Friday, May 18, 2012

Road Tripping

Like I had mentioned, we are road tripping in Texas.  I made up journals for the boys, every day they are filling them out and my dad is looking them over and asking them questions.  He is a walking encyclopedia and knows tons of stuff.  In addition, they are writing post cards daily to friends back home. 
Here is just a sampeling of what we have been up to thus far on our trip.  We left last Friday, so it's been 1 week.
We stopped in Highland, IL (just north east of St. Louis) to visit my brother and his family.  This is a photo of my parents, brother & his family and Cody & Chris.

Apparently this part of Illinois is known for their foot high pies...

My brother gave this to Cody.  He served in the Air Force for 8 years.

Here are Cody and Chris on top of Monks Mound at Cahokia.

We went to The Arch

The kids grabbed a Ranger who personally took them around the Museum of Westward Expansion and explained different things to them.

She pulled out guns and let the kids fire them.

This group went up into The Arch (I did not)

We visited St. Louis Union Station

And went to see Chuck Berry's restaurant Blueberry Hill

Cody and Chris in front of the Chuck Berry statue

My brother gave this to Chris.  He was in the Air Force for 8 years.

We crossed into Missouri on Sunday

Had some interesting dinning options in Missouri as well.

Got a cowboy hat too.

This one got a cowboy hat too.

I'm a sucker for these.  This is Monday, we traveled down the same road which was The Trail of Tears, A Civil War Path and part of the Southwest Highway.  How COOL!?!

We dug for diamonds in Arkansas.

Cody found some chips

Chris found some cool rocks

We also visited Clinton's boyhood home in Hope Arkansas

Cody and Chris in the house Clinton was born in

By Monday we were FINALLY in Texas

On Tuesday, since we stayed in Waco overnight, we stopped at the Branch Davidian Marker where the Waco siege happened.

While also in Waco (and the real reason we were there) we stopped at the Dr. Pepper Museum...the BEST place on Earth!

I am one happy person!

On Tuesday we FINALLY made it to New Braunfels, which is were my parents live.

On Wednesday we saw a gecko.

These two swam

On Thursday we ran to the Scout Shop to pick up a patch for Chris

Had lunch here, at Market Square, along the River Walk in downtown San Antonio

Then we hit the Missions.  There are 4 total leading from the south up to The Alamo

This is Mission San Jose (the biggest)

This is Mission Concepcion...where the Rangers are a 1/2 hour late getting back from their lunch. (I have a National Parks Passport that we were working on getting stamped)

Mission San Juan - under renovation

Mission Espada - very pretty grounds

The boys with a Texas Ranger at The Alamo

We learned that there was one person from Illinois who died defending The Alamo

We did the River boat tour

Towers of the Americana off the River tour (LOVE this picture)

Today we went to the Schlitterbaun Waterpark

And raced frogs in the river (which we will be tubing in earlier next week)

The boys did get off easy, I'm only able to get internet access in the way corner of my parents patio, hacking (with permission) into their neighbors wifi connection.  I think the main thing that I want to do during this trip is overload the boys with tons of information and expose them to lots of different and unique places so that months, or even years from now they will be able to recall this trip and want to learn even more. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Laser Quest makes learning fun!

Laser Quest has five Illinois locations in Arlington Heights, Downers Grove, Hoffman Estates, Norridge, and Rockford.  Their Quest for Knowledge program offers a one-of-a-kind informative and fun-filled excursion that is interactive and entertaining that promotes comprehension and retention, as they combine learning with fun, which is open to homeschooling families.  They offer two programs.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Fuck Yeah! (Grab The Soap) How Listen to Your Mother Gave Me A Voice

Last night my dad walked right up to me, hugged me and said “Do you realize how lucky you are to have him?”  The ‘him’ he was referring to is my husband, and yes, I do know.   Then, he declared that he was going to wash my mouth out with soap for swearing.  The people who I was most worried about hearing what I had to share, hearing my story, were my parents.  Last night was the first time they would hear about my struggles with their grandsons’ father.  I thought for sure that my father would follow in Karen’s charge with torches and pitchforks in hand to exact justice.   I was also worried about coming off as a woman scored, or bitter or angry. 
Katy said something really poignant pre-show – that walking into the theater was like “Hoosiers” and it was!  In that final championship game, right when they are all walking into the fancy gym and they were all having that “holy shit” moment.  Yep, I was having that too.  Standing there at the Biograph and looking at the stage…holy shit!
I was nervous, really nervous.  Megan told me to pretend that it was just to two of us having drinks and talking.  To just picture her, but what was racing through my head was the fact that I don’t drink!  What kind of drink would I have?  And I yell when I get passionate about what I’m talking about, I couldn't yell in the mic. 
And then I sat.  In the dark, side stage. 
I remember NOTHING before that point, not the pep talk from Melisa and Tracey, which I’m sure was great.  Not any instructions, if there were any.  I just listened and counted as 1, 2, 3 … my friends went up and shared their truths.  Then I saw Melisa get up to go on stage.  I don’t remember getting up, or freaking out about being in heels or any of what Melisa said as she introduced me.  She walked off, gave me a low five and I walked on, out, into the brightest light ever and looked out into black. 
Preshow my dear friend Sarah sent me a photo of the view from her seat and reassured me and said that if I needed a friendly face to focus on to look for her. 

Thank you god!  But I couldn’t see anything, at all.   So, I took a deep breath and almost cried as I choked out the first three words “My Dear Son”.  I can’t start crying NOW!  I took a deep breath and continued in what I hope was heard as strength and confidence. 
I made notes on my script.  Where to make hand gestures, where to pause, where to slow down and where to look up.  None of it mattered when I was up there.  I looked straight ahead into darkness and pictured Sarah, I looked to the right and pictured Megan with drink in hand and I looked left and pictured my husband.  And I shared my truth.  I shared how my first son changed everything about me.

Thank you to my fellow cast mates who greeted me with high fives and hugs and thumbs ups when I walked off. 

Thank you to the petite brown haired woman who found me in the lobby after the show and thanked me.  You have no idea of how much I needed you to say that.  How much I needed a stranger to come up and let me know that what I said was heard. 

Thank you to all my dear friends and family for coming out and supporting me.

Thank you to Melisa and Tracey for allowing me this opportunity.

Thank you to Audrey, Vanessa, Melissa, Jen, Katy, Karen, Lou, Alisha, Megan, Brandie, Nancy, Judy, Stacey and Hyacynth for validating that I have a voice.   

On the drive home my husband was silent.  I was starting to freak out.  Did I say something to piss him off, was I really THAT bad, listen, I know my hair was big, but was it too big?  What the hell was going on?  “So…what did you think?”  The awesome thing about my husband is I know - I know without a doubt that he will in fact tell me the truth.  He didn’t want to say anything because he didn’t want what he thought, to influence or deter what I thought.  He didn’t want to limit my voice on my night.  That yes, he heard me almost cry in the beginning.  That yes, he saw me almost topple the podium.  He also saw me walk out and thought "she brought it".  He was proud of me.  He said that now it wasn’t just he who was able to see how amazing I am.  And I cried. And I am lucky. 

Thank you Ann for making something that allowed my voice to be heard