Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gala Weekend

I'm so happy I made time to spend with the minis the weekend before (read about that fun here) because this weekend was completely taken up with Gala festivities followed by packing for travel week on Sunday. I honestly couldn't have asked for an easier weekend though! The Gala was wonderful and went off without a hitch, the minis got to attend a family birthday party while we prepped for the Gala, and packing went relatively smooth considering I was once again packing for five people to be in different places....that has become one of my least favorite things in life. A big bonus to the weekend: gorgeous, warm temps! We aired the house out a bit to help get rid of the influenza bug that hit our house. All in all, great, busy weekend.

Movies and cuddling on the couch.

Saturday afternoon was spent setting up for the Gala at Decades Event Center. Even though the minis weren't with me, signs of them were everywhere. I glanced at a centerpiece I was putting together and realized a few of the pictures had the minis in them! Fun, happy memories.

Last year's Gala was amazing, but stressful. It was the first Gala many of us had thrown, after all. As I looked at our silent auction tables and viewed our program, I was filled with so much pride and feelings of success.

Meanwhile, the minis were at Colby Park partying it up and playing. Nothing better on a late winter, spring-like day.

My awesome sister, also known as Aunt Jenny, who took the minis for the weekend.

This little face looks so old here. This little face also came down with influenza 24 hours after this picture was taken.

And then all night at the Gala (I snuck an hour nap in between setting up and call time). Also, I gave a speech. Kinda. It was a quick rundown of what was going to happen that night. 

It was a late night (or rather, late night these days), but we managed to wake up, pick up groceries, and grill lunch. That was the extent I got to enjoy the weather because my day was spent with laundry, packing, more laundry, packing, and more of the same. Also, a nap.

I got a couple of new signs from the silent auction. They were hung immediately because they are absolutely perfect for our house.

And....mostly semi-packed by Sunday evening! Huge win!! Plus, laundry was caught up so those are actually clean clothes in those bags. Winning.

Shoutout To The Support System -- May Everyone Be This Lucky

My tribe. My village. My people. Friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, co-workers, fellow moms and dads. I am lucky to have an entire network of people I call upon when all hell breaks loose in life. When life doesn't go as planned...or simply a random Tuesday that I just can't handle alone.

I've wanted to write this post since the beginning of this school year when I watched a new tribe (one I'm so very lucky to be a part of) form. A group of parents, desparate to figure out middle school and all it entails, got together and formed a carpool. Yet it's so much more than a carpool. It's a "I'll take care of your kid if you take care of mine." It's a get together and discuss/commiserate how stupid middle school boys can be (for the record, we're talking about our own boys here). It's the type of tribe that provides support not just for the kids, but for each other as well. Not only is it supportive, it's caring, appreciative, helpful, and positive.

In a matter of hours, my husband and I will board a plane bound for the mountains. It was kind of a last minute trip (and by last minute, I mean one that wasn't thought of a year in advance) that is only possible because of our support system. We have more than enough people stepping in for us while we're gone--family and friends who are willing to help, take on our schedule, and dig in. Even as I leave my minis in the midst of an influenza outbreak, I am not worried. The caregivers have back ups. Heck, even our back ups have back ups and those back ups have back ups.

We're lucky to have numerous tribes who have our backs. Who are willing to step in when I can't. It's times like this that I fully understand the phrase "it takes a village." It really does. My husband and I could not raise our children successfully if we did it all alone. I can't tell you how many times our parents have gotten calls in the form of "can you pick up _____ from school?" "Can you run eggs to our house? I'm in the middle of baking in the middle of nap time.." Or friends "hey, you wanna take a vacation with me and the kids?? I don't want to go by myself!" Or aunts and uncles "um, can you take my kids this weekend?" Or neighbors, "can you watch the house for us?"

It's easy to see how much help we'll need while we're on vacation. As I look at the bigger picture, I fully see how much our daily lives rely on our tribes. Our daily lives simply wouldn't work without those special people. It's not lost on me just how lucky we are to have close friends, family within minutes of us, and trustworthy neighbors. It's also not lost on me that not everyone has this type of support system. To that I say, I have no idea how you do it and I'm very, very thankful for our's because our life wouldn't be our life without them.

