Sunday, 31 July 2016

A Week in Review (July 24-30)

A Week in Review (July 24-30)

Jack and his friend Landon have a great time playing together.  Landon will be gone until school starts again so we made sure to squeeze in a day between our return and their departure.  So many of our friends will be gone during the month of August. We will really miss them all.

Read:  I finished up The Children on our plane ride home.  I found this book through a mommy bloggers recommendation list. I can see why someone in that profession would enjoy the book. I personally thought it was a bit predictable. It wasn't awful writing or anything, but it definitely doesn't make me want to rush out and pick up another Ann Leary book.  Next, I started The Girl in the Red Coat, which I found through the same list.  I will be interesting to see what I think of it.  It's been okay so far.  I like hearing the same story from both the mother and the daughter's perspectives.

Listened: To Jack pop bubbles. When we were taking off on our plane ride last week, I had made a bubble. Jack asked me how it worked and so I explained the mechanics of it. He tried it once or twice, but was too distracted by being on the plane.  On Sunday, I bought a pack of Hubba Bubba for him. On our way home from the show, he gets excited and tells me to turn around quick because he made a bubble. I am driving in Vegas traffic so I really can't do that. I handed him my phone where he proceed to take a ton of pictures of his different bubbles. Since he has figured it out, he just can't stop. I love his excitement at picking up this new skill!

Made: Jack start to train for his run with the Olympic torch. He hasn't really done any distance running this summer and we want to make sure that he can handle the pace and distance. They have told him to try for 2 miles in 20 minutes.  While he isn't exactly there, I don't think he will have any problems when he is in with a group to help pace him.  I drive beside him in the car to help keep his mileage and time. I am pretty sure that most people think I am making him run for punishment.  I keep waiting for something to pop up in our neighborhood Facebook group about it. Haha

Felt: Devastated. Our friend whom we got the sad news about last week passed away. My dear friend Laurie, whom we saw on our trip back to KC, had a stroke and ended up passing away several days later. I will honor her memory each year by having a day of random acts of kindness to replace just a few of the ones she would have performed that year. She will greatly be missed by our entire family.

Planned: On having Jack be awake for our plane trip home but he was zonked out and didn't spend much time awake. He fell asleep on the car ride to the airport. He fell back asleep while we waited to board and then fell back asleep before we took off. He didn't wake up until about 25 minutes before we landed. We are going to have to work to help return his sleep pattern to one that will be more beneficial for school hours. I always hate doing that because then I feel like I am shortening an already too short summer. 

Jack seeing just light up at Penn & Teller show. It is so amazing!  I was surprised because over half the show was new tricks that I hadn't seen before. We had great seats too. Before the stage Jack went up in the box. He even examined it thoroughly. He was blown away when the trick with the box was revealed.  He also got to help lift over the disappearing cell phone box to the stage. During the final trick, he got to go on stage and be the human wall and watch an "elephant" (really a cow dressed like an elephant) disappear and a chicken.  As he was walking off the stage Penn stopped him and made him promise that he would always let people know he saw an elephant vanish from the stage.  After the show was just as amazing. Penn and Teller wait and speak to every person. Teller was much better with Jack than Penn. Jack saved their force card and Teller signed it with saying "This is your card". He also noticed that Jack had gotten dressed up for the show. So he took off his tie that he had hacked off during the show and gave it to Jack and autographed it just for him. Penn was clearly more tired and wasn't as interactive. He did congratulate Nick on his weight loss when he let him know that he listened to his podcast and was inspired by Penn's weight loss. I made a side by side and the changes, especially in Penn, are pretty drastic.

Here are the pics for the week:

All dressed up and ready for the show

Nick finally made it in the Luxor.  He has apparently wanted to go there forever, but we made it happen this trip. 

Konked out

Saturday, 30 July 2016

A Week in Review (July 31-August 6)

A Week in Review (July 31-August 6)

Watched: Jack dread going on the Twister II, Elitch's wooden roller coaster. Like me, he thinks they are just the worst things ever.  However, his friend was super excited to go on it so Jack went with him. They tried to get me to ride, but I was pretty firm putting my foot down and let them know that I don't ride wooden coasters.  In the end, he still didn't like it but his friend really enjoyed it. 

Read: The entire first part in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It is Nick and I's tradition that I read all of the Harry Potter books aloud. Jack is excited that he gets to be a part of this one. He is reading the part of Albus. This week he's wanted to spend all our family free time reading it.  I've also been trying to work on The Girl in the Red Coat. I am liking it, but I am not getting very far in it. 

