Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Memory…Mary Holmes

What turned out to be a day of going back home and relaxing ended up being a day joy and heartbreak. You see,  on our way coming home from our Thanksgiving in Dallas, TX I got the news I knew would one day come. My grandmother, Mary Holmes, was about to pass away. You know you think you have prepared yourself for these moments, but when they happen you find your not as well prepared as you thought. What makes it so crazy is that I spoke with my Grandmother on Thanksgiving morning and something inside me knew that things weren't right.

We actually began our drive back to Mobile, AL a little late. We planned to leave at about 4am, but we didn't get on the road until 5am. Thanks to my son, Little Ernest, neither of us got a lot of sleep either. As soon as we got to the hotel room last night he woke up and stayed up all night long talking to us constantly in our sleep. LOL. He was so excited about returning home he couldn't sleep at all.

The ride home seemed a lot longer that getting to Dallas, TX. I think it was mostly due to the fact that we made more stops. We stopped at WalMart, a few gas stations to fill-up as well as wake up, and had a very uneventful breakfast in Bossier, LA called Mobe's Restaurant.  We were about 2 hours away from Mobile, AL when I got the text from my Aunt Ruby that I need to call my cousin Shonny. The minute I saw that text I new exactly what it meant and my heart dropped. Once I called her my suspicions had been confirmed. She had not passed away yet at this time, but I was told that it was any time now. That she would not make it before the day was over. Of course I had to make the heartbreaking calls to family including my sister, Gabriel, who now lives in Chicago, IL. From that moment on I found it hard to think all the way home.

Once we got here, though, my brain took a small break spending time with my In-Laws. Ernest's nephew James was in town with his wife and two adorable little girls. We had to make sure that we saw them before the left for Omaha, Nebraska. It was nice being with everyone. Even the occasional hollering of the children. But after spending a few hours there it was time for everyone to go their separate ways. For me it was calling more family members, looking into what needs to be done for the funeral, and trying hard not to have a nervous break down.

My grandmother was a wonderful woman. Many thought of her as a bit harsh. Even my own mother. But I always looked at her as a very strong and determined woman. She knew what she wanted and how to get it. She also was a very talented woman. I think that is where I got my love for drawing from. I remember growing up and watching my grandmother paint. Her favorite thing was to paint still life and landscapes. She use to do it with such little effort. I even remember one early morning her showing me how to properly draw a tree, mountains, and a house. I think I was about in 4th or 5th grade then. We had just moved back to Denver, CO from Dayton, OH. She was amazing. Feisty little thing til the very end of her life. I remember when my mother passed away how I was so concerned about her, but she made sure she was there for me. It was the day she told me how proud of me she was. It was also the first day I could ever remember her saying she loved me.  She wasn't one to always express her feelings, but from that day on she always made sure to told me that.  If anything at all makes me sad it's that I wasn't there for her in the end. Part of my quilt of being so far away from her. I love my grandmother so very much and I will miss her deeply. She was in her early 90s so I know she lived a long life. She survived the death of her husband, her two daughters, her two sisters (one who just passed a few months ago), wars, poverty, and so much more. I should be celebrating her next life of peace. She is no longer suffering. She is in heaven now with those who have gone on before her. But you know it doesn't ease the pain I feel. This will be very hard for me, but I do know I have the Lord and my family on my side. That for sure means everything during this time.  This is must honestly say is what makes me truly thankful.

Photos of Mary Holmes

The Iron Bowl and Great Food

Today wasn't filled wasn't filled with anything extraordinary. I was very surprised, though, that Little Ernest and I slept in until about 9am. 9:30am for Little Ernest. We spent most of the day in our hotel room relaxing and watching TV. Actually, waiting for the Iron Bowl to come on. See in Alabama the Iron Bowl is one of the best college game rivalries. Here your either for Alabama Crimson Tide or your for Auburn Tigers. There are no in-betweens. Alabama is filled with lots of tailgating, home parties, bar celebrations, rivalry trash talk, etc. You would think it was the Super Bowl time.  Unfortunately, My Roll Tide didn't win the game. We lost it by 1 darn point. However, it was an excellent game. Both teams played hard til the very last seconds of the game. It could have went either way.  Not happy they didn't win, but at least we saw a great game. Of course I will be hearing Auburn fans brag about their win for another month or two. LOL.

After watching the game we decided to go out for a family meal at P.F. Chang's. I had heard so many great things about this place. I didn't know they had one in Birmingham, AL and in Destin, FL, but I wanted to go here for our first visit. Thought it would be great to go along with the Horse-Drawn Carriage ride that I had hoped we would take. Both are in a shopping center called Watters Creek. When we pulled up to the center we had no idea what to expect. Let me just say that we were all amazed. Christmas decorations already setting the scene and of course the boys loved it.

The atmosphere at P.F. Chang's was simply breath taking. Amazing how dim lighting and a great staff can make a wonderful impression on someone. The hostesses were very hospitable. We were expecting a 20-30 minute wait, but they had our table in 10-15 minutes. The moment we sat down the entire staff made sure we were comfortable and we had everything we needed. Our waiter's name was Alex and from the moment he introduced himself he provided superior service. He gave suggestions and answered any question we had. In fact, he helped me decided on my alcoholic beverage....P.F. Chang's Green Tea.

Now keep in mind that I have very picky children. They have never been into Chinese food at all, but this place achieved getting my boys out the box...LOL. Little Ernest had the Kid's Chicken Lo Mein and he loved it using the child chopsticks. Robert had Kid's Chicken Fried Rice and he also enjoyed his meal.

Ernest and I had the P.F. Chang's for Two and is was an excellent meal. We tried both their Hot & Sour Soup and Egg Drop soup. Both delicious, but we both voted the Egg Drop Soup as our favorite between the two. Seasonings and tastes for both, however, were just right. We also enjoyed the Chicken Lettuce Wrap and I know now why that it is the favorite of many of my friends. We loved it!!! Our entrees were Beef & Broccoli for my husband and I had Cantonese Shrimp. For dessert hubby had the Red Velvet Mini Desert and I had the Chocolate Mousse Mini Dessert. All of them were delicious.

To make our meal even better the manager even came by to make sure we had everything we needed. It was a great meal that my entire family enjoyed and were impressed with. What really amazed us both was that there was a group sitting behind us and as they were all leaving a lady walked over to our table and complimented us about how well behaved our boys were. She told us that she had never seen such well behaved children their age in a restaurant before and that it was refreshing. Ernest and I both looked at her like, "huh"? Cause in reality we didn't think that were that well behaved. I do remember repeating several times to them both, "Sit down!" "Eat", "Calm down", and the always famous "Shhhhh". LOL, but oh well. It was nice to hear that anyhow.

After having such a fantastic meal we decided to enjoy the scenery at Watters Creek. The place was just simply beautiful with all the decorated trees. It was packed with people everywhere going out to eat and wanting to take advantage of the Horse-Drawn Carriage ride. We didn't get the change to take advantage of that ride ourselves. It was actually a little late in the evening and a bit chilly. We figured it wasn't the best for the boys at this time. Just driving around and viewing the wonders it had was enough for all of us. Definitely lets you know Christmas is around the corner.

We ended our evening laughing, talking and getting to know my sister Renate's boyfriend. He was actually a very nice man and you could tell he is very happy to be with him. That's all that matters when looking out for family right. The boys stayed asleep the entire time, but it was a nice ending to a very interesting day and a great Thanksgiving vacation. I couldn't have been happier to spent this time with my sister. Meant so much to me and the boys.

