Sunday, September 30, 2012

Three Down, One to Go!

This has been the season for weddings...after years of maybe having one wedding every few years, we hit another wedding spurt this year. From the end of August through late November, we have four weddings to attend.  We just wrapped up #3 last night, and had a blast!  This wedding was for Scott's best friend's (Dan) cousin, Jake. Scott has known this family since he was 14, and started hunting with all of Dan's family.  They are hilarious, fun, and really know how to throw a good party!

Planning an outdoor wedding for late September in Minnesota is could be boiling hot, or snowing, or...absolutely perfect like it was yesterday. The weather was GORGEOUS.  And the setting was beautiful - it took place in an outdoor garden, which had beautiful flowers and water features.  And I even saw a hummingbird there at the rehearsal on Thursday evening!  I'm not sure why that thrills me so much, but it really does!  So, everything was absolutely perfect, and the ceremony was hilarious.  The shuttle from the hotel was 30 minutes late, so the ceremony started off with a big cheer when the remaining people finally arrived. The groom was having flower issues, and ended up cracking up the entire crowd with his attempt to fix his boutonnniere.  The pastor sounded like a game announcer, so it was riveting to listen to his message.  And one of the ushers (*ahem* Scott) ended up herding everyone down the aisle so quickly at the end of the ceremony, we were all out of there within six minutes!

All in all, it was awesome!  We had a fun social hour directly following the ceremony, and then a tasty Italian dinner, followed up by beer, beer, and more beer.  Well, wine for me, but beer for everyone else!  They had a fun photobooth, so Scott and I got our pictures taken, and then we hit the dance floor.  Scott was a great sport and danced many songs with me...maybe he had too much fun, as I had to pull him off the dance floor!

After being there for almost twelve hours, we finally decided to leave around 10:45p.m., so we piled a not-so-sober Scott and SuperDave into the car, and we headed out.  That was the longest 45 minute drive for me...I still have halos from my LASIK, and I don't think my eyes are at 20/20, so my vision isn't super clear.  On the plus side, it was a quiet drive, as both passengers were happily sleeping away! But, man, I was tired, and very happy when we got back into SSP.  Turns out the long car ride didn't sit well with Scott...but he's feeling great this morning!

We were placed at the table with Dan's family (that's Dan's wife, Sara and son, Hunter in the picture.) Hunter is super shy, but I managed to get him to talk and smile at me. Never got to dance him with, tho!  Notice Scott and Dan in the background...identical poses...they are so much alike!

I loved these simple centerpieces!

This guy cleans up nicely!

Strawberry jam and can coozies for the favors!  And quite possibly, the biggest boutonnieres I have ever seen.  No wonder Jake had flower issues!

Such a smartie...he had me bring a change of clothes for him! He was definitely more comfy in this compared to his tux!

Our photo booth idea!

What else did we do this week?  We celebrated anniversary #7 on Monday with a great dinner at home, met with our realtor on Tuesday (the house is off the market until January - we're going to make some minor changes to the house and see if that sparks any buyers), Wednesday was Oktoberfest at BI (awesome, awesome, awesome - beer, brats and work!), Thursday was the rehearsal, and Friday was busy picking up the tux and eating out as a family.  Whew.  I think this upcoming week is a little more calm.

And it looks like it's going to be another beautiful fall day, so I think we're going to try to make some spiced apple cider, decide on Halloween costumes, and look for some fun fall crafts for next weekend's adventure with Amy, Kelsi and Kourtney!  Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumn has Arrived!

When I think about everything we did this past week, I get tired....really, really tired. And then I realize that there was an official change of seasons, and I'm actually happy that it's going to start getting darker earlier - maybe that means we'll all get more sleep!

