Thursday, April 25, 2019

Volunteering At Kids Church!

On Sunday, April 14th I volunteered at Kids fact I try to volunteer the 2nd Sunday of every month. Every now and again it doesn't work out because of the choir singing, but for the most part I'm there. The kids each get $100 Bible Bucks every time I volunteer so they really love it when I'm there! 

Every Sunday there is a theme for Kids Church...on this particular day the theme was Chocolate Bunny Day. Ella had a brown bunny that she let Owen borrow so he would get Bible Bucks for participating in the theme. 

Owen is in 6th grade, but soon he'll be heading to 7th grade and he'll officially be too old for Kids Church. Kids Church is for kids that are K - 6th grade. One way Owen could stay up in Kids Church is if he helps out with the sound and projection. I had wanted him to get involved with that, but he hadn't really shown an interest. However, I found out a few weeks ago that he was learning the ropes. It was so fun seeing him in action! 

Our Kids Room is amazing....there was either money donated or the actual games were donated so the kids have a lot of fun prior to Kids Church starting and then again at the end of Kids Church. 

Zeke was playing Skeet Ball and next to him is the basketball game. 

We also have an arcade game that I think has multiply games on it. 

In the back there are candy claw games...the kids have plastic coins they can use to try to snag candy. 

Ms Colleen (Pastor Andy's wife) just recently bought this awesome giant Connect 4 game. I love this new trend of giant games. Kids church also has a giant Jenga set. Things are just more fun if they are mini or giant size! 

What I didn't get a picture of was the old arcade style game, the air hockey table and the Lego table. These kids don't lack for fun things to do! 

Ella and the other girls usually end up at the white board though. Cute girls! 

Once Kids Church starts the kids all sit down and we have announcements, Bible Bucks get passed out to those kids that participated in the theme, brought their homework or their Bible. You also get BB's if your parent volunteers or if you brought a friend. After that it's game time which is usually something super fun and silly. This Sunday the kids that wanted to participate had to sit on a skateboard with a bunny, ride it to the back of the room, hula hoop three times, hop like a bunny giving yourself bunny ears all the way to the front of the room, crawl through a tunnel and give Ms. Colleen a high five. Whoever did that the fastest was the winner. The winner did it in 12 or 14 seconds...I can't remember, but it was FAST! 

After game time it's worship time...the kids sing fun songs and serious song. All of the songs have motions which are fun. What I love is when we are singing a slower serious song I can look around the room and see kids with their eyes closed, hands raised and they are truly worshipping their Savior! 

After worship they have lesson time. That Sunday's lesson was the Veggie Tales episode about Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and how if something is wrong you shouldn't do it even if it's not the cool thing to do. It the one that has the silly Bunny song in it. The funny thing was that morning I woke Owen up singing that same Bunny song. After the video Ms. Colleen talks to the kids about the lesson. Then the kids played a Family Feud style game with questions about the video. It was fun! After that she announces the VIP...the acronym can change every week. This week it was actually VIW...Very Important Wabbit! Also the kids were each given a ticket at the beginning of the morning to win a Giant Chocolate Easter Bunny. 

Zeke won and he was SO excited! Every one of the kids had already gotten a small chocolate bunny to eat during the video. 

After Kids Church was finished Ella had to have me take a picture of her Bunny. At first she made a cat, but then she added the buck teeth and called it a Bunny. Cute clever girl! 

I love our church's Kids Church and how the kids have fun, but they also learn about real struggles that happen in life and how to rely on God and approach life through a Biblical view. 

Side Note: Jack had spent the night at Hansi's house since it was Hansi's birthday. He ended up coming to the 11am service, but I don't volunteer for both services. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Spring Break - Great Wolf Lodge - Day 4

Our last day at GWL and we were all TIRED!!!

Even the kids slept in so we just had Pop Tarts for breakfast! 

Once we were done with breakfast we packed up and took everything out to the van. 

Friday morning was the special girly time for Ella and I. Michael and the boys headed to main floor so they could do more quests. Michael found a comfy spot in the great room and let the boys run around. 

Ella and I were going to Scoops Kids Spa!!! First we checked in and then we went and got a bowl of ice cream. Ella got Cookies & Cream and I got Chocolate. 

Our treat was to get a Mommy & Me pedicure! Aren't these just the cutest chairs! Everything was ice cream themed. The bath bombs, exfoliating scrub and moisturizer all came in strawberry, vanilla or chocolate scents. We got strawberry bath bombs, strawberry exfoliating scrub and vanilla moisturizer. 

We sat and chatted and ate our ice cream! 

Ella picked a bright pink color and I picked a dark sparkly red color. Bonus was we got to keep our nail polish! 

We also got to keep our tiaras and Ella got to wear this fun pink robe during our experience. 

