The 5 Hirning's Happenings

My thoughts & happenings in the life of the Hirning's that I want to share with the world...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I told Dan I was not even taking a shower this morning - I just want to get in the car and get home! We drove 353 miles yesterday! Gas up and hit the road by 11. We stopped in Rocker to go potty and a hail storm came through - kind of hurt - OUCH - to get hit by those little pellets! 341 miles later and we are home...Awwwww.... And a chocolate lab puppy dog was pretty excited to see us!

It was a trip in actuality we shouldn't have taken. We couldn't afford the trip but I'm so glad we just went for it. It was fun to see and visit with family and friends and to see the country!

Funny sayings along the way - at one time Dan and I were talking about Benjamin and said out loud "what's not to love about Benjamin?" and Hannah so quietly, and middle child like, whispers "BENJAMIN!"

On a bumper sticker - if life gives you lemons, squeeze them into someones eyes and run!

Hannah's hand always "falling" right into mine and her looking at me and saying "funny how that happens"

A semi driving by - "Be A Flirt and Lift your Shirt"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Sky Country Here We Come

572 miles we drove yesterday! We are packed and headed out by 9:15, breakfast at Hardee's. Mt Rushmore is cool and majestic but I really pictured it bigger, more massive.

We are trying to take our picture with our camera stick thingy Tana got me for my birthday and I see this BIG bug fly by and I feel a little landing on me. And then I can see it's massive antennas peering over my shoulder and I freak out screaming trying to get the thing off my back. Dan is telling me to be quiet and help me but the damn thing doesn't want to get off. It finally does and all the people standing around stop and look at the thing and take pictures of it. It was massive!!!

Through the walkway at Mt Rushmore they have all the state flags and when they were adopted into the union. Benjamin found Hawaii, as that is where his teacher was from, and said I bet I know they were the last one in. He was right and said it was because his "brain was so magical".

Gas in Bella Fouche for $2.45 a gallon. We get stuck for half hour waiting for the Follow Me Truck - ugh - just get us to Montana already!!! We finally get to Dennis and JoAnn's (Grandma & Grandpa's) at about 6. We got to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse - again yum!!! and Steve Schubert, Dan's best friend from high school comes and eats and visits with us.

Friday, July 24, 2009

So Close...Yet So Far Away

371 miles we put on Mike yesterday! We are up and on the road by 20 after 9. Long day ahead of us we are trying to get to Rapid City, SD. We have lunch in Hartford, South Dakota at the Pizza Ranch - yum! Gas up for $2.39. We stop at Wall Drug - if you have ever driven thru SD you understand you gotta stop. There are about 60 signs telling you to stop. Wall Drug was fun enough and a nice little break. Get gas $2.44. Get to The Happy Holiday RV Park around 6ish. Get set up and while doing that I'm walking around the tent and had kicked my shoes off - well I stepped in a pile of dog doo - ewwwwwww! Kids swim for awhile and we then decide to hit Mt Rushmore to see the lighting of it. We will go back in the morning too but since we are like 15 minutes away we should see both! We get up to the park and wait and wait for the lighting. It finally starts at about 9pm. There is probably a 15 minute taped show they show before on a big screen talking about how Mt Rushmore cam to be and about the 4 heads. James Earl Jones does the narrating and there is just something about his voice! It was cool to see but we are ready to head back and get ready for bed. We start a fire and eat some Smith hotdogs and smores!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sing it Willie - On the road again...

So since we decided not to spend the next day in Chicago we played on line and found a campsite in Austin, MN (Home of Spam) that had a little water park. That was to be our next destination. We drove 473 miles yesterday. Got gas in Chicago ($2.59) before we head to The Encore Restaurant - Pancake House. Tolls to get us out of IL - cost us almost $4 - we'll worth it though :)

Not much of a day - we did stop in a cheese store in Wisconsin. We got to the campground at 4:45 and got all set up for the night. Swam and played, then headed into town and got some dinner at Culver's (was pretty yummy) and headed to Wallyworld to stock up on some essentials. We made some yummy smores in our campfire!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Don't Heart Chicago

By 8:52 est time we are on the road, got gas in Erie $2.32. On to our next destination - HOME! But, first a stop in Chicago! When Benjamin realized this morning that we were getting up and heading home he was in the bedroom getting dressed singing a little song "going home, yeah home". I didn't realize that he wanted to go home, I thought he was having a good time. I think the truth is we were having lots of fun but it was time to go home, back to our neck of the woods and get back into our routine.