Listened: To a car salesman tell us the finer points of owning a Hyundai. I don't know much about them, but I really enjoy their outer styling. Also, their price point is pretty reasonable. Jack still doesn't want me to get rid of my car and is pretty emotional when we discuss it. I am sure the time is coming when we are going to have to make some major repairs to it and I don't think I would be willing to do that. Therefore, I want to make sure I know what car I want next. Right now, a Sonata is on my short list. 

Made: An impromptu lunch date with Jack. When we went shopping for his football gear, we were almost right next door to a Chuck E Cheese. We just couldn't pass it up. He paid for the tokens. He was sure glad he had put his coupons from his Aunt Debbie into his wallet. I picked up the tab for the buffets. We spent several hours there, but it was a good time. We scored our highest ever score on the football game, finally making it to the Pro Bowl.  While we were there, we saw a school acquaintance who is friends with a couple of our friends. She offered Jack some used football stuff. It was nice to have an uplifting person to talk too. We became Facebook friends so it will be easier to stay in touch with her.  It's always nicer to have more people to chat with. :)

Felt: E
motional on Friday. Our dear friend was memorialized by her family and many friends. She was loved deeply by us and we were sad to miss it. But we celebrated her spirit here. We spent the afternoon volunteering with Landshark team. Then Jack took the run with the torch. Afterwards, we took some time to see the performers that were downtown.  We splurged and ate at the Melting Pot for dinner. We came home and read several pages in the newest Harry Potter.

Planned: For Jack to kind of have slow introduction to tackle football, but his coach put a practice schedule that's going to really work them. They will practice for about two hours on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings and Saturday mornings until games start.  After that, they will just go to the three weekday practices. Players got to pick there own numbers and Jack decided he would like to honor his "Aunt" Laurie by wearing the number of great Chiefs player who happens to share his last name, Derrick Thomas.  I think it's going to be a fun season. 

Loved: Having a lazy day Saturday. With school and sports starting back up those will be getting fewer and farther between. It's nice to have some time just to chill. 

Here are the pics for the week:

Aren't they just the cutest?  She loves to snuggle with him, even if he is fast asleep. 

All ready for practice

Some shots from before the Torch Run

Friday, 29 July 2016

A Week in Review (July 17-23)

A Week in Review (July 17-23)

Watched: The Mike Hammer Show. It had great reviews on google and TripAdvisor. It was good. It was more comedy than magic, but we all laughed. Apparently it was supposed to be a 13+ audience and some of the comments were racier than what Jack normally hears, but I don't think he got those.  It was exciting because Nick got taken to the stage for a trick and then Jack got picked to help distribute some newspaper for a mind reading trick.  If you are looking for an inexpensive Vegas show, I'd recommend taking in Mike at the Four Queens. 

Read:  I finished up Britt-Marie Was Here before I left for Vegas.  It was another winner by Fredrik Backman. I really think you should read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry before this book so that you can better understand Britt-Marie and Kent. I shed a tear or two at the end. I'd love to see him continue on with this series of people and maybe we could hear more from Vega.  During the plane flight I was able to get a good chunk of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock read.  I was also able to finish it while we were in Vegas.  Obviously, a very fast read that deals with some intense topics. Your heart aches so much for Leonard. Are there really mothers like Linda out there? I sure hope there are teachers like Silverman out there because the world needs more of them. A great book for anyone struggling with being different or facing challenging times in their life.  Next, I started on The Children.  It's a different, but I am interested to see where it takes me.

Listened: To Jack kind of freak out when he got near the top of the High Roller ride. He was so excited to go up and see all the lights. But as it climbed, he just wasn't so sure. He knew how big the buildings looked from the ground and could see how small they were looking now. We could even see the casino we had visited earlier in the night, which was about a 20 minute drive away. It didn't take too long before he had gotten used to it and was enjoying himself. I made a collage below.  Earlier in the night, we had visited Sam's town. He was playing Deal or No Deal. It came down to the final two where there was one case that had 1 ticket and another case that had 200 tickets.  The bank offered him 100 tickets. I tried to convince him to take them and run. He ignored by advice and got 200 tickets instead. He was a pretty happy camper then too!

Made: Jack's first flight in 4 years. I think he had forgotten all about what it was like to take off and land. He wasn't a huge fan of the trip, but he did like the fact that we made it Las Vegas in such a short amount of time.

