Louisiana On My Mind

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WARNING – lots of cute pictures in this post – but you have to tread through deep waters to reach them…

It’s been difficult to write while visiting the family in Texas for more than one reason.  We’ve of course been keeping busy with all the fun people and places, but also I have been trying to rest as much as possible in my down time, and I just haven’t felt compelled to write much.  It’s hard to explain, but I don’t feel quite myself when I am back in the house with my parents, and I think most adults might agree with this — I see it when we visit John’s family – in John – and when we visit mine – in me.  It seems like I halfway revert back to who I was when I lived in their house.  That’s because when I’m there, I am a fulltime wife and mother still, but I’m also a fulltime daughter.  And when I’m in my own home – even when my parents visit – I feel like I’m more of the grown-up me, and less of the kid me – the fulltime daughter.  When I’m in my own element, and my parents come to visit, I’m the friend who talks to them on the phone and on facetime and who tours them around my town, takes them to hear my band, and introduces them to my favorite restaurants.  I like having the Grandparents come to enjoy my hospitality and to frolic with my children, and I don’t feel compelled to respond to them in such a parent-child way like I do when I’m at their home.  Anyway, I am not saying I don’t like visiting my parents (I know everyone likes being in his own home and showing his own brand of hospitality to friends and family, so it’s nice to visit people as well as to be visited.) — just that I am a different person when I am visiting them than I am when they come to see me.  And this different person doesn’t really feel like blogging 🙂  This different person who I am in Texas also doesn’t mind just lying around resting while my mom or dad is doing dishes, and also doesn’t mind “wasting” the day just sitting still. When I am in my own home, I can’t seem to stay on the couch five minutes without blogging, folding laundry, making lists, or practicing my chanter.  I always have to be doing something.  Also at home, I clean up my own kitchen most of the time and won’t leave it after a meal until either a child or myself is working on the dishes.  (I am totally not counting the times I’ve had help in the home – like my mom, Merriwether, Christine, etc, who are specifically there to help me with things when I’m very pregnant or have just had a baby :)) How is it that in my parents’ home I suddenly morph into this near-helpless person who can’t put a dish in the dishwasher? (In my own defense – I did at least rinse the dishes after meals :))  I am really curious to hear if others have noticed this behavior in themselves or in their spouses.

Another reason for being remiss with the blog is all the resting I was doing which was a result of 1) lots of running and 2) the whole family being sick.  These could be used as excuses, but really, I think the above explanation is more applicable 🙂  Speaking of the running, though, I got in quite a few runs while in Texas.  I’ll start with San Antonio and list them all for you, since I know you are so curious as to my running progress 🙂
Sept. 6: 4 miles – treadmill
Sept 7: 3.2 miles – treadmill
Sept. 8: 9.4 miles
Sept. 10: 3.2 miles
Sept. 11: 5 miles
Sept. 13: 3 miles
Sept. 14: 10.5 miles
I was pretty happy with the long run I did yesterday since my average pace was 10:45/mile, and I almost stopped while going up a steep hill eating my gel.  There were quite a few difficult hills, so I know my pace on those had to be pretty slow.  I’ll have to check out the splits once I upload it to Nike.  I was pretty psyched when my shipment of “Chocolate #9” showed up the day before my long run.  I had been using some I got at GNC the other day as an emergency stop-gap — Powerbar brand gels.  I would definitely NOT RECOMMEND these, at they were really hard to get down since the taste was so – harsh.  I tried the Latte, Strawberry/banana, and Berry flavors and hated them all.  I had hoped to get to a store to purchase the Chocolate #9, but the only reliable place to buy them is at REI stores.  So, I ordered them online on Monday and received them Thursday.  They are certified to be “slow-burn” energy and have a “Low Glycemic Index” because they are made only with Agave and Cocoa powder.  They taste like the fudge packet that comes in a box of Brownie mix “with fudge.”  Awesome Sauce, in a convenient little pouch.
I know it’s out of order, but I’ll be posting about the drive (through Louisiana – hence the post title, although the rest of the post has nothing to do with Louisiana!) today, and then tomorrow will recap our stay in a Condo on Lake Conroe, which was actually the middle few days of the time in Texas.  On our last few days, as I mentioned, we were recovering from a virus of some sort.  My dad was ill and had a really high fever for over 24 hours, and Liesl and Claire were very hot as well.  Neither of the children actually got sick, though, and they were over their fevers in less than a day.  Patience just woke this morning with a fever and feeling like she would get sick, but so far, with lots of rest in the car, she has held it together.  When I say fever, I mean that they’ve all been hot enough for me to touch them and say, “Whoa! You’re really hot!!” and to give them ibuprofen, which I normally reserve for fevers over 101 degrees.  I didn’t take their temperatures, but since my dad’s was almost 103, and they were burning up, I’m pretty sure they were over 102 as well.  We came back from the Condo on Tuesday afternoon and just laid everyone down to rest the remainder of the day.  I went out that night to my brother’s Astronomy Lab, which I wrote about here.  On Wednesday, John went out in the morning to have a duplicate drivers’ license made, since he holds a Texas license and had lost his wallet in Scotland a month ago.  I went out in the afternoon to register our Volkswagen Golf, with my dad as well since he had to sign the title back over to me (They had been holding on to the car for the past year for us.)  That was mostly a “movies in bed” day for the children.

