Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Keeping the Magic of Me Mondays

Now that school is out, and daycare is no longer, my children are at home with me for the summer. This was a choice. I could have looked for a summer job to pay for two kids in daycare, but that seemed like more of a headache than it was worth. Why would I submit myself to being gone all day, working, the come home and play house catch up and take care of the kids? No, I would rather spend my summer days playing the balancing act of fun times with kids and fulfilling my duties as house spouse.

That said, I need to be aware that my Magical Me Mondays are gone, no more, bye-bye, zilch, nada. This means that I need to be especially aware of my "limit" with the kids. I have a tendency to get over stimulated with the amount of noise and mess the kids create, and then all of a sudden I have a breaking point. The whole concept of my Magical Me Mondays is to rest and recuperate from a week with children; a built-in Sabbath from being mom. It helps me be a better parent through the rest of the week. Without the kids going to school and daycare, I will have to remember to ask Corey to watch the kids while I get out of the house this summer.

I did not ask for time alone last summer, mostly because Lily was small and still nursing. Time away from her was limited at best. She is now an independent and capable toddler with excellent communication skills. Leaving her with Corey and Carrick for two hours while I recover some sanity is totally doable. I just have to make sure I schedule it.

For this installment of Fun Dollars, I am coming to you rested and relaxed from Java Love Café in West Sedona. Everyone here is engaged with their laptop or tablet and chilled out oldies are playing over the speakers. I am here with my thoughts, collecting my wits, sipping Jasmine Tea and taking and uninterrupted break for my Magical Me Monday time.

I already went to Goodwill with my Fun Dollars and came out $4.00 lighter. I found a hard back Frog and Toad book for Carrick. We have Frog and Toad Together at our house, the book from Goodwill is Frog and Toad are Friends. When Carrick saw the copy we already own, he was so excited. His teacher read him all the Frog and Toad books at school this year, so connecting to something he is familiar with really charged him up. When he reaches a recognition point with his star chart, he will get the book in a gift bag. (I have a whole closet full of presents wrapped and ready to go for the summer. Car trips, positive reinforcement and special occasions are covered proactively for both kids. I used a combination of inexpensive and free items I have collected leading up to summer break.)

For Lily, I found a V-Tech Tree House. It is just like the one she played with at her daycare. Many days when I dropped her off, she would head straight to the Tree House and begin her playtime before I even took her jacket off. I can just hear her saying when I give her the play set, "Just like my one at school!" She really has very few of her "own" toys at home. Many of them are Carrick's old toys. We are now reaching a point in her development that she has her own taste, and doesn't always want to play with what is left over from Carrick. Also, I spent the morning listening to them fight over toys, so it's clear that she needs things that are hers that won't interest Carrick.

Taking into account my new awareness for the need of having Me Time, adding to that everything I have already planned for the summer, I expect to have more moments of peace than I did last summer vacation. Time together should be enjoyable, not stressful. Cheers to Summer Vacation!

Toys at Goodwill- $4.00
Jasmine tea at Java Love- $3.00
Leftover from last pay cycle- $40.00
Balance this pay cycle- $93.00

Happy Spending!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Summer Fun Planning

Summer break is right around the corner. With Lily's last day of daycare yesterday, and Carrick's last day of kindergarten was on Thursday, our family will officially kick off the school hiatus today! We are planning a family trip to Out of Africa Wildlife Park between Cottonwood and Camp Verde. We have been there many times over years past, but now, Lily is old enough to enjoy the animals along with her big brother. She knows what the animals are and what sounds they make, and I can't wait to see her feed a giraffe!

Going to Out of Africa as a family is just one of the many things on my summer "To Do" list. Officially, the list is quite short: Keep Carrick in karate (Corey's choice, not mine), visit family in Illinois, celebrate Corey's birthday, and celebrate our anniversary are the only things that have somewhat of a plan or schedule. That was my choice. After attending the Summer Bash last week, and looking over all the activities, camps and workshops for children, I decided not to participate in any of them. Partly because I didn't want to pay for them, but also because we still don't know what our family travel plans will be. I did not want to commit to something and then not be around for it.

