May 2017

25 May Thursday

Today we went to the discovery museum, and I really think it was the best discovery museum I’ve ever been to! Usually half or a third of the experiments don’t work, but I only remember 1 or 2 here being out of order, and they had signs announcing that they were out of order.

When we pulled up we saw 3 school busses!!!! Why aren’t these kids in school?! I was trying to plan all the really public attractions for before school finished for the year, but my plan backfired! Fortunately after we’d been there an hour or so all the kids left, and then it was so dead! We were one of only about 5 total families after that. Fun!

When I went to pay I was told I got in free since I was Jack’s helper. Nice. And we could get the military discount. But then two different women had trouble getting the computer to comply, so they finally just let me in for the price of 1 kid! Woot!

The first, and maybe the best part of the museum was the bubble bar. I could’ve played with that forever! There was a wooden bar rigged up to a pulley system that when raised made a sheet of bubble film you could blow on. I think the bubble itself was about 3′ square! It was so awesome. I also liked the smoke track they had to test aerodynamics, the big spring that helped you understand frequencies, the sand-vibrating thing that looked like quicksand, the pendulum with the pen attached so you made spirograph drawings, the pvc tubing that Jack played with a lot…and the list goes on and on!

We stayed there till about 3pm, and then headed to lunch. I found Uncle Guiseppies Diner that looked good; and it was. I bought a 12″ and a 6″ sandwich; one had balsamic vinegar and a variety of meats and cheeses on it, and the other had smoked Gouda, honey mustard, etc. The first was the best. I also bought some pepperoni and pasta to take home. After eating our sandwiches I bought us 2 cannoli for dessert. I’m sure I’ll make a lot of Italians angry for this, but they’re just not my thing. I think it’s like eating whipped cream…it’s kinda bland. The cream inside the ‘cookie’ wasn’t sweet enough for my taste. Ah, well, you can’t win them all!

There was a Burger King in the same parking lot that had a pretty big play place. I figured Jack was about ready for some running around, that kid loves his play places! We stayed there for a while and then went to 3 thrift stores and bought Jack a sports jacket and Upwards shirt, me a lounge chair and 2 pair of shoes, Max jeans, church pants, and a LS button up shirt. What a haul!

26 May Friday

Today we stayed home all day. I think I’ll always be a homebody. I love staying home!

Before bed Max mixed up the dough for a pan pizza.

Max has been complaining that his throat hurts, but it looks normal to me. Also Jack has red spots all over his back and chest. They’re not bright enough for me to even attempt to take a picture, but they’re there.

27 May Saturday

We were going to stay home all day, but Max is itching to complete his Odd Squad outfit and still needs a white button up and a red tie, so we went thrifting again. I bought a few books and another cooler bag, but Max didn’t get to buy anything. He saw a cool extender/grabber arm that he really wanted though.

When we got home Max put the pizza together. I had him preheat the oven on a lower temp because we’re on our last third of propane still. He got it all ready and put it in and I set the timer. It’s been so long since I cooked a deep dish that I couldn’t remember how accurate my timing was in the recipe. After more than 40 minutes, though, I knew something was wrong! I’d forgotten to raise the temp! Doh! Fortunately the pizza cooked just fine and tasted great! The bus was fairly warm after that. I think tomorrow we’re going to have to run the a/c. I didn’t do it this time, but when I made cookies a week or so ago I kept an eye on the inside temperature and was surprised to see that it only went up by 2 degrees even though the oven was on for at least an hour. That was with all the doors and windows open. Wonder how much the temp changes with the a/c on?

28 May Sunday

We went to church and all sat together for the first service. Of course then the guy said the sermon was PG-13!! I decided to chance it since Max and I have read the whole KJV through once…that’s an education I tell you! The sermon talked about the time that Judah (I think) was under siege and two women connived to eat their children because they were starving. Yeah, not a topic every kid is ready to hear, but it was a good sermon.

After first service and a doughnut break I walked the boys over to their building and was anticipating my dual thrift store shopping trip! When I got to Jack’s class, though, there were no teachers. I waited for a bit and talked to a pretty snotty kid who was also waiting. He was pretty incensed that Jack was playing with a stuffed animal he found and didn’t like the fact that he was getting his germs all over it. He said NO ONE in that class played with stuffed animals anymore. I told him no one but Jack! And then I prayed for kindness. The teacher came in and I told her about Jack. She said she was the only teacher there that hour, but she didn’t expect any more kids than the two that were there because it was Memorial weekend. Great. About 15 minutes later there were a total of 12 kids!!! Guess shopping’s out! We helped the kids make a marble maze by glueing straws down to cardstock. After a bit it was time for group time so we lined the kids up and walked them upstairs. It was funny how much like G-lab that classroom was! I enjoyed the songs and the little lesson on Revelation that was given. After a few more things the kids trooped back downstairs for more memory verse work and to wait for their parents.

Since I worked I felt like a little treat, and I still have a hankering for fried chicken. I quickly looked up a place that Yelp said was open and we headed there. I called Tj on the way cause he’d just landed in Memphis. He said he’s coming home tonight!!! Awesome!

Then we pulled into the restaurant and it was closed! Bummer. We headed back home to the beans and rice I had planned, and I figured we might go out to eat for supper.

The white beans I thawed on the counter during church turned out to be white bean soup. Doh! Guess that rice will just go into the freezer now.

After lunch we all took a nap. I can tell the boys are tired…it’s light here until 9:30 or 10pm and I feel bad sending the boys to bed with it so light, but I need to change that. The boys slept well, but I slept in between them so that Max would actually go to sleep, so I slept poorly. When I awoke I realized that Max’s snotty sounding nose wasn’t just allergies like I’ve been thinking…I think he has a cold, and I’m pretty sure I have it now, and of course TJ’s coming home now and will probably get it!!

After napping we headed out to pick up Tj, and then found a BBQ place that was pretty good. The ribs were fine, but the pulled pork and brisket had a really smoky flavor. Tj spied a Cold Stone Creamery in the same strip mall so we headed there next. Then we went to the grocery store for hamburger stuff for tomorrow.

29 May Monday

Today we changed the oil in the bus! I’d never done that before, but Tj made it happen. He’d watched YouTube videos and had ordered everything we needed. I was just the extra set of hands, and the nagger that tried to keep most of the oil off the concrete. It took us a lot longer than the guy on the video needed, but I’m sure the next time will go faster. With less oil on our hands/clothes/etc.

After that we had a lunch of cheese and crackers, and then the boys watched a movie while Tj and I relaxed a bit.

Then we sent the boys outside to play and Tj made cheese stuffed burgers. I cooked bacon (to a crisp, sadly, though it was still pretty good), and then toasted the buns in butter and that bacon grease. Yum. We watched Lost while we ate. We also thawed and ate some of the Dream Pie filling I made back in February, I think.

30 May Tuesday

Jack and I took Tj to the airport this morning at 6am. I haven’t been up at this time in months!

After lounging a bit, and dozing, and Jack doing Gemiini and playing on the ipad a while, we finally got moving about 10:30am. While the boys ate breakfast I planned our day.

First we went to Town Square Mall, because Max really likes going to malls. Though he hardly has any money to spend. But he just came up with a plan that maybe he should just blow 2 of his dollars every month. I talked to Tj about it and we decided blowing $5 every month was more reasonable. He ended up not buying anything at the mall, and I used our $10 Starbucks gift card from Nicole to buy a fruit tea that Max wanted, a slice of lemon bread, a cookies and cream cake pop and a cherry oatmeal bar. We ate some of our snack, and then Jack played at the little playground in the Mall for a bit.

We left there around 3pm and headed to the Post office to pick up Tj’s new watch battery. Then we went to the nearby Freak Alley Gallery which Max also picked out as something he wanted to see here in Boise. After that was lunch at Off Broadway Deli, where we’d tried to go Sunday. I told her that Yelp listed them as open on Sundays and she said she knew but didn’t know why they said that. I bought 2 fried wings, 2 legs, a breast, 1/2 lb of french fries, 2 small drinks and a medium drink for me and it came to $14!! I was so surprised…that’s a great price! And the chicken was awesome! Nice and salty. The fries were really good too.

Afterwards we went to Home Depot to get some stuff to hopefully clean up the oil off the concrete under the bus. Then we went to Fred Meyer for groceries. I shopped as quickly as I could so Max could get back in time to watch Odd Squad.

After Odd Squad I sent the boys to the playground and I read my phone outside in my new chair. They played for half an hour or so, but then Max said it was so hot (it got to 94 today), so they came and played on the vacant pad next to us. They filled up buckets of water and squirted each other and the sidewalk. After a bit Max says to Jack do you want to see some magic? Jack says yes. Max says close your eyes and count to 20. Then Max pours a bucket of water on Jack. Jack continues counting…after he catches his breath from that ice cold water!

19 May Friday

We were having a good lazy morning…after Max and I read our Bibles I had him go get his book and read with me while Jack played tangrams on the ipad. When we finished and Max started picking on Jack I sent them outside to play on the playground. I think that’s gonna be my modus operandi these days…annoy me = you must need to burn off some energy = go outside while I read more or get stuff done. Today I put soup on and took a shower and then called the boys back. We ate and got ready and left.

Our first stop was to the Post Office to get all our mail. I don’t know the last time we got actual mail! There were a few graduation announcements…hopefully we’re not too late on those…or any of the bills that also came in.

Next we went to a Little Free Library, that was so cool! It looks like a woman made the front porch/sunroom of their home into a sharing library. There was a small rolling cart of books out front, but then inside were many more books, a desk and chair, a couch/coffee table, chair, and a teepee with a cushion on the floor for little kids to play in. Max found a book to trade right away, and sat down and read the whole thing! I only planned on trading 2 books, but found so many good ones I had to go back out to the truck to get the rest of the books I’d been reserving. We stayed there 20 minutes or half an hour while Max read his book. Jack played on the office chair almost the whole time. The lady was leaving as we arrived and just said for us to leave the door closed but not locked when we left. It look like she locked the inner door to her house and we were just in the front room. I think we’ll be coming back here several more times before we leave this camp site.

Our next stop was supposed to be the Salvation Army, but I saw a fruit stand with cherries on the way. We stopped there and I bought $26 worth of cherries, cucumbers, apples, plums, peaches, avocados, and a watermelon. The Salvation Army wasn’t very far down the road, so we went there next. I don’t think we bought anything there, though I was tempted by some hammocks.

