Thursday, August 30, 2012

The dropsies

There isn't really a clumsy dwarf...but here's Dopey.

I was just wishing for something funny to blog about when walking back to my desk from the kitchen with my frozen peanut butter cups (I like to eat them frozen), I bobbled one, and in trying not to drop it, bobbled the other so that it looked like I was juggling and then they both fell on the ground and I started uncontrollably giggling.

I tend towards clumsiness sort of all the time though when it is at a certain time of the month I get what I call "The dropsies".  I drop everything (hence the name) and also walk into things and am generally just more awkward and clumsy than usual.

And the calmer and cooler I try to be, the crazed-er and uncooler I am.  Like yesterday morning.  Tad was taking the kids to my parents and all of them were still sleeping and I was trying to be super calm and quiet.  In doing so, I knocked a plastic plate off the drying rack and it clattered to the floor and when I tried to quickly stop its loud clattering, I knocked another one down and both of them were clattering around for what seemed to me a ridiculous amount of time. Until I stepped on the both to stop them, which made me laugh (and I covered my mouth to try not to do that loudly too).

Recently-ish I wrote a blog post about my hand frenzies and you can re-read it if you like.  But the point is, I am rather a fast mover. Tad's pet names for me include "Spazzy McSpazzerson" and "Hasty McGee". 

One of my favorite moments of this quality of mine was when I was walking down the street trying to read a map and fell flat on the sidewalk, map on my face and my shoes fell right off! 

I mostly embrace my Hasty McGee moniker and admittedly, I do laugh every time I fall down, knock something over or walk into a wall...even if it's after the fact when my dignity has been restored.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Silliness saves the day. (Not that it needed saving)

I took off on Monday and Tuesday this week to stay home with my kiddos.  Since we would already be home, I invited two other kiddos to join us making a total of four children.  We had a really awesome two days and it was helpful that the children who were with us, are very similar to my own in many ways--behaviors, ideals and level of weirdness. 

Monday we stayed at our house all day. We did arts and crafts.  The kids all made themselves flip flops out of foam art supplies and wore them for the rest of the day.  I put the tent up in the yard and we hauled out sleeping bags and pillows.  Several neighbors came over. 

Tuesday we went out to Michael's and bought arts and craft supplies, to the library for a picnic lunch and books, and to Yo Mama for frozen yogurt treats.  On the way home, I was starting to feel a little worn out, thinking 'an hour and a half until all the workers return...', kinda ready for the day to be over...  We passed a sign for Tosa Fest and I pointed it out.  The kids asked me what I was pointing at and I said, "Oh just a sign for this event. It's called Tosa Fest."  Coen said "It's called Tosa Fest" in a mocking tone.  I acted offended and they all laughed.  Then suddenly he was singing "It's called Tosa Fest" in a strange tone of voice. Before I knew it, all four kids were singing along with him.  They sang it over and over all the way from Wauwatosa to our house, into our garage and walking into the house. They sang it for like seven straight minutes.  It was unbelievably ridiculous and made me laugh so hard, I cried.  Also, it renewed my energy for the rest of the day..and into the night. 

I love kids.  Especially kids who know how to be silly.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The more funny things you say and do, the more funny things you HAVE to say and do.

I know we all talk about how life is what you make it and all of those old cliches....

But I was thinking today about how I started this blog because I felt like I was stuck in a rut.  Of sorts.

I have this friend, Billy.  And when we were in our twenties, we'd talk on the phone and he'd say to me, "Tell me something funny." 
And I would inevitably, always have something funny to tell him.

But then I noticed now, in my thirties, when he asks me to tell him something funny,  I have to really dig to come up with something.  I usually can, mind you, but I have to dig.  And I talk to him much less often now.

