Our Travel Adventures

Click on the link below to read about all of our travel adventures here in New England. There were so many I decided to create a separate blog for them!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Creative Parenting Solutions

You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you're driving and you pass a police car? Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you still feel it. What about when one pulls up behind you with its lights on? You know that one?

Well, I had one pull up behind me with its lights on last night and I did not have that feeling. Because I just figured he wanted to pass me. Nope. He wanted to pull me over. I was shocked. But still didn't have that feeling.

He came up, told me I hadn't stopped completely at the stop sign (four way stop at night, no other cars anywhere). I apologized to him, was very respectful. I did not argue or claim that I was sure I had stopped because I always stop. I did not make excuses. Basically, I was just generally very submissive to his authority.

About two thirds of the way through the traffic stop (when he was going back to write me my ticket), I realized this was a quite possibly one of my greatest parenting opportunities. And, by golly, I was not going to miss it.

I had a chance to show my kids what showing respect to someone in authority actually looked like. And best of all, I had already done it!

When the officer came back to the car, I apologized to him again for my offense and thanked him for stopping me. He said the fine for running a stop sign is $100, but that he was going to let me off with a warning. I thanked him again and I thanked him for treating me with respect instead of being rude and mean like I have experienced in the past from other officers.

As we drove away, I began praying for God to give me the right words to share with the kids. I want them to learn how to accept responsibility for their mistakes without arguing and throwing fits-something we are really struggling with right now. God provided me with a tailor made opportunity to model this desired behavior for them. Just when I needed it. I could never have thought of something like that.

God truly is a creative Creator.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reality Bites

Right. So. In case you hadn't noticed, I have been away from the blogging world for a bit. And let's just leave it at that.

Vacation life in a place different from where you live is great. For a time.

You get to set up house. You get to organize a new kitchen. Buy new organiz-y things to help you get everything arranged just so. And then you get to go off on little adventures. You come back, unpack, do some laundry, reorganize, let the kids play, plan the next adventure, repack, and off you go again. Really, it's quite exciting.

And then Reality sets in.

You are not really on vacation.

You actually live here.

The little trips you're taking are getting shorter and further between until they stop altogether because you're not really on vacation. This is your life now. And all you really want is to go home to your real life.

Where your friends are taking their kids to the first day of school and are actually allowed, gasp, inside the actual school building. They don't just have to leave them at a side door of the building with people they have never met before telling them they are not permitted inside for the "safety" of the children.

Where you know that after said first day drop-off, there will be the get together at ________ and meet with other first time kindergarten parents so you can all commiserate with each other about how hard this is on you.

Hanging out at Starbucks after MDO drop off, or maybe meeting for lunch and shopping before picking the kids up from preschool.

There is a Wednesday morning Bible class just full of women after God's own heart that would love to offer a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, gentle words of encouragement, or even a kind smile to help a sister in need.

A LifeGroup that means so much. Full of men and women and children that share their hearts and lives openly and freely. This is not something to be taken for granted. This is a rare and precious treasure.

I thought I was missing Texas. And I do miss some things. Mexican food. Dr. Pepper. Calico County. And, I miss my house. Oh boy, do I miss my house.

But once peeled away the layers, and got to the actual heart of the matter, that's not what I've been so sad about lately. What I am really longing for.

Why I've been snappy with my kids, haven't been terribly motivated, didn't send out Christmas cards, haven't blogged in a while, haven't gotten to the gym. All kinds of normal activities for me have just kind of slowed down, or just stopped.

I miss my friends. A lot.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So Much Going On!

Okay. First off, no, I have not forgotten about this blog. In fact, quite the opposite. I can hear it calling me throughout the day and in the middle of the night. I have just had a very serious case of... creative designer block. This is very similar to writer's block, but I wasn't having trouble figuring out what to write, I was unsure of the creative direction for the blog itself.

I wanted to journal about our daily life and the funny things the kids say and do, but I also wanted to keep a detailed record of all our excursions while here in New England. And I wasn't sure just how to do that. I didn't want the trips to get all mushed in with the other stuff. I wanted separate "albums," if you will, much like photo albums to help keep track of them.

So...The new link you see above, be it all so clunky, is the new "blog within a blog" to share all of our journeys and pictures while we're here. If you know me at all, and I'm sure most of you do, this is much better for my type A mind to keep them compartmentalized. Even now my brain is going, ahhhhhhhhh.

