January 2017

The boys and I had a good New Year’s Eve ‘party’ despite Tj not being here. The boys had been fighty the day or two before the day, so I drug them all around town NYE shopping here and there. We went to a few Goodwills, and then a game store for Max, and the used bookstore again where I got another couple of missionary books for him as well. My plan is to have him read a book a month since I have a small stockpile of good books for him. I need to make a list of those for future reference. I’ll always regret not keeping a list of books I’ve read over my life…I should start doing that, but really, it’s hard enough keeping up with this blog and homeschooling, etc etc etc.

Back to NYE, we didn’t buy too much but we had a great time looking. We went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings…Max is in love with hot wings these days (though not really hot, he just likes fried chicken) and I’m in love with their fried cheese curds. He wants to go there for his birthday. When we were heading home it wasn’t even dark yet and already the fireworks were starting. We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way and got a few things plus a bottle of sparkling juice. At Dollar Tree Max begged me to buy two martini glasses so we’d have something special to drink our bubbly in and I relented.

It was surprisingly easy to stay up until midnight for all 3 of us. Robin and Dave said it’s cause we were all sugared up, and I’m sure they’re right, we had a hot chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and caramel syrup on it for supper. The fireworks were constant from 9pm till after midnight. When midnight rolled around I poured our drinks and we walked down the street to watch the fireworks. I sat in the hammock a while watching them too…the boys were awed.

I just let Jack sleep with me…I figured it was the best way of insuring he went to sleep relatively quickly so that he’d be ready to get up for church in the morning. He is still so sweet to cuddle with in the bed. If he wasn’t such a smotherer I’d have him sleep with me all the time when Tj wasn’t here, but if I don’t plan ahead and put a body pillow between us he pushes me to the very edge of the bed! Bed hog!!

2 Jan Monday
If you’re gonna be a mom, why not be an excellent mom?! Max said this after I let them drink out of the fancy glasses again.

I said I want to learn how to knit, boys. And Max said you want to knit a boy? You could knit me a brother!

I told Jack to come get in bed and he said, “Actually, sleep this bed please Mama”!!!!

3 Jan Tuesday
When Jack woke up today he said, “Scared ironing board, scared tree. Don’t be scared ironing board. Finished kitchen, finished living room.” After we talked a bit he said, “Hey kitchen, hey cake stand.” He just wakes up talking and talking. I’m assuming this all comes from dreams he’s having. He’s also talking about missing the old house, so I wonder if it’s the Christmas tree that used to be over our front door?

Max and I played Magic: The Gathering and we died laughing over fart cat…which turned out to be a misunderstanding.

Jack’s voice has been a little raspy so I looked at his throat, and then we all looked at each others throats. Then Max said my uvula looks like a nipple!!

We’ve been having some funny days around here: we sleep with the a/c on, turn on the heater until noon, then wear shorts and go swimming in the afternoon.

Jack has been asking to play blue ball storage please…he wants the blue ball with sand in it that’s in storage in GA.

We went to the Witte Museum tonight with the neighbors, it was a lot of fun! I told them we would be happy to go anytime they wanted, but I was surprised when they suggested 4 to 9 p.m. I didn’t remember that that’s when the museum was free. So we did our schoolwork, and Jack and I went to the playground for a while, and then at 3:30 we left. I entered the directions in my phone, but followed them there. They have a new dually and in the parking garage David rolled down his window and asked me how am I looking now? I started laughing and told him he looked great, but I really had no idea what he wanted to know. Then he pointed overhead and he was under the bar telling you how low the ceiling was going to be. Oh! Of course, he wanted to know if he would fit!! That makes sense!

We had a good time at the museum; we saw an exhibit on explorers, and Texas historical artifacts, and the architecture around there was beautiful. There were three trees going up through part of the museum near a brick floor patio area. It was really beautiful there. We stayed there till it was dark and then headed over to Lulu’s, home of the three pound cinnamon roll! When we got there though it was closed! We put our heads together and came up with a second place about half a mile away but we realized it was not in the nicest area when we got there so we drove on.

Sometime during this time a car came up beside me as I was behind David. I thought David must just be hogging a two-lane road, so I moved over a little to the right so the car could be on my left. Come to find out it was a one-lane, and when the light turned green that car just eased its way between me and David! I couldn’t believe he had the nerve to do that. It made me laugh, but Max was already grumbly so he was pretty upset about the whole thing.

It took awhile for them to find a place to park their big dually so we drove around San Antonio for a little bit. The first restaurant we went to had a 1 hour wait, so we crossed the Riverwalk on foot and went Cafe Ole. The meal was pretty good but the fellowship was best of all. Max was fairly sullen through the whole meal, I’ve told him he needs to apologize to the family. I know he was tired and hungry, but that’s no excuse for his behavior.

On the way home I wasn’t planning on following them, but it worked out that way anyway since we live right next door to each other. We were both in the left hand lane to take 87 south when he saw that it wasn’t the correct lane and went straight; I didn’t see it in time and went ahead and turned left and headed north! It probably only added on a couple of extra minutes, and thanks to Google I made it back home just fine. We had a good laugh about it later.

