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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Judgmental people suck

Yep. I'm about to take off on a rant here.

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post about judgmental people and what I thought about them. There have been so many things that have come up in my life in the past week or so and they've really just been kind of eating at me. I told The Dude tonight that I didn't think that there would ever come a time that I would need to blog, but right now, I need to do it. I need to get this crap out of my head.

I'm going to warn you right now....I'm currently typing this at about eleventy bajillion words per minute - literally just spewing it out to get it out of my head and try to make some sense of it. So if it doesn't make sense, well, I don't know what to tell you.

About a week and a half ago or so, I wrote the post on my thoughts on marriage and how I believe that everyone should have that right. I am very happy to say that 100% of the comments on both the blog post and on my facebook page were positive - and I really expected to get some negative backlash from that one. So that made me happy. Even when I changed the cover photo on my facebook page, no one said anything negative. And for that, y'all rock.

I changed my profile photo on my personal profile too, and most of the response that I got was positive. I got involved in a few discussions, but didn't really get into any arguments about it and for that I was thankful. I was saddened to see a few closed-minded people continue to use the "Bible argument" and try to force their own religion onto others despite that whole 'freedom of religion' thing in this country, but I also know that some people will never change. And that's ok, because just like me they are free to believe whatever they want to believe.

So in that department, the Judgy McJudgersons behaved themselves.

But elsewhere....

A friend called me the other day. She runs another page on facebook, and she was telling me that she had posted something on her page about being stressed because she was going to have extra kids around for a few days. Apparently, someone commented on her status and told her something to the effect of (and I am massively paraphrasing here) 'you shouldn't complain because Non-Stop Mom does it on her own all of the time' or something like that.

Honestly, that really bugged me the more that I thought about it. I don't ever want anyone to think that my life is so horrible or stressful or depressing or whatever that I have to be admired for getting through it. It's my life, people. It is what it is, period.

Think about it. I'm a single mom. Yes, that's stressful. Yes, it makes some things harder than it does for parents who have a spouse. But you know what? I'm single by choice. I choose to be a single mom. I didn't choose it when it happened, but I sure as heck choose it now. Yes, I have The Dude and I love him with all of my heart and soul and I fully intend to torture him for the rest of our lives be with him for a very long time - but I choose not to be married to him. There are a lot of reasons there and I've talked about some of them before but regardless, I'm a single mom by choice.

Hopefully, as we continue house hunting, we'll be living together within a few months and although we will not be married, he'll be around to help more. Until then, it's ok. Really.

My schedule is crazy. We all know that. But you know what? It's crazy by choice too. I allow my kids to participate in as many activities as they can because I think that (to a point) it's good for them. I want them to be active and involved and to enjoy life as much as possible. I could seriously simplify my schedule by just saying no to a few after school activities - but I choose to do them. And that's ok.

I could also simplify my schedule by just not taking on so many projects at one time. But you know what? By making the choice not to work right now, I can also make the choice to be more involved in other stuff. Important stuff. And so I run myself ragged. I like to stay busy. It's my choice. And that's ok.

So I don't sleep very much. You know what? A lot of that's by choice too. I don't get a lot of time to myself during the day, so I stay up late playing on the computer and blogging and doing whatever I feel like doing for a few hours. Should I do it all of the time? Probably not. Have I been getting better about it? Somewhat. But again, it's my choice. And it's ok too.

Another area where the Judgy McJudgersons have been out in full force is that silly Tooth Fairy letter. Holy crap, people. Seriously? It's still appearing in random places and it seems like the farther out we get from the original posting of it in January, the more hateful people get. For real. I saw it on 3 different facebook pages today, and holy crapola the hate and venom and ........ mean, judgmental people were just unreal. I couldn't believe it. There are so many people out there who are willing to call me a horrible mother ... mean ... nasty ... evil ... the worst parent ever ... bitch ... that I'm scarring my kids for life (that one still kind of amuses me) ... that I'm lying to my kids ... that I'm lazy ... Seriously, you name the insult, and I bet I've read it in regards to that letter.

