Sunday, April 29, 2007

OKC Marathon

This weekend was the Oklahoma City Marathon. I had the privilege of running the inaugural OKC marathon in 2001. When we moved to Maryland I didn't make time to run and haven't run a marathon since the 2002 OKC Marathon. Being back in Oklahoma City this spring brought back many memories from the last time we lived here. A friend of ours, Thomas Hill, founded the OKC Marathon with two objectives to establish a marathon in OKC and to showcase the resilience of Oklahomans (and humanity) to the world. The bombing of the Murrah building April 19, 1995 changed this city forever. The effects of this tragic event are still felt today. Now that we're back I was able to run in the marathon again. I didn't have the time to train for the whole marathon so I participated in the relay with four co-workers this year.

It was a hot day today but it was still a beautiful day to run. The volunteers did a great job and the city itself was a great host. There were many spectators cheering along the route. The race today has wet my appetite for running again. I'm not sure if I have the time to train for another marathon but I'd like to try and find some races to run in the near future. The kids enjoyed cheering for the runners. Emma and Andrew asked if they could run a relay. The OKC marathon also includes a kids marathon where they run twenty-five miles prior to the race and complete their "marathon" with the rest of the marathon day participants by running their last 1.2 miles on race day.

Charlotte has set a lifetime goal of completing a marathon one day. She's wants to run the Disney Marathon which I've heard is a great first marathon. She'll do a great job. It's my hope that the Disney Marathon peaks her interest in running. I'd love to be able to share this interest with her one day.

The final thought I had today during my run is my need for goals. I was thinking through why I hadn't been running lately and the conclusion I reached was that I didn't have a goal to strive for. Having a goal seems to help me get out the door and on the roads running. I'll have to find a race a sign up for it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Vitamins in a Can?

Most of you know, and now that I think of it, if you don't know this fact you've probably arrived at this blog in error. Charlotte loves Diet Coke. Some people have their caffeine hot in the morning drinking coffee to start their day (that would include me). Not Charlotte, she takes hers cold. The kids know to run out to the fridge full of Diet Coke in the garage and bring Mom a Diet Coke when my beauty awakens each day. They are actually quite sweet and if I wasn't worried they'd burn themselves, or spill it I'd enjoy receiving my coffee from cute little hands accompanied by a kiss from some sweet little lips too.

Coke just launched a new product, Diet Coke Plus. Apparently, at least according to the back of the Diet Coke Plus can, one may now enjoy 25% of their recommended daily allowance of B12, Niacin, Zinc and a few other vitamins. Yes, it's true, there are now vitamins in the can. I laughed as I read the back of the can the first time. I smiled and told Charlotte that she'll have no problem getting her daily allowance of these essential vitamins. In fact, she might even exceed her daily allowance (might could easily read will). What will they think of next?

We try all new Diet Coke products. In the end I think Diet Coke Plus will go the way of Diet Coke with Lemon (tastes like a cleaning product). But "Plus" does come in attractive packaging, so maybe the marketing will work. We'll see what happens, Plus may survive.

As a sidebar but still keeping with the Diet Coke theme. Charlotte keeps among her favorite websites. Think of it as a frequent flyer program for Coca-Cola products. A frequent drinker program if you will. In fact my favorite pink hat that Charlotte wears was earned twelve ounces at a time. (She prefers fountain drinks but she can't earn points from those...yet.)

So there you have it, a blog post about Diet Coke. Those of you who aren't here by accident knew it would only be a matter of time. Maybe one day we'll make a pilgrimage to Mecca.......Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola .

Have a coke and a smile. :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

What, No Disney Channel?