After that we went to Walmart. I finally made a meal plan and a grocery list last night, so I did a full-on grocery shopping, minus all the produce I’d gotten at the produce stand. We headed home after that, and I sent the boys out to play while I made pizza dough. I’d called them in and had eaten half of a piece of pizza when we saw a family with three boys walk by. When we saw them going to the playground I told the boys to stop eating and go out and play. I finished up my piece of pizza and went out to talk to their mom. We had a nice visit while the boys played and when they were finished it was time to finish supper, take showers and go to bed. They’re living in a trailer while their house gets built, so they’ll be here as long as we are. Unfortunately those were her step-kids, so they’re only here every other weekend. Oh well.

20 May Saturday

I saw last night that Idaho’s largest garage sale is today, so that’s what we’re going to do. TJ called this morning talking about our route after this stop. It’s hard to figure out what to do, we don’t want to be where the heat is excessive, but we do want to see all the sites, and still get back to Arkansas by the end of October. Also TJ’s class reunion is the end of September, that’s what really throws a kink in our plans. We could go to Colorado right now when it’s on our way, but then we’d have to make another pass back through to hit his reunion.

So we didn’t head out as early as I wanted to, but we still had a good time visiting with TJ. The boys got to chat with him through Hangouts on my computer. We probably got to the garage sale at 11 o’clock. I put my usual amount of sunscreen on, but thought that the whole thing was inside so I didn’t put any sunscreen on the boys. When I saw that it was all outside booths I was thankful I had spray sunblock in the truck, so I sprayed them both down pretty good. We paid to get in and for the first half an hour I thought I had just wasted my money. Then we saw big bouncy castles at the back, probably seven or eight of them. Max went and asked and we didn’t have to pay extra to go do those so at the end of the first row of booths we took a break and let the boys jump. We went up another aisle and then we were pretty thirsty, the sun was blazing today! Of course I left all the water bottles out in the truck. Somebody was selling cold water for a dollar a bottle so we bought one and split it.

This morning on our way out I realized Max’s pants were about an inch above his ankle bones! How did I miss that? Fortunately I found 2 pair of sports pants with the tags on for $3 each! I also found an LSU shirt for Jack; Geaux Tigers! This made me feel a whole lot better about paying $11 for us to get in here. We walked a little bit more and then headed back over to the bouncy castles. After the boys had jumped for about half an hour or so we went to the food area and got a raspberry lemonade and some curly fries. I thought Max would be ready to go but he wanted to walk a few more aisles so we did that. We found a magnetic marble tower set for $4, so all in all we had an awesome day.

On our drive back home Max asked if we could have a water balloon fight with the kids next door. I didn’t think the base would approve of that so I called TJ, and he said as long as we picked up all of the balloon parts we should be fine. We stopped in at Walmart and bought a package of water balloons and some water shooters for all the kids. When we got home Max ran over and told the boys what we were doing and they said they wanted to go. I made my boys a snack of walnuts and cheese, Max’s latest favorite, and then we headed out. I unhooked the bus water hose at the base connection and filled up the water balloons and three buckets of water. We hauled it over to the playground and the boys had a really good time. Not long after they finished up and right about the time everybody started freezing there were a few scattered raindrops. It really cooled off from how blazing hot it was this morning. We headed back in, I rinsed off all the buckets and hooked the water back up. During that time the national anthem played; I’m so glad that it didn’t actually rain during that, it was only a sprinkle still. We went inside and the boys had leftover pizza and a slice of spam for supper, I had bruschetta with the awesome tomato from the roadside stand yesterday. I was so tired from walking around for 4 hours at the garage sale, so while I was making supper I turned on The Rocketeer for the boys to watch, and they continued watching it after supper and while building the marble tower.

21 May Sunday​

I found a different church for us to visit today…Bridgepoint church. This looks like it has more activities for Max’s age kids, and it has a Wednesday night service too, so we headed there this morning.

The service was good, but there was just one service that repeated second hour. I think we’ll do this again next week, though, because both boys could benefit from sitting in a grown-up service.

I didn’t know that then so I dropped Jack off at his classroom and Max and I attended service. The song part was so awesome! Then I picked Jack up and we hung out for about half an hour. There were doughnuts and coffee to be had, so the boys had them. I talked to Adam there and he suggested a few places to see around town, and we had a nice chat. Then I brought both boys back to their classes and I headed down the road to see what there was to see. I found a thrift store not even a mile down the road, jackpot! And in there I bought the cutest basked I’d seen before at Fred Meyer for about $25, but here I paid $3!! Woot!

After church we lunched at home and then napped. At some point today I realized I didn’t get any black sand from False Klamath!! That would’ve been awesome to have. Oh well, maybe we’ll see another black sand beach before our travels are over.

Before we went to bed Max and I sat down to organize our time here. He’s been ‘bored’ lately, and I should make the most of our time here. I planned out several days of activities and a few free days for us.

Twice now Jack has asked me to go outside “my feet”…barefoot.

22 May Monday

Today we planned to go to Esther Simplot Park. After we had a nice, slow morning I mentioned that to Max and he groaned. Staying home it is! We have a big day planned tomorrow, so dropping this isn’t so bad.

In the afternoon I made cookies and we brought some to each of our neighbors.

I ripped out most of my basket tonight…it was starting to buckle more and more. I re-read the pattern and saw my mistake, so here goes the second try.

23 May Tuesday

One of the places Adam recommended was Wahooz. Max mentioned that he wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese, and Adam said this was a similar type place…but it was much better! We got there around 11:30 and left around 7:30!

They were having $15 Tuesday which bought us a selection of rides/games, and we added on the bumper boats and go karts for another $5 each. We ended up doing everything we could except for putt putt. We would’ve done that too but Jack kept asking for the ball room, so I towards the end of our day I bought that just for him.

We started out playing the arcade games. We played laser tag twice…I started out thinking Jack would stay by my side in there but he headed off on his own and was fine. We rode a twister ride, and Jack rode the frog hopper that goes up and down up and down. We rode go karts, and the amount of time we got to drive was pretty long. Jack seemed to really like those this time. We had nacho fries and a BLTA croissant for lunch. After all that Max went to do his own thing and Jack and I went to the ball room, and that’s where the real excitement started.

Jack and I had been in the ball room close to two hours. For most of that time there were only 1 or 2 other kids there. For the last 45 minutes or so the worker there played tag and hide and seek with Jack. Once during that time a kid on the second floor shot me several times with the foam ball guns they have, but when I walked out into the atrium area and told him I wasn’t playing and to please not shoot at me he quit. I still had the occasional ball hit me, which is par for the course in a small ball area with foam ball guns, so no big deal. About this time people were getting off of work and a new crowd of kids/parents were coming in. Another girl, older, and perhaps with special needs, started shooting at me. Her mom was standing right next to her watching her. I asked her from my seat to stop, and when she shot me another couple of times I walked towards her (but she was on the second floor, I was on the first still) and told her I wasn’t playing and to please stop shooting me. Before I could finish my sentence the mom yelled at me to never yell at her kid. I said I asked her not to shoot at me, and the mom yelled over me again. I said I kindly asked her not to shoot at me and again…the same thing. We repeated this another 2 times and then the worker came and asked if there was a problem. Of course we both tried to tell our side of the story, and again the woman yelled over me. She was still yelling from the second floor, but the worker was standing next to me so I told her that woman won’t shut up and let me complete a sentence, but I was asking her kid not to shoot at me. The worker apologized and asked if I could sit in one of the other spots which were harder to reach with the guns. I said she had no need to apologize and of course I’d move. I’d been sitting in the more comfortable of the spots the whole time, but I moved by the door into a single chair. After a bit I think the worker asked the mom to leave because she hadn’t bought a ticket for herself but she was playing (I heard her say to the worker so you’re gonna bring this bag of foam balls up to my daughter?). As the mom left the room and passed right by me she gave me a dirty look, and I just looked at her and smiled. It may have been more of a smirk, now that I think about it. :-) I was still so amazed at how childish she’d been yelling over me that whole time. Anyway, she left. And she came right back in after 2 seconds and said I see you looking at me! (I didn’t look at her after she left the room, just as she was walking out.) She continued don’t you give me that look and on and on and on. Oh my gosh! What craziness! She kept on for a few more sentences while I kept my mouth shut, then she left. After about a minute 2 workers (managers?) came by and apologized to me, I told them they had nothing to apologize for, and I don’t know if they were going to say something else or ask me questions because irate mom was back! She yelled at them that I had yelled at her kid and how wrong that was and were they not gonna do anything about it???!!! Why didn’t they just put up a sign that said it’s ok to yell at people’s kids if they weren’t going to do anything??!! She’s a lawyer and she’s gonna sue the whole place if they don’t do something!!! If looks could kill she would be a dead woman right now!!!! Were they not doing anything because they were prejudiced? (I don’t know what reason they had to be prejudiced, everyone there in this debacle was white.) She yelled and yelled! I was just sitting in my chair, smirking, looking down at my phone and reading. The two managers and the worker were standing close enough to me that I could touch them, at this point they had their backs to me and were talking to the irate mom; they were essentially shielding me, thankfully. Then the husband walked in. I made eye contact with him and was trying to decide the best way to handle this, but quickly realized that I just needed to keep my mouth shut and eyes down, so that’s what I did. I thought at first he was trying to calm his wife down, but that wasn’t the case. After a few more minutes of yelling/discussion the two managers asked the wife to leave so the husband stayed with their kid and I didn’t move…I tried to be invisible. This lasted probably another hour or so. I had an alarm set to take Jack to the bathroom that rings every hour so I’m somewhat close on the times. Jack played, I read my phone, the other kid and dad played and had the time of their lives. About this time I saw a ball bounce right at my feet. I’ve been sitting here for an hour and no balls have come in like this, and then a second one comes in. Huh. I look up slowly and see the dad telling the girl to stand about 2 feet away from me between him and me and he’s innocently throwing balls at her and hitting her with them. Yeah. I watched him throw about 5 at her while I tried to decide what the best course of action was. Then irate mom stuck her head in and asked the girl what kind of slushie she wanted, and told her to get her shoes on…so now it’s just the dad and me. He threw his last 2 balls at me. OMG. What a crazy family. I didn’t say a word, just watched him with a slight smile on my face while he did it. They all three left. Then the worker (who had replaced the friendly worker who was here when it happened) came over and asked if that was the man who had been upset? When I said yes he said that management had asked that he let them know when the man left. And that was that! Man, when irate wife was yelling and the two managers were between her and me my heart was pounding! I don’t believe I did anything wrong, except I should have just shut up after asking her daughter to not hit me the 2nd time. But now I definitely wasn’t going out to the parking lot without security if I saw them hanging around when I was ready to go! I think they might be the kind of people to pull out a gun because of the ‘look’ I gave her. I’m glad we’re staying on base!

