Bday Celebrations Part 2

After our pet store adventure the kids wanted to laser tag. They had asked to go back to the small little spot we had gone to in our run down local mall again. That clearly wasn’t what I had planned for them. I had searched and searched for the coolest laser tag adventure I could find. I think I did a fantastic job with my choice of Zap Zone. It actually blew my own expectations away completely. I was impressed with how much fun it was and how well set up it was. It wasn’t limited to just laser tag it had glo golf, springs ( a trampoline center), an arcade, bumper cars, their own build a bear, and a simulator. They had packages where you could buy 3 activities for 18$ or 4 for 21$. We let the kids get 4 and we got 3. All of us choosing two games of laser tag to play together.
Our first activity was laser tag! They first take you into a room and explain the rules. The room is cool in itself everything very bright and neon there are over sized steps to sit on and hear your instructions. There were power ups including shields and rapid fire. They had bases you had to protect. You got extra points for taking out the others. It was out of this world cool. We all suited up for our first round. Free for all! Each of us against each other and one other little girl about age 10 played with us. She was a sneaky little thing that loved to target Jacob. Lol she got me a couple times as well. The game lasted about 20 mins and boy is it FUN! There are 6 ramps going all up and over the place. Everything is colorful and bright. There are windows cut out of he walls to sniper the opposing team. It’s honestly just a complete blast and full of giggles. I took 3rd place! Out of all 6 of us. Marc took last again. I seriously get a good chuckle out of the man who has a shooting range membership always taking last place in the family laser tag. Jake took first as always the kid has a heck of an aim. We all came out sweating our tushes off. In fact Marc and I chose to sit while kids went on to next activity afterward.
Second thing the kiddos did was head to Spring. It was similar to the trampoline park we have by Marc’s work but with so much more to do. The one by him is mostly just trampolines and jumping. This one had a rock climbing wall and many other obstacles. A joist and punching thingy. Lol a beam where the kids got huge boxing gloves to go at it and push each other into a foam pit. A wall to run up and then take a giant leap off. They had basketball hoops and music. There was well painted graffiti looking walls. They turned off the lights for a little over half of the thirty min jumping time. The kids were tuckered out after the jumping all beat red and pouring in sweat.
Next up was glo golf for Marc and I and bumper cards for the kids. Ill be honest when I walked up to the golf I thought I had wasted my money it appeared tiny and I thought we would be bored. I was dead wrong! It was to me the coolest part of zap zone and I was bummed the kids hadn’t joined. Marc and I loved it. I told you of the bright colorful experiences already… this one put those to shame. It was a amazon jungle! A tree house in the middle. It went down and up stairs and it had hand painted everything! I wanted to take a million pictures but my hands were full keeping score, carrying my ball and club and phone, and Marc was hurrying me along as there were people behind us. I also couldn’t get great pics on my android in the black lights. It was beyond marvelous! I didn’t get to see the kids at the bumper cars but I heard it was fun as well but only lasted about 5 mins.
Jake got Hailey a build a bear. A pink stuffed monkey in pajama’s. It was so cute. They had a whole room set up just like build a bear. They didn’t have the heart to put inside instead it was a star. Their version I guess.
Last up was the arcade games. It was massive. The best coolest games I had ever seen. Marc found his way to a plane simulator there too. While the kids focused on ticket winnings. I watched their smiles and lost a bunch of tokens on some silly push the tokens over the edge game. They had a 20 dollar for 100 token deal and easily we blew 50$ in 15 mins. Which personally was fine with me as I was starving and soooooo ready for the final stage of the day. FOOD!!! I would love to go back to zap zone many more times I truly enjoyed the time with the kids 20180616_185312_std.original20180616_190345_std.original

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Bday Celebrations Part 1

I have to break down the bday celebration into parts simply because if I put it in all in one it would be a VERY long blog post. We did so MUCH fun stuff. My eldest daughter and my second to eldest son both had a birthday this weekend. So I did a two for one special! I mean after all 8 kids absolutely puts you on a bday budget! About five years ago I had decided to no longer buy my kids Birthday gifts. It was like throwing money in the toilet! Literally! I bought them a harmonica one year from the birthday list and the thing was lodged in my toilet for a week! I had to call a plumber! The toys are just junk! They are never taken care of and aren’t made how they use to be. I probably sound like a little ole grandma with that statement but it’s the absolute truth. I decided that an experience for their bday was remembered longer than a gift and that it was far more special. So now I put a 100 dollar cap on an experience of their choice. They are welcome to bring a guest or sibling but that must be included in the cap amount for spending. Hailey and Malachi putting their bday’s together meant a 200$ cap.

