The day we spent $127 on soap

Alternately titled: I hope all the women in our lives like to smell good because you’re getting soap for Christmas…

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We were in Hallstatt, Austria.  It was our second day there and the weather was spectacular.  Before heading up the mountain, we decided to walk through town and shop in the local shops.  The night before we had walked by a shop filled with the most beautiful soap I had ever seen.  It was all different colors and flavors and it smelled amazing.

“Let’s get some soap tomorrow to give our moms for Christmas,” I suggested.  I don’t know why I suggested this.  Who wants soap for Christmas?

*pause for flashback scene*

When I was in first grade, we had our annual Christmas party.  As is tradition in every single elementary school since the very beginning of time itself, we drew names and had a Secret Santa giveaway in which we bought a small, inexpnsive present for someone in the class.

My name was drawn by a boy named Troy.  Apparently his mom did not have girls and did not know what to get a little girl…so while everyone else got cute little Hello Kitty trinkets and bracelet, I got a bar of soap.  The class played with their toys and I held my…soap.

Second grade, Christmas rolls around again.  My name is, yet again, drawn by a boy.  I don’t remember his name.  What’s another good ’80′s name we could give him?  How about Brandon.  Let’s go with that.

“Brandon” got me soap.  It was shaped like a Hippopotomos and it was pink.  I tried not to cry because dangit! I didn’t want soap.  My friend Leslie got Poochie stickers.  I got soap.

Third grade.  Mr. Stephens class.  My name drawn yet again by a boy.  I think it was David, but I’m not entirely sure.  And I’ll give you a second to guess what I got.

I know.  It’s almost unbelievable, but my mom will vouch for me.  I got soap.  SOAP!  It was a little red, Christmasy roller thing of soap.  Like a bar of deoderant…but soap.

I didn’t even try to hide my disappointment that year.  I burst into tears and my mom had to usher me out of the room. 

I never received soap again at a class party after that, thankfully.  But my faithful parents, being the loving, supportive people they are – they give me soap in my stocking every year.  Hardy har har.

So now you know my background with soap and Christmas. 

* End flashback. *

Which is why it is odd that I would choose to buy someone soap for Christmas.  But these little bars were so pretty and they were made in the most beautiful town on earth so it seemed like a good idea.

When we walked by the store, the overwhelming aroma took over us.  It was like drugs. And the prices seemed so…inviting.

“Hey,” Lee said.  “This stuff is cheap.  Let’s get some for everyone.”  At a Euro or two a bar, this felt like a steal so we grabbed a basket and started filling it.  Lemon Verbena, Chocolate, Lavendar, Honey Suckle….so many enticing flavors.  We grabbed something for everyone and danced to the register, our basket overflowing.

I handed the woman our basket and credit card.  I was adding up the soap in my head and figured we had about 35 Euros worth of soap.  Still a little much, but I figured it would cover several people for Christmas so no big deal.

She handed back my credit card and the receipt and pointed at my total.

96 Euro.

Let me say that again.

96 Euro.

That equals 127 dollars.  On soap.  SOAP!

And then it hit me.  We weren’t paying a Euro a bar…we were paying by the gram.  Sweet Mother of God!  We spent 127 dollars on soap.  I don’t even like soap.  And I certainly don’t like to give it for Christmas.

To the women in our lives…I hope you like soap.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving, right?!  Don’t take it personally.  We don’t think you stink.  We just can’t afford to buy you anything else.  Because we spent 127 dollars on soap.

Soap!

Merry Christmas…er…

Ahem.

Pause

Tonight I will celebrate, along with hundreds of others, the life of my friend and mentor, Gary Varner.  I told you about Gary a couple of months ago.  And my best friend, Lindesy, a girl who I grew a unique kinship with during our times in Ukraine under Gary’s leadership, wrote about him on Monday.  It was a beautiful tribute and I urge you to take the time to read it.

