Sunday, June 11, 2017

Emus and Roos!

We've been blessed with beautiful weather for the last several days. And with lovely weather comes the chance to be outside, doing fun summery activities!

I took off of work on Monday so G and I could have a mommy/son day. We ran errands in the morning, got my car washed, took him in for a much needed haircut, and then headed to the zoo for the "Big Beaks and Wide Wingspans" class. We've taken a class at the zoo each summer for the last three years, and I was sad to realize this was his final toddler class. We will have to find some kind of replacement for next year!

It's been fun watching home become more engaged in the classes over the years.  He participated fully this year, and it was clear he was one of the older kids in the class. One woman had her hands full with a little guy, who didn't want to sit down, and was crying...I remember those days very well...

He was slithering on the ground like a snake...sssssss!


Holly the Parrot!


And a really big millipede...G didn't want to touch it, so he waved at it, and said hello. Good enough for me!


This was in 2015 - the first year we went to a class at the zoo. He only wanted to play at the table, and didn't want to learn about frogs/fish






This was in 2016 - we learned about the hissin' and hootin' animals! G was a little more engaged, but still mostly focused on the toys...



Back to 2017...after we learned all about birds and bugs (the bugs portion were a surprise...I thought it was going to be all about birds,) we headed over to the new Australia exhibit at the zoo. We walked among the kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. In my mind, kangaroos were always upright, but in reality, they walk on all fours!

Enjoying lunch in the sun



What a perfect bench!



It was hot and the kangaroos were sleepy...


Roo in the background!



We had a great time at the zoo, but we both hit our wall, and were happy to be back home for a late nap, and to cool off. I went to Wonder Woman with my mom that night, so I needed to rest up so I could enjoy it. What a fantastic movie! Perfect day and night!

Tuesday was Ava's last day of third grade. I cannot believe that we have a fourth grader. When did that happen?! Both of these kids are growing up too fast!


Scott took Wednesday - Friday off of work, as we didn't have childcare for Ava before her Summer Power program starts on Monday. They had some pretty excellent adventures...bowling, zoo, fun meals out... plus, Scott was able to get the beginnings of our irrigation system installed. For assistance, he recruited my dad for Friday, and then the neighbor/neighbor's father-in-law on Saturday. It's not done, but it has a good start to it!

We also celebrated my mom's birthday on Friday night...pizza and an assortment of mini bundt cakes. Yum! Happy, happy!



On Saturday, we had two grad parties to go to...it was good to relax, let the kids play with new friends, and be out of the house for a while. We've got another party to go to today, and that's for a cousin who is graduating. I'm excited to see the family we haven't seen in a while!

This Thursday, Ava, my mom, and I leave for NYC! I may take a hiatus from posting next week...maybe! Check back in to see what adventures we had while in New York!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Jumpy McJumperton

What a great start to summer! Last weekend was perfect, full of plenty of fun activities, as well as the great joy of being able to check things off the to-do list! We finished up all of the planting for the summer, including laying down the sod in Lucky's dog run area. It's great to see all of the life and color coming back into our yard.

G was so proud of himself when he discovered our "name rocks" in the planter (Ava's is hidden in this pic, but it's there!)


Our baby lilac tree survived the first year and produced heavenly scented blooms this year. I took a few extra minutes each morning to stop and smell the flowers before they are gone!


And, in one week, we will finally have the long-awaited irrigation system. Scott never minded managing a sprinkler for the yard, but I think he finally reached the point where he doesn't always have time to do it, and he doesn't like seeing a dry yard, so...problem solved! Hooray!

G moved into his big boy bed this past week, and he loves it! I told him he needed to be careful not to roll out of it at night, and he took that to heart. Almost every night this week, he tells me he will stay in his bed and won't fall out!

Ava was one of the top 25 fundraisers at her school for the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser this spring. With that, she earned an hour of free jump time at a new trampoline park (complete surprise to all of us!) She had so much fun, and was absolutely pooped by the time we left on Thursday night. She managed to talk me into stopping for some yummy Italian ice on the way home. Everyone else had the same idea...it was packed, but well worth the wait!






We thoroughly enjoyed our cool treats outside until a really creepy bug flew down my shirt. Party over!



