From The Home Office

Leaving My Computer Off All Day

I didn't get to take any Sundays off during our 6400-mile adventure, so I treated myself last Sunday by leaving my computer off all day. Ali and I drove to the cloth store (Ali's making a dress for herself) and rented some movies and we (Ali, Richard, Max and I) spent the day eating popcorn and staring at the television screen. It was heavenly! Frank decided to try to land some largemouth bass, so he spent the day fishing with his friend on the Penobscot River (in our backyard). And Zach spent the day with his friends. (One of his best friends is leaving for college on Friday.) When it cooled off outside, we weeded the garden, which had been inundated with weeds because of the heavy July rains. Ali is currently winning the pumpkin-growing contest. She has two tiny pumpkins on her vines while I have none on mine. We have two new baby maple trees growing in the garden so I'm going to tie them to stakes so nobody will pull them out (and so Max won't run over them with his toy tractor). Frank planted some flowers in June and they're beautiful now! At dusk, the mosquitoes descended on our fun and we had to race inside. I sure wish it was already the weekend again... Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

A Wonderful Day

We had such a wonderful day yesterday! It reminded me of what it's going to be like when we retire someday...no work and all play! Since it rained all night and was supposed to rain all, we decided to go do the touristy stuff instead of sitting in the RV all day long. The first fun thing we encountered after leaving the campground was a detour due to the flood... Read the entire story and see lots of photos at: http://www.wirelesstrips.com/archives/travel_essays/001878_08012004.php Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

No Running on the Freeway!

While our drive through Mississippi last week was so uneventful that we had a hard time staying awake, our drive through Alabama and Tennessee couldn't have been much more exciting. We left Mississippi and drove through Alabama, with Nashville being our afternoon destination. Somewhere in Alabama, the sky turned black and I said, "Richard, wake up! Grab the camera!" He yawned, "Why?" I excitedly replied, "Because it looks like tornado weather and I don't want to miss it!" Read the rest of this story at: http://www.wirelesstrips.com/archives/travel_essays/001847_07252004.php Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

Weaving Our Way Toward Maine

Today we're on the road, heading for Robert, Louisiana. We'll be weaving our way toward Maine over the next two weeks, stopping at fun and educational places along the way. Our stay in Texas was grand! The food was great (you can't get good Mexican food in Maine), we got to see dozens of relatives, the kids were spoiled by their numerous grandparents in The Woodlands and in Corpus Christi, and we're all exhausted. The kids have so many grandmothers that Max now thinks if someone has wrinkles, their name must be "Grandma." You can follow our adventures (and see lots of pictures!) at: http://www.WirelessTrips.com Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

Do You Smell Something?

Boy oh boy, those Ozark Mountains sure can be tough on an RV. The temperature gauge was climbing quickly as the RV struggled to make it up some parts of the steep highway. I started smelling that hot-radiator smell through the vents. Ali smelled it, too. Richard wasn't concerned but I was terrified, picturing us stranded on some mountain road... Read the rest of this story here: http://www.wirelesstrips.com/archives/travel_essays/001798_07112004.php We're in Texas right now. You can read all about our adventures of taking our business and family on the road, driving 6400 miles in 46 days through 23 states right HERE. Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

You Notice a Lot When You’re Travelling the Open Road

Aside from obvious things like the landscape and different weather patterns, you notice a lot when you're travelling the open road, if you're paying attention. One of my favorite things to do is to drive through small towns, observing the people walking on the sidewalks, the children playing in the neighborhoods, and the farmers working in the hot sun. It's fun to imagine what happened in their lives to lead them to settling in this small town, seemingly in the middle of nowhere USA with populations often under 1000, according to the the weathered highway signs. We've stayed in Mantua, Ohio, Grand Haven, Michigan and Byron, Illinois since last week's issue. You can read all about our adventures of taking our business and family on the road, driving 6400 miles in 46 days through 23 states, right here. Next week? We're goin' home to Texas! I have to start brushing up on my accent so the kin folk will be able to understand me. Hugs to all! Angela ~Pssst! Angela's Ghost is Calling!~ For years, Angela has been telling you about the spirits living in her old home in Maine. You can now read all about her family's experiences and more! Read all about Real Stories of Spirit Communication: When Loved Ones Return After Crossing Over at: http://www.SpiritStories.com

Toto, We’re Not in Maine Anymore!

