Monday, June 30, 2008

Garner 2008 Here We Come

It's almost time for the annual camping trip to Garner State Park. Ask any kid in the group going, and they'd choose GSP over a trip to Disney World or anywhere else any day. Their My Space pages all have count downs showing how many days left until they leave for their trip. The kids live for this vacation.

GSP scenic photos from the park website

I'm not quite sure how many families are in the group now. It grows larger every year. Once a kid hits age 13 or 14, they typically bring a friend. That just makes for a growing group picture in front of the tree. (see below)

Days typically consist of river floating or "river sitting". Personally, river sitting is my favorite thing to do. All we have to do is load the cooler, the floats, chairs and dogs, then walk down the hill to the water for a day of NOTHING but sun.

Dinner is never anything less than delicious. We eat like kings. We all live for Uncle Danny's famous fajitas. The fish and shrimp fry is a close second. Breakfast is pretty hearty, too. My kids have pop-tart and cereal withdrawals the first few days. They don't know what to think of getting pancakes and eggs everyday. There's usually no need for lunch as everyone is pretty much stuffed for the rest of the day. (Don't even get me started on how many dishes must be washed after each meal, and that is with using paper plates and cups!)

On a typical day the older kids head to rock beach for swimming and cruise around the park in their pick up trucks. Frisbee football at the pavilion seems to be a highlight of the trip for them, too. They also like to spend a day hiking and going up to the caves to explore.

Rainy days consist of kids piling into the trailers to play Play Station or X-Box. Hey, we come prepared. The adults take turns pushing the collected water off of the top of the big canopy. We don't want it to collapse like it did the year of the flood. Or, they might go into town to do a few loads of laundry and stock up on more eggs and milk.

The annual Garner trip is two weeks long. Some families (like us) only stay for one of the weeks so we pretty much have a steady flow of people coming and going at all times, but the two week die hard campers are there for the long haul. My kids refuse to leave with us so they get pawned off on the family for the additional week. (My sister, brother and parents are die-hards).

Ok,.......truth be told, I love my family very much, but I can't do the full two weeks because by the end of one week I'm already on the verge of hurting someone, or they're on the verge of hurting me. Either way, one week is all I can handle. And I KNOW it's mutual. I could blog about the negative aspects of the trip but I won't! By the way, I'm needing some Valium for the trip if anyone has any to spare. Everyone would benefit if I actually had some. Ha! (Don't get mad, mom. You know I speak the truth.) We mutually drive each other crazy, along with a few other people I shall refrain from naming. In the end, the trip is always fun, minus a few mishaps or misunderstandings resulting from all that sweating in the hot sun and so much togetherness.

The dance is fun for all. People line up their chairs to watch all evening. They're as young as two and as old as eighty out there on the floor. It's also like a reunion of sorts. We run into all kinds of people we grew up with that are staying elsewhere in the park.

Every night after the dance everyone gathers at camp central (my brother and sister's combined camp where all of the essentials are kept, and where eating and socializing takes place) for dessert. The women talk, the kids hang out and the men start up an all night game of washers.

Last year our group of kids decided to have a few theme nights at the dance. (Drag night, Toga night and boxer night. See below.) Bahahahahahaha!

We still do the tent thing. We're one of the few families in the group without a trailer. We have considered renting one but I don't so much mind the tent factor, unless it rains(and rains, and rains). We have an A/C unit in it. How cool is that? We also have a porta-potty for those 4am full bladder wake ups and a really cool tent shower. And the air mattress is pretty comfy.

We'll be leaving this weekend so we've been busy trying to gather up all of the camping gear from the storage room and condensing it into a spot in the garage. I had to take the kids shopping to make sure they had cool clothes for the dance. If it wasn't for the dance they could get away with just packing swimsuits!

Did I mention we have a busy week of packing ahead of us?

Garner 2007. The group at the dance.

See me dad's eyes below? This is his typical expression just prior to dozing off in the chair. You can usually find him swatting flies all day at the camp or dozing off somewhere!