We are one month removed from pulling the plug on all but the very basic (NBC, CBS, ABC etc.) cable channels. The kids weren't sure what they'd do without the Disney channel and I'm happy to report that shockingly they have found stuff to do. They actually were more mature than I expected when we told them we were pulling the plug. I think even they realized how the TV was where they were spending their free time. Now they have been reading more and playing together more(sometimes fighting, which is still relating to each other.) I honestly think they are thankful to not have this distraction anymore

Monday, April 16, 2007


I had a busy morning and afternoon filled with pediatrician and dentist appointments. When I finally returned home at about 3PM, I realized there had been a shooting at Virginia Tech University and more than 30 people were dead.

I almost had to sit down when I heard this, I was literally shaking. My little brother, Matthew, is a freshman there. When I got online to check out the up to date information I saw that the first shooting took place in his dorm, West Ambler Johnston. Now, I was really shaking, my mind was racing hoping the worst would not be true. I called him on his cell phone as quickly as I could. I can't even tell you how good it felt to hear his voice. He is fine, a little shook up I am sure, but fine.

What a horrible few minutes that was. It just made me realize the gift of life that we all have and that we should never take it for granted.

Matthew, I am so glad that you are OK. We love you.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

You're Late

At the beginning of our week in Cancun, Charlotte and I were enjoying a drink at the adult pool and had gotten involved in a conversation with some people from Austin, TX. Andrew was enjoying the afternoon activities at the kid's club and Emma and Laura were playing in our room. It was nice for Charlotte and I that most afternoons the kids asked to go to the kid's club. This left us with some time to enjoy being together.

As Charlotte and I talked with the couple from Austin I glanced at my watch. “What time does the kid's club close?” I asked. We both looked at each other with eyes as big as plates. We immediately excused ourselves and bolted for the kid's club. Charlotte rounded up our stuff and I, though dripping wet, went straight there. I arrived and Andrew was the only child left. They had closed forty-five minutes earlier. Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel like the worst parent in the world? Charlotte and I felt horrible. Andrew was having a great time but the workers were not happy with me. They informed me that there was a $10 fee for being late to pick up your children. I felt horrible and apologized for being late. (I expected this fee to be charged to our room. The next day I learned that though the sign says there’s a $10 fee, the workers aren’t stupid. They’re the one’s who are inconvenienced not the hotel. Evidently that’s a $10 fee, paid under the table to the workers, some would call it a bribe.)

Charlotte and I felt horrible. We apologized to Andrew. And then every time we dropped the kids off the workers made sure to personally tell us what time they closed.

Friday, April 13, 2007

We're having a moment

Our kids enjoy playing miniature golf. Andrew enjoys it the most but they each enjoy a good round of mini-golf. Our resort had an interesting course that we enjoyed playing during our stay. I say interesting because many of the “holes” had more than one hole. It was similar to a chose your own adventure book, only here you could chose your own hole. The other interesting part of the course was that the first seven holes played slightly down hill and the next nine or so played back up hill. Well the holes that were up hill were very difficult; with many shots that rolled up towards the hole initially but then rolled right back down the hill to where the shot began. Scores in the double digits were not uncommon. Tears were not uncommon either. As I looked at the lay out of the course I determined that it would be smarter to take our tee shot from the top of the hill and utilize the hole at the bottom of the hill (remember there was often more than one hole on each section of astro-turf). With this background information and an understanding of early childhood development the scene is now set for what unfolded that fateful night.

