Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sentimental Journey

It might sound funny, but I’m sentimental over a web site. It happens, happened, to be a family web site we built and maintained for years. In place as an online scrapbook for so long, it became a habit to populate with major milestones and everyday thoughts. It’s the place I started blogging.

About a year ago, Apple said it was going away. I knew it, but I didn’t want to admit the end was coming. Today is it. The last day iWeb, Mobile Me and a few other services are available. Apple is not in the web site business anymore. So we have to shut our family web site down.

Even with a long hiatus for work and family, knowing it existed as an archive of our family moments, our holidays and our vacations meant something. Sure, I packed it up, but who knows if we’ll go to the trouble of hosting it somewhere else.

As part of saying goodbye, I looked through the 24 photo albums, numerous blog posts and updates. It’s amazing to see how much we’ve all grown in four plus years. Incredible to look back and reminisce. I am sentimental, but my husband reminded me how much I enjoyed creating and sharing those moments. It forced us to take pictures and write the stories of how our family and our garage grew.

So, after reflecting on so many wonderful moments and clearing files, it’s time to shut the program one last time and get some rest.

Looking at our history, I’ve gained a new appreciation for how quickly kids develop. Soon, it’ll be time to make a plan and record those special moments some other way. Then we can look back in a couple years and remember just how little our kids were and just how far we’ve come as a family. Maybe someday our kids will be able to look back and appreciate it as well. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Traveling with Kids (and shaving with razors so cheap they’re free)

We recently took a trip with our kids. A long car trip. With two kids under five. They like to move around and do stuff. They don’t stay quietly seated for hours at a time. I don’t know anyone who has kids who can sit still so long, but if yours can I suggest you leave immediately and drive somewhere, anywhere, while you can.

As for us, we like a challenge (not really) and we like visiting family (this is true). The thing is, traveling with kids can be tough. If you’ve got a trip of any length you might find you or your children end up mildly cranky with sticky hands and flat butts. That’s if all goes well. You do not want to know what happens when things go bad. We will not be discussing the Thanksgiving trip we spent an hour+ in stop-and-go traffic on I-90. Not in this post anyway. 

Most kids are pretty good, but even the best can lose it if you’re on the road longer than expected. Take plenty of food, beverages, activity books and stuff to do. Also, make sure you stop, stretch your legs and potty when needed.

If you happen to make it to your destination on time or unscathed, thank your lucky stars.

We happened to arrive at the hotel two hours after our kids normally hit the sack. My husband and I hoped they would sleep like logs. They did not.

Since we were late and trying to avoid a total meltdown we showed our daughter the lighted pool. Then we jammed most of our house contents into the room, changed stinky diapers and prepared for bed.

Side by side by side, my husband and I hoped the kids would sleep so we could sleep. But, our little guy was a bit restless cutting a few teeth. Our girl would not stop talking or thinking about, you guessed it, the pool.

She woke me around midnight to ask if we could swim. Right now? I asked. Yes, it’s lighted, was her reply. She wouldn’t sleep until I assured her she could swim the next day. I think she got about three hours sleep. The rest of us didn’t get much more.

Thankfully, the next morning we had access to hot running water and large coffees. The place we stayed included a free breakfast, and the waffles were pretty good.

I highly recommend a suite if you’re traveling with kids. The fridge keeps food and milk cold while the stove is an invaluable bottle warmer. It also helped to clean bottles and other stuff so we weren’t stuck with a bunch of dirty gear clanking around the back of the van.

It’s also great to have connected, but separate spaces. This allows parents to put the kiddos to bed and still have a little time to chill out before the night shift begins. Sleeping in a new environment can be stressful. Sometimes kids sleep and sometimes they don’t, so wherever you stay, pack your patience.

We somehow recovered and spent the next day touring the Air Force Museum, swimming and playing. All the walking and activity, along with the previous night’s exhaustion made for sleepy kids. We got them to be at a good time and they slept. Yay!

The next day was pack and load then head to the reunion day. Visit, eat, swim, fun and drive the long road home.

We were up around 6 am and the reunion wasn’t until lunch, so it seemed like we had all the time in the world. And yet, packing up two adults and two kids worth of vacation gear took more time than we thought. At least my husband got donuts and coffee for breakfast. We ate all the donuts except one. Yum!

It got hotter and hotter as we washed, packed and loaded everything. I realized the only thing that would help keep me from fainting would be changing into shorts, which I avoided since I forgot to pack a razor. It seems we brought everything except my razor.

I kept working, but as we got close to finishing the pack-a-van Olympics the pants had to come off. My husband recommended I check the hotel shop for a razor, then shave and change.

