Thursday, January 26, 2017

Minnesota Vikings

So if November was so last minute it had to carry over into December. The very first thing was a trip to Minnesota to visit family, Kentrell. It would also be our first NFL game!

After an 8.5 hour drive in the dark and very few places to stop we finally made it to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Checked into our hotel just after midnight but it was worth the wait. This was the first time we have stayed in a big city and had a room on the 16th floor. It was a great view to fall asleep with.


Of course we ended up sleeping in a bit but up in time for Kentrell to surprise the boys. You can't tell that we haven't seen him in a couple months.


Some things never change.


I have never been to Minnesota so of course we headed to Mall of America. I'm not a big shopper nor a person who cares for crowds but it is one of those places you have to go to just to say you have been...especially when you are in town for less than 48 hours and to cold to do much site seeing.

The boys really wanted to go on a ride but couldn't agree on anything but the obstacle course which wasn't open yet. We had missed breakfast so we had an early lunch at Rainforest Cafe. The boys really didn't want to eat there, they wanted Subway, but after going in they changed their minds. The animals helped keep them occupied. The food was ok noting to be excited to go back for but the experience was worth it.

On to get some "fan" gear for the game.


We should have hit the shops before lunch because it was packed...like lines circling the store several times to checkout busy. So I kept the boys busy...


They wanted to take a picture with the mannequin while waiting. Daddy is finished heading our way and one of Kentrell's teammates is in the background.

As we were leaving we noticed the obstacle course was finally open. Here is the thing...one of my boys is very cautious about everything and the other is an adrenaline junkie...not only that BUT I could not be on the same obstacle as the hesitant one while I was REQUIRED to be no more than an arms length away from the adventurer.


My oldest had to be helped across on this one, then he decided he had enough, if I had went first I think he would have been fine. He wants to try it again. The younger one wanted to go to the top (3 stories up) and do some crazy ones but I wasn't feeling it. Mainly because both of us walking together made the cables shake so much and I was more worried about making him slip...ok maybe me too.

We made it back to get our tickets and start walking to the game. Yes, you heard that right we decided to walk about 20 minutes in December in Minnesota! It really wasn't bad on the way because we used the skywalks up until the last 3 or 4 blocks because we needed to get food and all places were closed along the walkways. The boys got their wish and had Subway for dinner, except they didn't have the makings for a pizza sub. I was a bit disappointed, that is my go to sandwich there.


We arrived safely and found our seats without to much confusion. Along with almost 67,000 other people.



From our seats we could feel the fire from the dragon as the players ran out.



We arrived in plenty of time so the boys killed time fighting Pokemon...later the youngest fell asleep in the middle of the game. Not sure how he is able to do that but it is not the first time.


There he is! I don't know if we truly paid attention to any of the game except when Kentrell was on the field...


One of the rare times I like a photo of just me... ok any picture of me.


After the game, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys, we went to the players' lounge to wait for the team to change and be released. It was kinda cool being down there and learning more about the other players...well their families.


We walked back to the hotel. Not going to lie it was cold. The skywalks were closed so we had to walk on the sidewalks. It wasn't bad, actually shorter but the wind was brutal. The boys kept it together until about a block away when the younger could hardly feel his hands. Although they fell fast to sleep once we got back.

The next morning we packed up and I took the boys for a quick swim before checking out. We had the pool to ourselves...well except the gym is a wall of windows that look in on the pool so we felt like we were on display.


We spent the rest of the day with Kentrell mainly at the arcade in Mall of America and just chilling at his house before heading back home. It may have been a quick trip but can't say we will forget it.







Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last Minute November

I can't leave November out. It seemed to be my month of literally doing things at the last moment.

It started with a birthday party my boys were going to. The party was on a Friday night, I knew the mother had a lot on her plate so I offered to make her son's cake. I may have not realized that basically I only had 24 hours to plan, buy, bake, and decorate.

The theme was Pokémon...ideas were already flowing but I knew simple was best. She had given me most of what I needed to bake it with which was a relief. The boy wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting which put a hiccup into ideas but I think we overcame.

Chocolate cake with a chocolate icing for a base and a "surprise" poké-ball on top.


Getting the colors right in a short amount of time was difficult...and may have had a batch I messed up but then used part of it to get the bed red I have been able to. Black again was similar except I just went with it. An Oreo cookie was the perfect button.

Once we arrived I assembled it on site. Ended up having to redo some of the decoration on the bottom layer, but really it was a cake for 3-9 year olds so I don't think they cared as much as I did.


I try to make everything on the cake (besides the candles) edible but this time I used part of the birthday present as decoration.


When the poké-ball was cut open M&M's© poured out.


The next weekend we had a garage sale (later than I like and again last minute but cleared out the garage) and then went with some friends to tour the Old Missouri Penitentiary. I love history, maybe not all the dates and stuff but the stories. At Thanksgiving I was pulled into looking up some of my genealogy based on a story that my grandpa told me about his great great grandfather.

