My apologies if this blog sometimes looks like Fred Sanford's front yard. I know I bounce all over the place. One day it's a Subway gripe and the next day a once in a lifetime experience like Confirmation. (Please read previous post if you haven't already!)

It's late. Once again I forgot to take my medicine on time. But it's Friday night and I can sleep in so I took it anyway! I should call it what it is, it's a sleeping pill. I just can't do it. It sounds so Marilyn Monroe. It's Ambien for cryin' out loud! It's not exactly some potent concoction I had to sneak over the border or pay some backwoods, shady doctor to give me- but still. Is it guilt? Why yes, how perceptive of you. Like all things I think this too should be squarely within my power to control and it's not. And that makes me feel like the tiniest bit of a failure. What can I do? I shrug it off, take the... (eh hem) sleeping pill and cut myself a break.

It really helps in such wonderful ways. The truth is I think I shall take it from now until forever!

I had several errands to run today. Several. I got to the library with the all the Ken Burns Baseball documentary dvd's. I think there are 12 or so, when I realized not one box actually contained a dvd. It will take you like a week, maybe a month but you really must watch this amazing documentary series. It's history, not just baseball which would be cool enough.

Oh, the shoes-

I got kind of snippy with a gal at Kohl's today. I was shoe shopping with no less than 5 kids in tow. I needed some help and I looked on solidly ONE HALF of that store and found not a single employee anywhere. I huffed my way to the front. (Huffed as in irritated, not like I can't walk the length of Kohl's without huffing and puffing-geez, thanks) Where was I? oh yeah. Apparently everyone decided to check out at the same time and every member of the "team" was running a register.

"I need some help and there is literally NO ONE on THIS half of the store." I announced, gesturing in a broad sweeping motion with both hands, to the left side of the store.

She asked what I needed. "Shoes." She apologized and said that was her department and she'd get someone right over to help me.

Guess what? I found a heel.

So, I got over the gentle nudge of remorse and found all the shoes I was looking for and they were all 50% off, thank you very much. They were Nike and Avia, and the same or less than the no names at Wal-mart and Payless I'd been looking at previously.

I was going to get shoes too but there comes a point when you just don't care anymore. You can barely spell shoes, let alone dare to take the time to shop and try on shoes for yourself. I couldn't even remember if I'd ever worn shoes by the time we checked out so that was left for a other day.

Did I ever tell you some of my shoe store manager stories? I used to run a Pic n' Pay (it's exactly like a Payless - some color scheme even. Maybe they bought 'em out- I digress). I once locked a shoplifter in with me. Yeah, smart, I know. I loved running the shoes, and making them look all neat in their boxes and seeing the aisles straight and tidy. Then some stupid woman with 5 kids would come through and trash the joint letting them all try on shoes and then she'd come looking for ME for some help. As if I could actually help her.

Is that irony?

Robin :)

$5 subs and controversy

$5 subs and controversy!!!!

Oh homeschoolers are on the warpath. Well they've gotten an apology now so perhaps they are somewhat soothed.

So for those of you who might be out of the homeschool loop. Here is the abridged version. Subway essay contest. Rules specifically exclude homeschoolers from participating. Why? $5000 grand prize of athletic equipment.

Is it a good idea for the company? Maybe not. Do they have the right to do so? Yep.

My bigger issue is why in the world homeschoolers and our legal groups can get their ire up over soccer nets but can't manage to get fired up and organized enough to get tax credit or vouchers for us to educate our kids?

Personally I think this was a little overblown. I don't feel the need to be "included" in everything every company offers for the school systems. Let schools do their own thing sometimes. Clearly they can't do the job of education, even getting $8-10,000 per child and they need the hand out.

Can we not spend our time, and resources better?

Nonetheless I like the subs.


Lovin' the Library

Browsing around this week I stumbled onto the Leap Pad books! Since we have never owned a Leap Frog product, until Susan gave us a spare one from her house, I didn't even know they had this available for borrowing!

We picked a few and William has been enjoying them everyday. In case you are a stranger to your local library it is a great resource that is grossly under-utilized. I love getting books on cd and tape. I borrow all our magazines from Martha Stewart to the teeny bopper ones Taylor enjoys browsing but I can't bring myself to spend money supporting. They have lots of movies and educational videos, and just because it isn't on the shelf doesn't mean it isn't in the system or at another library in the network. We borrow trade paperback comics, foreign language courses, and they also have Hooked On Phonics. We get lots of music too! Oh and many are offering a Rosetta Stone course through the library systems. On base it's even free!!

I enjoy the books sales but have yet to find some great treasure. I enjoy it almost as much as the books store, there is certainly less temptation to spend money there though!

Another recent discovery for me is the books selling site for ebay. You can find literally every book you ever wanted there for a few bucks, like new. I got 32 Tomie DePaolo books recently for less than a fifty cents each. They do have textbooks and homeschool books but I have yet to find them very good deals there. The prices are flat so there is no bidding.

