Saturday, June 30, 2007


Like every other three-year-old in the United States, Jackson really loves the movie "Cars." He's been talking about making pit stops and finding the interstate and pouring hot tar for the last year. His special obsession, though, is with mufflers. He's constantly looking for mufflers and making muffler noises. Tonight as he was getting out of bathtub he said "Mommy I'm just exhausted." I thought it was strange for him to admit that, and I wondered where he learned that word. I asked, "Oh you're tired tonight?" And he replied, "No I'm not tired, I'm just full of exhaust." Haha.

Five minutes later: Okay I just had to add to this even though it has nothing to do with mufflers. As I was writing this just now, Jackson (in bed) kept asking me to bring him some water. After about the third or fourth time he goes, "Mommy I'm just getting dehydrated." :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tagged by Jonna!

Okay, I was not even aware of this tagging thing until I was innocently reading Jonna's blog the other day and saw my name at the end of her entry. Here are my answers...

First memory - My dad teaching me how to spell my name.

First real kiss - Drew (something?) freshman year in high school.

First love - I like Christy's answer, "chocolate." Very diplomatic. Can I get away with "ice cream?"

First Concert- Well, my first concert was Bon Jovi and Skid Row. It's a good thing you didn't ask me my most embarrassing concert. I know what you're thinking: there's something more embarrassing than that? Oh yes, my friends. I was lucky enough to see Milli Vanilli "live" in Shreveport, LA before their 15 minutes was over.

First thing you think in the morning - Jackson: get your feet out of my face.

First pet - We had several dogs when I was little, but I felt like our dog Rudy was my first pet. We got her when I was probably in Middle School. I loved her a lot. I think she was named after Rudy from the Cosby Show.

First book you remember loving - Where the Red Fern Grows

First question you'll ask in heaven - Oh man. This is hard. Where is Frances?

First thing you think of when you hear the word vacation - I need a cruise. I've never been on a cruise, but I think I really need one.

First best friend - Probably Amy Brewington and Meredith White in preschool. Meredith and I ended up reuniting and being roommates in college. Pretty weird. I miss her. We had a lot of laughs together.

Last time you dressed up - Well, I went to a couple of weddings this spring that I got kind of dressed up for. Before that I squeezed myself into a semi-formal maternity dress to go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation gala last year. I really shouldn't have bought the dress 2 months before the event, but it was on clearance so I couldn't help myself.

Last thing you ate -Taco Del Mar for dinner. Have you been there yet? It's not bad.

Last CD you bought - The Shins new album. Actually Mat bought it, but we listened to it a lot on the road trip.

Last good book you read - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Last time you cried - A few minutes ago when I thought about our dog Frances being in Heaven.

Last time you told someone you loved them - Ummm. I'm sure I told the boys I loved them at some point tonight. Sometime I use that as a mantra to keep from yelling at somebody. :-)

Last really funny thing you did - Well it was accidental and was only funny to me. I made Jackson a medal one time with some silver tape and a quarter and some string. (We were acting out the final scene from Star Wars.) So it's been in my car for awhile. Well, yesterday when I was at the dentist I happened to glance in this full length mirror on the way back to the exam rooms, and that stupid medal was hanging off my rear end. Thank goodness for that mirror!

Last thing you watched on TV - Paris Hilton on Larry King Live. Sad but true.

I don't really have anybody to tag. Kami and Leslie if you're reading this, then you're it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sad about Lost

I spent the morning sitting in the dentist's chair looking up at a poster of a beautiful deserted beach scene with text imploring me to "relax." I wasn't relaxed, but after awhile all I could think about was how much I miss LOST!! I can't believe we have to wait another seven months for it to come back on! Here's a really cool website Mat found if you need a Lost-fix this summer.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Almost Forgot!