A video of a tree in Watters Creek. Took it because the lights looked like snow was falling from the tree. Thought it was beautiful.

Thanksgiving 2010

Words cannot express to you just how great it felt to spend this Thanksgiving with my older sister Renate. See I have never met my older sister until this past June. We have the same father but different mothers, so we didn't grow up together.  We have an older sister, Lorita, that I have also never met. Over the past few years Renate and I have spoken to each other whenever she was with our father and last June during our trip to Dallas, TX we decided that it would be great for us to finally meet.  Well, after our first meeting we have been in constant contact texting and on Facebook. Hubby thought it would be a great idea for us to come back and celebrate Thanksgiving together. I am so glad that he made that suggestion.

You know, meeting a sibling or family member at an older age  can be very scary. You spend time thinking, "What do I say to them?", "Will they like me?",  "Will I like them?",  "Will we even get along?",  "Do we have anything in common?", etc. However, I have found that it just much easier to talk about whatever comes to mind and go from there. I have enjoyed getting to know my sister and knowing that I have another part of my family that is filled. Sort of like not really feeling complete, but your getting the holes filled in. :-)

Anyhow, today did end up being very long for us. Let me first mention that the day was a big change from yesterday when it comes to the weather. It was extremely cold at 41 degrees. Our day started out with us trying to find a place to eat breakfast.   At first we had planned to go to our favorite spot...Golden Corral. However, they were only serving dinner items all day so our next choice was Denny's. The Denny's we went to was very nice. Every staff member was wearing their Dallas Cowboys jersey and of course this made Ernest very happy. We also found that the tables had turned. There was Shreveport, LA where we surrounded by a ton of New Orleans Saints fans yet here we were in Dallas, TX and it seemed the Saints fans where in the private section of the restaurant. For the most part we enjoyed our breakfast and began to begin our day with my sister.

Once we arrived at Renate's we met with Ayisha. She is Renate's sister on her mother's side. She is very nice too. Poor thing had been fixing dinner for us since last night. You could tell she was tired. Unfortunately, Renate had to work that morning so we had to wait for her to come home. Ayisha and I got along great. Well, of course I did most of the talking, but I enjoyed my time with her.  By the time Renate came home everyone was laughing, hot, and watching the football game New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions. Another thing I must be honest and say I enjoyed. Everyone in the house very much into the football game. Especially the Dallas Cowboys vs New Orleans Saints game.  Not a fan of either team, but I so wanted Ernest's team to win their game.  They lost by a field goal.

It was about midnight by the time we left. We had good laughs and ate great food with family. That made for an excellent Thanksgiving Day in my book. I am very thankful to even be given the chance to have this moment.

You see some photos of artwork in my slideshow. My nephew Khiry is the creator. I had to show of my nephew's skills. He has such great talent. I hope to meet him one day soon too. :-)

I just had to take a video of Little Ernest helping his brother wash his hands. See Robert went to the bathroom and Little Ernest started questioning him when he was done by asking if he had washed his hands. Robert said, "Yes", but Ernest touched his hands and said, "No you didn't. Your hands are dry. Come on! I will help you wash your hands." and that is where the video comes in. LOL. Adorable don't you think?

We hit the Road

Well, we hit the road at 4am and as usual I think I lasted 30 minutes before I was fast asleep. The ride to Dallas, TX wasn't bad at all really. We didn't make a lot of stops which was nice, but hard on Ernest since he was doing all of the driving. He doesn't like to stop unless he absolutely has to. Sometimes it can be annoying, but I understand why he does it. He likes to get where we are going at the earliest possibility. LOL.

Anyhow, if anything our troubles began in Shreveport, LA. First it was our cellphones. We had a signal, but for the oddest reason my cellphone started freezing up and acting very funny. I was almost in tears because no matter what I did my phone would not act right. Ernest's phone didn't give him that much of an issue, but it did it's share of issues. We went to the same gas station we stopped at on our way home from Dallas, TX back in June.  Because it is Thanksgiving week the place was packed with cars. It was also packed with people who had no idea how to keep the lines moving. People were blocking others in just so they don't lose their spot while others walked around like they didn't have a care in the world. I am so surprised there wasn't accident at all. In the mist of it all my phone ended up resetting itself completely. Which meant all my apps, contacts, email accounts, Internet favorites, etc. were gone. Good thing my Windows Mobile phone allows me to always backup my phone and I was able to get everything back. I did have to reinstall my apps and email accounts, but I was happy to know I didn't have to reenter all those contacts. Geez!!!

Next stop in Shreveport was IHOP. Usually we don't have any problems going to IHOP, but by the time I left I was so ticked off I didn't even eat all my food. When we first got there everything was fine. The place was packed with New Orleans Saints fans. In fact, their was an actual Saints fan group sitting next to us. No biggie to me really since I am neither a Saints or Cowboys fan. Then SHE WALKED IN. I have never in my life met someone so arrogant. Even as a football fan. Now I talk crap, but I do give credit where credit is due.  The woman came in loud and trying to high five every Saints fan in the place. Ernest was calm since he was out numbered. She came to our table and tried to get Little Ernest to say "Go Saints". He just looked at her. To make it understood I told her that his dad was a Cowboy fan. She walked off saying "OK well we will act like your not here". If you know me at all...My attitude kicked in at that very moment.

Finally, our waitress arrived asking we wanted something to drink. I had to repeat myself like twice just to let her know I wanted coffee and the boys wanted juice. She didn't hear anything until Ernest said it and then repeated it himself.  They only provided us with 3 silverware bundles and the table had no sugar whatsoever. To make it worse we barely saw our waitress.  When we did she spoke to other tables, walk off, then come back to speak in passing.  All during this time that darn lady, who wonderfully sat next to me, was just yapping and talking so much crap about Dallas fans that I either wanted to slap her HARD or just move. However, Ernest was much calmer than I was and just said that it's no big deal so I tolerated it.  Then he became a little upset himself.

See Ernest's phone doesn't charge with the travel charger so his battery was pretty low. He asked the hostess if he could charge his phone up front. Where we were sitting we were in plain view to keep an eye on it. She told him that was fine, but she couldn't keep an eye on it or be responsible for it.  That was fine with him so he plugged it in and sat back down. Well, no longer after our waitress went and unplugged and took it to the back. When she finally came back to our table he asked if he could get it back. She made the comment that they don't allow guests to plug in anything, so he was a bit upset with the hostess for telling him it was OK in the first place.  She was suppose to get the cellphone and plug, but never brought it back. After waiting for sometime I got up and went by where all the waiters and waitresses were and asked if someone could get his cellphone. Everyone pretty much had a "I don't care" attitude and had no sense of urgency whatsoever. This includes the manager who pretty much ignored me. I stood there for about 10-15 minutes before the waitress finally brought Ernest's cellphone to me. By this time I was pissed off and simply ready to go. And we did only to have that woman piss me off more by turning to my son before we left and asked him to say "Go Saints" again. Of course, being a child he repeated. Really? Who does that crap? You know we didn't want him to say it, but because your so arrogant you do it again? Ugggh!!! I had to just grab the boys and leave. Didn't even wait for Ernest to pay the bill.

