All Pool, No Swim

Believe it or not, it is only on rare occasion that I travel with Alex and Leah. Most of the time when I head out for an outreach event, it is with my trusty sidekick Lindsey. (She loves it when I call her a “Trusty Sidekick!”)

Last weekend we were invited to perform at the Triangle Down Syndrome Network of North Carolina’s Buddy Walk. Now I know that some of you reading this are in NC and wondering why you did not hear about this event. Well let me tell you why, you have not signed up for our Signing Time Newsletter. Did you know that each time we have a Signing Time event we will shoot you off an email if you are in the general vicinity? I even tell my friends and family members to sign up, if they want to know when I am traveling near them, because, really… do you think I can keep it all straight? Well I can’t and I don’t.

Last weekend was one of those rare occasions when Alex and Leah were traveling with us. If Leah is booked with me, no problem! If Alex is booked too, still, no problem but that does require an additional adult to manage the kiddos, so Alex’s dad, Derek came too.

There is a big difference between traveling with Just Lindsey (She loves it when I call her “Just Lindsey”) versus traveling with the kids. Differences like more bathroom breaks, not skipping meals and a constant state of torture giggling from wherever A&L happen to be, which is reminiscent of Ghana.

Here are some other differences. Lindsey, though probably tempted has yet to take pictures of me sleeping on the plane… Leah on the other hand took my iPhone and had a hey-day!

See I ALWAYS sleep on planes.  And I guess I sleep with my mouth open!

See I ALWAYS sleep on planes. And I guess I sleep with my mouth open!

Self Portrait by Leah

Self Portrait by Leah

At one point, Leah looked out the window and started laughing, “Mom, LOOK!! (giggle, giggle) Scattered clouds!!”

Scattered Clouds

Scattered Clouds

Unreasonable Requests
Our layover was in Las Vegas. Leah was puzzled, “Isn’t that the WRONG direction?” Yeah, well she can take that up with Southwest Airlines. But, our first layover was in VEGAS Baby! Do you know what Vegas has got that Salt Lake City does not? Nope, not gambling… I mean YES it does, but THAT is not what I am looking for and let’s just stop the guessing right there, since this is a child’s show.

The answer my friends: In-N-Out Burgers! We had an hour and a half layover and I put out the tweet. My tweet was answered and my dear friend Cathy loaded her triplets and adorable daughter into their minivan, drove through In-N-Out and delivered burgers curbside!! Are you kidding me?

I love that woman. I grabbed the burgers and ran. (Do you get the feeling I do a lot of running through airports? Well I do!) I ran and ran and ran. The train was not working so I just hoofed it, making it to the farthest possible C gate (of course) arriving 10 minutes before the flight left. I was huffing and puffing and laughing as I spotted Lindsey, spotting me. We handed out burgers and Leah looked at me and said, “This is the best lunch ever!”
Be careful you never know where my next layover will be and what wacky request I might send out. You could be next!

We arrived in North Carolina, checked in to our hotel and went out to meet our hosts for dinner. As we arrived at a Country Club I reminded Alex and Leah to please use their best manners. Heh-heh. Right.

Note to self: the time to instill manners is from toddlerhood on, NOT right before dinner at ages 10 and 11 respectively.

What Manners!  What Manners?

What Manners! What Manners?

Remember my last outreach post about trying to find Lindsey a man? Well we were only so-so successful. This is TJ.

TJ and Lindsey at Dinner TOGETHER

TJ and Lindsey at Dinner TOGETHER


Lindsey helped him cut his steak. He offered her his vegetables. They whispered secrets to each other throughout dinner. And that is all I am saying about THAT!

All pool, no swim!
That should be the title of all outreach events with Alex and Leah. Neither one can comprehend how it is possible that they are staying in hotels and not swimming at all. Every time they passed the pool they gazed at it with want. (sigh)

Sunday morning, the kids and Derek slept in. Lindsey and I went to an interview. After breakfast we all got ready for the show. We arrived at The Buddy Walk. My eyes immediately went to the blow up bounce houses and giant slides. Most Buddy Walks have these, and Lindsey and I NEVER get to play in them. See, by the time I am finished signing autographs, taking pictures and performing, all of the inflatables are being packed up! Not this time. Not on my watch! Besides, we had arrived a little early!! “Come on!” I hollered at Alex and Leah and as I sprinted across the grass toward the giant slide. We threw off our shoes and ran up the slide.

