Sunday, August 30, 2015

100,000 Steps

This has been a week full of steps.  Not metaphorically, but literally.  I managed to walk over 101,000 steps starting on Monday, and ending on Friday.  We've been having weekly challenges at work to see who can get the most steps in, and I won this week (I used my workplace treadmills every day!)  The challenge pushed me to walk more...and my average this week was around 8.75 miles per day.  I love my FitBit Flex - it's helping me to reach my goals of walking more, sleeping more, and drinking more water.  All good things!

Added on top of the weekly steps, I thought I'd throw in some massive step-taking yesterday...I participated in the Women Rock 5K with my friend Amy, and then Scott and I went to the State Fair last night.  My feet are pooped!

The weather was perfect this year for the was in the mid-60's, and overcast.  We didn't overheat, and we didn't have to squint into the sun.  Couldn't have asked for better conditions!  Afterwards, we enjoyed some snacks and champagne, and sitting on a bench to rest our weary legs...

Ready to go!

5K finishers!

Once I got home, Ava and I ran (not literally - that would be too much) to the library and turned in her final reading log of the summer.  She did it!  She completed three separate reading logs, and only has a few books left in her favorite Junie B series.  This girl is set for school!  She had her literacy assessment on Wednesday night, and we had a chance to meet her new teacher.  I think I'm going to like her - she seems sharp.  One of the neighborhood kids told me she is strict (good, Ava needs someone who will keep her in line, and will keep her focused when she gets bored and decides to talk and talk and talk...)  And one of the neighborhood moms told me she has a great sense of humor.  Even better! 

Ava had a great week in Summer Power at the Community Center.  She heads there for one more week, and then it's back to school!  Each school at the Community Center has a specific color of shirt they have to wear.  I decided that Ava's school lucked out with the dark purple...after alternating two shirts for five days straight, it's amazing how much dirt that dark color can hide!

Purple shirt and short hair - that's our little 2nd grader!

G had a rough week with his pinkeye, and a tummy bug he picked up.  He had some pretty big blowouts this week, resulting in many messes.  He got to take a shower at 9:30pm on Friday, as his overnight diaper couldn't contain the latest mess.  Ugh.  At least both Scott and I were home to tackle the clean-up.  And then Darla managed to escape from our deck, so she was wandering the 'hood at night.  I managed to track her down in our backyard just a short while later...nice try, puppy!  Thank goodness she still had her collar on...the jingling of her tags is what led me to her!  It was an exciting Friday night...

Back to G...Friday was the first day that I dropped him off and he didn't cry when I handed him over to Miss Megan.  I took that as a really good sign, and disappeared quickly out of his line of sight.  It's always hard to make a change, but I'm still 100% convinced that moving him to a center was the right thing for our family. 

Ava and G have been at Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey's house since yesterday afternoon, so Scott and I headed out to the MN State Fair.  It was fun and yummy, and an all-around good time.  I tried the Not Your Father's Root Beer, and love it!  We only tried one other new food this year (stuffed mushroom caps) and then made sure to track down all of our standard ones (cheese curds, pickle dog, pronto pup, turkey sandwich, and Hawaiian shaved ice.)  We looked at boats, walked a ton, did some shopping at the Grandstand, and ended the night with a skyride, and a tiny piece of the Carrie Underwood concert. 

On the bus to the Fair!

So good

Perfect night for a ride in the sky...

Grandstand - Carrie Underwood

We took the Express Bus this year so we didn't have to deal with traffic and parking...that is totally the way to go!  It was standing room only on the ride back, but a nice mom pulled her small child on to her lap so I could sit down...that was very much appreciated as my feet were tired!

It's been a great last few weeks of summer...and now my mind is already turning to pumpkins, apple orchards, vineyard tours, and upcoming family visits.  We're ready for the fall!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Movie Madness

It has been a week of movies!  Ava has seen 4 new movies this week, and went to the Saints game...lucky girl!  She watched a movie at Summer Power (last week at the school, next week she moves to the YMCA location to finish out the summer) and then we had family movie night on Friday.  I had recorded Disney's Descendants, and two out of the four of us enjoyed it.  The other two (hint: male) were both in his crib, the other on the family room floor.  Oh well, we girls liked it!

Totally enthralled with Descendants...check out that popcorn machine light in the back!