We're having a great time on our 44-day "business trip." However, in Henderson Harbor, NY, someone pulled a knife on Frank. Read about it here: http://www.wirelesstrips.com/archives/travel_essays/001742_06262004.php Read more updates on our trip here: http://www.wirelesstrips.com Hugs to all! Angela ~Pssst! Angela's Ghost is Calling!~ For years, Angela has been telling you about the spirits living in her old home in Maine. You can now read all about her family's experiences and more! Read all about Real Stories of Spirit Communication: When Loved Ones Return After Crossing Over at: http://www.SpiritStories.com

Tales From the Road

Well, we did it. We left town for 44 days. Our trip is taking us to approximately 23 states and we'll be driving more than 6,400 miles. To see what we're doing TODAY and to take a peek at this week's photos (including Frank's big frog!), click here: http://www.WirelessTrips.com Hugs to all! Angela ~Pssst! Angela's Ghost is Calling!~ For years, Angela has been telling you about the spirits living in her old home in Maine. You can now read all about her family's experiences and more! Read all about Real Stories of Spirit Communication: When Loved Ones Return After Crossing Over at: http://www.SpiritStories.com

Hitting The Road For 5-1/2 Weeks

As many of you remember, earlier this year we traded in our pop-up camper for an RV and started homeschooling the children so we could spend more time traveling. This Sunday, we're leaving on a 5500-mile road trip and will be chronicling our trip online. You'll be able to check in to see where we are each day and what we've seen and done at http://www.WirelessTrips.com. The site is up and Richard's done a super job designing it. It was a lot of fun for him. And, Julie Sartain created the cutest logo that includes all our photos (even Percy!). …

La la la la…

You know, I don't know what I'm going to do when all the children are grown someday. When that happens, where will we find our daily entertainment? …

A Strange Man In My Kitchen

On Sunday, we did something we'd been planning for several weeks. We moved Zach out of his room into the office on the other side of the house, and moved the office into Zach's old room. He always has lots of friends over and his room just seemed to keep getting smaller and smaller. Now, his room is huge and is more like an apartment than a room. Richard and I even bought him a doorbell and a brass number 1 for his door. Heh... He thought that was pretty funny. Hmmm...maybe we should start charging him rent? Anyway, the best part is that his friends can now use the bathroom on the other side of the house, which is right by the backdoor, and they won't be walking by our bedroom door anymore. No longer do I have to bump into teenage boys on my way to the bathroom at night and listen to them laughing and hollering at their video games after midnight. …

Yummy Worms!

We visited our local Home Depot last week and Richard offered to wait in the van while Ali, Max, and I perused the plants. Our 20-minute landscaping binge sure made Richard sorry he'd stayed behind! There was nobody there to say, "Whoa! Enough!!" …

The Traveling Bug

We got the traveling bug last week and took off for an impromptu trip near the coast. The first campground, Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, was well-groomed and had wireless Internet access...but that was about it. …

He Smelled Like Raw Dirt

I was cuddling Max, putting him down for his afternoon nap, when I noticed that he smelled like raw dirt...you know, that smell you have on your hands after you've been digging in the garden. It was a beautiful smell and made me glance outside, longing for the Spring sunshine. I was about to grab my laptop and skip out the backdoor when I noticed clouds had moved in and the skies were looking dark and heavy. Oh well... …

How Small is Bangor, Maine? Well, I’ll Tell Ya…

On Saturday night, we took our weekly jaunt down to Gifford's, the local ice cream stand. When we returned, I carried three cups of ice cream up to Zach's room for the video game fanatics (Zach, Steve and Matt). As I was handing out the goods, I heard a CRASH outside. It brought back haunting memories of the day that Frank's friend, Mitchell, was hit by a car in front of our home on Max's first birthday. …

Our Very First RV Excursion

We're on the road, on our very first RV excursion, and boy are we having fun! In only five days, we've slept in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. Frank caught a fish, the children played putt putt, we saw Richard's dad and grandmother, and Max has screamed "Big rocks! Big rocks!" through every mountain pass. It rained most of the weekend and the sound of the big raindrops on the top of the RV sure can make you sleepy! The dark clouds were hanging heavy over the Apalachian mountains on Monday and it reminded me of the misty mountains in the rain forest of Costa Rica. However, seeing all those red taillights through the highway construction quickly jolted me back to the present. …

And a bucket for you, and a bucket for you…

Two hours later, Max woke up vomiting violently. He threw up every 20 to 30 minutes for 10 hours straight. I called the doctor and he said if Max was still throwing up by noon the following day, we'd have to take him to the emergency room for an IV. Thankfully, Max stopped shortly after 10:00 a.m. and finally fell asleep. …

“Are You Crazy?!”

