From The Home Office

Goodbye, Blotch…

Many of you have been tracking Blotch's progress since we learned he had an aggressive tumor (fibrosarcoma) in the sinuses above his left eye. Last Friday, I noticed something inside Blotch's left nostril and, by Sunday, it appeared to have made significant progress toward the opening. I realized it was probably the tumor. The doc told us that the tumor might break through and reach his brain, but we never thought it would grow the other way. I hoped the children wouldn't notice it, but Ali did and was distraught that she could actually see what was killing her best friend... …

Ah, Gluttony…

Trying to get an early start on the holiday preparations, we put up some of our Christmas decorations last Sunday. Max doesn't remember Christmas from last year (he turned three in September) so we've been having fun reminding him about the season. He seemed to understand the "Santa" concept and even said he's going to ask Santa for a new train. …

Blotch’s Diagnosis

We did finally get a diagnosis on Blotch's condition. The news was not good, but we are coping. The story is here: http://www.angelahoy.com/archives/002189.html I have set a near-impossible personal goal to have all my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping finished before December 9th, which is when Richard's grandmother is arriving for a one-month visit. She has diabetes, is almost blind and sometimes forgets things that happened yesterday, but she was a nurse in WWII, serving on a ship (and suffering from constant seasickness!), and the kids love hearing her war stories! In fact, she met her husband that way. But that's a romance story for another day... It's always fun to have guests for the holidays and I'm looking forward to tricking her into sharing some of her secret recipes with me. Heh... Hugs to all! Ang 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 Dianosis Yet

We still don't have a diagnosis on Blotch's condition, but expect it this week. He's not been doing very well and I've very sad for him, watching his discomfort day after day. I had to rush him to the vet on Saturday because he got dehydrated again. They've let me start doing his sub-Q injections at home now. Poor Blotch. Everytime I walk in the room, he thinks he's gonna get poked. I've spent a lot more time loving on him so he won't think I've turned into the big mommy torture machine. He did finally start purring again on Sunday. That was a relief. Ali's doing pretty good this week...much better than I am, in my opinion. I'm getting tired of crying myself to sleep with worry. I hardly ever cry and have always been that way. But I'm making up for it now. I've cried more in the past two weeks than I've cried in the past 20 years. I'm not exaggerating! Poor Richard can only hug and comfort me, which is about all we can do for Blotch until we know exactly what's wrong with him. Wanting to keep busy over the weekend (to keep my mind off my worries), we reorganized our bedroom and Max's bedroom. That was fun...for me anyway. Richard and the children didn't look too happy about following my instructions for where to put boxes going into storage and where to move the heavy furniture. I had to secretly make room in our bedroom for Richard's birthday present, which is being delivered on his birthday, but I couldn't tell him that. He just thinks I'm on some kind of maternal fall-cleaning craze. Heh... Hugs to all! Ang 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

Which Life is Blotch on Now?

We had quite a rocky ride over the past week worrying about Blotch and crying endless tears, thinking he was on his last paw. Ali and I visited him at the kitty hospital on Thursday and I thought I detected something in him that told me he was getting better. The vet said he couldn't see any improvement, but I thought I knew better (time will tell, I guess). On Friday, they wanted to keep him for the weekend, but I really wanted him to be at home, just in case he was dying. I didn't want him to spend his last few days in a cold metal cage surrounded by barking dogs and hissing cats. The vet agreed and sent us home armed with several syringes of his meds, appointments for daily shots of fluids (which we had to take him in for on the weekend) and an appointment at another vet on Tuesday for a probe of his sinuses, since the antibiotics seemed to be working much slower than they should (or not at all - it's hard to tell). Our primary concern was that Blotch wasn't eating or drinking on his own. However, he stunned us all by getting up in the middle of the night on Saturday and diving into his cat food! I'm writing this on Monday night and, while he is eating, he's still not drinking any fluids on his own. His surgery is tomorrow and we're hoping they can tell us why his sinuses are completely clogged. It could be a tumor or a fungus. A tumor didn't show up on his x-ray, so we're hoping a fungus is the diagnosis. If it's a fungus, they'll switch his meds and see if they can find something to get rid of it. Blotch was feeling down tonight and we started worrying about him again. Maybe he just overdid it this weekend. Or, maybe he overheard us whispering about his sinus probe tomorrow. Ouch. BLOTCH UPDATE 11/3/04: Blotch has surgery yesterday afternoon and they found a growth in his upper sinuses. It is either a fungus or a tumor. A fungus might be treatable depending on how bad it is. A tumor would be treatable, but the treatment would only cause extensive and prolonged suffering for Blotch and would likely not cure him. We won't know for 5-7 days what it is. He's home now and very comfy, sleeping off the anesthesia in Ali's room with her right next to him doing her school work. She's a good nurse. :) Hugs to all! Ang Hugs to all! Angie 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

