Tag Archives: travel

Four Channels and Pong

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My son asked me the other day if we had TV when I was little.  All I could think was “how old do you think I am?”, but then I remembered how old I thought my parents were when they were my age.  So I knew the answer already and decided it best not to ask that question out loud.  My response to him instead was “Yes, we had TV.  But we didn’t have VCRs”.  His reply?  “What’s that?”  [insert eye roll here] I may as well have asked how old he thought I was.  Sheesh.

It kind of blows my mind to think that so many things have been invented since I was a kid.  When I was my son’s age we didn’t have cable TV, VCRs, or microwaves much less DVDs/BluRays, iPods, and tablets.  Of course, technology has come so far in the last 14 years that there’s already things my kids can say weren’t around when they were ‘kids’.

Here’s a comparison between technology when I was a kid and technology my kids have now:

Me- I was the remote control and only had 4 channels to choose from, sometimes 5 if I could get the rabbit ears just right and held my mouth just so.

My kids- can flip through NetFlix and watch whatever they want whenever they want.  The only problem they may have is if the internet goes out…or restriction

Me- decide to watch movie, get in car, go to video store,  rent  VCR, lug VCR home, hook it up, put in movie, rewind movie because the previous viewer wasn’t kind, return movie because tape was broken and wouldn’t play, see step one

My kids- decide to watch movie, turn on NetFlix.  OR Pop in DVD or BluRay.  Enjoy high definition presentation, bonus features and skip to favorite part of the movie.  No need to be kind or rewind; can even be enjoyed in the car

Me- record songs from radio onto a cassette,  have to wait another three hours to try again because the DJ didn’t stop talking in time and ruined the beginning of the song; use pencil to turn the cog in the cassette to un-jumble the tape so it would work again.

My kids- plug iPod into computer, two clicks later iPod is full of music.

And this is just the tip of the ice berg.  Don’t even get me started on video games!!  I started off with Pong.  Two little lines and a dot going back and forth.  Now we have two Kinects in our house that you control games full of extremely realistic graphics with your body instead of a hand held controller.   That is crazy. And so cool!  Then there are computers.   I didn’t get my first computer until right after my first child was born.  And that was only 14 years ago!  And it was a huge desk top.  Even the desk tops are super small and compact now and my kids have iPads instead of textbooks at school.

It’s nice to think back to how simple things used to be.  And you know what, we all survived it.  Sometimes I even wish we could go back to those simple times of 4 TV stations and Pong.  But I have to admit, I love technology [and I sure was happy when the Atari 2600 and 5200 came along].  I seriously would not know what to do if I didn’t have my cell phone!  Or the Internet.  Or my iPod.   I don’t think the world would know what to do without technology now that we’ve had it.  It certainly has made things much easier.  And faster.  Technology has made the world impatient though. Everything is at your fingertips.  You can Google anything, anywhere, any time and instantly.  I think I’m one of the most Google-ing-est people out there, too!   How do you cook tilapia? Google it.  Is this movie ok for the kids to watch? Google it.  Where’s the best place to go hiking? Google it.  What!? There’s such a thing as nude hiking?  Google it. [I’ll pause here while you actually go Google that one.  You know you want to.]

As much as I love technology, my cell phone and Google it is nice to take a break from it here and there.  Focus on the friends and family that are in the same room as you and not the ones on your Facebook friend list who you never even see.   Or maybe even go outside and see the beautiful landscapes that God created for us instead of looking at 2-D images of them that people forwarded you in an email.    Gary and I try to keep technology in perspective around our house with unplugged days, limiting xBox and Wii time and sending the kids outside for some fresh air and sunshine.   We also enjoy family night once a week where we all pile in the living room and watch a TV show or movie.  We can’t seem to find any good family tv shows these days though.  I guess that’s another thing that’s changed since I was a kid.

So, get off that laptop, put away your cell phone and spend some time with actual people.  You can even go for a hike.  Just don’t go naked.  Unless that’s your thing.

