Sunday, January 29, 2017

Alternate Wi-Fi

We have such a little smarty pants. According to Ava, "wi-fi" could also stand for wizard-fiction. And if that's the case, we are definitely surrounded by wi-fi! Note: this is not a post about alternates to the traditional wi-fi!

On the way to dinner last night, we were discussing Harry Potter; I have finished up the fourth book and Ava's still working on the first one. I have all of the movies, just waiting for us to watch them...and it's been driving me nuts to be so patient! My goal was that I would read the book before watching the corresponding movie (no issue,) but then Ava got into it, so I felt compelled to wait until she was through the book, too. She always has several different books that she's reading at one time, so this is taking her a long while to get through.

Yesterday, I decided to proceed with the movie watching.  We had to break it into a few different session, due to the length, but even G stopped playing with his cars at certain moments and focused on the movie. He especially liked the scene with the baby dragon. Overall, we really liked the movie and now need to carve out some more time to watch the next one. I love having a series of books and movies to look forward to enjoying in my downtime!

This was another super busy week.  I had Monday and Friday off, which makes it tricky to condense five days worth of work into three, plus, I had happy hours planned for Tuesday and Thursday nights. It was so nice being able to relax with friends for a few hours each night. The end of 2016 and the start of 2017 were hard. There have been so many negative things that have taken place...and I'm worried that it's not going to get better. I've even thought about taking a break from Facebook, as my feed is slowly becoming all political. And it's depressing.

Thursday's happy hour ended at The Volstead House...great atmosphere for catching up with a friend!


On a happier note...I enrolled G into a weekly sports program that focuses on teaching the basics of nine different sports. Last week, it was football and baseball. This week, it was basketball and tennis. And his coach's name is Garrett, too, which I think it doubly awesome! It seems that he's definitely enjoying his new class. We've kept him in his weekly soccer class, as well, so he's a busy boy. I'd like to squeeze in some swimming lessons, too, but don't want to overload him. Maybe this summer...

Ava is doing so well in school. She aces her weekly spelling tests, and is even getting to be pretty good at multiplication. She has a goal of reading 1000 minutes in February, in order to be a part of a special activity at school. Maybe she'll get through a few more Harry Potter books!

Showing off some sparkles and pink gloves that were in a surprise package to Ava from my aunt


Today should be a good day...Scott will be working on sheet rocking parts of the basement with my dad, and I'll be able to spend some time with my mom and the kids. Family is so important, and I'm glad that we're no longer separated by thousands of miles!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Teaching-Heart-Art-Teamwork

Ava loves creating art. Ava loves to bake. When I found a Living Social for an art/cooking class that we could both attend, it was the perfect match! So, yesterday morning, we made our way up to a small little suburb outside of St Paul, and proceeded to spend a few very fun hours making art and food!  The location is called "THAT Cooking School", and we learned "THAT" stands for Teaching-Heart-Art-Teamwork.  Love the concept!

The painting portion came first, and our very own Bloop (our betta fish) gave us the inspiration for the color scheme. Ava's fish ended up looking like it was wearing a princess hat, so we named it Princess Fishy. And, mine is going to be Bloop's girlfriend...her name is Miranda. Not sure why...I don't question these things!



Introducing Princess Fishy and Miranda!


After we were done with our masterpieces, we moved into the kitchen and made a variety of food that we'll be able to recreate at home. We made apple roses with a puff pastry and orange marmalade. We then focused on an egg-cellent egg bake (haha), which will be an easy brunch item that each family member can prepare. As those were baking, we assembled banana-Oreos (bananas with peanut butter and cereal) and a banana penguin, using melted chocolate, cranberries and golden raisins.




The banana penguin and the banana Oreos...yum!


Apple roses and the egg bake


We had so much fun chatting with the other adults/kids who were there...it was a wonderful experience to share together. Plus, everything tasted really, really good!

That was a great way to end a busy week...both kids had their dentist appointments on Monday. This was the first time G would let them clean his teeth without fighting them. No cavities for either one - hooray!  My big project at work went live on Wednesday morning, so I have been putting in a lot of extra hours at work...but, I took this past Friday and the upcoming Monday off, so I'm able to relax a bit. G was sick on Friday so I had him at home with me, but I'm hoping for some real quiet time tomorrow, since everyone should be well enough to go to their designated locations!

As we were driving up to St Paul yesterday morning, there were several buses that passed us. They were filled with people heading to the St Paul sister march to the Women's March in DC. I was so proud and happy to see them! What an amazing outpouring of love and support from the entire country and across the world! And it was peaceful. Ava learned about MLK, Jr. this month, and it struck home the difference of peaceful vs. violent protests. The only arrest that took place in St Paul yesterday was from a Trump supporter who pepper sprayed the marchers. I've heard there was an incredible amount of love and kindness shown at the march...amazing! This is the best way to create the necessary changes in the world.

