I'm at the beach. Bye.
Actually I'm going to share a slew of pictures & some thoughts about Reagan & then sign off.
A variety of things happened last week & I have a lot of pictures to share so here we go.
Since school ended in the middle of May I've been telling Reagan we were going to have us a girls' day & drive over to Bossier to stroll through a furniture store that's been on my radar for a long time. In hindsight last Monday wasn't the optimal day to do this since, as you know if you read this, I had a project of sorts due last Thursday by five pm, but I don't always make the best decisions where furniture is concerned.
Admittedly Reagan & I ended up going over to Bossier last Monday in part because my parents took Henry for the day to get him a bike & do a variety of other fun things, & so with Henry occupied for the day, I took one look at Reagan & said, "My grades are not important; let's go eat Posados & buy some furniture."
The three of us before we separated for our respective days-o-fun:
Henry & his new bike & his new helmet:
Meanwhile . . .
Our first stop was Posados. I love fajitas so much but lately I've been shying away from them unless they are Posado's fajitas. Posado's fajitas are the best, in part because of that little tub-o-goodness pictured below that you pour on the chicken, & in part because their tortillas are amazing. You just really can't eat other tortillas for quite some time because the disappointment is epic. This picture isn't even clear because I was too eager to eat the fajitas to bother with photo clarity.
Our next stop was Johnson's Furniture in Bossier, which is full of so much lovely distressed furniture. Reagan loves furniture stores, & she became quite attached to a variety of bedroom suites.
Do you see her tear-stained face? I was in the middle of new-entertainment-center negotiations with Trey, primarily via text, while also dealing with Reagan's sobbing fit over my telling her we probably weren't going to buy her this house/bed.
This, below, is the primary reason I ventured to Bossier. We have a fifty inch television in our living room right now. Trey insists there will be a time when he purchases a larger television, & now our future television has a home waiting for it. The new entertainment center was delivered Wednesday. I had so much else to deal with last week I haven't finished decorating it so I don't have any pictures of it in our home, but stay tuned.
After I signed the papers for the new entertainment center, Reagan selected a couple of stores that were on her wish list. She didn't come home with a new bed, but she did find herself a crown:
To compliment the crown, she also found the locket she's displaying below:
All that, & the week was still young.
Tuesday was, of course, July 4th. Here's how that went:
I didn't actually "do" a lot Wednesday but it seemed very busy. If you didn't know, July 5th was the day the College Board began rolling out AP scores from May's round of AP exams, so I was receiving texts regarding the scores of my (former) AP students all day. The whole day was pretty emotional for me, & not just because my new entertainment center was delivered that afternoon.
Wednesday morning, Jessica brought her kids over to hang out with my kids. They ate chicken minis from Chick-fil-A & had fun while I piddled with the proposal I had due Thursday, but really I was mostly texting my AP students & mentally decorating the new entertainment center that was on its way.
My research proposal was due Thursday by five, & so the kids did basically whatever they wanted Thursday while I whipped the proposal into shape. One of the requirements was a visual showing our proposed timeline of task completion. I have little pride in the 1,500-word proposal I submitted, but I am proud of this baby below; I know it's a very basic, very simple chart, but it took me longer than I care to admit to get it right.
Friday was busy. I registered the kids for the upcoming school year & ran some other errands I cannot recall at the moment, & then there was all the packing. My mom & I decided she'd arrive at the house at eight Saturday morning, & we'd have her car loaded & everyone buckled & pull out at eight thirty (oh, if I haven't mentioned it, Trey & my dad & other men who play golf &/or whine about sand & only want to go to the bookstore didn't come on this trip).
Anyway, we left my driveway at eight forty. Not bad, eh? The sun was shining, I had new music on iPod, & we were on our way to Destin. By my count, we'd arrive in time to get dinner, buy some groceries, & maybe take a stroll on the sand before the sun set.
HA. HA. HA. HA. HA.
I really should dedicate an entire blog to, or even write a book about, the events of this past Saturday. It was the worst experience I've ever had traveling to Destin, & I have traveled to Destin many times.
We made it to Jackson with no issues. Sadly, every terrible driver in Mississippi took to the roads between Jackson & Hattiesburg Saturday & many of them had wrecks. We were on track to arrive at Chesterfield's in Hattiesburg around twelve thirty for lunch, yet didn't make it until closer to two because of wrecks & lanes of traffic that were closed despite NOT ONE actual person working on the roads anywhere, ever, at all.
Don't they know everyone drives to & from the beach on Saturday? You need all the positive buzz you can get, Mississippi! Open your roads, fools. Clear the roads of wrecked vehicles as soon as is humanly possible.