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If You Can’t Find Your Tupperware…Check The Woods

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Gary and I like to do a lot of fun things together. We have more things in common than not I think. We just love spending time together (and with the kids) so we are always searching for things we both enjoy and we do them. We’ve recently found a new hobby that we can’t get enough of! Finding Tupperware hidden in the woods! What? You don’t?

It’s a high tech treasure hunting game using GPS devices and multi-million dollar satellites floating out in space. Yep, that’s our new hobby. Tromping through the woods acting like pirates looking for hidden containers with kids’ dollar store prizes and a log book inside. At first I had no idea how this got started. My guess was some friends were sitting around drinking beer one night and one of them said “You know what, I’m gonna go hide a Tupperware container out in the woods, give out the coordinates and see how many people can find it”. And his friends looked at him and said “You’re crazy. Let’s do it”. And here we are with a gazillion Tupperware containers hidden all over the globe. Ok, so that’s not how it really happened. But I was close. Ok, I wasn’t close. It’s way more geeky than that. You can read the real history of geocaching here. I for one am super happy that this whole selective availability thing happened and GPS is now available to all of us Regular Joes. Because I just don’t know what I would do with my weekends if it wasn’t for searching for Tupperware in the woods.

I had heard about this geocaching thing years ago but just never did anything with it. Then Gary and I talked about it and thought it would be fun to do with the kids but never did anything with it. It took finding one by accident while my brother and his wife were visiting from Florida to ignite the fire and begin the obsession. When the kids headed off to their other parents’ for the weekend a few days later us adults had date night Friday and date day Saturday. Guess what we did? That’s right. Searched for caches! Gary and I were hooked. The day Yancey and Kristen left we had to distract ourselves from our sorrow so we spent the day geocaching. It was the best day! Wait….not the best day because Yancey and Kristen left. That made it the worst day. The geocaching made it the best day. Phew, glad we cleared that up!

Yancey and Kristen with one of our finds.

Our first find on our own!

I have to say that geocaching isn’t for everyone. In order to enjoy geocaching you have to enjoy the outdoors. And a good challenge. Not all caches are hidden in the woods, on walking trails or in parks. A lot are found in very urban areas such as restaurant parking lots or a stop sign in a shopping village. I enjoy all types of finds. My favorite kinds are the ones hidden in the woods though. I really enjoy a good hike through the woods. It’s so relaxing and beautiful. And it reminds me of my childhood when my best friend Brian and I would play in the woods and the only worry we had was getting home before it got dark.

Once Gary and I had some good finds under our belt we took the kids out to give it a try. It was a school night so we only had a chance to find one but they loved it! Couldn’t wait to get back out and do it again. We were thrilled because we love having cool, fun family things to do! So the weekend came and we planned a day full of geocaching. We were all excited! Gary and I learned a few things that day.
1. Paige is not an ‘outdoorsy’ type of person. She loves playing outside. In the yard. The woods, not so much. She jumped at everything and every five seconds it was “watch our for snakes”, “be careful!”, or “don’t stick your hand in there!” in a very high pitch concerned voice. It doesn’t help she is petrified of spiders.
2. Emma would rather be home playing soccer. Or doing anything else for that matter.
And
3. Kids get mad when other kids keep finding all the caches. But there’s a schedule for that.

Our first find as a family!


So Gary and I decided that the kids will go on abbreviated geocaching trips. And we’re definitely taking steps to insure that all kids have an equal opportunity to find the hidden caches. In the mean time Gary and I are going solo. Wait…it’s not solo if there’s two of us. Well, whatever. We’re on a mission to find as many caches as we can. Or at least more than my brother.

Are you a geocacher? If you are tell us your Geocache username so we can be friends! If not, leave a comment and let us know what you like to do for fun in your free time!

Tissues, Soap, and S’mores…or How To Make Memories

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I grew up as an only child even though I have two brothers. Actually all three of us grew up as only children. We each have different moms and share our biological father. So technically we are only half siblings but let’s not split hairs. I actually didn’t meet my brothers until I was an adult. I knew they existed but had never met them. How we met and grew to know one another is another blog for another day. And this ain’t the day.