One Sick Kitty

As I'm writing this, we're just crossing the North Carolina / Virginia border, heading north. The fall foliage here is breathtaking! Wish I could stop and take some photos, but we're on our way back to Maine because Ali's cat, Blotch, is ill. It should take us about 22-24 hours of driving time, which means we'll have to stop and take a break at a hotel tonight. Ali's doing pretty good and feels bad that our trip was cut short. But, I know she and Blotch will want to be together during this time. UPDATE: Blotch is on antibiotics so he'll probably be okay, but he sure is one sick kitty. Ali's very happy to be with him. We're going to get a pill gun from the vet in the morning because Blotch will not take pills. He's too smart to eat them if you mix them with tuna, and he'll take your finger off if you try to force one down his throat. I tried to give Blotch a pill this evening, forgetting about all the scars he's given me over the years. He bit me, hacked up the pill (ewwwww!) and is now hiding from us. Blotch - 1 Angela - 0 We'll see how it goes tomorrow with the pill gun. NEW UPDATE 10/27/04: They had to admit Blotch to the kitty hospital this morning (Wednesday) for an IV. He won't eat, drink or take his medicine at all. He has his blanky and his stuffed giraffe and we can visit him at anytime. We're hoping he'll be home by the weekend. :( 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

Beach BBQ

We spent the weekend with my sister, Autumn, and her husband, Dave. They introduced us to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, with its white sand beaches, stiff winds (glad we didn't blow into the ocean!) and an incredible restaurant. You can read all about it HERE. We're staying at a really nice campground in Myrtle Beach right now and, while they don't have wireless Internet access, they do let you dial into your dial-up service directly from your RV. So, it's not too bad. But, between the four of us needing Internet access, if you turn your back for a second, somebody just might yank the phone line out of your laptop and stick it in their own. I took the day off on Sunday and, after our drive to Myrtle Beach, I cooked a big, fancy dinner...which is not an easy task when you're working with about 12 square inches of counter space. Ali made an incredible pumpkin cake for dessert and we wolfed it down with cinnamon ice cream. Our burgers on the grill tonight, with maybe some cookies and milk for dessert, will be pretty anti-climatic. Where are we sleeping tonight? You can track our current adventures at: http://www.wirelesstrips.com Hugs to all! Angela P.S. The WritersWeekly.com Fall 24-Hour Short Story Contest is THIS SATURDAY! Can you receive an assigned topic and then write and submit an award-winning story within 24 hours? See: http://www.writersweekly.com/misc/contest.html

RV vs. Mother Nature

While it took us about an hour to get out of Virginia Beach, Virginia (mapquest.com doesn't always create the most sensible directions) and while we had a slow leak in one of our tires that we had to check every hour or so, we did finally make it to the Outer Banks of North Carlina yesterday. …

Nature’s Awesome Fall Show!

Our cross-country, summer trek was so much fun that we've taken our children and business on the open road again! We departed Bangor, Maine on Sunday with our laptops and the kiddos and started driving south. During our last trip, we were sensible (say boring). We had a firm itinerary and had made all our reservations in advance. However, that kind of traveling was kind of a drag because we couldn't stay longer at the places we liked (and had already prepaid for the bad places even when we wanted to leave early). So, this time, we did the non-sensible thing and left home with an itinerary, but no reservations. …

It’s Almost Time to Go!

Our itinerary is almost finalized and we'll soon be heading south in our RV. We'll be visiting two renaissance faires while we're on the road and the children are SO excited about that!! They'll be studying the Renaissance Period as part of their homeschooling curriculum leading up to attending the actual fairs. They're anticipating the characters and the events, such as jousting and horse races, while Richard and I can't wait to sink our teeth into smoked turkey legs and other high-fat culinary delights (hey, they're zero carb!!). Unfortunately, we've had to postpone our trip to Florida because it appears someone has a vendetta against that state, but we plan to travel there in 2005. We are heading South soon, just not quite THAT far south. We'll be enjoying the Fall foliage on the way down and will be spending quite a bit of time on the beaches of the Atlantic ocean before heading back through the mountains, and back through the Fall foliage. We're so excited!! You'll be able to track our progress at WirelessTrips.com. Hugs to all! Angela …

Lobster Ice Cream?!

Frank surprised me the other day by saying, "Zach's so nice now, Mom!" I responded, "Well, he's growing up, honey. When siblings grow up, they usually stop arguing about silly things." He squinted at me and replied, "Are you sure ya'll didn't brainwash him?" We spent Sunday driving through the countryside, toward the coast, looking at the Fall foliage, which is just coming out here in Maine. We then drove to Bar Harbor, did some shopping, and ate a great dinner. It was quite chilly and the strong winds coming off the Atlantic made it downright cold. We stopped at one store and plunked down too much money on some new fleece jackets. We'd only grabbed sweaters on our way out that morning, forgetting how cold it can be on the coast this time of year. It wasn't too cold, however, to stop by our favorite ice cream shop, Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, on the way home! Richard ordered the pumpkin pie flavor, but I was too skittish to try the lobster ice cream. After taking a big bite of Ali's lobster at dinner, I decided not to try it mixed with sugar. Ick. Hugs to all! Angela …

