Monday, March 27, 2017

Our Spring Break of Travel!

This Spring Break was just perfect! To start it off, as soon as the bell rang the kids and I took off to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast. It was SO good! Then Nathan met us for dinner. It was a good start to the break.

 I got a little time at home before the travel started and was able to enter all my Rhea Lanas stuff and do some cleaning and organizing. It felt so good to mark a few things off that list that I had been looking for time to do. It is also nice that the kids are at the age that I can clean and they can self entertain and not destroy the house :)

Monday night Ryan had her first t-ball practice. She was SO excited! She asked me if it was time yet all day and then put her cleats on a few hours early :) She did much better than I was expecting - not skill wise, but behavior wise. She is our child that often bucks when we tell her what to do, but she did exactly what Nathan and her other coaches said. It has been a few years since Noah's first year of t-ball so I forgot exactly how much they play in the dirt - she was covered when practice was over. But, she loved it and kept asking if she could have more practice the next day!

The next day the kids and I took off for a few days in Branson. Noah started getting car sick for the first time, but I moved him to the front seat, laid the seat back and rolled the windows down and he was better in no time! We made a Branson Bucket List last summer and have been checking things off as much as we can. This time we were able to go to the Wax Museum and the World's Largest Toy Museum. We also did Build-A Bear for Ryan and the Prehistoric Fossil store with Noah. Our hotel pool was 3 feet deep all the way across so the kids were able to swim alone. They swam at least 2 hours each night and had a blast! We did putt-putt, ate at Pasghetti's, and hit up the Disney Store.  My mom gets all her kids and their families Silver Dollar City passes for Christmas so we were able to go there for a day also. We got there when they opened and rode 10 rides and were out of there by lunch and headed back.  Nathan was not able to make it to this Branson trip. We wanted to go mid-week so we could avoid a lot of the crowds and Nathan is in the middle of a big job and couldn't take off. I have no problem taking the kids places alone and even traveling to familiar places like Branson with them alone. Some people have commented that they can't believe I travel alone with them or how sad it is that Nathan cannot make all our trips - but I don't understand that. We cannot always do everything together and I don't want the kids to miss out on opportunities that Nathan and I could give them when the other one is unable to. That is how we do things and it works for us. 

Ryan built a Poppy :)


This boy could eat his weight in spaghetti and meatballs!
Ferris Wheel at Pasghetti's
Ryan's usual reaction to her spaghetti at Pasghetti's :)

If this picture had sound you would hear "take dat you pip stweak" :)

Sign of a good vacation!

Worn smooth out!

Another wonderful surprise during our trip was that one of my best friends Sarah and her husband Shawn and son Jack were also in Branson! They saw we were there (thank you Facebook) so we met up for ice cream and went to their room to visit. It was so nice to visit with them and let the kids play together. Good move God :)

Ryans rainbow ice cream and Noah finally tried ice cream! Of course it was banana pudding flavored :)

Shawn playing "Timber" with the kids - they were really weak trees and he knocked them onto the giant bean bags :)

We got home from Branson just in time to go see the new Power Rangers movie with Nathan! We have literally been counting down to see this movie for awhile. It was actually really good, a little more adult than I was expecting though. The bad guy was kind of scary to me but it didn't even phase the kids, so I played it cool :)

Originally, Nathan was going to be racing in Memphis and I was going to drive over to see him after we got back from Branson and Nathan's mom was going to keep the kids. But, it turned out the race car was not going to be ready so he would not be racing. Nathan and I had not went away together without the kids in a while (we couldn't remember when exactly) so we decided since we had a sitter to go ahead and find something fun to do. I kept throwing ideas around, and Nathan would throw some around, but we just couldn't decide on anything. So, we packed our bags and got in the car. Then Nathan flipped a coin and the coin decided we needed to go Southwest - so that is the way we went! We ended up in Hot Springs! We survived a tornado Friday night and then Saturday we shopped all morning at our favorite store - TJ Maxx, went to Cajun Boilers and had lunch on the water, then headed to the horse races. I went with my grandma as a child, but Nathan had never been. We tried to act like we knew what we were doing and even snuck our way into some reserved indoor seating to watch the first 4 races. We made a bet, but didn't win. We weren't exactly sure what we were doing though, so we will need some pointers for next time. The popcorn and ice cream were good though! 

Our view from "our" reserved seats ;)

After the races we went to old down town and had dinner at Brick House Grill and then shopped in the downtown shops. Nathan called and booked up couples massages for the Sunday while I booked us another hotel room. We finished the evening watching HGTV :)

Sunday we did a little shopping and then had lunch at Stubby's BBQ - which was really good! Then we headed to our couples massage appointment. Unfortunately, the massages were not the best - we have been spoiled by our local massage girl. Then we headed home to the kids! I missed them so much while we were gone - I had been with them non stop for 7 days so I needed a break, but as always, I miss them after only a few hours!

While we were gone, the kids Meme took them on lots of adventures! Their cousin Paxton joined them for a couple days too.  They had a picnic at the park, rode bikes, went bowling, camped in the living room and much more!

