E.N. Bucket List #14: Road Trip

Ahhhh…. It has been another great weekend! Along with all the chaos and GPS recalculations, this weekend could not be more perfect.  My best friend graduated from college yesterday and it was a wonderful excuse to take a road trip.  For over a month, I have planned a no-rules weekend for my son, but who knew how much fun that would be for me!

For instance, the “no-rules” Bacon Sundae from Burger King.  Yep, I actually ate this entire sundae and it was AWESOME.  My son ate it like he was starved – it was gone in 2 minutes flat.  This was at a stop in Ocala.  I asked the cashier what city we were in and she had to ask her manager.  Hmmmm…. shouldn’t she know what city she works in?? But anyway, it might have been a delirious trance from the Almighty Bacon Sundae.

Burger King Bacon Sundae… it really does exist!

In Columbus, we got to see my friend graduate which I have to admit I was a little more emotional than the Graduate herself.  But we have known each other through the ups and the (very bottom) downs.  I was just so proud of her.  Ok stop me before I start crying again!

Graduation Ceremony, Columbus GA

After the graduation, we stopped by a mall in Atlanta to do a little shopping, then I took my son to Dave & Busters.  (GPS Tip: GPS addresses are not always accurate! If you don’t know the area very well, look up the location address on the internet first, then type the address into the device.) It took 3 tries and 40 minutes to get to the Dave & Busters that we realized was 3 miles away from our original location. Needless to say, I took a short nap while he played and came back to the car with this:

The rubber chicken? No….he brought that with him from home.  He won the light up green glasses, along with light up white glasses, and a pack of basketball cards at Dave & Busters.  We hung out the rest of the evening with my friend and her family, then headed home early this morning.

Since the rental car did not come with Satellite Radio, we plugged in his iPod: The Beatles Greatest Hits.  Friends, we listened to the Beatles during our WHOLE road trip.  (and yet I still can not explain the meaning of the Yellow Submarine)

A couple other highlights from our road trip:

We kept seeing these big wheat-looking plants all over the Georgia Interstate.  To me, they looked like huge allergy bushes. I googled “wheat bushes Georgia Interstate” and “grass bushes Georgia Interstate” and could not figure out what type of plant they are.  Definitely beautiful, but not too sure if I want to get too close to them and break out into a sneezing fit!

My son’s #1 goal was to find a Firework Stand and not just any stand would do.  If it’s connected to a Pecan Stand, he would not even waste his time, he envisioned a Firework warehouse.  And thank goodness, we found a store called Ceremonial Fireworks in a city called Micanopy (Mi-can-O-pee, he said it is NOT prounounced “my-canopy”).  In this picture, my son is happily holding his Waterproof Fireworks.  Might I add, he held these in his lap the rest of the way home, and excitedly blew up my leftover breakfast burrito in a metal bucket later in the evening….. Boys.

This trip was absolutely a treat for me!  And though hubby and my younger son could not come with us, they had a blast at my son’s football game then going to the Tampa Bay Bucs game (looking good, by the way).  Dad & son time was truly needed as well.

By the way, in preparation for my road trip with my elder son, I took the ‘Baby’ (my 13-year old) to Disney World’s Hollywood Studios last weekend.  So, I leave you with this:

Can You Find The Hidden Mickey?

Can you find the Hidden Mickey?  The cool thing about Disney World is that they hide Mickey Mouse profiles all over the parks & resorts.  This is at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Hollywood Studios. (Hint: Relax your eyes and focus on the yellow tiles)  😉 Enjoy!

#14 of my Empty Nester Bucket List = Road Trip DONE!

Ikea and the Cheap Date

Well, I have to say that this past weekend was what I truly needed: A Break!  Well, sort of.  We lived and breathed football, as usual.  But we managed to sneak in a few other things.  For one, I’ve been continuing my Fall Cleaning Project, and in my determination to make our little place look bigger, I set out to Ikea to pick up some mirrors!  I find it interesting how my children HATE going shopping with me. In fact, I have to bribe them to go to the grocery store with me, using a $5 spending limit on whatever their snacking hearts desire.  But….. when I mention IKEA, their faces light up and they are always willing and ready to go! Perhaps it’s the vibrant colors or the luring smell of Swedish meatballs but I dare not jinx it with my questioning!  For me, Ikea is like the Target of home decor stores.  I always go for one thing and come out spending $200 which somehow includes a piece of furniture.  But that day we bought exactly what we needed… Mirrors (pictures soon).

