Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 2: Fudge Pot

This is the second day of 'Lacey's More Funner 30 Days of Blogging' which I talked about here. I'm pretty sure I'm just setting myself up to fail, but I'll give it a try!

DAY 2: SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE

I'm not much of a cook. I mainly only cook on holidays and when John begs hard enough. I'm more of a baker, which goes along with my inherited sweet tooth. We all tend to love desserts, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc. Which is why it's no surprise that my favorite recipe is something in the sweet category.

On top of loving sweets, what I love even more is chocolate. & when there is no candy stash to raid, or cookies to eat, John and I both have a way of curing a chocolate craving. He goes for the leftover (store-bought) chocolate icing jar in the fridge. Just dips his finger in and licks it clean. He thinks I don't notice, but I know the difference between spoon dips and finger dips.

Me though, I'm a little more high maintenance when it comes to finding some chocolate. I like to make what my Mama dubbed as a "Fudge Pot." I'm not exactly sure where she got the idea, but she's been making them for as long as I can remember. So many times, I can remember her trying to sneak and make herself a pot, when 2 little noses (those would be mine and my brother's) caught wind of the smell and came wandering in to share the fudge pot with her.

And, just to show you how dedicated I am to this blog, I'm going to make myself a half-batch for dinner (yes, AS my dinner) tonight so I can take pictures for you lovely folks. Now that's dedication.

Let's not waste any time fellow chocolate lovers...here is "The Fudge Pot."

You start by gathering these ingredients:


4 TBSP Butter
1 1/2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 TBSP Milk
Powdered Sugar
Vanilla

Turn the burner on lowish medium, and melt the butter.

After melted, add the cocoa powder...


...and whisk until well blended. [SIDE NOTE: if for some reason you splash a drop or so out of the pot during blending, it is not such a good idea to wipe the drip up with your finger and lick it clean. You have not added any sugar at this point and the chocolate is UNsweetened. Not that I did that or anything...]

Keep stirring until the concoction separates a bit and looks like this:

Then add the milk:

And re-stir until blended.

Now, the fun part. Start adding powdered sugar. How much? I don't really know. & I should be one to talk cause I hate recipes that just say "add to your liking," but here, you are just adding sugar and continuing to stir until it gets a certain thickness about it.

When you think you have it, you should be able to pick up the pot and roll the thickish chocolate around the edges of the pot like so:

It should be a slowwww roll.

Then, add a drop of two of vanilla and voila.....Fudge Pot!

Now, this is the very most important part: Get a tall glass of milk, set the pot on a trivet, grab a spoon and sit on the counter or table while eating it. It's imperative, I tell you!

When we were little, not only would the Mama share her fudge pot with us, but we'd ALWAYS get to sit on the table to eat it...double treat for us!

All that's left is this: Enjoy!

(I did...and I finished it in the record time of 2.37 minutes. Mmmmmmm, chocolate.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 1: Dear Me

This is the first day of 'Lacey's More Funner 30 Days of Blogging' which I talked about here. I'm pretty sure I'm just setting myself up to fail, but I'll give it a try!

DAY 1: WRITE A LETTER TO YOURSELF. ANSWER IT A YEAR LATER.

Dear Me,

Hello! How are ya? Feeling good? It's so hot out, isn't it?

Anyways, how has your year been? What are you looking like these days? Still looking the same? Here's a picture from a year ago to jog your memory:




Did you finally figure out those trip plans with Amy and Bryan? If so, I bet that was fun. If not, you are a dummy and should have taken advantage of your youth!

So, any baby news you'd like to share with me? Or are you still not sure about that one? I'm sure having your new nephew Wyatt around should help you decide. He is just about 9 months old, right?

Where are you living these days? The same townhouse? I know just recently you went and saw a house and decided to wait a bit longer to move. So, has it been long enough yet?

According to plans, you should now be debt-free Lacey...you didn't let me down here, did you??

Now....on to the important questions:

You do have the iPhone 4 now, right? Cause if not that iPhone 3G is preeeetty outdated.

Do you still have 2 mismatched nightstands?

Do you still have kitchen appliances in three different colors?

Are you still keeping up with your clothing spreadsheet? If so, that means your spreadsheet had it's 5 year anniversary just 10 days ago. I hope you remembered to throw it a party!

