24 Sept Sat
School today was tough. Jack was tough. I’m about at my breaking point. And then I went to Walmart without Max for some groceries and a break. Tj just set up a txt program so Max could let me know if he needed anything. As I was tooling around WM I figured I’d check in on him. He didn’t respond. I continued to text…we tried it out before Tj left so I knew the program worked. I finally texted that I was checking out and would be coming home…but I could tell I would be waiting another 10 minutes to check out, and it’d already been 20 minutes and he hadn’t responded. I finally just pushed my cart to the front, apologized and left. Halfway home he texted me. He’d left his headphones plugged in but off his head so didn’t hear the alert!!! Ugh! We packed up and went to the beach. I told Max I was bringing a book and he’d have to watch Jack.
The rest of the day was good :-) We got there around 3:30. I read and picked seashells for crafts later. We saw more weddings, and realized that the protected part of the beach was a turtle nest. A little boy, Taylor, played with Max, and asked if Jack was his special brother. His grandparents said he has a little brother with special needs. Heh.
25 Sept Sun
We picked up Tj from the airport and saw a big bird’s nest on the top of an electrical pole. I smelled some great BBQ on the way there and on the way back we stopped and ate…I had really great brisket and ribs. After we got home we went to Walmart and this time actually bought groceries! We went for a walk later, and then watched Fargo till about 3am!
26 Sept Mon
We got up late and worked on our future trip a little. We ate lunch at home. We wanted to go to the beach and packed for it, but the drizzle didn’t let up so we went shopping instead. I bought a mobile, Max got a flashlight, and we bought a noisy pig for Jack because he was completely enamored of it while we were in the store. By the time he got back to the truck he hated it! I think he just wanted a flashlight! He should learn to talk!!
We went and got some more of that wonderful ice cream, then went home and took a nap. Tj made supper (pasta with spinach and bacon in the instant pot) while I went to WM for a few things we couldn’t find the day before.
27 Sept Tue
There’s not much to say about today. We did school and then Tj, Jack and I went to play tennis. But while there we saw a waterspout! It lasted so long…at least 5-10 minutes.
28 Sept Wed
I did laundry all by myself, it was wonderful! I started reading “The Fault in our Stars” Tj did school with Jack and Max. Then we played tennis a bit. Afterwards we went to have fried shrimp. Tj got the po-boy and now I want a po-boy!
Afterwards we headed to a go-cart place, but saw another spot where all 3 boys went in a hurricane wind machine. At our next stop I rode a go-cart with Jack, then we did bumper boats (where Max completely soaked me!! Mine was the only boat with a long-range sprayer…theirs both had short-range sprayers so I was at a disadvantage), then we rode go-carts again and Jack wanted to ride with Tj. Afterwards we played in the arcade a bit.
We went to Walmart for a bit, then Tj, Jack and I played tennis while Max finished up his school. Then we made popcorn and had a movie night. We watched Bridge to Terebithia. It was good, and not too many chocolate chips (from the indulgent trail mix) ended up in our bed :-)
29 Sept Thur
Jack has learned to raise his eyebrows lately, and we have laughed a good bit about that. He’s so impressed with himself when he does it! But sadly it seems like bird-eyes are almost gone. I remind him once in a while just to keep it around a little longer.
It was a pretty typical day. We did some school, then had breakfast, the boys went out for a bike ride, Tj did some work, the boys came in and did some school, I made lunch (pasta salad with doritos on top). We had a nap and then went to the beach. We saw a ray, Tj saw a jellyfish in the water and pointed it out to me…fortunatley none of us was stung. As we were leaving a guy told us they were seeing dolphins so we stopped and watched them for a bit.
We went home and showered while Tj looked for a Marcos to deliver. When we found that they wouldn’t we decided to follow Ranger Dave’s advice and we went to Crico’s for pizza. It was excellent!! I’m sorry we went there the last day!
30 Sept Fri
After some school we had pizza toast and salad for lunch. Then we went on a 2.5 hr bike ride where we saw lots of butterflies and a baby alligator. I had meatballs in the crockpot and they were great with mashed potatoes.
1 Oct Sat
It’s 11:15am and we’re buckled down and pulling away from the campground. We got out of bed around 9, and TJ flushed the tanks, the back one twice. We definitely didn’t rush, I fed the kids, washed the dishes and put them up and then we packed up to go. As always there was the usual somebody lost something, this time it was me losing my keys, but it only took a little while to find them. Before I got out of bed I made an appointment to get my haircut! it will have been 11 and a half weeks between cuts. I normally schedule my cuts for every five to six weeks, so I’m looking pretty shaggy now.
