Friday, June 1, 2012

Memorial Weekend In Review

There is nothing like a long weekend with family and friends to make you realize how blessed you are. Last weekend was one of those times! It was a busy, fun filled three days that left me exhausted upon my return to work on Tuesday, and wishing I had taken an extra day. But it was worth it!

Friday’s work day was shortened thanks to the holiday weekend, so after picking up the kids from daycare and running a couple of errands, we headed over to our friends’ house. There we enjoyed some good grilling, good conversation, pink moscato (so good!), and wrapped it up with a game of Clue -- my very first time playing! (I know, how is that possible?). That was the first of three late bedtimes for the kids!

Saturday morning we packed up the car and headed north for a two night stay in Nebraska City and a busy two days in Lincoln. When we arrived in Lincoln, after a stop at the grocery store, Kevin, my mom and the kids headed over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house to play with their cousins and eat dinner, while I headed with my friend Melissa to Omaha for the Rachel Platten concert.

First of all, it was great to be able to spend the evening with Melissa! We’ve been friends since high school, but hardly ever get together since my trips home to Lincoln are few and far between. I was thrilled when I messaged her to see if she’d join me at the concert and she said yes, even though she had absolutely no clue who Rachel Platten even was.

The 60 minute drive was a great time to catch up, and since we arrived at the bar an hour early, we had even more time to chat. I wanted to get there when the doors opened, just in case the place was packed, so that I could get a decent spot for the show. Turns out, an early arrival wasn’t necessary as there were only about 30 people there.Disappointing to see, but made it feel even more intimate.

While I will save my review of the show for another time, I will say that I am so glad I went! From the moment I discovered Rachel Platten last year from my favorite blog, Enjoying the Small Things, I’ve been slightly obsessed. I love her inspiring, get-off-your-butt-and-do-something lyrics, her poppy sound, and her happy, quirky personality! The concert was just as much fun as I imagined, and Rachel was just as sweet and personable and I knew she’d be. As I stood around waiting to meet her and get her autograph, I found myself nervous with my hands literally shaking like a teenage girl meeting her idol. After introducing myself and having her sign the EP and CD I purchased, she gave me a hug and thanked me for coming, and made me an even bigger fan. Please check her out by visiting her YouTube channel here.

Rachel Platten and me. I was giddy?
   With autographed CD’s in hand, we left the club and headed for dinner at Fuddruckers! I LOVE Fuddruckers! After burgers and fries, we made the 60 minute trip back to Lincoln where I picked up my family and made the 50 minute trip back to Nebraska City.

The next morning, after we finally got dressed, packed and out the door, we headed back to Lincoln for a mini-family reunion with my dad's side of the family at Mahoney Park! We seriously never see each other unless it's for a funeral, so this was a big deal.  While not all of our family was able to make it, the party did include the four of us, my dad, step-mom, brother, sister-in-law, two nephews, two nieces, an aunt and her husband, an uncle, two second-cousins, their two friends, and a dog. 
Grandpa and Brendan making a clover necklace.
Emily was SO excited to play with her cousin! She definitely idolizes her.
She is an ornery little thing, but she's just so cute!
My favorite brothers!
The family!
 We didn’t let the 90+ degrees stop us from enjoying lots of food and conversation, or stop the kids from playing soccer or running around the playground. After a few hours of family fun, some members of the party had to run off, and the rest of us decided to cool off with a trip to Dairy Queen for ice cream! After ice cream and a stop at my uncles, then my cousin’s house for dinner, we made another late night drive back to Nebraska City.

The next morning was the excitement of packing, followed by the 2 hour drive back home that included a 20 minute stop at a busy gas station on Memorial Day, waiting in line for the bathroom.

I love going back to Nebraska and love seeing my family, but I really love coming home, relaxing in my own chair and sleeping in my own bed! After unloading the car and unpacking the bags, I had a burst of energy that led me to replace the broken linoleum squares in the kitchen (which led to a nice burn in my arm muscles for the next couple days). Once the work was done, it was time for a diaper run to Target, but first the kids and I headed to Pizza Hut for dinner. After Target we headed for my favorite summer treat – frozen yogurt at Lemon Tree – where Kevin surprised us in the parking lot and joined us.

Upon our return, baths were taken, bedtime hugs and kiss were passed around, and two very tired kids fell fast asleep. As I finally relaxed and reflected on the weekend, I couldn’t help but smile. Time spent with my dad’s side of the family is rare but usually very entertaining, and this gathering was no different. And of course, spending time with my mom and meeting a woman who has been a huge inspiration to me recently was a big plus for the weekend!  I’ve been blessed with an entertaining and loving family and wonderful, supportive friends. Being able to enjoy this weekend helped to me remind me to stop and enjoy the little things moments that make up big weekends!

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