Is Tuna still getting some awesomely rad hair cuts?

Is Reese still running at full speed towards every open door?

Anyways, just wanted to check in. I expect that you'll remember to reply in exactly one year. What's that? You are still having memory problems? Well, in that case, I'm going to write another letter to you that will remind you to reply to this letter and I'll schedule it to post on 6/29/2011. Hey! That's today! You better get busy!

Love you lots,
Lacey of the Past

30 Days of Blogging Goodness

A few weeks ago, I came across a blogger that had a list of blog topics: one each for the next 30 days. I quite liked the idea since I've been having trouble coming up with anything to say lately. So, I copied and pasted the list and started to think about what I would write for each day.

Some of the days included these topics: Your Favorite Book, An Art Piece, Your Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the next 365 days, etc., etc.

And I thought to myself...booooooorrrrinnngggg! (No offense to those that are doing this list...just not my style, that's all!)



Instead, I thought I'd copy the list down and then just replace the topics I didn't like with my own topics.

Only, that seemed to be a problem because for 1) As I started reading the list I realized that I really didn't like ANY of the topics, and 2) I can't come up with anything to say for ONE day, much less for 30 days.

So I let it go. And then, when I got really desperate today (read: bored) and started googling "blog topics" I found this awesome site to save the day! It was a random blog topic generator and would spit out 8 new topics every time you clicked the 'get some more' button.

Since there were so many I liked, I decided to make my own 30 day list. I'll call it "Lacey's More Funner 30 Days of Blogging" meme. And if you would like to do this as well, feel free to borrow, steal, or replace any topics on my list you may not like . I know just the place where you can get some different ones!


So without further ado, please let me introduce:

Lacey's More Funner 30 Days of Blogging

Monday, June 28, 2010

Giant Sunflower

About a month and a half ago, John came home with a seed that he had germinated in a wet paper towel that he wanted to plant in one of our flower beds. He did, and this is what has happened since:




I'm assuming one day it will stop leafing and will start flowering...but that has yet to be seen. I'll keep you updated....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beary Weird

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Time: 7:52 a.m.
Location: Charlotte, NC
Current Temperature: 78° F
Setting: On the LYNX train, heading in to work.



Now, I've seen some strange people on the train before, but, if my memory serves me correctly, this was the first day I've seen a bear.

Wonder where he was going?

Perhaps he was heading home to find his porridge had been eaten and a little blonde girl sleeping in his bed.

Perhaps he meeting up with his friend Boo Boo to steal some picnic baskets.

Maybe he was going to educate the public on forest fires.

I may never know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've got some 'splainin to do!

Based on yesterday's '2 Truths and 1 Lie', here are the answers and explanations.

Group 1: Bodily Functions

A) (Peeing in the grass on our honeymoon) This is very much true. John just laughed and took picture evidence. When a girl's gotta go....

B) (Puking in the drive-thru) Sadly, this is also very much true. In the mortified moments after puking on myself, I frantically searched for another shirt to put on so that the person at the next window didn't see me and the mess that I was. I was able to find a sweatshirt in the backseat, and put it on OVER the mess. It was all I could do in the time I had!! Totally, totally disgusting!

C) (Snot strings) This is the lie. Although, this did happen in preschool, just not to me. Her name was Jenny, and I've felt sorry for her ever since.

Group 2: Around the House

A) (Clothing OCDness) THIS is the lie! No one picked this to be the lie and I am SHOCKED! Do y'all really think I'm this crazy?? Apparently so. But no, my spreadsheet has not had any additional columns added (although I have thought about it) and my closet is the last thing from organized. AND, as a special treat for you (and because I can't stand a pictureless post) THIS is what my closet currently looks like:

Why yes, that is a pile of clean and dirty clothes in the floor. The clean ones are the rejects from rushed mornings that I don't have time to hang back up so they end up on top of the laundry basket, and the dirties are just what they are - dirty clothes, which I can't get into the laundry basket because of the rejects on top of it from the morning. Eventually the clean rejects fall to the floor and mingle with the dirties which in turn makes me wash ALL of the clothes instead of just the dirties. Sighhh.

B) (Pink moldy shower) Sadly, this is true, but I'm happy to know that most people don't think that I'm this messy/lazy. I loathe cleaning the shower, and will wait until one of two things happen before doing it: 1) People are coming over or 2) Pink mold appears. I call it my PP rule. Not really, I just made that up. See! I'm really good at this lying thing!

