29 October 2011

Let me tell you about Saturday.

Saturdays are always delicious in our house. Not as good as Sundays, but a close second. And not just because there are only two days in the weekend. (what does that even mean?)
Andrew is lying in bed next to me reading a book I borrowed/pilfered from the KOA laundry room library. I'm not sure if you're supposed to return them before you leave or just swap them with something else.
Oh. Yes. Saturday. Claire and I got an extra twenty minutes in bed by using the "baby on boob" clause. It's a fantastic law that should be enacted in every family. I'd love to exercise the rule without a baby in my bed.

We all sat around and ate waffles for awhile, and suddenly it was 9am. I don't know how that happened, but my noticing the time sent everyone into a "we need to rush around and yell and throw clothes at one another because we're about to be late for soccer" situation. That's never NOT fun, right? Molly was walking two steps behind Andrew throughout the entire house, howling "I be in pack pack!! I be in pack pack!" just in case we didn't know that she was fully prepared to throw the mother of all tantrums on the soccer field if we didn't bend under her wholly terrifying dictatorship and put her in the kelty kiddie pack. Toddlers. Love them.

After Lucy saved three would-be goals during her rule as goalie in the first quarter and ran around picking flowers in the third, we stopped at Sonic (we can quit any time.) and settled our need for ice cream. While I was slurping down my peanut butter cup blast and simultaneously telling the kids they could eat at home (multi-tasker!), Andrew stopped at redbox and rented Hanna. (that movie was a 3 out of 5 star "wha?!?!?") We put the girls down for naps around 12:30, watched that crazy Saoirse Ronan (it's pronounced "seer-sha" and it's been on my baby name short list for 6 years) kill people for 90 minutes and then napped happily until 4. Blissy bliss bliss.

At 4 we all stumbled around and put the little folk in the Halloween costumes (ballerina and ballerina-monkey. Of course they exist. They're actually overpopulated in some states.) to head out for Halloween at the Y. We had a lovely time and ended up dropping a WAD of cash for plastic spider rings and Frito pies. Mmm, y'all. I'll post a full-color thrill ride of a post tomorrow. Claire was so cute I could have baked her in a pie. No joke. She went costume-free because Mommy's lazy and baby sister's got nothing to prove. But, of course, the pictures of her were the cutest we got. She's a toothless smile covered in fat rolls. It makes for a great subject.

Then we came home with three children howling in the back of the car, put them in a hot bath to soak off the nacho cheese and promptly stuck them all in bed where they giggled off their sugar high. Once we knew they were in their rooms for good, we ate all the good candy out of their bags. I'll miss this age.

Now Andrew is snoozing happily beside me, so peace out, Cub Scout!

28 October 2011

Fwd: GPS Shoes, for Alzheimer's Patients and Prostitutes? - Discovery News

In case you're wondering, the answer is yes. The last quote in this article does say, "Our contemporary sandals combine these poetic images from antiquity with promotional and safety features designed to meet the needs of today's sex workers."



These boots were really made for walking.

The first batch of 3,000 shoes with integrated GPS devices -- to help track down dementia-suffering seniors who wander off and get lost -- just shipped from manufacturer GTX Corp. to the footwear firm Aetrex, two years after plans were announced to develop the product.

The company's first shoes -- dreamed up back in 2002 following the Elizabeth Smart case -- were intended to locate missing children. And safety is the driving force today behind the company's newest GPS-enabled shoe. According to AFP, The shoes will sell at around $300 a pair and buyers will be able to set up a monitoring service to locate "wandering" seniors suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

NEWS: Mount, Protect a Phone or GPS While Cycling 

The system is implanted in the heel of an otherwise normal shoe, and lets caregivers or family members monitor the wearer and even set up alerts if a person strays outside of a predefined area.

The shoes were certified by the Federal Communications Commission this year. GTX believes the market has great potential, given the soaring costs of Alzheimer's.

"This is a significant milestone for both companies and while the $604 billion worldwide cost of dementia has become and will continue to be a significant fiscal challenge, the under $300 GPS enabled shoes will ease the enormous physical and emotional burden borne by Alzheimer's victims, caregivers and their geographically distant family members," said Patrick Bertagna, chief executive of GTX Corp.

