Giving Thanks

If you guys only knew how many blog posts I mentally write in my head every day that somehow never make it to actually being let out. It’s a lot.  There are about a million thing vying for my attention these days, and it’s hard to keep them in priority order.

I haven’t forgotten about the cruise…honestly.  I’ll finish all those details sometime soon.  And ‘Tiny Talk Tuesday’…well, I have a whole folder of sticky notes with scribbled down things the kids have said.  Tuesdays are hard though.  Busy days.  You know.

I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving with your families.  My Dad came out from Pennsylvania for a few days.  We had a nice visit and I even cooked.  I touched the raw turkey!  This is great progress for me. Not only did I touch it repeatedly getting it ready to go in the roaster, I didn’t cringe or get the chills when I touched it.  Like I said, progress.  However, since my Dad, Rebekah, and I were the only ones that actually ate the turkey, it won’t be something on our normal family menu.

The excitement continues as our Black Friday ‘deal’ is still with us.  Phil and Marissa went out at the crack of dawn to shop.  The rest of us slept in our warm beds until a reasonable 9am.  My Dad needed some new winter boots though, so we went to Meijer before noon to make use of a coupon.  When we got home and pulled into the driveway, there was a little dog running between our front door and our sidewalk.  He ran right over to the van.  Alisha was with us and jumped out to grab him.  He had no tags, but had a collar on.  He looks a lot like our shih-tzu, but we’re not sure of the breed.  We took him in our house since it was so cold out.  Our poor dog, Patches, is terrified of other dogs, and has barely moved since Friday.  We called the police to let them know we’d found this dog, then took him to our local vet to be scanned to see if he had a chip in him.  He did not.  So, for the time being, we have another dog.

The kids are thrilled about this, and even though our local shelter has a no-kill policy, we just can’t bring ourselves to take him there.  He’s been given the temporary name of Reilly, with the nickname of ‘monster’.  Not because he’s a bad dog…not at all! He’s actually a very good dog.  Housebroken, hasn’t barked (not even once), and friendly.  We call him monster because he eats like one, and Patches is literally terrified of him.  If we can’t find his owners, we’re not sure what we’ll do.  We can’t have Patches live like this.   Reilly could care less about Patches.  He completely leaves him alone, yet Patches acts like he’s about to eat him alive, cowering in the corner and everything.  Most of the time Patches play possum.  If Reilly walks into the room Patches will stand perfectly still (tail down) and not even blink.  You can almost hear him thinking, “If I don’t move, he won’t see me.”  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Phil posted some local ads online saying we found a small dog, and people are responding. No luck yet though.  We know some family has got to be missing their dog.  We would!  So, for now we’ll take care of him like he was ours and how we would want someone to take care of our dog if he were lost.  Reilly was very recently groomed, so we know he’s a well-cared for pet.

I have to tell you the irony of all of this though.  Patches’ old dog bed was getting pretty old, so I told Phil to buy a new one if he saw a good deal when he was out shopping.  So he did.  He brought it home hours before Reilly showed up.  Also, Alisha had been looking through all the sale ads making her Christmas list before Reilly showed up, and put on there, “another dog.”  Then this perfect little dog show up on our doorstep??  Well, I don’t believe, but…Santa??

Our temporary dog...Reilly.
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I Should Blog Daily

I’m sorry to keep you guys hanging with the whole vacation story.  I knew this would happen. I knew it!  Taking a vacation right before the holidays may sound like a great idea, but I’m finding that’s just not the case for me.  Jumping back into life right before the rush is really taking it’s toll on me. Our trip seems like it happened months ago.  Sigh. I bet you could hear that from wherever you are.

I currently have a knot in the muscle right in my shoulder blade.  You know, the one that connects to your neck.  It hurts. Oh, and Marissa was being silly in the grocery store and ran into Bekah who ran the cart into the back of my foot.  That hurts too.  Yes, I’m just a big baby whiner today.  I need a nap.  Someone please give me a nap!

While I should probably revisit the vacation story in hopes that just taking that walk down memory lane and looking through the pictures will bring me some measure of the relaxation I felt while gone, I have to bake some rolls.  And heat up some corn.  Not hard, I know, but cooking none the less, and we all know how I feel about THAT.  I really, really want to put on my pajamas and lay in bed and watch mind-numbing tv that has no basis in reality.  I guess I could do that.  Stuff will not get done, but hey, it’ll be there tomorrow. Waiting. To attack me again.  Sigh. Did you hear that one too?