Me and my girl had the best time! I see lots of Mommy/Daughter pedicures in our future! 

Like I said in a previous post I had messed up with the Groupon...when I went to talk with the spa on Wednesday there weren't even any appointments available. They did put us on their cancelation list and later that day they called and said they could get us in on Friday morning at 9:40am. At first I was wanting us to go on Thursday at the same time as the boys when to their fun experience with Daddy, but in all honesty this was perfect since it's not good to get your nails painted and then go in the water! I was so appreciate of how the spa accommodated us and went above and beyond. They even ended up honoring the Groupon price!!! Amazing really! 

Once us girls were done it was time to go. We had access to the water park, but after that many days we were exhausted and just ready to be home. We weren't sure if the water heater had been installed yet, but we knew that that was the goal the workers had. 

We left GWL, drove to Ga-Ga & Pa's house to get Michael's car and picked up the few things we left there and then we headed out. Michael actually drove the van so he could get a head start on unpacking; while Owen and I went in Michael's red car and we stopped at MCD's and brought it home for lunch. 

When I pulled up to the house the plumber was just getting ready to reinstall the water heater. PTL!!! It was perfect timing! About an hour later he came in and said he was finished and that we would have hot water in about 45 minutes. Yay for getting to do the dishes and laundry....there was lot! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spring Break - Great Wolf Lodge - Day 3

On the 3rd day I was super tired so Michael let me sleep in and he took the kids to Burger Claim for breakfast. By the time they were on their way back to the room I was getting ready. Michael had already claimed chairs for us, but he wasn't able to get seats in front of the wave pool. He did get really nice central seats by the big play area. 

This was my view right in front of me. 

This was the view on the left. 

All I had to do was stand up and turn around to see the wave pool. 

We stayed and swam until around noon and then Michael took the boys to go have a fun adventure with them. I had purchased a Groupon for Michael and the boys and one for me & Ella, but unfortunately I was one of those people that didn't look at the fine print. If I had looked I would have noticed that the dates we were staying were actually blackout dates for the Groupons. Thankfully I was able to trade them in and use my money on purchasing different Groupons. I ended up buying an hour worth of jump time at a trampoline place for the kids and then I bought myself a mani/pedi in Des Moines. 

I didn't want the kids to be disappointed....we had been hyping it up so they knew they were going to get to do something fun and special. We figured since we weren't paying for the hotel or our food so it would be okay to have some fun. Michael got the boys a pizza from Hungry As A Wolf and then he took them to the arcade and they had a lot of fun. So much fun he didn't take any pictures. 

Even though I messed up with the Groupons I was still able to work it out so Ella and I could have our special time. Except our special time wasn't going to happen until Friday morning so while the boys were at the arcade we went to get lunch. She wanted a piece of pizza and I wanted a Taco Salad. 

Waiting in the water park for my Taco Salad fully clothed.....HOT!!! 

Back in the room eating lunch and watching Moana!! 

Carrying my Taco Salad through the water park and the hotel I got SO many looks. A guy in the elevator even asked where I got it. It's not actually on the menu at Buckets it's just written on this A frame board. It's SO yummy! 

After the boys got back we went back to the water park for a little while, then chilled in the room, went to the buffet for dinner and then called it a night. Another great day! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Spring Break - Great Wolf Lodge - Day 2

For our second day we got up and went to the buffet again for wasn't all that good. We were able to find food we liked, but it just wasn't worth it. While we were there I kept an eye on the time and when it was 15 minutes to the waterpark opening I headed out to get us good seats and then Michael took the kids back to the room to change. 

Amazing seats right in front of the wave pool!!! 

While I waited for the Michael and the kids I just sat there reading my book. I recently read an autobiography about Chip & Joanna Gaines and I really enjoyed it so I went to the library and got another autobiography. I have always been inspired by USA fact I follow Shawn Johnson East and her hubby Andrew East and I just love them!! I figured I would enjoy reading a book about another US Gymnast and I was right. This was a great book...I finished it in 2 days! It's amazing how dedicated these kids are at such a young age and how much work they put into achieving their goal! 

Zeke really enjoyed the kids area with the all the buckets. 

Wait for it!!!! 

Direct hit! 

Waiting again! 

Take a picture Mama! 

Here's a video of Zeke getting dumped on!

This day we ate lunch at Buckets which is the restaurant inside the water park. After that we headed back to the room to rest. For dinner that night we went to the Wood Fire Grill and I got asparagus that was hot! Yummy! 

We have never taken the kids to the story time down in the big great room....usually by that time we are already so tired and I figured my kids would think it was dorky. We didn't hear the whole thing and it was totally dorky, but it was kind of fun at the same time. 

Since it was dorky we decided to be dorky as well! 


I love these goofballs! 