Even with the sometimes crappy phone service up in the hills, the kids can still manage to find a spot to chat on their phones.

Drag night.

Boxer night.

Typical night after the dance.

At the dance.

Guess she couldn't find a gossip magazine. (I usually stock up for the trip)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mother Nature

This is what we saw from the car tonight on Beltway 8, along with an awesome lightning show. Spooky!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why a Girl Always Needs Her Mother

Cassidy brings me her phone, as mine was tucked away somewhere in my purse. (I’m so bad about that. That, and leaving it on vibrate all of the time)

Cassidy: Lauren wants to talk to you.
Me: Hello?
Lauren: Mom?
Me: Yes?
Lauren: (in very high-pitched, little girl, whiny voice) I’ve got 102.5. It won’t go away. I’m freezing. My stomach hurts and I just want to take a hot bath but I’m so weak I can’t get up. What should I do?
Me: Have you eaten? Have you taken anything for your fever?
Lauren: No, nothing sounds good. Yes, I took my antibiotic.
Me: Lauren, an antibiotic won’t help your fever. You need Tylenol or Ibuprofen or something.
Lauren: Oh.
Me: Do you have any?
Lauren: Yes.
Me: Okay, get up right now and take some. It’ll take about 30 minutes but it should help with your aches and fever.
Lauren: Okay.
Me: I’m making Mexican Lasagna for dinner if you want some.
Lauren: Ewww, no, nothing sounds good to me.
Me: You need some soup.
Lauren: Okay, we have soup.
Me: Okay, try to eat some soup and you can always come stay here if you feel that bad. Go take something right now.
Lauren: Okay, thanks.

Two hours later her dad delivers her potato soup and bread from Panera. She is feeling amazingly better. Go figure. You gotta love Ibuprofen.

This is yet another reason why I have anxiety about the twenty-year-old leaving home to live on her own, and going on a train trip next week traveling to Canada with two of her friends of the same age. Yikes!

I admit she has actually been doing very well at her new place. I just can’t figure out where she was all those years when I was shoving pills down her throat for her signature high fevers and they were not antibiotics. Maybe she was delirious.

Nawen, I love you. Get well soon so you can enjoy your trip. I don't want to have to worry about you being so far from home and being SICK.


Lauren's roommate, Ashley, has provided us with a good laugh. In Travis Tritt's song, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, she thought he was actually saying "I spill tea all over you Billy". Oh, that totally cracks me up.

I told her about my bag to make her feel better.


Song Lyrics

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Daughter, The Queen of Pranks

If you haven’t seen Strangers you might want to skip this post. I’m not going to give it away, but there will be some references to the movie here.

I took Cassidy to see Strangers Saturday night. I don’t typically let the kids watch rated R movies unless I have a rundown on exactly what is inappropriate. I was told there were no illicit s*x scenes, just violence, (ha) so I figured why not. She was dying to see it so we went.

I was under the impression that it was based on a true story but the ending left me wondering. According to my internet searches, it doesn’t appear to be true, but I'm still not certain.

I had mixed feelings about the movie. The acting was good. The fear factor was pretty intense. As I already mentioned, I wasn’t all that happy with the ending but if you’re just looking for a flick to get your adrenaline going, I’d say it will do the trick.

This isn’t supposed to be a movie review, but I had to give the background story to prep you for this.

I left the kids home alone last night while I ran to Wal-Mart. It was after 9pm when I left and within half an hour of my departure they were already texting me about picking up shakes from Sonic on my way home.

I pulled into the driveway at the same time as my husband who was returning home from an extra job he had worked. As soon as he unlocked the door I knew something was “up”. The house was completely dark. Red flag, red flag! I wasn’t worried because they had been stalking me via text wanting an ETA on their shakes, so I knew they were up to something and not victims of any horrendous crime.

He flipped on the light and the first thing I saw was a small mirror lying on the floor that read, “Where’s Tamara?” in red lipstick. (That was from the movie) I smiled and told him to hurry up and turn the lights back off. We walked around in the dark and found no indication of any hiding children so he let the dogs into the house to help sniff them out.

