Thursday, August 27, 2015

Umm, so, I was in a car accident...

This morning this was my UP:

She said, "I hide it."

Can you see the strawberry Nesquick?

She keeps climbing up in the pantry to pull this down so she can pour into a bowl and eat it... no milk... just powder. I keep putting it back and saying, "No more." She snuck it again and when I went to put it back, hiding it was her solution.

She made me laugh!


I just love her wavy hair after being in braids yesterday!

After carrying Baby into the bus again I had to hurry off to go pick up Brother from school for his new doctor's appointment. He wasn't really happy about that and made sure to let me know, but i got him to settle down by bribing him with a Wendy's hamburger—he agreed and we made it through the appointment successfully... well, to the best of Brother's ability. He didn't even look at the doctor to even acknowledge the questions he had for him. It's kinda hard for me to see Brother act that way to people. I hate feeling like he is being rude, even though I know he really isn't being rude and just hyper-aroused by the situation.

Anyway, he bounded out the door to head to the van and he reminded me of his Wendy's lunch that was promised.

We ordered 3 hamburgers, a 4-piece chicken nugget and a soda and he was SO excited to take it to school and eat it there. I was so excited for him and could only think of getting him back to school quickly so he could have his lunch at school while lunch hour was still going.

I remember being so happy for him that I forgot to take a left turn at the light I had planned on using, so I happily proceeded to the next light to take a slightly different, but equally great route home.

I stopped at the red light and checked my phone for some reason and looked back to check on Brother and then, I think, the light went green... at least assume so because I was moving forward...

The next thing I remember was seeing a gold car in front of me and I was coming fast on the back of it!

I slammed on the brakes so hard it felt like the pedal was going to fall out of the bottom.

I saw the license plate and the rear end of the car coming toward my van like it was in slow motion and then...


There was the smell of smoke and a hard pillow thing in my face!

I think I screamed, or yelled... I'm not really sure. I just know that the scenario played out a few times before I heard Brother screaming, "What happened, mom! What happened!!"

I had pulled over along the curb, at least I think I did because that's where we were and I got out because I thought my car was on fire or something like that with the smell of burning rubber and smoke floating out of the front hood of my car.

Brother got out of the car too and was in hysterics. Complete and total hysterics.

I ran to him and held him and squeezed him and asked if he was OK and checked to make sure nothing was wrong with him.

HUGE Crocodile tears were pouring from his eyes and he was completely frantic and asking me what had happened. All this while my car horn is blaring unstoppably. "Stop honking, your making this worse!" I thought in my head. Then, "ooh, my wrist hurts" and back to consoling Brother. But by this time he was completely over the top. He began darting for the road in an attempt to get away. He was hitting me and pushing me and squeezing me and yelling at me at the top of his lungs.

It was awful.

Seeing him that way.

He couldn't be calmed.

When the policeman showed up he approached me and I explained what was going on with Brother and he told me to just do what I needed to do to take care of my son and he would take care of the rest. It wasn't until that point that I realized the two other cars had been involved! I hit a car and that care hit the car in front of them!

Oh no!

I called Marc and told him quickly that Brother and I were fine, but that I had just rear-ended someone and I needed him there to get Brother.

Soon after getting off the phone the police officer had cut the electrical to the van so that the horn would stop. That kind of eased Brother a little, but not enough. He ran over to the police officer and told him, "Put her in jail," pointing at me, "This is all her fault! She is in big trouble!!!" Then he darted out to the road! Luckily everyone was going very slowly around the accident and Brother wasn't hurt but it scared me pretty good anyway.

When Marc came he hugged us both and I asked him to comfort Brother while I filled out the paperwork. Brother was still yelling at me, I wasn't holding the tears back as well as I had been and I had a silent breakdown that lasted 3 seconds before Brother noticed and started hitting me and yelling at me again.

It was time to take Brother back to school. Marc took him and I reassured him I would find a way home.

While I was filling out the papers I had noticed that my left hand that was stinging before was now shooting pain and causing my fingers to feel icy and numb.

My car wasn't drivable, my husband had to leave to help Brother so when I told the officer that I needed to have my arm looked at he asked me if I wanted to go to the ER or Instacare. I said, "Instacare" because I just figured that would be faster and cheaper. The police officer said he could give me a ride to the Instacare so I took him up on that.