Both of the two are very into animals. The largest pet store we know of quickly made the bday list. Pruess Pets quickly made the kids list. It ended up being our first stop! Upon arrival we realized there was a pride fest through the town. Leaving roads blocked off and the town was packed. Preuss Pets was in the middle of the madness. They even had a designated employee walking the parking lot making sure those parking were for the pet store and not choosing to walk the town while using their parking lot. When you walk up to the pet store there is a waterfall coming from the side of the building and running like a river back inside. We stopped and admired before entering so we could then show the kids what it ran into inside. As we walked inside all the kids jaws dropped.  The water fall ran into a river of the biggest fish I had ever seen. A bridge allowed you to cross and look down at the fish. So big the tops of their heads would bob out of the water.

Across the bridge in my favorite section of all time. It’s the bird section! I stopped and talked to each and every single bird, Got videos of birds whistling in perfect response to Hailey whistling. We awed to each of the rooms of birds. Two rooms and one other area all contain birds. Some even outside of their cages hanging out. Hailey and Jake got to mush on some babies of some kind that an employee brought out while they were walking by. I sadly missed that experience. I did get a ecstatic briefing of it by the two afterward.

The next stop inside the pet store was the salt water fish. This section would blow your mind! It’s incredible! It’s huge and it’s bright  and every fish made me want to color! They had the neatest tanks and array of fish. It was very crowded the flow of people not moving in any kind of cohesive manner at all. We had a hard time staying together or moving around in the circle we had intended. This was a bit of a bummer to me.  I don’t enjoy being around mass crowds of people and this felt as such.  I remember turning to show a kid a fish at one point and it being a group of strangers and I was alone in the midst of them. My favorite fish that I hope to one day have in our tank is a frost bite clown fish. My heart is just set on having one one day.

The next section we come upon was the fresh water fish. It’s not nearly as colorful of a fish section but they do try to hold their own those freshies. I had always been told that those little neon fish were injected but the employee there told us that is no longer the case. Those are now born that way. They stay bright neon forever. I thought that was super cool. They did have neon green ones the best color in the whole wide world! They had piranha that caught Malachi’s eye. Can you imagine that was his request a tank of those bad boys? This section had a lot of more green plants in the tanks and less of the colorful coral so it didn’t catch your eye as much as the salt water section had.

Next stop is the reptile section. When I got to this point I had seriously lost my entire family and was on my lonesome. I have not a clue how this happened but I was cornered on my own in the scary spider corner. Those are just in the beginning of the area where the reptiles are and their are a lot of them! They have a huge pair of tortoises Marc says that they are about the size our boy will get. Our tortoise Herbert is such a little guy right now fitting in the palm of my hand without a problem I had a hard time imagining him growing so much. I visited all the snakes and lizards and such. Then paused to buy some rabbit food. Visited with the one rabbit the pet store had. which is also all kind of by the reptiles.

Somewhere in the middle is rats, hamsters and small fury things. There is a tiny room for cats to be adopted maybe 9 or so cats were inside but the sign said it was stressful on the cats for people to come in and out. You could only visit those guys if you were serious about inquiring to give them a home. The door was locked. The middle also housed lots of things for your fury pets. Food,colors, toys galore. They sold bulk food for pretty much every animal as far as I could see. Home made dog treats and such sat on the counters.

The kids all had a absolute blast we spent well over an hour just taking in everything. They had a list a mile long of wants now. They have set themselves in motion to get tanks set up before their next visit. Every kid is so going to want a fish tank in their room now. I had the most fun watching their smiles! They were just lite up with excitement.

