5 Planes, A Sh*tty Hotel, And A Rental Car

After my recent trip to Missouri, I have a lot of appreciation for those who have to travel for a living.  Especially after 5 planes, a shitty hotel, a rental car, and 17 hours of trying to get home.

My trip started out great.  **places sarcasm in her voice**   I got to the airport and had to pee use the restroom.  Totally normal since it was a two-hour drive to get to the airport and I was running on nothing but coffee and energy drinks that morning.

I came out of the bathroom when this nice little old lady comes walking up to me to inform me I have paper…that would be the toilet seat paper…hanging out the backside of my pants.  I should have known right then and there that the trip was going to be equivalent to that one incident.

humor toilet paper hanging from pants

Since I wasn’t checking a bag…yes I was going away for 3 whole days and managed to only pack a carry on…then I had plenty of time to kill at the airport.  I got some food…a few snacks for the plane ride…charged my phone…and finally started boarding.

Four hours later I landed in Dallas, TX and had a 2 hour layover until my next flight….COCKTAILS!  Except every place in the Dallas airport that was close to my gate was packed.  Seemed that everyone had the same idea I did.  I settled on a Chilis and luckily had a waitress who was on the ball and brought me my margaritas order right away.

Time to board the second plane to St. Louis.

Now the first plane had plenty of overhead cabin space and my carry on fit in there perfectly.  But this flight the plane was much smaller and the overhead bins were smaller as well.  So I placed my carry on up there and then as I was trying to close the bin to make sure it fit I hit a gentlemen in the head with the corner of the bin door.  Luckily he must have had a few margaritas as well and laughed with me about the incident.


2 more hours and a 2 hour time difference it’s now 8:30pm St. Louis time and I land safe and sound.  Off to the rental car counter I head.

NO ONE IS THERE.  As a matter of fact the entire airport was like a ghost town and it was only 8:30!!!  Living in Nevada I am very spoiled about things being open ALL. THE. TIME.

After talking to several airport personnel I am informed that I must take a shuttle to another location to get a rental car.


It’s dark, I am alone, in a city that I have never been to before, and the lovely shuttle took about 20 minutes to finally pick me up.  The lady at the rental car agency was half asleep, handed me my paperwork and told me to take whatever car I wanted in the first two isles.

I took the first car I came to.  A black Hyundai Veloster with less than 1oo miles on it.  It was sporty and cute…in the dark.  In the light it was very compact and I was glad all I had was my purse and a carry-on.  And it took 2 days before I realized it was a 3 door car instead of a two door.

rental car hyundai veloster black

All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS for my dear friend Siri because without her I would have had no clue as to where I was going and I had an over two-hour drive ahead of me to get to Ft. Leonard Wood where my hotel was.

I decided to stop at a convenience store that was still open to grab a few snacks just in case that where I was going wasn’t going to have anything open.

I get to my hotel and am actually quite pleased that the area doesn’t scare me.

The lady at the front desk checks me in but then proceeds to tell me that I am to set my clock an hour ahead.  Now I am tired…it’s been a long day…but I knew it wasn’t time to forward the clocks.  But hey I am in Missouri and again I am tired and I think to myself **well maybe things here are different**  After confirming that the lady at the front desk was off her rocker I settle into my room.

Upon my entrance I am quite pleased to see that the room has a full kitchen.  I am talking full-sized fridge, a stove, a microwave, and lots of cupboard space that was totally useless but impressive.

As I do with every hotel I immediately took the bedspread off the bed.  There’s a 20/20 episode  (go ahead and click on it…I bet you will think twice about every hotel you stay at) that did tests on hotel bedspreads and I just happened to make the mistake of watching it and ever since then it’s the first thing I do when I get into a hotel room.  REMOVE THE BEDSPREAD.

And then I laid on the bed.


It was like laying on a dog bed in a pile of rocks.  NO JOKE.  The absolute WORST mattress I have ever slept on.  I woke up every morning with the worst back pain I have experienced in years.