What we were really down there for was the dance party that started right after story time was over. Oh my...this was totally up my alley....I love to dance! Weddings are my favorite because of all the fun dances...YMCA, Chicken Dance, Electric Slide and Macarena...I'm all for it! I think Michael and I were the only parents actually dancing. I figured why not make a fool of myself. 

The kids thought we were freaks and that's okay! 

Right when we got there Ella complained of having a headache. She can not stay up late especially if she's had a busy couple of days. She was just not in the mood!

Zeke loved the Chicken dance and then the Macarena came on and that perked Ella up. She learned how to do that dance from watching Hotel Transylvania 3 and she was all about showing off her skills. Once that dance was over though she was done so we called it a night! 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Spring Break - Great Wolf Lodge - Day 1 (House Update)

So a little update on the house...on February 20th we finally got frosted glass in our bathroom window. It was SO nice to not have a blanket hanging from my bathroom window anymore. Plus it was nice to have natural light in there again. 

When I last left off with my update we were trying to figure out what we were going to do in regards to having to vacate our house for 5-7 days while they worked on the sheer wall. I had this great idea to wait until Spring Break to have the work done. My reasons for this would so irritating to have to drive the kids to school every day and also have to deal with all our weekly obligations while staying at a hotel or Airbnb. Plus the closest hotel or Airbnb weren't all that close in regards to the kids' school. So Michael talked with the contractors and they weren't that thrilled with having to wait 3 more months to get to work (they are just as anxious to be finished with this job as we are), but they totally understood our dilemma with having 4 kids at hotel for so long. 

I contacted our insurance company and talked with our Claims Adjustor. He hasn't been the most helpful or timely in regards to getting back to us, but it's worked out in the end. When I talked to him I explained the situation and how we wanted to wait until Spring Break. I also decided to go out on a limb and ask for something that no one thought I would be able to pull off. I told him that if we waited until Spring Break to have the work done we would end up staying with my parents for a few days...thus saving the insurance company money for a hotel and the cost of our food if....he would be okay with us staying at Great Wolf Lodge for 3 of nights. Instead of paying for 5 - 7 night at a hotel and food for all that time this would actually end up saving the insurance company money. Before you think I'm trying to scam them I did say that we would pay the waterpark portion of the price. Surprisingly he was fine with it. After that I called GWL to find out how much of the cost was actually the waterpark fee. The customer service person I talked to actually put me on hold and asked her manager and came back saying they don't have a price because it's just included. I felt like the insurance company might say no at that point. 

A few days later I was at Kim's house telling her all about this and she said that I should probably book the room myself instead of waiting for the insurance company to do it especially since we were wanting to stay during spring break. GWL just happened to have a Groupon going on so I book a standard room for us for 3 nights and it came to $1,343.00. I was hoping that the insurance company would reimburse me. but if not I could cancel and get my money back. 

I called the claims adjuster and explained how they don't separate the cost of the waterpark, but if they wanted to they could come up with a price and we'd pay that portion. He asked me how much the hotel stay was and I told him and without hesitation he said that was no problem...they would cover the full all our food while we were there! What a totally blessing! 

I don't want to come off sounding conceited, but this whole house thing has been going on for over a year now and yes it's been a blessing beyond measure and we are so thankful that God has provided for us!!! It's just that it has also been a pain in the keister and we've been living in a construction zone for months and months so it really felt amazing that we were getting to go away and have a fun adventure as a family.

The funny thing is the work hadn't been done earlier in the year is because our insurance company hadn't paid the contractors for the work they'd done and they weren't going to do anymore work until they got paid. We figured that pushing it out to spring break would be a huge stretch since they were wanting to get the work done, but in the end they got paid right before spring break so it would have worked out this way all along. See our mortgage ended up getting sold to another company and then dealing with the insurance company making out the check to our old mortgage company and the contractors not getting the mortgage company copies of their license it just took weeks and weeks longer than it really should have to get the contractors their money!!! Seriously ridiculous!!! 

On Sunday, April 7th the kids and I headed down to Ga-Ga & Pa's. Michael had to work on Monday so he stayed at the house...he could shower at work if needed so it was okay for him to not have hot water. The kids had almost unlimited access to electronics and I got to sit on the couch with Mom watching show after show about Planet Earth all the while blogging...hence all the recent blog posts. It was absolutely amazing to be away from the house, away from all the responsibilities and just get to relax! 

Early Tuesday morning Michael came down and around lunch time we headed out for our family adventure. Our first stop was lunch at Chic-Fil-A. I absolutely LOVE their app. I order everything on the app and then when we get to the restaurant I type in our table number and they bring our food out. 

The first time we ate here as a family Zeke ate all 3 chicken strips. I was amazed...since he is not a very good eater at all. So chicken strips were his chose for lunch again and again he ate them all. 