Most of the activities like swim lessons or Lego Camp are things that Carrick can do for much cheaper just being with me. I can take him to the pool to splash around, which is what he really wants. I don't want to pay money (and keep Lily occupied while he's at lessons) for him to learn the different strokes of swimming. He knows how to swim in the deep end, and that's good enough for me. He can be a safe swimmer, which was the whole point of swim lessons in the first place. And while Lego Camp sounds fun, he literally has about 20 lbs of legos in his possession that he tinkers with for hours. I don't need to pay $90 for him to learn how to create without instructions. 

I am quite aware, however that trying to be the kids' sole source for entertainment, food and rest will not be without its challenges. I remember going almost insane from being with the kids all day every day for two months during last summer's break. The good news is this year, Carrick can swim, read and ride a bike, which greatly increases the kinds of activities he can participate in while at home with me. As for Lily, she has grown up so much from last summer that the same holds true to her too. After a year in daycare, she now knows how to sit at a table and eat a meal, paint, sing songs, take directions and follow them. She is also an incredible communicator. Last year, she was in the very earliest stages of talking. Now she speaks clearly in seven word sentences, so figuring out what she needs or wants is no enigma.

Now that the kids are a little older and can do most of the same activities, I have come up with some ideas about this summer that will help us all have a smooth, happy and exciting summer.

Last year, we used a makeshift bulletin board to plan our days together. It worked for the most part. Carrick could not read, but he could recognize most of the words. He requested we use the bulletin board method again this summer. He can now read the various activities I have written out. I started with a brainstorm of everything I could possibly do (on my own) with the kids during the day. I came up with a pretty extensive list that includes (but is not limited to) hiking, playdates, library, pool, art, and movies. 

I made a note card for each of the elements in my brainstorm. On the backs of some of them, I wrote more specific details. For example, on the back of the hiking note card, I wrote the names of several trails I could take the kids on by myself. They are trails that are easy enough for Lily to walk without being carried. So, the idea with these note cards is that every day after breakfast, I choose four or five cards that could be possibilities for the day. Then, I let my six-year-old read the cards and choose up to three that he (and Lily) would like to do that day. I also included cards for "Help Mommy and Daddy" and "Quiet Time". These will be staples everyday.

I also bought a star chart for Carrick at the Dollar Tree so that he can star the days when he helps out around the house. He wants to earn some new (and expensive) Legos for the summer. I wanted "helping" and "quiet time" to be a part of the note card system so that they are built into the day without fuss. I don't want to have to battle with the kids to help out or have some down time. This way, they see it on the bulleting board, and they just accept that it's part of what we do today.  With this note card method, Carrick is involved with the process of choosing  his day, and it's not just me dictating what we do every single day. Nor do I have to come up with things to do every day all summer long. The note cards take the guesswork out of watching the kids.

The second element to my summer planning is FOOD. HOLYCOW I dropped way too many Fun Dollars on snack items last summer. Now that Lily is eating actual food and not nursing during the day, there will only be more cash spent on food if I don't have a plan. I cannot be stopping at Wendy's for chicken nuggets or at Natural Grocers for Luna bars every day.

Here is what I came up with for my food solution. It's pretty "duh", and I don't know why I didn't think of it for last year with Carrick.  Every day, after we choose what we are doing for the day and pin it up on the bulliten board, we pack lunch boxes! This will train Carrick to make his own lunch for school next year (and save me from having to make one more lunch every day for school). He will learn about portions, wrapping and packaging, and, yes, cutting safely. We will put the made-up lunches/snack packs in my tote bag, and that way, they are ready to grab whenever we leave the house. With the lunch boxes packed with snacks and the like, no matter where we go or how long we are away from home during our day, we are not spending precious Fun Dollars on food.

