because we are all stories in the end

Tag Archives: family

These last two weeks have been crazy.

Let me enlighten you.

I traveled to Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Silverthorne, Colorado; with a 48-hour period at home in between Texas and Colorado. That’s over 2,600 miles, y’all.

I got to do and see so much, so I’ve decided to split this post into two parts.

Part One: Texas

Ah, Texas: where everything’s bigger. On Thursday, July 17th, I left for Dallas with my mom and brother. My brother’s baseball team was playing in a tournament there, so we decided to make a mini vacation out of it. On the non-baseball days, we mostly went to different malls. We got to see the Galleria Mall in Dallas, as well as the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco. Both of them were really nice! We had a lot of fun. It was great to have some time with my brother before he goes off to college this month.

Outside the Tiffany store in the Galleria (that’s my mom on the right):


We also stopped by Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, my brother’s favorite restaurant in the entire world, and had the most delicious cheesecake of our lives, as seen below:


And by Tuesday, it was time for me to go, so we headed to Dallas Love Field Airport…


…where I waited to board my flight to Houston (some snaps from my Snapchat story that day):





And at long last, I was reunited with Mermaid! We had a grand three days together. We got to visit her family’s new house, and I introduced her to two wonderful things: Downton Abbey and embroidery.



She was a natural! My first embroidery student was a complete success.



(Sorry the pictures are all weird sizes…)

Anyway, on our last day together, we went to the movies. But not at some regular old movie theater. No, no.


We went to the Santikos Palladium–the largest movie theater in North America, apparently.




(I’m next to the light post in the picture above)

It was pretty phenomenal. I didn’t get any pictures of the inside, but it was, as you can imagine, gigantic. It had a restaurant, a coffee bar, an arcade, an express diner, a full bar, a concession stand, and even a gift shop! (Not to mention the huge theaters with 81-foot screens.) We saw Hercules and Lucy (the former surprisingly better than the latter).



Mermaid and her Mama stole my phone and snapped some selfies:



They’re pretty great, and by that I mean they’re truly amazing people. I love them.

And, finally, here are our finished embroidered creations:



…and mine.


Texas was quite an adventure, and I’m so glad I got to go. The whole trip was a blessing that I really needed; a nice respite before my next trip: Silverthorne, Colorado, which I’ll talk more about in the next post!

Until next time, friends.


Sometimes I write stuff. And once in a while, I create something that I’m pretty proud of.

The piece I’m about to show you is one of those things.

It’s a personal narrative I wrote for a class I took last semester, a story about the time my family took an RV to New York City. Yeah, you read that right. It was…an adventure, to say the least.

Before you begin: I wrote it in non-chronological fashion, so be prepared for some jumps in time. Also, it’s meant to be funny, so please feel free to laugh.

And now, I present for your reading pleasure, “Votaw Family Adventures—Episode 1: In Which My Family Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple”


Votaw Family Adventures—Episode 1: In Which My Family Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple

New York State Sign

(to the tune of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)

‘Twas our last day in New York, and all through the city

my mother and I had wandered. Time to go? We were ready.

We carried our purchases (and the weight we had gained);

I was ready to call for a cab to the train

when what to my wandering eyes should appear,

but my father driving a class B motorhome down the streets of Manhattan?

…but lo, I’m getting ahead of myself.


August 2010. I’m about to be a senior in high school, and my younger brother is about to be a freshman. It’s nobody’s birthday, it’s not a holiday. But my parents decide, “You know what? We’re going to New York City.” Which is awesome news for me, because I have wanted to go to the Big Apple since I read about it in the Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister book Karen’s Big Weekend, in which Karen spends Christmas in New York City (which, of course, I read ages ago, as a child. I am seventeen now and I read classics like Pride and Prejudice, thank you very much).

Now, how to get there? We could get plane tickets, but what would we do with our two dogs and cat? Take them to a boarding kennel? No, they’re much too spoiled. Leave them with a friend? Ha ha, nice try. No, it is decided that they must travel with us. So one day my dad brings home an RV—not a big one, mind you, and not one you pull behind a truck. It’s a Class B motorhome, one of the short ones with the little hood over the cab.

mom in rv

            Yes, friends. We’re driving a motorhome. To New York City. From Vinita, Oklahoma, that’s over 19 hours of driving nonstop. But don’t you fret and don’t you frown, because with our two aging dogs, we’ll be making plenty of stops.



We are here! In New York City! Primarily to see Derek Jeter, sure, but hey, we’re here. No, we won’t be seeing any Broadway shows, and no, we won’t be touring any museums, but you can always come back, Jess. (Sigh.) We might get to see Fifth Avenue, though (Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment!), and maybe we’ll go see the Statue of Liberty, but most importantly, DEREK FREAKING JETER! He’s the reason people go to New York, right? (My poor, uncultured family…)



This vehicle is much too small for two parents, two teenagers, two dogs, and a cat. I wonder to myself why we didn’t just get one of those really long and fancy ones, and then my brother wonders it aloud. What my mom says is, “Gas is expensive.” What she doesn’t say is, “Your father has already nearly run this beast into enough things, and I don’t even want to imagine him driving a larger one, so please just shut up so that I can maybe try to sleep even though I know good and well that’s not going to happen.”

sis and bro and mom and pets



The stadium is packed. After all, it is a Yankees game. And, I have to admit, it’s pretty cool. I grew up a baseball fan (in large part because my brother’s been playing it since he could walk), and I do get a thrill from the crowds and the lights and the excitement, but this is a whole new animal, because WE’RE IN THE FOOD SEATS. For those of you who don’t know what that means, the food seats (which are what my brother and I called them; they probably have some fancy name like VIP seating or something) are the best in the house because when you sit in them, you are entitled to free food at any point during the game. Two hot dogs and a Coke? Sure thing, kid. Cotton candy and a corn dog? Coming right up. Fries and another hot dog? You betcha!

I am really excited about the food seats.

The only person who may be more excited than me at this moment is my mom, who, when she thinks she sees ol’ pretty boy Jeter look up toward our section of the stands, giggles, “He winked at me! Derek just looked up here and winked at me!” like the middle-aged fangirl she is.

 food seats


The cat’s not peeing. We’ve been in this rolling rectangle for about 14 hours now and he hasn’t done anything in his litter box. And he isn’t eating, either. In fact, he hasn’t even come out of the little blue crate with his bed in it, which we stuck in the bathroom at the very back of the RV.

I’m beginning to think we’ve scarred him.



“Oh. My. Gosh.

I blink a few times, sure that what I am seeing is an illusion. But no, the hooded white box rolls ever closer, towering above the yellow cabs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my father is driving our rental RV down Fifth Avenue. How he has managed to find us is and forever will be beyond me, but there he is.

“Come on, we gotta jump in!” Mom shouts when he gets close. Dad rolls down his window and, with a crazed gleam in his eye, shouts, “Let’s go, let’s go!”

“Who are you people and what have you done with my parents?!” the drama-queen inside me wants to scream. But I don’t. We jump in the RV like it’s a getaway van (actually, right now that’s exactly what it is) and drive off. I don’t breathe until we hit the highway.

           NYC at night



Destination: New York City, NY. Mode of travel: Small recreational vehicle. People traveling: 45-year-old male, 44-year-old female, 17-year-old female, 15-year-old male. Animals traveling: 10-year-old miniature schnauzer, 8-year-old miniature schnauzer, 1-year-old cat. Time spent: approximately 168 hours. Overall rating: 10/10, would go again, would recommend to slightly insane friend.