We're back home after our unplanned funeral trip to Indiana, and things are settling back to normal...well, almost. Okay, I don't do this often, but I have to today. I must eat my words... …

Pathetic Poultry

We're still on the road, though now heading home to Maine. It's been a sad, yet nostalgic trip for me, a fun trip for the children, and a stressful trip for Richard (because he does most of the driving). …

Funeral

My aunt died Monday morning, so we're driving to Indiana, to the town I was born in. I don't think I've been back there since I was a baby. Aunt Barbara was ill for a very long time and I know she's now kickin' up a ruckus in Heaven. She was a very talented painter and even though diabetes and a stroke had taken her leg and her speech, she never lost her spunk or her sense of humor. She sent funny emails to us all the time and always cracked me up. She was in a lot of pain last week and I was so sad for her. Though we'll miss the laughter she always sent our way, I can see her now, just out of the corner of my eye, smiling and dancing in Heaven. We're also going to visit my dad's grave, which I've never seen and, since we'll only be five hours from Richard's mother's house...we're going there as well. So, we'll be gone for a bit more than a week. ~PLEASE if you love me, don't send me any condolence emails.~ I'm already flooded with work and the wireless connection can barely handle the load already! I'm still shaking my head how it takes us months to plan for a vacation, but we can pack and race out the door in an emergency in only two hours! We're very lucky that our business is travel-friendly. We're all fine and the kids are, needless to say, wearing watermelon grins over this impromptu vacation. Angela …

Meltdown!

We're kinda bummed this week because Winter swept in here on the first day of Spring and dumped a few inches of snow. It left behind a bitter wind and frozen toes and fingers. I forgot to turn up the heater last night and it was freeeeeeezing in here this morning! Frank and Max made a great snowman on Saturday, but Frosty melted before the temperatures dropped yesterday afternoon. Poor Max (age 2) just couldn't figure out what happened and kept looking out the window and saying, "Where snowman?! He go store??" …

Yea, Frank!

We spent a lazy weekend together plotting our summer vacation. Thank heaven for MapQuest! It was quite a trick to plan a 5500-mile trip that includes online access at every stop. We were somewhat successful, with the exception of a national park where we'll be so far out in the boonies that we won't even have cell phone access that night. But, we'll have someone else monitoring the sites, so we're not worried about it. Gosh, we may even feel like we're on vacation that night! …

Look Out, America. Here We Come!

Last week, I told you all that we were considering trading in our pop-up camper for a bigger one. Well, we did it. We traded in our little pop-up camper for a 24-foot RV! Yeehaw!!! Look out, America, here we come! …

A Horrible Case of Cabin Fever

We had a horrible case of cabin fever last week, so we took a day trip on Sunday to a small island off the coast of Maine. With the sky clear and blue and the snow-covered mountains in the distance, the drive was beautiful! In Bangor, all the rivers and streams are completely iced over. However, south of Freeport, the rivers are running freely, but still have icy banks. We stopped at a couple of large antique malls along the way. One had ramps leading from one room to another, and each time we pushed the stroller down a ramp, Max would yell... …

Reeling From Our Psychic Moment

Last week, we decided to cut down on the family's carb consumption, and man-oh-man you should hear the whining at dinnertime! "Salmon again?!" "Where's the bread? Has anyone seen the bread?" "What is soy flour?" And, my personal favorite, "Unsweetened chocolate? This stuff tastes AWFUL!" (And you should have seen Ali's face when she took a big bite of it!) …

Dreams of a Fictitious Childhood

Last night I dreamed I was at Richard's mother's house watching old videotapes from when I was a little girl. The videotape I was watching was of when I was a little girl at summer camp. In the video, I was on a boat, going down a river, videotaping the boys' side of the camp (ah, ask my mother about the stress I caused her in those years!). In one scene in the video, I zoomed in on one boy who was sleeping peacefully in his bunk. And, that little boy was Richard! I was shocked and jumped up (in my dream), yelling for Richard to come into his mom's living room so I could show him that we had actually attended summer camp at the same time when we were quite young. …

Sticky Purple Slushy Goop…

What started as a few dropped green beans at dinnertime has grown to a problem of monstrously messy proportions. Yesterday, Max stood right in front of me and turned his fruit punch upside down. His eyes widened with glee and mine widened with horror as we both watched 12 ounces of red punch splatter onto our baby blue carpet. …

