Sunday, May 30, 2010

Viva Las Vegas

We just got back from one of our best Vegas trips yet (we've been there 5 times).  Or, at least I thought it was top notch.  But, before I dive into our trip, I wanted to thank the grandparents for watching our crazy kids!  I know, quite well, that they are a handful and really apprecaite both sets of grandparents going out of their way to help Rob and I enjoy a nice vacation!

Our trip had a rocky start.  Our 8am flight didn't leave until 4pm.  We didn't roll into our hotel until 8pm and essentially lost a whole day of our vacation.  Thanks Sun Country.

But, from then on, the vacation was great.  The normally steamy temperatures were mild in comparison to past years.  We lost our ability to sleep in, so by 7am we were out running on the strip.  We ran all of a 1/2 mile to breakfast!  We are easily distracted!  After hanging out at the pool all day, we went to the Blue Man Group show.  A friend of mine has worked with the show for quite some time and he comped us some awesome seats for the show.  The best part came after the show.  Corey stuck around and gave us a back stage tour. 

Rob and I learned all the secrets to the show and played some of their crazy pipe instruments.  Also, while we were touring Corey's office, there was a sign up sheet for free tickets to Paul Rodriguez (the comedian) so Corey signed us up to go to that show for free as well!

The next morning we made plans to go hiking at Red Rock Canyon.  Corey, who normally works 11am-7pm, picked us up at 7:30am (no doubt a struggle for him) and took us hiking.  It is something I've wanted to do every time we've been to Vegas, but have never gotten around to it.  It was beautiful and I definitely hope to go back again. 

We ran into a lot of these little critters.

Every time I saw one scurrying around I was worried it was either a snake or a big spider.

We came across this rock that was about to fall, but luckily, I was able to stop it.

Rob practiced his newfound skills in "extreme running" and was darting all over the place. 

Thanks Corey!  I thoroughly enjoyed this experience!

The rest of the week was a blur of pool time, new restaurants, shopping, craps and sleeping.  By the end of our trip I think Rob was able to sleep in until 9am (I was up and out walking by no later than 7:30am each morning).

A wonderful trip full of great food, friends, weather, and relaxation! We've already been discussing what we'll do there next year.  First, we'll let the Grandparents recover!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I have see all sorts of furniture transformations on the web.  People go to garage sales or Goodwill and find old pieces of furniture for $5 and then transform them with a little paint and new hardware.  I'd been dying to give this a try, only there isn't really any place in our house that needs furniture.  Still, a few weeks ago Kerry and I went to Goodwill to see if there were any treasures in Shakopee.  I found this mirror.

At $15, it was more than I was hoping, but otherwise it was exactly what I was looking for.  I'm trying to decorate our bedroom little by little.  I had big plans for this mirror and all of it's little details.

First, I spray painted it turquoise.  Our bedrrom is a brown and teal type color. 

Next, I planned on glazing it to make all the minute details pop a bit more.  Kerry told me not to buy glaze because had enough to last a lifetime.  Since I had never glazed anything I waited for Kerry to come and supervise.  When she showed up she declared "I've never done this before!"  (I'm not sure what she was doing with a quart of glaze).  So, we played it by ear and wiped it on and then wiped it off.  I think we went around the mirror with about 3 coats of glaze.  We ended up with this:

Just enough to tone down the color a bit and blend it in with the rest of the room. 

I have plans for the rest of the room too, including paint, but for now I'm  happy with my first Goodwill transformation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kill 'em with Kindness

This morning didn't start out quite how I'd like.  For starters, Ellie awoke at 4:45am moaning.  That's what she does.  She lays in her room and moans.  She gets louder and louder until someone finally goes in to retrieve her.  It's annoying.  At 4:45 am, it's really annoying.  I did my best to ignore her and was semi-successful until Riley started chirping "Mommy...Mommy Daddy...Mommy..." at 5:15.  She has a stuffy nose and has been having trouble sleeping so I went to her room and brought her back to bed with me in hopes of her going back to sleep.  It sort of worked.  She slept.  I didn't.  At 6:15 I was getting a serious cramp in my neck from the way Riley was laying on me and I gave in and grabbed Ellie on my way down the stairs.  The rest of the gang woke up shortly after that, and the morning only got worse.  Cereal was dumped (on purpose) on the floor.  Granola bars were thrown.  Everything was uttered with a whine.  I was ready to call it a day before 7am.  No one's yelling (including my own) was solving anything so I decided to go with a new plan.  Kill 'em with kindness.  I called a friend and we all went here:

Chutes and Ladders, in Bloomington.  It was the perfect time of day because at 8:30am, most kids are just waking up and eating breakfast.  Not us.  We are running around parks. 

