Tubing (Our Camping Experience)

There are several places you can go tubing when camping at Cook Forest State Park. We didn’t really plan ahead, and ended up checking out three places before we actually hit the river.

Take our word for it, make yourself a reservation if you’re skeptical. Or, figure out a way to take your own tubes and get dropped off and picked up. Our first choice would probably be the best place, but we opted out due to long lines and our own impatience. 😉

We ended up renting tubes from Pine Crest, but it’s not one of their main attractions. It ended up being the best choice for us because the whole day led to some fun(ny) experiences that we would not have gotten from any other place in the Forest.

Like the discovery of the tubes back behind a shed, and learning that the woman running the desk worked with me at Pizza Hut when I worked there in college. Or the van ride there (and back). I mean, how could you not enjoy this?

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I joke, a ‘lil.

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We set out in our tubes, only thing really missing on them was a cupholder or a way to secure our cooler (thanks to Tom for taking care of it for us).

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The river was beautiful, but a bit shallow. We took our time (maybe too much–we were over an hour late for our pickup, but “no watch!”) and enjoyed the views, some laughs (like making sure the trail mix was saved over all else), and jumped off a rock. (Ok, one of us jumped off a rock, bet you can’t guess who.)

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As if our first post about tubing wasn’t enough to convince you to let things go and enjoy a day on the river, hopefully this one will.

City Mouse and Country Mouse Go Camping

If you have never gone camping, do it. If you have never gone camping with your best friend, do it. A few weeks ago, the City Mouse (me) and Country Mouse (my best friend, Missy) decided to go camping. We’d been camping before as kids with our parents for church camping weekends, but neither of us had ever gone camping “by ourselves” as adults.

We’d played with the idea of two years. Our husbands (Greg and Tom) had been on board from the get go, but when meeting up with Missy and Tom for their birthday dinner, it was clear that we needed to make it happen this year. They were campaigning for us to purchase a three room tent “for only $139”, but it wasn’t in the budget books for this summer. Instead, Missy and I started to search for campground pricing.

Our hearts were set on Clear Creek State Park, but God had other plans. The park was flooded in early summer, closing the main road into it and the swimming area. We decided to ditch our childhood park of memory and give Cook Forest State Park a go instead.

The City Mouse really didn’t plan for much other than some meals. This is where the Country Mouse had the upper hand–she was so prepared with everything we’d need. (We brought a lot of stuff, but there wasn’t anything we took that we didn’t use.) She even secured her dad’s pop up camper to borrow so we wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground in a tent. This was probably what sealed us to loving camping and wanting to be back again sooner rather than later. The City Mouse’s mom offered up a cover for our table, something we totally didn’t think about and ended up being a life saver, too.

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When we first set out, we thought the odds that the Country Mouse and her husband were going to be scoring all the “points” this weekend and the City Mouse and her husband would give up the camping quicker than you could say the alphabet. Turns out, we were wrong. Each one of the four of us brought a beautiful chemistry to the camping weekend, and we found a great balance in taking on the tasks of camping. Note: Those of you who can set up a site like we did with only two people? Send us your stories. It took all four of us to figure that configuration out!

Tom was great at tending the fire and adapting it to our needs (like hot coals for mountain pies, warmth for boiling water, and just a general fire).

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Greg was great at fending off zombies, killer squirrels, and keeping us connected to the real world with his radio. (Tom, Missy, and I have smart phones and none of them had much service…admittedly, being disconnected felt amazing.)

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Missy was great at everything, as usual, but she really stunned us with her ability to make food that didn’t sound like it would be amazing (i.e. eggs in a bag, which will be a separate post), amazing!

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And me, the City Mouse, was good at the “mom stuff” like having hand sanitizer, bug spray, and sunscreen at hand, but also in capturing the memories (including this silly selfie).

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Our camping weekend was everything we’d hoped it would be and more, too much to share in one post. Since it’s Labor Day Weekend and we’d rather be camping (okay, not all of us, someone has a big game to watch tonight, ahem), I figure I’ll keep sharing our memories with you to live vicariously along with us. Enjoy!

Our Weekend in Photos

This has been a stellar weekend, starting on Thursday and forgetting the fact that I went to work on Friday (and accomplished a lot in a quiet office). Here is our weekend, in photos. Hope you all enjoyed this beautiful holiday weekend.

