Friday, July 24, 2009

A Poll

I know I don't have a lot of readers, but I'm curious about something. I want an HONEST opinion, and a discussion of your answer. Thanks.

How old is an appropriate age to get _________ pierced?
Ears -- first, second, third holes.
Belly button.

No, my "pre-tween" is not asking for her belly button to be pierced, but this discussion came up recently on one of my networking sites and I thought it was a good topic for discussion. What do you guys & gals think?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Gamerboy left on the 16th, headed to Alabama for a week and a half (he returns Saturday evening). After they got his luggage/boarding passes taken care of, he shoo'd Ace on his way (he actually hung out 'til the boy got through security, then waved).

Squeeks was dropped off by Ace this afternoon for a two-week rafting camp (not all rafting, just rafting/water-focused). He told me that as soon as they went through the check-in process, she tried to ditch him. Unfortunately for her, he had to take some things to her counselor, so she couldn't escape right away.

The Princess went for a six-day "Challenge" camp at her church's private camp near the coast. This one is meant for children aged 8-11, so she should fit right in. She had a ride up there (one of the boys in her class was also going, so his mom offered to drive up 4 of the kids), so I just met them all at the church parking lot. Once everyone was gathered, and introductions were made, I got my goodbye "loves" and was waved off too.

It's odd when they try to act all mature, but seeing their behaviors at home, I know better... I know they want to be "grown up", especially around their age-mates, but they still have a lot to learn from home. Anyway, I hope they have fun, and I, for one, am happy to be kid-free for the week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Addition

Ace and I have lately been discussing, in between "what's next for the house", when to get a new motorcycle and what to get... After his ride to the coast over the holiday weekend, it suddenly became more of a necessity; the wind during that 2 hour drive made it a lot less fun than it could have been if his bike were heavier.

We talked to T, Ace asked questions on his M50 forum, and we hunted the internet to find out what was available. We had it narrowed down. The two major selling points for him were (1) big enough to not be affected by the wind so much and (2) a big enough engine to not require an upgrade in another year and a half (the amount of time we had the M50).

Monday before his birthday, we headed up to Washington to look at a couple they had. On the way, we stopped at another dealer who had a C109r in black listed on their site. Seems that one was sold over the weekend, but hadn't been removed from their site, yet, darnit! Oh, well; we didn't want that one. We just wanted to look at it and see if it was worth going up to WA for the other one...

We got up there at just after 130p. Ace looked at two models -- the C109r and the C109rt. The "rt" model had a lot of mods we didn't like, so it made more sense to go over the "r". They let him take it around the building and in the parking lot for a test drive (2008 model, but only had a couple hundred miles on it). Then, the negotiations started.

We decided to go for trade-in for our M50, and give it to them stock (we can sell all the after-market parts that we can't/won't use on the new bike), but didn't have it with us (we weren't planning on buying that day, so had the car with us), so they had to go with sight-unseen and work up the paperwork based on that. Our M50 was only 2 years old, so it was in perfect condition, and of course Ace kept all the stock pieces for this reason. After a lot of back and forth, we settled on a price, signed some paperwork with our intent to buy, and headed home.

We didn't leave until almost 4p! We were STARVING (thank goodness I bring water and snacks when I go anywhere), so we got KFC Snackers on the way home, since we were going out to eat that night. By the time we got home, the older two were buggin'; wanting to know if we bought it, where it was, why we didn't bring it home, why we were gone so long, etc... He spent a big chunk of that night removing the after-market parts and putting back on the stock ones.

Tuesday, Ace got up a little earlier than normal, had his coffee, and went to the bank to get the title out of the safety deposit box. He came home, we took a couple of "goodbye M50" photos, and he left. Three hours later, he arrived home on our new ride. I reminded the kids that the same three rules apply: (1) He rides alone until he is ready for a passenger; no bugging him about it, (2) All riders & passengers will wear proper gear or will not ride, and (3) I ride "bitch" before anyone else; wife's right.

