Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wedding Highlights

Traveling with Tots

Ok, I really don't have "tots", but it seemed to go well with my title.

Forgive the long absence. I'm not sure why, but it seems around the holiday time, the days speed by a little faster and I'm just a little more tired. But it is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

About a week ago we embarked on a journey that could make most grown men tremble. Yes, we traveled with children. Now, I need to qualify that one of my faithful readers traveled to Greece and England this summer with three children. But she is amazing...you should see her blog!! However, for us regular people , traveling with children, even just to Dallas is a feat worth bragging about. (Maybe warning others would be a better description). The kids actually did a tremendous job. Considering how tired and hungry I was....the kids were especially impressive.

The flight was delayed leaving Ontario which meant we landed in Las Vegas at the exact time our other flight was to take off. Luckily the gate was only four gates away. Running to the back ground music of "Flight of the Bumblebee" the Merrick clan made it onto the plane with no time to spare. They had one row of three which we sat the girls (this was the long leg of the trip so it was necessary for all three girls to be able to view the portable DVD player), Steve sat next to a pilot who happened to be interested in music, and I sat between a Large Liberal Texan and a gentle Texan Rancher/woodworker/real estate agent. Because of the earliness of our first flight we missed breakfast, because of the late arrival to our second flight we missed lunch. And because we fly Southwest, we had no hopes of anything but peanuts and a bag of 8-10 wheat thins. And we were not disappointed; we had peanuts a plenty!! Bags and bags of these sweet/salty morsels. My girls loved it. They loved that the flight attendant kept asking them if they wanted anything else...because of course...more peanuts. They also loved that mom was not sitting with them because when drink options were presented...what did they order? Coke. Of course. Thankfully, the amount of beverage the flight sees fit to give us does not directly correspond to the amount of peanuts they are willing to give. Otherwise my kids would have gotten up to go potty 50 times instead of a mere 25 times. (each that is) JRG, this is an exaggeration...not a lie...please forgive. Potty....yes some flight attendants must not have children or have ever been around them. When we took off out of Las Vegas, after our small sprint to the gate, Courtney announced she had to go potty. For those of you with kids, you know that the first announcement can usually be given a wait, however any subsequent requests to go potty are always followed with..."I gotta go real bad..." One small personality flaw I possess is I think it is very important to obey. Especially on planes.

In my life I can point to one very pathetic example of this. When I flew from Rhode Island to Burbank I was stuck by the window and told at each stop to remain in my seat until the flight attendants had gotten an accurate count. After being on the plane for an entire day, obeying the flight attendants, obeying the seat belt sign, and enduring sleeping passengers next to me, when I landed in Burbank my bladder almost exploded. True story. JRG was there...does she remember?

Anyways, because of this inborn need to obey, when Courtney exclaimed for the 11th time that she really needed to go potty my palms began to sweat. The fasten seat belt sign was still on. We were not yet free to "move about the cabin." So I made a quick decision and decided a wet Courtney would be worse than getting in trouble by the FAA. It actually seemed like an even trade. When I finally made my move I was met with a flight attendant saying, "Um you know the fasten seat belt sign is still on." "Yes I know...." I then helplessly pointed to my tiny child. Did the flight attendant really think I didn't know the seat belt sign was still on? Did she really think I was personally that excited to spend some quality time in that upright box called a restroom? I was obviously out of my seat because it was an emergency. She let me pass, but I got an annoyed look from her, which I didn't appreciate. But I also didn't really care. I paid my dues in the obeying-on-a-long-flight realm. I had earned the right to bend the rules just this once.

That was just bathroom trip number 1. I became bolder and bolder with each request and with each shot glass full of liquid in conjunction with 1,325,451 peanuts I ate.

Something else I learned...if you have a portable DVD player you are supposed to have headphones. Umm....have you ever seen a jack for three headphones? How were the girls supposed to hear their video? Without the video, the trip would have been a lot worse, not necessarily for my kids, but for everyone around them. Besides, what traveler does not enjoy the sounds of Barbie singing as the Island Princess?

On the return leg home, we were lucky enough to have my sister and her two kids (husband too) with us. What a sight to see we were in the airport! Because not only was there four adults trying to herd 5 children, but each child now had a cumbersome Build-a-Bear box, and large cowboy hats to manipulate while also carrying the necessary carry-on complete with snacks, things to do, videos, wipes, and other must -haves for traveling with small children. I know that the flight crew was so excited to see us all board with our space-robbing boxes and potty-bound children.

I don't know what it is about traveling with kids, but there is such an urgency at every turn. Trying to settle the kids in their seats takes time, but I am always very aware of the people waiting to get by me to find their seats. I'm trying to manipulate boxes, carry-ons and kids in the most efficient manner. The sweat is trickling down my back, my shoulders are so tense I could balance a small automobile on my back, the kids are demanding a movie now, and of course one of them needs to go to the bathroom.

But, here we sit. A week from this adventure and able to laugh about it. And mostly so thankful for the time we had all together.

Two good things that happened:

1. I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun. Really...I'd forgotten my capacity to really laugh. It had been a long time since I had seen Steve laugh and really have fun. (If you see him around though you may want to ask him about his tailbone).

2. As I looked around at the wedding I was so overcome with pride at my family. We all know each other; we all get along; and there are really no other people we'd rather be with.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This never happens to me

Well as some of you may or may not know, we finally purchased a replacement van for the total loss of our other van. We bought a 2005 Honda Odyssey very similar in color, but quite a bit nicer in options. However, since driving it for one week we have already encountered some problems. The dealer from whom we bought it of course gave us 1000 miles or one month to bring it back if anything did go wrong.

