27 November 2011

Meal Planning (Week of 27 Nov 2011)

Ugh, I have been eating whatever I want and even tough I'm running 20 miles a week the scale shows it. Maybe I didn't need to have a cheeseburger, bratwurst AND hotdog at the tailgate yesterday. Time to plan some healthy meals.

Sunday: Going to try making this meatloaf recipe with turkey instead of beef and individual sizes so they will cook faster. We'll see how this goes. + a bag of steamed veggies with rice

Monday: Mustard roasted salmon + couscous with tomato, cucumber and feta

Tuesday: Chicken, artichoke and spinach calzone (from cook's country) with marinara sauce

Wednesday: Chicken Picatta

Thursday: Prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin with herb pan sauce (from cook's country) + steamed veggies

11 October 2011

Our new deck!

Old deck gone. You can see the old patio and bricks they had.

Patio and bricks gone.
New patio.
Deck going up.
Arbor with end cuts
Ta da! We ate breakfast lunch and dinner on the new deck on Sunday with the beautiful weather we've been having!
We are still going to have the concrete stained and have some landscaping to do but other than that it is awesome!

Meal Planning (Week of 09 October)

Sunday - We grilled on our new deck (pictures coming soon) to celebrate my mom's 59th birthday

Monday - Anna had a cheerleading clinic so I fed them Subway

Tuesday - Steak Salad

Wednesday - Lasagna Rollups + Garlic bread

Thursday - Homemade Pizza

Friday - Anna is performing at the football game so we will probably eat something quick

04 October 2011

Louisburg Cider Fest - Review

On Saturday I was looking for something to take the kids to, to spend some time with them since I'd been gone the previous weekend to the wedding and one night during the week for the soccer game for work.

I had heard about the Cider Festival in Louisburg Kansas and my parents decided to join me and the kids for an outing.

I would not recommend making the trip. First of all, it is located right next to a wastewater lagoon. So it smells. Like a pig farm.

Next, it is a little confusing because one side has a pumpkin patch and hay rides and you can pay $8 per person plus more for the pumpkins. The other side of the lagoon has Cider Fest. Cider Fest is just a bunch of small tents in a row of locals selling their MLM businesses like Pampered Chef, Watkins Spices, etc. We tried to wait for the balloon guy but he was MIA. We started to wait in line for face painting until I realized it was $10 a face. We listened to a blue grass band while my parents waited at least 15 minutes in line to get hot dogs because there weren't enough food vendors.

Finally, if you want to be surrounded by bees order a cup of cider. We walked through the cider mill but no one was there explaining the process and really it just looked dirty and unsanitary and I really didn't want to try any cider after that.

We left.

We stopped by the Arts Fest at the Overland Park Arboretum on the way back. We should have just gone there instead. We arrived at 3 and it was going to be closing at 4. Luckily it lasted until more like 4:30 so the kids were able to make several crafts and get a hay ride. It was only $6 per person so it was a little cheaper.

Not a very fulfilling weekend but lesson learned. No need to go to Louisburg. Johnson Farms is wayyyy better.

02 October 2011

A Month of Dinners - Days Three, Four and Five

Day three of a month of dinners which I started last week was Pork Chops with roasted beets and oranges. I confirmed that I do not like my oranges hot. The kids confirmed they don't like beets. Again I felt like this meal needed a starch so I also made some couscous. The pork chops were actually fine. Thank god. So everyone got to eat something. The kids referred to it as steak and dipped it in A1.

At this point I feel like I have to write that I promise, my kids really aren't picky eaters. They usually try everything, they even like salad, brussel sprouts and soup. I swear I didn't say anything to discourage them on the beets. By this time they had started complaining about dinner. They were forcing themselves to eat it because they know they don't get dessert without eating a good dinner, but even I was having a hard time encouraging them to eat something that I know doesn't taste good.

Strike three and I'm annoyed.

Wednesday I ended up having to go to a soccer game to entertain a client. I believe Kevin made the kids pizza rolls. I'm sure if you asked them it was the best meal they ate all week.

Day four of meal planning was Chicken with potatoes, bacon and cabbage. My first clue should have been that the chicken was only seasoned with salt and pepper.

I now know that I do not like cabbage cooked in three tablespoons of apple vinegar and a tablespoon of whole grain mustard. I must say that my meal did not even closely resemble the picture.