We finally, made it to our hotel around 3:30pm. Our hotel room was very nice and from the moment I checked us in the staff was very hospitable.  So that was comforting after a long road trip and the events of Shreveport, LA. We got in relaxed for a little, I made a few phone calls, we cleaned up and headed off to eat dinner. Our first stop was the Twisted Root Burger Co.. We saw this place on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Unfortunately, the place closed early for Thanksgiving so that was a big disappointment. We tried to find another place to eat close by, but nothing got our attention really until I ran across Randy White's Hall-of-Fame BBQ. Now I don't know why this was still listed at all on Bing because according to the guy at a hotel we asked this place hasn't been around in 5 years. So with another disappointment for dinner we decided on a place in the same section called Spring Creek BBQ. The place wasn't bad at all. The staff were actually extremely nice. So nice that Little Ernest found it easy to speak with them like crazy. Other than the macaroni & cheese not having much taste at all and, according to Ernest, the ribs were a bit dry we actually liked this place.

After all these events of the day we went back to our room, settled in, and fell fast asleep. You wouldn't believe how absolutely comfortable these beds here are.  LOL. On the Thanksgiving Day!!!

Our Thanksgiving Vacation Begins…

Well, It's finally official. Me, Ernest, and the boys are preparing for our trip to spend Thanksgiving with one of my older sisters, Renate, in Dallas, TX. Words cannot express to you how excited I am. Thought about it for months and now it's becoming a reality.

To be honest, though, at this moment I am extremely tired. The guys are all asleep and it's about midnight. Spent most of the evening cleaning and hollering at the boys. Now it's time to pack and give Ernest a few hours of rest since he is driving. Can't wait for us to be on the road. Mostly so that I can curl under my Bama Snuggie, grab a pillow, and fall fast asleep. It's about 10-11 hours from Mobile, AL to Dallas, TX so hopefully I will get some descent rest. I usually do until Ernest asks me to consult my phone's GPS. LOL. In the meantime I will finish packing and wonder why this woman keeps walking back and forth this late at night. People be seriously tripping' sometimes.

We don't have a whole lot planned like we did back in June. Wednesday and Thursday will be spent with my sister, and her friends/family. Friday will be our day. I would like to take the boys on the free horse-drawn carriage ride and maybe visit Santa. Ernest wants to go to some place called the Stockyard. Somewhere in the three days we want to go back to Texas Land & Cattle Steak House and I want to try P.F. Chang's. So all in all this should be a great trip. Taking lots of pics and videos during my vacation too.

I will say this, however. I am a bit sad. My sister Gabriel is in Chicago, IL and my son Cordell can't make it. I know Cordell is 22 now, but he will always be my baby boy and I really miss him. This will the first time my sister isn't with me for the holidays. I am missing her too. I suppose that is what life is all about. Changing and growing. I accept it, but doesn't mean I have to like it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

And so the Holiday Begins…

You know when the holidays have begun when you start making special school trips and your job begins their annual pot luck dinners. This year it has started with a trip to Little Ernest's school for Thanksgiving lunch.

Ernest and I paid $5 each and scheduled ourselves to attended Little Ernest's Thanksgiving Lunch at Just 4 Developmental Laboratory. They had waves so that the lunchroom wouldn't be so crowded with parents and children. Our wave was at 11:30am til 12:15pm, however, we were slightly late. No problem, though. We still got there in time to enjoy a great lunch with our little man.
He was so excited and happy about our being there no matter when we arrived. What was on the lunch menu? They served turkey, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, a fruit cup, mini sweet potato pie, and roll. Sweet tea was the choice of beverage. To be honest, it was better than I expected. I didn't even finish my plate. Got pretty full personally.

It was nice getting the chance to have my son show off his class hall displays. One they had to show what was their favorite kind of milk. His of course is chocolate. No surprise at all. The other was a writing of their measurements using an apple and a fish cutouts. Ernest wrote that he was 4 fish and 4 apples long. LOL

I think each class had their own special gifts for the parents to. When we first arrived one class was singing Thanksgiving songs with Indian headdresses that they made. Ernest's class didn't make headdresses, but each parent did receive name badges that said "I am thankful for... " and our child's photo. It was simply adorable and priceless. They made themselves pins with turkeys created on them.

The next event was Thanksgiving at Ernest's store in Grand Bay. He usually has one every year with his staff. He thinks it's a great team motivation kind of thing, which actually it really is. It's a great way for everyone to get everyone together and enjoy good conversation over food. It's always pot luck too. This year the food wasn't unforgettable, but it wasn't bad either. We had dressing, mac & cheese, ham, turkey, corn casserole, rolls, green, pecan pie, sweet potato pies, Lemon Meringue Pie, and an excellent red velvet cake. It wasn't as eventful as the other dinners we had but it was enjoyable. Ended up taking a lot of the leftovers home, however.

I had never seen the boys as active as they were at this dinner. Robert was running all over the place. They both tried to play with the son of one of staff members. He was simply adorable.I think he was about 2 years old, but not absolutely sure.

All in all this holiday season has gotten off to a good start. And I must admit that I am pretty excited about it this year. I am waiting with anticipation for Tuesday to come to enjoy our annual pot luck at my job. Every year their is a great selection of food and I always end up extremely full. As you know...will be blogging about that event too. With picture and possible videos. So stay tuned. :-)
Our Thanksgiving Lunch with Little Ernest

Robert Enjoying Himself at the Arby's Thanksgiving Dinner

Arby's Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Youth Football Season is at an End

Well, Saturday was Round 2 of the playoffs in the Mobile Youth Football Conference (MYFC) for Peanut C (4 year olds) team. Officially it was Round 3, but the Peanut C teams didn't begin until last week so in my opinion it was Round 2. Anyhow, the boys had to play against West Mobile Buccaneers at Skidmore Park (also known as Saraland Park). We had to be there at 7:30am and the morning weather was not at all nice to us whatsoever. It was extremely cold. It wasn't cold as what I am us to during winter back home in Denver, Colorado but it was cold enough. On top of the cold weather, the day just didn't seem to go as any of us had hoped.

As I mentioned previously we were at the park by 7:30am. Surprisingly the park already had it's share of parents already there once we arrived which we had not seen all season. Usually when we arrived for a game there were very few parents there including the opposing team. Not sure if I could say the boys were fully awake. They looked like they were up, but not quite. However, regardless they did their best to prepare for the game. The plan was to give them hot coca to help them warm up. That plan didn't happen. Maybe it should have. LOL

The game started on time. Little Ernest for the second time was a team captain for the game and the boys did a great job holding the Buccaneers back during the first quarter. Parents were loud, cheering, and supportive from the very beginning. I don't think I had ever been as excited and nervous this football season as I was today.  Until the last minute of the 2nd quarter we had very high hopes our boys could win against West Mobile since they had beaten us twice before. But that one touchdown by the opposing team before half time gave us butterflies. After half time we realized that it just might not be possible for our boys to win the game.

It really didn't have anything to do with the boys really. Well, actually I think one child was sleepier than the others because it was on his side that they started getting touchdowns on. He refused tackle the boy with the ball at all. No. 11 just flew past him with absolutely no fight. I must also admit that it was a bit annoying that the other team did try to play a few cheap tricks to throw our boys off their game. At one point one of the West Mobile boy's was clearing holding with a referee in clear eye view. A touchdown that should have been brought back wasn't and we were a bit ticked off about that. If it wasn't for Ethan in under 3 minutes of the game I don't think we have gotten a point at all. The game ended with the score reading West Mobile Buccaneers 22 Cottage Hill Steelers 8. But it is all good. Although we we sad about the ending of the season, we were all proud of the hard work our boys have done. They didn't win but they played hard.

