Category Archives: Family

The Guys’ Turn

I thought it only fair for the boys to have quality time with their mom since Mario had some a couple of weeks ago.  So I rounded ’em up for a trip to Colorado.  What better way to bond than a 13 hour car ride.

We piled into the car with all our Colorado necessities, and off we went.  We weren’t even out of the driveway, and the boys had their headphones on and their eyes glued to their screens.  My dreams of deep conversations and brotherly bonding flew out the window.  ***sigh***   This was gonna be a long trip.

Hours into it I began to appreciate Mario’s non-stop chatter.  To get them talking, I brought up “No Man’s Sky”, the game Abby’s son Meego had just downloaded.  They discussed the pros and cons of this game, which led into reviews of other games, and seemed to break the silence for the rest of the trip.  Still not the chatter Mario and I had, but better than complete silence.

After a short layover in Colby, Kansas, we made our way to the mountains.  As we got closer to our first destination, Red Rocks Ampitheater, I realized how great a navigator Mario was.  She was spot on, telling me how to get there, giving me plenty of advance notice, balancing the real world against what she saw on her phone.  The boys waited till it was time to turn and told me to turn.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to paint the picture for me of what I needed to do.  After many u-turns, and a lot of gas, we found our way.

My frustration ended quickly.  I’d forgotten how beautiful and breathtaking (literally) the Ampitheater is.




Amp, much more comfortable here than in a cramped car, even allowed a selfie.










And Chip, who was seeing things for the first time, humored me as well.





We realized just how high up we were, when we were completely out of breath climbing back up the stairs.


Practice for what’s to come?



Posted by on August 17, 2016 in Family, Vacation


Girl Trip Gone Better

The last time I went on a road trip with my daughter, we came back in tears.

Since then, Mario has made remarkable strides with her bowling.  Enough so, that we decided it was worth the trip to Indiana for a week long bowling tournament.

This tournament is the largest youth bowling tournament in the world.  There are over 700 girls in her division alone, and people come from all over for a chance to win the Junior Gold title and possibly a spot on the USA Team.  It’s HUGE for young boys and girls alike.

Mario qualified for this tournament before going to Chicago where the problems began.  Well, not really problems necessarily, but changes.  She’s had to learn a whole new way of bowling, and a lot of her confidence was taken away.

After her tears dried, she got back on the lanes and fought hrough her demons.  She  practiced daily, worked with a coach, and has gotten most of her confidence back.

So she was excited to travel to Indy, meet some of her favorite pros, and bowl with hundreds of girls who would give her a run for her money.

And they certainly have.  Her scores haven’t been overly impressive, but her attitude, focus, and determination definitely have been.  The first day of competition, the ball stuck to her hand and pulled her down.  Her greatest fear had been realized, yet she picked herself up, laughed with her teammates, and bowled again.  Every day after that, the ball stuck to her hand at least once during the day, but she didn’t let it crumble her.  It’s very scary for me to watch it happen, but I am incredibly proud of her resilience.  I know she’ll overcome this, and will be back on this “stage” again next year.  Bigger and better.





We’ve also taken advantage of all the down time between tournaments.  We went to a movie, swam in the pool, and paddle boated along the canal.

Oh, and can’t forget…  Caught tons of Pokemon.  In fact, the canal was FULL of people, old and young alike, catching Pokemon, finding Poke’ stops, and taking over gyms.  I found myself telling Mario to watch her step, move to the side, look out for the pylons…  And wondered how everyone else could see where they were going with their nose to their phones.  Even so, it was great to see all these people out walking around.  I know it’s getting my kids out of the house more.

Now off I go to her final match.  Six days of bowling – every bowler’s dream – is coming to an end.

Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth release each and every time.  (Next time you can wish for a win….)






Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Bowling, Family


I saw him with my own eyes!

Link’s been battling a few issues these last few months, and although he tells me he’s handling it ok, I know deep down it’s bothering him.

And since it’s bothering him, it’s bothering me.  After a while, texts and phone calls aren’t enough, and I just gotta see with my own eyes that he’s ok.

So last week I rounded up all the boys – my hubby, Chip and Amp – and we took off for Columbus.

