Every once in awhile you need to take a break and do something to get yourself refreshed. I did just that this past weekend. Not by laying on the couch for two days watching sports, but rather sitting in a car driving all over Southern California.

@conner_shep27 graduated high school this past spring and accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Florida International University.
As a sendoff, his beautiful parents hosted a graduation/going away party and I used this as an opportunity to take a day off work and get away.

My Friday started off with a 4 1/2 mile walk/jog (I didn’t want to not get my steps in for the day). Next was a quick stop by my mom’s house to pick up a few things…and then I was off.

The night before this journey I got a FaceTime call from my nephew saying he was so excited for me to come visit. He was planning out the entire next day (from when I was to arrive until we had a sleep over in the living room).

So I sent him a message when I was about to leave and wouldn’t you know he texted me making sure I had left when I said I was going to.  Love him!!!

After filling up with gas, I was leaving Vegas headed to 29 Palms (somewhere I had never been).  The three hour drive was uneventful and full of beautiful scenery (some of us don’t mind the lack of green).

It’s trips like this that you know God is watching over and providing for your needs. Once I got to the marine base in 29, I waited for my sister-in-law to meet me and get me registered to drive on base (yes, I did pass the background check).

At this point is when my cup started filling up. As soon as her car was stopped, I opened the back and out jumps little man into my arms and gives me a big hug and kiss. And that’s just the beginning. We got done at the base visitor center and drive to their house where once I sit down and hold his new little brother he asks me if I need anything to drink and I get him to make me a peanut butter sandwich. You have to understand that this boy is spoiled rotten by his aunt so I never thought he would actually make me a sandwich.  Not only did he give me the play by play but wanted to fill the plate with all kinds of other things too.

After relaxing a little, I took a look around the house and come across the calendar and my heart just melted.

 Written in little man’s handwriting on August 7th says:

Auntie Sara comes here!

Who wouldn’t love this kid? And why shouldn’t he be spoiled rotten?

For dinner, Sean and Brenda make a fabulous chicken, rice and corn spread (and we all eat at the table) – how fantabulous. Then comes movie time. Since I hadn’t seen the movie, Home, that is what we watched. The blankets and pillows came out and we were set with our popcorn and sour patch kids.

After the movie, everyone went to bed leaving the boy and me to our little sleepover. He told me that we should watch some Amazing Spider-Man on #netflix and that we could watch 3 episodes (which maybe turned into 5) before going to bed. I fell asleep so who knows how many he really watched, but I do know that he came over to the couch and gave me a kiss and told me he loved me when he finally went to sleep.

Saturday morning I woke up pretty early and thinking that I should get up and go for a walk, I instead laid there looking at my boy sleeping so peacefully while checking out the #facebook world. Eventually I went over and laid with him and when he was done pretending to be asleep,  we had breakfast. His little sister was downstairs by this time and knowing her parents were probably up all night with a 2 1/2 week old, I went into parent mode and got her breakfast and then we went for a walk leaving the boy to his #xbox360.

Once home and showered, it was time to get in the car and head to Upland for the party. What should have been a 2 hour journey turned into almost 3 because Mr. Spoiled Rotten was hungry. I was also in need of something sweet so when he asked what I was hungry for, I said a cookie or something (I had resisted the urge to get one at #Subway earlier when we stopped for lunch). I suggested Baskin Robbins, but he wasn’t too thrilled with that idea and mentioned a convenience store in Vegas that has his favorite rainbow sherbet ice cream. Then I remembered there are Rite Aids in California 😄

JACKPOT!!! Beings how #thriftyicecream is my favorite (found in most Rite Aids), I pulled off the 210 in Riverside and wouldn’t you know, there was a Rite Aid right there. So I’m looking at the ice cream case and I’m not seeing rainbow sherbet. It’s listed as one of their flavors, but when the boy questioned the cashier about it not being in the case, she just said I only have for what’s in here. Now you have to know that that little disappointed look meant that we were just going to have to move on to the next Rite Aid. Rialto Rite Aid didn’t have what he was looking for either. In Fontana, there was enough to scrape half a scoop and the man suggested he could put a different flavor on top. I had nothing better to do to kill time before the party so I told CW that we could go to another one. I was beginning to think there might be a moritorium on rainbow sherbet or something. How could this many stores be out of it? Rancho Cucamonga did not fail me. The Rite Aid on Milliken and Baseline not only had a full tub of rainbow sherbet, but an unopened one underneath that one as well. The boy’s smile was all worth it.

