Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30: Winston-Salem, NC to Atlanta, GA

This was taken by Jennifer Edling at our Eb picnic in Minneapolis just last week??? Feels like eternity ago already...


Oh what a beautiful mornin'
Oh what a beautiful day
I've got a wonderful feeling
Everything's going my way...

... right up until I got off the freeway here in Atlanta... but I'll get into that in a minute!

We got up this morning - get this - at 10:52 am.

10:52 am.
10:52 am.
10:52 am.
10:52 am.
10:52 am.
10:52 am.
10:52 am.

10:52 am.


[Big smile - I crack myself up, really.]

Seriously, I was up till about 4:30 working on the slideshow, and we didn't set an alarm, so I still managed to get a decent "morning's" sleep! Ang needed the sleep, as did Ali. Oh, man, what a wonderful treat to get to sleep in so late. Parents, you KNOW what I'm talking about.

Mary and Tom's homestead...

Us, Mary, and two of her amazing 6 children, Kevin and Sheila...

My sister Mary and me...

Ali playing with one of her cousins, Brendan...

We took our time getting out of the house today since it wasn't as long to Atlanta as I first thought. It was only 4.5 hours (don't tell the cops). Anyway, another beautiful day for a drive; high 60's and sunny. Hardly a cloud in the sky. Ali napped for almost 2 hours in the car! I'm tellin' ya... we lived a charmed life...

...right up until my google navigator told me to exit off the freeway about 4 miles too soon. Not a big deal; as Ali reminded me, "but daddy, you LIKE taking the scenic route!" However, it was a sign of things to come. We got to our Inn and there was no parking, it is on a busy street, and there are restaurants and bars beside AND below the Inn itself. We had to drive around looking for street parking (yikes - everything we own of value is sitting on a dark side street right now on a night where people overload on stupid), and once we got to the hotel, the guy tells me he doesn't have a room for me.

I send flaming daggers through his skull from my twin turrets of eyeballs.

Once he extinguishes the flames in his brain, he scrambles for a back up plan. He sees I am holding a very tired and cranky 4.5 yr old girl, who despite her crabbiness, IS the cutest thing on two feet. He finally says, "[sigh] okay, I'm going to kick someone else out of their room." I thought that was a little harsh and unnecessary, but he went on to explain that he meant that he would give me the last double that was being saved for someone else, because he was pretty sure they didn't have kids. That was pretty cool. He told me he has a little one at home and the look in my eyes made him think of how up the creek HE would have been if the tables were reversed. Pretty cool, right?

Anyhow, in hindsight, I wish he never gave us the room! LOL. It's Saturday night on Halloween weekend, and this "Inn" happens to be sitting on top of a rock and roll lounge and next door to an outside patio that has a rock band playing tonight! The "Inn" is old, and the floor shakes from the snare drum, bass guitar, and now the DJ (who it sounds like MAY have just finished up for the night! Oh, to be 24 again. None of this would have phased me because I'd be DOWN THERE! LOL. Now I drive a minivan, bring Dora the Explorer toys to the diner, and can braid hair like no straight guy I know. Ah, parenthood.

Oh well, what's a little eccentricity and culture right? NO problem, except we are trick or treating IN THE FRENCH QUARTER in New Orleans tomorrow night and figured we'd get all the eccentricity we needed - and then some - there!

The best part? Ali, being the rock star that she is, LOVES THIS PLACE! Man, it took everything under the sun for her to finally go to sleep; she was digging all the people walking the street below in costume and listening to the music pump through the floorboards! Hilarious. I just went with it. It wasn't until Ang had crashed out and Ali was bugging HER that I had to lay down the hammer. I told her, "If you want to stay up and party with me that's cool, but leave your mother alone, she needs sleep!" With that, she promptly laid down next to mommy and CRASHED out... in my spot. Guess I'm sleeping solo.

This is where Ali started at 10:00 pm... in her bed...

... and this is where she ended up at 1:00 am... in OUR bed!

We think we've picked up a little stomach bug in the van; the number of empty alka seltzer wrappers and tums tablets seems to have taken a steady upswing over the past 48 hours. Please pray for happy tummies, especially since we're not going to be that nice to them tomorrow night!

I can't wait to post tomorrow night. I can't wait for you to see the Ringgolds in costume this year! After the year we had, there was only one option. You'll see... wanna take bets in the comments? Post what you think we're gonna be while we're struttin' our stuff on Bourbon street (tomorrow afternoon, mind you; Ali may be a rock star, but she is still only 4.5).

Lastly, I want to thank the Tacky commenter for again being the necessary antagonist/catalyst the other night. Your comment and my rebuttal galvanized a whole troop of people to step up and take action in helping us spread the word and raise money. Nice job!

A slap in the face can carry a blessing in it, if you but look for it.

