Travel Day #3 – Tulsa, OK to Albuquerque, NM

Today was our longest day of travel.  And of course, luck would have it that it was the one with the problem.  We got up and got breakfast at the hotel and then checked out and got on our way.  We stopped for lunch in Shamrock, TX, at McDonald’s.  And then just before Amarillo, our back right tire blew out.  It didn’t just go flat.  It blew out.  Ryan skillfully maneuvered the van to the shoulder and we went to work.  He set out a flare about 50 feet behind the van to warn oncoming cars.  We were just on the start of an overpass on a slight curve.  Not the best place to be, but in our situation, we had no choice.  I called 911 and they sent an officer out to have a little more visibility.  We got the spare out and the car jacked up and Ryan got the tire changed.  While he was working on that, I used the GPS on my phone to locate the nearest Discount Tires and called to find out how late they were open.  We had plenty of time and they were only 11 miles away, so that was nice.  The police officer was really nice and even talked to Robert for a little bit and gave him a "Jr. Police" badge.  Robert thought that was the coolest thing.  So we got to the Discount Tires and they had the same tire that we had put on in Sierra Vista right after we moved here and had the flat, so now my back tires match.  It only took them about half hour or so, and while we waited, we walked a couple of buildings down to a Michaels that was conveniently located.  My baby blanket yarn was on sale, so I bought a blanket’s worth of that, and I got a few other things as well.  The van was ready by the time we got back and we were able to get underway again.  We were only behind about an hour an a half, if that, so it wasn’t too bad.  And luckily, my paycheck had already hit the bank.  We stopped for dinner at Cline’s Corners – it’s a little truck stop/souvenir shop/Subway/little restaurant.  Robert had dino nuggets and Ryan and I both had the soup and salad bar.  It was good food and not anymore expensive than it would have been had we stopped at yet another fast food place.  We finally got to our hotel (Days Inn yet again) in Albuquerque about 8:45-ish.  Robert had already been dozing in the van for about an hour, and he went right to bed in the hotel and was asleep almost right away.  We probably won’t be up until midnight our time, but the new year will start whether we’re awake or not.

Good bye 2009 and WELCOME 2010!!!  HAPY NEW YEAR!!

Current temp in Albuquerque:  25

Travel Day #2 – Springfield, IL to Tulsa, OK

This morning we got up and got packed up and went to the hotel lobby for breakfast.  It was better than what we’ve been getting lately.  I was finally able to get online in the hotel lobby, so I checked e-mail and stuff while we ate breakfast.  Then we got checked out and on the road.  We stopped for lunch at Burger King somewhere past Ft. Leonard Wood.  We stopped at an Army Surplus store so Ryan could look around a little bit.  We had seen it on our way north and decided to stop on our way back home.  It snowed until somewhere southwest of St. Louis and then it was just cloudy for a while and then it was raining.  We got to our hotel (another Days Inn) in Tulsa about 1730 and got checked in.  The room is nicer than last night’s – complete with micro-fridge unit – and the internet is way better.  And it’s cheaper than last night.  After some computer/playing time, we walked next door to Denny’s for dinner.  We all had breakfast.  The food was really good and the service was awesome!!  Ryan talked to the manager about our server – he likes to report the good as well as the bad.  Then it was back to the hotel for more playing, bedtime for Robert, and now computer time.  

Current temp in Tulsa:  37

Travel Day #1 – Home to Springfield, IL

This morning we said our sad goodbyes to Mom and Dad and Rick.  We really enjoyed our visit home to the U.P. and it was way too short, but we needed to get on the road to get home to Arizona.  We finally left about 9 and headed south.  We stopped at Walmart in Escanaba for a few things we needed and then were on our way.  We stopped for lunch and gas in Milwaukee and we are now at our hotel in Springfield, IL.  The roads and weather were good the whole way.  We walked to Steak ‘n Shake for dinner.  Brrrrr.  Robert’s in the bathtub right now, and I’ve taken some Benydryl so that I can sleep – been sneezing and blowing my nose all day.  I got almost 7 hours of stitching and crocheting done in the van while Ryan was driving.

Current temp in Springfield:  22

Happy Anniversary to my Sweetie!!!