2 Oct Sun
We looked last night for a church and found one in Start, Louisiana that we thought would be good. I wanted to take a selfie in front of it but we forgot. We took one inside instead. At some point in the song service all the kids went to the front and Max went down to go to Sunday School with them. Jack sat with us. The sermon was good, about the four important parts of the first church, and how churches today aren’t churches if they don’t incorporate those four points: devoted to the scriptures, to fellowship/sharing, to prayer, and to one other thing.
After church TJ asked if I wanted to go to the po-boy place we’d scouted out. All the reviews made it looks so awesome, they all talked about the gravy and how wonderful it was everyone says to eat it on the fries. The church was half an hour away from our bus and the po-boy place was another 15 minutes. We double-checked to make sure they were open on Sunday, but when we drove up to the joint they were obviously closed. TJ had seen a Mongolian BBQ place on the way and we haven’t eaten at one of those in a long time so that’s where we went. I wondered if my concoction would taste any good, and it was awesome!
We got our leftovers to go and then went to Walmart to buy some bed suspenders: every morning when we get up Tj’s mattress cover is pulled off. Let’s see if this helps. We went straight to the bus after that and made a mad dash to change our clothes as quickly as possible, the drive-thru Safari closes 2 hours after we left the bus so we wanted to be sure and have as much time as we could in there. TJ found the Simpsons clip about discount lion safari and we played that a hundred times. I laughed about it on the 10-minute drive to the safari. I had never been to one of these before and wasn’t sure what all it entails. I pushed for us to go to this but could tell TJ was not enthusiastic about it at all. I prefer my animals on the TV where I don’t have to smell them and I can sit in the air conditioning, but I really thought the boys would enjoy it and thought it would be a good memory. I’m so glad we went!
Tj said he would drive and I was glad for that so that I could spend my time looking at the animals. He was an awesome driver, he went really slow and we had a good time. The first thing we saw was bison and they came right up to our truck! Tj rolled our windows down and the locked them! You should’ve heard the yelling in the truck when we realized that! The bison were so huge I was really worried they would push against our truck with their horns, but they were for the most part pretty gentle. The lady at the desk said if you just drive out there they’ll come to you, they know that you’re going to feed them and that was the case for the most point. There were a couple of scuffles, I forget what animal the bison was pushing away, or maybe two of them got in just a little bit of a fight right there. We moved on and found zebras and donkeys and a couple of them fought each other and one of them kicked the other right at the truck! Before any of that happened Max was all the way in the way back and was really terrified!! I was a lot more nervous than I expected to be to try to feed the animals, but I was glad that by this point TJ would just roll up the window when he wanted them to back off and they would just walk away. They certainly had the strength to break the window or to the car but they didn’t.
Jack was calm as anything just sitting there with his cup of food; he wasn’t very good at feeding them but he wasn’t scared at all. At one point a big old bison had his huge head all the way on Jack’s lap and Jack kept saying thank you, thank you. Tj started rolling up the window and he just pulled his head out! Tj and Jack fed the most animals, but I’m the only one who got licked by two bison! They’re slobber was all over the windows! Max fed a few as well, mostly leaning over Jack to feed them because he was so worried about Jack getting bitten or something. It was kind of funny and sweet. We saw a giraffe and some turtles too, but I forgot to go take better pictures of those after we were finished. We got back with a little bit of time left to go feed the penned animals. Out there they had deer and kangaroos and ostriches. I got to watch a kangaroo dig a hole; I don’t know what he was looking for but he he sure could dig. Jack kept asking to go play on the playground so in the last 10 minutes or so I walked him over there and right next to the playground was a big pen with small cows, goats and big fat pigs.
It was a really cool place to visit, but they could make a killing if they put a car wash nearby. We drove a few miles down the road and got the truck washed. I could only scrape up four quarters because I brought most of my coins in to do school with Jack so we only got a short time on the vacuum, but it’ll do for now. After that we came home and TJ sent the boys to the playground while he started the fire. We had some leftover bacon so he made 50/50 bacon beef burgers. They were awesome! The bugs were so horrible, but the spray I got worked great for me, I think I only have one mosquito bite on my chin because I didn’t want to spray it around my face. TJ said he got eaten up even spraying himself twice. I did some research and we’ve ordered another kind of bug spray. They were just ridiculous, I could feel them bumping around and see them flying all around in the firelight. We sent the boys in to shower and Tj and I stayed out to admire the stars. Even with the fire right there we could see so many more stars than we’ve seen from our backyard. We even saw the Milky Way! One of my big to-dos for this bus trip is to see the Milky Way even more clearly than we saw it tonight. This was a wonderful day.
3 Oct Mon
We packed up and left the park at 11:15am. We got a call as we were leaving for Jellystone but we cancelled that place. We set up the bus and then I left the base at 6pm for girls’ night!!!! Woot! I went to Jen’s, and after about 15 mins we went to get Amy. It was sooooooo good to see my best friends! We ate at Mimi’s, and sadly the boeuf bourguignon wasn’t as good as last time. The madeleines were, though. After eating there we went to Jen’s house and talked, and the watched The Good Place for a while…I enjoyed it…but mostly I enjoyed hanging out with my girls again
4 Oct Tue
Reveille is at 7am, The National Anthem is 4pm and Taps is 8pm. Heh.