I waited at least another 30 minutes to make sure I didn’t see those people again, then got Jack and found Max and said it was time to go. Max said he wanted to ride the bumper boats so we made that our last ride. What a day!

24 May Wednesday

I was so glad I’d planned nothing for today, and then I remembered that Max has church tonight. Ah, well. We lazed around this morning till some dude came and knocked on my door! He’s a friend of someone here in the rv park and he and his wife have a kiddo with DS, so he came to ask me questions about retiring and paperwork we had to fill out about Jack during Tj’s retirement. We talked for a good 10-15 minutes, as we parents of kids with DS tend to do.

The boys played outside a while while I got some filing done, but Max complained of the wind when they came back in…it is certainly super windy today! I can feel it rocking the camper sometimes.

I fed the boys supper, and then while checking Max in at church the guy told us supper was provided. Heh. I was excited to go to another thrift store near the church while Max was in class, but all the thrift stores there close at 6pm! Boo! We drove down the street and saw a Whole Foods so Jack and I tooled around there for about an hour. Next we went to a produce stand, and lastly we killed time at Shopko. Then we headed back to the church to pick up Max, and I learned how to play a DVD in my truck while we waited.

5 May Friday

It rained during the night and some rain came in through our open bedroom windows…no biggie. It’s a super dreary day…and then Tj threw his back out taking the sewer apart! I really thought we probably should extend here a day because of his back…the campground was pretty empty and we are hooked up to sewer…but Tj thought if Max and I did most of the work he could make it. So we did, and he did. I wonder how much of his eagerness to leave came from the ice maker waiting for us!

We made it to the Wal Mart in OR that had the ice maker and Tj decided to stay in the bus while I got it. His back isn’t great, but it’s ok. He came in after a bit to use the bathroom since we’ll be monitoring our usage at the park. It’s freezing here! I had on a couple of shirts and my big jacket, and this lady came walking out of Wal Mart with short sleeves and capris on. Heh, I’m a wuss!

We got to the state park fine, and there wasn’t much to hook up without sewer! It’s a 30 amp place so we’ll also have to keep an eye on our electricity. There’s a playground pretty close so we sent the boys to play while we set up. After we set up we drove around to the entrance and bought some firewood. The camp host was such a cute little lady! She was full of smiles with a cute silver haircut. We called the boys back and fed them leftover pizza while Tj and I had boiled shrimp. Then we had smores!! Now all our clothes smell like smoke, not to mention we smell like it, and we’re trying to use as little water as possible. Camping!

Jack was so tired after all that that I took him in and got him ready for bed. I laid down with him so he’d actually go to sleep, but that was about 9pm. We’ll try to get him in bed earlier tomorrow night.

6 May Saturday

Tj’s back is so much worse this morning! He says he should move around, but I’d always been taught ice/heat/rest. We were trying to decide if we were doing anything today or just letting him stay home. After an hour or two he felt better so we packed up and headed out to Crater Lake. The other reason we hesitated was there’s still so much snow at CL we weren’t sure we’d even get to see it. Boy am I glad we went!! It was beautiful!! It took us about an hour to get to the visitors center, and Jack’s pass got us in for free. The snow bank there was probably 20′! A little further down we all got out and climbed up to the rim, and it was gorgeous! I am constantly amazed that this is our life. We are so blessed to be able to see God’s beauty. We took a lot of photos and played in the snow. Jack pet every dog he came across, as usual. Max and I walked up the snow bank that covered the roof of a building! It was beautiful, but towards the end I got tired of randomly sinking up to one knee or the other.

When we were all freezing we headed to the gift shop. I found a few cute earrings and a tiny spice bowl I’d been keeping my eye out for, but in the end I settled on a pair of salad claws. I don’t want to buy a lot of things at any one place…I want to remember each place I get a souvenir.

We headed back to the bus and stopped at the one roadside place to eat on the way. Becki’s Cafe. We had the appetizer that was an assortment of fried things with the best ranch dressing I’ve ever had. Then Jack and I split a burger, Tj had a burger and Max had a patty melt. He was disappointed at the amount of smothered onions, but Tj said that’s how patty melts are supposed to be. After our meal Tj and the boys got chocolate pie, and I got blackberry pie with ice cream. I actually added sugar to my pie. I’m not proud of it, but it sure did taste better then.

We headed past the park to buy some cherries I’d seen on the way in yesterday, but the roadside stand was closed. Poo. We stopped at the Dollar General to buy Max some sunglasses, and he is styling now!

At the entrance of our park section we bought another batch of firewood. We sent the boys off to play while we rested and Tj iced his back again. Because our lunch was so big and so late the boys just had 2 smores for supper and I had some chocolate. I brought Jack in at 7:30 to get him started on bed and to clean up the pig sty that our place becomes when we spend most of our time outside. I got him into bed at 8 and laid down with him, and the bum wouldn’t go to sleep! I guess we’ll try 8pm to get into bed at 8:30 tomorrow night. I think all of us are doing fine, but Jack is once again balking at even the simple things we tell him to do. There may just be no getting over this for him. It is a stressful life, despite how wonderful it is.

7 May Sunday

Tj slept poorly, but woke up feeling much better than he did yesterday morning. I think he’s truly on the mend. He did most everything himself like he usually does, but I hovered a bit to make sure I’m around if he needs me. Now we’re heading to Coos Bay Or and are almost there. One more hour to go. We are in some beautiful country. I don’t know what it is but there’s almost nothing more beautiful than a big river at the foot of a tree covered mountain.

When we gassed up this morning we realized in OR you don’t pump your own gas. It’s so strange to stand around watching this girl much younger than us ask us if we want our receipt, then watch her punch the button, and wait for it to print and hand it to us.

We came across an accident that just happened. After a few minutes a guy got out to direct traffic, which was nice. If he hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have been able to get around it without me getting out to direct. It seemed like someone got t-boned at the 3-way intersection. It’s always so sad to see someone at such a hard time in their life.

We got to the campground and it was completely cramped. We didn’t have any trouble fitting the bus, but every campsite was thoroughly surrounded by bushes. It was great, but after Jack had been playing outside for a bit I realized there were lots of 3-leaved bushes!! I’m so paranoid about any of us getting poison ivy, but especially Jack…he’ll smear that everywhere and share it with all of us no matter how hard I try to contain it.

We set up partially, started a load of clothes (gotta wash all those smoky clothes), and headed to Face Rock Creamery. We’re on our own cheese tour through CA, OR and WA. We tasted a lot, and bought a lot, and also had some ice cream there. We saw several weed stores on the way! It surprised me to see them just blatently out there…obviously weed is legal in this state.

On our way back to the bus all the shops I wanted to visit were closed since this is Sunday, so we stopped at the Dollar Tree just to tool around a bit. I gave the boys $2 each just for fun. Max bought 2 bags of Smarties, and Jack bought a spinning toy and some peanut M&M’s. A little farther down the road we saw two women pushing a car so we stopped to help. Tj tried to pop the clutch to get the car started again, but it was no use. Poor people. Car trouble is such a pain!

I dropped the boys off at the beach and headed back to the bus to change out the wash. We’re on 30 amps again, and the washer uses 11 so we can do wash no problem, but we just need to be aware. I unpacked the bus and then picked up the boys again. Jack went immediately into the shower, Max vacuumed the bus, Tj set up the computer and I set out our variety of cheeses for supper. We watched What’s in the Bible while we ate.

8 May Monday

When we went to bed last night I checked the dehumidifier. There was only about a third of the tank full, so I thought we were good for overnight. I was really surprised around 7:30 this morning when it beeped that it was full! I realize now that I still have it on continuous run, but that might have been for the best. I hung our wet clothes in the living room to dry…Tj was slightly leery of running the computer and the dryer at the same time.

When we got to our new digs we decided to take it easy for the rest of the day, we’re still trying to get TJ’s back to normal. He’s doing most of the things, but I don’t want him to pick up the electrical cord cause that sucker weighs a ton! We parked the bus and set up a bit. After a while Max and I went to the really big convenience/gift store at the park’s entrance, and TJ and Jack went to the playground. They’re always lots of fun things in gift stores, but this time I limited my purchases to a selection of salt water taffy. Max and I walked back to the playground and we each tried out the flavors and decided which ones we liked best. After we were finished there we changed into our swimsuits and went to the pool. Nobody else was there the entire time we were in there until about the final five minutes. It was lovely! The hot tub was at about a hundred and one degrees, a little lower than we generally like it, but still very good.

I made bruschetta for supper, that stuff is just the best! Max wanted buffalo chicken pizza for supper, but I didn’t want to have to saute chicken and all of that just for the two of them. I compromised by cutting french bread slices and buttering them, I put provolone and an Italian cheese mix on top and broiled them. Then I put buffalo chicken sauce and ranch dressing on top. Max totally approved. Win one for Mom!

9 May Tuesday

We were super lazy this morning. It was lovely. We finally got out of bed, I got the boys ready and we all headed across the street from our campground to BJ’s to try some seafood. There aren’t really that many seafood restaurants around here, but since we’re on the coast we had to get something from the sea! I had a Baja bowl and TJ had a mahi-mahi bowl. I loved the fish, but there were so many other ingredients that it kind of got lost. There were black beans and rice as a base, with shredded cabbage and pineapple on top of our choice of fish. We added a good bit of their sauces from the three options at the salsa bar they had. I could see trying to copy cat this a bit. The pineapple was really an interesting taste in there.