The two days I got to spend with my son were great except for the fact that everything in Missouri closes for the winter season except for shopping and restaurants.  Therefore we spent most of our time shopping, eating and driving like crazy along the countryside on the crazy winding roads.

So now it’s the morning I have to leave.  I had to wake at 3:30am (that’s 1:30am my time) to make sure that I get the rental car back and to the airport on time.  One five-hour energy and an energy drink for the drive and I was off.  I made the over two-hour trip to and from my hotel in the dark.  I will never know what that part of the country looked like but according to my son, I wasn’t missing much.

I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  The line for security was a little long.

While I was in Missouri I found a blow up Jack Skellington Halloween decoration on clearance for $2o.  I had forgotten at the moment while purchasing him that I had traveled with only a carry on.  So the night before I had packed my carry on perfectly so that everything would fit.

Jack Skellington inflatable halloween decoration
He was worth every penny and all of the headache to get him home…just look at him.

After going through security…they unpacked my bag and I didn’t have time to re-pack it after the security lady just shoved everything in there and was barely able to get it closed.

When I got to the gate, the gentleman at the counter made me put it in the carry on measure compartment, and I literally had to shove it in there but thankfully he let me board with it.  I also had to shove it into the overhead bin hoping that I wasn’t ruining my son’s Army pictures that he had given me.  And luckily this time there was no one that succumbed to being my victim of head bashing.

I got settled in my seat and realized that this plane had been the best one so far.  It had television and games located on a screen that was attached to the back of the seat in front of me.  You just had to have your own headphones.  Long gone are the days you have to purchase them on the plane.

Even after a 5 hr energy and 2 energy drinks I plopped up my $20 neck pillow, which I had purchased in the airport, found a music station I liked, placed my headphones in my ears, and quickly fell asleep.  It was going to be an over 4 hour flight to LA even though I just needed to get to Reno.  Therefore I was going to be flying right over Reno and into LA.

I slept on and off for a little over two hours because let’s face it, sleeping on planes is not comfortable what. so. ever.

I decided to see what I could find on the movies section of my entertainment device.  And settled back for the remainder of my flight.

About 20 minutes before landing I realized I needed to use the restroom but I was in the window seat and the gentleman next to me was fast asleep and I didn’t want to disturb him so I told myself that I could just hold it until we landed.


We landed on time and I had an hour and 20 minutes until my next flight.  Plenty of time right?  Well let me just tell you what a cluster fuck the LAX airport is.  They had no gate for us to pull up to so we sat on the tarmac for an hour!  They told us we had to remain seated in our seats…but I HAD TO PEE and now it was to the point that there was no holding it!


The friendly flight attendant **another sound of sarcasm in my voice** came over to ask me what I needed.  I told him I was pretty much going to piss my pants if he didn’t let me out of my seat.  He gave me a slightly irritated look and replied, “well if you must go then go”.

Thanks dickhead…I had only been holding it for almost 2 hours now.  So here I am, in the restroom closet cabin and the plane is starting to move.  I kid you not…I peed for 10 minutes straight swaying back and forth with the movement of the plane.

They finally got us to a gate and off the plane we all shuffled.  I had 10 minutes to get to my next gate which was on the other side of the airport via shuttle.  For those of you who have never had to experience the true torture hell ordeal of having to travel via LAX well let me assure you that I will avoid it at all costs in the future.

I was literally sprinting while carrying my purse and carry on.  Dodging the airport indoor people movers who I swear go faster than they should.  And if you don’t move out of their way when they beep the horn, I do believe they would just run over you.


Finally arriving to my gate, huffing, puffing and feeling like my heart was going to explode I was told that they hadn’t even started boarding yet even though my not so up to date app said the flight was on time.

I literally visioned myself hitting the counter people in the head with my carry on.  But I realize it’s not their fault and took a seat.

At this point I am thirsty and hungry, which is quickly turning into hangry.  And I don’t dare leave the area in fear I will miss boarding.  I did not want to miss my flight to Reno…it was my second to the last stretch to home.

After about 20 minutes we finally board.

And we sit.

In a plane without a single empty seat…and no air on.


