Category Archives: family

Sick of the Holidays

Did you hear it? The radio silence here? More on that in a minute. Let’s start with the fun stuff!

How was your Christmas holiday?  We had our traditional Christmas Eve with my parents. There was the usual annual picture of all the grandkids in attendance.


(And something else fun that happened a few days later?… My oldest niece [pink heart] got engaged! Her boyfriend of nine years [red heart] proposed this week.)

Christmas tree, Christmas gifts

Christmas morning I realized I had completely forgotten to get my girls Christmas pajamas to wear Christmas Eve night for festive pictures on Christmas morning. Darn it. I blame my flu-brain. Yep, you read that correctly. Five days before Christmas, OMG Becky and I came down with the flu.


Oh man, it was horrible. It started with a cough that Tuesday afternoon and then we both woke up miserable Wednesday morning. It was a knock-you-down, no energy, chills, aches, and fever flu that had us flat on our backs. (I was also sick last Christmas.) Five more members of family had it that week!

Friday we woke feeling the tiniest bit better. Neither of us had a fever since the afternoon before. We were ready to get out of the house! It was Becky’s actual birthday and we had taken the day off work to celebrate before we ended up sick. (Sassy was already out of school.) We had made lunch reservations a couple of weeks ago and Becky didn’t want to postpone so out we went.

First stop was a crystal store. OMG Becky has been reading all about them lately and wanted to get a few new ones for her collection.

Next was lunch at Cooper’s Hawk!

Copper's Hawk

It was delicious, but we were still so worn out from the flu, we had zero appetite. Most of this food was boxed up and taken home with us.

After lunch, OMG Becky had one more stop in mind… the Kendra Scott store. So many pretty things!

kendra scott

Becky had her eye on a particular necklace. Luckily for her, I hadn’t finished her Christmas shopping yet due to being sick so I bought it for her. Win, win!

Our day that had been a fun time ended up not so fun. After I dropped the girls off, I loaded up my car to make a trip to the recycling center. On the way there, an oncoming driver failed to yield on a left turn, turned in front of me, and we collided.

wrecked car

Both cars had to be towed. Because it was late Friday afternoon before the holiday, nothing on the insurance claim was even started until Tuesday this week. I was finally able to get a rental car Thursday. OMG Becky had a blast being my driver up until then.  😉  What’s crazy is Becky was involved in a wreck with the exact same circumstances one year ago this week.

I would like to state for the record and just put it out there in the universe that I need me being sick and a family member being in a car wreck to not become a Christmas tradition. Two years in a row of that crap is more than enough. I want my holly, jolly Christmas season back, please and thank you.

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

What’s your favorite Christmas gift you received this year?


Birthday Dinner & a Breakthrough

Oh my goodness, Christmas is five days away!

And that means my oldest daughter, OMG Becky, turns 19 in just three days. I can’t.

We had just one outing this past weekend due to a winter storm. It started with freezing drizzle Friday late night, followed by snow all Saturday afternoon. And let us not forget single digit temperatures with a windchill below zero. We hunkered down and stayed home from Friday evening until Sunday evening.

Sunday night we went to my parents’ house for Becky’s family birthday dinner! The evening involved arts and crafts meant for the littles, but enjoyed by all.


Coloring pictures to put in Santa’s mailbox. These pictures may have involved pleas for gifts and a nice list. Sassy didn’t make it on that list.  😉


Tree decorating.


cousins, christmas tree

We had a breakthrough. Do you notice something in the picture above? My youngest niece is smiling! Her eyes were still on me nonstop all night, but at least she’s smiling. (I took my walking boot off while she was there. We’re all hoping she’s even more comfortable with me come Christmas Eve!)

We also enjoyed cake!


Sidenote, OMG Becky was not entirely happy with me. I had asked her what kind of cake she wanted. She picked Red Velvet. Great. I went to the store Friday, bought the cake mix and frosting. Baked the cake Saturday. Took it to the party Sunday. That’s when I realized I hadn’t bought her any ice cream. We had a birthday party without ice cream. Oh the injustice! For whatever reason (I guess because we didn’t discuss it?) buying ice cream never even dawned on me. #momfail

What’s your latest #momfail? 

Making Christmas Memories

Happy Friday! Wow. This week seemed like it was only two days instead of five. Does that ever happen to you? I’m okay with it. We’re now that much closer to Christmas!

gingerbread house

We have been busy over here with all the usual holiday prep. We went with my parents and my brother and his family on our annual visit to see Santa. OMG Becky was coming from another gathering missed out on seeing Santa. Such a naughty girl.

santa, santa's lap, santa visit, cousins

I have to point out something. Notice how everyone except my youngest niece are all looking at the photographer?


