Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye Blogger, Hello Wordpress

Hi there and goodbye!

I've quit using my blogger site in lieu of a new and improved site,

Here's why I quit Blogger.

I hope you'll follow me on over to and enjoy your experience there!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Holiday World 2014

So as I mentioned in my CTM365 post, we visited Holiday World & Splashin' Safari July 17-19.  I had never heard of it before moving to Indiana and although it's about a three hour drive, the park is promoted heavily at home on TV and radio. We had been wanting to go and had talked about it off and on for several years, so when another long-weekend trip we'd planned fell through, we quickly booked our mini-vacation to Holiday World and invited some friends to join us.

Anyway, Holiday World opened in 1946 and has grown into what it is today.  Allegedly TIME Magazine rated The Voyage the #1 Wooden Rollercoaster in the Nation* and in 2013 USA Today proclaimed Splashin' Safari to be the Best Water Park in the USA*. {*SOURCE}I haven't been on THAT many wooden coasters or to THAT many water parks, but I'd definitely hesitate to disagree with those claims.  It. Was. Awesome. We had a blast from the time we got Thursday morning until we pulled away Saturday morning. 

Things that I want to brag on Holiday World for: 
1. Free tea, gatorade, water, soda, and lemonade all day long. Plentiful. Oasis stations at every turn.  Amazing. 
2. Free parking. All the time. 
3. While we didn't use theirs, they do offer free sunscreen stations in the water park. 
4. The water park and amusement park is all offered at one price. The sections are connected and you don't have to leave one to go to the other. It's all one big happy place. 
5. So clean. Immaculate. Lots of shade and just a pretty place to walk or take a look around. 
6. Tons of attractions for the little kids (at least ones that are 36" or taller) - from mild to wild.
7. The food.  We ate lunch and dinner in the park both days along with snacks and everything that we had was GOOD.  Not just so-so but actually really good. And fairly priced.  They miss so many chances to bleed their customers dry but they don't.  It's a refreshing change from any other theme park I've been to. 
8. Everything. All the stuff.  I just loved it and can't wait to go back. 

P.S. Am I getting paid for this mini "review" or was I given tickets? I wish. I just love it that much. On July 24th they announced the next addition to the park - their first steel coaster, the Thunderbird, new for 2015. Definitely ground-breaking and already has me looking forward to our next visit. I can't wait for Theo to get big enough to ride roller coasters -- he is already asking when he will be tall enough. My little adventurer.

Moving on from my new obsession -- how about some photos?  I didn't take a lot and while it stings a little to know that I missed a lot of great photo opportunities, I'm okay with it because I really took advantage of living in the moment and making the most of our trip. I didn't take any photos at all around the water park but my friend was kind enough to share ones that she snapped on her phone with me. 

Someone crashed out during the water park both days! 

Karate-chopping those geysers!

 Thanks, Erin, for the pictures!

Look at these little buddies riding the canoes. Big enough to ride without mom and dad. They really thought they were something -- splashing each other and breaking the rules by not keeping their hands inside the boat!

Just riding some rides:

The first place we ate in the parks (yum)...

not the first or last map study breakout session. 

End of the first night. Gorgeous weather. We got so lucky. 

Dex passed out at the water park Thursday night and I couldn't bring myself to wake him up just to change his clothes so this is how he hung out for about 2+ hours. 

L snoozin' in the camper.  

Obligatory Holiday World posed photos:

I just love looking through all these pictures. I know these are memories that we will always treasure and look back on so fondly.  This post has gone on long enough so I'll shut it down but psst... in case you haven't heard, you should go to Holiday World sometime. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

catch the moment 365: week twenty-nine

Another week of summer has zoomed by and this one was filled with fun and festivities - our first trip to a semi-local amusement park, Ryan's birthday. As much fun as we had, there was a shadow of sadness as the anniversary of my father's death passed once again.

Linking up with Mindi from Simply Stavish, Sarah from Nurse Loves Farmer, and Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming for week 29 of this fun, year-long project.

198/365: July 16th. The night before our road trip down to Southern Indiana to visit Holiday World & Splashin' Safari. Wednesday night before we left, the kids were SO excited.  I don't think Dexter fell asleep until after 11pm. And then was awake before 6am. WHAT.

199/365: July 17th. The sun setting over Holiday World.  I was sitting with Dexter as he slept in the stroller while the others rode a ride or two.  I didn't take a lot of pictures at Holiday World, sadly. But that's alright - I was busy having fun with my babies and friends.  I posted a separate post about our trip.