Today was me and Ryan’s 7th Anniversary!!  I love you Sweetie!!  Once again we slept in – it’s sure going to be hard getting up next week when I have to go back to work.  Shortly after noon, all of us "kids" (me, Ryan, Rick, and Robert) headed out and went to visit our cousins A & C and their kids H and C.  They were getting ready to head out, but we were still able to visit with them for about 15 minutes or so.  On our way home we had to stop for Robert to make yellow snow.  He sure gets a kick out of doing that.  LOL   Once home, I started getting all our stuff packed up – Christmas presents in the big tubs we used to bring the wrapped gifts  up in and I got all our suitcases packed and then Ryan got started loading the van.  Some things will go in in the morning, but it’s mostly loaded.  When Mom got home from work and grocery shopping, we had dinner – chef salads.  They were really good.  Rick gave us our Anniversary present after dinner.  He crocheted us a heart from wool yarn and put a copper wire hanger on it, for the gift of copper & wool for the 7th anniversary.  He’s been getting us the traditional gifts each year, and he thinks of some neat things.  1 – paper – an origami booklet; 2 – cotton – ?? (can’t remember – that was Robert’s first Christmas year); 3 – leather – a leather photo album or book of some kind; 4 – flowers – flowers that he crocheted and are in a really neat vase; 5 – wood – a beautiful wood jewelry/trinket box with family pictures on it; 6 – candy – a box of his homemade candy delivered to our hotel when we were in Minneapolis.  I have a really awesome brother, and everyone else should be jealous.  🙂  We had sauna this evening – my last again for a while.  😦  Robert got his remaining toys put away (some stay here at Gramma & Grampa’s).  And I had my next knitting lesson from mom.  I learned how to purl – so now I can cast on, knit, purl, and bind off.  Next up – patterns.

Today’s high:  28
Current:  12 (with a windchill of -4)

Trombone at Church, Visiting, and Shopping

This morning we left for church at 9 even though the service isn’t until 11.  Mom took us to breakfast at a little cafe in Skandia, the town that the church is in.  They’ve only been open for about 6 weeks, and the building they’re in used to be a gas station.  It was a neat little place with really good food and big portions.  Then we headed to church.  I got my horn out and warmed up as I was playing during the offering.  I played Away in a Manger.  Then I got up in the balcony after Communion (Robert likes sitting in the balcony so he can watch Gramma play the organ) and Mom headed down.  I decided to grab my trombone again and play while Mom was down, and she thought that was nice still having music even though she wasn’t playing.  The funny thing was that I just opened the hymnal to the first Christmas hymn I could play fairly easily on my trombone (I forgot my trombone Christmas book) and it ended up being the last hymn.  But it was ok.  There was a Baptism this morning as well, and the family had brought a cake and stuff for fellowship time after the service.

Then we came home for a while before heading up to Marquette.  I stitched in the car on the way there.  Our first stop was to visit my Great Uncle Leo at the Veterans’ Home.  I haven’t seen him in quite some time and it’s always nice to visit with him.  Ryan, Rick, and Dad took turns staying with Robert in the entryway – kids under 16 weren’t being allowed in.  At least according to the sign on the door, but as we were leaving, we saw a family with several kids, none of whom looked 16.  They may have had special permission or something, but still.  Of course, we probably could have asked about Robert as well.  But Uncle Leo did get to see him has he "walked" (he’s in a wheel chair) us to the door when we were leaving.  Then we went several places shopping to use up coupons before they expired, exchange Christmas gifts, etc.  Then when we were all done shopping, we headed back to town and we went to the UP North Lodge for dinner.  Rick paid for me and Ryan’s meals for an anniversary present and Mom & Dad paid for Robert.  Thank you so much!!!  Then it was home to get Robert to bed (it’s not going to be fun when we get back to Arizona and we go back to 7:30 bedtime) and then I stitched some more.

Today’s high:  28
Current:  27

Videos of Robert Reading

Robert gets little books at school to learn to read.  They started out very simple, with "The" and then a picture.  They progressively got harder.  About a month or so ago I videoed Robert reading all his books, and I’ve finally been able to get the videos uploaded (found out I had to change the format of them).  There are 3 videos – books 1-10, books 11-16, and books 17-21.  I’ll have to do another video with his newest books.  Enjoy!

Relaxing Day after Christmas

I slept in until about 10 this morning.  It sure is nice being to get some extra sleep!  Then we just had a relaxing day at home.  I couldn’t get my 18 mile run in today – roads were just not safe for running between the freezing rain and sleet yesterday and then the snow on top of it and then it froze overnight and then it snowed about 2-3 inches today.  I played on my computer.  I played with Robert.  I stitched some.  Mom and I made pasty pie for dinner.  I stitched more this evening.  Wow – that sure was an exciting day.