I made a Costco run yesterday to stock up on snackables for the kids. I put things like lentil snaps and goldfish in snack sized bags so that they are pre-portioned. Then I hid the remainder in a cabinet so the kids don't just plow through them (or spill a gallon of goldfish on the floor). I also bought things like fig bars, fruit snacks and applesauce pouches. These "dry goods" will serve as supplements to the fresh things we prepare for our lunch boxes. They are also "on hand" things if the kids are hungry and I just don't feel like preparing anything. I want to teach them to balance the packaged stuff with the fresh things. They already have a concept of this, but it will be a new experience having total access to "snacks" all day for two months. I am hoping that with my portioning everything out and hiding most of what's left we can ration out the snacks to sustain us through June and July. We'll see how that goes.....(just to fill you in, we do not do "snacks" at our house. We buy maybe one package of graham crackers or goldfish per week. We just don't keep them stocked on a regular basis. So all this choice and abundance of snacks presents a new challenge of restraint on my part, and on the kids' part.)

With a plan for activites and food in place, I feel confident as I move toward summer vacation. I know that there will be challenges and pitfalls, but I feel that with a plan to back me up, the moments of weakness will be few and far between. I just have to remember to ask Corey to watch the kids from time to time so that I can get out and have some time alone. Perhaps some extra Girls' Nights are in order. Happy hour anyone?

Lunch at India Palace for Corey and me- $22.00
Balance this pay cycle- $41.00 (saving it for a later purchase)

Happy Spending!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Me and My Pitches

The first time I saw Pitch Perfect was at my friend Niccole's house. (Niccole from "Recovering from Mother's Day, and other entries.) She had been watching it, and I came over with my kids for a play date. She was halfway through the movie when I arrived, so she caught me up to speed and we watched the remainder of it together. (I came in during the competition when the lobby glass gets broken, for those of you familiar with the film.) It was quite an amusing flick, but after that one time of seeing it, I never gave it a second thought.

But then I saw the movie poster for Pitch Perfect 2 in the theater several months ago. It was probably when I went to see the Hobbit or Into the Woods, since those are the only times I have been in the theater this year. I remember thinking how fun it would be to see that for a Girl's Night Out. Apparently, one of my friends thought the same thing because she created an event on facebook for just that; Pitch Perfect 2, Girl's Night Out. Since I missed the last Girl's Night, I was determined to go. There would be happy hour before hand, and if anyone wanted to "go out" afterwards, there would be an opportunity for that.

The week before the movie hit theaters, Niccole posted a comment in the event suggesting that we all get together to watch the first movie for those who haven't seen it. Of course we were all on board. Yet another reason to get together, let the kids run around and drink wine? Yes please!

Corey came with me and the kids to the home screening of Pitch Perfect on the night before Mother's Day.  He helped the father of the house corral the kids for the two and a half hours it took us to watch the movie. Between kids crying for mommy, or escaping the play room and running around our movie area, we had multiple pauses of the movie. There were five mothers and ten children between the ages of 6 mos. and 6 years (4 of the children were 6-year-olds.) We did manage to make it though the showing, and enjoy some time with friends with the aid of two wonderful dads and some Page Springs Cellars Vino del Barrio.

As the big night out approached, my excitement at yet another Girl's Night Out increased. However, due to excessive rain (which is a ligit reason to stay inside in Sedona) among other reasons, most of the girls couldn't make it. The event ended up getting cancelled. Rather than wait until another event was scheduled, I sent a message to Niccole and asked her if she wanted to see a matinee of the movie on Tuesday. As much fun as it sounds to go out at night with a bunch of girls, the truth is, I prefer a matinee with few other people hands-down. I don't like fighting the crowds, I don't like paying full price, and I want there to only be a couple people in the audience so I can laugh/cry/shout as loud as I want to. I am an interactive movie-goer.

It's a good thing I chose the matinee. I literally laughed, waaaay out loud through the entire movie; so many hilarious lines, and visual humor. It was quite clear that the woman who wrote this movie used to write for 30 Rock and is best friends with Tina Fey (I caught an interview with the writer on Marketplace on NPR the day before the movie came out.) If you're into barbershop/accapella singing or goofy humor movies, you will absolutely love Pitch Perfect 2. (That means you, mom and dad!)