She is giving me severe stink eye! Why? Because I was wearing my medical walking boot. She is terrified of it! She thinks it’s going to eat her. Maybe she thinks it’s eating me from the toes up? She has been giving me this look non-stop since I got it on 4+ weeks ago. (I’ll try to post an update on my foot injury later this weekend.)

After Santa and lunch…


…we have another tradition of picking out a new ornament at Hallmark. There I found my most favorite ornament ever!

ornament, crayola crayons, Hallmark

Crayola Crayons “Big Box of 64!” I remember getting this box of crayons for Christmas every year. I loved all the sharp, new crayons!

I came home from a work one day to find Christmas had explored all over the living room.

Christmas decorations

Sassy took it upon herself to decorate the tree. She got tired of waiting for the rest of us!

There has also been more batches of sugar cookies baked than I can count.


I think I’ll be finding colored sugar all over the house for months to come!

There has also been lots of shopping. I’ve found some great deals! I love the thrill of the hunt. I even like saving a few items to shop for until Christmas Eve morning or the day before. I like getting up really early, grabbing coffee, and then shopping leisurely. I usually have the stores pretty much to myself until around 9 or 10 AM. It’s magical!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Share a Christmas cookie recipe!


Thanksgiving = Animals & Coffee

Hey Friends! How was your Thanksgiving? Ours has been a bit busy. I was off the last few days, but it flew by way too quickly!

Our Thanksgiving festivities began last weekend. My aunt was in town, so my cousin invited us over for a small, family dinner.

Family Thanksgiving

(not my picture)

It was a good time including playing with three of their four dogs. They have a labor doodle puppy who is hilarious! And another dog who just got a cast put on her broken leg earlier that day. She was drowsy from her pain killers and giving us all side-eye. Poor little pup.

Thanksgiving was spent in our usual fashion. Lunch at my uncle’s ranch.

Thanksgiving family

(still not my picture)

We totally lucked out with temps close to 60 degrees! That meant plenty of time outside enjoying the animals!

horse, ranch

The horses are my absolute favorite there. They love all the attention and petting. They also love OMG Becky! She goes out there almost weekly to ride them.

We also had to visit the new calves. Seriously, look at those beautiful babies! I take it back. The calves may be my favorite.

cow, calf

The cow on the right is due any minute now! We were hoping she would have her baby while we were there. No go. Then all weekend, we waited for the call that the baby had arrived. Nope. Not yet.

After time at the ranch, Becky and I headed out to do a little shopping. We hit up JCPenney for something specific that was a fantastic price. We got there just as they were opening. The line was across the front of the store and down the side of the building. Crazy, but it moved quickly and I was able to grab what I wanted and pay before the checkout lines were all backed up.

Next we stopped at Starbucks for a treat and then met my mom in line at Target. She had her eyes on one item. We brought her a blanket and waited in the car. I didn’t really need anything there so we were there more for support and the thrill of the hunt. We finally joined the end of the line about 15 minutes before they opened. We all had fun browsing and people watching. Once we got in line there to checkout, it was LONG. As in wrapping up and down aisles long, but it was moving almost constantly.

After Target, OMG Becky was done and ready to go home. My mom and I regrouped and went back out to see what was happening at Kohl’s. We quickly got in the line there to checkout because it was wrapped 2/3 around the store and barely moving. We then took turns shopping.

It was a fun night, but I made a dumb mistake earlier that day. I forgot to order decaf coffee at Starbucks. I was WiReD! I couldn’t go to sleep until well after 1:00 AM. Ugh. That made for a late start on Black Friday. Luckily, I didn’t have anything I was really on the hunt for. Just a good bargain. I actually spent the morning lounging at home, then went for a massage late morning, before getting ready and going out with Becky.

Black Friday

We found some great deals and I was able to mark a few people off my shopping list. It was a great feeling to be done with so much of my list so early in the holiday season! After that it was a late dinner of Mexican food, followed by a movie, The Edge of Seventeen. Have you seen it yet? I thought it was pretty good. Not as good as Napoleon Dynamite or Juno, but good enough that I would watch it again.

Saturday was another day of what? Yep, more shopping, but this time was more local. We walked around and shopped our downtown district. The best part was discovering a new-to-us coffee shop featuring locally roasted coffee! And the coffee was delicious. It really was so good that I can’t wait to visit it again!

coffee shop

What was the best deal you found, if you shopped over the weekend?

Give a shout-out to your favorite small business!

Which Way is Up?