Today’s high:  33
Current:  21

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!  It has been an awesome two days of Christmas for our family.  Yesterday was spent finishing gifts, finishing wrapping (or getting closer), relaxing, and family times.  We spent the evening at my grandparents’ house – pizza for dinner, and then we went to church (I sang a trio, a solo, and played a solo on trombone), and then back to Grandma & Grandpa’s to open presents from Dad’s side of the family.  I got a really cool cat that my aunt carved out of wood, and money (always the right size and style!!).  After we got home, we got cookies and milk ready for Santa and carrots for his reindeer and we headed off to bed.

This morning we got up and found that Santa had thought we were VERY good this year.  The best part was Robert’s expression when he saw the empty milk cup and he got a thank you note from Santa.  In my stocking I got a couple of yummy smelling candles, some M & M’s in Green Bay Packer colors, some Christmas socks, a pair of Central Michigan University socks and 2 CMU scrunchies, some bamboo knitting needles, and a calendar for my van.  Then we finished getting ready and we headed to my aunt’s house for Christmas with Mom’s side of the family.  My cousin-in-law D had drawn my name for the family exchange and he got me a beautiful frame that says "Having someplace to go is Home.  Have someone to love is Family.  Having both is a Blessing." and it has 10 picture openings around the saying and they are all filled with pictures of my family!!  It made me cry, and that’s always a good thing!  The food and time with family was very good – I don’t get to see family very often, and I cherish every minute of our time together.

This evening was Christmas at home with Mom and Dad, Rick, and Ryan, Robert, and I.  There was a huge pile of gifts under the tree and we had a great time opening everything.  I got a Perfect Brownie Pan from Robert, a HUGE George Foreman grill from Ryan, some flavored coffee and some melamine cooking bowls from my brother Rick, a waffle maker, Christmas kitty shirt, beautiful hand knit scarf, and an Army sun catcher from Mom and Dad, and probably more.  But the best part was being together with family again, especially after spending last Christmas in Iraq.

Time for sauna now and then bed. . .

Today’s high:  33
Current:  34

Shopping and more shopping

Mom and I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning – it was her go into work later day.  After some computer time and playing with Robert time, Ryan, Robert, and I headed to Marquette to do some Christmas shopping, and Ryan had an appointment for a touch-up on his tattoo he got last Christmas.  We stopped for lunch at Burger King and to visit Mom where she works, too.  I hate shopping, especially right before Christmas.  People are insane and they have no consideration for others.  Then we came home and I made spaghetti for dinner for all the guys – Wednesday is Mom’s day to work late.  After we ate, Ryan and I went back to Marquette and he dropped me off at Mom’s work place so I could go shopping with her.  Two of the stores that we wanted to go to were closed, but we pretty much got all that we needed.  Actually, I’m 100% done and she’s done enough.  Did I mention that I hate shopping??  But it wasn’t too bad, and Mom and I always have plenty of girl talk.  I ran into one of my friends from high school and I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen her since we graduated 15 1/2 years ago and I’m only partly sure of who it was, but she was talking to me like she sees me every day.  Apparently I haven’t changed much since high school.  Mom and I finally got our shopping done and got home about 2300.  We got our packages in the house and I wrapped a few more things.  Now it’s way past bedtime again.

Today’s high:  24
Current:  18

An awesome run!

This morning I slept until about 10 and when I got up, I got right into my running clothes.  I got out the door about 11, and it was all of 10 degrees out when I headed out!  I had a very exhilarating 5.15 run in 58:27, an 11:20 pace.  It was a beautiful day with sunshine and blue sky – just a little colder than I’m used to.  I tried out my Yaktrax for the first time and they worked awesome on the packed snow on the sides of the road.  I also wore my running tights for the first time, and they kept me warm enough.  After I got back from the run, I got changed and after some computer time, I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for me and Robert.  Then he went upstairs (not without a fight) for quiet time since he’s been so fussy lately.  I crocheted on (and finished) a Christmas present while he was having quiet time.  Once he was up, we played until mom got home from work.  She brought KFC for dinner and that was really good.  Then we played some more and later in the evening, Rick arrived.  Robert sure was happy to see him when he got out of he sauna.  And it sure felt good to have sauna again.  After sauna, I stitched on a Christmas present for a while and now I’m heading to bed.

Today’s high:  24
Current:  -2 (yes, that IS a minus sign before the 2)