We spent over $20 in tolls again heading to Chicago - my goodness. We did have Benjamin's first experience peeing in a bottle though. In Chicago traffic trying to get to our hotel, poor little buddy had to go and had to go bad. He had been doing the potty dance a lot, finally I asked him if he wanted to pee in a bottle. He looked at me like I was crazy and his sisters got so grossed out I could even suggest such a thing. I think that really was the BIG push for Benjamin to change his mind. If his sisters wouldn't have made such a big deal about it he might have let it go but then when he realized that they were going to be so grossed out - he had to give it a try! He did pretty good he did drip a little but it was okay. It only dripped on Emily's flip flops! Hee hee. Afterwards he says "that would be gross if a girl did it". Emily says "it's gross if a guy does it" and Benjamin looks at her so serious and says "I'm not a guy, I'm a kid".

We finally got to the hotel about 3:45. It's a dreary day here, what is it following us??? We stay at the Quality Inn in Schiller Park, we found it in one of those travel magazines, we had a coupon, it was cheap! Dan had separated the girls in the car before we left Erie. They just pick on each other all the time. We decide that the hotel has two beds and Benjamin gets to sleep on a bed, not just the floor all the time. Him and Emily share a bed tonight and next time we are in a hotel - Emily gets the floor!

Our experience in Chicago was not a good one. I'm used to big cities and lots of people and traffic but nothing went right in Chicago. I'm tempted to write Oprah and ask her what she thinks is so great about it. Our plans were to go down to the Navy Pier that first night and then the second day we were going to hit the Aquarium and then head out of Illinois and try to spend the night in WI or MN. So, once we are all settled in our hotel we decide that maybe we should take the train down to the Pier, it will be an adventure. Something the kids have never done. To make a very, very long and painful story short. It took 7 people including 3 Metra workers, 1 security guard and 1 police officer to tell us how to get to Navy Pier. We walked many blocks, rode a bus or two and the train. It was horrible. It's one of their BIG attractions in Chicago, you think they could make it easy to get to!!! Once we were there the kids had a blast - they rode some rides and we played mini golf.

Dan wanted to take the train to the Aquarium the next day and I just told him I was done - I just wanted to get out off Chicago and head towards home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One More Day In Dreary Erie

So guess what? We had planned to go to the beach again today and it rained all day! So no beach for us - I swear something horrible was going to happen to us there that is why God never allowed it to happen! One last day in Erie, where to go for lunch?? Hmmm - that wasn't hard - The Plymouth, again! Boy, I love that place ~ wish I could bottle it up and take it with me everywhere I go! I then drove everyone around to see my old hood. It was rainy and icky so it was pretty blah! We made a stop @ an old friends house to pick up some of my belonging they came across after all these years. We stopped at Whippy Dip, even though the weather was crappy and had yummy ice cream. Headed to Dick's Sporting Goods store we had a coupon on the back of our Seawolves tickets and we actually got Hannah some shoes for school, discounted, mind you and Benjamin a Pittsburgh Steelers hat. We ran to Walmart and stocked up on some groceries for the trip home, got back to Aunt Mary Kay's and got the car cleaned out and kind of ready for the BIG trip the next day - we start to head home! We were going to visit my cousins that evening and say goodbye to the Kunik's. We went to Nunzi's for dinner, which I had never been there before. OMG - it was so delicious and so much food!!!! We then headed to Laurie's and hung out with Laurie, AJ, Tony and Lisa and Briana came over too. It was nice to see them - I wish we would've been able to spend more time with them, but as Dan told me this trip was about my Mercyhurst reunion. There was a lot of my St Bens friends I would've loved to catch up with but even though we were there for 6 days it wasn't enough time! Next time...We drove 285 miles around Erie on our visit!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Falls

