So here's a funny story. I wrote this post last AUGUST! I hadn't quite finished it so I saved it as a draft. Then I promptly forgot all about it until this very minute. So now, for your reading pleasure.....
Well to start... My Tempe Bell had a Birthday!!! She is officially 2 now! Though I honestly have no clue how that happened. We had a small family get together the Saturday before we left for our trip since her actual Birthday would fall on a day that we would be out of town away from the Hubs.
She opened presents. Pretty much everything was hand me downs from big-sister Ginny. We do a LOT of hand me downs. Anything that is still in good condition (clothes, shoes, books, toys) gets tucked away into storage so it can be new to the next little one. My kids love it when a younger sibling gets something they once loved. And the child who is getting the gift loves it just as much as the first one did. Hopefully they will always feel that way because BIG families come with a BIG price tag, and preparing in advance is a must! We did buy her a few new books though. Tempe adores books. I adore that about her! :)
We got several sweet smiles too!
Oh and cake!
We had another family get together for her at my Mom's house on her Birthday. You'll see those pics a little lower....
So how many of you played the McDonalds monopoly game this past month? I can honestly say the kids and I had an addiction to it. We very rarely get to go to McDonalds though due to the cost and distance, so we didn't get to play as often as we would have liked. However, a road trip, teamed with the McDonalds gift card my Mom gave me, afforded us plenty of opportunity to feed our addiction, without strange looks from Hubby. Needless to say, more pee stops were had, than were probably necessary, at the very convenient McDonalds! Did we win anything? Well, you will just have to read on to find out, now won't you? MwaHaHa (does that read like an evil laugh? It sounded that way in my head)
On to the trip! We decided to break up the 12 hour drive to my parents into 2 days. People are always so surprised that I can do this drive with my kiddos by myself but honestly, I have to tell you, it isn't that bad. They were really good! No SERIOUSLY! Here is a picture of Sebastian (12) walking around at a rest stop with Tempe (now 2) to stretch their legs while I nursed Lotte. He is such an amazing big brother!
One of the monopoly pull off tickets gave us a free Redbox rental and we happened to stop at a McDonalds with a Redbox. (see I told you they were convenient!) So the kids got a movie (that we hadn't already watched 50 bagillion times) to watch in the van. That worked out pretty nice.
We stayed in a hotel the first night. Hubby reserved the room in advance because everything in the area was booked up and we were afraid we wouldn't get a room if we didn't. We got there around 3 pm. Plenty of time to settle in to our room and check out the town before dinner.
Couch is comfy. Check!
TV works. Check! Chair and 2 beds are comfy. Check, check and check!
Yes, even the coffee table is comfy. I'll go ahead and give that a double check just because she is the only one to think to check for that!
After settling in, we hopped in the van and drove around town. We found a Walmart really close and a few restaurants nearby. We went to Walmart first. There was a Redbox right out front so we went ahead and returned the video we rented earlier. We got it back on time which makes it free and well... that IS my favorite price so that was a win in my book. While in Walmart we bought some belts for the boys (who somehow had their new pants falling down around their hineys), Twizzlers (with a coupon and sale), microwave popcorn and 5 AWESOME movies from the $5 bin! I cant remember all of them but Annie was one of them. Can you believe my kids had never seen that?!?! Well now that they have, they LOVE it! Ginny runs around singing "Dumb dog, why are you following me? I ain't got a speck of crumbs for you or for me dog, so please let me be!" Melts my heart! Ok so out of my rabbit trail. Next we had to make a dinner choice.