We are now the proud owners of a beautiful maroon Suzuki Boulevard C109r. So far, mods include: new seat/backrest set, passenger floorboards (it comes with floorboards for the rider, but only pegs for the passenger), grips (held over from our M50 mods), and a lightbar (instead of the one front lamp, this one has three). Future mod will include some sort of gear bags and possibly a windshield; especially if we tour (as we're planning) with it...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


After an early morning and not one, but two, airplanes with different things wrong leading to a longer than anticipated layover in Dallas, the boy landed safely. This trip is longer than last year's, so I hope they get to do all that Uncle Ricky has planned and more.

There's a water park nearby, a shooting range we were asked permission to take the boy to, and the annual VW show my brother is a big man on campus for... Baring no further issues, the boy returns around 6p on July 25th.

One down, two to go (the girls go off to camp on Sunday)...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Flash, Bang, Boom

It's been way too long since I've been able to take a real vacation; especially with some of my family. Ace works long hours, but only the last half of each week. I try to work when Princess is in school. On top of all of that, the SKs are here, during the school year, on a very regular basis. Summer changes things a bit. Not only have we had the Princess full-time for over a year and a half, but every summer, we get my SKs a grand total of about 8 weeks (not all at once, but still...).

Life, and vacations, would be a heck of a lot easier if all the children were either here, or not here, at the same time. Alas, that is not possible; less so now than it used to be. After "the incident" that lost her bio-dad his parenting time (October, 2007 is when it happened; November, 2007 is when his time was removed), we haven't spent much time away from Princess. For the most part, she is still apprehensive to be anywhere unless one of us is with her, or she's absolutely sure her father won't be. I'm not complaining, mind you; just stating a fact. Counseling helped her figure out it wasn't her, nor my, fault and that there was nothing she, nor I, could have done differently.

Back to my point... Having her around practically all the time is pretty cool, most of the time. She's a great kid; very helpful, mature, playful, silly, and so obviously secure in her love for Ace & I ("my parents" she says). But sometimes, we need a break.

Since the older kids expressed no interest in going to the beach house, we planned this past weekend's trip knowing they would be with their mother, and it was a holiday weekend (thank goodness we have a beach house) -- blondie dog isn't fond of the bangs & booms. And, since Ace had to work on Saturday (his holidays "float" so this didn't count as one), Princess & I took the dogs down on Saturday, just after lunch, by ourselves, stopping only at a little stand to buy elk jerky.

The drive was pretty uneventful until we were about 25 miles outside of L.C. At this point, traffic came to a complete stop, and stayed that way for almost an hour. During this time, a lot of people actually got out of their cars to walk around. I decided it would be fine (since I wasn't going anywhere) to text Ace. If he was at his desk, he could check TripCheck for me to see what the holdup was. I guess he didn't find anything, 'cuz all he said was, "That sucks." Then, a little later, "A little cooler over there I hope. Surprised you have service there." To which, I replied, "Currently 82`, and me, too." It was soon after that that the police let us all through (slowly, but we all made it safe).

About an hour and a half later, I get another text, "You moving yet?" I chuckled, and said, "Been at the house for over an hour now. Got a few groceries, too." To which, he replied, "Oh, good. Looked at TripCheck and it said 2 hour delay outside of..." (where we were). That means we missed the worst of it. However, I did tell him later to be VERY CAREFUL when he rode (his motorcycle) over the following morning, because a motorcycle was part of that accident.

Princess & I fed the dogs, then had dinner ourselves. Around 8pm, we lit some of our sparklers (got some GREAT photos) and took a few videos, and took the dogs for another walk. At 9pm, they were locked in the garage, and we headed down to the beach access (open only for residents & their guests). Cool side note: there is now a full set of stairs going from the grassy area up top to the beach itself! This is new since the last time Ace & I were there -- Thanksgiving of last year. Anyway, we made our way down to near the water and laid out our blanket, then just watched other people setting off their fireworks. Usually, you can see the one fireworks display that is shot off about 2 miles north of where we were, but it was SOOOOO foggy, you couldn't see anything past the houses on the north side of the beach access! After about an hour, we were both tired, so we headed "home." That first night, she insisted on sleeping with me (I have to admit; I love sleeping with her!).