I wasn't having a very good night. I had gotten some unexpected news at work. Kevin was not in a good mood. I burnt the bacon because I was busy chopping cabbage, so I had to do that part over. It tasted better when I mixed all three items together, but of course the kids wanted to eat them separately and alone they were not good.

I believe this is the night Carter commented "Mommy, you used to make good dinners." Yes, yes I did.

At this point I had one recipe left. Tortellini with squash, mushrooms and fontina. How badly could they screw up tortellini I thought. Tonight I felt compelled to use the produce I had bought so I peeled and chopped the squash and mixed it with the mushrooms and started roasting them while I waited for my water to boil. I could smell the mushrooms and to be honest, I don't really like mushrooms. The more I checked them the more I knew no one was going to eat them. I turned the oven off, pulled them out and dumped them down the garbage disposal.

Then I made garlic bread, a salad and added a jar of pasta sauce to my tortellini. Carter told me it was the "best meal ever" although to be fair he has said this many times over (just not in the past week ha!).

So that was that. We are now back on track. I am done with this Real Simple plan. I'm convinced none of the recipes were tested by working moms or on kids.

This week's meal plan:

Sunday: Tortellini with salad and garlic bread
Monday: Turkey tacos with homemade guacamole
Tuesday: Pasta with leftover chicken apple sausage
Wednesday: We are hoping our new deck will be done and we are grilling ribeyes + potatoes
Thursday: Grilled barbecue chicken + sides ?

And I think we are going back to the Cook's Country Recipes we were using more frequently months ago. I may even pay for access to the site so I don't have to keep the magazines piled up.

Carter Plays Royals Baseball

This summer every night Carter asked to go outside to play baseball. Every night. I must have pitched a thousand balls and Kevin must have played hours of catch.

Anna took these videos so we could capture Carter announcing himself as each Royals player when he bats. You can see me pitching in my work clothes and Baxter helping to fetch the balls (he is handy that way... except when Carter hits them past the invisible fence line).

He says he's going to be a baseball player when he grows up. If it comes true I'm sure this video will be played more later than it will now.

Cooking with Carter (Real Simple's A Month of Dinners - Day Two)

Day two of A Month of Dinners from Real Simple was Tomato Soup with Paninis. Carter chose to help me make this meal. I edited 45 minutes of video into 9 that I've named "Cooking with Carter." I personally think his commentary on the whole meal is hysterical. He frequently breaks into song. If you can get past the fact that you have to stare at my mid section for most of the video (and that's not my best section) and all the crap on my counter in the background, then I think it's worth it.

If Real Simple's goal is "taking back dinner" then mission accomplished because Carter and I definitely enjoyed cooking together.

Unfortunately the reviews of the meal weren't as good as the reviews of making the meal. Several times Carter exclaims "This HAS to be better than last night" and while Kevin and I agreed it was an improvement over day 1 the kids did not agree. They didn't like the sandwiches grilled - they claimed they were burnt. They weren't burnt but it's clear they prefer their sandwiches cold and if I was going to make cold sandwiches this meal would have been a lot faster and simpler to just make some turkey or roast beef sandwiches. The soup was ok but not as good as Nordstrom cafe's tomato soup and so I would just recommend picking up a jar of that and heating it at home to go with some cold sandwiches if you wanted to make this meal. Or go with simple grilled cheese. Way faster and easier and everyone would have liked it more.

Strike two.

25 September 2011

The Wedding

My cousin's wedding in Estes Park was one of the best weddings I've been to. Of course it had this gorgeous backdrop

And she was beautiful

It had a few firsts for me.

The first wedding I've been to where the bride didn't walk down the aisle to the typical wedding march. The first wedding I've been to that didn't have a flower girl or ring bearer. And the first wedding reception I've been to that had a surprise flash mob.

Surprise Flash Mob at Wedding Reception from Cara on Vimeo.

My cousin made all of the centerpieces which were very personal (she works in the film industry)

In addition to those paper flowers she also made all of the ones in this wreath

Not to mention the 100+ cupcakes she baked (the pumpkin with cream cheese icing was my favorite). She put Martha Stewart to shame.