We did eventually eat a late lunch. Apparently my mom took this of me & Henry. Yes, I need a haircut. It's getting larger & doing things all on its own, or as we say in my family, it's "pulling a Gordon."
The traffic situation didn't improve much after lunch, & the children's behavior deteriorated. I did of course take an obligatory tunnel pic, in part because there were moments on Saturday I didn't know if we'd ever actually see the tunnel.
My mom took this of the kids as we passed through the tunnel. Isn't this the best?
When we paid the toll at the Mid-Bay Bridge & I drove onto the bridge & took in the expansive gulf spread wide on all sides, there were actually tears pricking my eyes. I thought we'd jumped the last hurdle . . . until we arrived at our destination & I opened the box that was supposed to contain room keys left for those checking in after five pm, as we most decidedly were, & there was no envelope that said Zeigler.
I took this below while my mom & the kids & I, flanked by our piles of luggage & beach paraphernalia, waited while the young lady who answered when I called the resort's emergency number came to bring us our key. By this time it was around eight thirty, a full twelve hours after we left town on what should be - even factoring in time for lunch & a variety of gas/restroom stops - about a nine hour trip.
We finally made it inside the room, unloaded our stuff, & got back in the car to eat some dinner & then, then, buy groceries at like ten o'clock at night. The grocery store was packed, but a couple of things held my insanity at bay. The kids both happily rode in this two-seater kid-friendly buggy (Reagan had vacated by this point), and . . .
. . . when I wandered over to get some butter, I saw this:
This, above, is cookie dough made specifically to be eaten in this raw state. It contains no eggs. I knew such a thing existed, but I've never seen any in a store back home. Maybe subconsciously I've never looked that hard for it at home because if it is sold at a store near me, I don't need to know about it. If you're a local reader & have information about where this stuff sold, please keep that to yourself.
The cookie dough find was a harbinger of things to come Sunday. Yesterday was pretty excellent. While it is July & we are in Florida, the weather was lovely yesterday. I don't think the temp ever reached ninety.
We stayed on the beach until around two in the afternoon, at which time we walked down to The Back Porch, which is steps from our condo, & had an enormous lunch. A thing you may not know about me is that I love scallops but The Back Porch is one of the only places I order them because you don't want to eat a poorly cooked scallop & over the years I've discovered that not many restaurants do them justice.
We returned to the beach after lunch & stayed until around the time the sun set.
Between our day trip to Bossier last week & this week's beach vacay, I've spent a lot of time with Reagan. Observing Reagan navigate various stressful situations is not unlike the plot of the movie Inside Out. Whether her emotional outburst over being denied the new furniture she wanted, her loud, observable frustration with the miserable traffic this past Saturday, or her riotous glee over the ocean's waves yesterday, she is a smaller, louder, less socially nuanced version of me. Her reactions so often mirror what's happening in my head; she says what I would say were I not a "mature adult." This gives me hope that she'll one day move past shedding tears in a furniture store, but I also hope she never feels anything less than awe when she sees the ocean.
If Jim Henson is correct & kids don't remember what you teach them, but rather what you are, my task is two-fold. There are moments it is imperative that I'm a sensible adult, or rather, it is imperative that I behave as a sensible adult despite the riot in my head so Reagan sees a contrast in her behavior & mine. For instance, had negotiations not gone my way in Johnson's Furniture, it would not have been beneficial to Reagan's future for me to yell at Trey or break down in tears.
There are also moments when my behavior needs to mimic Reagan's, rather than vice versa, so she knows it's always okay to stare in wonderment as the ocean laps at her feet, or cry in a movie, or give someone a heartfelt hug. I suppose that's the crux of raising a kid, the beautiful symbiotic relationship between parent & child, adopting the best tendencies of each other.
I don't know if we'll enjoy weather as lovely as yesterday's for the remainder of our time at the beach, but regardless, we'll manage. Manage is shorthand for go to the outlet mall. I'm also channeling my inner Edna Pontellier, which is inevitable when I'm this close to the ocean. I'm older than Edna, & probably a little more mature than she is, so my little rebellion will probably be confined to blowing money on clothes I don't need & toys the kids don't need.
Sadly my time in Destin means I am missing book club tonight. They'll be discussing book three in this summer's four-book series. I'm sad to miss, but I am at the beach & I've eaten a lot of cookie dough in the past twenty-four hours & so I'm coping. Here's hoping I return in a week's time to tell you about my lovely tan & our completely relaxing drive home.