Before we got to the Tillamook Cheese Factory we saw a big Air Museum on the right. TJ said oh yeah that was on my list of places to stop, so we stopped. It was just a huge blimp hangar with a few old airplanes and other artifacts inside. On the side of one of the walls was a painting depicting how big the Hindenburg was versus other well-known blimps; amazing! There was a video playing about the Hindenburg and some people were interviewed that were there the day it crashed. I forgot that it was so close to the beginning of the war. And I also forgot how many people survived that crash.

Driving here yesterday and a lot today I noticed several quilt patches on the sides of barns and houses and buildings in the area. They’re so pretty. I didn’t stop to take any photos because the photos in a moving vehicle are never any good. Really none of our photos capture the true beauty that we get to see everyday, but some I take just as a reminder of where we are and what we’ve seen. The country here is so beautiful, lots of trees, mountainsides, rivers and lakes. This is a beautiful part of the country.

We finally headed to Tillamook, and saw another creamery on the way that we considered stopping at. Tillamook Creamery is undergoing an overhaul so we didn’t get to tour the factory. But it must be a big deal around here because they had a small display setup with fake cows and lots of information about why do cows get antibiotics and the cycle of a milking cow, getting pregnant, giving birth, and beginning to milk again. There were cheeses to taste, but not very many. I’ve confirmed again and again, I do like Swiss on some sandwiches like a Reuben, but I never want to eat just a piece of Swiss by itself. We bought several kinds of cheese, some salt water taffy and some beef jerky sticks. Then we moved on to the important stuff, the ice cream! We all got a scoop and I had mine in a waffle bowl. I love those things! It all tasted super great, but we had already seen a few stops we wanted to make on the way back home so we didn’t buy any ice cream to bring to the bus.

I had seen a Goodwill on the way and suggested to TJ that he take the boys to the McDonald’s playground we had also seen on the way while I shopped at Goodwill, but he was having none of it. We all went to Goodwill and I filled a buggy with sweaters and shoes. I ended up only buying one sweater, but TJ found Jack an R2D2 shirt, and Max got a skateboard. We left there and went to the McDonald’s playground. Jack is always so excited to see those, he jumps around in his seat and exclaims thank you Mama! a thousand times between the time we see it and the time we actually park. The boys played there for 20 to 30 minutes, and then we headed on down the road.

Traveling around it’s hard to tell what’s a new trend in grocery stores and what’s just different in a different area. The Fred Meyer that we went to to buy groceries was huge! It was like a super Walmart, only I think it’s a little bit bigger. The RV section had things there that I hadn’t seen anywhere except in a RV store.

We filled up the truck with gas. We were on the hunt for a good gas station for the bus, and this one would be a 10 minute drive out of our way. It’s a good backup though if we don’t find anything else.

We had seen a pretty little beach close to where we’re staying now, so we stopped there. We wanted to get back to the campground in time for the boys to go swimming, but we could tell we had already passed that point. At least we would still make it for the adult swim time which was 9 to 10 p.m. We walked around the beach and it was beautiful. I was a little nervous to drive out on the beach because I’ve never done that, but TJ said just don’t gun it, keep a steady rate of speed. When we got ready to go Max was still out on the beach so I drove out to pick him up. We got back to the bus and sent the boys off to the playground while I put up all of the groceries and TJ started planning our route out for tomorrow. We called the boys home and quickly fed them another meal of mock buffalo chicken pizza. TJ and I quickly got dressed and headed out to the swim time about 9:15. Imagine our surprise when it was closed! We should have read the notice more carefully, adult swim time is 9 to 10 a.m.! Boo!

Other things about this place: we saw several large deer feeding right on the side of the road, only about 5′ from our truck. There are lots of rabbits at this campground. They basically have the run of the place which is cool. But there’s a lot of holes in the ground as well. This campground was great except for the fact that after the first night the water pressure was about half of what it had been at first. Also, on our drive out to Tillamook we saw a chicken farm…lots of free range chickens!

10 May Wednesday

We saw more rabbits today. Most of them were black but some were spotted. You can walk very close to them, probably about 2 feet away before they run. It’s a nice place, we walked across the street to the restaurant and that distance again would have brought us to the water.

The boys went off to the playground to play while TJ and I got the bus ready and hooked it up to the truck. On the drive today we saw guys flying with whatever contraption has a skate board on the bottom and a kite on top. You’d think I’d get better at identifying the several types of contraptions that allow people to fly through the air without a plane…we sure have seen lots of them on the Pacific Coast.

When we got close to the campground we’re staying tonight I started looking it up on the phone but couldn’t see any campers on Google satellite view. I like this campground a lot, but of course we only stayed overnight. All the campers are parked parallel to the street with just a little pull off at each spot. There are lots of trees, and also lots of open space. After we pulled through the check-in area and Tj did not hit the woman’s fence (but the woman laughed and told TJ she thought he was going to hit her fence, and he was just a few inches away from it) we stopped at the playground and dropped the boys off while we went on to the campsite and setup. We found out that the ice maker needs to be still for two hours for the freon? to settle before it can make ice cubes. We called the boys back, had them wash their hands and faces, and headed off to a Mediterranean place I found. We made sure to go far inland and eat supper in Washington so that we could put another sticker on our map. Al-Basha Kabab had good food, but of course not the kind of shawarma salad I was hoping for. Their fries were covered in taziki sauce and sprinkled with feta. Yum! The boys got beef kabob on top of fries, with more feta. After supper we went to a little store and bought me a piece of chocolate, then headed back home. The land here is beautiful. Oregon was filled with trees and mountains and craggy drop offs, but just across the river/state line it’s just pretty rolling hills and basically no trees. The highway signs are funny, they’re silhouettes of George Washington’s head with the number inside the silhouette.

11 May Thursday

Tj’s back has flared up again so I’m trying to take it easy on him. Hopefully with us stopping now for the next 3 weeks it’ll have a chance to completely recover.

On our drive we were talking as we occasionally do about telling acquaintances that Jack has Down Syndrome. I don’t like to beat around the bush, I just say Down Syndrome. I told Tj, but then you run the risk of some (idiots) asking how Down’s is he? Without thinking about it at all it just popped out of my mouth that from now on I should answer he’s about this far down (and accompany this with a hand motion depicting his height). Heh. I still laugh every time I think about that. For the record there’s no amount of Down’s that a person is. You either have Down Syndrome or you don’t. Some people with Down Syndrome are more independent than others, but you can’t know how far your child will advance until they get older. You just have to push your child to be as independent as they are able. Kind of like with any other kid, honestly. And I really don’t mind questions of that sort, though I realize even stating the above makes it seem like I do. Because Jack takes up such a big part of my life, and obviously because he’s my son, I love him so much and I always want to talk about him. I find Down Syndrome a pretty fascinating subject and enjoy talking with others about the similarities and differences between him and his brother/other kids.

We passed a sign marking the 45th parallel, the
circle of latitude that is the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. Cool.

12 May Friday

We stayed in bed a good while, then got up to run some errands. Our first stop was to get the general delivery address so we can get mail! Finally! It’s been since Tucson that we’ve had the ability to have stuff shipped to us. Next we went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate Max’s good grades this year. Then we spent a good amount of time at Camping World buying all the things (shower knob, windshield cleaner, sun shade for the bus), and then went out with a salesman to check out some new busses.

Then it was time to drop me off at the hotel!!! Tj surprised me with an overnight and a spa day! How lovely. We got to the hotel around 3:45. I parked in the garage and walked to the hotel…but the entrance wasn’t easy to find. First I went to the elevator that was labeled hotel entrance, but you had to have a room key to use it. So I took the stairs down to the outside, and proceeded to walk all the way around the block to about 10′ before the door I’d used to exit the garage, and there was the entrance. The sign for the hotel wasn’t on the same side of the building as the entrance. I finally checked in, though, and all was well.

I got a text from Tj later saying: I’m so used to you driving I just opened the passenger door! Since he drives the bus all around I do almost all of the in-town driving. Heh. He said as soon as I was gone Jack started asking where’s Mom?

I got to my room and just laid on the bed and did nothing but read my phone. I set an alarm so I’d be ready for my Uber pick-up for my Fork reservation. I kept telling Tj that I would just walk to the restaurant, but he really wanted me to take an Uber. I was nervous just because I’d never done it before, but then the weather looked like it might be bad so we reserved me a ride to the restaurant. I went to the lobby early, but when I checked my phone the address of the hotel was wrong! I texted the Uber driver the correct location, but I think before he read that he just called me and cancelled saying he’d circled the block 3 times without seeing the hotel. Before I’d even finished telling Tj all that happened and asking him what I should do another Uber driver said he was taking the ride. He showed up with no help from me, so it makes me think the other driver just had problems. In the end I made it to Fork a few minutes early.

I’d already chosen the spare ribs over mashed potatoes, but was still a bit full from lunch so wasn’t sure I could handle a full meal. The waitress said it was her favorite thing there, so I went for it :-) The meal wasn’t as big as I expected, so I was able to eat it all. And it was wonderful. I asked for a small cup of jus on the side and don’t regret one calorie of it at all.

I walked back to the hotel when I was finished. The spa tomorrow is on the same street as Fork so if the weather’s good I’ll just walk there. The girl at the front desk asked if I’d made it ok; she’d told me the street address for the Uber update before supper. I headed up to my room and then my key wouldn’t work…I had to use it in order to use the elevator. Ugh. I went back to that same girl and apologized for being a problem child, but she was super sweet about the whole thing.

In my room I read my phone and watched TV, and then I went to bed when I wanted. What an awesome gift!

13 May Saturday

Despite the wonderfulness of this gift I didn’t sleep super well, and woke up early. I did doze a bit later, and took my time getting ready. I got to my spa appointment a few minutes early, and enjoyed every minute there! I got scrubbed down with a brush, a seaweed wrap, a lime/something scalp massage, took a shower and blow dried my hair, then a hot stone massage! After that I had a mimosa (my first) and waited for my pedicure. After my pedicure I had a kale/quinoa/feta/walnut/craisin salad. This wonderful day started at 10am and I walked out at 2:45. Amazing!

I walked almost all the way back to the hotel and went shopping at Trader Joe’s. I texted Tj while I was there and he came and got me. He had been hard at work this whole time trying to get all the stuff he needed to change the oil in the bus. In the end he had to order stuff from Amazon, so hopefully he can change it the day he gets back. He also did all the wash and fixed the shower knob. He’s such a handyman!