C) (Sledge hammered desk) This is also true. We did try to give it to a couple of people first, but, when they didn't want it we decided that to save ourselves the trouble and the possible messed-up walls, we'd demolish it!

Group 3: Food Pickiness

A) (Wheat Breaditis) This is the lie! While many other food pickinesses of mine are kinda out there, this one is not one of them. I just made this up off the top of my head...I don't actually know anyone crazy enough to fall into this category. But APPARENTLY some of y'all thought I was this crazy. Hmph!

B) (Salsa chunkitis) Very true. I realize that the contents are identical whether blended or not, but chunks just don't go down the same. I'm a smoooooth kinda girl - whether we're talking peanut butter, salsa, or my legs in the summertime. Now the wintertime legs are a different story!

C) (Non bun length hot dogitis) This is also true. It's such an ingenius idea to make sure that each bite has the correct ratio of bun to dog, that I'm surprised more people don't take after me in doing this! Try it, you'll see!

So, with that being said, the correct answers were C, A, and A (which also could have been found by highlighting the last line of that blog post...hehehe), and the winner is:

MY SISTER CHRISTY with a whopping total score of 1! Way to go Christy!

Unfortunately, the all expenses paid trip around the world was only to be awarded to anyone that had 2 or more correct answers. So, in this case your prize is the following shout-out:

HEY CHRISTY!!

I'll continue to perfect my lying in my daily life in order to keep the game alive. Better luck next time, guys.

Monday, June 21, 2010

2 Truths & 1 Lie

Today, we'll play 2 Truths, 1 Lie. Try and guess which story in each group is the lie and if you get the most right I'll give you a prize. What kind of prize? Well, maybe just a shout-out type of prize, but you never know. It could be an all expenses paid vacation around the world!

Group 1: Bodily functions

A) On a long walk back to our hotel room on our honeymoon, I simply couldn't hold it any longer and took a pee break in some grass along a sidewalk. There is also photo evidence of this event.

B) One afternoon after some drinking the night before, I decided to get some McDonald's. I felt completely fine and had no hint of a hangover whatsoever, but, when the I got to the first drive-thru window to pay, the window opened and the french fry/fried food scents lingered into my car. Which in turn caused me to then puke on myself between that window and the next. I would've at least opened the door but I was too close to the building to get my door open enough. One of my finest moments.

C) On one of my very first days of preschool, we were all playing a get to know you game and going around the table telling our names and our favorite things to play. I had a slight cold at the time and was trying my best not to sneeze because my turn was coming up. When the teacher finally called my name and said it was my turn, I sneezed a sneeze so big that snot came out of my nose in one long string and reached from my nose all the way to the table. It was a really great way to make new friends!


Group 2: Around the House

A) My clothing OCDness has hit a new high (low?). Now, on top of still having my spreadsheet which is updated daily, I also have now added shoes and jewelry to the spreadsheet, along with setting up a nice rotation in my closet which makes things easier in the mornings. Instead of having to reference the spreadsheet on the computer, I just hung everything up in the reverse order of when it was last worn (based on the season), and pick the next shirt in the front to wear each morning.

B) Currently, my bathtub is so dirty that the pink mold (ya know, that stuff that shows up only when something is really dirty) is rampant. I need to call in a bathroom cleaning crew, stat.

C) When we started to clean out the guest room to make a nursery while I was still pregnant, we decided we no longer wanted the giant monstrosity of a computer desk we owned. It was in good condition and could have very well be donated or given to someone who might need it. But, it was very difficult to get the desk up the stairs when we moved in, and John was not looking forward to carrying it back down the stairs and possibly messing up the freshly painted stairway walls. So instead, we took to it with a sledge hammer, broke it into a million pieces and threw it away.


Group 3: Food Pickiness

A) I know that whole wheat bread is better for you than white bread and I try to eat that as much as possible. But, I will ONLY eat it if it doesn't have those little grainy sesame-seed like things all over the crust. If I order wheat bread in a restaurant and it comes out with those seedy things all over it, I will pick them all off before eating.