We crammed a lot into the two days we were there.  An eye doctor visit to determine if his keratoconus is worsening (maybe a little), a walk down a beautiful wooded trail near his house, a stroll along the riverfront followed by a fantastic meal, and an afternoon of a competitive game of mini-golf.

Hubby and I on the golf course.

Hubby and I on the golf course.


Our view from the restaurant.









Chip and Amp spent the evenings at Link’s house for some quality brotherly time.  They gamed, played ping pong, and were treated to Link’s speciality of homemade hamburgers and milk shakes. Hubby and I spent the evenings at our hotel for our own quality time.

Throughout the days, I found time to talk and listen and share advice with Link.  It’s tough being his age and having to deal with the issues he’s dealing with, but he’s managing it on his own, and I’m proud of him.

I left with a heavy heart, knowing it would be another 6 months til I see him again.  Thank goodness for cell phones and texts.



Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Family


Bon Voyage?

As happens every year, this summer is flying by, and I don’t seem to have much to show for it.

We’ve had a lot going on at the hotel.  Obviously some families are starting their summers off with a bang.  I love to see it, but it’s a good reminder I’ve got nothing going on.  And neither do the two college boys who have taken up camp in our house this summer.

So this past “weekend”, I drug the boys outa bed.  “We’re going on a field trip,” I told ’em. First stop was Sugarfire BBQ, a new restaurant right down the street from my hotel.  Figured I better test it out myself since I send people there all the time.  I had a great lunch of brisket and pulled pork with a side of fries and green beans.  The boys tested out the baked beans and the potato salad.  And we all came to the same conclusion. Delish!

From there, we made our way to Grafton, IL, a small town along the Mississippi River.  Grafton has been the home of the Nina and Pinta replicas for the past few weeks and they were only going to be there a few days longer.








The ships were very interesting to see, and the crew had some great stories of Columbus’s adventures along with their own.  Both boys mentioned they’d love to be apart of the crew.   Hubby and I jumped at the chance to send them off to sea, and grabbed a crew member immediately.   We asked tons of questions and figured out what they needed to do to join.

Chip is still showing interest in joining and has filled out an application.  Although the ships have left our area, if he’s asked to join, he can pick it up where ever they’re docked.

All that’s left to do now is sit and wait.  Chip has lots of practice with that.  Amp too for that matter.

Is it too early to be ready for school to start back up?


Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Everyday Living, Family


Happy Mother’s Day!

So I’m a little late… But I mean it just the same.  My mom didn’t seem to mind that I called her 3 days late, so I figured my mom blog friends would be okay with it too.  I blame it on my life as a hotel manager.

So yeah, I worked Mother’s Day, but it was still my favorite Mother’s Day to date.

I told my kids all I wanted was to go out to breakfast with everyone before I went to work.  Their present to me was to wake up early that morning and be dressed and ready to go by 8 AM.

After we ordered our meal, my daughter insisted I open my card.  The boys continued their conversations as I began reading and tears began rolling down my cheeks.   Mario’s “Aww, Mom…”  made them turn my way.

Chip, Amp, Mario and my hubby had all written little blurbs of how much I mean to them, and I was touched beyond belief.  As I wiped my tears, Chip and Amp embellished on what they had written, saying they feel so lucky to have us as parents.

I could barely speak.  I think I told them how proud I was of them, and how grateful I was that even though I work ALL THE TIME, they still feel like they can come to me for help or advice.  I always worry that I’m not giving them enough, but that day I found out that they think I am, and they seemed genuinely appreciative.

I brought the card with me to work that afternoon, and read through it multiple times.  My heart swelling more and more each time.  In fact, I’m still carrying the card around and sneak a peak whenever I need an uplifting moment.

The only thing that would have made that day better is if Link had been here too. But he called on my way in to work, and he, too, told me how much I mean to him.  I didn’t think my heart could take much more.

I’ve got great kids.  I don’t know how I did it, but I’ve got great kids.  And I couldn’t be happier or more relieved that they think I’m a great mom.  Not sure how or what, but I must be doing something right.  So I’ll just keep on keeping on – loving them, accepting them, and making time whenever I can.



Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Family, Parenting


I haven’t let go yet

When you let something go for as long as I have, it’s easy to just keep letting it go. I suppose I’m not quite ready to quit blogging though, so I’m forcing myself to sit down and write.

It’s not like nothing’s happened here in the last few weeks.  It’s just that it’s all been about the hotel, and how many blog posts can be about that?

At least one more, I guess.

We now have 2 working elevators.  It was a long time coming – four months in fact – and with a hotel full of 500+ robotics kids and their families, it’s quite a relief not to worry about it this weekend.

I love this robotics convention.  The kids are so well behaved and respectful.  They spend their time strategizing and planning, not running around the hotel while their parents sit in the dining area with coolers.

Not only that, they stay for 4-5 nights which makes for very easy days once they’re checked in.  Easy for the housekeepers, easy for the desk, easy for me.  And they LOVE us, which always makes hosting them a pleasurable experience.

Really, the entire city benefits from them.  Every hotel is booked up with these competitors and their families, and they all go out in groups to patronize the restaurants.

So it’s a little disappointing that next year will be their last.  They’ve come for at least 6 years in a row, and for a reason I’m not privy to, they’re splitting their convention between Detroit and Houston.

It’ll be a huge loss for us.  In many ways.

In other news, I’m enjoying having a Saturday off.  A rare feat in this industry, but a necessity, as it’s Mario’s Junior prom night.  I wanted to be here for her to, you know, write the check for the hair and makeup, and zip up the dress, and soothe her when her shoe broke….

As I was helping her dress, I couldn’t help think how wedding day-ish prom can be.   Good practice I suppose.



Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Family, Parenting, The Hotel


Check, Check, Check

The week of our 25th wedding anniversary proved we really could check a few items off our bucket list.


We rented a car and began making our way south.  Greenville, SC has been on my mind for a few years now, so it was our first stop.  10 hours and two snow storms later we arrived.  As usual when we travel south, we bring the cold weather with us.  “You just missed a week in the 80’s” the front desk agent said when she greeted us.  Figures.

We didn’t let the cooler temps slow us down though.  We bundled up in layers of “Florida clothing” and headed out to explore the town.


The sunshine helped, and the great barbecue restaurant did too.  We ambled along the Reedy River, peeked into a few shops, and enjoyed the non-hustle and bustle I’ve become accustomed to at the hotel.

Next on the list was Charleston, SC.  Once again, the temps were only in the 60s, but the sun was out, and the town was alive!   As soon as we drove into the narrow streets of downtown I was hooked.  The history there is incredible and much of the town remains the same.

We walked through the streets, listening to the horse tours as they clopped by, trying to catch a bit of history here and there.


As we strolled past the historic houses, we imagined the lives of the people who lived there, and dreamed of living there ourselves.






But neither of us felt like we were far enough south.  So back in the car we got and continued our trip down the coast.



Halfway down, we stopped at Flagler Beach for ice cream and a stroll down the beach while the sun set.  Still bundled up, but beautiful (and tasty) just the same.

On the day of our anniversary we finally got the warm weather and sun we had been craving.  Our gift to each other was to attend a Cardinal baseball spring training game – something that had been on both of our bucket lists for a long time – and it proved to be well worth the wait.


Maybe not a typical way to spend a 25th wedding anniversary, but it fit us perfectly.  We topped it off with a burger and fries in West Palm Beach, and a fancy hotel.  Ok, that part didn’t fit us perfectly, but it was a nice splurge just the same.

We ended our week long road trip at my dad’s place.  We felt more spoiled there than we did in the hotel.  He cooked us breakfast each morning and didn’t charge us $4 for a bitter tasting cup of hotel coffee (that I threw away for a 99 cent cup of gas station coffee).

We took walks on the beach, ate lunch in outdoor restaurants, and soaked up the sun and warmth of Florida.

Seven days and 2000 miles later, we dropped of the rental car and boarded a plane to come home.

I’m looking forward to having a deli cooked Easter meal with the kids, but it was tough leaving Florida.

Really tough.

I already miss my flip flops.



Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Family, Vacation