So that was the I mean impotence?  I'm suddenly drawing a blank (I've been with several children today and my mind has gone a bit mushy) Is impotence when...yep...just googled it in another window and the first thing that came up was Cialis.  Okay, sorry....the impetus for...that was the impetus for my starting this blog.  It was like, I had children, and suddenly I got all serious.  There were bedtime schedules to adhere to and dinners to make and behaviors to figure out how to deal with....  I needed to start to notice again that everything is completely hilarious, almost all the time.  And when I pay attention to that, then I become more hilarious too.  And really, when it comes down to it... well I'm going to admit something really huge to you here. You might not even like me anymore.  I think that the most important thing to me in life--even more important than changing the world (changing the world is number 2 though)--is having fun, in a word, hilarity.
When I admitted this to my friend, Jen, she said that, in a way, that IS how you change the world.

So, I've been noticing that since I am trying to find fun/amusement, that it's just happening.  And the more funny stories I have to tell, the more funny things happen to me.  And I'm a better parent because I'm laughing with my kids and making things fun rather than being all "get your shoes on right now!" "Stop fighting!" "Do I have to pull this minivan over!?!!" And I'm telling them stories of arguing with my sister and making fun of them when they are over dramatically mad at me and it's working.  It's making life more fun. 

So I guess that's my observation for today.  Laugh at stuff.  It'll give you more stuff to laugh at.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


This blog post was written last night.  Now it's Sunday morning and three children are on the couch, watching Phineas and Ferb and eating eggs, toast and honeydew melon.  The boys were sleeping by midnight and all three kids came downstairs at 7:00.  We heard Coen say, "Let's not wake them up. Let's let them sleep in."

Oh how I loved sleepovers.

Coen is having a sleepover tonight.  It is 9:57 p.m. and Tad is taking the boys outside to play in the dark because when they were getting ready for bed, they were climbing all over each other, wild with energy.

I, for one, can't wait until they go to sleep.  I want to go to sleep!

But watching them go outside, with flashlights, Mason saying on the way out, "Can we tell scary stories?" makes me fondly remember when I was young and got to go out in the dark after bedtime.  Specifically I remember the feel of grass on my bare legs, wearing one of my mom's big t-shirts for pajamas.  And the feeling of really being in on something, getting to stay up late and be outdoors.

And those sleepovers, how hard we would try to stay up all night.  Once my mom came downstairs at 4:00 in the morning and demanded that we go to sleep.  "She's turning us into owls!" I said and my friend and me rolled around in our sleeping bags, helpless with laughter.

Tad is upstairs now, with the boys, reading them a story.  We'll take turns going upstairs to ask them to be calm and quiet, try to sleep. A sleepover is a different thing when you're in charge of it, rather than just in it.  But still, the night does have a special exciting feel, something different.  I guess these crazy boys are rubbing off on me.

And I know it'll be something new entirely when Lucy is old enough and our house is full of slumber party girls instead of boys.

But for now, I'm going to talk to Tad, and look forward to coffee in the extra kid in the house.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On comfort and aesthetics

I'm a relatively low-maintenance person.  Now, here, my husband (and probably my dad) would likely enjoy inputting that I am certainly not emotionally low-maintenance, but low maintenance in the typical use of the phrase.

I don't wear make up, I don't own a blow dryer. I shower in the morning and am dressed and ready to leave in fifteen minutes.  Tops. 

But also, what leads me to speculate upon this subject this morning, low-maintenance-ence--is that I'm standing here at my laptop with a plant on my head.  Let me explain.  My laptop sits plugged in atop our built-in china cabinet (which incidentally is filled with records, books, music recording and sound equipment, rather than china) under a hanging vine plant.  So, rather than unplug my computer and sit down with it on my lap, I am standing here typing whilst this hanging plant drapes over my head and shoulders.  It isn't really comfortable,but I didn't even notice until Tad got up and I realized he might laugh about it.

The same thing happens to me both physically and aesthetically when Tad's not home.  I'll be sitting in the dark, in the heat, with the windows closed and the fan off, in silence.  Tad will come in and say, "Wow. Having fun sweating in the dark silence?" And he'll put on Pandora, open the windows and turn on the fan. And voila! The room is suddenly a comfortable and pleasant place to be.