After about 30 minutes they inform us that the plane is inoperable and we have to get off this plane and wait to board another one.

At this point, my nerves are spent.  But there’s no one to get mad at because they are just doing their job and quite frankly I didn’t want to be on a plane that could possibly crash.

Of course there were several passengers who didn’t feel like keeping quiet and decided to make a huge scene which wasn’t helping the matter of getting us re-boarded quickly and on our way.

About another hour passes and finally they have found us a plane!  We all shuffle like a herd of cattle to board not caring who is supposed to board first according to groups on their boarding passes.


And do you think they would give us a complimentary drink or anything for our troubles?  NOPE!  We got nothing except an apology.  But at this point, I didn’t really care…I just wanted to get to Reno, and get on the road for the last 2 hour stretch of drive to home.

After a 17 hour day of traveling the only thing I did when I got home was took a shower, put my pajamas on, and went to bed.  And slept for 12 hours.  And was so thankful that when I woke, it was Saturday and there was no school run, nowhere to go, and nothing to do but sit in a vegetative state in front of the tv.

And that’s exactly what I did.

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Goodbye To Summer 2016

As we say goodbye to summer 2016 it makes me kind of sad that it went by so quickly.  Even though I complained about wanting summer to be over in my post about “the kids going back to school“…it still seems like just yesterday we were packing up for our fist glamping trip of the summer.

We made lots of memories and have probably lived in our camper more this summer than we have been home.  To say purchasing the new camper was a great idea would be an understatement.

Our last trip of the summer was spent in the beautiful south shore of Lake Tahoe (California side).  We spent 4 glorious nights there, but have decided that NEVER again will we venture there on a weekend.  NO. NO. JUST NO.

Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay ~ If I had a boat…this is where I would be ALL. THE. TIME.
Luckily we got there on a Wednesday so we got to enjoy a few days before the enormous group of weekenders showed up.  On Friday we spent the day at a beautiful beach called Camp Richardson.  The water was shallow enough that the kids could walk way out and it was only up to their waists.  There were kayaks, paddle boats, paddle boards and boats to rent.  The sand was soft and the hubby and I managed to land a great spot in the natural shade of the trees while still being able to keep an eye on the kids in the water.

lake tahoe camp richardson
Our breathtaking view for the day
We attempted to return to this same place on Saturday with no prevail.  The parking was full by noon and so were every other swimming beach areas for the next 20 miles up the lake.  Therefore, Saturday we spent most of the day driving along the lake at about 5 miles an hour due to traffic only to turn around and come back to the camper.  Luckily,where we stayed had a pool so the kids could burn off some of their energy while mommy and daddy enjoyed the refreshing liquid inside our Solo cups.

We got in some miniature golfing while we were there.  It’s been a long time since I had played miniature golf or even golf in general.  I used to go golfing at least once a week.  My 5 and 6 year old were really getting into it.  But my poor 4 year old just could not get the hang of how to hold the putter no matter how many 1,000 times daddy and I showed her.  We finally just gave up and let her do it her own way…making sure everyone was clear of getting their teeth knocked out from the swinging club.

miniature golf lake tahoe vacation

This same day we ate at a place called My Thai Cuisine.  Needless to say we were very disappointed.  We both had the Pad Thai lunch special.  The server asked us how spicy we wanted it based on 1 being the least and 5 being the most.  We both went for a 4 as my husband and I like spicy.  Sadly it was not only not spicy but pretty much tasteless.  So if you’re ever in the area I don’t recommend that place.

Another disappointing place we ate was called The Cantina Bar & Grill.  From the moment we walked in the door the service was mediocre.  We asked for patio seating and even though there was clearly plenty of places to seat us, the guy sat us inside at a table for 4 when there were 5 of us and then just stuck a chair at the end of the table.  The food was anything but authentic (as they claim) and the margaritas … I’m not too sure even had tequila in them.  Nothing like paying $8 for a margarita that didn’t even come in a margarita glass but a small beer glass instead.  I mean seriously one would expect that by ordering a margarita at a Mexican restaurant that it should come in a margarita glass???