We've had lovely, sunny weather the last few days, so I spent some time outside on Friday afternoon, enjoying a local nature center. It was all good until I almost swallowed one of those worms that hang from trees...yuck. I seem to have issues with bugs...can't imagine where G got his fear from...


Last night we had a great night out as a family. We enjoyed an early dinner, and then an unexpected shopping trip. I think Scott had the most fun! Ava even ran into a friend while shopping, so I overheard some of their discussions about the clothes in the girls section...pretty cute.

This is NOT food on G's face. This is what happens when a three-year-old has syrup on his face, and his father tries to wipe it clean with a black linen napkin. In person, he looked like he had a goatee, much like Scott. Perfect since his shirt says "Like father" at the top!


Ava and Scott were up to some shenanigans while shopping. G and I laughed quite hard when we finally caught up to them in the store!


We're looking forward to a low key day at home today...the perfect way to end the weekend! G and I have a fun day planned for tomorrow, so our weekend will be extended by one day. More to come on that event!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bug Man

I'm struggling to remember what we did this week...this weekend has been so good, so relaxing. Apparently, whatever happened last week is just a distant memory!

I do recall that G had some extra visitors at daycare on Monday. Some with many feet, some with wings, and some with a shared DNA. A few weeks ago, we learned that the Bug Man from the zoo was going to bring in some creepy, crawly creatures. G hates bugs. A lot. The daycare kindly gave me a heads up so we could have extra support there for G. Thank goodness for Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug! They were able to stop by and help wrangle some bugs and kids. And...I heard from several teachers that G did much better than expected!






I also remember that we managed to sneak in a dinner out with the kids. We always split the seats where it's one parent/one kid per side of booth. But this week, G insisted that he sit by Ava. It was so odd to see both kids across from us. But, it was nice to actually sit by Scott!

He was watching her chip very closely...



 The weekend started off on a great note when I was able to enjoy Friday afternoon on several different patios in Minneapolis. The weather was perfect, the food & drinks were good, and the company was wonderful! I received the strangest text from Scott while I was out, though...it contained this picture, and something about "new pet"...

 
When I got home that night, I met the sweetest little bunny from our backyard. Turns out we have a nest in the grass in our retaining wall in the backyard. We found four little ones in there! Scott is not a fan of rabbits, but he seems to really like the first bunny he found. We have named him "Hops".

To cap off perfect days, we've spent the last few nights at our neighbor's house. They have a great patio with a firepit, and they've added a projector with a screen so the kids can watch movies while we're outside. Friday night I was there till 1am! Last night, Scott and I left right before midnight. It's a very relaxing way to end our busy days.

Found this little fairy garden on my afternoon adventure in Minneapolis on Friday


 Today, we'll be working outside on a few projects, and enjoying more family time. It finally feels like summer is here!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fun Foods!

Our week started off with Ava and I picking up our Arts Night winnings from last week. We won the 5th grade International Foods basket in the raffle, which means we have a ton of food that we normally wouldn't buy, but will let us all try new things! G and I already enjoyed some amazing Japanese chocolate panda cookies...I need to find more of those! It also came with a really nice wok, and two gift cards to restaurants in the area. Considering that we don't feel that we're super lucky with winning things, is was an amazing way to start our week!



We had G's spring conferences on Wednesday night. In my mind, he's still my little baby, so when I hear about all of his accomplishments, I'm genuinely surprised! He's doing very well in his class, and is just a super sweet boy, all around. One area that he could work on is expressing his anger and frustration a bit better. But, he's three, so it's not a shock that he can't quite put it all into words (there's usually yelling or pouting instead.)

On Thursday night, my neighbor and I attended the last PTO meeting of the year. After last month's heated three-hour meeting, we were a little concerned about how this one was going to go. Everyone was much more pleasant, necessary items were voted on, and passed in the children's best interest. PTO should be an interesting experience next year, though...

I took Friday off of work, and was super productive. I had some house projects that were building up, so it's nice to get those off the list. Yesterday continued with the same trend...G was picked up by Grandma Deb for a fun day/night, and Ava was at a laser tag birthday party during the late afternoon, so, I met up with Scott for a few drinks at a local bar. It was a good way to spend an hour on a rainy afternoon. After we picked up Ava (she had so much fun!) we went out for a yummy hibachi dinner, and enjoyed some family time with our oldest kid.

