Thursday, June 7, 2012


Here are just some things I've been thinking about and wanted to share, in no order whatsoever.

Time has been flying.  We are already a week into June, and this summer will be over before we know it, at this rate.  Tim and I have decided against a big vacation this year, after a lot of talking and Tim's our inability to commit to anything.  But I'm OK with it now.  He'll still be taking several days of leave over the next couple of months.  I have to say in all honesty that this is turning into one of the best summers ever.  We joined the Y, and I take the kids there every morning that it's nice, and pack a lunch.  They have a 0 to 3 foot section, and the kids have so much fun.  It is hassle-free for me.  I know once the summer camp starts up, we'll be sharing it with many more kids, but we'll deal with it.  It's a great way to spend a morning.  Then Annie and Timmy are all tired out for their nap, and Delaney continues to chatter a mile a minute and ask me what we're doing this afternoon or tomorrow morning, and remind me to invite her friend Jonathan for dinner, and on and on and on.  On weekends, there are so many things to do as a family around here.  We've been doing a lot of walking downtown and going to free events there.

I don't know what it is lately.. maybe it's the gorgeous weather we've been having, or all these magazines and catalogs that come to our door, but Tim and I both keep getting crazy notions.  We'll drive past someone towing a boat and say, "Let's get a boat."  I'll remind him that we need a friend with a boat instead, and he'll say, "We'll never have that friend because you scare people away.  We need to be those people with the boat!"  Every time Tim sees a Harley, he wants one.  I remind him that we now have another car payment on a brand-spanking new car, no less.  (It sure was nice for those two weeks we had the other family car paid off.  RIP, old Traverse!  That will teach us to buy a new car AND pay it off.  That ought to teach us not to buy new at all, but that's a whole different topic.)

Then, the other day, I was flipping through the newest issue of Family Fun magazine, and there was an article about pop-up campers.  The author bought an 8-year-old one from a friend for $1500.  It looked a lot like the one we used to camp in when I was little, except bigger, nicer, newer, and with a lot more screens than I remember ours having.  The author described it as so fun and simple -- you hitch it to the back of your car, go wherever you want, and wa-la, it's a vacation.  The only difficulty, she said, was backing it into the campsite between the electricity and water hookups.  When I saw the picture of the camper sitting next to a lake at sunset, and you could see the sky through all the windows, I gasped.  There was the happy family sitting next to it in adirondack chairs around a fire, and I thought, that could be us!  And a camper is so much more practical and obtainable than a boat!

I got on Craigslist, and looked at all the listings for pop-up campers.  There were all kinds, anywhere from 10 to 20 years old, and usually people were asking for a couple thousand dollars for them.  I laughed at one of the ads.  The owner said it had been in their family since 1985 (so it was already used!), and they wanted $1500 for it.  It looked exactly like the one my parents had forever ago.  $1500?  Are you kidding?  Nobody is going to buy your stinky, smelly, moldy old camper from 1985 for that much.  Not when you get can get a newer nicer one that doesn't smell like 30-year-old smoke and stale pee.  (You'd better believe any camper we want to buy will undergo an inspection -- a sniff test to tell us if we need to run away now, then a closer one where we look for mold, bed bugs, cracks, holes, and anything else we can think of.)

I sent Tim the link for one that was from 1999, I think, and they were asking for $2300.  After a couple hours he replied, "Where did that come from?"  A little while later, he emailed me his own link, and wrote: "We had something like that too, growing up.. Dream bigger, honey."  I clicked on the link, and of course it was a honking RV that cost $150,000.  Tim always wants the thing that costs a fortune.  We discussed a little more, and now we are seriously thinking about buying a used pop-up camper.  This morning, I was looking at another magazine, and there was an ad for one, complete with beautiful sunset picture.  A sign!  A sign that I need to stop looking at magazines and catalogs, and getting ideas that I didn't have before, and was happy anyway!  I don't want to rush into it, but this is summer moving season, people are going to be looking to get rid of things, and we are going to be looking to acquire.
We are planning Delaney's birthday party.  It is going to be on July 8, and we have reserved the pavilion next to the pool at the Y.  I have no idea how it's going to go, and if it will be fun or just hectic and crazy.  It is the best I could come up with.  It's most likely going to be hot, and I didn't want to be inviting all Delaney's preschool friends to our house, where we'd likely be cooped up inside.  There is the option of setting up a slip & slide in the backyard, and grilling burgers and hot dogs on the deck.  But the owners of our house, after talking about it all spring long and getting estimates, seem to be in no hurry to re-stain the deck.  It looks like crap.  The backyard is kind of a wilderness anyway, with no fence, and ant mounds keep popping up from time to time.  The lawn is mowed and it's not horrible, but Tim and I don't feel comfortable with it, so I needed to seek out other venues for the party.  There weren't many options.  New Bern Gymnastics can be rented out for a party, and they have a ball pit and some other things for kids to bounce around on.  But it's cavernous and gloomy, and not what I envision a summer birthday party to be.  That's really about it in this area.  Then I learned you can have a pool party at the Y, and Delaney was excited about that.  I hope it's not awkward and weird, and that Delaney has fun.  We've already ordered the invitations.  
Due to the fact that we live about 10 to 15 minutes from anywhere, we spend a lot of money on gas.  It cost $321 to put gas in our family car, a Chevy Traverse, in March.  I use that month as an example, because it was a typical month of me schlepping Delaney to and from preschool, making weekly trips to the commissary, and no vacations or trips.  On the weekends, we drive around a lot too.  In an effort to conserve fuel while we can, I have made a pledge to myself to make one trip a day during the week.  No matter where I drive, it's at least 10 minutes away, so I can't cheat.  Or I can, but I'm cheating myself.  

It's incredibly hard to hold myself to this.  Our one trip lately has been the Y, and if we go there, I am definitely not making any other stops.  We are dressed for the pool and that's it.  If I go to the commissary, then I'm done driving for the day, and it hasn't even been anywhere fun.  It is very easy to come up with an excuse for why this day, whatever it is, has to be the exception to the rule.  I've had to get creative with ways to battle boredom in the afternoons, since our outings are almost always in the morning, when the kids are at their most well-rested best.  One thing we do is the "laundromat game" on the back deck.  I put a pot of soapy water out there, and the girls "wash" little towels and miniature clothes, and pin them on a little clothesline we have set up.  That keeps them busy for a good 20 minutes.  Afternoons are LONG.  I also enlist their help in putting real laundry away.  Delaney is good about that, and Annie was until she recently regressed back to being a pouty two-year-old.  (I won't go into that here.)

We take more walks and have the girls ride bikes or play in the yard as long as the weather is nice.  If it's too hot or rainy, we do more coloring painting or crafts, and read more books.  A blogger that I follow regularly, began reading chapter books to her kids for about a half hour at a time every day.  She does it every morning no matter what, and they love it.  I was surprised that a five-year-old would be interested in hearing the Little House or Boxcar Children books read to her, but she says kids can understand a lot more than we give them credit for.  So that is something I'd like to implement around here.

It seems like all my ideas only take me so far, and then Tim calls to tell me he's going to be late again, and I'm like, 'Ugh.'  

And naptime's over.  If you've hung in there with me this far, I'm done!


  1. I love your laundromat game! I can't wait to try that with my children!
    My kids loved Mr. Popper's Penguins, My Father's Dragon (had to edit out the word stupid), and Magic Treehouse books as read alouds around 5 years old.

    1. Glad to hear the reading aloud worked for you. That makes me even more excited to start!