200/365: July 18th.  We ended our second day at the park by running around and hitting every ride that the kids could ride but hadn't yet.  Loved the lights on their old carousel.  Holiday World has been around since 1946! 

201/365: July 19th. We camped at the adjacent Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort in this RV. I took a few pics of the RV inside and out as we were packing up to leave on Saturday morning. I never got around to taking any more pictures that day.

202/365: July 20th. Ryan's birthday. We celebrated at Ryan's parents' house with a little chocolate cake decorated like a watermelon. The boys thought it was too cute.  I figured Nana would have some candles so I didn't bring any but she didn't so we had imaginary ones. It was just as fun. 

203/365: July 21st. Back to life. Back to reality. Bedtime on Monday night.  One word. ROUGH.

204/365: July 22nd. Theo building a Lego creation after we got home from work & the babysitter.

205/365: July 23rd. The 7th anniversary of my dad's death. A few weeks earlier, my friend and I had planned to meet for dinner on this day. All day I was feeling down and having second thoughts but it was a nice distraction and good to reconnect since we hadn't been able to meet, just the two of us, since April.  We ate at Mesh on Mass and I couldn't resist this appetizer that did NOT disappoint: 

Favorite pic of the week? Hmm. I can almost taste that crostini when I look at the picture. The Holiday World pictures are probably my favorite though as they represent such fun, new family/friend memories.

Does any one photo stand out for you this week?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

seven twenty-three

He had two girls. He probably always wanted a boy, but you'd have never known it.

He loved to travel.  He loved the mountains. Lakes. Fishing. Beautiful views.

He was quiet and reserved but didn't hesitate to speak his mind when push came to shove.

He only wanted to retire.  Enjoy his golden years. He didn't get to. Unless you call 6 months of disability "retirement." I don't.

He was at my high school graduation. He'd already had colon cancer twice by then.

He was at my college graduation. On that day, he said "I'm proud of you." That was one of MY proudest moments.  His words. Not the graduation.

Bad jokes. So many bad jokes - he just laughed at himself and it was only a matter of time before I was laughing too.

Blue eyes, with green just around the pupils.  Same as mine.

He had such a great sense of adventure and loved roller coasters, heights, and any other adrenaline pumping thrill. Same as me.

He held my hand and I sat on his lap until I was probably too old by society's standards. A complete Daddy's Girl.

He loved music - playing, singing, listening. He recorded favorite songs off of the radio when I was little and we listened to those tapes in the car for YEARS. Those songs are the soundtrack of my childhood.

His smile, I can still see. Big teeth. Mine are little.

He always said, "give me a hug, you big lug" when we were parting ways. And he ALWAYS said, "come back and see us."

He loved comfort food and sweets.  PB + Chocolate was his favorite flavor combination.

He didn't say "I love you" a whole lot. But he meant it.

He liked shooting baskets in the driveway. Playing H-O-R-S-E.

He taught me to hit a baseball.  "Watch the Ball, Hit the Bat."

He wasn't much for talking on the phone.

His voice. I miss his voice.

He called me on March 23, 2007 and said "I have pancreatic cancer. I'm dying."

My sister called me on July 21, 2007 and said "I think you better get down here."

His hands.  It wasn't until he was dying that I realized how much our hands looked the same. His fingers had gotten so thin and bony and were practically mirror images of my own. Nail shape. Finger length. Hand twins.

He said he wasn't afraid of dying, he just didn't want to be in pain.

He died around 2am on July 23, 2007.  It's been seven years.  How has it already been seven years?  Most days I'm fine. This is life now. Life without a dad. My kids don't know him. They never will, aside from the stories they hear and the pictures they see. The home videos we'll watch that are so few.

I'll risk sounding like one of my young children and pout out loud, "IT'S NOT FAIR!"  It's not fair to him that he's not here. It's not fair to me, my mom, my sister, or any of his grandkids.  He was only 55 years old.  It's not fair.  Maybe some people think I'm wallowing in self-pity. Maybe I am. But allowing myself to feel the pain and remember his characteristics and qualities is what helps keep his memory alive in my heart.

"Only time moves on to the next scene. Memory remains part of the heart forever."

Previous posts about losing and missing my dad HERE.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

catch the moment 365: week twenty-eight

I'm not one to complain about summer - ever. But why is it going by so fast?  WAAH!

Linking up with Sarah from Nurse Loves Farmer, Mindi from Simply Stavish, and Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming.

