Mimi Adventures October Style

“What’s the longest you have been in Chicagoland since your move?”  That’s a real question from a real friend while eating breakfast on my latest Mimi Adventure.  I replied, “A month, I think.”  Given my adventures have become a vital part of my season, it’s time to catch folks up on the latest!

Fall break for our musical son was a few days ago.  After performing at a Saturday AM concert, it was time for him to board the plane to Chicagoland.  One thing we are trying to do is create new traditions in our new home.  This means, if you land in Chicagoland, the first stop is going to be Portillo’s!  I love the look on our musician’s face when he takes that first bite into the long-missed Chicago dog.  As most college kiddos, he was exhausted from the nonstop action from move-in day until now.  He had not had a break of any sorts since early June before he left for the Aspen Music Festival.  So, a trip to the house so he could begin the “vegging” process.  I love having him home.  There’s just something about the nest having one of its chicks back.  We really didn’t do much on his trip to Chicagoland….the musician had graduate applications to complete, essays to write and rest to be had (Seven applications/prescreens….the life of a music performance major.)….we did manage to take him for his first Top Golf experience at the new Naperville flagship location.  I believe he is a fan!  He took it to “The Trench!”  Before you could blink, his visit was over and it was time to head back to school.  It was great him being here to be part of the “Chicagoland” excitement over the CUBS!!!!!  He even got to hang out in the airport with a huge crowd as they watched the Tuesday night game win!!!

FullSizeRender-3 IMG_1588The kid being our Joshman!

It was a neat thing this break as I was scheduled to fly out the same afternoon our Joshman headed back to school!  It was Mimi time in Arkansas!!!

I landed, I took care of the rental car and I headed straight to the Embassy Suites for a night of rest. (PS-Rental cars at XNA are redonkulous!) I knew the next three days would be nonstop fun!  We did SO much! From just hanging out at the house, to an on-site field trip at E’s school, to lunches/dinners, Amazeum, shopping, parks, hide and go seek, teaching the finer points of tic-tac-toe, coloring, duck-duck-goose, cuddling on the couch, bathroom adventures…..seriously…best days!!!  They are growing so quickly and each have developed such unique, individual personalities.  I love how the two oldest call me Mimi, but Ella has decided she prefers the name from a book they read where the “Grandmother” wears glasses….cutest thing ever.  The giggles from all three are stored in my treasure box forever.  Kisses, hugs, hands being held….fighting over Mimi’s lap…aahhhh….as they saying goes, “my cup runneth over.”

IMG_1625 IMG_1672 IMG_1660 IMG_1679These kiddos are just so perfect.  Dancing in the store, modeling with the mannequin, amazement of a straw, and giggles for days at the dry ice exhibit.

I was so thankful that I was able to sneak in a little “friend” time in the middle of my Mimi Adventures.  Shelley, Kylee, Robin, Karilea, Carole, Anna, Marla, Chelsea/Mia….thank you for still treating me like family even though I went and moved away!  Technology  has been so wonderful during this transition.  I still feel connected to those peeps that I truly call family.  Bentonville is a special place for friendships….it truly is.

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I was also thankful that I was able to visit my Mom while in Arkansas.  I have felt guilty on occasion for “leaving her,” but God has been so faithful to remind me she is not in the grave!  I still cannot believe it’s been two years.  Seems to be such a raw emotion, maybe it always will be.  She loved mums, so I just love how bright and “fall” this mum is by  her earthly memorial.

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Finally back to Chicagoland after nonstop action.  My Leebo went with me yesterday to run a few errands after church.  I was playing in the Pandora store with their rings.  I quickly realized how much I loved the stacking of various rings.  Soon, I was asking for the tray in my size.  I played with SEVERAL combinations and this one was one I just couldn’t stop staring at.  I looked at my Leebo and said, “Early Happy Birthday?” Y’all can guess the rest of the story.  I LOVE IT five times (As the legendary Susan Goss would say.)

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So, back to life in this season.  It’s super windy today and there’s much to be done before I begin the latest rounds of doctor appointments, testing, surgery.  Mimi Adventures are the best…and Arkansas will always hold a giant piece of my heart…or should I say me peeps in Arkansas….yes, that’s exactly what I will say!  Love you all to the moon and back!!!

Peace out…drink more coffee!

Mimi Adventures and Unexpected Gifts

Summer is awesome!  Something about it just beckons you to take to the road for adventures!  Thankful today for the ability to take to the road, the stops along the way and the unexpected gifts from a whirlwind week.

Josh and I took to the road nine days ago for what would be a six state, three stop adventure!  First stop…seeing my baby girl and her babies!  Going back to Northwest Arkansas is still so strange, but this was the second trip back and I am finding while I still miss the people greatly…..I’m less tied to the area with each visit.  We were not a Wal-Mart associate or vendor family, so it can be a tough area for a man if you don’t fit in one of those niches.  Anyhoo (Thanks to Sheldon.).

I scored an awesome Hilton points plus cash deal at the Rogers Embassy, so we were able to enjoy hotel life and that wonderful feeling of tossing the towels on the floor.  (You know you do it too!)  We got in a tad late, so the first night we didn’t see anyone…but we did….oh yes, we did….enjoy Slim’s Chicken.  Oh, how I have missed real chicken tenders and fried pickle slices.

Ella wants Slims!

