Tuesday, June 23, 2015

got milk?

The kids and I are in Oklahoma visiting my aunt and family on my mom's side. Paul dropped us off here in Cushing on his way to OKC for the Church of God convention. This afternoon we went next door to visit a dairy. The owner, Brian, used to be partners with my uncle when he ran a dairy himself. 

The milk we drink has to come from somewhere. There are small dairies like this all over the area. It's quite unassuming isn't it?

Running a dairy is hard work and so confining. The cows must be milked twice a day. Brian said he and his helper are up at 330 in the morning to start the first milking. 

It takes about four hours to milk the 117 cows they have. They finish up around 8 in the morning and start up again at 3 in the afternoon. We stopped by during the afternoon milking. 
Here's an up close shot of the pumps. 

You can see how full that udder is on the right of this picture. The milk's gotta come out. Brian said most dairy cows give milk for about four years. 

The milk runs thru a pipe and thru this apparatus before going in to a big tank. Brian said this thing came out of my uncle's milk barn. Said it was real old school and you probably wouldn't see one of these in most dairies these days. 

The milk goes from that to the tank and is cooled down and stored until the truck comes to get it. He said the truck comes every day but their tank could hold 2.5 day's worth. 

I had seen the process when my uncle had his dairy but it was many years ago when I was younger and I didn't appreciate it much. Today I found the whole thing pretty interesting. 

Milk. So widely used. A staple in nearly every home. And it comes from such a humble place, the cow, just the way God designed it. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Legoland Hotel...yes, it was AWESOME!!!

We absolutely LOVED the Legoland Hotel. I highly recommend staying there at least one night if you ever have the chance. It was the best hotel, theme wise, I have ever stayed in!!!

Right when we walked in the lobby we saw this guy...

There are three floors all with a different theme. We stayed on the Adventure floor which had an Indiana Jones feel. The other two floors were Castle and Pirate.

There are lego figures all over the place! This one was outside the elevator on our floor. Many of them also "talk" when you get near to them. They play a recorded message which was so fun.

This huge thing of legos was right in the lobby. It was neat but check out the surfer dude and surf board on top made of legos.

This is right behind the check in desk. There are tons and tons of mini lego figurines on the wall. Then that bike with magnifying glass wheels goes back and forth showing the figures larger behind the wheels as you can see here.

These pictures show the ship and castle area where there is a moat of legos.

The lobby bathroom...

My absolute favorite thing was the elevator. I almost hate to give it away here in case you ever stay there but I just have to share in case you don' t. We got on the elevator for the first time and it was playing typical "elevator music". The door closed and all of a sudden a disco ball in the ceiling started going round and round and the music got loud playing fun dance songs like Dancing Queen, YMCA, Everything is Awesome, etc. The people on the elevator, if they were sports, would start dancing and having fun for the short elevator ride. When it stopped at the selected floor the music would change back to the mellow stuff and the lights would go out and everyone would just walk off the elevator like nothing had ever happened. It was soooooooooo cute!

It hard to see it here but in each hotel room there is a treasure chest with a lock on it. Kids are given an easy scavenger hunt type activity that when you answer all of the questions the code unlocks the treasure chest and you get to take whatever is in there. The kids got mini lego figures and chocolate coins. The questions were things like "how many lego figures are in the bathroom?" or "how many lego waiters are in a certain restaurant in the lobby?". The kids loved that and it was such a fun way to get in to the action right when we checked in.

The rooms all have a separate little sleeping area for the kids with bunk beds and also a trundle under the bottom bunk so three kids could easily sleep in one room. The parents' bed was just around the corner. Here the kids are showing what they found in the treasure chest.

Each room has a bucket of legos for the kids to play with and a couple of complimentary water bottles and juice drinks.

And how cute is the ice bucket?!

There were lego figures all over the walls too...

This was at night when the kids had gotten in bed...

The kids area also has its own TV.

But we before bed time there was a lot more fun to be had. We grabbed a light dinner in one of the restaurants. Lego displays EVERYWHERE!

Then there were kids activities scheduled in the lobby all evening. Legoland park closes around 5 (at least it did the time of year we were there) so they have activities to keep the kids entertained at the hotel. We were given a list of the events when we checked in. There was a neat stage area with a big ship and castle type stage and the kids all sat down around the stage while there was a lounge with chairs, etc where the parents could watch and hang out. The first show was a game competiton between the floors. It was super fun and cute. Then later there was a lego building competition where kids could use all the legos around in the lobby to build something. They would call them up on stage to describe their creation and then pretend that judges were up in the rafters (there were windows up to the left of the stage and they would have the kids hold up their creation to show the judges and the sound guy on the floor would play a canned clapping and whooping clip each time, so fun).

Later there was a pj party with dancing etc. The kids went to all three of the events and we felt comfortable letting them be down there by themselves part of the time but of course you would need to use your own judgement. Our kids are 8 and 10 so we were fine to give them a little freedom. Of course we weren't far and checked in often. We also had fun watching a lot of the goings ons.

