Thursday, July 30, 2009

They can take my husband away...

...but they can't take away his Marriott points.

My husband works for PwC, a lovely little accounting firm to which we have sold our souls. Anders is gone from home a lot, and he occasionally travels. This stinks, but it also means that we get free nights at the Marriott from time to time.

Tonight we are sleeping in a Residence Inn. Today we drove 14 hours, crossed through 5 states - Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois - and finally stopped in the 6th state - Missouri. We are on a little adventure we like to call "going to Grandma's."

We've never driven to Idaho before, where Grandma and Grandpa Miller live - we've always flown. But we thought we'd try something different this time and use these 4 days of driving to bond, to see the country, and to use our Marriott points.

Highlights from our first day:

- West Virginia: While driving through the mining communities on windy mountain roads , we discovered that Natalie gets car sick. Luckily, I had a bag that successfully contained the results of her car sickness. We took a quick detour to throw away the bag, and to relocate Natalie to a seat where she could see out the front window. It seemed to help. This adventure set us back about 30 minutes.

- Kentucky: We stopped at a gas station. While waiting for Dad, I had the kids line up by the car and led them in doing head-shoulders-knees-and-toes and other various activities. Only later did I realize I that had an audience. A woman came over and said she enjoyed watching me to that.

- Indiana: Practically the whole state was under construction. One lane, 45 miles an hour, for what seemed like forever. We were glad to get to Illinois.

- Illinois: Smoke started coming from the cd player. Hmmmm. We pulled it out; we'll see what happens tomorrow.

The kids were soooooooooooooooooo excited to "go to hotel." Swimming, cool beds, new room - it's like a party to them. They've been amazing on the trip so far. Let's hope they don't revolt tomorrow when we tell them we get to do it all over again.

Friday, July 17, 2009


So our old fridge died. I say old, but I know for certain that it wasn't any older than 5 years. A fridge should last longer than that, don't you think?

Anyway, a repairman came to check it out. He said we were the unluckiest people he'd met in his 35 years of appliance maintenance. It's nice to know you're unique...but you don't want your refrigerator woes defining that uniqueness for you. Apparently there was one wire that was 'arc-ing' - whatever that means - and of all the wires on our fridge, it is the one that cannot be replaced.

And there goes one perfectly good refrigerator right down the drain - or to the dump - all because of a faulty wire. (I'm seeing some potential life parallels here...)

I will not relate to you all the drama that ensued over finding a replacement refrigerator. I will say that more than one fridge was delivered to our house, my counter top was sawed off, some baseboards were removed, and a window sill was cut in half.

And I was not happy.

But not to worry. All is well. We have a refrigerator. It works. More importantly, it fits.

Lessons learned from this experience:
1.) Never shop for appliances with children.
2.) Appliances can be returned. So if they don't fit, it is not necessary to cut apart your house.
3.) I do not look American. (The delivery man informed me of this. According to him, I look either British or Irish. He was shocked when I told him I'm from Texas. I'm not sure what this means...)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Today I'm thankful for all the little experiences that help put things into perspective:

1. I have a dear friend from college who is expecting her third baby. She just found out her baby will likely not live more than a few days past birth, if it makes it that long at all. How grateful I am for my own three healthy kids!

Even though I still sometimes cry when I think about my own rotten pregnancies, her experience has made all those horrible months seem so insignificant. And I would gladly go through them again, rather than to know that I would lose my baby.

Her experience has made me realize that the things that 'plague' my life are just so silly - a hip that sometimes hurts, a house that is never clean, a refrigerator that stops working in the middle of the night. Who cares?! I am so grateful for my kids, and that I've never been asked to experience the kind of heartache she is experiencing right now.

2. So sometimes (or a lot of times), my husband works late. And when he doesn't have to be in the office late, he usually comes home and has to do more work. And I occasionally like to complain about that. It would be nice to have a husband home every night for dinner. My kids would love to have a Daddy every night to sing to them at bedtime.


My sister's husband is beginning his training to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force. We are so proud of him for all his hard work and dedication to his family and country. But something my sister said in her blog put my husband's work into perspective: "i wish i didn't have nightmares about losing my husband to war." (To read her most excellent blog, click here.)

I am grateful that I don't have to fear for my husband's life when he goes off to fight financial and IT fraud in the government. The most dangerous thing that he faces is the drive home every day, and maybe a little carpel tunnel. How easy!

3. So I feel like I am failing at most of the things I do. My kids fight; my house is dirty; my cooking is mediocre. But I have finally realized my true purpose in contributing to this household: Keeping the toilets flushed. I walk around, and at any given time I can find at least one potty in need of being flushed. I'm not sure why, but it seems like I am the only person in the house who knows to how to do this.

And I am really good at it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Quite Content

(This is another post I started a while ago and am just now getting around to finishing...)

Here I am at the end of another long, crazy - yet uneventful - week. This week brought such adventures as: a terrifying trip to the dentist (Andrea), terribly scraped knees (Natalie), 147 mosquito bites (Ethan), a sprained finger and gimp leg (Emily), and working at the office until 2:00 am (Anders).

But the dentist is forgotten, the scrapes are healing, the mosquito bites don't seem to bother, the sprained finger and gimp leg are manageable, and my workaholic husband took Thursday and Friday off to be with his family.

Last night we went camping. Our intention was to camp at Shenandoah National Park. Then we chickened out - we've not been camping with all three kids before, and we thought something a little closer might be a better way to test our outdoor-survival-with-3-little-kids skills. Burke Lake became Plan B - family camping, lots of bathrooms, playgrounds, and only 20 minutes from home.

Then my hip went crazy on me (you'd think I was in my 80's, not my 20's), and Anders got three hours of sleep Wednesday night (thank you, PwC), so we quickly came up with Plan C: camping at the In-laws.

We had a fabulous time.

We roasted hot dogs for dinner (this is the only acceptable way to cook a hot dog, by the way...)

And camping wouldn't be camping without s'mores. (Apparently, in our family you have to look like an Amazon woman to really be camping. Nice hair, girls :)

We also made blueberry-peach cobbler in the dutch oven, using the blueberries we picked last weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Natalie was the Blueberry-picking Champion...she was very determined to get every last ripe blueberry from every bush.

Camping wouldn't be camping without Daddy. He was the hero - building fires, playing with hot coals, and setting up tents. When it came time for lights out, Ethan wasn't too thrilled to be in an unfamiliar place. And so Daddy came to the rescue. He pulled out his guitar and sang until Ethan and Andrea (and Mommy) were asleep. Natalie couldn't be lulled so easily, so Anders paid her $1. She took the bribe and went right to sleep.

Beautiful weather, beautiful family, and time spent together makes one happy, content momma.