Summer is here and it's time for lots of reading!! If you have not graced the library with your presence recently, just go already!


lookout for the mailbox

Check out the big guy!
Oh yeah no training wheels!! Yesterday William decided he wanted them off. He started working and specifically instructed mom and dad to let him try it himself. Other than a slight scrape with the mailbox he did very well. He got up this morning and started again. He can do the length of the house now on the sidewalk. I think by the end of the weekend we will be on the bike trail without the extra rattling wheels!

Taylor learned much the same way and had it down in a day or two. Corey was only 3 and he was just zooming around, little legs as hard as they could go.

As much as I love these milestones it serves as one more reminder how fast they grow up and this is the baby! Letting go of the back of his bike seat is a perfect analogy. He may still be in the yard and on the sidewalk but I had to let go a little. I think it hurts more than the mailbox.

Mount Rushmore take two

Whew, meant to do this sooner. For the record I mean to do everything sooner. Shave my legs, vacuum, bathe the dogs - you name it.

This is me, or at least the back of my head, enjoying Mount Rushmore. Thankfully the nasty, foggy, weather pattern that settled over the Black Hills moved out and the monument was visible finally. During our visit the previous day the small trees on the slope, seen just under their faces, weren't even visible through the thick blanket of fog. It was as if the whole monument had vanished. I thought it was an episode of Scooby Doo. I actually said, jinkies!
We were so blessed to have the next morning to detour and try again!

A little info about Mount Rushmore ...

Did you know there is a hall of records or "treasure room" behind the monument? No, I don't mean Nick Cage style, I mean the architect built it in. It is 100 feet long by 80 feet wide and was meant to hold archives relating to the construction and other Western Civilization documents. It is located behind Lincoln's head and a model is pictured to your right. (Please place your seats and trays in the upright position.)

To your left is a scale model of what the artist, Gutzon Borglum, had originally envisioned. Unfortunately the stone would not support the design that included the waist up so only Washington is pictured with a partial chest.

One of my favorite tidbits is not pictured :( But it is a cast of Lincoln's head that is nearly as tall as me (I'm 5' 1"). This and casts of each head were suspended beside them so the craftsmen could touch and feel what it should look like as they worked. One note said the artist encouraged them to continually touch and feel the shape of the cast and allow this to guide their work. Another note said the men using the explosives became so accurate that they could blast a section and come within inches of the desired cut. Impressive! The entire process was a marvel. The areas was beautifully preserved, well tended and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Cost for the park was $10 and was good for the whole year or balance thereof. It is license plate specific however so no swapping!

I can check yet another thing off my dream list. I loved every minute of this particular morning.


Living the American dream this Memorial Day

These photos were taken during our trip for the March for Life in Washington D.C this past January. I was so humbled and moved, standing in these solemn and sacred places that I could barely contain my emotions. It was awe inspiring, and I left the capitol with a sense of pride and responsibility to all those who worked to create, maintain and defend this country.

I live the American Dream. I may be grumbling about the price of gas a bit these days but I am not naive. I am safe. No one is firing rocket propelled grenades into my neighborhood today. I am cooking dinner in a well stocked, sanitary kitchen in a lovely home. My husband will leave tomorrow for his job. The waste disposal truck will pick up my trash in the morning. I can flush all three toilets in my house. My three dogs probably eat better than 2/3 of the world's population. I homeschool my children without any fear of retribution and I worship God as I believe. My children do not know the horrors of war or starvation. They can hardly conceive of oppression and tyranny.

I realize not every American lives the American dream. But I also know that with the exception of a few destitute areas, that most of the poorest in this country can still afford cable, cigarettes, and alcohol. The very poorest have Medicaid and food stamps. While that is by NO means living the high life it is not the same at all as living in a third world country, under warlords and watching your babies die from malaria or hunger. Every person in this country can make their way to this dream. We may all be given different hands to play and admittedly many hands are not as fortunate as others but it can be done.

It exists because all the generations before us saw fit to sacrifice some of their own, protect it and to hand it over to us. It is ours not only for safe keeping but to enjoy and appreciate.

I know I cannot add anything at all to the honor of those who have died in service to our country and certainly not with a few flowery words on a blog.

I can only pray that the those who have died for the idea of freedom this the greatest country that was ever created will know I have not forgotten them. I pray I honor them in in manner in which I live my life, raise my children and in the deep abiding love I have for our country . For those who have fallen, were wounded, never returned, and served...thank you. For those who gave the ones they loved to the noble cause of freedom...thank you.

Have blessed Memorial Day,

There's a carcass in my trunk!

So we were driving through Bighorn Mountains (which I keep calling Bigfoot Mts.) and we were looking for the rams that are supposed to be in a certain area when I spied a skull. It looked like something out of a western, some skull of a cow on the great plains.