But you know what? I can take it. It really doesn't bother me that much. But then I sit back and think - if people are so willing to judge a random unknown parent by one single random piece of paper that's circulating around the internet with absolutely no context whatsoever - what kind of judgments are they passing on people who are actually in their lives? What are they saying about their kids' teachers, or their own siblings, or their neighbors, or the homeless guy that they pass every morning on their way to work? What do these people think of themselves? How is it that they feel qualified to judge someone unknown to them based on one tiny little momentary glimpse into that person's life?

Honestly, what gives anyone the right to judge anyone else? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that being judgmental is a learned trait - and most of the time, kids pick that up from their parents and other adults in their lives. Think about that the next time you feel like spouting off some line of judgy crap about someone in front of your kid, and then go one step farther and think about how you would feel if you were the person being judged.

Trust me, being judged sucks. It really does. That I can tell you from experience.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday egg hunt

The kids were off school again today....you know, because the week off for snow and the week off for Spring Break last week just wasn't enough for me to lose my sanity. But anyway, they actually slept in a bit today (shocker) and honestly, we didn't do a whole lot of anything. We hung around the house (which the boys trashed) and we went to the library and then we went to a big Easter egg "hunt" here in town.

I use the term "hunt" very loosely because that would lead a person to believe that the eggs were actually hidden. But, they were not.

They  were all spread out in a big field, with areas divided for 3 age groups to help keep the little kids from getting trampled. When we got there, we scoped out the situation and I asked one of the workers if we could go to the opposite side of the field where it wasn't as crowded - and with her approval, we did exactly that. So you see that huge crowd of people on the other side of the field? Yeah. We weren't in that. We were with one other family on OUR side of the field.

I gave the boys the standard lectures - don't trample anyone, be nice, don't steal eggs from anyone else (especially someone smaller), and for crying out loud watch where you're going!! Emily was on her own in the next area with the older kids so I only had to keep my eyes on the boys, who thankfully all fit into one age group.

Acting goofy.

On your mark...

Get set...


Free for all!


Daniel made sure that no eggs were missed.

Even with our logistical decision to go to the opposite side
of the field, we they still didn't end up with a ton of junk.

4 out of 5 kids agree that it was worth the hassle.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just stuff...

To be totally honest, the past couple of days here have been kind of rough. I kind of took today "off" from the computer and focused on what is important - sleep, spending time with The Dude, going to a track meeting, and then a dinner at church. Although the issues are still present, and are still growing, it was still a decent day. Hopefully we can fix what's wrong and get back to normal soon - or at least as normal as we ever were.

Sunrise this morning - beautiful to look at, but kind of annoying
while driving.
Sarah's very first track meet. Guess who placed first in the high jump?

She's flying!!!

Found a buddy in the grass.

Driving back home.

I still have lots of things on my mind, and lots of things that I want to get out here, but I also have lots of important things that I have to take care of around the house tonight. Maybe tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Random thoughts

Well, I survived the trip to the dentist today. It was nowhere near as traumatic as the visit to the oral surgeon was, but it was still horrible. The Dude went with me, and the hygienist let him come into the room with me and stay for the whole thing. It took a little over an hour to get my teeth clean - I guess that happens when you wait about 10 years in between cleanings - but she was super nice and gentle and she really paid attention to my reaction. Whenever I flinched, she backed off a bit and just kept talking to me the whole time. The good thing was that even after waiting that long to get them done, I don't have any damage to my teeth at all, so no fillings or anything, and I don't have to go back for another 6 months - and yes, I scheduled the appointment.

Funny thing was that The Dude looked at me after it was over and said "hey, you didn't do bad at all this time" and THEN I pulled my hands out of the pocket of my hoodie and showed him the fingernail marks in my palms from having my hands balled up in such tight fists the whole time. I'm pretty sure that he rolled his eyes at me when he saw that. Butthead.