He cooked supper for us tonight: bone-in ribeyes! They were spot on. My man takes such good care of me!

14 May Sunday

Tj found us a church so we got there in time to find where the boys were going to go. We had to wait on the teacher a bit, and then I remembered I hadn’t sent Jack to the bathroom before leaving the bus. The 3 of us stood around while J went to the bathroom. The bathroom door was open and he just used the stall…so we could hear him flushing and washing, etc. After a minute or two I headed over to see what was taking him so long to come out…and then Tj offered to check on him. He wasn’t there!! Argh! I just kept laughing…here we go again. That sneaky little booger! We looked and looked, but I was being kinda discreet about it…if we’re going to go here 3 weeks they don’t need to know we lost Jack the first Sunday! Tj found him a minute or so later…in the baptistry! I guess there wasn’t water in it because Jack was dry. Heavens! Other than that church was normal :-)

We didn’t want to go out to eat figuring that since it was Mother’s Day restaurants would be full. We dropped the boys off at the playground and went to the bus and set up for lunch. All of us had a nap after lunch today…another great Mother’s Day present.

Later that afternoon Jack buttoned 2 tiny shirt buttons all by himself! It never ceases to amaze me how we take for granted all the learning that ‘normal’ kids do on their own. And here’s my practically 10-year-old over-the-moon-excited because he buttoned his shirt. He struggled with each button for probably 2 full minutes before he got that blasted button pulled through, and he was so proud of himself!

15 May Monday

We laid in bed all morning. After we got up at some point Tj and Max played Legos while​ I cut my hair. Sadly this haircut didn’t go as well as the others, it’s too short! I think/hope it’s not too bad, and fortunately the bad part is in the back where I can’t see it. It’ll grow out.

We went to a diner for lunch and I finally got a good Reuben. The fries were great too. I got Jack eggs benedict so I could have a taste, Tj got the chicken fried steak on a bed of hash browns with gravy, corn and an egg on top, and Max had a belgian waffle. I think I want to eat here again!

We headed to the grocery store but there was a Library! in the same strip mall building. We tried to go to it but it’s closed today. What’s with the exclamation point at the end of that word I wonder. Also in that strip mall was a thrift shop where I got Jack some pj pants.

When we got home I cut everyone’s hair, and then we went out for ice cream for supper. After the boys were in bed Tj and I watched the last of Mr. Robot and hit the hay.

16 May Tuesday

We left at 7am to bring Tj to work. Sometime later UPS called to say that they don’t deliver to the post office…so when the PO said sign up for general delivery and all your mail will come here I guess they just meant USPS. I don’t understand how Amazon doesn’t recognize that as a USPS address and ship it all by USPS.

I made us a salad for lunch and used my redwood bowl and Crater Lake salad claws for the first time. Afterward, during my nap, the UPS guy showed up with our packages! We were told we couldn’t receive our packages on the base, but the UPS guy says he’s already here every day, and until he goes on vacation he’ll deliver anything we get through UPS. Hooray! Fortunately Jack and I were able to fall back asleep pretty easily after that.

This afternoon we had our first hail storm in the bus! Thankfully the hail was tiny, and that part didn’t last long. I guess the wind blew the antenna around a bit because the handle fell from the ceiling at one point. I think all the wind and rain worried Max, but it wasn’t a big deal. I made cheese sauce for supper and we had that over broccoli and potatoes.

Today was the first day of me sending Jack to the bathroom every hour. Hopefully this will make a difference. Also today I started Jack’s basket; I crocheted 2 rounds.

17 May Wednesday

Max just asked me what the Humane Society was. I said I don’t know, they treat animals humanely. He asked if that was wrong. I asked how that would be wrong? He said, I don’t know, do they dress them up in human clothes? Oh how I laughed, but only on the inside.

This may be why we’re having a hard time with Jack keeping his underwear dry. He was playing the iPad this morning and the alarm went off for him to go potty. I told him to go to the bathroom, and he fussed a little bit because he wanted to keep playing, obviously. I asked him if his underwear were dry and he said no. I asked him if he wet his underwear and he said yes. I told him you can’t play the iPad anymore then, and sent him off to go potty. When he came back he tried to turn the iPad on, and I told him no, what did I tell you? He said disobey. I said what did you do, and he said disobey. I said how did you disobey? He didn’t have a good answer. I said are your underwear dry? He said yes. I said did you potty in your underwear? He said no. I felt his pants and they were dry. So the first time when he told me they were wet, he was wrong/lying/not comprehending the question. If I can’t get a straight answer out of him when the answer is a good one how much can I expect him to understand? How much truth should I expect of him?????

We read and messed around until lunch. Max made pancakes and I cooked some Trader Joe’s goyoza and egg rolls. We got cleaned up and then went to the FedEx office to get Tj’s new phone and ship it to him. We went to the library next and Jack set up a big train track and played with that a good while. Max read a Star Wars book. We went to a Goodwill next and got Jack a pj shirt and pants, and best of all a cat puppet. He’s sleeping with ‘Mew’ right now! So sweet.

When I was putting away the clean clothes tonight I found the fudge we bought at Tillamook! Sorry Tj! It won’t be any good by the time you get back. I didn’t mean to hide it, I just forgot about it.

18 May Thursday

The boys started playing tag this morning about 9, and I’ve already told them no tag in the bus, so I sent them outside​ to play on the playground. Heh. Sometimes it’s good to be the mom.

When they came back in I cleaned out the freezer while they played with playdough. After we had lunch I took a nap and let the boys watch a movie. I sent them out to play again and did some work around here…meal planning, cleaning and such. It was a nice boring day. I don’t know how many more of these Max can stand before he fights with Jack enough that I make us start summer school :-)

30 April Sunday

Meeting up with Jay was awesome today, but it was kind of like hanging out with Fran. Since TJ and I knew that going in it was easier to handle. He never specified an actual meeting place, just agreed when I suggested one. We parked at the fort at the base of the bridge and went inside to look around. Jay said he felt bad that he had never taken his family into the fort all the times he’s taken his friends and family members to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I said don’t worry about it, now you have something new to show them the next time. Tj mostly took care of Jack, and Max and Akira played together while Jay and I did all kinds of catching up. I guess the last time I saw him was when we lived in CA..15 or so years ago!

It was a really pretty area, and we just walked down the river a little bit and talked and talked and talked. Jay and I tried to name every person we could remember from college, and every teacher, and who knows what which person is doing now, and who’s still in architecture and who’s not. It was a lot of fun for me! Jay had suggested packing a picnic lunch and eating at the foot of the bridge, but when it came time to get our lunches out he said what food do you like to eat, let’s go to a restaurant, so off we went. He took Max and Akira in his vehicle and we just followed him. He told us when we got out that the boys had voted and we were having pizza. I was bummed because I was hoping for some really good Thai food, but the pizza place was awesome. We ordered two pizzas, one the boys chose and one large one for the adults. We didn’t think we’d be able to finish them, but in the end we brought home two slices of pizza and one fried cheese stick. Not bad! TJ suggested to me that we would pay and I agreed. When the lady brought the check Jay was surprised obviously, and said you guys are homeless; I help the homeless, I should be paying for y’all! This is shameful, we’re in my hometown and you are paying for me to eat. We all laughed so hard when he called us homeless, and the waitress said you’re homeless? She couldn’t believe that anybody would actually not have a house. She said, but how do the boys go to school? I don’t know if she’d ever met a family that homeschools before.

After lunch we left the trucks and walked some more in Golden Gate Park. We watched a couple of teams play baseball, heard a symphony playing, and then walked through a tunnel and found a playground for the kids to climb on. All in all it was an awesome day. On our way back Jay asked if we were ready for dessert. Since we paid for lunch I think he wanted to repay the favor. We went to The Creperie and there was an amazing looking crepe that I wanted to try with lots of interesting ingredients, walnuts, pistachios, brown sugar, and several other things. But in the end I just stuck to old faithful and got strawberries, Nutella and walnuts. It was amazing! We walked back to the truck and split up at that point. What a fun day. On our way home we stopped at a grocery store to stock up, and drove by the Petaluma Creamery. I think we’ll visit that tomorrow.

Since we basically ate two full meals with Jay, when we got home we didn’t need any supper. Max still had 8 math problems left! So we told him to do that while I went outside with Jack to play on the playground right by the bus. This is a beautiful place; the mosquitoes are everywhere, but I haven’t gotten bitten once! There’s a pond on the far side of the playground from our bus, so we always want somebody going out with Jack. There are lots of willow trees around the pond, and a little island in the middle. Everything is so green here. There are also lots of geese squawking and flapping around. The funny thing is there are dog silhouettes on springs around here. I think they’re supposed to scare the geese away but they don’t do that at all. It took both TJ and me a few minutes to realize they weren’t actual dogs at first.

I haven’t looked at any of Max’s finals while he was doing them, because I didn’t know how hard it would be to not tell him to go back and look over his work if I saw that he was doing poorly on something. Since he was doing the same problem over and over, I told TJ we might need to put an end time limit on this math exam. If he were a public school he would have a limited amount of time to do the work, so we gave him 10 more minutes to finish up the last three problems he had. After we told him that I went ahead and looked at how he was doing on his test, and he made an 80. I figured out that even if he got zeros on the last three problems he would still pass the final, so that made me feel pretty good. I think he did get one of the problems correct, but he left the other two blank. In the end he made an 82 percent on his math final. Then TJ wanted to go over all of the problems with him really quickly, but really, how quickly can you go over 10 math problems that you got wrong? We did that though, and then Max said he was hungry. I gave him half a bagel to eat while he was getting ready for bed. Jack was already in bed but absolutely not near sleep since the lights were on and we were all being noisy. I’m so glad that school is over, but I forgot that Max still hasn’t officially turned in his final language arts project and I have to grade it. Ugh!