The shop was the size of a walk-in closet. Sundries neatly arranged in small baskets lined the walls. Shampoo, packets of Excedrin, no razors. Oreos, chips, trail mix and still no razor. Scanning up and down. Wait, is that? Are those what I think? Dark blue, disposable stick razors. Cheap. Better not cost more than $5. I thought. How desperate am I? Pretty desperate, so I grabbed one and heard a voice say, “Can I help you?”

I must have looked pitiful because she saw me standing there holding up the razor and said, “Just take it.” I asked if she was sure. We both eyed the flimsy baggie and knew it wasn’t worth her time or my money, so I said thanks and left.

After I got upstairs, I volunteered to bring out a load and grab my clothes. Then I would cut down the forest on my legs, bring the last couple items and checkout.
My husband lifted 100 lbs of stuff off our suitcase in the back of the van and got my shorts. I ran to the door and swiped the key to get into the building. Nothing. I shifted the clothes in my hand and tried again and again. No luck.

By the time I made it to the hotel entrance, I was sweating. Great. Do I really feel like shaving my legs on the side of a hotel bathtub now? Nope. But, I have to get our last few items. And if that last donut is still there, I’m taking it.

Shaved in cool water and felt good, then changed. Wrapped up the donut, grabbed the diaper genie. Whoa! I caught a whiff right in the face. That smells bad. Put the donut in the last bag then shifted everything and left. Made it to the front desk and leaned over just as the diaper changer slipped out of my hands, it landed gently.

Checked out and ready to go, we sped out of the parking lot. Something you may experience is the need to escape quickly once a trip is over. We took a detour, but enjoyed some family time at the reunion. It’s amazing to see how all the little ones have grown.

I tell you though, we were ready to get home that night and sleep in our own beds, which we did, and it was wonderful. A big perk of going out of town is returning and feeling like you really are home again. Happy Vacationing!

What happened to the DeltaWing?

Here is a link to a video and recap of the incident that ended the DeltaWing's LeMans run.

At least the opposing driver apologized after bumping the hard to see vehicle off track. The DeltaWing was banking on completing this race. We'll have to wait and see what comes next for the car and the team. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

How does the DeltaWing turn?

Earlier this week we received a video clip of the Nissan DeltaWing race car. See if you think it looks like a modernized Batmobile. The car is set to debut this weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A lot of people want to see if it turns and just how far it’ll go.

The video is pretty interesting. I recommend it if you like racing, cars, technology or the pioneering spirit. The Nissan guys review development and get into how the DeltaWing corners at high speeds, even though it looks like it might crash. They also discuss major weight reduction and fuel consumption strategies.

My husband is a smart guy and he knows cars. He tells me the technology, and what happens this weekend, is important because it could revolutionize racing. If that happens, could it mean big changes for the industry and consumers? 

Here’s a link to the Autoweek blurb and video. Cheers to the team for all they've overcome and accomplished. We’ll be interested to see what happens. 

Note: Autoweek released several stories and videos related to the DeltaWing this week. All good stuff, you can even see their first laps at Le Mans. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It’s Electric

As I bang away on the keyboard, three mustached guys bang away on nails and boards downstairs. Yes, I’m pretty sure every one of them was sporting a mustache when they walked in starting at 7:52 this morning. Yay, (said hoarsely and with very little enthusiasm).
While we’re grateful to have electricity, it’s never easy to welcome a houseful if workers when you’ve got two young kids and are operating on minimal sleep.
We have work going on to install some circuits and power boxes left hanging, literally, when we gutted the basement. Everything was stripped leaving bare cement walls with power cords hanging like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Not great, but still operable.
The work has been a long time coming and with it we’ll get a new circuit for our microwave. This will help us avoid blowing the circuit every time we run it in the winter. I’m not kidding. When we run a heater on the opposite end of the house and try to nuke our coffee or frozen foods, we blow the fuse. It’s bizarre.
As long as we can endure the constant pounding, the bathroom trips (ugh!) and the general invasion of our privacy (we asked for it, and for good reason), we’ll be through it in three short days. Sigh.
The weather is clear, so we’ll temporarily relocate outside until the sun gets too hot and I need to bring the kids inside. 
Five minutes later…it’s too hot, one of the kids needs a nap, and we’re back inside. 
Shortly after…Argh! The pounding is right below my feet. If I weren’t feeling so rough, I’d probably be thankful for the Swedish foot therapy. 
Calgon, take me away! But first, get these guys finished and outta here!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Metro Parent – Hot Mama

I'm excited to share my latest from Metro Parent. It's an article featuring Hot Mama, a hip mama shop that welcomes moms and kids. You can read more online at Metro Parent or in the June issue on newsstands now.

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