Wondering If Mexico Is Worth Dying For.... (Vacay Day 1)

I’ve always wanted to be on the news.

In fact, my first major in college was Broadcast Journalism. I wanted to be the girl on the 6:00 news. Big hair. Preppy suits. Tapping an ink pen on the desk with a stack of papers that look super important. Yep…that was going to be me. (Why I’m not that girl is a story for another day…..)

Yesterday, I made the news.

But I didn’t have big hair. And I wasn’t wearing a suit.

Yesterday morning, we checked our bags, picked up our boarding passes, and settled in for a lovely flight (with a BRIEF layover in Houston) to beautiful and sunny Puerto Vallarta.

I was to be on a beach by lunch.

However, by lunch, I was sitting in the Houston airport for the second time that day.

Here’s the rundown:

1. Flight to Houston from Little Rock…no problems. Even ended up ironically sitting in seats with folks from our town. Weird.

2. Arrive in Houston for brief layover and begin people watching. Apparently EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas.

3. Board plane for Puerto Vallarta.  But not without taking obligatory pictures first.

4. Notice that the plane is particularly warm. Sweat. A lot.

5. Become concerned when plane makes quick turn around in the air.

6. Become more concerned when pilot tells us that we are heading back for Houston due to a “problem.” Awesome.

7. Decide to make the most of it and begin to plan out Lifetime movie with Lisa that will be made about us when our plane crashes, and we are the only ones onboard ablebodied enough to save the other 165 passengers on board. I will be played by Reece Witherspoon if you were wondering.

8. Arrive back in Houston. Told that another plane is waiting on us and that we will board in 15 minutes.

9. Wait more than 15 minutes.

10. Find out that new plane is having restroom issues. It will be another 15 minutes.

11. Wait more than 15 minutes.

12. Get hit on by a scary man that greatly resembled an unsub I’ve seen on Criminal Minds and who has zero concept of personal space.

13. Take more pictures.

14. Wait more than 15 minutes.  And find it extremly odd that the airport listing of flights says our flight has departed.  When it clearly hadn't.

15. Find out that the plane is out of commission due to the restroom, and that we are being put back on the first plane. The one with the “problem.”

16. But we have to wait 15 more minutes.

17. Wait more than 15 minutes.

18. After 3 hours in the lovely and hospitable (ahem.) Houston airport, we are finally jetsetting our way to Puerto Vallarta.

But, Amber, you didn’t mention the news yet. What’s that all about?

Oh, I haven’t gotten to the good stuff yet….

19. Settle in with a gossip magazine and get cozy for Puerto Vallarta.

20. Get nervous when once again, plane makes sudden turn around in the air.


21. Plane begins lurching.

22. And shaking.

23. And nose-diving.

24. I begin praying.

25. And shaking.

26. And instituting death-grip on armrests.

27. Also begin seeing my babies’ faces flash before my eyes.

28. Decide that at this moment I could care less about Lifetime movie.

29. Panic.



30. Oxygen masks fly out of ceiling of plane. Just like in the movies. And, for the record, they really do look like the ones the flight attendants show you in the safety walk-through.

Wait…It gets better.

31. Wes, Lisa, and I were in a row together….Row 29 to be exact. The problem is that Row 29 was looked over in the Oxygen Mask Deployment Inspection. Because…um….OURS DIDN’T DEPLOY.

32. Realize that our plane is nose-diving, our flight attendants are panicking, and our oxygen wasn’t working.

33. Begin banging on oxygen mask trap door. No dice.

34. Press flight attendant call light. HELP ME.

35. Realize that the flight attendants are too busy panicking and screaming at eachother over the intercoms to care about Row 29 and their lack of oxygen.

36. Get rescued by nice fellow-passengers in Rows 28 and 30 who let us have their extra masks. Feel comforted that fellow-civilian-passengers are more worried about your life than the people who are paid to worry about your life.


Actually, our pilot was amazing. Turns out that our plane cabin had lost all its pressure and all the nose-diving and swerving and wobbling was due to pilot hurling us down to an altitude where we could actually breathe. Once down there, the flight crew calmed down and assured us that we were safe. Engines weren’t blowing up. No shoe bombs were on board. And our wings weren’t on fire.


37. Heartrate begins to come down.

38. Hands still shaking but coming down from Mach 10 speed.

39. Are informed that we are making emergency landing in San Antonio.

Can’t even flippin’ get out of Texas.

40. Land on the airstrip complete with fire truck, ambulance, and police car escorts.

After being told that EMTs were on deck to treat us should we have experienced any medical issues, we were ushered out into the lovely airport of San Antonio. And told that ANOTHER plane was waiting to take us on to Puerto Vallarta should we wish to take us.


