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Friday, August 29, 2008


Really, how does so much stuff just seem to accumulate in life? I'm talking literally about stuff - like physical things - but I am also talking about stuff like just things that have to be done or should be done and even stuff that just happens that takes your mind elsewhere. There is just too much stuff.

Back in May our neighborhood had its annual yard sale. It rained. No one came. We had gone on this mission to get rid of a lot of stuff. All of our unneeded stuff was in our garage. No one bought it and it has been in our garage ever since. We had intentions of having another yard/garage sale but the summer happened and the yard sale didn't. I never thought I would be one of those people that had a garage and didn't put their car in it. I am one of those people. At least now I am attempting not to be again. Last night Greg and I took a whole bunch of the stuff that was going to be sold and put it on the front porch. Today AmVets came and took it away. I don't exactly know what they do with it. In my mind though I just have visions of all these old people sitting around playing our Crocodile Hunter board game and shouting out, "CRIKEY!"

This week we have been really busy doing stuff. We have had colds and play dates and given our colds to some of the people who we played with. Oops. I have all this stuff that needs to be done (cleaning, organizing, finally getting my kids' names changed since I have been putting that off for 9+ months, emails to catch up on, and who knows what else) but none of it is getting done. I used to be able to pick away at some of the stuff while playing with the kids but lately it seems they have been demanding every bit of my attention when they are awake and not allowing me 5 minutes to throw in a load of laundry. The only time I have left to get anything done is when they are sleeping (like right now) and by that time I am too exhausted to care about doing anything. And yet when they are awake, despite all this stuff that needs to get done, I find myself planning these play dates and taking yet another trip to the zoo this week just because keeping them busy and occupied saves my sanity during their waking hours. I almost feel ridiculous talking about how I don't have time to get anything done yet I am running off to hang out with my friends and their kids and going to the zoo.

I am pretty sure no one that reads this will care but I still feel like writing about it for my own records. One of my favorite musicians, Will Hoge, was in a horrible accident last week. Not only is he a great musician, but he is just an all around nice guy. We aren't all great buddies or anything but I do talk to him after each show I attend and he recognizes me. For a guy that does 200+ shows a year to even take time out to talk to his fans is great but he even remembers some of them too. Anyway, last week he was riding his motorscooter home from the studio and a van didn't see him and turned in front of him. Will Hoge is lucky to be alive. He has over 100 stitches in his face, almost lost an eye, I think he has a broken jaw but not positive on that one, broken clavicle, four broken ribs, broken sternum, both shoulder blades broken, partially collapsed lung, shattered femur, a kneecap that is now in 8 pieces, and numerous lacerations and bruises all over. Thankfully there are no spinal injuries, brain injuries, or anything that he won't be able to recover from. Even more importantly, he will be home to his wife, son, and family in the future.

I guess that is all the randomness I have to write about at this point in time.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Fair Omission

Should probably just skip posting about this since it happened over a week ago, but I like to post so I remember things, not really so other people read it and enjoy it. About a week and a half ago I met up with some of my family and took the kids to the Washington County Fair. I always went growing up but I think I only have gone once in the past 10 years. Apparently I didn't miss anything. It was exactly the same as it used to be.

The kids mostly enjoyed the place. Neither of them had really napped that day so I knew it was just a matter of time until they were just done. They liked looking at most of the animals. Will wasn't too fond of the chickens but I really wasn't either. They were loud. One of the cow owners let us pet a cow. Marcus was loving that. Will was all about it until he came within about a foot of the cow and then changed his mind. We got to pet a bunch of horse's noses. Marcus rode on my shoulders so he could see over the sides of the horse stalls and my sister and brother-in-law took turns holding Will up so he could see too. The evening ended with a stop at the petting zoo. My nephew took Will by the hand to go check out the animals and Marcus insisted that he had to go with me. I got Marcus a little baby bottle of milk to feed the animals with. He thought that was hilarious, particularly the part where the one little goat was standing up on me trying to get to the bottle. My nephew had a cup of food so when he and Will walked into the petting zoo area, all these goats came running over. That was just a little too much for Will. He enjoyed the rest of the petting zoo from the safety of my arms, traumatized by the goats. Marcus soon became traumatized by the baby goats as well. In his attempt to pet the softest baby llama in the world, he lost his footing, fell over, and looked up from ground level to see nothing but llamas and goats surrounding him. Both kids made it clear the night was over. I changed them into their pj's in the parking lot, strapped them into their car seats, and they were asleep before we hit a paved road.