I'm still crying at this point and feeling a sense of complete melt down coming on. I was so freaked out about how this was all going to affect Brother emotionally and in turn how his actions would affect Sister if he told her about it. I think I started to have a slight panic attack thinking about all the meltdowns and fallings-apart would be happening in my home for  the next few weeks... I couldn't bear it. I thought that maybe I would just have the breakdown on the outside that I was already having on the inside and then maybe I could be admitted to the hospital and not have to face it all right away.

Then, while waiting for the police officer I noticed my surroundings... I was sitting in the spot where they put the criminals... behind the protective shield and isolated... "Well, this is a bit funny. I've never been here before."

I started to chuckle a little at what people were seeing as the drove by: a woman in tears sitting in a cop car next to a mini van... hmmm.

When the cop got into the car I was in, she apologized for not having me sit on the guest side, but all her stuff was sitting there... OK. I laughed and said, oh well, this will make for an interesting picture back here as proof that I rode as a criminal in a cop car. She laughed.

I didn't really dare take more than this one... I wasn't sure if she knew I was serious and didn't want to get into trouble.
She drove me to the Instacare and then had to open my door for me (I am was in the criminal side and so they put the child lock on... ha ha ha! Do you see the irony in that?).

I walk into the doors she drove me in front of and I see a big sign that says:

I'm confused...

Umm, is this an Instacare for OB/GYN patients only?

I'm kind of in a daze and slightly delirious and in a lot of pain at this point and my tears are starting to emerge again.

I'm alone, I'm hurt, I have just been in a car accident and I have no idea where to go.

I decided to go ahead and just ask the lady at the front desk of the OB/GYN Instacare where the Instacare for injuries would be. She signals that it is "here" and I stepped in saying, "Oh, I just wasn't sure if it was just for OB patients and I certainly don't need that kind of care." She laughed and my joke had worked to keep my tears back.

I approach her desk and begin with, "So, umm, I was just in a car accident and I think I got hurt from the airbag..."

"OH! I'm sorry miss," she says politely and stupidly at the same time, "but we can't take care of car accident injuries, you'll have to go to the ER for that."

I stood there analyzing the fact that I was in pain and just wanted help and stumped with what I was supposed to do since my ride left when she dropped me off, "It's really not that far of a walk," she answers, I am guessing, in response to the transparent look of fear mixed with disgust on my face.

I guess, at least, she showed me a short cut through the back parking lots...

I was feeling slightly woozy and the tears were welling up as I walked in the heat of the back parking lots being stared at by local maintenance workers and then I started to see my situation from a sitcom perspective... this was funny. This kind of stuff only happens to me... I'm walking myself to the ER, people! I can't even make this stuff up! So I start to laugh and cry out loud and I am sure I looked like I was on my way to the mental hospital!

I asked a few more questions for directions and was finally in the ER waiting room where I was met by a nice woman who had been working there for too long or something because she just seemed completely and totally bored and totally uninterested in my plight, "Ummm, so, I was just in a car accident..." 

She told me it would be an hour to two hour wait... and then she complimented my shoes...


I guess I better get a hold of people to take care of the kids, and my mom to come hang out with me and get me to laugh. I was slightly starting to lose it at this point as the pain was getting worse and I didn't want to think of sitting like this for 2 hours.



My name was being called, and I had only been waiting 15 minutes!

A little miracle...

I got right back and the nurse joked with me about getting me the fast pass to a room... I've never been to Disneyland, but I sure as heck hope the fast pass there feels as great as a fast pass in ER.

Another nurse set me up with a bed and such and as she was walking out complimented my shoes...

Well, my mom told me to wear clean underwear in case I ever got in a car accident, but my advice is to always wear nice shoes...

Maybe if I had clicked them 3 times I would have gotten home...

I waited for a while in there so I decided to take a picture of myself to document my experience and my feelings about the whole thing:

The doctor told me that my arm had burns from the airbag being deployed... I never new until today that airbags were deployed with gunpowder! That was the smell and the smoke in my car. Sheesh!

And after some poking, pushing and twisting he was able to diagnose me with a traumatized median nerve... it's that nerve that can cause carpal tunnel. So I have a splint that I get to wear for two days.

I didn't take a picture of it, but when I got home Brother made sure to sneak one:

My mom came to get me and it was nice to see her and feel like she could take care of me for a bit.

When I had called her she was doing her traditional midweek yard sale. She had to put a sign up that it was "closed" so that she could come take care of me. She found some paper but couldn't find a marker or pen... but, hey, she had her mascara! It's good to know that my mom loves me enough to pause her yard sale and on top of that use her mascara for a sign. Ha!

