’t however make it to the National Mall to finish the museums. : (

But...we DiD make it to Tyson Corner (and American Girl and Vera Bradley and Lego and Pottery Barn Kids)!  Clay had to take Hercules into the mall so he didn’t bake again.  I think he’s learning all about responsibility..  Then we checked into our hotel (to drop Hercules and our luggage) and went to Leesburg! kind of day.

Get This.  When we were in Vera Bradley at Tyson Corner (salivating all over the lovely luggage and pencils and notebooks and purses), this sweet employee suggested we check out the outlet.  WHAT??  (double-take!)  There’s an outlet?  (Change of plans!)  Umm..we had to find this place.  So..that resulted in an extra trip! : )

We drove out to Leesburg (about 45 minutes northwest of here) and split up so I could shop a tiny bit.  Ches took the kids to see the new Smurf movie in a brand new theater (personally, gag.  I did Smurfs in the 80's and didn't see the need for them to come back), the Cobb 12 (it was only 8 days old!) (and did I mention the American Girl DC Store has only been open one month?).  I headed over to the outlets, which were only a couple minutes away, and lo and behold.  Vera Bradley.  They were so stocked!  (and they had 500 boxes of stock in the back, and couldn't even open their doors!)  I was looking for this, but it's been discontinued, and the outlets said they can't keep them in stock.  I found Mini-Hipsters for $31, a Hipster for $35, and a Tiny Traveler in Blue Lagoon (hold on to your hats..) for $9.99.  Seriously! I also put my name on a list for a Tiny Traveler in Boysenberry.  They'll ship for free, since they couldn't get to their stock-it was PaCKeD in there!
My sweet girl and her girl, Megan, at the Washington, DC American Girl Store!

All three of us girls (that does NOT make me a grandma)

They had a great book selection!

Clay with Hercules..Herc is now a shopper. ; )  And doesn't Clay look positively thrilled to be here?

With Kanani, of Hawaii!  (I have called this girl Kalani since she came out.  Mary Claire politely told me today that there is no L in Kanani.)

She loves the Tiki set with the drinks

We loved this, but I will just make one.  And it won't be $34.  ; )

And they had CRAFTS!  We made scrunchies-we tied ribbons onto little fluffy rubber bands!  Super easy.  Do try this at home.

In the hotel with her new Very Berry Paisley Mini-Hipster!  It was to replace the meter purse I'd made-this one is already organized and ...wonderful! : ) (I even got the new attache in Very we match!) heehee
Since I was so excited about Vera's Outlet...I decided to do a little give-away! : )  I picked up a little extra fun thing: a Clip Zip ID in Imperial Toile.  I got two: one for me, and one for YOU!  I thought I could clip it to my keychain, and it would hold an ID, debit card, some cash, and maybe my library card!  It would be perfect for a fast trip..or it would have been great for the water park or.. even tomorrow at the Smithsonian museums! : )

Would you like to win one for your very own?  I can't mail it till I get let's take entries till Wednesday night at midnight.  I'll pick the winner on Thursday (after I get a good night's sleep!).  Enter by leaving a comment with your first name (and email if you don't have a blog where I can find you!).  You can FB, Tweet, or blog about it to earn extra entries.  Just leave your name with where you shared in an extra comment. : )

Hope you had a great day! (Today was my 20th reunion..but as you can see-I didn't make it!  Whew-time does fly.  Frankly, I'm totally happier now than I was back then-life does get better.  I couldn't have imagined that back then though!)  Where were you twenty years ago?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mmm...Sandy Chocolate Pies

Laundry was on my agenda this morning! : )  I got up around 8, and ran down to the laundry to get some started.  I just had to wash swim stuff and a load of light things-Ethan had two shirts with stuff on them, and I didn’t want the stains to sit too long!

Then, we packed up our van.  Today was our last day at the beach. : (  I packed one suitcase with all we’d need to shower and change at Rita’s beach house after our sandy bodies trekked back from the beach.  We dropped off Hercules (Clay’s new hermit crab) so he didn’t bake in the van, and headed down to the beach!
Under the pier : )

Mary Claire and her daddy out in the waves

Ethan building roads and tunnels

Mary Claire planting a Garden.  She even watered it. ; )

This is when the girls took our chairs.  Pfttth. : P

He smiled, he smiled, he smiled for me!  (He's holding a plate of barnacles!)
It was a beautiful (HoT!) day-the water was warmer today, and it was perfect.  We (I with a little help from my little friends) made a big Pit Pool (very unofficial term! haha!).  We dug out sand, and gave it a protective wall.  It took us over an hour to get this far:

but less than an was gone.  I mean, leveled and beautiful beach again.  It still always amazes me-the power of the ocean.  And that we happily play at its feet shore.  Even with sharks and jellyfish, it draws us in.  That beautiful danger, that is ready to turn on us in an instant.

