Monday, July 20, 2015

Big Sister's Travels

It's summertime and that always means a trip to Grammy Camp for each of the kids. Honestly, I don't know who looks forward to it more--the kids, Grammy or Lee and me. HA! I think we all enjoy it for different reasons.
 
Big Sis took her turn at Grammy Camp first this year. She was gone for EIGHTEEN days, y'all! I wasn't sure if she'd ever come home. I think someone was truly enjoying her freedom of being an only child and getting all the attention. That, and sleeping until 10:00am, apparently. Can't say I blame her on that one.
 
This time Big Sis and Grammy kept the road hot during her stay. They took a day trip to Little Rock and an overnight to Mom's family reunion which included staying in a cabin and a side trip to Mammoth Spring. And if that wasn't enough, they went with TP to her favorite swimming hole and then Big Sis spent a couple of days hanging out at Pop's house.
 
Mercy, that's a lot of activity for one eight-year-old!
 
 

These are photos from the family reunion trip. Big Sis and Uncle Bret got tangled up in a pretty hot game of Go Fish. Then, on the way home, Grammy and Nanny made a stop to cool off at Mammoth Spring. I haven't been there in many years, but I remember how pretty it is and how much I liked it. I knew Big Sis would, too.


 
 
These are pictures from the trip to the creek near Blanchard Springs, which is TP's favorite summer swimming hole. She was excited to take Big Sis there again. Aunt Pam, Nanny and Val joined them on this trip, too. And Val's sidekick, Jazzy.
 
It was a fun time for them all and obviously wore out Big Sis and her cousin Piper. 
 
 

 
 
 
I am so very glad that mom takes the kids for Grammy Camp every summer. These are the days that I know they'll never forget. They have made so many sweet, special memories, just like the ones I made with my Nanny when I was Big Sister's age. I can remember playing Slap Jack for hours, Nanny making Cheerios and crispy bacon for breakfast and taking me to work with her at the motel where she worked. I'm thrilled to know that my kids will also have their own sweet things they will remember about Nanny and their Grammy.
 
 
Grammy Camp is good for us all. But it also makes each homecoming a little sweeter when my babies are all back under the same roof.  The twins leave for Grammy Camp later this week, so I can't wait to see what shenanigans Grammy has in store for them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

So this is 40

Well, here I am. Halfway through 2015 and staring right into the eyes of 4-0. Do I feel any differently today? Older? Not really. I felt old two weeks ago, and two years ago...and when I had to become responsible for three small humans. So it's been going on a while,
really. 


 
 Remember back in January when I set some goals for myself? This is probably a good time to check in and see how I'm doing.  Here's the post.
 
  • The blog makeover: CHECK--I'm still really happy with this one.
  • New furniture: CHECK--I'm happy to report that we did buy a new couch and ottoman during a Memorial Day sale this year. YAY! We still have some more pieces and a new rug to buy, but this goal is mostly complete. Let me say that again: I have a new couch for the first time in my adult life!
  • Get in shape/lose weight/run a half marathon: Ummm, notsomuch.
You see, this is where the whole turning 40 thing is getting in the way. That, and forty-eleven days of rain this spring.  Tara and I decided not to run/walk the LR Half this year because we were both not ready. She started a new job and is now the boss of the world, so she got really busy and quit training. I have been having pain in my feet for over a year, but it's finally under control.  I've been exercising more, but I have decided that I'm just not a runner. That will have to be OK. Forever. I'm still working on the whole "get in shape" thing. I'm eating less junk, eating more veggies, not drinking sodas and trying to do all the right things.
 
I may not be out running marathons at age 40, but let me tell you what I am doing. I'm riding bikes and taking walks with my kids, and playing in a kickball league. Last Saturday we went roller skating and the very next day went ice skating. I'm doing all the fun things; I'm not sitting down and letting the fun pass by.
 
Of course, I'm also doing the not-so-fun things that come with getting older. I got my teeth cleaned yesterday (no cavities!) and made an appointment for a mammogram and a physical. I'm being a good, responsible adult. Adulting is hard, y'all.
 
Well, here's to 40. Bring it.


 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Vacation, Part II

In addition to our fun at Silver Dollar City, we did a lot of other things that were great for the kids in Branson. And, of course, we shopped a little bit and ate a lot.
 
More Silver Dollar City photos:
 
 



 
 
I took the girls for a special date night to see the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid--that was my surprise treat for them! We met my cousin Cody and his family at the show and had a great time visiting with them afterwards. While the girls watched the show, the boys played some mini golf. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of either!
 
We spent a small fortune at The Track letting the kids ride go carts for the first time. We also had a big splash in the bumper boats and lots of giggles in the bumper cars.
 
 
 
 
 
Ironically, after all the activities and all the money spent, the kids' most favorite thing to do is just swim in the pool. We could have skipped everything else and they would have been just as happy! Our condo has a great outdoor pool--that we always had to ourselves--and a huge indoor pool/hot tub combo that we visited late one night. Midnight swimming on vacation is the best!
 
 
 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Vacation, Part I

Last month, the Bramells hit the road for a little family togetherness. We decided to keep it close to home and easy on the wallet this year, so we headed to Branson. Surprisingly, we figured out how to pack a whole lot of fun into just a few days.
 