Last Wednesday my mom was visiting for the day and we headed to the Pittsburgh Zoo. After reading another blog I enjoy, I was fearful of the amount of other families that would decide to try to hit up the zoo that day for one last outing before school started. Probably the busiest day I had ever been to the zoo but it wasn't overwhelming. It ended up being a great day at the zoo despite all the completely rude people. I really hate people. Individuals are okay, but people in general are just no good. I can't even remember how many people I heard tell their children to just push their way to the front so they could see. Are these the values that people are teaching their children? Looks like I will be hating people for generations to come. I get that kids will be kids and sometimes they just don't have that thinking thing down yet, but adults should just know better. I would be standing there with my big double stroller and my two kids strapped in, telling my kids who were really impatient to see what was going on that we needed to wait our turn. Someone would be done viewing in front of us, move out of the way, and it was almost always an adult who would push his or her way right in front of my children. What is wrong with people?? Even when we were trying to leave the parking lot it didn't end. There was a big long line of cars and this woman was inching her little minivan up on the bumper of the car in front of her so I couldn't merge. Seriously, did she think she was going to get out of there any faster by being rude? Unfortunately for her, two can play at that game and I tend to be a pretty good player. I squeezed myself in front of her and when it came time for us to merge with another line of cars, I let three cars out in front of me instead of only one just so she would get home 2 minutes later than she otherwise would have.

Anyway, really was a great day at the zoo. We got to see the baby tiger. After telling my kids to be patient for a few minutes and waiting for lots of rude people to not be patient and step in front of my kids, we did get to see the little baby elephants.

We took our own lunch and my mom spotted this little bench in the shade totally out of the way so we ate there. It was so much nicer than trying to fight for a table with everyone else.

Marcus fell asleep in the aquarium for 15 minutes.

When we got out of the aquarium we could see one of the polar bears was in the water. I wasn't about to go rushing into the tunnel to get an underwater view. Once again, patience paid off. When we got down to the tunnel under the polar bear tank, the bear was still in the water above us. It was really the coolest thing I had ever experienced at the zoo. The bear was playing with some bucket-like thing and would wrestle it and then drop it into the water and go swimming down to it.

Then the bear swam over so he was standing on top of the glass tunnel we were in with his head sticking out of the water above.

He did this little sidestep thing and was right over my head!

All of a sudden there was this huge splash above us and all these bubbles. The second bear had just jumped right into the water. The two bears started play fighting.

I didn't get too many good pictures of the bears playing though because I quickly switched my camera to video mode instead. Sorry, too lazy to upload the video and post it here since it was so long.

We stopped for some Dippin' Dots after all that excitement. The trip was far from over though. We did some sliding in the kid's area and even got to pet a deer. I told the kids at the beginning of the zoo trip that we were going to try to catch a train ride on the way out. Marcus wasn't about to forget and as we were headed in the direction of the exit Marcus started shouting out, "Choo choo!!" This of course set Will off so he too was yelling, "Choo choo!!" Off for a little choo choo ride we went. Really a great trip. Warm but overly hot, and lots of action!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Final Potty Post

Hopefully, this is the last potty post pertaining to Marcus's training. I wouldn't say he is totally potty trained, maybe 97% though. Although there were some rough times for sure over the past two weeks, it was far less painful than I expected.

The first two days there were several accidents that were cleaned up and put out of thought. The first week I had Marcus sit on the potty about every 30 minutes. No luck with going #2 in the potty that first week. Marcus still wore Pull-Ups for naps and night and also when we left the house. He didn't have any accidents while we were out of the house but I just wasn't ready to risk it.