Personally I won't miss the 3 nights and 2 full hours of practicing week after week. Nor will I miss the waking up at 5:30am to be at a park by 7am for a game that begins at 8:30am. But I will miss the friendship I built with other moms and dads. I think our team had a great group of parents. I will miss the yelling and cheering on the sidelines. Miss watching Ernest get excited about every practice and every game. Even seeing Robert encourage and cheer his bother and the team on as they went to their weigh-ins and ran out on the field. It has been a great season and I am so glad that I was an active part of it all. Can't wait til next year already when Robert will begin his first year. We will have long game days then with occasional separate parks and watching all four boys play (Robert, Ernest, and my two nephews DJ and Man).

Speaking of my nephews, their game wasn't glorious at all. The ending score was Cottage Hill Steelers 12 Eight Mile Giants 36. Poor babies really didn't have their hearts into it. Plus having Navco Vikings parents behind them screaming and cheering loud for the other team didn't help much either. Navco was louder than Cottage Hill Peanut B parents and the Eight Mile Giants parents. I tried to encourage the boys who were sitting on the bench and he told me, "We're going to lose" and at the time they were ahead. What makes it so annoying and awful, in my opinion, was that Navco knew exactly what they were doing and were ruthless with it. Really? These are 5 year old children and they were simply being absolutely mean to these babies. You don't do that with youth league children. Am I sensitive about that? Yeah, but I have absolutely no respect for parents and teams that are that mean to children and cheap just for the sole purpose of winning a game.




Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cottage Hill Steelers Peanut C 2010 Playoff Game 1

Today was an exciting day for us. It was the first playoff game for all the Mobile Youth Football Conference teams. Well all except one team in our 4 year old Peanut C division. Navco Vikings had an extra bye week since there are only 7 teams in Peanut C and they are undefeated. They get to play next week.

Anyhow, it felt good not to have to be there until 9:30 am. All season we have had to wake up at 5:30 am and be at the parks by 7:00 am. All games have started at 8:30 am, so you could imagine how nice it was to sleep just a little longer. 7:40 am to be exact...LOL Little Ernest was up and ready for his game. The first morning he woke up and he got his football uniform on without having me scream and holler at him to hurry up.  Good thing, however, that my niece remembered that Ernest's football pads and helmet were in their car. They were leaving to my nephew's game at Eight Mile Park and called me, so it saved us from having  a very bad issue.  Especially since we had to play way out at Semmes Park. My nephews DJ and Man both play on the Cottage Hill Steelers Peanut B (5 year olds) team and they had to be at a different park. Sad that we couldn't get to see them play. They won their game today, by the way, against Saraland Bills. Score was 22-0. So proud of them!!! GO CH STEELERS!!!!

We started our day off having a very quick breakfast at Golden Coral. I really didn't eat much because the food at Golden Coral on Schillinger Road has really gone down. Not as good as it use to be. Little Ernest was so excited about his game that he didn't each much either. When we got to the park it was packed already for the first two games and we were the first of 4 on Ernest's team there. The first game was played by West Mobile Buccaneers and Trimmer Jets. West Mobile is #2 in our division and ran all over Trimmer with a 30-0 win. The second game was played with Eight Mile Giants vs Semmes Colts. Eight Mile (they are #4) won that game 20-8. The interesting thing of the second game was that an Eight Mile coach was thrown out. Not sure why though.

Let me just say our boys were ready to play today. They were up and very focused. They walked out on the field and the parents began cheering and those of us standing next to their bench started chanting "Who are we?" with a response of "Steelers!" from the boys.  Their first round opponent was Municipal Raiders who they have already beaten 3 times this season. Sadly I missed that Little Ernest was one of the game captains and we at his first coin toss.  However, I am so proud of him because he acted like a true captain throughout the game hyping up his teammates who occasionally got upset and yelling to his team from the sideline. From the first snap of the ball to the very end every child played like they wanted to really win the game. Every single one tackled and blocked like they were supposed to. Ethan and our quarterback was awesome running two touchdowns for the CH Steelers Peanut C team each. Our running back, Mike Mike, also ran a great touchdown.  In fact, Ethan ran a 50 yard touchdown that I missed, but I know it was simply amazing. That little boy has major skills already. It wasn't the first time he ran a 50+ yards touchdown and shocked everyone in the crowd.

Well, as you can tell Cottage Hill Steelers Peanut C won their game against the Municipal Raider. The ending score was 34-0. We move on to the next round of the playoff meeting West Mobile next Saturday. Who ever wins that game moves on to the Youth Bowl, so we are excited. West Mobile is a tough team for us to beat, but I have faith in the boys that they can win. They beat our boys twice. Once in the pre-season game and again during the regular season. However, both teams have improved since then and our boys are looking sharp. I believe we have a chance to win the game. So another week of football practice is in store for me and in no way am I complaining.

Stay tuned for Round 2 Playoff Game Post!!!



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ernest and His First Football Season

I know I have been slipping big time. This is my first time posting since the NFL season started. My bad for waiting until now to post about my little man, Ernest, playing football for the very first time with the Mobile Youth Football Conference (MYFC). For those who aren't friends with me on Facebook and Twitter, let me just say that we have had a ball. It's been exhausting, time consuming, and frustrating at times. Yet I am proud to be a football mom again. My oldest, Cordell, played football when he was younger for a moment but things didn't really work out on my part. Would have been nice to have kept him in. :-(

Yesterday was Little Ernest's last game of the regular season. His team, Cottage Hill Steelers played against the Municipal Raiders. We really were not worried about it since the team has beat them twice before. Once in the Jamboree (what is actually pre-season) and again during regular season. They won their last game 24 - 8 at Municipal Park. Making them having a first season record of 5 wins and 2 losses. Which also makes them 3rd in the upcoming playoffs!!!  Here how each game went:
Week 1: Cottage Hill Steelers 22 Municipal Raiders 6
Week 2: Cottage Hill Steelers 6 West Mobile Buccaneers 12
Week 3: Cottage Hill Steelers 12 Eight Mile Giants6
Week 4: Cottage Hill Steelers 30 Trimmier Jets 2
Week 5: Navco Vikings 12 Cottage Hill Steelers 6
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: Cottage Hill Steelers 28 Semmes Colts 6
Week 8: Municipal Raiders 8 Cottage Hill Steelers 24

Anyhow, I can’t begin to tell you how much I have seen my little man grow to not only improve his football skills but actually enjoy playing the game off football. He was so excited about playing football at first because his cousins played last year and he so badly wanted to play with them. However, because his birthday is in October so he had to wait a year and play with the 4 year old. It was a bit of an adjustment for all of us. Getting Ernest to wear his helmet was the first challenge. The coach advised us to have him wear it as much as possible before his first practice so that he could get use to it. He complained about how much it hurt and how heavy it was for weeks, but eventually he did get use to it and never had a problem putting it on. We went through the mood swings of not wanting to practice. This is includes running. In fact, I discovered that my poor baby has no sense of urgency what-so-ever. When he was suppose to run around the field he would take forever and always end up last. Hollering at him didn’t help at all because he would just run slower. Eventually, we worked with him enough that he started running around the whole field and being about 5 or 6th to last. He hates to be tackled, but he learned to love being an offensive guard just so he could protect the quarterback. One time he fell asleep in the car on our way to practice and it was his worse practice day ever. That was also the only time he ever cried on the field. He cried once after that but it was nowhere near the field because he didn’t want to get in trouble for it. LOL

Besides our challenges with Ernest we had to get use to going to practice every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night from 6pm-8pm. Not fun after a long days work. Saturday mornings were the worst. I take absolutely no pleasure in waking up at 5:30am - 5:50am to be at the park at 7am and wait around for the games to start at 8:30am. Let’s just say that it drove us crazy especially since the weather most of the time was extremely hot and humid. Then to make it more unbearable we would end up staying around to watch our nephews DJ and Man play for the 5 year old team. So to keep ourselves cool and as a special treat afterward we made going to get 99 cent Icee’s an “After Football Game” Tradition.