41. Told that pilot and flight crew refuses to fly due to being put on 2 cases of faulty equipment.

42. Decide that our pilot is a pretty good guy. I wouldn’t fly either.

43. Told that our flight would leave in the morning. Which means a night in San Antonio.

44. Decide that since it’s around 7:00 p.m., we could at least make the most out of our stay in San Antonio. There is the RiverWalk afterall.

45. Stay in airport for 2.5 hours waiting on mysterious hotel vouchers that seem to elude all airport personnel.

46. Decide that 9:30 at night is too late to go out after spending the entire day in an airport.

47. Make it to hotel.

48. Become concerned when given this room number.

49. Eat a huge meal on the airline’s dime.

50. Fall into bed exhausted only to start it all over again the next day.


I’m on a plane now. It’s not the same plane and not the same pilot, but I feel good about actually getting to Puerto Vallarta today.

We shall see.

All I know is that the rest of our vacay had better be pretty darn fantastic to live up to almost dying in a plane crash.

***** UPDATE:  WE MADE IT!!!!*****


Why We Do What We Do.....

I totally get that some people don't get us.

I really really do.

People don't understand the need for a batting cage.  And the hundreds of dollars spent on equipment.  And the endless hours that are sacrificed at a ballpark.  They don't understand how we can call concession stand nachos "dinner."  And the inconveniences in schedules.  And the sacrifices made on almost every level.

I think to get IT, you have to get BASEBALL.

Or maybe you just have to have one of these:

And then you, too, will turn your life upside-down.  Because the joy in those eyes....it's just worth it.


Sawyer's All-Star team is in the throws of District Tournament.  We're fighting our way to the Championship game, so that we can head to the State Tournament as champions. 

So far.....Undefeated!!! 

But at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter if we win or lose.  It's the love of the game.

And for that...we'll do it all over again.  A million times over.


I've failed as a blogger.

Today I experienced grandeur in the form of calorie-induced nirvana, and I have not one picture to show for it.

All good bloggers take pictures of nirvana.

But I was too busy stuffing my face with not 1...not 2...not 3...but 4 (count 'em, FOUR!) SpudNuts.


You see, we're stuck down here in the middle of AlmostNoWheresVille (our town in NoWheresVille....and this one is a step-up...) for Sawyer's baseball tournament, and the most fun we've found is hanging out in our hotel lobby for 4 hours last night while all the kids swam in the over-rankified indoor pool.  Don't say that we don't know how to party!

But, lucky for us, our bestie, Mr. Lisa's Little Slice of Life, is from AlmostNoWheresVille and knows all the hot spots for culinary ecstasy.

Enter the SpudNut.

It's what it sounds like.  Well, not exactly.  When I first heard "SpudNut," the Mr. Planter's Peanut Man sporting a top hat made of sour cream and chives came to mind....but that's just me.  For you, I'm sure you are envisioning exactly what it is.

It's a Donut.  Made with potato flour. 

And it is the most divine piece of breakfast bliss that has ever crossed these sugar aficionado lips.


I was, too.  And then I ate one....or four.

And now I'm going to get the delight of throwing them up during my heat stroke that I'm planning on having later today at the baseball game in the 100* plus heat. 

I'm thinking that won't be nearly as delightful.


Me No Likey the VooDoo

I don't know how you desktop people do it.

I'm currently tethered on a short leash of cord to the internet box thingy which means I can't move freely from place of comfort to place of comfort with my laptop.  And it is driving me banonkers.

Dern storm.

A couple of weeks ago this freaky 3.4 second storm blew over our house and zapped our transformer with its crazy zappy voodoo lightning powers.  The same voodoo powers caused a force field to form around our house that kept all manner of electricity personnel from entering our vicinity for a full 16 hours.  And while it was at it, the voodoo powers stealthily sucked the lifebreath out of three of our appliances.  Sneaky sucker.

Funeral services have been held for our microwave, our landline telephone, and our wireless router.

I cried the least for our landline.  Because now telemarketers can't find me.

I wasn't devastated about the  microwave either.  We'd had the same one since the invention of water, and it was disgustingly close to being slapped with a bright red BioHazard sticker.  I actually looked on its departure as a blessing.  My new shiny microwave is at least 10 years away from a good scrubbing, so I'm set.

The passing of our wireless router, however, has caused me to increase my anti-depressant dosage.  For one, I don't like to sit still.  And if I have to sit still, I want to sit still in my bed.  Or in my chair.  Or on the couch.  NOT in a dining room chair.  Which is where I have to sit now if I want to use my computer because SOMEONE decided that the dining room was a fantastic place to put the internet box thingy when we first got it.  The lack of wireless pumping through the veins of our house also means that the computer that the boys use doesn't have internet access anymore.  So whose computer do you think they peck their peanut buttered and jellied up fingers all over when they want to check on their chirpy chickens from Farmville?  Mine. MiNE.  MINE.  But I'm not bitter.  I just need a Xanax.

