Entries categorized "VLOG" Feed

Our GoPro Show - The Ridiculous Introduction

So, Sophia and I had this idea. We're pretty goofy when we hang out together, and one of us said, once, a while ago, that it would be funny if we had cameras on us the whole time so we could see what we were like from someone else's perspective.

And thus, our GoPro Show was born.

Behold, Season 1, Episode 1: The Ridiculous Introduction

Be forewarned: There is some (ahem, somewhat gratuitous) swearing in the video. If you don't care for that sort of thing, like, ever, then maybe just don't watch. ;)

And yes, it's silly.


Wordless Wednesday: Heritage Horse Show

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Day One

This past weekend, Sophia entered her first equestrian show in Plantation, Florida. We arrived around 0745 on Saturday for her first five classes in the Hunters division for Beginning Crossrails.

[Yeah, yeah, this entry is supposed to be "wordless," but rules were made to be broken.]

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The tent where Sophie's stable, Miami International Riding Club, was situated

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Sophie's instructor, Daniela, tying her back number around her show coat.

[She was #398.]

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Almost ready to start warming up

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After a few canters around the warm-up arena, Sophie was ready for her first Beginning Crossrails Flats class.

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Anne-Marie and Meghan letting Sophie and Buddy out of the warm-up arena

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Sophia and Buddy waiting with Meghan, Anne-Marie, Delfina, and Dani

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Waiting to be judged in Beginning Crossrails - Flats

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Next up, Sophie entered the Beginning Crossrails jumping portion of Hunters.

Heritage Horse Show

Sophia and Dani hugging it out after the Medals class

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Waiting with Anne-Marie to find out her standings in the five classes of Hunters she entered on Day One

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No matter what, Sophie was thrilled to have been at her first horse show!

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For Day One, Sophia received two 6ths and a 7th place!

~ ☼ ~ ☼ ~

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Day Two

Sophia watching while Anne-Marie tacks up Buddy

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Dani making sure the stirrup lengths are just right for Sophie

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Remember, Sophia: Heels Down!!

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Walking Buddy, flanked by Daniela and Anne-Marie, to warm up before her next five classes

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After a great warm-up in the practice arena, Sophia and Buddy were ready.

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Pats and smiles for Buddy

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I could tell Sophia was nervous for her second day, but she was all smiles just before entering the Hunters arena.

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She and Buddy took a 5th Place ribbon in the Flats portion of her morning.

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For enormous Buddy, Beginning Crossrails isn't much more than a step over the jump!

Sophia at Heritage Horse Show from Melanie Odette on Vimeo

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Look at that ginormous grin, greeting Dani for the first time after riding her Medals class! She knew that ride felt great.

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Anne-Marie giving Sophia a huge hug after Sophie learned she took 2nd place (Reserve Champion) in the medals class on Day Two. There were definitely tears for Sophia!

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Letting Buddy-Budster graze in the grass after an amazing morning

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Sophie rigged up her ribbon and medal after we arrived at home. [Missing: an 8th Place brown ribbon]

~ ☼ ~ ☼ ~

Feeling Wordless (or, well, not) today? Be sure and link up with 5 Minutes For Mom here to share your photos with the rest of us!

Thanks for stopping by!


Christmas: Advent Day 10 Video

Yep. We started opening presents on the 9th, five days in advance of our 12 days of Christmas

But so what? We're having fun. The kids are loving it. It's all good.

I hope you'll enjoy this video of our Day 10, the second day we opened presents.

Stay tuned for more Advent posts!


Wordless Wednesday: Christmas 2015 Starts With A Video

I decided to do a little something different this week for Wordless Wednesday and make a little video representation of our afternoon. I hope you'll watch it and enjoy a little lighthearted fun!

Feeling short on words today, too? Make sure you link up here with 5 Minutes For Mom to join in the fun!


Thanksgiving Week, 2014

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So, it's been busy around here, and Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but here I am posting about it just the same.

