Thursday, May 19, 2016

Field Day

Field day can only mean one thing - school is almost over for the year. I can't believe it's already time for summer to arrive and Kate to move into the first grade. I always looked forward to field day growing up - when I went to E.C. Brice we would walk from the school over to Dellwood Park for our field day every year, which was several blocks away through a residential neighborhood. IT was always exciting though! Kate's field day was supposed to be outside at school, but unfortunately it was raining so everything had to be shifted indoors. They still did all the relay races and games, but it's just not quite the same when you're stuck inside. At least it wasn't hot though. Since it was her first one, Kate didn't miss out on being outside so she was perfectly happy with field day.
They split the kids into grades, so kindergarten and first grade were together for their game time, and then the older kids were also in two groups so it was't insanely crowded. They also only spent a couple of hours doing field day activities before going back to the classroom for the remainder of the day (although they just had a movie day after that) and I recall ours always being a full day, but I could be wrong. Either way, it was fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two Concerts, Two Days

This past weekend we pulled a concert double header with Brad and Kimilee. It just so happened that Joe Walsh with Bad Company were playing Gexa in Dallas the night before Hall and Oates were playing Gexa, both of which we all wanted to see. So we made it happen.

We bought lawn seats for both shows because thy're super cheap, like $25 or less each. Sitting on the lawn isn't ideal, but it's better than nothing so we have done it in the past with no problems. However we know that once you are in the gate, you immediately head over to the upgrades desk because they want to fill the covered seats with as many people as possible. It just looks better, rather than have a ton of empty seats for the artist on stage to stare at all night. We managed to grab amazing upgrade seats for both shows, right smack in the middle, row I one night and row L the next night. Just for kicks, I had looked up the row I tickets online - $125. We paid $35. Ha Ha Ha.
We really enjoyed both shows. I will admit that I went to see Joe Walsh and could have lived without Bad Company. Not that Paul Rogers doesn't have an awesome voice or anything, but I knew like 3 of their songs. I was there for Joe and that was it. He played some stuff I didn't know, but I would say I knew about half the playlist and the highlight of the night for me was listening to him play Take It To The Limit in honor of Glenn Fry who passed away in January. I am a huge Eagles I can admit that I even teared up just a tiny bit.
Hall and Oates played all their hits so I knew everything but a couple of songs, although they weren't exactly like the radio edits which always annoys me. I suspect that maybe Hall just can't hit all those high notes repeatedly anymore, but still, I don't like it when they change every single song. So I was a tiny bit disappointed in their show, but it was still a fun couple of evenings.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

This morning we woke up well rested and got dressed for church. We visit North Jefferson church of Christ when we are in Mount Pleasant. Before we left Heather's house, I made Nick take a few photos of me and Kate, since we always do that on Mother's day.
 After services, I called Grandma to see if we needed to pick up any lunch before we headed out to visit with them, and she informed me that she had a whole spread of yummy food in the works so we headed that way to pig out.

She had made rice dressing, creamed potatoes, pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, and a Mexican cheesecake. Yeah, pretty much not a single item was Whole30 compliant. Technically we aren't doing around of Whole30 at the moment, but for the most part we still try to eat on plan. This was about to be an entire meal of really terrible, unhealthy foods and we both knew we would pay for it later, but how do you tell your Grandma that you rarely see that you're just going to pick up a salad and bring it out there? You don't, so we managed. An interesting thing happened though while I was eating - now the cheesecake aside, because it was delicious as usual, but most of the other stuff was just not as good as I remember it once being. I couldn't even eat a whole slice of cheddar cheese, and I used to love that stuff. It just didn't taste the same to me now, and I can only assume that's from Whole30. I couldn't even hardly drink her sweet tea (it's STOUT) and I used to love the stuff. Taste buds have change, for sure.

But lunch was enjoyable nonetheless. My uncle Jerry ate with us, as did Uncle Kent and Elaine. Uncle Brent came by for a short visit with his girlfriend, so I got to see some bonus family that I wasn't expecting.

Of course Grandma had the golf cart out and ready for Kate when we arrived, so she and Nick put a few miles on it before we left for the day. We spent some time playing outside since it was overcast and not hot. Kate loves her great grandma and I'm happy they get to see each other occasionally.
 We got home shortly after 4 pm, and I was beat. Nick slept all the way from Mount Pleasant to our house and Kate entertained me by singing along to the Kidz Bop channel on Sirius XM. Once we got everything unloaded, Nick ran to the grocery store for us and Kate and I walked down to the park for a little while. I needed to stretch my legs after sitting in the car for 2.5 hours. She even picked me a little flower for mother's day. In all, it was a pretty nice day.