Celebrating 6 and 3 with Kayla and Rachel
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Riding in the Wagon
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Loving America
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Fireworks courtesy of Ryan
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Extra Snuggles with Grammie
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Late Night at the Drive In
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Feeding Goats
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Sitting in a big chair
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Dipping in the Creek
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Watching a spectacular lightning show by a food-filled camp fire
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No wonder we slept in until almost 1:00 this afternoon! 

Mud on the Mountain 2013

Earlier today, I glanced down at  my knee and realized I still have several “active”, red bruises on my knees from this year’s Mud on the Mountain…which promptly reminded me I forgot to give you the breakdown of how it went this time around.

The Friday evening before, Greg and I headed up to Seven Springs to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, one of us (him) looked at the weather and made sure we packed some long sleeve clothes. The temperature on Sunday for the Half Marathon had been perfect, low 70s, but the forecast was not looking swell for Mud on the Mountain…snow was even a possibility in the early morning.

We checked in to the hotel (which I wasn’t excited about–I do NOT like the rustic feel of the resort) and were told we were on the 10th floor, the top floor. When we got to the room, I could have jumped on the bed. The place was gorgeous, clearly renovated, and made me very happy. As much as I liked the room, it didn’t take much to convince me to go down to the swimming pool for a ‘lil bit. Greg, as usual, took an opportunity to dive (the number of pools we’ve been at that are deep enough for this could be counted on one hand). I had a first time experience of diving. Sure…it wasn’t beautiful, but it happened. When we got back to the room, we set out our clothes and got rest.

In the morning, my nerves were up. Maybe it’s because I kept going out on our porch and watching the Elite Runners come down the icy, snow hill to the finish line.

There really was no turning back, though, and we got dressed in our 2012 MOTM shirts and checked our bags and headed to the start line with a good 3 minutes to spare.

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It was frigid, but not raining…until the exact moment of 10:30 as we crossed the start line.

This year, I actually jogged up part of the first hill and got to the top before a good 10 other people (versus being next to last the first time). And this is when the rain really mattered. Planning at the first obstacle was awful. We hit the back of the 10:15 wave trying to cross the first wall. The rain came down harder and the wind picked up. I stood shivering and decided I wasn’t doing the wall, wanted to keep moving. But, you see, this is very much a team event and I needed to wait for Greg to get his chance to climb the wall. He didn’t get to do so until after the 10:45 wave had been standing with us for about 15 minutes. So…calculate that. We essentially waited 30 minutes to cross one set of boards. Ugh.

By the time we got moving again, I really couldn’t move. There was so much mud this year, which is exactly what I wanted…but my legs were frozen. I warmed up a little and moved from the mud to the grass and then back again. My knees were not liking the mud, feet sliding left and right. At the cheese grater, Greg flew down the obstacle and I got a burst of energy and jumped into a fast lane, too. Little did we know the bottom of the grater was full of a few feet of cold water.

The next few miles were tough, but not unbearable. I loved that we actually had granite to scamper over for a good portion of the woods, and the added crawling obstacles were fun (until I hit my knee and had to crawl on my hip–ouch).

Greg was enjoying it, but I could tell I was holding him up. We got to an obstacle I know I couldn’t do–inclined monkey bars. Greg was incredible at this one. After that, it was waiting about 20 minutes at another wall. We traversed some more mud, I got mud and rocks places that never should (including some cuts), and we had some good laughs. There was one point I definitely sat down and said I was done, but my motivator kept me going.

And then…we hit the nail biter. The volunteer told me I couldn’t go in the side I picked, she wanted me to go on the easy side. I wasn’t having it, and powered through this one. It was a wall with itty bitty foot and hand holds. What I did not realize? The ground below got lower as we got to the end. Greg had gone through another one, and I could see him jump a good distance off the wall. I didn’t know what I was going to do, and an anxiety attack promptly ensued. I had to go to the other side of the wall to let others come through. My knees and hands shook. I cried. Greg eventually convinced me to jump into his arms. I told him what happened at the beginning, and I had to convince him not to go run his mouth. We moved on after my breathing returned to normal and a fellow runner tapped me on the back and said, “You got this”.