Ava and I went to the movie theater to watch Shaun the Sheep this morning.  The only thing I struggled with was what to eat?  We had breakfast already, and the movie was at 10am.  Too early for popcorn?  Neither of us were very hungry, so we both sipped on some Gatorades...although, my little movie date had mentioned mini-donuts initially...  In any case, the movie was SO cute!  We had watched Shaun the Sheep for years on Netflix, so it was fun to see a new movie featuring our favorite sheep and dog.  And farmer. Oh that silly, silly farmer!

I took Friday morning off and brought G to the Minnesota Zoo for his Toddler Time class (Animal Dads.)  He had absolutely no interest in the class, but loved playing with the daubers.  I think next year, when he's a bit older, he'll enjoy the classes a bit more.

We're getting him ready to play Bingo with us when he gets older...

He also started his first week at his new daycare.  The first day he did great, and then he was sad off and on for the rest of the week.  His teachers did a wonderful job distracting him, and keeping him focused on the fun things in his new classroom.  He also picked up pinkeye, which is a bummer.  Scott took him to the clinic this morning, and he's on medication, so hopefully it'll clear up quickly.  And I really hope that none of the rest of us pick it up!

This is a super cute pic from earlier this summer with the little boy next door!  He's just 7 months older than G, so hopefully they'll play together well over the years!

Sibling Construction...which later became Sibling Deconstruction.  Mega Blocks were flying everywhere!

Scott and I got our new phones, and I'm absolutely in love with having a piece of technology that works. Consistently.  And quickly!  My biggest concern was porting over all of the pictures, texts, contacts, etc., and Motorola made it painless...they have a great app which did it in no time!  Welcome to 2012, Dee...

Off to wrap up some more household projects!  We got our new steam cleaner yesterday, and I had so much "fun" cleaning the patio door tracks, as well as steam cleaning the bathroom floors.  At least it looks good!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Squeezing out the Summer

We're trying to squeeze the last bit out of summer, while we can.  It's been a busy few weeks with trips to the pool, the library, school prep, and other random fun stuff squished in there.

Last weekend, we took Ava and her friend to the Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America.  Mackenzie is a little bit more adventurous, while Ava is fairly cautious with trying new things.  Mackenzie was so patient with Ava, and didn't push her to ride anything beyond her comfort level.  Although, at the end of the day, if we had more time, I think we both could have convinced Ava to ride the Brain Surge AND do a complete revolution (the first time, they did revolve, at all...they stayed sitting upright.)  And, they rode a few more rides than shown was hard to get a decent pic as they went whizzing by on some of the rides!

After we were done at the MOA, we chowed down on pizza, and then headed to Yogurt Lab for a fun end to dinner.  They both got so much yogurt, and thankfully, didn't eat it all...or they would have had very full bellies!  Mackenzie spent the night, which was the first sleepover for Ava...and they both did great!  After a good nights sleep, and a yummy breakfast, Ava and I walked Mackenzie home (she lives in our neighborhood, so super convenient.)  What a great way to celebrate a very belated birthday for Ava!!

I've been keeping a running list of things we need to do with/for Ava before school starts, and we're making good progress.  School supplies purchased - check!  (And the 2nd grade teachers did a fantastic job making sure the supplies they were requiring were actually in stores!)  School shoes purchased - check!  We bought her three new pairs of shoes and they are all super cute!!!  She really wanted to get a pair of dressy boots, but the saleslady and I both talked her out of it...that might be a fall purchase.  We've been working on Ava's math flashcards, and she's finished up one of her reading logs for the summer.  She has just a few more hours to go to finish up two more.  She is loving the Junie B chapter books!

Last night, Scott and Ava went to see the Minions movie (Ava loved the movie, Scott loved the popcorn,) and today, Ava and I are going to the American Girl Bistro at the MOA for brunch.  We're both looking forward to that!  And one of these days, Ava and I will be heading out to see the Shaun the Sheep movie.  Lots of super fun things going on!

And what about that other child of ours?  He hasn't been nearly as busy, in that respect...however, he's certainly been keeping us busy running around after him!  Currently, I'm pretty sure he's trying to eat a candle and climb over everything in site.  To be fair, the candle does smell like a cookie.  He makes me tired.  :)  BUT, he and I have our toddler zoo class (fishes and frogs) on Friday morning, so I'm looking forward to that very much!  And, little G starts a new daycare tomorrow, so we're excited for this new adventure/transition in our lives.  I'm sure he'll do great!

