For our 10 year wedding anniversary, Stu's request was to "ride roller coasters without the kids." Well, ok.
I'm a Marriott Reward Member, so I booked a room at the Courtyard Marriott near-ish to Busch Gardens. On the suggestion of friends, I actually first booked us at the Epicurean in downtown Tampa. But we decided to be fiscally responsible and pay off some medical bills and go with the less expensive hotel. The Courtyard worked out perfectly. The location was WAY better than if we had been downtown. And the hotel itself was quite nice.
We sent the kids off to Tennessee with my parents. They flew Little Aunt Debbie home and spent some excellent quality time with cousins.
Stu and I bought our Busch Gardens tickets at Publix. We picked up the 2-Day, 2-Park tickets for $99 each. We figured since we were going to be there for 2 days we would not need the Quick Queue passes (that's like Disney's FastPass, except Busch Gardens charges $$ for the experience).
Buying the tickets at Publix worked to our advantage. We did not have to wait in any line at the Park. We simply went right in. If you're going, buy them ahead of time. Not only was the convenience nice, but we saved money doing it that way. A 1-Day pass is $79. So we got the second day for only $20. Not bad.
So, considering that I chopped our hotel bill in half by switching hotels and saved us money on Park Admission, Stu was feeling pretty good about the whole trip. Chalk that up as a win for me!
This past weekend was my birthday. It was better than I could have imagined and hoped for.
I've been so serious in my posts recently, I thought it'd be fun to change the tone for this one. I am not a sad person. I am not a "glass half-empty" girl either. I am an unapologetic realist though.
Anyway, back to the fun.
Hubs and kids got up early and went to Panera Bread to get me breakfast. I absolutely LOVE their soufflés. If you haven't had one, try it. You will not be disappointed.
We bummed around on the couch for a bit, watching TV - my favorite movie, Pirates of the Caribbean was available on Netflix. Breakfast I did not have to make, delicious coffee and a good flick? Win - Win.
My sister and brother-in-law came over with their dogs. They were actually there to help my dad with the fence, but we ended up turning it into a party. Everyone worked on the pool fence (except me - my only birthday wish was that I could have the day off from everything). Then everyone jumped in the pool.
It was hot and sunny (emphasis on HOT) while they were working on the fence. And shortly after getting in the pool, it began to rain. But there was no thunder, so the rain stopped no one from partying.
It was the perfect afternoon. Really. All the laughter. All the squeals. All the barking. The kids had the greatest time. I could not have asked for a better day.
Buddy had this idea for my birthday. I am honestly not sure where he got it from. He called it "the grand finale." He wanted to keep it a secret from me, but his sister told me and he let it slip a few times too. Regardless of my knowledge, he wanted to keep it hidden from me.
In the afternoon, after he swam for a while, he and Grammie went off to pick up "the grand finale." They hid it on the patio until after dinner.
Can you believe it? Another school year is over!
I know, it's so cliche... but time is really flying by! I wish I could put the breaks on. Well, maybe not the breaks, but definitely a lower gear.
This past weekend was full and awesome.
We spent Saturday bumming around in the morning. When Stu went off to his men's meeting at church, the kids and I jumped in the pool. It was one of those days where the monsters are like oil and water. They just weren't keen on getting along. Honestly, it was super annoying.
So the pool didn't last as long as I had hoped. Oh well.
After dinner that night, we decided to light the fire pit. It's a new addition to the back patio. We do so love to roast marshmallows.
How guilty is your conscience? I have a fairly guilty one. It keeps me in check. I confess misdoings, miscommunications, mistakes, etc. And I usually blurt out my confession with little-to-no prodding. It's really annoying.
I wrote a long time ago about my compulsion to project honesty in an article I called "Impulsively Mean." Basically that article says that I speak the truth - sometimes it's not what you want to hear, sometimes its a useless truth. Most of the crap I confess is stupid, pointless junk. But I have to always have a clean conscious. If I feel dirty or tarnished in any way, I will clear the air.
I was going through pictures and videos yesterday and found a gem.
*This is the article I was beginning to write as this year's Mother's Day post.
I became a Mom early one morning in December 2007. It was the scariest morning. I didn't sleep a wink the night before. I had a scheduled c-section and was told to be at the hospital at 5am to prep for the operation. I cried when I heard my baby for the first time... I hadn't yet laid eyes on her, but I could hear her. When the doc held her up over the blue sterile curtain, I could see only her little hands. I fell completely in love instantly. --- Although I believe I may have had a bit of post-pardum depression. I realized this when it took me a few days before I would have killed to protect her.
Fast forward 2 years.
Buddy was different. We had a scheduled c-section for him also. It was on the calendar for February 2010. But he decided to join our family in the middle of January.
I was terrified - this time for different reasons. With Rea, the fear was of the unknown, hoping all would go according to plan, just being scared about the surgery in general. Nothing super specific. But because Buddy was nearly 6 weeks early, I was terrified about his health, his chances, his life. When I was at the hospital for Rea, my fears were selfish. My fears were centered on me. Two years of being a Mom had shifted my focus. I wasn't thinking about me. I was a nervous wreck for the tiny human I hadn't even met yet.
I'm not going to get into Buddy's birth, if you want to read about it, click here.
This is not about Buddy. Well, not him alone.
I am in love with both of my monsters. They are so incredible. They are the coolest kids I know. And I think they are on their way to being pretty rad grown ups. I really am grateful to be their Momma.
I was going to write a great post about the time I became a Mom, about what a blessed event that was, and how everyday I thank the Lord he sent me these two precious humans.
But I erased it. Because as I am typing this, I am being yelled at from another room about Lunchables. Yes, that disgusting, prepackaged garbage they sell at Publix. My oldest, most precious daughter is screaming about how horrible I am because I will only let her eat ONE of the chicken nugget Lunchables - the pizza ones she LOVED last week are no longer her favorite, she simply MUST eat the ones her brother likes.
The backstory is that last week, Rea ate ALL of the chicken nugget Lunchables we had in the fridge. Buddy cannot eat the pizza ones (food allergies, has few options). Buddy freaked out when he went to grab one. Lots of crying. He told me to get more, but this time to hide them from Rea. I think he may have been onto something.
So, here I sit - Only a half hour after opening up awesome home-made gifts from the kids - wishing it was bedtime.
Happy Mother's Day everyone!
Ok, maybe not ever. I mean, we have had some really great times at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. I could spend days talking about some of our past trips, and I could share literally thousands of StuCrew pics from WDW. But I won't. This is not about that. It's about me and Rea.
Buddy was so excited to go. I thought it would be nice for him to check out the camp his sister went to a few years ago and where I hope to ship all three of them off to one summer in the near future.
When Rea was there two years ago, she was obsessed with the zip-line. At that time, it was the longest in the state of Florida. Now I believe, it is #2. Anyway, Buddy was vicariously familiar with the zip-line. He and I watched as Rea and Stu rode it two summers ago. And then we listened to stories of Rea riding it over and over and over that week. So I am not surprised that Buddy wanted to try. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised he went alone.
Right around the time that March ends and April begins, the kids start chatting about Daddy's birthday. We love birthdays. They guarantee a good meal and cake! Stu loves ice-cream cake - specifically Carvel ice-cream cake. So he looks forward to his special day for that reason.
Lately he's been complaining a lot about getting older. And grumbling more than usual about his birthday. Because of this, my mom assumed it was a big year for him. She thought he was turning 40 this year.