Monday, August 27, 2012

Surprise Vacation to Minnesota!

Happy Monday!

Fall is in the air and I hope it's early arrival doesn't mean winter is coming early, too. Either way, the temps are lovely and there is already a hint of fall color appearing in the trees and grasses here in the foothills.

Mason and I had an amazing surprise vacation to Minnesota. We had just enough travel hiccups to give Mason a taste of the flexibility and patience that is required with connecting flights but even more fun, fun, and super fun once we successfully arrived. We slept over in Minneapolis and started our first day of vacation at the Mall of America and is it ever big! Other than the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park inside the mall, it's a high end, big, beautiful mall. As you all know, Mason earned his own money for this trip and he spent it, for the most part, wisely. He bought his own unlimited ride wristband, a pair of Vans shoes, he spent an hour and had a lot of fun making a Minnesota Build-A-Bear and finally, he shopped multiple stores before finding the best deal on a banana board skateboard. One of the cooler things at the mall is a ropes course. With four levels and all kinds of wacky ways to criss cross, back and forth all while going higher and higher, once at the top the climber gets to slide down a swirly slide. The other rides were fun, too but this one was what Mason wanted to go back and do again before we caught our plane back to California.

From the great day at the mall, we drove north to Julianne's house and it was here that the fun really began! To save you all from a very long writing, let me list all the things Mason took full advantage to experience: Ate at White Castle Hamburgers - twice, daily time jumping on the trampoline, he learned to ride a mini dirt bike, shot multiple air soft guns in a private range, learned about fine jewelry and got to see lots of real, loose diamonds, went paddle boating, learned to knee board, played basketball and poker at the lake house, caught tree frogs, visited the largest open iron ore mine in the world, climbed and played on humongous mining trucks and equipment, we visited the Minnesota Discovery Center and rode the trolley, played tennis and somehow had time to play, play, and play some more. Whew! On our way back to the airport we stopped back at the Mall of America and Mason made it to the top of the ropes course...he didn't quite muster the courage to get all the way up the first time so he was pretty pleased with himself as we made our way back to the airport.

This was an amazing trip and I am so glad we did this together. All in all, he was a great travel buddy and even when I screwed up our return flight time and put us at the airport almost 5 hours too early, he just went with it. I hope that his memories of our surprise vacation together will be as fond as mine are, after all, how many boys get to go on a week long surprise vacation with just their mom? Ah, maybe it is not that uncommon, but that doesn't make it one bit less special to me!

Now we are all back in school and in high gear preparing to move. The timing is working out beautifully with our rental house being made available to us to start moving boxes in before we actually take possession on 9/15 and we don't have to officially be out of this house until 9/25. Moving is never easy or fun, but with the houses in such close proximity to each other and having almost a full month to move, how much easier can this get? If you are interested, I am planning to have a virtual yard sale on Facebook by posting a photo album of the more valuable things we have for sale...if you are in need of shelves, storage cabinets, a Juiceman Juicer, other kitchen appliances and so much more, be sure to connect with me on Facebook.

Have a great week and be sure to visit my blog to see pictures of our Minnesota vacation. If you subscribe to my Monday Motivator blog, you can get the weekly post in your e-mail box with the pictures included! Easy and fun.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Mason and I are on our way home! We had a wonderful time in Minnesota and now we are returning the rental car and making sure to catch our flights.

See you next week with lots about our trip!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Keep the Faith

Happy Monday!
It is finally here, the week Mason and I leave for our surprise vacation. Okay, it's not a surprise anymore, he knows we are going to visit Julianne and her family in Northern Minnesota. We leave tomorrow afternoon and get in to Minneapolis late. We will spend the night and then visit the Mall of America on Wednesday. This little side trip is why I have encouraged and helped Mason make some spending money (by the way, he made $187!). I just couldn't imagine him in America's biggest mall with no spending money of his own. We went to the local mall yesterday and one of the kids shoe stores had Vans on sale, and for those of you who don't know, Mason loves the Vans line of shoes and clothes. He had planned to buy a pair of Vans when we got to MN, but hey, here we were and they were on sale. I loved watching him shop so mindfully when he was having to spend his own money! He sat for a moment and thought about how much he had made, what he wanted to buy while in MN (specifically, an unlimited ride wrist band for the amusement park) and made his decision about buying the shoes. LOVE IT!! It's moments like these that I feel like I am doing a good job as a mom.

On other important fronts, we found a place to rent! It's less than one mile from where we live now and basically, in the same neighborhood close to town and Mason's school. I am over the moon about what a lovely little house it is. It's a 3 bedroom/2 bath on a lot that is maybe a little smaller than where we are now. It has a deck of the whole back of the house with a portion of the deck covered with a ceiling fan for those warm nights when you want to be outside. There is no grass but other outdoor living areas with rock walk ways, lots of little planters, fall trees, a fig tree, a lemon tree, an apple tree and an outdoor fire pit. Oh, and another perk, it has a hot tub! The kitchen is small, but it is lovely, all white tile with newer appliances. Finally, there is a breakfast nook popping right out of the front of the house, just another fun, quirky feature of the house. Having lived in a larger space, we will have some adjustments to make, but all in all, this is a great place for us to live until it's time to make the big move. I'll send out change of address once we sign our lease and know for sure our deal is done! We also got word that our short sale has been approved and we close on 9/25 - perfect for our 9/15 move in to the new house. Finally, it feels like things are going our way and working out without a continuous stressful effort!

School starts for Mason this week, but he will miss the first four days as we'll still be summer vacationing. He and I will have to hit the ground running when we return late Monday as we will both have to get up early for school on Tuesday. Maybe I will enlist Dave to write next weeks Monday Motivator and share his adventures while we were gone, that might be fun! Have a great week and keep the faith, I know it hasn't been easy, but it sure feels good to have some things start to work out easily.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Embrace Change

Welcome to Monday,
The Partaks have a plan! Yes, it's official, we are moving and not just out of this house and into the land of limbo. We don't have a rental yet, but I am confident we will find something that is affordable, lovely and home. Dave and I sat down and calculated that with the military putting him through school in addition to my educational benefits, we could both be on track to have our Bachelor's degrees by July 2015! With that, we will be here in CA until we graduate, Dave will have put in 29 years of service and then we will pack up the wagon and head east. Looking back at how quickly the last nine years has gone by, the next three are sure to fly. Having a real plan sure makes this so much more exciting. Some of you have asked if I'm scared or worried that we will be so far away from family and friends and the answer is no, though we have a great friends network, we have had to be self-reliant for many years now. We have each other so as long as we get to do this together, it will be not only fine, it will be fun.
Mason finally learned where he and I are going on our surprise vacation - Minnesota! We will fly in late on Tuesday night and on Wednesday we will go to the Mall of America for the day. Next we'll drive to Julianne's house where Mason will get to meet and play with Julianne's kids - she has 5! We have plans to spend a couple of nights at the lake house where Mason will get to swim, fish and hopefully learn to wake-board. This is going to be the biggest little vacation ever! He and I need to make the most of our time together because when we get home the following Monday, it's right back to school for both of us, in addition to packing and moving within a few weeks. Speaking of school, as it turns out, I got a B in statistics! The humor is not lost on me that when I saw the 77.8% I assumed that was a C, instead of fully understanding that weighted totals calculate slightly differently. Who the heck cares how I got there, I got there!! Laughing!
Now it's off to look at possible rental properties and more weeding out of stuff I don't want to pack. Have a great week and think with this...

"Change always comes bearing gifts." ~Price Pritchett