Anyway back to the penitentiary. I really had never been taught much about it and I have lived in Missouri all my life and the last 15 years within 40 minutes of it! It was the longest running and held the most prisoners in the United States and possibly the world although they can't really prove the later.

One of the friends I went with is a photographer, Vicki Winton, you can check out some of her pictures from the penitentiary here.

I did take a few but I truly forgot I had the camera because I was taken in by the stories.


This is the main building. A couple years ago it was covered in mold and had to undergo remediation. It was open from 1836 until 2004, Alcatraz was only open 1933-1963.


Vicki and Meagan in the showers...


Death-row inmates were held in the basement.


Those on death row were allowed exercise as well but were confined to a smaller area.


Some famous inmates walked these halls including boxer Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray (may not have been housed here though)


The cat walks across were not for those weary of heights.


Some inmates decorated their cells. This one was done to look like a cave. Others wrote inscriptions, unfortunately much was lost when they had to scrape the walls to remove the mold.


Death row cell had bunk beds so the top could hold all of their legal books and papers.


It was a bit of fun to tell people we went to jail over the weekend...

Next up was a "field trip" to the roller rink... before going the boys were excited and wanting me to buy them skates. NO WAY was I going to buy skates especially since they had never been skating. I warned them:

1) You will fall.
2) It will hurt.
3) You will cry.
4) You will want to go home.
5) You will try again.

The first 3 minutes of having the skates on they accomplished the first 4...

The younger one is in blue.
I then caved and rented a "walker" the younger didn't want to use it. He is a little more stubborn but also takes pain better. If he hurts it is usually because it really hurt or he is exhausted. He tried to play limbo but it took him so long to get to the back of the line it had already gone through and the pole had been lowered.

I love that he was so adamant about trying.
The older fell using it several times and tried giving up but I tried to encourage. By the end he was making it around the rink without it...neither was really skating but they were having fun!



Success! We even played the dice game and survived until the end. Not to brag but I may have won 😏 but I had already won having fun with the boys and doing something I haven't done in over 15 years. As we were leaving they were already begging to go back!


We host our annual Thanksgiving on "black" Friday. This year we didn't start shopping until the week of! This is not like us but luckily after 10 years it was a piece of cake. Part of the reason was the week before my grandpa had a heart attack. He is doing well, actually he looks better than he has in a very long time.


My parents ended up hosting Thanksgiving day at their house for my dad's side. It was good to see all of them and best part was bringing my "little" brother back with us. He was a huge help in making our prepping for Thanksgiving easier by playing with the kids. We even managed a little black Friday shopping (on Thursday) in, although it was actually for him.


I admit I stress over the last minute details normally but this time I decided to just let it be and it was really one of the best times we have had even if we couldn't get the tree due to sickness and cold.


We ended up going a few days later. Not the same but it helped us feel more in the Christmas spirit.



Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Little Bit in Everything in October

While the days may have flown by the last few months...How in the world is it already almost Christmas!?! I don't want you to think I forgot about posting. Here are a few things that have kept us in "Chaos" 😏

When October started I didn't foresee what all was about to happen. I was very happy that I actually was on top of my fall decorating. The boys grew pumpkins (by accident) but we ended up with over 100. We sold quite a few of them but had enough to decorate with...although they had to be inside due to squirrels thinking they were a delicacy.


We also scored a deal on the largest mums I have seen at Sam's Club. $30 and my pots were filled.


We were suppose to have our sewer line replaced in September but with rain their other projects were pushed back meaning ours was pushed back until October. At this point I didn't care as long as it got done before winter.


It was perfect timing because rain and cold set in pretty quick afterwards. They started at 8am and finished before 3pm. Very impressed with their efficiency and willingness to show the kids what they were doing. Of course they (along with neighbors) were plastered to the windows watching.


We had been told the line was broken but after digging it up the issue looked like it was laid running uphill which caused the backup in our house. It did have a break but not enough to cause the issues we have been having.


So if we would have went for the more expensive option "relining" it wouldn't have worked completely and we would have ended up replacing anyway.

The boys were set on being Darth Vader and Kylo Ren for Halloween. I was kind of against it at first because I had other ideas but it saved me time and they pulled it off very well.


In Columbia we have downtown trick-or-treating the Friday before Halloween. I was afraid there would be tons of similar costumes but we ran into only maybe 3 others. I was exhausted by the end, had a closing right before and it reached 80 for the high.


My family came for the weekend to watch the boys last soccer games.






I think they had just scored. Both boys were good about not caring if they won or lost but excited when their teams did score.

We ended by our annual trip to Shryock's Corn Maze.


Always a fun time, we made it out just before dark and found all the checkpoints!


Well that is a quick summation of October 😜