Friday, November 15, 2019

Jones Kids on the Loose, 2019 Edition - Day 4 and 5

While we were on the road, Gracie was having a blast with Grandma! She really seemed to enjoy being an 'only child' for a while. Saturday they had a special day together that included brunch at The Friendship Tea House:

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A trip to our favorite rescue to help socialize the pups:

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And an afternoon of thrift shops, where she scored a ton of Barbies and Barbie DVDs!

Back in Texas, we went out exploring again in the morning.

Of course it was Logan who was noticing and picking up the tiniest interesting rocks.

I think we got them all out of the cabin again...apologies to the staff if we missed any!

There was this very exciting family thing in the morning...but it hasn't hit Facebook yet, so I'm not going to tell you about it ;) 

Instead, here's a gigantic walking stick the cousins found:

He kept going around people's backs when I tried to get a picture!

Oh, right, much better.

After he was safely relocated to some trees, we hung out one last time as everyone started wandering home.

Our newest cousin, Aurelia (and her Daddy). Isn't she gorgeous?

Fists of fury!

Cool tunnels by the pond...

More frog catching (and releasing, despite pleas to take some home)

And then they wanted to go back to "Kids' Kingdom".

This park is also a great place to meet dogs! It includes a disc golf course, and many area pups like to join in. I got slobbered on by a very excited German Shepherd, an adorable bulldog, and a smooshy hound puppy who just wanted to be carried and have her belly rubbed.

This is pretty easy!

We had one last surprise for the kids in the evening. While we were making plans, I discovered one of my favorite people - and one of the kids' favorite authors - lived only an hour away! We made arrangements to meet for dinner. Sheridan caught her first name when I was talking to Mike, and started turning it over in her head. When we met up outside the restaurant and she gave me an advance copy of her next book, you could see her connect the dots.

"Is she the lady who writes the Chickies books???"

Why, yes. Yes, she is. We brought this new copy of our favorite (because the old copy has been read to pieces), and look how adorably she signed it! The kids were so tickled that she knew them so well (and as Sheridan mentioned several times, how to spell their names!)

If you do not have Janee Trasler's books in your library, you need to order them right now. And if you ever get the chance to spend time with her, take it! She is every bit as funny and sweet in person as she is online. We talked so much I hardly ate any of my food (or does that just mean I talked too much? Did I talk too much? Oh dear...)

About twenty minutes after we left, we both realized about the same time...we never took any pictures! We were just having too much fun! Oh well, that just means she has to come to New Mexico now.

Janee also gave each of the kids a bag for the ride home, and mean old Mom wouldn't even let them look until we were on the road the next morning. There were fun snacks greeted with cries of "Oh I love her!!!". Sheridan literally broke into song when she saw the Dove chocolate, her favorite. And then there was Flarp.

Flarp, for the uninitiated, is fart putty. When you make air bubbles and squish them, or squish it against the side of the container, it makes a farting sound. At first we just played with it in the container while on our tablets.

Then we started getting creative.

There were fart jokes. There were fart songs. And from farts, there isn't much of a leap to snot.

Such a proud Mommy moment.

I won't complain, though, because it kept them occupied pretty much the entire trip! The beautiful weekend weather was gone again, and we drove home in rain that froze to the windshield and heavy winds trying to toss us off the road.


We made it home after 9PM, the inside of the car pretty much trashed at that point, and somehow at least three children had Flarp in their hair, but we just tossed everyone into bed. I ended up taking the next day off to bathe children, unload the car, and do laundry...

Lots and lots of laundry!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Jones Kids on the Loose - 2019 Edition - Day 3

Saturday was when the fun really began! The Silver Spur Resort has a couple ponds with turtles, fish and teeny tiny frogs to check out.

We had to run to Walmart there because Christopher had outgrown the shirts I packed for him JUST LAST WEEK. Sheridan had some spending money and decided to get a baby carrier for Judith (since mean Mommy didn't let her bring the car seat).

A friend had recommended the Dairy Barn for lunch. There were two trucks with baby goats outside, so we almost didn't make it past the parking lot. These helped move them along:

Then we went to a local park for a bit. 

Oh my goodness. I will give Alamogordo locals a moment to wipe away a tear.

This looks JUST like a park we had here, which burned down a little over a year ago, and has since been replaced with generic playground equipment :(

Where's Logan now? Oh! Off by himself, as usual...