The best places we ate were The Stateline Brewery which was in the heart of downtown by the Gondola, and I highly recommend ordering the artichoke dip on the appetizer menu.  It’s a meal in itself!  It’s served baked inside of an entire loaf of bread.  And rather than ordering the kids 3 orders of an $8 box of Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese we got them a 10 inch pizza to share for $14, and they still had some left over.  The atmosphere and service were great and afterwards, if you’re up for it, there’s a Cold Stone Ice Cream right in the same area.

I also highly recommend The Naked Fish sushi restaurant.  We went there on our last night, which was a Saturday, after attempting to go to a BBQ place we had been eyeing but upon arriving, we were informed it would be over an hour wait.  So after driving around we found the sushi place and were very pleased that it only took about 10 minutes to seat us and their rolls were delicious.  The special of the night was called “The Sea Monster” and it was plentiful and packed with flavor.  We ordered about 6 rolls total and between the hubby, myself, and the littles….there wasn’t a single piece left.

Now that I think of it I should have taken photos of the yumminess but I was too busy stuffing my face.

It’s been a great summer, packed full of memories.  And now in just 11 sleeps I will officially be sending off a junior in high school, a 1st grader, a kindergartener, and a preschooler and I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that.

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Mid-Summer Update

I can’t believe that we are already nearing the end of July.  It seems like just yesterday I was patiently waiting for the kids to get out of school and now I am anxiously patiently waiting for them to go back.  Here’s a little mid-summer update of what’s been going on.

We started off our summer with a two week vacation to northern California which you can read about here.

No sooner than we got back from there and it was off to southern Nevada to pick up our oldest son, monster B, who is now officially an adult (1 down…4 to go), to come visit before he ships off to boot camp next month.  It was a quick there and back trip, spending most of the time in the car.  But did get to spend some quality time at grandpa’s.

It was just a little hot there…

This video ^ still makes me laugh every time I watch it.  With a little help from Snapchat and my silly voice it came out quite comical.

summer grandpas house swim spa

This is a picture of all the kids in the swim spa which is like a small swimming pool.  Grandpa also has fun things like chickens, an orchard with a pond, and a game room equipped with an old school arcade game that had Pac-Man on it which kept mommy entertained for hours.  It’s also fully stocked with booze that we adults happily helped ourselves to.  I am quite certain the shenanigans lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

I had some fun times with my 16-year-old thinking that my jalapeños from the garden weren’t hot.  His older brother and I dared him to eat a whole one.  So of course he did it.  Because he pretty much does anything he’s dared to do.

Afterwards he was caught guzzling a half-gallon of milk and shoving a half a loaf of bread in his mouth.  He still claims “it wasn’t hot”.

We then headed off for our second family vacation to Idaho.  We visited a place called Brownlee Reservoir which to me looked more like a lake it was so huge.  We were off the grid for 5 whole days.  No internet and no cell service.  At first it was a little weird but then I actually liked the fact that everyone was either fishing, boating, riding their bikes, or playing board games.

This was our view for 5 days

Our friends, who have a boat, invited us.  My 6 and 4-year-old loved being pulled on the tube behind the boat.  The 5-year-old not so much.  Which amazes me as she loves speed.

The above video is her riding her bike down a hill, at the campground, as fast as she could go.  She did this at least a dozen times while we were there but unfortunately biffed it once while trying to race her brother.  Luckily she landed in the grassy part and not the pavement and managed to walk away with only a small scrape to the knee.  Mommy on the other hand almost suffered a small heart attack.

My 16 year old’s girlfriend flew off the raft and lost the entire top bracket of her braces.  And even the hubs and I got in on the action.  Needless to say it’s just as fun as when I was younger, only it’s now, days later, and I am still feeling the effects of holding on for dear life and hitting the water hard enough to obtain quite a few bruises on my legs.

We also took a drive across the dam to a place called Hell’s Canyon.  We took the scenic byway which ran along side the Snake River onto the Oregon side, and it’s literally one road in, turn around and come back.  But absolutely breathtaking scenery.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Oregon

Everyone did some fishing but the only ones who caught anything were the teenagers.

fishing brownlee reservoir idaho
Oldest son monster B holding some catch of the day.

