Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Laughing Out Loud

While at the library the other day, I heard a friend laughing out loud while reading. That is some good stuff and I wanted in on that action. It was a book entitled "Sh*t My Dad Says". And like the title the book is filled with profanity so if that is not your cup of tea, pass on this one, otherwise I dare you to read it and not laugh. Favorites include (editted):

On Accidents:
"I don't give a crap how it happened, the window is broken....Wait, why is there syrup everywhere? Okay, you know what? Now I give a crap how it happened. Let's hear it."

On Accidentally Eating Dog Treats:
"Snausages? I've been eating dog treats? Why would you put them on the counter where the rest of the food is? Screw it, they're delicious. I will not be shamed by this.

On Bob Saget's Demeanor While Hosting America's Funniest Home Videos:
"Remember that face. That's the face of a man who hates himself." and...

On My Bloody Nose:
"What happened? Did somebody punch you in the face?!...The what? The air is dry? Do me a favor and tell people you got punched in the face."

Justin Halpern is funny or his father is and his recounting skills aren't shabby either. Regardless his self depracating humor, or rather his father's humor at his expense, is often centered around his social skills and looks. With no author picture by the end of the book I had fantsized about a nontraditional hunk based upon his inherent sense of humor, but after Googling him he is everything the book jokes about. A very normal looking, average guy whose dad is filled with piss and vinegar which he spews forth without provacation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do You Know What Makes Me Happy?

When my old roommate/bridesmaid calls me
to see if she can come visit for a week at the end of the month.
Heck yes. I can't wait!

Friday, August 27, 2010


Upon reaching ten years of wedded bliss, Travis and I realized that Wednesday was not a practical day to celebrate not even considering his responsibilities as Scout Master to attend a Court of Honor that night. So we quickly scheduled Friday night and secured a babysitter. One of my besties recommended her three top dining hotspots and because she is a foodie I totally trusted her judgement. After revieiwing the online menus, choice 1 was a bit too exotic for Travis and I knew he would find nothing he to eat there. So bestie and I made follow up plans to visit there another time. Choice 2 seemed to have a couple of options that would appease Travis's tastebuds while stretching his ideas about dinner, namely that it should consist of a piece of meat and some potatoe product. Checkers Bistro in downtown Lancaster proved amazing. And radical yet amazing food aside, Shrimp and Lobster Tamales and Open Faced Seafood Brushetta, we had such a good time reliving our most joyful moments, our biggest fights, and our greatest accomplishments in those ten years. And I walked away even more in love with the man I married.And for one more walk down memory lane, I had secretly set up some miniture golfing for us after dinner. This was our first date activity. We had competed fiercely the night of our first offical date, also my 18th birthday, and I had won by one stroke. Stored in my scrapbook for safekeeping many years later I recalculated the scores on the scorecard to discover we had actually tied. And on the rare occasions of miniture golfing since we still compete somewhat fiercely alternating who wins. And so it is with our marriage, each of us through our own actions bolsters the other to do their best. And on the way home and tons of ridiculous photos we found that we are still having as much fun as ever. And I couldn't be happier about that and the prospect of another ten years.

(Yes I know that these are not flattering shots and our eyes are shut, but we are happy!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A SAHM, A Nurse, Two Teachers, and Being Between Jobs

About a year ago, I had my ten year reunion. Shortly thereafter I had been invited to a monthly girls' night with some of the girls that I graduated with. At Knickers Pub in Heritage Hills Golf Course last week, there is something about the sitting outdoors under an umbrella with a live band from Key West playing in the background, we discussed old friends and classes, teachers and memories of course. And now with us all married we discussed our spouses, our children, and our work. And as I sat there loving the serenity in the moment of enjoying good food and friends and a shared history I couldn't help but contemplate the fragile relationships that lay there individually forged. We were an eclectic mix not having neccessarily been a tight knit group collectively let alone super close friends individually in high school. Each of us knew each other through some way though, some were spanish class partners, bus buddies, choir mates, etc...
And although at my ten year reunion I wasn't sure that the lines of social groups had dissolved enough for my liking, I found that we as this little group had done a fairly good job. And as we discussed the hardships of high school and rivals and friends alike, I couldn't help but still be as confused as ever as to why the high school social setting exists in the way it does nationally, if not internationally. We talked about how some of those old joys, pains, and grudges still exist and how navigating them through social networks now can sometimes be no less tricky as it was then. In the end I was happy knowing that at least these girls and I had possessed the ability to forge closer friendships through continued exposure despite what social limits may have existed in our pasts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Can't

