let the vacation begin. . .

I am enjoying my first day of vacation here in the lovely city of Weatherford. We decided to leave a day early and stay at my sister’s house so that instead of six days in a hotel room with the girls and I, Dustin could spend seven days plus an extra long car ride because we can “take our time getting down there.” I know, everyone wants to travel with us!?!

We used to make for time, but now since we have kids and one of the said kids gets car sick, our GPS gets to find the routes that involve more divided highways and we stay away from the roads that go up hills and down hills and go around the hills and then go back the other way. . .just typing about that makes me a little sick. Poor Ellie, apparently our flat scenery at home is all she can take. I can’t even imagine her going to the mountains. We did learn though from previous trips that a throw up bucket is an excellent thing to have in the car and within reach when you hear that lovely cough/about to lose her lunch noise in the back seat. I still crack up every time I think of Emma covering up her nose and saying she “can’t take that smell any longer Mama.” Thank you Wichita Falls Wal-Mart for having an already put together Car Seat/Booster Seat Combo for an exceptionally low price. And, I’m sorry to the trash man that had to open that dumpster with a thrown up all over car seat that had been sitting there in 100 degree weather.

We made it here in pretty good time despite the 20 minute Braum’s lunch break, the 15 minute random pecan/fudge store break and the 30 minute Harley Davidson store break. Jess brought home dinner about 30 minutes after we arrived and the rest of the night, the kiddos picked up where they left off from a week ago. Jack was Bolt, Emma was Penny, Ellie was Rhino the Hamster and Luke was Mittens the cat. And according to Jack, Luke was a talking cat this time. And apparently to Luke, he ignored Jack and meowed like a cat for the remainder of the Bolt game. We kept trying to get Ellie to say, “It’s a good day to die!” from the movie Bolt, and Luke to respond with, “Not on my watch rodent!” But alas, Ellie found a four-wheeler to play on and Luke continued to meow.

Tomorrow’s plans include waking up in a few hours and heading to Wal-Mart for groceries because I am “the better half of Dustin that makes him save money.” These are his words. He said that every time payday comes around, a voice inside his head says, “SPEND IT!! SPEND IT ALL!!” And then because he made the mistake of setting up direct deposit, the voice inside of my head tells the voice inside of his head to shut up and doesn’t tell him the log-in name and password to our on-line banking.

Instead of reliving our honeymoon and spending a whopping $1000 on food, I’ve opted for sandwiches for a few meals while on vacation. Granted we’ll get our fair share of french fries and chili cheese burritos that cheap fast food chains have to offer, but spending $20 for each meal at three meals a day really adds up. Call me crazy, but my father once took us to Massachusetts and had the crazy idea of eating bologna and cold hot dogs the whole way to save money. In theory it was a good idea and being a child who loved hot dogs and bologna, what was not to like about this vacation. That was until Mom told him it wasn’t. Ironic that if the hotel we are going to stay at this week actually had a microwave, we would have been eating hot dogs! Some vacation memories from 20 years ago will just never go away!!

Okay, off to bed. We are all in my nephew Jack’s room, so that puts Dustin on the floor with his camping mattress that is maybe one inch thick (which he prefers because it helps his back), and up until 20 minutes ago, Ellie had crawled into Emma’s air-up mattress that we borrowed from Mom and Dad. Ellie kept crying because she thought Emma had left the room when in fact because of Ellie’s crying, Emma put her pillow over her head hence why Ellie couldn’t see Emma. Apparently Ellie had to take matters into her own hands and make sure Emma wasn’t going anywhere, so she moved her pillow and aquarium music maker into Emma’s bed. I did notice that Emma did cover Ellie up with her own blanket because if there is anything that Ellie can’t do, it is pull a blanket it up to cover herself. . .and put her shoes on the right feet. . .but hey, she’s only 2-years-old. I am lucky enough to be sleeping in Jack’s bed. Apparently Disney’s Cars is still popular with both my 3- and 5-year-old nephews because that is what sheets and comforter I will be covering up with tonight. Maybe the next time Aunt Jessie stays with us, she can experience the mermaid/fish comforter set or the springtime flowers sheets. For some reason, I don’t think she gets very much girly stuff in a house of boys!

Hope everyone has a great week!!


maters and patios. . .

The Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter has taken over the nation and apparently is no where to be found in the Bed, Bath & Beyond stores around here.  My husband, the thinker/inventor, decided to make his own tospy turvy planter and deemed it “The Redneck Tomato Plant.”  I know, we should have called it the “mater planter.”