4 Jan Wednesday
Laura and boys came over for lunch. I made mac and cheese in the instant pot and it was a success! The boys played inside for a bit, and then outside. When they started getting too rowdy we headed to the Japanese Tea Garden. It was very pretty, but I’m sure it would be beautiful in the spring.

When we left there they went home and I looked up a McDonald’s playground for Jack. Google said the one near our campground had a pg, but turns out it didn’t. Fortunately Chic-fil-a just a few blocks away did. I was really craving a hot fudge sundae, though!

I went without and drove to CFA. As I was pulling into the parking space Jack was really fussing that he wanted to go to a pg!!! I just about blew a gasket. Here I am bringing him to what he wants and he’s throwing a fit! We had a ‘little talk’ and then we went in. He’s getting harder to take lately. I’m really looking forward to having Tj home and another parent around. Jack can be a really sweet kid, but he’s so frustrating…he wants things, but can’t/won’t tell me what they are…and when he does tell me as often as not it’s with griping, whining, growling, stomping, etc. I understand it must be frustrating being somewhat trapped inside that mind…there’s a lot in there but not all of it makes its way out…but it’s super wearing dealing with the attitude. I’m praying for more patience and understanding lately, and for better ways to facilitate communication between the two of us.

Anyway, we went inside and the boys went to play while I took a break and read on my phone. After a good while we drove back home. I got a hot fudge sundae and sent the boys inside the bus while I ate in the truck. The sad thing is that it didn’t taste as good as I remembered. Guess they’re not my thing anymore. After a while Max came out to tell me that Jack had wet his pants.

5 Jan Thursday
We got Tj from the airport today! Woot!! He came in around lunch so we went to Fatt Boy Burger and Dogs and had burgers, fries and some awesome fried pickles with lots of garlic in the batter. Then we went home and took a nap.

6 Jan Friday
We went to Lulu’s for lunch with neighbors. When I put my name in for a table I asked why since the website said they’re open 24/7 were they closed the other night. The girl told me there were just too many people so they had to shut down for the night. Huh? Whatever.

They said the wait would be about 45 minutes so we told Robin and David we were going to the library, a 2-minute drive away. Laura lent me her library card and we wanted to check out the place. We hadn’t been in there 10 minutes and were texted that our table was ready! I texted Robin and she said they’d just witnessed a fight and were calling the police!

When we got back to Lulu’s they’d given our table away but said we’d get the next one. Robin said they’d gone to the library and seen two dudes whaling on another dude, so they called the cops. After we texted them and they drove around to come back they saw the two dudes walking away! Craziness!

We didn’t wait long at all for the next table, but the wait for the food was forever! They only ordered a cinnamon roll, and we ordered that plus a chicken fried steak for Tj. The cfs was covered in cheese sauce!!! It was heavenly!!!! And so was the cinnamon roll which came out first! We’d just about finished what we were going to eat of the roll when the cfs finally came out. Oh, it was so good. Now I’m hungry!

We had such a good time visiting there…it’s too bad they’re leaving tomorrow!

After we finished eating we parted ways and we went back to the library. I was so amazed and shocked at how many homeless people were in the library! Sleeping on the chairs, camped out on the floor, etc. I thought that at least the kids’ section would be just for kids but there were 10 or so guys milling around there, too. We looked on every floor and picked lots of stuff to check out.

After that we went to Lowes to look for a carpet. I ordered one off of Amazon weeks ago and it never came…Tj finally cancelled it for me. We talked to a guy who worked there about carpets, and then got to talking about places to eat here. As always, there are many more places to eat than there are meals to fill. Sigh.

7 Jan Saturday
I finished crocheting my first dishcloth. Now I need to buy a needle to weave the ends in.

Our neighbors left! I’m so sad. They were such awesome people. I’m grateful we met and hit it off, and had time to do such fun things together.

Later I was taking it easy when Max burst into the bus saying Jack lost his drone!! Max says he put the drone and the controller down in front of our bus and after a while Jack picked it up and flew it. We looked and looked and couldn’t find it. Obviously Jack shouldn’t have flown it, but Max shouldn’t have just left it out there. As we were heading back home giving up on ever finding it I saw some blinking lights under the playground slide! God led me to find it! Woot!

Tonight we finally put together the chocolate bread house and bus. I’m glad to have that monkey off my back!