Of course that’s pretty easy to do when you don’t have 3 little kid’s poles to keep having to attend to.  Seems like every time I looked, my husband was fixing a pole.  He did get to do some fishing the last night we were there but without any luck.

We stayed at a campground called Woodhead Park Campground which if you are ever in the area I highly recommend.  The bathrooms and showers were the cleanest campground facilities I have ever experienced.

Our friends stayed on the B side but we ventured up to the C side where we found the perfect shaded spot overlooking the reservoir.  Supposedly the camp host on the C side isn’t very nice but we never heard a word out of him.  And the 8 of us could be pretty loud…one night well after 1am.

It was a long ride home yesterday and I was happy to get here and shower in my own shower and sleep in my own bed.

Now just a few days and my best friend will be visiting for a whole week!!!  We will be attending a baseball game in Reno while she’s here and I am sure plenty of other shenanigans to blog all about.

The busy summer isn’t ending anytime soon.  But is quickly flying by.

Chow For Now,

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Our First Summer Vacation

I am here to say that we all survived our first summer vacation.   *Glamping away in our brand new camper that slept all 6 of us comfortably but by the end of 2 weeks I did realize how much I appreciate the square footage of my house when placed in a tiny space with all of us.

*glamping. n. 1. a form of camping in which participants enjoy physical comforts associated with more luxurious types of holiday

We went to the northern coast of California again this year and stayed in a little bayside town called Trinidad. Trinidad California I believe the population to be around 600 people…Wikipedia has it listed under 400 back in 2014.  If you include the population of freeloaders it’s probably a lot more.

We had one who climbed over the fence from the freeway, made her way through thick brush, and stopped to ask my husband for a cigarette.  She had been collecting butts of cigarettes, smoked by other people, all morning, apparently.  *shrivels at the thought*  She was sneaking in to use the shower facilities although it looked as though she hadn’t showered or brushed her teeth for quite some time.

She was about 20 something and I am guessing a heroine addict.

The campground we took over occupied for the majority of our trip was called The Emerald Forest.  I will be writing a review about the place in the near future.

The best part about staying there were the people who we camped with at the beginning of our stay.  They were from Redding, CA and were vacationing for the Father’s Day weekend.  They had kids who were our kids ages and taught 2 of my 3 littles to ride bikes without training wheels in literally a day.  Not to mention by the time nightfall rolled around all I had to do was put the 3 littles in their beds and they were out within minutes.

Campfire, cocktail, and shenanigan time!!!

Shenanigans included:

  • Pouring water in chairs without each other knowing
  • Poking each other with hot sticks
  • Roasting each other with witty comments
  • Karate chopping sticks
  • Laughing hysterically
  • Staying up way too late and probably disturbing other campers by breaking the quiet after 10pm rule

The following is a video of my teenage monster M after I had poured water in his seat and he sat in it…he pouted and went to bed.

The best part about the northwest coast of the US is that you can hike in the forest in the mornings and lay on the beach in the afternoons.  The average temperature during our stay was around 65*F.  The ocean water was super cold but the kids didn’t seem to mind as they still went in it.  As for me and the hubby, we just enjoyed watching them from the shore.

Below was the cove that we spent the majority of our beach time in…

Trinidad California Northwest Coast Ocean ForestTrinidad2Trinidad3Trinidad4

The first days hike was an easy one.  Trail was good and it was a little over 3 miles round trip.  But the next day was a lot rougher terrain and about 7 miles round trip.  I don’t care what my husband wants to argue about that.  My fitbit said so…

FitBit hiking steps miles tracking

When we started I was at around 1,000 steps and just under a mile logged.  The scenery was breathtaking though.  Or maybe that was just me out of breath and realizing that I need to get myself back to the gym.  On the other hand, my 4, 5 , and 6 year old were champs!  No strollers or carrying packs needed.

I will be posting more about our fabulous vacation so make sure you stay tuned!

