Sunday, August 31, 2014

11 Miles

I.Am.Pooped.  Yesterday was an eleven mile day.  And my feet hurt.

But, let me back up a bit.  Both Scott and I had short work weeks...we didn't have daycare Wed-Fri of this week (Sheila was on vacation.)  I stayed at home on Wednesday, and we had a very good day...we went to the library and Ava picked up her last "summer reading challenge" prize, we got her hair cut into a cute little bob (she reminded me that we needed to cut her hair before school started...such a good little assistant!) and then they accompanied me to get new running shoes.  Both of them made quite the impression on the sales lady - she was a saint, and rolled with everything that came out of our sassy girl's mouth.  And I successfully used a gift card (for the shoes) that I've been carrying around for FOUR years.  I count that as quite an accomplishment!

I asked Ava to make a "thank you" gift for Sheila for watching her this summer.  She ended up making an almost life-size princess cut-out to give to her.  Crown, jewels, glass slippers, and a book...what else could a princess want?  Sheila loved it, and told Ava she'd hang it up on the fridge for everyone to see.  She is GREAT with kids! :)

Note that one of the hands is a cutout from a tissue box...?  I recycled that, but somehow, it managed to make its way out of recycling...hmm, Ava...?


The princess is holding a book that is titled "Scool will be fun", and inside the book is this very interesting picture.  I asked why there was a person with a moneybag for a head.  The answer had something to do with Sponge Bob, but I didn't quite follow the rest...


Ava was playing her guitar for a very captive audience!


Scott was home with the kiddos Thurs-Fri, and it seems like they had a good time...the look on G's face when I walked through the door after work is absolutely priceless.  I love seeing his face light up like that!  The other night, I was rubbing his back and head after his last bottle.  I must have hit a sensitive spot on his lower scalp/neck because every time I passed over it, he would let out a giggle. Those little baby giggles are awesome and put everything else in perspective!

We've been giggle-less/sassy-less since yesterday morning, though.  Scott dropped Ava and G off with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey yesterday morning, and went off to work for a bit.  My co-worker had picked me up at 6:45am, and we headed into downtown St Paul to take part in the Women Rock 5K (there is also a 10K and a half marathon...yeah, not this year!)  We registered for this back in April, and had high hopes that we would be running during it, but, well, life happens, and we settled for walking.  And that was a-ok!  We walked at a good pace, and finished in about 45 minutes...pretty good for walking!  As we crossed the finish line, we received a medal from some very cute, very shirtless men... :)  We also picked up a glass of champagne, and were given a really nice lightweight jacket to wear for running.  We're already talking about signing up for the next fun run in October...and maybe we'll run part of that one!

Amy and I enjoyed some bubbly after we finished!


Since I was kid-less, hubby-less, and back home before 10am, I didn't quite know what to do with myself.  So, I went and checked out a local bakery/coffee shop, and brought my new Kindle to read.  That lasted for about 15 minutes.  Scott called me, told me he couldn't work (parts weren't available) and did I want to go to the Minnesota State Fair early? (We had plans to go in the evening.) A few extra hours at the fair?  You bet!

We were able to hit the road around 1:30...and stayed on the road for 2.5 hours after that.  It is a darn good thing I was driving, as we didn't actually walk into the fair until 4pm.  Traffic and parking was absolutely miserable in the area, and I'm pretty sure that had Scott been driving, we never would have made it inside the fair.  His patience was gone about 1.5 hours into the ride, and during the final 30 minutes, I was on the brink of giving up.  BUT, we didn't!  I wouldn't be surprised if attendance was over 200,000 people yesterday - I don't think I've ever been there when it was so busy.  For those who don't know, the MN State Fair is the largest state fair in the US, based on average daily attendance.  (Fun fact for you on a Sunday!)

So, keeping that in mind, the lines were pretty long for food/drink yesterday.  We passed on some of our standard fair food fare (hahaha) like cheese curds (boo!) but did manage to try one new thing...s'more beer.  As a non-beer drinker, I enjoyed it, but I won't lie...I liked my standard beergarita better!

Look at the crowds...and my s'more beer!