I don't know if this kind of stuff happens to you, but usually when I take my car in with some kind of noise or problem it seems to be on its best behavior for the mechanic. It's like the car knows that these people have the capacity to inflict all sorts of discomforts to its well being. It's similar to taking kids to the doctor who suddenly feel better because the word "shot" is mentioned. The conversation with the mechanic usually goes like this:

Me: Hi, um it seems like when I am driving my car it gets stuck between 2 and 3 gear and my engine revs up to 6 and 7,000 rpms. It usually occurs when I am trying to pick up speed like on an on ramp or accelerating from a green light. I did some research and found that this particular model has been having some transmission issues so I thought I would bring it in before I became stranded with three kids in a remote area.

Mechanic: Ok, lets take it for a drive.

Car: Oh no, I better do my best here. I can keep it together for one test drive. Ok shift calmly, ohhh it hurts, but I can do it. (Drives perfectly as if it came right off the new car lot)

Me: Ummm...its weird, it does it every time I drive.

Mechanic: (rolling his eyes) Ok, well let us keep it for a week and see if it acts up for us

Me: Can't you just assume it is the transmission and look into that?

Mechanic: Uh, no. It actually has to act up for us or we think you are just making stuff up.

Me: Ok, that makes sense. I do have a serious problem with wanting to be car less and waste endless hours at a dealer waiting for them to charge me $2000 to fix whatever is wrong. Thank you for recognizing this defect in me. And, again, I am sorry for wasting your time.

Mechanic: (pats me on the head and sends me on my way)

Then months later the car actually breaks down and I am no where near a dealer and my cell phone is out of battery. (The mechanic then confirms that there is something wrong with my transmission...etc...etc...money exchange...etc.)

Me: Hi, um my drivers side automatic sliding door gets stuck sometimes when I am trying to open it.

Mechanic: Ok, let's see it.

Car: ...trying to open sliding door...trying...beeping..trying...just can't do it...just can't do it

Mechanic: You're right. You really know things about cars. Usually people come in and tell us something is wrong and we can tell they are making it up just to get attention and hang out at our facility. Thank you for actually knowing what you are talking about.

Me: ....uh.....don't know how to respond....need to argue or fight or get frustrated to feel like my trip to the dealer is worth while....uh....just give me a minute

Mechanic: We'll call you and let you know our progress by noon. You are our favorite customer.

So, this is a very good thing that happened today. I will keep you posted on the exciting adventures or our "new" van.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Greatest Moment in Baseball

I couldn't pass up this great clip. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This is the best thing I've seen in a long time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Two Good Things Have Happened

#1 My insurance is covering treatment for my back through my uninsured motorist coverage!! Hooray. I didn't have to argue, cry, threaten, throw a tantrum...they just offered it.

#2 I had one of the greatest tennis matches of my life today. My partner and I lost, but it was the best tennis ever. How cool it is that I get to play tennis!!

Courtney and Haley are currently trying to have a contest to see who can suck up the most Cheezits with their mouth off of their plates. (Pause here and try and picture it) I'm wondering where they learned that trick. Steve and I usually save our highly competitive cheezeit sucking contest for when the kids are asleep. We are very careful about that. It's strange what habits kids pick up completely on their own.

Haley and Kayci had a great time at the Hannah Montana concert last night. However, today, after being up until 11:30pm and getting up at 7:00 this morning, Haley is insisting that she is not tired. What she doesn't know is that I am a mother and I KNOW when my kids are tired!!
Why does she doubt my wisdom? How can she think she knows herself better than I know her?

Here are some ways that I know Haley is tired:

1. She said she was tired when she got out of bed this morning.
2. She has not brushed her hair yet and it is well into the afternoon.
3. She has cried about the following things:
a. being hungry
b. doing school
c. riding in the car
d. me telling her that she is tired
4. Her eyes are bloodshot
5. She can hardly hold her eyes open while I am talking to her (and we know I am NOT THAT boring).
6. I am tired because I waited up for her to get home last night.

So even though she is 8and 1/2 I am making her take a nap before tennis clinic this afternoon. Guess what..........

She started crying about that too!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How about this?

Alright commenters...let me know about this change.

Before I met Steve, I liked to do new years resolutions. I liked to write 10 new things in my journal that I was going to change/accomplish/etc. during the up and coming year. When I met Steve, he brought up a good point. Why wait until a new year to change something that you want to change. Why not start when you think of it. Good point dear. So I think I will...

My New Year's Resolution is going to be to try and post at least one good thing that happens to me everyday. Since I tend to be a negative person, I've decided to start trying to find the good things in my day instead of stewing about the bad. Now I'm not at all saying my cynicism will be gone. But amidst my sarcastic blathering I am going to include one good thing that happens in my day.

So since the day is only half way over...I will not post any good things yet.

However, I will say with a loud Hooray, that we finally purchased a new car. It is not new really, but new to us. It is a 2005 Honda Odyssey. It is just great and is wonderful to be behind the wheel of a car I feel safe in. We got a pretty good deal on it and the kids are excited about the DVD player. I, being the die hard pessimist, am nervous about something going wrong. But for the time being, we have a really nice, safe, van that the insurance almost paid for in full!! Hooray for AAA insurance.

In other news, my girls are going to see Hannah Montana tomorrow night. Are my girls spoiled? Yes, they are. IS their mother so excited to be able to give them this opportunity, even though she can't afford to go with them? Yes, she is.

By the way, for all of the sarcastic comments I make about my poor husband. Let me say once and for all...he is a great man. People on this side of heaven will never know all he does and all he puts up with. I think people who really know him, I mean really know him (people outside of church) know that he is a talented man that is often taken for granted and misunderstood. And no matter what, I'm thankful that he has put up with me for all of these years. Because I'm no picnic when things are not going the way I think they should.

I will post again later.