But I did it. And I lived. And I got a free toothbrush.


This made me happy.
So if you're on facebook, I'm sure that you saw all of the new profile pictures that people used to show their support for marriage equality. I changed my personal one and also changed the cover photo on my page - because just in case you happened to miss it the other day, I fully support marriage equality.

I was amazed at the sheer number of people who changed their profile pictures or showed support in some way. There were people who questioned what good changing a profile picture would do - and I agree that it doesn't do anything to change the laws. No politician is going to change his mind simply because I changed my profile picture. But it did show support to my friends who are denied the opportunity to marry the person that they love.

And honestly, I was stunned (in a good way) that certain people showed their support. Some of my friends who I had always pegged as being against marriage equality changed their pictures or shared some of the memes that were floating around today, and it made me smile.  A lot.

Times are changing. And I like that.


I am so looking forward to nicer weather. With the kids having a long weekend (again) this weekend, it'll be nice to actually be able to get outside and do something. Not to mention that I really have to buckle down and get ready for this half-marathon that is doing its best to sneak up on me in a little over a month. Crap.


Easter is on Sunday??? How did THAT happen?


I really need to redo my nails.


Tomorrow is my payday. Which means that as soon as I'm done doing this, I need to figure out my menu and the grocery list for the next month, taking into account track meets, Scout meetings, and various other functions that will totally ruin any and all plans that I make. Tomorrow morning will be spent paying bills and then hopefully grocery shopping. So much excitement.


Monday, March 25, 2013

A *cough* few years ago...

I went on a quest to find my middle school yearbooks today.

That's right. Middle school. The only reason I even remembered that those yearbooks existed was because someone from back home is looking for a picture of a mural that used to be in the lobby of the school, and we thought that maybe there was a picture of it in a yearbook somewhere.

So I went digging, and I found two of them. One of them was from the 1981-82 school year, and one was from 1982-83. And yes, I totally realize that probably half of you people reading this were not even born yet. So shut up.

But if you do the math, you'll realize that I was in the 5th and 6th grades during those years.

I searched through page by page, looking for a shot of the mural, but it wasn't in there. Then I looked for my pictures. And because I have no shame, I now present them to you, in all of their glory...

5th grade
6th grade, and my first pair of glasses.
Wonder Woman glasses. Because I was cool.
Or something.
And now I will go hide the yearbooks on the bookcase in the hopes that my kids will never find them and attempt to use the pictures against me. And even if they do, I already beat them to the punch.

Now, if I can just find the one of me in the Strawberry Shortcake pajamas.....

Sunday, March 24, 2013

So long, spring break.

It's kind of funny. I had this big, long, heavy, deep post started tonight. I have a lot of stuff going through my mind right now, and I know that I need to get it out of there before I go crazy. But I just couldn't get it out in a way that made any sense at all. So I deleted it.

And instead, you get pictures of snow. 

This is what we had for the kids' official last day of Spring Break. It wasn't much - maybe a couple of inches - but it was enough to just totally annoy me, especially considering that the kids wore shorts to school on the last day BEFORE Spring Break.

Daniel and I went out to play in it after church, and I was able to teach him the fine art of building a snowman. He thought that it was pretty cool, but after posing for a couple of pictures he decided that he was done and it was time to go inside. 

For the record, he did have gloves on while we were playing. But he wanted to take them off for the picture.

Hey, those look familiar...
The snow is already pretty much gone from the yard. The snowman has already fallen over and started to melt so while waking up to this crap was annoying, at least it was short lived.

And the rest of the week doesn't look that bad...

Maybe I'll be able to get the rest of the garbage out of my head in the next couple of days. We'll just have to wait and see on that one.


While you're here, make sure you read this one and share it everywhere you can. It's way more important than anything else that I've written. Seriously.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My goofy lunch dates

I've been working on a super-secret craft project and needed to get some more materials for it, so after we took the older kids back to Ex1's house this morning, we made a mad dash to Wichita to hit up the fabric store. Because well, I had coupons. And coupons are good. And they were going to expire.

