Friday, May 25, 2018

Spring Break 2018 The End

One of the best parts of our Spring break road trip for me was a stop off in Pawhuska, OK. Home of the Pioneer Woman.  I have been following Ree for years, when she first started her blog, I found her through a homeschooling forum. She started out online to have more connection at the start of her homeschooling journey. Her site and now brand has really evolved!!!

 We didn't see Ree, but we saw her husband. He actually came and got us from the line waiting for food at the restaurant. He apologized about the long wait and asked if we wanted a private-early tour of the hotel rooms they were remodeling (now open) The Boarding house. It was fun to see them. I was asked not to take any pictures as they were not public (internet) at that time.

We ended up not eating at her restaurant. Sometimes things are not worth the wait when you have kids in tow! We shopped at the Mercantile (Em and I shopped) and Robert and Dallas went to the upstairs of the Merc and grabbed me an iced-coffee and some treats. They had bakery type pastries and a full coffee bar. We happened to be visiting one of the days that they also had the Lodge open so we grabbed directions and our treats and drove out to the ranch. The lodge is on Drummond Ranch and is a real place! The Pioneer Woman films her cooking show for the Food Network, I was delighted to see that it was not a set, but a real working kitchen. She also has several rooms that the crew and guests can stay in.  The back of the Lodge has an industrial kitchen which I gather the prep/behind the scenes magic happens.
 Noelle sitting at a farm table at the Lodge
The back deck on the Lodge overlooking the ranch. 

 The long line to eat. Pawhuska is a small town. I can imagine her popularity it doing wonders for its economy.
 Robert in the back kitchen of the Lodge
Walter, one of their Basset Hounds was at the Lodge hanging on the couch. 

We ended the trip on a sour note. Dallas figured out he had lost "puppy" his stuffed dog (favorite) at our hotel in Wichita. He had likely had gone missing earlier, although we did have him the previous night. He usually rides along in Dallas backpack and goes into the hotel with us for the nights. We opened the van door 10-20 times that day at various stops so we could have lost him anywhere. It was very tragic. Puppy had been with Dallas since the beginning, so many tears. Their are moments in parenthood where you will do anything to "fix" and this was one of them. I called all hotels, left our information, description of the dog ect. Then I started figuring out how I could replace him. I knew he was from Cabella's so we hit up the Kansas City store on our way home and got the new version. It's not the same, and Dallas still cries occasionally about puppy and if someone found him. But Puppy 2.0 is fitting into the family well.  I did write my phone number on his tag!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Spring Break 2018 - The Middle

San Antonio was our destination for two days while Robert worked. Our hotel was on the Riverwalk, but a little bit sketchier than we prefer. I will say it looked a bit safer in the daylight than what we witnessed as we arrived about midnight. Robert was ready to book another hotel!
 Rob headed to work and we ventured out to explore. It was delightfully seventy degrees, green and we saw butterflies. The goal of every Iowan during spring break.
 We all loved running up and down the Riverwalk, stopping to smell the flowers, sit on a bench, run under a waterfall. It amazed me that they had no guide rails. In many spots the sidewalk was smack up to the water. I guess no one ever falls in.

 First stop was for some breakfast. Of course since we were in Texas I found a French place that had crepes. These three could have eaten the whole menu!
 Next stop the Alamo Misson, real name is San Antonio de Valero Mission
 Everyone warned me they were underwhelmed by it. It was exactly what I expected. If you go see it knowing it was a church built in 1744, it is amazing. We learned about the Battle of the Alamo and about Texas gaining its independence from Mexico

 Lots of weapons. They had a neat display of each weapon and how far it would shoot/fly in battle.
 This is the San Fernando Cathedral or Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria and Guadalupe

Hotel pool was nice and semi-heated....

 Robert joining us on the Riverwalk for dinner and a boat cruise
 The night river boat cruise was fun, we learned some San Antonio trivia. The kids loved it.
 Robert often talks about the gas station Buckee's. It is a mega-mall gas station. They have everything. BBQ, ready made meals, milk, souvenirs galore, isle after isle of candy and a soda fountain station that was a half block long. Stopping at Buckee's was an event in itself.
 Secretly one of the reasons we tagged along on this business trip was the draw of Tex-Mex. I was waiting to eat at Torchy's Tacos, and it did not disappoint. I ordered a bit of everything and we all shared. Robert and I liked it enough that we talked on the drive home about starting one in Ames and figured out if it was a franchise we could buy into.  So good!!!
 We brought the scooters on this road trip. They pack very slim and are an easy way to burn off some energy in between long drives. We were scooting from the hotel parking lot to the Panera parking lot to grab breakfast.
This hotel pool was NOT heated. The kids really wanted to swim and we did not know it was NOT heated. Most hotels South of Kansas have outdoor pools and it is hit or miss whether they are really swim-able. Polar plunge!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Spring Break 2018 beginning