It makes me wonder...what did I do before?  The time I did live alone, in my twenties, I did put on music and get myself in a place of comfort and pleasantness.  But I suppose, mostly I've always lived other people.

I know it is a quality like this that made me a great roommate.  I never cared what movie we rented, what bar we went to, what restaurant we ordered from.  Whatever.  I was just happy doing what everyone else wanted to do.

But when Tad comes in and changes the room quality and I see how nice it is, like he does, it makes me think...should I be doing more to improve my surroundings?  Certainly I have preferences and music I'd like to listen to...  I wonder if other people think about things like this.  If other people arrange their surroundings just so, in order to have a peaceful and happy place to exist. 

I guess I'll start by getting this plant away from my head and putting on some music.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lucy in the sky

Look at this maniac.  This is my daughter.  She is the most amazing, beautiful, fascinating female I've ever met.  She also drives me completely insane.  Incredibly shy, yet powerfully interested in being "on stage", she comes off sometimes as aloof and uninterested, and sometimes as the biggest, sweetest goofball you ever saw.

Last night was the Washington Park concert, one of my very happiest times of summer.  I had planned on staying late and having fun.  But Lucy was a bit troublesome last night, requiring a lot of concentrated attention, breaking down and crying over several things.  I stood with her right down in the dance area, center stage to the entire park (save the people actually on stage) trying to convince her that I wasn't going to dance while she was crying and everyone was staring at us (probably in my mind, but nonetheless...)

She cried when I teased her, when a friend wanted to get in a picture with her, when someone bumped into her, when she couldn't have another cookie......  and on it went.  In between, of course, moments of glee, her throwing blankets into the air, asking me to braid the tails of several thousand My Little Ponies, and rolling down the hill with friends and neighbors.  But there was a lot of frustration too...a lot of tears, a lot of pouting.

Yet, as we walked hand in hand back home, (leaving earlier than I wanted to because she needed to get to bed or maybe it was that I needed her to go to bed) she said, looking up at me sweetly, "Wasn't that the best night ever?"

Go figure.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A notable event at Washington Park

Tad and I are very different creatures.  Sometimes this is a wonderful thing--we complement one another and push one another out of our respective comfort zones. 

So, something happened at last week's Washington Park Concert that was the embodiment of our difference.

Some kids had gathered to play.  One child would lay down in one of the picnic blankets and then several others would lift up the edges of the blanket and carry that child around, swinging him or her and running and laughing.  Tad and I both observed this.

I was sitting with our friend Rachel. 
Me: Rachel...look at those kids. Tad's probably going to put a stop to that pretty soon, I bet.

Meanwhile Tad is on another blanket next to our friend Liza. 
Tad: (looking at the kids) I don't know about that.

Me (to Rachel): I'm going to go check them out!
I walk over to them.

Tad (to Liza): Oh my gosh, this is incredible. MY wife is about to reprimand some children. This is a historical event!

Meanwhile, I have approached the children and said to them "I wonder if you can lift me up!"
They put the child in the blanket down and yell, "Get in! Get in!"
I do.

Tad is still marvelling to Liza about my putting an end to this blanket thing when he looks back and who does he see getting out of the blanket after having been lifted up and carried around?

His wife. Me.

He and Liza have a good laugh.  Tad says, "Well, there you go. That's the difference between Alie and me."

At any rate, the Washington Park concert is happening again this Wednesday. Hope to see you there.
6:00-8:30--Washington Park Bandshell.

Who KNOWS what will happen!

That is me, in the blanket.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This should go down in the Facebook hall of fame.