I think we lasted until maybe 7:30pm-ish and then we headed back to Rosemount to go to a local bar and chill out for a bit.  I thoroughly enjoyed not being in a crowd, and being able to kick my feet up a bit.  I checked my FitBit at the end of the night, and I had walked 11 miles yesterday...over 20,000 steps.  Wow!  When I finally took my running shoes off last night, my feet were so tired, and I'm pretty sure they were swollen a bit.  I was happy to see my toes back to normal size this morning. :)

We're taking Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey out for an early dinner tonight, and then we'll be able to spend some quality time with the kids, before it gets too late.  Should be a great rest of the weekend!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

For a Good Cause

Ava had her reading assessment scheduled for last Tuesday night, so we finally had a chance to meet Mrs. M, her first grade teacher.  What a sweetie!  Ava is going to have a wonderful time in her class.  While Ava was being evaluated for her reading and writing skills, I got to fill out more paperwork (yay) and managed to be in the right place at the right time when the school principal accepted the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.  We really like how warm and accepting everyone is at Ava's new school - it's hard to believe school starts in just a little over a week!

On Wednesday night, my "Summer of Love" event series came to an end at work.  BIW brought in Soul Asylum for the final concert, and it was awesome!  I don't remember the last time I was out at a concert BEFORE it started, but I'm glad I was for this one.  We claimed a table right in the front, and enjoyed the show from just a few feet away!



It's been a low key weekend for us (fun-wise) for which I am very grateful.  The last few weekends, while very fun, made me tired going into the work week.  I was at home with the kids on Friday during the day, so we went to Barnes & Noble and picked up a few new books for Ava (plus a free one for participating in their reading program this summer,) and then we managed to find a few new pairs of shoes and clothing items that passed her approval.  She is set for school!

Friday night was really laid back...Scott worked late, and after the kids came home, we just watched a movie...nice and relaxing.  Yesterday, he worked, as well, so we hung around home, and when he got home, we headed to a benefit for a co-worker of his.  Their 7-month old son was born with a partially formed heart...he's had 2 surgeries so far, and they're hoping he'll be able to come home from the hospital very soon!  It was a motorcycle rally, so I felt a bit out of place, but had fun, regardless!  We managed to win a few of the door prizes, Ava got one because she was the only kid there (YAY us for having TWO kids in a bar) and then we managed to win a few great items in the live auction.  It was a successful fundraiser, and that's what is truly important!!








As much as Ava hates vacuums, she's still intrigued by them.  She was totally examining hers yesterday to see what was stopping the roller from turning.  She was multi-tasking by listening to her tablet, while cleaning...love it!





Scott's taking the kids to visit Sandy (his dad's wife) today.  They haven't seen each other in two years, so it's good that she'll be able to see Ava again, and meet Garrett.  I know this is hard for Scott, but he's doing the right thing.  I'm interested to hear how the visit goes.  In the meantime, the house will be nice and quiet...totally looking forward to that! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chomp, Chomp, Chomp

On Monday Ava offered to come along with me to KC, so she could take notes for me at my client account review.  She was very insistent that I not leave without her, to the point of tears.  In fact, Scott had to come down and physically remove her, so I could get out the door.  This is not like Ava.

So, it didn't come as a shock when Scott called me to let me know that Ava wasn't feeling well, and had spiked a fever.  No wonder there were waterworks!  She was feeling better by Wednesday evening, just in time for her to go to her last swimming lesson on Thursday night.  She still has several areas that she needs to work on, so when we put her back into lessons, she'll need to go back into the same level.  And that's ok!  When we went to the pool yesterday, she was having fun swimming on her front and her back with the noodle - as long as we focus on the "fun" part, any practice should help her for future lessons!  I did tell her that this winter, I'd like to get her signed up for an ice skating class.  On to the next activity!

While Ava was splashing around with her noodle, I was occupied with getting G used to the water.  I dunked him (very briefly) a few times, so he could see what it was like to have his face submerged.  He had a grand time splashing, kicking, and getting his face wet!  One of the times I was playing with him, he had his mouth open in a really wide smile, and I just happened to notice two tiny little white dots on his lower gum.  I'm thinking that we have at least one tooth that is about ready to break through - hooray!  He has been a drooling machine lately, and he can't get enough of chewing on his fingers.  In a pre-celebration, I decided to pick up some baby food at the next level...stuff with chunks and other exciting things that he's going to have to use his little gums for.  Ahhh...such a small thing, but an exciting one!  I didn't get the chance to try to pry his mouth back open (rather, he didn't let me) so we'll need to keep an eye on things this week to see what happens!