I wore a new dress by Suzi Chin for Maggie Boutique. I had never bought this brand before. I ordered it online and it arrived the day before we left. Luckily it fit. I originally found it on Nordstrom's but then found it for half the price on Blue Fly. Ahh, the benefits of shopping on the internet if you have the time to find what you want and then search for it for cheaper. I don't think I have anything in this color but I decided I really like it.

All in all it was a nice weekend getaway.

A Month of Dinners - Day One

With my recent traveling I picked up the latest Real Simple magazine that touted it's Month of Dinners on the cover. I followed a similar article nearly 10 years ago that I loved so I was excited to try this one.

As soon as we got back from our trip to Colorado today I grabbed the preprinted grocery list and headed out. Day one is Salmon With Gingery Green Beans and Bok Choy

Real Simple is blogging about it here as well.

I would not make this recipe again. Granted I bought frozen salmon and I think that was my first mistake but the fresh salmon had all been cut up and only had ends left over that didn't look appealing. And I think I overcooked it. I drowned it in soy sauce in order to eat it. The kids wouldn't touch the vegetables. And I thought it needed a starch so I made a box of rice which was the only thing anyone ate.

Let's hope day two is better!

23 September 2011

Hello from colorado

I am writing this on kevin's iPad from Estes park Colorado. We are here for my cousin's wedding tomorrow. We are staying at a motel that only has 6 rooms but it has been updated so it is actually really nice.

We walked around downtown before our room was ready. It is perfect for women in their 50's who want to buy another cloth patterned bag and bear decorations for their guest bedroom back home that has a lodge theme.

It reminds me a lot of lake Tahoe... Earthy, outdoorsy, organicy. I am not one with nature. I have allergies and my asthma is bothering me a little bit with the altitude. I forgot an albuterol inhaler somehow and our rental car has had a smoker in it. As much as they tried to mask it by vacuuming and air freshener I noticed it immediately. I like to look at the mountains I just don't feel the desire to be in them. All those family vacations when we used to drive for hours remind me of how carsick I can get. Hence the reason I prefer to fly everywhere. But only on large planes. Those small ones make me super sick too. Ah I'm such a high maintenance traveler. But I'm good once I reach my final destination.

I got an hour nap in. Much needed sleep after the recent conference at exacthtarget and no catch up since. Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow!

19 September 2011

September Meal Planning (week of 18 September 2011)

Sunday - leftovers from company picnic
Monday - Chicken fried steak
Tuesday - Country Captain Chicken with White and Wild Rice
Wednesday - I can't remember now...
Thursday - Corn Chowder from Help My Apartment Has a Kitchen

Last week I was in Indianapolis so Kevin was on his own all week with the kiddos. I imagine they had frozen pizza, chinese food and take out pizza.

05 September 2011

Meal Planning (Week of 04 Sep 2011)

Sunday - Kabobs + Salad
Monday - Taco Soup
Tuesday - Steak Salad
Wednesday - Brats + sides
Thursday - TBD
Friday - Eat Out

21 August 2011

Meal Planning (week of 21 August 2011)

This week I have some traveling for work so we need quick and easy dinners.

Sunday - either homemade or frozen pizza
Monday - cheeseburgers and/or hot dogs and/or brawts + chips and dip
Tuesday - tortellini + garlic ciabatta bread or salad
Wednesday - BLTs + fries
Thursday - Tacos or taco soup? still deciding

14 August 2011

Meal Planning (week of 14 August 2011)

I only have to plan 3 meals this week due to weekday activities.

Sunday - Stuffed shells with bruschetta
I have a secret ingredient when I make bruschetta: cream cheese. First I mix up a can of petite diced tomatoes with basil, red onion and olive oil. Slice a baguette, brush with olive oil, spread a layer of cream cheese, top with the tomato mixture and toast in the over until warm. Deliciousness! I buy the frozen V's shells, top with a jar of sauce and mozzarella and bake. Easy peasy so I can do a little work on the bruschetta.