I would like to share a conversation from Facebook yesterday because it gave me unending amusement.  On this rainy day, I think I'd like to share the amusement.
The characters in this conversation are Andy, Billy and Alie (me)
Andy: My life feels like one big coffee stain
Billy: Hazelnut or French Roast?
Alie: Oh, you want me to sing to you? answer?  You probably do
Billy:  Oh a coffee stain with sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down!
Alie:See Andy.. Billy and I will BOTH sing to you
Billy: Stand and lift your head. Redemption is drawing near. The armies of heaven, are riding in the air.  Look into the clouds,every eye will see,Christ coming down.So shall it be. Do bop biddie, wacka wacka wacka wock
Alie: No sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea! No coffee stains on your counter no coffee spilled on your knee! babadodadabapmmdobap babadapada da daw
Billy: Ooo cappuchino
Double espresso
I need something with
A really big kick
You ask me about creamer
You ask me about sugar
I tell you those things make me sick
With my...oh shit you spilled the coffe
Billy: Oooooo
Alie: I'm SIIIIIIINGING in the rain! Andy feels like a coffee stain! What a gloooooorious feeling....
Billy:I been drivin' haulin' load of grain all day long
Got about three more hundred miles to go
And well I just dropped in to have a cup of coffee friend
Yeah I just dropped in to have a cup of coffee friend
Don't you offer me none of that whiskey don't need no wine
Gotta get that semi down the lin
Andy:  I'm not sure what to say to all this, but at least you two made me smile, now all I need is more coffee.....and when I say coffee I mean coffee flavored coffee
Billy: Hazelnut or French Roast?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mistaking things for other things.

My kids love to lick the beaters.  Who doesn't?  The other night I made brownies for an event and let them lick the chocolatey mess off the beaters.  Then Coen said, "Ooh Mommy, are you making those great mint brownies you make?  Can we lick the frosting beaters too?"
I wasn't going to make mint brownies but spurred on by his compliment and wanting to keep the good times rolling, I made frosting too.  And they licked those beaters.
Once I made guacamole with the blender and when the kids rushed in to ask for the beaters (blissfully thinking I was making some sort of dessert) I handed them over willingly.  They both took big licks of what they thought was green frosting and and immediately Lucy tossed hers into the sink waving her hand dramatically in front of her nose.  "Ugh! Uck! What IS that?!" She nearly screamed.  Coen had pulled his away in shock saying, "That's not frosting! That's avocado!" And then he merely shrugged and went on licking. 

Thinking about the beaters reminded me of two separate times my dad mistook a thing for another thing and was given a shock when he ate said thing and found out it wasn't the thing he thought it was.  Here are those two stories:

Story 1:
My parents went out for sushi with us once and my dad received his vegetarian roll and eyed it up appreciatively. Then he said, "Oh! Avocado!" and plucked up the enormous hunk of wasabi that he was given next to the ginger with his chopsticks and popped it into his mouth before I could say, "No, Dad! Don't!"  Immediately his face turned red and he began sweating profusely before he choked out the words, "That wasn't avocado!"

Story 2:
We went to see my parents play volleyball at one of their indoor games when Coen was about two.  I had a cup of water on the bleachers for Coen and he accidentally knocked it over.  I hastily looked for something to wipe it up with and reached into my parents gym bag for a pair of old-already-worn sweat socks.  I wiped up the water and then wrung it back out into the cup.  Just then, my dad ran over to the sidelines and grabbed the cup of water, downing it as I yelled "No, Dad! Don't!"  He smacked his lips, looking faintly disgusted saying, "That didn't taste right."

At any rate, my dad might be more careful about drinking random cups of water and now he knows what's next to the ginger with his sushi.  My kids now always ask what I'm making before licking a beater that I've handed them. 
We live, we learn, and we try not to mistake things for other things. But when we do, it's pretty funny for the innocent (or not so innocent) onlookers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An unauthorized guest post.