Even as I say this, I can hear our family motto richocheting around inside my head, "We don't say can't; Whitings can do hard things." So I am changing my post to For now, I can't....
  • keep a shirt clean to the end of the day,
  • go shopping with 4 kids without coming home exhausted and frazzled,
  • seem to teach my two young boys that hitting is not okay,
  • wait for school to start
  • imagine what it would be like to be well rested
  • believe how busy I am
  • remember everything that I should remember,
  • lose 10 more lbs.,
  • seem to stay within our grocery budget,
  • and I can't believe that is how Mockingjay ended!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Reminder

I use my blog to act as a reminder and recorder of my life. Nothing illustrated this more perfectly than when on Tuesday night I was at one of Bella's friend's birthday party. Her grandparents were there and since we are pretty good friends, her grandpa had come up to me and asked, "How are you? What have you been up to? Anything new?" To which my immediate response was "Good, I'm good. Same old thing nothing exciting." He tried to draw a response from me and asked "What did you do this weekend?" To which I hemmed and hawed and tried to remember. It took me like 5 minutes before I could remember. Five awkward minutes where I felt like a retard for not being able to recall my own life even two days ago. So this is my life in photo and blip form.
On Friday we had Travis's work party.
Dinner at Good N' Plenty and a show, Joseph, at the Sight and Sound Theater

Saturday we went to visit my dad and step mom.

And of course the goats too.

Saturday afternoon I met up with my niece-in-law for her 30th birthday.
We did 30 ways to pamper her and it included lots of junk food and spa stuff.

My sister in law and other niece in law and I wait for Chera to have a facial.
Aren't they gorgeous?

I turned all of these into frozen or canned tomatoes.

With the help and company of my mom. See the jars in back all finished.
23 Quarts later.

After my mom and I stayed up till 5am talking, Bella brought me this note.
Isn't Travis the best?

After reviewing my cute note, I met up with a friend to go peach picking.

Issac turned out to be my MVP helper at this job.
And now as you can imagine I am doing a whole lot of canning of those peaches.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Decade

What have you spent the last decade doing? I have spent it giving thanks because I have the world's best husband. Ten years ago today we were married and every day is sweeter than the last. We play with each other in the same way we always have except now we include four beautiful and positively vivacious children in that sacred time.

And when I think of all the people dating and thinking of marriage, I offer only this advice as it is my very greatest, marry your best friend - the hottest best friend you have of course, marry him/her right away. Because even though you will fight, which you will, the minutes of discord will be excruiciating so much that you'll do anything to make up. And when it is time to play there is no other person you will want to play with more. Every experience for the rest of your life will be better because your best friend is there sharing it with you.

And so to Travis my very best friend. I love you babe. You will forever be my rutter and I your motor. You steer me on a true path and I'll use my energy to take us anywhere we want to go. XOXOXO

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It's silly I know but there is something about the ocean and the sand and the softness of that sand in breaking a potentially bad fall that sends me into gymnast mode. And it's silly that I can't be at the beach without spending half my time upside down. And I'm embarrassed and flattered that another group of beach goers gave me a round of applause for all my little stunts. And though I only feel joy at the time, my heart hurts just a little when I see the pictures and know I was never as good as I wish I could have been. But all that it takes to turn that attitude around is a quick trip to the backyard trampoline to relive the joy of floating through the air weightless and free and once again I am filled with joy at being able to fly.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reading Is Fun