Riley has a few quirks.  She insisted on wearing this backpack for most of our stay. 

We had the park to ourselves so I wasn't too worried about keeping everyone in my view at all times.  But when I made the rounds on the older two I turned back around to Riley to find her here:

She was doing awesome, but it still made me a little nervous (it was probably 8 feet high) so I took her with me back to the toddler area.  We stayed at the park until about 11:30 and then we hit up McDonald's on the way home.  When we got home, it was still 45 minutes until nap time so I set up the pool and everyone went swimming.

Another quirky Riley moment.  She had to have this hat on at all times.  I don't even know where she got it.  I think it is our neighbor's.

After only 15 minutes Austin declared he just wanted to rest in the sun because he was all worn out.  (Bwah-ha-ha...[evil  hand rubbing] my plan is working!).  Of course, pesky sisters do not allow older brothers to rest.

"Hi Austin!  It's me your favorite cold and clammy little sister!"

This went over really well.

The girls reluctantly took naps from 1:30-3:30 when I woke them up and dragged them back outside.  Austin stayed outside during naptime and played with his friend Mia.  He came in for dinner around 6pm.  Therefore, he was outside from 8:30am-6pm and the girls only had a 2 hour nap.  If these children do not sleep well (and long) tonight, I give up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Impromtu Party

Yesterday was such a beautiful day!  The week has promises of more of the same.  It was so nice that we had an impromtu water party at our neighbor's house.  First one of the season.

The kids had a blast swimming in some of the tiniest pools around.  We also had a water/sand table set up, and then Cole took everyone for Jeep rides as well.

Then the sun went behind a cloud and everyone froze to death.  The end.

Well, maybe that's a bit dramatic.  However, they were quite chilly for quite some time, but snacks were served and that lifted their spirits.

Today we went low key with just the water table.  Our pool is still in the rafters.  With temps nearing 80 this week, it might be time to bring it down!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A productive and Fast weekend

We're wrapping up an awesome weekend!  Rob worked from home on Friday and we had our carpets cleaned.  I took the kids through our normal morning routine (preschool, playworks, gym) but then we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house for lunch and naps so that we wouldn't get in the way of the carpet cleaners.  While the girls napped, and Austin played, I was able to sneak away for an hour or so to a meeting at Cargill. When the kids and I did get back home, they went straight outside to play in the back with Mia.  (Our carpets looked fantastic, by the way!)  2.5 hours later we threw some popcorn and juice outside with them, called that dinner, grabbed a couple drinks, and headed over to our neighbors house to watch a bit of the Twins game on the porch.  We could see the kids from their porch (it was their daughter our kids were playing with) and hear them giggling.  A great way to kick off the weekend!

On Saturday we thought the kids would sleep in since they were outside running around non stop for over 4 hours before bedtime.  No such luck.  6:30 and everyone was awake (except the parents).  Somehow Rob ended up back in bed so Austin and I made him breakfast and brought it up (eggs, raspberries and grape kool-aid....breakfast of champions).  We took everyone to Kohl's on the hunt for new running shoes for Rob and me.  Back home for lunch, and then the best part....a babysitter.  We have started, what I hope is, a new tradition.  We did it a couple weeks ago, and now again this weekend.  We hire our neighbor kid to come over once the girls are asleep to hang out and play with Austin.  He walks over, so we don't have to pick anyone up or drop them off, Austin likes it because he's a boy, and Cale (that's his name) is great with Austin and agrees to come over when the girls are sleeping (I don't blame him there!).  The best part was that when we went to pay him this time he claimed we didn't have to because he has to accomplish a certain number of volunteer time for school and with the deadline approaching he was still short some hours.  Yipee!  Although, we felt a bit guilty, we agreed to it.  With our three hours we went shopping to gear up for our Vegas trip (6 days...but who's counting....ME!!!).  We also stopped at Lund's bakery section for some delicacies.  Yum!  I think it might be my new favorite weekend routine.  Except, we can't do it every weekend.  We capped off last night with a trip to the park, pizza party, and the movie "Princess and the Frog".