8 Jan Sunday
Jack got lost at church today! Last Sunday (the first time we went here) Max went into his class. This Sunday Tj said Max should go to class with his own age. Jack had the same teacher as the week prior, and there had been no trouble, so I didn’t think it was a big deal. I took him to the bathroom before I dropped him off, gave the teacher my phone number, and off we went. When church was over we went into the room to get Jack and the teacher started looking for him. After a few seconds I started walking around the room (another movie theater, so stadium seating, not the brightest lighting) calling him. After half a minute Tj and I just headed out to look for him. I went to the arcade (on the left side as you enter the main theater) and Tj headed outside. Yep, he was playing a game, albeit with no money. I took his hand and headed outside to find Tj. When I finally found him and made my way back to the teacher of course she felt awful. I don’t think she should really be held totally responsible, and of course he was found quickly so it’s no big deal…but Jack just lulls you. He was probably fine when Max was in there, and without him he sat in his seat I bet the whole of the class time. So by the time it’s ending the teacher thinks she’s got his number, and that’s when he makes his move. He’s not a runner, he’s a meanderer. He just walks out and heads off to something more fun than waiting around for his parents to come get him.

We had been invited to Laura’s house for pizza for lunch. Tj made salted caramel pie and chocolate caramel pie to take, and we stopped by WM for whipped cream for the top. The preacher called while we were there to try to get in touch with us and apologize after the Jack incident. I told Laura and Joe that they could get lots of points if they acted like they didn’t really know us and just invited us home for lunch after seeing how upset we were with losing Jack.

After delicious homemade pizza and a great visit we left and went shopping for a rug at world market, but they didn’t have any soft enough or the right size. We did buy our supper there, though. Meats and cheeses and crackers. Yum.

9 Jan Monday
We decided to skip school and instead decorated the chocolate bread house.

Then we went to Mission San José. We saw flying buttresses, carvings, quatrefoil patterns and the famed “Rose Window.” We also saw a stairway that had “all 25 risers hand-hewn from a single log and assembled without the use of nails or pegs.”

Then we went to Mission Conception, and then the Alamo. I’m so excited that we’re on this trip! It’s so exciting to read the plaques and see the places so full of history. To think people actually died there defending what they held so dearly. We’re very blessed to be able to do this trip, to live this life.

We walked the Riverwalk and ate at Casa Rio…the oldest restaurant on the Riverwalk…where ducks pecked Tj’s leg! Earlier this day a squirrel brushed his foot crossing between Max and us! Tj’s becoming a regular Cinderella!

10 Jan Tuesday
Today we headed off to the Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg for some climbing. When we were practically there we saw flashing lights and a sign that said the park was closed!! I looked it up on the website and saw this: The park will be closed from 3 p.m. Jan. 8 until 2 p.m. Jan. 13, 2017. Only drawn permitted hunters will be allowed in during these dates. Contact the park for more information. How do you close a rock??!! Jack had been asking for a playground (as he does at least 20 times every day) and we’d been promising him that he’d get to go climb a big rock…ah, well.

Our next (now first) stop was the Nimitz museum. I really enjoy seeing mementos of times past. After a good while there we saw the Japanese Garden of Peace, a gift from the people of Japan in honor of Nimitz.

Next we went on to the National Museum of the Pacific War. Tj hustled us through that one…we could’ve stayed for days and not seen half of it! It was so completely full of information and interesting things. I hated not being able to read everything, but as it was we ate lunch at 3pm!

We went to The Auslander for lunch since our first choice was closed on Tuesdays!!! I had my heart set on a smoked burger, but settled for jagerschnitzel with gravy, cheesy sausage with great mustard, hot potato salad which was sweet and vinegary, yum! mashed potatoes and a roll with tons of butter. We ordered chicken schnitzel for the boys.

After eating we went shopping along Main street, went to the Main Street Park and saw the Christmas pyramid. The boys played on the playground there and I went to a little museum in an old church there. We stopped at a candy shop but the fudge did not look fresh at all so we passed. On the way out of town we stopped to clean out my windshield washer sprayers, but they’re still clogged. Tj ordered Marcos pizza on the way home. We took a couple of wrong turns thanks to Google Maps…San Antonio is the worst place for Google Maps…there are so many times it changes its mind right after I commit to a turn, or the road signs don’t match. I haven’t had any real trouble this whole bus trip getting from place to place, and I sing GM’s praises, but San Antonio needs to get its act together!

11 Jan Wednesday
Our MO these days is wake up when we wake up…I have an alarm at 8 but I usually shut it off before it alarms and take my pill without waking Tj up, then when he wakes up we lounge around a bit reading our phones. After that we plan where we’re going for the day. This worked out ok for here, our first real sights place on our trip, but I think for our future stops we’ll choose our top 3 must-see places in that location before we even get there. Then we can plan the days either there or before we get there based on the weather and Tj’s work schedule.

As we were going to the truck I asked Tj to check out my wiper washer and come to find out there’s a big hole in the tube! We tried taping it but that didn’t work at all. We had some rubber cement so Tj slapped some of that on there and that did the trick! That night he put another coat on there. Hopefully that will hold for a long time.

Then we drove to the AFB to buy tickets. We’d already talked about which tickets to buy, but of course there were a few more places to work out once we got there and saw what was available.