So I had to go shopping for fabric. I had to.

We found a treasure in Ex1's yard.
(I actually really hate peacocks though.)
Random tree that I've always thought
looked really cool.

After we got done shopping, we were tired and hungry and cranky. So we had to stop to get something to eat. We had to.

Obviously, the food cured the crappy attitudes.

Daniel with "Astronaut Guy" - he was found at the bottom of a
swimming pool in Knoxville, TN on TMOART:12. And he's
still the toy of choice.
Alex was allowed to hold Astronaut Guy for one picture.
But only one.

That was apparently some really good ketchup.

Shopping. It wears them out.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Too ugly not to save and other randomness...

I awoke yesterday to the sound of a crash in the kitchen. I knew that it wasn't going to be pretty as I jumped up out of bed to see (a) who did it (b) who got hurt and (c) what was destroyed.

In the half of a second that it took me to get from my bed to the kitchen I knew the answers to all three of those questions.

(a) Alex
(b) no one
(c) the candy cow

I was right.

The candy cow is a ceramic cookie jar that my mother sent to me when I was married to Ex1. It was one of *those* gifts - you know the kind that you open and then look at each other, both of you thinking "um, that's interesting" but neither one says anything.

Yeah. One of those. But, I like cows, and we needed a cookie jar, and it was cute in its own ugly way. So it made its home on top of the refrigerator, where it has always been.

When Sarah was little, she climbed up to get something out of it, and she dropped the lid on the floor. It broke into 4 or 5 large pieces that I was able to glue back together fairly easily. Of course, that was just a linoleum floor that had a little bit of cushion to it.

Unfortunately, our kitchen floor now is ceramic tile. And it's very unforgiving. So when Alex climbed up to try to swipe something out of it yesterday morning and dropped it, it ended up in more than 4 or 5 pieces.

Needless to say, I was not happy.

I contemplated throwing it away....for about 2 seconds.

And then I got out the glue - after Alex got sent to his room for an extended period of time. And I spent most of the morning piecing and gluing (and swearing and grumbling).

She's definitely showing some signs of wear after this incident. She has holes where the pieces disintegrated and couldn't be put back together again. She's missing an ear and part of a horn, but she's back on top of the refrigerator where she belongs.

After all, she's just too ugly not to save.

 Other randomness for the day....

A trip to the library that resulted in returning 19 items....and checking out another 35.....

A trip to the park that ended up with everyone being really cold and hungry after about 30 minutes...

Then a trip out to eat where we ran into a friend and got to visit with her...

Brownies and ice cream after we came home...

Movie watching with the kids...

And then some more work on a sewing project....

Not a bad day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On love and marriage...

I believe in God. I go to church almost weekly (hey, I'm human). I take my kids to church. We discuss religion at home. I attend a Methodist church. The kids also attend a Baptist church with their father and occasionally a Mennonite church with their aunt and uncle. We have friends and family who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Pagan, agnostics and atheists.

All of those people are good people – regardless of their beliefs. I don’t have to agree with their religious beliefs, but I firmly believe in their right to have those beliefs and to celebrate them as they see fit. And the nice thing is that if I don’t understand something about their belief, rather than making assumptions, I can ask them about it or research it to find the answer and learn more about it. I don’t tell them that they are wrong because they don’t believe the same thing that I do, and I don’t believe that I am a better person than they are simply because of my own belief system.

This morning in my personal facebook newsfeed, there were two articles floating around that caught my eye. One was about the "Equality House" that is across the street from the WBC in Topeka and one was about a church in North Carolina that has stopped performing ANY marriage ceremonies until the right to marry is granted to ALL couples. You can go and read both of those articles for yourself if you would like - but as soon as I did, I immediately shared both of them from my personal profile because this is something that I fully support.

Wait, what’s that? I believe in God AND support equal rights for all people? How can that be?

Look at it this way.