In the meantime, I had to go pee because I was getting that “I’m so scared I might pee in my pants feeling” from walking through the house in the dark wondering when a kid was going to jump out and scream boo. So, after my brief pit stop I walked towards the bedroom where Les had flipped on our bathroom light.

Just as I was walking down the hallway, Caden came running out of our room claiming his innocence. That’s when I heard the music playing. (Also just like in the movie) Ha! It was Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried”. This song played over and over during the scary parts of the movie. There was still no sign of Cassidy so I went into our bathroom and just as I did she jumped out from behind the shower curtain and screamed. She was dressed in all black and wearing a mask that she had made identical to the one the guy in the movie wore, and my bathroom mirror was covered with messages written in red lipstick. (Again, just like in the movie).

First of all, I wasn’t expecting the kids to be in the back of the house hiding. They’re way too scared for that. (Or so I thought) Jaxon had pretty much outed Caden, who was hiding in the closet, so he just gave up and came out. Cassidy was just waiting for someone to find her so she could jump out. We sort of blew her plan by turning on the bathroom light and the laptop messed up delaying the start of the song but overall, her little prank went over pretty well and she most definitely gets an A for her effort. I probably would've been more spooked if I had been walking through the house in the dark all alone. Good thing we both arrived home at the same time.

Let me add that before I left for Wal-Mart she had already scared me causing me to scream VERY loudly. It was one of those unexpected jump out from behind a door scares that I hate so much, unless I'm the one behind the door. Trust me when I say that she has a big pay back coming and she so needs to be watching her back. When she least expects it, I will make my move. I don’t care if it takes all summer for me to get her back. I will do it and it will be good.

Check out her creativity.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Guys and Dolls

Here are some shots of Caden in the school musical last week. He had a few parts and did a great job. (and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom!)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Carri Rant

The spelling of my first name is somewhat unusual. I'm sure there are others out there, but I haven’t come across anyone with the same spelling before. (Except for a niece on my husband's side and they purposely spelled her name like mine when she was born so that doesn't count).

Over the years I have grown used to it being spelled incorrectly. I’m actually surprised when I do see it spelled correctly. People typically add an E to it, which is usually no big deal. It only bothers me if it’s misspelled on something important or official.

My husband was actually the first one to ever complain about it a few years ago when we ordered new checks from our bank and they came in with a big E on the end of my name. He wanted to know why people always think I forgot to add an E to the end of my own name and then kindly add it on for me. He did have a good point that I’d never really thought about before. It's not like I had called in the checkbook order and they'd gotten it wrong over the phone. I had actually filled out one of those reorder forms and it was written in black and white right in front of them, but again, someone thought I forgot my own E and kindly added it for me. Since the check incident I tend to notice it more often now.

When I started my new job I filled out mounds of paperwork and printed my name nice and neatly. Whenever they set up my email, log in information, etc. I was Carrie on everything. I really hated to be petty and contact the IT department but I couldn't stand it so I did and they changed it. The only thing I let slide was my user name on one of the systems I have access to. It just wasn't worth the hassle of contacting someone to correct it, so I'm still logging in as Carrie on one thing at work.

I haven't met that many other Carri's before, so I found it a little odd when Cassidy had two friends over last night and both of their mom's are also named Carri (or Keri and Kerri). For some reason, every time I have met another Carri, the spelling of our names is always discussed, almost immediately upon introduction. It's almost like some unspoken rule or standard Carri protocol thing. Maybe people are always throwing E’s around for them, too.

Oh, and Cassidy is sometimes known as Cassi. Maybe I just have a thing against E’s.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Please Pass the Charmin

I’ve done my fair share of wrapping houses over the years. I used to tag along with my older siblings whenever my mom was driving them around town late on Friday nights to wrap, and was sometimes lucky enough to actually get out of the car and throw some paper around. I was in elementary school at the time. By the time I was in sixth grade I had moved on to wrapping my own friend’s houses. We did it often and were very good at it. It was the highlight of our weekends all through junior high and sometimes high school.