Our Trout Line strategy was to have me go on a line with other women my height while Greg went with taller guys. This worked well…until a man jumped on my line and was swaying it. I felt stretched so far that I couldn’t move. Tension released and I was able to finish it…only to be greeted with the need to pick up a log and walk up a ski slope. I took the equivalent of a twig and had to drop it at the top–my arms were jello. Greg made up for it and carried a log that was probably once a tree trunk.

Next was the final up-hill, marked with the 7-mile marker as we approached it. Apparently only 0.7 was left. I don’t believe this. That last hill kept going and going. The obstacles at the top weren’t crazy, but I was exhausted. We met up with one of my co-workers and her sister and started down the snow. I sat on my butt, lying down at one point, and froze. Mt. Everest wasn’t a bad climb this year, but my muscles were mush. As we descended this last part, we realized we had to hit some ice cold water before getting our medals.

A few photos, a banana, hard bagel, and watered down lemon lime Gatorade then off to hose off and get warm. This was not an easy task, considering my whole back side was near frostbite from my decision to sit versus try.

All in all, it hurt a bit, was physically and emotionally exhausting (more so than the Half). Would I do it again? Probably. Even if it was after running a half 6 days before? Maybe. We’ll see. I mean, this is definitely worth it:

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(Especially when you compare last year’s photo!)

Half Marathon Emotional Dump

This post is pure emotion…a dump of my thoughts post Half Marathon. What a day!

Kids, I hope you can look back on a day and can say it was the best day of your life, even if that day changes throughout the years. Maybe right now the best day of your life was the day you were able to try real ice cream (Arianna) or the day you were able to wear Thomas unders 24/7 (Evan). But for me, that day would be yesterday, May 5, 2013.

It sounds cruel, as a mother and a wife, a college and grad-school graduate to say that a random Sunday in May could surpass your births, our wedding day, the days I graduated, or even the days I got my first job…or started at my current company (which, by the way, I totally forgot my 4 year anniversary was last week, I was so wrapped up in this day). I know it sounds awful, but I hope one day you will understand.

One day, you’ll look at what your Mama did and know that this day was a big one for her. Your Mama carried a lot of weight, both physical and emotional over the past 6 years. I went through some things I never want you to go through, and I needed to find a way to deal with that and move on. I found my healing in running, and set a goal to run a Half Marathon.

Saturday I was a complete mess, laughing, crying, snapping, doing everything wrong, doing everything right. My emotions were crazy, I was scared. My goal was just around the corner.

Greg and I went downtown on Saturday and he ran the 5k with my friend Steffani. They did awesome, it was her first 5k and I was so proud to watch it.

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Then we went to the Expo and met a pacer who gave me a temporary tattoo to wear and a goal of 3 hours. (When I left my office on Friday, the goal was 3:30 and not to get swept.) I was pumped, I could do this. We went to lunch. We shopped for too long. I was exhausted and a wreck. Sleep came way too easily, albeit after eating my first entire Subway footlong in 2 years (shame? none.).

Sunday morning, the big day arrived. You were not with me, I decided it best in case something crazy happened. Instead, you watched the TV from Grammie and Pappy’s for me. (Arianna, you claim you saw me, but no one can confirm as you were alone at the time.) We headed downtown, my arms and legs branded in motivations.

#BostonStrong *USA* today I run for…Wendy, Tracy, Aaron, Genre, & Dad. #CancerSucks

I was ready, but I didn’t know it. Greg held me for what seemed like forever after we exited the T in a mass of participants. I didn’t know if I’d see him again (my emotions went that crazy) and I wanted to enjoy every last second. He took a picture of me, we stretched my hamstrings, we hugged goodbye and he wished me luck. I was thrown into a sea of E-Corral pacers.

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The National Anthem played. I bawled. I saw a voicemail from Myrtle Beach friends–I got to listen quickly before the start, it was ‘lil runners wishing me good luck. I cried, I laughed.

My friends were with me throughout the race, although I ran it (physically) alone:
-Greg and I saw a shooting star above the city just before the race–a sign that for me has always been Wendy letting me know she’s still here, looking out for me.
-They played Renegade just before my start.
-They played Don’t Stop Believin’ as I crossed the starting line.
-A blogger friend was live blogging from the crowd–I saw her, but didn’t realize it until the race was over.
-A pair of runners dressed as Mario and Luigi and had the theme song playing from a phone
-Evan and Arianna–a harmonica player was playing “You Are My (Sunshine) Mommy”

Here’s my mile by mile reactions:

Mile 1:
-Really fast, for me, but felt good. Around 12 minutes.
-Why are people already lined up for the bathroom? I swear to my self I will not stop.