I think the hardest part for us was watching our son sit on the bench a lot at the beginning of the season. In fact, there were a couple of games where he didn’t play at all. Big Ernest and I were so tempted to waste our money, pull him out, and pick another place to have him and Robert go to next year. However, as the game went on we saw Ernest play just a little more and noticed that our teams were a lot more uncivilized than we were. So we stuck around and realized how much our little boy enjoyed just being noticed as a football player. Anything to make him smile means a lot.

I have lost my voice over good and bad plays. Spent my time during every single game tweeting and updating on Facebook the scores as they happened. Took pictures and videos whenever I thought something was relevant. I even met some really great parents who were just as proud of their sons as we are of ours. I like being a football mom and really can’t wait to see our first playoff game in two weeks. For those I will not forget to blog about as much detail as possible. In the meantime you can enjoy my many videos and photos that I have taken over the past few months. Enjoy and LET’S GO COTTAGE HILL STEELERS!!!!!
Ernest's First Year in Football Photos:

The photos you see in this slideshow begin from the day we completed his registration to their homecoming celebration. Most are just from his practice because he didn't play as much as we would liked him to. But each and every photo has a special great memory. So proud and happy for my little man.

(You can roll over the slideshow to access the control buttons)

Ernest's First Year in Football Videos:
The below videos are mostly videos I took at the beginning of the season during Ernest's practice. There are a total of 21 listed in the video playlist. Believe me I could have very easily taken more, but after a few weeks it seemed unnecessary. Hope you enjoy them.

Cottage Hill Steelers Spirit Night 2010:

I took several videos of Ernest's first homecoming celebration. I must make note that more happened that night, but they started an hour late and we did not stick around. There are about 10 total in this group.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Winning is great, but fair is fair!!

Football-in-motion This is something I just felt I had to post to my blog. It’s more of a release of frustration than it is informative. I know I drove some of my co-workers crazy yesterday with my bitchin’ about one of my 4 year old’s football coaches. This man is a great coach for the most part, but his philosophy about peewee football simply pisses me the hell off. And being the person that I am, I am not one to usually hold my tongue about anything unless it deals with my job. Anyhow, Let me explain to you why I was so pissed off at this man.

See most of you who follow me on Twitter or are a friend of mine on Facebook know that my 4 year old is playing peewee football this year for Cottage Hill Steelers. You also know that I am a major…MAJOR….fanatic about football. It doesn’t matter if it’s college (Roll Tide!!), arena, Canadian, or NFL (Go 49ers!!!). Football is a passion of mine. And to have my little man play is absolutely the best feeling. For the past 3-4 weeks I have been rushing through traffic after work to get him to practice. He has missed a few days because his daddy was in the hospital, but I do whatever I can to make sure he is there as expected. I have been dedicated for the last two Saturdays to getting up around 5:30am no matter how tired I am to get him to the parks on time for his Jubilee games. The first game was great. Ernest got to play and his team won the game. Cottage Hill Steelers 20 Municipal Park Raiders 2. However, my issue started last week. The head coach spoke to us all week how children who weren’t showing up for practice won’t be allow to play. The team mom mentioned that there are a total of 27 children signed up to play on the team, but when they did roll call they only counted 16-18 children all three days of practice. He stressed how much he didn’t like it and how important it was for the children to be there. That these parents keeping their child from practice because of bad behavior at school or at home weren’t just hurting the child, but their teams. Yet, Saturday there were about 5 boys, which included mine, sat on the bench until like the last 2 minutes of the game.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The NFL and Rookie Salaries

WARNING: For those who do not like cursing and those who are of a tender young age, you might not want to read this. I am not outraggous, however, there are a few words in here that might not be appropriate for you. You have been warned a head of time. Carry on!!!

My Twitter Family and close family/friends all know that I am a big fan of football. I am not talking just NFL. I mean anything football related from Pee Wee Football to the NFL I enjoy watching. My favorite NFL team is (and always will be) the San Francisco 49ers and my favorite college team is Alabama Crimson Tide.  My favorite NFL players are Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, Emmitt Smith (Ok I know that one is crazy since he was with the enemy…but cannot deny his greatness…LOL) and a few others.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 7

There are 4 videos of our day at Cowboys Stadium

Other than the fact that this hotel has made me really dislike it, I had a very nice day.

We started our day by trying our luck with the hotel's complimentary breakfast. It was a hot buffet with eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast and hashbrown. But before we could eat I had walk up the starts back to our room for our tickets and accidently left my room key. Ernest's was in the room too so we were basically locked out. Now 1 I was annoyed that their poolside rooms can't be accessed from the elevators. And second, the front desk clerk refused to even offer to help me go back into the room to get our room key. The man just looked at me crazy and asked for my ID, which was also in the room. He just said, he couldn't give me another key and that was it. He went right back to work, the jerk. After calming down and Ernest trying to find a way in, I asked the man if someone could go with me to get my ID. He was even rude about that. I understand it's all about security and all, but he could have at least tried to help. I know we weren't the first guests to lock themselves out of their room. The lady in the restaurant, her name was Trudy, was very nice and helpful though.

Anyhow, after having a not so good breakfast we ended up being a little behind and had to rush getting ready for our Cowboys Stadium tour at 12:00. We rushed through traffic without really speeding and got there with 5 minutes to spare. We were expecting a lot of people at the stadium, but there were kids and buses everywhere which was beyond our expectations. Ernest was like a little kid in a candy store as soon as we walked into the Pro Shop. He wanted to see everything. I don’t blame him though. I would more than likely be worse than he was if I was at Candlestick Stadium or the 49ers New Stadium.

Our tour guide was very nice and had a great sense of humor. We started our tour on one the upper stadium levels, went to the new Cotton Bowl Headquarters, to one of the guest suites, then down to the Cheerleaders Locker Room. After that we were lead to the field and Robert, our 2 year old, was off and running. Let me just say that I had absolutely no idea that he would go as crazy as he did. I had to chase the child all over the place. Then to make things really crazy he tried to tackle one of the camera guys for the football they use for star photos. If that wasn't crazy enough he tried to tackle my 4 year old, Ernest at every opportunity he got. That alone was exhausting.