Please be sure to check this link whenever you visit the blog to keep up with our travels. We sure are taking full advantage of our 52 weekends while we're here!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Got Milk?

What has four legs, a tail, loves to lick your hand and says... moo?

That's right. Not a dog. We went to get milk from our local dairy farm today (again) and the kids got to get out and see the cows that give us the milk we drink every day. They loved it.

They told each one of them thank you for our yummy, yummy milk!

Cooper's Hilltop Farm Market Store

They learned that the younger cows are much friendly than the more experienced ones.

And that when a cow has to tinkle, it's not just a little sprinkle.

It wasn't milking time when we went, but we were invited to come back anytime to watch the mama cows in action. The kids were very excited about this prospect and asked if we could come back tomorrow. Ummm, probably we'll save that for another visit in the future. Can't do all the cool stuff with cows in one day...

The barn where "our" cows live

Sydney wanted to see the strawberry milk cows and the chocolate milk cows. Much to her dismay, she learned they really only have regular milk cows. They only sell flavored milk in the store. They also have coffee milk, too. But, alas, no coffee cows.

Brock thought it was a zoo and after we saw each different grouping, he would say, Okay! Let's go see the next one! He was highly excited.

Braden just wanted to let the baby cows lick his hand. Over and over and over again.
The calfs were only to happy to comply.

I learned that I love getting farm fresh milk directly from the cow. Boy, I wish we had this kind of thing in Amarillo. I am really going to like living up here with all this fresh-from-the farm food.

And I had no idea cows liked to lick people. Weird.

I tried to add a video here, but... I am not yet smart enough to figure out how to get a video from my phone to the computer to the blog. So... I did it the only way I know how, I posted it directly from my phone to FB. Sorry Michelle.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood

Our new town is not much to speak of.

When we were on our way to it at midnight, Tony warned me it is a little like driving to Deliverance. I thought, how bad can it be? He told me the buildings in the town are kind of run down. No shiny new stores. No fancy restaurants. No nice wide streets with boulevards. No...gasp...Starbucks.

Our street on the other hand is a little oasis.

Really it is a long street/cul-de-sac that is like stepping back into another time.

People actually leave their garage doors open all day long. And don't put their cars up until bedtime.

Front doors stay open and back doors, too.

Kids run between the houses freely all day long and the parents just watch out for everyone's kids.

Bikes and trikes and scooters are strewn about everyone's driveways and front walks.

There are no fences.

The dogs have these invisible fence collars that keep them in their yards.

The ice cream truck comes by and everyone runs for it, instead of from it because it is not Scary Larry in his rust bucket selling who knows what. This is an honest to goodness shiny new truck with fresh ice cream. And he even does birthday parties.

Someone is having a party in their driveway/yard every weekend and you're always invited. Everyone's invited. The whole street is extended family. Some of them actually are family.

The temperature is never above 80 and it rains a few times each week.

Most houses have swimming pools for the summer and hills for sledding in the winter.

And there are these things called trees. Everywhere.

And just think. God led us to this house. On Craig's List. Wow.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day of Reckoning

The first night at the new house started after midnight. So it really didn't count.

Day two, however, was the day I had been putting off for as long as I could.

Toddler beds.

Oh, how I had been dreading this day.

About six months ago, they began climbing out of their cribs, so we took out the springs and dropped the mattresses on the floor inside their cribs. This got us through until the week we moved.

Three o'clock in the morning three nights before the flight, Brock appeared at my bedside to tell me he could climb out of his crib. Great.

We had been considering purchasing cribs in the new house just to contain them because they do not go to sleep right away. They have "twin time." They talk and giggle and fight and throw everything (including sheets) out of their cribs for about an hour and a half before they finally fall asleep.

Come to think of it, I had actually forgotten about something that happened during "twin time" the week before we left until writing this post.

Brock starting yelling,"Get me outta here! Get me outta here!" after about an hour of twin time. I let him scream for about five minutes and then I went in to tell them to settle down and go to sleep because enough is enough.

In their room, I see that Brock is actually stuck in his crib with his little leg hanging through the bars at the end of his crib where it meets Braden's crib. They were having a little chat and he decided to sit down and stick his leg through and couldn't get it back out.

It is now so swollen, even I can't get it out.