Looking UP at Your Younger Sister

I realized last night that I no longer have to crawl up on the counter to put the serving dishes away! Now, I can call Ali to put them up there for me! She's the tallest one in the family, even taller than her older brother, Zach. And, he is NOT happy about that, let me tell you! …

Cough, Hack, Wheez…

We're having one of those weeks. Max has been very ill. Frank has started coughing again (he's been sick for a couple of weeks now), and I'm coming down with my third bug since Christmas. This morning it was 9 below zero, his morning it was 9 below zero. Frank missed the bus, Percy (the dog) threw up on the carpet, and then van wouldn't start... …

Frozen Nose Hairs

Well, during basketball practice last week, Ali somehow managed to dislocate her basketball coach's finger. However, he was much kinder than my old gymnastics coach, and even "set" his finger behind his back so as not to further upset Ali. Apparently it's something that happens to him a lot, but Ali was still quite distraught. …

In Memory of Bob

Several months ago, I was approached by Bob Freiday, a highly successful freelance journalist, about a book idea. I liked his idea and, in record time, his book was complete and we published it as a trade paperback and as an ebook. Bob admitted during our myriad of emails that he was often under the weather, suffering from "Cat Scratch Fever." The emails we exchanged after that included humorous recipes that he could test on his mother's cat (the one that scratched him). Bob got really ill in October and I received a cryptic email from him one day, asking me to send... …

Not As Clean As You Thought…

We spent New Year's Eve eating cheese and crackers and playing charades with friends...which means we must be getting old. I've always hated New Year's Eve. Being married to an alcoholic (my ex) for 12 1/2 years will do that to you. We left by 9:30, picked up one of Frank's friends, and went in search of a burger. For some odd reason, every burger and fast food joint in town was closed. So, we had a late night, quickie dinner at Olive Garden and drove home to watch movies and eat popcorn. It was, by far, the best New Year's Eve ever! When we flipped the channel to watch the ball drop in New York City, I wasn't dreaming about what I'll be doing next year. I was reflecting on how much better life is for the children and me since marrying Richard more than four years ago. We are truly blessed! Last night, Zach had a friend over for dinner. I'd cooked up a fun kabob dish and we were all having a nice time eating and chatting about the children's Christmas vacation. Out of the blue, Max put his fork down and said, quite loudly... …

Aaaah! What a Relief!

Aaaah! What a relief! I love the holidays, but I sure am happy when they're finally over. No more shopping, no more wrapping, no more rushing, hustle and bustle. Aaaah, now we can just relax. We did have one unfortunately incident this week. Ali turned 13... …

Stuck In The Subway Turnstile

Our mini-holiday vacation by train to Boston was super! We ate gobs of good food, froze our rear ends off while walking everywhere, and collapsed in a fit of giggles when Ali got her suitcase handle stuck in the subway turnstile... …

Meteor and Snow Showers!

Well, we had quite a magical, celestial evening on Friday night! On the way home from dinner, with a wind chill below zero outside and Christmas music piping through the speakers in the van inside, Frank suddenly yelled from the backseat, "I just saw a white light shoot through the sky!" We all got excited and started looking out all the windows, but we didn't see anything else...yet. A few minutes later, Richard and I were sitting in the front and, out of space (literally), a green ball of light shot out of the sky and appeared to travel... …

The 8 Worst Gifts You Can Buy for Children (and 8 alternatives!)

Last weekend, while buying Frank a pair of shoes, I overheard an elderly couple shopping for a gift for their grandson. They were going to buy him snow boots for Christmas. I immediately thought, "How will they know the right size?" Geez, I can't even get shoe sizes right when my children are right there with me and I have to seek professional help (the store clerk). How was this couple going to get the size right on a child who, obviously, lived in another town? Each year, relatives write asking us what the children want for Christmas. I'm happy to give them hints on what the children would like, but also ask them to avoid certain popular toys and other items we've had personal experience with. I'm sure many of you parents know exactly what I'm talking about. So, today I'm sharing my list of the worst presents to buy for children, along with alternatives that will make them very happy... …

Buying Gifts for People Who Have Everything…

I got really depressed over the weekend when I opened up my Christmas gift list from last year, and realized that most of the gifts we bought for the children and our relatives are no longer in use. Frank's gigantic lego plane? Gone (Percy chewed up most of the small pieces). Ali's "I HAVE to have it!" sweater with the fake-fur collar? Gone. (The washing machine ate all the fur within 24 hours). Zach's video game system? Obsolete. (They only make games for the higher edition now.) …

When Naughty Children Peek at Their Presents!