By this time it was getting close to lunch. Even though the boys had had breakfast not too long ago, we knew we couldn’t do all that we wanted before we all needed another meal, so we looked for a restaurant that wouldn’t take too long. Tj saw there was an In-and-Out Burger joint on our way so that’s where we went. He hadn’t eaten there in ages and I’d never been there. It was good…and of course cheese smothered fries are right up my alley!

After filling up we headed on to Natural Bridge Caverns. I always enjoy places like that, and I always forget what it entails with Jack. Fortunately he kept his hyperventilating to a minimum. Of course Tj had him the majority of the time so it might have happened more than I remember. He’s not too bad, but his fear of heights showed up a little too.

After the caverns we went to the maze which was fun, but I wouldn’t do it again. We were each given cards and had to find 4 stations to punch the correct letter onto our cards, and then find the exit to get our card punched with the time.

After that was my (and Max’s) favorite: gift shopping! I bought a pair of earrings. I hemmed and hawed a lot, but I’ve been wearing them for several days now and really like them.

On the way home we went to SA Pops…which was closed!!!! The sign said they’re only open on the weekends during the winter. Ugh! As I was grumbling out loud about this happening AGAIN! some guy started walking towards the shop and said he would open it and get us some ice cream if we wanted!! Neither Tj nor I wanted to make him work on a day he’d planned off so we thanked him but left without any.

We went home, sent the boys to play outside, Tj did some work and I made salisbury steak casserole. While we watched another episode of Lost I cooked the end of the chocolate bread dough that has been in our refrigerator since before Christmas!!! I was so glad to wake up the next morning w/o any of us suffering from food poisoning since that dough was so old! :-)

12 Jan Thursday
Today we went to the mirror maze which was so much fun! It was really hard to tell where the walls were. I blame any running into mirrors on distraction by Jack who was my companion for the maze. I think we’ll probably do more of those in the future if we come across them in our travels. We all loved it, but I constantly had to remind Jack to keep his hands in front of him so he wouldn’t run into the mirrors (again and again)! You’d think once or twice face-planting into a mirror would be enough, but no. It was super strange to really not know if there was a wall right in front of your face or not. Jack’s least favorite part was the times we had to walk over a mirrored floor…that really freaked him out. Tj ended up carrying him through most of them when my usual trick of telling him to sit down and scoot didn’t work.

We walked down the street to use the restroom before our next activity and I almost bought a sugar-skull t-shirt…I really wanted it but they didn’t have my size. We went back and did the laser room activity which I was excited about, but turned out to be a 10′ long rectangular room with lasers shooting across it that you had to avoid. I expected it to be bigger, or more complicated or something. It was fun, but this definitely wasn’t worth the money.

From there we walked to the Riverwalk and took the boat tour. I’d asked Laura if we should do it or if it was cheesy and she said she’d done it 4 times. I guess every tourist thing is cheesy if you think about it…and not cheesy if you enjoy it. We had a good time riding around looking at the scenery, this really is a beautiful place!

Next was the Tower of Americas which we had difficulty walking to because of construction. We ran across a playground which we told the boys we weren’t going to play on, but then the way through it was blocked so we had a play break for 15 minutes or so there. We went on to the tower and Tj and I decided to just walk Jack onto the glass fronted elevator without really warming him up to the idea. This seems to work out better than trying to reason with him. He went on just fine, and when we got to the glass part he started pulling back from the window as he sometimes does, but he didn’t fuss or cry. When we got to the top you could go outside or stay inside and still look over the city. It was so windy outside, and Jack fussed about being up so high and outside that I took him inside. After a while I got a phone call from an RV place and spent a good amount of time talking to them. I got Tj’s attention and continued to work out our reservations for this place, but after she said it was an extra $2.50/day/kid Tj cancelled the reservation. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a better priced place.

After we looked as long as we wanted we went downstairs to the 4D movie included in our ticket price. There were 3 20 minute movies, but the one playing a few minutes after we got down was Rio. I had Jack on my lap because I was so cold in the theater. It turned out to be a good thing for us (but bad for my shins); at every point in the movie when Rio tries to escape or something else exciting happens our seats shook pretty violently and Jack totally lost it! It was kinda funny, but I felt so bad for him…it would be really scary to not understand what was going on! We got the seat-moving seats when we saw Rogue 1 but they barely moved…Jack had his own seat and never flinched during that whole movie. This was very different. I just held him super tight and told him over and over that everything was ok and I was there…but in the end I was glad it was just 20 minutes.

We finally headed back to the truck and off to lunch around 3pm at Mi Tierra Cafe and Panaderia. Tj had been wanting to go to this place, he’d heard they had Christmas decorations year round so we checked it out. He and I shared the fajitas…the steak tasted great! Afterwards we went to their panaderia and bought the largest praline I’d ever seen, and it was awesome! We also got a empanada de limon that was ok, and the boys got a sugar cookie with sprinkles. We saw a street artist outside doing flash-painting…pretty cool. I shopped for a minute to find a sugar-skull t-shirt but these were out of my price range.