Walking into my baby girl’s house the next morning and having those precious kiddos so eager to see their Mimi-priceless.  Those kiddos make you feel as if you are twenty years younger!  After great debate on the plans for the day, we opted to go spend some time at the Bentonville square.  A little time at the park followed by a great lunch at Station Cafe.  Soon, the kiddos were not happy with the heat of the day, so we decided to make a trek to Chick-Fil-A for a snack and then to Target for swimwear!  Then it was back to the square for time at the Splash Park!

Are they not the cutest kiddos in the entire world?

Are they not the cutest kiddos in the entire world?

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While at the splash park, I got to have a quick visit with my special friend, Shelley.  We have known each other ever since Josh was about three years old!

Dear Friends

Josh and I were worn out from chasing the two kiddos all around the park!  They had a super time and while it took them a bit to warm up to the squirting water, before you blinked, Blane was in full boy mode!  Ella, well, Ella is still unsure of what to think..but she sure does like other kiddos juice boxes!  Gross-out boy moment..Blane finding an empty water bottle (PS-people toss your trash!)…and we looked up and he was filling it with the Splash Park water and DRINKING IT!  Eww!!!!

Tired kiddos and hungry adults made for a trip to dinner then we sent the kiddos and their Mom on their way to rest for the next day! Josh and I then were able to drop in on the Magees and see my dear friend Karilea.  We have known each other since our oldest were in early elementary school!!!

Day Two began with Mimi walking in the door of our baby girl’s house and being greeted by two kiddos with arms open wide.  BE STILL MY HEART!  Mom had some shopping errands to run, so we took on the Promenade.  The kiddos played at the cute little playground they have and well…..someone (had to be a non-parent person) has placed those quarter eating rides next to the playground….anyone wanna guess how long the playground pleased the kiddos?  Fun day…and who can resist a kiddo going “Choo-Choo” or “All Aboard!”

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After playtime, we were all hungry and who could turn down another opportunity to eat at Slim’s!!!! Not me!!!  The day had really warmed up and outside play was just not appealing after lunch.  So, we took a chance and went to Little Giggles in Bentonville.  This place is so wonderful!!!!!  If you have a child under the age of five…take them!!!!  Make sure child and adults have socks!  They sell them, but you can save a little money by bringing your own.  Snacks and drinks are also offered for sale.  It is SUPER clean and the kiddos LOVED IT!!!  Mommy was able to leave for a bit and get her nails done while Mimi and Josh held down the fort.

Fun at Little Giggles IMG_2281 IMG_2284IMG_2305 IMG_2290 IMG_2299IMG_2300 IMG_2305Soon it was time to say good-bye and send the baby girl and her kiddos on their way.  Elizabeth wasn’t home this trip, so my heart was so sad that we didn’t get to spend time with her, but so joyful that we made so many sweet memories with the littles.

Later that day, I had planned a night out with two dear friends….Shelley and Robin.  We can’t get good Tex-Mex where we live now, so I was thrilled we were going to Chuy’s!  It was so yummy.  We always have such a good time…so much laughter! We didn’t want the night to end, so we may have shut down Tropical Smoothie after dinner. The Watermelon Mint Mojito is soo tasty!  With quick hugs, we went our separate ways much too soon.  I miss my people.  (Deepest apologies to those I could not see this trip!  I’ll be in town for a  much longer visit in August!)

Sweet Friends

The next morning, we packed our bags and began the second part of #mimiadventures.  We were headed to Nashville.  Given we go through Memphis on the way, I decided to make a slight detour and take Josh to Tupelo to see his grandmother.  We were able to spend some super time together over dinner and spent the night at her house.  This is Lee’s Mom and we don’t get to see her very often…especially Josh…so I know the time was special to her..and to us!

Josh and GrannySoon it was time to wake up and begin the next trek of #mimiadventures .  Off to Nashville!!!  We got into Nashville about late lunch time.  We tried to go to Loveless, but a TWO hour wait was not worth it…so I purchased my four jars of peach preserves and deferred to Joshua’s suggestion of Hattie B’s in Nashville.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  This place is so legit!  The tenders, the pimento mac-n-cheese!!!  SO good!!!

Zero Calories at Hattie B's!

Next was the reason we came to Nashville….Josh headed to campus to practice for his Aspen trip to the Aspen Music Festival.  The next few days were spent with Josh practicing for the festival, me hanging with my awesome sister and niece and the rest of the Moore clan and the newest member, Mary.  We had pool time, fun meals together, nail time and I was also able to spend a lot of time with my Dad. I sure do miss him living close.  My sis and I were able to give him and early Father’s Day celebration and cheesecake was had!

It was time to head back to Chicagoland.  We are back for four days and then Josh is off to the Aspen Music Festival for the summer (We will see him again at college for move-in day.) and #mimiadventures part two begins again as I trek to Florida to hang with the sis and her family for a few days at the beach.  It’s much cooler here than what we have dealt with the past few days…and I am SO happy!!!!  Now for a fun few days with the three of us making the last minutes of our summer together count!

All total, I have gone about 2000 miles in eight days….and in those miles I got an unexpected gift!  I never realized how much fun this week would be with my baby boy!  We shared great laughs, serious conversations about life, politics, grad school options…great food, and I now have a week I will never forget!  Babies don’t keep-they grow much too quickly.

Make your summer count….there are unexpected gifts!