Felt: Sad.  We got some devastating news on Saturday about a very dear friend of ours.  I don't want to share too much of the story, as it really isn't mine to tell.  I am just hoping that things are able to work out for the best.

Planned: On having a fancier date for our 15th anniversary, but that's just not who we are, so that's really not how the day played out.  After doing an early check-in a hotel, we went to get Nick's haircut. While there, I saw that lunch Nick wanted from Fogo de Chao was about to time out, so we went over there. From there we went down to the Golden Nugget to play some poker. I got out pretty quickly, which was a bummer, but Nick made it to the final 5. After that we headed back to our favorite place to gamble, El Cortez, and played some roulette. We never got lucky and hit it big. We went back to our hotel and played craps and ate dinner. By then it was after midnight!  We exchanged our presents. He gave me a crystal heart which is engraved with our names.  I am so lucky to have chosen such a wonderful partner to spend my years with!

Loved: Having so much together time with Nick and Jack.  Nick has been able to really step away from work and just enjoy the moments together.  He even attempted getting into the water once, but swimming just isn't for him.  I have no idea how he can set poolside in the triple digit weather Las Vegas has, but he does and doesn't seem to mind.  We have a good time playing Keno, swimming in the pool, and just loving being together.  As the crystal heart that he gave me for our anniversary says "Together is our favorite place to be."

Here are the pics for the week:

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Week in Review (July 10-16)

A Week in Review (July 10-16)

Watched: The cousins have a blast together on Sunday.  We packed a lot of fun into one day.  First thing, we went and spent an hour at Dart Warz.  Declan was excited because he won a pair of socks in their special Sunday drawings that they have.  After lunch, we went to the Exploration Place.  We stayed there for a couple of hours before going to an area pool.  The cousins had a great time going off the diving boards and having jump competitions.  Aunt Valerie and Uncle Chewy hosted the five us for dinner.  Then we went to Braum's before heading to the lighting of the Keeper of the Plains.  When we were there, they even showed us the troll that lives under the bridge.  We finished the night by visiting Uncle Roy so that the boys could play in the basement there.  It was a good time.  

Read: Even though we were travelling, I was able to finish up Cleopatra's Daughter.  I enjoyed this story of Cleopatra's daughter. I thought the author did an excellent job pleasing action, romance, and intrigue. I am glad that the mystery of the Red Eagle was revealed. I also thought it the afterward was a nice conclusion to the story. Overall, a book I would recommend for historical fiction fan wanting to know more about rule of Augustus.  Next, I started Britt-Marie Was Here.  It follows one of the minor characters from the novel My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry.  I enjoy Fredrik Backman's stories and this one looks like it is shaping up to be another winner.

Listened: To the sounds of constant laughter as we rode through the fountain on paddle boats at Watson Lake.  On Sunday night, we made plans for how we were going to spend our final half day together.  We decided that we would visit Sedgwick County Park, eat Chick-fil-a, and then have Braum's one more time.  As we were pulling into the park Quentin mentioned that he thought they had paddle boats there.  Sadly, they did not, but the mention of it got their hearts set on it.  After a bit of research we decided to have the crazy adventure one more time.  We hopped in the car, drove over and ate a Chick-fil-a (even thought it was barely after 11am), on our way to Watson park, we stopped and got ice cream at Braum's to eat in the car.  We made it Watson park just in time to make it on the boats.  Because not all five us could fit in one boat, Keegan and I took one car and the rest of them went in the other.  It was all fine until they decided we should head the fountain that was spraying everywhere.  We all became drenched!  I mean soaked.  My shorts didnt hang dry out for 3 days!  We returned the dripping wet cousins just in time for Quentin to head off to an appointment.  We stopped by to say goodbye to Aunt Valerie and change into some dry clothes.  Then it was off to KC.  We were lucky that it worked out and we able to have dinner with Aunt Debbie and Uncle Kevin that evening too!

Made: Plans with Kate to spend the day around Crown Center.  As always, I loved watching the two of them get together.  They really are true friends.  When they see each other, its like no time has passed at all.  We did all the usual Legoland things and they even had a new Ninjago training center that was a lot of fun.  It had a laser maze you could try.  Jack whooped me at it.  Really, not a lot of surprise there.  We ate our lunch over at Crayola Cafe and it was surprisingly yummy!  We visited the free exhibit in the basement.  It claimed to be Mr PotatoHead, but had more of a safari feel to it.  We ended our day with Kate by getting ice cream at Syla and Maddy's.  After dropping Kate off, we went over to our friend's the Beane's.  I had gotten a horrible headache and had such gracious hosts in both Laurie and Callum.  I'll blame the headache for not getting a picture with them.  We  just ordered pizza in and chatted while the boys played.  It was a great end to a wonderful day.