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Mile 2:
-Wow, here already? Another fast one, 2 miles down in just over 24 minutes.
-Didn’t grab a water, hope the next one is before mile 6. Gatorade cups are slippery!

Mile 3:
-The clock is broken. My time is going to be incredible if I keep this up. One bridge down.

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Mile 4:
-Where the hell is the clock?
-Where the hell is Greg? I’ve crossed two bridges, he better be on the third one.
-Mile 4 is a freaking long mile to get to. (I never saw the mile 4 marker.)
-So glad I saw Greg on the bridge. He looked so cute sitting up there, cheering for me.

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Mile 5:
-Oh, already at Mile 5? Where was mile 4???
-Greg and Steffani got to run down that hill yesterday, lucky ducks.

Mile 6:
-Almost halfway. I’ve got this in the bag. If I keep this pace up…wait…I’ll be under three hours. There’s no way. No way.

Mile 7:
-Will I ever get to Mile 7? West End bridge and the hill after were tough, but tougher is ahead. Keep your head up, keep swimming.
-West End neighbors are awesome!

Mile 8:
-Wait. Where was mile 7 (again, never saw it).
-Gulp the water, oh!

Mile 9:
-Furiously looking for Greg. He finds me, I realize even at fluid stations I didn’t walk, just ran through to get my water. I yell, NO WALKING I AM A BEAST! He jumps to the side of the course to reach out to me, I never have felt more love.

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Mile 10:
-GU is an amazing invention, can I have more???
-I have never full out run this far.
-How the HELL do I get on that hill with those runners [to my left on the hill district]

Mile 11:
-Time to say goodbye to the marathoners and make the Birmingham Bridge mine. I got this.

Mile 12:
-That hill is a mother, forget the bridge.
-If I pass out on this hill, no one will be able to get me…oh crap. Keep going, don’t walk.

Mile 13:
-They said it was all downhill from 12. What is that hump before the finish line?
-Finish line in sight. Find husband, make sure he’s watching.
-Cry. Cry. Cry. This is so awesome.

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Finish Line:
-3:13. I did it in just over 3 hours. OMG. Wait. That’s the gun time. I started 20:50 after that. OMG. I did it in under 3 hours. I can’t do math right now.
-My knees won’t stop moving. Ouch.
-I need a picture. I need a heat wrap. I need the glory.
-I need water, lots of water. No medic needed, I am walking!!!

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Post Finish Line:
-Find Greg or bathroom? Bathroom wins. Greg finds me first. He had to hold me so I wouldn’t fall over.
-How the hell can I pee if I can’t bend my knees anymore?
-OMG. There’s a medal around my neck. I finished. No cart sweep. Cry, cry, cry.
-My phone is dead. I can’t share this with anyone but Greg, but that’s okay right now.
-I need to stretch. Don’t let anyone step on my head.
-Results tent. “Did you have a goal for under 3? Cause, uh, you killed that.” 2:52:55? ARE YOU SURE THAT’s ME??? “Yes, that’s you!” OMG.

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Sunday was an amazing day for me. It marked leaving things on the pavement, fighting off fears, meeting goals, remembering what got me to here and where I can go now. It was an amazing experience, and I am so proud to say I did it. I am a fighter, and I won’t give up.

5/5/13, the best day of my life (so far).

(More photos on Flickr)

Roses Really Smell Like

On Sunday, we had a beautiful day in Pittsburgh. I did my run and then convinced Greg to get out of bed and we take the kids to the zoo. We went with about 5,000 of our closest friends, it seemed.

Our favorite exhibits, the elephants and the rainforest caused some interesting conversations for (a potty-training) Evan.

As he and Arianna stood against the rail in the elephant house, some ‘lil boys came up and pointed to the remains of the dinner the animals were eating. Of course, being ‘lil boys, they giggled and laughed, yelling out that it was “Elephant poo”. Our ‘lil “Pete n’ Repeat” decided this was hilarious and that they would scream and shout it as we traveled from the elephant house to the giraffes.

Thinking they had given up on the phrase of the day, we ventured through the rainforest, only to finish it up with a display of the poo in action by the gorillas. So now the new funny was “gorilla poo!” and it stuck pretty much through the rest of the time there.