The end of summer reading program finished and our last event was a performance/sing along with "Two of a Kind", a quirky couple who writes kids song. Some tunes were very catchy and still I find myself singing them several days later. Mainly I just think I have the world's cutest kids. See for yourself.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Going to the beach is like breathing for me. I can't survive a summer without doing it continuously. One of my trips this month was with the "girls"(1,2,3,5). We found each other through a neighborhood book club and it has been "besties" ever since. We wanted to plan a little trip and lucky for us a set of in-laws happened to own a condo on the beach. I hadn't heard of Brigantine previously but it is an island just past Atlantic City. Upon arrival I found that it is beautiful and filled with private beaches. And so because we had one injured among us(9)- she threw out her back the week before, we are at that age I suppose- what was to be a wild weekend filled with dancing and karaoke simmered to something even better. We spent hours on the beach and at the pool. We ate ourselves practically into a diabetic coma, or at least that is how it felt, alternating between amazing seafood cuisine - a little shout out to Cellar 32(4,8,12) - and junk food galore mixed with the best Italian bakery. I feel all euphoric just remembering the food.

At the beach talking was minimal as we all sat and read furiously, this is was brought us together after all(7,11). At the pool we entertained ourselves with noodle assisted physical therapy and laughing till I almost drowned on pool water(12). And in the evenings we took a short trip to the Atlantic City boardwalk, but mainly played card games like Spoons and BS, and trivia games like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire(6). Crazy me in all my excitement forgot my New Moon Trivia Game that they had given me for my birthday, but I know we'll play it again, even though I lose continuously because among these girls I am in the kiddie pool of Twilight Trivia.

Highlights of the trip were spotting the gems on the Atlantic City strip. Middle aged friends who wore identical outfits, a family who decided to go swimming without bathing suits, and then decided to walk in dripping clothes along the boardwalk, and all kinds of other crazies. My favorite is this gem(below) who yes she is donning what looks like a swimsuit. But because pants are required in the casinos she has carefully picked this stunning pant which is basically black nylons with a flower design to wear over top. The picture I know is horrible, the lighting and distance provided a challenge, but I still laugh as I look at it. Because I remember stalking her like a jungle cat to conspicuously get this picture. Imagine that. I'm sure your laughing now too.
Pictures are still forth coming as Linds, our in house photographer, has way better photography skills as well as hundreds more pictures some even including me, and a camera I only dream about.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hilltop Grocery and Recipe

Hilltop Grocery was having their anniversary.
If you buy $10 or more of groceries everyone in your family gets a free ice cream cone.
Recipe for one happy boy:
One free chocolate ice cream cone
Warning: He may end up quite messy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


In Vermont we started our journey in a small town called Sharon. You will not have heard of it likely unless you are Mormon as it is the birthplace of Joseph Smith, prophet of the restoration of Christ's gospel on the Earth today. There lays several foundations of family homes, all that remains, a visitor's center, and a monument. What would be a short visit extended itself as we learned more about the area including Camp Joseph. The sweet couple missionaries pampered and doted on our young, zealous boys excited to be out in the wild playing.

