Tag Archives: family

Hotel weekend

Last Christmas Tom won a two night stay at Aloft hotel in Ballentyne. In our usual fashion, we left the gift certificate sitting in a dresser drawer until two weeks before the expiration date.  I called Aloft and thankfully they let us extend the expiration date until we could go in January.  

We decided to take the kids with us to the hotel on Friday night and then Tom and I would stay without the kids on Saturday night. Aloft was a fabulous hotel with a pool and the friendliest and most helpful staff. We truly enjoyed our stay and the kids loved it. 

The kids swam in the pool Friday night, Saturday morning by 8:00am they were down there again, and then they retuned two more times that afternoon.  Well worth the stay. 

Friday night we took the kids out for dinner at Red Robin. There I realized that we never take the kids out for dinner, and the reason why. It cost us over $70 to feed five people dinner, dessert and two beers for Tom and I. We can’t afford to do that very often. It was a special treat.  

 Saturday night we sent the kids to my parents’ house for the night.  The first thing I did was take a nap (which was desperately needed) and then I went out for Indian food with Tom. 

The funniest part of our date night was when Tom and I were trying to decide what to do after dinner. We discussed whether we wanted to go out or go back to the hotel room to watch football, read and sleep…is was only at 9:00 at night. Our conversation went something like this….

Tom -what do you want to do now?

Me- I don’t know. I feel like we should do something fun. 

Tom -why?  The hotel can be fun 

Me – I don’t know. I feel like we should be out doing something fun and different just because we can….even though I really just want to go back to the hotel. 

Tom – you know, tonight I am just hoping to get some rest. 

Me – Should we each sleep in our own double bed? Lol 

Our priorities have changed over the years. We are no longer out to prove something or have the night of our lives.  We just want to relax, have a good meal and get a decent night’s sleep.  We ended up going to the hotel room, watching tv and I fell asleep by 10:00, even after having a two hour nap that afternoon….and I slept in one bed while tom slept in the other one. It was great!!  I can’t wait to have another “stay In a Charlotte hotel”  weekend. I realized that we don’t have to go out of town to get away, we just need a hotel with a pool and a babysitter.  

Here are the kids enjoying their hotel experience…


Apple picking

We have been trying to go apple picking for weeks, but it wouldn’t stop raining.  I swear it has rained for two straight weeks and Hurricane Joaquin didn’t help us at all.  It finally cleared up this past weekend so we headed up to the mountains to pick some apples. 

This year we knew a bit more about Sky Top Orchard and thought it best to get our apple doughnuts first while the kids played. They are delicious and the line is thirty minutes long, but worth the wait. Tom stood in line and came back with eighteen doughnuts for the five of us. He said he felt silly waiting in that long line and only get twelve. I have to admit that the first twelve were gone rather quickly but were unable to eat the last six. We brought them back for my dad. 

I went to grab the baskets to put the apples in and instead of three small baskets, like last year, I got four. I knew that it would be an insane amount of apples but last year I gave so many away that I regretted not getting more.   As much as tom tried to tell me that it was too many baskets, I persisted and brought the four baskets with us anyway.  (The story of our marriage)

The kids climbed the trees to pick the choicest apples and we easily filled up the four baskets. We could have picked more but we could barely carry back the baskets that we had. All together we picked an astounding forty two pounds of apples. Yes, 42 pounds.  We have given away or eaten twenty pounds already but we still have twenty more to go. We can do!  No problem. 

Apple picking is about much more than the apples – it is about spending time together, having an adventure, and continuing a family tradition for as long as we can….the apples are nice as well. :)


Wilson is in there somewhere…


We always have to have a silly picture…

Team Dressler….



Thanksgiving has become loaded with traditions for our family. The first one is going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade here in Charlotte. We started going when Wilson was very young, skipped the year when Miller was born, and have gone the past two years. Unfortunately, the last two parades have been very cold. Last year we brought one blanket with us and this year we brought three blankets…and two nephews. It helps to have one blanket to sit on and one to put over our legs. Here we are freezing and watching the parade…


Eventually it got too cold and we ended up watching the end of the parade through the glass in a parking deck. Faith wanted to stay until the end so that she could see Santa.

We then went to my parent’s house for the feast. The usual suspects were there. Gabriel and Shepherd came down from Maryland for thanksgiving without Doug and Jacqueline (they were moving into the new house). We have really enjoyed having them here. The kids played together non-stop throughout the day. I literally saw my kids for a total of ten minutes each at my moms house while all the family was there eating. There were fourteen children there in all, so no one lacked a playmate. It was wonderful! Of course, all I did was bring one dish to share and socialize. Eventually I will need to step up my game and do a bit more of the work. Thanks mom!

