Friday, August 24, 2007

Gearing Up for Another Year!

School starts on Monday and we've been busily getting ready - getting back to earlier bed times, getting up early, and buying new backpacks & lunch boxes. You know, the general 'Back to School' hub-bub that has basically overtaken the nation for the last few weeks - we've been right in the middle of it. And, once the kids go back to school, my life will get back to some semblance of normalcy and I will be back to blogging on a more regular basis.

The agenda for today - do my best to get some of my work done this morning, finish up a few MOPS agenda items, then spend the rest of the day in the pool - after all, it's the last day of summer!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Stuck in a Storm

Well, as promised, I'm here with a tale to tell!

As I mentioned before, we left Houston for South Padre Island a week ago last Thursday (that would be the 26th), departing home around 10AM and arriving in SPI at 6:30PM! It was a long drive, but actually passed fairly quickly thanks in large-part to fact that we had never made the drive before so the very 'nothing-ness' of terrain was new to see. Of course I can't go without mentioning that we also had portable DVD players on board to occupy the masses :) With a quick stop in Corpus Christi for lunch about half-way through, the kids did extremely well and, I'm thankful to report, gave me nothing to blog about.

Then Friday rolled around. On our first day there, we (and I do mean all of us, kid's included!) slept in until after 9:30AM, so we lost a good portion of our morning just trying to get breakfast and dressed for the beach (you have no idea how long it takes to sunscreen 3 wriggling children - unless you have them!). Anyway, after much ado, we managed to get down to the beach with the help of my dad and our mini van. Though the beach was less than a block across the street from where were staying, our apparent lack of decision making meant that it required our taking the van down there to carry all of the stuff we felt we needed. We took 3 bags of beach toys, a beach umbrella, 3 beach chairs, a large bag full of "stuff", towels for 6, 2 or 3 boogie boards, a cooler full of food, drinks & ice, and probably other paraphernalia that I've forgotten about. Anyway, after unloading, dad said that he would just park the van on the side of the road so that we could load it up to get everything back home. Then he left.

So, there we are at the beach, playing and having a wonderful time when we suddenly begin to feel sprinkles. They were very sporadic, but an alarm started to sound in my head. After a few minutes, the sprinkles started to come closer & closer together and before long, we found ourselves huddled under the beach umbrella hoping that it would just 'pass'. No such luck! The sprinkles became a light shower, and the light shower became a full-blown rain. About that time, my sister & I decided it was time to load up and head home! Of course, getting Michael's attention to relay that information wasn't quite as simple, as he was out in the surf riding the waves and having a good old time, oblivious to the fact that it was raining. Well, actually I think he knew it was raining, but just didn't care.

My problem was that by the time I had decided to load up, it wasn't just raining, it was pouring! Buckets & buckets of water, I swear!!! Michael was angrily heading back to shore by this point and my sister & I were busily grabbing shovels, buckets, towels, bathing suit cover-ups, and whatever else we could grab. The kids were just standing there crying - not because it was raining and we had to leave the beach after a short 45 minutes, but because they were getting wet!!! Quite the sight, I am sure, if anyone had been looking, but everyone else was doing the same thing we were.

Anyway, once my arms were filled with the first load of gear, I dug out my keys from the "stuff" bag and headed to the van. Since I was a muddy, soggy mess by the time I got there, I decided that moving the van closer to the beach entrance might be a smart move. So I jumped in, started it up, and hit the gas - my car rolled exactly 2 or 3 inches, then sunk! Apparently the solid, well-packed sand my dad had parked the van on wasn't quite as solid when it got wet! I immediately put the gears into reverse and hit the gas again, sinking the tire even deeper into the mud. Nice huh?!? I sat there for a second pondering my next move and decided that I should just run back down to the beach for another load, and maybe a kid or 2. About half-way there, I met my sister who had 1 crying child in each arm - so I grabbed one and headed back to the van to drop them off. Of course, having children in the running van meant that I couldn't run off again, so there I stood, looking like a homeless person in the rain, waiting for Michael & Melody to return with more stuff.

Around that same moment, a nice family of non-American origin walked past me so I decided to see if anyone spoke English. Thankfully 2 of them did, so I asked if the 3 large, strong men in the group wouldn't mind giving me a quick push to see if we could get the van out of the mud. Thankfully they agreed, so I jumped back into the van while they pushed from behind; the van moved forward onto solid ground without much fuss :) I was so thankful that it didn't take much work, and told them over & over again how much I appreciated their help, even though I don't think they could understand me.

By this point, we were in full hurricane-type rain! In case you're not familiar, it rains so hard that you can hardly see your hand in front of your face, and the wind blows it in every direction making it even harder to see. It's the kind of rain that you don't want to drive in, and if you are driving when it hits, you contemplate pulling to the side of the road until it lets up a bit. And, here we were, running around in it!!!

Anway, the van was loaded up with muddy, wet kids, toys & towels, and Michael had the umbrella in hand, so while he walked back to the condo, I drove the rest of us home. My sister, who had run back earlier to get help from my dad when the van got stuck, met us at the door with clean, dry towels. While she stripped each child and threw them into the tub to warm up and rinse off, Michael & I made a few trips up and down the 3 flights of stairs to get what we could out of the van (like our lunch!). By this point he was fuming mad and mumbling to himself while I was laughing hysterically. I couldn't help myself. I figured there was no reason for the both of us to be upset that our first day at the beach was rained-out, so I decided to try to make the best of it. I was also hoping that if it was going to rain, that it would all happen on that day and not stretch out over the course of our vacation!

My next task was to figure out what we could do, indoors all day, in order to occupy the troops while it rained almost continuously. Answer? We ate our picnic lunch indoors and played Wii Sports. Hey, at least we got some exercise, and thank God we brought the video games! :)