Brother made sure to take a selfie to commemorate his first ever car accident and to show how happy he is that he isn't hurt.

Notice that smile on his face?

He wasn't freaking out or anything and was actually handling it all quite well. I think the fact that he was able to go back to school helped him regulate his feelings a bit and he was able to talk about it calmly.

Then, to top that off! When I told Sister about me being hurt and the car not coming home until it is fixed, she was worried, a little panicked and then she gave me a hug and that was that.

I'm praying this continues!

To add to my happiness, my mom bought fun treats for all the kids and fed me a sandwich before she left. My sister came over with her three kids and cleaned up the whole house! McKenna and Lindsey had been there to get Brother off the bus before I got home and my sweet friends brought me dinner dessert and breakfast for tomorrow. And I was able to, at least, lay down while I took all the calls from the insurance and stuff.

How can I not smile?

This sucks! (and I never say that word so you know it really does)

The van really doesn't look too bad... this is the picture Marc took at the towing lot.

I just can't help but see all the blessings in the middle of it.

I just hope I feel this way when I see the accident report and pick up our rental car...

Day 238 of 365 Days of Up

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Basement

When I was younger I was so scared to go downstairs to our unfinished basement.

I just knew there were monsters or ghosts down there.

Sometimes, though, I had to go down there to get my mom's bottled peaches if I wanted peaches and cream, go down to get her bottled chili sauce for her homemade french fries, or to get something I needed out of the laundry.

During the day it was alright.

Ghosts only come out at night.

So of course, at night, was when I was really scared.

The way I solved this problem was by wrapping a blanket around me and turning on all the lights on my way down. The blanket, I guess, was like a shield. If I had a blanket around my back then no ghosts could sneak up on me... hey I was a kid, it worked to get me down there.

Today I had a different kind of blanket around me to keep the monsters away. I tried really hard to keep moving and keep staying busy and not allowing myself to give up, lay down or zone out.

I carried "busy" with me all day so the monster of depression couldn't get me and when my sister called me to see how I was doing today I was able to respond that I am moving forward and trying hard.

I remember too, when I was young and fearfully going downstairs with a blanket wrapped around me, I would get what I went down for and then turn and run with fury out of the storage room, up the stairs and screeching to halt in the kitchen, because you also know, as a kid, that you can always outrun a monster...

I think I was trying to do that the middle part of the day, "Run!" trying to get away from depression and when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel it started getting better.

It's still there.

I will still keep my blanket of busy-ness wrapped tightly around me, but I'll make sure some of that "busy" time is for me too.

One of my UPs today was that I witnessed a dream of my friend's start to unfold. You know, the friend I did the artwork for? Well, we did some of the filming that involves my art piece and all of our Young Women today.

The whole day was not going as my friend had planned and it just seemed to be getting worse—people backing out, plans falling apart, but worst of all, it was raining and the filming was supposed to be outside.

We were all meeting at 4:00 and were supposed to start filming at a park if the rain cleared. To buy some time while hoping the weather would clear up we filmed some pieces inside the church building. By the time we were done with that, the rain had stopped and the cloud cover that was left made for some perfect lighting and beautiful, cloudy backdrop against the mountains. It was perfect weather for the occasion the whole time we were outside.

And then it hit me.

Yesterday was a HUGE low point for me.

Today was a low LOW point for my friend.

I know, now, why we are so happy even though we have tough times.

You have to have the lowest of lows to really and truly appreciate the high of the highs. Do you know what I mean? It's like I said about going on vacation with our kids... there were some really, really stormy and rough times, but those all made the rainbow of the good experiences seem just that much greater and brighter.

You just have to trust God and let him lead the way knowing that at some point He will lead you out of the "basement."

Thats the hardest part.

Having faith you'll get UP again.

You truly have to have opposition in all things.

So, I just now decided that this morning when I had to carry a kicking and blubbering mess of a Baby out to her bus for her first official day of Kindergarten, wrestle her down to her seat and then fold her into her seatbelt that I was merely being prepped for the joy I had when she got home happy, bouncy and giggling. It was just that much sweeter to see her toothy smile.

Oh, and I did remember to take a first day of school picture of her...

But, hey, maybe that's why she was so darned happy when she got home because it got so much better after that point...

Day 239 of 365 Days of Up

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An inspired doorbell

Depression almost won the battle today.

I was able to get up and get Brother and Sister off to school. I thought I'd be able to get through the rest of the day and then it just hit me. I went to sleep. I just didn't want to do anything.

Then my doorbell rang.

I wasn't expecting anyone.

