Saturday, August 15, 2009

We Interrupt This Series.... bring you details on the girls' weekend Dallas trip!

At the end of July, my mom (Marsha), my mother in law (Vicki), my sister (Rachel), my sister in law (Lainie) and I all decided to pack up and drive down to Dallas for the weekend. With the school year fast approaching, and with 4 out of the 5 of us having to start school in one form or another soon, we wanted a little R & R before all the chaos began. And because we all have WONDERFUL men at home, they made it possible for us to get away and enjoy ourselves!

After "naming our own price" for a 3.5-star hotel ($42.00/night!), calling up some special friends that live in the Dallas area and packing for the weekend, we were off on our adventure. It was all smooth sailing on the way down there.....that is until we hit a little bump in the road that some people may refer to as "Oklahoma". No offense to any Oklahomans out there, but the OK highways leave MUCH to be desired! I swear, once we hit OK City at about 2:00 pm, it was gridlock traffic that moved at snail's pace. There were construction cones everywhere, lanes blocked off for no apparent reason, and absolutely NO construction workers to be seen. Completely frustrating, but the standstill on the highway did afford us the opportunity to take some self portraits while we waited!

Trying to find the humor in Oklahoma's delay of our getaway! Left to right: Marsha (Budda), Vicki (Grammy), Lainie, Rach and Moni.

After hour 4 of sitting in Oklahoma traffic and growing increasingly anxious to cross the state line into Tejas, we became a little slap-happy and delirious. I spotted this license plate, thought it through for a second, then wondered aloud for the benefit of my partner's in crime riding with me. I asked, "Hey ladies....what do you think that plate says?! Quick, just blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind!? Go ahead readers.....take a gander and see what you think.

Well, my mom and Vicki certainly didn't let me down with their assessment of the tag. Mom started sounding it out and came up with "Gray", to which Vicki promptly finished it by saying "Knockers". Yep, that's what the 2 puerile elders of the group came up with.....Gray Knockers. We couldn't stop laughing (like I said, we were getting a little wild-eyed and crazy by this point), and it was even more funny when I still had to decipher it for them 5 minutes later. "Geez, you old ladies! It's freakin' GREEN ACRES! Get your minds outta the gutter!" Leave it to the "masked" gray hairs to come up with gray knockers. Sheesh. Now I guess anyone who knows Billy or me can see where we get "it"!

At any rate, we brought up this license plate several times over the course of our trip and had many laughs at it's expense. Definitely a memorable moment.....but I guess you had to be there.

As you've probably already guessed, we made it to Dallas safe and sound. I'm not going to include information about the near-death experience in the HOV lane just 5 minutes from our destination! Maybe I should be more familiar with my surrounding first before I go hopping on the express lane! It ended up taking about 7.5-8 hours when it normally should only take about 6 hours.

We decided to hit up Cheddar's for dinner, then headed back to the hotel to lounge around, talk and enjoy ourselves. After getting back to our room, someone had the hare-brained idea of running to Wal-Mart (we spotted one not too far away from our hotel) for a deck of cards. As with any trip to Wally World, it ended up taking us much longer than expected to find a simple deck of cards. We got a little distracted......

This Hannah Montana helmet was on clearance for only $4.00! I decided not to get it because I don't think Billy would've appreciated his boys being in girly helmets....and even though it fit me (snugly) I'm quite sure this would've been too small for Forrest's giant head!

We had a great Friday night relaxing and carried it over to Saturday morning, laying out around the pool. Ahhhhhhhh! The rays felt SO nice. Plus, we didn't have to worry about 4 toddlers running around, trying to drown themselves.....which is always good.

Me and my baby sister, Rach

Saturday afternoon, we got cleaned up and navigated our way to the beautiful home of a fellow quad family. Robbie and Casey Gerwer (and their foursome: Brady, Reid, Cameron and Trey) were gracious enough to open their house to my family and me for an afternoon and evening of pure quad-delight! We were met there by some more TX Quad Mama friends Suz Steece (plus Ben, Ethan, Andrew and Savannah), Misty Urech (plus River, Rayne, Skye and JuJu) and Amy-Jo Sather (plus her hubby, Brandon). I got to meet 12 of my best friends' kids that day.....what a trip! I was so glad to be able to play with and help out and I can't even begin to imagine if the Graf Quads would have been part of the chaos. Fortunately all the family I brought are certified, experienced quad-wranglers. Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine made sure THEY were the first set of quads to break them in!

Suz, me, Case, A-J and Mist......would you ever believe we had to crop about 6 kids from this shot? I felt like I was at home with all the little hands tugging on my hems!

It was a HOT afternoon, but the kids had so much fun playing together! We enjoyed some tasty munchies, drinks and frequently-interrupted but great conversations....and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I especially enjoyed eating from Casey's plastic green chip bowl. That thing (or one very similar to it) has been a staple conversation starter for MONTHS among the quad mamas! I almost took it while she wasn't looking to keep as a souvenir.....but I chickened out at the last minute. Oh well, there's always next time.

The infamous green chip bowl!

My buddy and me.....Drew Steece. This little dude knows how to capture the ladies' hearts! What a sweetheart! I think I fell in love with him the second he smiled at me.

"Now settle down kids. There are plenty of sippies to go around. Nevermind that Trey just snatched Sav's cup.....what's a little spit swap among quads?!?!" Note: Trey did not actually steal Sav's cup....I made that up.

"Okay, girls....Aunt Moni's gonna show you the plan of attack. River, you distract your mom by spilling your drink on your shirt. When her head is turned, Skye and Rayne will go the opposite direction and give JuJu a boost so she can climb the fence into the pool. Savannah will provide back-up distraction if needed. Okay, girls.......scatter! Ethan's coming!