Tennis, tennis, tennis. And no, I am not talking about the US Open. I am talking about our lives at the moment. Right now everything seems to revolve around tennis. It’s just crazy how busy and fast the tennis season is.

It starts for Sassy’s school at the beginning of August. They have their tryouts and cuts all within the first few days. That is immediately followed by two weeks of 3-hour practice 5 days a week, 2-a-day practices twice a week, and challenge matches on Saturdays. I should also mention Sassy takes a private lesson weekly.

Then school starts! Practice is cut down to 2 hours a day after school, unless there is a match or tournament. There are 2-4 matches a week. The regular season lasts five weeks and we are right in the middle of it. I don’t know if we are coming or going half the time, but I know it includes tennis both directions!

Please don’t think I am complaining. Far from it! I love all of the competition. I also love seeing Sassy improve weekly. I asked her tonight what she was going to do when the tennis season ends in a couple of weeks. Her answer? “More tennis!” Guess there is no stopping this crazy train!

A few highlights from the Labor Day weekend, tennis and otherwise.  =)

Friday night we went to the Kansas City Royals baseball game. I was given two tickets. One for me and one for?… My girls had to figure out which one of them was going. They decided to do a best 2 out of 3 in Rock, Paper, Scissors. And the winner was… Sassy! Poor OMG Becky. She was okay with losing. She had to work anyway. She’s socking away money for next fall when she leaves me. Sad face.

kansas city royals, kauffman stadium, The K

kansas city royals, kauffman stadium, The K

It was a fun game that went into extra innings, but we did not come out on the winning side. Boo.

Sassy and I hit the courts Saturday night to work on her serves. We weren’t there 10 minutes when a boy a bit older than her asked if she wanted to play a match.

tennis court

Game on! He had a few good shots, but she beat him while I kept busy chatting with an elderly man and his son playing Pickleball on the next court. That looked fun! I don’t know that I have ever seen it played in person.

Sunday was a birthday party for my youngest niece. She’s three now!

puppy cake

Her puppy-themed party was adorable. They even had a puppy adoption center!

I may have ended up with two of those puppies. Maybe. Though it wasn’t on purpose. My youngest nephew came home from the party with us to stay overnight. He brought the puppies and then forgot them the next morning. Now they are mine. All mine! At least until he remembers they are here.  😉

My nephew had never been to the nature reserve near my house so we had to take him. He really wanted to see the bison. We could see them from afar, but that wasn’t too exciting. One thing that was exciting? When we were feeding the female elk and the bull elk decided to get in on the carrot action!

bull elk

The bull then turned around and chased all the females away from the fence. Fun time over.

Monday, Sassy had her private lesson and then we met up with my oldest niece for a match. She just started playing recently and is really enjoying it.

tennis match, tennis court

By then it was pretty hot outside. Sassy was already worn out from her lesson and happy to just play for fun. They played a pro set to 10 at a leisurely pace while I chased balls around the court. Lucky me.

So sweaty.

sweaty betty

I really need to start carrying a beach towel in my car for such occasions.  :-/

Have you ever played Pickleball?

Most importantly, should I keep the puppies?!

School, Road Trip, & Tennis

Hey friends! I hope you are having a good week. We are working on getting into a rhythm here with the start of a new school year.

I have to tell you it was such an odd start to this year. It was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t have both girls starting school on the same day. Sassy is a sophomore this year and was all by her lonesome.  =(

I have to tell you it was such an odd start to this year. It was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t have both girls starting school on the same day. Sassy is a sophomore this year and was all by her lonesome.  =(

OMG Becky started college full-time in June a week after she graduated high school. She’s staying local this year as a dual student at a community college (free due to scholarship!) and the university she picked. She will then transfer to the university next fall with her associate degree completed.

It just so happened I needed to head to Arkansas for work to visit a clinic in my region the same day. It’s a four-hour drive one way and I would have gone down the night before and spent the night, but I didn’t want to miss the first day of school. Mom guilt at it’s finest. So instead I needed to go down and back all in one day. Thankfully, OMG Becky got to go with me! It sure made the ride go by faster.

On the way home, we stopped in Branson. I let Becky pick the restaurant. She thought I meant a dinner and a show. No. I meant dinner. No time for a show on this trip! My goal was to get back in time to see Sassy before she went to bed. FYI… I didn’t make it. I was 10 minutes too late.  =(

gyro, pita, hummus

Anyway, back to the food. Becky made a great selection! Everything was so fresh and delicious!

Other things keeping us busy right now is the tennis season.

tennis, high school

This is her second year playing for the high school. It’s great watching her improve month after month since she starting playing just a little over a year ago.

