Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Sky Full of Stars

Another summer week is in the books! Lots of fun activities, field trips, potty trips, and good family times marked this week as a success.

Ava had her last swim lesson of the summer, plus she went to Saints game and roller skating. Fun! This coming week they are hitting up the pool, a park, the Children's Museum, and a 3M Presentation. I'm really, really curious as to what that presentation is about...sounds a bit like work...

G had his pre-Kindergarten screening this week. He was in such a good mood and had such enthusiasm when the teacher called him in. When asked how we was, he shouted, "I'm great!" and then approached every single activity with excitement. One of the "tests" was to complete the sentence...such as, "A brother is a boy, a sister is a..." and "An elephant is big, a mouse is..." Of course G got those right away, and then we hit this one, "A table is made of wood. A window is made of..." ...silence. His answer was "plastic"...and she gave him credit for that! Yesterday I was explaining to Ava and G that glass is made from sand, so now when I ask the question, "A window is made of..." the answer that I get is "sand." Sigh. I tried.

In any case, he passed with flying colors...he needed a score of 16 to pass, and he got a 23. Overachiever! That's my boy!

Yesterday was a busy day...Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey wanted one last family gathering before they head off to Florida in a few months. It was a nice way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon enjoying the family, food, and sun. There was also a water balloon fight...



Looks like she has an evil plan in mind...



I left the family gathering early, as I had tickets to see Coldplay last night. Emilie and I bought the tickets last October, so it feels like we've been planning this forever! The show was at US Bank Stadium, and we had floor tickets. It's such a different experience being on the floor...we got to see the stadium do the wave from below, and totally enjoyed the light show and falling confetti. We had to cover our drinks while it was raining the paper butterflies and stars, plus we also learned you shouldn't stand with your mouth open during that time. Yuck. We noticed that our section was hit really hard with the confetti and then we finally figured out that we were right next to one of the cannons that shoots it out!

The show was amazing...Coldplay is such a good, entertaining band, and they really know how to connect to a large audience, yet make it feel like a small venue. It was well worth the price to see it from that up-close perspective.

We had a special entrance since we were on the floor!


This was my first time at the stadium...wow, it's beautiful!


Lots of natural light...it will be great to go to a Vikings game here!


These wristbands lit up with different colors and patterns according to the music that was playing. As we were in line to get our wristbands, Emilie asks, "Why is Jamie here?!" Jamie (our boss) had volunteered to help at the concert, and out of all of the places that we could enter the stadium (and there were a LOT), we happened to pick the specific line where she was helping out! Small world!


Super tall guy - down in front!


The after-effect of the confetti cannon...the floor, chairs, hair, clothing, beer, etc. was covered!


Chris Martin is RIGHT THERE!


And at one point, we looked to our left, and 15' away was one of the opening acts...Izzy Bizu!




This coming week, my mom and I leave for California, so there may be a pause in the blog while we're drinking wine and enjoying some relaxing mother/daughter time. More fun!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Beautiful View

August has arrived! It's hard to believe that we really only have one month of summer before fall kicks back in. I had a nice chat this week with a co-worker about Japanese Beetles and bunnies...we're on a mission to find the best methods to rid our gardens of these pests! I guess in a month or so, it won't even matter, once the temps start dipping lower.

G's potty training is going really well...he's got the #1 down (very few accidents) and now we're focused on #2. That's not going quite as well, but, he's trying. His daycare has done a very good job in providing positive reinforcement, and actually being the ones to kick this training into high gear. Without them, I think we'd still be purchasing big boxes of diapers, instead of MUCH cheaper little bags of pull-ups! I will note that the laundry prep takes a bit longer now...and it's a bit messier. It will all pay off in the end! Did I mention that G has his pre-kindergarten assessment coming up this week? He still won't go to Kindergarten until the fall of 2019...it feels so far away, but I know it'll coming zooming up before we know it.