Felt: Ready for a lazy day on Wednesday.  As you can tell, we were really go go until then.  We slept in and then Jack requested Syla and Maddy's for breakfast.  We took a picture to send to our friend Jonathan who has expressed a love of the place.  After that we went to the Secret Life of Pets.  It was a pretty cute movie, but I don't think Jack loved it quite as much as he thought he would.  After that, we went to play mini golf.  It was one of the hardest courses we played and it had plenty of water on it because it had poured rain that morning.  It even made a neat trick when the cup was so full of water that one of our balls sank and the other floated.  After mini golf, we headed back for swimming at the pool.  After our showers, we headed in a spent a couple hours chatting with my friend Sarah.  We even got to see her triplets for a bit before they had to go bed.  They are all getting so big and so sweet.

Planned: To go hog wild making memories for Jack on Thursday.  He was always sad that we moved from Worlds of Fun, just as he finally got tall enough to ride the majority of the coasters.  We asked our friend Joe to go with us this visit.  We all had so much fun!  There was very little wait time, so we got to do a ton of rides.  Jack even waited twice for rides he wasn't tall enough for so that Joe and I could ride them.  Jack's favorite ride was the Mamba.  He sat in the back on his first ride.  I sat right in front of him, so I got to hear the thrill in his voice.  He played three of the games, and won something at all three.  Joe spent his money taking a ride on the Rip Cord and I sent Jack with him.  You can see a short video of their ride, HERE.  We all got large dippin dots and candy in the park.  We spent a couple hours in Oceans of Fun and then went back to Worlds of Fun until they kicked us out.  We decided that Quik Trip would be a great place to get pizza for Jack, but they didn't have any.  The boys were still thrilled because I let them get whatever they wanted.  Lord knows, it was cheaper than feeding them in the park.  It was an amazingly fun day that Jack thinks we should do at least once a year!

Loved: Sleeping in my own bed again.  We made the long trek home on Friday.  When we got home, we had lots of things to do so that we could get ready for trip to Vegas next week.  We fixed the window switch in my car and changed the oils in both cars.  Jack was a big help to Nick and I think Nick really enjoyed having him out there.  I hope Jack learned the lesson that it is so much cheaper to fix your car than to pay someone to do it for you!

Here are the pics for the week:

Look at the amazing difference two years makes on kiddos!  I couldn't believe the difference when the photo memory popped up in my feed. Wowzers!

Dart Warz

Exploration Place

Keeper of the Plains

Paddle Boats


Lazy Day Wednesday 

Worlds of Fun

Jack and his Minion Popsicle

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A Week in Review (June 12-18)

A Week in Review (June 12-18)

Watched: Jack's summer haircut dreams come true. I like his hair. I like the way the sun highlights it naturally and he looks like my little surfer dude as he gets so tan. But, he wanted a buzzed head. So after camp on Friday, we went and got the cut. There was so much hair on the floor that even the other kids in salon commented on how much had came off. He loves it though. I'm sure I will get used to it.

Read:  I finished up Glory over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House. This is an excellent follow up to The Kitchen House.  I love how it told a whole new story while just using The Kitchen House plot for deeper understanding.  I really felt that the end of the novel left room for another book. I'd definitely like a story that tells about Pan, Belle, and Kitty growing up.  Next I started, The Girl with all the Gifts. I figure this will be good because I have it on audiobook as well and I know I will get plenty of car time in next week as I take the boys to and from basketball camp in downtown Colorado Springs.  So far it's nothing like I expected by the title.

Listened:  To Nick give Jack instructions on how to shoot the new bow and arrow we picked out for the camping trip. Jack had a great time shooting it. All of us enjoyed it, but Jack was the one that was always going to over to randomly pick it up and work on his shot.  We only lost one arrow. We all swear it must have just disintegrated upon impact because none of us could find it and we looked pretty well. 

Made: A lot of purchases on Amazon, at Walmart, and from a neighbor so we could go "off the grid" camping. It's really amazing the stuff you need when there are no camp toilets, water, trash cans, etc.  We even had to buy a hitch hauler because we had too much stuff to fit Nora and Jack in the Pathfinder too.  Luckily our neighbor had one he didn't use and sold it to us at a great price.  We had a good time. Nora really enjoyed not having to be on a leash. She just went where she wanted. She stays pretty close and listens well, so that makes it easier. 