Now that Spring is finally here we are ready for lots of time at the ball park, golf course, in the water, going on walk, evening four-wheeler rides and drag races!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Celebration of Life and a Celebration of Birth

Almost a month ago my best friend Cassie text me to tell me she needed a ride from the airport because she was flying in to see her dad for his birthday in a few weeks since he hadn't been doing very well. Unfortunately, she sent me a message the next day that her dad passed away, so now she was coming in for his funeral instead of his birthday. Her dad and my dad were good friends. They went to college together and then worked together for years. Before I moved here with my mom I would spend my weekends here with my dad and we would go to Cassie's house. She and I would play and our dads would talk and watch tv together. So, when I finally moved here in the 7th grade, I was lucky enough to already have a friend that I had known for years at my new school! Cassie and I remained best friends all through high school and college, were in each others weddings (more on that here), I named my daughter after her (and some times I see Cassie in my daughter when she is being sassy) and to this day she is still my best friend. This has not been easy with me being here in our hometown while she has lived in Conway, Fayetteville, Hawaii, Colorado, and back to Hawaii! But, thanks to lots of texting, phone calls and Facebook we have been able to keep up with eachother and stay close. We always can pick right up where we leave off when she visits - even before we leave the airport parking lot sometimes (right Cassie?) :)

This is my second friend to lose a father in the last few months - I am not a fan of this season of life. I know it is inevitable, but I just don't think I will ever be ready for it to happen. I know I will be in this situation also - hopefully not any time soon, so I am trying my best to  be there for them because I know I will need them for the same thing.

On Saturday, instead of a funeral, my friend had a Celebration of Life for her dad. After going to two of these recently, this is definitely what I want for my parents also. I would love to celebrate their life and tell stories of better times - which is how I want my parents remembered. It was such a nice service to celebrate such a special man. After the service we went to lunch and guess who was in the booth beside us - Cassie and her husband! It was so nice to, just for a little while, have a life where I can accidentally run into my best friend at home.

I am holding out hope that they will move back closer some day. I love their life - it is so different from mine and full of amazing things - most of which they wouldn't have here. But, the family and friends could help make up for it - I am no tropical island, but I have a few good traits ;)  Don't get me wrong, I love my life too, every little bit of it. Cassie and I have talked about how different our day to day lives are and how we both love eachothers lives too - it is just crazy all the different places our lives can take us, but we still can have the same true best friend! I have lots of friends, but no one is as great as that one great friends you grow up with.

Saturday night Nathan fired up his new outdoor griddle and cooked us up a big breakfast for dinner! Eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes and french toast! It was all so good! It even started snowing while he was out there cooking - so being the good wife I am I stood at the door, in the warm house and handed him stuff :) We found another classic movie to watch with the kids during dinner that night - Problem Child! The loved it! John Ritter is one of my favorites so this has always been one of my favorite movies from my childhood.

Grilling in the snow :)

Sunday after church the kids and I went to lunch while Nathan went to draft Ryan's t-ball team. Then we were invited to a first birthday party for one of our friends. It was the cutest lumberjack themed party! The kids had such a good time! After that we just had a quiet evening at home cooking and cleaning and getting ready for the week.

Nathan and the birthday boy, Huntley!
We are counting down to Spring Break next week where the kids and I are hitting the road on some adventures and then maybe Nathan and I get to go on an adventure alone :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Parties, An Award and Some Pool Time

We kicked off our weekend with movie night at home! We are trying to find old movies we liked when we were younger and watch them with our kids. So, Friday night we introduced them to Little Rascals. They loved it! I cannot imagine 5 year olds running around that freely in todays world like they were in that movie though - we just live in a different time now. Nathan barbecued chicken and I made sides and his favorite dessert (magic bars) and the kids loved all the food for once! It was a good night :)

Saturday we had a double birthday party for two boys in Noah's class at school. It was at the Bacchus Family Adventure Farm. We have had both kids parties there and love that place. It is so much fun and the kids just love the animals and activities. An F1 tornado came through there just a few days before the party and took out the nursery building. Sadly, they lost their wallaby and it's baby. Thankfully, the rest of the farm seemed ok and the owners had the best attitude about it. We fed animals, played football, rode the train, and played in the sun. It was a great party!

Later that day Noah had his awards ceremony for basketball. Noah seemed most improved on the team to me (in my unbiased mom opinion) - he came a long way this season. Nathan was head coach of a team for the first time and really did great! It wasn't as easy as he thought and I think he liked it more than he thought. Now, on to baseball and softball!

We got a nice surprise visit that evening from my older brother. He happened to be in town and got a hotel room so we all met at the hotel so the kids could swim and then went to dinner together. I don't get to see him and his girls much so it was so good to visit with them. 9 Gunn kids in a pool made for a wild Saturday night!

Sweet Mermaid Emmie
Sunday we went to Church and spent the afternoon doing a little shopping for house renovation stuff and future birthday presents :) We ended our weekend with dinner at Noah's favorite restaurant Sumo. 

Now onto visiting with friends from out of state, a celebration of life, a birthday party and whatever else we can get into before losing an hour of sleep on Sunday!