I REALLY wanted to go to the Japanese steakhouse, but thought better of it when I remembered I was alone with my 5 kids, 2 of whom probably wouldn't eat anything there, and 1 who would eat them out of business, and me into bankruptcy. Another option was Shoney's. Kids eat free with each paying adult, so that makes it a little more affordable, and it's definitely family friendly. So, ok Shoney's it was. I wasn't happy about it at first but I am glad we made that choice now. From the start the waiter was incredibly nice to my kiddos. I LOVE it when they actually talk TO my kids and not AT them. Know what I mean? He was very attentive to the needs of a large family, especially one with only 1 parent present. I was ordering the buffet for Tempe (who likes an assortment of foods), Ginny (who eats very little other than fruit and cheese (both salad bar items)), and Sebastian (who will eat everything and then clean the plates of the neighboring table!). Trevor and I were ordering off the regular menu. The waiter asked how old Ginny was. I said 5. He said nope she is 4 and gave me a wink. She would be eating for free with a paying adult (me). Then he said Trevor looked manly enough, we could call him an adult. So Tempe would be eating for free too! Then he gave Sebastian (of all people) a children's buffet price ($4 cheaper than an adult. I think they lost a lot of money on that deal! lol) SERIOUSLY!?!?! My bill was only $25!!! It hasn't been that cheap since before I had kids!!! Then Trevor ordered baked spaghetti and garlic bread. When it came Trevor quietly voiced to me that he was hoping the garlic bread would be more like breadsticks (it was sliced garlic toast). Well the AMAZING waiter over heard from 2 tables over and 10 minutes later the cook showed up at our table with freshly made garlic breadsticks. How AWESOME is that!!! Needless to say he was tipped VERY well! It makes my heart smile just remembering it now. See, Shoney's was a good choice after all!
Next we headed back to the hotel and settled in for the night. With a sofa bed, 2 queen beds and a playpen we had plenty of room. I changed diapers and ordered a mandatory potty break. Then I made up individual bowls of popcorn and twizzlers and got everyone in bed. I turned on cable TV (a luxury we don't have at home) and found a good movie (Harry Potter). I turned off the lights and said "No one gets up", and that was it!
Trevor had the sofa bed
Sebastian and Ginny took one bed. Tempe in the playpen.
And Lotte and I took the other bed. We all slept like babies, and that made me a VERY happy Mommy.
In the morning we enjoyed the free continental breakfast around our coffee table
The next morning (Monday) we packed up and drove the final 6 gratefully uneventful hours to my parents house in Delaware, Ohio.
First we went to dinner with my Dad. Then we went to the bookstore my Mom works at for a little visit. Small bookstore (with fragile things), 5 tired kids, 1 tired Momma (holding a baby), and a Grandma who is on the clock and needs to be working. Yes a LITTLE visit.
Ginny found a stuffed flamingo that NEEDED to be dressed in other stuffed animals shoes.
Tempe found lots of little things on shelves that NEEDED to be removed.
And the boys found books galore that they could get lost in! Sebastian LOVES to read (just about anything) and Trevor LOVES cookbooks! Yeah, they get that from me!
Sleepy time at Maw Maw's house.
Lotte sleeps in bed with me.
Or on the beanbag...
Tuesday was Tempe's actual Birthday so we had another get together for her with Great Grandpa Trotter and Great Grandma Barbara in attendance as well.
I'm not sure who took this one. Its kinda blurry but that's us with my Dad.
Here's Sebastian with Great Grandma Barbara. He is showing her his angry birds activity book.
We had yummy Donato's pizza and a GIANT super cute birthday cake in the backyard. Maw Maw even made a delicious coconut, strawberry cream soda.
Look at those cute kiddos!
Then she unwrapped her present from Maw Maw and Paw Paw. The little people farm. The perfect toy for her. She LOVED it and played with it the whole time we were there (and continues to do so now that we are home). Ignore her nakedness, she was covered in pizza and cake frosting and needed her bath. lol
The next day we had planned to go to the zoo but the weather chose not to cooperate with those plans. We hung around the house for a while. The boys played board games (we get our love of board games from this side of the family).
and Lotte hung out in her beanbag...
Trevor is a serious card player...
On the way out of the mall we went though JC Penney's kitchen department. Mom and I LOVED it. (the kids...not so much. They were worn out) They had some of the neatest things. (Please remember that my Mom and I haven't been to a mall in a VERY long time. I think it was last Christmas for me.... to see Santa) I bought a really pretty divided dish and a super cool teapot for my loose leaf borage tea. I have used it quite a few times already and I LOVE it!
After the mall we went to a HUGE Goodwill store. The boys and I went in while Mom watched sleeping girls in the van. Sebastian bought some hotwheels and matchbox cars (his latest obsession), Trevor bought some board games (See? Board game family!), and I got a bunch of handheld electronic games (perfect for entertaining kiddos in the car) for 50 cents a piece! It was definitely a successful trip!