Gettin' some playhouse play-time with the Steece's Pieces. Miss Priss and Ethan are in front. I'd have felt really bad if my big booty broke the Gerwer's toys! this time around. I probably would have tried blaming it on Savannah anyways.

The Trey-ster! I don't quite know why he reminds me soooo much of Pius....but he does. Trey and his seedy side kick Brady make quite the duo-team performance act when it comes to entertaining the masses! I see a lucrative celebrity opportunity awaiting them when they get a little when they quit the diapers. Those 2 are natural-born charmers!
HOLY LOTS OF KIDS! In some semblance of order from left to right: Cameron and Trey (by Robbie), Brady (drinking), Ethan (in front), Andrew (back), Rayne (pink cup), JuJu (playing with the 2 cups), Savannah (owning that chair and those sunglasses in the back like a true diva), and River (green cup).
Not pictured because they were out looking for mischief to get in to: Reid, Ben and Skye.
The kids are all down for the count, the ladies are hanging out....perfect opportunity for a self-portrait! Casey, I love you,'re such an amazing mother and friend! Our little Mother Hen, you are.

Robbie and Casey, thank you so much for letting us all come crash your crib! I had an awesome time hanging out with such good company. We've really gotta start working on finding a suitable location for the "Quad Family Commune" we're all going to live in one of these days. Can you imagine the block parties?! And the future nuptials?! Ha!

The next day, the moms, sisters and I took our time packing up and checking out of the hotel. When we were sufficiently prepared to take on the heat, the traffic and the google map, we headed to the outlet malls. I found some good buys at Carter's for the kids. When we had about all the fun we could handle, we hung up our shopping shoes and decided to head back home sweet home.

I was really wishing that the 'ol "click your ruby heels three times while repeating there's no place like home" thing was going to work for us. But, alas! It didn't and we had to drive all the way back. That's okay because the drive home gave me ample time to think about the injustices that fiction stories like that inflict on it's fans.

I'm happy to report that we had a rather uneventful trip back home, with the exception of a surprise encounter with a HUGE insect while driving. I'll say this about it: It's okay to question a flapping noise sounding similar to a plastic bag being stuck in a car door and zipping around in the wind. However, when it's dark out, you're pulling out of a shady gas station, picking up speed to merge onto the highway and already distracted by four other women in the's probably NOT a good idea for the driver to do the noise investigation. You know what they say about hindsight......So I rolled down my window a little, blindly tried to reach up by the door frame to let loose the "trash" that was causing all the noise, felt the "trash" grab my hand, immediately pulled my hand in and let out a blood-curdling scream while the car is swerving. An insect the size of a BIRD was sticking to my hand! I threw my hand back out the window and shaked, pounded, flicked, cussed, probably peed a little.....whatev. I finally freed my left hand from the monstrosity but then had to tend to the other 4 people in the car who were suffering from mild myocardial infarctions. What an adrenaline rush! Pretty sure I had to peel my mom off of the ceiling, too! All in all, we were fortunate that nobody sustained real physical or emotional damage.....well, except for the gi-normous arthropod....pretty sure that booger is scarred for life if not dead. Then, we all laughed about it the rest of the way home! Just another memory to put in the bank....
Vicki and Lainie, I'm SO GLAD you thought this trip up! Rachel and mom, I'm genuinely happy you were both able to make it work too! You are 4 of my favorite women to be with and I'm so blessed to have such great relationships with ALL of you. I love you! Can't wait for our next excursion....whenever that may be.



Misty said...

What fun! I loved getting to meet your family. They are an amazing sweet, gorgeous bunch of women!

And now I finally know what was goign on in that huddle!

Steph Golden said...

You are such a fabulous writer. I'm glad you are able to make time for yourself, and that all of the Graf/Haag women have supportive men that allow for them to get away. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Good times to remember so you can keep your sanity. Now you know why there's always a little hesitation coming home... Oklahoma traffic. They've been working on the highways for 25 years. I can personally attest that. Love from us in Austin.

Anonymous said...

Good times to remember so you can keep your sanity. Now you know why there's always a little hesitation coming home... Oklahoma traffic. They've been working on the highways for 25 years. I can personally attest that. Love from us in Austin.

Shelia said...

Too funny... Moni, I just love your stories:)

Jac Tubre said...

LOVE this post! I especially love the picture of the green chip is nice to put a face to a name :)

Miss you like crazy!


Stephanie said... are such afunny writer!! Your posts always have me laughing!! Love the pics and stories!! Yet another w/e with thos fabulous quad mommas!! I can only imagine how much fun you guys have together!!
Glad you and the fam were able to get away for the weekend!!

Cochran Quads said...

Andrea and I are laughing outloud over the insect eggstravaganza!!!! So glas you got to see the green chip bowl in person! You really should have stolen it though!!! I love the way you tell stories honey!!! Love You!

Kelly Trullinger said...

What a great trip. Your family is so beautiful! Casey is getting all the girly action! Maybe someday we'll make it out to Texas to see everyone! Loved seeing the pictures!

Miss you!

quatro_mama said...

Ohhhhh, mama! What a trip! When are you makin' the Indiana route? We'd take in a Moni Graf any night of the week! Looked like a blast. Hope you loved on my quad mamas enough for all of us!

Love 2 you,

Krystyn said...

Wow! That sure looks like a blast! I bet that was the best of times!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I was saying "Great" instead of "Gray"....."Great-Knockers". Anyway, we had a blast and can't wait to do it again! Thanks for all the driving and navigating, Moni.
Love you! Budda