We also decided to screen in the back patio too.  Let me clarify “we” decided.  I wanted to the patio screened in for a while, so Dustin agreed to do it.  Much like Dustin used to say, “We’re breastfeeding, we make our own baby food, etc,” there’s not alot of “we” helping, more like “me.”  So I guess I could take credit for the patio work Dustin did and say “we finished the patio.”  We also did a really good job. . .okay Dustin did a really good job!


Yep, our family even throws the “rock on” when we create vegetable/fruit (depending on what you consider a tomato) holders.


This was the original spot for the tomato plant until Dustin thought it was too heavy for the hook . . .and I realized that when standing inside the house and looking out toward the street, the tomato plant looks like a head that occasionally bangs its head into the window when the wind blows.  Yep, I think we’re going to move it.


The dreaded post hole digger.  Dustin can dig a hole in less than a minute, I on the other hand can almost decapitate my toes from my right foot because I’m not watching where I’m digging in less than a minute.  I don’t think landscaping is my thing?


Outdoor toys for the summer: $100, the girls choosing to play in the big hole in the ground:  priceless


More playing in the hole.


Finished Mater Planters using 4×4 that were to be used for the fence and the old swing set bar that Dustin just couldn’t throw away because he thought it would come in handy some day. . .ironic?  I want to get a sign and hang off the hooks in the middle.  I wonder if anyone would make a “Dustin’s Mater Planters” or maybe “Big D’s Maters.”


The mater planter.


I know, everyone wants this man to do some work around their house.


Same guy from the picture before.  Emma kept saying how cool Daddy’s safety glasses were.  She wanted to know if we could buy her a pair!


While Dustin worked on the patio, I took random photos of a rainbow and the girls playing.  My job is to think up the projects and Dustin’s job is to make it happen.  Let me tell you, he was thrilled with me that weekend.


10 o’clock at night and Dustin is creating my vision for our back patio.  What a great husband I have.


Notice in the background it is dark.  Dustin was using the motion security light we have on the patio, but couldn’t get it to stay on the whole time.  He would start cutting and then the light would go out and it would be pitch black.  Let me tell you again how thrilled he was to do this project for me.


Another random photo of Juniper.  She was the first Junebug of June because Dustin was still working at midnight.


Seriously, this is really starting to look good.  Not that I had my doubts, but this is really coming along.


Another one of Juniper.  No matter how close I got or how many of her brothers and sisters got stepped on in the process of building the patio, Juniper was not moving.


This is Dustin’s thumb and putting in the screws and Juniper watching.  This is also were Dustin is getting frustrated with my random pictures because it is after midnight and he has to go to work in the morning and why couldn’t we have picked all this stuff up at Lowe’s on Saturday rather than Sunday and not get started on this until after dinner.  I think this is were he said enough with the damn pictures and gave me that look. . .


The finished product.  It’s so nice to eat outside and not have flies attack you.  No mosquitos at night.  Totally worth it.


A side view of Dustin’s handy work.


He did awesome and finished it in a few nights.  A little bit of persistence and a nagging wife can get a lot accomplished. . .hmmm, I will have to remember this. . .

silly Ellie. . .

The many faces of Ellie makes us laugh everyday.  Looking back at some of the pictures I’ve taken in the last month or two, it never fails that a few photos will have Ellie’s personality.  She makes me laugh, she makes me want to pull my hair out, but at the end of the day when she’s fast asleep and I kiss her goodnight, I always tell her I love her. . .and to try opening her ears and listen better the next day.  Learning by osmosis or whispering into your child’s ear, I still haven’t figured out if it works!

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I was laying on the ground taking this picture because I couldn’t quit laughing.

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“You want some of this???”

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Looks good Daddy.

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Dustin’s earphones were smashing Ellie’s little cheekies together.  How cute.

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This is the “I hate meatloaf” face.  And yes, Ellie does have a monster truck tattoo on her face.

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No amount of crying will get her out of eating her meatloaf.  I know, I’m so cruel.

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Who says you can’t wear heels to school?

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And Ellie just realized that I’m taking pictures of her and apparently she is not thrilled with that.  And yes, that is another tattoo on her arm.  A “Registered Texan” tattoo the ladies at the Tax Collector Office gave the girls.

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“I don’t care how many times you call my name, I’m not looking at you.”

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The face of determination.  She is going to win the race and not get a bruise in the process.  Nothing will stand between Ellie and the finish line.

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Look, a he-ya-copter (helicopter).  Focus and determination are out the window.

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Ahhh my sweet girl.

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Again, the determination, the focus, it’s there and nothing will stand between her. . .yadda, yadda, yadda.

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A small rock stood between her and that finish line.  The agony of defeat.

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I call this the poopin’ face.  Kind of self explanatory.

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The many faces of Ellie, always ending the day with a smile.