I think my mom enjoyed the house wrapping as much as we did. She taught me almost everything I know, which I have since proudly passed on to my own kids. Thanks, Mom!

My mom offered great tips on being sneaky and how to avoid getting caught. We always did a surveillance drive by of the target house to see if any lights were still on and to strategically plan the best escape route. She would shut her headlights off and park down the street before letting us out. We weren’t allowed to shut the car door. We had to push on them until they clicked shut while she held her hand over the dome light trying to keep the inside of the car dark. I’m telling you, we took our house wrapping seriously. We were only supposed to whisper, but that was never an easy task for a group of excited sixth grade girls with adrenaline rushing through our veins. She almost always refused to let us wrap a house if they had a dog. If a car was coming we were supposed to duck down behind whatever we were standing closest to (a car, a bush, a boat, etc.) until it passed. If a porch light turned or a door opened, (which was known to happen from time to time, especially considering we always ended up with at least one loud talker in the group) it was definitely time to run for the car, without looking back, and pile in as quickly as possible.

Whenever we did get caught we would drive off as quickly as possible. That was sometimes difficult since there would usually be at least one slow runner in the group. We always drove around the neighborhood for a while before returning to the crime scene to see if anyone was still looking for us or if they’d started the clean up. Good times!

Not only did my mom enjoy driving us around to wrap houses, she was notorious for catching people in the act of wrapping ours and she loved doing that, too. Between the three of us, our house got wrapped quite often during our teen years. She was a night owl and was usually up late watching TV. She would hear noises, (trust me, the woman has amazing hearing) and turn the TV down. It was usually obvious to her what was going on. She would peer out of the sheer curtains in the living room to confirm her suspicions (a yard full of kids throwing rolls of toilet paper up into our trees) then she would quietly step out into our garage, go through the back yard and along the side of the house all while wearing her infamous moomoo night gown. She was like a spirit in the night, never making a noise, gliding down the driveway right up behind the kids. She was so quiet that no one would notice her until she was literally right on top of them. Eventually, some kid would turn around to find her standing right there watching them and freak out. They would take off running like lightning for their getaway car. She just loved catching the kids. Did I mention before that she was very sneaky?

I definitely passed everything I learned onto my kids. One night when Lauren was in junior high I was up late, in our front room on the computer with all of the lights off. I thought I heard something so I walked to the window and looked out. I saw long strips of toilet paper blowing in the wind from our tree. Then I saw some movement in the front yard and knew exactly what was going on and that the culprits were still here. I immediately ran into wake Lauren. We both dressed in record time and headed to the front door. We were so going to scare them. I briefed her on the game plan and then promptly yanked open the front door. Lauren and I started chasing a group of girls through our front yard. They ran to a parked get away van and drove off quickly.

We knew immediately who it was. She lived one street over from us, so we jumped into the car with an armful of toilet paper and wrapped her house in retaliation. Hey, I’m basically a professional so we did a pretty good job for it just being the two of us.

In attempt to finish our house, they drove back by after we’d caught them. I saw their van drive past and told Lauren it was time to run. Our street connects to her street so I knew we only had a minute to make it back to the car. We made it to the car and as they came around the corner from our street I decided we would chase after them. We followed them flashing our lights and after a while they finally pulled over. In the end, Lauren and I got into their van and joined forces with all of them to wrap a few more houses before returning home very late into the night. It was so much fun.

I must admit that I still enjoy wrapping houses and the big adrenaline rush that comes with it and have taught my kids almost everything they know………….

They did learn one thing on their own and that is “forking houses”, which I am told is where you buy like 50 plastic forks and stick them into the front yard, in addition to wrapping the house.

These are photos from last night’s escapade. Cassidy and Caden had friends stay the night. Lauren, Boogie and Ashley (Lauren’s roommate) took them wrapping. They did four houses, including my sister’s. My nephews chased them down the street and literally caught Lauren by the arm before they could make their escape. Bahahahahahaha!

I am so proud that my kids are carrying on the family tradition!

P.S. Does Cassidy's friend (on the left) look like Haley Joel Osment or what?