Felt: Sad for Jack. He was so sure the Warriors were going to clinch the title on Tuesday for the Championship.  We even got a cake iced to say GW Warriors on it. Not only did they lose that game, they also lost game 5. Now we have to wait for Father's Day for the final game to be played out.

Planned: On Jack being exhausted after our day at Elitch's. We got some "fast passes" do to one overzealous ride operator saying Jack couldn't ride a ride, which he had ridden other times at the park. Luckily his manager was close by, addressed the situation and made it right. We had a good time using them and the two other kiddos that we went with hit the sack and were asleep almost immediately. Jack went out and shot hoops for another hour!  He's my little energizer bunny.

Loved: Watching Jack compete at his track camp Track Meet. He was one of only three kids who chose to participate in every event offered.  By the end of the running events he was kind of pooped. He did the 800, 400, 200, 100, & 50m dash. He also did the long jump, shot put, and javelin. He got first in the 200 for his grade. He also was second among all kids who did the shot put. He had a good time at the camp.

Here are the pics for the week:

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A Week in Review (July 3-9)

A Week in Review (July 3-9)

Watched: Mile after mile of flat plains go by. We spent a lot of time in the car this week, driving home from my mom's and then driving to Wichita on Saturday.  I am always grateful that Jack is a good traveler and can make a 500 mile journey with only one stop. 

Read:  I finished up Opposite of Everyone. This isn't my favorite Joshilyn Jackson novel. It's probably not even in the top three. It was lacking climax. However, I did still enjoy the story.  She does a good job weaving in different time and places to give you a good sense of the character. If you are looking for a beach read that leaves you wondering about the people who aren't lucky enough to get "beach reads", pick this one up.  Next, I began Cleopatra's Daughter. I was able to find the audiobook from my library so I made it much further than I would have normally.  I will definitely finish it up this next week, even with our travels.

Listened: To Kyle, Jack, and Anthony say Harry Potter curses while having a Roman candle fight.  When we recapping his favorite thing about the 4th, that's what he picked.  While it's not the most excellent video, you get a good idea of how the battles went down by watching one round HERE,  We had plenty of other fireworks too. My eyes are always much bigger than my time frame when it comes to buying fireworks and so we have several saved. My mom suggested lighting them off at Christmas. I hope the weather cooperates because I think could be a lot of fun. 

Made: Vegan corn chowder for Nick. He came down with some sort of bug that gave him a fever and some serious body aches. He sat on our couch in flannel pants and a blanket when the inside of our house was 84 degrees.  When he doesn't feel well, soup is his go-to food. We brought him some hot and sour soup from HuHot thinking it would be short lived. When it was apparent that was a bit stronger than we'd guessed, he requested corn chowder. Because he is still watching his saturated fat, we used the vegan recipe that we found. It worked pretty well using potatoes and raw cashews for the milk base. There are some things I'll tweak next time, but we definitely make it again. 

Felt: Amused by Jack when we stepped out of the car for the first time in Wichita. He hasn't been anywhere with humidity in the summer for a couple of years. Both of us kind of forgot how oppressive that feeling is to just have the air hang on you. He seems to be adjusting pretty quick, but his face on our walk up the stairs to our motel room was quite funny. 

Planned: On making a run to the liquor store for just some beer for the 4th, but when I was there, I stumbled upon Shamrock Shake Tippy Cow. I have been looking for something like this for years since they discontinued the Grasshopper drink from TGIFriday's.  It is really quite yummy. It didn't take much of it to make me quite ready for bed, quite quickly though.  I am hoping I can find some in Colorado. 

Loved: How quickly the cousins all fell into step with each other. It's been since Christmas that we saw Macie and since March when saw the rest of the cousins. Watching them play with each other is one of the biggest things I miss about being in Kansas. They all have such an easy going way with each other.  We crammed a lot into the first couple hours we were in town with a water balloon fight, dinner at Braum's, and watching Finding Dory.  Unfortunately Macie had to go back to her mom's and missed everything but the water balloon fight. I am glad we got to see her for a bit!

Here are the pics for the week:

Poor Roscoe and Harry didn't like the fireworks. Both of them picked a parent to snuggle with. 

Clearly a posed group photo just isn't going to happen with these yahoos.