Monday - Eat on the go

Tuesday - Grilled chicken and corn salad

Wednesday - Royals

Thursday - Turkey Taco Salad

Friday - Eat Out

07 August 2011

Meal Planning (week of 07 August 2011)

Sunday - Spaghetti with meat sauce + salad

Monday - Order pizza

Tuesday - Fajitas + Guac (using steak we had frozen)

Wednesday - Greek chicken pitas + hummus (I have greek seasoning I add to chicken, top with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives except for kevin. Then I'll make a tzatiki sauce with plain yogurt, cucumber, garlic and a little citrus in the food processor)

Thursday - TBD

31 July 2011

Meal Planning (week of 01 August 2011)

Sunday - Ravioli with zuchinni + salad (we have zuchinni from the garden)

Monday - Homemade tomato soup (made Sunday, served cold) + Grilled cheese sammies (we have LOTS of tomatoes in the garden)

Tuesday - Salmon + Green beans + couscous (we have salmon in the freezer from when I bought extra when it was on sale)

Wednesday - Grilled buttermilk chicken
(we have chicken thighs in the freezer) + tomato-mozzarella salad

Thursday - Royals game

25 July 2011

iPhone 3GS Stolen at Gap Kids at Town Center Plaza in Leawood KS

So I had a little drama this weekend. Anna, Carter, my mother-in-law and I were shopping at Gap Kids. Carter was in the stroller and I had parked it kind of out of the way so I could look at the sale rack on the girls side of the store. When I turned around from the sale wall I noticed a guy standing at the table of girls knit capris. He was tall, thin, dark skinned, maybe Indian, short black hair. I noticed and thought to myself, that's weird that he doesn't have any kids with him in here.

Then Carter needed to go to the bathroom. He had been in the stroller playing a game on my iPhone. I took the phone, pushed the button on top to turn it off and sat it right on top of the stroller. My MIL and Anna were still shopping right around the stroller so I didn't think anything about it. I took Carter to the bathroom in back. We talked about the game he was playing on the phone.

As soon as we came back I noticed it was gone. So was that guy. But I just couldn't believe someone would steal my phone. So we used my MIL's phone to call it. Nothing. I looked around. We checked the bathroom but I just knew I had left it on the stroller. I actually went outside and looked around for that guy.

We came back in and I asked them to call security. They brought me the number and I used my MIL's phone to call mall security. I asked the Gap lady about the security cameras.

"Oh those don't actually record anything." Apparently they are just for looks. Helpful.

Mall security came and then Leawood police came and I filed a report. Then we walked down and around the corner to the ATT store and had them turn off my service. I went to Apple after that but the only way to get a new phone was to use my upgrade. I didn't want to waste my upgrade on the iPhone 4 when the 5 is rumored to come out in September. I went home empty-handed and actually went phone-less for 48 hours.

Which seemed like a long time. I realized how addicted I am to my phone. I use it to check the time. For the calculator. To check my calendar in the morning to see if I need to dress up. To check the weather. It seems so cumbersome to boot up the laptop to do these things, ha!

So today at work while I was still complaining about having my phone stolen and beating myself up for leaving it on my stroller with some creepy guy there who was probably scoping out little boys, my boss mentioned that there was an extra iPhone 3 somewhere. It makes a funny buzzing noise but it works. Awesome.

So tonight I am syncing my laptop with this borrowed iPhone until the 5 comes out and I can use my upgrade. Perfect. Made my Monday a little better :)

Meal Planning (week of 24 July 2011)

I realized I should mention that while I plan each week's meals, things don't always go according to plan. Things frequently don't go according to plan. I will switch days around, or insert a take out meal if the day gets bad. Sometimes there are bad days if you know what I mean.

For example, last week I forgot I had to go to Colorado and back on Tuesday so I didn't get home until around 6:45 that night. Since I left the house at 4:30 am I didn't start the pork in the crock pot :) So instead of pulled pork sandwiches on Tuesday Kevin made the kids hamburgers. That meant we didn't have sliders on Wednesday. Instead I made BLTs and the corn tomato avocado side from Tuesday's plan. I think we had the chicken parmesan earlier in the week rather than later. Bottom line - we didn't have the grean bean side at all and we didn't have the pulled pork sandwiches until yesterday (Sunday of this week)

All of the recipes were okay. Would I make any of them again? Probably not. I find that with most recipes I make. They aren't bad. They just aren't amazing. At least they are something different.

I had high hopes for the pulled pork. It was good but it was hard to pull it. Kevin said that meant it probably got too hot too fast. The coleslaw was good on the sandwich but I wouldn't eat it by itself. With a tablespoon of tobasco it tasted too much like tobasco by itself to me.