Let's see, what happened? 


My dad came to visit from South Carolina. Only, instead of arriving on Wednesday night like he had originally told me, he got here on Monday afternoon! Eek!

Victoria came to stay with us for the same week as well, because her mom, Veronica, was in the hospital giving birth to this little cutie:


Melodie-Grace, born 25 November 2014

I was kind of a wreck during that whole week (but I dutifully took my bipolar meds and tried my best to keep myself together), because:

1. We all had the flu,

2. Chloe ended up with pneumonia,

3. My dad was visiting us in Miami for the first time,

4. He's a total neat-freak,

5. My house is a perpetual mess,

6. I had a ton of cooking and baking to do for Thanksgiving,


7. There's this humongous side-drama bullshit going on simultaneously that few people know about, but I don't really want to go into right now.


It was fun, to say the least...


All Dad wanted for the week was some beautiful Miami weather, as a respite from the 30s he was experiencing back home in Aiken. Tuesday, he got his wish, so we went over to Biscayne National Park, which my kids have nicknamed "Remora Beach," and had a little bit of fun and a photo shoot.


Victoria joined us at Remora Beach, and the kids really just wanted to play in the water. Dad did not: it was pretty cold! And, like me, he is not fond of the cold. So, we did a little of that and a little walking around the park as a compromise to the children.


Despite having pneumonia, Chloe felt well enough to get off the couch and go with us. That day, anyway, was not bad... but I shouldn't have let her. She spent the next three days after that in complete misery, crying and barfing and aching and not eating and ugh! She lost a full pound, and for a tiny 13-year-old, it was a pound she could ill afford to lose.


We walked around the whole lagoon area, and the kids stopped and exclaimed multiple times over the fishies swimming in and around the mangroves. Sophie tried to tell me that she saw a barracuda, but having snorkeled with them myself many times, I simply did not believe her. I'm glad I didn't say as much out loud, though, because I would have eaten my words:


It was only a juvenile, but there it was, in living color, right in front of me! Oops. Sorry, Sophie.


Dad wanted me to take photos of him for his online dating profile. He's looking for his soulmate in his 70s, and I agreed to help him out!


On Wednesday, we were going to go to the pool, but it turned a little chillier, and Chloe became sicker, and I needed to bake my pies. We didn't, therefore, go.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving Day. We don't have television service, so we couldn't begin my favorite way and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, my high school alma mater's current marching band performed in the parade, and they were pretty good!

It's actually C.W. Baker High School, not Baldwinsville HS, but close enough, eh?

We had a pretty good Thanksgiving feast with homemade everything. Can I tell you what it was, for posterity's sake? Good, I'm gonna:


  • Mimosas, for the adults (OJ for the kids)
  • Bacon & eggs
  • Banana Muffins with Sugar & Spice Butter
  • Lemon-Raisin Scones with Cranberry-Orange Butter


  • Spinach Ricotta Dip on Crostini
  • Pickle & Olive Plate
  • Mixed Cheeses and Crackers
  • Chocolates
  • Mixed Nuts


  • Rob's Famous Turkey and Gravy
  • Wine/Sparkling Grape Juice
  • Stuffing
  • Corn
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Potato-Leek Casserole
  • Cheddar-Pepper Biscuits with Thyme-Shallot Butter
  • Broccoli Custard


  • Dutch Apple Cream Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
  • Strawberry Mascarpone Custard

I have to give credit to the November 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living for several of the recipes, as well as for the front door decoration at the top of this post.

I love that woman!

Anyway, Dad left with a cold of his own (sorry, Pop!) on Friday morning instead of Saturday as planned. Maybe he'll come back, maybe we scared him off? I don't know.

All I know is, I am now hungry and all that yummy food is gone.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your loved ones, too.