 We set off from Texas 3 or so hours late. That is how it goes when you own your business. 
 We made it to Topeka and stopped for the night. We stayed in a brand new hotel and they upgraded us to the big room!
 We got on the road early the next day. Drove through the Flint Hills of Kansas and Northern OK. This is the area Rebecca (Rob's mom) was wanting to retire too.
 I am not sure any of the kids have ever been to Oklahoma, first timers!
 It was the girls first time to Texas, Dallas had been before
We stopped in Dallas (the city) to eat Tex Mex with some good friends (Robert's producer), stretch our legs and snuggle their dog.

Is it Spring?

It felt like Spring Monday and Tuesday.
The kids and neighbors drew a table complete with place setting and centerpiece. 

My tulips are up enough that the bunnies are eating them.

Robert is in San Antonio this week.  He got up early on Monday and drove down. We might see him Friday night or Saturday dependent on the weather. It is raining in Texas.

I had a text from a good friend Monday morning that her daughter had lice and since Noelle and her were hanging out Sunday at the church I should check. Well nothing puts the fear of the Lord in a mother like LICE. My worst fear is no one being able to check my hair. I know I have a tribe of women that would come to my aid, but that would be humbling! Noelle seemed clear. I will check all this week. I was thankful she had a ponytail in Sunday, that might have saved us.  It did kick me into some early Spring cleaning. I felt like her fur-lined winter coat, all the hats, the mittens that smell like mildew all needed washed. I ran 4 loads of non-daily-clothes. We have clean coats and snowpants so if it snows 8" this week, it is likely my fault.
News flash, it has snowed at least 4 more times since I washed and put away the winter clothes

We had Audrey for a long weekend so her mom could turn 40 in stylish Las Vegas!
We had beautiful park weather and then a blizzard.
 She never napped at home for me, but always conked out once we were in the car to deliver kids her and there afterschool.
She built this Disney Princess train and drove it around all day.
Audrey enjoys coming to church with us.  She took Emily's bible and made herself at home in the hallway.
 Post church brunch is always welcome when we have a guest. HyVee deli for easy pancakes and unlimited bacon.

 She tagged along for our weekly trip to the library. Dallas found a My Little Pony book and read it to her. We checked it out and brought it home, and then she was sad she couldn't take it to Ankeny to her home!
We also made some Easter themed treats to take to school on Tuesdsay. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

A bit of February

We celebrated Valentine's Day with the neighbors. Soup lunch, fellowship and a tasty desert. We made a new desert. Popcorn cake, think rices crispy treats and then sub the crispy for popcorn. It was easy and fun. We of course embellished with pink and red M&M's. I am a sucker for seasonal candy!
Late winter snowman. Although I think we have made three more versions (Spring storms) since I took this picture in February. I always send the kids out to play thinking it will be the last storm and we should revel in it.
We didn't make it to Hickory Park for our usual Valentine's Day date. It was a Wednesday and we needed to hop off to Awana church, so I went with the heart-shaped bake in your oven type of meal.
We wrapped up a peaceful season of basketball and no other sports!
Dallas did attend a weekly baseball camp put on by the ISU Mens Baseball club. I think it was a fundraiser for the club. It seemed like a good opportunity for Dallas to work on some skills, dads to network and the college kids to gain some coaching skills.
The girls headed off to another Father-Daughter dance hosted by our church. It was once again 1980's Themed. What people think of the '80s style is not how I dressed! I doubt I had much neon in my wardrobe.  The girls both wanted to match and wear dresses (Emily wanted something twirly) and I gotta hop on those requests! We picked out "Pretty in Pink" inspired dresses and I let them glam them up how they wished.  Emily also did her hair and Noelle's. It was a fairly hands off affair for me!

These two skated all day after an ice storm.  We only have two pairs of skates otherwise Noelle might have joined them. I made them wear bike helmets because this was not Zamboni-honed ice. They had so much fun with it and eventually skated down the block to the neighbors.  I should probably go get the skates sharpened now!