I have friends who are vegans. They won’t eat anything that comes from an animal. Nothing. They eat fruits and veggies and tofu and weird stuff like that. I don’t totally understand it, and I’m not sure why they would want to give up the deliciousness that is bacon cheeseburgers, but they do. And you know what? It doesn’t affect me one single bit. Not one bit. What they choose to do at their dinner table does not affect me at all. 

If they come over for dinner, I can do a few things. I can ignore the fact that they’re vegan and cook up a wonderful meaty meal and make them feel uncomfortable (and hungry), or I can make a killer salad with no animal products in it that I might not like, or I can ask them what to make so that we can all enjoy a wonderful meal. One thing that I won’t do is force them to eat a burger – because even though I think it’s odd that they won’t, I understand that they do some things differently than I do.

Same goes for my gay friends and family. I can be selfish and ignore their ‘gayness’ and make them feel uncomfortable just so that I don’t have to face it, or I can love them and accept them for who they are – good people who happen to do things a little differently than I do. I don’t try to force my beliefs on them because my beliefs are no more right than theirs are.

If the kids ask me why our vegan friends don’t eat the same food that we do, I can simply tell them “because some people eat meat and some don’t, and that’s ok” and move on with it. No big deal, right? 

And *gasp* what if my kids ask why a guy is holding hands with another guy? For the record, they have asked – and my response was “because, kids, sometimes guys fall in love with guys, and sometimes girls fall in love with girls.” And you know what the kids’ reaction was? “Oh. OK. What’s for supper?” They are not scarred for life by seeing two men holding hands or even kissing any more than they are by witnessing heterosexual displays of affection. They understand that everyone is different, and they treat everyone with the love and respect that is deserved. They may not agree with it when they get older and fully understand everything about homosexuality, but at least they’ll be open-minded enough to understand that being gay does not equate to being a bad person.

Yes, I know that there is a big difference between being vegan and being gay. But you know what? It all boils down to the fact that people are different. Different people do and believe different things for different reasons – but it doesn't automatically mean that they are horrible people or deserve to be treated as though they are less than human.

People like to throw around the whole “but the Bible says it’s wrong” argument. But you know what? Not everyone believes in the same Bible. Not everyone has the same religious beliefs. All people have the right to believe in their own philosophies, whether you agree with them or not. My Bible might say that it’s wrong, but my Bible goes with my religion. Someone who follows a different religion has a different book of ‘rules’ and THAT book might say that it’s perfectly fine – but since that person has the right to believe in their religion just as I have the right to believe in mine, who is right?

No one. 

The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.

Let me repeat that first part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” But laws have been passed banning gay marriage (or as I like to call it: "marriage") because it goes against some people's religious beliefs? How does that work? Doesn't banning anything based on religious beliefs go directly against the first amendment?

Your religious beliefs are not right. My religious beliefs are not right. The gay guy down the street? His aren’t right either. NO ONE’S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ARE RIGHT. No person has the right to impose his/her religious beliefs on anyone. Period. Your religion is your own. Mine is mine. I may not agree with your religion, and you may not agree with mine, but it doesn't mean that either one of us is right or wrong.

Bottom line: You wouldn’t be free to have your religious beliefs without the first amendment protecting your right to do so – and at the same time, that same amendment gives everyone else in this country the freedom to have his/her own religious beliefs. I believe in God – or at least the idea that there is something out there that is way bigger than all of us – but I don’t necessarily believe in following every single thing that is in the Bible – and that is my right, just as others have the right to feel differently.

Human rights. Equal rights. Regardless of religion, everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly.

People need to stop trying to shove their own beliefs down everyone else’s throats. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and live your own life the way that you choose. Be the best person that you can possibly be. If you live your life in the best way possible for you, then you have nothing to worry about in whatever version of the hereafter you choose to believe exists. And hey, the entire world might actually end up being a better place to be.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Questions and Answers

Every now and then I like to ask the people on my facebook page to ask me questions, and then I answer them in a blog post. I haven't done that for a while, so I thought that I'd do it tonight. And in less than an hour I had a bunch of really great questions!

