Saturday, May 31, 2008

The story of Oz

I love turtles. I always have. I don't know why. All I know is that my obsession has grown 1000x since we moved to Illinois. There are turtles all over the place. At one point we had seven turtles. Two box turtles in the yard, two big pond turtles in the pond and three red-eared sliders in a tank inside. Their names were Humble, C5, Mr. Chicken, Shelly (a neighbor kid named that one), Captain Hammer, Sam & Ella. I can spot a turtle from a mile away. The day before my birthday last year, I found a little baby box turtle crossing the path at the park by my house. Best birthday ever!

Ok, so here's my latest turtle story. We went to a resident retreat at the Lake of the Ozarks a couple weekends ago. On the way home I spotted a big, beautiful box turtle about to cross the street. I had to have it of course, even though there's a pretty hefty fine for removing wildlife. We named him Oz and put him in my footwell. He was mad. He wanted to bite me. I had to sit indian style to spare my toes. He sat down there hissing with his mouth open.

So then, of course, Jaymee gets pulled over for speeding. I'm more scared about the fine for the turtle so I put my legs down in the footwell to block the officer's view of Oz. My upper lip begins sweating (I hate how it does that) because I know at any minute I am going to be bit and scream out and give the game away. Every time the turtle steps on a wrapper or makes another noise, I had to put my hand down there to further block the view and also to make it seem as if I had made the noise. I thought I was going to lose a finger. I was so nervous. I'm sure I looked as if I were hiding drugs.

When the officer came back to give us the ticket, Jaymee started asking a bunch of questions.
Who do I call?
Where's the phone number?
Do you know the receptionist?
Is she nice?
Does she work every day?
Can I fight it in court?
Would I have to go to court out here?
Do you know the judge personally?
Is he nice?
How does he take his coffee?

All the while I am about to get eaten by a rabid turtle AND have to pay some massive fine. I start interrupting.
Ok. Thanks, Officer.
That's all we need to know.
We're sorry.
We'll never speed again.
You can go now.
Please leave.
Walk away from our car.

He finally leaves and Jaymee turns to me with daggers in his stare and says,"what the heck is wrong with you??!!" I point to the turtle and he says,"Oh crap! I forgot about the turtle!!"

So anyway, we take Oz three more hours in the car and release him in the backyard. I see him every day and fall in love with him. The day before we're supposed to move, however, he is missing. Shucks. We move and then I go back to clean the other house and get out of it because I FOUND OZ!! Yes! I brought him to the new house and released him in the yard by the pool.

Today, Jaymee ran over him with the riding lawnmower.

That didn't end how you thought it would, did it?

Friday, May 23, 2008

my biggest fears

I consider myself a pretty tough and independent gal. I can do almost anything if I have to. Most the time I have to. I don't think there are killers in my garage waiting to kill me. I can sleep with the door unlocked. I don't think my kids are going to be kidnapped. I could do most of the stuff on Fear Factor. And yet, I'm not immune to nightmares or stupid worries. The new house is making me face most of my fears.

My biggest fears are these (in random order):

1. sharks
2. scorpions and poisonous spiders
3. my kids drowning
4. eating with a metal spoon out of a metal bowl
5. my kids being spoiled
6. Telling big floor-layers they have to redo things
7. wal*mart
8. listening to my little brothers slurp cereal... i don't know if this is still one, but it used to be.

My kids were shouting that there was a spider in the bathtub with them yesterday and I said,"just a second!!!"
"But Mom, it's a BIG one!"
"OK! I'm coming already, sheesh!"

There was indeed a big brown spider in the tub with Camryn and Preslie. I caught it with some tissue and it crawled out and came after me. I'm not kidding. I threw it in the sink before it got on my hand. I went to brush it into the drain and it came running towards my hand. It was aggressive like how scorpions are. I killed it and got a total case of the creeps. Spiders don't usually bother me - unless they are my childhood nemesis - the black widow. This one really creeped me out because it wanted to get me. I looked it up on the internet and it was a BROWN RECLUSE! You can tell because it has a perfect little violin on it's back. Have you seen the damage these guys can do? If one of your fears isn't looking at gross-out pictures, look up "brown recluse bites". Their venom is flesh-eating and you can lose limbs from it. I'm unhappy that one was swimming with my babies. I can't stop thinking about it. Shiver shiver.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Ok, ok! Here it is. I'm glad my sister is TOTALLY INSANE and put up her view of my trip so that I would actually get on this. She is nuts. Don't you wish you had one like her?