Health professionals say the new GPS shoes could be a real boon for the more than five million Americans who suffer from the disease, according to AFP. Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services, said the shoes may even save lives.

"It's especially important for people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's who are at the highest risk," Carle told AFP.

"They might be living in their home but they're confused. They go for a walk and they can get lost for days."

But well before GTX untied its newest product, another manufacturer strode into the picture with a decidedly different demographic -- prostitutes.

"Our first shoe, a demo version of the Platform 001 sandal, was inspired by the prostitutes of ancient Greece and Rome, who enticed clients with their flutes and sandals that left 'follow me' footprints in the earth," explains the website for The Aphrodite Project.

"Our contemporary sandals combine these poetic images from antiquity with promotional and safety features designed to meet the needs of today's sex workers."

The Aphrodite Project's sandals are designed to protect with a piercing siren to scare off threatening muggers or attackers and a GPS-powered system that can send warnings to police.


Fast New Smartphone Network May Threaten GPS, FCC Fears

LightSquared Promises Tech Fix to 'Save' GPS

Russian Rocket Places First Galileo GPS Satellites in Orbit

My beautiful bride on date night (Brix, Roanoke TX) caught talking about CHEESE!

27 October 2011

Nightly News with Claire Faustina Cooke 10/27/2011

Fox News Poll: 76 Percent Dissatisfied With Direction of Country.
To which Claire Faustina Cooke says...

Some folks in Congress are about to become "the unemployed". Fools have underestimated the power of their constituents.
 NBA sides return hope builds progress
To which Claire Faustina Cooke says...
NBA? National Baby Association? Who cares about the NBA... Give me a real sport, real athletes. Give me some RAVENS FOOTBALL! [Dad: Oh man, watch out. Claire is on fire tonight]
 Crib Notes Should Govt Supply Diapers to Low Income Families
To which Claire Faustina Cooke says...

Pshhh... How much more can this liberal government rule my life!? Now they're REALLY in our shorts. Tell ya what. You buy my diapers then stick around for when the real fun happens several times a day. Maybe you can change diapers better than run the federal government.
 China could play key role in EU rescue
To which Claire Faustina cooke says...

Good. About time they do something with their undervalued currency. [Dad adds: OH SNAP!]
 Campagna V13R [w/video]

To which Claire Faustina Cooke says...

Now THAT is the tricycle I want for Christmas next year!
 Catholic U accused of discriminating against muslims. This just cracks me up... "CUA does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion,” according to a press release on PRLOG.com.

To which Claire Faustina Cooke says...

You chose (in a free, American society) to attend and pay tuition to a CATHOLIC university. What'd you THINK would be on the walls? SURPRISE!

 Deficit super committee: Amid concerns that the panel may be sliding into gridlock, this bipartisan fiscal blah blah blah...
To which Claire Faustina Cooke says:

Gridlock? Oh, I thought he said HEADLOCK! Watch out dad!!!! I'll getcha!!!!
 Concert Raises $500K for Texas Fire Victims
To which Claire Faustina Says:

See! I told you those Dixie Chics weren't all THAT bad. Thanks ladies. Texans need all the support they can get down/over there!

 And we'll conclude tonight's Nightly News with Claire Cooke with a baby joke...

A woman got on a bus holding a baby. The bus driver looked at the child and blurted out, "That's the ugliest baby I've ever seen!" Infuriated, the woman slammed her fare into the fare box and took an aisle seat near the rear of the bus. The man seated next to her sensed that she was agitated and asked her what was wrong.
"The bus driver insulted me," she fumed. The man sympathized and said... "Why, he shouldn't say things to insult passengers. He could be fired for that."

"You're right," she said. "I think I'll go back up there and give him a piece of my mind!"

"That's a good idea," the man said..........................
"Here, let me hold your monkey."

26 October 2011

I have been slacking. I'm well aware. But here's what's happening.

