Sunday, December 14, 2014

Olaf...The "Elf"

So, this year we joined the millions of people who have an Elf on the Shelf.  If you an unfamiliar with the Elf, he is a fixture that lives in your house the month prior to Christmas and he listens to everything that takes place in the house...good or bad.  I thought we had successfully bypassed the owning of an Elf because they have been around for years and our kids had never really asked about them. This year, that all came to a screeching halt.  In Target of all places, on night when Ryan was in rare form, he worked an argument so masterfully that we caved.  Well...kinda.

Flash back to a couple of weeks ago when we were in Target shopping.  We come upon a huge display of Elf on the Shelf's.  Ryan grabs one and turns to us and says...

Ryan:  Mom, Dad....we NEED an Elf on the Shelf.  He lives in our house, reports back to Santa every night and tells him if we have been good or bad.  We NEED him!

Mom:  We don't need him.  Honey, remember, Santa is always watching, so we don't need to buy an elf to come live in our house.  And we especially don't need to buy him at the price of $30.00.

Ryan:  But Mom, you say Santa is always watching and always listening, but he is not.  There are millions of kids all over the world and he can't hear us all at once!  And remember that one day you told me to go and wash my hands, and I did, and when I came out from the bathroom you didn't believe me that I did it and I told you to call Santa!  And when you did, you said Santa was busy at that moment and didn't see me wash them?  See!!!  He isn't always watching and that is why we need the Elf.

Mom and Dad:  (Staring at each other in disbelief)

Mom:  Well, we will think about it.  But Ryan, we are not paying $30.00 dollars for the Elf.  I think they had some at Costco that are cheaper, we will look there.

The next day I sent my sister to Costco to see if they still had some and they did.  The ONLY TINY LITTLE PROBLEM was that the ones at Costco were a different type of Elf, not the regular ones that are everywhere.  But, they weren't $30.00, so they were already our favorite. 

That night the boys were staying at Nana and Papa's house and so Rich and I went to get the Elf.  We brought it home and took a picture to send to the boys so they can see what we bought.  Immediately after the picture must have been shown to Ryan, our phone rang.  It was Ryan.

Ryan:  You got the wrong one.  That's not the real Elf on the Shelf.  That's the plush one, that one isn't right. 

Mom: Ryan, this one is fine.  He will still report to Santa, he works fine and this is what we are getting.

Ryan:  No, Mom!  That's not the right one.  He doesn't look like any of the other Elf's.  He is not real.

Mom:  Ryan, Costco wouldn't sell fake Elf on the Shelf's.  There is no way they would sell a fake elf that doesn't work.  You know how Santa has helpers because he is so busy, Elf on the Shelf's have helpers because they are so busy.  He is real.  Promise.

Ryan:  Can you go up and ask a Costco manager if that is the real Elf?  Ask the manager if he flies back to the North Pole and does all the other stuff the regular elf does.

Mom: Ryan, we are at home.  I will not be asking the Costco manager anything.  This is the elf we bought.  You either take this one, or we will return it back to the store.  But we will not be buying the other elf.  It is your choice.  If you want to keep him, he will need a name.  Let us know.

Five minutes later, a text from Ryan and Matt comes through...

Ryan and Matt:  We want to name him Olaf.

Olaf's first night on watch.

The next night, he left a note for the boys.

He will be busy over the next week or so making sure Santa sees and hears everything that happens in our house!  Good thing Mommy and Daddy didn't ask Santa for anything this year...Olaf would have some explaining to do.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cabela's or Bust!

Last year at Christmas we got a weekend get-away from Richard and Sharon at the Peppermill in Reno.  They must have been thinking of their grandson Matthew because there was no way we could have gone to Reno, passing by Cabela's and not take him.  Cabela's is a hunting, fishing, camping, and everything else outdoors place to know, the store that SCREAMS "Marini Family shop here!"  For his birthday he had received many gift cards for this place and they were burning a hole in his camo pocket! 

Cool fish tank!!  Just let us drop our poles in already!

After SEVERAL hours at Cabela's, we headed to our hotel.  As I have said before, our boys love them a hotel room.  It seems like they want to spend more time there than the actual place we came to visit.  When we walked into the hotel/casino, Matt's eyes lit up like a slot machine.  Just like his father.  Very quietly I heard him mumble, "Oh my gosh, I love it here."  He is his father's son.  Put bright shiny lights and the promise of making money in front of them and they are gone.  

