Need a ride?

Here you go, Dad. She's waiting for you in St. Louis.

More zoo babies

This isn't a baby, but there has supposedly been a baby snow leopard at the zoo this summer. This might be the mother?? We also saw a lion and the pumas and a jaguar.

Here is the baby giraffe. We saw him at the beginning of the summer when he was only a few weeks old. They are born 6 feet tall, you know. And the tallest one ever in captivity was 20 feet - he is dead now. This guys dad is 17 feet. He is the darker one in the next picture.

See the momma leaning down from the top corner?

Back at the Zoo!

Well, after all of our great experiences at the San Diego Zoo I was nervous that I would be disappointed when we came back here. Not so! I don't think I have seen a cat at the STL zoo in a year (of course, that could have to do with the fact that we usually poop out before we make it across the zoo to them). But yesterday was cat party day at the zoo. These are some of the five tiger cubs and their momma.

He really wanted to go out there.


Over Grown

Our yard was a bit jungle-y when we got back. This is a picture taken a couple of weeks before we returned. That vine on the corner of the back fence had taken over the entire back fence. I planted a few sunflowers and zinnias before we left - the sunflowers, as you can see, were as tall as our neighbors garage. Maybe not a flower for the city???

But this is what we have been able to enjoy since we've been back.


And other comments/words frequently heard in the McBride van while traveling across the country:
"I need help." - O
"Uh-oh." - O
"Uh-oh!!" - O
"Moooommyyy" - O
"MaaaMeeee" - J (Translated - Mommy, more please, or get me out of here)
"Are we eating at the resaranc?" - O (that's restarant)
"Is this a hotel?" - O
"You bring my camera?" - O
"Whooo iiis iiiit? The big bag woof and I'm here to eat you for supper!" - O
"Will you read this to me?" - O
"My bum hurts." - Mike, no just kidding, O
"Ga" - J (Translation: golf or God - said when he sees a golf club or the catechism book)
"Ba" - J (Translation: ball or book)
"Why?" - O
"And why?" - O
"Why?" - O
"Baybee" - J (Translated: Snoopy)
"Can I take my shoes off?"
"You need to drive 80 miles per hour." - anonymous

Speaking of Ridley

Anybody want a dog? No, really. We do love her. She is a great dog. Here are the plusses:
1. She is very unique looking - and I don't mean she is only cute to her parents kind of unique looking. She is really very pretty.

2. She is an excellent guard dog. Not a yipper. Barks at strangers and a short announcement when company arrives.

3. She is fast and cool. Great retriever. LOVES water. Will make you very popular at the park.

4. She has been an excellent relational bridge with our neighbors. This is one reason we have kept her this long. I cannot tell you how much better we know our neighbors now.

5. She is short hair and minimal shedding. Don't get me wrong, you will need to sweep every other day if you are particular like me, but she isn't a gross shedder.

BUT, I cannot do it. I am recognizing my limits and I cannot do it. I am not high energy, so what I have needs to be for my family - the human part. She is still a puppy and has lots of energy and needs more than we can give her. I constantly feel guilty for not giving her enough and then I feel guilty for getting frustrated with her (or my children) when things get a little hairy around here.

She has had her shots. She has been "fixed." She really is a great dog - we just aren't great dog owners at this stage in our lives. If you know of anyone who would be interested please let us know. She comes with a doggie igloo (donation from neighbor), bowls, toys (also donations from neighbors - I am not kidding, we may lose friends over this - our neighbors love her), and as many sticks as she can carry in her mouth. There are currently about 15 in our back yard.

If you don't want her or know anyone who might like to have her - please pray we will find a good home for her soon.

Now they sleep?!

