Sunday, August 28, 2016

23,928 Steps

Never a dull moment!  Never a chance to be bored!  NEVER!  I remember the days when I had down time, both in my personal life and at work...and I can confidently say that those days are long gone.  We started off the week with an emergency HOA meeting...the tension was high near the end of the meeting, so I was happy to head home, and let the board do what we elected them to do.

Tuesday night was Ava's literacy assessment for 3rd grade.  We never find out exactly how she does, but she informed me that she got all of the words right, except for a few that she didn't know.  I'm confident in her reading ability, so I have no doubt that she did well.  Earlier in the summer, she had told me she was scared of third grade, since she was going to have to learn both cursive and multiplication.  After meeting with her new teacher, she is pumped about learning cursive!  She begged me to teach her how to write an "a" so she could start practicing.  I have NO idea what her teacher said to her, but clearly, she flipped a switch for Ava...awesome! 

Her new teacher seems really nice, so we're all excited to see what this new year will bring.  PLUS, Ava gets to be a buddy for a Kindergartner this year.  We ran into Ava's 1st grade teacher (who now teaches Kindergarten) and she mentioned that she is usually paired up with Ava's 3rd grade teacher for the buddy program.  Even better!  We also took a few minutes to pop in and say hi to Ava's 2nd grade teacher (also teaching Kindergarten this year...hm...) and even though she was with another student, she told Ava to stop by on the first day of school so she could say hi.  I think this will be a great year for Ava!

There's been a lot of change at G's daycare (his room's aide went back to school.  She was amazing, so she will be missed.  Hopefully she'll be back next summer!) With that change, they've also switched up his other teachers.  I wasn't quite sure what was happening, so I made a point of asking on Friday.  Sounds like the aide from his past toddler class will become his new teacher in a few weeks.  G loves her, so this will also be good!  Looking forward to seeing things settle down and get back into a routine.

I worked late on Wednesday night, as I had a big client deliverable for Thursday.  Work keeps me busy.  I can't believe how quickly my days fly by...and I'm very grateful for that.  I remember how long the work days feel when there isn't enough work to do.  I'd much rather be busy than not!

Saturday was a super busy, exhausting, but fun day!  The kids were picked up in the late morning by Grandma Deb, so we haven't seen them since yesterday.  They'll be hanging out at their house today, too...that gives Scott and I the chance to have some kid-free time to do house stuff, errands, etc.  I'm sitting at our table, enjoying the sunshiney view, drinking a coffee, and noticing how quiet it is without those little rugrats running around, making noise. (I say that with love, of course!)  We'll bring the chaos back into the house after we pick them up tonight (after we all enjoy a dinner with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey.)

Yesterday morning, my friend Amy and I participated in our third Women Rock 5k. I hadn't seen Amy since she left BIW in April, so it was great to catch up.  The 5k flew by since we chatted non-stop during the entire time.  We did get rained on, but not to the point where it was uncomfortable.  Due to a race gear manufacturing issue, I ended up with a gift certificate to their onsite store, so we both did a little shopping before the race.  Fun!  When we left, I had around 11k steps. Not bad for 11am on a Saturday!


When I got home, I quickly unpacked my things, changed clothes, and got ready to head out to the MN State Fair.  For the 3rd year in a row, we have gone to the Fair the same day that I have done the 5k. You'd think I would learn about the proven exhaustion by now...but, nope!  My parents picked us up around 1pm, we grabbed a bus to the Fair, and then we stayed for 8 hours!  Since my parents are fairly new residents of MN, we thought it would be best if they had a guide for their first Fair experience.  We walked, talked, ate, and drank our way through the fair grounds. This year was the first time that I felt comfortable knowing where vendors were located, and could give accurate directions.  We were rained on a little bit, but overall, it was a nice, cool day to enjoy the "Great Minnesota Get-Together!"  And we managed to sneak in another 12k steps.  By the time we got home around 11pm, it was sweet relief to crawl into bed and hit the hay.  My feet are still sore. :)


Not too bad of crowds for a drizzly day


With the Fair's arrival, it's a clear signal that summer is coming to an end.  We need to make sure we're enjoying the last of the warm days...before we know it, apple picking, cozy sweaters, and cooler temps will be here!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Wonderful Wisconsin Dells

What a great family vacation we've had this past week!  All of the planning and the prepping was totally worth it...and now I can't wait for us to start planning our next vacation.  Plus, I haven't checked my work email this entire time, so I feel like I truly have had a break from things (I was at work until 10pm the night before we left, so I definitely needed that break!)

We're on the road...and fast asleep!


Except for Ava...she was awake and chatty for the entire drive there...


We stopped and had lunch on a waterfront patio in La Crosse.  Ava was quite taken with the baby ducks in the river.




We finally made it there!  The line to check in was super long...I'm so glad Scott and G stayed in the truck while Ava and I took care of things.



After settling in, we decided it was time to explore. I had done my research on the resort, and decided that Ava would like the MagiQuest game (searching for different items in order to collect runes with her wand.) At first she was hesitant, but after we learned the lay of the land and what we were supposed to be doing, she loved it!  We left with a few quests uncompleted, but if we go back next year, we should be able to pick right back up!