Needless to say, the kids referred to it as "Kids' Kingdom" throughout the rest of the weekend.

Back at the resort we explored the garden, and found a painted rock!

"Stache Rocks" on the back.

We left it for others to find, but I will look up their Facebook page shortly.

Cousin Jaxon, who grows six inches every time I see him.

Logan wanted to know, "Can we live here???"

Sheridan and Abigail really hit it off! We hadn't seen her since she was barely walking. She definitely got that walking/running thing down since then!

Time to get spiffed up!

And look at cool spiders.

Abi found a rock, too!

Getting closer to time...palling around with cousin Lily...

Shane, of course, understood the solemnity of the event.

And then they were married! And I am not posting any pictures until the bride does. But it was beautiful and perfect and the weather could not have cooperated more.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Jones Kids on the Loose - 2019 Edition Day 2

We had a good breakfast at the hotel, very nice lady working the kitchen - we will be giving staff high marks when the e-mail survey comes through! Had an entertaining time trying to explain cable TV to the kids, and how the channel they watched at "Grandpa Bob's house" (i.e. The Hampton Inn where they stayed in Alamogordo) will not show the same things in Abilene, Texas.

Of course I forgot a few things (earrings - I wasn't even wearing any! - socks for me, etc.), but there was a Big Lots right across the street. I picked up what I needed and also managed to find a Christmas present, which I then had to figure out how to hide in the car. The cashier there was also super nice - everyone I encountered in Abilene was very nice, there was a variety of shopping from what I could see, pretty brick buildings, everything very clean and green. If I ever had to live in a big city, I would be inclined to choose Abilene based on what little I saw.

But I don't ever want to live in a big city!

We started the morning off at the Frontier West museum, which I highly recommend for any age. Shane was smitten by the time we reached the lobby:

You begin the tour in a room with a short, engaging video about the area and what the museum covers.

Which Sheridan video taped. 

Then you go through several rooms with exhibits run by...

...holographic people! My pictures aren't going to do them justice, but you could really make yourself believe they were actually standing in front of you. Pat Garrett was especially good - although, living in the Lincoln County area, we have our doubts as to his claim that he shot Billy the Kid.

The kids loved it!

I forgot this lady's name, but she led quite an interesting life. She even invited us in for dinner.

After seeing this, though, we weren't so sure about sharing a community meal.

When you come in, you get a laminated card with the name and basic stats of a real person who lived on the early frontier. At the end you slide it into a machine to find out what your fate was! Turned out to be another lady with an interesting life.

Of course, this was Mike's (and Christopher's) favorite spot.

The last room is a surround theater where you go through a prairie storm, Comanche attack, buffalo stampede, and gunfight.

Shane AND Sheridan may or may not have ended up in my lap a couple times.

Here you guess how much each item would cost you in the general store.

We heard everything was bigger in Texas, but I have a suspicion this was exaggerating.

After the museum we headed just a few blocks into town to start the children's literature statue tour. 

Perfect quote for Logan!

Another slight exaggeration, I think.

David is one of our favorite characters, but where are the kids?

Of course. Looking at a bug.

I sent this book to one of my favorite new babies!


Don't forget to look up!

Not a children's lit statue, but way cool.

Back out of town, pausing to point out the closest thing we have seen to a skyscraper - one of the travel items they were supposed to spot, hard to find in southern NM.

We switched drivers, which put Christopher behind Mike. The two people with the longest legs. That didn't work out too well, so we stopped to switch kids around!

Quick stop for fruit and cheese - and lots of running - at a rest area. 

Travelling went well until we hit a traffic snag outside of Dallas, and everything looked like this for about an hour.

Finally, Canton! We checked into our little cabin for the weekend. We shared it with Mykela and Bradley, who got the main bedroom:

Sheridan and Logan immediately claimed the bunk beds,

And the rest of us shared the pull-out bed and an air mattress in the living room. There was a little kitchenette, perfect for vacation cooking.

Once we were settled in we went o the "Big House" to see the rest of the family - cousins and their kids gathered from all corners of the country, including a new cousin-in-law and a baby we hadn't met yet. 

The kids were shy around each other at first, but I herded some of them outside to play on the porch, and pretty soon they were chasing each other up and down the hill. 

Big family dinner, then an early bedtime!