Here is just one of the three tables that was set up…

Miller and shepherd have been almost inseparable…


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love all of the delicious food and being around my extended family. I am so thankful that my mom and dad both have so many brothers and sisters. In all, I have seven aunts and uncles – four of which were there. I feel truly blessed to be a part of all that craziness and love. :)

Thanksgiving is about counting our blessings and giving thanks to God for all that he has provided. I am so blessed beyond belief and I have God to thank for it. I have a healthy family, loving parents, a faithful and loving husband and three beautiful kids. I have enough money to live comfortably and send my children to good schools. We are healthy and alive. Those are the main things in life that I want and need. I don’t need anything else. Other things are just icing on the cake. I thank God everyday for the wonderful gifts that He has given me and I am truly appreciative and grateful.

Happy thanksgiving.

Camping at Crowders Mountain

For years we have been talking about going camping as a family: us, my parents and my Aunt Lisa’s family.  We decided that it was finally time to set a date and do it.  Months ago we looked at the calendar and chose to go camping on October 25th – a date free from Maddie’s soccer, my dad’s coaching and birthday parties.  This date was set in stone and was going to happen, and it did.

We reserved three campsites at the family camp ground at Crowder’s Mountain, south of Charlotte.  The sites were secluded, wooded, and convenient.  We had to hike in about a mile in order to get to the campground.  Each family hiked in their supplies and food – of course we got a bit of help from my parents since our three kids couldn’t bring in more than a sleeping bag.  Here we are at the trail head with all of our stuff on our backs.  Eventually Miller ended up on Tom’s back as well.  (I didn’t feel too bad since he is a triathlete and in great shape.)




At the campsite we set up the three tents (one was huge which fit me, Tom, and all the kids).  My dad taught Wilson how to use a pocket knife, the kids collected sticks to roast marshmallows, and then we all just hung out all night.  It was great to get away from the house and the usual rigamarole of family life.  I think we all needed a night to commune with nature and each other.



As to be expected, we all woke up the next morning complaining about how horribly we slept in the tent.  I had a Thermarest but my hips hurt all night long.  I just kept rolling from one side to the other.  Miller slept with me for half of the night.  I don’t know how, but he didn’t move the entire night – slept like a rock.  Sleeping on the ground is probably one of my least favorite things to do, but doing it once a year is worth the sacrifice so that I can spend that time outdoors with my kids and my family.  Even with all of the complaining about how we slept, we all swore that we would do it again next year.

The morning was cool but it warmed up to almost 80 degrees.  Sidney and her family met us at the campsite and hiked up to the top of Crowder’s Mountain with us.  We were quite the group:  16 people in all.  The hike wasn’t too strenuous and the view was worth the trip.  Here are Sidney and I at the top…..


Faith and Jesse….


Here is the whole gang at the top….


Me and my boys…


and me and Faith….


We had such a great time camping and hiking.  The kids were troopers.  It was a lot of walking for the little people, but they did it.  After we hiked back down, we utilized the extra man power and had Bobby and Sidney help carry out the packs while my mom and I walked with the kids back to the Visitors Center.  Thanks Youngs!  It would have been much harder without you.  :)

After camping we all headed over to a greasy spoon to have burgers, fries and icecream.  We were tired!!  It was a good tired though.  A tired that made me feel like I did something worthwhile that day.

Family Movie Night

Every weekend we have “movie night”.  Movie night consists of a movie, popcorn and sometimes a pizza.  I typically don’t get too excited about movie night because it is usually a kid movie that I have seen a couple of times already or it just isn’t a very good movie.  Some movies we have seen lately are Rango, Superman 2, and Nut Job.  Last month I introduced the kids to Disney’s “Escape to Witch Mountain”.  I remember loving this movie as a child.  It is about two kids that are really aliens and they are trying to get home.  The movie definitely doesn’t have the special effects of today’s movies, but the kids loved it.  They watched it over and over again.

Tonight we watched our family’s favorite TV show – Survivor!  The kids love to watch the show because of the games and challenges.  Tom and I have been watching Survivor together for years now.  It is nice to be able to watch a TV show together as a family and have everyone enjoy it (and by “everyone”, I mean me).   We all sat together on the couch, ate popcorn, and watched the show.  The kids watched the entire thing, even Miller.  I look forward to spending this time with the kids each week.  Faith sat in my lap while Wilson snuggled in next to me.  It was fun to be together, sharing the same interest, and talking about the show as it was going on.  I was even able to snap a family selfie….