In unrelated news I couldn’t remember which brother-in-law it was, but turns out it’s Dan that thinks it’s weird that we use the word visit…going to visit my friends, neighbors, etc. It’s funny that something so common for me is so strange to someone else from the same country.

Max and Tj went to ride go-carts. I’m always happy when they get time together. Jack and I were eating lunch when they came home, and Tj released me for the rest of the day!!!! Mom’s Day Out!!!
As I was leaving our parking spot I called Mom and she had such good things to say. Papa has been in constant pain for 5 solid months, and was building up to that since 2013. Half a week after seeing pain doc he felt so much better he went to church! He even worked outside in the yard with mom for 3 hours!! He’d become a bit of a recluse recently, hardly even getting out of bed at Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful he’s feeling better, and am now praying that this relief is permanent.

I laughed with mom as I shared my route I’d planned on Google Maps: Home Goods, World Market, Goodwill, Goodwill, Lowes, Goodwill, Goodwill, etc. I ended up finding a rug at Home Goods so I took out the Lowes, and I stopped at a Dollar Tree on my way but I still haven’t found that dough scraper I saw in a store in TN…I should’ve bought it there! I had 4 chicken strips with gravy from Wataburger, and stopped at Baskin Robbins for a shake and some ice cream for Tj on the way home. What a great night! I didn’t buy as much as the first time I went Goodwilling here, but I did hit the jackpot with Corelle…7 plates, 2 big bowls and 4 little bowls for $7!! I feel so rich with a bowl for each of us when we eat soup now. Heh.

14 January Saturday
Today was a lazy day. We did a bunch of nothing, then I cut everyone’s hair.

15 January Sunday
I brought Tj to the airport for a couple of weeks of work. It looks like he might sit reserve this whole time in Memphis, which turns out might not be bad because he has a cold!

Max and Samuel had been playing with a boy in the campground named Roland. I’ve seen him a time or two, and heard a bit about him from Robin. A day or two ago Roland gave Max a Lego Ironman robot…Max was so excited! Tj and I are probably gonna make him give it back. Today Roland gave Max a beat-up old iPhone! Max is over the moon! Being a parent isn’t what I thought it would be.

16 January Monday
Nice, typical, boring school day. I’m glad for this after our whirlwind week last week.

I dozed on the bed after school (and fighting with Jack) was done for the day, and when I woke up I had this text from Papa: Russel is missing-Jo doesn’t know where he is. Police are looking for him now. Pray hard

!!!! I called the boys in and we prayed, and then I called Mom. Apparently Russell just took his bike and left. He crossed 92 which is a 4-lane with a turn-lane road. A little ole lady called the cops to tell them Russell was there. When Ted and his brother drove up Russell was just sitting on the porch with the lady and they were just talking like nothing had happened. He was missing about an hour and a half…I know Jo and Ted were out of their minds with worry. I remember a couple of times Jack wandering away on our street in AR…it wasn’t a long street…only 5 houses on a side with a cul-de-sac at the end…but looking for him was panic-inducing. It never ceased to amaze me how many places there suddenly were to hide. And Russell, like Jack, still doesn’t answer when you call his name. Jack is better about it now, and I’m better about telling him to answer when I’m calling. But….Russell was lost 1.5 hours. I just can’t imagine.

That night at supper we started figuring out how much spending money Max had. He’s been wanting to buy a Lego Creator Jet for a month or so now. I haven’t been letting him spend his money…I told him he had to wait till his birthday to see if he got any birthday money…he kept wanting to buy little things here and there and fritter away his money. It’s still hard for him to save. When we did our cyphers and gazintas it came to $54!! He saw the jet at HEB Christmas Eve night for $70. I looked it up on Amazon right then and saw the same jet for $52!!!! You should’ve seen him scream and dance! We ordered it right then! The estimated delivery is from his birthday to a few days later…we’ll see!

Some last additions to our Memphis restaurant list:
Texas Roadhouse: they had Kids’ Night that night! A woman came over and offered to take our kids to another table to do a craft…that night (right before Thanksgiving) it was just coloring. We let Max go but didn’t think we should send Jack. Our meal came out but we figured Max could eat it at home so we let him continue coloring, we could see the lady’s head 2 booths over. After Jack finished eating we let him go with Max and Tj and I practically had a date. Heh.
Area 55: this is where we ate the first night we got there.
Marco’s Pizza: it was just as good as home.

Since our washer still isn’t working Tj has been taking our clothes to his crash pad to wash them. It’s nice to get it all done without having to go to the laundromat. We’ve ordered the part and I had it sent to Laura’s since Tj won’t get a chance to work on it till we’re there anyway.

14 December Wednesday
Ikea opened today! And Tj had his follow-up ear appointment. The doc says the hole in his ear is healed and his hearing is normal, but it may take another 4-6 weeks for his hearing to return to what it was. It still bugs him a good bit, but what can you do?