We turned around to investigate and it was a head, jaw bone, partial spine, and a couple ribs. We couldn't figure out what it could be though. It looked too big to be a deer which were abundant. It could be an antelope, elk or moose which we saw in many areas. So we bagged up the skull and jaw bone and tossed it in the trunk. I thought it would be fun for the kids to do a little investigating, CSI style (which I don't watch - Law and Order that's my bag).

Steve was such a good sport about it! I was certain he would object. Maybe it was because it was a rental car, maybe he too was curious or maybe he was just in a good mood because we'd had a nice lunch? At any rate he bagged himself a, or er, uh a somethinorother in a souvenir bag. We'll let you know what we find out about him.

We named him. Slim Jim. A)he's very thin, seeing as how he is just skull and bones and B) whatever he is or was I'm sure you could make beef jerky out of him.

The only downside was that at the next gas stop we checked on Jim and the trunk had a couple loose beetles and a smell. So we bagged him in a tight plastic bag and sealed him back up, checked everything for critters and got on down the road.

Is it a crime to remove an animal from a state park? Even if it's dead? If so, technically Steve did it and I will deny any knowledge of the body, eh hum bones, in the trunk.


Mount Rushmore didn't work out, but...

Mount Rushmore was completely shrouded in a dense fog (argh!) so we spent the afternoon in Keystone and visited the Presidential Wax Museum. This is not in my humble a opinion a great depiction of my hero but oh well.

Below are some of my favorite Ron Reagan quotes. The first is my very favorite.

William Bennett wrote a book (well two volumes to be exact) America: The Last Best Hope. It is amazing! I strongly recommend it as a living/narrative, comprehensive book on American History. It is told without the standard revisionist slant. Truly excellent. The title is based on the first quote.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.
Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.

All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
Coersion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.
Don't be afraid to see what you see.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

I don't believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.

I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.

I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph.
And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.

If you're afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.

No arsenal ... is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.

The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.

Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.

To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last--but eat you he will.

the suite life of William and Taylor

We left Saturday before last, this is Thursday morning. I can't count how many days that is cause I'm a little fried.

We swim, we do the hot tub, we eat out. Not complaining. But there are many hours to fill and we are at the hotel waiting for Steve for several.

We have spent many days and nights in more than a few hotels on this trip and I have some suggestions for bored little ones in the hotel room that have worked for me when all the above has gotten old, no one wants to read or do math and mom is threatening to hitchhike.

The underestimated ironing board. You can iron, HA! Or you can use it to ramp cars off. You can use it as desk, office or store front to sell food you drew pictures of, Teddy Grahams or mom's secret chocolate stash.

You call down for extra blankets and make an awesome tent. When I set this up, Steve said, "You really are the best mom." That made my week.

You can use the ice bucket and soaps and shampoos as science lab and the coffee pot and your sodas to have a tea party. You can hide things and look for them around the room, play tv scavenger hunt with the remote or you can let them jump bed to bed until something or someone breaks.

I'm too spent to think of the other things I want to write, like why do we have a carcass in the trunk. We do, more later, I'm calling it a rabbit trail.

I also want to write about the education we have had on the road but I keep detouring. Maybe on another sleepless night?


Feeling bloggy

Feeling totally bloggy tonight. I made that up and you have to send me nickel to use it.

Hillary and Obama give me the Democramps. I made that up today too, but that one is a dime.

I forgot to take my meds this evening because I was watching Idol (of course) and chatting up the most wonderful 17 yr old on the planet for an hour and a half. We talked and talked and talked and it was 11:30 pm before I said I should hang up and put the yahoos here to bed.

So I didn't want to take anything because this late it will make me groggy as opposed to not taking it and staying up late being bloggy.

Steve and the kids are tucked in and I am lost in gratitude for my family. I love these kids and this life so very much. Thank you God.

Belated Mother's Day Message

I posted Wet Oatmeal Kisses on Mother's Day and I think (without going back to check) that I at least gave a shout out to mom and grandma but I want to take a special moment to tell you guys a little about them.

My mom was born as a premature twin in Liberty, Kentucky to Audrey and Earl. The hospital, small and poorly equipped placed both babies in their one incubator and had my papaw send for my mammie, my maternal great-grandma. They told her to prepare mamaw Audrey because the babies wouldn't make it and "she's gonna need her momma".

They both made it, Marvin and Marcella. Mom struggled with illness her entire childhood (as well as the torment and torture rightly do the youngest and smallest of four children who was admittedly whiny and fussy) and she eventually lost all hearing in one ear as a result of untreated ear infections.

My grandparents divorced and my grandmother truly worked her fingers to the bone trying to provide in his absence both physically and financially. She ironed clothes for ten cents a piece and worked as a waitress and short order cook for pennies as well. She had her hands full but she was a hero to the kids and she never complained about all her sacrifices. She is 76 and still tends her family like a mother bear. She can probably tell you where all her kids and half her grandkids are at any moment!