This week's menu has already had an adjustment :)

Sunday - those pulled pork sandwiches planned for last week
Monday - planned steak salad (leftover from steak with Kevin's parents when they visited on Saturday) but I had to go to an appointment and didn't get home until after 7. My mom picked up and fed the kids and Kevin made frozen pizza for us
Tuesday - will actually have the steak salad
Wednesday - Chicken enchiladas + guac
Thursday - spaghetti with sausage sauce

Friday we always eat out. Saturday we usually grill with friends. Those are my standing weekend meals :)

What are you eating this week? Do you have any great sites you use for recipes?

17 July 2011

Meal Planning

I think I will start posting my meal planning recipes as a blog entry on Sunday and then keep it on the side of the blog to follow along for the week. This could be a recurring Sunday post then and I could follow up on recipes from the previous week. I'll try it and see how it goes :)

Steak Salad (using leftover grilled steak from late last week)

Roasted corn quesadillas

Pulled pork sandwiches
Corn tomato avocado salad

Sliders + Green bean salad

Chicken Parmesan but I will use some breaded chicken tenders I have from Schwanns to save time

Found and saved for later
BLT Pasta side

12 July 2011

Annual BFF Outlet Mall Shopping Trip

Every year Candi and I make a spring trip to the Osage Beach outlet mall in Missouri. It takes about three hours to get there from KC but is so worth the road trip. It's also good for 6 hours of girl time in the car! This year's trip was captured on video. Let's just say we're good for the economy.
(note: the beginning is dark because I'm driving. and it's so early the sun isn't up. no, i'm not holding the camera while I drive :)

Annual BFF Outlet Mall Shopping Trip from Cara on Vimeo.

(includes the Starbucks video clip at the end. if you watch this version there's no need to watch the stand-alone version in the following post)

11 July 2011

Starbucks - Beloved Cake Pop

Candi and I were headed back after getting up very early for our annual BFF road trip to the outlet mall where we shopped till we almost dropped. It was time for a pick-me-up... we may have been a little slap happy.

Starbucks and the beloved cake pop from Cara on Vimeo.

B2 Flyover - Royals Opening Day 2011

Their timing was off - came long after the anthem was over. We had decided they weren't going to have one since it was cloudy - but alas it arrived. A great benefit of being so close to Whiteman Airforce base that I cherish every year on opening day.

B2 bomber fly over on Royals openind day 2011 from Cara on Vimeo.

10 July 2011

Baxter in the garden

This is from March I think, when Baxter discovered compost is buried in the garden. "Mom, these eggshells are delicious, especially in the rain."

Baxter in the garden from Cara on Vimeo.

Who wants to read more blog posts?

Apparently working five days a week makes it nearly impossible for me to blog. I'm such a slacker. So much to post. I plugged in the Flip and realized I haven't video edited since last year. Here's what's on the Flip

Baxter in the garden
Royals opening day
BFF trip to the outlet mall
Trip to San Antonio including Sea World

The Flip was so dead it took 30 minutes to charge up before I could even look at the videos.

Some are short and some are long and a few really made me laugh out loud. So look for new posts including videos and pictures and more scans of the kids art.

14 June 2011

Anna Signs

I really enjoy some of the artwork Anna has been making. Like this one about her summer camp class at daycare...

Or these, that she wrote to me a few weeks ago when she had a really bad toothache. It turned out she actually had two teeth where the nerve went bad and they had abscessed. One already had a root canal and the other one already had a filling, so we ended up having those two teeth pulled. She has since also lost her two front top teeth. So there are a lot of holes in her mouth right now. This letter and drawing are really pathetic and I felt so bad that she was in so much pain that weekend.

She also makes a lot of signs and tapes them to her bedroom door. Like these two for her brother.

Oh the joys of having a little brother, ha!

13 June 2011

Our US Airways - Delta debacle in Kauai

*Warning: this post is long. But here's the whole saga of how we tried to get home after our vacation*

We were scheduled to come home leaving on Friday night June 3rd at 10:00 pm Hawaii time. We had a late checkout at 2 and then we had been killing time by going to Spouting Horn and the botanical gardens. We decided to head towards the airport at checkout the Kilohana plantation - I had seen that they had train rides and that sounded like something to do.

