Sunday, August 31, 2008


We visit Illinois about once a year to see family. Every year I say that I want to see the arch in St. Louis and every year we do NOT see the arch.

This year was different. After a week of visiting family we took a detour on our way back, to stop in St. Louis for an afternoon. As I drove West I couldn't wait to see the arch. I wasn't sure how big the it would be. I wasn't really sure what it would look like besides a big curve. We drove past East St. Louis in Illinois. It seems that St. Louis is so good that Illinois tried to copy it. They failed. We crested a hill and then we saw it. It is enormous!
The arch is completely AWESOME. Yeah, it's just a curve in the sky, but dang that thing is beautiful. I never realized that it is made of steel. Sunlight reflects off of its polished sides differently every hour. The gardens and park areas on all sides are beautiful. I was like a kid on Christmas morning as I parked the car. I couldn't wait to walk up to it and TOUCH it.

Standing on the ground looking up at it is incredible. At the very top of the arch you can see little black squares. "Windows.", I told Cari. She started shaking her head no. We went underground to the complex of theatres, museum, and shops and purchased tickets for a ride to the top!

This is not a normal elevator. It travels on an arc. In a regular elevator you would arrive horizontal. The five of us squeezed into a small ball shaped vehicle and watched the doors shut. This was not fun for Cari in any way. The speaker told us about the arch as we ascended. Every little bit, you could feel the ball go up and then stop to readjust to keep us upright. The speaker said the transport system was built to the highest technical standards for their time (1960's). Cari was not impressed. Randy and I looked through the glass door to the innards of this marvel. Cari and Meredith kept their eyes closed.

At the top you stand in a hallway with windows on both sides. The arch is even more amazing at the top. I took a photo looking down and was able to get both legs of the arch in the shot. THAT was a freaky feeling.

On the other side I was able to see the shadow of the arch with the legs.

Cari was happy when we arrived back outside. I took a few more pictures before we headed back to the car. I ended up with tons of great shots from the arch and I'm SO happy we finally made it there.
Here is a shot of Randy standing on the hill with his arms outstretched.

Did I mention that it was my first time to cross the Mississippi? I have officially been to the West.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The BEST Vacation Photos

We took 962 photos on vacation. A day after being home, Cari and I sat down and looked at them all on the computer. Once in a while we would stop and look at picture for a few extra moments. "Why did we take that?", I'd ask while looking at a shot taken from the highway with NO subject. Cari would study it and, in one instance, find the reason. "See that? That's the smoke we saw from some fire."
I am certain that we aren't the only ones snapping photos of something that might seem interesting but turn out to be nothing.

Here's a sample of some of the odd shots we took that got us laughing as we tried to figure out why? (captions under each shot)


As the girls tell secrets, Grandpa show up on the computer to listen in. Just a lucky shot as they were looking at some photos.

You may not be able to see it well, but this water tower looks deflated.

HEY! Who's that old lady with Meredith? I don't know! Just a lady at the nursing home. The lady even asked Cari, "Why are you taking my picture?" Answer - because we are on vacation!

The bridge to NOWHERE!

Watching the Olympics at a relatives house. "That's a nice tv. I think I'll take a picture of that to inspire me to buy one."

I know what this looks like, but really. . .it's NOT what you think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Drown!

We have been upgraded (or downgraded) to EXTREME drought here in the NW corner of South Carolina. See that deep red welt in the SE? That's me!
I was starting to think that it wouldn't rain here anymore. The series of lakes flowing down the Savannah are at severe levels.
Lake Thurmond is at minimum flow rate through the dam and will start draining lake Hartwell to make up the difference. I wonder if they'll rebuild the towns they flooded during the creation of that lake?
I had the tv on while I was reading about drought levels and the local weather came on. She said we need to make up 25" of rain. Then she said, "Naturally, not in one day."


The next day I got a text from Cari, "Turn around. Don't drown."
I didn't know what to think. After a few texts between us I learned it is a saying during times of flash flood. Don't drive into a flooded area. Hmm. That's a funny saying when it IS NOT RAINING!