My mom married at 17, in I think 1969 to my daddy. After their ups and downs they divorced in 1995. I don't get the point, I mean geez there's one foot in the grave by then - I am JUST kidding. At any rate it was no cake walk for any of us and she had a difficult time of it. Though she may have made some missteps navigating the whole deal, she saw her way through it and has landed happily in a marriage to Keith, living on a beautiful little place with rolling green hills and a fishing pond in Indiana.

The memories that stick out most about my mom will read like fiction but I assure they are true and no names have been changed cause ain't NOBODY innocent.


My mom grabbed a tire tool out of a guy's hand who was about to hit another man.

She gutted all the walls in our home, and she and dad learned to do drywall. She also insisted they tear down a house for lumber, build an addition, a pitched roof, hang siding, move a bathroom, and essentially doubled the size of our home. They did the labor and she was not sitting on her laurels bringing lemonade. She was step for step with dad.

If there is anything that needs doing she can get it done. She can work and she is a smart, inventive, won't take "can't be done" for an answer, 4' 11" cookie let me tell you.

She played dolls, made my clothes, and my dolls matching clothes. She can make elaborate birthday cakes, throw great parties, and can drop an engine in your car - uh, yeah, not kidding.

She can write a letter, argue a case, get free stuff from just about anybody anywhere and leave an "all you can eat buffet" with a full meal in her purse.

She calls me crying from time to time to play songs that remind her of me and to tell me she loves me. Though normally I can barely make them out because she is holding the phone too close to the speaker and then there is the bawling.

My mom was electrocuted when she was fiddling with the little box on the central air unit after we had hung the vinyl siding and she dropped a nail in it. When she went to grab it out, zap. Dad, a policeman, resuscitated her and I called 911.

My mom got a concussion dancing.

She wrecked her car when a bee flew in, oh and she stabbed herself in her eye socket (missing her eye by millimeters) with a paring knife when a bee buzzed in her face.

She got 3rd degree frostbite from our freezer and almost lost a finger. She was frozen there for quite a bit, and I couldn't hear her hollering because I had headphones on.

She got a nail stuck in her foot and had foot surgery to remove part of her shoe. That one was actually kind of funny.

Glass slid from the cabinet facing and sliced her arm open, and she passed out in the circle trying to find a ride to the hospital.

I could go on...and on and on. Essentially if you haven't met my mom you have missed out. If you have then you see that this is only the tip of the ice berg. If you are blessed enough to have her in your corner, thank God ( I do). If you are sorry enough to get on her bad side (you should also start talking to God).

She is a beautiful woman, feminine and strong. She acts tough as nails but carries her heart on her sleeve. She is a great mom who does her very best to be there whenever she is needed and she is entirely too hard on herself.

Mom, I love you.
Robin, still your baby girl.

PS. Grandma, you deserve your own post so stay tuned, but I'm gonna call and get some details. How many brothers and sisters did you have 16, 17? yeppers- not kidding folks.

Wasting away again in Margaritaville

This post is way late. Steve and I went to our first Jimmy Buffet concert in April and it was a blast! I wish I had known that folks would so be completely over the top in their enthusiasm. If I had known, Steve and I would definitely have had parrots on our heads and grass skirts. Ah, next time.

We were so pleased with the concert. He didn't jack around with the songs which always drives me crazy. He sounded great and the musicians were top notch. We also really enjoyed that the intermission music was done as solos by the various musicians from the band. The ukulele player was phenomenal. He did, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

The predictable downside was the alcohol. With the theme being Margaritaville it's hard to be put off with 'em of course but some folks started waaaay too early and by 15 minutes into the concert they were sort of zoned out in their lawn chairs and barely coherent for the show. Genius among us, no?

Parrotheads are such devoted fans, as a newbie to the full blown parrothead concert experience, I was a little shell shocked. People brought entire Tiki bars on trailers and set them up in the parking lot. They had games, electricity, they were mixing drinks and playing music. The party started in the parking lot after lunch I assume. There were pirates, and even a guy dressed up like Captain America (in a full beard). No, it was NOT my husband.

It was inexpensive actually. We bought the tickets from They were $20 each. We were in the lawn but arrived a couple hours early and were at the front, so woohoo! We couldn't have been happier with the seating. We paid nearly as much for a slice of pizza and a lemonade. Socialists.

Steve got me hooked on Jimmy when we started dating and though I partially blame him (Jimmy that is) for our love of the ocean and subsequent Biloxi/Katrina experience and the sadness that settles in my heart every time I hear the songs I adore, I love him still. Jimmy Buffett I mean. I love Steve too of course. You know what I mean, right? His music means a great deal to us as a couple.

We honeymooned in Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Savannah. We journaled separately during that week so we would have a record of what we thought at the beginning. One thing we both entered about our hopes and dreams for our future was how much we wanted to live by the ocean, or at least in an ocean town. We wanted to be locals and not tourists. We saw our dream realized in Biloxi, briefly but when we returned to make our home we saw it distorted and unrecognizable a few short days later. So now when we listen Jimmy and the soundtrack of our dream it is bittersweet. We both still hope someday we will make our way back to the sand and sea and make a life. For me it's still too traumatic and raw. It lost most it's charm. For Steve the desire has returned and it pains him to wonder if we will ever have it again.