B) Mexican is by far my favorite cuisine, which naturally means I love salsa. However, salsa with too many chunks is just not doable. I will take chunky salsa and put it into a blender for a few seconds so that the chunks get smaller before I will eat it. I realize that it's the exact same thing, but I can't take the texture of the chunks.

C) When eating a hot dog that is not the same length as the bun, I am careful to have any bites of bun alone. I start the hot dog closer to the end that I am going to be eating from. After each bite, I slide the hot dog back a little more in the bun until the amount of hot dog left equals the amount of bun left, at which point I can stop all hot dog maneuvering and eat the hot dog like a normal person.

And for good measure, I'll throw in one more "liar" picture just for fun:

Now, make your guesses in the comment section and I'll let you know the answers ASAP! Good luck!

Answers: Group 1: C, Group 2: A, Group 3: A

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Haterade: Is It In You?

Things I Hate -


  1. The crinkling of food wrappers or chip bags, etc.


  2. Words. I hate t-shirts with words on them. Well, not necessarily words, but sayings. There is no need. Also I hate words on home decor.


  3. Clutter. Everything needs a place...and the top of the dresser is not allowed.


  4. Wrinkled paper. It belongs in the trash and should be replaced with a nice, new, clean slice of paper, please.


  5. Being told what to do. I'm stubborn like my daddy.


  6. Fish. They are scary, slithery and slimy and without the proper dosage of beer, they prohibit me from swimming in the lake or ocean...for the most part!


  7. Losing.


  8. Calling people (that I don't know) or businesses. I call this one phonaphobia.


  9. Being bored.


  10. Non-reality TV.


  11. Twilight & any other movie, TV show, or book dealing with vampires. And while I'm at it, although it isn't about vampires, I'd like to add Harry Potter and any other cult-like movie such as this.


  12. Bleeding. This is definitely gonna be TMI, but after my miscarriage (I was prescribed Cytotec to "speed" the process along...heh), I bled for 37 flippin' days. And then, my body decided to give me a nice 10 day break, before kicking up the system again. Thanks a lot bodily systems!


  13. Materialisticness.


  14. People that have tee-tiny thumbnail-sized pictures on Facebook. I don't understand how that happens!


  15. People that comment on tee-tiny thumbnail-sized pictures on Facebook. "Oh Jane you look great!" HOW exactly are you able to even see Jane, might I ask??

Anything you hatin' today?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Colt!

Oh, well hello there Colt!

Today my "baby" brother turns 26!

Since he is the sibling of mine that is closest to me in age, we were always pretty close. We even shared a room from as long as I can remember until I was 10 years old; at which point the oldest sis got married, moved out and freed up a bedroom so we were able to spread out a bit.

While we were bedroom roommates, we took bedroom cleanliness very seriously. Okay, that's a lie, but when we did clean our room we made it perfectly fair...or so he thought. We would stretch a jump rope out to divide the room in half and each had to clean up our half. Little does he know that before we'd begin cleaning, I'd strategically place some of the tougher things to clean up (think Legos, puzzles, games etc....anything with tons of tiny pieces!) on his half and then I'd lay the jump rope down. He never questioned why one half of the room was always so much messier than the other. One benefit of being an older sibling, I suppose! I never told him, and I don't believe he reads my blog so we'll just keep that our little secret, mmkay?

When we were young, he did everything I did. Including avoiding nearly all foods except pop tarts, french fries, and bologna for the majority of his childhood. Sorry I led you astray little brother!

When I dug monster giant holes in the beach, he dug monster giant holes in the beach. And then together we'd connect our giant monster holes to create a gianter monsterer hole! We were a great team!


When we were older and in high school, he was always with me. We drove around making up silly car dances to the Beastie Boys and performed our dance at stop lights. Thinking back now, I'm hoping he was enjoying it as much as I did...but if not, he was great at pretending to enjoy it so I didn't look like the only dancing fool!

When my friends were over and we wanted to sing karaoke to the Backstreet Boys, Colt would always be a good sport and sing along. With me being his ride to high school for his freshman and sophomore years, he heard those Backstreet Boys CDs so many times that I'm pretty sure he had them all memorized. When we weren't forcing him to sing Backstreet Boys, he could also do a mean Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing."

Colt is such a kind-hearted, FUNNY, hard-headed, lovable brother. I was told once that everyone should have a Colt in their lives, and it's true. He's irreplaceable, he's my baby brother "Bubba" & I can't wait to see him with his own baby in a few months!