One of the unexpected highlights of our vacation was when we decided to stop at Palo Duro Canyon outside of Amarillo on the way home yesterday. It was so beautiful! We also saw a huge diamondback rattlesnake on the side of the road. After Mat got out of the car and decided it was dead, we all got out to look at it. Scary. They have a big outdoor musical performance there in the summers that we want to go back and see, and they have these cool stone cabins that were built into the sides of the canyon in the 1930's. We decided a cabin there would have been cheaper and had much better views than our room at the LaQuinta! We made a note of the one we liked the best and plan to stay there next time we're driving through Amarillo.

Colorado, Part Three

Well, I can't really do a comprehensive entry about our trip because I don't have all the pictures. We lost our camera for two days and some of the best pics are on my mom's camera. We also took a lot of video which I don't have on my computer. Overall, it was really beautiful, and it was great to see my family, take a break from work, computer, TV, and spend so much time outside.

Also, it's hard to really write about ALL of the events of the trip without it sounding too much like I'm complaining. A full account would have to include details about the baby waking up all night every night, me being a little bit sick, Jackson dropping out of day camp after the second day, spilling juice in the car seat, getting a ticket in Abernathy, TX, splinters, rashes, pinched nerves, and giving spankings and changing diapers when we'd rather be reading books and taking naps.

We are really happy that we got to take a week off of work, though. We had a nice quiet dinner one evening at the Dunraven Inn without the boys. And I'm so grateful that Mat drove the whole way there and back and we never had any car trouble, stormy weather, or accidents. Here are a few more pictures.

Riding the aerial tramway to the top of Prospect Mountain was Jackson's favorite part of the trip. Becky and I were so nervous the whole way up, though, because the windows were open and we were worried about him falling out even though that was not likely. He got to feed squirrels at the top and there were some really great views.

Luke discovered donuts on this trip!

Jackson at Dorsey Lake.

I'm back at work today and procrastinating like crazy! Re-entry is hard. :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Colorado, Part Two

We are on our way home. I'm writing from a hotel room in Amarillo on Saturday night. The boys did much better on the road this time than they did on the way last week. I'll post more pics when we get home, but here are some more highlights from the trip:

- I took Jackson on a hike to Copeland Falls on Wednesday. I let him take his shoes and socks off and put his feet in the ice cold water. Of course, he loved it and pretty soon asked me if he could take all his clothes off and get in. I said no and he said, then let me just take off my pants real quick. haha. When I said no again, he pitched a fit. His screams of mistreatment really kind of interupted the tranquility of the waterfalls. That's our little streaker...

- I got to see where my mom and dad have been living and working since the beginning of May. My mom works in the General Store a the YMCA selling t-shirts, etc, and my dad works in food service. He spends the day packing up sack lunches for hikers and staff members. Their room is very "cosy."

- Jackson got to see two coyotes the other day when he went on a drive in the national park with my family. We also saw lots of elk, deer, chipmunks, what we thought was a beaver (not sure though), and Mat saw an eagle on one of his hikes. Mother and Becky went looking for bears early one morning, but didn't find any this time.

- We had a nice picnic on the Grand lake side of Trail Ridge Road. And we also had a snowball fight on the way back. There was a lot of snow up there so everything looked different than when we usually go in August. Becky bought a DVD at the Alpine Visitor's Center about climbing Long's Peak, so it was cool to watch that in the car on the way down. We decided it didn't look that hard, so we'll probably try it next time. haha.

- We stopped in Colorado Springs on the way today and had a long lunch with our friends Meredith and John. Mere and I used to work together when they lived in Austin. We always love to hang out with them and catch up. They just adopted a precious baby girl, Aine, in December so it was good to meet her. Luke thought she was pretty cute.

Everybody has been asleep for a long time except me. I'll pay for staying up this late when the boys wake me up early in the morning. :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Colorado, Part One

Our first stop was at Cooper's in Llano. It's pretty much a Hames family tradition to stop at Cooper's if we're in a 30 mile radius and if it's anywhere close to a meal time. We left Friday morning about 11:00 so the timing was perfect. We spent the night in Clayton, NM. It was a long day because Luke decided he didn't want to sleep at all in the car (or the hotel), he didn't want his paci!, he didn't want a bottle, and none of our normal tricks for entertaining him worked. We were kinda tired and cranky by the time we got to Estes Park on Saturday evening. We had a great dinner in the Pine Room at the YMCA of the Rockies where we're staying, though, so that helped.