Andrews University Pool Review



In my last post I touched based on how I became a member at the pool for free. What a blessing right? We have been members now for going on about 3 years. This pool is the largest we have ever swam in. It has a 12 feet deep and a 4 feet deep side. There is a rope that divides the swallow at 5 feet from the deep end. There is a minimum of two life guards on duty at all times. That alone is the selling point for me. There can never be enough eyes on my babies when you have numbers like I do. They are a Christian based school. Seventh Day Adventist to be exact. So this means they have guidelines for the use of the pool. One of which being only modest suites. Again score! I don’t have to be the nagging mom who doesn’t little you wear the tiniest swimsuit known to man because it’s the cool one. I can simply say I’m sorry the pool guidelines won’t allow that. It’s a parenting win in my book when you have teenage daughters! When you arrive there is a men’s and women’s locker room. The men’s is up the stairs and women’s down the stairs. They have hundreds of lockers. There are four bathroom stalls, two shower stalls, and then an open shower space as well. I think the only real down side to Andrew’s Pool is the hours they are open. They are few and far between and it’s not available daily. We soak up the time they are open that is for sure. It’s super convenient that they have these floaters for the little ones that attach to their belly. They have googles, pool noodles, and balls to use while in the pool as well. This last time we went they had lap swim going at the same time as open swim so it left us with a little less space then normal. I haven’t ever seen more than 25 people present swimming and typically 10 of those have come with me. On Thursday night when we went swimming I made sure to pack everyone’s pjs and shower needs and took them with us. We used the showers there to get everyone ready for bed before returning home. Saving me the line of two by two at our showers at home. Also saving me from hurrying them so we make the hot water last. Plus I am as frugal as it gets it’s a free shower in my book. Saving me the money of running my water and water heater. The kids all burn out every bit of energy and sleep so well on pool nights. I think we would give Andrews 9 out of 10 stars. Only missing perfect due to limited hours of operation.

Slackers! Laser Tag Madness!!!

The kiddos have been begging for laser tag all week long. Jake and Hailey wanted so badly to team up on me and Marc. Marc wasn’t really thrilled with the idea. He hadn’t really ever played before and just didn’t seem interested. He of course tried his best to hide that though. It was only 5 bucks to enter into the laser tag with many weekday specials and even some later in the evening specials that day! So I thought pricing was very reasonable. There was a really cool train mural going down the wall of the laser tag arena. Marc and I sat on some comfy lounge seating while Jake and Hailey played arcade games. We had a 12 min wait as someone had just entered a few moments before us. There was a huge industrial fan and many games for the kids. There was a pool table as well. I think there were two birthday parties going at the time as we seen rooms full of kids and pizza! When it was soon to be our turn we were given a 3 min get ready warning. Giving us the time to gather the kids from the arcade. First we entered into like a dark hallway. This is where I snapped the pictures at. It was there were you pick your gear. There was a blue and a red side. Marc and I got red and Jake and Hailey were blue. The employee made sure to check all of our equipment before we entered. Good thing because Hailey’s needed a charge and she had to switch out before we entered. When you go in it’s dark and all like black lighting. The walls and hiding spots are glowing. There is a ramp taking you to a top deck. That is where I enjoyed sniping the kids from. Hailey Jade even found out you were able to shoot down through the floor boards and get people too! Little stinker got me a couple times doing that. Our chest and back were glowing with the color of your teams. If you were shot it would go off about 6 secs before lighting back up and your free to fire again. That was the 6 secs where you dashed to get away from whoever the heck just shot you. Marc and I almost shot each other a couple times coming around the corner to each other. I shouted it’s me it’s me babe a few times throughout the game. Jake was clearly the most skilled at this game as he was like a gazelle in the place leaping all about. It was definitely HOT! Like within moments we were all just pouring in sweat. Marc said he would hide in the back for a breather. I was all over the place trying to shoot those darn kids. It was like a 15 min game but it felt like we had been in there far longer. The employee had told us all our names before entering. So when we came out we could see the team that had one and what place each of us got! With 4400 points Jake took the lead. I took second with 3300 points. Hailey had third with 2200 and Marc had last place with just 1300 points. I had a great time laughing that he was in last since he had all the shooting experience and the rest of us had NONE at all! All and all Slackers was a really good time and we would all agree to going back again.



My First Shooting Range Visit.