Knowing that we weren't planning an extravagant vacation this year, we bought the kids season passes to Silver Dollar City earlier in the spring. We spent a day and a half there--the second day we stayed from open to close! I'd say we've already got our money's worth. We figured out that our kids looooove to ride the rides. Luckily, since most schools had just let out, it wasn't very crowded and the lines were short.
 
Big Sis has always been a fan of the Thunderation roller coaster, but this year, prepped herself for her first ride on the big daddy Outlaw Run. And once was enough, but she was a trooper! The twins were finally big enough to ride Thunderation with Dad and they both loved it, too. They are pretty adventurous little turkeys, but they each found a ride or two they didn't like.
 
On our first day in the park, we went on the tour of Marvel Cave. Of all the years going to SDC with my family, I don't think I've ever been in the cave. It was fantastic! And it's free (included in the park price, that is). I totally recommend taking the cave tour if you haven't. It lasted about an hour and held the kids' attention really well. Make sure you wear good, sturdy shoes and take a potty break before starting the tour.
 
Here are a few photos of our fun day at SDC. I have lots more to post when I get caught up.
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 I know that this won't be our last trip to The City this year, so we'll definitely get more use out of those season passes. Stay tuned for more posts about our Bramell Family Fun.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Holy Bike Riders, Batman!

I just need to take a minute to brag on my kids. Over the past few months, they have all upgraded a size on their bikes and really gotten good at handling them.

Back in the fall, when we knew Boy Twin was ready, I found a used 12" bike at the Goodwill store for $5.00. This was his first move to a real bike with pedals and he mastered it in no time at all...at just over age 4. That little red bike was the best five bucks I've spent ever. Girl Twin was still using her balance bike but didn't like it at all that brother had one-upped her. It didn't take her long to catch up, when he would give her a chance to practice on his bike.



Also in the fall, Big Sis decided she wanted to move up a size. I found a used 20" bike for $15 at the Rhea Lana sale and she was all set! By spring time, Boy Twin was ready to move up to Big Sister's old 16" princess bike and Girl Twin was riding the Goodwill bike.



I'm so proud of the little ones riding big bikes before age 5; it took Big Sis until almost age seven to ride without her training wheels. With the little ones, we skipped training wheels altogether. And I'm so glad we did!




At Lee's insistence, we bought both little kids a Strider balance bike when they turned two. He did a lot of research that led us to the purchase. The bikes have no pedals--kids just push with their feet. The concept is that they learn to balance quicker and not rely on training wheels. Thus, we were able to skip training wheels and just go to a big kid bike. Now, I'm not getting anything from Strider for this post. I just want my friends to know that the price tag of a balance bike is WELL WORTH IT! I was hesitant mostly because of the cost (of course, we were buying two), but we found a great closeout sale on them and saved a few bucks. The bikes are durable and they rode them for over two years. Overall, it was a great investment for our family and a great learning tool for the kids. I never dreamed they would be riding bikes in preschool with such ease!
  
Now we are at another crossroads. We are shopping for Boy Twin his own 16" bike so Girl Twin can have the princess bike. We have to get something "for boys" he says. 



I got my first bike for Mother's Day and I'm ready to hit the trails with my family this summer!




Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Birthday Happiness!

Today is the day--these kids are FIVE!

I love these kids with all my heart. They challenge me, frustrate me and make me yell. They run, giggle, fight and make the biggest messes.

They love each other and they love me. Our house would be lonely without them.





Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What's Old Is New Again...or something like that

A couple of weeks ago my sister and I took a trip to Oklahoma City to spend the evening with the New Kids on the Block. We took a night off from kid duty and enjoyed our view from the lower level seats. We had a great time, saw a great show and did a lot of reminiscing and a little booty shaking.



Let's just get one thing out of the way, because I know what you are thinking. YES---the median age at the show was likely 37 and it was very obvious. It was a middle-aged, cool mom party. And I'm not (very) embarrassed.

Let me share some thoughts with you about the experience.  You see, this isn't the first time we've seen The Kids.

1. The first time I saw NKOTB, I was 14. My mom drove us and some friends to the show in her minivan. This time, I'm (almost) 40 and I took two days off work and drove myself. However, I did leave my own minivan behind. But from the looks of the parking lot, the minivan club is thriving.

2. This will make you think--when my mom took us to see NKOTB, she was THIRTY-FOUR. Yes, she was younger than the age I am now. She and my dad also took a group of about 6 of us and slept with us on a cold, hard sidewalk overnight in a less than cool part of Memphis to score those tickets.  You know, back before you could just get them online.
 
3. We drank some beer at the show. Because we could.
 
4. The New Kids guys are roughly my age. They don't look as old as I feel, let's just say that. I'd take off my shirt, too, if I looked that good. Wowza.





5.  I can't help it, I'll be loving them forever.
 
6.  Nelly was supposed to open the show, but he couldn't make it. Seems 'ol Nelly is doing most of his rapping in jail these days. We were pretty bummed.
 
7. However, TLC did a fantastic job opening the show. As you know, it was only T and C but they both looked and sounded great, though a bit tired at times. Hip hop is hard work when you're 40, y'all! I loved hearing so many of their songs from my teen years that I'd already forgotten about.






8. Glad to have shared the fun with my best sister! I'm sure my mom would have gone with us but she was home taking care of all the grandkids....haha.


 
Blogging tips