This is us in Rome.

So here's the quick overview:
To celebrate beating cancer and well, being alive, we took a five day cruise in the Mediterranean. It started in Barcelona, went to Cannes, Florence, Rome and then back to Barcelona again. I do not love Barcelona. I feel like we always get ripped off there, we have to worry about being robbed all the time and there just isn't that much to do. I'm always hungry in Barcelona. We got there a day early and I couldn't wait to get on the boat.

We cruised on Royal Caribbean on the Navigator of the Seas. It's a big, awesome boat. It has lots of amenities that we never used like an ice skating rink, rollerblading track, miniature golf, rockclimbing wall, etc. The food was so good. There were two different soft-serve ice cream machines that you could go stick your head (or a cone) under at any time. I love sleeping on a boat. So dark, so rocking, rocking gently. So tired just thinking about it.

This is Cannes, France.

I told you I was Euro-hip. Truly, about one in ten women had hair like mine. Cancer must be rampant in Europe. They should do something about that. We were there right before the big film festival and things were already set up. It was a real cool town. We played at the beach and then walked around the city. I ate a crepe with bananas and ice cream inside. Their ice cream is much better than ours. There, I said it. When I asked Mason what he wanted as a souvenir, he said a TV. When I told him I couldn't get a TV, he said he wanted a big, orange sucker. I found it in Cannes.

That's our boat and my cute, cute husband. His neck isn't that long in real life. Just in France. There were 3,000 passengers on the boat, but only about 500 were from America. That was really cool. There were people from about 40 different countries on board.

This is Melanie Stroud (Jaymee's brother's wife and my long-time friend - dating back to our primary days), Brittany Atkinson (Jaymee's sister) and of course, me in FLorence.

Florence is a beautiful place. All of Tuscany was. I love Italy. I'd like to go back someday and spend a couple weeks there. We saw beautiful architecture and amazing works of art. Before you go to Florence, read "the Agony and the Ecstasy" so you can really picture Michelangelo running all through that city. I loved it there. I ate real pizza and bruschetta that had so much olive oil that it ran all down my arm while I ate it. And more gelato. Always gelato.

We bought some shoes and some paintings there. Doesn't that sound fancy? The shoes were ten euro and the paintings were about the same. I'm not a big spender.

This is Brandon (Jaymee's brother) and you know the rest at Trevi Fountain in Rome. If you throw three coins over your shoulder here, you'll get the chance to come back someday. We did it and hit three tourists below us and were asked to never come back. Rome was overwhelming and unbelievable. It's amazing that it was built in one day, because we didn't even have time to see one-hundredth of it in as much time. It seems one could spend weeks in the Vatican alone. That place is a bit much. Gold and marble and frescos everywhere. jaymee and I got some great ideas for our new house there. I loved seeing the Sistine Chapel. I didn't love the people in there that clapped real loud and yelled ,"Quiet!!". I wanted to lay on the floor so my neck wouldn't hurt looking up on the ceiling. As it turns out, they frown upon that. In fact, there was much "frowning upon things" at the Vatican. Don't take pictures in the chapel. Don't imitate the people in the Frescos. Don't use the tapestries to wipe your nose. I had to walk around with my arms folded for a long time.

We saw the colosseum, too. That place has seen better days. Oura toura guidea wasa verya harda toa underastanda - so I can't tell you much more about that place. I loved the Pantheon, but I had always pictured it being up on a hill. Turns out, it used to be but now they have built the city up so much around it that it is just in the middle of one of the squares. It made me think maybe Camryn's floor isn't actually level with her mattress. I'm going to look into it. I definitely want at least a week in Rome next time.

We spent the next day at sea and I got a massage. While the little Romanian jumped up and down on my back, all I could think of was "why me?". Truly, why am I so blessed and lucky? That trip was the best. Even if it rained gatos y perros during our bus tour of Barcleona with Melanie and Brandon. Even if my flight got cancelled and Jaymeson made it home without me. Even if I didn't have any food for 24 hours because he had the money with him. It was the best week of my life.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Trip to Europe!