VLOG: Kids Get Kindles


As I told you a few days ago, I ordered Kindle Fire HDs for each of the kids, along with cases, chargers, a stylus 6-pack, and... I think that's it? They were supposed to come Friday by 8 PM, so at 8:08 PM, when they weren't delivered, I was all over Amazon looking up my order status. It said "delivery attempted," so I was like, "WTF?!" and immediately called up the shipping company. The delivery had apparently been attempted before noon, but no notice was left, and I was pissed. Then they told me I could pick it up on Monday, and I really flipped the script. I literally whined, "NOOOO!!!!" The guy on the phone, who was very calm and sweet, asked me what was in them, since they were obviously so important. I told him, and explained we needed them for our homeschooling, guess what? He understood, because he was homeschooled himself as a lad.

He worked some magic and made it possible for us to go in Saturday morning to pick them up. Rob went with Jack to get them, since I had an atrocious migraine when he woke me up to tell me it was almost 10:00, the appointed pick-up time. Thanks, Baby!

Most of our curriculum is online, except for Math (we use Math-U-See) and Spanish (Rosetta Stone is en route now). Oh, okay, and Art and Music... okay, okay, so only about a third of our curriculum is online, but still, it's a lot, and they all will need to be online at once. One laptop shared amongst three kids really held us back this past year, and we fell way behind where I wanted to be. Three Kindles, the content of which I can control online? Awesomesauce.

If you could see the video above, I think you could tell how excited the kids were about getting them. Even though we're not getting wi-fi until later today and they couldn't get online with them, they haven't put them down for a second, even taking them with them in the car to go mystery shopping with me. Fun, fun. I can't wait to let them really start using them!

Do your kids have tablets? Do y'all have a Kindle? If so, please let me know some great kid apps to put on there! Jack has asked me repeatedly for Angry Birds, so I'll put that of course, so I need other games and educational ones, too. Spanx!


Party Time With PinyPon & Nenuco!

Disclaimer: I was provided with products from MommyParties, PinyPon and Nenuco to review, distribute to my party guests, and some for my kids to keep. No monetary exchange took place. As always, all opinions in this post are mine alone.


A week ago, we had an awesome party at our house with some friends to learn about PinyPon products! Have you ever heard of PinyPon? No? We hadn't either, but now we are huge fans!


Here are my kids waiting for their friends with all the fun PinyPon figures we were given. So colorful and cute!


Note: only my childrens' faces are shown in the pictures; the rest of the parents declined to let their kids' images be posted on the blahg.

When the rest of the kids showed up, I distributed the PinyPon figures to them (saving a few for friends who couldn't make the shindig, since we were given so many), and let them go at it! 


Even Jack, the only boy there, enjoyed his PinyPon! So, it's not just for girls, peeps! I thought he'd just stay inside and play with his LEGOs, but he stayed and played the entire time!


We were also given this supah-dupah cool PinyPon Caravan for extra fun, plus another to give away to one excited little girl! The folks at PinyPon really thought of everything with this toy, because it can be played with and modified in so many different ways. Even I have played with it when no one else was around - hee!


Of course, because it has wheels, Jack was especially interested in the caravan. Of course!

I interviewed my kiddos after the PinyPon portion of the party to see what they thought of their new toys, and this is what Sophia, Chloë & Jack had to say (sorry about the lack of video editing, but it won't let me upload the edited versions, grrr):


My battery cut off or something there, so ... not the greatest blahg vlahg, but it'll do, Pig.

Make sure you check out Pinypon.com for more product and where-to-buy information, lots of coupons, games, and videos. Also, PinyPon can be found on Facebook and Twitter, so check them out there as well!

{Note: If you were part of the party and I forgot to send you the link to enter for great prizes, send me a nudge for it! You could win a $100 gift card to Toys 'R Us! ;) }


In addition to all the PinyPon fun, Mommyparties sent us two baby dolls from Nenuco: one to keep and one to give away to yet another ecstatic little girly!


Sophia has been wanting a baby doll of her own for ages now, so she was completely delighted to have this Nenuco doll for playing with her sister and her doll!