It's been rainy the last several days, but there was a beautiful sunset on Friday morning


Today, Ava and I are taking both grandmas out for brunch at the American Girl Bistro in the Mall of America. We're looking forward to some good food and great "girl" time!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Where did Spring go?

What a beautiful weather week...it's a sea of greens, pinks, and deep reds. The trees are bursting with color! Spring is such a short season. One day it's winter, the next day it's 80 degrees. I'm doing my best to notice and appreciate all of the beauty that comes in this shortened time  of year.

Lovely trees on a path behind Ava's school - great contrast of colors


I enjoyed a walk around a nearby lake at lunch this past week


We had a good week...busy, fun, lots of good times spent together. Thursday was THE day, though. G's daycare hosted a Mother's Day breakfast, so I was able to start the day off on a good note and a full belly. At the same time, Ava was getting ready for the third grade track and field day. I wasn't able to go this year, but it sounds like she had a great time, and enjoyed the stilts and pogo sticks the best.


To wrap up a fun day, we headed to Ava's school in the evening for Spring Art Night! There were fair food vendors, games outside, fun artwork inside, and a silent auction and raffle. We enjoyed some cheese curds, and when we went inside the school, G was the first one to make a friend. There was a little girl from his daycare there, and as soon as she saw him, she yelled out to him, ran over, gave him a hug, held his hand, and was going to whisk him away, until we told him he had to stick with us. There's nothing more cute than a few preschoolers holding hands and hugging. G's been talking about her a lot since then.

As we walked through the school, we ran into many people we knew...it is such a good feeling to know that we're a part of a community now. Love it! Ava ran into a few of her friends and ended up spending most of her night on the playground instead of with us (but we did at least get a tour of her wild picture - see below.)


G helped me put raffle tickets into baskets...and it turns out we won one! I'll pick it up from the school office tomorrow morning, so it's a surprise until then. Ava is convinced it's an art themed one, but I know we put a lot of tix into some of the backyard games baskets, so... regardless, it'll be something we want, since we only picked themes we were interested in!

We enjoyed an early Mother's Day dinner out last night. We sat out on a patio, had great food and drinks, and then enjoyed a pukey son. He drank so much liquid that he ends up throwing up. Ugh. Both Scott and I agreed that G really knows how to bring the fun to an end. After dinner, we picked up my gifts from the kids (hanging baskets for the porch) and are going to try our luck with a gardenia plant, to replace one of the daisy plants in the front landscaping. We need to head back up to Gertens for a few more replacements, and then all we'll have left is to plant flowers in pots. We are ready for summer! ( Good thing it's here, I guess!)

Love this smile, spikey bow, and scarf!


Tonight we're hosting all of the grandparents for dinner, so we'll be ending the weekend on a high note. Special Mother's Day shout out to my mom and Scott's mom. We wouldn't be where we are today, without your influence and never ending help. We love you both very much!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Time to Plant

The week started off with snow, but ended with some beautiful, warm sunshine...I think spring is here, but I'm not 100% convinced yet. I hope the plants are, because we have purchased all of our garden plants, and I think Scott's planning on planting them today.

We've got some new items that we've never planted before, so we'll see how it goes...we picked up broccoli, lettuce, rosemary, and strawberries, in addition to our standard fare of tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil, and chives. We may add some additional things (squash, cucumbers) once we see how the space is looking in the garden box. I'm going to wait a few weeks to plan out our flower gardens...our shasta daisies and wild grasses didn't come back from last year, so we'll need some perennial replacements, along with all of our potted annual flowers.

Ava and Scott also planted a red pine sapling (courtesy of Red Pine Elementary) last Sunday. Scott's mowing the lawn right now, and I reminded him that they planted it, and doesn't mow right over it!



We also spent the last 24 hours south of the cities, so we saw LOTS of tractors tilling and planting the fields in southeastern Minnesota. Tiffany and I had our annual April birthday spa day...we each had a 90-minute massage, and pedis at the Aveda spa in Rochester. It was amazing...very relaxing, and a great time to allow us to catch up on things. We hadn't seen them since New Years...way too long!