So, what did we do?  Well, let me tell you!
  • Tuesday: My fabulous Aunt Stephanie from NYC was in town for business, so the three of us picked her up and went out to a dinner at Lucky 13.  Ava wholeheartedly approves of Steph, and is anxiously awaiting for her trip to Manhattan when she's just a wee bit older!
  • Wednesday: Scott, Ava and I headed over to my bff's house, and had a very nice dinner/evening with Angie, Chad (boyfriend), and Brady (Chad's son.)  Ava and Brady hit it off quite well - they had a great time making their pizza together!
  • Thursday: Ava had quite the morning, where she puked all over the bathroom at 5:30a.m.  Surprise!  Guess who didn't go to pre-school!  Seriously, one of these days she'll be there all 5 days of the week.  I stayed home with her in the morning, and then Ava spent the afternoon with Great-Grandma Adeline...and didn't get sick again.  So, it was a super quick bug (thank God!), and the rest of the night was calm.
  • Friday: No big deal, just had my eyeballs meet up with a laser. :)  I was totally terrified and wanted to run away like 500 times before it started, but guess I got the courage from somewhere and managed to stay put long enough for them to cut open my eye, fry and reshape the cornea, and seal me back up. Honestly, the 4 hours following the procedure were the worst part, and unfortunately, the sedative didn't knock me out enough, so I only slept through about 2 of those hours.  But by early evening, things were much better.  And most importantly, I can see!  Second great moment of the day?  Ava invited herself to spend the night at Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey' Scott and I went out for dinner, hit up a bonfire at a cousin's house, and then went to the bar and played four rounds of 501.  We each won 2 rounds.  It was really fun...and weird to be out on a Friday night!
  • Saturday: I had my follow-up appointment for my eyes...the left eye isn't as clear as the right eye, but together, I'm seeing 20/15, which is pretty fantastic.  Since the eyes are still healing, final results won't be apparent for a month or so.  It's been weird not having to take out contacts at the end of the day...and my eyes haven't been this white in a long time!  Even with glasses, they would get irritated and red.  A busy day followed...and then we had my good friend Emilie over for dinner.  Scott makes a mean chicken on the smoker!!  After dinner, Em and I went out to a bar, right on the Mississippi river.  Two nights out in a row - amazing!!!
  • Sunday (today!): Scott made us an excellent breakfast of French toast (I am a lucky girl), and then we headed out to the Afton Apple Orchard.  We picked apples, pumpkins, raspberries...road the hayride, fed the animals, and had a very yummy lunch.  Someone (Ava) got to sleep when we got home, but the rest of us had to go grocery shopping, laundry, plant mums, vacuum the car, etc...needless to say, another busy, but GORGEOUS, fall afternoon. We're going to have squash from our garden, and a smoked turkey breast tonight for dinner...everything smells so good right now... 
Poor kid just wanted to nap on Thursday...looks like Darla had the same idea!

Making Great-Grandma Lorraine's banana bread recipe on Saturday afternoon - yum!

On the hayride at the apple orchard

Contrary to the facial expression, she DID enjoy this apple!

As did Scott!

Picking raspberries

Not so impressed with the "cowch"

Our little ear of corn was a little too short

So we tried again...I follow directions well! That would be the back of Ava's head you see there...

Dino sighting at the orchard!

Those llamas are CRAZY!  They wouldn't leave us alone, and reminded me why I don't like animals that can look me directly in the eye when I'm standing.

Goats are always a favorite with us!

Enjoying the playground at the orchard

School bus shot!

And on the drive home, she told me to leave her alone.  Looks like social time was over.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Well, That Didn't Take Long

Ava runs warm.  When she was teething as a baby, it wasn't unexpected for her to run a temp of 103.  She has a cold?  It might shoot up to 105.  Besides getting the common cold/virus, she's only truly been sick once, with tonsillitis.  Not bad for a 4 year old.  What's my point, you ask?  A fever is one sure fire way for her to be sent home from daycare/preschool - it's just how her body fights being sick.  At least once a month, we're picking her up during the day.  She is sick for a few hours, her fever breaks, and she's back to being healthy.  It's weird. 

