Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation Road Trip 2014

My cousin graduated from college in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  My boys adore him.  I knew it would not be possible for all of us to fly, but that was a different story.  I pitched the idea to several of my family members and the final decision was that Aunt Janice, Mun, me and my boys would all ride together, picking up my Uncle Jim at the halfway point.  This was such a big occasion that we had shirts made...
 I affectionately names the trip the RT squared since it was the Richard Thomason Road Trip.  We left Memphis a little before 7:00 am Thursday morning and joined Mun and Janice.  After a quick stop at Target, Burger King and the house (whoops, forgot something!!) we headed out.  We colored, slept, read books and talked for our 8 hour drive.  We arrived in Eureka, Illinois (our halfway point) just in time for dinner, having only stopped two times.  One of those times was for lunch and one was for gas.  My kids are hands down the best travelers ever.  I don't say that in a prideful way, it just is what it is.
 We spent the night in Eureka and then loaded up the next morning for Minneapolis.  We did much of the same the next day, we just added an extra person and ice cream from Culver's.  Both of these are very important details.

We arrived in Minneapolis in time for a dinner of pizza at the indoor pool at our hotel.
While we were in the car I researched several places that might be of interest, including a cupcake shop.  When we started getting close to Minneapolis Janice asked me to navigate us to the hotel.  Having not even been to Minneapolis before none of us recognized what we were doing.  We starting getting closer and closer to our destination and I realized I had put in the address for a Cupcake shop.  Yep, we arrived at the cupcake shop instead of the hotel.  Whoops.  We were 20 minutes away from the hotel and because of time restraints we were not even able to stop for a cupcake.  Oh well...

Good morning Minneapolis!

 Since my crew wakes up so early and so hungry we hit the hotel restaurant.  It was pretty fancy.  In fact, Andrew walked up to the table, pointed to the cloth napkin and said, "What's that, mom?!?"  We (and by this I mean me and Jack )had a conversation in the room about being on our best behavior and not eating like an animal, etc.  All in all we made it through breakfast without incident.  Andrew had a Mickey Mouse pancake.  He was thrilled!  Clayton had some kind of continental breakfast and Jack had French toast.  Everyone was pleased, which for a mom of three boys is a major accomplishment.

 After breakfast we rode the train into Minneapolis with Mimi and Tee and somehow ended up at the Mall of America.  Good times!  Clayton was in awe of the Lego store.  I think he could have stayed there all day.  We were only able to stay about 30 minutes, but no fear we spent all day Sunday there.
Before heading to graduation we ran in to the graduate in the hall.  I cannot express enough how much my boys love this guy.  What a treat!
We walked over the graduation at the convention center.  It was a really big room, but we had good seats.  After a 30 minute delay (because the graduates weren't there...ha!!) the ceremony commenced.  They literally called names for an hour.  I stood ready to get a picture.  As soon as Richard walked across the stage I snapped the picture, but apparently sometime during that hour I had turned off my camera.  Whoops.  I did get this on though.
 After the ceremony we took 15,000 pictures.  Here's one of the graduate.
 The Thomason family at its finest...ha!!
 And the entire support crew...

After graduation we headed to a lovely dinner at McCormick and Schmick's.  Again, the boys and I had a similar conversation about being on our best behavior.  They did pretty good.  We closed out the evening with a swim in the indoor pool with the graduate.

Sunday morning we headed out early for the Mall of America.  They have an amusement park inside and we rode just about every ride.  We were there from the time they opened until the time they closed.  The boys had a blast.  Mimi, Tee, Mun, Janice and Jim joined us at the park.  It takes a village to wrangle these boys people.

 Andrew created this at the Lego store.  He said, "Look mom, I made the city.  There's our hotel."  (The hotel is the yellow and green building.)
That night everyone slept well.  This little fella was asleep in 1.2 seconds.
We woke up the next morning, had breakfast and headed out for day one of travel.  Our two days of traveling home were pretty uneventful.  We ate, slept, read, visited, and laughed.  We made great time on the way home and pretty much did the opposite of what we did on the way there.  We got back to Memphis last night around 8:00 pm.  I was happy to see my favorite fella!  I cannot begin to tell you what a great time we had!  I hope all road trips are this fun with them as they grow up!  Memories were made that will last a life time!  I'd go again tomorrow!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lots of stuff

-Andrew really wants to be like the big everything they do.  The big boys use mouth wash and Andrew really wants to use mouthwash.  I finally gave him a tablespoon and told him what to do.  He swished it around for 3 seconds and said, "Hey mom (he says Hey mom 50 bazillion times a day), is mouthwash made out of jalapenos?!?"  Ha!  He hasn't asked for it again.
-Jack had a dream where he met his best friend on the playground and played during recess.  He said, "I played with him until I woke up and then I realized it was a dream."
Which led to taking a trip to Paris...
I needed to clean out a couple of things so they (and Aunt Janice...Yahoo!!) just went with me.  Wade came over and played with Andrew.  Lee came after karate.  And then Caleb and Bennett played for a while and then they all wen to tri practice together.  It was a much needed visit for all of my boys.
When my boys got to the house it was like Christmas morning.  Andrew was jumping up and down begging to bring this and that and this and that home with us.  We came home with another car load of various toys.  Awesome.
When we first told Clayton we were moving one of his top three concerns was his Legos.  I think he thought he would have to take them all apart and reassemble them.  He was quite distraught over this.  Enter Aunt Janice.  When she heard of Clayton's concern she told him that she would pack his Legos when the time came.  They unloaded them all and packed them together.  
-On Mother's Day the boys gave me a plant.  I told them thanks and Jack said, "Well, dad really just picked it out." (We are nothing around this house if we are not honest.)  I told the boys I just hoped someone remembered me when they were older.  Jack said, "We will (long pause)...hopefully."  Nice.