That was two days ago. It hasn't stopped raining since then. Tonight during the weather I heard someone say, "Turn around. Don't drown."

Monday, August 25, 2008


You can not drive through the midwest during the summer and not see field after field of corn. I'm sure that people that live there are bored. They are probably so tired of looking at corn. It appears that the farmers have heard the cries and started planting some soy beans.
All this corn and soy wasn't boring to me at all. We never see endless fields of corn at home. It is kinda amazing to me to think about how much is out there in just one field.

One morning I went out for a walk and stood at the edge looking out. I got to thinking how some people go to the beach and look into the ocean. There is endless water as far as the eye can see. The only difference is that I was looking at corn.

In one small town, I couldn't help but to stop and take pictures in front of the corn. I'm sure the locals thought something was wrong with us. Nope. We just like corn.
The kids weren't into it, so there weren't any photos of them there. Except this one where I made them get out of the car. They are excited.
Corn seems to be very popular. In El Paso, Il they have a corn festival each year. It happens closer to the time of harvest, near the end of summer. I asked what kind of things they do at the festival. Maybe they have a giant corn maze, corn bread, or even a corn eating contest. Nope, nope, and nope. This year they are having a pirate themed parade. Um. . . this is the CORN festival. Any popcorn? Not likely.

I guess they are celebrating the cutting of the corn stalks. They are simply that sick of looking at it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Week of Photos

I have sorted through our vacation photos during the past few days. My posts this coming week will be focused on these photos.

No, there won't be any more shots of me with a bopple (paci) in my mouth.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They Aren't All Good Days

The past few days have not been fun at work. It's been a frustrating week.

After one of the more frustrating days I was relaxing with my children. We were watching King of the Hill and sitting together while I ate dinner. They had already eaten since I didn't get home on time. All of a sudden Meredith starts having a fit. She was holding Brenna and realized the diaper was DIRTY and SMELLY and LEAKING OUT THE SIDE.

Meredith was making a huge scene about it. I asked her to put the baby down and I would get a clean diaper going. I set my glass of juice on the ottoman and took my remaining dinner to the kitchen while I cleaned up the baby.

Often, I'll use two baby wipes when I change a dirty diaper. This time I used four. As I changed her I felt myself getting upset. I wanted to finish my dinner. This was not turning out to be a relaxing moment.

I was on the floor cleaning the baby and Meredith was talking in my ear. Randy leaned in to say something and knocked my glass of juice off the ottoman. It felt like it took him thirty minutes to get a towel. When I took the dirty diaper to the garbage, I looked into the kitchen to see kitten, Tommy, chewing on my dinner.

You can imagine the smile that came across my face as the cute, cuddly, kitty finished my dinner. Did you imagine a nice big smile? If so, go back and read the last paragraph again. I wasn't even close to smiling.

I decided to get control of the house again. The cat was expelled from the kitchen, I snapped at Meredith to be quiet, I snapped at Randy to sit down and get away from the spill, and I let the baby cry while I mopped up juice from the floor. After that I felt better.

I gave up on dinner and finished watching the end of King of the Hill while sitting on the couch with all three kids.

Everyday is not a good day, but everyday has opportunity to create good moments. . .
Like sitting on the couch with the kids.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Second One

She made it to seven. That's makes the second time we got a kid to that mark.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wildlife Park!

One of our stops on vacation was at Wildlife Prairie Park near Peoria, Il.

The park has a lot of nice trails and animals to view. A black bear, many kinds of wolves, bald eagles, and bison were some of the animals we saw. We had a great time walking the trails and seeing the animals.

After walking the trails we headed off to do some fishing in the park with Cari's uncle. Meredith caught the first fish of the day. Unfortunatly the fish took off Scott's finger. . .

After fishing I wanted to find a huge slide I had heard about. Randy stayed with Scott to fish a bit longer and I took the girls to find the slide. I believe the sign said it is 54' and NOT SUPERVISED! Can it get better? It looked like so much fun, I couldn't resist trying it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The mighty pacifier. It can have many names. While on vacation I learned a new one. I like it so much, I'm trying to make it stick.