There are a lot of emotions to process when thinking of Gary Varner.  Laughter at the memories, heartache at the early end of his earthly life, grief when I think of his wife and kids, regret that I didn’t keep in touch better through the years, gratefulness for his faithful pouring into me, and, most of all, a challenge to live my life to the full as he always did.  Gary practiced what he preached and he lived life the way he encouraged others to do so.

“Worthy goals are rarely ever easily achieved,” is a quote from Gary that has been passed on in the days since his death.  No one understood this more than Gary did.  He was a passionate man, filled with love and he will truly, truly be missed. 

I am thankful for Gary and his ministry.  I’m thankful to him for pouring into me as a youth.  I’m grateful for the graceful way he lived his life and endured his illness.  I’m thankful for Gary Varner.

Pray for Gary’s wife, Carol, and their kids, Clayton (and Clayton’s wife, Courtney) and Jessica.  The days ahead will be filled with mourning, but also so much joy, laughter and memories.  There is nothing easy about saying good-bye to a loved one.  But we do not mourn as those who have no hope.

Gary is in the presence of the Almighty King.  He is standing before the throne.  There is no more pain, no more sorrow.  We say goodbye but for a time.  But for those left behind, especially those closest to him, the time will be filled with difficult moments.  Pray for strength, for peace and for comfort in the days ahead.

Tonight we will all listen to Gary speak one last time.  He wrote out his memorial service himself.  For those that knew him, that’s not a surprise.  It even makes you smile, probably, because…of course he did!  He’s going to get the last word.

I have no doubt it will be a good one.

A Different Kind of Mountaintop

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Roughly a week ago, I stood on the most beautiful mountaintop in Austria and for over an hour I took in God’s creation from the vantage point of a bird.  It was breathtaking.  I didn’t want the moment to end.  As Lee and I hiked to various points of Krippenstein Peak, we commented more than once how we wished the kids were there.  They would have loved it.  I probably would have enjoyed it slightly less, of course, because I would have been too busy envisioning one of them tumbling over the side…

Our vacation was absolutely perfect.  It was relaxing and adventurous.  We had ten days to talk and we didn’t spend all of our time talking about the kids, although we spent a good deal of time talking about them.  It was just the right amount of time.  Not too long, not too short.  It was wonderful in every way and I will forever be grateful that we had the opportunity to do that. 

But I was ready to come home.

Lee is my family.  But he isn’t my complete family.  And walking in our back door to the three little faces that make up our complete family was equally as thrilling as climbing Krippenstein Peak (or…you know…riding up the cable car.  I don’t climb mountains.)

They had wet hair and jammies on.  They smelled better than any flower from any part of the world.  They jumped up and down and yelled “Mommy!  Daddy!  Mommy!  Daddy!”  It sounded better than any mountaintop bird.  They leapt in our arms and squeezed tight…more than once.  It was better than any view from any peak of the world.

After a bit of play time and wrestle time we sat on the couch.  Sloan, my sweet, tender hearted seven year old looked around quietly, then burst into tears.  “I’m sad that you were gone so long,” he cried, big alligater tears glimmering in the corners of his eyes. 

And then my heart tore in two.

“We’re home now,” we assured him as he crawled into Lee’s lap. 

“I just missed you really a lot,” he said, wiping his nose on the back of his hand.  And we got to explain to him about how God has blessed our marriage and about how Mommy and Daddy took some time to just celebrate God’s blessings in our life.

“But you know what?” we told them.  “The biggest blessings of our marriage are you guys.  Sometimes Mommy and Daddy need to get away and be together just the two of us.  But we know that God gave us the greatest gifts of all when he gave you you guys and we are so thrilled to be back with you.”

After we got everyone calmed down and settled into bed, I dragged my weary, jet lagged body around the house and cleaned up a bit.  As I walked back to my bedroom and passed Landon’s open door I heard a tiny voice.

“Mommy?  Tan you tome hewe pwease?”

There is no amount of fatigue that could have stopped me from walking into that bedroom.  I scooped him up and we sat in the yellow rocking chair beside his bed.  He put his head on my shoulder, his little nose nestled into the fold of my neck.  And as I rocked, his tiny hands patted me on the back.

