Miss America!

Miss America

First: No, Miss America is NOT Miss USA, aka Trump’s pageant. Just getting that out of the way! 🙂

Second: Yes, I did have to google that cause I know NOTHING about the pageant world.

…correction, I KNEW nothing…until now!!

How I get to have a friend like Carolyn, I don’t know. But she was selected to be a preliminary judge for Miss America this year. That means she spends all week in Atlantic City judging. Then the celebrities come in on Sat night and do the judging for the show. But after having seen how this works, the prelim judges really do all the work and the celebrities get all the glory! Story of life!

Carolyn asked me to be her “plus one”…and I looked at Brian, who obviously knew this meant he would be on his own for a few days wrangling kids, but even then still said, “You have to!” So while he was working hard doing his normal job, plus getting 3 kids around to soccer practices, sometimes overlapping practices at different fields, and the likes, I was flying to Atlantic City, FIRST CLASS!

I told Brian I’m never flying coach again. Leg room for days, free drinks (I ordered a vodka soda cause everyone else was…yes, I’m a follower) and not just peanuts, mixed roasted nuts!

Miss America

But that’s not even it! Lunch! All on real plates and silverware!

Miss America

And cookies afterwards. It really was all it’s hyped to be.

I detoured through Baltimore to see my college roommate Missy! She’s one of my favorite people in this world, and 24 hours with her was good for my soul. But obviously not for my camera cause we didn’t take ONE picture. Boo. 🙁

A little Miss American info for you: There are 3 evenings of Preliminary Competition. These are also held in Boardwalk Hall (where Sunday night’s competition is held). Each night, 1/3 of the girls do talent, 1/3 question and 1/3 bathing suit and evening gown. The prelim judges are giving them ratings and narrowing it down to 14. Along the way, girls are winning scholarships. They are ultimately competing for $50,000 in scholarships if they win. We were so impressed with the girls. They are between 17 and 24 and I was no where as put together and articulate at that age.

Here’s the judges seating.

Miss America

Miss America

We met Miss Teen America Thursday night. She was a doll!

Miss America

This dress was so Elsa!

Miss America

Miss America

Carolyn’s college friend Lindsay came in to join us! I have heard about her for 15 years, so meeting her was well over due! She’s adorable and fun and I love her!

Lindsay and I are twinkies! This was up on the stage after the prelims on Friday.

Miss America

Saturday, the prelims were done, and there’s a “Shoe Parade”- the girls all make a pair of elaborate shoes representing their state and ride in cars with their legs up showing off these shoes.

Here’s Miss America 2017 starting off the parade. Her name is Savy! How cute this that?

Miss America

Here she is again. So about 2 seconds before the camera takes the picture, it hit both Lindsay and I that we are taking a picture with MISS AMERICA. So you feel awkward cause you know this maybe wasn’t the best idea cause you are gonna look dowdy no matter what! 🙂

Miss America

We watched the parade from that balcony. Yes, like royalty. Yes, it was awesome!

Miss America

So, Miss Baltimore had cherry blossoms…

Miss Illinois went with Cubs…

Miss Texas. Well, she didn’t win any points from me, so it’s a good thing the prelims were over. And also I had zero say, so there’s that too! 🙂

We called ourselves Carolyn’s “entourage”

Miss America

This is up on our royalty balcony. It was like a party up there while we watched a parade, so definitely one of my favorite parts!

Miss America

We explored Atlantic City just a little. It has a great beach!

Miss America

And the best statue idea ever!!

Miss America

Our meals were crazy yummy! And I’m not just saying that cause I didn’t make them!

Miss America

We also had room service all week (which prior to this I had only done once before when Carolyn sent it to us in Chicago so the kids could experience it! Yes, she is the best all around!). We all missed room service the most when we got home!