Two boys who could not get over the hotel room.

They were both OBSESSED with the bathroom that had a tv in it, so if you were in the bath, you could watch tv.  Or, if you were in the shower (that had two shower heads), you could watch tv. 

Within the first seven minutes of us entering the hotel room, both of them had stripped off their clothes and Ryan took a shower and Matt got in the bath.  The tv was playing at full volume and they were giggling the entire time!

Matthew appreciated having his own tv in the bathroom so that he could watch Finding Bigfoot in peace and quiet.

The next day we headed to Scheels, which is a store in Reno that has basically everything one would need in life.  It's huge and we were there for over two hours.  And yes, there is a ferris wheel in the center of the store.

Matthew cashed in on his other passion...all things Green Bay Packers.  This picture is now hanging in his room...thank goodness his family made the list.

This was my happy place for the weekend.  The three story spa at the Peppermill.  Three stories!!!!  I'll take a massage, followed by a dimly lit room and comfy relaxation chairs any day of the week.  I could have stayed here all night, but then remembered my family was there and we had a dinner date. 

His first buffet.  "Adult buffet", that is.  He couldn't get over the fact that he could keep going back and trying new things and if he didn't like something, he didn't have to eat it!

One more trip back to Cabela's before we leave town. 

On to other updates...

And....LOOK WHAT NANA DID!!!!!!!

She put in a pool.  Can you believe it?!?!?!  We cannot wait to use this next summer!!  And when it was finally finished, the weather officially took a turn for the cold and no one (other than an unfortunate incident with Natalie) has tested it out yet.

And we'll remember this as the day my niece and nephew walked into my house and they were taller than me.  I almost cried.  True story. 

Love this girl.

Annual trip to Vegas!!!  Our husbands were there...but that's not important.  Slot machine buddies.

Town Square is my favorite place in Vegas.  I am sure you remember this picture from last year.

I was trying to do a little shopping for my friend Sharon.  Her husband would have been DONE Christmas shopping and in debt to me forever.  All I needed was his credit card number.  Her happiness is not on me anymore as I never heard from him....

Semi-switching gears...I put up the Christmas lights outside the day before Thanksgiving. 

Made a dessert for my favorite nephew.

And it's scary this is the only picture I have of Thanksgiving.  (This will make sense in a few weeks)

Oh wait....this is the other picture.  This is Ryan five minutes in the car after leaving Auntie Stacy's and Uncle Mike's.  He is done!

And to Aunt Marlene....I am going to promise to be better at updating this more!  :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween/ Birthday---and whatever else I can catch up on.

Minecraft Halloween.  When Ryan asked to be Steve from Minecraft, I thought...I could do this.  And then as the days were getting closer and I had nothing, I started to panic.  Luckily I remembered that members of our family own a sporting good store with an abundant supply of boxes.  Fifteen minutes later "Steve" was created.  Ryan was not a fan of all the pieces that compiled Steve, so as the evening went on, he lost his arms and body.
Matt on the other hand was a piece of box and I was done.  He was an Enderman.  I have no idea what that is either, but it looked like the picture and so he was happy.
Luckily the rain stopped just in time for us to go out and snag some candy.

Ryan's in there....promise.

Always fun to run into your besties.  I mean bro's.

And because my sister is now staying with my mom for a little while (squeal), she was able to come out and join us for a couple of houses!

 And when your brother's leave Halloween candy around, someone has to eat it.  So he did.  And this is what he looked like for the next two days in between throwing up.

And the birthday boy.  He is eleven now and knows everything.  That's normal, right?  

There is a theme to this years gifts...Packers and camo.  And let's discuss that.  Not the Packer thing...the camo thing.  He is obsessed.  Not one ounce of this comes from my DNA or his father's.  Clearly.

 Coolest cake ever! 

And after pacing back and forth outside of the laundry room while his new sheets were being washed, the new bedding was finally ready.  Camo bedding.  CAMO BEDDING!!!!!!  WHY?!?!?!?!!?

