If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Friday, May 28, 2010


Here's your official ((((TMI ALERT))))......don't say you weren't forewarned.....

The word 'Retreat' is defined as:
1. A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, & security......OR
2. The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.

Now let me tell you about the Marriage Retreat we attended last weekend with our church.......

My husband and I have been married for seventeen years and have four children ranging in age from sixteen down to three. 'Crazy' doesn't begin to describe our lives sometimes and as with most busy couples with busy kids, we're lucky to squeeze in twenty minutes of alone time and that's the very last twenty minutes of the day when we can barely keep our eyes open.

Recently our church provided some neat opportunities for couples. In March, a wonderful couple offered a marriage class. It was so much fun and very informative. Childcare was provided and for an hour on Sunday evenings for six weeks we got together with other couples and laughed and learned together. Our final night of class was topped off with ballroom dance lessons. (Believe it or not, we took ballroom dance lessons last winter.....that's a whole different story.....and although you might not ever hear my husband admit it, it was a lot of fun.)

On the heels of the marriage class, another wonderful couple planned and organized a Marriage Retreat at a very nice hotel for a Friday and Saturday. We've never been on a nice Marriage Retreat, so when they approached us to ask if we'd go we jumped at the chance. We immediately arranged for our kids to stay with my husband's parents, he scheduled the day off, and we took the kids out of school to allow us time to get there nice and early and really enjoy the experience.

We were the first to arrive at the hotel at 1pm and the organizers rolled in shortly after. We got our key and headed to the room to take full advantage of a hotel room alone. (Who's with me?) A while later we decided to grab our retreat packets on the way to the pool. While I was receiving our information, one of the organizers pulled my husband aside......when he returned I asked him what that was about and he casually told me that they wanted our room key to decorate it. (Here's a good rule of thumb: if you want to surprise a couple and decorate their hotel room, that idea should become void if the couple has already 'used' the room.) Everything in my world went to slow-motion. I looked up to see two of the wives in the glass elevator and it was slowly ascending to the top floor toward our room. Before I could even call him an idiot, I broke away from him and bolted toward the other glass elevator and repeatedly pushed the up arrow in hopes that it would help the thing arrive faster....it didn't. With my hands and face pressed against the slowly moving glass box I was trapped in, I could see the women enter our room. (Four letter word of choice here.) By the time I got out of the elevator and rounded the corner, the women were already leaving our room and one of them was on her cell phone. (I could only assume to the prayer chain.) With my stomach cramping, I entered our room to find roses, rose petals, and chocolate kisses spread all over our bed.....which would have looked wonderful on a made-up bed. By the time he caught up with me I was sitting on the toilet sobbing and he saw the weekend flash before his eyes, I'm sure. Eventually, he talked me down and I even managed to show my face again in public. Which brings me to what happened next......

After we swam, my husband decided to take a nap. (Apparently, all those cannon balls in the small pool of five feet of water exhausted him.) I decided to go downstairs to find the workout room. (And truth be told, to secretly hunt for a tampon machine, as I began to wonder if the room-decorating-debacle wasn't solely to blame for my stomach cramps.) No luck on the machine, but I hit pay dirt on the workout room! It was awesome and fully stocked with every machine you can think of. I had the place to myself so I opted to do my cardio routine....ten minutes fast on the bike, ten minutes on the elliptical at a steep incline, and ten minutes of sprints on the treadmill. It was just the solitude I needed to regain my composure, get out some frustration, and watch the dark clouds moving in as rain pounded against the windows and bolts of lightning seemed to get stronger and stronger. I was on my final rotation and sprinting on the treadmill when one especially strong bolt of lightning struck.....and knocked out the electricity.....(FYI: If you're running on a treadmill that suddenly loses power, you will fall down. There's just no way around it.) Down I went, face first, rolled off the back of the machine and for the second time that weekend, wondered what the heck I was doing here and cursing the word 'Retreat.'

Praying the security cameras went out with the electricity, I slipped out of the gym and tried to get an elevator. It took me all of five minutes of waiting to realize that elevators run by electricity. Who knew? My only other option was to climb the five flights of stairs to our top-floor room. So a mere four hours after this 'Retreat' started, I was in a hot stairwell and I looked like death warmed over: hot, sweaty, cramping, skinned up knees, runny make-up, nasty sweaty pony tail, and passing nice clean couples from church who were headed to the welcome reception, and probably wondering who beat the crap out of me but were too polite to ask. To top it off, the electricity kicked back on just as I reached our floor. (Of course!)

When I keyed into our room, my husband was up and getting ready, and announced, "Oh man! You're so lucky you weren't up here! The electricity went off while I was asleep and I woke up hot and sweaty! It was awful!" (Dude, how can you even look at me and say that?)

Down to the reception we went....my husband to get snacks and drinks....me on my secretly-find-a-tampon-machine attempt number two. (Insert 'Mission Impossible' music here......) Score! So amongst several women that I knew who were chatting and washing their hands, I discreetly slipped a quarter in the machine behind the bathroom door....the empty machine....then tried to discreetly get my stuck quarter out of the machine and was promptly rewarded with the door swinging open into the backs of my feet, legs, and butt with a loud slamming sound as my body hit the tampon machine and all eyes turned toward me. (So much for discreet.) Off to the front desk I go where I had no choice but to ask the man behind the desk for a tampon.....That's right, a man....who then proceeded to ask me if I wanted large or extra large which brought back the memory of my husband going to Walmart for tampons for me, approaching an employee, and telling her that he needed "the biggest thing you've got" and all I could picture was a giant box of pool noodles.....so I chose large in hopes of avoiding being handed a pool noodle on a string.

I finally made it to the reception and walked up to the bar beside my husband and asked for a mixture of pineapple, orange, and cranberry juice. The bartender asked me if I would like vodka with that and I said, "Yep, I would." My husband turned to me in shock and said, "You don't drink!" To which I replied, "I do now....."

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