So, do you drink tea?  Tad and I do, and lots of it.  Both of us especially like Yogi brand tea.  Tad likes the Ginger Lemon and I like either Women's Raspberry Leaf or Moon Cycle (which Tad calls "period tea")  We drink it almost nightly after the kids go to bed while we talk on the porch or watch a movie or whatever...

Anyway, the thing I love about Yogi tea is that the tea bags always have some sort of word to the wise.  I have one that I saved from a Good Earth tea packet because it had an Estonian proverb on it.  The other night, my tea bag said "Wherever you go, go with joy" and I liked that very much because it is a message that needs remembering. Especially for a person with young children...when life can feel like a daily routine that repeats is SO good to remember that.  To find joy in all these moments, even in the routine.  But that's the kind of sap I am. I find great meaning in the proverb of a random tea bag.

Tad was telling me that he was drinking tea the other night and his tea bag said, "The point of life is to enjoy every moment." And at first he was like...hmmmm...maybe I should think about that. And then he was like, on second thought, who is this tea bag to tell ME what to think!  So he composed the following list of tea bag wisdoms. (he wrote more but these are my top ten favorites.)


  1.  the less you explain, the better
  2. what's that behind you?
  3. enjoy the ticket, sell the rest
  4. avalanches are overrated
  5. is 34 your favorite number? it should be.
  6. be like the jet-stream, why not
  7. surround yourself with variety-packs
  8. Furlong Samson looks like a sure thing
  9. the tea you just sipped is poisoned
  10. you are reading a tea-label, shit-face

This one, actually, we have hanging on our fridge.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

They should have ball gymnastics at the closing ceremony.

I am blogging whilst watching this strange closing ceremony in London. I tuned in just in time to see the spice girls singing on top of British taxi cabs. Whaaaa?  

But I can't make too much fun because I am watching it after all.  I do like the Olympics. I like all the background stories and the athletes who actually look joyful about getting a medal--gold, silver or a bronze medal.  Or even just joyful about being there.   And laughing at the announcers who say words like "devastating" and "horribly unexpected" about someone making it all the way to the frickin' Olympics and getting a medal that isn't gold.  Like being the second or third or even fifteenth best in the world is such a nightmare.  What's so great about number 1? That's what I want to know.  I like it when the smaller countries win too, because even though it's fun when the US wins something, I kinda feel like I'm just rooting for the Yankees in Major League Baseball.

My kids got to enjoy the games too while we were in the Madison hotel.
We watched water polo while we waited for the rain to pass.  The kids were thrilled with the mid-day TV watching and the snacks that came along. And when the rain didn't pass very quickly, we got to see the US Women's Team win the gold medal.  That was very exciting for everyone.
 Today I switched from Netflix to TV after the children's morning viewing and water polo was on.   Lucy pointed to the screen and shouted, "Water soccer?!! At OUR house?!!"

This afternoon I turned on the TV and saw a bunch of gymnastic-y looking women posing with soccer-sized balls.  What the heck! Ball gymnastics?  I looked it up and apparently it's called rhythmic gymnastics.  Weird.  I mean, who comes up with these sports.  Next summer Olympics will there be acrobatic turkey basting?  I guess I just don't get it.  Maybe years ago, someone like me was writing in actual-paper-non-Internet-based diary about what a strange event synchronized diving seemed. Synchronized anything.

Here are some new events I came up with based on a Google search for "funny Olympics photos":

Foot Head Floor Routine

Aquatic flying overhead to scare someone and rid them of their hiccups.

Extreme butt grabbing

Coen just called down to me, after I tucked him in, "What are you watching?"
"The end of the Olympics!" I answered.
He called back "Who won?"


Saturday, August 11, 2012

I guess it's a few more years until we're all Flaming Lips ready

Tad and I have been to see the Flaming Lips every single time they've been in our area.  We saw them when they were small enough to play at Shank Hall back when we were just neighbors and friends.  Tad drove all the way to Minneapolis and saw them as he danced on stage in a goldfish costume.  We saw them in Chicago and every time they've been to Milwaukee. 
Do You Realize by the Flaming Lips played after we were officially married.  Tad has been singing What Is The Light to our children as a lullaby since Coen was an infant.  I once took Lucy to be assessed as a hearing peer for deaf and hard of hearing children. The assessors asked her favorite song, expecting to hear her say Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Three-Year-Old Lucy's answer?  "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots."

