Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Hope the House Isn't Haunted


If the house a few doors down is haunted, and word gets out, it's going to affect our property value. Whether for good or bad depends on the coverage we get from the cable TV stations. They can bill it as a good thing and the tourist interest will make this an intriguing place to move. Or they can spook everyone and we'll all have to skedaddle.

I'm thinking it's for sure haunted because the first residents left so quietly. Then, in a flourish, the nice little family from Montana settled in with their daughter and son and we all helped haul in furniture. Then, thirty days later, mysteriously they were GONE. Sure the guy mumbled something about a "family emergency" and a "job in Utah", but I've seen just enough sci-fi thrillers to know that is code for: "we had a metaphysical disturbance and the appearance of unfriendly apparitions so we're outta here!"

Today, another nice little family, this time from Kansas, are settling in with their daughter and son. We're already excited because the son and daughter are Joe and Cayna's ages AND because the guy is a new coach for the UNLV football team. (He had several linebackers helping him unload the U-Haul so furniture-lifting was a breeze.) Maybe linebackers scare ghosts away?

I probably shouldn't tell them about my suspicions.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Have An Irish Face

I met an Irish Priest tonight. On looking at me, he asked if I was Irish and what my maiden name was. I said yes, and Helfrich, which is obviously German. To explain, I threw in the two-second "I'm adopted" line complete with the info about my birth father being 100% Irish.

He said, "I can tell. You have an Irish face."

I've never been told this. It was kind of cool. Normally, the face I have is out of nowhere. I think Father McShane is my new buddy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Field Trip Review

Who knew Las Vegas had a nature sanctuary? Not me. I was impressed. I've been to the Las Vegas zoo and it's downright depressing, what with the heat, the desert habitats for non-desert animals, and the location on a busy street. But this place was clean, (I mean aside from the inherent animal odors that greatly displeased my daughters) well-situated, and professionally managed. Visit it yourself at their website.

I promised pictures and then forgot my camera, darnit! Thanks to Google Images, I can share with you my favorite sight of the day, other than my children feeding the fish:

There were LOTS of gorgeous white peacocks, and the colorful ones, too. Also emus, ostriches, llamas, tortoises, goats, swans, ducks, donkeys, horses, and fish. Zillions of birds. Heavy lectures on responsible pet ownership since this is a place that becomes foster home to abused or neglected animals. Their swan collection is a result of a local golf course owner turning them over once they started biting the golfers.

They have donkeys that were found wandering the streets of Las Vegas --- I bet there's a good story there. And lots of birds given up by pet owners who didn't know they had hundred-year life expectancies and needed more attention than dogs or cats. Egad.

Don't know what my kids learned today but I gleaned lots of facts from our tour. I was told you can own chickens in the city but not roosters. AND, you can also legally keep a tiger as a pet in Las Vegas. (I'm guessing we owe that little privilege to our famous residents Siegfried and Roy.) And furthermore, our guide revealed that ostriches don't ever bury their heads in the sand... it's just one of those crazy bird urban legends.

Really, though - you didn't come here for a zoo review. I just had more to say about it than I thought. Regarding the homeschool group, it was nice. The moms (and one dad on his day off) were nice, the kids were nice, the thought of us being a part of it all was nice. All these thoughts against the backdrop of a bunch of birds. Give me a few days to find some symbolism in that...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Field Trip!

Tomorrow me and the fantastic four are going on a field trip. We're meeting up with some other members of the homeschool group we found and spending a morning out.

I promise pictures, and I promise to disclose what I discover in reply to all my curiosities about hanging out with homeschool mamas. As a wise friend and I realized today, becoming a homeschool mom is a whole new identity and new identities are scary. I've watched with fascination as women I know who are physicians, Cirque du Soleil dancers, receptionists, and missionaries quit their work to stay at home full time with kids. That's plenty crazy. Now I'm stepping into this world of even more extreme mothering and wondering how it's gonna go.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Need A Corridor!

Visited a favorite store for home decor the other night, and you'll never believe what they had for sale - a full suit of armor!!! For the low, low price of $99.99. A bargain! A steal!

Since my discovery, I have lost sleep imagining where in my home I would put such an object. Naturally, it would go best at the bottom of the stairs. That spot needs something with height, and suddenly I'm not limited to a potted ficus.

I was ready to route money from our grocery and household budget to buy the armor, and laughed out loud at my mental image of bungee-cording the suit to the top of my mini-van to bring it home. But then I shared the find with the man I'll call "Mr.-Doesn't-Know-A-Good Decorating-Idea-Even-If-It-Bites-Him-In-The-Butt". His response, when I told him about the "Really cool suit of armor for LESS than a hundred dollars?"