Heather asked: Do you have any facebook stalkers?
Well, that depends on your definition of "stalker". As far as I know, I don't have any of the weird creepy I Am Watching Your Every Move And I'm Going To Find You And Lock You In A Box And Keep You Forever stalkers. But I do have a few people on both my personal profile and on my page who I consider 'stalkerish' - you know the kind who comment on virtually everything, or 'like' everything, or better yet - they see that I've commented on a public post (maybe on another page) and then feel the need to comment after I do even if it's a page that to the best of my knowledge wouldn't normally interest them. Now if I see strange cars start driving past my house every day.....I might start to wonder.

Dana asked: When did you know The Dude was a keeper?
That one's pretty easy. We hadn't been dating very long, but we both knew that our relationship had the potential to get serious. We were having a pretty deep conversation about it, and Daniel was playing on the floor in front of us. The Dude is a few years younger than I am, and he's never been married and doesn't have any kids, and this concerned me - I felt like if he chose to stay with me, he'd be giving up his chances to do both of those things - especially having kids of his own. I told him that I was worried about that, and he looked at Daniel and then looked at me and said "I can leave a legacy for this world that doesn't involve my DNA." That's the moment that I fell, but I didn't admit it to him (or myself) for quite a few months after that.

Carolyn asked: How is your and your older kids relationship with their stepmother?
For the most part, it's good. I know without a doubt that she loves the kids and that is the most important thing in the big picture. We do have differing views on a lot of things, but honestly, it hasn't been that big of a deal. We disagree at times, but that's part of life.

Heather asked: Who is YOUR favorite blogger?
Totally not fair! Honestly, I don't have a favorite. I'm horrible at reading other people's blogs because I do get caught up in my own stuff and then I run out of time. But here's a hint: if you want me to read your blog, just send me a link. I always say that I'm going to get caught up on my reading list, but yeah, it hasn't happened yet.

Heather asked: What parenting 'no-no' are you guilty of doing, just to get a little 'you' time, or to get the kids to listen to you?
To get them to listen? Ha. Garbage bag rampage. The biggest thing that they don't listen to me about is picking up their toys. If they refuse, I get a garbage bag and start chucking stuff into it - then the fear of losing their stuff kicks in and they get moving. I've had some people tell me that it's a horrible thing to do, but I say "you gotta' do what you gotta' do".

Heather asked: Will you come clean my house?
It'll cost you.

Heather asked: With that many people, do you do some {laundry} every day? Or do you let it pile up and just have a laundry day when someone runs out of clean underwear? (Like I do.) 
For the most part, it gets done every day, otherwise I just can't keep up. I try to do the older three kids' laundry when they're not here so that all of their stuff is clean when they get back. Everyone else's stuff gets done when it needs to be done. Since there are still occasional toileting issues, the laundry is pretty much always going. And towels....ugh, don't get me started on towels.....

Debi asked: Cream, sugar, or black coffee? (How did I not know this one, anyway?!)
Depends on my mood and what kind of coffee it is. If I'm out running around and stop to get some, I usually get a vanilla cappucino. If I'm at home and I'm making my own, it's usually with sugar, sometimes with milk, sometimes with both, sometimes black..... or if I remember to get it at the store I'll get some kind of creamer (usually vanilla). And you didn't know this because back when we worked together, I didn't drink the stuff!

Honey asked: Where the hell do you get all your energy to keep going everyday? It seems as if you never get enough sleep. Up late, up early, I wish I had half your energy. 
Amanda asked: It seems you do so much through out the day...how do make a schedule and stick to it? I'm a fairly new SAHM of only 2 and sometimes feel I get nothing done.
(I'm combining both of these because ..... well, because.)