This weekend has been really fun, but exhausting.  On Friday night, we had planned on a pool/dinner/bonfire with the neighbors.  We skipped the pool, and the bonfire, and ended up having a potluck dinner with 7 other families from the neighborhood...there were SO many people!  One of the people I had the chance to meet is a really sweet woman from Ethiopia...we had a great time chatting about kids, jobs, college (she also went to St Kate's), etc.  The more people I meet her, the happier I am to be here.  (And I was pretty happy about it to begin with!)

I ended up staying out on the neighbor's deck, chatting, until after 1am, so I was pretty pooped on Saturday.  Scott worked all day yesterday, so I took care of the kids (love having that pool) and got some stuff done around the house. Once he got home, I headed out to a co-worker's house for a summer party (Scott wanted a low-key night, and was happy to stay at home with the kids.)  We had fantastic food, great weather, and a really nice opportunity to meet and chat with some new people.  After that, Emilie and I headed back to her place, and we hung out until a little before 2am.  Another very late night - wonder how I'm going to survive today!

Later this morning, we have a baby shower for a new Baby Boy Goers (Scott's cousin is expecting), arriving this fall. Scott's family is hosting it as a brunch, right here in Rosemount, so I'm super excited for the location, as well as the yummy food.  And, of course, to see family! 

Not many pics this week, but Ava came back with some lovely facepainting from her trip to the Dakota County Fair last weekend.  You can't really tell in this picture, but it was very pretty and sparkly - she loved it, and had so much fun!


I picked up Garrett's 9-month photos on Friday - what a cutie!



I think it's time to feed the cute baby, and have an extra strong coffee.  I need to be in bed by 7pm tonight to make up for all of the lost sleep this weekend.  At least it was all fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mama!

This week, we decided we needed to put a gate up at the bottom of our staircase, as G heads for them any chance he gets...and he's fast!  Can't turn away for a second, otherwise, he will have already made it up 3 stairs, in a flash!  G has also been a little cranky the last few days - I would have thought that maybe he was teething (the teeth are currently staying in his gums, happy to be inside) but I think he's actually got a little bit of a cold.  His cranky times remind me how fortunate we are that he is generally a very good-natured baby. 

Even amidst all the crankiness, he managed to squeeze out his first word: mama!!  He's been making smacking sounds for a few weeks now, which helps with the "m" formation, but then he put the "ah" behind each one, and I just about fell over.  It happened while I was getting him ready for bed the other night, and when Scott came in to say goodnight to him, I told him...and then he told me he had been saying "dada" for weeks now.  Yeah, right. :)  He told me he'd believe it when he hears it!  So, yesterday morning, Scott was in G's room, getting ready to give him a bottle, and he said "Where's Mama?" and G looked towards the door.  Yep, I'm taking "mama" as his first word! :)

Ava's spent this weekend with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey.  Yesterday, they went to the Dakota County Fair, as a special surprise for Ava.  I haven't heard yet how it went, but I think she probably had a blast! Next weekend will be the first weekend in a long time where we have both kids around, for the entire time...the house is going to seem so full!

We're coming up on the last week of swimming lessons for Ava, and I'm a bit relieved.  She's still making a good effort, but I think we're both ready to get a few nights back during the week.  I wonder how it's going to be when she gets older, and gets really busy with activities!?

Can't get enough of these two together...



Naughty boy!  He was trying to pull himself OVER the gate!



Just a few short weeks until the Women Rock 5K - should be fun!


Tomorrow I head to Kansas City for an account review for a previous client of mine.  I'm looking forward to it, as I get to travel with another Business Analyst on my team, as well as a few other internal employees with whom I really enjoy spending time.  It's a quick trip - fly out at 8:45am, get back home around 9:30pm.  I might also be flying to Boston at the end of this month for a design session for a new client...it seems that no matter what job I get, I'm destined to travel.  I just wish I liked flying a bit more!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Little Bat Man

We decided to spend yesterday in our neighboring state...Wisconsin!  Scott was home by 10am (worked for a few hours), G was already over at Grandma Deb's, and we hit the road by 10:30am.  We were starving, so we decided to stop right outside of Hastings, and hit a little diner for some breakfast.  Sometimes the out of the way places make the best food...and it started off our adventure on the right foot!


