Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trip Ramblings

Spring is here! I love stepping outside and hearing the birds in the trees, seeing the bright yellow daffodiles, smelling that crisp, spring air.
It's making me long for the days of flip flops, summer blouses and.... road trips!

We took our first road trip almost 24 years ago, when Sharaya was one month old. We lived in San Diego at the time and Chuck's aunt had invited us to the Tri Cities (here in WA State. I swore I was never coming back!) for Thanksgiving. Looking back now, I can't believe we did it with a one month old! Since then, we have taken more than 30 road trips, covering most of the U.S. 

All of my family still lives in San Diego and for that reason, most of our trips have been there and back. A few times we drove straight through. Twenty two hours of driving without stopping to sleep. 
Mainly because we were young, and we could. Don't do that anymore.
Mainly because we're old, and don't have to. :)

We would pile the girls into the car with pillows, snacks, books, things to keep them occupied. Chuck prepares for these by mapping out our route, then pinpointing all the gas stations, rest stops and truck stops along the way. We know what towns to stop in to fill the car with gas and to fill our tummies with food. In between, we would stop at road side rest areas to let the kids run around, throw frisbees and burn off some energy. Often we'd plan stops at McDonalds. One of us would take the kids to the play area while the other bought our food. We'd eat while the kids played. Then, after a trip to the bathroom, we'd get back in the car with chicken nuggets for them. They'd settle into their seats, tired from all the playing, munch a while on their lunch, then be asleep for hours!


As they got older, we saw the need for a bigger car. The cramped quarters became too much and it wouldn't take long for the fighting to begin. "She's touching me!" "Stop touching my stuff!" So, a mini van was purchased and they took turns in the middle seat.

Our two longest road trips took almost a month each. Once we drove around the Western U.S. and the other was up and down the Eastern Seaboard. We flew into New York, then drove from Boston, MA to Orlando, FL. We've grown up on the West coast, so it was quite a treat to be at the ocean on the East coast. Having the sun set... behind us. We got to see fireflys for the first time; stand at Ground Zero and at the base of a Saturn V rocket; tour the Library of Congress and watch the Wampanoag Indians at the Plimouth Plantation. That trip required 15 pieces of luggage! Well, maybe we didn't require that many... the poor mini van we rented, took a beating!

Brushing hair became an issue. Spending hours in a car can really mess with a girls hair! We began to braid them each morning and it made it a lot easier when getting to the hotel at night. Even as they got older, Beth always wanted her hair braided. She's not a fan of snarles. Can't say I blame her.

This may surprise you, especially if you don't take many road trips, but one of our favorite things are the truck stops. They have become like small cities; they have huge bathrooms with showers. These truck stops have restaurants and large stores. We love going into these places for quick stops for drinks and snacks. Usually the weather is warm, we're in flip flops (easy to put on when you're in and out of the car all day) seeing a part of the country we've never been in. We purchase our goodies, open the double door, usually to a blast of warm, summer air, pile back in the car and settle into our comfy seats, roll down the windows, blast the radio and pull back out onto the highway. No phone calls to make, no deadlines to meet, nothin' ahead of us except the open road!

I don't know if you have any road trips planned for this summer, but I sure hope you do!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I came home from work and....

....put my things on the kitchen table. Beth came out of her room and I asked her how her day went at bowling.
This is what she held up....

She got 5 strikes today!! Five!!! And she won a bronze medal!!

Way to go, Beth!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Shoes!

Beth and I had a Mother-Daughter shopping night tonight. Chuck and Diana had other commitments, so we headed to the mall! She really needed some new shoes and socks so our first stop was Journeys for socks. Stopped at the restroom lounge to put them on.

Next was the shoe store. She tried on some cute purple tennis shoes. I always have her walk around the store to make sure they feel good and that she really likes them.

Came back around with a big smile, "I like 'em!" We looked at little shoes for Allison. So many cute styles for babies. Beth liked the Dora shoes best.

These are the shoes she bought. First pair she tried on. Yea Beth!

And a trip to the mall wouldn't be complete without a visit to....

The Disney Store!!

We came home, fixed some hot tea and played cards for a while.
It was a great Mother-Daughter shopping night!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sleeping at her desk

Beth is still staying awake til all hours, and sleeping during the day. This is how I found her on Monday at about 6 in the evening.
Last night, or should I say this morning she was still awake at 3 AM. Sigh.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

I loved Saturday mornings when the girls were little. Flannel clad cuties would climb up on our bed for fun and giggles!