Today we worked more on the leak in the gray water tank. I did school with the boys. Normal life.
It’s 9:15pm, my wash is folded and put up, the boys are in bed (reading and playing) and I’m watching Call the Midwife and coloring. Well, now I’m blogging :-) Tj’s out with his friends, I hope he’s having a good time!
5 Oct Wed
8:15am I went to get my haircut. It was so good to see Kassie! Then I went shopping at Goodwill and found a bag for M’s stuff. On the way home I picked up sushi at the commissary for me and the boys.
At 4pm we left to drop Max off at Aidan’s to play. We went to church to sign him up and pay for camp. While there we saw Jenn, Hooper and Sara Lu.
We went to Wal-Mart for some returns, and while there Max called to see if he could eat at Aidan’s. We went to David’s for burgers, then to Kroger. We stopped in at Freda’s and had a little visit before visiting with Liz and picking up Max.
6 Oct Thur
We did school and worked more on the leak. Tj had lunch with a friend and then we went to Lowe’s for the stuff to finally fix the leak, and we bought Jack a yard stick which has really come in handy! We went to Walmart and it wasn’t on the list but we bought a little green table which has been so nice for Jack’s school.
At 5:30 we went to check out a Splendide washer/dryer, and then bought it! I can’t wait till it’s installed! We went right from there to Jenn’s at 6:30 for dinner with them and the Huffs. We got home and put the washer in its place at 10:15pm.
7 Oct Friday
Tj had a dentist appointment, then he went to Home Depot for washer stuff. We did school and I cleaned up the disaster of the washer placement. Jack slept till 10am, and I made Max read Jen’s book instead of school. We packed for camp and switched Max’s clothes and the games for more accessibility.
When Tj got home went out for BBQ; those were the best ribs since TJ Ribs!!! We went home, TJ napped and the boys and I shopped around: Dirt cheap (lost Jack for a good minute), Goodwill, Dollar Tree, BX for bamboo :-(
While we were driving from store to store, from the backseat directly behind me Max asked, “Mom, do you think if someone gets saved but never does anything good that they’re really saved?” I told him that yes, they were. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be relying on Jesus to save them, but their own actions. I said it was kinda like the thief on the cross…he’d lived a ‘bad’ life, but the last thing he did was ask God to save him, and God said he did. God is the one who saves, not us. I said if we were sincere when we prayed for salvation that God would save us once and for all. Then I didn’t want him to think that he had to ask ‘perfectly’, so I said it’s also like Jack…we could feed him the words to say but that’s not what will save Jack, it’s not a prescribed set of words, but God working in us that saves. I could hear tears in his voice now and he told me he was relieved, because although he said when he got baptized that he wanted to start thinking about what God wants him to do instead of what he wants to do he hadn’t done that at all since then. I told him that as old as I was I still hadn’t figured out how to always think about what God wants. That God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, just for us to strive to be like Him. I asked him what I could do to help him remember to think more often about God’s will and he said to just remind him. I’ve been trying to not shove his own words down his throat so as not to make him regret saying them, but now I have the go-ahead to remind him sometimes. Sweet times with my boy!
We went back to the bus, got Tj and Max’s luggage and brought Max to church to catch the bus for camp. Tj, Jack and I went to Buffalo Wild wings and had their fried cheese curds: amazing! We went home and set up the washer: nothing!! While Tj agonized over that I put together the shoe storage we bought at Home Depot. We watched Parks and Rec and ate half a pack of Oreos.
8 Oct Sat
The washer makes me sad. We worked on it for a bit but can’t get anything but blinking lights. Tj sent an email to the manufacturer.
We took Jack to the park nearby while my pizza dough rose. We sat outside at the picnic table and had pizza, lemon cupcakes and lemon curd. Yum! Then we took a nap and I read Jen’s book, The Giver. I have to give it back to her before we leave, and can keep the other 3 in that series till we come back to AR.
9 Oct Sun
We were out of bed at 7 and got the bus ready to go. We left the base at 8:15am and made it to church at 8:45. It was so fun to see so many friends!! There was a military ministry luncheon that we went to. It was good to really have time to talk to Sara Lu there. Afterwards we just hung out on bus till the campers got back. We said another goodbye to our friends and headed for Memphis at 3pm.
I just remembered a funny story. One of my last days at G-lab A. Noe came up to me out of the blue and asked what my favorite soup was. I said broccoli cheese. She said, oh, well, I’m making Italian Wedding Soup for your going away party. Huh. Thanks?