Yesterday was a fun filled day. We had so many adventures that I can’t wait to brag about. I feel like I need to break the day down into all the mini adventures that were had inside of the day. The last adventure by far my favorite so it’s what I am sharing first. All weekends are spent making memories. I cherish my weekends so much now. Yesterday evening upon coming home and thinking that the day was completed and we would be relaxing at home the rest of the day. Marc chimes in with you guys want to load up and go to the shooting range? As if that was a question that would get any other answer but “HELL YES”! It was Jake, Hailey, Marc, and Myself going on our adventure. We went out to a range in Niles that Marc was a member of. It was an outdoor range. I had no idea what to expect really. I was super pumped and excited. We pulled in and drove by all the different places you were able to shoot each time of gun. Marc explaining each thing to us as we pass. We pull up to one that looks like it has the best coverage from the sun. The kids run down and throw clay pigeons up the hill while Marc and I unload the car. My heart was racing and I was completely geeked. I had asked a few times for him to teach me to shoot. I was thrilled I was finally getting my chance. We get all set up and Marc started to explain the ar first. It’s a bigger gun that we shoot from a sitting down position. While he was explaining I couldn’t hear and took off one side of my ear muff protection. I didn’t realize he was going to shoot I thought he was just talking about what to do. We he did shoot and I had that one side off I jumped clean off the table into the air. I was filled with fear instantly and crying. I was so scared in fact I made at statement I didn’t want to do it any longer and backed off from taking my turn. Marc came and held me and apologized for not being clearer so that I had my ear protection on. He taught the kids how to shoot first giving me some time to collect myself. I really wanted to learn but my nerves were very different now. I had not anticipated how loud it would be. I hadn’t taken into account how heavy the guns would be. Even the smaller cz’s felt so heavy for me. My right side doesn’t always have the best strength. My right leg and arm both can have a tendency to give out. Even simple task like brushing my hair exhaust me using my right arm. Marc talks to me a bit more reassuring me that I don’t have to do anything but that I should remember he wouldn’t ever put anything in my hand that would hurt me. When he made it about trusting him and not the gun I could actually feel my tension ease. Not long I had a cz pistol in my hands. I had Marc with his arms around me and his body behind me. That raised my comfort enough to pull the trigger. Each time he reassured me how good I was doing. He really is just freaking amazing! I had an absolute blast. I shot 3 guns that evening. My daughter and Jake both had a really fun experience too shooting at the targets. They were far more comfortable and Jake far more skilled. It was a really good time and experience. Marc always has this incredible way of taking the fear away for me from everything.



Bass Pro Dessert YUMMY

Saturday after our fun dinner experience Marc decided we just hadn’t had nearly enough fun. Next door to us was the Bass Pro Shop and clearly the ideal place for us to have dessert. So we promptly headed over after finishing up dinner. The kids were blown away by the size of the building before we ever even entered inside. It is pretty impressive in size. Walking up there are ponds to the side of the walk way that gave the kids a roar of excitement from within. It also quickly gave way to the realization that Malachi didn’t have enough meat on his bones to keep him warm while we checked out these ponds. He was shivering pretty quickly and we hurried inside. When we walked in the kids had so much to look at they missed the ginormous fish tank that sits in the bar section of the restaurant. We ended up spending an entire hour in the store walking around. We checked out the fresh water and salt water tanks. We we intrigued by all of the stuffed animals that we scattered throughout the store. Malachi was fascinated by everything. Upstairs which we arrived at via a glass elevator there was a shooting range. It had different targets on fake animals and probably 20 guns to shoot from. It cost just 50 cents a play. I think you got about 15 shoots and it kept your score. The four of us took our hands 3 times playing against each other. Malachi winning each time. I myself found the guns to be far heavier than I had imagined them being. I felt weak pretty quickly and struggled to hold them up. I actually felt a bit sad over realizing how frail I can be especially with my right side. I may miss out on some experiences over it. I enjoyed the entire day with my love and the kids and tried not to think about the negatives. WE sat for dessert just before closing both kids opted from eating anything at all as they were still full and the menu had no pictures on it so nothing was calling their name. Marc and I both got ourselves the smores skillet. It was a double chocolate cookie cooked in the bottom of a skilled covered in mini marshmallows that were then toasted to the top. It was good but very rich. I ended up sharing mine with the two kids who hadn’t gotten anything and Marc finished his all on his own. I’d absolutely go back and I know Hailey would really enjoy it.