  • Molly is potty training. So I spend all day feeling her undies, following her around, yelling, "Don't pee on that!" and generally worrying over the amount of laundry I have ahead of me. Today we are accident-free. I will not point out that she's been napping for 3 hours.
  • Lucy is all, "Let's do a craft!" every 30 seconds, all day long.
  • Claire thinks she needs to eat big people food. It's really annoying, because she won't eat baby food. Just things she can chew. What can a toothless baby who doesn't know how to chew, really chew anyway? 1/4 pieces of Cheerios, smushy banana (that she will only suck off my fingers, not a spoon), pumpkin bread...and that's about it. She loves bread, but I happen to know that babies cannot live on breastmilk and italian bakery loaves. Or maybe they can. I'm still learning.
  • I have three volunteer gigs. I don't know why. I just say yes a lot.
  • I'm getting super into my faith, and it's positively exhausting. I'm flummoxed and then I'm finding clarity and then I'm back to flummoxed. I'm learning a lot, but now I'm all worried about God. All the time. It's like being married to two people.
  • Andrew is minding his P's and Q's just fine, thank goodness. He needs to learn to turn out his closet light, but other than that, he's a dandy hunk of man. Love him.
  • Lucy wants to start kindergarten. Sigh. I'm not ready for that craziness.
  • My house. I bit off more than I could chew, begging Andrew to buy me an acre of unloved Texan soil. Now that I love it, I'm neglecting the children to pull weeds. I love pulling weeds.
My spaghetti pot is about to boil over. I keep forgetting that I'm cooking dinner. Ugh.

25 October 2011

eat your heart out Huck Finn. Tues night fishin' with Lu

Lucy (on her tiny pink Disney Princess rod) catches a largemouth bass (young, maybe 8") and a 16" mean catfish tonight at Eagle Mtn Lake! Bait all night? CHEESE DOGS.

First catch of the night! She called it a "Cutie Patootie"

2nd catch of hers for the night! Large (aggressive) catfish! It was dark and I asked aloud "How am I going to get this hook out?" Her quick response and she danced excitedly around the shore was "You gotta do whatcha gotta do Dad".

This is a cute smile & blink but you can tell by the arms it was also a "that one is too big! keep it away!"

Having just as much fun in her pajamas by the lake playing with leaves when those pesky fish ACCIDENTALLY bite!

And... I caught two as well. A little sunfish and a nice striper!

Geez. She's a beauty. hehehe... ok ok. They're BOTH beauties!

Got a strong fight and even jump out of this one! Very fun.

Rare, Indigenous...

Lucy found a worm and has been carrying it around for at least an hour. Worm rigor mortis has definitely set in, but she's still talking to him. It's sad. She asked me what kind of worm he is and I told her it's "rare, indigenous worm." She was mad impressed with my worm knowledge.

21 October 2011

Today I Made...

...a mistake, by not having a second person to man the garage sale with me. It wasn't terrible, but it would have been nice to have an extra set of eyes. I'm pretty sure one family all came at me all at once to deliberately overwhelm me, but I handled them like a pro. The girls thought hosting a garage sale was just awesome. They ate muffins until they popped, chatted with over a dozen strangers before lunch and rode their bikes for hours. What's not to like??

...a mess, by baking a French toast casserole at 8pm so we can enjoy a hot breakfast in the morning.

...$70! Just by sitting in my garage. What a country.

...a trip to the store. Guess who's got soccer game snack duty tomorrow? I refused to buy Gatorade for them, however. Just can't do it. Children don't need Gatorade.

...a scrape, when I drove into the turtle sandbox in the dark.

...a crunch, when I backed into a tricycle as I tried to get away from the sandbox. Wonky wheel for Molly in the am...Whoops.

...Claire laugh. Hysterically. It just kills me.

...plans for tomorrow night. Confession and Mass followed by a trip to downtown Fort Worth for the Keep on Truckin' Festival and some wandering with the girls.

...myself sleepy by holding my phone too close as I typed. And I have Day 2 of the garage sale tomorrow. Peace out, cub scout.


From my office...

Typed: "Sink Leaks"
Handwritten next to that: "Drain Pipe Leaks"
Typed: "So why do you continue to put ice and water down a sink that doesn't work".