Once we hit the field we were basically on our own to explore the rest of the stadium. We saw the Miller Lite Club which was like a dark night club. The Miller Lite Club is where you can sit, have a cold beer and watch the players come and go on to the field for the games. No more empty concrete hall…LMAO. Actually I thought this was just as cool as the TVs all over the place. After talking with one of the guides we headed into the Interview Room and on to the Cowboys Locker Room, which was just simply huge as hell. Final spot was back on the field for a few more pictures and to the Pro Shop to buy Ernest a few shirts.

The whole tour took us 2 hours and by the time it was over it was way too hot and we were so exhausted that we decided to spend the evening in our room. We try to get something to eat from Jack in the Box, but that food was just crap. NASTY!!!! When my boys don’t eat it then it is pure crap. So we just ate what we had from our huge meal at Pappas Bar-B-Q.  And there ended our 2nd night in Dallas, TX.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 6

It was our last day in Salina, KS and spending time with my father.  We spent the morning finishing our packing and spending what little time we had left with my father and Uncle Herman.  Although we didn’t do a lot here I was glad to spend time with both of them and have them finally meet the boys.  When we first planned this trip we didn’t realize that it was just before Father’s Day. Turned out that this was great gift to my father and seeing us go was a bit hard on him. I will miss him a lot. The good thing is that I left making sure he knew how to see pictures of us and to keep in touch.

The trip to Dallas, TX was very interesting. The boys watched Iron Man and Ben 10 DVDs while Ernest and I both fought fatigue. For some odd reason those six hours seemed so very long to us. We ran into very heavy rain about twice in Oklahoma. In fact, the rain was so bad in one area that there were cars pulled over to the side of the road waiting for it to slow down.  We were amazed at all the casinos you saw along the way. Never knew that there were this many casinos in this part of the country. And they were huge at that.

Let me just say that by the time we reached Dallas, TX the temperature was like 97 degrees and I must admit…Gulf Coast had nothing on this heat. We arrived at our hotel and my first impression of the MCM Elegante Hotel & Suites was a good one. Notice I did say “first impression”. The front desk staff were very nice and helpful. To be honest I felt like I was getting the royal treatment. The young man even helped us with our luggage and everything. Now, with that said the room was decent. We liked the fact that it had a livingroom and bedroom area. But for this to be called a Suite it sucked (and still does). Half of the stuff in this room looked like they got it from the Motel 6 including the refrigerator, coffee pot, and microwave.  However, it was workable. The only reason I selected this place was because of the reviews I saw from different travel sites and the fact that they were the few hotels that offered free internet access within the rooms.

Once we got settled I contacted my sister to see where she wanted to meet. Well, it just so happens that she had already eaten and it made no sense to me for us to meet for dinner and she wasn’t eating. So I offered to meet her on Friday which she said that she will be free. I must admit that I am pretty nervous about meeting her, but I hope I do get that chance. It is a shame that this will be the first time I will be meeting one of my older sisters almost at the age of 40.  We have spoken to each other on the phone several times, but never met face-to-face.

Because of our change of plans we decided to go to a restaurant just up the street that we had seen coming in. The place is called Pappas Bar-B-Q. Let me just tell you that we had no idea that the food they give you would be huge portions. We’re talking small platter size baked potatoes, large ribs, big bowls of mac & cheese. And the food was very good along with the size. The food was so filling that we couldn’t even finish. Upon leaving we discovered that the name Pappas has taken over the entire block and some very high class with valet and all. Pictures to be shown later....LOL.

Before returning to our room we decided to take a trip to see the Cowboys Stadium.  Watching Ernest get so excited just seeing the stadium not only made me laugh, but made me happy knowing he will always remember his Father's Day gift. The stadium is so huge that you could see it 5 miles away on the interstate. Pulling into the parking lot I must admit was simply amazing and I am not even a Cowboys fan (GO 49ERS!). We took a few pictures and then headed over to the Wal-Mart across the street.

My comment about Wal-Mart? These people quickly reminded me why I left Denver. Got into one line and the lady was taking her sweet time going through sales paper pointing out sales and comparing coupons. I went to the express lane only to be behind a lady who decided to take up space grabbing a shopping cart for three small items. Then she left it in front of the counter making me have to walk around to put my items down. I got back at her by grabbing the cart and moving it with attitude right next to her butt. She looked me crazy but I gave the same look back. By the time I left I was pissed. After that we just went to our room and spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 5

View our Family Portraits with my Dad

Our last full day with my father. It did not turn out exactly how we wanted it, but it was still ok. A long day at that.
The boys spent some private time with my father while we finished washing a few more items before our next road trip. While we were out we ate at a local Mexican restaurant called La Fiesta. Let me just say this place had food that reminded me of home. Not Mobile, AL people. I am talking about Denver, CO.I had a tamale, chicken enchilada, refried beans, and Spanish rice. Oh and of course I had to get a small thing of guacamole cause I love adding that to everything Mexican pretty much. Ernest had beef fajita with refried beans, Spanish rice, and guacamole salad. They had such good food that wouldn’t mind going back to it if we come back to Salina, KS. We even had a very nice waitress. Not the best, but she made she we were taken care of.

We wanted to go earlier to take pictures with the boys and my dad, plus dad wanted to try the cooking that my Aunt Gertrude had been bragging about. Originally we were going to barbecue and Ernest just wasn’t into it. So we decided on red beans and a pork roast. But I was lazy and wanted a nap so we got started way too late. It was around 5pm before we even left the house. Around 7pm by the time pictures were taken. And most of the dinner wasn’t even done until like midnight. The roast still needed to cook a lot longer so we just ate the red beans made with ham hocks and Conecuh sausage. Ernest also made homemade cornbread that was totally off the chain. It was light, fluffy and not sweet either. I am just glad that dad and Uncle Herman enjoyed what we fixed for them. They couldn’t stop giving praise. Even went so far as to telling me and Ernest that we needed to open our own restaurant. That made me, and I think Ernest too, feel real good.

Once everyone ate we were too full for anything else and just went to bed. The end of our last day with dad.

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 4

Most of our day was spent relaxing around the house, washing some cloths with my father, and watching the boys enjoy their time with my father’s dog, Corky (I want you to know that it wasn’t until we left that I remembered this darn dog’s name. ) Robert still was having a hard time getting use to the dog. I wanted to play with him, but refused to touch the dog or allow the dog to touch him. Every time the dog was even close he would scream his head off and run to the nearest place to sit. Just watching it was actually hilarious, especially because he would get on the couch and start laughing himself.

I fixed a very nice breakfast for everyone. We had eggs, bacon, grits, and toasted English muffins. Later on in the day after washing our cloths I enjoyed some time with spent a little time with the boys on my father’s porch.  It was really a very nice day. The weather wasn’t really that hot or humid, but it was nice enough for us to kick back and enjoy. It was great just watching my little men play with each other and not have a single worry.  For dinner we just had KFC and spent the evening watching old TV shows like “Trapper John MD”, “Flipper”, and “ In Living Color”.

Once it got dark the boys and I had another nice moment on the porch watching the lightening bugs fly around. There wasn’t a single light on the entire street and all you could see was quick little flashes of light coming from the bugs. The boys tried their hardest to point to them all, but they couldn’t keep up. It was just nice enjoying a quiet moment with them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 3

Well, our first full day in Salina, KS wasn't any where near as exciting as our past two days. It was as least nice to slow down for a little while. No worries just relaxing and getting some much needed rest.

