Zip It Up

Of course that’s me.  See the awesome fanny pack?:-)  and this is the story of how I got here….

Our summer traditions just keep coming!

This is Cousin Week

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which is a good natured competition with my sister-in-law to pull out all the stops and create the Best Week Ever!  We get to spoil our kiddos and promote some good old extended family bonding all at the same time.


This goes all the way back to at least preschool.  I think it started with my son staying with my nephew for vbs and then moved right along to all 4 kids here for 5ish days and then same thing there every summer.

It is so key for the kids to be able to spend time with family… otherwise, if they end up on Dateline, YOU, PARENTS, alone will be blamed for whatever lands them in the hot seat with Lester Holt.  You gotta cover those bases!

I digress,

so, Cousin Week

As their summers got busier it became a little harder to find the time.  We made it just one week alternating here one summer and there the next.

picture with flower 1076
they all have goggles on because the fire pit was smoky.

Currently, we split.  Last summer I got two 5th grade girls while my sister-in-law had two 6th grade boys.  This summer I get the boys and she gets the girls.

Salina 2016

I feel like it was easier to wow them as preschoolers; Kaleidoscope, camp at The Nelson or Soccer Camp, a different pool every day, bike rides, etc…

These days it’s a little tougher, but coming up with things to do with the girls isn’t too bad.  Last year they hosted the grand parents for a multi-course dinner party.

They planned the menu, did the baking and cooking, made centerpieces and everything.  We went to the fabric store to get materials for travel toiletry bags, got pedicures, painted at Grapes and Paints.  I braided my nieces hair… which I rule at!  It was all Totes Adorbz!

This summer, with the last week in June set aside and my daughter (thrilled beyond all get out to be) headed out for Cousin Week in Salina, I was wracking my brain for ideas to fill the week with my son and nephew here in KC.

That place where trains bring your food, not going to cut it anymore.

I gotta kick it up a notch.  I took them to a bar.


Desperate times

Did I say bar?  I’m sorry, barcade.  Classic games, all ages ’til 8pm, unlimited play for 5 bucks.  This is at Tapcade, you should go, plus the food is good and I read a book the whole time.

Other big hit of the week and definite crowd favorite:

Image result for zip kc


This isn’t cheap, but compared to 60 seconds of ifly it’s a great deal.  If you’re between 70 and 300 pounds, I would highly recommend it.  We all loved it, and I am a huge chicken!

Let the kids go first, so that they don’t have to witness your prayer swear breakdown… I kid, it wasn’t as bad as canoeing into a tree.  Although I thought hitting another one might put my jaw back where it goes.  Not a scratch from this though, but that first step off the platform takes a second of bravery for sure.

Here’s their video of somebody doing the one we did.  Our pics aren’t great, it was tough to focus on.

I’m totally counting this toward my midlife crisis!


We had the best time and all three of us would totally go again.

Oh yeah, and since it’s the 4th… Happy 4th of July!



Vacation 2017

May 25th this family hit the road for yet another vacation adventure!  What is the ideal American Vacation for the family with an 11 and 12 year old?

SoCal Roadtrip

which looks a little like this:


It was a fun one!

First Day we got going early.  We flew to San Diego and our first stop was the Midway.  We did a San Diego Vay Cay when the kids were babies, but they were on a vay cay to Grandma’s House, so everything was new to them.

 I don’t think they’re ready for the navy, but it’s a pretty cool stop if you’re headed that way.  After that we took the Hornblower Harbor Cruise and then drove around Coronado.

By then we were definitely ready for the hotel We called this the Shortbread mural, for the obvious reason…Image result for girl scout shortbread

We were right on the beach, so we had a lot of fun with that.  

