Monday, June 6, 2011

Jack's first day in DC.

This story takes place on our first day (evening, really) in Washington, DC. Please, keep in mind that it takes place the very same day Mackenzie burned her leg. Also, keep in mind that, if you know my son, Jack, at all, the following story would only happen to him.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, on our first evening in DC, we took a chauffeured tour to the most famous monuments and memorials in the capital. Jack was especially excited to see the Lincoln Memorial. He played Abe in a school play just a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to see "himself" sitting in that big chair!

We spent some time on the front steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then went inside to view the statue of our 16th president. It is absolutely amazing. I could've stayed there for hours. Any words I use here to describe the memorial will not do it justice. Just know that, if you have not seen this in person, you must do it and soon!

After we were inside for a while, my mother-in-law, told us we should go to the back of the building and look at the columns. Ok, so picture the front of the memorial: many steps leading up to where Lincoln is sitting in his chair, right? Well, there is also a porch that wraps around the building (or most of it) and in the back part of the porch are many beautiful columns. Sounded great to us, so that is where we went next.

On the back porch, there is a really cool-looking ceiling. As I was taking a picture of this ceiling I see Jack out of the corner of my eye holding on to one of the columns. Scott and I both tell him to be careful and he answers that we shouldn't worry because there are steps right below the porch. Are you seeing where this is going yet??

As I was taking a picture of all of the columns lined up on the back porch, I heard a high-pitched scream. I immediately ran to the column that Jack had been near and, sure enough, he had fallen down. He had been trying to wrap his little 9 year-old leg around the first column when he slipped and fell onto the first step and then rolled backwards onto the second step. These steps are not like the one in the front of the memorial; they are much bigger. I'll have a reference picture posted on facebook after I post this for you to look at.

As soon as he fell, Jack popped right back up. He never blacked out. In fact, we are quite certain that he didn't hit his head at all, thank You, God! He was, though, immediately sore in his shoulder and lower back. He was also shaken up a bit but, he seemed to be okay. By the way, that high-pitched scream I heard did not come from Jack as he fell. It came from his sister who watched him fall. :-(

Soooo, we leave Lincoln, view the equally-amazing Korean War Veteran's Memorial, and then hop in our "limo" for a quick drive to the White House. As we are walking to the front lawn of the White House, Jack mentions to Scott that he thinks he is going to throw up. Scott immediately associates this with a possible head injury and becomes concerned that Jack might have a concussion. He pulls Jack to the side to look at his pupils and asks Jack if he really thinks he's about to be sick. Jack answers by turning and vomiting right in the grass...of the front lawn....of the WHITE HOUSE. I actually started looking around to see if the Secret Service was going to jump out at us! Did I forget to mention that it was just after 10 PM when this was going on?

After he finally stopped being sick, we called our wonderful driver to come pick us up and he took us to the nearest emergency room. There Scott, Jack and I stayed until 4 AM, when we were finally told what we expected all along: Jack was fine. The doctor didn't even want to do a CT scan because there were no signs of any head trauma and she didn't think it was worth getting zapped with radiation. The only thing we can think happened was, simply, bad timing. Or it could have been bad fish from the sushi place where we had dinner that night...

Anyway, if anyone in my family is going to fall off the Lincoln Memorial and then throw up in the White House front lawn, it will most definitely be Jack! I still can't believe that actually happened but I look forward to a lifetime of reminding him of what he put us through! Actually, I say that for Jack AND Mackenzie because, remember, they both got hurt on the same day! Yes, our first 24 hours in DC consisted of Mac getting burned and Jack....well, Jack being Jack.

It's a good thing Mackenzie loves soy sauce!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we took 2 days to drive to Washington, DC from West Virginia. On our second day we stopped to get gas, as we frequently had to do since we were traveling with 2 Harley riders. During this particular stop my precious angel of a daughter, Mackenzie, hopped out of the truck to go visit with her daddy, who was putting gas in his bike.