Ava had a pretty great week of field trips and fun. She went bowling, swimming, to Ft Snelling, a new park, and made some awesome art activities during the day. And slime. She loves that slime! Next week she's headed to the Saints game, and a few different locations for swimming and roller skating! Lucky girl! We also found out yesterday who her 4th grade teacher is going to be (prelim assignment right now)...turns out that Mrs. Z was Ava's first choice! Yeah! Ava's ready to go in for her assessment on 8/23...school is just around the corner!

I had one of my last "Summer of Love" Friday afternoons off this week. I was finally able to check out "The Danger" (aka a Ferris wheel) at Betty Dangers. Pretty great view of Minneapolis and the river! I also had a chance to partake in a "purple-ie" at Tony Jaros...the last time I was there, they only had greenies and pinkies. And I was 23. Ha!

View from the top of The Danger



Hello, little donkey!


And since it was such a perfect day to be outside, the fantastic afternoon ended at Psycho Suzies. Good food, good drinks, and a great view!

An unexpected rain shower - glad I was at a table with an umbrella!


Just a little bit later, and the sunshine was back



I haven't been home much this weekend...on Saturday night, I drove into WI with Tina to celebrate our friend, Grace, who is a soon-to-be bride. We *might* have had a slight detour on the drive in, but, we still made it there in plenty of time to celebrate. We had a THREE hour wait for dinner at Vino in the Valley, but they make it such an entertaining place that it doesn't feel like it lasts that long. Plus, there is plenty of wine to enjoy while waiting!

We walked around the grounds, enjoyed the river, the sights, and the other patrons. We were the last table to leave the restaurant, but we never felt rushed. Great night in a beautiful location!

Tina and I were waiting for the others to arrive...we were hungry and thirsty. (We ate an entire block of cheese!)


The Rush River




The moon was trying to peek out




Hanging out by the bonfire, patiently waiting...


Tina, me, and Larry, the owner!



Two fun nights out and I'm ready to take it easy today. Another fun weekend is almost wrapped up!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Leprechaun Days 2017

I was trying to recall what we did this week, and it's just a big blur...swimming lessons, potty training, working...yep, all the same stuff that we usually do. Nothing interesting? How is that possible?

But then I remembered that we've had a pretty fun weekend! Rosemount has a week long celebration every summer called "Leprechaun Days" (the city has a strong Irish history.) One of these days, we might participate in some of the events earlier in the week, but in recent history, we usually stick to doing stuff the last weekend of the celebration.

We met up with three other families from our neighborhood, as well as my parents, on Friday night. The women happily camped out in the beer garden, while the men tended to the young. Before you feel too bad for the dads, let me just point out that this was my first time in the beer garden...and our third (fourth?) time attending this event. It was great! Had some drinks, chatted with the ladies, and then my mom kindly relieved Scott of his duties so he could also join us.

The kids had a blast playing the games and eating the fair food...we now have three new stuffed animals that have taken up residence in our house. Before heading home, we enjoyed some of the live band and the kids rolled and ran around, burning off the mini donut energy!

G went to bed when we got home, but Ava, Scott, and I headed over to our neighbors for some more drinks and a bonfire. They have a great setup with a screen where the kids can watch movies in their yard. We stayed up way too late, but had fun chatting with our friends.

Saturday morning we met up with my parents and walked down to watch the parade. There was a new route this year, due to a variety of reasons, and we ended up right at the end. The kids only got a few pieces of candy (that's ok!) but they ended up with the stuff the floats had leftover, like a beach ball and extra toothbrushes (even better!) We only stayed for an hour of the parade...it was hot, and by the end of the route, the parade had lost some of its luster. Oh well!

G's daycare was handing out ice cream cups, so we stopped there to cool off, and then we hit up the library so the kids could each pick out a free book to keep. By the time we walked home, we were all pretty tired. After a quick bite to eat, Scott took Ava to meet up with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey...they were at a car show in Hastings yesterday, and then they're heading to the MOA today so Ava's American Girl doll can get her hair done (fun birthday gift!)

Both G and I took a nap yesterday afternoon while the house was quiet and cool...after two hours of rest, I felt much better! Scott, G, and I then hit up a new (to us) restaurant in Burnsville...we were very pleased with the food and service. It's great to find a new place to eat!