My guilty pleasure is The Bachelor. (I haven’t watched in a while, but let’s just say if you want to talk Bachelor, I can hold my own!) And I LOVE Chris Harrison. He makes me laugh and he’s so good on his feet. My one goal in life (aka, on this trip) was to get a picture with him. I missed my first chance cause Lindsay and I had left back stage decided to go watch the press conference from the press seats! Ugh! (yes, he did make a comment about his seat being right in front of the roses!)

Miss America

 But we caught him back stage after his red carpet on Sunday!!

Miss America

Miss America

So yes, Sunday! We got our hair and makeup done and hit the cocktail pre-party. Also we “borrowed” the crown in the centerpiece…

Miss America

Red carpet lighting is amazing!

  Miss America  Miss America         Miss America

The Sunday show was fascinating cause it was live. I’ve only been to live football games 🙂 so experiencing this was really amazing. The detail and logistics that go into planning and executing was overwhelming. The camera man would film, then he would bust it over to the shadows for 15 seconds so he was out of the next shot, then run again back to a  spot to film again. Watching all that behind the scenes was my favorite!

Then I got to come home to this:

    Miss America

And I couldn’t resist drawing this on the kids napkins on Tuesday! 🙂

Miss America

Katy Trail 2017

This is year, who knows, 10o maybe, of this annual trip with Tony and Shari!

My fav pic

This year we went 3 for 4 in flat tires. Also the first ones for both Shari and me both. We have great husbands who know how to change them, so while we wait we take cute pics of them.

Turns out my tire had some cool goo in it that it didn’t need to be changed, just added air. But we realized that too late. “S0meone” was mocking Brian…”Someone” rhymes with Bony! 🙂

I’m pretty sure Tony was changing a flat tire and Shari and Brian are playing wiffle ball (with a stick as a bat) and I’m taking pics. Sorry Tony!

Yep, that was it.

Shari and I’s cute bridge pic:

Brian’s less cute bridge pic:

Our bed and breakfast

The bed and breakfast Shari and I wanted to stay at!

We just go for the pics of us jumping. We’ve gotten pretty good…meaning we take 5 pics every time instead of 30 to get a good one!

  

Here’s us discussing the shot. And how I wanted to be on the ground and not way up on these stairs.

 

I sucked it up, but it wasn’t my best shot! (I hate heights!)

We found this incredible “Boat Henge” that makes no sense but is crazy cool anyways.

Brian is always so patient and helpful in taking our jumping pictures, so I feel bad throwing him under the bus and posting these…but not bad enough not to! 🙂
(Love you Brian Bian)

“OK Brian, jump like you are flying out of the boat”

“Yeah, you are gonna have to get a little higher than that”

“Yes, it IS harder than it looks”

  

“Nope, more height. Put your heart into it.”

And then we got it…but it was blurry! Sorry babe!

And we DID it! It was storming the whole last day, but we limped to the finish line!

And then we went shopping at the Gap Outlets on the way home. The second reason Shari and I go…

 

Summer Vacation: Indianapolis and Detroit

We stick our heads in any funny pics we see!

Vacation 2017 - 99

And yes, Berkley is in her pajamas. And yes, they are fleece footies. And yes, it’s July. She would live in them all day everyday year round if I let her.

Vacation 2017 - 98

Also, we ride statues.

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We spent an afternoon in Indianapolis just passing though. I can’t remember why the kids were upset at Brian for some silly reason, but they were all walking with me and I was pumped!

Vacation 2017 - 31 Vacation 2017 - 32

Yelp has been our friend on this trip. We found a crepe place for lunch!

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Vacation 2017 - 24

Also found a unique ice cream shop

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They freeze your ice cream in front of you!

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Then we saw a sign on the highway advertising the world’s largest rocking chair. We are so in for this!

It didn’t disappoint:

Vacation 2017 - 5

Buuuut then we realized this was a whole TOWN of “World’s Largest”

Wooden Shoes:

Vacation 2017 - 17

Wind chime:

Vacation 2017 - 6

Top:

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Mailbox (with working flag!)