It rain for most of the morning. My aunt Gertrude was leaving to go back to Denver, CO so we were planning how to get here Care Package to her. See she made a visit to Mobile, AL a few years ago during Mardi Gras and we introduced her to Conecuh Sausages. We barbecued and made red beans with the sausage. She just thought it was the best. So when she runs out we try to send her more. She stayed an extra day just for her package.

Anyhow, our original plan was to eat breakfast at IHOP. They had so many people waiting to be seated that we just decided to go elsewhere. Dad took us to a place called Spangles. It was little fast food joint decorated in a 1950s theme with an Elvis statue. The food really wasn't all that great for the money we spent, so you know we were actually a bit disappointed when we left.

Once back at my dad's we spent a few moments talking with my aunt and uncle. Made sure she left with her Sausages and seasonings, then said our good byes. After that we spent our time watching TV and taking naps.

My uncle did come over and suggest that we go to a festival that they have every year here. It's called The Smokey Hill River Festival. Unfortunately, it was over at 6pm so we were too late. Instead we went to a great Barbeque restaurant called Hog Wild. This place had excellent ribs and the sauce wasn't too bad at all.

The night ended with talking and watching TV. Could have been a better, but it was ok. It is just nice to be spending time with my father and watching him with his grandsons.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 2

Destination: Kansas City, MO and Salina, KS

Well as you can probably guess we planned to wake up early and get started with the day activities, but we were so exhausted from yesterday that we woke up late. The plan was to leave at 7am, but that is when we woke…LOL. But that was ok, because it only threw us off by an hour or two. And I must mention that today we accomplished a lot too. Kansas City wasn’t originally in our plans for this vacation. What changed it was a good friend of ours mentioned the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, MO. Ernest thought it would be a great idea to take the boys before heading into Salina, KS which isn’t far away. So that is where we went and ended up seeing more than expected.

The drive to Kansas City, KS had us right in the middle of heavy rain most of the way. We thought we were going to have skip going because it was raining so hard. Turns out that by the time we entered Kansas City all the rain disappeared and allowed us to see the Kansas City Chiefs Stadium. It was amazed us because it is right next to the Kansas City Royals stadium. So we put stopping back and taking pictures in our plans.

We actually got two museums in one. Never knew that the Jazz Museum and the NLBM were in the same place. You can see one for $8 or both for $10. We chose both. I was a little sad that I couldn’t take pictures of all the great things we saw. Although I have my cell phone camera I didn’t want to be disrespectful. Normally your suppose to turn in your cameras, but the lady said she didn’t want to deal with another person’s cell phone. Neither museum was very big, but it was nice to see the boys interested. Especially Ernest. We went to the Jazz Museum first because just at the ticket counter was a guy who started playing the sax and he thought that was just the coolest thing. And I must admit the man was very good. We walked in the Jazz Museum and the boys couldn’t stop smiling. Little Ernest listened to Ella Fitzgerald and seemed to really enjoy hearing her voice. Could you blame him? It is of course Ella… :-) Robert was a bit into Louis Armstrong.

The boys were really into the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. I couldn’t get Ernest to slow down. He wanted to watch every video and was asking questions all over the place. I even read a part where they mentioned how they created stereotype cartoons and other things (like an album cover) making fun of black playing baseball. My child asked me why. I simply told him that back then it was their way to say the didn’t like black men playing and it was showing their disrespect. The museum was actually very enlightening. We read how the game stadiums were separated by black and whites. How getting hotel rooms were so bad that they had to stay in black boarding houses and sometime pitch tents outside the stadiums they were to play at the next day. We even saw lockers filled with Jerseys of some of the great players in the league. One had a tie in it and Ernest thought there was something wrong….LOL. We saw like 4 huge cases of signed baseballs and they had a small field with statues that they boys simply loved. The one thing that amazed me was to see Robert stand in front of the Third Base statue and pretend to be throwing a ball. It felt good to just see my boys happy with all that they were seeing . Only wish they were old enough to really understand it all when it comes to their history.

Once we finished with the museums our goal was to go to Arthur Bryant’s Bar-B-Q to see what they have. After getting a little lost because of all the construction work we discovered the restaurant is in a casino. At first we thought the GPS got things confused again, but it didn’t. We didn’t see anything but the casino and we really didn’t think that it would be in a casino. Well, either way we decided to go to another place called Gates & Sons Bar-B-Q. And we couldn’t get it in the car good enough without my two greedy boys yelling that they want some. Ernest got two slabs of ribs with and without sauce. They were actually very good. Better without sauce more, but the sauce wasn’t bad if you wanted hot sauce. Didn’t taste much like barbeque at all. Just really good hot sauce if that makes sense at all. But it was good either way and no one was disappointed at all.

Next stop was to go back and take picture of the stadiums. Again we almost got a little lost due to reconstruction and no one told Sprint’s GPS that the Kansas City Chiefs moved their stadium….LOL. But we found it and took several photos before heading off on a 2 hr 45 minute drive to Salina, KS to finally see my Dad.

We got to Salina, KS around 8:30pm. Actually again we got a little lost. We weren't far from my father's house when it started acting rea funny, so we had to call him. Once we got to the house everyone talked and caught up on old times. My aunt Gertrude was hear visiting from Denver. I saw my uncle Herman who I haven't seen in almost 18 years. Both my aunt and uncle didn't stay long because my aunt is leaving tomorrow and needs her rest for her trip back to Denver, CO. So we spent the rest of the evening talking, looking at pictures, and watching the boys play with my dad's dog.  Ernest didn't have much a problem with the dog, but Robert only got with in a foot of him before running away all evening. It was actually very hilarious.

All in all it was an excellent day. Seeing the museums and finally after all this time seeing my father and uncle. It felt really good. Now off to bed so that we can finally relax and wake up to a brand new day.

June 2010 Family Vacation Day 1

Destination: St. Louis, MO

Let me just begin by saying that day one of our trip was eventful and very exhausting. I don’t think out of any of our road trips that we experienced as much as we did on this day. The good thing is that we accomplished everything we planned to do.

We didn’t hit the road until about 12:30 in the morning. Good thing Ernest got some rest before then because I was not help at all. I spent all my time after work making final errands including giving the boys their bath, cleaning out the refrigerator, and finishing our packing. By the time we drove off I was so tired that I was out like a light until we almost reached Memphis at 6am. However, the 10-11 hr drive to St. Louis wasn’t bad at all. Felt a lot quicker than it sounds. The boys for the most part were very well behaved. Every now and then they argued over a car or coloring book, but it wasn’t anything major at all. I think the real downside to the road trip to St. Louis was the fact that once we entered Missouri our choices of radio stations were very limited. We couldn’t find even a gospel station that sounded of interest.

Once we entered the city limits of St. Louis we were not impressed with it all. Every single building in this place was old and many looked run-down. Ernest thought that it was just one big slum…LMAO. To me it looked not different from Denver, CO. In fact, it had the Denver feel to it except that Denver is much cleaner. That is definitely the one thing I am proud of when it comes to my hometown.

Now throughout our time in St. Louis there was several times that our cell phone’s GPS had the right directions, but wrong locations. It all began with trying to find out our hotel. The GPS was trying to find Evans St or Drive, but we need to go to Pl. LMAO. We ended up right in the middle of the HOOD. However, the GPS did make up for its horrible mistake quickly and off to the Hilton Garden by the airport we went.