50 miles to St. Louis and it is snoozeville for these guys. I couldn't believe it. What about the 1950 miles of the previous three days? Let's just say that the way back did not go as smoothly as the way out to CA. But, honestly, those of you who know our kids know that we really still have very little room to complain. In God's great mercy they are much more mildly mannered than their mother. My theory is that since they aquired so many new skills over the summer, being strapped into a car seat for hours on end was not as acceptable. Nevertheless, we are home and glad to be here. Mike has strep, our yard looks like a jungle, Ridley is the handful I remember, and I am sitting here in absolute, wonderful quiet while everyone sleeps. Welcome home.

Second to last stop

The idea was to stay here two days and hike, but when Mike woke up with a wicked sore throat on Wednesday morning, we decided we better press on. It was so refreshing to be in the mountains after all that dessert. This is in Vail Village - you can get a surprisingly good rate in the off season. And, if you squint your eyes to blurr out the cranes from all the construction it looks a little like Zermatt - where we took our honeymoon.

We skiied these slopes just about three years ago. Olivia was with us, but we didn't know it.

Sorry about the window reflection and the road, but other than that don't you just want to dive into that water? I love my Smokey Mountain roots, but there is nothing like the Rockies. There is even a bit of snow on the higher peaks.

We had one last rendezvous with my parents in Idaho Springs, CO. This was a cute little one street town nestled into the mountain. Supposedly the first place gold was discovered, though I think I have heard that claim in other cities too. Olivia was thoroughly confused after this stop. She thought Mimi and Scrapaw were joining us at every meal stop.

Traveling warriors

Where in the World?!

Well, first of all I thought it was Mohabe. And, second, I thought it was somewhere in Africa...or better yet the Middle East. Turns out the Mohave Dessert is right in our very own Nevada and California!

I am ashamed to say that all I learned in 7th grade geography class was how to successfully dodge the spittle that often launched itself from its lodging place in the middle of Coach Daughtery's bottom lip. While an accomplishment in itself, it was not sufficient in training me in the general whereabouts of things. Then, you add to that my poor sense of direction anyway and you have the Mohabe Dessert in Iran.

This country has been my classroom this summer - and I haven't had to dodge any spit.

You Are Here

It is easy to get confused - we have come out of CA, crossed through Nevada and Utah and have camped for the night in Vail, Colorado.

In abstentia (spelling?) - he was sleeping.

"Cheers to San Diego"

We celebrated our last night in San Diego with a trip to the Ghiradelli chocolate shop for a banana split. I have been waiting all summer for this - the banana split, not our last night. The only person I know who might enjoy Ghiradelli more than us is our friend Niki.

This is the official "cheers!" but you can see that Olivia has her priorities - her bite is bigger than mine and she didn't waste too much time on the cheers.

I promise we were having fun - those are looks of concentration on our faces. Poor Joseph - wouldn't you hate to be dependent on others in a situation like this?

That huge hole by Joe is supposed to be filled by Josie - she had to fly back early for work. Olivia took this picture - appropriately leaving the space for Josie I think.

We leave in the morning and are planning to head back through Utah and Colorado - if only it were snowing. It has been a very rich summer.

Life of a (future) pastor's kid

Sundays sure are long.

Strolling at the Park

Watching Olivia run the bases...again.

Yeah, I don't know what that move is. The unfortunate thing is that it looks as though Olivia has inheritted it.

Sittin' at the Park

Those cranes in the background are standard decor in the city. San Diego's growth has really just happened in the past 7-10 years. Our building is only about 4-5 years old. We look at the skyline now and it is hard to imagine that it just wasn't this busy and bustling only a few years ago.

Snackin' at the Park

Are you tired of seeing us at the Padres' stadium? It is two blocks away! And the Padres stink this year so we can get cheap tickets! And it is just a fantastic place. We have our routine that starts about 5:30 for batting practice, then snack in the sand box, and as many innings as we can get in before someone falls apart or wets their pants. (That did happen once, but I don't want to embarrass, I mean...)

Make it better...

...take a Mimi.

Loving the beach

I think they would be happy if I dropped them off here in the morning and didn't come back until the sun set. (Of course I wouldn't actually do that. They might get sun burned.)