The girls had so much fun playing together, and I think even G had a fun time, even though he was the only "little" boy there (he started calling Scott and Darren the "big" boys.) We had a great bonfire last night with s'mores, and then Tiff and I ended up watching Hidden Figures (great movie!)

We took my new car down, so it was nice to see how the mpg improved once we were out of the neighborhoods and stop-and-go commuter traffic. All around, it was a great weekend to spend with friends, and now we're back at home working on the usual weekend house stuff!

I think this was from our Friday movie night...I was so exhausted after my work week, it's a blur!


Enjoy the Sunday!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Grey Skies, Grey Car

There are some weeks that are bright and colorful and then there are some that are grey. This was a grey week. I'm not sure where the beautiful sunshine went from last week, but it was definitely hiding from us.  It's interesting how the grey skies can have an effect on the mood, though...I felt a bit down and sluggish all week, except for Friday when the sunshine poked through for a bit. G threw up at daycare 20 minutes after I dropped him off that morning, and the sunshine gave me a little extra boost to get some things done around the house, while I was hanging out with him at home. We think he just had a little bug, as he seems to be getting back to normal now.

Scott just informed me that it's going to rain today and snow tonight...gross! Looks like we're going to delay another week to put the garden in. Ava brought home a Red Pine sapling, so we wanted to plant that in the yard this week...but....

So, what makes for a good pick-me-up? How about buying a new car!? I've had my beloved Fusion for nine years...it's been a great car, but it was time to make a change. I've been focusing my search the last few months on a Volvo S60, but I just wasn't finding one with the right color combo, features, and price. On a whim, I test drove a BMW 328i xdrive, and ended up bringing it home on Friday night. I love it!  And, it's grey, so it fits in well with the theme of the week...


We're taking the kids to see Boss Baby this morning. G is super excited to go back to the movies and have more popcorn. I love that we can finally do things like this as a family! The baby phase is cute, but this little kid phase definitely has some benefits!

Hopefully the sun shows itself a bit more next week...it's almost May, we're ready for summer!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Forty One!

We had a great Easter last weekend! The kids woke up to sunshiney day, an egg hunt, and a yummy brunch. By some crazy luck, both Ava and G found the same number of eggs (13)! Ava is such a good big sister...there were two golden eggs, and Ava found them both, but she pointed out the second one to G so he could have a golden egg, too. Even though she gets irritated with G at times, she really watches out for him...I love that!


 

After our fun morning, we headed over to Scott's uncle's house for Easter dinner with the family. It was a lovely day, so we spent most of it outside, enjoying the sun and watching the kids play in the yard. Surprisingly, they both enjoyed playing bat & ball the best. We asked Ava if she wanted to try playing softball and she said no...but, I think we'll keep working on that with her.




On Wednesday night, I attended a gardening class with some neighbors. Now we're super excited to start designing and planting our gardens. Last night, I almost picked up some seed potatoes, but decided I had no idea what we would do with the 75 pound yield it promised. Yikes! We'd be eating potatoes forever!

Friday was my birthday! It's been a year since we celebrated my 40th in the hospital with G, so I was super happy to wake up in my own bed for #41. It was a gorgeous day (it usually rains on my birthday) so I was able to enjoy a yummy lunch, a free Caribou, and a walk outside over lunch. That night, we met up with my parents for a casual dinner out and then topped it off by coming back to our place for cake, ice cream, and gift opening. Fun! #41 was a great day...low key, relaxed, and sunny. The best!






On Saturday, G and I tagged along on a play date with Ava and her friend, Jacob. We met him at a park, and had a blast playing in the sun and sand. To be honest, I sat on the bench and enjoyed the sun, while the kids played. But, G and I did go on a walk to explore this new (to us) park. The rest of the afternoon flew by...and then my parents came over to watch the kids, so Scott and I could go out for my birthday dinner. We enjoyed some good Italian food, and did some errands...always easier without the littles! By the time we got home, we were both pretty tired, but we made our best effort to stay awake. I'm pretty sure I was sleeping by 9:30. Seems that my age is catching up to me!





Today looks to be another beautiful day, and we have plans to spend most of it outside. Hopefully we'll even get the garden ready to go. This is a super Sunday!