Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mermaids, Planes, and Lime

Another fun week is in the books!  I had a great week at was very productive, which always makes the weekends more enjoyable (no worries about working on the weekend!) Plus, my company brought in the Gin Blossoms for a private show on Thursday...what a great time that was!  I was able to meet the lead singer, hang out with some friends, and even go out to a bar/restaurant afterwards.  It was so busy!  And then I remembered that on Thursday nights when we're home with the kids, other people are still going out.  It's a little glimpse of the world that happens, when kids are not a factor. (Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change anything in my life!!)

Last Sunday, Scott, Ava, and I went to The Little Mermaid musical at a local high school. The cast, crew and musicians did a great job bringing the classic story to life. It was really nice to have some one-on-one time with Ava. A big thanks for Grandma Karen for staying with G while we were out (granted, it was nap time for him, so it was pretty quiet!)

Rosemount has a strong Irish history, so it makes sense that the city days celebration is Irish-themed. Leprechaun Days is a 10-day affair, with a variety of events that focus on fun and families.  Yesterday was a packed day for us, filled guessed it, fun, family AND friends!

We started off the morning by heading out to the parade, which starts by the high school. The kids got a ton of candy and freebie items, and I made a new friend with the woman sitting next to me.  She was super chatty, and really, really nice.  One of my co-workers is running for City Council in Rosemount, so it was nice to be able to share our support of her there, as well. The only part I didn't enjoy was the unexpected heat and humidity.  Being soaked in sweat was the end result! 

On our walk home from the parade, we stopped in to G's daycare to give a tour to my parents, and also to enjoy some ice cream (they were having an ice cream social.)  Then we stopped in to the library to receive a few books, plus Ava needed to check out some new ones (hauling 8 books around in a backpack didn't help the sweating situation...) And THEN we stopped for root beer floats at the senior center.  Hot and hopped up on sugar didn't make for a happy G (he zonked out once we got home), but Ava did fairly well.

We took a few hours rest and then met up with my parents again in Central Park to enjoy the carnival rides, games, and food. Ava's not much of a risk taker (with anything) so she was content with the slow rides and games.  G found his new favorite ride...the planes!  He went on the ride three different times, and he insisted on the orange plane each time!  The guy who was running the ride told me that it was probably his favorite ride too.  He got a kick out of seeing G keep coming back for more.

Each time he would zoom past us, he would say, "I'm flying!"

We ended with a quick trip on the playground equipment and left right as they were starting to do the sound check for the concert (one day, we'll be able to stay for the music - and I'll get to go to the beer garden. ONE DAY!)  We walked to a local restaurant for dinner and had a great time, chatting with the servers, and filling our bellies. As we walked back to the car, we could hear the concert...if it hadn't already been such a long day, we might have stayed for a bit to watch it.

Slides are not made for adults. But, G had fun!

Wearing her newly-won friend, Lime (the turtle) on her head

Once we got home, G hit the hay, and Scott chatted with the neighbors, while Ava played with a friend, and I took 20 min to watch MTV (I didn't realize they still played videos! It was exactly what I needed for my few minutes of and no thinking required.)  My parents joined us around 9pm, and we headed over to a neighbor's house to chat and watch the fireworks. They have a great view from their driveway, plus there was no driving required.  After that, Scott brought Ava home, and he went to one neighbor's bonfire, while I went to another. During that time, I had a chance to chat with a neighbor I don't know very well...she gave me a little tour of her house, and I really like her decorating style.  I might have a new mentor I can ask for help!! She offered to help us paint our interior rooms, which I thought was SO nice! 

Scott met me on my walk home, and we finally had a few minutes to talk, without anyone else around. I was so exhausted that I was afraid I was going to fall asleep during our conversation. We even slept in today, which never, ever happens! 

It was a very busy, but fun, weekend.  This summer is zipping by way too quickly.  I have no idea where the days go. Yikes!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Keepin' It Cool: Italian Ice and Margaritas

Hot! It was insanely hot this week. Like melt the minute you step outside, stick to the car seat, instant sweat in your eyes HOT. But, hey, it's not snowing, so I won't complain.

