Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thanks Mosaic!

Last weekend Rob’s company hosted their family picnic at Valleyfair.  Last year we went to Canterbury Park, this year Valleyfair…some think there is a conspiracy going on that keeps the events in Shakopee.  I’m fine with that.

We haven’t taken the kids to Valleyfair yet so we were all really excited to enjoy the day there.  We arrived shortly after they opened and went directly to the carousel.

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This picture would have been way better if it were of Riley’s face.  On our first go ‘round she did NOT stop smiling and giggling.  That little girl absolutely loves riding fake horses.  I bet she would like riding a real horse too, but the opportunity to ride a fake horse occurs a lot more frequently for her and she loves it every time!

After the carousel we headed to the antique cars and started the process of measuring our children’s height for all the rides.  Austin is tall enough to ride everything, and that includes driving the antique cars.

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I absolutely adore this picture.  That hat was made for driving antique cars!  He had a little trouble pushing down the gas pedal (I remember the same problem when I was a kid) so Rob held that down for him but Austin did all the driving while the girls and I hung out in the back.

The wait for the cars was so long that by the time our turn was over, it was already time for lunch (provided by Mosaic).

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Planet Snoopy area.  The lines were much shorter and the rides were more suitable for our kids.  I think we hit them all at least once, some multiple times.  Like these semi-trucks that Ellie and Riley went on 3 times before Austin joined them.

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Let it be known that the girls are tall enough to ride these trucks all by themselves but they insisted that I join them.  So, while they drove the truck from the cab, I squeezed in up top and also went around 3 times.

Ellie and Riley also loved the characters we found (Sally, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Charlie Brown, and some other bald headed Peanuts character I didn’t recognize).  Ellie requested pictures with every statue or character we came across but only Rob had a camera and we were separated for awhile so I don’t have those pictures.

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Something about this picture suits Ellie.  She’s too sweet to be compared to Lucy so that’s not it, but she looks like she belongs there.

We capped off our full day with another few trips on the merry-go-round, much to Riley’s delight!  It was a great first trip to Valleyfair.  Growing up, my mom always took each of us kids (and one friend) to Valleyfair once each summer.  I went back once since, (with Rob’s little brother Jon), and haven’t been back since.  So, it was great to re-live some of those memories with my own kids.  Thanks Mosaic!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Riley is 4!

Last Thursday was a big day for Riley!  After watching each of her siblings have a birthday and suffer through them opening all their presents (and not understanding why she didn’t get any), she finally had her turn!

Her brother and sister chose this day to sleep in a bit so we decided she could open one present before Rob left for work.

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Then we decided that was sort torturous so we went and woke up Ellie (since Austin finally woke up) and let her rip into the rest of the presents.

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She is far and away the easiest kid to shop for in our house.  She got the giant puppy rug (she LOVES this), a new piggy bank (she recently broke hers), a small wallet (and Rob handed over a dollar for her to put in it), and a LeapPad. 

We spent the rest of the morning hanging out.  We recently babysat our Minnetrista cousins for 6 days and the kids were excited to just play with their own toys for awhile.

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They turned the rug into a “flying dog” and scooted it around the floors for a half hour.  I should have attached some swiffers on the bottom to clean up while they were at it!

Finally, at 10am, we decided to hit up the donut store.  Naturally.

Then we packed some lunches and headed to Chutes and Ladders for the afternoon.  As usual, this place was insane with all the day camps for school kids, but my kids did great sticking together and easy my anxiety.  Plus, I knew I had a secret weapon to get them to leave whenever I wanted.  I gave them about 2 hours there and then offered Cherry Berry.  It’s the self-serve frozen yogurt place in Shakopee where they can pick their flavor and an array of toppings.  As a side note, the crap goodies they put on their yogurt is disgusting.  Example:  Ellie had strawberry yogurt with lucky charms, nerds, and M&Ms. 

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It was the perfect place to cool down after the park.  Plus, they let her sit in the birthday room (usually reserved for parties) so she was thrilled. (I told you she’s easy to please).

Once Rob got home we headed to Canterbury Downs for the horse races.  Riley’s choice.  She absolutely loves to see the horses, ride the horse machines, and if she’s lucky, pet the horses that walk by.

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The kids all sat on this horse and easily rode it 5 times.  $1.25 well spent!

When Rob took Ellie and Austin to the giant park Riley instead requested to stand on the railing and watch the horses come by and she got to pet 3 of them.  She told me she was going to be a horse rider when she “growed up".

And she’s growing up too fast!  Already 4 and ready for preschool!

Happy Birthday to our sweet, stubborn, horse-loving baby girl!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Date Night!

Rob and I hadn’t had a date in what felt like a long time so we finally got around to hiring our favorite babysitter (and niece) to come over for a few hours last Friday evening!  We opted for a night of fishing!

We’ve been out on the pontoon quite a bit this summer, but it’s a whole different ball game when you don’t have the kids with!  So peaceful!

Rob picked up some KFC (not something we ever have….but it was perfect!) on his way home and when Maddie got to our house we were on our way!

It was a perfect night to spend out on the boat.  Rob got to fishing right away while I ate (I don’t touch leeches – especially if my other option is fried chicken and biscuits!).

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By the time I finished inhaling my food he had my rod all set up for me.  One fish got away while I was mid-bite of mashed potatoes….and that was the only bite I had all night.

