Tuesday, October 27


Last week, Milo had Thursday and Friday off school, so the Langfords decided to take a mini-vacation to Branson. We've traveled quite a bit with our families, and we've visited friends, but we've never taken a trip with just the four of us--something we've looked forward to doing for a long time.

The days leading up to the trip were less than promising. Everyone had been or was feeling sick. The day before, I was so ill I really didn't have the energy to pack anything or prep in any way. This is so against my personality, I had a headache and eye tick all day as a result. There was also a lot of rain in the forecast, so I was doubting our decision to go at all. But Andrew convinced me all would be well, and (spoiler alert) it was.

We stayed in a cute little cabin in an RV park. It had a great loft area where the kids slept, and they loved the ladder. Nervous about coming down the ladder the first time or two, but then they were just making random trips up and down for kicks. The RV park had a tiny playground too, with one of those double swings where the kids sit back to back. They laughed and swung for a solid 30 minutes.

Since we had to pack nearly everything in the morning of our departure, we didn't arrive in Branson until about 2:30pm. We had time for a quick snack and a stop by the cabin to drop off our stuff (and kill all the wasps) before heading to Dixie Stampede.

(Oh, you want more of the wasp story? Basically, when we walked up to the front door of the cabin, I noticed a wasp inside the window. I told Andrew, asked him to try to kill it before the kids saw. Well. Turns out that wasp was not alone. All told, there were probably ten or more wasps just hanging out in the cabin. Needless to say, the kids noticed. We got wasp spray from the office, and sprayed the hell out the cabin. Then we left so the poison could dissipate, and went to our show. We didn't see another wasp the whole time.)

The kids loved Dixie Stampede. The pre-show juggling was only okay (Andrew and I thought it was cool though), but they enjoyed the horses, the costumes, the singing, and the fact that we got to eat while watching the show. Milo ate nearly his whole chicken, and Olive ate the inside "no crust" part of her biscuit.


Day 2 was our full day at Silver Dollar City. We arrived there a little before they opened, around 9:45. We stayed until they closed at 6:00pm. The kids were exhausted, and so were we, but we all had a great time. It's so fun to see the kids enjoying the rides and being so excited. Their favorite ride was the green roller coaster, a small kids coaster that they rode several times. Milo was proud because this was one where he was tall enough to ride without a grown-up. It wasn't crowded at all, so there weren't any lines, and we got to ride everything more than once. Except Fire in the Hole. The kids HATED Fire in the Hole. Passionately.

We ate delicious cinnamon rolls, potato-and-sausage hash and root beer floats (for the grown-ups), corn dogs and chicken tenders (for the kids), a cookie as big as your face, and salt water taffy. We walked about 13,000 steps. And we slept hard that night.

When we left the park, we ate dinner at this super yummy pizza place called Mr. G's. Loved it there, wish we could have stayed a little longer to enjoy the ambiance, the wine, and the Royals ALCS championship game, but the kids were exhausted and beyond ready for bed. (Royals won, BTW--on to the World Series!)

On Saturday, we went to the fish hatchery and learned about that. Kids got to feed the fish, which wasn't quite as exciting as feeding the goats or sheep at the zoo. From there, we went to Top of the Rock. We didn't have time, really, to fully explore the place or take the tours, so we just wandered a bit and had lunch at Arnie's Barn. Very tasty food, and an even better view. I'd love to go there on a grown-ups only night and enjoy some drinks on the patio next to the fireplace.

From there, we headed up to Springfield to visit our friends Katie, Eli, and their almost-three-year-old, Oliver. Kid-sized Jeeps were driven in the backyard, cats were chased, delicious food was eaten, and fun was had by all.

It was a wonderful trip. And the best parts? No one got sick and it didn't rain at all. Can't wait until we can take another vacation together.

Tuesday, September 29


Milo's homework instructed him to draw three bears: one large bear, one medium bear, and one small bear. He read the instructions, then asked me, "Does 'B-E-A-R' spell 'bear,' or 'beer'? I'm just not sure which one that spells."