I calm him down (he is beyond hysterical) and gently try to maneuver his leg back and forth for about five minutes until I realize there is no way I can possibly get it out.

I think of my options.

Husband? About 1000 miles away.

Neighbor? No one home.

Saw? Definitely not a viable option.

I hung my head in shame when I realized I had only one resort.

The fire department.

Even now I can't believe I had to call 911. The operator that answered didn't even know who to direct my call to because she had never heard of a problem like this before. Only Brock.

The calvary arrived and much to our delight, it was our own personal firemen. The crew we had developed a relationship with on our recent visits to the fire station to thank them for putting out the wildfires around our house. Both of them. Different story.

They were surprised and excited to see all of us and rescued Brock in no time at all. Two of them gently lifted him up and held him immobile while a third very carefully rotated his little leg and slid it out. He was so happy! He gave everyone hugs and knuckles.

Then all the kids got to go sit in the firetruck in their pjs. All in all a very exciting evening.

If all of these things weren't proof enough for me that their time in the cribs was up, I was dreaming.

Which brings us back to day two in the new house. Or rather night two.

It was a complete and utter nightmare.

"Twin time" went on for about three hours. I asked Tony just now how long and he said, "I don't know, decades?" It was worse than I could have ever possibly imagined.

We kept them up all day with the idea they would be extra tired and fall right to sleep. New beds, new Cars covers. Super cool.

They moved those beds all over the wood floor for hours! They threw their covers and pillows all over the room. We could hear their little feet scampering for the door and then hear it open. Then they would run back to bed and giggle. They would fight. At one point Brock was on top of Braden in his bed beating him. We hollered at them so much them night, I think I lost my voice the next day.

You would think they would sleep late right? Oh no, not our kids. Not when the sun comes up at 4:30!!!!!!!

Why did nobody tell my about the stupid sun coming up at 4:30 in the @$%^&* morning?!!!! That might have been a deal breaker.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

And So a New Chapter Begins...

If you have found this blog, congratulations. Hopefully, this will be a more successful blog than its predecessors. If I was a really savvy blogger, I would insert links to them both here, but I am not.
So they will not be here.

This chapter of the Fillmore story finds us recently moved to Massachusetts from Amarillo Texas for a limited year long engagement. We are all very excited and off to a running start with our adventures.

They started when Mommy and the three young ones flew from Amarillo to Boston. ALONE. Now, mind you, that was NOT the plan. The PLAN was to fly to DFW and meet my sister and niece for the flight to Boston, so they could help me divide and conquer the children.

American Airlines had other 'plans.'

They called me at 5:00 am to inform me that our flight to Boston had been canceled. And we would not have confirmed seats until the 5:30 pm flight.

This meant that my sister couldn't come with us anymore because they fly standby and can only go if there are open seats. Now there are none for the rest of the day and the next.

I think I saw my life flash before my eyes when I realized I had to go it alone. The twins have never flown before. We were too scared to take them on a plane. Let's just say they don't do well in confined spaces. For any length of time. Especially on a flight from Dallas to Boston with just Mommy. In different rows on a plane.

You just have no idea.

Soooo..... after we passed the day with much help from my sister and niece in the DFW airport and, later Grapevine Mills mall, we finally are about to board the plane.

I have to get three car seats, three children, three pillows, four bags, and a double stroller down the jetbridge by myself.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

The kind people on our flight (who are all praying, "Please dear Lord don't let me be anywhere near this train wreck) realize this and help us get our cargo onto the plane and into our seats.

They have us seated in seats A and B in rows 11 and 12.

I am still just one person.

One baby and Sydney are going to have to sit with a stranger.

The good Lord realized my quandary and placed a traveling group of middle school girls next to and in front of them. Praise God glory hallelujah!

They entertained them the entire flight and I was even able to eat a 1/4 of a turkey sandwich! Before the children claimed the remainder for themselves. No matter what I feed them, they always want whatever I have. Does that ever end?

We finally got to Boston and, again, the whole plane helped us get our dog and pony show off with relative ease. This time, they weren't quite as horrified by us and even said as much. "Your kids did so great on the flight." "I was a little worried about them at the beginning, but they did fantastic!"

Oh. It so could have gone the other way. But I am so, SO thankful that it didn't.

We finally found Tony and began the hour long drive to our new (for a year) home in Leicester, MA.

Boy, were we glad to see him.