So Tad and I had promised each other that as soon as the Flaming Lips came to an outdoor venue, we'd take the kids.  And this summer Pondamonium was announced with Garbage, the Flaming Lips and three smaller bands, doors opening at 2:30--all ages show. Perfect!

It wasn't until we'd already bought the tickets that we found out that the Flaming Lips wouldn't take the stage until 8:30, but still our kids have stayed up late before.  We had a great time at the event itself.  We arrived late, waiting out some rain and finally showed up around 4:00, wearing rain gear.  We walked around the festival ground which actually was a minor league ballpark.  We ate lots of good food and Coen remarked "I like this band" when Garbage was performing.

But the Flaming Lips, instead of their-often seen-light and love themed music with confetti and balloons, played a dark, spooky psychedelic freak-out.  They started with their usual Race For the Prize and the kids liked that, but by song four (incidentally named Is David Bowie Dead) Lucy loudly proclaimed, "I'm READY TO GO!"

So we went.

On the way back to our hotel, Coen announced that even though it was a creepy he had fun so "It was a good choice to go."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Leg 6 (The ride home)

Coen zoning out on the ride home

The one and only time Lucy slept on the trip

Coen reading about Star Wars
Lucy on the ride home

Tad on the ride home
Me being proud of my mad navigational skills.

It took us about six hours to get home from Indianapolis, including a lunch stop at A & W in the Racine area.  We pushed it a little long for lunch and minivan delirium set in during the near hour it took for us to get there after realizing we were hungry.
At one point, Tad said, "Okay everyone, we're going through a tunnel. Keep your face off."

I don't know what it meant but I wrote it down.

We arrived home at 2:15 p.m. after 13 days away, a total of 37.5 travel hours and a lot of lot of fun.  My own getting home sadness was tempered immediately when our next door neighbor came bounding out of the house to hug Coen and say, "I missed you!"

Within moments it was neighborhood mayhem.  Welcome home, us.

Thanks, readers for reading all about our trip.  Next blog post will be back to my regularly scheduled musings.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Leg 5

 Leg five of our trip was a three hour drive from Columbus, OH to Indianapolis, Indiana.  We (on my mom's advice) decided not to make a 9 hour trek home but to break it up. 

My friend Stephanie told us a good place to stay and informed us that Indianapolis boasts the biggest children's museum in the world, so off we went!

On the way there, I got a migraine unexpectedly and by the time we arrived at the museum, I felt like all I wanted to do was sleep in a dark room.  Luckily, Tad asked one of the docents and I was directed to a first aid room where no one goes, as they said, and I slept on a cot in there for more than an hour.  I woke up all better and joined my family in the snack bar.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at the museum's various exhibits.  Coen's favorite was a maze of mirrors--there he is above making an "army of Coens". Lucy's favorite was the old fashioned carousel that she got to ride on the top floor.

We got to our hotel and found out that the reservation that I had made on expedia was actually for the 30th of July, not the 1st of August.  The front desk staff was so kind and she got us a room at less than the price we paid for expedia. 

 Our room was extremely luxurious and we ordered room service right away, watching the Olympics over dinner.  Lucy's chocolate milk was rancid and after Tad called down to politely complain, were were given three check up calls, two free desserts and four free breakfast buffet ticket for the following morning. 

I have to say, Kudos Indianapolis for your fabulous customer service everywhere we went!  It was a lovely way to spend the last stop of our trip.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Leg 4

Going from idyllic outdoor festival land to an indoor water park with a gift shop, a bar and a flashing and blinking arcade was a bit of a culture shock to both Tad and I, admittedly and we both had a bad mood day whilst there. But the children loved it.  And indeed I did book this section of the trip with them in mind.