Grandma was going to take a picture of Brenna and said, "Get the boppel." Apparently your baby should not have a "boppel" to take a proper picture.

When I first heard her say it, I just looked at Grandma. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do to the baby. If she had a boppel, I wasn't sure where it was.

What do you call it? I'm starting a poll tonight to last the week. If you call a pacifier by a name other than on the poll, leave a comment.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Home Again

We just got home from our trip to the Midwest. It's been a long day of driving.
I'll be getting some pictures up this week and catching up on reading blogs.

It's nice to be home again.

Behind the Times

I've lived the past week in the Central time zone and I don't like it.
I feel like I'm missing out. By the time I eat dinner, EST has already done it. When I get up and read the newspaper, the EST has already read it (unless I get up an hour earlier, and I don't want to do that). It must be hard for the people that live here to keep up. On New Year's Eve you watch the ball drop at 11.

I feel like I'm living life through a Tivo. I'm not living in real time. Now I understand why California seems so screwed up to me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Don't Talk Like That

We are on vacation visiting the Yankees this week. We're having a great time and I'll have some photos to share after we get home.

Last night we went out to dinner with Amanda (Cari's sister) and some of her friends. Cari was talking with the wife and she said to Cari, "You certainly sound like you're from the South."

Cari turned back and looked at me. Her expression said she was about to cry. Cari takes a lot of pride of not having a Southern accent or being influenced by Southern slang.

As I looked back at her she waited for me to reassure her that she doesn't talk like a redneck. Instead I burst out laughing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My EYES Are Burning!

Nasal spray does not make good contact lens solution.

Don't believe me?

Ask Cari.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Lunch Time

You already know that I love consistency. I love routine. I bring a bagged lunch 90 percent of the time to work. I drive over to the park and park in the same shady parking spot at roughly the same time EVERY day. The other 10 percent that I didn't bring my lunch, I drive over to Chick Fil A, got a #1 with a Dr. Pepper and proceeded to my parking spot at the park.

That's what made lunch time so exciting on Wednesday. I didn't do any of that. I decided I would have Schlotzsky's. The problem was that I didn't know where it was. A coworker told me it was across the street from the hospital. I wasn't about to admit to him that I didn't know where the hospital was because he made it sound like EVERYONE knows where that is. I was like, "oh, yeah. Next to the hospital. I know where that is." I got in my car and headed downtown. I was looking for the blue sign with the white "H". I spotted one that directed me straight ahead.

I was sight seeing as I drove through downtown, admiring the statues and buildings. I suppose that's why I missed my turn. I went through downtown and realized that the area I was entering didn't look like a hospital area. I went one block over and started back, looking for the blue signs again. I found one that directed me to take a right. Just a few minutes later I came up on the large brick hospital and, as told, directly across the street I found Schlotzsky's. I ate inside and enjoyed a great sandwich.

You'll be happy to know that I made it back to work without getting lost.
I know what you are thinking. You think that I'm living wild and crazy these days. Don't fool yourself, it was just one lunch.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Stolen Goods

"Do you believe in the finders keepers philosophy?"
Cari responded to my question by not answering directly. "Sometimes."
She said it depends on the circumstances. Cari went into a whole discussion about acceptable times to call "finders keepers".

I wasn't in the mood for it, so I got right to the point and interrupted her. "You stole my mints."

Cari started laughing and told me she took HER mints out of my car.
The day before we had all went out in my car. Cari was passing out mints to the kids and me. That night, I was cleaning out my car and found the tin of mints partially crushed under the passenger seat. I was really pleased with my find and put them them in the cup holder.

I went to work the next morning crunching on a few mints and had a few more on the way home.
After work Cari took my car to the store. That's when she stole my mints.

I tried to call "finders keepers" and get my mints back as we stood in the kitchen. She told me to go buy my own mints.

"I wouldn't spend my money on that."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008