Ava tried to turn her brother into a frog with her wand.  He was not impressed.
 

After walking through the entire hotel (however, we completely missed the little kids activity area...dangit!), we decided it was time to eat some train-delivered food!  We took a leisurely stroll and made our way to Buffalo Phil's.  


Not only did the train deliver food, but it also blew bubbles - G loved it!


Look at my cute kid's sundae!


Who wouldn't want their meal delivered by a buffalo-covered vehicle?


After dinner, we took advantage of a free "train" ride given during dinner...it was a little roller coaster to which Ava and I were happy to say "PASS!"  G had so much fun with Scott, though!


The next morning was spent at the waterparks...I didn't take any pictures there, as we both had our hands full with the kids.  There truly was something for everyone!  Now that Ava's a bit more comfortable in the water, she had no issues going into the deeper ends of the pools (still only rode one waterslide...and said that was enough for her.) The weather was gorgeous on Thursday, so we were able to enjoy the outdoor pools, as well.  I'm so glad we did, as the weather was much cooler and rainy on Friday.  At one point, on Friday afternoon, Ava and Scott went outdoors to the pool, and G wanted to follow them, not heeding my warnings about how cold it was. Within 3 seconds of being outside, he yelled, "It's cold, it's cold...I want to go inside!"  We repeated this a few more times before I told him we were going to stay outside for just a few minutes.

G wasn't sure what to make of the waterparks...there was water flying out of so many different features, every where he looked, he'd get wet!  By the end of our stay, he enjoyed the wave pool (probably my favorite too) and also going down a little slide in one of the kiddie features.  At one point, a little girl, just a little bit bigger than G, was waiting at the bottom of the slide, with her arms open, to catch us.  The first time she did that, G told her thank you when we got to the bottom.  So polite!!  She continued to do it for several more rounds until I think she realized I wasn't going to let a 3-year old catch another mommy/son pair.  Too cute!

One of Ava's favorite parts was the hot tub...her little lips and fingers were getting so blue after being in the water for a few hours, so we hit the hot tub to warm up.  Awesome!  We also took advantage of their snack bars in the park, so we didn't have to run back to the room to eat.  I loved the fact that our wristbands were coded to our rooms, so we didn't even have to carry money with us...we could just charge it all to the wristband.  Brilliant!

After we had our fill of the waterparks on Thursday, we walked over to the outlet malls, and did some shopping before dinner.  Both kids got new Crocs and pjs. I asked Ava what she thought about going to Disneyworld in a few years...she said she thought it would be nice, but she would also really like some charms for her Crocs. So, I asked her if she had a choice between the two (Croc charms or Disneyworld,) which would she take...the charms won out.  Sigh...

During G's nap on Thursday afternoon, Scott and Ava hit the arcade in the resort (and I enjoyed some quiet time reading on the balcony,) so it was only fair that G got to have a little spaceship ride at the outlets!


Each kid received a set of wolf ears upon check in...here, Ava was watching some birds out the window while we were waiting for our dinner at the restaurant at the resort.

 

She was tired of smiling pretty for my camera...


G thoroughly enjoyed his strawberry dessert...it was all over his face!



We had to stop and take some pics with the animals in the lobby area...




Before bed on Thursday, we got the kids in their pjs, and headed down to the lobby for the Clock Tower Show (music and singing by the animals of the resort...no, they're not real animals...)  After that, we stayed for story time, and then hit the hay!  We got about 10 hours of sleep each night, which was amazing!  A big storm rolled through on Thursday night, and we lost power twice.  We were all up for a bit during that time.

When we woke up on Friday, the weather was rainy and cool, so we decided it would be a great day to explore more of the Dells.  We bought our tickets for the duck boat tour, and off we went!  Lots of fun, and a great way to see the beauty of the area.


 

Although, Ava wasn't happy with how many pictures I was taking...






After we had our fill of the boats, it was time to eat lunch!  We stopped at a sports bar on a golf course...and G completely flipped out over the fact that each of the pendant lights over the tables was a different ball (soccer, football, and basketball.)  Great atmosphere, great service, and great food!

 

This time Scott stayed with G while he napped in the afternoon on Friday, and Ava and I completed three more MagiQuests.  All of the quests we had done so far were contained within the MQ building...but our last one took us all over the resort.  We actually had to stop and ask for help, as we couldn't find the black hole...


Once everyone was up and ready to go, we headed out for dinner to MooseJaw...a pizza place in the area.  So yummy!





Another early night for us...and more sleep!  Our nights were so low key...and that was perfect. I think I would choose a different room type for the next time, though.  There are suites available where there is a separate kids room with bunks and a twin bed.  That way, they can sleep in peace, while we were still awake.

Ava and I enjoyed a Mommy and Me pedi yesterday morning.  I picked out a dark purple polish, thinking it will be perfect during Vikings football.  The woman who did our nails (a die-hard Packers fan) said that now she wasn't sure she could ever use that color again. LOL  


 

Ava chose a sea green color with dark pink sparkles...it turned out great!