We decided before we left Montana that we were too close to Niagara Falls not to take the kids to see this wonder. Since we do not have passports we had to see the American side which I have never seen - I've always gone to the Canadian side. But I heard the American side was just as beautiful! We left the house by 9:30, since we needed to be back in Erie by 6ish for the Erie Seawolves baseball game we were attending with Aunt Manry Kay, Angel, Kayla, Johnny and Evan! There were a bunch of tolls - we paid over $7! We got there by noon and took the kids to The Hard Rock Cafe, they were virgins, had never been to one before. We then walked over to the Falls - it was beautiful and the kids couldn't believe that Canada was right there! We decided not to do the boat ride into the falls since Dan and I had already done that years ago, we decided to do the Cave of the Winds hike into the falls. They give you a rain poncho and these funky sandals - it was the most amazing thing. We all highly suggest it for anyone visiting the falls to do. We touched Niagara Falls!! We all had a blast there and headed back to Erie and got to the game on time. Called my cousin Laurie ro see if we could meet up the next night and she happened to be at the game so the girls and I went over to visit with her. I then took Benjamin and Evan over to the jumpy thing for awhile and thought "you know I could know people here" and, no kidding you, all of sudden I hear someone go "KELLEY...Kelley Barthelmes?" It was Michelle Brester from high school and Jenny Jones who I also went to grade school with. It was fun to catch up and visit for a little while. Kind of funny that I thought that and then viola all of sudden, there they were. 261 miles driven today!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bring on The Memories

Ugh - want to sleep in yet again but we have to get up. Family picnic is today at Scott Park for the Class of 1989. Kind of disappointing - about 75 people are supposed to be there. About 15 show up! Ugh! Oh well - Smith hot dogs and McCurdy's bring Pizza balls. Yum, yum. We then head off to Waldameer with the Blair's. I am so excited to take my kids there. They have never been and this is a place where I grew up. The weather is very iffy in the morning but it ends up being a beautiful day. The kids enjoy the park a lot - it is fun to share this with them. We grab some Alfie pizza and WINGS on our way home!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Has It Really Been 20 Years??

I want to sleep in so bad but we need to get over to Kevin's and get the kids and load up for the Erie Zoo with the Kunik clan. The Erie Zoo is so nice, always has been. The kids really, really want to see the penguins. Well, it is like 60 degrees and it is too cold for the penguins so they are inside - say what?? Too cold for penguins?? Being at the zoo is bittersweet though, reminds me so much of Grandma. Going there with her when I was growing up or any time I came to visit with one of the kids. Boy, I miss her! After we head to the Olive Garden to get in our yearly fix. Yum! Head back to Aunt Mary Kay's, Angel and the kids are there for the night too so, our kids are just gonna stay there and hang for the night. Dan and I get all spiffied up and ready to leave the Erie Club and Mercyhurst Prep 20 year reunion. There is some confussion over who is driving. Us? Blairs? But we all get there! It was a great time. Good to see Tom Kendziora, Meighan Coughlin and Shannon Dever - I only mention them because they were not there last night. A funny thing happened though - the minute we walked in the door I spotted her - Ken McCurdy's wife, Deb, wearing the exact same dress as me. Too funny! The night was a blast - danced, drank, danced, drank...Head to the Sloppy Ducks again and get home around 2:30. So glad we came - it was even better than I expected.

It's hard to believe that it has been 20 years. 20 years since I was in high school, 20 years since the world was wide open. A clean slate for me to decide where I want to go, what I want to do. Who I want to be a part of my life. The funny thing about this reunion is that I only went to this high school for my senior year. The high school I attended my freshman - junior year closed when I was a junior. I transferred to Mercyhurst my senior year not knowing many people but having the best year ever. I had a blast! I was the only one that transferred from St Ben's that came to the reunion too. Weird but whatever!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let the Reunion Begin

We were going to head to the beach today with the Blair's (Sara, Greg, Zach, Nicky & Katie) but we wake up to dreary Erie and rain. Ugh! Dan goes to Mighty Fine Donuts and brings us back some chocolate frosting with angel cream - yum! My cousin, John, calls from Iraq. It is so great to talk to him! I wish he was home and we were able to spend time with him. Then he does a video conference and I get to see him. So awesome - I am so proud of all he does for our country! Sara and I then head off to get pedicures. We then pick up Dan and the kids and head off to Barbado's for lunch - pizza balls and wings! We then head up to the Millcreek Mall and Sara and I get our eyebrows waxed and Dan and the kids take off. I then think that Erin Callahan (Spinelli now - but my best friend from grade school) works in the eye department of Sears. Sara and I walk down there and there she is! It was great to see her. Haven't seen her in over 20 years - we try to plan to get together but doesn't seem it'll work this trip! Head back towards Aunt Mary Kay's and get ready for the beginning of reunion stuff to happen. We drop the kids off at Kevin and Tracy's as they are gonna spend the night with them so we can hang at the Plymouth. Dan parks it in a booth with Greg, Jeff(Greg's brother) and Lindsey (Jeff's wife). I was nervous, not sure how to feel. What if I walk in and don't recognize anyone? What if no on recognizes me?? Okay, breathe in and breathe out and walk on over. Have a blast the minute I do, great to see everyone. A little weird when Stacy & Kurt get there. Finally walk over and say a few words to her and shake Kurt's hand - shake Kurt's hand? I hug people from my class I didn't even know or really like and I shake Kurt's hand? Oh well, the moment is over. One of my classmates husbands, mind you that I don't know well, tells me a very, very personal story - don't really wanta share it but pretty bad to just be talking about to anyone. We then head down to the Sloppy Duck with a bunch of others. I had a lot to drink but surprisingly don't feel a thing. Good ready for the next day! Get home around 2am.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Day Back in the BIG City