God night.

P.S. Again, here are the details for the upcoming Gatherings and CA memorial:

Bella's TX Blog Gathering:
Tuesday, Nov. 2nd @ 5:00pm
Community Christian Church
1300 Holly Drive
Richardson, TX 75080

Bella's AZ Blog Gathering:
Friday, Nov. 5th @ 5:00pm
Franciscan Renewal Center ("The Casa")*
5802 E. Lincoln Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
*= This has yet to be confirmed - though unlikely, be prepared for a site change
RSVP to with what potluck you will bring.

Bella's CA Memorial Service
Sunday, Nov. 14th @ 2:00pm
The Wallace All-Faiths Chapel
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866

One last thing; if you want to contact me directly either on facebook or gmail, that's perfectly fine. It's better than leaving a comment as I cannot reply to you directly from the comment. That's the one thing that irks me about blogger; for those who sign in and say who they are; google shows their profile, but stops short of letting you email them. FAIL. I guess they wouldn't want to be mistaken for a social network. LOL.

And now, I give you the slide show from our EB Gathering yesterday, and a personal request picture of "Back-in-the-day Bella!"


  1. I'm assuming butterflies are too obvious?
    Dr. Doom?
    I know its not very supportive, but this and Ang's Facebook status about your accommodations made me laugh out loud. ...
    Love from home.

  2. I would go for butterflies as well...
    Loved the pictures and the nice humor. I finished with a big smile looking at Bella with the hat.
    It's funny how sleeping patterns change with time and age:it's Sunday 8 in the morning and I'm reading your blog while my children sleep!!
    Nice to meet your sister Mary and her children.
    Have a nice Halloween day.

  3. So it's 1:37am here and I just finished feeding Brooklyn her bottle, and I was laughing out loud hysterically, reading tonights entry. Omgosh...while you are bringing in Dora the Explora everywhere, we are carrying in a team of hot wheel cars, just to eat a meal.
    Bourbon fun! I can't wait to see your costumes!
    So sorry to hear your tummies are not feeling well....ginger ale, gatorade, saltines and sweedish bitter! Stick to bland foods during the day.
    I saw Ang's FB post too....awe man...well at least the bedding that Ali is engulfed in looks cozy! Praying for a good nights sleep for Ang, Ali and you, Tim! Looking forward to viewing the slide in the AM (currently on my BB).
    God protect you and watch over you tonight and always....with all our love,
    Nicole B & family

    Ps...please let me know what I can help with for Bella's CA; set up, food, anything!

  4. What an adventure!! Great memories are being made. Your post tonight is too funny. I think we all have a few hotel or inn horror stories. We once got stuck in a terrible snow storm while staying at a bed and breakfast. The storm dumped about 5 ft of snow overnight and we had no power for 2 days. It was terrible. Makes for a fumny story now but at the time it was just miserable.

    I love, love, love that picture of Bella in that fabulous hat. She's just gorgeous. Thank you for posting that.

    Have fun tomorrow night. Are you guys gonna be clowns?

    Okay gotta get to sleep. Man, I'm up late tonight. Hehe

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie(2 1/2), and Liam(10 mos.)
    The McLaughlin Family
    Moreno Valley,CA

  5. First thought butterflies...second thought mouths? "Bella's mouth piece"? What? You could be a mouth for's 5:30AM...I may be a little sleepy. :)

  6. Great post tonight!!! I loved both slideshows.... pictures are soooo amazing! Keep up the pics of Bella! I can't wait to see what your costumes are!!!! Happy Halloween Ringgolds!

    Much Love!!
    Amanda Schauer

  7. Chuckling over today's post. Your comment about your hair braiding skills cracked me up! Glad you can find the humor in not-so-humorous situations. That's what keep us sane, isn't it?

    I finished reading Bella's Blessings last night, and it certainly provided me with so much more insight into what this journey has been like for you guys - and for all families dealing with EB. Such strength and grace you show...remarkable. My favorite part of the book are your stories of "providence" and how God is always at work in our lives, giving us what we need at just the right time. A couple of times while reading, I said aloud, "Oh, wow."

    Wishing you a fun Halloween in New Orleans. (Now, that's what I call brave!) Also hoping your tummy troubles clear up soon.

    Take care, sweet family.

    A friend in NC

  8. Although I would love to see you dressed as a butterfly....I dont think thats it. ;) I tossed around super heroes of some sort...but then you all wouldnt need costumes. Settling on Mickey Mouse clubhouse characters because that is what I would love to see you all in...even more than a butterfly costume. :) Costumes in our house: Noah-Buzz, Derek-Woody, Clara-a pumpkin. I still have to sew Dereks adult Woody costume is hard to find.

    What a story about the hotel. I hope you managed to get some sleep and it was somewhat restful.

