Monthly Archives: January 2009

Resolutions, Schmesolutions.

What a day for the gym to have two broken elliptical trainers — the day the Resolutioners come out.  You know them. They’re the ones who resolve every year that this year, THIS YEAR is going to be the year they get in shape / stop smoking / whatever, and they flood the gyms with their presence for a month or so. Good thing for me, most of them signed up for the gym’s boot camp program, meaning they were getting yelled at by a couple of wannabe drill instructors while I was listening to my MP3 player and doing my thing on the elliptical trainer while avoiding the track.  The track is popular with the elderly set of Resolutioners, most of whom don’t understand that you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO WALK IN THE RUNNING LANE, even though the signs tell them so.

Sheesh.

As far as my resolutions go, I have a short list. Here it is, more or less:

1.  Be more patient (maybe I should start with the Resolutioners);

2.  Get more organized; and

3.  Clean under the couch more often:

What Lurks Behind the Couch

I think Resolution #3 is going to be the doozy.

Mississippian Culture Extravaganza 2009.

Laurel, like all fourth grade kids in this state, has to endure a state history unit.  Truth be told, this was my favorite history unit in school because it was something to which I could relate. Local history has always been much more interesting to me than national or world history.  I commandeered Laurel’s textbook and leafed through to find places the family could visit that would connect with her history unit.  This is also a desperate attempt at avoiding the doldrums, which strike with a vengeance every year around this time and continue until, oh, March or so.

Today was supposed to be 55 degrees, so naturally we thought outdoor adventures would be wise.  Unfortunately, we awoke under a bad sign and it drizzled most of the day. It was cold, foggy, and just gloomy overall, as you’ll see in the photos.  Sigh. 

Today we took the Mississippian culture tour, exploring those nearby places which housed native Americans many, many years before.

We started at Cahokia Mounds. Laurel’s been here a few times, because this is a favorite for school field trips.  Greg and I have only been once before. This was Ethan’s first time. We started in the visitor center, which was really fantastic, but Ethan flatly refused to sit still for the orientation movie, even though it was fascinating.  I dragged him out of the theatre and we wandered the exhibits. Ethan was bored out of his mind until I started reading the interpretive signs to him. Then he brightened up and enjoyed the visit much more — and so did we. Mouse over photos for captions:

Entrance to the Visitor Center Check out the lightning warning on the bottom slat.

Monks Mound - largest mound at the site. He's always following her.

Ethan needed some help up the 154, 156, 179 steps (depending on who you asked -- Laurel thought 179). On a clear day you can see forever. Today, not quite so far.

Our next stop was Washington State Park. The park is home to the state’s largest collection of Mississippian petroglyphs. This was a short stop, because there wasn’t much else to see other than the petroglyphs, though it’s a must-see park for warmer weather:

Thunderbird petroglyph. Laurel and Ethan taking in the petroglyphs.

We had fun, but we were glad to get home. The kids, as always, are pretty good travelers, and this was a good warm-up for upcoming, longer trips. We’ll probably have lots more of these little excursions as June nears, so we can find out what works best and what doesn’t work at all when traveling for extended times with the kids.

Sayonara, 2008!

When I sat down to write this, I thought 2008 had been a fairly uneventful year.

Then I looked back through the archives, and realized how difficult it was to compress the highlights into a readable post. I’m going to do my best.

Laurel denounced Michelangelo as a jerk. I quit working full-time again, but stayed in school (and finished the program). We visited Springfield, IL, and ate horseshoes. We enjoyed our very first discernable earthquake, followed by another within a couple of days. We went to Bull Shoals Lake for a really awesome weekend. We saw the Raconteurs in concert! Laurel proclaimed the United States government is ‘kind of stupid,’ then went to sleep-away camp to brood about it. Ethan yelled, ‘FUCK!’ when he dropped blueberries on the floor. We nearly bought a house, then told the sellers to go pound sand with their unreasonable bargaining (or lack thereof) before the deal was done. We went to Branson for a week, which was about all we needed of that. We did our part for the lousy economy by purchasing a hyper-expensive sewing machine, a pop-up camper and pickup truck. We picked peaches and apples and helped roast meat in a pit. We welcomed James to our family. Laurel donated her hair to Locks of Love, and Greg donated his to Halloween revelry. Ethan stopped crapping in his pants. Laurel took up fishing and running, and we ran our first official 5K together, followed by several unofficial ones. We set many, MANY Christmas lights to music.

I have never been more proud of my children or my family as a whole as I have been this past year. Sometimes I forget how much we do as a family and I think we’re pretty lousy parents, but then I look back at the blog and see how many memories we’re creating, in the hopes our kids will cherish them — eventually.

In these tough economic times, we are so, so very fortunate to be able to live as we do and enjoy that which we love. I am certain I speak for the family when I say we hope others are able to enjoy the same good fortune in the year to come.

Here’s to an equally rocking 2009.

Cheers!