10 Oct Mon
I started to do a day-in-the-life, but this ended up being a gripe fest!
Tj got up early and got ready for his first day of work. He put Jack in the bed before he left, but Jack never went back to sleep. I read my phone for a little bit at 7:20, and then read a book until the alarm rang at 8.
The washer is still playing its tricks on us, so while I’m working with it I told Max to get down and make Jack a fried egg sandwich. I go to help him a little bit with that and realize the bread crumbs are open and it spilled all over the shelf.
After their breakfast is ready I go to the back to change clothes. During that time I hear Jack spitting up his egg sandwich and Max yelling at him for it.
I go to set up Monarch for Max and realize that the jetpack isn’t on. That takes a few minutes to fix and by that time the boys are getting ready to go on their bike ride. Max realizes the handle to the faucet is broken, and Jack’s toothbrush has fuzz in it which makes him spit and sputter. On me.
9:30 Jack just fought with the soap. Max just fought with his socks.
9:35 I just realized TJ has the bikes in the back of the truck. Max is even more angry about this, so I just sent him to run. I started Jack with gemiinipad again.
9:40 Max starts Spanish so that I can change his Monarch. I start cleaning up the bread spell again.
10 We need some Bible verses on good attitude. So we look them up and we prayed. I felt like praying for others might help our attitudes get better so we prayed for Papa too. About two minutes later Mama texted that he was going to get a CT scan today and that it was a miracle and she was crying like a crybaby so she couldn’t talk to us now!
10:10 I saw that the washer wasn’t blinking anymore and decided to give it a try but it’s a no-go. I’ll unplug it now for a while. I’m going to try it again, and then I’m going to call the manufacturer.
10:34 I send J to the bathroom, and ask Max to be quiet while I make a phone call. I hear Jack fussing in the bathroom so I open the door to check on him before I start the phone call and he’s peed on an empty toilet paper roll. I think we might be taking a nap today.
10:50 I call the manufacturer. Power problem?
11:15 We went for a walk, checked out the laundry area at the campground. Came back, made lunch, Max is still angry. He didn’t eat all his lunch so I put it up for a snack for later.
12:34 I put the boys in bed and I’m gonna read. I ended up snoozing a bit.
2pm I sent Max to do school.
3:20 I turn the generator on and the washer still didn’t work. I plugged the washer into the bottom plug and it worked! I unplug the bus while the generator was on and the washer worked! I couldn’t get it to drain until I put a bucket on the floor and ran the drain line to it. While it was working a cycle I went and plugged the bus back in, and then after a little while I turned the generator off, and it still worked! I haven’t tried starting a brand new cycle with it plugged into the bottom plug yet, I’ll wait till TJ gets home. Jack and I will do school until then.
3:55 This day is not going any better. I told Jack where to write his name on the ‘My Name All Year’ paper and he wrote it right over last month’s name, then angled it down to cover next months name as well.
5:30 Tj home. We talked and then he started on his homework and I made supper: meatloaf, potato salad and corn on the cob.
9pm Boys in bed. We went to bed shortly thereafter. I’m glad Tj loves his new job, but I’m glad this day is over!
11 Oct Tue
Today was a much better day, despite its start. I took Tj to work and J and I went grocery shopping after. After Kroger and Walmart we came back to the bus. M had just had his break (at 10:15), so when he finished his next subject we went to the farmer’s market. If I’d known it was open every day I’d have bought my produce there! We came back and worked on school some, and then I made nachos for lunch.
I hadn’t even made my salad yet when Tj called and said he needed me to pick him up from work in 15-20 mins…they were let out early and were meeting for supper. I was watching a load of wash to note that it only filled the drum when the pipe was held up, and only drained when the pipe was down.
I called the manufacturer later and he thinks the pump has come unplugged. I’m praying that’s the problem and that Tj can help me fix it soon!
12 Oct Wed
I told Jack to get the skillet out so we could make his fried egg sandwich like we do every morning. He started fussing and looking around, heading to the bedroom. I realized he didn’t know what a skillet was, so I said get the pan out and he did it happily. He just doesn’t know to say I don’t know. It never ceases to amaze me the obvious things he still doesn’t know. He’s growing and learning…in the last few weeks he’s almost memorized the months of the year, all of our birth months, the days of the week, etc, but I forgot to point out that we could call that thing a skillet, cast iron skillet, pan, pot and who knows what else!
Mom fail: Yesterday Max asked me for a quiet time and I said no because he hadn’t finished his schoolwork. Today I find out he meant his quiet time with God. Huh. I told him I’ll always allow those :-)
In the category of words I never thought I’d hear from my son: Max said Jack just almost got run over by a student driver!
When Tj came home we went to the corn maze here. We went on a hayride, too. I know Tj’s tired…but he’s a sweet dad to spend this time with his boys.