Matinee admission- $7.00
Free large popcorn refill (because I did not get my free refill of large popcorn the last time I saw a movie, and I saved the bag. Oh, yes, I work it any way I can.)
Soda (in my movie cup) - $1.50 ($2.00 rounded up for Fun Dollars.)

Balance this pay cycle- $63.00

Happy Spending!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

PTA Summer Bash

There are two delightful events hosted by West Sedona School each year, The Wildcat Carnival, and the PTA Summer Bash. The carnival is always the Saturday before Halloween, and the summer bash is always the week before school lets out. The Carnival has the Summer Bash beat, hands down, but both are a fun way for the kids to spend the afternoon with other kids.

Last year, the first time we attended the Summer Bash, Lily was able to walk, but not big enough for the bouncy houses, or able to sit still for the face painting. This year, she was all over the activities, tagging right along behind Carrick. Also, last year, Carrick was 5 and had not started school yet. Now that he is (almost) finished with kindergarten and heading into first grade as a 6-year-old, the activities fair portion of the Summer Bash proved much more fruitful. As a 5-year-old, and not a school-aged child, there were very few summer activity options for him. Now that he's a year older, there are so many fun things he is eligible for here in Sedona. In fact, there were so many options, I still haven't had time to sort through all the fliers I brought home from the Summer Bash.

While the kids bounced their hearts out in the bouncy house obstacle course, and summited the bouncy slide, they worked up enough appetite to want a sno-cone...each. Carrick only wanted blue, and Lily only wanted red, so I shelled out $4.00 to support the PTA and buy each of the kiddos a treat. I helped myself to a hot dog, which was only $1.00.

Each kid took a turn sitting in the chair with the face painter, which was free, along with the activities for the price of admission. Lily was bold enough to get her hair sprayed red too. I hardly recognized her running across the lawn between the bouncy obstacle course and the bouncy slide. While the kids took turns on the activities, I perused the used book sale. The kids collected donated books for a couple weeks leading up to the Summer Bash. Then, the PTA collected and sold them as another means of fund raising during the bash. I picked out a couple dinosaur books for Carrick. For Lily I found a shape and color book with lifty-flaps. $2.00 went to the PTA for the used books.

Things did get a little chaotic after a while. I was sitting on the grass next to the obstacle course, and all of a sudden, I heard Lily crying from inside. I guess the person in charge let a bunch of older boys in, and they ended up in a pile-up near the exit. Carrick played the hero big brother, and was holding her along with another older girl to protect her from further damage. After removing Lily from the stampede, I sat with her on the lawn and calmed her down. One of the PTA members assisted me with getting a small bandage for her finger, which was bleeding. As soon as Lily was done crying, Carrick came running up to me saying that someone kicked him in the face. I sat there with both of them until the tears were gone. Carrick wanted to go to his recess playground to play, and I agreed that it was a good idea.  I hung out with a few of my mommy friends while the kids played and recovered. They played until 5:00 that night, and were worn out by the time we arrived home.

Next week, school lets out. Thank goodness I am on hiatus from work starting next week. At least I get 4 more days of kid-freedom until summer starts. Since things kind of slow down in the summer time, I decided to take time off and stay at home with the kids. (It was either that or try to get another job and pay for two kids at daycare. That sounded like more trouble than it was worth, so I am on a summer sabbatical.) We are going to do fun things like go to the pool, the movies, field trips, playdates and the park all summer long. And hopefully, some of those Summer Bash fliers will come in handy for "things to do", well, at least for Carrick.

Let the Summer Fun Begin...well, next week anyway(!)

2 Sno-cones, a hot dog and 3 books at the PTA Summer Bash- $7.00

Admission to the Summer Bash was $5.00 for each child. I used the leftover $10.00 from last pay cycle for this.

Balance this pay cycle- $72.00

Happy Spending!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Recovering from Mothers' Day

Phew! Who knew that celebrating being a mom could be so exhausting? It's not like we had anything major planned for Mothers' Day. We didn't go to brunch, or church. I wanted a day in the house to just hang out in my pajamas. Corey had to "work" for a while, and so going out anywhere would require that I do it by myself, which, kind of goes against my definition of staying in my pajamas.