Vacation 2017 - 15

Gavel:

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Pencil:

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Bird cage:

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Not world’s largest, but still cool! It’s made from an old gas tank

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Also a night in Detroit cause the ASTROS were there!

Vacation 2017 - Caught a Carlos Beltran foul ball

Vacation 2017 - Detroit

We actually blended in here cause the Tigers are the same colors!

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Summer Vacation 2017- Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls wasn’t as impressive as we thought it was gonna be:

Vacation 2017 - Thought falls would be bigger

Kidding, it was awesome!

Niagara Falls

I love these people

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Her stinking head fit in the bars. Made me anxious.

Niagara Falls

His wife is one lucky girl…

Niagara Falls

Berkley is so weird.

Niagara Falls

In this one Boo is licking my arm…why??

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

We watched from the top, then went down and did the boat tour, cause I think it’s a law you have to go on the boat ride at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Brian laughed at me and took my pic. Less for the memory and more to mock my hoodie tied so tight, but good golly it was misty!

Vacation 2017 - 105

Vacation 2017 - 104

However, it IS true that he looks cooler than me without his on…

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Niagara Falls

I realized recently that Brian spends a lot of time like this: helping all of us climb off stuff!

Niagara Falls Niagara Falls

Annnd I think that’s all the pictures they have in them for the day! To be fair, it was well after dinner time and we ran out of snacks…:)

Vacation 2017 - 113

 

 

 

Sailing away

Brian found this super fun sailing camp and it was a highlight of our summer for sure!

Sailing Summer 2017

Sailing 2017

It’s on Tuttle Creek Lake, the cost is $5 (PER FAMILY!) and now our kids are all expert sailors!

Sailing Summer 2017

Summer 2017 - 21

They don’t just hop in boats, they put them to work! They have to assemble them each time! The kids all know all the parts of a sailboat and how to put it together.

  Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

And how to tie it off at the dock.

Sailing Summer 2017

Day one they threw them in the water, capsized them and taught them how to right the boat. Brilliant if you ask me, no one was scared at all of tipping the rest of the week!

Summer 2017 - 15

 Summer 2017 - 10

Actually, Berkley should have been! Her few pounds definitely didn’t get that boat back up again! She just doesn’t have the weight!

Summer 2017 - 4

Day two they towed their boat behind a safety boat so they could learn how to steer.
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Then the rest of the week is sailing on their own!

Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing Summer 2017

She may have been stuck with no wind, but it made for a very peaceful picture! 🙂

Sailing Summer 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing Summer 2017

  Sailing Summer 2017  Sailing 2017  Sailing 2017

 Sailing 2017

Brian took a few rides in the safety boat. Until they kicked him off! 🙂

  Sailing 2017

On the last day, parents got to sail too! And after that we were even more impressed with our little sailors…it takes skill and knowledge…neither of which I had. But the instructors talked me though it and I made it

Summer 2017 - 76

It’s all fun and games until someone steps in mud…

We were over by the fun zip line we found a while ago and had to take a few spins on it

March 2017

It’s a little loose, so we had to help it along!

March 2017

We put Berkley to work pulling Beckham back up!

March 2017

Then we spotted a fun tire swing right by it!

March 2017

Beckham was still on the zip line, and got stuck in the middle! (you can see him in the background!)

March 2017

We thought it would be funny to tell him we were leaving. But apparently we’ve tried that funny trick too many times cause he didn’t even get a little ruffled. 🙁

March 2017

Then Brian and Becks went through this cool Ninja Turtles tunnel!

March 2017

Berkley and I followed, cause who doesn’t want to be a Ninja Turtle?

March 2017

March 2017

When we got out on the other side Berkley told me to go first. I stepped on what I thought was a rock.

March 2017

It wasn’t a rock. It was pure mud.

March 2017

But here’s the deal. The kids thought this was the best thing ever. Like, highlight of Berkley’s Spring Break.

“My mom stepped in mud. I was laughing”

“My grandma came to town and my mom stepped in mud.”

