Saturday, January 06, 2007

2006 Year In Review, part 3

More exciting adventures, including much travel!

2006: The Year of The Potty


  • Found a super fun new hobby this month: Geocaching! (aka treasure hunting for geeks). We purchased a Garmin eTrex Legend GPS Unit, established a geocaching account (I'm Rational Jenn, of course!) and got started right away. This is a super fun hobby for kids, too. Did I mention it's super fun?
  • Rejoice in the beauty that is now my backyard. Tired of the barren gutted wasteland of Georgia clay, rocks, and poison ivy, we sucked it up and hired PeopleGuys who created eyecatching islands of joy with mulch and grass. last, bliss.
  • We spent the 4th of July in a hotel overlooking Lenox Square Mall (which boasts Atlanta's largest fireworks show). So much fun (as it was last year) that we've made reservations to go back again! Brief moment of panic when it looked as though the fireworks would be canceled due to the rain, but Mother Nature cooperated at the last minute. Having been properly prepared this time, Ryan was not devastated when the fireworks show ended.
  • We took a long weekend trip up to Chicago via AIRPLANE. Turns out that getting 2 adults, 2 small kids, 1 carseat, 1 set of Epipens plus Benadryl, 1 insulin pump plus needles plus blood glucose monitor through security at Hartsfield weren't No Big Thang. Nobody seemed to care about our medical devices (Epipen needles are LONG), but it did seem to matter immensely that we removed the baby's sandals. (Insert big, floaty feeling of Safety here.) Up in Chicago, the highlight of our trip had to be going on the Ambulance Tour with Aunt Eileen--we got to climb in lots of remarkably colorful ambulances, and turn the flashing lights on, and ask questions about the equipment and supplies. Ryan was presented with an EMT patch and a real key to a real ambulance (no longer owned by her company though). Talk about excitement! We also went on a geocaching excursion and found our first Travel Bug!
  • Ryan MIRACULOUSLY decided that he didn't want to wear diapers (pullups) at night anymore so he pretty much just night-potty-trained himself. My mind still boggles to consider the contrast--could this be the very same little boy?


  • Well, after months (actually years) of discussion, Brendan and I decided to stop dreaming and start doing. We met with a lawyer and on August 15, 2006, Serenity Vacation Cabins, LLC was organized for the express purpose of purchasing short term (i.e., weekend) vacation rental homes in the Blue Ridge, Georgia area, for long term investment and hopefully short term rental income! Woo hoo! The name of the company is inspired by, yes, Firefly, and all of its wonderful wonderfulness.
  • I was feeling pretty business-y this month, as I finally joined up with Discovery Toys as a consultant after years of loving loving loving their toys. What made me, ME!, decide to join a multi-level marketing company? Several things decided me in favor: the consultant discount (20%), no quotas, no obligation to throw "parties" (which is really not my scene), the ability pursue it (or not) at my discretion. I mean, I was buying the toys anyway for my kids and as gifts, so I figured I might as well get a discount! Plus, I figured I could stock my cabin with some fun toys as a write off, too. So, for all these factors, I joined. Then evidently I wasn't done joining stuff, because then I signed up with another MLM company, Simply Fun for all the same reasons, plus which I love love love games of all kinds. I plan to do a lot of fundraisers for both, because it's a win-win in terms of time management, too. These businesses are just hobbies now, but I think if I'm smart and creative about my tactics, it will pay off (and hopefully pay off some credit cards, too). I'll keep you posted about my progress, and fun stuff like sales, too.
  • Morgan could speak over 80 words by the middle of this month. Our 2nd child was officially a Talker. (How? How?)
  • We took our regularly scheduled trip to the Outer Banks, NC with our good friends from the Northeast. My time there was unfortunately cut short by the death of my uncle, Doug Wininger, from lung cancer. Even though it was expected, it was still devastating for all of us. Morgan and I flew out to Phoenix for the funeral while Brendan and Ryan headed to OBX for a few days. As if being there for a family funeral wasn't bad enough, I managed to (slightly) dislocate Morgan's shoulder on the day of the funeral (picked her up by one arm--don't do it!!!!) and spent a few hours hunting for an urgent care center in a strange city with my mom and other aunt. It was a week of mishaps for all of us, though--Brendan got a speeding ticket with Ryan in the car ("Daddy got busted by the cops!"). We learned that you are REQUIRED to have a court date for any traffic ticket received for any reason in the state of North Carolina, but that you can hire a lawyer to be your court date stand in--and it ain't cheap either! Morgan and I did make it to OBX for the last half of our week there, and we got to spend some lovely time at the beach with our friends. I'm glad I went to the funeral though--a good reminder to love and cherish those you love and cherish and to CARPE DIEM. Life is short.


  • Once we made it back here from OBX, we had a few days to catch our breath. We had a lovely visit from Brian on Labor Day weekend (marred only by news of the death of Steve Irwin). Brian was especially eager to hear Ryan's stories, the first one of which began in this manner: "Hey Uncle Brian! Did you know that my Daddy got busted by the cops TWO TIMES?" (For, alas, Brendan had also received a ticket a few weeks before OBX for a seatbelt violation.) Brian's response: "Tell me more!" Hmmm....I can see that it would be fun to be an aunt or an uncle.
  • A few days after Brian left, all four of us headed out to Phoenix (again for 2 of us) to attend my cousin's wedding. It was a beautiful occasion, bittersweet so soon after the death of her father, but really lovely. We all got fancied up--Ryan wore an honest-to-god Little Man suit with a RED tie and Morgan wore a red-with-white-polka-dots dress. They were so adorable that a low murmur of oohs and aahs seemed to trail behind them in a doppler-like manner as we navigated the crowd. We also had time during this visit to do some geocaching and visit a restaurant that had a terrarium with 3 real live rattlesnakes! Doesn't get any better, really.
  • We took the opportunity of being practically across the country to go even more practically across the country and drove to Riverside, California to visit my grandparents, who had only seen Ryan once and had not met Morgan yet. We had so much fun--even got to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park, one of my all time favorite places to go. We got to see a baby elephant, just born the night before! Also, we visited the March Field Air Museum, which is just across the road from my grandparents' home, Air Force Village West.
  • We left California for Phoenix and spent our very last evening in Phoenix with: Brian! He was in Phoenix on business and it was just too weird that we were all in the same city so far away all at the same time. Mmmm, margaritas!
  • We joined a secular homeschooling weekly playgroup this month, too. It's nice to get out of the house with some other families on a regular basis. The neighborhood is very quiet during the daytime. Also, Ryan started his third season with "Team Galaxy" in soccer. Despite his disappointment with the new team colors (orange), he overcame his sorrow and ran alongside the games very enthusiastically!
  • It was during this month that we finally began to leave the house without an extra change of clothing for Mr. Ryan. He was still having trouble staying dry at night, but once Brendan explained about the "sneaky pee" (the pee that's inside you even when you don't feel like you have to pee that will try to sneak out during the night), he seemed to get better. He is very proud of his accomplishment!
  • Our month couldn't be complete without another visit from Brian, whose business brought him to Atlanta this time. He had become a very popular uncle (known as "Guy-nan" to Morgan) and the kids very much enjoyed, um, breaking in, his hotel room for him.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

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