Last night ended up low key with a little Peppa Pig viewing and then bedtime for G. Turns out we have a perfect view of the fireworks from our guest bedroom, so we were able to enjoy that Leprechaun Days activity from our home. Scott woke up G so he could watch them as well...he's usually sleeping during all fireworks shows, so this was a fun treat for him.



Looks like today will be beautiful...sunshiney and warm. The perfect way to end a fun weekend!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Banana, Please?

You know it's going to be a busy week when it starts off with dentist appointments at 8am on Monday for both kids. From that moment on, it seemed like the entire week was rushed and a bit crazy. Good news, though, both kids have good choppers!

G continues to work on the potty training, but this past Friday, he was a bit more, um, runny, than usual, so he was sent home in the morning. We need to see how it goes today, as yesterday was still a bit challenging. 

He did have fun on his field trip to the zoo this week with his class. He was pretty excited to see the monkeys. And to ride a bus. I love that he's getting to do new, fun things in his new room at daycare!

Ava had her end-of-summer baton show on Friday night. Scott was in attendance, as I had previous plans, and G was hanging out with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey. It sounds like the show went well...it'll be interesting to see if Ava decides to continue with it, or if she'd like to try something else. She mentioned dance a few days ago...

He got a cute little car on his face when he went to a car show on Friday night
 

Ava's 9-year check up went well on Saturday...she's 56% for height, weight, and BMI for her age. She's still not tall enough to ride without a booster seat in the car, but she's just a few inches shy from that happening. She can't wait for that! G provided colorful commentary during Ava's entire check-up...

I was in Indy this week for work. I had never been to Indiana before, so it was neat seeing a new part of the country. It's very...nice, there. The people are nice (they make Minnesotans look less friendly...and that's very hard to do.) The downtown area was nice. The building are nice. Everything was nice! That's such a bland adjective to use, but in this case, it's applicable!
 
Monument Circle in downtown Indy




This was my view from my dinner on the patio in Indy on Wednesday night...I never quite figured out what was in the glass thing.


On Friday, I also had the chance to check out a local Minnesota vineyard and a beautiful park by the river. After a crazy week, it was a great way to chill out and de-stress for a bit. I've been to a lot of new places this week!

On Saturday afternoon. Scott and I debated on taking the kids to the Science Museum or the MN Zoo. The zoo is so easy for us, plus, as members, it's "free." We decided on the zoo, but made an effort to go to different parts of the zoo that we usually don't see. This time, we hit up the Tropics, the Minnesota Trail, and Discovery Bay. We ended the afternoon with treats outside. Ava wanted ice cream, and I kept asking G what flavor he wanted. He kept saying no. His choice? A banana! Ok, easy sale for Mom!

The Butterfly exhibit just opened on June 17, so we checked it out. SO pretty...there were butterflies everywhere!



Hanging out in Discovery Bay



Today is the first day where we're all going to be at home, and we don't have to run a million different places. I'm so excited to catch up on things and hang with my family today. It's going to be a Sunday Funday for sure!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Berries and Cream

What a good summer week, full of plenty of outdoor time, treats, and activities. Both kids have had busy weeks reaching some pretty impressive goals.

Just like the last several summers, Ava is taking swim lessons through the Y. Last year she tested to move up from a red to a yellow, which means she could go into the deeper waters. This past week I asked her if she was thinking about testing to be a green, and she immediately said no. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from her THAT night (I was at work late) and she excitedly told me that she passed the green test! Ava explained everything that she needed to do to pass into the green group (treading water, front float, etc.,) and I asked her what changed her mind to test for the green. She sheepishly smiled and said that she had forgotten she told me she wasn't going to test for it, and did it anyway. We're so proud of her!

Her baton twirling class is also going well...it's been fun watching her learn new tricks, and I think it's helping with her coordination...at least a little bit.

G has also had a big week. He moved into the 4-year old room this past Monday at daycare. New room, new cubby, new friends! He has been so happy to be reunited with his friends that had moved on before he did. Plus, his new teacher is the nice woman who always manages his breakfast related tantrums that we face every day when I drop him off. So, he has had lots of experience with her in the last year. He gets to go on a field trip this week...they're going to the MN Zoo, and will check out the splash pad there, too. He's so excited! He's only been on one field trip before...they went to the apple orchard this past fall.