After his appointment we took Jack to the Ikea grand opening. I wanted to look at curtains and rugs, and everything else! The childcare is fantastic, but because it was opening day we were only allowed 1 30-minute slot. We impulse bought several things…what fun! We’re gonna have to cut back one of these days! I found a rug I liked the look of, and it was extremely plush! Sadly it was too thick to fit under the couch. As much as I tried I couldn’t make it work, so I had to return it the next day.

17 Dec We packed up and drove to Shreveport, La.

18 December Sunday
What a wonderful day! Like always we were early getting ready to go to church until the last 20 minutes when we were late. We headed out and then I remembered the Mack’s gift so I made a quick u-turn and drove a minute-and-a-half back to the bus and got it. We got to church with 5 minutes to spare and were on time for the boys and our Sunday school classes. I walked in the church door and before I could even ask somebody where Max’s Sunday school class was Mrs Shirley said well there’s Ellen! It was so good to see her! I was so thrilled that she recognized me without even knowing I was coming. We laughed and talked for a little bit and then she pointed us the right way to Max’s class.

Max and Jack were in the same Sunday school class and after we dropped them off we went to ours. When the preacher asked me to introduce us I said that I used to attend this church 16 years ago, and a man in the class said he remembered when I recited Luke 2! When Sunday school was over we went back to church and looked for Mrs Shirley. While she was visiting I saw Mrs Molly and Mr Jim Gulledge. She said she taught me at SMITE, but I didn’t think we did SMITE together. Either way it was ages ago. We sat with Mrs Shirley during the service, and it was good to catch up with her afterward.

After church I called Mr. Mack to let him know we would be about 20 minutes. We stopped at Walmart on the way to get a loaf of french bread. Seeing the Mack’s was just like old times, they haven’t changed a bit. Mrs Mack asked if the boys wanted soup, and said a couple of times that they didn’t have to eat anything they didn’t want to eat, so I gave in and made them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Mr Mack said who ever heard of a sandwich without chips, so the boys had chips and grapes to go alongside. Mrs Mack had made a big batch of minestrone soup and cornbread to go along. I’ve never been a cornbread person, but her corn bread was good. I think I’ll have to try to make it. It was so awesome just to sit and visit with them, neither their demeanor nor mannerisms have changed a bit! After lunch we had homemade peach cobbler with Blue Bell ice cream. While I was helping dish that up Mrs Mack had to open her chair/ironing board for Jack to ooh and ahh over. We heard lots of stories about the Mack’s kids and grandkids and exchange students and dinners etc. Afterward, while coffee was brewing, we walked back to see my little apartment. Then Mrs Mack gave me a tour of her house; she has two sewing rooms! I had forgotten that Mr Mack smoked a pipe; the smell wasn’t heavy, but it was familiar. We said our goodbyes and got into the truck and then I remembered I should have taken a picture. We all piled back out and took a couple of good photos in their kitchen.

We drove around Shreveport then looking at the old places; it’s so much fun to see that again, and to show it to the kids. We drove by Mrs Norma’s house, but it seemed obvious from the BBQ pit out on the front walk that she didn’t live there anymore. I’m so sad that we weren’t able to get in touch with her. We went back to the bus and bundled the boys up for them to go play outside till the last bits of daylight were gone. TJ started getting us prepared for tomorrow’s business of registering the truck and getting licenses in Texas. We ordered pizza and put Elf on to watch. One of the pizza options had anchovies on it and I convinced Tj to give it a try…I always wondered if I’d like it. I don’t! The fish taste was too string and just didn’t sync with the pizza to me. I eat them sometimes on crackers…guess I’ll have to stick to them that way. We didn’t tell Max that they were on there and then asked him how he liked the pizza. He said it was really good, and was surprised when we told him. I bet if he hadn’t been watching a movie while eating it he would have noticed.

Another day closer to Christmas!

19 December Monday
On the road at 10 a.m. heading to Livingston. When I got in the truck to go through its routine to set it up for towing I saw that one of the tires was low so that delayed us a bit. TJ check all the tires and filled them all up. He had done the ones on the bus in Memphis before we left, but not the ones on the truck.

Now we’re halfway to Texas, Max is doing his school work and Jack is watching some cartoons. My drawer was falling out of my closet so it was fun trying to get all that taken care of while hurtling down the road.

19-22 Dec
This was such a quick/busy stop with so much to do. We went there to change our residency to Texas, but Tj had a work trip in the middle, so we were a little stressed that it wouldn’t all get done. We arrived in Livingston after lunch so we quickly checked into Escapees and headed off to get the truck inspected. Tj had read that you didn’t need to drive the bus to the inspection place so we left it there. We tried to level it before we left, but we were in a hurry and the site was far from level, so we just plugged in the electricity (to keep the fridge cold) and left. We drove to the inspection place and were told we’d have to bring the bus. Ugh. I called the other place that did RV inspections and it was the same there. The inspection of the truck was so quick so we quickly drove back to the bus and then I took the boys and the paperwork to start the registration process.