It was a different kind of mountaintop…and I think I liked it best of all.

Italy

Well we have had a whirlwind few days here in Italy.  It’s been a lot of fun and good with a bit of frustration sprinkled in.  It’s definately harder to be spontaneous in Italy and we’ve found it difficult to find nice, affordable places to stay.  Minus our hotel in Florence, which was a bit of a dump, we have managed to stumble upon some nice places.  We are now in Genova for the next two nights.  The hotel is beautiful – we’ll see about the city.  It’s a little too bustling for my taste, but we’re going to give it a try tonight.  We may head over to San Margharita for the day tomorrow to enjoy the beach and the beauty.

Here are a few pics.  We have definately seen all of the beauty of Italy.  One observation – Italy is truly a beautiful country, but it’s been tainted and marred by a lot of grit and grime as well.  We’ve found that you have to be willing to either drive through the ugly to get to the beautiful or else drive a long way out of your way to see the beautiful alone. 

Places we’ve visited are:

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Northern Italy.  The drive from the mountains of Austria into Northern Italy was nothing short of spectacular.  We were sad to see that part of the trip end and, knowing what we know now, we probably would have spent one more day in Austria…

San Gimignano was one of our favorite places in Tuscany.  We made it from Hallstatt to S. Gimignano in one long day of driving.  We took back roads through the mountains and through the Tuscan Hills which made it longer but much more fun and scenic.  Our Agriturismo in S. Gimignano was my favorite place.  It overlooked the city and was just a beautiful place to stay.

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Tuscany is absolutely gorgeous.  The hills are so green and it’s just such a fun place to drive and explore.  Of course, driving in Italy has been a fun experience.  If you see Lee, ask him about driving the streets of Florence.  Let’s just say God’s mercies were upon us!

After S. Gimignano we headed to Sienna.  We LOVED it!  We totally regret not spending the night there instead of heading over to Montepulciano, which was a beautiful city, but very boring.  Anyway, here are a few pics:

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The Tuscan Hills.  So beautiful. This was at a winery where we did an impromptu wine tasting.  Now we have to figure out how to get the three bottles of wine we bought back home...

The Tuscan Hills. So beautiful. This was at a winery where we did an impromptu wine tasting. Now we have to figure out how to get the three bottles of wine we bought back home...

The sun setting over the hills from Montepulciano.

The sun setting over the hills from Montepulciano.

From Montepulciano we headed to Florence.  This was our stressful day.  We couldn’t find a hotel we liked got totally stressed and finally paid too much for a hotel we really didn’t like.  Despite the crazy of the morning, however, we got into the city by 3:00 and stayed until midnight.  It was amazing to watch the sun set over the Duomo knowing that for centuries that building has graced the horizen.  I was fascinated by the history in Florence.  It’s so beautiful, but again, I find it sad that the history is buried between so much nonsense and commercialization.  It’s unfortunate.

The only thing we made it a point to see in Florence was the statue of The David.  Neither of us are huge art lovers and while it would have been nice to see some of the great masterpieces, we didn’t care to wait hours in line.  So we kept it simple. 

There’s no other way to put it, other than to say seeing that statue of The David was awe inspiring.  Knowing it was carved out of a single piece of marble by one of the greatest sculptors in all of history 506 years ago makes it jaw dropping.  But when you see the statue up close and see the precision and detail that went into it, it takes your breath away.  I’m really glad we took the time to visit the museum, and I’m glad we persevered and stayed in Florence – we ended up having a great time.

I hope you appreciate this picture because I totally broke the rules by taking it.

I hope you appreciate this picture because I totally broke the rules by taking it. Yes, I know he's naked...

The painting inside the Duomo was fascinating.  There was so much thought, depth, spiritualism and talent that went into creating these masterpieces.

The painting inside the Duomo was fascinating. There was so much thought, depth, spiritualism and talent that went into creating these masterpieces.

The sun setting over Florence from the Piazzale Michaelangelo

The sun setting over Florence from the Piazzale Michaelangelo

Gettin' a kiss from my favorite guy as we onerlook the city. I do eventually plan to crop out the poor girl's legs behind us.