What to do first? Hmmmm - lunch at the Plymouth! Can't believe they still haven't raised their prices from the day. Order a steak salad - yum! Walk down to The Ye Old Sweet Shop - tell the kids I used to work here and we each order a cookie. Joe has sold the business and not as good as they used to be. Still nostalgic! We then go down to the dock and hang out there for awhile and drive over to Presque Isle and see the beaches! Head back to Aunt Mary Kay's house, Angel and the kids come over and we have some yummy dinner! (Rigatoni, meatballs, antipasto salad - how do people that live in Erie not weigh 300+ pounds??). Afterwards we head over and visit with Kevin and Tracy and the kids. It was nice not having anything to do today or anywhere to be! Awwww - vacation may have started!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Erie Here We Come

We drove 493 miles yesterday! Wake up in Canton, OH and head to Bob Evans for breakfast and then to the Football Hall of Fame. Finally get to check email and facebook! Gas up in Canton $2.23 a gallon! Hall of Fame is real fun, Emily wasn't sure about it but everyone enjoyed it. Benjamin wanted his picture taken by everything Pittsburgh Steelers! I told him when we get To Erie we will get him a jersey, can't find one in Montana anywhere! Benjamin was also in heaven when he found Legos Star Wars on a playstation in the play area of the hall of fame! Lunch at the Steak and Shake - kids have fun there! We leave Canton right after 2, need to be at Chuck E Cheeses in Erie by 6:30 for Nicky's (Sara's son) birthday party! Kids have fun playing the games at the party! Get to meet Nicky and Katie for the first time too! We get to Erie a little earlier and go and get Benjamin that Steeler jersey! Get to Aunt Mary Kay's around 9!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 5 - A Change in Plans

On the road at 9:55 am. 481 miles yesterday. Cute Benjamin quote in the AM. He is laying in bed with us, well on our air mattress in the tent and I tell him his feet are filthy; they are green and black. He says they are green because of the grass and black because of his color changing - talking about his tan. Breakfast at Burger King. Lots of tolls for the day driving thru Illinois, Indiana and Ohio - $1.00, $1.60, .80, .30, .80, $3.00, $1.25, $2.39, $6.75 AND $2.50 - yikes!!! Gas in Elkhart, IN - $2.39 a gallon. We decide instead of driving thru to Erie to stop in Canton, OH and see the Football Hall of Fame in the am. We have dinner at Frickers - World Famous Chicken Wings in Maumee, OH. It's 2 for 1 night, who knew? On the drive then to Canton Hannah asked if we were almost there - Dan told her no and if she asked again he'd turn around. Hannah told him "you can't take away someones curosity". Get to the Red Roof Inn in Canton around 10pm!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 4 - Keep on Truckin'

Muggy morning in Sioux Falls, SD! Breakfast of Champions at Mickey Dee's. Fill up with some gas, well at the station. $2.35 a gallon. On the road again at 9:25. Next stop Chicago! We are driving down I-90 and we keep seeing signs for The Spam Museum - we look at each other and laugh about it. But, then we see FREE admission into the Spam Museum, well they got us at FREE. Detour - Spam Museum in Austin, MN. Cheesy but fun. Dan was the only one to sample the Spam. Ewwwww. Pb&j in the car again for lunch. Gas in French Island, WI. We decide to camp somewhere in WI, near the IL border. We chose the Jellystone Campground in Ft Atkinson. Nice campground - lots of activities. Pull in around 4:30. Get tent set up, start some laundry and decide to head into town to grab some pizza for dinner. Get gas - $2.39 a gallon. Get back to the site about 7:50 and learn everything, I mean EVERYTHING,closes at 8. Kids can't swim or play the cool mini golf course - a little disappointed. Take a walk and try to get a fire going and play some cards by the lantern light. The kids and Dan see fireflies for the first time ever...something I never realized and I guess I took for granted 'cause I have seen lots of fireflies in my life!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And we're off...