Dear girls,
I promise to raise you smarter than society today.

You'd wear the same expression...

...if you were in the back of Molly's bike.

20 October 2011


I just picked Claire up out of her bed to spend the night snuggling with Andrew and I. I wasn't home for bedtime, so I was missing my tiny girl! I started unsnapping her outfit (Daddy always puts her down clothed!) and she opened her eyes and saw me above her. Her confused look turned to relief when she recognized me, and as she snuggled in to nurse, I thought about what a relief it must be to be 6 months old and be "found." All she thinks about is Mama. I still sigh with relief when I get my own Mama on the phone. I can't imagine how it must feel to be 6 months old and to feel Mama pick you up and put you right again. A good night, indeed. This is how I know that parenthood is the most important thing we'll ever do. No one is loved, longed for or needed more than a Mama or a Daddy. I know that no matter where i go in this world, nothing will ever satisfy quite like being loved by least of His people.

Fire in the bedroom? Things come true? "It's like this..."! LOL

So Thursday nights my lovely bride is does ENDOW which is this absolutely amazing catholic/educational women's group-study thing. Yes. Check it out. When words are blue and underlined... that means they "link". ;-)

Which leaves me to SUPER-DADDY-DUTY each Thurs Night. Tonight? After soccer? Oh there was some chaos, which I will elaborate on, but all girls ASLEEP by 2030 hrs. Yeah. It's like that. I rock.

Chaos moment? Went like this:

L: [from bed, standing up, crossing her arms nervously across her chest and SCREAMING at the top of her lungs with a bright red face and tears SHOOTING across the room] "AHHHHHHH!!!!!"

A: [running across the house and room with CB (Claire Bear) in Ray-Rice-arm-tuck-style], "HEY! WHAT'S WRONG! WHOA WHOA WHOA GIRL! Calm down" [embraces the hysterical L]

L: "Molly said 'Fire' and she said it a lot! And," [sniffles extensively, hugs again], "Well, it's like this Dad..." [sniffles hugs], mumbles into my shoulder

A: "What baby? I couldn't hear you"

L: "Things come true and fire comes up from the ground"

I knew I shouldnt have showed her that magnifier trick... And, she's said a couple times tonight "Well, it's like this..." which is a phrase she stole right out of her momma's playbook :-)

Love my Laura, Love my little-Laura's and love I was able to convince my crazy girl she wasn't at risk of being on fire (took a while).

Now... of to pay some supplier invoices until Laura Schmara gets home. :-)

Signing off, Loverboy.

17 October 2011

Request and turn off thunder

Lucy uses the word "request". So cute

L: Okay, so please give this REQUEST to mom, ok? So, there is rain on the inside if the window and it's scary.

A: [hiding the smile that would indicate there was NO 'request' in her statement] Is it on the inside and wet or just the outside and you can see it because of the lightening?

L: well, it's outside so tell mom it's okay. Can she turn off the thunder?

A: no, only Jesus controls the weather.

L: okayyyyy [sounding very skeptical that controlling thunder is outside of Laura's power]. Love you. Goodnight.

16 October 2011

Lucy and Mo? Huh?

Hang in there, folks. It's Claire time right now!

Claire's signature side-eye.

The dedicated volunteer.

She just gives until there's nothing left. Here's Claire helping out in the church nursery with Mama on Friday.

It's always interesting...

...being Molly's little sister.

October 14, 15 & 16. A weekend for the books.

I'll just give a short rundown, as my sweet boobie biter is stirring.

On Friday night we hosted a little soirée here at Casa de la Cooke. We posted a note to all of our friends that we'd be hosting a potluck, and we really weren't expecting too many people, as social events in our group are usually small, at best. We ended up with 16 adults and 22 kids, and boy was this place rocking! We had a blast, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. The house was happy. Every time we have people over, no matter the size of the crowd, I go to bed thinking, "the house really handled that well." It's just a great size for letting people spread out and still stay in the conversation, there are several different places that people gather to chat and break off, the kitchen is a great size and the wine is in a great location. This house was made to entertain, and we love sending people home with full bellies and good memories.