I promise, I’m really ok. Just tired and a little stressed, and well…at least I’m real about it and don’t pretend.

Travel Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Last week our family went on the cruise we had been waiting to go on for a year and a half.  It took that long to save the money for it. We don’t vacation lightly, people.  It’s the first ‘real’ family vacation we’ve taken (as in ALL of us going) in many years.  It was totally worth the wait!

Our travel plans for actually getting to and from the cruise ship were…well, a bit conviluted.  We did however save around $500 traveling this way.  We left our home last Saturday morning (to a blanket of snow), and headed south to Indianapolis (it’s much cheaper to fly out of there, than either Chicago airport.)  Phil’s dad lives outside of Indy, so we stopped to meet him and his wife for lunch.  We made it to our hotel sometime in the late afternoon, and then went to the movies to see the movie Megamind.  It was humerous.  We drove around looking for something to eat, and came across a shopping center with both a Chik-fil-a and a Sonic.  Oh happy day!  It was a tough choice since we have neither restaurant by us, and I wanted Chik-fil-a, but the fam voted for Sonic. I know we could have gone to both, but frankly at this point I was getting tired and just wanted to get to the hotel and rest.  Alisha had to sleep on chairs pushed together since our room only had two queen beds. She was fine with it.

We had to get up really early for our flight to Ft. Lauderdale Sunday morning, which is always pleasant when you have 5 people sharing one hotel room and one bathroom.  We made it though and left our van in the extended parking at the hotel and caught a shuttle to the airport.  Ah, the joys of travel.  We had a layover and plane switch in Baltimore, then it was on to Ft. Lauderdale where we rented a car (they kindly upgraded us to a mini-van of the exact same make and model we own, which is really kind of boring.)  Thank goodness we brought our Garmin along for this trip.  We got to our hotel in downtown South Beach, Miami in the Art Deco section.  Wow.  That’s about the only word I have for that area.  Neat buildings, very interesting place.  Kinda scary.  Since it’s in a downtown city, parking is not easy to find, so Phil parked our rental down the block from the hotel and ran in to the hotel to check us in.  We witnessed the police coming to take the report from a couple whose window was smashed in (about 3 cars in front of us and directly beneath our hotel window!!) and some of their things stolen.  While the police were taking their report, a homeless lady pushing a cart literally stops directly in front of our van.  She then proceeds to take an old push broom and a tube of old lipstick  and paint the one-way sign we were parked by.  One of the police officers even looked at her and ignored the whole goings-on.  At this point I decided we probably would lock our doors and not leave the hotel…at all!

Our hotel, the Beach Plaza Hotel, was a very unique place.  Old and true to the Art Deco era.  The elevator was kinda scary as the license posted inside was over a year out of date, and the sign said only 3 people allowed inside at a time.  Very comforting.  Once again our room was set up for 4 and not 5, and this place didn’t even have a chair in the room.  Someone was sleeping on the floor.  A wood floor to boot.  Marissa (God bless her) volunteered, and actually seemed to sleep well.  The room was really, really small which, in a way was good, since we were about to get on a cruise ship that has showers that are about 2 foot square.

We ended up having to leave our hotel room to search for some dinner.  I wanted to go see the beach since we were

A hotel in South Beach, Miami

only 2 blocks away.  It was very cool and breezy and starting to rain, so we just walked onto the beach and right back off.  South Beach is a very interesting place.  Lots of homeless people walking the streets with people in $500 shoes and carrying all manner of expensive purses.  We heard many, many other languages being spoken.  Apparently people from all over the world come to South Beach to vacation.  As is typical for the Mongold family, we are not adventurous and just got some Subway sandwiches and headed back to eat on the hotel veranda.  We also needed to find a drugstore since all the girls forgot to pack deodorant (how??) and I needed some water to take on the cruise with us.  The girls were done walking, so Phil and I made sure they were safely in the hotel room, then we walked the 8 blocks to the nearest Walgreens.  Which was the strangest Walgreens we’ve ever been in. We got what we needed, and headed back.  I was able to snap some cool pics of the buildings along the way.

Another hotel we passed while walking around South Beach, Miami

The Art Deco area of South Beach is actually a really cool place, and in another time when I wasn’t so tired of traveling and didn’t have kids along, I would probably enjoy it more.  We watched Ice Age 3 on tv in the hotel room the rest of the night, and tried to prepare ourselves for the next leg of our journey…getting to the port in the morning.