Gettin' a kiss from my favorite guy as we onerlook the city. I do eventually plan to crop out the poor girl's legs behind us.

We spoke to a couple of local girls at a restaurant earlier in the afternoon and asked them to tell us a good hot spot for after dark.  They directed us to a very swanky cliff top restaurant called Flo where we enjoyed an all you can eat buffet, excellent wine and views of the entire city.  It was us and all the Italians…and we were under dressed.  Stupid Americans…

This morning we got up and took our time driving through Pisa where we dashed to the Leaning Tower, took a picture to prove we were there, then hit the road again.  We stopped Lerici for lunch – a beautiful spot right on the water, then drove down through Portofino to Genova where we actually reserved a hotel room for the next two nights.  The hotel is very nice and relaxing.  I’m not sure we’re going to love Genova, though.  It’s kind of crazy.  So we may drive up the coast a bit further to spend the day tomorrow.  Today is Lee’s birthday so I’m letting him take an afternoon nap then we’ll head out for a late dinner, hopefully with a view!

Pardon the dreadful sunglasses. Mine borke after we arrived and these were the only ones I could afford without paying too much.  Yikes...

Pisa - We came, we saw, we conquered. Pardon the dreadful sunglasses. Mine broke after we arrived and these were the only ones I could afford without paying too much. Yikes...

We've seen all there is to see on this trip - Mountains, Countryside, City and Beach. Yeah!!

We've seen all there is to see on this trip - Mountains, Countryside, City and Beach. Yeah!!

The view of Lerici from our lunch table.  Not too shabby.

The view of Lerici from our lunch table. Not too shabby.

So here’s to hoping we have fun in Genova tomorrow and can enjoy the next couple of days before heading home.  We’re having fun and have loved our time, but we’re looking forward to seeing our kiddos in a few days!  Ciao!

Hallstatt – A Day in the Life of the Postcard Town

The morning view from out hotel window

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Rise and Shine. The view from our hotel window and the morning sun glinting on the Hallstatter See.

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The Protestant Church in the morning sun.

Despite our best efforts we never could find the town schmuck...

Despite our best efforts we never could find the town schmuck...

 

This picture wasn't lifted off the internet. I took it!

 This picture wasn’t lifted off the internet. I took it!

Taking the lift up to the salt mine where we would each lunch, explore, then hike back down the mountain.

After a bit of shopping and walking the streets, we took the rail up to the top of the mountain next to Hallstatt.

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It’s just too bad it wasn’t pretty.  This was the view from our lunch table.  I KNOW, right?!

Too bad it wasn't pretty. This was the view from our lunch table. I KNOW, right?!

After lunch we hiked down the mountain.  Yes…after ten years of marriage we’ve learned a thing or two – one of them being, always hike down, never hike up! 
We were greeted by this swan at the bottom.

After our hour long hike back down the mountain we were greeted by this swan.

Despite the fact that we were exhausted and our legs were burning, we decided to take the cable car up the mountain on the other side of the lake. GREAT decision.

Despite the fact that we were exhausted and our legs were burning, we decided to take the cable car up the other side of the lake. GREAT decision.

We ended up at the very highest peak and could see for miles.

We ended up at the very highest peak and could see for miles.

We spent a good deal of time watching local paragliders take off. And I wished desperately one of them would take me along.

We spent a good deal of time watching local paragliders take off. And I wished desperately one of them would take me along.

Utter peace.

Utter peace.

We added rocks to a stack that had been started on the edge of the cliff. It was slightly precarious, but ‘sall good now so…

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We then headed out to the Five Fingers platform which held you directly over the 2,000 km cliff wall.  It was exhilerating and terrifying all at once.

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I don’t know how this view could ever get old.

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Everyone should kiss on an Austrian mountaintop at least once in life. Just sayin’…

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We ended the day watching the moon rise over the mountaintop.  Perfection.

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Tomorrow – Tuscany!

Ciao!