Hope you had a most wonderful 26th birthday, Colt! I love you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Disproving the Blonde Stereotype

Okay blondes, you can thank me later. But, the "dumb" stereotype associated with your hair color has officially been disproved once and for all. I, Lacey, am not blonde by any stretch of the imagination. And, as a pretty dark brunette and almost the furthest thing from a blonde, you'd think I'd be pretty smart based on the stereotype (which I am, thank you). But the last 2 days I have had to laugh at myself and the dumb things I think sometimes. For example...

I tend to get addicted to various Facebook games from time to time. Not farmville, thank goodness, but first there was Pathwords, and then Bejeweled Blitz, and now I've moved on to Family Feud. (And for the record, I haven't ever published anything from these games like so many facebook gamers do...EXCEPT, for Family Feud's bonus round, and as soon as it's complete I delete the post because it clutters up my Facebook wall. :))

Anyways, Family Feud is played just like it is on TV, with 4 different rounds and then a 'Fast Money' bonus round. During 'Fast Money', you are given 50 seconds to answer 5 questions with the most popular answer. Then, you can ask a friend to do the second round of 'Fast Money' in an attempt to get over 200 points.

Yesterday, my first question was: Name something you associate with the three musketeers.

I answered: Larry

I don't know a thing about the three musketeers because I've never watched it, but I thought I at least knew their names. So I just typed 'Larry' figuring I would at least get a couple of points. [on second thought, I should have said 'candy bar'. Oh well.]
But turns out, the three musketeers aren't Larry, Curly and Moe at all. They have really dumb names like Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.

I never even would have realized the error in my ways, but my friend Matt that did my second round of 'Fast Money' thought it was ridiculous enough to ask me about it. Who knew!?



Today, I was doing some research on a possible vacation that John and I might take with a couple of our friends. John's coworker had recently told him of a really cool place that they went in Mexico so I decided I would google it to see what I could come up with.

Only problem was that I couldn't remember the name of the place. Not very surprising, right? BUT, I did remember that when John called and told me about it, he said the word sounded like Bat Mitzvah (I thought) so it would be easier to just remember that word since the city name was very similar.

Sure, I could've just asked John again for the name of the place, but I like a challenge. And I do think I'm a pretty darn good Googler. So, since the coworker said it was an excursion they took from a cruise, I decided I would just google cruise ports in Mexico and look for a city nearby that looked like it could sound like 'Bat Mitzvah'. Easy enough, right?

Well, my googling was coming up short. I even scanned a map of Mexico to see if I saw something that sounded familiar. But nothing. WHAT was the name of it?

I broke down and asked John.

He replied.

It was Mazatlán, which he said sounds like Mazel Tov! Silly Jewish words have me all confused!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Into the Archives: Alaska

(When not much is going on in my present-day Life of Lacey, I'll go back to the archived Life of Lacey. You know, that time way back when before 'blog' was even a word....well maybe not in this case, but definitely before 'Life of Lacey' was born!)


Two years ago, my parents and I were flying back from a vacation of a lifetime. We had just spent 9 adventurous days in Alaska that we won't soon forget. Well, I hopefully won't forget but I can't make any promises since my memory is dicey. But still, I'll always have these pictures. & they can't even do it justice.

We visited Anchorage, Seward, Denali and Talkeetna all without renting a car. I had arranged for buses or trains to get us to every city, and everything was either within walking distance from there or a shuttle would come pick us up at our hotel to get us wherever we would need to be. This was, by far, my favorite trip I have ever planned!

But, instead of telling you the big stories, here are some of the little stories that I remember from this trip.

ANCHORAGE


When we arrived in Anchorage we had to find a way to get to our hotel from the airport. I knew we could take a cab, but in an effort to save some money and see the "real" Alaska, I had printed the public bus schedule out and knew that if our flight arrived on time we would get there just in time for the last bus route of the day. We made it on time and lugged our gigantic suitcases onto the bus.

When we paid our fare, the bus driver warned us to not slip and fall on the liquid that had leaked all over the floor. We were careful and made our way to our seats and discovered that the mystery liquid all over the bus floor was beer. Welcome to Alaska!