    Sending my love to all and sweet kisses and bunches of hugs to Ali.

    Denise WI

  9. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is my third vote, behind butterflies and Dr. Doom.

    (or Angels?)

  10. Jack and Molly's NanaOctober 31, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    I'm thinking you should be the INCREDIBLES, because you are!
    Can't wait to see what you came up with; I'm sure it'll be fabulous. I finished my 6th Halloween costume yesterday and delivered it to the most boo-tee-ful little blonde witch ever. The craziest costume I ever made was for Sara's friends's son a few years ago - an angler fish. Seriously, with the huge curvy teeth and glowy light antenna. Yep. This year's were a walk in the park!
    I'm so glad you've been able to visit your "peeps" and continue to be proud to be one of them. Looking forward to meeting you all on the 14th! Drive carefully - no faster than your angel can fly; she's strong, but her wings are pretty little!

  11. Well my 1st idea (Butterflies) is way too obivious so I will go with my second idea - Doctors? (Or maybe Angels is beter.)

    I LOVE that you can always see the good and positive in everything that happens - still teaching me lessons everyday! Thanks!

    Enjoy New Orleans can't wait for the fun stories!
    Tina in NJ

  12. Sorry to hear you guys have tummy troubles now. That is why I never eat from Potlucks unless I know the people personally and see how clean they are in their kitchens. I hope you all feel better soon. Try pepto bismol. I like the chewables and they work great.

  13. Wherever she lays her hat, that's her home...

    Oh, I was so surprised and delighted to see the photos of the event in NC and then to be treated to my favourite shot of The Glorious Miss B in your hat on the plane.

    Do you know, I still have this weird view of the internet, that your blog somehow exists on a different time plane, that your readers' association with you can't possibly be real. Seeing my request so quickly honoured floored me, to be honest. I feel really quite tearful in a happy-sad kind of way. The interconnectedness is real, I knew that. But I really feel it now. Silly. Forgive my rambling wanderings.

    She is such a wonderful soul, your Bella. Today I really miss the little girl I love but never met...

    Much love and extra helpings of fondness to all of you,


  14. You all continue to amaze me. You have been through so much and yet show a strength that is incredible. Oh, I'm sure that you have times of unbelieveable sorrow and sadness but it seems that Bella taught you how to handle those times. She has left us all with many lessons about life and death and spirituality. I never met her, but through you I felt some of her pain and your sorrow. I also felt some of your strength, which you have so graciously shared with your readers.
    I'm so glad that we got to share a meal together in Minneapolis and I'm hoping that Molly will be able to attend the Ca service for us. Tim, did you ever consider photography as a line of work?...I LOVE your pictures. And you are right about the beauty. It is all around us. We just have to take the time to see it.
    Travel blessings to you and I hope that the services you hold along the rest of your trip are as beautiful and rewarding as those you've already had.
    Love to you all,
    Wendy Camp
    Napa, Ca.

  15. Forgot to add my guess to the 'What will the Ringgolds be wearing for Halloween'.

    A bit of me envisages spectacular butterflies.

    But another bit of me wonders if you are going to do something gloriously bonkers like becoming a trio of odd but fabulous SOCKS!

    Who knows...

    Can't wait to find out!


  16. I can't tell you how badly I just HAD to get on line tonight to check in on your day yesterday with Jonah's family... I'm so glad to read that it was magical and healing and full of food!! I used to live within a more or less reasonable drive from Richardson, TX, but sadly, I now live near Miami.. but I'll keep checking in and sending you virtual love on your journey.
    all the best,
    Ft Lauderdale, FL
    ps. I didn't realize Blogger blocked email access.. if you ever feel so inclined to write back, I'll start adding my email address at the end.
    emonteer (at) gmail (dot) com
    pps. The blast from the past pictures of Bella are killing me. They make me tear up every time, but keep them coming =).

  17. heaveno!

    i'm still so glad for the gathering for sweet bella friday night! you, ang, and ali are amazing.
    thanks for all the great pictures! the one of ali and ang sleeping on the bed is priceless! i can't wait to see and hear how halloween goes...hope the stomach bug is nothing but a distant memory!

    god bless y'all!
    w-s, nc

  18. I loved the photo of Jonah and Bella's families together. Was this the first time you have met in person?

    I wonder if all of the EB families marvel at how those of us who aren't connected with any of you personally start to drift to each of your sites?

    Looking forward to seeing your Halloween photos. My little guy wore an orange astronaut costume with a batman cape and vampire facepaint....

    Fab photo of Bella!!
    Kim from California

  19. Tim, Ang and Ali - I love reading about your 'Clark Griswold' adventures across the countryside! The stories are great. I am looking forward to seeing your Halloween photos. I agree with one of the commenters, and think you're each going to be going as fabulous socks. Miss you guys!