Bypassing a typical birthday "party", all Matt wanted to do was take his friends fishing.  So we left bright and early this morning, stopped at a bait shop, and headed to the Delta. 

Luke with the first fish of the day!  And largest.  Thank goodness it was not a keeper. 


Yes, there is Nana in there!  She is the professional here.  As she is the only one who takes them fishing.  I thought I was coming along today to drive and pay for lunch, but I soon realized that drivers need to cut bait too.  And then, THEN....when they started catching fish after fish (a total of 20 caught for the day), I soon became the hook take-er-out-er.  I have touched parts of fish that I never want to touch again.  However, I believe I earned some street cred today because all, but one, of the kids were former students and they were impressed with my ability to take a pair of pliers to a helpless little fish. 

His happy place.  On a pier, with a pole in his hand, fishing his Saturday morning away!

Tomorrow we are going to Reno for the weekend.  He has some Cabela's gift cards burning a hole in his wallet.  I told him there is a limit to how much camo he can buy....I have my limits people and we are right there at the line I have drawn in the sand. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

First Quarter Break!

I don't know why it is not a mandatory rule that all school districts have some type of break at the end of each quarter of school.  For students, it is a great way to regroup and prepare for the next quarter.  For teachers, it is a necessary time to regroup so that we don't enter a mental facility at the end of the year.  It's a win-win really and more school districts should adopt this model.  (Say all teachers everywhere)

The first part of our two week break we headed to Disneyland.  I know...shocker.  My husband was especially a Bitter Betty this entire trip because our passes expired on our last day and we aren't going back for a while.  Every once I put my foot down and make a request for an actual vacation that I don't have to wait in a line...unless it's at the swim up bar, then I am a little more understanding and patient.  So next year we venture back to a big kids vacation and I couldn't be more excited. 

Same smiles, just one year later!!

Snow-Bros.  Love this picture!!!

Teacher and former student pic!  :)

This is Halloween!  This is Halloween!!!!

These two!  I love that she just walks up and grabs his hand and never gives him a reason not to.  When she was young she used to crawl up into his lap and just sit there.  I loved it!

Did someone say poolside bar?  Oh, okay.  Because the weather was HORRIFICALLY HOT, we spent most afternoons at the pool.  The first day was here at the Locke's hotel.  Very fun water slides and the kids had a blast. And the drinks were tasty. 

Lynn and Diana.  I love this lady!  She went on every ride!!!!  The ones I was complaining about going on, she was sitting next to me not saying a word.  She said, "I can't have my grandkids thinking I can't go on these rides."  Hilarious!!!!

Oh's Bitter Betty.

 The bet payoff.

Poolside the next day at our hotel.  I could have slept for hours out here.

Last day with the Locke's on Radiator Springs.  That poor guy in the back!

We got the photo pass again this year. When I get the CD, I'll share ride pictures...those are more entertaining!

Last lunch together.  So much fun and such a great trip again!!!!

After we said goodbye to the Locke Family, we went back to our hotel and slept for three hours.  They had to be just as tired as we were.  That night when we headed back to the park and just walked around. the third cozy cone in Cars Land, they sell high octane drinks.  Just sayin'.

UGH....Turkey leg. 

For Aunt Noelle.

Teddy and Bear's Trick of Treat bucket.

Fifteen minutes out of Anaheim. 

After we got home, we had two days to regroup, do laundry and pack for Tahoe. 

It was a Mom and boys trip to Tahoe!  Not going to lie...driving to Tahoe at night with this kid as my co-pilot was hilarious and fun.  He was schooled on when it was appropriate to use high beam lights, when to pass in the passing lane, who should be in the right lane at all times (as he yelled that at truckers all night), and why his mother should work on being a more patient driver.  Ryan helped too...keeping us entertained by singing and requesting songs.

Other than my Ryan, those are all former students.  How weird do you think it was for them to see their teacher walk around in her pajamas?!?!  It was a mom and kids only weekend, so they did their part to stay as far away from us as possible.  Hopefully that helped!

Some serious horseshoe games going on.

And to end our last night of vacation, we headed to the Gallo Center to watch Spank---A Fifty Shades of Grey parody.  Absolutely hysterical!!

 On to the second quarter!  Next break is Christmas and it will be here before we know it.  I can't wait!