We arrived and it was busy. Very busy. Apparently there was a luau about to happen and the train was boarding. It was about 5:20. We debated on whether or not to ride the train but decided against it because of the cost. We moseyd over to the planation house and were invited to do a rum tasting that was about to begin. I like rum. Sounded like a great idea.

We had just finished the rum tasting and were browsing the gift shop when I got a text from my mom that said she got a call and they had cancelled our flight.

I honestly thought they were joking and texted back something like "why would they call you?"

"Good question" she wrote back. I literally thought she hadn't thought her joke through and laughed it up with Kevin.

A few minutes later I got a text from the airline. The flight had in fact been cancelled. Thank god I just did two shots of rum.

Instead of purchasing our gift shop items we headed out to our rented Jeep. I called the number (Call #1 to US Airways). A nice woman informed me that flight 47 was cancelled and we could be rescheduled on the same flight on Saturday night (24 hours later). I told her we might just go to the airport. I asked if there was anything else leaving on a different airline. She hesitated. Um, let me check something. I don't remember exactly what she checked but she said there wasn't anything available. We agreed to reserve seats on the next flight out on Saturday night so that we had something and that we would go to the airport to see about getting something earlier.

Our flight wasn't until 10 pm and it was about 5:45. We thought we had plenty of time.

We arrived at the airport and found the US Airways ticket counter was closed. The sign says they open 3 hours before the next flight leaves. Only one other couple was in line.

I called US Airways again (call #2). I asked about being rebooked on another airline. A woman helping me was looking up and found another flight option. Apparently in order to rebook your flight on a different airline they have to put you on hold and then call the other airline on another phone line. I approved another flight option and she put me on hold to make the reservation. After about fifteen minutes of holding a man answered from the other airline. Somehow I had accidentally been transferred to the other airline. He said there was no way to transfer me back to US Airways and he couldn't make the reservation for me, US Airway had to do it. I had no choice but to hang up after that wasted time and call back.

I called again (call #3) slightly frustrated this time. I explained my situation again and again a woman looked up alternate flight options. She found one on Delta leaving at 8:45 (actually leaving earlier than our original flight) and arriving around 4pm on Saturday (about 3 hours after our original flight). Sounds good. We booked it over the phone.  She gave me a confirmation number AND our two TICKET numbers. This took about 30 minutes. So it was about 6:15 around this time.

We headed over to return the Jeep at the rental car place. We had to stop and fill up with gas first. We took care of that and headed back to the airport. I called my mom to tell her we would be getting home a few hours later. It was about midnight in KC when I called. Sorry, mom. It must have been around 7 Kauai time because the US Airways desk was open now and the first couple that was in line when we arrived earlier were the only ones being helped.

We tried to check in at the kiosk for Delta. It told us to see an agent. Uh oh. One Delta agent went ahead and tagged our bags. "See you at Gate 7" she said. She then instructed us to stand there (away from the Delta desk) while the ticketing agent worked on our boarding passes. She then took off to go work at the gate to take tickets.

We waited. And waited. And waited. Something about the phone agent not "pushing" the tickets from US Airways to Delta. The ticketing agent was able to work both Delta and US Airways counters and they were connected right next to each other, so she kept going back and forth, back and forth. Then she would make a phone call. We waited. We watched more passengers show up for the US Airways flight to find out it was cancelled. We watched the US Airways ticketing agents rebook people on the next day's US Air flight. Meanwhile the Delta line began to back up. The agent working our tickets started to help some of the passengers waiting for Delta because we were not standing right in front of her desk and she was waiting for the US Airways ticketing agent to do something in the computer.

I walked up to her and interrupted "Are you still working on our tickets?" Yes, she said. She had one done but she was still working on the other one. We waited.

It then become apparent she was also helping another family that appeared to be in our same situation. I confirmed again that she was still working on ours too. Yes, she said.

We waited. She helped a few more Delta passengers. I finally walked up and asked her if we were going to make the flight. I was starting to get nervous because it was about 8 pm now and the flight was beginning to board, but we hadn't gone through security yet. She said we still had 30 minutes.

Finally she "split" our tickets and was able to do whatever she needed and printed our boarding passes.

We gave our luggage to security and went through security. We were in zone 4 boarding and they were only boarding zone 1 so I used the bathroom.