"No way." And then he murmured something about how don't you have to have a corridor to use a suit of armor in your decorating? At that remark, I remembered why I fell in love with this guy. First of all, how many guys think of the word "corridor" in conversation? Second of all, he may be right! Maybe only people who live in castles can decorate with suits of armor. (It occurs to me that an Applebee's restaurant might also try to get away with it.)

Hm. I want people who visit my home (and therefore my suit of armor) to point out how brilliant and avant-garde I must be to choose a suit of armor rather than a ficus since it's unique and symbolizes history and chivalry...and whereas a ficus attracts mealy bugs, the only annoyance with a suit of armor is that a small child might perhaps sever a finger on one of the razor-sharp steel edges.

But since I'm hesitant to model my decorating after a chain restaurant, and since the grocery money has to last another six days, and since, tragically, I live in a house noticeably void of corridors, verandas, sky parlors, and other such romantic features --- I guess I'll price a ficus. Damn.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Never Met A Pastor's Wife I Didn't Like

And, now that I'm Catholic, I never will! (Aren't I funny?)

Really. Over the course of my Protestant life, I knew and loved Dottie, Dianna, Connie, Pat, Betty, Magan, Sheri, Jacquelyn, and Aldeana. From Griffith United Methodist, Calvary Chapel, Warm Springs Baptist, Lake Havasu Baptist, First Presbyterian, Rancho Baptist, and Yucaipa Christian Church.

Each of these women are wonderful women that have noteworthy character traits, individual callings, interesting perspectives on church and ministry, and cool husbands.

Two days ago, Aldeana Hinkle passed away. Aldeana was a woman of prayer, love, service, and a sharp, sweet sense of humor that made me want to follow her around and listen. Before I knew she was my pastor's wife, in 2004, I remember her eyes as she looked at me in my enormous pregnancy with Bethanie and told me she'd pray for me. Lots of people say that from time to time - I could tell by her eyes and her voice and her posture that she really meant it. I think the Holy Spirit was oozing out of that woman's skin. Later, a while after Bethanie was born and toddling around, we'd hang out in the courtyard of YCC after MOPS with Aldeana and her dog. My kids are TERRIFIED of dogs. But owing to Aldeana's "way", and to the non-threatening size of that puppy - Joseph, Cayna, and Bethanie all looked forward to being around her (Aldeana and the dog!)


Aldeana said once that getting to love so many people was the best and worst part of being in ministry---worst because loving people hurts when they suffer. Now Aldeana is done suffering. I think I'll go on loving her. And sincerely praying, as she did for me, for all those who loved her the most and are suffering now in her absence.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jasmine


In 1995 I traveled to India with an organization called Global Projects. It was all about introducing college students to missions work. We were hosted in part by the UESI (Union of Evangelical Students of India) and even got to visit one of their headquarters. They honored us by inviting us into their building and presenting each of us (we were a big team) with an ice-cold soda. Buying that many sodas was a generous gift and we were honored. I remember sitting in a not-so-big room in the heat of the day, probably holding the cold soda to my sweaty forehead and looking around not only at our team of still somewhat culture-shocked Americans but also at the Indian UESI folks and noting how happy they all looked to have us there, and how drained we all looked from the heat and the unfamiliarity. Suddenly, one of the leaders boldly welcomed us and simultaneously switched on the overhead fans. Thousands of jasmine blossoms rained down on us filling the room with coolness and lovely fragrance. They had taken the time to place all those blossoms on the tops of the fan blades and prepared their surprise so carefully. I wept. I was esteemed and humbled at the same time. That is among one of my favorite life memories.


This past weekend I traveled, somewhat nervously, to my first Catholic retreat. I've been to seven million Protestant retreats, camps, and conferences - but nothing of the sort since my conversion. Thankfully, my friend Veronica (who asked that I change her name in my blog - perhaps she is under the mistaken impression that I have a wide following) agreed to come along. She is a Notre Dame grad and a "cradle Catholic", but she and I were in essentially the same boat - as she was new to a "Catholic retreat atmosphere" as well. The very second we were seated on the bus to leave, she remarked, "I feel like we're in another world." She had a point. Suddenly, we had moved from the familiar and crazy din of stay-at-home-mom-ness to a chartered bus full of devout Catholic women bound for a retreat center run by Carmelite Sisters in Southern California.