On Sunday mornings Fred and I, along with several others, meet and pray before the service.  I usually leave there and head straight to the choir loft.  When I came out of the room Clayton was standing there and said, "Oh mom, are you singing in the choir today?  I was really wanting to sit with you since it's Mother's Day."  Nope.  Not singing in the choir.  I'll sit with that sweet boy any time he asks.
After church we did a little divide and conquer.  I headed to Jackson to see my mom and Fred hung in Memphis with his crew.  Aunt Janice fixed a feast!  It was beyond delicious!  My brother even came.  And we got a picture.  It was epic.  Taking a picture with five boys is no small accomplishment.  Be amazed.

Our good friends Jeremy and Lauren had a baby.  We got to visit them at the hospital and then we had their girls on Friday night.  It was a great time.  The kiddos just picked up right where they left off.  

Andrew's preschool had a precious program Sunday night.  He loved it, even though he's not smiling.  He, along with all of the kiddos, was just precious.  

The boys had field day at tutorial Thursday.  They were so excited about field day they woke up before six and were outside throwing baseball.  Fired up I tell you.

Since it was the last day of tutorial we celebrated at Taco Bell for breakfast.  Taco Bell for breakfast?!?  Yes.  The boys really wanted to try the waffle taco.  It was a hit.  Jack, who was made for breakfast, just did not quite get enough to eat though.  Bless him.  

 Someone was not happy at this moment.  I'm not sure what happened specifically.  I'm sure "the baby" wasn't getting his way.  Ha!  Life is hard.
Speaking of Jack and breakfast...the other day the boys went with me to the grocery.  I told them if they were good they could get a treat.  Clayton and Andrew got their treat picked out early.  By the time I was at the checkout Jack still did not have his treat.  I told him to find something quickly.  He took off running.  I saw him running back through the store like a football player and something was tucked under his he was protecting it.  When he got to me I saw what he had...36 frozen Tennessee Pride sausage and biscuits.  Yes, 36.  I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
-I took this guy to register for middle school this week.  What?!?  Yes, I did.  Since when do they take four year olds in middle school?  I cannot believe we are starting middle school.
On a different note, they gave us a list of required summer reading.  One book is for everyone.  And then there were three books that you had to pick one,  giving a total of two books.  Clayton read the list, looked up at me and said with all sincerity, "Can I please read all four?"  Why yes, yes you can.  Grin.
-It is looking like moving day is drawing near.  The realtor in Bartlett is feeling very confident since they put a sold sign in the yard.  Everything is rolling along.  T minus 14 days and counting.  Here's a sneak peak...I can hardly contain myself.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Going on...

Elizabeth and I met at her gym and took a class together.  We took six children with us.  The youngest four stayed in the nursery.  The oldest two played in the gym beside us while we worked out.  After the class since we were all together we went out to lunch.  Two adults and six children from ages 1 to 10.  To say it was crazy would be a huge understatement.  Huge.  By the end of lunch Nora's hair really told the story of what lunch was like...crazy, right?!?
 The Memphis Grizzlies were in town for game six of the series with OKC Thunder.  I have always wanted to go to a play off game.  We watched ticket prices and decided to jump.  When would be have another chance to do this??
 Before we went to the game we introduced the boys to The Cheesecake Corner.  This may prove to have been a mistake because they loved it!  We shared a piece of chocolate chip and red velvet cheesecake.
 It was a packed house at the Grizzlies game.  They lost the game.  In fact, they lost that game and the next one and ended up losing the series.  Boo.  We'll just support them next season.  Go Grizz!
 Right before Jack literally fell over because he was so tired he said, "Thanks mom for buying us those tickets."  It was from the heart and it just about melted mine.  That's one tired Grizzlies fan.
Andrew came to me the morning of the game and told me he did not want to see the Grizz he wanted to go shopping with Mimi.  She was coming home with us anyway and she was delighted.  Andrew knew what he wanted...a Captain American Winter shield.  Mom asked where you get that.  I did not know, but I thought Target was a good place to begin.  They then had a fine dining experience at McDonald's.  I'm pretty sure both of them had a blast.

Saturday was a wild day.  The boys had soccer in the morning while I spoke at a Ladies Lunch.  Not the best picture from the ladies lunch, but it will do...
I was honored to have my mom, Renee, Mun and Nana Francis at my table on Saturday.  We had someone taking pictures during the event.  He captured this of Mun and I thought it was so pretty.  It captured the beautiful outside of a lady that is even more beautiful on the inside.  Isn't it great?

Once we are all finished with our responsibilities of the morning we went to the zoo.  Below is Andrew's first train ride.  I think he was excited.  Ha!  After the zoo we went to Fred and Renee's to watch the Grizzlies game.  
 One night this week we went to Steak and Shake.  Clayton amused himself with the hats while we were waiting on our food.  Three hats stacked up?  That takes skill!
 Memphis really knows how to send out the welcome wagon for those of us that are new to town.  They typically send it out in the form of the Shelby County Sheriff...especially when you run a red light...with a sheriff right behind you.  I'm not kidding.  I did it.  It's my first ticket in almost 20 years.  Go big or go home, (I guess) was my philosophy that day.  Welcome to Memphis.  Ha!  My bad.