We finally were boarding and handed our tickets over. The scanner beeped strangely and they asked us to step aside. Double uh oh. They looked at us and knew exactly who we were from the ticket counter. The woman who had tagged our luggage was the one scanning tickets.

A woman was on the phone standing at the ticketing podium where they scan the tickets. They were also having some sort of issue. She was arguing with the Delta agents who were trying to use their cell phones to call someone about that family's problem. Everyone in the boarding area was now on the plane except for us, the family with the woman on the phone, and the standby passengers.

They start calling standby passenger names. I protest. They suddenly "fix" whatever the problem was with the family on the phone. She takes their boarding passes but doesn't try to scan them I notice. Then they aren't sure if anyone is in our seats. They're not really sure why our tickets won't scan. She sends one of the agents onto the plane to see if anyone is in our seats.

We wait. It is now 8:30 or so.

She comes back and says the seats are empty. Then the agent starts calling the standby passenger names. She essentially says they don't have time and that are tickets haven't been pushed to them by US Airways. "But YOU did the moving. You worked on it for two hours. What else could we have done? Who is going to watch my kids? Now everyone else is booked on the other flights and I won't be able to get out." She said it needed more time. More than two hours? But you helped other passengers while we waited! She says she's sorry but clearly she didn't care. She called all the standby names and they gave our seats away right in front of us. Then they closed the door. And I just cried and cried cause I knew there was nothing else leaving that night. "But my luggage is on that flight" I cried.

Then they sent us back to the US Airways counter because that is who our original flight was with. I began tweeting my anger and frustration.

We arrived back at US Airways and again, they recognized our name. Uh oh, they said, look who it is. She tried to "take the tickets back" from Delta (although I thought that Delta didn't have the tickets and that's why we couldn't board, but whatever). She messed something up and had to call the help desk. Finally they got it straightened out and rebooked us on a flight at 9pm on Saturday night on US Airways. They gave us a hotel and meal vouchers. If we wanted to rebook on another airline we had to call. They gave us a business card (same number I had already called three times and the instructions I followed to do so earlier, which didn't work out for me). Delta replied to one of my tweets but I let them know we were trying to work it out with US Airways. I filled out a customer service form on both Delta and US Airways sites via my iphone. US Airways replied that they would contact me within 4-6 business days.

We waited for the airport shuttle.

The Kauai Beach Resort gave us toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant. We went up to the room. I was too upset to sleep. We decided to pay for internet access and starting looking for other flights. We found quite a few that were available. If we could get to either Honolulu or LA we could get to KC somewhat reasonably. American Airlines had quite a few flights.

I called again (call #4 to US Airways). He knew right away we were trying to rebook from flight #47. Apparently he had done quite a few. I specifically asked about a few flight numbers on American from Kauai to LA, LA to Dallas and Dallas to KC. He put me on hold and called them to ask. But then he came back and said there weren't any seats available on the flight from LA to Dallas. Okay. I hung up and went to bed.

I woke up at 3 am to a rooster outside. They are everywhere in Kauai but I really wanted to kill that one. I realized it was about 8 am in KC so I called my parents to let them know we were not on our way home. I went back to bed.

At about 8 am I got up and started looking for flights again. I found a few more options on American via the Orbitz site. I called again (call #5!). "I can tell there are seats available on Orbitz" I said. We got rebooked at 2pm.

Kevin took a shower but I declined. I didn't have a hairbrush. I washed my face. Luckily I had a hat in my bag and my contact lens case because I thought I would sleep on the airplane the night before. Kevin had a carry on bag with him but it was full of dirty clothes. I considered buying a cheap swimsuit at the gift shop to lay out.

We went to breakfast and used all of our meal vouchers in one sitting. We had two $5 vouchers for breakfast, two $5 vouchers for lunch and two $10 vouchers for dinner. You couldn't even buy cereal on the menu for $5. We spent $30 on breakfast and then walked around their pool and headed to the airport. Checkout was noon so we didn't really have anything to do anyway.

I wasn't optimistic that this would work. We checked in at the kiosk and it told us to see the ticketing agent. Uh oh. We told him our sob story. Oh yes, I know what to do he said very confidently.

He wrote a bunch of numbers down and apologized for talking to himself. Then he said it was all fixed and he printed our boarding passes. But I wasn't going to get excited until I was on the plane and pushed away from the gate.