It had been an enjoyable but long day in the sun. We were all tired. We had all showered and were cleaned up for dinner. With about 45 minutes until our dinner reservation we decided to play a round of golf. It was a nice mild night, the sun was setting and a gentle breeze was coming from the ocean. There were many families enjoying a round of mini-golf as they waited for dinner. At this point the resort could have taken a picture for their brochures. All was going fine as we played down hill. When we made the turn to work back up hill the night began to turn sour. Sweet little Laura decided she did not want to play down the hill as was suggested, she was determined to play back up the hill as Emma and Andrew had done. It was one of those moments were you can see the frustration building in your child but they stubbornly will not listen to reason. With each shot she took that rolled right back to her feet her frustration grew. We did our best to distract her, help her, anything to help her through this situation but she was not going to let the course get the better of her. If you can’t tell, Laura is a very determined young lady. This is good in many ways but as you read here it can be bad as well. At this point, there were probably two families backed-up behind ours waiting to start the hole we were on. The tension was building. On one handed, I wanted to scoop Laura up and remove her from the situation but on the other she was doing nothing wrong and she just wanted to make it in the hole as her brother and sister had done. Hindsight being 20/20 I wish that I had picked her up but I didn’t. In the end, Laura broke down in tears and with Charlotte trying to console her, the father behind us said “I think we’ll play through.” Charlotte smiled at him and said, “We’re having a moment.” To which the man graciously replied, “that’s OK, we have those all the time.” Charlotte and I were thankful for his understanding and have joked about his response many times. Don’t we all have our moments?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I have written before about how our family enjoys a routine (Can we live here?). One day, sitting by the pool discussing the day with Charlotte we made an interesting observation. It was near the end of our week, after we had a week under our belt with nearly the same daily routine. We realized we gotten to know many of the workers. We had formed a friendship, no, that probably isn’t the right word. We had formed an understanding of each other that went beyond, “more coffee please”. Laura, still to this day, will smile, probably cover her mouth with both hands and get embarrassed if you ask her about Andres. Andres was our breakfast waiter. We sat in his area daily. When he saw us coming he set out a table for five. Well, one day Laura had a runny nose. She was doing fine wiping it. Honestly, I hadn’t even noticed it. I guess it was bothering Andres because he sweetly came up and wiped her nose. The look on Laura’s face was priceless. She was shocked.

We thought of our life at home and realized that we have similar relationships at home. Through our routine we have figured out that we interact with the same people more regularly and in doing so we’ve seen that an understanding of each other develops. I may stop to get a diet coke for Charlotte at “our” 7-Eleven and the worker may ask me where the kids are today. Or he may ask Andrew “What’s up little man?” which Andrew loves. Charlotte has some workers who know her order without asking, “the usual”, “yes, please”. When we talked about this observation we actually found it comforting. There was something to be said for the interacting with the same people regularly. There’s probably a word for these relationships. They aren’t friends, but they are no longer just the person that you exchange money with behind the counter, or the person who serves you at a restaurant. I guess the very profound observation is that they are human.

You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how inhumanely these people are sometimes treated. I watched a lady (who was trying to communicate that she wanted an egg-white omelet) rudely yell at the Mexican chef, “does anyone here speak English?” Remember, we’re in Mexico. I looked at her dumbfounded and said (in English), “I do.” She did not laugh as she huffed away. I shared a smile with the chef when he had no problem understanding my order, which was given in English.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Wild Isla Mujeres Tour

There was about an hour until the next ferry from Isla Mujeres to Cancun departed (See No Bearfoot for why we were at Isla Mujeres). Originally, we were going to rent a golf cart and explore the island once we were done with our dolphin adventure . We ditched the golf cart idea once we decided we wanted to make the next ferry back. So we had an hour to kill what did we do? If you're a family that likes to geocache you make a mad dash for the closest cache and enjoy a wild tour of the island.
We knew where we wanted to go was only 1.74 miles from where we stood. But we also knew that there was not enough time to make the round trip on foot. The sign in front of us said one hour tour of the island $15. Charlotte and I discussed our situation and decided to go for it. We ran back to grab our stuff out of the locker and I began to negotiate with Gilberto, our proposed taxi driver. "How about $10 for 45 minutes, and I don't need the full tour?" Gilberto agreed and we began loading all six of us into Gilberto's Sentra. The kids mouths were gap-jawed that they didn't need have to wear their seat belts. This may have been the first time in their lives for this event. They still talk about this. As soon as the door closed we were off. Gilberto, who has lived on the island for all of his life, began his schpeel. He began to tell us all about the turtle farm and how we would be able to pick up the red turtles (no idea what that meant). As he pulled up to the turtle farm I politely told him we didn't want to stop and visit the turtles. I said where we want to go is 1.3 miles that direction and I pointed out the windshield. Unsure of what I did want he pressed on with the tour. We drove out to the end of the island, piled out of the car for a quick photo opportunity and then reloaded the Sentra in search of the cache. Gilberto continued his tour until I told him to stop in the middle of nowhere. We were within 300 feet of the cache. He wasn't sure what I wanted but complied with my request. I told him, just wait here and we'll be right back. The family unloaded and we narrowed in on our target. Gilberto, probably out of curiosity, followed us on our trek. We found the cache, made our trades and surveyed the beautiful rocky coast of Isla Mujeres. Gilberto appeared to be having fun too and took a nice picture of the whole family. We took a quick walk on the beach looking for conch shells and then with only fifteen minutes until the ferry departed we reloaded the Sentra. As our adventure wound to a close we wondered what Gilberto thought of the strange family he'd spent 40 minutes with? In the end we enjoyed a mad dash for the cache and a quick tour of Isla Mujeres. The conch shells we found now sit on the counter in the kids bathroom and I smile when I think of the adventure of finding them.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Eyewitness to a crime