Mike has 122,843 miles on him today. The real trip begins...we have breakfast with Dennis & JoAnn. Leave Bozeman at 10:15am. Get some gas in Billings ($2.57 a gallon). Make pb&j sandwiches in the car. My allergies are still awful! Benjamin only asked are we there yet about 6 times before we even got out of Montana, once before we even got out of Bozeman! Hannah even asked a few times, she must have forgot what 9 hours in a car is like! We stopped and had dinner in Rapid City, SD at Arnold's Classic Diner. There was a rabbit in the parking lot, later Benjamin told me he knew why that city was called "Rabbit City". We were trying to get to Kennebec, SD but Dan got one of those 5 hour energy drinks and was ready to keep driving on. Got gas in Reliance, SD ($2.64 a gallon). Dan drove all the way to Sioux Falls, SD - he finally stopped at 12:40. We stay at some seedy (is that the correct spelling) motel. 793 miles logged today!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 2 - State Tourney

Dan woke up this morning at 5:30 to go fishing. Hannah's first game isn't till 1:15 - the KOA is tye dying t-shirts this morning so we bought the kids a tshirt and let them have some fun. Swim for a little bit before we head to the game. Grab some lunch at our favorite take out place - Costco! Girls beat the Electric City Heat 15-3 and then Great Falls Selects Green team 13-8. Dennis and JoAnn get to Bozeman around noon. Brittney hit a foul play that landed in my lap - ouch! We have dinner with Jen & Callie at Santa Fe Reds. The girls then get to play under the lights. First time, pretty exciting! Lose the game 5-12. Stinks they lose but means we can get on the road tomorrow! Allergies were horrible today!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Let The Adventure Begin...

I want to blog our trip but not sure how to. I took pretty detailed notes everyday and I think I'm just gonna start with the first day and go from there. So we left for Bozeman today for Hannah's (well The Lady O's) state tournament. It's Dan's birthday and I feel bad because that is pretty much forgotten. We need to pack for the trip ahead of us and get through Bozeman first and forge on. We leave home @ 8:10 with 122,485 miles on Mike. We have Kendall with us for the trip to Bozeman. We stop and have lunch at Wendy's and hit the fields. Girls play the Belgrade Wolfpack first. We lose 7-2 - Hannah threw 8 strike outs though! Their coach was horrible and screamed from 3rd base the whole game - really rattled our girls. We should have won that one. Not another game till 1:15 the next day. We are staying at the KOA and Dennis & JoAnn will join us tomorrow. We have dinner at Old Chicago with a big group of the team - the girls sand Happy Birthday to Dan. Afterwards we head back to the field to watch the older Lady Osprey - I sprain my ankle and literally fall flat down on my knees. *OUCH* Can't remember the last time that happened - bloody and all! What a bloody mess!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lady Opsrey Dugout Team

Tonight the Lady Osprey were the dugout team for the Osprey game. The girls each got to run out with the player that plays their position. How fun for the girls!

Hannah then got to try and outrun Ollie the Osprey (if you recall Benjamin did this last year - she beat him!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm Proud To Be American

Last night as I watched the fireworks go off I really started thinking about being an American and Independence Day. I can't even fathom living in any other country - we are so blessed to have our freedom and to have people fight for that freedom every single day of my life and yours. You watch the news or read the newspaper and it is so scary in other countries. I don't even think I could last one day in a war driven country. I'll keep my good old USA thank you very much and the men and women who fight for me every day to stay safe.

We did our usual 4th of July celebration. Hannah, Benjamin and I hit Splash Montana for a while with Betsy, Jayden, Josh and Jesse. It was a hot one and just fun to hang out in the water. And as always we follow it up with a BBQ at the Muellers - this year the Simonichs came which was fun. We ate, drank, played kickball (I think the parents beat the kids this year - oh wait no that's next year :) ) and watched the fireworks together! Good times, good times!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Am I having Mid Life Crisis???

Am I in the middle of a mid life crisis??? I'm only 38!! Two weeks ago, well 13 days ago, I gave my two week notice at work. I relinquished my position on the school board, after a lot of thinking and praying. And our house is on the market. Am I crazy? What am I doing by making all these changes?? I'm hoping I'm destressing and making my life more, well, liveable. I want more time for my family, my house, for me. Remind me this next time I volunteer again or consider a not full time job but 35 hour week. Send prayers my way that this all works out for the best!