Check out more Nenuco products here! You can also check the site for where-to-buy information, as well as games, special promotions, and more!

Please also be sure to visit Nenuco on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks so much to PinyPon, Nenuco, and MommyParties for letting us host this wonderful party!


Information About Eyecare & Contact Lenses: Zeiss


If you have vision-correction needs and would like more information about getting the most out of your next eyecare visit, please click here to find out more from Zeiss about the right questions to ask, what to expect, and how to get the best contact lenses to regain sharp vision. As someone who has worn glasses and/or contacts for the past 23 years, I found the information helpful and valuable, and I hope you will, too.

Some key points for Individualized Vision:

  •  Every eye is just as unique as a fingerprint. More than any other sensory organ, our eyes allow us to experience and perceive our environment. Carl Zeiss Vision understands the importance of taking individuality into account when rendering consulting and diagnostic services to people who wear glasses and of course, when producing lenses for them.    

  • ZEISS spent years developing cutting edge technology to improve the experience of eyeglass wearers with Zeiss Individual®. It is the first progressive lens to integrate how your frames, face and prescription work together to create a one-of-a-kind lens that is precisely personalized for the wearer.


  • i.Profilerplus®  by ZEISS is a diagnostic tool that analyzes the performance of eyes to a level of detail far beyond traditional methods. These measurements are used to create a customized i.Scription® lens that meets the unique vision needs of the individual more accurately than any previous technology. The result is sharper vision with better contrast and color perception.
  • Lens performance is also influenced by the accuracy of fitting within the chosen frame and on one’s unique face. The i.Terminal® by ZEISS measures such dimensions as pupillary distance, vision height of the eye, tilt of the eye glasses frame, distance between the eye and lens and the frame wrap to ensure that you receive the best possible visual experience from the ZEISS lenses.


Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: In exchange for this post, I received a Target gift card and Zeiss lens cleaning kit. All opinions expressed are, and will always be, my own.


Our Corolla!

(Ten points if you can tell me what that's from)


Skipping over Halloween for now, though I promise I'll go back... mid-week, the children and I took a mini-working vacation back down to a very, very, nice, nice hotel in Corolla, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were just there in October for that hotel mystery shop in Kitty Hawk just down the road, and we could have done this shop back-to-back, but I needed the money from that shop to pay for this one. Ya dig? Plus, that one had to be a weekend, and this one not, so it really wouldn't have worked out too well anyway. Here's the view from our balcony; we were upgraded to an Ocean View room, which wouldn't have happened if it weren't, well, November in the middle of the week. Lucky us. (Would you guess we were only on the 3rd floor? It looks way higher than that, doesn't it? I know!)

I was totally hoping Rob would come down after work and surprise us - we even prayed about it in the van on the way there - but alas, he broke his iPhone and was none too comfortable with the idea of riding in the middle of the night without it. And he'd have had to wake up at 0200 to get to work on time, which would have been really selfish of me to ask. So I did. What, did you think I wasn't selfish? (So what? I gave him all four of his Christmas presents yesterday, because I knew they would please him to have right away. That makes up for it a little bit, doesn't it?)


Hot Tub

After I finished all the work I could do for the time being, I took the kids to the indoor pool and hot tub. They have been dying to swim, since the beach-going season ended entirely too abruptly for them this year. Knowing about the hot tub at this hotel, and their enduring love for staying in hotel rooms in general, was pretty much the sole reason I took this shop in the first place. For them.  Nothing pleases me more as a mother than seeing my children have the times of their lives. I have a dozen pictures of them in the hot tub that night, but I chose this not-particularly-good one because I think Sophia looks especially lovely in it. Red eyes and all.