Kinda like diabetes when you think about it.  We just keep it bouncing inside of normal-not too low, not too high.  And, boy have we had a week!
Sandy Site.
We take off Mary Claire’s pump while she is in the ocean, and use the little plug to block off her site (we’ve gotten sand in it before...not fun!).  But having that pump off, having her unhooked from her lifeline of insulin-drives her CrAzY high.  I do NOT look forward to her post-summer a1c. : (  I hate having that to think about all the time.

We immediately hook her up after swimming, and start pushing insulin.  I start conservatively, but then an hour later, I’m just pushing.  I have to get her down for dinner so she can eat with everyone.  And when she’s high..she’s SO irritable and whiny and uncooperative.  I’ve promised to love her no matter the number on the meter, but only the Good Lord helps me through.  She can be so difficult when she’s not happy (or too high or too low!).  I know how I feel when I am desperate to eat, so I can’t even imagine how she feels.  I try to sympathize, I really do.  I’m sure I still have room for improvement.

Yesterday, we lost a site.  Right at the end of our pool time at the water park, she unplugged to go back in one last time, and off it came.  I knew it could happen, so I wasn’t surprised.  I just knew that then the clock was t-i-c-k-i-n-g.  I hate that too.

Ok, anyway, you get it.  Back to vacation..

The kids played, and I fell asleep in a chair as the surf came up and washed my feet.  It was the sound, the kids playing, the warm sun, the “chocolate pies” Mary Claire was “feeding” me:
the long days lately and the hard work on the was all too much!  Ches touched my hand, and I jumped.  I knew I was close to falling asleep, but really doing it?  Two totally different things when your kids are that close to powerful danger! 

Then I came up and laid under the pier and read for a while, with my legs hanging out in the sun.  This, my friends, is how you tan the backs of your legs.  Or like this:
Catch the mama in the top right.  This is how you tan your back.  Off the sand.  This will be me someone else's pictures!
We ended our day with warm showers, and a goodbye family dessert of layered ice cream sandwiches (with cool whip and caramel topping-DeLiSH!), for Ches’ cousin David’s birthday.  We took one last picture of all the kids there (we had to narrow it to post-1984 kids, since..aren’t we all kids? ha!):

Bye-bye, Ocean City, we’ll see you next year!
Love you, the Jones family

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gillian's Island

Sometimes life has other plans for us.  Change of plans...we went to the waterpark on the shore today! : )  It's officially called Gillian's Island, but I kept calling it Gilligan's Island, and we even sang the song, and the moms along the beach chairs sang along with us. : ) haha!  The girls didn't know the show, so we explained.  But it came to me..if you are only on a three-hour tour, how can you be so far away from land (home) that you couldn't make it back, and they can't find you...for years?  Something is wrong there.

Anyway, we rode all the rides: the Serpentines, Lazy River (and other tube rides!), and the Shotgun Falls.  And Ethan played the entire day at the big pirate ship area!  Here are some pictures:
Mary Claire and Caroline hugging a palm tree by the pirate ship..does that make them Tree-Huggers?

Cutie having a snack!  (this is right before losing her pump site.)

Another cutie eating my fries : )

Clay is actually running from me (the camera).  Huh.  After years of wanting to be the star.  Will wonders ever cease.

Nothing some cheesesticks can't solve. ; )

Ches playing with the action shot-it works pretty well!

This is us waiting in line for the Shotgun Falls-it totally drops you off about 8 feet above the water-big surprise!

 More action shots!

Waiting for a tube ride...we were SO high!
Then we went back to shower and get ready for dinner with family.  We were having Mexican at Rita's-they'd been cooking since morning-and it smelled delicious! : )  After dinner and sopapillas, we all got ready for family night at the boardwalk.  We were headed to Castaway Cove to ride rides!  The kids could hardly wait.

They started with the Hurricane: spun them clockwise over and over again.  They loved it.

Waiting in line for Scream Machine!

Oh gosh...and they love it!

Eric (right) and Will (left) are so sweet. : )

Add caption

My big boy on the Scream Machine wanting Off!!
I'm finally absolutely exhausted!  We have to get some sleep-tomorrow is more beach, and we leave town.  Tomorrow night we'll be in Newark, Delaware! : )


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

World's Largest Elephant and Beach Diamonds

Sightseeing was on the agenda today (due to the red skin..and the need for a small break!)  We started with Lucy the Elephant.  We kept seeing this sign by our hotel:
horrible picture, I know. : (
And Ches and I were talking about who Lucy was..and Clay piped up and started telling us!  He’d seen in on Disney Channel 411, and told us all about the two-story building..that is Lucy.  Well, if we were so close, we had to go see her!  I mean, she’s old (1881), and deserves some respect!
You have to admit.  It IS an architectural feat. ; )

Her trunk in a barrel of water!

Good thing she can't trample them!

So you can see the individual pieces of metal it took to make her!