Our next stop was to the Crystal Cave in Spring Valley.  A few of my neighbors had been there this summer, and I thought it looked like something fun and different for us to do as a family.  This was the main reason that we didn't have G with us...traveling 75' underground, in dark, damp conditions, with a baby, doesn't sound like a good time to me!  The caves were a very cool place to tour...at one point they turned off the lights for about a minute, and I'm happy to say that Ava didn't freak out.  Honestly, I was afraid I would feel a bit claustrophobic, but the tour moved at a good pace, so besides the "lights out" portion, we weren't standing in one place for too long.




Heading underground...





Once we returned to the sunlight filled terrain, we decided to see if Ava would be a good miner.  We had purchased a bag of the sand/dirt "prospecting mix" and ran it through the sluice that was set up.  No gold this time, but at least there were some really pretty rocks!

Ava picked out this little guy from the gift shop - sadly, we didn't see any bats in the cave, so this is the closest we got to one.  His name is Little Bat Man!




Our mining results!


We had heard there was a cheese factory nearby, and who can turn down fresh cheese??  Off to the Cady Cheese Factory we went!  We were a bit hungry at this point so we picked up a few snacks to munch on while we went to our next stop.  We had debated going to a vineyard in Chippewa Falls, or heading to more of an outdoor eating area in Maiden Rock.  Based on location/distance, we decided to go to Vino in the Valley in Maiden Rock.  I had fun sampling a few of their wines, and we enjoyed the view while dining in their outdoor eating area.  Ava and I tried their bean bag throwing game, but after it took her three throws to even make it to the board, we decided it was a lost cause for the day.  Time to move on!




Not a bad view while dining...


At this point, we were very, very full, but...we had talked to a neighbor about the creamery in Ellsworth.  And we were in WI, so...we had to stop and get ice cream right??  Hello, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery!  I managed to eat an ice cream cone, and then decided I didn't need to eat any thing else for 5 more days.  And that was fine, as it was getting to be early evening, and we were heading home.


And THEN, Scott saw a sign for another winery, and decided we needed to check it out. This was a fun experience...Valley Vineyard is completely tucked away in a neighborhood.  We didn't even see it until we were right next to the vineyard.  We talked to the owners a bit, and it turns out that they started off selling wines from a card table in their garage, but they were so busy, they decided they need to expand.  So, they built a 2nd building on their property, with the intent of not making it obvious it was a business.  They succeeded!  There were chickens out front, a beautiful view of the valley, and great wines to sample.  We met a very friendly woman who grew up in Rosemount, and sat next to a guy who is a beer drinker, but his lady got him started on wines.  There might be hope for Scott yet! :) 

After 6 samples, it was time to go.  We were stuffed and tired, and I'm pretty sure that Scott had a silent ride back home, as Ava and I were napping for most of the drive.  Yesterday was a super fun day with the family, and I'm glad we made plans to spend a Saturday exploring WI a bit!

The rest of our week was pretty full, too...swimming lessons on Tuesday and Thursday (Ava did great on Thursday - she listened, participated, and even went underwater a few times without hesitation!) I had a concert at work on Wednesday afternoon/evening, and then Friday I was off of work and at home with Ava and G (no daycare.)

The three of us has a pretty busy day on Friday...we took a tour of Ava's new school, Red Pine, in the morning.  Ava asked a TON of questions, and the secretary was very kind, and answered as many as she could.  After that, we headed home to get ready for G's 9-month photo shoot.  As usual, he did fantastic, and we got some super cute pictures to share with family and friends.  G has also mastered climbing up the stairs - and he's really fast, too!  Can't take your eyes off of him, or he'll be up the stairs before you know it!


Friday afternoon, I took care of some things around home, and once Scott got home from work, Ava and I headed out for a pizza and pool party with several neighbors.  We spent a few hours there, and only left because it started thundering...but that's ok, it was close to Ava's bedtime, and frankly, I was exhausted.  But, it was great to see our friends again, and we already have another event being planned for a few weeks from now!

My dad is helping Scott move some items out of Great Grandma Addy's house today (it's going on the market shortly - she has been moved to a full-time housing facility) and then they are joining us for dinner one last time before they head back to Colorado.  It's amazing how quickly these summer weeks are flying by - I can't believe the State Fair will be starting this month, and then school follows shortly thereafter.  Crazy!