Oh sure, I could go to the store and get a new router.  And it's on my list of things to do. 

But the zappy voodoo magic also stole all my motivation.  So it's easier to just sit here and whine about it.

Dern voodoo.


Happy Uber-Busy Summer

Jim-Dad asked me last night when I was going to blog again.  As if I'd forgone this sport forever. 

Not so, Jim-Dad, not so.

I have lost my bloggy virginity, however, and come to the realization that I, in fact, can not only go to sleep at night without first turning out a post and scheduling another, but that the world does not stop spinning and planets do not implode if I, for some reason, go a day or ten without reading other people's posts.  It was a long hard road of many a late night before I reached such blogger maturity, but I'm so glad I've arrived.  Liberating, really.  So now this bloggy habit of mine is just a hobby....not my slave-driver.  With cyber whip in hand. 

That being said, I actually do have really good excuses for not having shown my face around these parts for eleventy hundred and twelve a few days. 

1.  For starters, there is a new rascal around these parts.  He's of the four-legged variety and is the cutest darned thing I've ever seen.  He showed up one day and decided that we'd make a swell of a family (he obviously hadn't been hanging around the poochie water cooler or he'd know about us), and we decided that he wasn't too bad himself.  The bigger boys named him "Lucky," but Tate and I are still lobbying for "Goober."  We just look like a Goober kinda family.

Notice:  If you are from around these parts, and Lucky looks familiar...too bad.  He's decided that he likes us better than you.  *wink*

2.  I've been swallowed whole, regurgitated (you're welcome), and swallowed whole again by forever'lovin' baseball.  I have always said that it was a good thing that the Lord gave me boys because I wouldn't have the foggiest idea about what to do inside a ballet studio or a cheerleading gym, but, by golly, now I'm beginning to think that it was some cruel joke played on me by the Maker.  Because I guarantee that a dance studio at least has air conditioning.  These 100* Arkansas days do nothing for me and my tendencies to resemble (in looks and in smell) a drenched sloppy pig once it reaches over a balmy 75*.  

2A.  All three boys finished up their regular seasons of baseball, and now we've moved on to All-Star Tournament baseball.  Sawyer was selected for the All-Star team for our town which is a huge honor, but it just brings daily practices and a whole lot of sweat.  I'm trying to remember what an honor it is as I sit on the bleachers at 8:00 at night and not on my couch watching all my summer tv shows.  

2B.  While Sawyer is busy slaving away on the fields, the other two boys are busy pouting.  Because their baseball is over and now the family revolves around Sawyer.  I tried to reassure them by letting them know that now they would have plenty of time to help me with the laundry.... They didn't bite.

3.  The boys have started the summer of Vacation Bible School rounds.  Yes, we're one of THOSE families.  You better believe that we check-in at every.single. VBS around town.  Because those are 3 hours a day for mama to have to herself.  Scandalous attitude, I know.  But I just look at it as the church ministering to our whole family, which I'm deeply appreciative for.  Oh, and there is that learning about Jesus thing. 

4.  I'm busy Spring Cleaning.  In the summer.  The dust bunnies had started talking back to me, and our feet were sticking to the floors.  See this?
That's a picture of a clean tile floor.  That I scrubbed Cinderelly style.  On my hands and knees.  And now my family is being forced to eat and drink all manner of anything outside.  Because they will lose their heads if they even so much as breathe on that floor.  You think I'm kidding.

5.  We've been swimming a couple of times this summer, but our usual summer stomping ground of the waterpark raised their prices this year, so now you have to sell plasma at the front gate before entering.  So it looks like the lake will be our swimming pool this summer.  Don't get me wrong, I love the lake...but I can only handle so much sand in my car and unmentionables, and the smelling like a fish everyday isn't very ladylike either.  I did take out a second mortgage on the house the other day to take the boys to the waterpark, but it just made me sad that we can't live there like we did last summer. 

See?  Just busy.busy.busy.  Not sure why people call summers vacation time, when people tend to be busier now more than ever, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Summer really is my most favorite time of year. 

So if you don't hear from me for awhile, I'm probably just out with my family.  Or scrubbing a floor (probably not).  Or passed out from heat stroke at the baseball field.

Good times.

And Happy Uber-Busy Summer to you!!


Court Is In Session....

Bang. Bang. Bang

Order in the court.  The Honorable Judge of Rascal Raising presiding.  Today the court will hear the case of Tate "Big T" Rascal vs. Gross Nasty Mouse.