Later that evening, we planned to go on a date.  Since we are taking a break from the baby-making, we decided to go to a place called the Wine Room.  A small spot off of Park Ave about 15 min from our place.  This place has wine bottles racked as far and as wide as you can see.  Couches for relaxation, light music in the background (that evening was oldies R&B music), and a Cheese & Tapa bar in the middle.  As you walk in, you can purchase or reload a money card (sort of like a game card at Dave & Busters), they give you wine glasses, and set you free to taste away.  Along the walls are, for lack of better words, “vending machines” of wine bottles where you can choose to purchase 1, 2, or 3 ounces of your selection for a price per ounce.  Some as low as $1/oz. and others $15/oz. or more!  Let me just tell you, having Not a sip of alcohol for at least 6 months, I was a Cheap Date.. Yes, ladies and gents, after 6 oz. of the $1.50/oz Chocolate Raspberry wine, I was feeling happy.  Hubby was happy, we had a good evening 😉  NOTE: For those of you with a Sweet Tooth, I highly recommend Chocolate Cellar California Wine, it tastes like a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

“Screen Shot” taken from Google Maps, see the arrow on the floor? Courtesy of Google Maps

Finally, drum roll please……. we have decided that we found a ‘Home Church’! (A “Home Church” is one that we can finally settle down, get involved, go to regularly..etc. )  I must say, we have visited over 10 churches over the past 3 years.  And if you have had this experience, you can relate to how tiring it can be.  Sort of like dating, you want to give the new relationships a try, but if there is no chemistry you must search again.  but after 4 visits, I believe I can say we have found a church we love.

Though they are little tidbits from a great weekend, I can honestly say I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready for a great week!

And, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend as well 🙂

My Bucket List(s)

A few weeks ago, we had a little family get-together at the beach.  The weather was beautiful and, though it rained a little, we saw the most magnificent rainbow on that Saturday evening.  The next morning my eager boys got up about 7am to go to the beach and so I got up with them and we headed out.  Just looking out at the vast ocean, listening to the endless sound of waves crashing, birds chirping and kids laughing got me thinking.. what am I going to do if or when this is over: parenting

So, I got out a piece of scrap paper and pen and started writing an Empty Nester Bucket List.. well, it started out as 1 list but then spilled over into 2: “Empty Nester” and “When They’re Gone”

Being on both sides of this parenting spectrum, so much of me has been poured into being a mom.  Blood, sweat, and tears (literally, all 3) have been put into raising these boys, as well as, trying to have a baby.  And a little part of me is saying ‘just start preparing for the worst.’  Does it have to be the worst?  I have friends who live the childless life happily.  Some with kids going off to college, others who choose to travel.  It can’t be that bad, right?? To me… it feels like it would be the end of the world!

And so.. I started writing.. Things I want to do before the boys leave for college:

Join the PTA – having finished college while they were in Elementary school, I missed out on being an active PTA member, I would have LOVED to join the Bake Sale or chaperone more field trips

Do Outside Activities With Them (Golf, Football) – Yeah, this will take some coercing. Haha… I’ve offered to throw the football with the boys, but being a girly-girl, I DO throw like a girl.

Teach Them to Drive – Yep, its almost that time, and I’ve already started teaching my 15 year old.

By the time I was done, I listed 17 things.. Then I started thinking, well what about AFTER they leave for college???  So I continued:

Start my Business – I’ve always wanted to open a re-used book store / coffee shop.

Find a Mutual Hobby with Hubby – Yes, we get along so well because (1) we enjoy doing things together like watching movies, trying new restaurants..etc (2) we give each other ‘individual’ time/space  But we don’t really have a Hobby that we enjoy as a couple.

Finish their Baby Books – well, they did get started when they were babies.. but, as the years have passed, pictures and mementos have gotten stuffed in the front of the book to be properly scrap-booked in later.

Not that I think I’ll ever be ready if they decide to move back to the West Coast.. but I think at least if I can check off the things on my list, I’ll have felt like I didn’t waste my time while they are still under my roof 🙂 And the things I’ve listed on my “After They Leave” list sound pretty exciting to me!