It was a glorious weekend of silence, sound teaching, prayer, and listening. More than anything, I relished the time to pray, free from distractions, other obligations, even normal daily responsibilities. I could go on and on, and maybe I will in the future as other specific topics come to mind, but for now I want to describe my Saturday night in the chapel.

We were at the Sacred Heart Retreat Center. Here is the website if you'd like a little glimpse of where I was and how wonderful it is.

Saturday, late in the evening, we had an opportunity to spend time with Jesus in adoration in the chapel. I spent quite a bit of time talking to the Lord, and quite a bit of time trying to listen. The chapel is pretty, and the Sisters did a nice job decorating it for adoration. I made special note in my mind of all the details so I could later share them with my children (especially Cayna, who LOVES to hear about such things). I was drawn to the altar cloth, which was simply white, but trimmed with silver, and with every tiny movement in the air, it sparkled. I memorized the colors of the flowers, the candles, even the carpet. I counted the stained glass windows, and marveled at their colors. And then... then I had to try to listen again, of course, as I had gotten swept away in the decorating! The stained glass windows were open and the cool air from outside would drift in every so often. Outside were jasmine flowers, oodles of them. And it was a wonder to catch their scent the same way I had in India, sitting motionless and surrounded by God's goodness and love in a faraway place that I'll remember forever.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Up & Running


I've avoided thinking about how long it has been since my last run. But today the addition just worked its way into my brain and I realized two months have gone by. Geez-o-Pete.

Yay for my neighbor, Mike. He recently subscribed to Runner's World Magazine - and now he got me back out there. This morning. Faster than I would have gone on my own. Slower than he would have gone. Ugh. But joy of all joys - my knee doesn't hurt. And thanks to all that "time off", plus a few cool Pilates gadgets and some training expertise from my new friend at church - maybe it will stay pain-free. At least until the next long race. And there will be a next long race. As soon as I can get back up to a couple miles without wanting to hurl.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tina Fey, won't you please hire me?

Honestly. I could just be your lackey. And once in a while, when you're ill, I could transcribe for you. Or, if you were very ill - I could suggest a little idea and one day you'd laugh - and subsequently be healed from your illness. And credit me with the healing, and then make me your assistant creative consultant. Or something. I don't really know how it all works, since, obviously I'm just a blogging housewife who watches "30 Rock" and totally fantasizes about how phenomenal it would be to write the stuff on your show that makes me crack up every. single. episode.

Take tonight (and I hope you're reading, Lynn Hunsinger). Tonight was the season finale and a continuation of last week's episode where Jack found his birth father and LO AND BEHOLD the birth father (played by Alan Alda, by the way) wanted... a KIDNEY. This is MY material! Years ago, in college, when I met only the second person in my life besides my brother who was also adopted (Lynn) we discussed at length the pros and cons of finding our birth parents. I said, and I quote: "With my luck, I'd find 'em, and one of 'em would need a kidney!" SO funny! The stuff of successful sitcoms.

I am willing to relocate to New York.

For the record,

I finished Les Miserables today.

Cried through the last three pages. So that must mean something. But, truth be told, I've never skimmed through so much of a book. Jean Valjean's story was worth reading, and the only reason I didn't give up. Plus, I had to see if all the "tangents" came together somehow in the end. They didn't. (At least for me, they didn't. If I strain myself, I can see the big picture Hugo was trying to paint.) But I enjoyed the main story. And now I have more reason to see the musical.

A Little-Known Housewife Hideout

The garage! Who knew? Not me. In fact, I've had some visionary ideas about trying to transform part of the garage into a hangout for Kevin for poker nights - but NEVER would have imagined myself out there for anything other than getting into the car and getting out of the car. I avoid the place because it's dusty, disorganized, too cold or too hot depending on the season, and tends to be home to varmints, vermin, critters, and creatures.

Naturally, when I decided to stain a wooden shelf I bought - I brought it inside and set up a little station for myself on the kitchen counter. The fumes from the combo stain and polyurethane nearly brain-damaged all my children. Plus, in a terrible accident, I splashed stain on my favorite shorts, both hands, my white countertop and my light-oak cupboard. It was horrifying. I'm sure I cussed. And me with no paint thinner or "mineral spirits" (which is just a nice way of saying paint thinner) - I spent the next several hours with sticky hands (think Chevy Chase in "Christmas Vacation" reading a magazine in bed with sap from his dream tree sticking his hands to the pages) and a "tan" spot on my thigh where the stain bled through the denim shorts.