Ava thought it would be easier to beat the heat by losing a few more teeth...numbers 6 and 7 popped out about a week ago. She has one more wiggly tooth in the front, but now I can pack apples in her lunch again! As usual, the generous Tooth Fairy left her a golden dollar for #6, but after some sassy comments she heard from Ava, she decided a quarter was in order for #7. Ava then decided that perhaps she is grateful for the gold coins, after all...

Grandma Karen and I tackled the task of taking G to get his haircut. Usually it's non-stop screaming and crying...but this time, it was different. There was a hint of tears, but he actually giggled when the lady used the big, fluffy brush to wipe off the hair. Grandma Karen talked non-stop the entire time, trying to distract him, and it worked!  We celebrated afterward by stopping to get Italian good! We'll definitely have to stop back with the full family to get more.

My work decided to beat the heat with a bean bag toss tourney, a food truck, margaritas and beer. I found a shady spot under some trees, and totally enjoyed my few hours of laid back time.

Also in the midst of a hot week, there was an impromptu gathering at a neighbor's house...we went over there with the intention of staying for a little bit, and came home FOUR hours later! The kids had a blast checking out Pete's State Trooper car...

I also had Friday afternoon off, so after a quick lunch at a nearby park, I came home and headed to our pool. It was the first time I had been there without kids, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and being able to cool off, when needed.

Last night, Scott and I headed out on a date (thanks Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug for holding down the fort while we were out!) We enjoyed a nice dinner out, and then took advantage of the kid-free time to check out the new Hy-Vee, and even get our weekly grocery shopping done. We then stopped at a new-to-us bar to enjoy a few drinks. Not super exciting, but it was the perfect way to spend a night out!

Today Ava, Scott and I are heading out to see The Little Mermaid at a local high school theater. Poor little G doesn't get to do anything yet.  At least he gets to be cute!

 But now, I need to make some cinnamon rolls, so we can get the day going on a sweet note!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Waffles and Helmets

Ava, Grandma Karen and I had a great end to the weekend last Sunday.  We took a little adventure to Black: Coffee and Waffles, which is a small little place by the U which serves...waffles!  I chose to have a savory waffle, Grandma Karen chose a fruit and granola waffle, and Ava chose to build her own with cinnamon, caramel, whipped cream, and marshmallows.  Sweeeeeet!

It was neat going someplace we hadn't been before, plus it gives Ava exposure to more than just her suburban life.  She needs that. 

We then went and played at a local park, and Ava made a few new friends.  It was perfect weather to sit on a bench and catch up with my mom!  After 30 min or so, we rounded up Ava and headed off to the Wild Rumpus bookstore in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis (by Lake Harriet.)  We saw lots and lots of animals there (cats, chinchillas, rats, ferrets, birds) but no chickens!  Bummer!  It took forever to get Ava to narrow down her choice to a book (I started to implement some craft kits, no picture books, no books that you've already read, etc.) and she finally picked one out.  And wouldn't you know it, she finished it on the car ride home!  New rule - it has to be a chapter book, with substantial text!  I'm glad she loves to read so much...we've been to the library twice already this week!

Ava is taking swimming lessons through the YMCA while she's at Summer Power each day.  Currently, she's at the red level, and I told her that by the end of the summer, she needs to be at the yellow level.  I asked her the other day how things were going and she proclaimed that she believes she has "mastered the back float!"  It was a cute phrase coming from our girl's mouth.  She'll need to prove to me that she can actually do it, though!

Garrett decided the grass needed some mowing last week, so, he suited up, and brought his little bubble mower out.  I love that he decided to pull on Ava's old Lalaloopsy helmet to mow.  Safety first!

He decided he liked it better backwards...

I can't believe that it's already the middle of July.  Where has the summer gone?!?  My work has a deal where you can take seven summer Friday afternoons off, with pay.  I worked last Friday afternoon, and got SO much work done.  It's amazing how much easier it is to work when half of the company is out, and there aren't any meetings.  WOW!

It's been a movie weekend for us...each kid picked out a movie to watch on Friday night, and Scott hauled out the popcorn machine (yum!)  Last night, after the kids went to bed, Scott and I watched Dirty Grandpa...pretty funny!  And then we went to bed with the impending storm coming our way.  At one point, we heard a very strange sound on our desk, so we both got up to check it out...our gate at the top of the stairs had fallen over and skittered its way down the stairs.  And wouldn't you know it, our baby lilac tree fell over again.  That poor thing can't catch a break!  Scott has a better stake system that he picked up, so I'm pretty sure that will be on today's to-do list!