Up until the day before we’d been sweating it a little…we had inspections, registration and new licenses to accomplish Monday afternoon after driving the bus there, and then Thursday afternoon when Tj got back from his work trip. How would we get it all done? Then in Shreveport I realized I could do most of it on my own…it just hadn’t occurred to either of us to have me do it…Tj always handled all of this type of paperwork. So I started giving the woman the papers she needed to get our vehicles registered and of course I needed the current registration. I knew it would be a pain so I was mentally prepared for it to take a while. I called Tj to see what he wanted me to do and he needed me to come. Turning into the inspection place the cabinets came open and a corelle plate and two small bowls fell from the upper cabinet and shattered all over the place!!! And in a camper a plate shattering in the kitchen also reaches the bedroom and livingroom. I drove the 5 blocks there, got the paperwork straightened out, swept up some of the glass, moved the kids to the bus and headed back to the registration place.

Oh, yeah, on the way out of the registration place I dropped our marriage license on the sidewalk without knowing it!!! I was so thankful Max saw it and picked it up.

This time at the registration place she said I’d have to have all the paperwork signed by Tj since his name was on the titles. I went over everything with her to make sure the next time I went there I’d be prepared, and then went home.

That night Tj filled out the forms and we signed them, and then we went to Wataburger on our way to drop him off at the airport.

The next day I tackled the registration and won! Finally! So I headed over to the drivers license place, and lost. The last time we changed our residency to Texas life was simple. This time not so much. I had to have a birth certificate and my ss card to prove I was who I say I am. I don’t understand why a recently expired passport isn’t good enough. It’s a photo ID, and proves that I’m a citizen. But whatever. I called Mom and asked her to overnight our stuff after she dug it out of Jo’s basement. I’m so thankful that she’s so willing to help us out!

The next day I went back and got my drivers license and double checked that Tj had all the paperwork he needed to do the same thing. I was assured he did. He didn’t have his ss card but his DD-214 has his number there and is an approved proof.

He flew into town after lunch and we got to the DL place around 2. His clerk wasn’t nearly as helpful as mine had been. Tj got a lecture on how his DD-214 was a copy (it wasn’t) and how the dude could prove it was, and why a copy wasn’t good enough, blah blah blah. When Tj texted me that I told him he had a nicer print in the other folder and that seemed to appease the guy. Then the guy said Tj had to show him where it said he was honorably discharged…like Texas won’t accept dishonorably discharged citizens???!!! Whatever. This guy was obviously on a power trip. Finally Tj got his license and all our work there was done. We got some lunch and went back to the bus.

One of the things that really surprised us was that for both the plates and drivers licenses they just printed us an 8 1/2 by 11″ license! Even in little ole Cabot we got an actual license that day. It’s odd having a big piece of paper as my drivers license. Our real stuff will be mailed to us in a week or two.

20 Dec
When I kept laying in bed after Jack asked for a fried egg sandwich…he finally said who wants make fried egg sandwich???

23 Dec Drove to San Antonio

24 Dec
Saturday We met our neighbors here in the park. I don’t think we’re any closer to the next rig than we ever have been, but it feels closer. Fortunately they seem nice!

We went to see Rogue 1 today…it was great! If A New Hope was a 10 I’d say Rogue 1 was an 8 or 9. I was worried they’d overdo the robot, but it all worked out.

Laura gave me the address of their church, and it’s at the same movie theater! The church is just starting up so it doesn’t have a building yet. We saw Joe as we were leaving the movie. We thought we’d have about an hour between the movie and church, but when we got home we realized we only had 15 minutes till we had to leave!

The service was good, and Jack behaved himself which is saying a lot considering he’d just sat through a 2-hour movie, 3 30-minute car rides and now he had to be quiet and still for church. What a trooper! After the service we went to a hamburger place for supper. Tj and I split the parmesan truffle fries…if we go back there I’m skipping the burger and the nutella/pretzel shake and just getting those fries again! They were amazing!

On the way home we stopped at HEB…it was Christmas Eve night…it was packed!

After we got home we hurriedly put the boys to bed so I could wrap all the presents. I wondered if we’d be able to find them all…stashed as they were around the bus. I think we did.

25 Dec Sunday
We told Max he could wake us up at 7am. He says he awoke at 2am and again at 5. We ended up having to wake Jack up! Silly kid!

I made a big pallet on the floor and we opened our gifts. The boys had a great time. Max was overwhelmed with the laptop. Tj was hesitant about getting it for him for Christmas since it’s really a school thing, but Max’s face as he unwrapped it put all his fears to rest. Max also got a (tiny, like 3″ square) drone, a massive Hershey kiss, a clip-on light for his kindle, a Space Invaders hand-held game, the Magic game (from Grandmom), and $25 from Gran/Pawpaw. Jack got a remote control car (from Grandmom), $25 from G/P (don’t know what I’ll do with that), a train from the train museum, a disco ball, a wubble bubble ball, BB-8 hat, and a BB-8 figure.

