Monthly Archive for August, 2012

Between Quicksand & a Leaf Blower

My husband and I were watching TV last night. I was zipping through the commercials, and we saw an ad for the Sleep Number Bed whiz by on the screen.

The inside joke we’d shared over a Sleep Number Bed popped into our heads simultaneously, and immediately, we both started laughing.

When we were on our Great Roadtrip of July 2012, we had the opportunity to stay with friends in Utah. Their house is gorgeous, and their guest facilities top-notch. Our friend was giving us a tour and showed us the bed in the guest room. It was a Sleep Number Bed, and we’d always wanted to try one of those. (Someone told us a while ago that there is a strange “hump” in the middle of a Sleep Number Bed. We both sleep in the middle, so I was curious to see if that was true.)

She told us that it was still functional, but that the display on the controls no longer lit up. You had to just push the buttons and see what happened. We wouldn’t be able to see what our number was, but that’s okay. No worries. Beggars can’t be choosers. I was just happy to be sleeping somewhere that wasn’t a sleeping bag, and I was sure it would be fine.

We went about our evening.

As things turned out, I went to bed before my husband did. Claire was already asleep in the room on an air mattress on the floor. I didn’t evaluate the firmness of my side of the bed any more than, “That feels okay. I have no problems with this,” and that was that. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

Later that night, I had the strangest dream. I felt like I was sinking in quicksand! I could hear a slight hissing noise as my limbs sunk deeper and deeper. As the Pssssshhhhhhh whispers through the room, I’m sinking, sinking, sinking. Then, just as quickly as it had started, the noise stopped and I was suspended on a cloud. Then, the leaf blower started blasting.

I shot straight up.

“What the…what!?” I yelled.  My husband can’t hear me over the roaring noise coming from our bed.

“Sorry! Sorry!” he hubby says, frantically pushing buttons on the control. “I can’t see what I’m doing!”

“Well, why are you doing anything at all!?” I whisper-screamed at him, as the noise finally stops.

“It has buttons! How am I not supposed to touch the buttons!?”

Luckily we have a child who can sleep through anything, and she didn’t even wiggle. We decided to sleep on whatever number was already set for fear of pushing that luck too far, and we discovered that it does indeed have a distinct ridge in the middle of the bed.

I have yet to see an infomercial depicting the true nature of a Sleep Number Bed. No one is frantic as they try to work the controls.  There is no yelling.  There are no whisper-screams.

I don’t know what my Sleep Number is, but I can tell you this: It’s somewhere between Quicksand and Leaf Blower.

Saying Goodbye to Summer Break, Estes Style

What did we do the weekend before school started? (And was this really just last weekend?)  We spent the day in Estes! Friends from out-of-state were visiting Colorado, and we decided to meet them in Estes Park.

We love Estes. One of my favorite attractions is The Stanley Hotel. It’s fun to have lunch there, and if you do, the $5 you pay for parking gets taken off your lunch tab! (If you spend at least $25, and you will.)

We’ve been to Estes many times over the years, but this time was a little different. Because we were going to be showing our friends the Letterboxing Ropes, I’d discovered some parts of Estes that we didn’t even know existed.

Did you know that you can hike the trails behind The Stanley?

…and climb a mountain? (The dads climbed the mountain by going around the long way. The teenager climbed pretty much straight up from here.  One of the dads is pictured at the top!)

After we hiked around out back and had lunch, we took pictures of the front.

…and in front of the front.

After a few hours, it was time to say goodbye to our friends. They ventured off on a ghost tour, and we ventured off to explore the Birch House Ruins of Estes Park before heading home. Ruins? What ruins?

It’s true. We’ve been to Estes I don’t know how many times, and we had no idea these ruins existed.

There is a tiny gravel turn-off just west of the The Stanley. If you park in the lot and hike up the hill, the view of The Stanley is amazing!!  (Click photos for more detail.)

It was fun hiking all over the trails and checking out the ruins.

The Birch House Ruins

Estes Ruin View. Estes View Not Ruined.

All in all, it was a fantastic Send Off for our Summer Break!

My Paisley Secret

I want to share a funny thing that happened to me yesterday. See the above Instagram?

This is Claire’s shirt. It’s new. We dig it. She decided to wear it to school yesterday.  Granted, in real life, the colors are softer.  We liked the bold filter on Instagram, so that’s why it looks like that.  Still…it’s paisley.  Very Paisley.

Anyway, I was emailing back and forth with a mom of one of Claire’s classmates. We’ve been friends for over a year, so we can joke around with each other. Well, in the email, she said that she wanted me to know about the “filthy talk” my daughter said to her this morning before school.