Next we headed back to the house to let Mom's dog Honey out, and give her a bite to eat. Then out to eat for us as well. SKYLINE!!!! My favorite!!! We met my Dad and Grandma and Grandpa Kaster there (Mom's parents). It was kid's night so they had an activity. This time it was decorating pencil sharpeners and pencils... with SHARPIES!!!! SERIOUSLY!?!?! WHO gives kids SHARPIES?!?!?! What were they thinking. Fortunately nothing was ruined but their fingers were coated nicely. Thank you Skyline! The food was spot on, the common sense? Not so much. Had a great visit with my Grandparents though. I even discovered that my overindulgent obsession with chocolate may be hereditary, as my Grandma shared a story with me that she may not care for me to repeat in public, involving 12 lbs of peanut butter cups. Don't worry Grandma, your secret is safe with me.
The next day, Thursday, I had a Dr.'s appointment with my endocrinologist at OSU. This was the whole reason for the trip to Ohio after all. After lots of traffic, going to the wrong location, and dealing with the (perpetual) construction mess, we made it to my appointment an hour late. So, in order to not have to go through my whole medical history in what has already begun to be an incredibly long, only to get longer, blog post, I'll just say this: the check-up went well and my tumors haven't grown any since the last visit.
Paw Paw stealing some Lotte love :)
Next was the POOL!!! Mom and Dad have a membership to the new YMCA in Delaware and took us as their guest. The kids were sooo excited! I stayed off on the side with Lotte while everyone else went swimming. It was perfect for me because I could see everyone. Ginny and Tempe hung out with Maw Maw and Paw Paw in the walk in area with the spraying toys, and the boys went on the water slide most of the time. The water was freezing so Tempe hated it at first and wouldn't go in unless she was securely attached to someone. She was terrified! That is until Paw Paw showed her some of the spraying toys. Little by little she got comfortable with it, and then... she LOVED it, blue lips and everything! You couldn't pull that kid from the pool! I know because we had to. Every hour everyone has to get out for 10 minutes. She cried the ENTIRE 10 minutes to get back in!
Ginny had a great time. She loved it right off the bat. Even in the deepest part she could touch. She loved being able to be so independent... until she wanted her brothers to play with her. That's when the trouble began.... I watched Maw Maw and Paw Paw playing with Tempe, and 5-6 feet away, Ginny was playing with her brothers. The boys went to leave and go play on the water slide. Ginny wanted them to stay, so she did what Ginny does... she flailed her arms and screamed. But, lets review, she is in the POOL! What do you think that looks like to, say, the LIFEGUARD!?!?! Watching the scenario unfold, I saw Ginny's reaction to her brothers leaving, and disregarded it as Ginny behavior... until I saw the lifeguard getting antsy. I knew what was about to happen, but I couldn't stop it in time. The lifeguard blew the whistle and went in after her. Everyone had to get out of the pool. Ginny immediately stood up and WALKED out with the lifeguard. An incident report had to be filed, talks had to be had and EMS had to be filled in and dismissed. What an adventure! Needless to say, we left and had a serious talk with Ginny about screaming in the pool. But, at least it made a good story, right?
Handsome boys with pool hair. lol They had so much fun on the giant water slide. Paw Paw HAD to show them the best way to go down so you got the most speed. Once they learned how, they pretty much never left the water slide area!
After Tempe fell in love with the water.
Friday morning Mom and I went out to her garden to harvest. I cant believe I didn't get any pics of that! She has done such an amazing job! She even has like a million different varieties of tomatoes out there too! (and she can remember which one is which! I couldn't do that! lol)
Look at all that deliciousness! Needless to say we ate a lot of fresh veggies while we were at Maw Maw's house.
One story I have to tell: When I was at my Dr. appointment, Mom made the kiddos lunch. Well, anyone who knows Ginny, knows that she doesn't eat.... anything, but especially veggies, especially tomatoes! So, of course, what does Maw Maw serve as a side dish with lunch? Tomatoes! Needless to say, there was some discussion there, and I would imagine, (knowing Ginny and my Mom) a little bit of a power struggle. But, wonder of all wonders, Mom somehow got Ginny to EAT her TOMATOES!!! (I think she should get her "Awesome Grandma Who Got a Kid to Eat Veggies" patch). So later, Ginny is telling me the story, and it goes something like this:
Ginny: "Maw Maw made potatoes for lunch. (she always gets those two mixed up. lol) And I ate ALL of them!