But, in all honesty the bus ride was very pleasant and the bus was clean (besides the little beer hiccup) and was not full of scary people. And, if that's not good enough, the bus driver pointed out one of our only moose sightings along some railroad tracks we stopped by. You can't get that tour-guidish service from most public bus drivers!

However, we were not too enthused with this particular moose. He had no antlers! What good is an antlerless moose? We soon realized that it was too early in the season for moose to have antlers since they lose them in late autumn and just start developing new ones in spring. But I didn't know that at the time so I'd like to take this time to publicly apologize to that moose for snubbing him. Apology accepted Mr. B. Winkle?

SEWARD

Dolphins don't excite me. I mean, I see them almost every morning when we vacation in Daytona. Sharks...well, they are exciting for a minute, as long as I'm up on a pier and not in the water with them. But the sea creature that I've always wanted to see is a whale. Whales are mysterious. Hard to imagine just how gigantic they are. (Except for that one time at Sea World where the current "Shamu" jumped out of the water and showed me his size, but that doesn't count.)

When we would go on dolphin cruises on vacation I would secretly be hoping to see a whale instead. Regardless of the fact that if a whale did come by for a visit he could have easily capsized our little dolphin-watching boat. Now THAT would be an adventure!

But finally, I got my chance to see real whales on a whale-watching cruise in Seward and it was amazing. But the one thing I learned is that we always seem unenthused with whatever we are used to. The lady that sat beside me was a local and obviously used to seeing whales and was just along to bring some out of state friends on this cruise. She was clearly unenthused by the local wildlife just as I am with dolphins:


She slept through the whole thing! With a coat over her head! She clearly was not impressed.

So, I then decided that I need to be thankful for the local wildlife that I am able to see regularly as well. I would like to take this time to publicly apologize to the local dolphins I may have previously snubbed. Apology accepted, Mr. F. Lipper?

DENALI

The major thing to do while in Denali is to go on a tour through Denali National Park. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the ONLY thing to do. Well, that, and stay in a cabin on the side of a mountain that is so crooked you can't even set a drink on your nightstand without it falling. But if given the choice to stay in that cabin or one of the nicer resorts again, I would choose the cabin hands down. It's all a part of the experience!

So, we (along with the other busloads of people) met at a resort early one morning to begin our 6 hour tour through Denali park. The tour buses were all completely sold out and since we were a group of 3, and the rows consisted of only 2 seats each, we chose to sit in the very back row which had 5 seats across so we could all sit with each other.

As we made our way into the park, our tour guide told us we were very likely to see grizzly bears and that we would be allowed to put the bus windows down and take pictures but to be very quiet when doing so. The reason, he said, was because these were wild animals and they didn't want them to get used to the sound of the human voice. Something about if they got used to humans they may incidentally get too close because they wouldn't be scared and bad things could happen. Whatever, that's not important.

What IS important, is that our bus tour guide dude spotted a grizzly just off the side of the road having a morning snack consisting of a berry of some sort. We were lucky that the bear was on our side of the bus so we had ample picture-taking opportunities through our opened window. Our neighbors to our left, however, couldn't get close enough to get a good picture so they asked me to take one for them. While handing me their camera, I forgot the quiet rule and made some joke of some sort in my normal speaking volume (with the windows still open...GASP!), and the ENTIRE bus turned around and shushed me!

Hello red face!

I would like to take this time to publicly apologize to Mr. Yog E. Bear for disturbing breakfast with the sound of my voice. And to please ask him not to maul the next hiker you see because you heard my voice and thought it was okay. I do not want to be an accessory to the crime!

TALKEETNA

This city was mainly a stop over from the long ride from Denali to Anchorage so I wasn't here long enough to offend any animals. We were here just long enough, however, to take a little plane ride to see Mt. McKinley. 'Little' being the operative word there...the plane just held 10 people, including the pilot and co-pilot.

The pilot must have thought that of the other 6 guests on the plane that we looked the most trustworthy and responsible. For me, I was seated in the very back (which coincidentally wasn't that far away from the very front) because he wanted me to be in charge of the emergency exit. He showed me all the latches and such and I assured him I would be able to handle the task at hand. I think.

For my dad, however, he must have trusted him to pilot the plane instead of just co-pilot. He had, after all, learned to drive a dogsled earlier in the week...how much harder could a plane be? Because when boarding, the pilot instructed my dad to go sit in the seat on the right, but instead he went straight to the seat on the left (the pilot's seat) and sat down.