Lucy napped for her one and only time in the van on the way to Columbus Ohio's Fort Rapids indoor water park hotel.  She awoke only when I picked her up to carry her into Sonic (our rest stop) and vigorously nodded with a smile on her face when I asked "Do you want some ice cream?"

Coen loved these speed slides best and Tad refused to go down them again after doing it once, headfirst fashion.  Hence, I was elected to go down these slides over and over again, racing Coen to the bottom. 
The best part of this part of our trip was that our hotel room had a "Kid's Bunkhouse" which was a bunk bed sectioned three quarters off from the room by a wall resembling a log cabin. They slept well in there, with their own TV to keep them occupied in the morning while Tad and I tried to keep sleeping. 

We enjoyed dinner the last night in the hotel bar and got caught up on all the Olympics news we'd missed while camping and cabin-ing. 

My favorite quote said by the Gymnastics commentator (who are hilariously dramatic, by the way) was: "No one is having individual thoughts today!"

We were having lots of individual thoughts in the Kriofske Mainella family.  Coen and Lucy's were water park fun related, and Tad and I were thinking how great it would be to go back to Floyd!

Nevertheless, it was a good stop and we got all caught up on sleep.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Leg 3

Floyd Fest.  Wow.  That was easily the most amazing three days of my year. Above you see a photo of the festival grounds taken from our shuttle bus, as we rode away.  It was set up like a little village with stages of all kinds, all over the place and a main stage at the head.  Along the two sides are two rows of tents with shopping and food galore.

We arrived in Floyd on Thursday at around noon and had our tent (seen above) set up and the car parked in a remote lot and us, ready to festival it up by 2:00 p.m.  Thursday night was a mite difficult as the children settled in for the first night of camping. Lucy cried about the slant upon which our tent was pitched. Being in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we were basically down hill, all of us waking in the morning, scrunched at the bottom of the tent, due to gravity. Also, from 1-3 a.m. Tad and I were awakened (the children slept through all of this--a minor miracle in my opinion) by the worst Pink Floyd cover band I've ever heard in my life. This was followed by a drum circle from roughly 3-6 a.m. Tad and I got ourselves some ear plugs on Friday which made the experience all the better in our sleeping hours.

Friday, however, made our lack of sleep worthwhile.  We roamed free at the festival, dined on such wonderful foods as smoothies called the Solar Blast, a veggie noodle stir fry with the most delicious peanut sauce I've ever tasted, and a wonderful concoction called "The Veggie Thing" which someday I shall try to reproduce.  We also danced to a lovely bluegrass band who knew just how to jam during a thunderstorm, which lasted only two hours and made the experience all the more lovely.  Coen and Lucy loved playing in the hula hoop area.

Coen's favorite place to be was the Vaudeville tent (pictured below) where they had juggling and other circus type shows, and workshops for kids and adults on unicycling, juggling, hula-hooping and the flying trapeze.  Coen was enthralled.   Also below, is a photo of Lucy and I snuggling during Friday's rainstorm.  Lucy's butterfly face paint was just beginning to smear.

On Saturday, after a much better sleep, we enjoyed our breakfast next to the hula hoops and then I went to a Zumba class which was heavenly. Tad met me there after with the kids where we all participated in a drum circle.  It was exactly what church should be like for Tad and I and we both loved the drumming, the meditation, the message and I adored the meditative dance.  It was a moving experience for all four of us. 
In the afternoon, there was a parade followed by the most amazing marching band I have ever seen or heard. They are called March Fourth and are out of Portland (of course). They have stilt-dancers along with them and they are pictured here to the left.
Brandi Carlisle played that evening so we ate dinner on the grass and listened to her for a while. We ended our night at the Children's Universe, an area for families,  There they have a tent for scrapes and boo-boos, a place called "The Red Tent" for nursing mothers and women who just want to chat...also a place where you can get free juice boxes, granola bars or string cheese for crabby, hungry children. There was a Noah's Ark shaped play structure, a covered sand box, a tent full of dress-up clothes (Lucy and I are sporting our Fairy Wings to the left, there), a stage for kids music, face painting, and a balloon lady (see Lucy's flower balloon bracelet).  It was incredible--the children's universe and really the whole festival. 