This week have been waiting for Marcus to tell me when he has to go and not taking him on my watch. There have only been two pee pee accidents. One occurred when he was incredibly overtired and the other occurred when I yelled at Marcus and apparently scared him in the process. He has only had one #2 accident this week but going poopy on the potty has not been smooth riding at all. The first two times nature was calling this week weren't so bad except that he waited until the very last possible second to tell me and it really just came down to how fast I could get him stripped and seated. Then he had an accident. He was very upset about it. The next night Greg had to talk him through it for about 30 minutes before he let nature take its course. Last night was just bad. He obviously had to go. He would start freaking out that he was about to have an accident but when I would put him on the potty he was so freaked out about going on the potty that he was able to put on the breaks. This went on for 2 hours, 2 incredibly miserable for everyone hours. The poor guy was in pain and traumatized. I didn't have a clue what to do. He would sit on the potty and start screaming in fear. Then he would announce that he was all done and two minutes later he was running back to the potty. The best idea I could come up with was to have him sit on his little potty while I held and hugged him as best as possible while rubbing his back. Apparently it worked and there was success. This morning, total poopy success without any tears or trying to postpone the situation.

Still have been putting him in Pull-Ups for outings but I am going to start taking the risk starting Monday of underwear only for outings. All but once these past two weeks he has woke up from his naps dry but I'm still not ready to risk that. He even woke up from nighttime sleep dry twice but he definitely isn't ready to lose the Pull-Up during that event yet.

Marcus has discovered that announcing he has to go potty is a really great way to suddenly get the attention on him if attention would fall somewhere else for the briefest of time. Annoying? Absolutely. Please let this be a short phase.

For some reason it seems like trying to get one kid out of diapers actually makes going anywhere more difficult. Instead of just grabbing a couple diapers and some wipes as I am headed out the door, now we diapers, wipes, Pull-Ups, change of shorts since those Pull-Ups aren't overly absorbent, and the portable potty in case he has to go NOW, and the foldable potty seat to take into the store in case he decides he needs to go when we are there...

So, I guess this is it. I have a potty trained kid. Wow, how did that happen? At what point did this kid start growing up because I think I was absent that day.


Friday, August 22, 2008

FFF - Friends with Stuffing

When we went to meet Marcus in Guatemala, I took a little bear with me for a peace offering. Marcus was rather indifferent towards the bear until a few months ago. Bear has since become Bear Bear and sleeps in Marcus's bed. Since Bear Bear has to stay in bed (except in extreme situations, like when Marcus had pneumonia) Marcus puts Bear Bear under the blanket and says Night Night to him when he gets out of bed.

The only interest Will has in friends with stuffing is to throw them into the air and eventually they all accumulate behind our couches. Every couple of weeks we get them all back out and a day or two later, back behind the couches they go.

Shortly after we met Marcus (then 5.5 months old) and Marcus met Bear Bear
Marcus and Bear Bear

Bear Bear was allowed to venture out to the couch when Marcus had pneumonia:
Marcus and Bear Bear

Marcus isn't the only one that loves Bear Bear:

And it is always nice to know your friends with stuffing also have friends with stuffing:
Bear and Peeper

Check out FFF by clicking here.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Will Stuff

Nine months ago today Greg and I were in the US Embassy in Guatemala legally making Will part of our family. I just can't believe that he has been my son for 9 months. Has it really been that long? Then again, I don't remember life without him either.

The older he gets (20 months today), the more of his personality comes out. I am afraid sometimes that he gets overshadowed by Marcus because Marcus is just so... vibrant. Will is much more content to just sit back and relax with his head on your shoulder and a drink (of milk of course) in his hand. He approaches life with caution, happy to let Marcus dive right in while he sits back and plans his mode of entry with great strategic care. Nine months and two days ago his foster father told me that he is incredibly friendly to the point of it almost being annoying at times. That certainly hasn't changed. A simple walk through the grocery store can't be accomplished without him saying hello to everyone in sight. And you better say hello back or else he will start shouting it at you until you respond.

Will doesn't need to be in the spotlight but tends to prefer to sit back and do his own thing. The only issue really arises when his own thing doesn't necessarily jive with what me or Greg or Marcus has in mind. Man oh man, does that kid pitch a fit when you suggest doing something that goes against his personal agenda. He has patience beyond his years. His attention span is also quite impressive. He latches onto an activity and sticks with it. Currently his activity of choice is dribbling a ball. Yep, he is dribbling... somewhat.