The Hills Are Alive

Hello from beautiful Austria.  If I knew how to say hello in Austrian or German I would, but I don’t so…hey there!  Everytime someone says something to me in this country I answer in Russian.  My brain immediately switches to foreign language mode…unfortunately it’s just the wrong language. 

We are having the MOST amazing time.  It’s everything we hoped it would be and more.  How’s that for a smarmy Halmark line?  Cliche much?

Our first day was filled with rain, rain and a little more rain.  It rained from the moment we pulled out of Milan’s airport until just outside of Landeck, Austria where we spent the night.  It was a little disappointing not to be able to see Lake Como or to really soak in the Swiss Alps, but I will say that the Swiss Alps are spectacular with or without rain (probably more so without, but I’m thrilled with what I saw).  Because it was so rainy and there was really no point in stopping and walking around, we hauled it all the way through Switzerland until our jet lagged brains turned our bodies numb.  We stopped, filled our bellies and passed out only to be awoken at 8:00 by a man warbling an Austrian folk song outside our hotel door.

It was awesome!

And off we went again.  We made it to Salzburg and spent four hours walking the city.  Today was a much more beautiful day.  In fact, it was a perfect day and Salzburg was gorgeous.  I resisted the urge all day to break out in song figuring that the locals would only expect a silly American to bust out with Do, Re, Mi.  Lee, however, did sing a few bars to a fellow group of Americans when asking them how we could find the steps where that song was filled. 

Incidentally, I should tell you that if you ever have the chance to travel with my husband, you should take it – particularly to a foreign country.  He will talk to anyone and is most comical when speaking to natives.  There are a lot of hand gestures involved. 

He’s just the best.

And then, after Salzburg, we headed south to…

HALLSTATT!

If I could paint a picture with words, I would.  This town is spectacular.  It’s gorgeous in every sense of the word.  It’s picturesque and quaint, charming and baroque.  It’s riddled with history and is so quiet and peaceful.  Let me put it this way – we sat on an outdoor patio for dinner right nest to the lake.  Church bells chimed in the background, the moon rose up over the mountains and glimmered on the lake, in the distance the lights of a train roared through a mountain tunnel and five swans swam next to us as we ate. 

Uuuummm…

We love it so much here that we are going to talk with our hotel and see if we can stay an extra night.  I didn’t get many pictures today as it was almost dark when we arrived, but rest assured I will take no less than 762 pictures tomorrow.

I am posting a couple of pictures tonight then I must go to sleep.  It’s almost midnight here!  Seriously – if you ever have the opportunity to visit Hallstatt, Austria, you have to take it.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more beautiful place on Earth.  It’s that amazing here…

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It may have been raining in Lake Como, but that didn’t stop us from pulling into a little cafe and having Espresso and Gelato for breakfast.

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We stopped at the Triacca winery in northern Italy before crossing over into Switzerland.  Incidentally, did you know that crossing country borders over here is no different than crossing state borders at home?  I fully expected to be checked and interrogated at each country line.  We didn’t even cross customs stations at most of them.  It was a little disappointing – I was looking forward to the stamps in my passport. :)

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Switzerland…in the rain…still amazing.

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Tarasp Castle in Switzerland.  This was a fun little detour.  We saw it in the distance while we were driving and decided to track it down.  Turns out this is one of the places I saw on Google Earth when we were researching the trip (yay internet!) and really wanted to see.  So we parked and walked up to it.  The tour guide told us it was closed but gave us five minutes to explore.  There were gorgeous views from up top.

I had grand plans to post pictures of Salzburg too, but the connection is a little slow and my eyelids are a lot heavy.  So for now, Auf Weidersehen!

Girl and Boy Take Europe

Holy Moly this is really happening.  At 7:30 this morning we will board a flight that takes us to Washington DC where we will board another flight to New York where we will board our final flight to MILAN!  Deep breaths.

I got a little emotional last night tucking Landon in mostly because I don’t think he fully grasps that he’s not going to see us for ten days and that makes me sad.  But then I started packing and I had this moment where it all hit me.  WE ARE ACTUALLY GOING THROUGH WITH THIS!  It was actually up in the air as to whether we were going to go a couple of weeks ago and a little of the wind was taken out of my sails, so now that it is upon me…it feels surreal.