All I wanted was to eat bacon/egg/cheese breakfast sandwiches and sip on my favorite wine all day. Simple enough. I added mimosas to the menu when I found out that a dear friend of ours had returned to Sedona after a two-month adventure Down Under. She brought over the brut and bagels for sandwiches on Mother's Day Morning. It was better than brunch because the kids could run around after they were finished eating. She told us all about her trip to Australia and New Zealand while we enjoyed our Mother's Day breakfast as a family (She's like a big sister to us). After breakfast she said goodbye, as she had some things to attend to after being gone for two months. Corey left shortly after she did for his meeting. That left me alone with the kids, and with the remainder of the bottle O' brut.

I decided it was the  perfect time to Skype my own mom. The kids were happily playing in the back yard, and my mom just happened to be online. I sipped the rest of the bubbly and chatted with her, carrying my laptop from room to room while I put away laundry. (Yes, I put away laundry on Mother's Day, hence the bubbly.) When the bubbles went bye-bye I opened up the bottle of Kim Crawford Corey brought home for me. I continued sipping and chatting, not really paying any attention to my hydration level. I talked to mom over the course of three hours. Another two hours after that, the Kim Crawford was gone. So, even though it took me 5 hours to finish the bottle, I was still super-dehydrated, which did not make for the most coherent Mother's Day evening.

Suffice it to say, I was not going to cook dinner, and Corey wasn't either, so we went to good ol' Golden Dragon for supper. I drank plenty of water before going to bed, and thought I was in the clear.

The next day, my celebrating caught up with me. I made a non-food grocery trip to Wally-World, right after dropping the kids off at school. I made it in and out of there in just under 15 minutes. (I had a list and stuck to it.) Niccole had called on my way to the store to see if we could get together for a late breakfast. Of course I said yes. On the way to her house, though, my stomach started to protest the lack of water and over-indulgence of alcohol from the day before. I drove as quickly as I dared to get to her house and eat something more substantial than the one egg omelet I had before going shopping.

We met at  Niccole's house, then went out to eat at Red Rock Café. I don't eat there a whole lot because it's out in the Village of Oak Creek, and there are similar cafes much closer to my house in West Sedona. However, I have dined there at least twice, and both times it was a delicious meal. Wearing my workout clothes and baseball cap, I felt more and more like a college student battling a hangover. Yuck!!!! When the waitress asked me what I wanted to drink, I quickly answered, "Sprite, please". When she came back with the lemon-lime tummy-bubbles, I felt like I was beginning my recovery process. I placed my order for the Half Biscuits and Gravy and explained to her, "I'm recovering from Mother's Day." She winked and said as she wrote on her order pad, "extra gravy."

Yeah, I can't explain it, but the few times that my body has suffered from and imbalance of water to alcohol ratio, biscuits and gravy seem to do the trick. I gave Niccole $6.00 for my part of the meal, and she put the balance on her card.

After a power nap, I felt well enough to do the food grocery shopping before picking up the kids. Mother's Day is get back to work!

Happy Mother's Day to all. I hope you were all able to celebrate in whatever way makes you feel the most appreciated.

Supper at Golden Dragon- $15.00
Late breakfast at Red Rock Café- $6.00

Balance this pay cycle- $79.00

Happy Spending!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Me Mondays...Sponsored by Laundry Merchandising

I spent money on a new hamper at Beall's last week. I didn't super-duper need one, but it was a moment of, "it's on sale".  Also, the "common basket" in the laundry room, the hamper that I use as a catch-all for kitchen linens and stray kids' clothes that get strewn throughout the house, is old and has many of its woven parts sticking out at odd angles. I get clothes caught on the stray ends, and the cloth lining is so ripped that I often loose clothes in the bottom of it. I was just hanging onto it because I never made a priority of replacing it. When I saw the on sale hamper at Beall's I couldn't leave it there.

Back at home, my teeny-tiny laundry room  is separated from view by a lime green shower curtain. On the floor in front of the washer is a lime green bathmat.  Both are accessories from our old house that we didn't have places for after our move. They really brighten up an otherwise miniscule and boring space. Add to them the festiveness of the new hamper, and doing laundry is almost an enjoyable hobby.