The next day was Day 2 in San DiegoIMG_2263

We took the kids back to some more of our favorites

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Old Point Loma Lighthouse, This close-up view of the light room at the top of the Old Point Loma tower reveals the sturdy construction that helped it withstand winter storms. See more lighthouse pictures.which is also


and has awesome tidepoolsThe Tide Pools,

Cabrillo statue and more sweet hiking

Our last stop in San Diego was a highlight for our whole family.  We got to visit my BFF Missy’s house.  I met her in kindergarten and we graduated from high school together (along with a few other fun kids), but I love catching up with her and her awesome family.  

So, I do have a beef with California, which is that nobody will ever let you use their bathroom.  It made me crazy!  Notice the water bottle that I’m carrying in every photo.  I love to hydrate which eventually leads to bathrooms, I like to go to them!  Every CVS, deli, burger joint, etc…

Image result for no public restroom signif you’re lucky, there’s like a security code  for the doorknob that they might consider giving you.

It’s craziness!  Seriously, I’m not looking to move in!

The noted exception being Missy’s house.  Her daughter took me by the hand to show me where their bathroom was.  She walked me right in, actually opened the toilet lid and showed it off proudly, like a tiny Vanna White.  Image result for vanna white turning letters wheel of fortune It was a crack up.  I think that they’re learning to clean it themselves and feeling pretty pumped about it!

Well that’s the 1st third of the SoCal Roadtrip!  I’ll see if I can’t get the rest up soon.








Happy to be Stuck with You

Hub just turned 40, it’s pretty exciting!  A group of Hub’s college roommates came together to celebrate this milestone with him and a birthday buddy.

There was a  table covered with photos, some of Hub and Birthday Buddy’s 20th birthday party, some of college friends backpacking together or dressed crazy for one theme party or another.

It’s a bit surreal to think that my babies are closer in age to me, in those pictures, than I am.

I felt a little bit, “you may find yourself, behind the wheel of a large automobile…”

“And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?”

I guess it started with meeting my husband,

I was a freshman in college, when I met Hub.Image result for Chris O'Donnell

We were involved in the same campus ministry and I ended up moving into a house a couple doors down from him the next year.  We both had tons of roomies,  Hub had already dated about a quarter of mine.  When we started hanging out a lot, I decided that a D.T.R. was a good idea, you know, the conversation where you Define The Relationship:

IMG_6051that way, things are not awkward at all.


We were good friends, and I was still looking for excitement and romance.  Like a lot of nineteen year old girls, I overlooked cute guys down the street who were dependable, nice guys and continued to search out the kind of guy who just maybe… becomes Darth Vader in the next movie….  or is a vampire, perfect!

At some point I ran across a list of ideal husband traits that I’d jotted in the back of a journal.  I love making lists like that and, in a surprising turn of events, Hub matched everything that I’d written… to a tee.  I took another look at Hub and realized that I was happier spending time with him than I was pursuing actual interesting boys!

After going back to the helpful reading material in our house…


I knew just what to do, old-school stalking.  Just know where they’ll be and pop out of the bushes, make sure to look really nice and act cool.  I must have nailed it, because… eventually, I wore him down.

Now we have about 15 years of married life in the rear-view of that large automobile.  Saying yes was one of the best decisions that I ever made.  It’s not always a Christian Romance Novel, but it’s pretty great!

Happy Birthday Hub!  Thanks for being so awesome!

The Groove That’s in my Heart

Most of my days begin with a song.
This morning I sang the Growing Pains theme song, in an attempt to get my daughter to pull back the tangle of bedding, pillows and stuffed animals that she refers to as her nest, so that she could “Show me that smile again.

I got nailed with a plush unicorn long before I made it to, “As long as we got each other.”

Undeterred, I shuffled on down the hall,
“The Low oord, told Mommy, to go and toast your Bagels bagels,

Bay gulls! Made Of! … Hickory Barky barky….”

I know you’ll be suprised to find out that I don’t really have much of a music background.

I hopped the fence to take piano lessons from a talented neighbor mama, when I was a little kid.
Piano was a great instrument to start with.   You learn treble and bass clef, which is helpful for transitioning to lots of other instruments, but not viola.