I’m going to Europe with my husband!  Yahoo!

We’ll have a computer.  If we have time and Wi-Fi and the desire we may post pictures now and then.  Or we may not.  We’ll just have to see.  Because for ten days I can do what I want when I want and how I want. 

So for now I will sign off with a big, fat CIAO!

See you in ten days!!

I”M GOING TO ITALY WITH MY HUSBAND!!!!!

I’m excited, but…

I’m really, really going to miss these faces:

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I try not to think about it too much because I know they’ll be fine.  But Italy is a long way away…

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And I just really,

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Really,

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Adore them.

Really.

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I learned something about myself today

It’s not totally outside of my capabilities to be organized!  I mean, I’m not a sloth, nor am I completely unorganized.  But in certain areas of my life, I’ve always assumed that I wasn’t created to be one of those “think ahead” kinda girls.  But today I totally thought ahead.

It, um, wasn’t that hard actually.

We leave in two days.  TWO DAYS!  And while I have a million things spinning through my head of what I need to do to get myself ready for a ten days adventure, I also have a gajillion things running through my head of what needs to be done for the little people I am responsible for on a daily basis.  Namely, feeding them while I’m gone.

I am not a bake meals and freeze them ahead of time gal.  In fact, I don’t know how to make a single casserole.  And if I did, I am most certain my children wouldn’t eat it because they’ve never wrapped their lips around a casserole in their lives.  So sorry to my parents and in-laws, but I’m not that organized. 

Baby steps.

But, take a gander at this:

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That’s food, food, glorious food!  I shopped today and stocked the freezer so full I almost couldn’t close it.  There’s chicken, beef, fish, frozen vegetables, chicken nuggets, waffles and pancakes in there.  I even bought popsicles and ice cream – two things I never buy – so that you guys could come out on top and be the good guys.

How awesome am I?

Now, check this out:

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Milk, juice, fruit, eggs, enough bread to feed the state of Rhode Island, yogurt, lettuce and pickles.  I even restocked the ketchup and barbeque sauce, which have been low/gone for weeks. 

Ah, but that fridge is but the icing on the gigantic cake of awesome!  Check. this. out.

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That is an entire cabinet filled with no less than 75 snack baggies all individually filled with a variety of goodies from cereal to trail mix to the ever popular Cheez-Its.  Just grab and go.  No thought, no preparation.  If I were like this more often, folks, my life would be so much easier.

Of course, I would hate to deviate too far from the half crazy world I live in.  If I were really becoming organized I would survey my cabinets before heading to The Walmart.  If I did this I’m most certain I wouldn’t end up with this:

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In case you’re wondering, that’s four bottles of Paul Newman salad dressing in the first picture and ten cans of tuna in the second.  Why so much tuna?  It’s hard to say given the fact that we don’t really like tuna.  Lee likes it and he will eat it…when he remembers to since it’s hidden in the cabinet next to the trash can.

Top of the list for our next house?  A Pantry!

The Paul Newman makes a little more sense.  It’s the only dressing we eat and we eat it on just about everything.  Wanna spice up the chicken? Paul Newman.  Wanna add some pop to your beef? Paul Newman.  Wanna fall in love with cucumbers? Paul Newman.  Four jars, though, is a bit excessive.  Again I blame it on the lack of pantry.  Two of those were hiding behind the tea cups and I only found them when I was moving things around to prepare the snack cabinet of awesome.

So parents?  I thought ahead just for you.  I prepared something just for you.  Not a meal, although I may make a pot of spagetti tomorrow for you to have on hand through the weekend.  (Mostly for you – the only kid who will touch spagetti around here is Landon.  Tell me, please, what kind of kid doesn’t like spagetti?!)

And now I’m going to rest my weary head upon a pillow because tomorrow’s project is to tackle the nasty surface called a floor in our home.  Don’t look too closely at that last picture, you might be repulsed at how we are living (but only for about 12 more hours!)