And he's trouble... in a sneaky sort of way. He knows to wait until you aren't looking to make his escape. I have tried "giving him the eye" when he is misbehaving and when he knows he did something wrong, he cocks his head, smiles, and says ever so sweetly, "Hi." Listening is an optional activity. You can yell, you can put him in timeout, but he will just keep on doing what he wants until he decides he is done. I think the word would be stubborn.

But you get that kid going with giggles and you will bet you will find yourself experiencing fits of laughter as well. His laughter and smile are contagious. Lately he has been doing this "evil laugh". I tried to get a video of it but Marcus (who INSISTS on being in the spotlight) was trying to steal the show from the background so you will have to try to listen through that.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Sh!t Happens

(Sorry if I offended you with my language there.)

...in this house.
Just had a crazy week. We had five showings of the house and all but one of them was during a week day. This meant lots of times I had to get myself, two toddlers, and the dog out of the house and leave a perfectly clean trail behind us. Not easy. Totally stressful. One buyer came twice because they apparently "loved the house". They asked for records on some of our bills and we really thought we would be hearing more from them. Not sure what happened. Maybe they read my last blog entry and got scared away by my carpet issue.

...on the floor.
If you don't understand, read previous post. Just wanted to update though that there is no trace of this event ever occurring other than those photos I took. Rest assured, the carpet is clean and pretty much sterilized as best as possible.

...on the weekends.
The best man in our wedding had his own wedding this weekend. It was really quite a lovely wedding. Greg was in the wedding and I only knew one guest who wasn't a part of the wedding party. I had low expectations of my fun level since I figured much of the evening would be spent alone. The in-laws were watching the kids which helped to elevate my fun level somewhat and I met some people and chatted with them while Greg did wedding stuff. One of the highlights of the evening was while we were driving through the country from the ceremony to the reception we passed a big sign that said, "Welcome to the village of Townville!" Hehe. Townville. At least I found this really funny.

...in the potty.
Yes IN the potty. I'm talking, ALL OF IT IN the potty this time. I was fixing lunch today and Marcus came running into the kitchen freaking out. I wasn't sure what the issue was (or if there even was a real issue) at first and then he grabbed the butt of his underwear. Let me tell you, I can run like the wind, even while holding a freaking out toddler in front of me. He was on his potty (which now wisely is placed on top of a door mat instead of directly on the white carpet) with his underwear down to his ankles in no time. I squatted in front of him at the ideal position to keep him seated if he felt compelled to get up this time. I had a sneaky suspicion something happened after he grunted and then a smile spread across his face. One look in the potty and there was much rejoicing! Both Will and Marcus were fascinated by what appeared in that little potty. Every time I would close the lid to try to clean up Marcus or the potty, one of them would open it right back up to inspect the contents. A little later in the day Marcus received his victory prize - his first train set.

He is all about trains these days. Check out his caboose (or engine) parked on his new train set.

He hasn't had a pee pee accident since Saturday morning and has been waking up dry from his naps. He even woke up dry this morning after almost 12 hours in bed. I'm not brave enough to go out of the house or let him sleep without Pull-Ups on but I am thinking pretty soon here I might be brave enough to let him wear shorts around the house again instead of just underwear. Timing seemed to work out great for the potty training because he certainly is not happy when his underwear are anything but clean and dry. Today I didn't even make him try to use the potty every 30 minutes. I just more or less had him go before and after sleeping, shopping, and before eating. The rest of the time it was up to him and he did great telling me when he needed to go. Hooray for only having one kid in diapers!!

...in adoption.
Got back from vacation to learn that the adoption agency that we used for both of our adoptions is done with. Not surprised really. Not a bad agency with Marcus's adoption but once we started Will's adoption, quality of service took a nosedive. Please keep in your prayers all the families that are in the process of adopting through this agency. I have mentioned Jennifer and her husband Jason who are waiting for their little girl to come home from Guatemala before. It is really unbelievable the number of setbacks that they have had and it breaks my heart that they are faced with another issue. I did get an email from Jason discussing steps that they have taken and he and Jennifer are feeling more in control of their adoption case now than ever before. Jennifer, your family is in my prayers and I am so sorry I haven't had a chance to email you personally and tell you that yet. I am thinking about about you!