Now, Mackenzie has been around motorcycles most of her life and has been told many times to stay away from the motorcycle muffler that gets incredibly hot when the motor is running. The muffler gets so hot, in fact, that it takes quite a while for it to cool off once the bike is turned off. Unfortunately, though, while talking to Scott, she forgot our warnings and got a little too close to the bike. She touched the front of her leg to the hot muffler and received a third degree burn in the process. My poor baby! She was in pain but she handled it well. We had Neosporin and band aids with us but we knew we'd need to get some more supplies for our trip. My mother-in-law declared that we needed Silvadene (not sure I spelled that right) but was not sure we could get it without a prescription. We drove to the nearest Wal Mart Supercenter, where Linda spoke with and, most likely, begged the pharmacist for a dab of the miracle burn salve. The pharmacist could not give her the salve without a prescription but did have a suggestion for us.

SOY SAUCE. Yes, soy sauce. The pharmacist told my mother-in-law to soak Mackenzie's wound in soy sauce a few times a day to draw out the moisture and prevent infection. Sounds crazy, right? Well, guess what! It WORKS!! I kid you not. For the next few days, we soaked her burn in soy sauce and even put some on her bandages for her to wear all day and it looked great the entire time.

We did take Mackenzie to an urgent care facility 5 days later just to make sure we were doing the right thing, even though there were no signs of infection. The physician's assistant said it looked great! She still couldn't give us a prescription for Silvadene because it can't be given to children but we left with another type of ointment and security in knowing Mackenzie's leg will be just fine.

Our Trip to Washington, DC

We just returned from a 9 day trip to the West Virginia/Washington DC area and, man, did we have fun! It has been 5 years since we have taken a family trip like this but this one was so good, I'm ready to plan the next one...and it better happen sooner than 5 years! There are a two stories from this trip that will be shared in their very own blog posts but, in this post, I'll give you the basics of what we did.

We drove, that's what we did. We drove...and drove...and drove some more. Including Oklahoma, from where we started this trip, we drove through 6 states in 1 day. 16 hours in a truck...with two kids, 1 husband, and a lot of electronics....AND we were towing a motorcycle on a trailer...AND it drizzled/rained the entire time. Yep, that pretty much sums up Day 1. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds. Scott and I traded off driving, while the other read or slept. My kids were practically raised in a car, so as long as they had a DVD to watch or a video game to play, they were golden. We arrived safely to my in-laws' house in West Virginia and quickly settled in for our exciting vacation.

Before I go on, I want to encourage all of you to take yourself or your family on a driving vacation. That is, a trip where you drive to and around your destination, instead of flying. I totally understand the convenience of flying but everyone should drive on, at least, one vacation. I promise you will see so many beautiful things.

I have seen some beautiful scenery in my lifetime but the drive from Oklahoma to West Virginia was one of, if not THE, most gorgeous drives I've ever been on. Growing up in Louisiana, I've seen my fair share of trees but that was nothing compared to all of the trees I saw on this drive. There was green everywhere! And hills! REAL hills! I loved to look down and see the little communities and houses nestled in the trees. You read that correctly... I had to look down to see the neighborhoods from the interstate. There were even times where it looked like we were driving into gigantic heads of broccoli! At least, that's what it looked like to me, with all of the trees everywhere. Now, to be truthful, I don't think my kids looked up from their electronic devices once during the drive, so they totally missed all of the green but they can, hopefully, experience it again and appreciate it when they are a bit older.

The second day of our trip involved more road time but this time I was driving the truck with the kids and my mother-in-law, Linda, and Scott and his dad, Jim, rode motorcycles. We did some local sightseeing, including the New River Gorge Bridge, and then stayed the night in a hotel. We drove through even more rain on this day than the day before and our "Harley Guys" were soaked to the bone, so we were all happy to make a stop for the night.