Mom has the camera??

Attack Dad!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"I no haf to."

Those words became part of Beth's vocabulary when she was just 4 or 5 years old. When we would ask her, "Do you need to go potty?" She would respond, "I no haf to", then usually pee in her pants a few minutes later. We didn't have unusually high expectations; we began potty training when she was around four. Definitely old enough to understand the 'feelings' of needing to go to the bathroom. Or so we thought.

Sharaya was almost two and we hoped that potty training them together would help Beth. We could make a game out of it; 'sisters' could sit on the potty together; they could encourage each other; they would both be out of diapers at the same time! Or so we thought.

So, with this warped sense of thinking, potty training began at our house. We bought the pull up type diapers and purchased one of those toddler size toilets that sit on the floor and make it look like you have tiny elves living at your house. I would set the kitchen timer (there's that timer again, cheering me on!) for 30 minutes and every half hour I would sit them on the potty. Sharaya would go, Beth would not. Until she got up from the potty. No matter how often I put her on that thing, she would pee moments after getting off! After just two weeks, Sharaya was completely potty trained. Including nights. Beth however, continued with this struggle for a long time.

We were house sharing at the time all this potty training business was going on. We were upstairs and our close friends, the Gillums were living downstairs. Pam had an aunt and uncle visiting from out of town. After Pam introduced us they went downstairs and I went back to my dishes. Now, I need to tell you that this was during a time in Beth and Sharaya's life when they loved to play in our car. If we happened to leave the door unlocked they would climb in and play until they got caught. You probably already know where this story is going. I looked out the kitchen window at their car, to see Beth flop over the front seat into the back! AAGGHH!! I was horrified! I tried to get as much dirt off the maroon velvet seats as I could and considered for a moment, sneaking back inside and not saying a word! I knew in my heart though, I needed to do the right thing and teach my girls this valuable lesson.

We slowly made our way down the stairs as I tried to find the words to explain the situation.As Pam's aunt was graciously accepting our apology, I began to hear water running. I looked down to see Beth boldly peeing in her pants! It was running down her legs and onto the carpet! Oh my word! Red faced and speachless, I hurried the girls upstairs, cleaned Beth and layed them down for a nap!

Beth was 7 years old when we could finally say she was completely potty trained. Including nights! I will say we didn't train consistantly all those years, we'd push it hard for a while, then stop. I got discouraged with her lack of ability and some days thought it would never happen. We just kept trying and finally she did it! She matured to the level of understanding, grabbed that brass ring and moved on to the next challenge! Biting.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Half Past Christmas

How do you teach the 'concept' of time?

Beth understands the months of the year. She can tell you her birthday. She likes the end of the month, when we flip our calendar pages. Lots of things happen for her when we flip our calendars; the biggest is, she gets paid which means a mom and daughter shopping day! She does well with January, February, March, etc. It's the smaller incriments of time that confuse her.

I love my kitchen timer. I've used it for years; when cooking, when the girls were fighting over their time on the trampoline, when they needed to know how much longer until they had to go to bed. It was 'time' that could be seen and heard.

We have always had an analog clock in their bedroom. It was hard to avoid a digital clock, but we made sure there was an 'old fashioned' one as well. Sharaya and Diana learned how to tell time in school, but Beth just never caught on. Her teachers taught it to her for years, we reinforced it here at home, but her mind never grasped the concept.

When we tell her she has 10 minutes until her bus arrives, she has no idea what we mean. So she continues at her same slow speed. Reminding her that we need to hurry because church starts in a half hour means nothing to her. I write her a note each morning, telling her what time she needs to be ready to catch her bus. She 'reads' 'Be ready at 9:30.' But most of the time she's not. She's still putting on her socks at 9:40. And when I explain that her bus will be here any second, there is no response.

She can tell you the time. She looks at her digital clock, or even her cell phone and will read, "10:45" but she has no idea what it means. She doesn't know how 10:45 affects her life. Interestingly, she does know what 2:30 means. It means lunch time. I don't know where she learned that. She would call me from work, or art class, "Mom, is 2:30. I nee my lunch." It took many months until she mentally comprehended the fact she couldn't eat lunch at 2:30 every single day. If we're out shopping or doing whatever and 2:30 rolls around? You can bet Beth will pop open her phone and remind you of the time!

But... she doesn't understand it.

And I don't know how to teach her to undertand it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

Here in Seattle it's only 11:35 so it's still officially Friday! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!