{It's difficult to take a bad picture of the always-photogenic Chloë, and Jack is ridiculously cute himself. Sophia's beauty - while boundless in my eyes - is somewhat more difficult to capture on film. Maybe because she's so active, or maybe because she's less classically beautiful than the other two, but when I find a picture that makes me stop and say, "ahh, there it is," I have to share it.}

{Also, have I told this story? When Chloë was born, and they showed her to me, I was instantly taken with her. She was impossibly gorgeous from Day One, and it's been hard to be humble about that as her mother. Robby, well... and Jack, too, was so freaking cute from the get-go, I couldn't stand it. And then Sophia came, and they showed her to me, there on the OR table, and my first thought was, "Whoa! That ain't mine!" Ahaha! She was NOT a beautiful newborn. No, sir, she was not. But later that day, when they brought her to me, and she started nursing as soon as I put her to the breast, and I could take the time to truly admire what we had made... that's when I discovered how very lovely she really was.}

{And one more thing before I continue on about the trip: you see Jack's hair? Rob and I had been 'arguing' for a while about its length, which I deemed too... long, and he insisted was just right. Well, Sophia solved that problem by hacking off a huge chunk from the front. Out came the clippers, that night. Thanks, Soap!}


See what I mean? Such joy to be had here, in a little pool, in a hotel, on an island, off the coast, with my babies. Totally worth the trip.



I don't remember exactly what sea creature Sophia was pretending to be here, because she often pretends to be one animal or another. (Lately, she gallops around the living room like a horse, stopping now and then to rear back and whinny. It's both highly entertaining and thoroughly annoying, when she won't stop!) I think she was a fish out of water. She was rocking back and forth, back and forth... Nothing provokes her to do these things, other than her own vivid imagination. And don't tell Chloë this, but I think Sophia would be even more talented as an actor than she is. Not that Chloë doesn't have talent. She does; but Sophia? I think she has some sort of gift.


I was in the middle of admiring Sophia's antics on the deck when something made me turn to the left, and there s/he was: an absolutely beautiful fox. A red fox, I guess. You know I never look things up until later. I had seen her (we'll call her a vixen) out of the corner of my eye and assumed she was a cat, but when I glanced over, I knew something wasn't right about that. After the double-take, I was stunned to see that it was a fox! At first, she was looking into the hotel, more to the right, but when I moved to train the camera on her, she noticed me. I tried to quietly get the childrens' attention, so they wouldn't miss this opportunity, but I didn't want to be too loud or have them come running and make her sprint away before they saw her. It worked; all of them were able to sneak over and get a good look at this foxy lady before she spooked and tore off in the direction of the beach. It was marvelous; they're still talking about it.



You see these two dorks? After the fox left, they wanted to see the pictures of her on my camera. Flipping through them, they noticed the ones of Sophia being a fish out of water. Or a seal. Or a dolphin. I don't know. Of course, they wanted their photos taken right away, doing the same thing. We're not camera-shy here, are we?

I hadn't been able to find the top to my own bathing suit, so I didn't swim. Keeping me away from the water is a chore, and even I got bored after a couple of hours of watching my own adorababies having fun. I convinced them to take a break for dinner and some cartoons, but only after promising that we would come back before bedtime.  We visited the Front Desk to inquire about ordering in a pizza, but no one delivers there in the off-season. We'd have to go out and get one ourselves. If you've been to OBX, you'll know that nothing is nearby; everything is at least a 20-minute drive, so I wasn't thrilled, but the kids had to eat!

Somewhere between pool and pizza (and sorry, but I do not recommend pizza from The Tomato Patch in Corolla - ick! There is such a thing as lousy pizza after all!), Chloë came down with a severe headache. I think it was a migraine, because she was nauseous and crying and miserable. She gets them sometimes. Of course, I have an enormous stash of OTC meds here at home, but I had to drop by the Harris Teeter on the island to get some Tylenol anyway. Bah. (And bad Mommy: I wasn't thinking and bought regular Ty instead of children's, since they can all swallow pills now. It wasn't until we'd gotten back to the hotel and HT was closed that I read the box and re-remembered it's not for children under 12! Eek! I said a prayer and gave her one anyway, she was suffering so...)