Fun, Busy Day

We had quite a lot of fun on Sunday. We started off the day by going to Doug’s church with his family and my parents. He has been going to Warehouse 242 for five years and they wanted to pray for him before he moved to Maryland this Thursday. Jacqueline got accepted to the PhD program at the University of Maryland. She will be studying English Literature. Doug accepted a job up there and starts work next Monday. We will be very sad to see them go. After church I thought it would be a good idea to get a picture of us all. Unfortunately all we had was a cell phone to take the picture….



As usual, after every serious picture there is a silly picture….



On Saturday, we bought Wilson a new bike hoping that it would inspire him to learn how to ride a two wheeler….it worked! He jumped right on it and rode off.   Now that he can ride a two wheeler, we can ride together on the Greenway at the base of our neighborhood.  In honor of Wilson’s new found skill, we packed a lunch and the kids rode their bikes down the Greenway with Tom.  I drove to meet them at the park with the lunch so that we could get home easier if needed.  Today he rode the two miles down the Greenway to the lake and back (four miles total). I was super impressed.  We played down at the lake, watched the geese, ate lunch and had some good, old fashioned family time.



Here is Wilson on his new bike.  If he turns the right handle grip it revs up like a motorcycle….


After bike riding we headed to the pool for an hour or so.  The outdoor pool is open only on the weekends right now, but will open up daily starting next week.  It is supposed to be in the high 80s this whole week.  After the pool we hit the playground for an hour to meet up with some friends from church and have some ice-cream.  We would have stayed longer except there was camping to be done!!

Believe it or not, the day is still not over!!  Tom set up the tent in the backyard for the kids to sleep in with him that night.  (I don’t sleep in tents.  My sleep is too precious to be disrupted up by sleeping outside on the hard ground).  We had a small campfire, ate outside, and watched the sun go down.  Living with a backyard that is so heavily wooded makes it easy for us to feel as if we are really camping.  We did a lot of fun things Sunday.  Tom said that he only gets one or two days a week to spend with the kids and he was going to squeeze in as many fun things as he could.  He succeeded!


Beach Trip: Day 1-2

We left to go to Murrell’s Inlet in South Carolina on Saturday morning for our yearly family beach trip.  This trip includes our family, my parents and Doug’s family.  We always rent a house right on the beach.  Because it is much, much cheaper to go before Memorial Day, we decided to take Faith out of school for a week and go now instead of after school lets out in two weeks.  Seeing that it is only kindergarten I didn’t have much of a problem doing so.  Saturday morning we left around 11:00am – after I taught water aerobics, Wilson had soccer and Faith had auditions for her camp this summer.  It was a busy morning, but we got it all done (I had been packing all week).

We met Doug, his kids, my parents and Grandmama at the Strawberry Festival at McLeod’s Farm on the way to the beach.  We picked strawberries, ate lunch, ate ice-cream, and the kids bounced on the bouncy castles.  After we had our fun there, we loaded up and continued on our way to the beach.  Here are some Strawberry Festival pictures.






The house is great!  This year we had to get a different house than last year, but it is even better.  This one has a swing set and a fenced in back yard.  We eventually had to rig a baby gate up on the walkway to the beach because Miller and Shepherd kept going down the walkway to the beach by themselves. Not good!

It has been so much fun to see the excitement that the kids have for being at the beach.  Miller was so in awe of the ocean when he first saw it.  He looked at it in amazement and said, “That’s big water!”  He was right.  The whole first day, he and Shepherd ran back and forth picking up shells and then throwing them into the water.   The weather has been a bit chilly in the mornings, but that hasn’t stopped the kids from going into the water anyway.  The kids keep playing in the water, getting cold, going to take a bath, and then drying off only to go straight back to the beach again.  It is almost comical.

The most amazing thing that I have seen so far, which is scary but fascinating at the same time, is sharks.  They were not in front of our house, but were down under the pier which is about two miles away.   Jacqueline’s sister, Monique, and I were looking off of the pier yesterday afternoon and saw more than eleven sharks swimming underneath us. It was crazy!!  The sharks were circling around waiting for the fishermen to either throw back fish or steal what was on their hooks.  They weren’t small sharks either.  Most of them were 6-8 foot Black Tip sharks.  I had never seen sharks in the wild before.  It was truly frightening, but I have been back to see them again.  Thankfully, no one has been bitten here in years.  I have decided that these sharks are like pigeons:  they go where the food is given to them and they go back daily and never want to leave.  Hey…maybe all of the sharks around here are actually down at the pier getting fed instead of out in the water where we swim.  That thought makes me feel better. I have to say that I am thankful that the water is too cold for us to swim out in this year.  I don’t have to worry about it.

Overall, we have had a very enjoyable first couple of days.  It was a bit windy yesterday so we didn’t play on the beach much, but we stayed entertained riding bikes, playing games, going to the pier and playing on the swing set.  Today is supposed to be warmer.