This is our cabin at the YMCA. It has 3 bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, a dining area, living room with fireplace, and a large deck. I doubt we'll use the fireplace because it's pretty hot here. It's cool in the evenings, though, so it's nice to hang out on the deck.

Here's Jackson with my parents at our favorite place to eat in Estes Park.

This is Mills Lake, the destination of our first hike of the week on Monday. We went into Rocky Mountain National Park with a group from the Y. We left at 8:30am and got back about 3:30pm. It was about 6 miles round trip. Jackson spent the day at day camp. Mat and I have done this hike before and it's one of our favorites. Not too hard, but a really beautiful pay-off. I was so proud of my parents for doing the hike. With the length and the elevation gain, it was a little outside of their comfort-zone, but they finished and felt proud of themselves when it was over.

We took some great classic photos at Mills Lake but this is my favorite. It cracks me up every time I look at it.

After our hike, Mister Baby was totally energized! He had a blast and even got to take two naps during the day. Here he is with my sister, Becky. The leader of our group was a little concerned about us taking him, but he did fine. And I got to change a dirty diaper at Mills Lake! haha

The man on the left (next to my dad and Luke) is Brent Washburn. He is 81 years old and still hikes in the National Park every day in the summer. He's done all of the hikes. We first hiked with him in 2002, and we were happily surprised that he is back again this year. What an inspiration!

I took this shot at a cookout we had after our hike on Monday. Mat grilled hamburgers for everyone and we ate s'mores. I'll post more in a few days...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Some Summer Pics

Finally got around to downloading the card. We will hopefully have a lot of fun pictures to add next week from Colorado. This one is Jackson sporting a black eye and skinned knuckles. It was a rough weekend. :-)

Countdown to Colorado - 1 more day!

Argh. I have a big presentation to do for work today, and I only got 4 hours of sleep. It's hard to be mad at a little baby when they are so happy to see you - even if it is at 6am. Can't wait to get on the road...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Countdown to Colorado - 2 more days!

Too tired to write or download the camera. Lots of work and laundry to do before the trip. I haven't even had a chance to make all my packing lists which is half the fun of going on vacation. :-(

Monday, June 11, 2007

Countdown to Colorado - 3 more days!

Mat's stepbrother and his wife (Chad and Kami) just had their first baby in December. They have an unusual situation because they live in Macau, China and feel kind of isolated from their family and other new parents. Chad recently sent all of us siblings a list of questions about our family traditions and how we're raising our children. I guess he thought it would be a good way for us to share our experiences with each other since none of us live very close. Below are my responses to his questions. It was fun to think about all this. It made me feel like we actually do kind of have a plan...


Wake up? We all like to sleep as late as possible. We usually get up between 8-9am and the day gets going around 10am. One of the (few) perks of owning your own business.

Feeding times? The usual.

How do you play? With Jackson at the age he is, we have to be careful about getting him riled up. When we're eating, getting dressed, naptime, going to bed, in public, etc, etc we have to be strict or else he will misbehave. We like to play a lot after work before dinner and on the weekends. When I'm home alone with the boys on Thurs and Fri I always try to take them somewhere to play or at least convince them that what we're doing is fun even if it's only fun for me! Like I usually let him get popcorn when we go to Target...

Favorite toys? Constantly changing. Jackson was obsessed with Star Wars for several months and turned every object into a blaster. Now he's into Peter Pan and every object is a sword. Rarely does he ever play with a toy in the way it was intended. Luke likes things that make noise (quack or moo, that sort of thing).

Favorite books? Jackson likes all books. He has always had a great attention span even for books and poetry that don't have illustrations. Mat read him an abridged version of Tom Sawyer (a chapter a night), and he has "The Children's Hour" by Longfellow memorized. But he also likes silly baby books and all the normal classics.