This morning we skipped church because we thought it would be a perfect day to hit up the zoo.  Only, we never did make it to the zoo, but it was a perfect day.  We played outside, inside, and had a barbeque with some neighbors.

My carpets look brand new, I had free babysitting, and a lot of great weather with great friends.  Life is good.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Mother's Day around here started earlier than I would have liked.  Austin was scheduled to "wow" the church with his (and all the other sunday school kids') vocal talents.  I'm sure that the music staff figured having our own kids sing to us on Mother's Day would be an endearing experience, but, truth be told, I would have preferred sleeping in and skipping church all together.  But, alas, it was cute and I get spoiled all year long so I shouldn't whine too much.

After church we stopped at Donut Land and Caribou to pick up a late breakfast.  Delicious no matter what time of day I get it.  Then the kids brought me some presents (a Keurig coffee maker and some coffee) and we tried to get a picture of the kids and I.  I think no less than 8 photos were snapped, and the majority of them looked like this:

But in the mix, we were able to get one decent shot.  At least everyone was looking at the camera.  Some, perhaps a bit more aggresively than the others (ahem...Austin).

For Mother's Day I told Rob I wanted him to plant a bunch of sticks in our yard!  10 total!

4 Apple Trees (if you squint you can see that fourth one)

and 6 Raspberry Bushes:

I figure in 5 years or so, these fruits, in combination with our tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, lettuce, and kolrabi's should make for a nice road side stand.  The Runchey Farmer's Market will be open on Saturdays from 8-noon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Walking Infomercial

The kids really don't watch much TV.  There are definitely times when I wish they would be entranced by a show so I could get a few things done, but for the most part, they prefer to drive me crazy.  It's far more entertaining.  Also, without cable, their program options are fairly limited.  Pretty much PBS Kids (which is commercial free).  However, the Saturday morning cartoons have recently become very popular around here.  And, since they are not on PBS, they have the normal commercial interuptions.  Only, and I don't understand why, the Saturday morning cartoon commercials have very little to do with kids, and more to do with the latest and greatest infomercial type product.  For whatever reason, Austin is a sponge for these commercials.

About a week ago we were walking through Walgreens and he saw this:

He said "Look Mom!  A tah-bo snake!  I wish we had one of those for our stubborn drains!  We wouldn't have to wait for a 'spensive plumber!"

No joke.  And, what I just realized this past weekend was that he pronounces it "Tah-bo" instead of "Turbo" because the guy running the ad is from Australia and says "turbo" with an accent.

This morning Ellie was trying on a new pair of sandals (Kohl's for $7.49, and I had $10 in Kohl's cash, so they were free!).  Austin was upset that he did not have a new pair of shoes too.  I explained to Austin that we just haven't found the right shoes for him yet, but that he'd be getting some new summer shoes soon.  He immediately told me that he wanted "Z-strap from Sketchers, because the super Z strap locks on and stays on!"

And, in the same breath, guess where he suggested keep all of his shoes?

Well, the Shoe Under, of course!

Watch out Ron Popeil!  Your long standing title of King of Infomercials is coming to an end.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Girls Day Out


About a week ago my Mom arranged for a girls day.  She volunteered my Dad to watch my kids after preschool through naptime and she took my sister and I out to lunch.  It was as a "Thank you" for helping with a party she hosted for her sewing friends.  Whatever the reason, it was a fantastic day!

We all shared some delicious food at Wildfire (and some delicious drinks as well!), and followed it up with a bit of shopping at the mall.  We all had various errands to run.  But, no matter what we would have done that day, or where we would have eaten, it would have been just as great.  I am completely lucky to have such a fantastic family.  And to have both my mom and my sister within 10 minutes of me is icing on the cake.

It's not that Kerry and I weren't "close" growing up....maybe she recalls it differently, but I remember a very cordial relationship.  However, with 4 years separating us, especially when you are in your adolescence or teens, we were never interested in the same activities.  Now, on the other hand, we share not only a lot of the same hobbies, but the same thoughts as well.  More often than not, you will hear us make the exact same comment, word for word, in the exact same intonations, at the exact same time. 

And our wonderful Mom puts up with the two of us and all our wackiness (and adds a little crazy of her own). 

Yes, I am truly thankful that the ladies in my life are not only great relatives, but great friends.  Cheesy, I know...but true.