Can you see our paper Dr. Storms?  He loved Lucy!
She’s huge, and made of metal and tin (heehee, I can make a miniature with my leftover tin!), and you can go inside her!  My kids cracked up at the big window in her...umm..bottom.  Her tail is swished to the side, and you can see her heinie.  There are postcards of a man on a ladder up cleaning the window, haha.  I don’t go for the potty humor so much, but when coupled with the strange sign at our hotel..

I DO see a pattern.  Ok, so back to the I Love Lucy show!
There’s art inside her, and a gift shop at her feet.  Tons of elephant memorabilia..and we had to partake.  Ches’ mom’s favorite thing is elephants!  We also got some postcards to send out. : )  We’re also toting a Dr. Storms (a paper cartoon of our orthodontist) (kinda like Flat Stanley), and taking his picture with us.  We’re going for most original/most creativity/US Landmarks contest for the summer. : )

Then we headed to south Jersey to Cape May to look for “beach diamonds” (rolled quartz) and to see the Cape May Lighthouse.  We stopped at the edge of the ocean to beach shop, eat lunch in the amazing breeze outside, and then to sift through the rocky sand to find quartz!

There is a sunken war ship right off the coastline, and Mary Claire got a picture of it!  We also saw the flag, and’s really a veteran’s casket flag. : (  Can you imagine allowing your husband’s flag (or your son’s) to be out and weathered?  It would be a honored item, and I’d not want it used..I think.   Anyway, it made us think and appreciate our fallen heroes.
Add caption

Gross is the appropriate word.  Preserved Porcupine Fish. : P

He begged for the Trilobite Fossil.  Only $50.

I seriously came around the corner to This. ; )

Having Lunch. (Frizzy hair pulled back)

Mary Claire got a pix of the sunken war ship.

Searching for pink beach diamonds.

Volcanic Rock!

The beach here reminded me of Nice, France.  It was smaller pebbles, but similar.  All tumbled rocks and minerals brought in by the sea.  This is Atlantic coastline, but it meets Delaware Bay (between Delaware and New Jersey).  Just gorgeous little rocks.  From whitest white to clear (the beach “diamonds”) to pink to gray to light-as-air black volcanic rock.  We collected cups full to bring back.  Some we looked carefully for, some we scooped up at water’s edge.  Clay and I were really enjoying the hunt, but everyone else was ready to move on.

Then we drove a couple miles away to see the Cape May Lighthouse and the WWII bunker still there.  We took some pictures of the bunker, then the Men went up in the lighthouse.  We girls got nervous.  I said I’d go, but Mary Claire saw that teensy skinny tube of stairs up the center and changed her mind!  We did some museum store shopping, and learned all about the lighthouse.
A Baleen Whale Jawbone!

Sweet Clay..finding nature.  It's a huge Luna Moth-just absolutely gorgeous!  The moth stuck right with him: crawled around on his clothes, and never left him.  He even came back to Ocean City with us.  (Clay's uncle Joe told him the moth had lived his purpose-he'd flown, reproduced, and now he'd die..well, not exactly in those words) ; )
Isn't it pretty?  With natural camoflauge-its wings look like branches with buds!

I had just pulled a big, long splinter out from under Mary Claire's thumbnail-yep, a deep one. : (  Then my nice tweezers fell between the boards.  Gone.  My eyebrows will be looking creepy in a couple days...

All the way at the top-157 feet up! : )

That scratch on my lens is really bugging me about now. : /
There are two walls, and inner and outer.  The outside wall is cone-shaped, and is 3 feet, 10 inches thick at the bottom and 1 foot, 6 inches at the top!  It was built in 1859, and is the oldest still standing at Cape May Point (the first two built are now underwater due to erosion.)  It’s 157 feet tall, and 217 steps to the tippy top.  And yes, the beacon still continues to operate!

Totally an aside..but isn't this cool?  They put black/white pictures up in the upper windows! : )
Finally, we headed back to Ocean City to let the boys all swim, and we girls?  We went shopping! :)  Mary Claire got a couple little things for her American Girl doll, and we stayed at the bookstore for a l-o-n-g time! (till our meter ran out)

We had played games, sang songs, told stories, had dinner at Rita's beach house, then we walked up the street to Johnny B. Goode's ice cream shop.  They have entertainment every night, and it's The place to be!
After we all got ice cream (cake batter, cocoonut Mounds, cotton candy, and Mississippi Mud!), there were GaMeS!  This is a line dance.  Remember those?

In the gray is Eric, the kids' cousin!  Clay is grinning-and dancing! : )

Hula Hoop Contest!  There were so many kids, they spilled out onto the sidewalk!

Sweet Camille, my great beach friend! (Ches' cousin, John's wife!)

Starting the Limbo!

Can you see Ethan all bent backwards?  He stayed in for a long time!  Clay was tied for last place.  He got frustrated, but I made him go congratulate the other kid-all in the name of friendly fun. : )
Another Wonder-Full day, and we are tired again! : )  Tomorrow?  More beach and boardwalk time tomorrow night!