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday



My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows



 Lake Las Vegas  vacation pool sunshine fun 
It’s hard to believe that our vacation is coming to a close.  The week has flown by and we didn’t do a fraction of the stuff we wanted to.

I have discovered that vacationing without kids leaves you wanting to do nothing but relax and catch up on sleep.  Oh…and eat at restaurants that you wouldn’t normally eat at because the bill, when you have 4 kids,  would give you a small heart attack.

We only visited with a couple friends which was disappointing as I was hoping to see more but apparently everyone has lives and don’t have the time to take out of their schedules to come visit.  Just in case that sounded bad let me explain myself.

We drove 5 hours to drop our kids off with my mother, then sat in an airport for 4 hours to wait and board a plane for an hour flight.  By the time we got to our destination it was 10pm and our day started at 8am.

I feel that if I spent all that time to get here then anyone wanting to see me could find the time to come where I am rather then me driving all over the place to visit everyone.  Especially since I already took 14 hours to get here.

But on a lighter note, I have enjoyed spending this time rebonding with my husband,  who I have discovered is truly my best friend and the person who I enjoy spending my time with the most.  Well, next to my kids who I have missed like crazy and can’t wait to hug and squeeze them.  

Apparently they have been asking grandma how many more sleeps until mommy and daddy come get them.  I’m quite certain grandma is now counting the sleeps as well.  

I’m not looking forward to getting up at 4am on Sat and starting our journey home again which is actually going to take longer than it did to get here but in the end seeing the friends and family that we did made the journey well worth it.

 vacation Las Vegas  trip relax sleep fun friends 
So for now I’m going to enjoy our last 36 hours here…I’m going to sit by the pool, consume a few cocktails, eat some more great food, and embrace this time that I have left before the chaos returns. 


Prehistoric Gardens ~ Gold Beach, OR

We discovered Prehistoric Gardens by accident while driving up the coast on our summer vacation this year.  It sits 17 miles north of Gold Beach, OR and is an absolute must stop if you have anyone in the car who loves dinosaurs!

All the dinosaurs are life size and the walking path leads you through a beautiful prehistoric/rainforest garden.  It’s been nestled along highway 101 since 1955.  The self guided tour, with a map, took us about an hour to complete and it’s easily stroller and wheelchair accessible.

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibitEvery exhibit has a little sign with information about that particular dinosaur.  It even sounds out the proper pronunciation which was a good thing because some of those names I couldn’t pronounce if I tried.

There are 23 dinosaur exhibits total.  You aren’t allowed behind the fenced area which kind of made it hard with the kids wanting to “pet” all the dinosaurs but I can understand why they do it that way.  The history of the place took a lot of time and dedication to make.

Admission was $12 for adults and $8 for kids 3-12.  Seniors get a discount at $10 and children 2 and under are free.  I did find this to be a little pricey considering there were 6 of us and it took less than an hour, but I am sure that it takes a lot of money to maintain and pay for such a precious piece of land nestled near the coast.  Dogs are also allowed as long as they are on a leash and of course be courteous and clean up after them.  I hate when I see dog owners who let their dogs poo wherever and then don’t clean it up.Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit

I also have to comment on how clean the restrooms were here.  I have 2 girls and anytime I come across a clean restroom it is a plus!  There is also a little gift shop with souvenirs to purchase at the end of the tour.

It was a great time spent and of course great exercise after being cooped up in the car for a while.

If you would like to check out their website click here.

For their Facebook page click here.

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit So if you ever find yourself traveling along highway 101 in southern Oregon, make sure you stop and check this place out!  Hopefully your children will cooperate more than mine did for taking a picture.

Safe Travels,

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An Outing With Old Planes

Sunday afternoon our tiny municipal airport put on an exhibit of old planes, cars, tractors, helicopters etc….

It turned out to be a beautiful day outside and even though I was feeling the effects of “a night out with friends” from the night before…I am so glad I took the kids and had an opportunity to capture some moments which we all know I love to do.

oldplane mazelhelicopter

Blazeoldtruck zoelleplanes