On Saturday, Andrew and I split up to get things moving. He and Lucy went to her soccer game while Mo and Claire rode with me to the Rosary Rally at Johnson Road Park. It was a big success, and Andrew and Lucy met us at the park for a picnic lunch. We all stopped at Sonic on the way home for some liquid love. Stupid cherry limeades.

The girls and I all napped hard for the afternoon, and then we spent all of last night cleaning the garage and getting ready for our garage sale this coming weekend.

This morning we went to Mass and then came home for another serious nap/garage cleaning combo. It was fantastic. We even moved all of our Christmas decor and college memorabilia to the attic! Yeah, we have one of those now.

I have three days with nary a plan, so I'll be very busy pulling things out of closets and tagging them for the sale.

Ha. Andrew just went into Claire's room to put her paci in her mouth and here is the conversation that followed.

A: "That flower light in Claire's room makes it feel like purgatory in there."

L: "I always picture purgatory as sort of gray and dark."

A: "No. Purgatory is definitely pink and purple flowers."

Day One or, "This seemed like such a good idea at the time."

Any account of a road trip with the Cookes would have to be prefaced with a few facts.
  • We're optimists. We love being with our little people and assume that anything we do will be a grand adventure.
  • We're flexible. No expectations and no strict plan. Our only expectation is that we have lots of fun.
  • We're intrepid. We drive until someone's bladder actually bursts. We don't stop to stretch legs. We stop when the engine sputters. Until then, get comfy, kids!
  • We travel on a budget, but with some degree of flexibility. This planned trip was our first family trip without "emergency" credit cards and I was a wreck the entire time. I figured we'd get to Amarillo and the transmission would fall out of our mostly-new car. (Rationality = my MO) We sort of planned our meals ahead of time, planning to eat all of our snacks and most of the kiddie food out of the cooler, and eat one meal out a day. The meals we ate out we tried to make sure that someone was eating free or using a coupon. We also decided to camp instead of use a hotel, as it just seemed like a reasonable time of year to do so. It also turned out that our trip route was a little lean on nice hotels, so I think we made a bedbug-free choice. Go Cookes!
  • We pack light and hope for the best. Sometimes this comes back to bite us, as you'll soon find out.
Andrew and I rarely have an issue with one another, so family road trips are usually pretty fun and relaxed. When we lived in Frostburg we did a routine 3-hour drive back to Baltimore, so anything under 4 is a day trip for us. It should be said here that anything over 10 with toddlers is suicide.
We decided that our Fall Road Trip (I capitalize to annualize.) would be to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. We thought about New Orleans and South Padre Island as well, but we really wanted to see what lay West of us. Ha. Hold on to your six-shooters!
We decided to leave Friday at 4am, as we had about 11 hours of driving on Day 1. We ended up getting out the door by about 5:30, which was admirable. We so rarely venture off a set time that I was like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. We threw the kids in their seats with their jammies on and a bag of cereal to munch on, set the alarm and hit the road. An hour later, I came to and said, "Oh hey, we forgot the computer. And the Nikon. And the Flip."
Our first stop was in Childress, TX to buy a point-and-shoot camera. Way to stick to the budget!

Here is my first picture with the new camera - Andrew at the helm! Notice the bungee cord? Yes. That's holding our DVD player. It's old and sad and Lucy ripped the little door over the DVD off when she was 18-months. Now that I think about it, Lucy destroyed most of our electronics before the age of two.
  [Note from Andrew: I look HUGE in this picture b/c wind was blowing through my left sleeve across my chest and puffing out my right shoulder. I'm not 300+ lbs :-) ]
Am I seriously going to have "notes from Andrew" all the way through this? Don't let him fool you. He's at LEAST 350. :-P

It also shoots panoramic pics! Whee! (It turns out it requires a bit of finnesse to take a good panoramic with this particular camera. It also turns out that I have that finnesse.)


 Once the sun was up and Mo got another hour of sleep, she was back to tearing up books and throwing things at her sister. She's the best.