So this is totally off topic and a month late but I have been meaning to share it. It was a gift to each other for our anniversary to go to the concert, and I think to begin to open our hearts, the tiniest bit, to a dream we shared when we first married 10 years ago. "A Pirate Looks at Forty" and a couple other of my favorites our in the music playlist here on the blog. If you have a minute give it a listen. If you are a fan, you'll get it. If you aren't, I recommend seeing the sun come up over the water, or sitting in the arms of the one you love as the moonlight dances on the waves.


Yellowstone admission $25, experience priceless

I do not even know where to begin...Yellowstone was spectacular!!

God smiled on us in glorious ways today. The weather was beautiful, overcast (which is perfect for pictures) just warm enough for a tee-shirt or light sweatshirt. But most of all we saw everything, ev-er-y-thing! We saw a bald eagle in her nest feeding her baby! Though we were a good piece from the nest we chatted up some Hoosiers (William had his IU shirt on) with bird watching scopes and were able to look as long as we wanted. We could see the food being placed in the baby's beak. We even snapped off some pictures through their scope's lens. his one came out but the baby could not be seen :( I was so excited I was trembling! As an enthusiastic but novice bird watcher this was a dream come true for me. The baby was a bonus I couldn't have even imagined!

We saw a wolf just before we entered the park we stopped and took some photos. Later inside the park this coyote was on the side of the road and he came up almost close enough to touch him!! (though we did not of course) He was very calm and seemed to be expecting us to toss him a few bites of something. He was there with us for probably 10 minutes. Wolves and coyotes from a distance are tough to distinguish. We were fairly certain the first one we'd seen was a wolf and not a coyote but as soon as we saw this guy up close we saw the difference, we couldn't believe it and so close!

Then the last major thing we could hope for was suddenly stopping traffic! Yep, a grizzly bear grubbing for roots and food. The park rangers could not determine the sex but said it was either a young male thin from the hibernation or a female. It stayed for nearly 20 minutes or so and came within about 35 feet of us. William was very frightened and wanted no part of seeing that bear any closer. To see the bear wandering around, wind scenting, digging for grubs and roots and doing it's own thing was really stunning. It was yet another highlight to an awesome day!

We saw tons of bison, elk, moose, sand cranes, hundreds of deer, antelope, Old Faithful, hot springs, geysers, waterfalls and more scenery than I have the hard drive in my mind to contain. The scent of pine was overwhelming. The snows were melting and all the wildlife was stirring. Snow was still in drifts 4 feet high. Driving through the highest altitude it was disorienting as it look like winter, not late spring.

Everything in the park seemed to have sprung to life today just for us. We met people who were there for days and hadn't seen what we'd seen in only hours. It was perfect, I couldn't add or change one single thing. You must, must go.

I have so much more to say about it all, about taking school on the road this way but we got up at 5:30 and it's now 11:30 here (12:30 am at home) and I am so tired. Tired but excited. Tomorrow we head back to South Dakota and then to Rushmore and some more national treasures!


PS You have to go!!

cliches are cliches for a reason

"oops, spoke to soon"


"too good to be true"

I don't believe in superstition but after posting how good I've been feeling last night, I really wish I had knocked on wood! Perhaps my own skull.

This morning I went down to the breakfast area to bring up our food, and while chatting with the nice lady who manages the breakfast bar about homeschooling, I was hit by a wave of nausea. Then dizziness and an all over cold sweat. I sat down quickly before falling down but at some point I must have passed out and they call the paramedics. I considered refusing transport but they convinced me (quite
easily really) that it was better to go get checked out. (Steve was already at work)

The kids were sleeping upstairs so I asked the front desk to call and forewarn them that a fireman would be coming up to get them. They explained I was okay, the kids got some clothes on and they got to ride to in ambulance.

I was checked out and I'm sure I ran up a nice fat bill and then the doctor, like me, shrugged his shoulders, offered meds and said I could go.

It was NOT my heart. Lord knows how many times I've passed out with palpitations and chest pain and this was not the same.

You know it was exactly like the time my cousin Adam was visiting and I was talking to him one minute and flat out the next. Maybe I am like one of those old black and white movie stars and I just get the vapors or feel queasy or faint or something? I dunno. I know since I was discharged got some food and rest I feel better. I think my stomach is upset but other than that I am feel as fit as a fiddle.

It's just like me to think it was all fine and then I go passing out next to the bacon and Cheerios in my pajamas in front of a room full businessmen. Thank goodness I had a bra on.

Never a dull moment,

On the road again...