This year's theme was Lover's Rock, which was quite fitting as Tad and I went to the first Floyd Fest when we were dating and falling in love.  And we took Coen in 2005.  This year our whole family got to go.  I was sad to leave on Sunday, but we promised ourselves we'd do it again.  And I think we will.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Leg 2

 Leg 2: From Cincinnati to Mullens, West Virginia--Twin Falls State Park

It took us roughly nine hours of travel time to get there-going through tunnels carved into the mountains.  During this ride, Coen looked out the window and exclaimed, "Whoah! I just saw a man mowing the mountain!"

We arrived in Twin Falls State Park around dinnertime.  We dined on Campbell's Tomato Soup and grilled processed cheese on white bread, the only food I was able to find at the gas station we located in the mountainous windy way there. 

Twin Falls had a hotel and restaurant, a big park, lots of hiking trains and an indoor and outdoor pool.  The first full day we were there it rained all day and we drove into neighboring Pinesville to get some groceries for our cabin and get a haircut for Coen.  He reluctantly agreed to do so, due to a combination of the heat, the length of said hair, and the bugs in our cabin.  (I had to club an enormous cockroach in the night but didn't tell the children about that one!)  It took two women to cut his hair as he began to tear up the shorter it became.  The original stylist had her boss (?) take over.  This woman had to put out her cigarette and finished cutting Coen's hair with her own tresses wrapped in tin foil and hair dye. 

The place also had a field for playing baseball and a nature center for children.  It was the only three days of our thirteen day trip that we slept separately from the children.

 One of those nights, Tad and I played Scrabble after Coen and Lucy were asleep.  At one point, Tad had the letters:
on his tile and I had

We took photos and showed each other after the game was over. (Tad won.)
Coen made friends with another eight year old from North Carolina named Madison and Lucy made friends with four year old Avery from Ohio.

On our last night there, I made spaghetti for dinner and we had Little Debbie for dessert.

After the kids were asleep, Tad and I planned out our route to Floyd Virginia and aired any worries we had about camping with the children. 

Twin Falls State Park is a lovely place and Tad and I highly recommend it. 

Thank you again for reading and I shall tell you about Floyd Fest (in pictures) tomorrow.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Leg 1

As promised, I will chronicle our trip for you, but I promise not to make it too lengthy or long-winded!

Leg 1

We spent seven and a half hours traveling to Cincinnati Ohio with a stop in Lafayette Indiana for a picnic lunch, baseball and park time.  I had booked us a room at the Radisson which, apparently, is no longer in it's heyday. But the kids were happy with the hotel room and the small outdoor pool. 

We spent some time in Fountain Square, having dinner and playing around by the fountain and the statues.  We went to the Great American Ballpark and saw the Brewers play the Reds.  And unfortunately, to lose.  Coen was rather downtrodden, but cheered again when we went back to the hotel room to order a pizza. 

I got confused on our way out of town and somehow we ended up at a drive through in Kentucky of all places where we went through and got breakfast for the road.  Heading east for West Virginia, we stopped for restrooms and gas station coffee.  As we pulled back on to the Appalachian Highway, Tad said, "I'd punch my first cousin in the face for an iced coffee from McDonald's right now."

Tad pitching to Coen at a ballpark we found in Lafayette

Here we are at the Great American Ballpark

Me and the children "hamming it up" (yeah, I went there)

Lucy, back on the road again
 Thanks for reading, everyone. Tomorrow, leg 2.