The kiddos and I picked at the sucky pizza (they're so going to sue me, aren't they?) and watched some Nick-nick-nick-na-nick-nick-nick before the Littles started begging to go back to the pool. I was in the middle of an online chat with Rob, so they really had to tug on me to get me to go. I missed him, what can I say? Chloë wanted to stay back at the room and play on the computer (which is fine; she can only go on the sites I have programmed on her username), so I took the kids and left.

This time at the pool, I just couldn't help myself. The water looked so inviting. I rolled up my pant legs to my knees, grabbed half a dozen of the tiny pool towels to sit upon, and put my feet in the hot tub water. Ahhh...! It felt amazing. So good, in fact, that it didn't take very long before I was looking around to make sure no one could see me. I had an athletic bra on, and boy-cut unnerpannies, so after I shucked my shirt and pants and surveyed myself in the mirror-like windows, I decided that even if they could see, it wasn't so terribly obvious I was wearing my unmentionables in the pool! Sophia and Jack couldn't stop giggling and cracking wise about my wearing underwear in public, but I didn't care. I was in the water at last!

I can't stay in a hot tub too long without getting dizzy, so after about 10 minutes, I stepped out and put one of those teeny towels around me for a sarong. (Amazing! It fit with more than enough length to spare. Couldn't have said that two years ago.) Sophia wanted more room to play, so she trotted over to the pool for a swim...

... and swim, she did!!! She SWAM, people! Doggy-paddle, yes, but she went from the shallow end, diagonally across to the deep end. Five feet! There's no way she could touch there. At first, she was hesitant to go out there, but when I offered her $5 or a dozen doughnuts to do it, she went right away. (And she didn't pick the doughnuts, can you believe that? Okay, she did at first, but after she gave it some thought, she realized, "I want the $5, so I can get a doughnut AND a toy!" Smart girl.) I was ecstatic. Poor Jack kept trying to steal my attention away with silly little tricks I'd seen him do a hundred times, but I would not be moved: my baby could swim!!!

Chloë came into the pool area while I was still squealing with delight. She wanted to see, too, so Sophia happily showed off her new-found skill to her older sister. Neither Jack nor Chloë can swim, so while they were impressed, they didn't like it too much!

At 2200, about 10 minutes after Chloë joined us, it was closing time at the pool. Not a moment too soon; the chlorine fumes were giving me a headache. We went upstairs to get ready for bed, which was a huge joke, since none of them fell asleep before midnight. In fact, when I finally lay down after 0200, the girls' eyes were still open! Oy vey.

We never got the 0800 wake-up call I'd requested, which completely threw off my Thursday plans. I didn't rouse until 0930. The drapes kept the room so dark, I thought it was still the middle of the night. Chloë couldn't believe it, either. She was awake but thought the same thing! Argh. No more light-blocking drapes for me.

Sophia was soundly sleeping, so the Bigs and I snuck off to breakfast without her. We brought her back some food, but on she slept. It wasn't until after I'd showered and started packing that she finally stirred. With the promise of a muffin and apple, she was awake and eating in a flash. Doing what she was born to do: chow down!

After she ate, I rushed the kids down to the pool for a quick dip. They wanted to stay, but I'd warned them I only had time to get Sophia swimming on video before we had to leave. She really didn't feel like doing The Big Swim this time, so I had to take what I could get and dash off to finish packing. It's amazing how much crap three kids can generate in one night's hotel stay... really. You'd be surprised.  We checked out (I'm skipping all the boring shop-related tasks), hopped in the van, and sped off toward home. What should have taken two hours was completed in 3/4 of the time, but don't fret, because I never did more than 5 mph over the limit. People were passing me. Scout's honor.

Anyway, I'll keep what happened after that for another post, and leave with you with this fine cinematographic evidence of my youngest child doing her best impression of The Thorpedo:


Isn't that frickin' cute?! I had it on 'loop' for a half-hour, watching her little legs go crazy. Hee. I love it.