Sunday morning, Princess & I got up and had our breakfast, then took the dogs for a walk before heading into town. I haven't walked the north side of town in quite sometime (you know, where all the "antiques" & collectibles shops are?), and Princess was game, so off we went. We walked around for about an hour & a half, then decided to stop in a great little dive shop that advertises ice cream, but also serves crab cakes, chicken strips, hot dogs, etc. I have to be honest; their crab cakes were the third best I've ever had (first being Newport Grill and second being a little restaurant Ace & I used to go to before it shut down). We also stopped at the outlet mall and picked up a few things both for the Princess, and for the new baby coming in September, then we headed back to the house.

I stopped at the gift shops about 2 miles north of the house, and got a text from Ace telling me he was already at the house; wondering where I was and if I was going to be back soon. The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent literally hanging out. There were a lot of games played (mostly by me and the Princess), and a couple movies watched. We all read quite a bit, too. After another walk with the dogs, it was time for bed for the Princess; this time, in her own bed.

Monday was our most eventful day. After our usual morning routine (coffee for Ace & I, real breakfast for the Princess, and a walk with the dogs), we took off south. We started out by picking up fudge at our FAVE fudge place, then walked around that little town (which also does whale-watching tours, if you're interested), but weren't quite ready for lunch. By the time we got to the next town, we were starving, so stopped at one of Ace's faves, where we had fantastic clam chowder (the best I've ever had, and that's saying a LOT -- I apologize to "Mo's"; it's not yours!), then wandered around THAT town for a while. Down the road from the restaurant, we found a cool woodcarving shop and Princess got to play on a real wooden rocking horse!

Then, we headed to the aquarium. I haven't been there for YEARS, so it was neat to see, and to play with some of the "hands-on" displays. By the time we were done there, it was mid-afternoon, so we headed back "home". About an hour later, we headed out to get dinner. We ended up just driving until we decided on something, which ended up being a place we'd driven past a hundred times, but never stopped at. This one came highly recommended by a few of our friends, so we did that. The food was very reasonably-priced, and tasted pretty good (not as good as where we went for lunch, but almost), too. More chillin', then bedtime when we returned...

Tuesday, Ace slept in a bit longer than we did, so we just read and played a game until he was up. We all started cleaning up, then I sent Ace home. Princess & I finished cleaning up, packed up the SUV, took the dogs for a final walk, and headed home.

Of course, what trip to the coast wouldn't be complete without a stop to my favorite chocolate store and the smoke shop (meat, people; not the other stuff)? The fake surfing wave was moved to a surf shop next to the smoke shop, too, so we stopped there for some cool photos, as well, then we were finally homeward bound.

All in all, a good, though not as relaxing as when we go without kids, weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Missing Her...

I have to admit it. I desperately miss my Princess. Since her bio-dad lost his parenting time over a year and a half ago, she hasn't really been gone much. Sure, she's had her overnights with friends & "Mimi", she's had a couple week-long camps, and she's even taken one other overseas trip (that one was to Amsterdam), but this is different. She's in Costa Rica, and this is an 11 full-days trip.

The local overnights are nothing; just a chance for her to have fun with people without Mom around. The camps & other overseas trip were short enough that I just focused on having some adult time with my friends & husband, or working a bit more than usual. This time around, though, she's been gone for 10 full days, half of which I've had off of work.

To make matters worse, the older two took this first set of Summer parenting time to act up more than usual, causing Ace to threaten to cancel their biggest activities - which is WAY outside the norm for him. Almost every day has also been too hot to do much yard work or start another home improvement project. Yesterday, they were returned to Mama's (another round with them begins next week Friday), and we took advantage of having no kids around to put in our new door & hardware (photos are posted on MySpace & FB)!

Tomorrow, my Princess returns from her trip. Before I pick her & mom up from the airport, though, I am finally having dinner & chat with Kristine. For those of you who are local, yes, the same Kristine who used to be on KUFO as a radio host/producer. I've known her for almost two years (thanks, Jamie), but we've only had time & opportunity to get together IRL a couple of times (although, we chat via the 'net all the time). She's a kick in the pants, and we have SO MUCH in common...

I look forward to having Princess home again. Ace and I both missed our "little girl" very much, and look forward to whisking her & the dogs off to the coast this weekend for some good family fun. I will also post some of her photos from her trip when I get them; viewable either on my Flickr account or FB. One more day...!