My Family

My Family

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grown ups weekend away.

I have not been very good at keeping my posts up lately...shame, shame on me. So I thought I would kick off this week by sharing my adventure from this past weekend. Jimmy's 34th birthday was this past Saturday, and to celebrate we went to Wisconsin Dells. We took off on Friday with our friends, the Johnson's, and traveled to Hotel Rome at Mount Olympus. Keeping in mind that all things are on a budget, we were sure to pick up a coupon book and savings cards and found anything free that we could do.
We like to stay at Mount Olympus because you get a lot of activity for a pretty great  price. Before we were able to go to our room, we went to Top Secret. This big upside down White House attraction caught our eye this past summer and so we decided to check it out. It was not what I expected and I ended up feeling pretty disoriented at the end, but it was fun. I'd share with you what it was all about, but it's Top Secret..ha! Once we were able to get our room, the first thing we did was hit the indoor waterpark. There is something to be said about grown ups trying to get to the top of a slide before the kids, it is pretty funny to watch. Thank goodness I'm in better shape now than I was back in July, those stairs were much easier to tackle.  We slid and floated and hot tubbeed until we were wrinkly and the boys hands had no evidence of their jobs as mechanics.  We used our keen money saving skills to enjoy free drinks, appetizers, and half price meals. Free shuttles and free cover are always nice. We ended the first night with a free mug for Jimmy and all the tap beer he could drink (luckily it wasn't much), this was just after midnight.
On Saturday, I was up with the sun...as usual. Jimmy and I went downtown Dells and checked out all the little shops, candy stores, etc. We wandered into a cheese store for samples and walked out with a bag of fresh cheese curds...man,  I love it when they squeak in your mouth! We had a great lunch and then went to the outlet mall. I love window shopping, and that is basically all we did. Except I found a cute wallet for 50 cents!! Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson was recovering from his evening with tequila.  Lucky for us, some of the roller coasters were open and we were able to ride some go karts too.  Another round of waterpark and we went to dinner. We took the free shuttle to Ho Chunk casino, where Jimmy got $5 free play for his birthday. James gave him a dollar and that is all we spent, and we had a good time. Since we had to up early to head home, we had lights out just around midnight...man, I'm getting old. 
It was nice to be away for a couple of days, but I sure did miss my monsters while we were gone. The best part about finishing up a trip, whether its a big one or a small one, is getting to start planning the next one!  We didn't buy any souvenirs, and my camera battery died the first day, but it isn't about the money spent or even the photos really (can't believe I just said that, given that I'm a scrapbooker). It's about the memories that we make.  And while we don't travel far, it is nice to have the couple time that we so desperately need.  Also, I really enjoy proving that you can have a great time while still saving money. So, with that in mind, I am beginning the process for planning our Dells trip with the kids this summer. I've got my coupon book ready and my budget in mind...let's see how much fun we can have while pinching our pennies. K

Friday, March 16, 2012

Food for the soul...my friends.

I have had an extraoridinarily long week...lots of tears and disappointment and stress. Today all that was washed away by spending just a few hours with a very dear friend. To some it may seem silly for me to drive an hour and a half to spend only 3 hours at the mall, but it was totally worth it.
Back when I met my friend Mikelene, we were brand new associates in a brand new PetSmart store. I've said before that the best thing to come out of the decade that I spent with the company was the friends that I still have today. My mom always said that I wouldn't meet my forever friends until adulthood, and with the exception of a couple, she was dead on. Mikelene and I were both a little wild back then.... spending our nights at clubs...you know, typical late teens stuff. We moved up the ranks in the company and that's when our friendship really took shape. We grew up a lot, became wives and mothers, shared the same hobbies and have the same crazy sense of humor.
I don't have a lot of girlfriends, but the ones I do have are not your typical "girly girls". They like to drink from time to time, they have potty mouths, and boy, do they have some stories to tell. They are all super creative, and talented beyond words (maybe I'm a little biased). Have you ever had a friend that when you hug them, you don't want to let go? Or you don't have to say a single word, just one look and they know exactly what you're thinking? I have a couple of those and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
Our time today was short, but it was so long overdue that it didn't matter. A good friend, some good food and a trip to Archiver's...what could be better. And while today was wonderful, I sure didn't want it to end. That's why I am so excited for tomorrow!! I get to spend an entire day with my Bobbie, and then we head to "Grandma's House" in Ellsworth for an impromtu crafty weekend with our retreat girls. I am desperately in need of the laughter that is sure to fill the next two days. Expect Monday's blog to be full of funny pictures of my crazy girls....K