We quickly learned that North West Texas is sad, poor and a tad creepy. Most of the buildings are abandoned and most of the people watch you very, very closely. The speed limit on the highway is 70, and drops immediately to about 25 as you come into each town. Revenue! We got the hang of it pretty fast and were very careful to start slowing down well in advance of each little town.

Our first official stop was in Amarillo at the Don Harrington Discovery Center for a leg stretch and some lunch. Since we have a membership at the Fort Worth Museum of Science, our admission to the DHDC (yeah, I acronym.) was free, making Andrew all proud of my awesome planning at the outset. (Like I didn't plan that to make myself look good.)


Claire and a giant snake. She looks concerned because she IS concerned. She actually looks like a small snack for a snake that big. Molly should have been concerned with her.

Claire and Mommy on a giant pillow. I'd go all Andrew on you and ask you to believe that I'm not 300+ pounds, but the wind don't blow inside, folks. It was clearly a bad angle.

And let me tell you more about this pillow. I thought it would be a fantastic place to nurse Claire, as I saw another mom in there nursing her baby. Whaddya know? He's 5 months old too! We chat about babies and consignment shops in Amarillo (Texas living = summer wardrobe in October, always.), while her 2-year-old is bouncing around me yelping, "I'm Abby! I'm 2! I'm Abby! I'm 2!" Abby is climbing all over the pillow that Claire and I are attemping to nurse on while I give her oblivious mother "the eye." Laissez faire indeed. It was soon clear that Abby's mother was a "we" mom. You know, "we don't hi-it! we don't stick our hands in other people's shi-irts! we don't pull ha-air! I'm going to count to 75 now...get ready...I'm really going to count now...one...I'm counting...If you're not behaving by the time I get to 75, something might happen..." Ah, "we" moms...love them. After I'd been kicked in the back several times, I gave Claire the "you know it's not happening here, sister" look and we peaced out to a more hospitable location.

Lucy thought the little imagination station place was just awesome, and Molly thought that Lucy thinking it was awesome was, indeed, awesome.


See? Bad angle.
Claire thought this little thing was just wild. It was just a ball being held in the air by a fan, but to her, it was absolutely unexplainable. Love babies. The look on her face is the same look I get in front of simple geometry. (And please note the spit-up down my entire shirt. My best moment.)

I think this is just a pic of windmills. Texas is super flat. Even Hill Country is by definition pretty flat. (I would go so far as to say that the mountains we did see we still pretty flat.) Flat = fast, productive winds. That means windmills. They're so huge up close! You can also get a very good idea of the view we enjoyed for about 22 hours of roundtrip driving.

 No, really.

 No, really.

We were particularly thrilled to note that we were going to change time zones. It makes it easier to blame bad behavior on "the time change" later on. Car lag and all that.

6.5 hours of driving, a whole bunch of pricier-than-Fort-Worth gas, a couple of creepy gas stations, a new camera and a TON of Froot Loops later, we made it to the state line. The term "state line" always reminds me of a joke. Of course I'll add that in here.

There once was a magical island kingdom where there lived beautiful dolphins who had been there forever. They could not die by natural death; but they could be killed. The king who ruled this island didn't want to ever risk losing his dolphins to their own wanderlust, or to someone else's violence, so he created a ring of outposts in the ocean around his island and placed there huge beautiful lions to guard the dolphins.

One day a young man on the island was called to the water by the dolphins. "Please, kind sir. We have lived forever, seen and experienced many things; but a visiting whale has told us that we have not really lived until we have eaten a Sea Gull. There are no such birds on this island, and we are so bored. If we give you a magic carpet, will you please go find us a Sea Gull or two to appease our appetites?"

Having always wished to go see the world, the young man quickly agreed. He climbed aboard the magic carpet and sped off. He spent many months travelling the world, but he never forgot his promise. Finally, he caught 3 huge Sea Gulls, put them in a box and sped home. Just as he flew over the sea outposts and came into view of the island, he heard a siren. Up came a policeman on his own carpet and pulled the boy over.

"Sorry, son" he said. "But didn't you know it is illegal to transport gulls over stately lions for immortal porpoises?"