Life gets complex at an early age. People face the same dilemmas in life only on different levels of severity. The story I'd like to share isn't Enron but to a kid I think the moral dilemma is just as difficult.

Laura was an eye witness to a crime at school today. One of her friends apparently really liked one of the toy cell phones in their classroom. She decided that playtime at school didn't afford her enough time to enjoy this toy and that she would like to play with it at home too. So what did she do? She snuck it into her backpack behind the teachers back. Gasp! Laura witnessed the whole event and was immediately faced with an earth-shattering moral dilemma. She was very upset. On one hand, she knew that her friend was stealing the phone and Laura felt compelled to say something. On the other hand, she really likes this young thief and didn't want to turn her into the authorities and risk losing the friendship of her favorite playmate. When Charlotte picked Laura up from school she was obviously upset. As soon as Laura gave her testimony of the crime she burst into tears and was even able to express her moral dilemma. She knew what was right and she knew that it was wrong for her to not say anything. From start to finish of this situation I am proud of Laura. She took action. She was courageous. She told Charlotte about what she'd witnessed and she even shared her formative thoughts on the situation.

You'll be happy to know that we're headed toward the peaceful resolution of this situation. Justice will be served and the friendship should remain intact. I pray that Laura is just as courageous the next time she faces such a moral dilemma and the stakes are higher. I am also thankful that Charlotte is home to be there as an advocate for our kids, someone they can talk to and share their problems with.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pina Coladas and California rolls

Our resort had a sushi restaurant that was open for lunch only. This quickly became our daily lunch stop. We only ate lunch at a different restaurant once with disastrous results. Emma, Andrew and Charlotte quickly figured out that the California rolls were their favorites. We ate so many California rolls it was silly. The kids were cute, they all knew what they liked and didn’t care if they ordered the same items daily, (see Can we live here? about routines). I laughed one day as Andrew was headed off to the pool-side bar to refill his drink. "What are you going to get?" I asked. "A Pina Colada" was his smiley response. I thought to myself, what else would a seven year old wash down a California roll with?

Can we live here?

While on our vacation Charlotte and I were kicking around the idea of starting a blog. One day as we enjoyed some time alone by the pool while the kids were at the kid's club we discussed possible blog topics from our trip. I just found the piece of paper we wrote our thoughts on in a book I’m reading. I laughed at many of them. They all brought up good memories of our trip. I’ll share some or our thoughts over the next few days.

We had such a great time being together and enjoying the resort. As you all know about us, we like to be organized in our approach to life. So after a few days we had a very nice routine down for our days. We were always open to the possibility of change but we rarely did change the routine. We were happy to know that we could but didn’t have to change. Some may think that having a routine sounds too rigid for vacation but I think we all feel uncomfortable with disorganization. I think we all crave routine and if I know this about our family I think it’s bad not to find a routine.