Today, when it was time to apply the second coat, I got smart. Me, my stain, and my shelf went out into the garage. It was early afternoon. John was napping and Cayna and Bethanie were in "quiet time" upstairs. Come to find out, it was downright pleasant out there -- just me, Kevin's work bench, and my minivan. It wasn't too hot, and the humming from some unknown gizmo in the corner provided some nifty white noise that removed me from any of the distractions in the house. I was in another world. And it was the garage!

I'm happy to report the shelf got finished. The garage stinks now, but the house doesn't, and suddenly I have a new place to go when the pressures of the other ten rooms of the house get too overwhelming.

Busy Guy

I don't know what other twenty month-olds do to keep busy, but I can show what John's been up to:

Helping Kevin with woodworking projects.



Keeping cool outside in his swimshirt.



Listening to Baba read a story.



Eating a doughnut.



Stopping time with how darn cute he is!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Under Treatment


Perhaps not all of my readers have had the experience of visiting a psychiatrist's office. With that in mind, I want to do my part to describe it to you.

With my anxiety level at a 40+ (10 being lunatic level); I sat in the waiting room trying to knock out a few pages of Les Miserables. (If I was a psychiatrist, I would make a note of such a book choice.) When my anxiety goes up, so does my rate of criticism, so I will spare my observations of fellow patients in the waiting room. Fairly utilitarian waiting room. No plants. No sharp objects. Door to the doctors locked tight, presumably to keep us kooks from wandering back before our scheduled appointments.

Then I saw him. My doc. The man next to Jesus who I am entrusting my mental health.

To describe him, I only have to direct your imagination to Elvis in his later years. Sideburns and everything. This is Vegas, folks. You didn't think mental health professionals in this town would be run-of-the-mill, did you?

So I enter his office. Lo and behold, there WAS a naugahyde sofa. But also a single simple chair in front of doc's desk. Which to choose? Which to choose? His choice of drug for me might hinge on such a decision. I picked the chair.

Sloppy office. Which, truthfully, made me more comfortable than if it was painstakingly clean. Figure that out. I'm a neat freak, but I prefer my shrink be a mess.

As doc typed on his all-white laptop and asked tolerable questions, I counted no fewer than fifteen little drug company souvenirs. Who is the genius employed by the antidepressant company who thinks up the free advertising toy to give the physician? One brand gave out a superhero statue. Another gave a little handheld water game. Really? Which brand of mental case picks up a doodad like that in their shrink's office? I just counted the doodads, didn't actually play with them. (It is a funny mental image, though. Seemingly-sorta-well-adjusted-looking late 30s momma sitting in the chair flying a superhero statue around in the air complete with sound effects.)

Despite all my obvious attitude, I liked the guy. He didn't flinch or turn his nose up when the word "premenstrual" got tossed around. His typing speed never varied when my adoption, short teenage marriage, or number of children was disclosed. And then, in fewer than 20 minutes costing three hundred dollars - he said the words that made my jaw drop open. "I'm not going to give you any drugs."

Not that he didn't prescribe some treatment, but I was shocked that he wasn't giving me drugs and I told him so. He replied, "If you went to anyone else, you'd get drugs. I'm the weird shrink in town." Well, glory hallelujah, there's more evidence that God hears my prayers.

I will be taking Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin B6, and a prescription supercharged Folic Acid supplement. In four weeks, I'll go back and we'll talk again. He'll check to see how effective my supplements are, and I'll check to see if he's cleaned up his desk. We both have our observations to make.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Insurance won't pay for Coca Cola


This is the post that will one day undermine my husband's political career.

Tomorrow I am visiting a psychiatrist. I'm sure he's a nice man with a simple haircut, a friendly naugahyde sofa, and boatloads of prescription tablets just itching to be written on. But he scares the crap out of me.

What if he puts me on drugs and they work??? I will kick myself in the shin realizing I should have done this YEARS ago.

Or... what if he says I don't need drugs? Folks, over the past decade, I have exhausted all other resources to try to deal with anger and depression. I would be left with no further options and would be forced to move swiftly into an asylum.

Or... what if we try the drugs and after months of frantic reactions and dosage adjustments I am fried, tired, and beyond petulant?

Either way, this can't end well, right? Wrong... there is the more positive possibility: he might explain a reasonable-sounding treatment and it could work. And I could realize that for whatever reason it just wasn't "meant to be" until now. (Read: something finally broke through my stubbornness.)