Honestly, it's a survival thing. Being the only adult in the house, I know that if I don't get it all done, no one else is going to do it for me. After my first divorce, I worked two jobs and I got maybe 2 hours of sleep per night - but I had no choice if I wanted to survive. That habit has continued, even though I know that it's not good for me. I try to get as much done as I can during the day while the kids aren't here so that I can actually spend some time with them in the evenings, but it doesn't always work that way. Then I'm up late playing around on the computer because that's my me-time (but I'm also usually folding laundry or doing paperwork at the same time). At this point, I think I probably average 4-5 hours of sleep per night. It's not easy - but it's how I get things done. And every now and then I take a day when the kids are in school and I sleep and recharge.

And of course, caffeine is my friend.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We tried...

This weekend was our first official camping trip with Scouts. All of the kids agreed to go, and so I spent the day yesterday getting ready for it. We were only going for last night and today, and were going to leave to head back home this evening.

However, Mother Nature had other plans for us.

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous. It was in the mid 80s during the day. The kids wore shorts and loved every minute of it. We checked the weather for last night and tonight, and of course it wasn't going to be as wonderful but it still wasn't going to be bad. It was to be in the 40s overnight and the 50s today. Perfect for hiking and fishing and running around and having fun, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong.

We drove about 45 miles to where we were camping and got the campsite set up and ready to go. Then we sat around the fire and had s'mores and sent the kids to their sleeping bags around 10pm. The adults sat up until about midnight. The temperature had dropped significantly but it was still tolerable. I crawled into our tent, curled up on the cot, and ......... laid there wide awake.

I was cold. And I had to go to the bathroom. I waited as long as possible and finally gave up and drove the 1/2 mile or so to the lavishly furnished bathroom glorified outhouse to take care of business and then drove back to the campsite. By this time it was about 2am and the wind was starting to rustle things around a bit. I could hear Sarah shivering so I got off of the cot and laid down beside her so that we could snuggle and keep each other warm.

The wind got stronger. Sarah had to go to the bathroom. Back to the van, back up the hill to the facilities, back to the tent.

More wind. Loud wind. Really really strong wind.

The next thing we knew, the tent started to cave in on us. We got back up, went outside and anchored the tie down rope tighter - meanwhile the other 4 kids were sound asleep, oblivious to our shouting back and forth to each other. We got back in the tent and tried to sleep.

It got worse as time progressed, and soon the entire side of the tent gave way and caved in on us. By this time both girls were awake and they pulled the boys to the side of the tent that was still semi-upright, and then the Scout leader came to our rescue. He gave us his tent (which was NOT designed for 6 people) and he crawled into his vehicle. I think it was about 5am by this time.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep. Once it was light outside, I crawled out of the tent and was about knocked off of my feet by the wind (the lack of sleep didn't help). The big canopy thing that we had set up last night had been lifted, rotated, and slammed into a tree by the wind - but luckily only one leg was damaged.

We tried to set things back up again so that we could stay and enjoy the day - but no one was prepared (see the irony there?) for the weather so we all gave up and started packing things up to go home. The wind continued to be brutal and there was no way that we could have done the things that we had planned on doing today. The kids were disappointed (so was I) but it was really the best thing to do.

We drove back home and got here around 10:30am. After the van was unloaded and I started some laundry I was able to take about an hour-long power nap....but I'm sitting here yawning as I type. Wonder why....

Anyway....some pictures....

Part of the drive to the camping area.
We drove so far that we found hills.....

.....and buffalo.

Lots of buffalo.

Hey look.....more buffalo.
Random scenery along the road.
Fun with fire.
What was left of our tent this morning. The smooshed part isn't just
laying there - it's being pushed down that flat by the wind.
The white canopy stated out over top of the picnic table last
night - but had moved slightly by this morning.

While it didn't turn out quite as fun as we had planned, it still could have been so much worse. It didn't rain, nothing was damaged beyond repair, and no one got hurt.

Best part of the whole thing? I got to snuggle in really really tightly with kids who don't always think that it's cool to snuggle with Mom anymore. I'll take it however I can get it.