The driving on the front end of this trip is less than impressive. But can you say you have been to the geographical center of the continent? HA! I can. It's Rugby, North Dakota. It was about a quarter of a mile wide, by my estimation and was marked by a pillar. Oh and a gas station, they had a gas station.

Minot, ND is no resort area either, BUT there is a Barnes, a Target and like every all-American town a super Wal-mart. It's your typical middle of nowhere military town. No disrespect to Minot really. We've been all over and most of the country is filled with quiet towns like this with all the basics, especially ones that have sprung up around a base. We found a great park, a beautiful ridge that over looks an amazing rolling valley, and a Scandinavian Memorial Park with the most intricately carved white cedar buildings I've ever seen (including the church pictured above). Many were dismantled and moved here. Truly impressive. So this isn't the worst place and it has it's charm sort of.

I am so turned around though I can't remember where we've been or where we are going. I do feel like a rock star in that sense. Oh and the fact the my kids can trash the nicest of hotel rooms in about 4 minutes. I walk in and think, "oh this is a great room" then before dinner it looks like my own living room. We've had upgrades at every stop. I don't know if it's my persistence or Steve's Platinum Priority Club Membership but we have had sweet (and suite) rooms as a result of the upgrades. Cozy!

The bathroom vanity is littered with all our stuff, nose trimmers, earrings, toothbrushes, and make up. The shower has swimsuits drying and towels are breeding in the floor. The tiny little trash cans are really a joke. Thankfully I have plenty of empty Wal-mart bags from all our snacks, and little trips for necessities like pool noodles. The mess bothers me not, it is straightened up most the time, and maid service comes in and does the biggest part, yeah baby. They are probably regretting the upgrade, thinking they only gave us more space to trash. I told Steve the other night when they were wrestling, squealing and making a huge racket that the staff is probably thinking...Hoosiers. (FYI, in Illinois that is an insult. Like a backward, hillbilly redneck with no shoes, and a Pinto in the yard)... looking around... yep, 'bout right.

I finished a Jodi Picoult book in three days, Keeping Faith. So I've had plenty of time to read, though not in the car-motion sickness.

The family is playing Pirates Dice, and waiting for me so better scoot.

Blessings from God's Country
(actually I think we passed God's Country about 200 miles back)


I'm not a rock star but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night

Hello from the road trip! (should that be one word?)

We are tagging along with Steve on his longest biz trip of the year. North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Nice detours through Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore make it worth the miles.

Though I had serious doubts about the wisdom in coming (worry over how the drive and travel would affect me physically) I am very glad I came. For my wonderful friends at home and all over really, thank you for the prayers and keep them coming!

I have had no problems so far and we are nearly half way through :) In fact this has been very relaxing, as I had prayed it would be. The hotels have been lovely with hot tubs, swimming pools and excellent beds and bedding. I have been swimming and in the hot tub every morning and it has felt fabulous. The meds have helped tremendously!! The overall aches from the fibro have been greatly reduced, and the Ambien has given me several nights of perfect rest. It has made such a difference I cannot even begin to explain. Two words...recuperative sleep.

I have slept in every morning, napped in the afternoon, and eaten out for dinner every night. Not too bad eh? The kids have been really great! We have done a little school -math and reading aloud but nothing too heavy. I will not think about how far "behind" we probably are now. (fingers in ears...lalalalalalalalalalala)

Okay so friends, this is going pretty well to this point and I am praying it continues. We still have the longest drive ahead of us Saturday but we will stop often, stretch and take our time. We have till Monday to get there.

I can't thank you all enough for the well wishes and prayers I know are being lifted up for me. I love you guys and I MISS YOU! I have to tell you about Applebee's!

Love, Robin

Happy Mother's Day!

Wet Oatmeal Kisses......
by Erma Bombeck

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome -- that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you.''

OK. One of these days you'll explode and shout to the kids, "Why don't you grow up and act your age?"
......and they will.


"You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do. And don't slam the door!"
......and they don't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy -- bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way.''
.......and it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company.''

.....and you'll eat it alone.

You'll say: "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do your hear?''
.....and you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.

No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.

No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.

No more clothespins under the sofa.

No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent

No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.

No more iron-on-patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it.

No baby sitter for New Year's Eve.

Washing only once a week.

Seeing a steak that isn't ground.

Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings.

No car pools.

No blaring radios.

No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night.

Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

No more dandelion bouquets.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.

No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.

No more tooth fairy.

No giggles in the dark.

No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?'' and the silence echoing,
"I did."

Happy Mother's Day! I know this is sad but it's one of my favorites. It helps to be reminded to enjoy them while they are little.

For my mom, I love you. I am so glad you're my mom. Happy Mother's Day! Love, Robin

front landscaping ---check

Thanks to mom who surprised me for my birthday and ended up jumpstarting this project

front landscaping ---check

Thanks to mom who surprised me for my birthday and ended up jumpstarting this project! Here is the finished product mom, you don't know what a joy it is to me to have this finished! It looks great and I don't sigh everytime I roll up in the driveway. I'm not even going to worry about annuals this year, one thing at a time.