Frankly, I'm okay with the fact that I've been stubborn. Trying to recover from long-standing emotional issues introduced me to daily strategies in my mothering; running to combat depression; a fabulous therapist (who PROMISES to monitor me if I start meds and if I begin talking about my alternate life as a paralegal named Sigourney living in Des Moines-- will follow through on negotiating dosage adjustments with the M.D.)

But it's time. Oddly enough, it's homeschooling that is sending me to the shrink. I can't take on this move into "extreme parenting" without all the help I can get. And I know that something just isn't right and it's time to try something new to fix it.

Tonight, I self-medicated with a Coke before dinner. Cheered me right up. I don't drink much caffeine, so when I do it makes a noticeable difference. I remarked to Kevin how I hadn't thought of just trying Coca-Cola, and that it would be cheaper than some prescription medication. His response? "Yes, but insurance wouldn't pay for it."

So off to the psychiatrist I go.







(Note from the editor: There is a chance that all future posts will take on a different "voice". This is the voice of the medicated housewife. There are hundreds of thousands of these voices all over America, but Teri was forever hesitant to join them. When commenting on such posts, feel free to address the author with a different name. "Sigourney" would do nicely. Or Gloria. Peg. Francesca, whatever...)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Today when I was stooped over cleaning the baseboards throughout the downstairs, I wondered, "How is everyone else celebrating their Mother's Day?"

I'm not sure how it happened. I seem to haphazardly find myself cleaning obscure things when left to my own devices. But there I was questioning the sanity of a mom who would spend her "special day" cleaning such an inconsequential part of the house.

Regardless of that twenty-minute foray into baseboard craziness, I had a nice day. Went to church; spent time on a fun photo project; re-hung my room decor now that the walls are (almost) all painted; enjoyed dinner at a nice restaurant (which Cayna deemed "not as good as Red Robin"); and indulged in a dessert our friends brought over for a mother's day gift.

I love Mother's Day. Even more than shiny-clean baseboards.



Friday, May 8, 2009

We're In!

Holy Toledo! (Despite the fact that I have little connection to Ohio - this is a very satisfying expression.)

I received a letter today that began with the following:

Welcome to Mother of Divine Grace School! I am pleased to inform you that your family has been officially accepted for the 2009-2010 year.


So... it's official. We're homeschooling. And we're doing it with the help of Mother of Divine Grace School, website here. So my kids' curriculum will be Classical; Catholic; Filtered through me (!); organized with the help of an on-call consultant; tailored to their abilities with the help of personal assessments; and taught at home. Holy Toledo again! Recently, I shared some anxiety as the application date got closer. Today I'm excited. This really feels like the beginning of an adventure. True, an adventure with some nerve-wracking possibilities (maybe like spelunking or hanggliding... or - name your extreme sport here...) - but wonderful, exhilarating, daring, and fun too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Height Day


Tomorrow is my height day. Most people I know celebrated theirs sometime in the last week or so. Except for the children in my life. Most of theirs are in February or March. My matron of honor celebrated hers April 11th, though.

Lots of important days right around now. Cinco de Mayo, my height day, Mother's Day coming up, Memorial Day. It's all I can do to get the festivities organized.

(Good thing my "Golden Height Day" isn't until 2029. I have time to plan something REALLY special.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vegas to Albuquerque to Vegas in 53 hours

What we packed: Comfy road trip clothes; funeral attire; good books to read; CDs to listen to; a camera; sympathy cards.

What we saw en route: FINALLY a view of the Hoover Dam Bypass project which is truly an amazing feat of engineering and construction; lots of "Indian Jewelry for Sale" signs; gorgeous mountains and trees and wide open spaces.


What we did: Drove fast; packed our lunch and stopped only for bathroom breaks; arrived ahead of schedule in Albuquerque and had New Mexican food; visited our grieving friend and her family; spent the night in a next-door "host home"; attended a funeral; shared hugs at a reception; drove to Flagstaff and checked into a hotel; had an unbelievably good, quiet seafood dinner with the best customer service I've had maybe ever; prayed in the morning at a beautiful, old Catholic church; grabbed a Starbucks; drove home.

What I experienced: A family who knows the hope of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Catholic Church; hours of conversation and reading uninterrupted by anything; becoming more "at home" in my new faith.

Pretty full 53 hours.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guest Writer and the Underwear

Well, Teri is gone to Albuquerque for a few nights so I have been flying solo with the kids. I am not nearly as funny as Teri, but I said I would be a guest writer for a blog entry. Here are the highlights...