I said that it spelled "bear" and that it I didn't think his kindergarten teacher would ask him to draw pictures of beer because it's a grown-up thing. I kind of wish he hadn't asked me and just assumed it was "beer." What I wouldn't have given to be a fly on the wall as his teacher saw those drawings.

Monday, September 28

Super Eclipse

Last night we kept the kids up late to watch the lunar eclipse. But not just any lunar eclipse. This was a Super Moon Eclipse Of Wonder, meaning the moon was as close to earth as it ever gets. I think I read on Twitter that it only happens every 18 years, maybe? And the eclipse was happening from around 8:15 - 10:00, with the peak in the 9:30 range, so it wasn't obscenely late.

Of course, I was fascinated and could have stayed out all night watching the moon, but the kids were BORED. And TIRED. Milo kept whining and restlessly wiggling around. Olive sat on my lap and could barely hold her head up. Neither seemed to care much about the moon. But hey, we did our parent-y duty and showed them this awesome bit of science.

One of the highlights was seeing a shooting star right next to the moon (in our line of vision; I know it wasn't technically right next to the moon) as the eclipse was nearly full. So cool. Neither kids saw it, obviously. Another highlight was watching the whole thing at Stan and Marilyn's house. They have bats living nearby, which means hardly any mosquitoes. Plus, Marilyn made us decaf coffee with Bailey's, and that's a win in my book any day.

Tuesday, September 15

Sad stuff

Well. Today did not go the way I expected it to. But I suppose nothing ever does, does it? Milo's in kindergarten, and Olive had preschool today, so I planned to spend my free morning sipping coffee, maybe do some gardening (ok, ok, I was going to dump out some dead plants from the pots. "Gardening" might be pushing it.), maybe read my book, maybe go for a walk. Really intense stuff, right? Instead, I got a text from my MIL. She said that her dad had contracted pneumonia, and would probably only live another day or two (he was already on hospice), and would Andrew and I be able to help her move out his furniture if he passed?

Of course, I said. And can I do anything for you now, bring you coffee or something? She and Angie, her stepmother, both accepted my offer of Starbucks, so I headed out for lattes and over to the nursing home. I had only been there a few minutes when he took his last breath. Loved ones of mine have passed away before, but I've never been there to see it. I wasn't even particularly close to John, but it's been a shock to my system to witness the death. I hope I was a comfort to Sarah and Angie, and not in the way. I'm sure they didn't expect me to be there for those last moments, either, and I felt like a bit of an outsider.

We had told the kids a couple weeks ago that John was sick, and that Nana was feeling sad about it. So today I had to explain to them that Nana's dad had died. And then spend forever discussing death, getting old, burials, cremation, and how we miss people when they die. I held it together until about the third hour of these talks, when I was trying to explain what cremation was to a five year old. Then I just sort of gave up, told them to please play outside because Mommy wasn't feeling too good and needed to lie down.

Then Daddy got home, I drank some wine, and he took the kids to the playground. My thoughts tonight are with Angie, Sarah, and the rest of the family. I wish there was more I could do than bring pumpkin spice lattes. Rest in peace, John.

Friday, September 11

So Proud

Last night Milo had his first tumbling class. It's at the same studio that Olive goes to for her ballet/tumbling combo class, but his is an all-boys class. I was not at all convinced that he would like it or really wanted to be there. I thought he just asked to take tumbling because he wanted to do SOMETHING, and maybe soccer wasn't his favorite.

But after several requests and the start of the 2015-2016 session looming, I signed him up. So glad I did. He loved it. He tried everything, even when things didn't immediately come easy. Somersaults, bear walking, feet-together jumping, stretching. He listened and followed instructions. He talked nicely to the teacher and the other boys. And as I watched him, I saw his little smile, just for him. His I'm-so-proud-of-me smile. His yes-I-can-do-it smile. And I know he was proud of himself. And I know I was proud of him, too.

(Yeah, yeah, I know, it's been over a year since I blogged. Let's not make a big deal about it, eh? I know it is impossible to catch up on the stuff I missed (like Olive's entire life, basically) but since I already can't remember half the things that took place in the last year, I figured there's no time like the present to start this thing up again.)