ANYWAY!  Guess what happened this past week?  That's right...the ol' fever came, so she was out on Wednesday and Thursday, and she went back to pre-k on Friday.  But I got "the call" by 10am on Friday, so I had to leave work to pick her up.  I'm actually pretty sad for her, as the pre-k kids were going to walk to DQ for a special treat that afternoon, and she had to miss that little adventure.

The really good news is that I gave her some ibuprofen on Friday, her fever spiked, and she's all better!  No fever since Friday, so this weekend has been fun!  And she gets to go back to pre-k and play with her new friends tomorrow. :)  Side note: she IS making friends!  On the school's FB page, there's a pic of her sitting in a covered chair with kids playing all around her.  I asked her what she was doing, and she told me she was playing hide-and-seek.  I asked if anyone was actually looking for her, and she said no.  So...she was really just hiding...  This spiked a bit of a fear in me that she wasn't making friends - hard to believe with how outgoing she is.  To ease my fears, I asked her teacher if she was playing well with others, and she is!  Lots of little friends that she interacts well with.  Now, we just need to work on learning to share the toys nicely...

We had a nice lay-around kind of day on Friday afternoon...lots of Tinkerbell, naps (for Ava), and some quiet playtime.  And because she was feeling way better, we were able to keep our plans on celebrating an early anniversary dinner last night in Stillwater.  Ava had a great day/evening with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey (fever-free!)  And Scott and I had a fantastic dinner walking around Stillwater...he was a good sport and let me stick my head into a few shops which clearly held no appeal to him.  On the flip side, he enjoys walking through antique stores, and there are certainly plenty of those in that area.  The only antiques that I truly enjoy looking at are kids books - and maybe a Barbie collection if they have one. :)

We had lovely meal at the Dock Cafe, located right on the St. Croix river.  It was a gorgeous day/night, so we decided it was worth the wait to eat outside.  After dinner, we took a walk by the river, and decided that we need to buy a boat.  Something for Scott to fish on, something for me to be able to lay out on, and something for Ava to be able to jump out of/tube behind.  We have an idea of what we'd like to get so we'll see what happens!

Now, everyone is back home, and we're going to have another fun day!  Well, maybe not in Ava's eyes but I know Scott and I are looking forward to it.  We're going to check out some of the houses in the Parade of Homes, and then spend some time outside cleaning up the garden/flowers.  Time to take out the summer flowers, and get some mums planted!

Our pumpkin/squash patch did GREAT last year - it produced 4-6 beautiful pumpkins.  But this year, we think a squirrel or a rabbit got into it and ended up killing many of the plants. We were able to harvest a few squash, and a BIG pumpkin!  We are hoping it'll stay good until Halloween so we can carve it.  I guess we'll see!

Taking it easy this morning...
Next time I post, it'll be with my "new eyes"!  I'm scared, but I'm sure everything will go as expected.  So, I'm also excited!  And we've got another busy week ahead of us, so the surgery will be here before we know it.  Think happy eye-thoughts for me on Friday morning!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where did THAT month go?

Wow, I didn't realize it had been almost a month since I posted anything new.  We've been...busy.  A few vacation days, weddings, lots of trips out of town, unGodly amount of hours spent working, showings, playing, changes, etc. 

So, let's get started, shall we?

Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey have a new car. Not a new-new car, but an old-new car.  Like a collector's car.  It's pretty cool!  And teal!  And Ava gets to go to car shows with them...she's been to several over the past few months, and each time, she comes home with new little toys and tales of what she did.  I love it when they have face painting there...nothing fancy, but just something cute for her to wear all day!

And then I try to take a pic of it, and she doesn't really cooperate.  A nice, normal smile would be appreciated at times.  More on that later...

I've made the decision to get LASIK done - I'm tired of contacts and glasses, and the expenses that come along with it.  I'm also terrified, but am trying not to think too much about it.  I will gladly accept my valium that day, try to ignore the smell of burning eyeball flesh, and then I'll enjoy my new vision!  It's coming up quickly - the surgery is scheduled for September 21. 