 I have been a long-time subscriber to the idea of owning my laundry experience, and pretty much all housework, but laundry is my favorite, so that's what I want to share ideas about. Some people fight it. Some people run from it. The fact is (and I have said this before) "Every article of clothing you buy, you have to wash. Unless you are one of the fortunate people who has help with doing the laundry, you get to do laundry for your entire adult life. So why not make the day-to-day responsibility of laundry a super-awesome experience?"

By Super-Awesome Experience, I mean this:

*Keep your clothing stash under control. DON'T make a habit of impulse buying. Keep a wardrobe that works for you. Wear only stuff that flatters you. Don't be a clothes hog, you'll have too much to manage.

*Organize your closet/dresser in a way that you like it. Your dressing space should be your favorite boutique to go shopping in. Arrange clothes so that they appeal to you somehow; by size, or color, or style, etc. Have adequate lighting in that space. And most importantly: Love your clothes enough to put the away.

*Make your wear-to-wash experience desirable. Buy hangers your want to hang your clothes on (I have a collection of puffy, satin hangers that I acquired from garage sales and other places. Corey has exclusively wooden hangers; one style for shirts, one style for pants. The kids each have hangers that are small for kids' clothes and they are in their favorite colors. Get hampers for your room that are to your liking so that you want to use them. Keep enough laundry baskets that you can gather (and store if necessary after drying) everyone's clothes. Make your laundry space a space that you don't mind spending time in. Color counts. Adding a simple rug (or bathmat in my case) can draw your eye to the color, and make you actually want to be in the laundry space.

*Don't be afraid to ask for help or to delegate parts of the laundry experience. Let's face it, no matter how much you might enjoy matching up your kids' tops and bottoms, there comes a point when you hit a wall. Even getting a break once in a while by having someone else fold/sort/put away clothes can give you enough of a breather to get back into the laundry game with gusto.

*Setting the mood is also a really helpful housework element. Whether  you're folding and sorting, tidying up, doing dishes or sweeping floors, music (and a glass of wine if you're into that) can go a long way for turning mundane tasks into something you enjoy doing. (I like to pull up the Songza app on my laptop.)

These are the gloves I bought in Flagstaff a few weeks ago with
Fun Dollars, next to a glass of Nobilo I bought this pay cycle.

So, after a productive Monday morning doing laundry with my new laundry basket, I had time to take off and enjoy what I call "Me Monday". Monday is the only day in my week when both kids are in school and I do not work. I usually do some bit of housework, and then do something for myself. This Monday, I headed to Cottonwood to hang out with my hairdresser, Candy. We always talk about hanging out whenever I go to the salon, but we never get around to actually meeting up. So Monday was our first time to get together outside the salon.

We scouted out tattoo parlors for her to get her next creation, then we went out to lunch. She had another of her friends along for the ride, who was also in the market for a tattoo. (After our hang out time, they both went back to the place they deemed worthy to ink them up.)

We all had lunch at the Red Rooster Café in Old Town Cottonwood. Red Rooster has become my go-to eatery when I am in Cottonwood. This time, I had their soup of the day, Creamy Garlic. It was basically cream, butter and roasted garlic blended up. It was so delicious, I could have consumed a gallon of it! I also split a BLT Croissant with Candy.

I was able to enjoy my time out with the girls because I knew I would come home to a manageable house, and that even though it's my "day off" I wasn't completely consumed by my housework. My house might not look perfectly tidy, but I have taken the steps I necessary to make things manageable.

With color, organization, and motivation, I don't feel like the housework has power over me, rather I keep it in check and under control using those tools. I hope this helps some of you who might other wise scowl at housework. Remember to set time aside for yourself too, and carve out your own version of Me Mondays. Knowing I have real time off is really the thing that keeps me going when the dishes are piled high, or the laundry baskets overflow. I know there will be time for me to forget it all, and do whatever I want to do.