Phew. I finally have a second to tell about my fabulous vacation. It was so so fun and I'm so glad that I went. The food was excellent and the company was divine. I loved Italy the most - so I will post all my Italy pictures today and then I can post the rest later.

Here are Jaymeson and I in Southern Italy. I think my brother served in this city of Catania. The ice cream here was the best!

I couldn't get enough to EAT - really. I gained like 35 lbs. while I was there. We had dinner this night with a lady that looked JUST like my mom. It was so freaky. Also, when you order pizza there - they give each person their own pizza! Crazy!

When we went to the Vatican, Jaymeson decided to try on this little outfit. He is the funnest husband. How I adore him!

Right here in a church in Rome, Jaymeson proposed to me and asked if I would marry him all over again!!! What a stud. "Of course, of course!" I screamed. (And THIS time - he's almost rich!)

But first I had to convert to Catholicism.

We looked so good and it was so fun that we decided to do it twice.

I loved Rome. So much to see and so ROMANTIC!!

In Florence we saw the David. As an artist it was so beautiful that it brought me to tears.

I bought a picture by a local artist and he signed it! I think I'll have it framed and give it to Melanie to hang in her boys room.

Really, I picked grapes in Tuscany!!!

And then we went to Sienna and I watched the most famous horse race in the country. What a view I had!

Venice was everything I dreamed it would be.

I found a new use for the Europian Bidet. It was a total soother for sore, tired feet.
I am so grateful that I went on this fabulous vacation. The only thing that would have made it would have been if my favorite sister in the whole world, Melanie Wellman would have been able to go with me. Boo hoo. Maybe next time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

We're Home-Os!!

That's the hip way to say homeowners. Try it. People will react. The couple we bought the house from designed and built it 21 years ago. They raised all their kids there and then ended up getting a divorce. When I showed up at the property yesterday morning for the final walk-through, the owner was out mowing the lawn one last time. I told him how excited I have been and how I can't wait to raise my kids there and he started to cry and cry. It broke my heart. He was our age when they built it. We met his ex-wife at the closing and I ended up hugging her while she cried and cried too. I vow to not let it end up that way for me. It is a magical house and it is too sad for me to think about somebody having to leave it.

We spent the night there last night and the kids HAD to sleep in Sienna's closet. I don't know why. I guess because they could. jaym and I slept on the floor of our room and because I am still suffering from weird post-Europe jet lag, I wake up every morning about 4:30am. I watched the sun come up through my window and it was like all the trees in my front yard were on fire. The rays bounced off the lake and seemed to light everything from underneath. It was beautiful. I couldn't be happier.

The kids were up at about seven and were dressed and ready to go outside before I had a chance to throw cheerios in their respective tummies. They were gone for a couple hours exploring and came back with all sorts of treasures. I can't wait to go explore, too.

I know I need to get back to my Europe trip and I will. This was just fresher in my mind.

Love to you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

no talk for time

Er, no time for talk. What a week! I want so badly to tell you about my trip. About Rome and stupid Barcelona. I want to tell you about how my husband got to leave and I was stuck in Europe all alone with no money. I want to tell you about the yummy food and how my hair was actually chic in Europe. Unfortunately, however, we're closing on two houses tomorrow and somehow ended up about $10,000 short. (Which is only about 6,000 euros) We have an inspection tonight and my kids saved up all their badness to unleash on me for leaving them. I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

and sienna's video

This one is sickeningly sweet. Be prepared. I hope they want to do pin the tail on the donkey next year instead of videos.

So I'm getting ready for my big trip on Saturday! Wahoo! Hip! Hip! But then of course, bad news. My best friend and her husband were coming with us and they found out this morning that her dad is in the hospital and will only live a few more days. They had to cancel and lose money on top of the grief that they will face. I feel so sorry for her. Poor, poor Mami. I will miss her very much.

We have been on "new house" and "trip" mode at the same time and it's very scary because I am sure I'm forgetting something. We close on both houses 4 days after we get back and then some flooring guys go in and rip out the floors to put in the hardwood the day after that. I've got to schedule floor guys, movers and shakers all before we leave. What am I forgetting??

Anyway, I'm boring and I apologize. I should have something really meaty when I get back from Europe. If you know some great places in Barcelona, Cannes, Florence or Rome - lemme know. If you need me to bring you home a crepe, lemme know.