The first time we went to Chic-Fil-A I asked Jack what he wanted and he said a cheeseburger...then I said's then he said okay a hamburger. Dude...CHICKEN! Needless to say he wasn't impressed with his chicken sandwich. This time I told him he would love the chicken strips so I got hime those. Well....he didn't! He does like the waffle chips though. 

Owen shared chicken nuggets with Daddy and Ella and he also got waffle chips and LOVED those. 

Sweet Ella girl ended up throwing up earlier that morning and I was so worried our whole trip was going to be a bust. Since Michael was at home for 2 nights while we were at Ga-Ga & Pa's, Ella and I shared a bed. On the second night she was coughing a bit and I could heard her sucking down snot. When she puked it looked like snot and I was hoping it was just a one time thing. I told her to take it easy in regards to eating lunch, but once she started eating she felt SO much better! 

Just eat more chicken Jack!!!! 

This guy loves him some chicken! :) 

We have arrived!!! 

Michael took the kids to the restroom while I checked us in. Unfortunately our room wasn't quite ready yet. The nice thing was we didn't have to go stand in line again when our room was ready they would just text me with our room number and we had our wrist bands that opened the door to our room so that was really nice! 

To pass the time we went to Magiquest and bought a game....Micah and Kim let us borrow their wand. The last 2 times we've been here we've done Magiquest, but this time we tried Shadow Quest. 

It was fun, but honestly I think they put more thought into Magiquest. What I really didn't like was the fact that they used certain items over and over. So it felt like you were going to the same items just in a different order. Next time we will for sure do Magiquest again. 

It did take us to a different area in the lodge that we hadn't gone to before...the big great room! 

It wasn't too long and they texted that our room was ready. About a month or so before our trip I did contact GWL and requested the our room be as close to the elevators & stairwell preferably on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th floors. The reason being is because that's where the Quest games are played and I wanted the kids to be close and not have to walk all the way from the other side of the hotel. When we were here last August we were in room 4004 which was really close to the elevator and stairwell and I was worried that the noise would be too much, but it really wasn't at all. 

This time we had room 5009 which was also really close thankfully! When I bought the Groupon I thought I was getting the same type of room as the one we had in August...2 queens and a pull-out couch. That's what we saw when we first walked in and right off the bat Owen was saying he was NOT going to sleep on the sofa! 

Then we saw the fireplace!!! Such nice added touch....also check out the view. We could see the outside climbing course which was pretty cool! Then Owen said....there's another room over here! I saw this open door and I thought it was an accident that the maid had left the connecting door open to the next room. 

But no! It was another room! A king size bedroom & bathroom just for Michael and I! 

Game changer people! It was so nice to have our own space. We could stay up later than the kids and watch shows other than Teen Titans Go or Liv & Maddie! 

Michael relaxing on our bed prior to going to the water park. 

Master bathroom! 

We went to the water park for a couple hours and then we were ready for dinner. Normally if we were paying for our food we would bring a bunch of food or go over to Burger Claim since it's cheaper. Since the insurance company was paying for our food it was nice to get to enjoy eating out as a family at the lodge. Our first night we ate at the buffet. Our kids have never been to a buffet...ever! It's just not worth it when it comes to the price...our kids don't eat enough and they are picky eaters! But it was fun for them to experience it. 

Owen stuck to what he knows...chicken nuggets, Mac 'n Cheese, crackers & cheese chunks. 

Jackson is usually my adventurous eater...he had pizza, spaghetti and I think chicken nuggets. 

Zeke Man had pizza, a couple chucks of cheese and some crackers...which he didn't like because they didn't have salt on them. 

Ella had pizza, mini tacos, ravioli and crackers. 

They did go back for seconds on some things and then they also got ice cream for dessert! 

I had prawns, mashed potatoes and yummy! I normally love asparagus, but these were chilled instead of hot and I'd rather have them hot.

Michael actually gets his money worth at a buffet. He tries everything! 

Our bill came to $115!!! It's just crazy to me how expensive it is for a family of 6 to do anything. We are always so conscience of how much money we spend we've never spent this kind of money for our family to eat out! I just charged everything to our room. In the end we spent $600 for 4 days which came to $25 per person per day...not bad really when you look at it that way. Once the trip was over I sent the receipts to the insurance company and we will be getting a reimbursement check soon hopefully! 

After dinner Ella wanted Daddy to snuggle with her and the boys and I played the Ultimate Monopoly! 

The fireplace was so nice and the kids wanted it on all the time. It had a timer so it would stay on for up to an hour and then shut off. 

For the most part the kids would just go over and start it again and again. I really enjoyed reading my book by the fire! 

Ella bean was exhausted and ended up falling asleep before the any of us!!! 
It was a good first day!