Pausing for Pictures

Pausing for Pictures

“One at a time!!! One at a time!” The teenagers standing guard shouted at us.

No Manners and Never Following Directions

No Manners and Never Following Directions

We had a great Meet & Greet prior to the performance. Again many families mentioning that they usually watching Signing Time on PBS on Saturdays, but it hadn’t been on the past few weeks. (Yeah, that blog is still coming)

Then we hit the stage!

Then we hit the stage!

Then we walked the walk

Then we walked the walk

It was a beautiful day, 78 degrees and I was the only one wearing jeans and a jacket!

Now it was time for dinner. Alex and Leah had been requesting sushi for days. Well, in my mind they had earned it. We found a sushi joint and ordered up. I have to admit there is a smug satisfaction in watching my daughter devour raw fish like a Grizzly Bear after salmon.

It's sushi time with Alex and Leah

It's sushi time with Alex and Leah

Derek, Lindsey and I watched as the kids piled up their plates with nigiri and rolls, then we ordered another full round. While waiting for round two, Alex and Leah had the brilliant idea to have a wasabi challenge. Each takes a mound of wasabi and on the count of 3 they eat it. Whoever reaches for water first loses. “Loses what?” you ask… nothing… remember when you were 10 and it was just about winning and losing… with nothing at stake other than that? So simple. And here it is…
“It’s wasabi time with Alex and Leah”Here comes the sad part. After dinner Leah and I dropped the rest of the gang off at the hotel and we drove 2 hours to Wilmington. Are you wondering what is sad about that? Well, I am not sure, but those kids were crushed. You’d think they didn’t live 10 minutes away from each other 365 days a year.

In Wilmington we stayed with our friends Kelly and Caroline and their kids, Jacob and Carly… oh and their 5 dogs. Count them!

Leah, Caroline, Kelly, Abby, Bama, Checker, Molly and Sammy

Leah, Caroline, Kelly, Abby, Bama, Checker, Molly and Sammy

I am not a dog person. We have had two dogs and it was not my thing and we found each of ours a new home. There is just something about coming home and having to scout out puppy puddles, puppy poop, puppy barf or potential doggy damage that doesn’t work for me. And then there is shedding, see I am fond of wearing black and our dalamation… ugh! So, we got a maltese poodle thinking small, non-shedding dog, but alas.. no that wasn’t it. What IT is, is this. I am NOT a dog person!!!

But I love my friends and I put up with the pups and they know I am putting up with the dogs. 🙂

Leah and I visited Jacob’s old school the Child Development Center and did two signing, singing story time performances. We had a couple of interviews and then we went to the beach. We had to go! Do you know how many times I am at incredible destinations and must refrain? Well, most of the time.

Rachel, Carly, Leah and Jacob at the beach

Rachel, Carly, Leah and Jacob at the beach


My new wallpaper on my iPhone

My new wallpaper on my iPhone

We had 20 minutes at the beach and then turned around for a Meet & Greet at the library. I couldn’t just stand there and meet and greet. I had to sing! Plus it’s a library, so I signed some stories too. I just can’t help myself.

Then they took me out for a birthday dinner. Hey, I am not opposed to dragging my birthday out for weeks… I mean really! For dessert we had key lime pie, which is a green colored pie in Utah, but it is a cream colored pie here in North Carolina.

Making a wish! (I wish I could go back to the beach)

Making a wish! (I wish I could go back to the beach)

Leah and I flew home to Salt Lake City the following morning. At the airport we had ice cream for breakfast.

Rachel, Leah, Ben & Jerry

Rachel, Leah, Ben & Jerry


Maybe Leah should come with me more often. Maybe we should all let our kids inspire us to play more often. I mean, every kid just wants to play with the biggest kid on the block and guess what… You are the biggest kid on the block. Your kids just want to play with you!