As I helped Evan get ready for bed, he was taking care of business and proclaimed his poo less stinkier than the elephant or gorillas. Oh, we definitely have a ‘lil boy on our hands and have so many crazy years ahead of us!

(PS, have you considered helping me help other parents with the precious years they have with their kids? Sponsor my half marathon run for Genre’s Kids today!)

Date with the Kids

On Sunday, we took our ‘lil loves on a date to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. They had fun painting, climbing, exploring, and watching other kids. Most of all, they liked the Rainbow Jumpy. It was a bit of sensory overload for me, but we really did have a good time over all. You can see more of our photos here.

'lil Burghers @pghkids

'lil Burghers @pghkids

'lil Burghers @pghkids

Couple Memories

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Last night, we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and shivers at Kennywood. We avoided a crowded chain in exchange for some burgers. Together, we found last minute additions to the kids’ piles. A misread GPS took us through memory lane. Our travels took us to an Italian bakery. + Life us going to give us ups and downs, but every night I thank God he gave me you to experience them with. True story.

School Shopping Date

Yesterday after my tantrum, I decided it would be a grand idea to get out of the house and do something fun. ‘lil Miss A has demanded a pretty fun party for her birthday this year (btw, if you are wondering, it will be the Friday night of her birthday and she is SERIOUSLY counting down until October), and I want to make her a cool outfit for the photos beforehand. Twitter told me I can do this myself, and Hobby Lobby happened to have a sale on exactly what I needed, so it just made sense.

Greg opted not to join us because by the time A and I were showered, it was after one and he needed to be back for poker night by 6. Smart man, because any trip the ‘lil Burghers take over to Robinson usually ends up being an all day affair.

So, we set out to have some fun. I had no clue where the day would take us, but I grabbed all gift cards I could find, the Entertainment Book, and Kids Stuff book (coupon books which came in handy), and off we went.

Hobby Lobby was a major score for us, and I even picked up extras to make ‘lil Miss A a special Steelers outfit–problem is, she has demanded it for the pre-season game tonight. We shall see. Remember when I blogged about the canvas print? Well, my thank you sort of got mis-interpreted, and I ended up with a rolled canvas instead of one I could stretch. Turns out, Hobby Lobby can help me with framing options, so next time I am out there, I need to remember to bring it with me. Score! We’ll finally have a wedding photo hanging in our living room, you know, 3 and a half years later.

After we checked out, A asked what was next. A quick look in her laundry told me this kid was in need of fall clothes for school, and I happened to have a pretty sweet coupon in my email for The Children’s Place, so I decided the mall was a good place to head to. We scored big at TCP for A…there were several clearance items for $1.99 and lots of other steals plus my coupon and additional discount. She fell in love with a pair of glittery high tops, but I wouldn’t let her buy them because they were $30 and I knew her ‘lil feet would outgrow them quickly. She did get away with buying a pair of neon orange sandals…we’ll see what she pairs those with, ha.

After TCP, we walked the mall and window shopped. Before a stop to get pretzels, we came across a kiosk that boasted it could tell you the right sizes to look for at stores. I decided to give it a shot. Besides, I need to know what size I am now to help “seeing is believing” in this whole journey. Three times in the “tube”, and the thing either kept malfunctioning or I am too big for it to get a good reading. Well, humpfh! Maybe I’ll try another time.

After our snack break, A decided we needed to go downstairs because she noticed a playground area. Not so thrilled about this idea, I said we needed to walk the other half of the mall first.

As we walked past a store that sells “pink” goodies,  I kept walking, but noticed out of the corner of my eye they were doing fittings. As we circled back past, I decided to stop in. Let me tell you, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve really been of a size to purchase from there, so I was hesitant. That, and I had the kids with me. I asked an associate if they thought they could help me out, and for once in my life I was quickly wisked back to the fitting room. They must have upped their sizes, I told myself. A quick measurement and the associate proclaimed music to my ears. Not only did they have my size, I was actually not in the biggest size they carry AND they had  not upped their sizes. Multiple items were handed to me, and I was in awe. They were running a special this weekend and I took part in it, but was nervous. The last time I bought “bottoms” there, an XL was the option and they stopped (and no longer carry it). Well…another associate helped me out here…and she looked at me like I was crazy when I told her the pant size match to the bottom match would never work out, I would just pick a pair and find a friend to hand them to. Uh, people? She did not lead me astray, so don’t come asking if you can have my freebie bottoms. They are occupied, ahem. I felt like I was on Cloud 9 and proudly flaunted my pink bag around that mall.