Even more exciting is the potty training! His new teacher said no more diapers...bring in some underwear and shorts. So, this past week, we've (really HE, I'm pretty well trained at this point) been peeing a lot in the potty. I spent the day with him yesterday, and he only had two accidents. He announces when he has to go, and he's so excited to go to the potty and do his thing. He's still wearing diapers for naps and overnights, of course, but it feels like we're finally getting somewhere with this milestone.

I'm heading to Indy for an overnight trip this week. Should be interesting... I'm already looking forward to the end of this week! Scott worked for 12 hours yesterday, so he's hoping for a quiet day around the house. Not sure how quiet it will be, but at least he'll be at home!

Our blueberry plants from our neighbors have produced some fruit!


This lovely strawberry, so close to being ready to eat, was gone the next day...some lucky bird enjoyed it!


He looked like such a little man sitting here...apparently guys learn at a young age to sit with their legs like this. On the other hand (foot?,) I do recall Ava, at a young age, sitting with her legs crossed, just like a little lady...


Such a pretty sunset...pics never do it justice


We went to an ice cream shop in Farmington after dinner on Friday night. G is enjoying the Superman ice cream.


Ava got some chocolate, Oreo, marshmallow goodness! And, a chocolate mustache.


We went to the library yesterday so the kids could pick up their prizes for the summer reading program. In the first pic, G's Puppy is the star of the show...in the second one, they used puppets to put on a display.




Sunday, July 9, 2017

#9

To top off the craziness of June, we also celebrated Ava's 9th birthday with her friends less than a week after we got back from NYC. She had so much fun at Rockin' Jump that we decided to try out their party planning skills. I give them an A+!

I was so stressed out last year having all of those little girls at our house for Ava's 8th party...the chaos, the noise, the mess, etc... What a different experience to take the party elsewhere and know that everything is taken care of! And, everyone had fun...even G! He was a little scared to try the trampolines, but once he did, he loved it!

The kids jumped for an hour, enjoyed a pizza lunch and some cake, and then opened gifts. They spent the last 15 minutes of the party in the arcade, having a blast winning points and redeeming for tiny little toys. It was so, so easy...all we had to so was send the invites, bring the cake and candle, and make sure the birthday kid showed up. Check, check, and check!

Checking out the Under 6 section...perfect for this little guy!


Having fun knocking each other off the beam




Just before their private dodgeball game...


Girls vs Boys! I'm not sure G was much help, though...lol




Ava's request was for a red velvet bundt cake...yum!



She's either scared or angry...


Great gifts from great friends!


Even G had fun in the arcade!



One of Ava's favorite gifts was a hatchimal...we had so much fun getting it to hatch!


What a cute little purple penguala! And, I have no idea what kind of animal that is.


We also squeezed in a few other fun activities over the last few weeks...

On the way to the Saints game with some co-workers...Sarah and I were being chauffeured by Ryan!


Ryan made it out of the chauffeur's seat to enjoy the game, too!


Great seats!


Me, Grace, and Bunny Ears, courtesy of Sarah, I believe!


 Last weekend, we had an adult night out to celebrate Scott's birthday a bit early. We hit up Surly for a few hours, and then enjoyed an excellent dinner at Mancini's in St Paul.



On the way home, we found a perfect place to watch the sunset...overlooking the Minnesota river


Earlier this weekend, Ava and I had fun with her perfume making kit. Here, she's on step 1 of the extraction process. She's shaking a water/pulp mixture to pull the liquid oils from the solid perfume pieces. We ended up with a perfume with base notes of mint, and middle notes of jasmine. Ava named it "Jasmint" and it actually smells pretty good!


We are seeing an early showing of Despicable Me 3 this morning...I had no idea movie tix were cheaper for the early shows! After that, we're hoping to enjoy a lunch out and then hit up an ice cream place for some treats. Should be a good way to end a nice weekend!