1 May Monday

We let the boys sleep as late as possible. I know they’re tired these days. I’m so glad school is over though! TJ had a breakfast place picked out for us, but in the end we just got on the road. We first went to check in since we hadn’t been on the base any of the times that the Hop was open. Then we headed back down to San Francisco. I drove over the bridge again and then down Lombard Street while TJ videoed the drive with our circle camera. TJ showed me the Google Map around Lombard and it’s amazing to see all of the grid-like streets and this one wackadoo street. From Lombard we went to Chinatown and TJ found us a parking garage. It was fun looking around there in Chinatown, of course I want to buy a million things, but living in the bus kind of necessitates a minimalist lifestyle. TJ and the boys went to the playground and I shopped for half an hour or so. I found this crossbody bag that I really liked and thought I would try out bargaining to see if they do it here, and apparently they don’t. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

We were hungry about then and it was about 12:15, so we looked on Google and Yelp for a recommendation. We found a Clay Pot restaurant that was nearby so headed there. It was little and cramped and upstairs, but all the round tables have big round lazy Susans on them. Fun! We ordered a mishmash, which is so much fun to do. We got Mongolian beef, sweet and sour chicken, cashew shrimp, and it came with wonton soup and some pot stickers that were heavenly! They were my favorite, especially with the dipping sauce. The sweet and sour chicken was also wonderful because there were big pieces of pineapple in there. The tea they served beforehand was kind of bitter and there was no sugar so it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I drank it all. All in all it was a fun experience and good food. And we left with about half as many leftovers as we started with so we’ll have that soon. Oh, there was also shrimp fried rice. I’ll probably make a Thai peanut sauce to put on top of all the leftovers except the Mongolian beef :-)

I shopped a little bit more while the boys went back to the playground. When we were all finished we decided to head home. It was still early and we could have seen the Chinese gate or driven down Lambert Street again, but we don’t want everybody to be so tired that we’re all miserable. We headed back home and stopped at the Petaluma Creamery near the base. We all got a scoop of ice cream and picked up some aged cheddar for our ham sandwiches for supper. Somehow at the grocery store last night a box of croissants got knocked over and opened so TJ felt like we should buy them. Twist my arm! We bought some really good ham and now with this awesome cheese we’re having ham and cheese croissants for supper tonight :-)

We stopped at a little RV repair shop to see about getting a knob for the shower. The boys have stripped the hot water knob so we’ve been using a pair of pliers for the last couple of days. And, honestly, we haven’t been showering much either. This Coast Guard base doesn’t have any sewer hookups. Also, we thought we were getting a 30 amp site, but we actually pulled into the only 50 amp there. Yay for us! So two days of no sewer hookups. I don’t think it’s going to be any big deal because we generally empty every other day when we have full hookups. But we’re going to be careful with our water usage anyway.

We watched What’s in the Bible for church tonight since we didn’t do that yesterday. That is such a good show! I often end up learning something new or remembering something I’d forgotten.

Since Max is finished with all of his other school and we got home early, I looked at his final paper, and then before bed TJ and I graded it. We don’t see eye-to-eye on how to grade it and that was a bump in our road, but we all went to bed early and most of us got a good night’s sleep.

2 May Tuesday

We got out of bed around around 8 this morning, and just started getting ready to go. The boys have been eating granola bars these last two mornings for breakfast so this was the first fried egg sandwich Jack had had in a few days :-) Our neighbors across the street from us pulled out this morning so that made us getting out even easier. TJ made a u-turn and pulled into their spot and I did the same and pulled up behind him to hook up the truck. The boys played on the playground while we got ready, and went to the bathroom in the last few minutes, and then we hit the road. We stopped on base to get gas where it’s a good $0.40 cheaper than everywhere off base. We need to measure the height of the bus again, that was one thing we were concerned about with this little bitty gas station. It looked tall enough though, so we just drove in slowly and everything was fine. I planned on buying some ice there, I really miss the Seal Beach ice machine. That was a nice treat :-) But at this gas station there was just a Subway. The guy told us to go up the road a bit and take a left and there was a store, but we didn’t feel like all that maneuvering with the bus. I asked how much a cup of ice would cost and he said if I had my own cup it was free! I went out to the bus and got the ice box that we use and headed back in the store, then TJ said maybe I should bring my cup in case he didn’t want me to use the box, so I went back in the bus, dug around and found a big cup and went back into the store. When I got in and had filled up the cup one time I asked the guy if he would mind if I filled up the box and he said no. Score! That’s so nice. We’ve seen countertop ice makers that are about $100 and really want to get one, but I think we’re serious enough about buying a new bus this October that it seems like the best plan would be just to wait. Probably most new buses are going to come with a full size refrigerator and most likely an ice maker, I guess patience is what we need.

3:10 p.m. we had the bus level and Tj was hooking up the sewer so we could run a load of wash before we left to go see redwoods! We stopped at a redwood stump that had been burned out and a door added. It was a cool, small room. Our next stop was to drive through a tree! I drove first, then we switched so we both could take pictures. Then Tj drove the truck up onto a big redwood stump. Lastly there we took pictures of the boys in cute tree houses. Our next stop was to walk into the redwood forest, where we got to stand in some trees. They are so magnificent! So huge! The forest was beautiful! After we got out and walked a bit J said he had to go to the bathroom. We made it back just in time…a big tourist bus of Japanese people unloaded and they all needed to use the bathrooms.

Before getting there, though, I shopped for a wooden bowl. Near the beginning of this trip I started wanting a big wooden salad bowl…I saw several in Goodwill, but they were all so worn. I’m so glad I waited! The gift shop at the RV park had beautiful bowls, but they were all sooooo expensive. Tj said go for it, but I figured we had a day or two to shop. I looked at the store across the street from the tree with a door, and those were also beautiful, and less expensive. It was so hard to choose! I almost bought two (the second one a little one just for cereal or something), but I figured I should stretch out my souvenir buying. I ended up buying a large (too large?) salad bowl. Yea! I was in a hurry after I bought it since I’d made the guys wait on me to shop/pick one out…I just handed the bowl to Max and asked him to put it somewhere it would be safe, and we headed off to see some trees. When we made out last stop of the day to see the trees I went back to the truck to get a sleeve, opened the back, heard something sliding down the table we have stored there, and then my brand new bowl fell to the asphalt!!!!!!!!! I was so thankful it didn’t crack, but there’s a rough spot on the bottom and on an edge. I guess that gives it character. I’ll always remember getting that bowl and then marring it before I even used it.

3 May Wednesday

We pulled out at 10:30 since our drive is short and checkout is at 11am. We’re right on the coast now, and can see the water amidst all the fog. It makes​ me laugh…we see all this picturesque beauty, and at the same time we’re bumping along in this big crazy camper with our clothes in the dryer drying as we drive. Hillbillies!!

TJ said when we got almost to our stop that we should look for a good seafood restaurant to try around here. We got a recommendation while we checked in at the campground, set up camp and went out to eat. We bought three meals, half a crab sandwich with a cup of clam chowder, beer batter fish and chips, and fried clam strips with coleslaw. It was all good, the crab sandwich had really big chunks of crab that just had a good flavor. I think my favorite was the fried clam strips though.

After lunch we headed over to Walmart to pick up a few groceries, then we went back home and went out to the beach. Tj got us a great spot; the front of our bus overlooks a small levee right out on the Pacific Ocean. The tide was so far out, there was so much sand in front of the water that we could walk on. We probably had to walk out thirty or forty feet to get to actual water. The boys played a good bit, TJ and I brought chairs and sat out on the levee and watched them for a bit. Jack was of course filthy when he came in so we put all of his clothes straight into the washer while he took a shower. I made hot chocolate to warm the boys up, it’s so gray and foggy here. The boys got to watch some cartoons and I took a snooze, and then Tj made sandwiches for their supper. We watched some more of The Force Awakens, that’s such a great movie! We got the boys settled into bed around 8 or 8:30, and he and I watched Arrival before going to bed.

4 May Thursday

We laid around a good bit this morning which was nice, we’re trying to stave off that extreme tiredness that hits with so many days in a row of travel. While the boys ate breakfast TJ and I sat in the front seat just looking out over the ocean. We left the curtains open all night because the view is so beautiful. We packed up a picnic lunch and we’re going to go look for a place to cook some sausages and have sausage sandwiches. I wanted to do the Sky Trail, but it’s closed for maintenance this one day of the year. Lol. It was a 9-minute monorail ride through the tops of the trees. I guess we’ll just have to enjoy the trees from the ground. Now we’re at this big playground and TJ is chasing the boys all over the place. He’s such a great dad!

We had packed up for a picnic lunch before we went to the playground. I loaded up sausages, a bell pepper, and all the other accoutrement for a lunch. TJ packed the little grill and after the park we had to go back for the propane tanks! I razzed him that I packed a million things and he only had to put 2 things in the truck. We drove about half an hour south where we had seen a gorgeous place. It was even more beautiful now that we stopped and got out. The Pacific Ocean was just crashing among such big and little rocks, there was black sand, and across the road were just mountains full of trees. There was an abandoned house there, which made me just daydream about living right there next to the ocean. I think that’s the only way I would ever want to live that close to a highway. We saw a dude who appeared to be living right there since all of his clothing was strewn all over one of the picnic tables there, and he had a bucket full of mussels or clams. I guess he was gathering them to cook and eat there. When we stood out on the big rocks we could see rocks just covered in those animals! It seems like such a neat thing to be able to gather/cook/eat from the land like that.

We didn’t do too badly ourselves, though. Tj got the grill started and I put my big cast iron skillet in it to preheat. I cut up the bell pepper and half the onion and put them in the pot to cook. We had that with sausage, cheese and mustard on big french buns. Yum! The boys played while we cooked. After lunch and playing some more we headed back to WalMart…Tj had seen that they had an ice maker and he decided we had to have one. We’ve been talking and thinking about it for a few weeks, but then I said it could be our Mother’s/Father’s day presents to each other. We were so bummed when we found out they were all gone! The online check Tj did showed 6 in stock, but the lady there checked and said they had none. When we got home Tj ordered one from the next town for us to pick up tomorrow. Patience. Ugh.

I dropped the three boys off at the playground and went home. I unloaded the truck and made pizza dough in case we wanted that for supper. They came home not long after Tj sent me this, “The entire 7th grade just showed up. Max is mad because “all these kids look like they’d say a bad word if they dropped their pencil.” And then one of them did say the B word.”

Tj didn’t really want pizza, but there wasn’t much around here, and we really didn’t feel like driving 30 minutes away…so I made pizza. We watched more Force Awakens. We made the kids shower since we won’t have hookups for the next two days and then went to bed.