Gabriel helped me bathe Daniel

On Thursday, after a short run and shower, we went out to The Woodlands Mall with my parents and all the children.  It was our first excursion all together in our new van which was kind of fun 🙂  It’s nice to have something large enough to take everyone around in style!  We were still a bit under the weather, so we didn’t stay out long – just popped in to a few stores, Barnes and Noble and the Lego store being the most notable (Grandpa had promised Gabriel a trip to the Lego store while he was here.)

At the mall — I noticed the “do not climb on rocks” sign when I went to snap this

This is always what happens at the Apple store — it’s a sad day when there are any other kids in there besides ours 🙂 (Daniel is even in the picture – can you find him?)

On the way home from the mall we stopped at James Coney Island for hot dogs because Grandpa had also told Gabriel it was on the plan (Gabriel kept talking about it since he loved it on our last visit to Texas.)
I went over in the evening to my brother Gerrit’s house – just me and some of the children, since John’s tummy was still upset – to attempt the model rocket launch that Gerrit had planned and for which they had built rockets earlier in the week.  Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side, and rain thwarted us.  They were, however, able to light sparklers and smoke bombs, which entertained the children probably just as much 🙂

Aunt Robin holding Daniel while her daughter looks on – she liked Daniel more than she liked the fireworks 🙂

Gerrit had ordered pins for all the children to wear when they launched rockets that were a set of wings that said “Rocket Scientist.”  He gave them all their wings Thursday night even though the launch was scrubbed – so here are the children showing them off for the camera:

Not sure who took this picture, but I just found it on the camera when I uploaded 🙂

I think my brother must have stolen the camera and put Woody’s hat on Daniel 🙂

Friday dawned early for me with the 10.5 mile run after Daniel’s 5:45am feeding.  It was made enjoyable by a different play list I made the night before, completely new scenery, and pleasant temperatures leftover from the night’s rain.  It was my first double-digit run since my Half-Marathon in March, so I was both excited and nervous before I set out.  My right calf muscle is feeling pretty sore from it, so I didn’t run this morning and am resting until Monday or Tuesday.  After the run I had a delicious protein shake with frozen banana and mango.  Then I quickly showered off and headed over to Conroe High School to visit Gerrit on his lunch break with his wife Robin and daughter Camille.  I also brought Liesl and Claire, and I love the breakfast burrito supplied by my mom (homemade with sausage, rice, and black beans – yum!)

Liesl, Claire, and Camille in Gerrit’s classroom about to eat lunch

I laughed when I saw this on my run around Conroe High with my brother last Saturday (I got the picture off the internet, but it was the same sign – the “foul ball” pole at the Baseball field :)) – Chick fil A sponsors the team’s scoreboard, too.

The theme for the pep rally that afternoon was the 70s – so I caught this bunch outside a classroom who were all decked out

The dance team window box “Conroe Golden Girls” – Robin was in this group

I think this is one of the “historical” costumes, but I could be wrong 🙂

The Marching Band uniform I wore my freshman year in high school

We were the Conroe Tigers.

After lunch, Robin, the girls, and I went to Starbucks for a short visit and an iced coffee.  My dad was out with Patience and Gabriel on a few errands when I returned from lunch, and my mom was napping on the couch with Greer down for her nap, so once I had Daniel napping and the other two girls watching a movie, I left John to supervise and holed up in the dark, cool bedroom for a delicious two hour nap.

This Barista asked why I had a nice camera – what were we out doing? When I told her it was just because I take a lot of pictures for my blog, I promised she’d be on it.

Claire and Camille outside Starbucks

Friday was our last night in town, so Gerrit and his family came over for pizza and ice cream.  We also had a visit from two old friends — Robbie and Wes with whom we went to high school.  Gerrit had been friends with both of them since middle school, but I didn’t really get to know them til Conroe High.  Since then, Gerrit has kept in touch with them both, and they hang out quite a bit, helping each other with woodworking projects, going to Aerosmith and Kiss concerts, and generally goofing off.  The funny thing is, Wes knows my husband John because they were in Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida, together when John was enlisted in the Navy before the Naval Academy.  Small world!

Robbie was throwing the children around –

Claire, Robbie, and Camille

Grandpa and Daniel

Camille holding Daniel one more time – she loves babies!

That finishes out the big “trip to Texas” – all we did today (Saturday) was pack up.  We left around 1pm and plan on stopping a little after midnight in whatever town we can reach by then 🙂  Going to post this from the mobile hotspot while underway.  We miss you Grandma and Grandpa!! We miss you Texas!! We’ll be back before too long, though (only 17 hours away — that’s nothing!)

A last look at my parent’s house…until next time!

Do you feel like you turn back into a kid again when you stay with your parents? Does your spouse do it?
Guess how many states we’ve driven through in a month (We flew in to the US on August 14, so it’s been one month today!)
When was the last time you ran double-digits? Have you never done it? (When are you going to? :))
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