After that we made our way up to Burlington, the very tippy top of the state and located on Lake Champlain. We went to the ECHO Museum. My least favorite museum of all, but still very interesting. The view out the windows were of the lake, across the lake New York, and the islands in between which are mostly owned by Vermont. One area of the lake is considered international waters which is rare because it is land locked, but it is land locked because of Vermont, New York, and of course Canada. I learned about the infamous "Champy" our very own lake legend similar to the Lochness Monster of Scotland. Additionally I was awed by the zebra mussels and the invasive habits and they have. Below is a picture of a bike at 1 week, 1 month, and 1 year in the lake showing their total indiscretion in taking over an area.
We then started heading south once more to get to Waterbury home of Ben and Jerry's and Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Cold Hollow is a bit anticlimactic in every way. The tour of cider making is a closet sized room with a minuscule TV showing the process, but the shop is incredible if you are looking for down home cutesy stuff. They give away free apple cider pops to everyone, which was good in theory, but diluted in taste. Bella's speculation was that they made it from the cider that went wrong. She may be onto something. I was in awe over the homemade honey and shelves of golden beauty. We purchased some of the apple cider doughnuts which we had heard about, but I was not at all impressed and could barely perceive an apple flavor at all it was so dominated by nutmeg and cinnamon taste. In the end Travis bought me for my "birthday", like the hundredth gift all week - maybe we should plan vacation around my birthday every year, some of the honey and a doughnut punch for my Fausnaughts and doughnuts that I make. In the end I would not visit it alone, but if you are going to see Ben and Jerry's it's not a bad stop.
About a mile and a half away we visited Ben and Jerry's, maker of Half-baked ice cream. And if forced to eat ice cream this is all I want. A factory tour shows a movie and then takes you through a viewing area of the facility unless of extenuating circumstances, on our day it was shut for cleaning. But the price of admission is so cheap and is free to all children under the age of 12 it's worth it. Of course there is a gift shop and a scoop shop, and the picture you can stick your head through, but our kids loved milking the cow statues in practice for when they become farmers. Eventually with the sun setting the kids were ready to eat, McDonald's, and crash.
Since we were leaving for home the next morning, I watched as my kids slept that night. I was in awe over cuteness and the week's fun and memories. I knew I wouldn't be forgetting this vacation for a long time. The next day after a quick replacement of brake pads and rotors we headed home. Where we continued to play car games like punch bug, the license plate game, the ABC game, and first in the state game. Travis gets very competitive over this and tries to prevent me from winning at all cost. This time he pulled over right at the start of the bridge to the Vermont/New York line trapping me between the guard rail without room to open the door and squeeze out for a foot race to the line. Once I caught on and tried to roll my window down for that type of exit and foot race he caught on and put the parental lock on with it only half way down. Knowing I was trapped in the car he bolted out of the car to run to the middle of the river and state line for a victory, once again underestimating the brilliance of his wife, me, who jumped into his seat where he had left the keys and gunned the car past him and over the bridge. We are still debating the winner of this race to New York, but Travis, the kids, and I laughed for a good long time. And I let him walk a little to the car for trying to provide me with such an unfair advantage. Look at him gloating. Man I love that we are a playful family. And that concludes summer vacation 2010. For updates regarding next year's vacation planning stay tuned.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is filled with breathtaking natural scenes. Below is a picture in downtown Dover where there also resided a children's museum. If you haven't figured out yet I love museums and a year membership is worth its wait in gold if you use the ASTC travel program benefits.
Many cool exhibits existed including a view of life in a submarine, digging for dinosaur fossils, a study of flight where you build your own blimps, airplanes, etc...and watch them fly from the second story down, and my very favorite - a look at brain activity. This exhibit measured brain waves and activity on the second picture screens. Here in the first picture the point of the game is to hook two people up and see which can relax their mind and quiet their brain activity the quickest, the person who can't loses as the ball is drawn towards your side of the table. Travis and I competed as well and I'll let you guess who won!
After playing in Dover we drove up to Mount Washington. It is the highest peak in the northeast and claims the highest ever recorded wind speed at 231mph. It is a point at which all three weather patterns collide from the north, south, and west. It starts at the base close to 700 feet above sea level and within 8 miles of switchbacks and driving you are 6,288 feet above sea level, an impressive rise, and the only place in the east that I think compares with the western mountains of the Rockies. Many people warned me of the road up and its dangers of no rails, narrow passages for cars to pass, and dropping off cliffs and it is quite stunning, but to those people I also say - stay here in the contiguous US if this made you nervous because my travel to Canada and Alaska make this look like a joy ride of little danger.
Once at the top of the mountain there are several buildings, observatories and gift shops. We bought souvenirs, climbed to the actual peak, and toured the museum below the observatory. There we saw all the different wildlife that grows on the mountain that doesn't reside anywhere else, amazing pictures of severe weather, lists of the people who have died while trying to conquer this mountain, records of the fastest hike, bike, and drive up the mountain, and unlimited other amounts of data including the current days wind speed, temperature, and comparative literature. This place will appeal to the scientist in everyone.
At the end of that we went to dinner and to Concord to our hotel. While driving there we passed a lovely little town, I immediately fell in love with, Meredith New Hampshire. It was surrounded by lakes, water sports, forests, and beauty galore. The city was small but picturesque. The shops were gorgeous and instantly I was in love. Upon getting home I looked up the city to discover it is considered part of the NH lakes district. I loved it even more as I fell for the continued charm of the homage it paid to its English roots, the flashes of Jane Austen images I felt stir, and a life of Pride and Prejudice moments that I imaged reside there. This place will require future exploring in a more in depth manner.