G was fascinated with this dino who was sticking out of a building by our resort.  Every time we passed it, he would laugh and tell us "The dinosaur doesn't fit!"


We had lunch at a great Irish pub in La Crosse...and Scott commented that once a month, we need to go to a different restaurant for lunch, with the kids.  Just to try new things...YES!!!

I asked Ava to open her eyes more for the 2nd picture...so she opened them really wide, and G made a show of shutting his.  Kids!



All eyes open here!


Overall, we had a fantastic time on our first family vacation...picking the right location was imperative.  The Dells were a perfect place, not too far away (3.5 hours by car), and they catered to all ages.  I cannot wait to go back for our next visit!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Preparing for Vacation

We had a low key week, which is rare in this house. Oh sure, there were fun field trips at Summer Power, a visit to the splash pad on a hot day, and a few crazy, rain storms, but it was an easy week. Well, there was that one time when we were out for dinner with G (Ava was with Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug for an overnight stay and a trip to the Dakota County Fair - fun!) and G decided to hide behind my chair and puke all over me and the floor (at the restaurant.) Ugh. The good news is that he was just too full of chocolate milk...no illness!

A quiet week, once in a while, is an okay thing! We're starting to prep for our vacation to the Wisconsin Dells...we don't take too many family vacations, so this is a big event for us. (Funny, I took a break from writing this post as Scott just asked me about planning a trip to Disney...we were debating the differences between going to California vs. Florida...pros and cons to each!)

Yesterday, I showed G a video from one of the water parks at our resort in the Dells, and even he is super excited to go. He wanted to go to "Sconsin" last week!

Always trying to fill his Daddy's shoes...


Ava bought me flowers last week!



We are heading out today for a nice breakfast, and then shopping for patio furniture. Should be a nice low-key day to end a low-key week and weekend!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Block Party 2016

I really, really like weeks when I only have to work three days.  Can I do that all of the time?! 

I took Tuesday off so G and I could go to the Hissin' and Hootin' Toddler Time class at the MN Zoo.  We went to a toddler class last summer and he had NO interest in learning about frogs.  I remember thinking, "Next year...it'll be better!"  And it WAS!  He listened, he participated, he paid attention...amazing!


We learned about snakes and owls...and we both had fun petting the snakes back and belly when they passed him around.  We also sat right in front with the owl...G's became instantly attentive once they brought her out of her mobile cage. And at the end, when she flapped her wings, and came right at us, I think we were both a little unsure of what to do.  The amount of wind created from her flapping her wings was insane!

Before the animals came into the room, the kids had free range to play with anything they wanted to.  G found the bucket of balls/beanbags.  He proceeded to sort them by color, and then noticed that each color also had a square, a triangle, and a sphere.  He quickly realized that the green sphere was missing and wanted to know where it was.  I was super impressed that he categorized everything so quickly and realized the one item that was missing. 


After a fun trip to the zoo, we had a lunch date at McDonald's (I have never gone just with G) and then he settled down for a nice nap.  It was a great afternoon...and ended up being a really nice day off of work with my little guy!

On Wednesday, Ava's #8 tooth came out AND she passed from the red class to the yellow class in swimming!  She brought her goggles to her lesson and that made all of the difference with her being able to do the front float successfully.  So proud of her...it seemed like she was going to be in the red class forever!

You can't see her missing tooth, but the gap is in there!


My co-worker bought her some books as a thank you for giving her daughter the books that Ava has outgrown. Ava loves this new series!

 
On Friday, I took the day off for just ME.  And it was another great day!  After I dropped the kids off at daycare/summer power, I got coffee and took a leisurely stroll through Target.  And when I got back home, I spent 1.5 hours at our pool...it was so quiet...there were just a few kids there, and mostly women, reading on their chairs, enjoying the solitude.  I even managed to sneak in a nap on Friday afternoon before everyone got home!!  After I picked up Ava from summer power, she and I took a trip to Michael's and she picked out a Rainbow Loom set as her "surprise" from passing to the yellow class in swimming. (I had told her this summer that if she moved into the yellow class, she'd get a surprise.  She asked for a $100 gift card to Target. I said no. LOL)  I'm now the proud owner of a teal and black bracelet, made with love by Ava.


Yesterday the west side of our neighborhood had a block party...and WOW, it was pretty awesome!  There were SO many games for the kids, great food, meeting neighbors we've never even seen before, and then the Rosemount Fire Dept showed up!  The kids loved climbing in the truck and trying on the fire suits.  They tapped into the fire hydrant in the cul-de-sac and the kids had a fantastic time turning on and spraying the hose!  The four firefighters stayed a while, and even joined in to have some food with the neighborhood. It was a great addition to a very fun party! After the sun went down, we enjoyed a bonfire at the neighbors, and finally called it a night around 10:30. We had been out for 6 hours at that point, and needed to hit the hay. Such a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and evening!

It was such a surprise when the RFD showed up!




SO much fun with the fire hose!



Ava won the donut eating contest...


And she kinda did the limbo...


G wanted to eat the egg, but we convinced him to run with it instead (and then he lost his hat in the process.)


 Wish all weeks could be this great!