That shoe didn’t make it and I had to say goodbye to them and I was a little traumatized by the whole event. But I guess it was worth it?

Sadie Piper’s Skip Day

Day started off with Varsity donuts

Sadie Piper Skip Day

Sadie Piper Skip Day

and Apples to Apples!

Sadie Piper Skip Day

Then we hit up the mini golf course.

March 2017

None of us has ever been to the one in town before, so that was a fun adventure!

March 2017

March 2017

Brian kept score so the loser could “buy lunch” (that would be me!)

March 2017

That was a hole in one!

  March 2017

We also threw in a little light rock climbing!

March 2017

The other option SP had was FootGolf. Which is exactly what is sounds like- golf with a soccer ball. They have one hole you can try it out on so we did. (Fun, but more for adults and soccer players). So we skipped that…

Sadie Piper Skip Day

…in favor of the batting cages!

Sadie Piper Skip Day

She has THE BEST “brace for impact” face!

Sadie Piper Skip Day

Brian can’t go to the cages without getting in on the fun!

Sadie Piper Skip Day

Lunch at Chick-fil-a. This girl knows what she likes and rarely branches out!

(I obviously thought we were making funny faces, but SP gave her cute smile…oops)  Sadie Piper Skip Day

Then straight to the bowling alley! She loved it!

Sadie Piper Skip Day

Bowling rolled right into a milkshake from Baskin Robbins!

Sadie Piper Skip Day

Then to pick up the Bs from school, and poor girl was again the middle child! 🙂

Saturday Adventure

On warm days we adventure outside. On cold days we huddle inside and wonder what we should do today.

But this day it was warm, so we headed out!

First stop, the Manhattan signmanhattan_hill

But instead of driving up to it we heard there was a hiding trail.

Rocky Ford Fishing Area

Not gonna lie, it was a tad steeper than we anticipated. Our kids were old enough, but don’t take littles on this one.

Rocky ford fishing

Then we went fishing. Yes, it was only like 70 degrees and yes it was March, but you can’t let that stop you.

Rocky Ford Fishing Area

And yes, we didn’t catch a single thing.

Fishing

Lucky for us, that wasn’t really the point!

 Fishing

Brian and I have a deal: I don’t help with fishing. (it’s more of an unspoken “rule” in that really by the very fact that I can’t carry the container of worms cause it gives me the eebies thinking about live worms crawling in there…eek…that he just does it all for the kids and I just watch.)

It’s a good deal.

If you are me.

Which I am.

  Rocky ford fishing

They are sweet to each other when they aren’t fighting with each other…

 Rocky ford fishing

Fishing

Rocky Ford Fishing Area  Fishing

What is Berkley doing?? Pretending she caught a big fish maybe?

 Rocky ford fishing

“Smile Berkley!!”

 Rocky ford fishing

“Keep your pole to yourself Berkley”

Fishing

This is as good as we are going to get:

Rocky ford fishing

Saturday adventure

It was beautiful outside last weekend, and I asked Brian if we could take a bike ride. He asked where, and I told him the idea was my responsibility, the execution was his.

So we all followed Brian and ended up at, shocker, Call Hall for ice cream!

Feb 2017

No one complained…

Then to Memorial Stadium to watch the women’s lacrosse game.

Lacrosse is a hard spectator sport by the way.

So we ended up at City Park

Feb 2017

And kids ended up buried

Boozer lost an ear on the ride. I will always maintain that the youngest is the best spot to be in birth order, but it does come with its down sides. One being you rarely get anything new. Which I actually think is amazing cause few things makes me happier than hand me downs (Berkley still calls them “handy downs” and we don’t correct her), even for myself, but I digress. So her helmet had seen better days.

Feb 2017

But since Brian is also a youngest he has a complex about “handy downs” (he often laments about not knowing “Mouse Trap” had more than 3 pieces to it and not one marble) and had me order her a new helmet, brand spankin’ new even!