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Great Girl Gathering

This past weekend, the crew and I headed to Mall of America for the Great Girl Gathering, celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts. Now, I wasn't in Girl Scouts as a kid, so I really had no idea what kind of following it had (besides cookies), until last year when Alayna started as a Daisy. I didn't even know there were Daisies! Anywho, the kids had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. We go to the mall on a somewhat regular basis, but the kids very rarely get to go on rides, it's just too crazy expensive for a family our size.(we did our entire weekend on coupons) So, not only did we get to go on rides, we got to stay in a hotel, swim in a pool and have lots of fun.
We were up early Saturday morning, and everyone was wound up. I was hoping for naps on the way to the mall...no such luck. We arrived at the mall an hour before it was scheduled to open...HOLY CRAZY!! The rotunda was packed full with Girl Scouts and their families, friends, troop leaders, etc. And, it seemed, everyone else's children were just as wound up and excited as my three. It was only 9 and I was ready for the day to be over! After manuvering our way through this insane crowd, the kids and I started right in on the rides. Jimmy wasn't able to join us until later in the day.
This was one of the first rides we went on, I never buy those pictures they take of you on the ride, but this one I had to. I need not explain why...A's face says it all. Despite fearing for her life, my girl continued to ride all morning. We planned ahead for an early lunch, to beat the crazy crowds and did a  little shopping. Then, back to the rides....by this time, I had a headache and wanted a hot tub.

The Dudes enjoying a ride.
We were able to check into the hotel early and enjoy some swim (and a little hot tub) time. Jimmy joined us and we went to dinner with another Girl Scout family (Alayna's best friend). Lots of laughs and way too much food later, back to the mall for some night riding. My dear friend Ashley was in town and came out to the mall to say hi. Alayna, Cameron, and I rode the Fairly Odd Roller Coaster, during which Alayna screamed..."I'm going to barf!!" The idea of spaghetti and breadsticks flying around a crazy roller coaster car just about made me barf myself. Once again undeterred, she went on to ride two more roller coasters. A little more swim time and lights out for us, only to get back to the mall in the morning.
I am a crazy mom, and will do just about anything for my kiddos...including waiting in line for a special 100th anniversary Girl Scout bear at Build A Bear.
While the line outside the store moved fairly quickly(once the mall opened), the line inside to stuff, dress and pay for your bear was almost too much to handle. (all total...3 hours) To top off the super fun weekend, Alayna and the boys were able to see one of their favorite Disney Channel stars, Chyna Ann McClain, perform. Alayna's smile was so big, it made all the waiting worth it.


A quick visit to Dad and a couple of other stops and we finally headed home.
The ride home was smooth, until we got just about 15 miles from home...and my trusty van died...I was hoping for a nicer end to a pretty darn nice weekend. But, you can't always get what you want. It was a super busy, crazy, fun weekend and I am so glad we were able to take the kids on this adventure. I sure do love making memories!!! K


She loves her Angry Birds.


Alayna's new bear, Leslie.




Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A day with A.

I am a couple of days behind in writing about my day with Alayna this past Monday. I often use doctor appointments as an excuse to keep my kids home with me all day, even though they have plenty of time to go back to school. It's my way of ensuring I get a little one on one time with each of my monsters every now and again. This week, Alayna had her first eye exam, resulting in glasses. After Cameron's heart issues and Seth's hearing issues, glasses seem so mild. Her appointment was at 9am, but I decided we needed a Mom/Alayna day, as she has taken to calling them. Also, her pupils were dilated and it probably wouldn't be ideal to send her back to school that way.
We had many Mom/Alayna days back when she was in preschool, and getting to spend a little time with her alone made me realize how much I miss it. She is my favorite lunch date and shopping partner. We went to Noodles for lunch, where all she has to say is "I'll have my usual Mom." Granted, she has two usuals...but that's not important. We enjoy our noodle-y numminess and talk about what we will do for the rest of the afternoon. "Let's get our nails done!", she says. "Or we could go to Hobby Lobby and look at doll house stuff, or we can go to the mall and go to my favorite store." (which is Justice), she continues. We settle on Hobby Lobby and Target.
Her window shopping skills impress me, and her creativity when she spots something in a craft store is pretty awesome.
On our way home, she always entertains me with her crazy dance moves in the rearview mirror. She does a pretty sweet sprinkler and macarena. The best part of our Mom/Alayna days, however, are when she asks when her brothers will be home because she misses them. Makes my heart melt every damn time.
The older my children get, the more I realize how important the one on one time is. We don't even have to do much, they just like to be the center of attention. In the day to day chaos of our household, a little quiet time with Mom is always a nice treat (and I kinda like it too). I am looking forward to the next Mom/Alayna day, but have to spend some Mom/Dudes time first.....K
A enjoying her "usual" Noodles Mac and Cheese.