This picture of Stella reminded me of the movie poster for Firestarter.  My friend Maureen has said Stella looks like a young Meg Ryan, but maybe Drew Barrymore too? Let's hope her life doesn't go the route of Drew's!

And no, Stella had no part in the many, many, MANY fires burning in Colorado.

One does not simply walk into Colorado.
 From the Angry Snowboarder
Thankfully, the one nearest to us is 75% contained.  The one near Colorado Springs is so, so very close to town it is scary.  And only 5% contained.  You can get up to date info here, if the site isn't down from all the traffic.

When you're boooooorrred


When you are a kid and bored on a long car trip, this is what you photograph:

Do it yourself amputation.

Your plastic surgery

Eye closeup

Nose close up

Your toes

An old mosquito bite

Your sister's claw hand

Your sister taking pictures of you taking pictures of her

Your sucker
Eating your sucker

How your sister is trying to become a fish

The scenery?

All I can say is thank goodness for digital!

Vacation, part III, the wedding


We went to dinner the night before the wedding with my brother and his fiancee, we went to the wedding and reception, never was I formally introduced to the woman.  Of course, the wedding wasn't formal, but still, you'd think you'd introduce your sister to your new wife, wouldn't you? It's not like my brother and I are estranged or have had any fights.  Could be he was "punishing" me for reading those damn liberal books (the Hunger Games) and having heathen, rainbow-haired children.  That would be like him.

The wedding itself was strange.  Like Brian said it was like they couldn't decide if they wanted it formal or casual and did some of each.  They had the fancy attire but it was in someone's backyard.  And then everyone in the wedding party except the bride & groom changed into t-shirts and jeans immediately after the ceremony.  They didn't have a photographer so the bride's pushy sister did it.  And by pushy I mean no one could actually see the bride and groom because she was right in their face the entire ceremony.  No one could hear anything either, with the dam sirens going off and the barges tooting away down the river.

There was lots of complaining about the wedding. It's to be an outdoor wedding in Arkansas, in the summer, on a Thursday evening, two hours away from nowhere.  In addition, no one knows what the hell is going on and everyone is mad at everyone else about everything.  The menu has changed so many times the caterer doesn't even know what she's serving.  And yes, she's only serving the food, my brother is cooking the food.  Well, except he thought that our other brother was cooking the food but no one told him that.  And wasn't it going to be fried chicken? No? It's barbeque now? Oy!

And did I mention the bride is 6 months pregnant? Yes, planned pregnancy and she's due September, exactly a year after my brother's daughter had her first child who she gave up for adoption.  Lovely. Nice timing.  I couldn't care less about the being pregnant before the wedding part but come on, let's use some common sense and not put the teenager through a birth exactly 1 year after her own.

The snapshot that totally epitomizes my trip, the 6mo pregnant bride at her wedding in the flowing white dress smoking a cigarette.  If she had had a can of beer in the other hand it couldn't have been more perfect.

Vacation, part II

So, two long days of driving (ok, not that long, probably only 8-9hrs/day,) we arrived at my parent's house in Arkansas.  Note, *I* have never lived in Arkansas.  My parents moved there when I was pregnant with Sandis which would be 11 years ago.  Why? Because my mom hates snow.  She hates snow like I hate summer.  When it actually does snow there, about once every two years, everyone leaves the house because they can't stand to be around her.  Oh how I wish summer was only one day every two years.  But, I digress.

We arrived with little fanfare other than the barking of dogs, they have four, and the meowing of cats, four of those as well.  The girls immediately starting making themselves at home with the pets.  There is nothing better than a house full of dogs and cats in their eyes except maybe if you added some rodent, reptile and other pets to the mix.  My mom held dinner for us and it was very nice.  My mom is a good cook and makes comfort food, in this case, baked chicken, baked potatoes and vegetables.  :)

The girls thoroughly enjoyed the pets.  Patience, the white boxer, was the center of their world for 4.5 days.  Even if the girls were sitting there drawing, Patience was licking their legs.  When Patience inevitably had to sleep, there were three other dogs.  They had a lovely hour one afternoon picking ticks off of Daisy.  Oh the memories of summers spent freeing dogs of parasites...

And then there were the cats.  Two of them were very happy to have children to pet and play with them.  The other two made themselves scarce. Billy decided Stella was HIS.  She carried him everywhere and he loved it.  It is unusual for him to put up with being loved on so much so he must really, really like her.