...in life.
What a crazy week. My apologies to everyone that I have dropped the friendship ball with these past couple of weeks. I still like you, I do want to get together, and I really will answer your emails... somewhere between house selling, potty training, cooking, cleaning, errands, and breathing.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Deep Thoughts

There are lots of things I do (and don't do) in this world that I never really question. I just do them and never think to ask why. You know, kinda like when nature calls and sit your behind down on that porcelain thrown, you just kinda sit there. It never occurred to me why I don't, let's say, start screaming, stand up and begin turning in a circle. Now I know exactly why I don't do those things as I am simultaneously taking care of business.

To save the faint of heart, I chose not to post the picture here. But if you would like to see the horror that occurred in my household today, click here and hold your nose. It might stink a bit. I didn't think to take the picture until I already cleaned up a good bit of the mess so the photo doesn't really encompass completely the disaster area. And yes, that is white carpeting. Or was.

Earlier today Marcus kind of grabbed the back of his underwear and said, "Oh no!" Nothing had happened yet so I rushed him to the potty and got him a book. I suggested that he sit there for a few minutes and maybe the poopies would just come out. I hadn't even had time to get myself settled on the couch yet when he started freaking out and screaming in terror. It was at that point that he stood up from the seat and I saw - never mind what I saw. Let's just say he wasn't finished with what he had started. He of course wanted to see that which was freaking him out and he spun around in a circle. The result was poop (and some super squishy stuff at that) ending up on the carpet, on his underwear, on his foot, on a book, and all over the potty. What did I do? The only logical thing of course.

I started jumping up and down and cheering like a maniac!! It was his first poopie on (I mean, literally on) the potty!! I think I used such phrases as "That was AWESOME!!" and "That's EXACTLY what you were supposed to do!!" Marcus was rather upset at first but once he saw my enthusiasm for poo splattered all over my family room, his terror turned to joy.

Then I got out the carpet cleaner and called my mom for some stain removal tips.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How Cool is THIS???

I just checked my email and discovered that I had a new facebook friend request. It was from Will's foster father!!


Marcus Stuff

Not that I should be surprised since Marcus was born on April Fool's Day, but I think he might grow up to be a comedian. His act will focus on his ability to do impersonations.

My dad snores - really loud. And he tends to fall asleep pretty much wherever. While on vacation Marcus got quite a sampling of his Pap-pap's massive snores. Despite the number of Pap-pap snores Marcus heard, it only took a couple for him to master the technique. Every time Pap-pap would fall asleep on the couch in our beach house, Marcus was showing us all exactly how Pap-pap snores. At one point, Marcus was doing Pap-pap's snore sound so loudly that he woke up Pap-pap! I probably won't get around to posting it but we did get some video footage of Greg asking Marcus was Pap-pap does and then Marcus going into his impersonation.

More importantly, Marcus is for really real potty training. Several weeks ago he was choosing to wear his big boy underwear sometimes but I really didn't push the issue because I decided I wasn't ready, particularly with vacation coming up. Yesterday after Marcus's nap I put some underwear on him and gave myself a helping of good attitude. Marcus's little potty seat has moved from the bathroom into the family room. I have him go about every 30 minutes and have discovered the hard way that his limit is around 45 minutes. He has been great about peeing on the potty when placed there for MONTHS so really it is just a matter of him realizing he has to go and doing the whole poopy on the potty thing which he hasn't figured out yet. As the evening progressed last night he was getting tired and had a couple accidents. But, since I had my helping of good attitude it didn't keep me from persevering one bit.

He wore a diaper overnight which I plan to continue to do indefinable. Back to underwear when he got up. Cara came over with her boys. At one point we were talking and playing and I forgot that 30 minutes had passed. Marcus told me he had to go and off we went! He did end up having his only pee pee accident as Max and Andy were leaving which was likely a result of waiting 45 minutes to go mixed with just being involved in getting people out the door. I put a Pull-Up on him for nap and over 2 hours later when I woke him up, totally dry.

I wasn't sure how things would go this evening being that we had to be out of the house for 2 hours for house showings. I put the potty seat in the back of the Jeep and put Marcus in a Pull-Up and we were off to do errands. I asked him when we got to the grocery store if he had to go but he said he didn't. Shortly after we got into the store he told me he had to go. We went and he did his business on a rather gross public toilet. (I totally wasn't ready to tackle this aspect of potty trained toddlers until recently.) After our shopping he decided that sitting on the potty in the Jeep would be cool so he hung out in the parking lot waving to people from the back of the vehicle with his pants around his ankles. One more stop at another store and afterwards he said he needed to make a pit stop in the back of the Jeep again. When we got home he was completely dry!