I started playing the viola, when I was in 4th grade.  That went on clear through high school, even though sometimes I wasn’t really playing.  When I graduated, I still needed my stand partner, my bff Carrie Beth, to tune it for me.
I definitely was not the best viola player ever, but I loved the people there.

I think the viola is the only alto clef instrument, unless you’re willing to play one of those yucky band instruments, that you have to put your mouth on, but remember, the alto clef is just there to mess with you anyway.

As an adult I picked up the guitar.
Although, I haven’t really picked it up in the last decade…

This week I’ve been working on a little song.
It’s about my most habitual prayer, so of course, it’s a country song.

You can just free style the melody, but I’ll share the lyrics with you.

They go a little like this…

Give me a green light Je-esus,
I think, I didn’t leave too soon
Told my kids to pack, while I tripped on my cat
Gotta fish my keys out of juice.

(sometimes there’s a second verse…)

Maybe need just one re-ed light
Need to write a message on this card,
Dig through purse, eat a frozen burrito
And stop the wrestling in this carrrr.

Maybe I’ll just stick to painting and non-musical writing.

I so wish that my most unceasing prayers were noble and inspiring,
but if I’m honest, green lights probably fill an embarrassingly large slice of that pie chart.

Thanksgiving Peeps

Since November is the season of thankfulness,                                                                 I’ve tried to give that some thought lately.

Of course, I’m thankful for all the normal stuff; Jesus, my kids, hub, yogurt and so forth. I’m sure my food related list alone could go on for days. And then there’s books and favorite shows… plus all the traditional, Thansgivingy stuff like the cornucopia, pre-Black Friday carb loading… pretty much everything, except cinnamon brooms.

One thing that’s always close to the top of my list, but tied with coffee, is my besties, my homies and all of my Be Fri…es.

I feel blessed and lucky to have the friends that I do.

I have original besties, some of which I picked up in or before kindergarten and still managed to hang on to through high school graduation. These people know my family.                                                                                                                           They know that this poster…  

used to hang in my room, that it was covering a Michael W. Smith poster,             and that that was probably a lateral move in cheesiness.

I have college besties, that are also dear and special folks… I know that those friendships sharpened me, even though a lot of what I remember just makes me laugh… like the time I gave one of my college besties a big hug, not expecting our ponytails to then be hooked together, or when I tossed a grape to a bestie who assured me that she could catch it in her mouth… which led to a Heimlich maneuver, grape launch worthy of a sitcom, at least on the Disney channel.

Now, I even have grown up besties; my church ladies, neighborhood mamas and PTA peeps encourage me daily.   They bring a joy to my journey that I couldn’t get by without.

and let’s see, best for last, 2 besties who share 1/2 my dna, but don’t have wide hips or poor math skills,                                                                                                     my awesome brothers!

I’m sure that if you’re an only child reading this, you probably could list a whole lotta reasons that being an only is the coolest.  I wouldn’t know. I have two older brothers, and I kind of dig coming in third in that lineup.


I’m sure that I’m a lot more thankful for my brothers now that I’m a grown up… and we all have dishwashers, and don’t live together, than I was as a kid… early in my writing career, when I penned the woeful tale of Beccarella and the Evil Non-Step Brothers, an unpublished short story that was very well received  by the other children in my third grade class on read aloud day.

My brothers might have called the window seats and made me ride on the hump in the back of our buick… mostly always, maybe buried my Cabbage Patch Kid up to its little head, so that it did look like she was growing in the garden, and possibly put my ceiling fan on high, shut it off at the wall and loaded the blades with My Little Ponies and Strawberry Shortcake mini figurines.            Whose didn’t?!

I think I learned to hold my own pretty well, and it turns out that I didn’t mind being pigeon holed into always being Daisy Duke or Princess Leia.  I might not have gotten to always choose which channel we watched, like I would have if I’d been an only, but I got two lifelong besties, who could give me a kidney, if I ever needed it…

… and I did get the big room!