I did a whole lot of nothing.  Monday and Tuesday, I stayed at the house.  I read, I napped, I talked with my mom, I checked the fire websites.  Online time was very limited as they have one computer in a corner of the basement and no wifi in the house.  No blogging or facebook and only once per day email checking for me.  Quite the culture shock! Wednesday was a brief trip to Morrilton and a dinner out in Conway. Thursday was the wedding, but that's another post.  Friday we left to come home.  It all went by rather quickly.

Brian spent Monday on two trips to Morrilton to drive my dad to drop off and then pick up his motorcycle.  Then the entire day on Tuesday he running from here to there with my dad doing wedding errands.  You see we were visiting specifically because one of my three brothers is getting married.  Tuesday they had to go here and get chairs.  Then there for tables.  And here for some more chairs.  And then the tents.  Then set it all up.  Yeah, loads of fun.  If we hadn't left town on Friday he could have helped do it all in reverse.

Fortunately in the strife over the wedding (like I said, in another post,) they didn't have time to focus on me and my heathen, liberal ways.  There were some comments made, things said in passing, that would knock your socks off.  I've debating posting some of them but they are just too much and sharing would be more hurtful than helpful.  If you really need to know, ask me sometime, but I'll refrain from posting for now.

Up next, the wedding.

In case I forgot...

In case I forgot to mention it, I fucking hate summer. 90 degrees in my house at 11pm. NINETY! And that's at the END of the day.

Not to mention the campfire smell from the raging wildfire to the west. That doesn't happen in the wintertime, let me tell you. Part of Buckhorn Camp burned yesterday/today. :(

Today I was too hot to eat lunch & it was too hot to even think about dinner so I paid my 8 yr old to make quesadillas and heat up vegetables. Don't worry, she was thrilled to do it, pay or no.

It's only fucking JUNE! This crap is going to continue for 2.5 more months. Shoot me now.

The other 4-letter word

Did you know V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N is actually a 4-letter word? It is.  Don't believe me? Well then think of it as TWO 4-letter words together.  That might even be closer to the truth.

Vacation day one, June 9th, started alright.  We went to some garage sales while Brian mowed the lawn.  Things were packed, snacks had been purchased, pets shuffled off to their vacations.  On the way back from garage saleing (yes, it's a verb. Why? Because I made it up and I say so.  Hey, someone made up "googling",) I saw two wisps of smoke coming over the foothills.  I pointed them out to the girls saying that it looked like another fire was starting up.  Now it's this monstrosity.  I spent the week checking the web, emailing friends, worrying and worrying.  Not good.  Not even close to good.

Then came the two long days of driving there.  Fun, fun!

I hate driving.

The kids hate driving.

The audio book we brought, The Hobbit, was read by the slowest, most boring man alive.  I'm pretty sure the kids got lost somewhere around disk four.  Hell, I could barely keep up and I've read it more than once and LOVE it.

Driving across Kansas and/or Oklahoma sucks.  Nebraska, you suck too, but we weren't in you this trip so you get a pass for now.  Eastern Colorado, you are no better.  There's just miles and miles and miles of prairie, which is not at ALL how I pictured prairies when I read about them in the Little House books.  No, I pictured tall, green grass dotted with small flowers here and there.  Birds flying around, animals cavorting about.  What it really is? Brown grass broken up only by wheat/corn/soybean fields.  Trees? No.  Animals? Not so much unless you count cows, and I don't.  Flowers? Um, stop laughing.

We were tired, bored and cranky.  The car was trashed as were my nerves.

Then we arrived and the real fun began. 

But you'll have to wait for the next installment of "Vacation, the other 4-letter word" or "trips to see family, don't do it."

Whose child is this?

Sometimes I simply have to wonder who has replaced my children with these strange robot children.

For instance, the last several weeks it has been HELL trying to get Stella ready for the day.  It's a constant takeyourmedicinetakeyourmedicinetakeyourmedicine because until she does take her medicine, there is no hope of her concentrating for more that 7.3 seconds which means no hope of her getting ready.  This morning, I had been doing the get ready mantra for a good hour.  I stepped out of the shower and shouted from the other room to ask Stella if she took her medicine.  Instead of giving excuses or yelling at me, she said:

"Oh, no I didn't, thank you for reminding me, mommy."

Upon hearing this, I had to sprint to the kitchen, clad only in a scrap of terry cloth, water droplets scattering everywhere, barking out, "WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH STELLA!"

Yeah, not really.

But I did stand there with my mouth hanging open a bit in wonderment.

Lest you think she is completely reformed, she reverted back to her old self later when at the grocery store she started randomly pulling things off of shelves and throwing them around the store.  Why? Well, she was in a manic Stella place.  There was nothing to do but get her out of there and hope it passed quickly, while wondering if she actually DID take those pills or whether it might be some sort of alien virus that controls her.

You never know.