I Said “A Boom Chicka Boom…”

This post has nothing to do with that title – I have just really wanted to title a post that for a long time now…

Actually, this post really has to do with nothing at all.  You’re ripe with excitement to read further aren’t you? 

Maybe I should do an entire post of one liners.

So there was this blogger who walked into a bar…

Nah.

We’re T – four days and counting until the big trip.  I’ve had some freak out moments in the last few days, the biggest being when I realized that we might have to cut Hallstatt out of the itinerary.  My Hallstatt.  My preciousssssss

I fretted and fraught (fraught?) and worried and moped.  But it was a reality that we had planned way more than we could probably feasibly accomplish in our short time over there.  And I really didn’t want to cut out Tuscany.  Something had to go.  Until…wait a minute.  Maybe not.

What it boiled down to is this: We need to be flexible.  We I need to be willing to cut out Hallstatt if it becomes apparent that there is just no way we’re going to make it all the way there and still have time to book it down to Tuscany.  And so I still have hope, my friends.  You see, the goal is to try and stay off of the AutoBahn (and Autostrada) as much as possible.  We want to explore and get the flavor of the land.  We want to round a curve and be looking down at a village nestled in the mountains.  This means that it will take longer to travel.  But it also means we’re going to have an adventure.

And if we miss Hallstatt, we’ll just have to go back, right?  Deal!

Moving on…

See?  More one liners.  There is always room for one liners.

Too bad these aren’t the funny kind of one liners.

They’re kind of boring actually…

Ah well.

Sloan woke up with a low grade fever tonight.  I gave him some Tylenol and piled him back in bed where I hope he’ll wake up fever free for school tomorrow…because I’m that mom.  If you’re not dying, you’re going, kiddo. 

We’ll see. 

We will also be buying Emergen-C in bulk tomorrow.  And Zinc.  And Echinacea.  I will not come down with a fever on my dream vacation.  Oh, and to our parents who are splitting kid duty for the ten days while we are away: I’m so, so sorry.  Here’s to hoping whatever Sloan has doesn’t spread.  Or maybe he doesn’t have anything.  Here’s to hoping that.

Speaking of Sloan – he and I had a duke it out, we-might-not-make-it homework session tonight.  I won.  Barely.  We’re having this minor issue with child #1 in that every.single.time we bring him to the table to do homework, he brings along a massive chip on his shoulder.  He is heaping with sass these days and it’s never more apparent than when he is under educational duress.  It is especially evident when it comes time to do russian homework. Ay-yay-yay.

When it was all said and done and that which could have been completed in twenty minutes was finally finished after an hour of sweat and tears (no blood, thankfully) I felt defeated and dejected.  Now that I know he is running a low grade fever I feel a little better, but the truth is – homework is often painful.

But, just before bed, Sloan grabbed my hand and led me back to our bedroom and sat me down on the bed.  “We need to have a little talk,” he said.

“I had a bad attitude tonight and I was just angry and upset and sometimes russian is really hard and I feel like I can’t do it.  But I didn’t act right.  I wasn’t ‘quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ and I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?”

He did that on his own.  Without any prompting.

My heart is still a little gooey.  Of course I was quick to offer my forgiveness and apologize for my lack of patience.  Amends were made and we agreed to work as a team to make homework more fun.  It is moments like those that I truly, truly love being a parent.  Sure it’s cool when they hit a home run or draw you a picture, but when they exhibit a heart attitude that you have worked so hard to help shape and mold?  That is when parenting is most rewarding.  Just when I felt like I was the worst mom ever and totally incapable of successfully parenting that boy, he reminded me that his sweet little heart is full of gold nuggets just waiting to be dug up and harvested.

Do you harvest gold?  Did I just mix metaphors?

So yes…parenting is wicked hard.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I wouldn’t even trade it for Hallstatt, Austria.

I Said “A booma ticka rocka ticka rocka ticka boom!”

The End.

Post edit: Sloan woke up fever free this morning and he happily skipped to school (well, happily skipped onto the school bus anyway).  Whoop!