Here is a picture of the backseat. Sweet girls.

And Claire, who held this expression for a full 96 hours. I want to say that this one was taken upside down and I turned it around while I was editing. I use the term "editing" loosely. Don't take me for the Pioneer Woman or anything. "Mm-hmm..we never took you for the Pioneer Woman, fool."

All children really are cuter when they're sleeping. This much I can attest to.

So we made it to Albuquerque. I think we pulled in around 5:30. Bear in mind that the sun sets around 7:30. Traffic was HORRIBLE. Being a stay-at-home Mom from Fort Worth, people talk about traffic and I sort of just smile the same way I do when Andrew talks about his job. I'm all, "Say wha?!" See picture of Claire above. So when we hit traffic, I came unglued. "I'm so sorry, Andrew! I didn't think about traffic!" As if I should have called ahead to Albuquerque to clear the streets in case my husband was tired of driving and wanted to get to his campsite in a timely manner. He looked at me like I was crazy. See picture of Claire above. (I should note that from here on out we'll be referring to Alb. as ABQ. It's the most obnoxious word to type.)
We arrived at the Bernalillo Campground around 6:30 with three happy kids wanting to get out, build a fire and roast some marshmallows. What happens next is the stuff of nightmares.

It's raining. It's supposed to rain for the next 12 hours.

It's freezing. ABQ is at an ungodly elevation. We did take that into account and brought warm clothes, but we weren't prepared for snow-like conditions. We aren't prepared for snow-like conditions anywhere.

I check in and ask sweetly, "Can you explain why there aren't any fire pits?" The lady looks at me and says, "They're not allowed in the entire county." Oh. Fantastic. I guess the car full of firewood is for naught. I mentally begin to plan our escape.

We're checked in for two nights! Huzzah! Escape plan begins to get more detailed.

Our campsite is next to the doggie area. Yes, that's right. NEXT TO the K-9 Kompound. (Have I ever mentiond my dismay at C words starting with K's? Abject horror. Every time.)

Our campsite is also AT the main entrance. As in, you can see our tent from the main road. Our tent, our darling girls, our belongings, our general naivete...

Andrew and I exchange "The Look" and jump into our "Isn't our demise going to be super fun!??!" routine.

I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the van while Andrew prepares the tent in the rain. In about 15 minutes, we start moving from the car to the tent. The girls add their blanket sleepers over their daytime clothes (Breathable layers, folks! Was my 5th grade class the only one required to take survival training at the Ridge, or was that a county-wide thing? Anybody?) and barrel out of the car like a shot. Molly jets into the tent and turns into a little human pinball. She's jumping, screaming, laughing, falling over, it's a mess. In about 30 seconds she's split Andrew's lip with her head and given Claire a goose egg to beat the band.

Lucy and I take it a little slower, searching for body heat and exchanging concerned looks. Here are Lucy and Daddy smiling, probably much like the Donner Party did the night before they realized they were doomed.

Since everyone has been up since 5, we're ready to crash immediately.

The wind picks up, smashing the soaking wet sides of the tent into the sleeping bodies inside the tent.

The temperature drops to 35.

The kids fight for blankets all night, but are fast asleep while they're doing it.

Andrew sleeps with the girls on the queen mattress and I sleep with Claire on the twin. Claire and I sleep with our heads covered as well, since my pillow is soaked anyway.

Andrew goes outside several times throughout the night to reposition the tarp we put over the tent around midnight. It's whipping around and making a huge noise, and for once, we're thrilled that we're going to be getting up at 5am. Anything is better than this.

At 5am, we silently exchange the "we're so out of here" look and put our mostly asleep, crying children in the car. We pack up the campsite in less than ten minutes. I'd estimate it took about 7.5. Our fingers were actually so cold that we couldn't bend them anymore. It was miserable. Somehow, knowing that we'd look back on this as our most insane and miserable night, and knowing that we'd just survived, we sort of smiled and passed out the Froot Loops.
20 minutes later, we were on the bus to the Balloon Fiesta with two very excited girls and one very sleepy baby, ready for Day 2.