I'm hoping that if it's nice after breakfast, and the grass isn't too wet, that we can get outside and play a little croquet with the kids. Something different to keep them entertained!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My Baby Lilac Tree

Work continued on the retaining wall last Monday...the weather was perfect, and Scott decided it was best just to get the job done, even though he was tired from working hard both days of the holiday weekend already.  Scott and my dad got all of the rock laid down, and then we took a trip to Gerten's to pick out the plants.  Any time I had been to Gerten's, I had stayed inside, or focused on the annuals...but this time, we ventured into the perennials.  We had a rough idea of what we wanted before we bought the plants, but it did change a few times while we were there...and I love the end result!  I have an extra soft spot in my heart for my ornamental lilac all we need is a spot for a magnolia tree somewhere, and my landscaping wishes will have come true!

So pretty in the backseat of our truck!

I was trying to keep the kids entertained, and out of the way, while Scott and my dad worked.  Bubbles are always a hit!

G had fun trying to squish the bubbles

(Almost...the cap still needs to be put on top of the wall, but that is at least one full day's work, so that won't happen for a while.)

Later that afternoon, while G was sleeping, Ava decided to check out the new slip-n-slide that we had bought.  It was a little chilly to be running through it, but she still had a great time. I think it would be amazing on a really hot summer day.  Can't wait for G to have a run at it!

On Monday night (the 4th), Ava and I walked down the block to watch the Apple Valley fireworks from our "secret" watching spot. I am still so surprised that no one else goes there to watch them; it's a perfect view!  There was a random guy who was walking his dog, and he sat down to watch them, too, but that was it.  Ava was creeped out by the bugs, and kept asking "was that the Grand Finale?" can we go home?!"  Next year, we'll remember the bug spray...  As we were walking home, I stopped and chatted with a neighbor who was out front, and when his wife came by a few minutes later, she said, "I found the perfect spot to watch fireworks!"  And guess where it was? :)  Looks like we'll have company next year!

So, after a great long weekend, filled with perfect weather, we were due for a storm.  On Tuesday night, a fairly large storm him the metro area.  I drove home through it, and all I could think of was my new baby tree.  When I came around the corner, I saw my little tree, laying horizontal, on the ground.  The good news is that the bamboo stake had broken, but my little tree was flexible enough, that it just bent over, and didn't snap.  Scott has since re-staked it, with a metal stake, so hopefully, this won't happen again.  And, the tree should be fine!

One of the cottonwoods in our backyard wasn't so lucky...half of it fell onto our garden.  Scott ended up cutting the whole tree down.

Our oldest dog, Darla, hasn't been doing so well this week - she isn't eating much food.  We might need to make a decision soon about her.  She just turned 16, so she's had a very good, long life...and she is very well loved in this family.

We had bring your dog to work day on Friday (no, I never bring my dogs), and my cube neighbor just got a new puppy...look at this little girl!  Zoe (dog) and Cody (co-worker) had a constant crowd of people around them on Friday morning.  Zoe is so, so cute...she tried eating my toes.  I forgot how funny puppies are...

I had Friday afternoon off, and ended up meeting Scott and G for lunch (G had a fever, so we kept him home from daycare.)  It was nice to kick the weekend off with some family time.  G and I then headed home so Scott could get to an appointment, and we snuggled for an hour before Grandma Deb came to pick up G.  He's been with Deb and Whitey for the whole weekend, reveling in all of the attention, I'm sure!

And what does a family do when their toddler is elsewhere?  We explore local art parks, go out for apps and drinks, and then head to a new movie.  We had a really nice Saturday, complete with perfect weather.

Ava and I wandered into the woods at the Caponi Art Park, and came across this lovely, lily pad filled pond.

This snake was huge!  We both thought it might be a little scary to come across something like this, if it was real!

Rolling hills lead to the sculptures...