I've heard it said that your home should rise up to meet you. It should be a sanctuary, a retreat. I want that too! Unfortunately to create that without the help of a home improvement show is not a walk in the park. Home ownership I have realized is a never ending "to do" list. Susan reminded me yesterday that for every one thing I check off the list, 3 will replace it. ugh, I hate it when she is right.

What a trade off in benefits from our days in base housing I could call up and have everything fixed, I was limited in what I could do (though I always painted) and I had no expenses in the improvements or upkeep. ooh! and I could run the A/C 24/7. That's changing with privatization but anywho. It was nice, I liked it! As much work as it is to have this house, I truly love it. It reflects me, although it's coming along a little at a time.

It's my home and I truly love caring for it, and making it beautiful. That is the one major source of my recent frustration. My work in the home is of course a chore but something I enjoy.

I'm very happy with what's been accomplished and I am not even going to think about all that's still on the list.

:) Robin

bathroom --- check

A finished project...

Before and after. I finished painting the kids bathroom, though I still have many more changes I would like to make. Next I'll change the flooring and eventually the sink/vanity. For now I think this works and it's such a huge improvement!

It's a weird color, kind of blue kind of green, but I really like it. I bought it from the mistints stack at Walmart for $4 and change. I swapped out shower curtains between bathrooms so no money there. New hardware for the painted vanity $6. New white soap dispenser and toothbrush holder $6. New tp holder $11. Having that ugly bathroom project off my to-do list...priceless.

Robin :)

My message in a bottle

I feel like a hundred years old today, and not a spry 100 either! I felt pretty crummy all day and right now I am resting in a lawn chair in the driveway typing away as if this laptop were my lifeline to the outside world, my message in a bottle.

This is one of those beach type chairs that sits low to the ground and reclines. It's perfect for my short little legs, and it's so comfortable I think I'd like to have it everywhere. I have on my gray granny sweater, jogging pants and a tank top. My hair is pulled back and I did do my skin care, mascara and eye liner today though the tears that came and went off and on all day have washed the eye liner away (water proof mascara is still intact). I look and feel twice my age.

I feel like Vanessa Redgrave, from a horribly depressing movie I saw with a few of the girls but whose name I forgot 12 seconds after the credits started because it was so freakin' depressing. She is not 100 but nonetheless. I feel like a patient today. I feel weak, and frail. I feel helpless and overwhelmed with guilt at not being able to do my job very well today. I hate feeling like this and worse there is nothing at all I can do about it. I tried pushing through today, time and again. I piddled in the garage, pulled a few weeds, straightened up, treated the peach tree for bag worms and sprayed Round Up in the cracks of the driveway and sidewalk. I worked on William's solar system project and did our read aloud, and that was it. It sounds like a little bit but really it was nothing much at all. I didn't lift, or exert in anyway.

I know not all days will be like this and I pray they aren't because I don't know how many of these I can take.

So today, sitting at home, holding down my chair in the driveway I feel a bit isolated, and so this is my message in a bottle. I send it not because I have no one to talk to, or call. I know my friends would come visit, or meet me for coffee, pray or listen on the phone. I send it this way because I don't really even feel like talking. What is left to say? This just is what it is right?

I think since I seem to have the strength to blog I should find something constructive to do with this laptop. I think I will work on Corey's final exams. He'll be so glad!

At least I have diet root beer, chocolate, satellite tv and Tivo. You know me always counting my blessings!

Signed, Robin
(who has given herself permission to be whinny again- Is that win-e? I don't care. You know what I mean today)

One Day at a Time

Wow, I woke up this morning aching all over. I will rest and take it easy today (or at least I sort of plan to) and I see the doc tomorrow. I felt bad when I went to bed but I went to bed too late to take Tylenol PM because it would hangover till this morning and I can't, won't do the zoned out morning thing.

This is really annoying because I have become quite the morning person over the years. I didn't realize it though. I always whine about how early I rise (5:00-5:30 am) but in truth I am busy, and I get lots accomplished, it's my quiet time. I like sitting on the porch when the sun is coming up and it's cool and dewy.

I found myself really bemoaning having to get up this morning. But now that I have been up for a couple hours, I'm glad I am awake. I am so worried that I will find myself spending too much time in bed when I feel like this. I'm so afraid of surrendering to the aches and pains simply because I can.

I fear that I am not strong enough to fight this fight. Well, I know I am not strong enough. I know God can see me through it but will I be aware enough of my own weakness to call on Him? Will I be too tired, too discouraged to realize I need Him in the moments that I need Him? Will I choose what is easy and just lay down and let it be?

Spoke to someone (via email) this week, who shared that at 12 yrs into her MS journey she is still officially undiagnosed. I cannot tell you how discouraging that is to me.

My mom used to sing this song when I was a kid, "One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus", that's all any of us can ask for, right?