We're going to introduce the kids to The Original Pancake House today, and then we're hoping for some low key time at home. Sunday Funday!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Moving Forward

These last few weeks have been exhausting. After being on vacation for so long, it's been tricky to readjust to coming back to work, plus there has been so much sadness lately. I think I need to take a step back and focus on what's most important to me: family, friends, being healthy, and feeling productive in life/at work. I can't let all of the other "stuff" suck me in.

I'm pretty sure that I'm one of the last people around who hasn't read any of the Harry Potter books or seen the movies.  I decided to take the plunge and join the masses. Since Ava is such an avid reader, I decided to make the investment to buy all of the books, so she can read them, as well. I'm almost done with book 4, while Ava is working on book 1. G seems fascinated as books as well, but he may have a few years before he'll be able to follow along!


One of my sweet co-workers has been buying Ava super cute socks at Target. We were discussing how the socks in the dollar bins were always for toddlers or adults...never for kids. But, she managed to find some at her Target, so she picked some up for us. They are so adorable...I wish they came in adult sizes!

Who wouldn't love unicorns and hearts!?


Scott has been busy framing our basement, and he's hoping to get some sheet rock up today. I like the way the plans are coming together...it will be great to have an extra space where we can have the kids play and hang out and be as loud as they want! Plus, we're working on converting our guest room to an upstairs movie/play room so they can hang out up there, too. (It sounds like we're working on ways to segregate ourselves from the kids, doesn't it?!)

We have so much positivity in our lives. I need to focus on those things to help get through the recent darkness. May you have a blessed week!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Never Alone

2017 is not off to a better start.  The election results and high amount of celebrity deaths of 2016 were unfortunate, but this past week, I suffered a personal loss. My friend and co-worker took her own life in the early hours on Friday morning.

This came as a complete shock. My friend was always smiling and bubbly, open about the issues she was facing in her life, and seemed to carry her life responsibilities well. We all face issues on a daily basis, but none of us imagined how much she must have been hiding behind her smile and laughter.

I'm so sad about this loss...sad for her husband, sad for all of her family, sad for her many friends who loved her, and incredibly sad for the two daughters she leaves behind. Her 13 and 8 year old girls will no longer have their mom to turn to in times of need, in times of joy, and in the times where they just want to get their mom's opinions on life.  I can't imagine my life without my mom's presence, and I can't imagine leaving my two children motherless (on purpose.)

Please say a prayer for the family and friends she left behind.

And PLEASE, if you are reading this and are in pain or know of a person in pain, let them know there are people who want to help. You/they are never alone.

National Suicide Prevention Line
Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours a day
Online chat

Love and hugs to you on this freezing Sunday!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Farewell 2016!

2016 didn't seem like a bad year until the last 60 days - and then it really went downhill. I think there are two different considerations for this.
  1. The campaign and eventual election results cast a large shadow over "normal" life. Everything was tinged with a bit of the hate that became commonplace. This led to the rest of 2016 being dark and angry, where it may not have normally been.
  2. From all of this darkness, positive actions have occurred. Groups of individuals have come together to show that the hate will not be tolerated, that is is not acceptable. People have found new friends and have seen the true colors of current ones.
Everyone I've spoken with was SO ready for 2016 to be done. They seem to think that the flip of a calendar will make everything right in the world. 2017 will fix it all! 

It won't. Celebrities will still pass away.  We will still be inaugurating a new president in a few short weeks. But good news, the power to see the good buried in the bad is within you. If there's something that you don't like, and you can make a change, for goodness sake, DO IT! Don't just complain about it. Life is far too short to be trapped by surroundings that can be changed. 

I'm not making any big resolutions this year, except to do my best to be happy each day. I want to be healthy, spend time with those I love, develop my hobbies, and try to look for the beauty, even when it seems too dark to see it. Life is happening right now and I can't miss any more of it!

On a more lighthearted note...both Scott and I had this past week off. We took the kids to see the movie "Sing". It was G's first movie.  He was a little antsy at the end, and just wanted to keep eating popcorn, but was overall very good, and quiet. Hooray, now we can all go to the movies together! Milestone, for sure!

Scott and I were also able to sneak in a few day dates...a breakfast after the kids were in daycare for the day, and then a lunch and movie on another day. It was so nice to be able to reconnect as a couple, without having the distraction of the kids.

We rung in 2017 with our very dear friends...I told Tiffany that there is nowhere else I'd rather be than hanging out with them on each New Years Eve. We've rung in the NY with them for at least the last 13 years, and I hope it continues for many more! The girls all get along really well, and even though G was included for some of their playtime, he was totally fine playing on his own, too. It's hard to be the only boy!

Our Christmas decorations are down, the basement finishing project has kicked off again, and we had an excellent prime rib dinner with my parents last night. We all go back to work and school tomorrow, so we're going to make the most of today!