Now he’s rushing me back to the car so we can end this journey already. Me being a little afraid of a 9 year old with an ice cream cone in my car was taking my time, slowly making it out of the store as I #instagram this success. So I just finish uploading the above image when what comes next is downright horror in this boy’s mind. He licks the ice cream right off the cone. And there just outside the entrance of Rite Aid, already melting on the ground, is 2 scoops of rainbow sherbet. He looks at me and starts calling himself clumsy, talking down on himself. All I can say is pick it up dude…we can go in and get another one (I’m hoping you already knew that #AuntieSara was not about to let this minor pitfall ruin the day).

Back inside, we go to the ice cream counter and the lady is a little confused about why we are back. I let her know what happened and she dumbfoundedly responds with the statement, “Yeah that happens a lot. We don’t pack the ice cream down in the cone.” Now I’ve sent the boy to clean his hands and I’m just shaking me heade at this lady. She hands me his ice cream cone and then rings me up for it. Really? Is this some kind of scheme you people pull on kids? Knowing full well that you dont make ice cream cones correctly, you don’t even provide a discount when this happpens. Wow! I chalk it up to ones of those moments in life when you just move on. She insulted my boy asking if he wanted it in  cup this time and then has the nerve to talk to me like I should be on her side. Uhm no.

I meet him over by the bathrooms and after he thanks me, he asks if I had to pay for it again (because, this is my caring little man who owns my heart). I lied. And I would do it again in the same circumstance. We walk out and drive the rest of the way eating our ice cream and I get to hear how his mom can drive and eat so I should be able to too. I love this kid!  Me trying to be a contentious driver turns into him making fun of me. Go figure!

Arriving at the Shepherd’s is always a pleasant experience. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. Kisses and hugs all around. The most fun is seeing who CW can remember. They all want to be the one he can name and in reality, I think there’s just too many aunts, cousins, second cousins and other family members.  So he just gets embarrassed and runs off…which is fine. I really can’t blame him. These women can be vultures when it comes to cute little kids.

The man of the party makes his appearance, looking as tall and handsome as ever. I get a quick shot of the 2 dudes and it’s a whirlwind of an evening after that. Catching up with this crowd makes for an amazing time. Laughs all around (a little commotion involving the local fire department, but that can’t put a complete damper on this event).

CW warms up to some of the other kids, so I stop worrying about his boredom. To the point where he doesn’t want to go home when we were supposed to leave (he had a trip planned the next day to fabulous #BigBear for a week long camp).

My cousins offered their home to us for the night (a whopping 8 hours – maybe less). CW got to play #minecraft with his cousin while I spent some more time chatting and catching up. Once in bed, it was pretty easy to fall asleep. This kid brings a peace over me and it’s like there isn’t a care in the world once I get that good night kiss from him.

I woke up about 6:15 on Sunday ready for a fun-filled morning of driving to #29Palms. And then even more driving back to #Vegas. CW woke up without a fight (miracle in itself). Said his goodbyes and walked out the front door through a few cobwebs (funny for me, not so much for him). It was a quiet, peaceful ride (him trying to fall back asleep and me trying to take in God’s amazing ness – it’s pretty rare that you get to witness a clear #socal morning).

Made it back to Vegas in time to make good on a bet that I had lost (#braves lost their recent series to the #giants, so I owed @ScotchyATS some #chipotle for lunch). Called my mom to let her know I made it back safely and spent the rest of the day watching baseball between catnaps. What more could I ask for in a long weekend? My cup was flowing over.

Often life’s unplanned journeys are some of the most fun.  Thank you Shepherds, Macalusos and Pulvers for your over abundance of love! I always leave wishing I could spend so much more time with you all. Thank you Clouds for allowing CW to go on this adventure with me. Thank you CW for being you. You all brighten my life and I am a better person for having you in my circle of influence!

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