The next morning we had breakfast in the Bricks Family Restaurant. It's a buffet and the breakfast comes with your stay. We got down there early thinking it wouldn't be that busy but it was already teeming with people. The buffet was really delicious but the atmosphere was the great part. There were characters who visited tables to chat a bit. This guy was so nice. He also gave us some good tips on the park which we were headed to that morning.

This restaurant was SO cute. I just can't say enough about the theming of this hotel...

All of these displays are made of legos...

There was a great pool with a lifeguard at the hotel but we didn't even use it. We only stayed the one night. If you're only going to stay one night I recommend checking in and taking advantage of the fun in the hotel. Then the next morning as a hotel guest you can enter the park a half hour earlier than the official opening time. I will blog about Legoland itself next time. The hotel is right on the grounds of the park so you literally walk around the building and enter the park. We were able to leave our car in the hotel parking lot all day while we were at the park and just head out when our day was finished at the park.

We had such a great experience and even said if we were leaving the next morning and not even going to Legoland the stay would have been enough.

If you aren't convinced at how much fun this place is by now I will leave you with this...

***NOTE*** We stayed at the Legoland Hotel in California. I understand the Florida one recently opened. I have no idea if it is anything like this one but I would bet it would be as great or better since it's brand new and there are likely updates and improvements over the CA one!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

You can't do it, We can't help

For Michael's 8th birthday I thought it would be fun to do a workshop type party where the kids would build a little wooden project and then paint and decorate it. My friend Jo Ann and her sister had had Home Depot themed parties for their sons who are a few years older than Michael and I had always planned to do one when Michael hit the right age.

So, as his 8th birthday was approaching I asked him if he'd like this kind of party. He said he would and I proceeded to forge ahead with the plans. I searched around on the internet and found what looked like a good project. It was this tool box...
It came in six pieces with eight nails and the reviews all said their kids around the age of 8 did great with them. Several people said their entire scout troops did them in about a half hour and they were easy to build. Sounded good to me. So I ordered 24 of them.

My vision was for the kids to sand the pieces, nail them together and then paint the box. Then while it was drying we would sing and eat cake and ice cream. After that they would go back and decorate the boxes with fun stickers and pictures. I even had all their names cut in vinyl (shout out to Kali and Monique) so we could put that on them and make them all nice and personal.

The party was to start at 2:00 on Sunday afternoon, June 7th, Michael's actual birthday. We had had a good response and I didn't want to do up a sample in case we had any extra kids come but around 1;15 I knew I would have extras so I went out to the garage to put one together so I could show the kids how it was supposed to look.

Uh oh. Big red flag. I started putting it together and was having a hard time. I thought, "I'm big and this is a bit difficult for me. What's going to happen when 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 year olds start doing it?" I went ahead and whipped this one up to show them. This was my vision:

Well the kids arrived and we had around 20 I think. They all found a seat and we were looking pretty good at this point...

The sanding went fine. The hammering was a disaster. The nails were bending. The kids were frustrated. This is what I was hearing, "Mrs. Tammy can you help me? Mrs. Tammy, can you help me after you help Maryn? Yes darling. Mrs. Tammy, can you help me after you help Maryn after you help Macie. Of course sweetheart. Mrs. Tammy, can you help me after you help Maryn after you help Macie after you help Deacon.?"

You get the picture. And Paul was steadily doing what he could at the other tables. It was H-O-T as all get out and we were all pretty miserable. Major FAIL!!!!! By 3:00 Paul said, "We gotta stop this and do something fun." This sums up what we were looking at:

So we moved to the cake...

Then we sang to Michael's friend Julia who was born the very same day as Michael, June 7, 2007.

We had cake and ice cream and Michael opened his gifts and a few of the kids played in the drive way on scooters, etc but I would not be defeated on this tool box project!!!! Paul and I went around helping to finish all that we could. And one of the dads came back a bit early and he was a big help repairing bent nails and completing unfinished boxes. The kids did get to paint them in the end but that was about it. Here's how far we got when the party was over at 4:00...

It was time to go but I didn't want the kids to take home these unfinished boxes so I told them to leave them here and I would finish them and get them to them in the coming week. I didn't get much of an argument on leaving them. They probably were all thinking, "good riddance."

We took a group shot with everyone holding up the hammers they had brought and the party was over.

Kids were trickling out and a few got in the water hose and started playing with a water gun Michael's friend Deacon gave him. This was probably the only smidgen of fun they had. Bless their hearts. 

Over the next few days I set up shop in the dining room and finished the tool boxes the way I had hoped the kids would make them. Ha, yeah right!  I think this would be a fun project for like a father/son deal at church or something like that. But it was a total disaster for this type event. You live and learn. I am sharing here to spare you the heartache!!! 

Here are a few parting shots of Michael's 8th birthday. I love my little boy so much. He is just so fun and sweet and it's true what they say about little boys loving their mommas. I am so thankful the Lord gave us a son and while I wasn't as old as Sarah I was getting up there. I had Michael at 41 and will be near 60 when he graduates from high school but I'm just glad I was given the great honor of being his mom. I look forward to seeing what the Lord does with his life.