I was kinda spoiled growing up. And by ‘kinda’ I mean extremely. I was the first [and only] child for my mom and the first grandchild for my grandparents. Plus, my mom and I moved in with her parents when I was about six months old after my biological father left us. We lived there for 5 years. Needless to say I ended up becoming very close to my Nana and my aunt and uncle, who were both still kids themselves when I came along. At five years old my mom married my new dad. A wonderful man who loved me like his own and proved it by legally adopting me. He’s my daddy and I’m his little girl. I am so blessed to have him as my dad. And as a Papa to my kids. Between my parents and my Nana, who am I kidding…my aunts and uncles too, I was spoiled rotten. The thing is that even though I totally enjoyed all those things that I got I cherish all the memories that I have even more.

I grew up out in the country on a dirt road that only my family [and some family friends that are family too] lived on. We didn’t have cable tv or the internet. We had four-wheelers, a dirt road and the woods. My best friend Brian and I actually used our imagination and played outside. We were ninja’s some days, veterinarians on other days and then we were scientists one day. But only one day. We blew up mom’s bathroom and that was the end of that. So we went back to being ninja’s. We had chickens, horses and pigs. It was my job, at least occasionally to collect the eggs and I learned that roosters aren’t exactly the nicest creatures. The pigs were pretty cool. I would feed them scraps over the fence and I think I even named them. Then one day a big truck came and they loaded the pigs up on the truck. That’s the day I learned what the word slaughter meant. Sad day. I look back on the days of me and Brian exploring the woods, almost killing ourselves on riding the four-wheelers, climbing trees and building forts and wish that my kids could have those same experiences.

Thanks to my parents I was quite the traveler. My dad was in the military until I was in high school and even though we didn’t travel the world we did live in Colorado several times. And I’ve seen most of the United States. I’ve road tripped across the country several times and it was amazing!! From what I understand my grandmother was less than pleased that my parents did such a thing to me. I believe that’s because she was just mad that they were taking me away from where she was. Which is understandable. I’m extremely thankful to have had the opportunities that I had though. I had driven across the country [at least twice], skied the Rocky Mountains, spent the night in Vegas, went deep-sea fishing in the Pacific, saw the Hollywood sign, been to Disneyland [and Disneyworld], went to many Braves games, went to a home Dodger game and went camping in the Rocky Mountains [and lots more]. All before my 16th birthday. How many sixteen year olds can say that? Ok, I know I’m not the only person who’s done that much by that age and I know that some have done more than that. I’m just thankful to have been blessed with the opportunities my parents [and the military] gave me. Those memories will be with me forever and my kids are going to hear amazing stories of things I’ve been able to do and things I’ve seen. I’ll never be able to give my kids those kinds of opportunities. My plan is to give them everything I can. Not material things that will rust and break. But memories that they will cherish forever. I want to give my kids stories to amaze their kids with some day.

Soap Carving


We haven’t road tripped across the country. We have been to Disney World though! Just for a day. But it was the best day EVER!! We don’t need lavish vacations to make memories though. We build fires and make s’mores in the backyard. We fry candy

Best day EVER

bars and Oreos and pickles. We buy bars of soap and carve them into soap sculptures. We tour our State Capital and feed the birds and squirrels [we were mistaken for a school group when we went in for the tour, I took that as a complement about my organizational skills]. We do fun science experiments too. One time we made ice cream in a zip lock bag. Another time we made Mentos fountains and a cool video! We have the coolest kids and we love making memories with them.

Here’s a video Gary made of one of the memories we made with the kids. We bought 8 boxes of tissues, moved the furniture and told the kids to have at it. You can see the confusion on their faces turn into sheer bliss. And one day over Thanksgiving dinner they’re going to say “Remember that time our parents got us all those tissue boxes…….”

Fun With Tissues from Blending Chaos on Vimeo.