Well, I did it. I installed a heavy-duty combination lock on our bedroom closet door. You see, Frank (age 11) peeks at his presents every year, and always has. And, it doesn't appear to bother him each Christmas morning when there are no surprises left. His …

Max-Speak

Max (age 26 months) has an ever-expanding vocabulary. To preserve his hilarious "Max Speak", I write Max…

Cold Wind A Whistling

I woke up on Saturday morning to Max (26-months-old) forcibly opening my left eyelid and whispering, "Way up, Mom! Way up, Mom!" I opened my eyes and smiled and he said, "Wissen!" So, I cocked my ear up and opened my eyes wide, rolling them around to make him laugh while trying to make out the sound he was listening to (he just learned the word "noise"). A cold front had blown through overnight and I realized a cold wind was whistling around the windows. I opened my mouth wide and said, "Oooh!" And Max replied, "I hear noise! I hear wind! I like wind!" I scooped him into my arms and said, "I like wind, too!" …

Witness to the Aurora borealis

Well, we had an interesting week, to say the least. For the first time ever, we were blessed to be witness to the Aurora borealis! It was one of the most spectacular, beautiful and majestic phenomena we've ever seen! I've seen pictures of it my entire life, and knew, while growing up, that I'd never see it in Texas. But, after moving to Maine, I somehow assumed I'd see it each year. That wasn't to be as we've been here for three years and haven’t been blessed with this event before now. But, after that large solar storm last week, my neighbor, Rita, called and excitedly said, "I'm outside and you're missin' it!" …

Max is Potty Trained

Well, after only a few weeks of frequent reminders (Need to potty, Max?! Huh? Huh??) and heaps of praise ("Yea! Big boy Max went potty! Let's do the potty dance! Yippee! Yahoo!!), Max (age 25 months) is potty trained! He never has accidents on the floor and is very proud of himself each time he "makes potty." So proud, in fact, that when he does "make potty", he goes through the entire house, clapping his hands, and telling everyone present (family, friends, and even the UPS guy), "I made potty! I made potty!! Do potty dance!! Do potty dance!!" And, of course, we all dance! I have to say that Max was, by far, the easiest of all the children to potty train. Shwew! And we're already counting how much money we're going to save on diapers! The amount will be significant! Max even insists on removing the little potty bowl himself and dumping it into the Big Boy Toilet (yes, he washes his hands). Yesterday, he made a big boy poopie in his potty and, much to Zach's horror, carried it into Zach's room to show Zach and his teenage friends his "Big Boy Poopie." Do you know what a toilet tattoo is? It's what Max gets when he sits on his little potty for an hour while watching cartoons. He sure loves his potty! Hugs to everybody! Ang …

The Grandmas

The in-laws are gone and life seems to be getting back to normal. My mommy-in-law completely redecorated the downstairs bathroom while she was here, including painting the walls. It looks really, really nice! Max had two grandmas here, so he kept calling them "The Grandmas." For the first time in a quarter century, Zach's high school golf team (Bangor High) won first place in the state tournament on Saturday! Zach was very proud of the medal he won (he was one of five players to represent the team) and Bangor High School will have a new trophy for the trophy case. Max has finally figured out how to say Frank's name. He calls him "Mank." It's really cute! Frank's Columbus Day play was last week and he made a fine, handsome sailor and remembered all his lines! (Funny...none of our children have stage fright.) During the performance, when Frank walked on-stage, Max waved his chubby arms and yelled, "Hi Mank!" Frank smiled, broke character, and waved back at Max. Max was happy. I met with all of Ali's teachers last week for parent/teacher day and her language arts teacher says she's "...quite the writer!" I hear that every year and it always makes my chest swell with pride. The leaves seem to be at their peak right now here in Bangor and, even after four years, the brightness and depth of the colors still take my breath away. So, on Monday, we went leaf-watching. A cold front had blown through on Sunday night, so the stiff, cold winds make it a perfect day to bundle up and enjoy God's art show. Hugs to everybody! Ang …

Bailey Meets Mr. Stinkie

Well, Autumn is certainly persistent! She and her dog, Bailey, have been staying with us for…