The next day, we visited Manassas, Virginia, where the Battle of Bull Run occurred. For you Civil War buffs out there, 2 battles actually occurred here but the memorial mainly focuses on the first battle because it was the first major land battle of the war. I love American history and was beyond excited to visit this Civil War battleground. There is an enormous statue of Stonewall Jackson on his horse, overlooking the fields where his men fought and died, that gives me chills just thinking about it.

From Manassas, we drove to Washington, DC. That evening we rented a limo, which was really a Suburban SUV with a driver, and toured the mall, where most of the memorials in DC are located. I cannot accurately describe how it felt to finally see these memorials in person. I've wanted to see the mall since I was a kid and to be able to see it and share it with my children was simply amazing. It is my firm belief that every American citizen, history buff or not, should visit DC at least once in their lifetime. It will change you, I promise.

We spent the next 2 days touring DC and didn't even get close to seeing all that we wanted to, so I am now wanting to plan "DC Trip #2" SOON!

After DC, we drove to Maryland and visited the Antietam National Battlefield, where the bloodiest Civil War battle took place. Being on the fields here and in Manassas was so moving. I was standing on the same ground that all of those soldiers and officers and, even President Lincoln, once stood, fought, and died on and, not to sound too hokey, it was like I could feel their presence and the importance of their actions.

We spent the rest of our vacation resting and hanging out with my in-laws in their home and then spent another 15 hours in the truck driving home...this time in complete sunshine so that I could enjoy the view even more.

Welcome back!

Well, hello, there! I cannot believe it has been 7 months since my last post! I am such a bad blogger!! Please don't take my absence personally. I think about blogging all of the time...I even have a list of things to blog about; I just haven't actually sat down and written anything.

I still put too much pressure on myself about writing rather than just DOING it but I hope to change all of that starting today! Yipee!! In fact, I have so much to write about, you may be bombarded with a few updates today. I'll try to pace myself, though. I'll also try not to write a post that is the size of a novel but we all know how I like to ramble....

With all of that being said, I'll give you a quick update on my life from the past 7 months:

1. Christmas was great because, well, Christmas always is great. It was different because we celebrated it at home by ourselves for the first time. It was nice in many ways; lonely in other ways.

2. We experienced our first blizzard! And then the next week, we experienced it again! The second week of snow wasn't technically called a "blizzard" because there wasn't enough wind along with the snow but we received about 20 inches of snow both weeks, which is more than this small family from Louisiana has ever experienced at home! We loved it! School was cancelled, as well as, Scott's work for a few days, so we just stayed home, played in the snow, read by the fire, and drank coffee all day....bliss....

3. Now that we are out of April, everyone in my family is another year older. I was not really looking forward to admitting that I am now 36 years old but, for some reason, whenever people ask me my age, I have to stop myself from saying I'm 37! I am not 37 but that is the number that pops into my head when I am asked. Just the other day Mackenzie corrected me about that. I said something about being 37 and she said, "Uh, Mom? I thought you are 36?" I have no idea why this keeps happening. Maybe it is a sign of old age.... :-)

4. I still want to be Ree Drummond's, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, best friend. There, I still admit it. I just want to cook with her and hang out at the ranch. Heck, I'll even help homeschool her kids!

5. I still can't run more than 12 minutes straight but I am trying! I made it through week 7 of my Couch 2 5K app for the second time but then went back to earlier weeks that have more intervals because that is what I prefer. I still want to be able to truly run a 5K but it will just take more time for me to get there. Also, for those of you keeping count, I have officially lost 30 pounds! Before my vacation last week, I'd lost 32 pounds but then I went on vacation and, well, you know..... Any way, it is still a wonderful accomplishment. I'd like to lose about 20-30 more but I'd like to see if I can do it without Jenny Craig's help. There is nothing wrong with JC. I am just tired of relying on her food so much and also paying for it. So, this week, I'll be doing it "alone" and, hopefully, I'll be closer to that 32 pound loss again. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, well, so much for this post not turning into a to ya again soon!