The As The World Churns Family

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Final Post Here

This is my final post on this Blog.

To continue viewing this post in its new format, visit I hope you will come visit me in my new e-home!

Amber (aka Ellis)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We've arrived in Oregon!

I am so sorry that I have not blogged in forever! We left for Oregon last week at 5:40 in the morning. Just me and my three kids plus a friend of Anne's. The first day we were in the car for 19 hours! We drove all the way to Utah from Texas with just a few short restroom/gas/food breaks. The second day we were on the road from 8 am until 12 pm, with 1-2 hours spent visiting Bo's great grandparents in Idaho and enjoying some of Dorothy's Apricot Pie.

Was it Hell? Call me crazy, but it really wasn't. We did it last summer and it wasn't bad so I thought we would try it again. This summer was easier than last because I had Anne, who is 16, drive sometimes.

It WAS a long drive, but it was all worth it when we arrived at the cabin!

We spent the past week up at the cabin with our dear friends the Adams' and the Fischer's. I'm hoping to post some pics very soon...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I love Oprah - but not that much....

On Sunday we disembarked the cruise ship and Bo headed on home early in the morning. Due to flight schedules the kids and I needed to spend the night in Denmark and catch a flight out the next morning. So we took the train in to Copenhagen and hung out in the hotel for a while. Then we took a walk and went to see Marshall's favorite museum of the trip: The Ripley's Believe it Or Not Museum..... no famous Hermitage museum for him. The Picasso's bored him to death. But show him a picture of how much weight a person can lift with a hook through their tongue - now that is worth putting in a museum! Oh the world through the eyes of an 8 year old boy!

After the museum we were pretty bored. You know how after two weeks of living out of a suitcase you are just ready to sleep in your own bed? That's where we were at. In fact, we were so bored that when an ambulance drove by and stopped about a block ahead we decided to follow it and see what happened - now that IS bored!

The ambulance guys just went in the building... boring. But across the street there were people gathering, including about 5 police officers and a bunch of people all dressed up looking like they were waiting for someone to arrive. We headed on over and got into the group along the entry to Tivoli Gardens which is an amusement park/ garden/ concert area in the city. I asked one of the police officers what was going on and she said the Danish royal family would be arriving soon for a summer concert - COOL!

So about 10 minutes later the Queen and her sister arrived along with the Prince Consort (Queens husband).... then the Crown Prince and his wife. Of course I had no camera with me at the time. But nevertheless it was quite a memory. The royal family walked past us about 8 feet away! Marie actually was right in the front, just 4 or 5 feet from them!

They were dressed beautifully and there was a line of guards with big fluffy hats - similar to the British Guards. Some of these guards were young boys of about 12 years old (like Boy Scouts maybe?)so Marshall thought that was so awesome.

I love Forrest Gump moments like that!

Next we ate dinner and then headed on back to the room to repack and get ready to prepare for our flight the next day. On the way I was excited to see a 7-11 and went in to see if they had any english magazines for the flight home. I immediately spotted an Oprah "O" magazine in english - I hadn't seen anything in English for a very long time. I know I mentioned it before and I don't mean to obsess, but did I tell you how crazy expensive it is in England? Denmark is twice as bad! Most of our trip we were fairly shielded from the extreme prices because we slept and ate on the cruise ship and we aren't huge souvenir buyers. The only thing we really saw the high prices in quite often was museum entry fees. A bottled water is usually about $5. so we were definitely refilling them and reusing them!

I took the magazine up to the counter and the clerk told me it was 82 Danish Kroners. Five Kroner is equal to one dollar. Therefore the magazine was over $16! I was shocked, but not too shocked to tell him that I no longer wanted the magazine - I love ya Oprah, but not that much!

I will post pictures soon. We arrived home in the middle of the night last night after 21 hours of travel (Copenhagen to London to Chicago to Texas). One of our suitcases never went through customs with us in London, so not sure when it will arrive. Of course it was the one that has my camera battery charger and UBS cable:)

Friday, June 27, 2008

What a journey!

Today is the ninth day of our Baltic cruise. It is a day at sea, so my first chance in a long time to blog.

The trip has been better than Bo and I even imagined. The kids have done very well... they are never too excited about waking up at 7 am or earlier for an on-shore excursion, but once they get off the ship, they perk up. Our itinerary once we left London was to fly to Copenhagen, Belgium and then board a cruise ship which went to Stockholm Sweden, Helsinki Finland, St. Petersburg Russia, Estonia, Poland, and Norway. St. P was fascinating and two full days of non-stop touring. Marie was always zipping up to the front where the guide was so she could hear all the details. Marshall was bored to death in the Hermitage museum - I guess 8 year olds dont really understand how cool it is to see a Picasso, Renoir, etc.

It is so hard to get to bed at a decent time. Sunset is at about 11 pm and sunrise at 3 am.

We have had wonderful weather - incredible really. Although I packed rain ponchos, gloves, scarves, etc. we have only needed light jackets.