I would like to take this time to publicly apologize to Mr. Pilot for rubbing off on my dad for a few minutes. I too have trouble with my left and right and it was a perfectly honest mistake (which made for a great picture!).

_________________

Whew! I feel better now that I've shed 2 year old Alaskan guilt! How are you feeling? I bet you're needing a nap after reading all of that!

Biking and Hiking

Over Memorial Day weekend, (most of) my family and I took a trip to the Grayson Highlands State Park in the large city of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. What?? You haven't heard of it??? Have you been living under a rock?! Perhaps one of these rocks in this lovely mountain stream, eh?

We tent camped...which is a big change for us since we typically camp with a mansion on wheels - campground-sized. But, for a weekend we thought we could handle the tent camping. I mean, the biggest downside to camping in a tent is that tents have a tendency to leak if it rains, and the weather forecast, at the very most on the three days that we were there, only called for a 30% chance of showers.

But, we stuck out the Saturday afternoon rainstorm underneath my sister's canopy tent and played a game of Old Maid. Guess who was the Old Maid? None other than yours truly. I'm a sore loser, admittedly.
After the monsoon was over, some of us went to hike a 1.8 mile trail (rated difficult, mind you) called the Cabin Creek trail. There were a few slips and falls due to the wet leaves and mud, but nothing serious. I'm happy to say that I did not fall the entire hike, however, I am pretty sure that every time we crossed a stream I picked the wrong rocks to step on and water gushed in through my tennis shoes.

We made it to the falls, took some pictures, and finished out the trail...
When we got back to my dad, brother-in-law Danny, and nieces Lindsay and Lori, we made hot dogs and s'mores over the campfire and called it a night.

(Side note: my dad broke his heel recently and wasn't able to do most of the things with us...otherwise, he definitely would have been with us leading the pack! For the majority of the time he looked like this:Because his heel looks like this:
...just FYI!)

The next day we biked the Virginia Creeper Trail. Well, the ladies and children did, the men stayed back at the campground to attempt to catch some trout. They (and I quote) "caught 4 or 5 trout but went ahead and ate them all for lunch." [TRANSLATION: they caught nothing.] But we did have success biking the 17 miles of the Creeper Trail. Even though at the first pit stop we thought we were about halfway and the map showed we had only done THREE miles. It got much better after that though because the next 14 miles were beautiful and went by in a flash!

(If you enlarge that picture, we were only at the Green Cove station, we started at the Whitetop Station, and ended at the Damascus Caboose station.)
When we got back that evening we set out to do one more hike to see the "wild" ponies along the Rhododendron trail. I say "wild" because:
(We were careful not to molest the ponies.)

My sister Joy had a friend that had been here before and suggested we bring apples for the ponies and they would eat them out of your hand. But first, we had to find the elusive miniature ponies.

My nieces and nephews each carried around an apple in their hand for the first half of the hike hoping to lure some ponies out of the bushes. When that wasn't working, it was suggested to take a bite out of the apples to release the apple aroma into the air, thus luring the ponies to us. (We were getting desperate, these ponies were no where to be found.)

But lil Lori took it one step further, and in classic Hansel and Gretel style started taking bites of her apple and spitting them out along the trail. When we were just about to give up on our search and pretend that we were just as happy only seeing the Rhododendrons blooming as we would have been seeing the ponies...


...we walked out over this plateau and saw a pony grazing right where we had just been. We are sure it was Lori's apple spitting technique that lured them! She was SO proud of herself!

We made it back down to the pony, which turned into ponIES (5 ponies and one baby to be exact!) and all got a chance to feed them and pet them. It was so amazing, slobber and all.
& when we ran out of apples one pony started coming after a not-so-carefully stowed bag of peanuts in the backpack my mom was carrying! Poor little things were hungry! (I can't exactly tell if this pony was overfed or pregnant!)

We called it a night after this, and had plans to hike one more trail Monday morning before heading back home. But the next morning John happened to overhear someone say that a big storm was coming our way so we decided to pack up instead. And just as we got everything packed, the rain came and followed us the entire 3 hours home.

Now today starts my first of four full weeks of work before the next family vacation. It can't come soon enough!