I braced myself!

My friend had complimented Claire’s shirt, the one in the photo above. Claire thanked her and then proceeded to tell my friend that IT MATCHED MY BRA, but that Mom’s bra is PINK PAISLEY! The exact paisley, but in PINK!

Not only is that completely true, it’s embarrassingly hysterical. (This isn’t the first time my daughter has aired my personal habits for all to see…)

It’s true:  My secrets aren’t safe…and neither are Victoria’s.

Our Morning Schedule

7:30: “Alarm to Leave” goes off on my phone.  (Doors open at 7:45. School starts promptly at 8:00.  We’ve got plenty of time, and I love having a buffer.)

7:34: We leave.  (No one can account for the last 4 minutes, but it always works out this way.  See?  Buffer.)

7:35: I ponder the driving skills (or lack thereof) of others.

7:36: I discuss random science-y topics.  Sometimes we discuss math or spelling.  Sometimes we talk about what song lyrics really mean.

7:37: I verbally disparage idiot drivers using words that aren’t *technically* swear words but would make The French Knight giggle.

7:38: Claire asks me why I’m giggling.  Elderberries always make me laugh.

7:39: We’re almost to the school!  Come on, people!  Green arrows don’t last forever!

7:40: Pull thru Drop Off Lane & slow down while Claire does her best Tuck-n-Roll from a moving vehicle.

7:41: Sigh a happy sigh despite the fact that the Summer Me wouldn’t be out of bed for a couple more hours.

The Great Roadtrip of July 2012 – Montana, Wyoming, and Home

Well, we’ve reached the last recap of our Great Roadtrip of July 2012!

Our Roadtrip in Roadmaps.

If you’d like to read all the recap posts, click here!

It seems a disservice to Montana and Wyoming to condense that portion of the trip into a couple sentences, but that’s what happens when you reach the end of a roadtrip.

Plus, the hours (and hours and hours and hours) of our lives that we devoted to Montana and Wyoming should be payment enough.

At one point, one of us (or all of us) said, “Montana takes a long time.”

Ain’t that the truth!

...but Montana sure is pretty.

We stayed one night in Bozeman, Montana before continuing our journey to Casper, Wyoming.

The amount of traffic in Wyoming WAS a benefit.

With adventures in our rearview and our own beds waiting for us up ahead, the end of our trip was bittersweet.

And, then, just like that, we were home.

3,221 miles

We had such a great trip, with memories of adventures that will last us a lifetime.

…and it was time to clean-up.

The labor laws are lax around this place.

The Great Roadtrip of July 2012 – Exploring Coeur d’Alene

When we left off in our recapping of our Great Roadtrip of July 2012, we were camping in Coeur d’Alene!

We camped for two nights in Bell Bay, on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. After enjoying our first night, we had the entire day to explore!

Three of us on the dock by our campsite

Yes, the lighting is all wrong in this photo, but I love it! Plus, it adheres to my husband’s Internet Photo Contract that he signed regarding the use of his image on my website. Heh.

Also?  Notice the pants?  Because I nearly froze to death in Seattle, I wore my pants.  Guess who nearly overheated in Coeur d’Alene because of her stupid pants and therefore may never wear stupid pants ever, ever again?  Seriously.

(No, you’re being overly dramatic.)


Anyway, on to the fun stuff!

One of the activities we did in Coeur d’Alene was paddle-boating! We rented a paddle-boat for half an hour and had a blast tooling around the lake.

Mush! ...or whatever the paddle-boat equivalent is.

I’ve been on a paddle-boat before and had a great time, but I’m not going to lie. This time, I got a bit nervous, but it all worked out okay.  (Click the following photos to see more detail.)

I mean, why would I worry? It's not like sea planes are landing and taking off from the lake...

The view really is gorgeous from the lake. The sailboat in the distance made this picture perfect.

All in all, we had a great time paddle-boating!  Claire was excited to check a new adventure off her list.

That afternoon, we wanted to go on a hike. You know what that means… Letterboxing!

Look at this trail! How could it not lead to adventure?

Here is JoAnn...hiking with all of her friends. Heh. (Inside joke.)

In the above photo, I’m hiking up to where Daddy and Claire are on the trail.  I’ve just stealthily re-hidden a treasure.  You know, a typical day for us.

We loved Coeur d’Alene.  It was’t too crowded, even during this “busy” time.  The views were incredible.  We’d love to explore some more if we ever get the chance.

Next update? We make the trek home!

Stay tuned!

If you’d like to catch up on all the recap posts, click here!

First Day of First Grade!

Shirt: Tie-dyed herself in Art Class. Jeans: Sparkley. Shoes: Brand new moccasins, just because. Model: A First Grader. WHAT!?