The Case:  Tate "Big T" Rascal claims that upon entering the living room of his residence, Gross Nasty Mouse scurried across the floor, ran under the couch, did a 180*, ran out from under the couch, climbed 2 steps, then scampered across the kitchen floor and under the china cabinet.  Gross Nasty Mouse is unavailable for court today because he has vanished, but his representation claims that Gross Nasty Mouse was never inside the Rascal residence and that it must have been a figment of imagination. 

Tate "Big T" Rascal, what say you?

"Theow was a wat.  A hooge wat.  I saw him."

Tate "Big T" Rascal would like to present the court with Exhibit A. 

"He was hooge.  See?"

Tate "Big T" Rascal would like to present the court with Exhibit B.

"No wait.  The wat was dis big." 

Tate "Big T" Rascal would like to present the court with Exhibit C.

"No.  The wat was dis hooge.  Yep.  Dis hooge."

The court has taken note of the size of Gross Nasty Mouse.  Does the Defendant's attorneys have anything to say in regards to these exhibits?

The court has noted that Gross Nasty Mouse's plea apparently is remaining the same...that he was never at the crime scene.

Tate "Big T" Rascal would like to present the court with Exhibit D.

"I scweamed because of dat wat."

Witnesses are being called to the stand. 

First witness is Sawyer, Tate "Big T" Rascal's brother:  "I heard Tate scream.  And I think I saw the mouse.  But I can't remember."  (The court recognizes that this statement is probably very accurate, as Sawyer can't remember his name half of the time.)

Second witness is Keaton, Tate "Big T" Rascal's oldest brother:  "I heard Tate scream, but I was outside.  I just figured he was screaming because he always screams."  (Also accurate statement.)

Third witness is Tate "Big T" Rascal's father:  "I just wanted Tate to make sense, so I could kill the darn thing and get on with my evening.  I also utilized the opportunity to lecture the children on eating in the living room and making messes.  It seemed like the right thing to do."  (Noted.)

Last witness is Tate "Big T" Rascal's mother:  "I was in the back of the house when all of a sudden I was attacked by a running, screaming, panic-stricken Tate who attached himself permanently to my hip for the rest of the evening.  He wouldn't let me put him down for at least an hour, and we had to employ the use of a sundry mouse deterrents to even get him to think about going to sleep in his own bed."

After taking all evidence into account, hearing the testimonies of the witnesses, and the noticeable absence of Gross Nasty Mouse in court today.....

The Honorable Judge of Rascal Raising has reached a verdict on the vermin.

"Although we are depending solely on the testimony of a hyperactive 6 year old with an appreciation for a good exaggeration, the court has no choice but to find Gross Nasty Mouse GUILTY of intrusion on Rascal property.  Because even the suggestion of a mouse is good enough cause for condemnation."

This court is adjourned.

And Gross Nasty Mouse is sentenced to death by glue trap should he come out of hiding.  Or broom handle.  Whichever comes first.


Memorial Day....

Dear Soldier,

Words tend to fail me at times like this.  Your willingness to serve our country leaves me with a lump in my throat that renders me speechless and paralyzes my fingers so that I can't even express my gratitude in written words.  It's easier for me sometimes to just not think about it, because when I do, my emotions overflow.

I stand in awe of your spouses. And your children.  And your mothers.  And your fathers.  And your friends.  Because they let you go to places that breed affliction and exhaustion and pain just so that my family can continue to complain about mundane things like air conditioners going out and the gallon of milk spoiling in the fridge.  If they are lucky and get to go with you, you cart your families all over the world so that I can stay here in the middle of nowhere complaining that Walmart is 20 minutes away.  Or as is most often the case, your family goes without you for sometimes years at a time, just so that I can stay here in comfort and complain when my husband leaves me with the children for a couple of days to go on a business trip. 

You're underpaid.  And under-appreciated.  And under-noticed.

So today, dear soldier, I want to say Thanks.  Thanks for doing what the rest of us aren't brave enough to do.  For doing the things that the rest of us find easier to sit around and debate; but you decided to get up and do something about.  For putting up with the ridiculousness of us, the ones that you are putting your life on the line for.  For uprooting yourself and your families all in the name of keeping my family free. 

This weekend my family played together.  And we laughed together.  We spent time with friends.  We ate hot dogs and grilled burgers.  We ran up our water bills playing in sprinklers.  And we stood with other Americans just being proud and patriotic and privileged.

And we owe it all to you.  And the soldiers that stood before you.  And the soldiers that will follow you.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Because these smiles are a result of your allegiance.

Did I mention Thank You?

One more won't hurt.  Thank You.

Love Always and With Gratitude Spilling Over,
Amber in Arkansas