Now, we didn’t stay in the hotel long at all. Just long enough to check-in, bring in our bags, change cloths and back into the car we went. First place of interest…Sweetie Pies. Sweetie Pies is a restaurant we saw featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives". The owner is a lady that use to be a backup singer for Ike & Tina Turner. Was interest us about this place was the mac & cheese along with the atmosphere. Just seemed like a must go to place. The establishment is done with a cafeteria style feel. Holding tables aren’t allowed which is expressed on the chalkboard as you walk in. You walk in grab a tray and select one of the current day’s menu items along with sides and dessert. Ernest had their catfish, cabbage, mac & cheese, and cornbread. The boys both had spaghetti. As for me it was pork chops , okra, mac & cheese, and cornbread with banana pudding and peach cobbler for dessert. Let’s just say we were very satisfied with our meal, but too be truly honest …we have had better in Mobile, AL. Great food if you live in St. Louis, but not impressed with it much. Little Ernest ate like he had never eaten before. The darn child kept stuffing his mouth with food and asking for more. Robert liked the spaghetti, but had a hard time eating out of the small bowl he was given. Oh and the dessert well let’s just say I missed my Sister-in-Laws cakes and pies. I wasn’t into it at all.

Next stop…Gateway Arch. This is a place you have to see for yourself people. The Arch is about as wide as a football field is long if that. Looking up can make a person either dizzy or sick. It was simply amazing. The funniest part was watching this older man with his granddaughter. He had told her that if she put her ear to the Arch she could hear her dad’s morse code from the other end. Now keep in mind that he said this while giving me a wink and a smile. That 13-14 year old girl was trying her hardest to find out if it was true. I thought that was hilarious. We watched the river boats and the helicopter that takes people on scenic tours. We even allowed the boys to just run and enjoy themselves. It was an excellent family moment.

After the Arch it was on to the St. Louis Zoo. Before we got out the parking lot we noticed that the stadium where the Saint Louis Rams play was like adjacent for the arch. Then ran into the stadium for the St Louis Cardinals. Took what few pictures we could take. Once at the zoo it seemed as if it was going to rain so we didn’t see a lot. The zoo is free, but you have to pay $11 for parking. We wanted to take the train, but it only takes you around the zoo and you don’t get the chance to see many animals. Plus I don’t think the old guy doing tickets really wanted us on it anyhow…LOL. Because we thought it would rain we only checked one section of the zoo and although we saw interesting animals it wasn’t impressive. I think we saw more trees and caves than anything. Ernest was disappointed because there were no Black Rhinos. Little Ernest wanted to see Lions but they were on the other side. What we did see were a few birds, some mongooses, a lot of fish, a couple of hippos, anteaters, a lot of Asian Elephants, and a GIGANTIC Hyena. Robert got scared when we saw the last group of fish. I think it was more of the setting than the fish. It was like in a cave theme and the area was dark.

Once we were through with the zoo we had one more stop and then off to the hotel room. Last stop was another restaurant we saw on TV. It called the Iron Barley and it was featured on both "Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives" and "Man vs Food". Let me just say that this place is nowhere near as big as we thought on the TV show. It was very small, but just walking in and see the portions others had peeked my interest a lot. Since we were all tired and ready to sleep we decided to get something to go. The boys had a "Naked Double Dog" which is two long hot dogs grilled. Ernest and I both got this off menu prime rib meal. I can’t tell you the actual name or what that was on the side, but once we got to our rooms and ate we were extremely impressed. Even slightly warm the food was delicious and sooooo worth our trip. It is definitely a place we will revisit again if we ever come back through.

Well, there you have it for the end of our first day of our family vacation. We are all pleased. It was an excellent and eventful day that is for sure.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Sister and Nieces are in ChiTown

Well, Friday night was the night. My sister and my nieces drove off in their U Haul to start a brand new life in Chicago. They finally made it there Saturday afternoon.

She told me several months ago about plans to move to Chicago. However, that day came much faster than I expected it to. They spent a few days with us, but with me working and her getting last minute things done we didn't really spend much time together. I wish we did though. I am really going to miss her, little bit (Dominique), and Butterball (Moriah). Will miss them even more since Sunday (Today) Dominique is turning 8. First time I won't be spending her birthday with her. They won't be here to drive me nuts like they usually do when we babysit. No phone calls to see if want the boys to spend the night. Only updates from long distance calls, webcams, and occasional Facebook updates.

Don't get me wrong. It is good to see my sister try to start a new life. I did the same exact thing when I moved to Mobile. AL 11 years ago. It's been rough and although I do miss my family I haven't looked back. It's the best decision I could ever make. I wish my sister luck. I have faith she will do well. Although I am sad and will miss them, I am also looking forward to the road trips and exciting adventures we will have.

Love you guys very much! Stay safe!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Surprise Saturday Family Night

For the past month I continued to see the Disney On Ice: 100 years of Magic on TV commercials. Ernest and Robert love every show on the Disney channel. More Robert now that Ernest. Ernest is getting older and is growing to like Disney XD now, but he still enjoys Mickey Mouse Club, Special Agent Oso and Handy Mandy. Robert is completely and totally into Mickey Mouse.

Anyhow, Ernest and I decided that it would be a great to take the boys and make it a surprise. I think I was more excited about our family night than Ernest was, but so glad we did it. Last time I went to an On Ice event I took Cordell to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They were big back then and he too was in awe of them. Especially Raphael. That was his favorite one. So with that in mind we bought tickets and planned our family night this past Saturday.

Ernest was very curious about his surprise to the very moment that it started. Robert on the other hand was just happy that he was going on a road trip. We had to drive to Pensacola, FL which is only an hour away from Mobile. However, once we got there we didn't have a lot of time to eat at Golden Corral so we had to rush. It was a little funny because the boys were both asleep, yet like clock work Ernest woke up the minute I mentioned where we were. Robert on the other hand was a big challenge when it came to waking up. I had to start feeding him in order to wake him up. And even then it took a cup of juice to get him smiling and talking. Basically, juice is my little boy's cup of coffee. I know sad, right? It was adorable though.

The Pensacola Civic Center wasn't packed like I thought it would be, but parking spaces were not easy. What amazed us was how we walked past Disney On Ice with Mickey Mouse decorated booths and signs, yet neither of them noticed. On any normal day they would recognize Mickey a mile away and get all excited. Not this time. I think they were just curious about what their surprise was.

Now, it is hard for me to explain to you the reaction my little boys had the minute they heard Mickey's voice and saw him come out on the ice. We weren't in our seats yet. Ernest just looked and smiled, but Robert? Well, he had a look of pure astonishment on his face. Even after we did sit down his eyes didn't move until Donald, Mickey Mouse and the rest of the gang left. It was a look for Ernest and I to remember that is for sure.

I personally enjoyed it along with Robert. They did scenes from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Pinocchio, Mulan, The Incredibles, and The Lion King. They included It's a Small World and an introduction of a few Prince/Princess. I say a few because they left out The Princess and the Frog and Sleepy Beauty. Two they should of had. Both of my Ernests' got just a tad bored through the show, but it was still a lot of fun.

The boys even got a few souvenirs. I bought them each a toy and a mug of their choice. Of course all Robert wanted was Mickey Mouse. Little Ernest got Buzz Light Year toy and a Mr. Incredible mug. It was worth the large amount of money I spent just to see them both very happy and enjoying their special night.