21 April Friday

We were looking at animal pictures and I said that cat is playing with…and waited for Jack to finish my sentence. Jack said with sweet balls. Heh, Jack does love to play with balls. He used to only say sweet baby, or other obviously sweet things. Lately he’s been branching out and calling other things sweet, and it’s pretty funny sometimes.

I told Jack we could go to the beach today. I felt bad because we were supposed to go yesterday and time got away from me. I think there was a ship out there though, so we would have had to come back. So today I put a swimsuit in the truck and figured if the ship was still there I’d find him a playground. Either way we were getting out of the house. We drove the five minutes down the street to the beach and when I was helping Jack change into his swimsuit I realize he peed his pants! I can’t reward that kind of behavior so we headed on back home. I feel bad for him but when is he ever going to learn? I meant to remind him to go to the bathroom, so I felt a little guilty. But honestly at this point he should know better.

We went home and after a little while I made a bone collector pizza. I had made the dough before we left, so all I had to do was put the pizza together and bake it. I think I’ve found it! Somehow the dough wasn’t right, but everything else was perfect. I don’t know how to fix the dough problem. It just seemed breadier than the restaurant’s dough, drier…next time I’ll try more olive oil on the dough before baking.

22 April Saturday

Max is so funny sometimes. I thought I’d give the boys a treat, so I sent them off to the vending machine with my coin purse and told them they each had a dollar to spend. He bought Jack’s candy first, and the candy machine took his money. So he used his dollar to get Jack’s candy. When he came home I could tell something was wrong but I didn’t know what because I saw candy in his hand. I asked what the problem was and he told me what happened. I was surprised he didn’t just use the rest of the money to get his candy. And it was surprising to me that he didn’t storm in the door angry about what happened, he just seemed resigned. Anyway I wasn’t gonna make them share when it wasn’t his fault. I took him back to get his candy.

He decided he wanted a Snickers bar. I put the dollar in and of course the machine ate the dollar again! At that point I had called the number on the machine and reported that we lost $2. I had a dollar left in nickels and dimes so I decided to chance it and we lucked out, 2 Snickers fell. Max was so happy and kept saying I have two Snickers now! I told him he had a Snickers and I had a Snickers, and he was super crestfallen. All the points I gained for giving him a dollar, I lost for taking one of ‘his’ Snickers away. Sometimes you just can’t win as a parent. We went back home and had a few lessons left and then we were going to the beach. Jack went to the bathroom and when I checked on him I saw that he peed on the floor! Still not winning as a mother. I cleaned him up and emphasized again how to pee without getting it all over. Now we’re at the beach.

Well, maybe I am winning as a parent…Max is staying home by himself where he feels king of the castle, and Jack gets to play at the beach which is one of his favorite things. Filling up a bottle that he found on the beach with water and pouring it out, filling it up and pouring it out, filling it up and pouring it out. I’ll probably let him do that for two hours and then we’ll go home.

When it was time to go we found the hose we used the other day and went to rinse off. Jack turned it on and it danced around full of water pressure like you see in the movies…it was so funny!

23 April Sunday

We went to Cerritos Baptist Church again for the 11 o’clock service. When I brought the boys to their class they said they’re on Hawaiian time and class usually starts 20 minutes late. I stood in the hallway and talked to 2 women about our magnificent trip. One of them is named Laura, and now we’re facebook friends. When their class started I headed to church where I’d missed the song service, but a woman was preaching! Doh! Good thing this is our last Sunday here.

I looked at a million places to go out to eat today for lunch, and found a deli with lots of good reviews that makes Reuben sandwiches. I was extremely disappointed when they brought me a pastrami sandwich with sauerkraut, mustard and pickles! That’s not a Reuben!!!!! I was so bummed! Of course when I read their description that’s how they described that sandwich. But really, everyone knows what a Reuben is, and that’s not it. Max got 6 hot wings…I had a bite of one and it was good. I bought Jack the breakfast burrito (chorizo, scrambled eggs, hash browns and bacon), which was fine. I ate half of that and gave him half of my sandwich. The burrito was highly praised on Yelp, but I thought it was just ok. Overall the whole thing was a disappointment. I don’t go out to eat much when Tj’s not around so it’s annoying to have my treat not really be a treat.

After lunch Max wanted to go to Goodwill. It took me a few minutes to realize he just didn’t want to go home and finish that one lesson he had left, but I was happy to go shopping. In the end we went to 4 Goodwills and bought a scooter for each boy, a suit jacket for Max and an ice cube tray. Then we went to Walmart which is where I’d planned to go…Tj needs new jeans. While there I bought new pj’s. After I tried them on at home I decided I’d rather have the solid black instead of the gray color so I left both boys getting ready for bed and exchanged my pj’s by myself.

When I got in the truck and plugged my phone in the Pioneer screen just blinked off and on over and over. I was in a hurry so I just used my phone to navigate. I called Tj and chatted with him on the way and then figured out it was probably my phone having problems, not the stereo. I restarted my phone when I got to Walmart and everything worked fine on the way home. I hope I don’t have a repeat of my last phone…where I have to return this phone before they’ll send out a replacement.

24 April Monday

We only have 4 school days left!!

Sadly, today is a fighting day. Jack is bucking everything I say. I asked him to open the curtains, he opens half of them halfway. He asked (like he has the last 4 mornings) to open the windows and I said no…it’s too cold first thing in the morning. He opened them. He got out utensils after I’d already gotten some out and then he wouldn’t put his back. The other day I told him to stand on the world that’s pictured on the rug and he stood with just the barest part of his toes on it. When he does obey it’s with sooooo much disobedience/defiance. It really wears me down. I don’t want to fuss at him all the time, but I can’t let him get away with this stuff. I need a nap. Other things he routinely disobeys on: writing his name the way I tell him to. If I say write your full name he writes his first name and last initial, if I say write just your first name he writes his full name. This is not an understanding problem, it’s a willpower problem. Also, the shoe thing. I try to keep a lot of sand out of the bus. Every time he plays at the playground here he comes back with pants and shoes full of sand. I tell him to stay on the steps in the bus till his shoes are put away. So of course he takes one step into the bus. He usually doesn’t go much farther, he just steps on the rug and waits for me to see. Also the seatbelt. If he’s feeling moody he puts his seatbelt on as slowly as possible and leaves the belt over the arm of his booster, then watches me until I see and fuss at him. This post is depressing.

Sweet things about him: he snuggles with me each morning. In the middle of school a thousand times he’ll stop and reach across the table to give me a hug. He is really wonderful, but also wonderfully ornery.

If this post wasn’t bad enough, this is the day we found out that Max was using the computer inappropriately. He’s on restriction now.

25 April Tuesday

I stayed up late last night watching the rest of Grey’s Anatomy and waiting for the time I needed to leave to pick up TJ. I left the house around 12:30 am, and left the boys sleeping. TJ’s flight went a little long, so I had a little while to read my phone in the truck. After he got in we headed off to Randy’s Donuts again. I was so bummed they didn’t have an apple fritter! We got several things and headed back home where we found the boys still sound asleep. We went to bed ourselves, and of course Tj pulled his usual stunt: I’m not sleepy after he’d been exhausted five minutes before.

We got up and did school today and I made sandwiches for lunch at Tj’s request. Then I asked Tj to read with Jack and I made our end of year cake. Hannah found a wonderful looking cake recipe on fb the other day and I’ve been drooling over it ever since! I took out the butter and cream cheese for the icing last night before bed so it would be room temp when I was ready. Man, making a cake in this tiny place is a feat! I felt like an acrobat doing that with so little counter space while also helping the boys with their school as Tj finished up some work in the back.

While the cake was cooling we headed out to see the beach. I’ve been meaning to stop at the little shopette so we did that on the way. The lady there looked like she didn’t really appreciate little kids coming in; she followed us all around and after TJ told Jack not to touch the emergency exit door she made sure to tell him 3 or 4 more times not to open the emergency exit door. Good thing she was watching us like a hawk!

When we first walked in that store I saw somebody off to the right in my peripheral vision, I thought it was a mannequin. I was so surprised when it moved; it turned out to be another customer leaving the store! I laughed so hard I could hardly say anything, and TJ thought I was surprised and hadn’t seen the guy because he was in camo. That was also funny but not the reason.

When we were finished there we got back in the truck and headed to the beach. Sadly we saw there was a ship out, so we headed back home. Jack was disappointed but he got over it pretty quickly. We sent the boys out to play while I frosted the cake. I realized towards the end that I didn’t have enough frosting…the cake made more than a 11×17 pan, so I made 11 cupcakes also. Tj whipped up a batch of lemon frosting for the cupcakes. Before he was finished with that I made pizza dough for 2 pizzas, and we had buffalo pizza for supper. I think those were the best doughs I’ve ever made! I was so excited! After they rested a minute or two I poured lots of oil on the pan and turned and stretched them in that oil. Maybe that’s the secret!

26 April Wednesday

Today we went to Legoland. It was pretty fun, but after a few hours there we finally asked a dude who worked there what rides were good for older kids. There weren’t really any. I think Legoland is just mainly for kids up through age eight or so. The roller coasters may have been a little exciting for Jack but not so much for the rest of us. They were fun, just nothing that made me ever want to go back there again. We started off at the front letting Max go wherever he wanted and be the one to decide what to do. This day was mostly for him. After a little bit Jack got bored so I took him around and let him take the lead while TJ stayed with Max playing video games. Jack and I rode a little water ride and then we rode a round and round ride. A little bit later we decided to go back and find the rest of the family. It seemed like Max could spend the whole day looking at all the Lego models, especially all the Star Wars creations. Many of the battles were there and there were buttons to press for sound effects and to set the people to fighting or dancing or whatever they were doing. It was also neat to see all the interesting places in the world recreated in Legos: Vegas, New Orleans, Washington, etc. So many of the interesting places were places we have just been to this last year :-) TJ started getting bored so I tried to shuttle Max into choosing some roller coasters, and then we saw a build your own boat and float it down little water way exhibit. The boys played with that for a while and then we headed to lunch. We all had Bahn Mi sandwiches which were pretty good. It makes me wanna make some sort of marinated veggie slaw to put on our sandwiches and remember to put coleslaw on there too! The one we had was fried pork belly with slaw and cilantro.