The day I had my initial consultation was a beautiful, bright August day in Minnesota.  And I had my eyes dilated. And the clinic was all the way on the other side of the cities.  So, the doc gave me these great shades that go under the glasses - super stylish, but they actually did work!  And Ava got a second life out of them once I got home, so that was cool.  Again, notice the face on the 2nd pic.

By far, the biggest change lately was pulling Ava out of daycare to full-time pre-school. As I've mentioned before, Debi is an excellent care giver.  We truly couldn't have chosen a better person for Ava to spend the first four years of her life with.  But, change is good.  Ava started at the Maple Tree Day School this past Tuesday (they follow the SSP school calendar), and so far, she has really loved it.  I love the environment there, the kids, the energy, the different activities, and...everything!  They post quite a few pics of the kids on Facebook, so it's wonderful to get a gimpse into seeing how the kids spend their days!
And the best part?  This past week, she has been exhausted every night!  We're trying to get into a better routine of in bed by 8:00-8:15, and lights out by 8:30.  She hasn't even wanted her pink flower light on, so she can look at books. Instead, she just wants to go to sleep.  Hooray!
Saying her final "Good morning!" to Norah and Norah's mom on Ava's last day of daycare
Ava so badly wants a little sibling...look at how she's got that arm around Norah!

Lots of love for Debi!

On Ava' first day of pre-k!  I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She told me Strawberry Shortcake, but then we clarified that's what she wanted to be for Halloween!  In reality, she wants to be a mermaid.  Hm.
Look at that (real) excited grin!

A rare pic of Ava and me

Diving right in to playing at school!

Look at these cute little chairs they have right outside the school!

Along with a new school comes homework.  Homework!  I couldn't believe it!  At least it's fun homework...designing a quilt "square" for the pre-K classroom quilt. I was a little stressed about it, and then realized, it's HER square, and it can be whatever she wants it to be! And that made it easy to stand back and let her go at it! 
We also got to place our first Scholastic book order, which was fun...I always loved doing that when I was a little kid.  Happily, they had a Pinkalicious pack of books that we don't have, so that'll be joining our library soon.

Ava kept saying, "My hands are so messy!"  Looks like Mom doesn't let her get messy too often...but we both had fun!

The final product of her quilt square. :)

What else...?  We passed the mark where we had to leave her starter earrings in, so yesterday, we changed 'em out!  Her first choice?  The little earrings that look like chocolate bars.  There was actually some blood and tears trying to get the starter earrings out (the lock on those was TIGHT), but once we got the new ones in, life was grand!

So, when I dropped Ava off at pre-school on Friday, her new teacher (keep in mind Miss Julia has only known her three days) informed me that Ava has a bit of a flair for the dramatic. Hm, who knew?! ;)  Julia mentioned that she's trying to take pics of all the kids and Ava never has a normal smile on her face.  Yeah, no kidding - did you see all the pics I took above, where maybe 10% have a normal grin?  Otherwise, she's doing a Popeye eye-squint thing, a raspberry, sticking her tongue out, or just being plain goofy!
Julia also mentioned that Ava was really dragging her feet on helping everyone clean up..."They are sooooo heavy!"  And of course she would add the full-body dramatic sway when telling the other kids how heavy the toyrs are.  Ah yes...we see that all the time, as well.  Makes clean-up super speedy...
And then Julia followed-up with "but she's as smart as a whip!" Which, of course, we also know. Life with Ava will never be boring!
One last thing...over the last week, Ava's been waking us up in the middle of the night to help her go to the bathroom.  Finally, we're going to be able to tackle the overnight potty training thing!  We'll have to start small, but we'll get there!
Time for breakfast...and chores.  And shopping.  And work.  Sigh...before we know it, it'll be time for bed!  So we need to enjoy this beautiful day!