Miraculously it worked. But the flight schedule sucked. I slept maybe two hours on the flight from LA to Dallas, and the whole flight from Dallas to KC (which isn't very long). I really wanted a donut from Dunkin Donuts when we got to Dallas. But I didn't want to talk to anyone.

I was happy to be home but it was a day later. We arrived at KCI at 8:45 am on Sunday. Exhausted. We went by my mom's and picked up the kids. We came home and Kevin immediately slept. I went and picked up the dogs and then went grocery shopping. I got the kids a pool because it was so hot. Hotter than Hawaii. They played in the pool, I sat in a chair and drank a red bull. Kevin mowed the grass. And then I fell asleep in the chair. I moved to the couch inside and then I napped.

I'm still not sure I've recovered on the sleep schedule. I don't know if the whole fiasco was US Airways fault or Delta's fault. I think it is shitty that they will not rebook you on another airline in person, that you have to do it over the phone, but that the phone people don't know how to do it right, so then it tied up the ticket counter anyway, and then it didn't even work. The whole system seems inefficient. Why do they have to put you on hold and call to see if a flight is available on the other airline and then rebook you. Hello, 21st century, can we not do this online somehow? I had to be my own advocate. I feel sorry for old people or even my parents who probably would not have been able to figure this out. How is this right? I still have never heard from US Airways even after my tweets and customer service form.

I followed all of their instructions and none of it worked for me. I was patient, I didn't cause a scene like some passengers when they learned their flight was cancelled. But none of it paid off for me. Where did it get me? They were never forthcoming to find an alternate flight for me. Thank god I had internet access. I have every app downloaded from every airline now. I had to find my own flights.

On American. Who was at least able to get me a ticket to board a plane to get home. Thank you at least to that nice young guy at the American counter who knew how to write all the numbers down and process it correctly. Because of you I made it home to my babies.

12 June 2011

Happy 10th Anniversary to us!

Can you believe Kevin and I have been married 10 years?

My scanner isn't doing those pictures any justice. We look so young.

To celebrate we took a trip back to Kauai, which is where we went for our honeymoon.

When we went 10 years ago I lost my voice for the first time in my life. I had gotten sick a few days before the wedding. I accidentally threw my retainers away on the airplane. We stayed at the Sheraton at I remember sleeping a lot. We were exhausted. We took a helicopter trip around the island (I almost threw up), hiked to a hidden beach, and went to Wailua falls.

This time we did a lot more.

First, I should say, we flew to Hawaii for free. My awesome company gave me 2 roundtrip tickets for my five year anniversary (two years ago) of working there. It is supposed to be continental US but they were sweet enough to make an exception. Since we didn't pay for the air fare, Kevin surprised me by upgrading our tickets from Phoenix to Kauai to first class! I actually ended up sleeping a lot (we had gotten up at 3 am to leave). Did you know they use real silverware and dishes in first class? I got a hot meal - that was salmon with a glaze, rice and veggies. I apparently slept through the cheesecake. You get a pillow and a blanket. You get two trays to put stuff on. It really is a sweet deal.

We stayed at the Koa Kea - one of only two five star resorts on the island.

They upgraded us to an awesome suite.

And delivered champagne and flowers to our room.

We of course immediately headed to the beach. Kevin surprised me by giving himself a new wedding ring (he hasn't had one for two years when he lost it).

We saw a monk seal (endangered) on the beach.
View from our balcony.

The next day we drove to the north side of the island. Which required crossing many one lane bridges. Like this one.

We hiked a difficult trail .5 mile and then watch schools of dolphins swimming in the ocean, one of them doing flips in the air.

We did a lot throughout the week.

We went zip lining.

We went on innertubes down the old irrigation tunnels for the old sugar plantations (which don't exist anymore). Sorry no pics of this excursion.

We went kayaking and then hiked to the "secret" waterfall.

We went to Waimea Canyon.

We toured the Coffee Company.
We went to Spouting Horn.
We also snorkeled and I laid by the pool.
We ate at some of the most wonderful restaurants. And got a 50 minute couples massage. I also took a nap one day.

It's hard to complain about Hawaii but it did rain more than I remember, it was very, very windy and the traffic was worse than I remember.

Most people would agree that the worst part about Hawaii is leaving. But in our case that was especially true. Next up I'll tell you about our saga of trying to get home...