Favorite songs? Anything by Genesis of course. He also likes the Jackson Five, the White Stripes, Willie Nelson, the Go-Go's, and the Buggles and other eighties music. Finally we are going through a phase where we don't have to listen to only bad kid's music. (However, the whole family does still like "Bear Tunes for Kids" and to a lesser extent "Moose Tunes.")

Favorite TV show? Curious George.

Babysitters? Not often enough on the weekends - too expensive and hard to plan. But they do stay with our babysitter Kate on Mondays and Wednesdays every week.

Out on weekends? See above. It usually happens once every 4-6 weeks.

Mandatory vacations? Absolutely. We like to go somewhere for two or three weeks every summer. Then we always take a lot of time at the holidays. It's really great as a family to plan vacations, talk about them leading up to it, plan out our lives while we're gone, and then feel like you've got a new start when it's over. Jackson can't wait to be a Bennett Beaver next week at the day camp at the Y in Estes Park. He's not too sure about the pony ride, though. I'll let you know how it goes...

Other semi-traditions we have are to go out to our neighborhood ice cream store on Friday nights, to say prayers with the boys every night to give thanks for our blessings and ask God to take care of our friends and family, and for the boys to donate presents to other people in need on their birthdays.

For Christmas, we always want to be with family, but we're also trying to start some traditions at our house. This past year we had a "pancake supper" on Christmas Eve. Actually we had crepes and roasted potatoes, but Jackson only cared about the Sparkling Cider because we let him drink it from a champagne flute. He talked about it for days and days. Can't wait for Christmas this year. I'm sure we'll have a once in a lifetime experience with 8 grandkids, 3 and under, at Granddad and Gammo's house!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Countdown to Colorado - 4 more days!

We made it home - barely. Around William Cannon and Mopac, B2 decided he had had enough of my desparate attempts to entertain him in the car. He started screaming and then Jackson chimed in when we pulled into the driveway and cut short his 8th weekend viewing of the Curious George movie. They were both asleep instantaneously when their heads hit the pillow. I will be joining them soon...

Friday, June 8, 2007

East Texas

We're in East Texas at Mat's mom's lakehouse this weekend. We got here yesterday. It's actually a work trip because we're starting on a new documentary project about a woman who is from Center Point, Texas (about an hour from here). She was among the first group of black students admitted to UT in the 50's. Her name is Barbara Conrad and she is an opera singer. She endured a lot of terrible acts of racism back in those days. Since then she's gone on to be quite famous (if you know anything about opera divas which I don't) living and working in NYC, etc. She was very nice when I met her yesterday. Mat and the crew will be shooting her all weekend. She has a performance in Gilmer on Sunday, and then there's a big homecoming celebration at her teeny tiny Baptist church in Center Point next weekend. The crew will be back here for that, but we'll be leaving for Colorado on Friday so we'll have to miss it. I imagine when the project gets fully funded we'll travel to New York to shoot a bigger performance.

Later, when I have some more time, I'll write about what it was like driving around all of these small backroads in East Texas today. It's so different than anywhere else even in Texas. It reminds me a little of growing up in Texarkana, but this area is so very poor. I can't even imagine what it's like to be from a place like Center Point or Big Sandy or Scroggins. I hope the documentary will capture some of that for people who have never spent time around here.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Monday Night

I have finally given in to peer pressure. Here is my blog. Because I have so many important things to say and oodles of free time. It's funny how I'm sitting down to write and now it seems like nothing really happened today. Why then am I so tired? Oh yeah, I spilled a gallon of milk on the kitchen floor this morning. Jackson had an accident on the bathroom floor this evening. The baby threw up a little bit after dinner. I worked a full day in between, did some laundry, worked some more. And I'm pretty sure I didn't eat anything but cookies, pie, kettle corn, cereal, and a granola bar all day. I'll upload some pictures as soon as I find my camera. Welcome to my life!

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