Quaker Steak and Lube Dinning

Yesterday we had made plans to take our very own Clare Bear out to dinner. It was to be a celebration. You see my Clare Bear is my shy girl of the bunch. A social butterfly with her peers but often has trouble interacting with other adults or those she doesn’t know. Earlier in the week Clare had decided she really wanted to join a stem camp. In order to successfully join she would need paperwork filled out and a recommendation from a teacher. They would take a look at things like behavior and attendance and that recommendation when they made their choice as to which kids got into camp. It was a pretty big deal to Clare so we made sure it was to us too. I mean after all it’s a lot and I do mean a whole lot of work to get me to sign papers. Finding a pen, getting me to sit still to read and fill them out, it’s quite the task in itself. So that took her a couple of days to accomplish. I didn’t hear anything more about it in fact once my signature hit the paper. On Friday Clare and I went to check the mail and in it had a letter from the school address to her parent. She always gets nervous of letters like that even though never had even one been anything negative to fret. The letter was her acceptance into the stem camp! She was too excited as I was driving and let her open it. I got o watch her face light up as her excitement grew within throughout reading her letter.  We whisked off to our weekend with Marc and upon sharing the news with him it was immediately decided we would celebrate with dinner sometime over the weekend. We tossed several dinner our ideas around in our head. Clare had a pretty clear choice of what she wanted to eat. The girl needed her some cheese fries! So cheese fries it was going to be. Marc decided that Quaker Steak and Lube would be a fun choice that would surely have cheese fries. Kalamazoo bound we were. It is about an hour drive from home to dinner. Upon arrival we were taken back instantly by all there was to see. There were cars and motorcycles hanging from the ceiling. It had the appearance of a garage or a mechanic shop. We were seated in a both in a room that was to be the corvette room. In actuality it did have several things that were misplaced to that theme though. Marc was able to quickly point them out. There was a picture of a Porsche and a Ferrari both on the Corvette wall. It was kind of fun picking out the things that were out of place. They had some really awesome stuff to look at while you waited. Our waitress was dressed in all black. Her top had a neck piece that just didn’t look right. It resembled a turtle neck that had maybe been a bit stretched out. It didn’t have a professional appearance at all. It caught my eye as being off each time she had come to the table in fact. The other servers had Lube shirts that were clearly uniforms. Those had the garage look that I believe they were trying to obtain. The menu was as I expected wings, chicken strips, burgers, and of course the loaded fries our Clare Bear had requested. I myself didn’t think I was up for much food. I picked a appetizers of just 4 pretzels and beer cheese. We had gotten two orders of these one for all of us to try and have together and one as my meal. Clare got herself a combo deal giving her 5 boneless wings and a pretty large plate of loaded fries. The fries looked yummy it was fresh bacon and shredded cheese melted on them and topped with scallions. Her wings were large chunks of cut breast meat. They were covered in bbq. You could tell that the sauce had been squirted on them and not tossed in them. I prefer mine to be tossed. Malachi got a Boom Boom shrimp plate. Malachi enjoys that Marc gives him the power to pick anything he may want to choose on the menu. He gets a bit more creative with his meal choices with that power. It was pretty clear instantly he was not a fan of his meal. He pulled off all the breading from his shrimp that had the boom boom sauce and only ate the shrimp from the middle. I picked at his fries as it was a huge portion that even with me helping he was unable to finish even half of them. Marc got himself a bucket of wings that were far spicier than he anticipated them being. I think they were along the lines of zest lickiers lol.  Upon finishing his first wing he said babe the menu did not justify the spiciness in these. I am going to need more blue cheese. I let a giggle as this isn’t the first time he has felt such a way about a wing choice of his. Our waitress, I never could seem to over look her uniform it was truly a issue for me. She never listened the the kids speak. In fact Clare had to ask for a box 3 times before being acknowledge and I still had to clarify what was being asked. Our server mixed up our drinks sitting them on the table and only realizing her mistake seeing the bubbles fizz from what should have been my water. We only tipped 20 percent because it was not the best service I have ever had. We tend to be pretty good tippers if service is on point. Even when it’s not still leave the 20%. Clare enjoyed her fries and that is truly what the trip was about. My pretzels were delicious but the very small cup of cheese I was given wasn’t nearly enough for 4 large pretzels.

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