Monday, July 29, 2013

The Great (and random) Giftcard Week

I think I might need to start a new blog.
One just for all of my "traditions".
I'm running out of witty ways to say "every year we..."
But, I just can't help myself.
If it is fun once, surely it will be fun EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. 
(oh wait, i've said that before, too.  shoot.)

Sooooooo, we have a new tradition.
Some might say it was born out of laziness.
I call it survival.
And F-U-N!

We seem to always have this random collection of coupons and giftcards around our house.  Some are random credits left from stores, some random kids meals earned as rewards at school (mostly by KJ), etc.  They never get used by our family.  They are located in any one of approximately 15 locations around our home and vehicles.  I'm sure there is some really creative and organized way I could keep up with them all.  But I'm feeling good to get all of the laundry put away so I'm going to ask you to spare me getting stuck on that part of the story. 

RRL and Cbug were out of town for EIGHT DAYS.  24 meals. 7 bedtimes.  I mean, if I was counting.  And I decided there had to be a way to make the way a little more fun (and maybe a wee bit easier) for the rest of us.  Thus, "Random giftcard week (RGCW)" was born.

I gathered up all of the coupons, credits and giftcards I could find and made a plan to use at least one everyday.  The kids L-O-V-E-D getting to take turns choosing a restaurant based on the coupons.  We did have a couple fails (expired coupons), but overall it was a huge success.  Our week looked a little something like this:

Lou got to use birthday giftcards at Target.  She chose a wedding Repunzal and an Arial.  No shockers there.  The cool part was that KJ was geniunely delighted for her.  He helped her shop and was excited that she was thrilled with her purchases.  What an awesome brother!  Sadly, RGCW was just getting rolling and I didn't think to take any pictures.  In fact, there are several days I missed taking pictures of.  Probably because I was having so much fun.

We also got to use bonus (and fake) coupon of "bring a cantelope, get free dinner cooked for you" when our sweet friends the Senters adopted us for the evening.  They totally kicked the week off on a high note!

It was KJ's turn.  We had several random Walmart giftcards that I let him choose what to get.  He and Cbug have been talking for weeks about getting a badmitton set (which I had to convince them wasn't called "bad men" after they played the first time) and KJ was thrilled about finally getting to bring one home.

You know, not everything about a fantastic tradition is quite a good as you hoped.  Some parts of this week will N-E-V-E-R be repeated.  Like this stop.  The food was bad and the service was terrible.  I love free, but kinda wish I had just thrown this free kids meal in the trash.
Only one member of our family was thrilled.  He happens to love bread in all forms.  Even the dry and burned form apparently.
Luckily we had another coupon to cash in, and the rest of us washed our dinner sorrows away with yummy custard.

SONIC night!  Hooray!  I might have a new obsession in the form of a pretzel dog.  We may or may not have gone for dinner before church and again for dessert after.  And we still had giftcard leftover!  KJ was thrilled to finally get to try a "Summer Shake".  That's some awesome marketing right there that even my seven-year-old could say "There are shakes.  And then there is the summer of shakes".  I didn't have the heart to break it to him that his "Oreo Summer Shake" is available all year.  I hated to squash the joy of RGCW I saw in his eyes.  Part of what made it so glorious for them was that they are so deprived the other 51 weeks of the year (I kid, of course.  Kind of.)

SNOWCONES!  Thanks to the awesome V family for starting a punchcard for us, we only had 4 stamps left before we got one free.  So, we invited a friend to come with KJ and had after dinner treats. 

This was the very best and most anticipated day of all.  KJ earned a six flags pass for all of his reading during the school year.  And Lou and baby C were going to spend time at one of their favorite places, too, the Hatchett house.  While KJ and I were off having a blast they were getting spoiled.  Lou even got to go with Aunt Stacie to get her toenails painted.  And its a good thing she was having so much fun.  Otherwise I might feel a little badly that she missed out on quite possibly one of my favorite parenting days ever.  Seriously.  We had a BLAST.  And I was so proud of KJ.  He rode everything he was tall enough to ride. 

After the first ride we completed, I looked over at him and his face was as white as a sheet. I was certain our day had just come to an abrupt H-A-L-T.  I tried to be positive "Wasn't that fun?!?!?!" but he didn't speak.  Until we got off.  Then he just kept repeating "My skin felt like it was going to crawl right off."  He admitted that he thought it was scary, but that he also really liked it.  And we learned a new word "thrilling" where something is both FUN and SCARY.  And THRILLING was totally cool with him.  So we set off in search of more thrills.  My favorite KJism from the day was at the mid-point on a ride when we reached a bit of a lull, I turned and asked him "How ya doing?" and he responded "Right now I'm terrified, but in five minute I'm going to love this."  He's hilarious, everything is so calculated.
His favorite ride was the one on which we got soaked. I scored some major mom points for being willing to ride it twice. We were DRENCHED. but this face made it totally worth it.

 He did ask me lots of safety questions all day.  Measured himself on everysingleride.  Checked and rechecked the saftey harnesses once he was buckled and reminded me to buckle mine.  But he still did it.  It was so good for both of us.  He trusted me.  I lead him to some "thrills" and safely back to the car when it was over.  He probably said "thank you" no less than a million times and told me it was his very favorite day ever.  And I later heard him tell Cbug, "When you get to go to Six flags, you need to know that you might be a little scared.  But I can assure you, it will also be the most fun you've ever had.  And that's called thrilling." 

On Saturday I double failed at the gift cards.  Actually triple failed.  I forgot to take my free tea/cookie coupon when Lou and I ate lunch at our favorite place.

I had planned to take Lou to use a giftcard I had at a nail salon. But she decided she didn't want to go. She had "already gotten her toe-nah-nails painted" and wasn't interested in her fingernails.

And finally, I tried to get Pizza for dinner. And the coupon had expired.  Two weeks ago.  And they still wouldn't honor it.  Apparently I used up all of my negotiating skills on Cow Appreciation Day.

But Lou and I did have a super fun day together laughing, talking about silly things, and going shopping.  I sure wish I had a picture of helping me pick out clothes for work or holding clothes for me to try on.  She was hilarious.  And adorable.  It made shopping completely bareable.

We were a little crazy by this point.  There is such a thing as too much fun.  And there certainly is such a thing as Daddy and Cbug being gone TOO long.  We made (what I thought was) one more stop on our way to the airport.  And I think the pictures are pretty descriptive.

Turns out it wasn't the last stop because the last leg of the awaited flight was delayed.  So I drove that direction anway, out of giftcards and out of plans, ready to have my family together.  The kids fell asleep in the van and I parked in a Sbucks parking lot to steal WiFi.  But then I felt badly about stealing WiFi so I drove through the drivethrough to get a drink.  Either the barista was just feeling nice, or I really looked that bad (quite possibly the 2nd).  Either way, I scored a free drink without even telling him about RGCW or about my hubby's delayed flight.  I did thank him profusely, reparked in the lot, and used the WiFi to post about missing RRL.

And indeed, we did miss those guys.
But we also loved this newly created tradition. 
(maybe at least mostly because I cooked exactly 2 times in the whole 8 days).
Random Gift Card Week 2014. We are ready for you!


Betsy@Living in the Moment said...

Absolutely love this post. In completely agreement about Popeye's. Laughed all the way through! Thank you!

Runner53 said...

so fun to read this. You are such a fun mom. I teared up a little on the Six Flags part. I absolutely loved taking my kids to Six Flags with their free reading coupons. Glad to see they are still doing it.