Marcus did make the discovery this afternoon of just how gross it is to poop in your underwear. I made the discovery of how gross it is to try to clean up someone who has pooped in their underwear. BUT! Definitely seeing this all working itself out to be a household with only one kid in diapers soon.

Oh, and we are using a sticker chart for incentive. Not sure what is so fascinating about it but apparently it is working!

(This was all Marcus's doing. The best part was when he sat down and picked up the magazine, he let out a long sigh.)


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vacation - Take 5

Thursday - August 7
Back to the beach! The walk on the hot sand was almost pleasant while wearing my new beach shoes. While the kids napped in the afternoon I did a little shopping with my mom. We went out to dinner that evening to Miller's which has a great view of the sound. We were not seated by that side of the the restaurant though. After dinner we went to play miniature golf. The kids were free but Greg and I had to pay. I forgot my camera so I took some photos with my mom's but I don't have them in my possession yet. Of the 18 holes, Greg and I played approximately 1. Of the 18 holes, about 9 of them resulted in a temper tantrum from one or both kids. By the end of the course, Will was content hanging out in the stroller we took with us. Marcus was getting pretty good at placing his ball 2 inches from the hole and hitting it in. I don't think I have expended that much energy while playing miniature golf ever. I don't foresee us taking the kids to play a game of putt putt again anytime soon.

Friday - August 8
Friday was the only day we didn't go to the beach in the morning. We took the kids and my mom to the aquarium.

It was a really nice aquarium but only mildly amusing for toddlers.

Check out the size of this turtle (with Marcus's face superimposed on it)!

We couldn't have a vacation day without a trip down to the beach. After the kids took their afternoon nap (and I had one too), we took a late afternoon trip to the beach. It was one of the best beach trips of the week. It wasn't obscenely hot and a lot of people had left the beach already. After Will was in the water for a little bit, he had to hang out in the sun just to stay warm.

Marcus and I spent a lot of time in the surf. We were digging for little mole crabs in the sand and found quite a few. One of them was rather large and we had a good time watching him burrow in the sand and them scooping him up again.

The waves were much more fierce on Friday so the kids didn't go past the crashing waves at all. I did and it was a blast. Even the part where I looked down and discovered there was a jellyfish in my hand and three others floating nearby. Apparently the jellyfish weren't the stinging ones. Several times when I was out there I had to dive through some waves that were crashing on my head. Ahhh! The way the ocean is supposed to be! It was a great day for playing and lounging at the beach.

Saturday - August 9
We left our beach house around 9:15 Saturday morning. After about 15 minutes in the car, both kids were whining. It was a long drive home. Will whined all but 2 hours, one hour of which he was sleeping and the other hour of which he was watching something on the DVR player. Marcus whined some, cried some, and was pleasant a good deal of the time but not nearly as pleasant as he was during the trip down. We hit some horrendous traffic on I-95, once again being completely delayed in our travel length. With 3 stops (two for quick meals and one for diaper change) it still took us 12+ hours to get home.

I still haven't unpacked or done laundry or really done much of anything but mess around with my pictures and blog. (Is it obvious I did some blogging today?) Vacation was just awesome though. It was great being with my family all week but since we all did our own thing most of the time and just hung out occasionally, we didn't get burned out from too much family. Our household is rather routine and it was great to get out of the routine for a bit. We have been back for less than 24 hours and I am so ready to take another vacation.


Vacation - Take 4

Wednesday - August 5
We took the boogie board down the shore Wednesday morning.

The ocean was calm once again and we only got to ride a few good waves. Marcus and I played in the waves a lot.

I also did my best to get some cute shots of the kids. It wasn't hard considering how cute they are.