Whooping Cough on the Rise

In case you haven't heard, Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is making a comeback. The vaccine does not protect children forever and apparently there's no booster shot for adults. We first heard about the increase in cases when we were traveling through Illinois this summer. Last week, a friend of mine in Batavia, Ohio found out her daughter has it. And, this weekend, we learned that all our children may have been exposed to it last weekend at Max's birthday party. We'll find out in a couple of days and will then know what to do. I wasn't too concerned about Max because his shots are relatively new and he's probably more resistant to it than the rest of us. But, four hours after we received the phone call about the possible exposure, Max came down with a 101 temperature. I was pretty nervous, until I remembered that his friend, Sammy, had a cold last week when he'd spent a lot of time with Max. Max got very cranky and said, "I need some wuv." He fell asleep in my arms and took a long nap, sleeping right through dinner. When he got up, he smiled, grabbed his trains, and took off for his bedroom. He's cured!!! Those short-lived fevers in babies are always a mystery to me. We're keeping a tight rein on the kids until we know for sure if they've been exposed. If you haven't heard about the outbreak, you might want to click below. Whooping cough it torture for children and adults and can be fatal in infants. For the latest news on current outbreaks, search for "whooping cough" here: http://news.google.com/ Hugs to all! Angela …

Max is Three

Max's third birthday party was on Saturday was a smashing success. The grown-ups had a cookout, the older children played tee-ball and croquet, and Max ran his trains through the dirt, just happy to be surrounded by so many kids. Some of you may remember that on Max's first birthday party, Frank's friend, Mitchell, was hit by a car in front of our house on his way to the party (he's fully recovered now). Last year, Ali had to go to the emergency room on Max's birthday for two sprained fingers. No injuries were sustained at the party on Saturday...which is why it was so successful! Max's actual birthday is today, Wednesday, so we'll be holding our breath all day long, praying nothing happens! We're currently plotting our next trip for WirelessTrips.com. We'd planned to go to Florida, but we're currently checking with the campgrounds we were going to visit to see if they'll be re-opened soon because of that fiesty Hurricane Frances. Some are open and some are closed, so our trip may be slightly delayed. The children started school this week. Ali and Frank are homeschooled (they actually attend a private school in Vermont via distance learning) and they were very happy to open all their new pencils, erasers and notebooks. It's so quiet in the house right now. As I'm sitting here typing, Ali and Frank are right here in front of me, doing their math. Max wanted to "go to school" too, today, so Ali made him some big alphabet letters to trace. He enjoyed "school" for about 30 seconds and then ran into his room to play with his trains. The nights are chilly here now and the days are getting shorter. If you look closely while driving through town, you can see that the leaves are just starting to change. It's cool and a bit cloudy today, perfect weather for a light sweater. I LOVE this time of year! 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

Boom!!!

The city is installing a new sewer system on our street and things have been quite noisy and hectic here for the past three weeks. The good news for Max is that they're now right in front of our house. There is a huge "twackturr" right in front of our window and it's been digging and scooping and filling up dump trucks all day long, every single day. (They start at about 6:00 a.m. each morning...grrr!) Anyway, they're even using explosives to blow up the huge rocks, which the kids think is super cool. The other day, Max was sitting at his perch, by our bedroom window upstairs, watching the big "trackturr" out front. After about an hour, he turned to me and said, "Mommy, I don't want pway wif dat trracturr. It too big. I go get baby trackturr." And he disappeared to his room and returned with a toy "trackturr" that he proceeded to push on our bed, scooping up covers and dumping them on the floor. The trackturr sure is close to our power lines. They keep bumping into them over and over again. Eeesh. 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

Sit Down So I Can See You

I took Ali (age 13) in for her annual physical this week. She's already 5' 9" (much to the frustration of her 17-year-old brother, who's only 5' 8") and the doctor plotted her projected growth. The doc predicts Ali will be 5' 11" or 6' by the time she's finished growing. She already has a hard time finding nice shoes in her size, and we already have to look up when we talk to her. Ali's taking it all in stride. She's very proud of her height...and boys don't pick on her anymore since she towers over those her age. Heh... Zach started the new golf season this week. He's a senior and one of the best players. He was named one of the team captains this year (there are two captains each year). He's very proud and having fun playing every day. Since Ali and Frank are homeschooled now, we don't have to go on that annual, expensive school-clothes-shopping-spree. We do still buy supplies, but we don't have to buy brand new Nikes, designer jeans, and more. What a relief!! And, since the children don't feel any pressure to wear "just the right" clothes, they don't mind missing the shopping spree this year. Frank's birthday party was on Saturday. We took six children skating and then they all spent the night. Richard and I are still recovering from that... 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

My Little Baby’s Growing Up!

Frank turned 12 on Sunday (sniff). My little baby's growing up! Max will be three in about three weeks and Zach will turn 18 in a month (Lord help me!). I keep telling them all to stay little, but they don't listen to me! I picked up some mysterious illness over the weekend and having been running a low-grade fever ever since. I'm still feeling a bit puny and completely puzzled about what I have. If it keeps up, I'll go to the doc. I wasn't too sick to release my new book, however! How to Reborn a Doll in a Day is now online and available for instant download at: http://www.booklocker.com.com/dolls The print version will be available in about two weeks. What is a reborn doll, you ask? They're adorable!! Don't miss the photos of our lifelike babies here: http://www.booklocker.com/dolls 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

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... …