Alright, shaking it off,

Living Soulfully

I've just come across this concept in Matthew Kelly's book, The Seven Levels of Intimacy. I'm intrigued!

The short version of soulful living would go something like this, connecting everything about your life and relationships to your essential purpose so that it helps you become the best version of yourself. It's not about listening to R & B or anything, that'd be a cake walk!

Your work might not be exciting or change the world but when you view it and complete it to the best of your abilities because it supports and relates to your life purpose, you begin to live soulfully. The work is easy, the burden light.

He talks about doing everything soulfully - eating, sleeping, connecting with your partner, children, and friends. Infusing everything about your life with the your essential purpose. He says you cannot live soulfully in one area of your life and not in another. It's all or nothing. You can't be soulful at home but not at work for example. You can't be soulful with your spouse but not your children.

I've heard this concept before but it was a bit different. "Changing the world one diaper at a time" for one. Studies about being a 'Mary vs a Martha' or remembering that each thing we do builds the kingdom of God. This is however much more comprehensive.

I'm not sure how to even begin. How do I recognize where I am living soulfully and where I am not? Is it in the results? How do I discern where to make changes? I feel like I need to go away on a silent retreat and completely de-construct my life to figure out where to begin. This is perfect for where I am right now. I must make meaningful changes, prioritize, manage stress, and take care of myself, more now with my health than ever.

I believe what Matthew teaches, "God wants you to be the best version of yourself" and the only way to find that is to identify your purpose and to find a way to make all you do support that purpose. So now I am not sure what part of the equation I am missing? I think perhaps my purpose has gotten too broad. My spiritual life, my husband and children are my purpose but it's easy to expand that to include about everything (which I'm afraid I've done).

I knew from jump street this year was going to be one of many changes. Learning to say no is still a hurdle I've haven't crossed successfully, and now I realize I've reverted to being a people pleasing, approval seeking noodle again. When did THAT happen? argh.

We head out on a Northwestern/Midwestern Adventure Saturday - the Dakota's, Wyoming, Montana, and Yellowstone. I want to use this time to evaluate and prepare my heart and my family for changes, changes long past due. I will be blogging about it all though they may stay in the draft folder forever.

This is it though kids, it's really time for change. God has thwacked me in the back of the head (again) and I will not ignore Him.

It's a short list really, no problem...

Put first things first
Eat healthy
Exercise and enjoy it
Stay active
Build all my meaningful relationships
Complete my work with a joyful heart and remember how it supports my essential purpose
Select carefully how to serve, whom to serve and how much to give
Say no when it doesn't further God's plan for me
Notice and appreciate the beauty, love and joy that surrounds me every second of everyday

Oh I know there's more that's all I can handle today. When I look at that list immediately a hundred mistakes spring to mind. How can I possibly make all these changes? Susan calls them ankle biter, I call them fires. I put out the fires and life runs me, or runs OVER me, as opposed to me running my life.

Another year without a garden :(

I was having a pity party yesterday (where were you, you were invited!) because I will once again not have a vegetable garden.

It bums me a bit over the veggies that will not be mine AGAIN this year and the money I would save by growing my own, but I think to some extent I am bummed more because I want the experience. I want to see the fruit (or veg) of my labors growing tall and green in my back yard. I want to go out and toil in the dirt a little everyday. Oh, and a hat, I want a funny gardening hat, with matching gloves. I want a basket with a long handle that will hang from my bent arm overflowing with cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Ah, it will be so nice. I will look like a picture straight out of Better Homes and Gardens. I'll get some sun and staying busy will make me healthier and I might even lose weight!

Now you should know that it is at this point in one of my daydreams that I might rush off to Lowe's and leave with a couple hundred bucks of lumber, soil and seeds. But since that is not an option because reality is well...real. I continued to sit and think of the garden. Since I couldn't go buy the garden, I envisioned it. Where I would plant it for example. Then I thought of the dogs. The dogs that would be in the garden digging and eating, then throwing up in the house. I thought of the bugs that would infest it and how I know absolutely zero about gardening, or bugs and how I might poison my entire family pouring gasoline on squash to rid myself of some little worm. I thought about rabbits, squirrels and racoons that would probably eat more zuchinni than me. I thought about summer and how I hate it when it's miserably hot. I thought about the kids who will complain that they don't even like eggplant and why should they pull weeds for food they don't even eat (principle overrides of course but it IS a good point). I thought of the possibility that only the tomatoes would make it and I would have hundreds to unload on people who will act graciously when I give them the Wal-mart bag filled with over ripe tomatoes, but they will eat only two and toss the rest.


Then I thought of Susan, and her beautiful raised beds, and gorgeous produce. I thought of her peppers in my freezer that I am still eating from last year. I thought of those wonderful little cherry tomatoes she grew that I put in everything all summer. And it was then that I realized I have a garden! It's just not in my yard. Maybe she would let me wear a funny hat and help her harvest a bit on a nice day when it's not too hot of course?