The sand just kept getting hotter and hotter for that walk back to the beach house. I was wearing my trusty flip flops and walking on that dune on the way back. Then I was running, which was not an easy feat with Marcus on my back and carrying lots of beach gear. Marcus thought it was hilarious to be bouncing around but I was in tears. I burned my feet. Really burned them. There were actual blisters on the bottom of both of my feet from the heat of the sand. Not that I am overly fashion conscious or anything, but I just think those little beach shoes are funny looking. Sure, my kids were wearing them but I was not about to wear a pair of those things. That was until my feet caught on fire. My mom went shopping that afternoon and I asked her to pick me up a pair if she saw them. I was all about looking ridiculous if it meant not burning the bottom of my feet again. My mom found a really cool pair that didn't even look like beach shoes and were so comfortable that I wore them around the beach house all one evening. Best part about them, they didn't let the hot sand get anywhere near the tender soles of my feet the rest of the vacation.

That night we had a traditional beach dinner that my brother-in-law Randy makes each year. This was the first year that I was actually there to enjoy it. My mom picked up some corn on the drive down at a farmer's market so she and my sister got to work preparing that.

We also had some salad.

Randy had the really hard job of manning the grill while he drank a beer and smoked a cigar.

Mmmm... yummy food. These are kabobs with steak, fresh shrimp, fresh scallops, and veggies.

After dinner we took the pooch down to the beach for her nightly swim. Kim and Randy tried to get their kids kites to fly but there was no wind.

Between throwing the ball for the pooch, I snapped some cute photos of Will. Look, he likes the beach!

Back at the beach house he showed some fondness towards the pooch and Maria too.


Vacation - Take 3

Monday - August 4
Another morning spent on the beach! Once again, the little pool was put to good use.

Oops, wrong picture. This is what I meant to post:

My dad even came down to the beach for a little bit. Later in the week he bought a really bad hat that he would wear to the beach but I didn't manage to get a picture of that.

After bathing and lunch and naps, my parents headed out for dinner. Kim's family and us decided to order some pizza instead. Then we headed down for a swim in the community pool. Marcus was jumping in, going under water, and thinking he could swim like usual. I figured Will would be content just hanging out on the steps of the pool. Nope. He was all about the water! Greg held on to him and had him jumping off the side of the pool like he was a pro. After each leap he was shouting, "More! More! More!"

Tuesday - August 4
The day started off a bit overcast. We thought it might rain. (The only time it rained on our entire vacation was the night we got there and one other night while we were all sleeping.) Greg and I decided to pack up the kids and the pooch into our SUV and take a drive on the beach. We headed north on Beach Road until the road ran out and there was nothing but sand. The last time I was in the Outer Banks was 5 years ago. We drove up there then too and there were very few people and we even saw some wild horses. Now the place is like a highway.

I wasn't very confident about driving in sand so I pretty much grabbed the first spot I found and we set up.

We kept the kids out of the water - which they weren't happy about - and let the pooch swim and fetch.

When she wasn't in the water, she somehow found great enjoyment just rolling in the sand.

We packed a lunch and hung out and ate. Will looks miserable in this photo but really he was quite happy. This was the first day that he was really excited about the beach from the moment we got there until the moment we left.

We forgot to bring a water bowl for the pooch though so we were left to improvise.

I was kind of miserable that day, just tired and hot and headache-y. I wasn't planning on going swimming so I only had put sunscreen on my face. Eventually I decided to get in the water though. The pooch and I were swimming around together which was totally cool. Of course, no pictures taken of this event though. While the pooch and I paddled over waves, Marcus cried because he wanted to go with us. I just had to be careful swimming with the pooch though because her paws dogging paddling through the water have some killer toenails on them. On our way back into shore, a wave crashed on us, wiping her out into my leg and I nearly got wiped out too. Still, really cool to be out there with my pooch.

The kids only napped a little bit that afternoon on the our ride back to the beach house. It showed with some melting down. I was able to get Marcus to take a little bit of a nap later on but Will wouldn't cooperate. Some people had no problem taking a nap.

My mom had made a lasagna and brought it with her so we had that for dinner that night. Then we went out on a boat trip on the sound.

I got to talking to this nice lady from Richmond on the boat. She asked me that dreaded question - "Are your kids adopted?" Yep, they were. She said her daughter was looking into adoption. I am just never sure how much to disclose during conversations like that. I didn't want to start going on about how it was the greatest thing we ever did or start preaching about adoption. We did have quite a nice little conversation until Marcus decided he was done talking and wanted to check out the boat a little more.