One of the most magical days was when we rented bikes in Helsinki Finland. The city was extremely quiet as it was a holiday weekend and everyone heads out of town (Midsummers Festival). So with little car or pedestrian traffic we could safely ride our bikes all over the city - what a blast! Anne attempted to take a photo shile riding her bike and nearly hit a tree, but saved herself at the last minute:)

It's almost the end of our vacation. We are sad to see it end but also looking forward to being home, seeing our friends and pets, etc.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Alarm Did Go Off!

Well, the alarm did go off and we left the house at 4:40 a.m. OUCH. Everyone had their one carry-on and their one suitcase. We first flew to Chicago and then we had an only 35 minute connection for our flight to London. When the Captain announced that due to thunderstorms we would be landing late, we assumed we would miss the flight and therefore have a nine hour (minimum) layover. When we landed we looked up on the screen and saw that our flight to London had not yet left. We gathered our stuff and led by Marie, we sprinted to the other terminal. Luckily (for us), the cargo door was having a problem so we and our luggage made it on the plane. I love it when things work out like that!

The flight went well. Anne was kind enough to offer to sit by Marshall, a favor I think she later regretted as he sleep absolutely not a wink the entire 8 hour flight. The noise-cancelling headphones were fantastic! They block out all that irritating engine noise yet you can still hear the flight attendant asking you what type of beverage you would like - genius! The only problem with them is that everyone want to use them:)

We arrived in London late due to the delay taking off. This meant we arrived after the last train had left Heathrow. We had just 15 British Pounds in our pocket and the ATM was broken. By making Marie slightly younger than she really is, we were able to finagle our way onto a double-decker bus.

We took a one hour bus ride and then a 45 minute walk with our luggage through the streets of London at 2 am. The adventure has begun! Everyone was a trooper! Some people don't like to travel this way, but we thrive on it... it brought back lots of memories for me of traveling with my family when I was a teen. Lots of deja vu.

We tried to sleep, but due to excitement and jet lag, it was hard. It is also difficult because it gets dark at 11 pm and then light again at 3:30 am. Strange.

Our next two days in London were exceptional. Gorgeous weather and lots of fun. I will write more later!

written from Helsinki Finland....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bon Voyage!

We are going on a long dreamed about family vacation!

I'll try to blog about our trip, which we leave for in 4 hrs. and 15 minutes. But if I never figure out the technology on other computers, you may not hear from me for a little while.

Today was spent packing. We are each limiting ourselves to one 25" suitcase and is has to weigh less than 40 pounds - not easy consider we will be gone quite a while, we could have pretty dramatic temperature changes as well as a need for formal, semi-formal and casual attire. It was a challenge, but we did it. Our saving grace? Space bags!

The Container Store sells travel and suitcase size space bags. You just put your stuff in them, ziplock them up and then roll all the extra air out and you end up with clothes that look like colorful freeze dried fish! Big fish!

It will be an adventure and with all that has been going on (see kitchen blog below), I haven't even really had time to get excited. But now with just a few hours until we leave the house to catch a 6 am flight, I am getting pumped! I'll try to keep a journal and then post when I get back if I am unable to post while away.

Off to bed now ...(but can anyone really sleep wondering if the alarm will go off on time?) Good thing I can sleep on planes, as my friend Liz can attest to (I once slept 8 hours straight on a trip with her! My parents got me noise-canceling headphones for my b-day. So it should really be no problem to tune out irritable spouses, cranky teenagers, needy little boys,etc. I don't actually think the headphones were invented to tune out your own family (I think it was some dumb thing like engine noise that was the original intent). But hey, what a great bonus benefit!

The Kitchen is Done!

Taa Dahhhhhh - we are done! Finished about 26 hours before our family vacation!

Well, done might be a little strong. We are 95% done. Painting cabinets can be a real pain - especially in the humidity and 100 degree plus heat we have had. The painting contractor has been very concientious with a high level of quality control (which is good), so the cabinet doors are not all done because some have to be re-done.

But, we were able to move our stuff back into the cabinets! I stayed up until one last night putting everything back and it was so nice to have a fully functional kitchen again!
Picture #2: notice the lovely fruity wallpaper behind Bo and the old backsplash which every house in our neighborhood had an exact copy of.

Pictures #3 and #4: we have now painted over the wallpaper, added a wallpaper border and decorative painting and taken down the light box, installing pendent lights and recessed lights. Bo and I chipped up the old tile (exhausting!) and laid new tile a year or two ago. We also have removed the broken microwave and replaced it with a countertop one (this was for about a year) and had the tile backsplash removed. We purchased a new kitchen table when I took the old one up to Oregon last summer.

Picture #5: In the middle of this, I wasn't sure it was worth the hassle!

First and Last pictures: new appliances, counters, backsplash (my fav) and newly painted cabinets. The walls were also textured and painted Sherwin Williams Dapper Brown (love it!) It makes the whole house feel updated!