After lunch we rode a couple of rides where you shoot bad guys and get points. Then we started looking for the dragon roller coaster, and on our way to it we saw a robotic arm ride. The line was so short I didn’t have a chance to read that there were five different levels of speed on this ride. Jack and I rode together on level 2. You can never tell how he’s going to react to a ride so we just hope for the best. I was told I had to take my earrings off, which kind of surprised me, but it looked pretty fun watching the other people. We strapped in and the guy turned the machine on and I just started laughing, it was so funny. That arm just picked us up and shook us around and around, oh my goodness I could have done that a few more times! Jack, on the other hand, was fussing the whole time. He kept calling my name and saying we’re finished we’re finished! I reached over to try to push his head back; the worst part of the ride was having your head banged around, but we were both in harnesses that came over our shoulders and down over our bellies which made it hard for me to reach his head, and yet I still laughed the whole time! TJ and Max rode it on a level 5 and I got a little video of that. After that we went through it again and Max rode by himself on level 1 and TJ and I rode on level 5. I much preferred level 2 just because of the head knocking around business.

The whole ride was 3 robotic arms reaching up from the ground, all set in a pool of water. When Jack and I were on it the first time I saw someone’s cell phone in water. When Tj and I rode it I asked the ride operator why the phone was still there. She said it was dropped this morning and they were only allowed to stop the ride and go into the water for certain things like medication and keys. Not phones. Doh!

We rode a couple more roller coasters after that, they were fine, just nothing exciting to talk about. About 4:30 we started heading back to the front because the whole place closes at 5. Right at the entrance was a minifigure shop so we let Max go in and look around and then bought him 3 mini figures. When we got back to the truck we searched around for a place to eat for a bit. I said that BBQ was kind of calling to me and found a place that had more than a thousand reviews, so we went there. I needed to parallel park on the passenger side, and the traffic was somewhat low so I set about about doing that, but I quickly realized it wasn’t working out. I asked TJ to help me, and the second time he told me when to cut the wheel. I was lining up properly, just not lining up properly for my first turn. I forgot that I needed to be about even with the back of the front car before turning. My second time I got us all in perfectly! And that was even with realizing at the beginning of the second time that there was somebody sitting in the car ahead of me waiting to pull out…it was a cop!! I kept my cool though and parked and we went to the restaurant. At first Tj said I hope it’s not that restaurant across the street because that looks too much like a bar and I don’t feel good about taking the kids in there. Haha! That was it of course. When we got closer though it looked fine. And that was a good thing cuz it turned out to have awesome BBQ! He read about the dirty fries on the way there so we got that for the appetizer. That consisted of wonderful french fries, macaroni and cheese sauce, pulled pork and jalapenos on top. The boys and I split the barbecue sampler which came with brisket, sausage which was heavenly, and ribs which were also pretty good. TJ got a brisket plate that was awesome. We brought back enough food to probably feed us again.

On our way home there was a semi pulling two trailers in our lane ahead of us by a few car lengths. I noticed it weaving left and right left and right in an alarming manner. I backed off a little bit and then zoomed around it. Fewf!

One funny thing I noticed about CA but haven’t thought to mention till now is how surprising to me it is to see oil derricks right in the middle of the city. I had this notion that CA was a mecca for people who were supremely earth conscious, and that it would just be clean and wonderful living here. I’ve been here before, but it’s been several years. I don’t know what I was thinking, no one area/state is ever fully homogenized. But I was surprised at the congestion (both in traffic and in tons of houses all crammed together on a hillside…like a neater version of Mexico) and oil derricks in this state.

27 April Thursday

We got up and worked on our second to last day of school! Woohoo! Around 2 or 3pm I asked TJ if we were going to the beach what time should we go. He said right now, so we wrapped up school, got our chairs and left.

We didn’t stay too long at the beach. It was colder than the other times I’ve been and TJ didn’t bring a jacket. We headed back to the bus and started packing up the outside stuff a little bit while Jack took a shower and got ready for tonight. We left at 5 for the pirate show. There were hour durves, they were probably all frozen prepared kids foods, but they were good. There were fried mozzarella sticks which were my favorite, fried macaroni and cheese bites which were TJ’s favorite, salami and cheese on french bread, ham and cheese on french bread, BBQ meatball on french bread, and we also went and got a plate of veggies with ranch dip. TJ got us all drinks and we sat at a little table and ate and laughed and talked until the the pre-show show started. Max and another boy his age walked around and played a bit, and then we had the pre-show.

After that we were all ushered into the dining area and got front row seats there. It was a good show, but again not quite as much fun as Dixie Stampede I guess. It did have my favorite part of all three of those types of shows though. I love it when the people dance with the huge strips of fabric hanging from the ceiling, they roll themselves up in it twisting the fabric around their bodies and then unroll quickly toward the earth. I just think it’s amazing what humans can do when they work that hard. It’s amazing to me to see the muscles and the poise that comes from years of training. I know I could do that with my body if I just worked that hard, but I have very little interest in sacrificing that much!

28 April Friday

Max has 5 reviews, and 5 finals today and he needs to finish his autobiography. I think he has about a hundred words left to write and then to refine his autobiography. I hope this is his last day of school, but with the craziness that travel brings I won’t be surprised if he needs to do some of his work tomorrow.

I had kind of an epiphany yesterday as our whole family was on a walk by the base. We were talking about Jack wetting his pants and I said something about if it was like math where I knew he just didn’t understand it that would be one thing, and it made me think that maybe it is like math, maybe he just doesn’t have the capability to not pee his pants. He hasn’t had an accident in years that made a puddle on the floor, but he often has accidents that leave a significant visible spot on his pants. I think I want to stop punishing him for wetting his pants, just reiterate how sad his dad and I are when he does that.

Its 2:40 and we’re about 40 minutes away from our stopping point today. Max has taken 3 reviews and 3 final exams. He’s made an A on all finals so far: Bible, language arts and science. We decided to let him go watch TV with Jack for the rest of our ride and then he can take his other two finals tomorrow on our way up to San Francisco.

We checked in and pulled into our spot. We unhooked the truck, leveled the bus quickly, hooked up the water and electricity, turned the a/c’s on and hit the road. We drove a little over an hour to the San Andres Fault. There was a woman there from a geology museum that I talked to a bit and then we walked around a bit and took some pictures. There wasn’t much to see…I was surprised that it was a creek at this time, but it’s cool to think we walked from one tectonic plate to the other. That may not be the only time we’ve done that, but it was the only time I knew it when I did it!

On the way there I had Max bring his laptop and work on his final project…his autobiography turned story of our trip. He turned it in and now only has Math and History review/final. For real. I probably already said he was almost finished but I’d forgotten about this 700 word autobiography he had to do.

Tj and I looked on Yelp for places to eat. There was a cafe there at the tiny town at the fault I kinda wanted to try, but Tj wasn’t hungry and we had no internet connection to see if they had any reviews. Of course when we got back to the bus he had to tell me they had a good rating. We finally settled on going back to the bus. While the boys set up camp I reheated our leftover french fries/rosemary potatoes, put cheese on the top, put an egg on top of that for the boys, and heated up bbq pulled pork and ribs to also put on the top of mine and Tj’s. We watched The Force Awakens while we ate supper and finished off the cake. I really don’t know how good that cake was, but the icing was amazing!!

29 April Saturday

Well, we knew we would be a little late, but the bed fiasco meant we pulled out at 10:40. I awoke at 7:30 with the alarm. Actually I was awake before that…we slept with the windows open again (like we have almost every night since Tucson), and the light from the bathroom skylight/fan shone like a flashlight in my eyes. Tj woke up about 7:45 when Jay/Karit was fb messaging me about meeting up tomorrow. How does fb messager override the DND setting on my phone? This is the dumbest DND setup I’ve ever heard of. I was so excited that I got a tangible button on the side of my phone to mute it, but it bugs me to no end that the in-app alert on Textra alarms even with DND set. And now this one. Oh well. Technology isn’t perfect, but so much of it is really nice to have.

Back to getting ready to go. We decided to all shower this morning since we won’t be hooked up to sewer these next two days. Also, Tj wanted to flush the back black in case we had a blockage. So maybe we should’ve gotten up earlier? Nah. We got almost everything done, truck all hooked up and everything, and then the bed.

We’ve had troubles with it since that Florida trip the first year, but at least we’ve been able to get it up and down. These last few times I’ve pushed up on the right side as we’re putting it up to help it along, and we thought all was fine. But this morning the left side would go up a couple of revolutions and then stop! I tried pushing up on that side and couldn’t get it to budge. Then I pushed the button and Tj pushed up on that side and it worked fine, but then the right side wouldn’t go up enough to put the pin in. Ugh. We stayed calm and tried a few other things…I even suggested having Max come in and press the button while both Tj and I pushed up on the bed…but before we resorted to that we got it up. I think we shouldn’t put the bed down until we get to our next long stop in about 2 weeks, but Tj thinks we’re good to go again…that it got off track but now we know how to keep it on track. I guess we’ll see!

We stopped at about 1 o’clock to gas up the bus. There was a Wendy’s connected to the gas station so we had lunch there. TJ turned the Honda off, so we had to redo the tow vehicle/three minute deal before we left. After we checked the lights and I was heading back into the bus the car alarm went off in the tow vehicle! Later we figured out that it was the panic button on the other set of keys in TJ’s pocket that must have set it off. Fortunately that was our only excitement at the gas station. We got back on the road and I texted Jay a little bit about where we’re going to meet tomorrow.

I’m having fun. Tj tells me I’m playing Sigourney Weaver’s part in Galaxy Quest. I’m repeating everything Google says to him about how to get where we’re going today. And I just stuck my whole body out of the bus to adjust the side mirror that just got whacked by a tree. Good Times!

For supper I made a dish similar to a Pioneer Woman dish: I cooked a pound of turkey, added some black beans and other stuff, and added in some tortillas that I had laid on a burner to toast a little bit. I just ripped those up and put them in. It was good, but I think next time I need to over season the meat so that when we add lettuce and Greek yogurt etc you’ll still get that good flavor. I think I’m not going to buy anymore Cotija cheese either, because it doesn’t have a lot of flavor itself. Cheddar would have been better than that. And next time I’ll use 8 tortillas to a pound of ground beef.