I looked and felt like crap so I wanted to just lay back down.

Then the doorbell rang again.

I got up, wandered down the hall and down the stairs to the front door.

I opened the door and no one was there... the sprinklers were on barricading the sidewalk, but there was no one there.

Looking back now, I'm not sure how or what rang the doorbell, but it was the reason I got up and kept going. I talked myself into staying up no matter how tired and depressed I felt. I even got up the energy to clean out Sister's room.

That is a huge task.

Remember, she's a hoarder.

I found so many things in there that didn't belong there that I almost laughed.

With each section of her room that I cleaned out I was feeling some relief from the depression. I think that the fact that her room was so full of her "stuff" was overwhelming me and her. I went through every nook and cranny while Baby hung out with me and played with her sister's stuffed animals. It was nice, too, having her company and hearing her babbling while trying to be brave enough to get rid of so much stuff in Sister's room.

I found a folding chair, a basketball, 3 frisbees, and a stair rail post that belonged in the garage.

I filled a large garbage back full of stuff to recycle--mostly her papers that she collects.

I filled a box full of garbage which included a LOT of broken crayons and pencils and erasers.

I filled a box full of books to give to the library.

I found my ruler, Marc's light blue pocket square, and Brother's yearbooks and notebooks.

I only took a picture of the garbage that I took out:

I'm still a little nervous about her figuring out about some things missing and melting down over it. I'm crossing my fingers that she just finds new happiness in a cleaner room... we'll see.

So, I gained a little pride in myself for having beat depression for a few hours and decided I was going to continue on with the day and not sleep through it.

I love winning.

I'm quite competitive actually, so being able to win over depression for a while makes me feel good.

I made it to Baby's Kindergarten open house and I'm glad I had some kind of emotional strength with me because she was clinging to me for dear life when we walked up to her new school. I am sure if that doorbell would not have rang this morning I would have not even considered going to Baby's Kindergarten thing, but here I was helping her meet her new teacher, see her new school and get familiar with her environment. It was a great mommy moment for me and I was able to take a break from my depression to realize that I am blessed with these children who keep me moving forward and keep me from completely falling flat on my face.

I saw a quote from my Sister, Jessie, today though, that sums up how my day went.

I chose to look at the stars and I was able to brush myself off and get back up.

That takes strength and today my strength is my UP.

Day 237 of 365 Days of Up

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Dolphin In The Water

So I thought it was just a fluke or a stroke of luck that the past 3 days Baby has buckled her own seatbelt.

It's for real!

She can now buckle herself in the car!

My life just got that much easier!

She loves to sit alone in the very back of the van so it makes it a little bit of a stretch and bend for me to get her buckled in and now she does it herself!

I'm so excited about this latest development. I knew right off when I saw her do it this morning that she really can do it on her own and it is so cute to watch her trying to make sure she gets it in the right slot and everything.

I'm so proud of her! That takes some dexterity, strength and hand-eye coordination and she's got it!

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first time you have read a blog post about a mother who is so excited about their almost 6-year-old being able to buckle her own seatbelt.

But, I would be surprised if you have been reading our blog for a while and don't realize that all three of our children have Fragile X Syndrome.

In our house, seemingly small tasks have become huge and celebrated accomplishments. It really does teach a parent to be proud of every milestone they hit or any success, no matter how small to some.

Baby did not stop today at impressing me with her buckling skills... oh no she didn't...

She said a full sentence to my mom and I about pretending and making something funny!

I was holding a small (about 3x5 inches) book and she took interest in it. This is very typical of her to take things from me that are small, rectangular and made of paper so I didn't really mind when she took it from me so I continued my conversation with my mom.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Baby waving the book up and down like a boat on the water so I turn to her and she looks at my mom and me and says, clear as day, perfect diction, "Look! It's a dolphin in the water."

I was stunned almost because I have never heard her use a sentence quite like that and I have certainly never had her try so hard to include me in her imaginary play!

My mom and I were so excited and proud of her that Baby couldn't do anything, but smile as big as she could in response to our praise.

Baby had gotten such a reaction from us that she tried it again with a twist, "Look, it's a snake in the water!" as she waved it up and down, smiling from ear to ear.

Today I saw a whole new Baby! It's like she grew up over night. I'm just so excited to see her starting to blossom and grow! This is so exciting!

I am just beaming with pride, excitement and joy that I just had to share these accomplishments with you.

Day 236 of 365 Days of Up

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Beach at the Peak

Baby was helping me chalk...