I love that we no longer have to feed him baby food.  And, with his 16 teeth in place, he can eat so much more!

Trying to fill Daddy's shoes

His little basketball set came, and he LOVES it!

But...this ball doesn't work quite as well...

Yesterday, Ava, G and I walked 3 miles to the library and back, in the hot, humid weather.  Never again will I suggest that walk.  It was good for my FitBit steps (hit 10,000 by noon) but boy, it was uncomfortable walking in that heat.  G did great; however, he had water and was in a stroller, so it was a pleasant journey for him!

We are getting some of our hardwood floors replaced tomorrow so we purchased a dehumidifier, and our biggest question lately has been "what's the humidity level in the house?"  And boy, we can tell a difference with it running...everything feels really dry.  But, we haven't been able to get below 50%, so I know it's not THAT dry.  Ah well, it'll be nice to get the flooring issue resolved...we've been trying to get it scheduled since January!!!  Crazy!!

Time to corral the young ones...we have two ladies and one doll to get ready for a fancy brunch!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Oh Canada!

The rest of my time in Montreal was wonderful!  Em and I did the hop-on/hop-off tour a few times, ventured into Old Montreal, into the Plateau, shopping, eating, napping, and overall relaxing.  However, we averaged walking about 5 miles a day, which explains why we were both so tired at the end of the night.  There were only a few nights that we were up super late...and the best thing is that we could sleep in the next day!

It was a great trip, and gave me a chance to get refreshed and ready to get back to real life!

Flying in style...first class!

The airport was oddly empty, and we walked the empty halls for at least 15 minutes before getting to Immigration...

The view of downtown Montreal from the amazing terrace outside our hotel room...shared by only one other room in the entire hotel!

 St. James United Church

My clients were everywhere in Montreal...#1

 Musee McCord...and their outdoor park in the city

 The Batman building!

Montreal hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics - what a GOOD year that was!! ;)

Fun Fact: when you see a sign of Canada with the flag over the last "a", it means it's a government building

A tribute for FIFA...and a ball made out of flowers!

Palais des congres de pretty!!

The Holiday Inn in Chinatown

The Village...didn't get a chance to check it out much, but it looked like there was a lot of great shopping and dining.

Client #2

Loved this...

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts hosted a Chihuly glass exhibit a few years ago...when it was over, the city purchased this piece to display permanently, for $1,000,000.  Amazing!

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

At the top of the mountain...what a great view!

The Royal Victoria Hospital...the patients and staff were moved to a different hospital earlier this year, but this building remains a historic landmark, built in 1893 by Scottish immigrants.

An evening thunderstorm over downtown...the lightning was flashing like mad!

Down by the Saint Lawrence Seaway...

We stopped for a delish lunch in Old Montreal

Just a few signs to warn of us construction...

More artwork with flowers...

A nice place to cool off...

Wandering through Chinatown

Client #3

We had dinner at a fantastic Italian restaurant right by our hotel...La Medusa

There were sculptures like this all over the city...this was my favorite: "Tenderness"

Walking back from the Plateau (another neighborhood in Montreal)...we took a break in a neighborhood park.

Our last night in Montreal was a peaceful one...gorgeous weather.  We stayed on the deck for many hours, reading, talking, and even watching a movie until it was time to go to bed.

Lo and behold, client #4 was located at the airport.  Seemed like a good way to get a picture of this one...

We went through US Customs and Immigrations while we were still IN Canada.  That was a first for both of made it super easy when we re-entered the country in Detroit.  We didn't have to go through it again, so re-entry was painless!

While we ate lunch at the Detroit airport, this big guy was getting serviced to head out.  We checked out the gate after lunch, and this 747 was taking a full load to Seoul.

And now it's back to reality!  I took Friday off and had a list of things I was going to do, but unexpectedly, G didn't have daycare, so...he and I spent the day together.  We went swimming in the afternoon, and while he wasn't 100% sure about the water, by the end, he seemed to enjoy feeling it on his back and front.

Yesterday, once Scott was done working, we all headed to the MN Zoo and spent a few hours there checking out the animals.  After that, we came home, chatted with the neighbors (baby is due on Thursday, so lots of excitement!) and grilled out for dinner.  We were all so exhausted, we were sleeping by 9:30.  All of us!

Today looks like it's going to be lovely, so I think Ava and I are going to head to the pool after's been a fantastic 10 days since I've been at work, might as well keep the trend up! :)