We were lazy all day, and then I started our dessert around 3. I wanted to make a red velvet trifle with ganache but my ganache never set! I still don’t know what I did wrong. I wonder if it’s because I used chocolate chips and not bar chocolate…basically it wasn’t quality chocolate though it was name brand. Either way it was in the freezer for a bit before we left, and then in Laura’s fridge while we ate supper and it was just as runny then as when I first made it.

We got to their house around 5. She fixed us beans, cheese dip and fajitas with a slaw to go on the side or on the fajita. We ate outside with a little fire in their pit. Afterward we drank my ganache with the cool whip on top while we played catchphrase. Fun.

26 Dec Monday
As much as I loved hanging out with Laura, having this day to just stay at home was nice. I told Tj not to even fix the washer…he needed a break before he goes on his trip tomorrow, but he insisted, and I’m so thankful!!!!

We lazed around in the morning, and then put some ribs on to cook in the instant pot. Tj then started on the washer. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to start that project right before lunch and he said yes…and he finished it before lunch was ready! It was a Christmas miracle!!! My washer works!!!! I’m listening to the 6th load of wash drying right now. I’m so blessed. I’m so thankful to have a working washer/dryer. I know it’s a silly thing, and going to the laundromat isn’t horrible…I really enjoy it when Tj keeps the boys and I can go and read a book…but it’s so nice not to have to leave the bus to do laundry.

27 Dec Tuesday
It was drizzly today. We got up early to take Tj to the airport. As I drove down our ‘driveway’ I was using the wiper fluid a lot and noticed that they didn’t spray as high as they usually do. As I got to the end and was turning I realized that it was super hard to turn the wheel, my power steering was going out, and then saw that my battery light came on! That worried me. Tj didn’t seem worried at all, but I’m sure that he was just preoccupied with his first day of this new part of his job.

Jack and I dropped him off and I called Mom to see if I could talk to Papa and get some advice on the truck. He was still sleeping, so she and I decided I should go have the battery checked, and she said to ask them to check the alternator as well. I punched Walmart into the GPS and off we went. But I forgot to make sure it wasn’t a neighborhood market! So the first place I went didn’t have an auto center. I quickly found the next nearest place and went there. I was careful this whole time not to stop the truck in case I had trouble starting it again.

Yep, bad battery. I was glad Tj got my txt about the situation before he took off. Even though I was sure he’d tell me just to go ahead and get a new battery it always feels better to talk big-ish decisions over with him. We got a new battery and we were off! I’d been hoping to go Goodwilling and fortunately was only a little delayed.

Jack and I stopped at 3 Goodwills and boy did I make a haul! I bought 10 shirts, 4 skirts, 1 pair of shorts, 1 corelle plate, 1 skillet, and Sequence for Kids that we’ve already played 4 times with Jack. I generally hate shopping for any clothes except skirts, but I was on a roll today!

I want to see the kid…J just said this about the neighbor Max went out to see.

That evening Jack and I walked our trash out to the dumpsters, and then I let him play on the playground a little bit. Our neighbors came by (Dave and Robin) and I talked and talked to them. I think we’re striking up quite the friendship. I hope so, but after tonight….not so sure. After we’d been talking a good while I turned around to check on Jack and saw him pulling his britches up!!!!!!!!!! Oh no!!!! I’m still not sure what bodily functions he actually accomplished, but we made a bee-line home. I went back later with a flashlight and found no evidence. Life is rarely dull with Jack!

28 Dec Wednesday
Laura texted me to see if I wanted to go to a park and of course I said yes. When I glanced at the website it looked like a hiking park. I fixed sandwiches and snacks and we piled into the truck. It was a play park and the boys had a blast. I did too. It’s so much fun catching up with her! It’s so hard to believe we built up such a deep and lasting friendship in under two years.

After staying there a couple of hours she invited me to her house, and since Jack (and Max) have said a few times that they can’t wait to go back to her house I said yes. We only stayed an hour since she had people coming over later.

When we came home we went straight to the bathroom and then changed to go to the pool. I mentioned we were going to our neighbors and they came a little later. The water is heated, but was still a little cold. That made no difference to the boys, they swam till it was dark! I had so much fun chatting with Robin while they swam. Jack got out of the pool twice to go to the bathroom; I’m grateful last night’s playground incident was a one-time-thing (keeping my fingers crossed!!).

29 Dec Thursday
Robin and Dave came over to see the washer/dryer…they’re considering one. They stayed for a good while and we talked about lots of different things. Max and Sam played on M’s computer up in his ‘bedquarters’. I’m so thankful for such good neighbors. I’d been hoping for some friendships on this bus trip, but it just hadn’t happened.

1 Jan Sunday
J slept with me last night. I tried to wake him up before my shower and this is what he said:
Color them yellow.
Color the blue ball.
Push the ironing board.

Went to church with Laura at the movie theater. I told the girl as I was leaving the boys that Jack had DS but it was OK if they were broken up into different small groups…and Max said, “He’ll stay with me.” He really takes care of Jack…despite how much he torments him!