One day on the way back to our room to shower and clean up for dinner, loaded down with floats, shells, buckets and towels, either Andrew or Laura asked us, “can we live here?” An interesting question, the question itself tells you that the kids were having so much fun they wanted to stay. I immediately saw this as a chance to teach a valuable lesson in life. My mind was racing to determine what to say, what pearl of wisdom can Dad deliver at this opportune moment? (The family has actually come up with a name for my monologues. They call them “soothing words” and the term is not always used with positive connotations. For example, when someone is in trouble I may hear a tear filled voice tell me, I don’t need any sooooothing words, Dad.) I thought of several pearls of wisdom and then thought better of it. So what was my answer to this profound question? “That would be fun wouldn’t it?"

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

White House Egg Roll

With Easter approaching I realized that I live entirely too far to embark on my annual quest for White House Easter Egg Roll tickets. For the past four Easters we have lived on the East Coast and close enough to Washington DC to take part in a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s.

I have a lot of fun memories of sitting out all night on the Ellipse with friends who were crazy enough to join me, waiting for the sun to come up to get the prized tickets only for it to rain on the actual event. The funny thing is, these tickets are free, if you are willing to camp out in front of the White House all night. Last year I even convinced Adam to make the pilgrimage with me, and we pitched a tent. We have always debated whether or not it is better to have good weather while waiting in line or for the actual event. In my very soggy experience I am going to say it is better to endure the rain while waiting in line Friday night and then having a beautiful day Easter Monday.

The Egg Roll itself is just a small part of the event, there are performers, guest celebrity readers, egg decorating, craft stations, a petting zoo and many other fun things to do. It was just so fun for my kids to know they were standing in the front yard(or is it the back yard?) of the White House, how many people can say that? We even got to see the President and Mrs. Bush's two Scottie dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley, last year. The kids loved that.

The highlight for Emma was being able to take a picture with Ally and AJ and see them perform (if you have a tweener you know who they are).

I am curious how many of you Virginia or Maryland folks are going to head down there this upcoming weekend? Please post something to keep us updated. Last year Adam and I got there at 9PM and we were already halfway around the Ellipse, so my advice is to go early. I will be praying for good weather.

Since I can't go this year, I thought I would take you on a stroll down memory lane of our last four Egg Rolls.

Happy Easter!

This was last year, 2006. It was raining when we got there but we powered through and the sun actually came out in the afternoon.

As you can see this was a very wet year. Laura has quite the contraption on her stroller, but it served its purpose and kept her dry. It was a very mushy cold day, we were covered with mud and soaked when we got home. That day was memorable but I am not sure if they were all good memories.

This year it was so wet we never even made it onto the White House lawn.
Our tickets were for later in the day and when we got down to DC, the lawn had been closed and people were not allowed through. The kids still had fun riding the Metro and receiving their treat bags.

Any time we went to DC riding the Metro was always Andrew's favorite part. As a mother, I was always stressed out about one of the kids tripping and falling onto the track or something.

2003 was the only year that we had beautiful weather. It was a special year because only active duty service members and their families were able to participate. The war had just started and this was a way to keep the area more secure and at the same time honor those who serve. This was also the only year we did not have to wait in line, the tickets were distributed through the chain of command and there were not as many issued to diminish crowd issues.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


This a poem that Emma wrote last summer and I just love it and want to share it with you.

by Emma Scott

White is...

A ship's clean sail,
White whispering snow,
A cat's white tail swaying,
Duck's all in a straight row,
The smell of new shoes,
White chalk squeaking,
Dove's clear coos,
A silent walk,
The taste of breath mints in my mouth,
White cold milk drizzling down my throat,
White clouds on voyages south,

I like all different colors but white is the best!

Her class was told to pick a color and write a poem describing it. I love how she picked white and I am amazed at all of her vivid imagery. Adam might not be the only writer in the family.