Pam's headstone was installed at the cemetery while we were on our cruise last week. Dad received a text photo of it, and I know he was anxious to get to Mount Pleasant to see it in person. He asked us all to come to Mount Pleasant this weekend for decoration at the cemetery, just as it is every Mother's day. Kate helped me buy some flowers after school on Thursday of this week. We chose red for Pam, some pretty orange for Granny Louise, and I picked up some blue and white flowers for my grandfather's headstone. He passed away when I was just 2 years old. I knew it would be a nice gesture for Mom to take something so I did and sent her a photo.
We arrived not long after Dad at the cemetery. Cathy and Steve followed shortly after with their grandson and Jason and Heather arrived with the kids not too much later. They had purchased a small glass angel to sit on the base of the headstone. In addition to the flowers I brought, I picked up a couple of solar powered yard stakes with a cross and an angel on them. They light up at night and supposedly change colors. I didn't get to see them in the dark, so we will just assume they work. (Maybe some kid will spot them from the road and assume it's ghosts playing around at night. That would be pretty funny.)
Dad had bought some new red and white floral pieces to add to the existing flowers from Easter and her birthday flowers, so we rearranged a little bit and took out a few items that were already pretty faded and weathered. I placed our flowers and stakes in the corners. Dad had a nice concrete curb placed around their plots and filled the top with gravel. It looks really nice and is the only plot out there like that, which I think is a nice touch.
Jason and Heather brought bubbles for the kids to play with, and I couldn't help but think that it was exactly what Nannie would have done as well. She would not have wanted the kids to be sad or somber - have some fun with me was always her attitude. So I assume she would have enjoyed watching them blow bubbles at the cemetery.
When we finished there we headed into town to grab some lunch at Mount Pleasant Burgers & Fries, because that's what you do when you're in Mount Pleasant.
We all parted ways, and we went back out to Heather and Will's house. We spent the weekend with them, which was pretty perfect because Olivia and Kate miss each other constantly and Heather and I had some discussing and planning to do for our 20th class reunion. Somehow we ended up in charge of it, so we needed to get some shopping done for the banquet hall. Kate decided to give me my main Mother's day present that evening, so I got to open a beautiful 3 heart necklace from her and Nick. Last night after supper we spent a few hours playing Mexican train before everyone got tired and needed to head to bed.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Muffins with Mom

This morning I took Kate to school and got to hang around for a little while because today was Muffins with Mom. We took a spot in the cafeteria next to Kate's friend Tatum, along with her Mom and little sister, Tillie, who told Kate this afternoon after school that she loved me.  She's the cutest little thing. 
They passed it blueberry muffins (yuck) and I have mine to Kate, which I would have done anyway because I'm not eating muffins these days. She was excited that this meant she got two muffins, but we put one of them in her lunch box. Once we finished, it was kind of chaos in the cafeteria. There were muffins and moms everywhere. The nose level was crazy! I finally decided to walk Kate to her classroom and give her a kiss for the day. 
My little girl is growing up. While we were gone on our cruise, she learned how to tie her shoes! She had been asking for tie shoes for a while now and we just hadn't gone to get any yet, so I'm glad that Yiayia took care of that while we were gone. She's still getting the hang of it, but she's getting better every day!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vacation: Carnival Freedom day 7

The last sea day arrived finally and the reality of home began to sink in. We slept in again (hello another day of no yoga) and I only woke up because Dad sent me a message to see if we were awake yet. Since it was 8:00, I decided I better get up and not waste any of our last day.

We got dressed and met Dad on lido for the breakfast buffet. I got a couple of eggs over easy from the omelette station along with my buffet goodies. We sat near a window and actually watched a couple of birds flying around. I can't figure out why there are birds flying around so far from land. Don't they get tired? Where do they land? Where do they live? It baffles me. 

After breakfast, Nick and I headed down to the main lounge to make towel animals. We each made a puppy and an elephant, which I think are the two animals they taught us to make on the Triumph last year. Our room steward, Faruk, was showing everyone what to do on stage. We cheered loudly for him. 
We did a little bit of shopping on deck 5 once we left the theater because the sale tables had been pulled out for the last day. I picked out a couple of new t-shirts for myself. 

We decided to eat at the Mongolian Wok today since I hadn't had a chance to dine there yet. It's one of the places that's only open from noon-2:30 each sea day so it's hard to remember to get back there in time to eat. I also made myself a salad and the chocolate buffet was set out, but it didn't really have much that tempted me I did eat a chocolate rum ball and a tiny sliver to chocolate cheesecake. 

The magician from dinner a few nights ago had a show at 1:00 this afternoon so we caught most of that, but we had to leave early because we needed to be back in the atrium for the last day of Super Duper trivia. Most of our team from yesterday came back, and we gained a couple of new team members. We actually did really well today and ended up finishing third overall, which isn't bad since we were in 4th or 5th yesterday.  Nick and I stayed for Harry Potter trivia next but really didn't do well, which only signifies that I need to reread the books. 