Day 191/365: July 9th. Just a Wednesday evening playing at home. It starts out like this: "Daddy, will you help me build {insert name of dismantled Lego set here}?"  It ends like this: "Daddy, that's okay. You can just finish it by yourself." 

Day 192/365: July 10th. What time is it, Dexter?  We were out to eat, celebrating the successful completion of a project I had a love/hate relationship: "Frugal June." I really need to write about my attempt to decrease non-essential spending for 30 days. 

Day 193/365: July 11th. My friend's sweet baby boy at the splash pad on Friday evening. Why can't they stay this age forever!?

Day 194/365: July 12th. This photo is pathetic. Saturday was a nice day ...relatively uneventful but not without opportunities to take some nice photos. I just wasn't in the mood. This picture was the only successful {if you want to call it that} attempt to get a picture of all 5 of these wild boys having a picnic.  A picnic with 5 kids ages 4 and under isn't that relaxing, for the record.

Day 195/365: July 13th. Sunday morning bowling. I could feel a cold coming on late Saturday night so while I still felt halfway decent, we took advantage of Sunday morning happy hour at the bowling alley. Ryan and I hadn't been bowling together in YEARS and the boys had never been at all.  It was actually really fun and I was surprised at how much the boys seemed to enjoy it. Dex tired out on the 7th frame but Theo finished his game and Dexter's.  We'll have to go again soon.  Also, the tiny bowling shoes were adorable.

Day 196/365: July 14th. This is the kind of fancy dinner my kids got once the head cold was full-blown and there were 87 gallons of snot in my head. Bologna & cheese roll-ups, applesauce, and shelled edamame.  Cleaned their plates...figures. 

Day 197/365: A couple weeks earlier we went to a friend's house to picnic and swim. It poured down rain on the way there and our picnic ended up taking place on a blanket on my friend's dining room floor.  Tuesday night Theo asked me if we could have a picnic in the living room but it was a gorgeous night so I convinced him and Dexter to take it outdoors. 

I felt like my pictures were a little uninspired this week. I'm sad to not feature at least one nature/landscape shot but it just didn't work out that way. I found myself more than once feeling that me messing with my camera settings and trying to get the right shot was turning into more of a hassle, taking AWAY from the moment, and I just put the camera down.  Do you ever feel this way? 

My favorite picture this week is day 193 - my friend's cute little boy at the splash park. 

Which one do you like best? 

Friday, July 11, 2014

the fourth: 2014

Huh, how about that. I guess I've never posted a 4th of July recap. Well, last year we were on a little weekend getaway for our 10th wedding anniversary but it wasn't all festive with fireworks and that kind of crap.

So here's my first real Independence Day recap. It was nice that the 4th was on a Friday which lent itself to a lovely, long weekend.  Ryan's parents live on a small lake that is perfect for relaxing, jumping off the dock, floating around, and taking pontoon boat rides. They invited us We invited ourselves to come and stay for the weekend. Ryan's sister and her family were able to join us from Ohio as well.

Obligatory red, white, 'n blue outfit pics.

I mean, could they be any sillier? No. Cuter? Never.

Love them a lot.

They napped for HOURS every day.

Saturday was our 11 year anniversary so Nana and Pop Pop watched all three boys while Ryan and I enjoyed a rare double date with his sister and her soon-to-be husband.  Dinner at FARMbloomington.

Their FARMfamous garlic fries. Oh. Wow. And their homemade chipotle catsup. Yes.

Our view from the "silo" table.

Neat sights at every turn in this one-of-a-kind restaurant.

Yep, even by the bathrooms. 

Although it was a GORGEOUS night to walk around downtown Bloomington, which is lovely, we wanted to get back in time to enjoy the fireworks over the lake with the boys. Aunt 'Chelle treated the boys with glow swords and glow bracelets --they may have been a bigger hit than the show.

After messing with my camera settings for five minutes before the actual show started, I gave up and put the camera down. I couldn't figure it out and didn't want to spoil the moment.

Sunday mornin' cherry eating.  Theo likes the "yellow cherries." 

Dexter prefers red.

There is a HUGE component of our weekend missing.... the LAKE and the sunshine that we were so lucky to enjoy all weekend.  Seems like when we are all able to get together, we are cursed with cool temps or cloudy skies - or both. Not this time. Again, I chose to live in the moment and not take 500 pics. I had a drink in my hand and the sun on my skin and many long conversations with my sister-in-law. That was all I needed to make the weekend complete. 

A few iPhone pics: 

What'd you do for the Fourth?