I ended up having to throw these clothes away because I couldn't get the chalk out... but at least she was happy to chalk with me.

Sister has been really into folding and organizing clothes. She has emptied out, folded and organized the clothes in her dresser at least 4 times last week. What I love the most is when she wants to fold the clean laundry I haven't gotten to yet.

She's actually really good at it.

Brother and Sister started school on Wednesday.

I have to admit, I let Facebook and Instagram make me feel like a bad mom... I didn't get pictures of them on their first day of school. At least, no really.

I got one of Brother ready for the bus before Marc had left to work. I wanted to document how tall he is compared to his dad starting off school and then we'll take another picture on the last day of school... if I remember. (wink)

His look is killing me! Ha!

He's telling me to stop taking pictures, "That's enough mom!"

But I totally forgot about getting Sister's first day documented. I'm just relieved that I have her off to school without either one of us having a melt down. Maybe I'll remember to take one next week and then I can join the throngs of mothers and fathers who have the ever-traditional first day of school in front of the front door picture. Oh, wait, maybe I'll just be happy to get one of the back of her running excitedly to the bus.

A friend of mine from the Mary Poppins cast sent me this gem of her daughter and I when I was Allison in "Pinkalicious." I was so excited to know that I had met her sweet daughter before we ever even knew each other.

I think I am going to try out for another play. I'm excited because it will be another one like "Pinkalicious" that is for the younger audiences and rehearsals are during the day while my kids are in school. I'm excited to try out for "James and The Giant Peach." I'm so excited and nervous and excited! I'll keep you posted.

I have really been in the mood for Thai food lately and I am pretty proud of my Thai food skills. We've had Mango with coconut sauce and sticky rice at least once every week for the last 4 weeks!


I cut my side-sweep bangs into blunt cut bangs and it made me happy.

One of the cooler things I have been able to do is work on this painting for a dear friend who wrote a song and is making a music video. I was able to design the art piece and I have been working on it over the last week to get it completed for the shoot this Wednesday.

I can't show you the artwork yet as she would like for  me to wait for the "big reveal," but I thought this picture was cryptic enough bit still showed me doing the painting.
I'm so proud of myself for this because it is different than what I have ever done. It's my own creation and imagination (with a lot of inspiration from above) and I am painting on a 9 foot wide canvas drop cloth which I have never done and poses it's challenges.

I am also excited because, being in the Young Women's Presidency in my ward, I have decided to get my Honor Bee, which is a prestigious award for the Young Women. Last year I made a goal to do a 10 hour project to paint an original piece of art and display it—I'm sure this will cover that!

This project has also helped me keep the shadow of depression far enough away that it hasn't consumed me yet. I've felt it for a while and keep trying hard to keep it from taking over. I think that my outlook on life sometimes takes a little downturn when I analyze it too much. I just have to remind myself that my life is too crazy to be analyzed and I just need to live it.

Marc went on a back pack trip with my Uncle Kelly and my Uncle Jeff on Friday night to Lake Hardy. It was quite the uphill hike for 5.5 miles. I love that Marc goes on hikes with my family. He loves to get out and I love that he is good friends with my family.

Funny story Marc told me about he pack trip was about an Australian friend the met on the hike. He had been hiking down because his friends had dogged him and he didn't want to camp by alone in the wilderness, but when he stopped to talk to Marc and my uncles he felt comfortable enough to ask them if he could camp with them... but that's not the part I want to tell you. It was the part where, at dinner time, this young man, hunted a squirrel, skinned it and ate it for dinner. Marc and my uncles chuckled a bit when he offered some to them... oh the people we meet!

Ew, ew, ew!

Saturday night Marc and I went on a date.

It was so needed and I was so happy to be out enjoying time with him and away from the kids.

We love to dress up when we go out. Sometimes our attire is fine for where we are going and sometimes it seems a little much, but we love to get all decked out for each other.

So when we walked into Smash Burger I am sure we stood out... in a good way, I hope.

After burgers we went to Iceberg Drive Inn and got shakes. I was so happy and was singing with all the oldies songs that were playing and enjoying Marc's smiles and my grasshopper shake. (Don't worry, I'm not that adventurous, it was grasshopper cookies—chocolate and mint.)

We almost for got to take our traditional date night selfie! We gave it a few tries...

He finally settled on this one to post on his Instagram account.
After dessert we went and shopped around at the local thrift stores and then we were off for our 8:40 movie. I talked Marc in to watching "Pixels" with me and it was hilarious. I really needed a good laugh, but it also had some adventure in it too.

After the movie we still had an hour before we had to be home to relieve the babysitters so we drove up to our favorite spot.

Squaw Peak in Provo Canyon.

It was so beautiful looking at the sea of lights and Marc captured a great panoramic of what we saw down in the valley.

Marc and I have decided that this lookout is our equivalent to the ocean.

Beautiful sunsets, tranquility, amazing views, and a pleasant breeze.


Days 229 - 235 Days of Up

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Until Next Year!

We made it through the night fairly unscathed.

Marc and I were excited to get up early and head to the beach.

I guess our stressed parenting bodies decided we needed more rest so we didn't get as early a start as we would have liked. Plus, if you add in the meltdowns by Sister, we weren't exactly getting there quickly, but 10:30 am would have to do.

The only problem with getting to Torrey Pines beach at 10:30 on a Friday is that there are no available free parking spaces left and when you have told your overly-sensitive-to-change daughter that you are parking alongside the road and you end up going to a parking lot you end up with, yet another, fall apart.

This one lasted all the way to the parking lot, at the fee area, through the parking lot and included acting like she was going to dart into oncoming traffic while we were unpacking everything all while yelling that there was going to be an earthquake!!!

Marc and I weren't necessarily patient at this point. More numb. Sometimes you just have to get that way in order to survive the constant barrage of insults and screaming.

All of this while happy-go-lucky Baby is skipping and dancing around the parking lot worrying us into a frenzy that she was going to get lost, or worse, hurt. You can't really get mad at her because she is just so happy to be alive at this point that all you can do is try to run close by her in a way that herds her near enough to the car that you can unload everything and everyone safely... all this while listening to Sister's incessant insults.

For a moment I had a thought in my head how funny this would be in a sitcom. I'm telling you that Adam Sandler could make an amazing comedy from my life... just sayin'.

After gathering our beach necessities and our wits about us, we walked up the slight hill of the parking lot to the horizon of the beach site and Sister was thrilled to pieces when she saw the sand again.

We found an open spot and set up our old tent that now looks and works like a canopy. It went smoothly.

Baby was happy in her little rock corner piling sand, Sister was out in the shallow waves with Brother and Marc and I were breathing a sigh of relief that all was well. We even spent time tossing the frisbee while trying to get each other further and further into the waves by "overthrowing" it.

It was such a blissful time seeing the kids giggling and smiling and having a great time.

Sister was covering her entire body with sand, Brother and I drew pictures in the sand and we all searched for shells. It was a postcard vacation at this point.

This was how the sand looked! It was so cool how the black sand would mix in with the tan.
Brother and I had fun making patterns for the waves make better.

Baby stayed busy making sand piles almost the whole time.

Brother loved dragging around the seaweed

One of the few times Baby actually got into the water

She reminded us of those birds that run from the waves on the shore lines...
she was so little and so quick-footed it gave us a good laugh

All was great...

and then the beach patrol showed up...

in front of our tent...

Marc and I were out in the ocean playing frisbee when I noticed the truck with police lights pulling along the beach only to stop in front of Brother sitting happily in the opening of our tent, now looking slightly panicked.

I didn't hesitate to run through the waves (and trust me, this was no Baywatch beauty run) and got within earshot of the patrolman talking to our sand neighbors, "Is this yours?" as he pointed toward Brother. I came up quickly and asked, "Excuse me sir, is there a problem?"

He informed me that we weren't allowed to have a tent on the beach and that we needed to take it down. I apologized to him and said we were just using it for shade and we didn't realize it wasn't OK to set it up all this while simultaneously in my head I am praying that this incident will not affect our postcard vacation moment.

Poor Brother was a little distraught and kept saying, "I didn't do it!" and "What happened?" He was a little shaken by the officialness of the cop car showing up and a cop talking to his mom.

While Marc and I were putting the tent down Sister was anxiously pacing back and forth with the sticky sand still clinging onto her entire body. I was hoping that Marc and I could take care of the tent situation calm enough that we wouldn't ruffle any feathers.

It took a few minutes for Sister's feathers to show signs of ruffling, but I could see it coming, I just didn't know how it would manifest itself yet.

Once Marc and I had everything set legally on the beach there were a few moments of calm and I was optimistic.

Sister wandered over by the wall of rocks that Baby was playing in, seemed to be scoping out a spot to sit down and then she proceeded to tug at the top of her pants! Thank goodness I had been watching the whole thing because I realized she was going to try to go potty on the rocks and I was able to run over to her before her pants were pulled to a "point of embarrassment."

I thought that because of her seeming urgency to go, that she had to go right that second. I did the quick Sherlock Holmes scan of the scenario and decided that it would be best to just have her pee in the ocean... salt is a disinfectant... right. I was so happy because she only got a tiny bit mad at me but then obliged to walk over with me to the water. She'd been playing in the waves up to her waist so I didn't think it would be a problem to have her pee discreetly, but she saw it a different way and as soon as her ankles were covered she began to tug at her pants, "No!" I quietly screamed.

I tried to explain and she was starting to get frustrated with me. Marc came over and assessed the situation and requested I take her to the bathroom.

The bathroom was at at least 100 yards away—60 to the steps and 40 to the bathrooms. With Sister in a tizzy that can seem like a mile... or more.

I was trying to be calm hoping that Sister would follow suit, but she was sure to make a scene by weaving through the crowd stomping on peoples towels, kicking sand, and screaming, "I'm just gonna go here!" as she would tug at the top of her pants while I dodged at her repeatedly to make sure she was not going to show her assets to the beach-goers! The yelling got louder the closer we came to the steps.

When we finally got to the steps Brother ran up behind me and said he needed to go to the bathroom too. I assumed that Marc had sent him and resumed to calmly talk Sister through the nightmare we were both in. So with Brother in tow we proceeded to the bathroom all with Sister still yelling at me.

I found an empty stall for her and as she was going potty she continued to yell in the echoey stall and was gaining more and more attention.

Brother was no where to be seen so I walked by a few stalls randomly calling his name till he replied and I realized which stall he was in. I walked back the 6 feet I had walked to be reprimanded by Sister for not standing at her door.

California is in a drought. I guess. So I think we were lucky to have flushing toilets, but there was no running water to wash hands or shower off sand. Neither of these situations sat well with Sister and she started another tirade. She stomp-ran with accompanying flailing arms from the bathroom across the street to the start of the stairs all while yelling at me as loud as possible.

I was telling her to stay by me because we were needing to wait for Brother, but she wasn't having that, "Just leave him! Who cares! Just leave! I want to go! There's a tsunami! Oh great, Mom! Now there's a tsunami! I told you there was going to be a tsunami!" All that was being yelled from across the road as I waited for Brother to exit.

I kept walking over to Brother's stall and knocking on the door encouraging him strongly to hurry up.

I know this whole situation was comical because the guy waiting for a stall was stifling his laughter as I'm yelling at Brother to hurry faster and family groups would giggle or whisper laugh as Sister was predicting a tsunami to her incompetent mother who was somewhere across the world, they were probably guessing because of her noise level.

I walked over to Sister to try to see if I could calm her down all while trying to watch closely Brother's stall door to make sure nothing scary would happen. During these moments I was picturing Marc down at the beach just enjoying the sound of the waves and the feel of the sunshine while Baby sat and built sand piles.

I don't quite remember how it all happened, but the three of us ended up back at our beach spot and Marc, looking exasperated, asked, "So Brother was with you?" Apparently Brother had not told Marc he was leaving and Marc had been in a panic about where he was and was trying to stay optimistic that he was with me.

We tried to stay a few more minutes, but it was inevitable.

We were done.


They were done.

OK, really, she was done.

Anyway, to make this transition point shorter I will just say that it was rough not being able to wash all the sand off, but we were thrilled that the hotel had a pool where we could rinse it all off.

Not to mention, this is what the kids had been wanting to do the whole time: swim in the hotel pool.

We were the only ones with kids at this fancy shmancy pool and Marc and I were trying to keep our kids on the calm side so as not to upset our sunbathers. Inside I really just wanted to get buckets of water and throw it on them every time they gave our kids the stink eye! Here's my soapbox moment: If you are at a pool... swim! If you don't want to get wet, move away from the pool's edge. Oh, and don't bring a magazine into a pool through the middle of children thinking that you or your magazine won't get wet! Argh! OK, rant over, but I think it gives you somewhat of an idea of the pool experience at first. Luckily we must have started a trend because more kids came to the pool and then the splashing and screaming became the norm and the sunbathers were now out of their element.

When the kids were all done swimming we all went to the hotel room to get showered, dressed and dry. This all went fairly smoothly.

I had talked Marc into going out on his own for a while so that the kids could have a sensory break in the room so they could regroup for dinner. He obliged and our pillow fight began!

It was so much fun! All four of us were laughing, Baby especially. Feathers were escaping, beds sheets were thrown and our all done hair was now staticky and standing on end. It was perfect. The kids needed it, and so did I. We just let it all out.

Baby especially loved covering Brother and Sister with all the pillows... I'm glad I got a picture.
See Brother's long legs and green feet?

Once we were all pillowed out, we sat and watched a little TV until Marc got back.

We went got Taco Bell for the kids and then brought it to the restaurant that Marc and I wanted to eat at because we have learned that if the kids aren't eating, we aren't eating. Anyway, the restaurant we chose wasn't very good and was too expensive, and the kids didn't last as long as we had hoped, but, at least, we all ate.

After dinner we went back to the beach and enjoyed watching the sunset over the ocean. It just never gets old. Ever.

That's Baby's sillouette

After the sunset was completely gone we drove a short distance to see the San Diego LDS Temple. It is so beautiful and it was so fun to see it all lit up at night.

Sister wasn't happy about our detour (are you surprised?), but Baby kept calling it a castle and couldn't stop being giddy about it. I told her it was a temple and then she kept saying "temple" and then giggling and pointing and smiling. She loved it! I'm pretty sure that was her special moment.

The next morning we were off for a 8 hour drive to St.. George to stay with friends, but, first we HAD to say goodbye to the beach. We found a different area of the beach because of parking and it was on top of a cliffside with Amtrak tracks below and a beautiful view. Brother was happy to see the train tracks below and though that the was heaven to see train tracks and the beach at the same time!

Oh! And do you remember how terrified Baby was to go down the elevator? She clung to Marc for dear life, EVERY time. Well on our very last time down she indicated she wanted to do it herself! Marc took a picture to commemorate the miraculous moment!

The traffic on the way out of San Diego was better this time, but Sister was the same—worried, whiny, upset and overwhelmed.

Marc saved the day at lunch time though when we stopped at this really cool spot that looked like a train station in Barstow. This is where Brother had his greatest vacation moment.

He turned to Marc and said, "This is the best part for me, Dad."
I only lost Brother once while ordering food at the McDonald's inside the train depot and Marc had to stay with Baby in the gift shop admiring My Little Ponies and Thomas the Train, but we finally all sat down to eat. Happy meals are always a good thing. Baby couldn't have been happier with her little book she got in hers and actually kept her busy for the last 3 hours to St. George!

I wish Batman would have been that entertaining for Sister... but we made it. We were in St. George! We didn't want to burden out friends to prepare a dinner for us so we stopped at Del Taco before getting there.

That was a mistake. On so many levels. I won't be brave enough to eat there any time soon.

It all started with throwing them off by asking for 4 of the 7 tacos to NOT have cheese or tomatoes and 3 of the tacos to have cheese and lettuce only... rocket science for some I suppose... So our order took a LOT longer than planned and our kids aren't exactly known for their patience. We finally get our order and I gather the kids together to eat and in an exasperated mess I sit down to eat my salad with avocado ant notice a blond hair wrapped around and wriggling out of my avacado...


I think I have taught myself so much patience with my kids that I don't know how to demand things so I just quietly went to the front and told them there was a hair and 15 minutes later! they got me another one!! I had to wait for all the customers who had come in after me! I should have shoved it all in their faces and demanded my money back because my kids didn't eat any of it anyway, because they had waited so long that they were too overstimulated to eat! Aaahh!! Comedy! I tell you! My life is a comedy!

I can't tell you what a relief it was to meet up with our friends in St. George and hop into their pool with the kids and them.

It was so relaxing and a great unwind to the previous drive.

The kids were in happy as clams and would have swam all night if we had let them. Sister was especially excited because they had a life jacket they convinced her to wear and she was loving the freedom of moving about the pool all on her own.

Our accommodations with our friends were so wonderful, they treated us like family and the kids were so happy and comfortable there. We realized, again, that our kids don't really care of we go on vacation... we want them to have experiences, but they are happy with the easy stuff. We thought maybe our next family vacation will be in St. George and we shouldn't try so hard to give our kids these experiences because it is so hard on them and on us.

We were reminded Sunday night when we stopped at my mom and dad's house to pick up Ranger that maybe, just maybe these experiences are worth the hard times, because Brother and Sister could NOT stop telling everyone how awesome San Diego was, and the beach, and the hotel, and the trains, and the DVD player in the car, and the food, and ... well, just all of it! They loved it! It's hard when they're in the middle of it, but they do love it.

So we'll keep doing family vacations!

I'm just glad we have till next year to do another one (wink).

Days 226 - 228 of 365 Days of Up