The cruise director had a short Q&A session at 3, so we went to that and found it really very interesting. I am fascinated by the life style that the crew members choose to live. 

Immediately after that session, Malcolm changed into a hot pink 80's Mohawk wig and lead 80s music trivia in the atrium. Just like Motown the day before. It ended up being a big sing along when we graded answers. We ended up getting 18 correct and earned a boat on a rope medal! Woohoo!
It was time to get dressed for dinner one last time with Alex, Rama, and Gary in the main dining room. They were our wait staff all week and we loved them! Alex was especially fun. Tonight I had jerk pork loin and melting cake, of course. 
We finished dinner and went to hear Bill D. Washington's comedy act, which was hilarious once again. After taking a few more photos, we headed up to the room to begin packing. I started a load of laundry and then sent Nick to go listen to a performance in the main lounge so I could pack in peace. 

Once the luggage was out, we decided to get some water and take a few last laps around the walking track. We ran into Mom, Coleen, and Richard in line for pizza, so we talked to them for a little while before we walked. 
Now I'm laying in bed, sad because my vacation is over but excited to get home to hug my little girl. I've missed her! 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Vacation: Carnival Freedom day 6

Thursday was a saw day as we began our long trek home. Nick and I aren't much for laying around on a cruise ship- we like to fill our days with activities and games so we planned a busy day.

Nick actually had a spa appointment at 8 for a shave and facial thing with Jacques from South Africa. Our room steward, Faruk, had brought a birthday card with a $50 spa coupon inside, so the service cost him $59 with the built-in gratuity. I decided not to go back to yoga because hello- it was hard- so I slept in. 

I got dressed to go around the time Nick came back from the spa, so he and I met Dad and went down to brunch in the Posh dining room on deck 3. Dad and I both had a filet mignon and eggs and Nick ordered a spicy hen dish. 
After brunch we headed to the atrium for a Thriller dance class and learned the choreography from Michael Jackson's video in front of a large crowd that had gathered to cheer us all on. There were probably 30 or so of us dancing. It was fun! 

A digital scavenger hunt was next on the agenda, and we wore ourselves out running all over the ship. We had 15 items and 15 minutes to get pictures and get back to the lounge on deck 5. Here's how it went: 

We ran out of deck 5 and up 5 flights of stairs to get a photo with the smoke stack, hole #2 on the putt-putt course, and the basketball court. Then we bolted down to lido deck9 for a photo with the iguana and frog on each bars a towel animal, a lady in a floppy hat, and we couldn't find a guy in a speedo. 

Next it was down 6 flights of stairs to get the underside of a lifeboat and then back up to deck 5 to get a pic in front of the Cherry On Top candy shop, find someone in an ugly outfit, to the coffee bar for a tuxedo strawberry, and into the arcade for an iPad claw machine. We went into the piano bar for a photo with the grand piano and totally interrupted a seminar, which we felt bad about, and ran back into the Jazz lounge with 2 minutes to spare. We had 14 items, but we were not the first with 14 so we lost. 
After the scavenger hunt we stayed for rock trivia and also lost. I was completely sweaty and needed water badly!

There was no time for hydration because it was time to join our team again in the atrium for Super Duper trivia. We began the trivia on the first sea day Monday, and the next two sea days would determine which team won. We gathered several new team members because most of our original ones didn't return for day 2.  

We decided to grab a Guy's Burger for lunch and sat with Cody and Kim, a couple from our cruise group while we ate. They're really nice and have been enjoyable to talk with all week.

After Guy's, we looked at photos for a bit and then I went into the atrium to do Motown trivia with Malcolm, our cruise director, while Nick went up to the room for a nap. Malcolm so much fun- by far a superior CD to our last one, Kirk, who was funny but not as dorky and involved as Malcolm is. That took a while but it turned into a huge Motown sing-a-long in the atrium so it was a lot of fun. 

This was elegant night #2 so we got dressed and met Dad at the dining room for dinner. Tonight I had a dual of filet mignon and spare ribs, which was so delicious. Of course I had melting cake again and tonight I also ordered a grand marnier soufflĂ© to try. It was ok, but it just wasn't chocolate melting cake. 
We took some more photos for the evening since we were dressed up and then went to the comedy club to hear the PG show from Billy D. Washington- he was hilarious! Definitely enjoyed his show. 
The show in the main lounge tonight was Heart of Soul, featuring Motown and soul music. We enjoyed that the show quite a bit and decided after to go out to the hot tub and sit in it until they kicked us out at midnight. Tomorrow is our last sea day. Sad face!