After I was on my high, we were walking and A loudly proclaimed that someone smelled good, just like her Uncle Ja does. Then we did go to the playground, but I am going to blog about that one later. Humpfh.

Shoe shopping came next, and A made out like a bandit. She even asked to wear one of her finds (knock-off glittery Toms) out of the store and was over the moon when they said yes. As we picked out shoes for ‘lil Man, she found a pair of shoes that apparently looked just like Aunt Rin’s shoes and got ticked off at me when I said she couldn’t buy them. The kid doesn’t understand that an 8.5 (when did her feet get so big?) in toddler is not the same as an 8 in kids. At least number recognition didn’t slip this summer. I picked up a few new shoes–boat shoes, knock-off non-glittery Toms, and a pair of dress shoes to match some pants from a neighbor–and off we went.

Our day at the mall almost complete, I decided to check on a haircut. Not that I need one or want one at the moment (I tracked down my stylist from MC at her new location!), but this cut was a steal and came with a styling lesson. One look at the kids and the hostess was all, oh…our next appointment is at 8:15 (it was just after 7). Well, sorry for you, lady. What you don’t know is I saw your stylists sitting around and you could’ve taken me. I would’ve plopped A over at Giggles n’ Smiles and you would’ve had another customer to fill an empty chair. Anyways.

We made a stop at Party City to browse favors and ‘lil Man lost his mind over “pops”–Frooties from Tootsie Rolls. To the people in line behind me criticizing my parenting choice to feed the kids sugar at such an hour–you were parents once. Good luck with your snarky pre-teen as she hits high school, ok?

Pumped on green apple sugar (4 of them babies have 170 calories, so none for Mama), we made our final stop, Target. Perhaps you saw me tweet this and wondered what I was talking about:

Well, I have pics to prove it, just send me a message if you wanna see. Anyhow (she who calls out snark must know snark herself, ahem), we raided the clearance zone of women’s clothes (no more plus size shopping there for me, thank you very much) and A proclaimed it was messy, who did she need to talk to for clean up in the aisle?!??! Dear Burgher who laughed with me, thank you! While I was trying on the clothes, A made me cry (but more on that in another post, it’s too dear to add to this already long one). We browsed shoes, found a first day of school outfit (she demanded her dress be from the clearance rack, my kind of girl–you can preview it on a post I’ll be posting to Life With Levi this week–did you know I was writing there, too?), and even scored a few cute shirts for ‘lil Man.

SUPPER was from Wendy’s per A’s request, and we had a dance party riding home. There was a moment of BRAKING IN THE TUNNELS that had me yelling, but I realized an emergency vehicle was trying to enter the roadway and got over it quickly. A spirited rendition of “Home” (Philip Phillips), and we were back in our parking spot just after 10 (PM). People? My kids did not nap for a second! I’d tell you how long they slept in today, but I wrote this while still hyped up from my late dinner (can’t you tell). Both went to bed in their respective bedrooms, and I got to chat with a neighbor about healthy eating and how I am about to fit comfortably in the pants she gave me (even though I told her I never could see myself in that size).

Kids, I enjoyed our date and hope you did, too!

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Dear Mom–I am sure you are probably the only person reading this long memoir by now, ha!–thank you so much for showing me that sometimes Moms and kids need a day of shopping to change up our moods. Thank you for all those times you had amazing stamina and shopped away with us. I don’t know how you put up with it–my feet hurt!–but you did and I am thankful. We made great memories today, and A said the only person she would have rather been shopping with today was you. What a great statement to the mothering you’ve given me! 

If any of my friends or family stuck around for the end, let’s plan a girl’s weekend in Robinson shopping. Please? I promise you we’ll all be broke, tired, and happy by the end of it. Thank goodness we don’t live on that side of town or this would be a regular happening! 😉

For anyone else who stuck around to read this, thank you. Today’s post does have some fun memories in it, and I wanted to go back to my blog roots–this is for the kids to remember. I want them to forget the “mean Mama” they say in the morning and remember the fun we had in the afternoon/evening. Thank you for sticking it out.