Claire, the First Grader

I was granted permission to park and walk her to her first class, as long as I wasn’t too clingy. She and another kid in her class bolted as soon as the doors opened, and I wandered down to her class eventually, holding up my end of the bargain.

Tomorrow, we’ll do Drop Off, as if this is no big deal at all.

Happy 11th Birthday, guys!

Jasper & Merlin - 11 Years Old

Not to be overshadowed by The First Day of School… It’s Merlin & Jasper’s Birthday! I can’t believe our first babies are ELEVEN.

Happy Birthday, guys!

The Weight of a Crushed Soul, Or An Update on my Jaw Therapy

I had an appointment at my jaw specialist today. The pain I referred to in my last post was knocked out by a round of medication, so things are good.

I go back in three weeks, and THEN we MIGHT be able to discuss weaning me off this horrid wonderful device.

“The doctor may let you take it out for an hour…” the assistant told me. I gasped, pure thoughts of a hamburger joy overwhelming me. “…after you eat,” she added. I was crushed. AFTER I eat?? “Then, after you do that for a while, he will let you take it out for two hours!” she said. I was leery. “…after you eat,” she added.

Dude. So not cool.

My hubby called from work to check in to see how things went, and I told him. When I mentioned we wouldn’t start weaning off it until the next visit…maybe. He said, “Did you tell him that IT’S CRUSHING YOUR SOUL!?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. No, I didn’t tell the doctor that. I did, however, ask him out loud if I’d have to wear it forever, and he told me no. I can only hope he wasn’t lying. Then again, “forever” is so hard to calculate these days.

In awesome news, you’ll never guess what’s happened. A little back-story will be needed. Back in 1994, yes, 18 years ago, for those of you playing along at home, I had my wisdom teeth out. Because the roots of my teeth are curly and complicated and wrapped around all the nerves in my face, I was told that the procedure *may* cause some of the nerves in my jaw and face to be severed or nicked, and that numbness would result.

I asked if I’d drool. I was told I wouldn’t. I gave my blessing for the procedure. (There really wasn’t a choice anyway.)

Sure enough, after the surgery, I couldn’t feel the right half of my chin and the right half of my bottom lip. It felt numb. In the cold, it would feel puffy. I adjusted. Life went on. Honestly, after 18 years, I’d learned how to apply lipstick without looking, and I never even noticed it to feel abnormal anymore.  This was my new normal.

At the end of June, guess what happened!?

I started to feel my face and lip. The feeling returned! Either the laser therapy or the splint has returned the feeling in my face and lip, and I’m shocked. SHOCKED. This wasn’t even something I thought I’d ever get back. I thought this was a done deal. This wasn’t even considered as a benefit to this jaw therapy.

So, I can’t eat solid food, but the pain in my jaw is gone and feeling has returned to my face.

…oh, and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds.

That must be what a soul weighs after it’s crushed… 😉

The Great Roadtrip of July 2012 – Camping Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d'Alene

Shortly after our odometer flipped over 2000 miles, the road that was hugging the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene meandered across a meadow before joining up with the shore again. This provided us with views fit for a calendar.


There are many campgrounds and bays along Lake Coeur d’Alene, and the one we ended up booking was in Bell Bay. Our campsite was right along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and the views were spectacular. We were very happy with our choice!

I took this photo of Claire and the campsite and then put the camera on the picnic table.

Then, Claire took this photo of us unloading the car. (I found this picture on the camera later!)

Tent, with a side of Lake View, coming right up.

This is what I love about camping with 6.5 year olds. They're very self-sufficient!

Another view of Bell Bay from our campsite. Beautiful!

Daddy and Claire checking out the view. I took this photo from our campsite. It's one of my favorites!

These photos are deceptive. It looks like you can walk right out to the shore from our tent, but in reality, there is a slope and then a steep path down to the rocky shore. This was actually the best of both worlds. I didn’t want to be right up on the water, but I wanted to see it from our site. Perfect!

I don't think I have a camping photo where the Camp Chef isn't hard at work. (He wouldn't have it any other way.)

It was fun exploring the trails all over this campground, down to the shore and a dock not too far from our tent.

The sunset views from our campsite were absolutely amazing.

Because the weather was totally different here than our stay in Oregon, we didn’t put the rainfly on the tent. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The entire top of our tent is mesh and provided an awe-inspiring view of the night sky.

As we drifted off to sleep to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, we saw FIVE shooting stars right above our tent.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Next update? Exploring Coeur d’Alene!

Stay tuned!

If you’d like to catch up on all the recap posts, click here!