Something that is happening less is swimming.

swimming pool

Insert sad face. We haven’t been swimming since school started last week. No time,but maybe this weekend.

And on a fun note… I got to experience a Royals game from a suite for the first time!

Royals, suite life, mlb, baseball

I don’t know that I can ever go back to a regular seat mounted to the ground and no free food or free drinks. Ha! Who am I kidding? I am game if anyone wants to invite me!  😉

Has school started in your district?

How are you wrapping up the end of your summer?

Florida Family Vacation 2016

We just returned Wednesday from a 9-day family vacation in Kissimmee, Florida. Get ready for a photo dump!

We hit all the usual tourists sights, starting with Disney Springs for some shopping on our first full day there.

cousins, family vacation, disney springs

The kids outnumbered the adults this year!

merry-go-round, carousel, disney springsThe following day we donned our family vacation shirts and hit up Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. They wanted to take a silly picture…vacation shirts, family vacation, disney world, magic kingdom

… but I think only half of them got the message.

I must say the vacay shirts were an awesome idea! It made it so easy to find each other when needed in a crowd. We wanted something lightweight in a bright color. Next time we need to splurge for a dri-wicking shirt, but the color was perfect and really stood out. We received a lot of compliments on them from other park-goers, as well as extra attention from staff members.

disney, goofy

disney, donald duck, cousins

The following day we were all still tired from a 14-hour day in the park, so we relaxed and did a bit of shopping.

Hoppy bought her very first Vera Bradley bag (Pink Swirls) and wallet using her own money she made selling some of her crafts!

shopping, vera bradley

She was so cute comparing all of the patterns, sizes, and prices. She really wanted a crossbody bag like my girls and I all have and she got one!

The next day we were all ready for a beach day. The original plan was to go to our favorite Clearwater Beach, but their forecast called for storms all day. No bueno. We decided to switch directions and head to the Atlantic coast. Cocoa Beach was the closest so that’s where we ended up.

cocoa beach

cocoa beach, waves, atlantic ocean

It was so fun! I had picked up a bodyboard the day before to try out. The kids and I loved it!

Another first for me? Seeing a sea turtle nest! How cool is that? The only thing cooler would have been actually seeing them hatch.

sea turtle nest, beach, cocoa beach

Then another first!!! We happened to be there the day they were launching a rocket from Cape Canaveral.

rocket launch

See the gray clouds right above the middle of the pier? That’s where the rocket took off from. We watched it go higher and higher with its fire boosters (orange arrow). It was pretty far up in the sky before the sound of its lift off ever reached us. Amazing.

After we wore ourselves out in the waves and sun, we needed food ASAP!

family dinner, family vacationAnd adult beverages! Midday adult beverages because VACATION. And seven adults and eight kids in one house for nine days. Lord have mercy. Kidding! It was totally fine. We rented a house with 7 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms at the same resort in Kissimmee as our last family vacation there the summer before last.

emerald island resort, florida

There was plenty of room for everyone! The cost of renting a house is so much cheaper than a hotel. And we got to cook our own meals. We cooked breakfast at home everyday. And had at least one more meal at home each day. Plus, we had our own pool! I think almost all of the houses at that resort have private pools, plus a large pool for the entire resort at the clubhouse. We again made the most of our pool with nightly volleyball games.

swimming pool, water volleyball

Notice the inflatable pool volleyball net? Last vacay’s “net” was something we pieced together. Tragic. This year we came prepared, lugging that net all the way from home! Worth it.

The next couple of days were spent at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. All the rides!

universal studios islands of adventure

cousins, universal islands of adventure

As a family, we had a great time, but of course, we were right in the middle of the saddest time in Orlando. All three tragedies (the murder of Christina Grimme, the worst mass shooting in American history, and the alligator attack and death of 2-year-old Lane Graves) happened while we were there. As you can imagine, the entire area was in mourning, in shock, and on high alert.  So very, very sad.


Another incident that didn’t make the national news really scared us. Monday while we were at Islands of Adventure, we could suddenly see a large black cloud of smoke rising. We couldn’t tell if it was coming from inside the park or very close by, but I could tell it was a massive fire. I asked a couple of park workers, but they hadn’t seen it and then were shocked when we pointed it out. We didn’t know if we should leave the park or wait for more information. At that point, I was beyond nervous given the terrorist attack the previous day. I finally called the local fire department’s non-emergency number to inquire. They informed me it was a structure fire at a construction site at the theme park next to ours. We were relieved to find out it was not another attack on innocent people.

Tell me your summer vacation plans!

Any firsts for you lately?