Hamper at Beall's- $16.00
Noblio Sauvignon Blanc at Basha's- $10.00
Lunch at Red Rooster with Candy (Hairdresser at Salon Virtu)- $10.00
PTA pizza slices after school with Carrick- $4.00
Emergency charger cord at Circle K and a bag of chips- $7.00
Balance this pay cycle- $10.00 (I am saving this for a future purchase.)
Happy Spending!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Adventures Atop Airport Mesa

After two busy weekends back-to-back, Corey was ready to spend some time with his family. We really haven't seen much of him while his work has been jamming. When he is at home, he's on the phone or entering orders, or emailing confirmations, or scheduling drivers, or calling get the idea. So now that there is a slight lull between events, he can take a few minutes to go out to eat with the family, as well as plan a little adventure.

We wanted to try something new for breakfast, and so we started brainstorming on possible eats. One of the places that was suggested was Mesa Grill. We have only ever been out to eat there once as a family after they remodeled the restaurant. We tried this location when my parents visited a couple years ago right after Lily was born. It was good, but not a place we wanted to venture back to with two small children. Their main dinning room has a bit of an echo, and until just recently, our children were not exactly quiet diners. Now we are at a point where they can sit, color, play on their "devices" if necessary and eat their food with relative grace.

The kids put the outdoor dance floor to
good use after breakfast at Mesa Grill.
So this morning, for our family time, we decided that we needed to try something new. Our usual breakfast outings at Wildflower and Café Jose seemed tired; we were on the lookout for an breakfast adventure! Where else could there be more adventure than at a noisey eatery on top of a mesa next to an airport? Watching planes take off and land, helicopters chopping overhead, and the top of the Red Rocks in view were all a part of our breakfast experience. Mesa Grill is located on top of the central mesa in Sedona, Airport Mesa. Airport Mesa is also home to  a scenic overlook, several trail heads, Sky Ranch Lodge, as well as a teeny-tiny airport that mostly specializes in private charters and commercial tours around Sedona.

As we were heading back home after our delicious breakfast, Corey called Sky Safari, one of the tour companies that operates off of Airport Mesa. Corey had just finished working with a big tour group that experienced the helicopter tours as a part of their Sedona visit. He was eager to take the entire family up into the blue yonder in Red Rock Country after that. I was shocked that Lily was even able to go on the tour. (When he first asked me, I tried to use her as an excuse, "I'm pretty sure Lily will be freaked out by the helicopter, so maybe I'll just stay back while you and Carrick go up." His reply to this was, "Nonesense. You're going."

I was terrified to the point of having sweaty feet in my flip-flops after taking my position inside the helicopter. It didn't help matters that I was assigned the seat next to the pilot, in the front seat,
complete with a plexiglass floor at my feet. My husband and children were in the back, blocked from view by our seats, but we could all talk to each other via headset. When the pilot asked us for silence on the headset just before takeoff Carrick replied, "Roger that," and I burst out laughing. His momentary bit of comedic relief distracted me enough that I didn't notice we were leaving the ground.

All of a sudden, the earth was getting further and further away from me and I could only feel a slight jostling. There was really no point of reference for my body, it felt like being on a really smooth roller coaster. It reminded me of being on a loop-de-loop; feeling like my body was being pressed against the seat of the roller coaster, and the earth just shifting beneath me. That's sort of the sensation I felt while up in the air. The earth would move, and I would just jostle. Very strange.

I had to manage my breathing and not hyperventilate during our 15 minute sky ride around Sedona. I managed to stay completely still in my seat, and not freak the pilot out. I am really glad I went on the tour, scared though I was. Now I can check that off my bucket list: Helicopter ride. Add that to venturing out to a potentially kid-unfriendly restaurant, and I was ready to call it a day. Adventure Complete.

My half of breakfast at Mesa Grill- $22.00
(Sky Safari was part of our Family Fun budget.)

Balance this pay cycle: $57.00
Happy Spending!

P.S. That first picture of the Sedona landscape was taken from my vantage point inside the cockpit, just in case you were wondering.

P.P.S. Some of you might have caught my mathematical error in my previous post. I changed my balance for the pay cycle from $89 to $79 to reflect the actual balance.