Grandparents are an integral part of our support system.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Let's Pretend It's Summer Weekend

Walnut Woods State Park

Super, super fun weekend! I wanted to make it special for the minis since it was our last weekend to spend together for a few weeks thanks to events and trips. We started the weekend with a low key Valentine's night. Hubs ordered take out, we watched America's Sweethearts, and we ate more chocolates than we needed. It was the perfect night.

I was kind of hoping for space on Valentine's night. It had been one of those weeks where everyone had to be touching me, needing me, and making sure I was within sight at all times. Of course, that didn't change Valentine's night, but I also didn't mind the relaxed cuddles and back stratching while we watched a movie I hadn't seen in years.

Saturday we gave grocery shopping another go, this time at Aldi's. I wasn't a fan and the minis agreed Trader Joe's is where it's at. As Elizabeth declared, "they just have all of our favorites stuff...and even if it isn't our favorite, it's still pretty good." Same mini. Same. 
It was a warm and sunny Saturday and I couldn't let it pass us by. We hiked at Walnut Woods, explored, and then followed it up with our favorite Ecuadorian food from Mi Patria. 

Break for lunch in between grocery shopping and hiking.

I fully expected the trail to have snow, but was surprised to find that it was also ice packed. We still enjoyed our river rim hike and there we no falls on the ice. Of course, they did manage to find all the mud along the trail and stomp in it because, why not?

It wasn't until I was going through pictures that I noticed the middle mini's gloves didn't even match! In fact, they're two different sizes because one is his big brother's and the other is his from last year.

They clearly have my grace....

The minis were obsessed with the ice on the river. They kept trying to convince me to let them walk on the not-very-frozen river. Sigh. I obviously kept them from killing themselves.

It wouldn't be a family hike without one pout about how tired her legs were.

"Are you sure we can't go walk on the ice down there?" Pretty positive children. Que more sighing from me.

Nice enough for the windows to be open! I've managed to keep the winter blues away this year, but it really helps that we have had a mild winter compared to last year.

My favorites on my plate: plantains, hominy, llapingachos, fritada con mote, and arroz con pollo. I highly recommend Mi Patria if you haven't tried them yet!

We rose early on Sunday morning, made breakfast, and then went to the pool. Yes, the pool. An indoor pool, but still a pool. Adventureland Inn has cabanas that you can rent in four hour time blocks or all day. We chose a four hour time block since it's Sunday and we had plenty to do, but I had been waiting to do this all winter! I'm so glad we made time for it because the minis had a pool to themselves most of the time we were there! Plus, I got to have a drink and sit in the hot tub. Perfect Sunday in my book.

A summery fruit salad with breakfast for our pool day. The minis are so ready for melon season, playing outdoors all day, and swimming suits. Basically, we're just ready for summer vacation!

Okay, so I'm going to tell on myself here. I totally didn't pay attention to my reservation time when I made it. I meant to make it for 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. but I accidentally made it for 4 - 8 p.m. I was crushed because that time didn't work for us, but the person working the front desk said, "let me make a call." Instead of telling us to come back (which he would have had every right to do), he had housekeeping quickly clean a hotel room for us to use while we were there. So, we actually didn't get to use the cabana rental but an actual room. The room was very nice and overlooked the pools. I am so very grateful they went above and beyond for us! It was greatly appreciated and saved the day.

Of course, we spent all of our time in the pool area and not in the room.

The hot tub was glorious.

One little girl in a big pool all to herself.

The reason for the funky blue lighting: the skylights. 

Lunch from Spectators: nachos and pretzel bites. The boys hogged it all down.

We went back to our room to change and have a quick snack. The minis thought they were starving. So much so that we picked up pizza on the way home too and they ate an entire large pizza. Woah.

Along with pizza, we also picked up last weekend's pottery that was painted at Glazed Expressions. So proud of my seven year who painted a shot glass, "for you and me Mom." I haven't decided yet if this is a parenting win or fail...

I loved having this fun weekend with my minis! My next two weekends will be spent hosting an event and traveling, so it really was our last weekend together until the first full weekend of March. Luckily, we have an excellent support system who will make sure the minis have lots of fun the weekends we're not with them. Being at Adventureland Inn just made us more anxious for summer weekend afternoons spent at Adventure Bay. So, so close!