Where does the time go??

This will officially be the third time I have started this blog – maybe I’ll actually finish it and post it this time!  Mema, PawPaw, and Jay Pea are all here; Christmas is over and we are down to only a couple of days left in 2011!  We had a great Christmas weekend and have had a fun-filled week with family.

Saturday was our annual trek to Maple Grove for Christmas Eve lunch at Dave & Buster’s.  They have a Pay & Play deal that makes lunch “almost free.”  I had Build Your Own Shrimp Tacos; Hubby had Philly Cheese Steak; Jay Pea had a parmesan chicken sandwich, and LooHoo had a double cheeseburger.  Doodle had fried shrimp, and K-Cat got Goldfingers (chicken tenders).  After everyone tried bites of everyone else’s lunch, we spent several hours eating and playing games.  If you haven’t been there, it’s kind of like Chuck E. Cheese for grown-ups.  There are lots of games to play and tickets to win and prizes to trade your tickets in for (we won over 5,000 tickets this year!).  Of course, we really go for the playtime as all of the girls enjoy playing video games against each other… this year, K-Cat was the big winner in the family Daytona 500 race and in the horse race!

We ended up getting a late start on lunch this year as our “quick stop” at Best Buy to upgrade our phones turned into a three-hour test of our patience!  There was quite a bit of confusion about how much it would cost us to get new phones and renew our service agreement.  The good news is that in the end, we got a great deal on new phones thanks to an incredible sales associate and assistant manager who were able to make several executive decisions that allowed us to save a significant amount of money!  Best Buy definitely lived out their commitment to great customer service despite the delay.

Unfortunately, the late start meant that we missed Christmas Eve service at Grace.  We were able to go to a late-night Christmas Eve service at Westwood Community Church which turned out to be a fun experience complete with candlelight and interpretive dance.  It was nice to get to go to this service with Mema & PawPaw.  It’s been a long time since we did Christmas Eve service with grandparents!  Dinner on Christmas Eve was Walmart deli pizzas which Hubby and I had picked up several days ago.

Christmas morning brought stockings from Santa with small gifts for everyone and then, as it was Sunday, we headed off to church.  After church, Hubby made brunch – pancakes, eggs, bacon, and sausage!  We spent the afternoon watching The Nativity (a movie about the birth of Christ) and hanging out together.  We had a ham dinner that evening with mac & cheese, hash brown casserole, veggies, and crescent rolls.  We topped the night off with Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (the 4th Harry Potter movie – only four to go!).

Monday, we went back to my favorite picture studio (U Click Studios) and took some family Christmas pics with Mema and PawPaw and the girls.  Then several of us headed for Mall of America with the rest of everyone else in Minneapolis and St. Paul!  Mema & PawPaw took Doodle off for her date – lunch and shopping – while LooHoo and I had lunch w Jay Pea and Boyfriend at Baja Sol.  They then went off on their date and LooHoo and I wandered into a Starbucks to do some work and school.  Dinner that night was leftover ham and hash brown casserole, pork, corn, and crescent rolls followed by another Harry Potter movie (only three to go!).

Tuesday, Mema & PawPaw took K-Cat on a date at Mall of America – lunch and shopping (what girl doesn’t LOVE that?!).  I went back to Starbucks to do some more work and had a chicken tarragon sandwich there for lunch – very yummy!  That night Jay Pea got her turn on a date with Mema & PawPaw – dinner and a play downtown.  Hubby and I were able to keep our standing Tuesday date and went to Applebee’s for dinner after returning several things that needed to go back to different stores around town.  We went for the usual and split a 2 for $20 deal – Brushetta Chicken, Three Cheese Penne, and Boneless Wings!

Wednesday morning, I headed out early with LooHoo, Mema & PawPaw for Austin.  For me, this was a work trip; for everyone else, it was a date to the SPAM Museum, meals and a movie (and, of course, a little shopping!).  I had lunch at B&J’s in Austin with some of the team down there.  Yes, it was a long drive down, but I don’t think it will be too bad to do on a semi-regular basis.  After work, we went to see We Bought a Zoo.  It turned out to be a really cute movie – I didn’t expect much, but I actually liked it quite a bit.  We went to Applebee’s for dinner before going back to play in the pool (more on that in a moment) and hang out at the hotel.  LooHoo and I split a 2 for $20 – Mozzarella Sticks, Fiesta Lime Chicken, and Pasta Carbonara!

Okay, the pool – without getting too detailed and gross, suffice it to say that we were not able to get into the water because at some point in the evening someone had had what I assume was a faulty diaper incident.  The pool was closed for cleaning!  Not sure if I’ll ever be able to swim there even on future visits after witnessing that!

This morning, I was back at work at 7 a.m. (crazy hours down there!)  LooHoo, Mema & PawPaw picked me up around lunchtime and we headed back to The Cities.  It’s hard to believe that Mema & PawPaw are leaving tomorrow and that we are welcoming in a new year in only a couple of days – where did this week go?  For that matter, where did this year go??

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