- Sunday 5/3 (the day Teri left): the kids and I went to the Elephant Bar for lunch, compliments of the in-laws. They all ate very well because their loving father did not give them a mid-morning snack. Sure, there were many fits and fights along the way, but they ate their lunch. I am still deciding if it was worth it. I was very proud to see four empty plates. Nap, Mariokart, blah blah blah. We concluded the day with some outside time and then dinner (supper if you ask the Early's) at the Early household. I was a bit scared at mid day as I contemplated what might be for dinner after looking in the bare food storage areas in our kitchen. Then Mark said Karen had prepared two dinners for them and there was enough for us. Of course, I took advantage of Mark's offer for dinner. Then the victorious bedtime ritual and the day was through.

- Monday 5/4: I took part in the kids' normal daily ritual. Teri really has it together to get this executed every weekday. I needed her hour-by-hour schedule in order to keep in line and on task. Of course there were the tense moments like when Joe said, "Mom always gives me a note in my lunch." Well, Dad can do that too...send Joe upstairs and, voila (that word still seems pretend to me...why not walaa?), insert a note in the lunch. Of course, I attached a piece of candy to it to make up for the lack of sentimentality (and in case he couldn't read it). Then came the words no stay-at-home-dad-for-two-days-whose-wife-told-him-he-wouldn't-need-to-do-laundry wants to hear, "Dad, I have no clean underwear." Vaguely reminiscent of a previous post. So, I did a quick load of underwear and dried them (mostly) just in time. Off to school. Went to wal-mart for a few things and then went to pick up Cayna at 11:40. She began a project right after lunch. The project entailed making 4 signs that proudly stated: "ATTeNTioN! CAyNA's NAMe iS NOW CASSiDy". Not sure where this idea came from, but that isn't new with Cassidy. Then, out to the font yard to play. Then $5 pizza and choir. Rush to bed and here I am watching the NBA finals.

Tomorrow, I get to take Cassidy, Maria and Joseph to school.

STATISTICS

Children: Start-4; current-4
Digits: Start-80; current-80
Broken bones: 0
Band-aids used: 0
Meals prepared: 2 of 5
Diapers changed: 12?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Under the (smoky) Big Top


Twenty years ago, when my friends and I were looking for something to do, we often went to the Strip. It was great fun cruising up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. Sometimes, when the back-and-forth and the exhaust fumes and the slimy older men got to be too much - we had to actually park and go inside the casinos. Since we were under 21 and therefore couldn't loiter near the slot machines (except for Kristen who looked MUCH more mature than the rest of us); and since few of the present-day resorts even existed yet - we settled for the El Rancho bowling alley (where we habitually ordered hash browns and Sprite, who knows why) and occasionally Circus Circus.

Today Kevin and I and my visiting mother-in-law took the kids to Circus Circus. Ew. There is some funky time warp in that spot on the Strip. Once inside and navigating the casino floor to the midway - it looks EXACTLY the same as it did in 1989. Smells the same, too. Like a lot of smoke. Maybe some parents wouldn't brave the smoke and the migraine-inducing carpet, but here is a list of the positive outcome:

1) each kid managed to win one stuffed toy (granted, Cayna's is a sort of a fuzzy dog head that makes a disturbing chortling noise, but still...)

2) our whole family got a chance to pummel a stuffed chicken high into the air

3) Grandma bought four tubs of cotton candy for her grandchildren

4) we all witnessed an acrobat, a juggler, and a contortionist - for free!

5) after twenty years, when it comes to the "blow up the balloon with the squirt gun til it pops" game - I still got it!

6) I don't have to go back until they're old enough to ride the roller coasters in the Adventure Dome portion. That could be years away.

7) We didn't lose anybody in the bowels of that strange old place.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Derby Day

Kevin and I had a fun day out at Lake Las Vegas. He launched his modeling career, and I debuted as a fashion photographer.

Here is a snapshot of the scenery around the resort. We live in the desert, as you know, so this is "Fake Lake".



Before the event, we found the guys and caught them talking about shoes. I've never in my life overheard Kevin talking about footwear fashion. This was an occasion. He's pictured here with our good friend Mark and our church's youth director Zach. All three are wearing flip-flops that cost more than a week's groceries. They're wearing part of their outfits for the "beachwear" portion of the show, minus the shorts. Zach called the shorts they had to wear in the show "Man-Dukes" instead of "Daisy-Dukes" because they were too tight and short.



On the runway! Here's Kevin in "beachwear" and Kevin in "smart casual":





Me and my model husband:



Me, my mom, and our hats: