Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Truth is Out There...

...if you choose to look for it.

But you have to look, cause it's not coming to you...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just Overheard From the Other Room

Reed (yelling): Ash!!! SAY YOU'RE SORRY!

Ashton (very contritely): Sorry!

Reed: No, you're not!

(Why did he bother then?) For the record, that was the end of it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vacation 3: Beach Bums

The condo we stayed at in Iowa had a nice sandy beach on the lake just outside our unit. Once the weather warmed up a bit, we enjoyed it as much as we can.

This was a good view to have of the situation, but I was unable to maintain this pose for long.

Ryan and the kids walked out onto the dock that enclosed the swimming area for a photo op. At one point they were sitting on a skinnier spot of the deck, when I came out to join them. Reed decided he needed to "move over to a wider part of the deck, so mama can sit with us." I tried not to take offense.

Here is my hubby who has recently gotten into the self-portraits. I think he is trying to avoid a lack of pictures of himself, like his Grandpa Nelson had. He took the pictures--he was not in them.
Ashton enjoys the clear water. It was too cold for mom to ever put on her suit, but Dad got in with them.
Looking for cool rocks. We found a few shells, but they turned out to be pistachio shells. Not quite worth bringing home.
Reed's sand castle. Notice the pool with a stick bridge over it. He was very proud of this. We did wish that we had the sand building expertise of Grandpa Dallas.
Here's another sand castle on another day. But I really put this in so you could see the green water on this day. This was at some point in the middle of the week, so we were glad that it didn't last more than a day!
All in all, it was a very relaxing time. I even got a bit of a tan (and a bit more) one day. We would definitely recommend this resort to anyone, at least with younger kids!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For My Good Friend,...uh...Eric

So I guess my recent political blog has gotten some of my readers (at least one of them) contemplating what I said. This is good; I contemplated it a good many showers and took the entire day to write "the truth as I know it" as far as the political lack of truth out there today. I don't know if anyone else has been contemplating my thoughts, so I address most of this to, um, Eric. Clarification is always good, so I post it here because the rest of you are welcome to read along....

Okay, Eric.

First of all, let me say I am honored to be considered blog-worthy. Having kept up with your blog in recent months, I know that you only blog when you feel it important. Or really cool. Either one is an honor.

And I have always felt like I had a relationship with you where I could tell you the truth, whether you liked it or not, and you would laugh, but respect me for it. Perhaps the distance between us, or even the vagueness of the written word, has diminished that understanding in this case. So let me offer a few more thoughts on the situation.
  • I find it hilarious that you are faced with opposing conservative views at your school. It wasn't till I was a teacher in Prairie Grove that I realized I could actually LIKE people that were, ...well, ...honestly, ...democrats. I was the lone Republican, perhaps in the building. I was very quiet most of the time for those 4 years. There was a time or two when I spoke up, and I was glad I did.
  • I do believe I am dealing with my shrapnel wounds from living in a state where we fear vandalism of our house if we were to put a Republican sign in the yard. It is frustrating dealing with a "Santa Fe" society that believes there is no such thing as too much government and character takes a back seat to "leadership" and personal agenda.
  • I have always been confounded and a bit irritated by those undecideds who say they just "vote for the best man for the job." I have just recently figured out why. I don't believe that the "man" really stands alone or can do anything without his party in Washington. There is not a best "man" for the job, only the best party. (Please note: I am in no way suggesting the Republican party is perfect in any way!!!) I'm not saying he won't do a couple things on his own, but for the most part, he stands with his party. The main part the man plays is his character. A man of substantial character might be able to lead his party and make a great difference, but I believe these great leaders are few and far between, and probably not revealed until several years into his term.
  • My problem with McCain is that he is doing all this political pandering and digging himself deeper into a hole. He is not standing on the values of his party (maybe because he doen't share them all), and people are not buying into his bi-partisan, don't-offend-anyone stance.
  • As far as the merit of opposing views and predetermined ideology, I can tell you that I go back to the term "dyed in the wool conservative." I hold to the values of conservatism as a part of who I am. I filter new ideas through these values, rather than how they sound like they would benefit me. I believe conservatism upholds the best of the country (and even the world) over the what is best for self. Obviously, dems disaggree.
  • My voice and conviction to speak the truth (at least in politics) comes sporadically and mainly through this blog right now. I appreciate you letting me clarify my values to myself, if not to you.
As far as the rest of you, I promise to put the eyefire away and get back to our happy vacation pictures soon. Stay tuned....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Free Handbag Anyone?

Ladies, check out this site that is giving away cool purses!

Guys, Christmas is coming! Can't beat free for your budget!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eyefire--And a little bit more

I've written this post many times in my head, but I guess I haven't been mad enough about it yet to actually publish it. But after watching the debate last night and hearing all the political crap stack up for the past few weeks, I'm done.

First of all, let me clarify my political convictions. I am a dyed in the wool conservative. I believe that this nation was established by deeply religious men and women who knew what it meant to take greater responsibility for the greater good. I believe they knew what would happen if all power was given to the people, and set up a Constitution with a system of checks and balances to prevent some of the pitfalls that we have been able to weasel ourselves into (with the help of our Constitution-interpreting friends). I believe in the same values of great presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Regan, and even George W. Bush. Yep! I said it! GW! Now I know my liberal-come-lately friends (if they're still reading) will take great offense to this, but I believe GW made a lot of politically unpopular choices just because they were the right thing to do. I'm not saying he's been the greatest president, and he will most likely lose the election for John McCain, but he has not pandered to the political powers in Washington (except perhaps in the recent political season) or the low polling numbers of the "what can my country do for me" public.

So now I am faced with choosing between a liberal and a flaming liberal to receive my vote for president.

I am irritated that so many people believe the "truth" presented to them by George Stephanopoils, Katie Couric, David Letterman, Tina Fey, Oprah, and all those smart Hollywood do-gooders on the red carpet! "Wow! That sounds really good! It must be true!"

I am irritated that for weeks we have been listening to the same political ads that tell us absolutely nothing! And we will only be assaulted with many more in the coming four weeks!

I am mad that the current financial crisis has some voters looking for immediate answers! Do you think Jimmy Carter (renowned president in history) thought he got away with one the year I reached my terrible twos? Could anyone see this $700 billion bailout looming in the future then? No one can say, Americans have had a part in creating this recession by spending more than they earn for years! "Why should the rich get to live like they are rich when I cannot. That is unfair!"

I am upset that charisma and charm are paving the way to the White House for another politician who will do just enough voter favors to say that he did and then maintain business as usual. Yes, there will probably be a tax refund, and a discussion on health care, but the problems that face the nation and the world will not be gone, but different and bigger in a way no one can yet anticipate. There will be more programs that the government will have successfully implemented, but nothing will be different.

But what I am most angry about is the fact that there is no one in this race that I hear speaking up for America! All I hear is politicians pandering for Americans' votes! "Everyone deserves..." "Under my plan, you will get..."

We are poised for an election where we will get what we want. More government bailouts. Equal privileges for all. Except maybe not an enduring democracy that will lead the world on the moral and economic front.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vacation 2: Iowa Retreat

Yeah, Iowa. We didn't start out thinking, where is the most luxurious vacation destination? But we were ultimately trying to get see Ryan's grandparents in Wisconsin, so this (really nice) resort was on the way and had ONE one-bedroom unit available just for us! We jumped on it and hoped for the best.

So the big sellers for a resort for us are the on-site free amenities. This one had both mini-golf and and indoor pool. (It also had an indoor mini-golf course that was someone's attempt to clean out their garage! We only went to that one once.)

Here we are enjoying the outdoor course.

Ashton liked to employ the "sweeper method," using her club more like a broom. Hey, whatever works! The best golf tip of the week: we put everyone's ball in Daddy's pocket after every hole, and whoever's ball came out was who went next. Bonus for me: I didn't have to bend over to pick up my ball from the hole!

Here are the kids enjoying the pool and daddy. It was the largest indoor pool we had seen at a resort!
Here is the kids' room for the week. Kids' room by night, school room/kitchen/dining room by day. It was just connected to our room by a lockout door (see picture below). Our room is not pictured (because is was a mess!) but it was just like a typical hotel room with a King sized bed. I set up my scrapbooking station in there and got quite a bit done during nap/nightime!

Here is the same room as a dining room! You can see the corner of the kitchen behind me. It was very small, but it worked for us and was a great money-saver for the week. Another bonus for me: Ryan did the dishes every meal! (He's even kept this up a lot since retuning home!)

Another of the great amenities of the resort was the sandy beach on the lake. It was probably our favorite thing to do! We went three days to "swim"/play in the sand. (I'll post a lot more of these pictures later!) Here you can see the dock that enclosed the swimming area. You can't see the sand, but it's between the grass and the water.

One other free thing we took advantage of was the free movie "theater." We saw "August Rush" there and then took the kids back to see "Snow Buddies." You can't beat a movie with talking dogs for them! It was a great resort for our family!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vacation 1: Monumental Moments

So we started our trip with a trip northward towards Mount Rushmore. I had been as a child, but Ryan hadn't been and and we thought it would be a good educational stop for the kids. I had gotten a book about it at the library and Reed was super excited!

We spent the first night with my sister in Denver and saw all the family there. It was great eating and laughing with all of them there. Thank you Beth and Joe for the fabulous meal and lodging, Katie and Wayne for the picture tour of NY, and Amy for the free advice about the kids! I think I can skip the kids' year appointments now! It was fun to catch up with all of you!

We left early the next day because we still had quite a drive to Mt. Rushmore and we wanted to see it all in daylight. It was cold and rainy the whole way, but we made pretty good time. As we got closer and I was studying the map to see how to get there, I saw the Crazy Horse monument was right on the way! I remembered being there as a child and how amazing it was. I told Ryan we had to stop there as well. He trusted my judgment and we stopped. Well...time has a funny way of playing tricks on you....This is what I remember, an amazing sculpture of a man on horse carved into the mountain:

As you can see, it was quite a spectacular undertaking for the artist. However, if you scroll down and look through the fog, you can see what the sculpture actually looks like at this point.

Yep! And the documentary movie said the face wasn't even done till '98--at least 15 years after I visited as a kid! I have no idea what I was "remembering!" If the fog a had cleared at all (this was the best picture) I wanted to take a picture with the kids in it. It will be interesting if they someday take their kids to see the progress in their lifetime.

So then it was off to Mt. Rushmore. Again, Reed was very excited. Here is just a beautiful picture of a beautiful kid!

And here is that beautiful kid running ahead of us and fighting with his errant pants! (The adjustable waist had come undone!)

And here we are under the famous presidential faces. They seemed to be crying because of the rain. Reed wanted a quarter for the binocular machine, but I told him no, because my parents had told me no to that when I was a kid. That's something I remember quite well (at least, I think). I also remember taking my first real picture there of my parents and sister under the state flag of Missouri.

From here we went down the road a bit and spent the night in Wall, SD. We did not go to the famous Wall Drug Store, but enjoyed the continental breakfast to the fullest extent! The next day was our third driving day, but we made it to the condo in Iowa. I post on that later!