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As you can see, I’m a very focused and diligent fisherman.  Beer….book…oh, and my bobber.  I glanced up every once in awhile to make sure it was still floating nearby…it was.  Always.

I can’t remember the exact number but I’m pretty sure Rob caught a few fish.  Or, maybe it was just one fish and several bites.  Either way it was a great night and hopefully something we’ll do again sooner rather than later!

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Big Weekend!

Last weekend, Saturday, was my big day of the summer.  Right at the end of May I signed up to do the Lakefront Days Triathlon in Prior Lake.  It was appealing because it was close to home and cheap (compared to others).  It also seemed “doable”.  A .25 mile swim, a 13.5 mile bike ride, and a 3.5 mile run. 

I got to the race at about 6:30 am and set up my transition area, got all marked up with a Sharpie, checked out the lake temp and then sat and waited for over an hour until the race started.  Finally it was time for my wave to go.  I decided to start as close to the front of the group as possible in the swimming portion.  You start in knee deep water and they count down from 10 and you’re off!  I felt pretty good about my swim.  I didn’t have any of the common fears everyone told me about swimming in a large group in the lake so that was good.  I did have trouble passing the one lady in front of me.  I got kicked in the head during one attempt (not on purpose!) and then just decided that I’d be fine coming in behind her.  My swim time wasn’t quite what I hoped for at 9:03 but I did place well in my age group and 61st out of 280 so that was good.

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I had a bit of trouble in the transition areas trying to get socks on my wet sticky feet but pretty soon I was on my way to the bike portion.  Biking is what I struggle with the most.  I don’t have a road bike.  I have a mountain bike that I recently put thinner tires on.  It’s still rather like driving a tank down the road.  But, I’m not sure if a road bike would really make that much difference or not.  I’m not a strong biker.  I ended up doing my bike portion in 50:55 (200/280…yikes!).  But, I will mention that after all my training I was expecting at least an hour on the bike so I did better than I thought I would!

On to the run!  I wasn’t sure what to expect on the run.  During training I found that it was easier for me to run after a nice long bike ride, but I had never done all 3 things consecutively so I was wondering if my body would be physically done before the run was.  But, I was pleasantly surprised and I did my 3.5 miles in 29:33.  My fastest run yet.  Something to be said for adrenaline I guess!

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My overall time (including all those pesky transitions I fumbled through) was 1:33:16.  My goal was 1:45 so I was happy with my results.  And, yes, now I’ve got the bug.  I’m sure I’ll be back next year to see if I can beat my times.  Hopefully I’ll be able to shave some time off my bike ride and transitions.  If I improve in the other areas that’d be fine too!

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I had a most excellent cheering squad!  Thanks to Rob, they were in all the right places at all the right times!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Here Fishy Fishy!!

A couple weekends ago we took the kids fishing on my parents pontoon.  My dad has been generous enough to meet me out there a few times to drive the boat alongside me as I swam and trained for my triathlon and one of the mornings the kids came with and we did some fishing.

I caught the first fish…a bullhead.  Then Rob caught a walleye and a large-mouth bass (a little one).  And then Austin shouted from the front “Ummm…guys! My bobber’s gone!” so Rob ran up front and talked him through it all and Austin reeled in his first fish!

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He was very proud!  But, that was as close as he was getting to that fish.  Poor Rob barely got to do any fishing since he was the only one willing to put the leeches on the hooks.  Riley didn’t mind holding the leeches (weirdo) but she hasn’t mastered the fine art of putting them on the hook yet.  I’m sure he’ll teach her.  I caught one more large-mouth bass and then we called it a day. 

Ellie and Riley didn’t have any nibbles but they also put forth very little effort.  They were content to just bounce around the pontoon.  We have since gone back once more to fish but we didn’t have any luck at all.  My dad wasn’t with that time so maybe he’s the lucky charm. 

I think Austin has caught the bug.  He wasn’t deterred at all by not catching anything on our last trip.  I see some fishing trips in the boys’ future!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Full of Hot Air!

Tonight while I was at Target my neighbor called me and said “You just missed it!  A hot air balloon landed in our park!”.  So, I called Rob and told him to run the kids over to see it and he did.  When I got home Riley met me at the door and told me right away that she “saw a weel hot air balloon…a WEEL one!”  She also told me I needed to go see it so I picked her up (in her jammies) and started to walk towards it when another neighbor stopped and told me they were giving rides!  I went back to grab the other two kids (and Rob) and we all headed over.

We probably only had to wait about 10 minutes before we got our turn.  Riding in a hot air balloon is on my “list”.  So, Rob stayed back and I took the kids with me. 

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It felt like we went higher and were up longer than the other people.  It was all part of my plan to engage the operator in conversation so he’d lose track of time and hang out up there longer!  Okay, so maybe it only gained us a few extra seconds, but it was worth it!

The basket it higher than I thought it would be so Austin could peek over the edge if he wanted to, but Riley and Ellie had to stand on the gas tank to get a look.  Ellie wasn’t too sure of the fire exploding in bursts over her head so she preferred to peak through the holes in the basket.

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What a cool way to end the evening!  I don’t think I’ll cross it completely off me “list” since we were tethered to the ground but at least I now know how cool the real thing could be!