I love this scuplture...reminds me of how Ava and G hug me

Watching The Secret Life of Pets - super cute movie!  I gave both Darla and Lucky big hugs when we got home so they know how much we love them!

Today should be just as fun...Ava, my Mom, and I are heading out to a waffle restaurant in St Paul, and then to check out a very cool kids bookstore in Minneapolis.  I'm super excited that Ava's at the point where we can take her places like this, and she enjoys them.  G will be at home, spending some good quality time with Scott (or napping, perhaps.)  Can't wait to see that little guy this morning!

It's been a great family week...bummer that work has to interrupt it tomorrow! :)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Early Bird

I realized that I skipped a chunk of pictures that I wanted to share...things were super busy last weekend, so we'll blame my lapse of memory on that! The focus was so much on Ava's party, that I neglected to share the family birthday photos, too.

Two weeks ago, we invited all of the grandparents over for a wonderful dinner of smoked prime rib (and other yummy sides), and then topped it off with a raspberry mojito birthday cake for the newly minted eight-year-old. We like to experiment with different birthday cake flavors for her birthday, and this one was MUCH better than the watermelon cake from last year (gross-gross-gross!)

Saying cheese with Grandpa Doug!

G and I took a break from the present pics to take some selfies ;)

Even his cars made an appearance!

Super excited to be receiving an aquascope!

And no birthday is complete without something from American Girl - this time is was a pizza party set - awesome!

We have also been blessed with some really great weather lately.  Yesterday, I bought a slip-n-slide, based on how much the kids loved the neighbor's version last weekend! I also picked up a badminton set (no net), and I think it's time to break out the croquet set from my parents...I was eyeing up a bocce set, too, but decided to ease slowly into the summer games. I do really enjoy bocce, though! My teammate (Ryan) and I didn't do very well in the bocce tournament at work this teammate from last year (Matt) was happy to hear that he couldn't easily be replaced!

Ava and I finally made it to the pool this year...turns out the best time to go is after dinner...we were guaranteed a chair!

It was a busy week at work, but a good one..very productive. Ava had a great week, as well. She spent the first two days with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey, and then joined us again on Tuesday night. I decided it was time to find a children's clinic closer to home, so we went to a new doctor this week for her eight year check-up. She's super healthy, but she was encouraged to eat more vegetables! I love it when someone other than the parents lay down the law!

Speaking of healthy eating...two weeks ago, I came into work with a doughnut and a homemade cookie on my desk...two different Account Managers decided to give me food that day for my work on our shared projects.  Yes, PLEASE!

G had fun at daycare this week, too...he made an awesome tie-dye shirt one day, went to the Rosemount splash pad another day, and spent a lot of time at the park on the other days. They also had a tornado drill, which Ava thought was amazing...she is terrified yet also highly interested in tornadoes. In fact, when most kids picked cats or dogs for a research project last year, she and her classmate picked to learn about tornadoes!

This weekend has been so relaxing...we took it easy on Friday night, and while Scott and my dad worked on a new retaining wall in our front yard (!!), Ava and I leisurely bought absolutely everything at Target.  She had some birthday money to spend, and I realized that G still had a gift card from Christmas...he was super happy with the remote control car we brought home for him. The dogs were pretty interested,'s a toy that everyone can enjoy!

I woke up around 5am on Saturday, wide awake...I had almost 8 hours of sleep at that point, so decided to get up and enjoy the quiet morning.  I made some coffee, took a book out to the deck, and enjoyed the sunrise.  It was an AWESOME way to start my day!

Our new retaining wall - Scott has done a great job so far!

After the kids were in bed last night, we checked out a neighbor's new patio, and enjoyed some fireworks from down the street. We also met another couple in the neighborhood, who I think would be a hoot to hang out with! Turns out they own a restaurant in St. Paul that we've been to, but even better...their daughter is friends with Ava, and she had come to the party last weekend. This was truly a connect-the-dots kind of night!

We're going to go tree and shrub shopping today, and then will enjoy a low key dinner with my parents. We're hoping to check out a 4th of July carnival tomorrow in Eagan and then watch fireworks from our neighborhood. We have a great view of the Apple Valley fireworks from just down our street. Since it's late on a Monday this year, we thought it would be best to stay at home and make it an easy night.

Happy Birthday, America!