Me: "I heard about that. That makes Mommy very happy when you eat your veggies."
Ginny: "Yeah, well it took a while. I had to have a little fight with her about it. But we're okay now."
Me: *stifling gut busting laughter*
So, Friday we finally made it to the zoo! The kids were so happy!
By the time we got to Friday though, the kids were in an almost constant bickering mode. I mean who would have guessed this simple LARGE drum could cause a 5 minute fight over who's turn it is. Seriously? Its big enough for everyone! And its not like we came to the zoo to play a drum!
But not 10 minutes later, I catch them doing this. UNPROMPTED!!! See? They do LOVE each other! :)
I don't remember what they were looking at in this particular picture, but it looks like they both saw it! So cute!
Trevor, our navigator, directed us to all the animals we wanted to see. Love that smarty pants boy!
This was a HARD pic to get. Getting 6 people to hold still for a picture is hard enough normally but add in the fact that 5 of them are kids, and 2 of them are in need of naps....
Cranky pants kiddos beat up their Paw Paws! lol
Look! They are being NICE again!
Resting with Maw Maw
8 week old Lotte stretching outWhen we finished at the zoo we went out to eat a neat little restaurant called Culvers. Great burgers! The little ones were exhausted though so we headed back to the house and got them in the bath and ready for bed. When Tempe and Lotte were asleep, Paw Paw stayed with them while Maw Maw and I took the bigger 3 kiddos out for ice cream! Another funny story for you:
While Ginny and Tempe were in the tub they were talking to Maw Maw about the plans:
Maw Maw: "We have to get Tempe to sleep before ice cream"
Ginny: "Why are you gonna scream?"
Maw Maw: "Not scream, ice cream!"
I don't think she got it though because later while sitting on the steps waiting for Maw Maw to get ready to go:
Ginny: "Lets go get ice cream!"
Me: "We will Honey. We are just waiting for Maw Maw to finish up."
Ginny: (covering her ears) "Okay Maw Maw. Go ahead. Scream." A short pause then looks up at me with her ears still covered and yells "Did she do it? Did she scream? Was it loud?"
Me: "Yes Honey. It was REALLY loud"
Ginny:" Okay Maw Maw lets go now"
So, here we are at Orange Leaf (the ice cream place) where the kiddos loaded their creations up with some of the most disgusting mixtures you can imagine, then preceded to eat (and surprisingly LOVE) every bite! (I'm beginning to think that kids don't actually have taste buds)
Next was our 2 1/2 hour jaunt to Wheelersburg to stay with Hubby's family for a few days.
Tempe in one of her cousin's helmets
So here's something that is cute now but has me very worried for Tempe's future. She has an attachment to males. If her Daddy is not around she will pick one that is her favorite and cling to them (even more than she does with me!!!) While at my parents house, her and my Dad were inseparable. While at my inlaws, it was her uncle Matt. He wasn't allowed to go anywhere without her!
My sis in law Krista and her hubby Adam, with their adorable little man Connor. We were hanging out eating AMAZING grilled chicken that Adam made. We always stay at their house while we are in town. Brother in law Matt and his wife Amanda are usually there hanging out as well. We watch movies, the kiddos all get to go swimming, and play with their cousins. Its a good time.
Enjoying pancakes and the smoothies we went to McDonalds for. That's right. We went to McDonalds to get drinks for EVERYONE, to go with EVERY MEAL, EVERY DAY!!! (Hey, we had to increase our chances of winning big money right?)
Tempe clinging to Uncle Matt at the park
We went to the park and met up with ALL my sis and bro in laws, my parents in law (there has to be an easier way to say that), and of course ALL of my nieces and nephews! Including mine that is 14 kids in all! It was awesome!
Sis in law Cassie holding Lotte
Sis in law Krista holding Connor
Tempe and cousin Jeremiah held hands and walked all over the place together. It was so sweet!
Ginny loved the sand at the volley ball area. She also picked flowers to decorate with. lol
One last breakfast with Krista and her beautiful children before we hit the road for home.
Fortunately that road didn't hit back and we arrived home safe and sound to a man who missed us immensely!