Thursday, December 22, 2011

Molly and the frogs

 We had gotten the kids each two African Dwarf frogs for Christmas.  Because they aren't sold during the colder months, I had to buy them just before Thanksgiving...and keep them hidden.  It almost worked.  But then Katie went looking for toilet paper and she found them in the closet.  So we surprised Will, at least, with them on Tuesday night.

We had Will clsoe his eyes....then set the frog case in front of him....he opened his eyes and screamed as he ran away from the table.....

He came back pretty quickly, and then thought they were kinda cool.  I was more worried about Molly and what she would do to the frogs.  The first night I left them out on our dresser, she knocked one case over - spilling the frogs, water and rocks all over the floor.  Luckily I scooped the frogs back into some water before they could hop to freedom, and it hasn't seemed to bother them.  BUT I don't want to have to go through that again!

So I invested in some heavy duty Velcro and stuck both cases onto the bookshelves in the kid's rooms.  They aren't going anywhere. :)  And so far Molly has left them alone.  But that first night she would not leave their side...first Will's room, then Katie's room, then back to Will's.  I think she thought they were HER frogs. 

Smile for the camera, Molly......what a ham!


She really wanted to play with those wiggly things.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm a glutton for punishment

Can I tell you how I spent last Saturday??  The LAST Saturday before Christmas weekend?  I decided the kids and I should go to the Mall of America.

So we left for the mall about 11.  I wanted to pick up a couple gifts at the Apple store, and I had promised the kids we'd go see Santa.  The local malls have instituted a new "no personal camera" policy which means starting this year, you can't take your own picture....you have to buy theirs.  And the cheapest photo package runs $22.  No thanks. 

Rumor had it that the Mall of America was still letting people use their own cameras, and since Katie is in school during the week and I have "Pebbles" til 5:30 every night - that leaves the weekends.  Traffic was NOT bad at all - I got into the parking garage and drove around for 20 minutes on the same level looking for a spot.  I had TWO stolen right from under me.  Remember that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bates is sitting in her car with her blinker on, waiting for a car to pull out - they wave to her acknowledging that she is going to take their spot after they leave and WHOOSH....in swoops a fast little sports car.  Yeah.  That same exact scenario happened TWICE!  Luckily I didn't go "Towanda" on their ass.

So then we drove around an outside lot looking, but after 10 minutes I felt it was hopeless even getting inside the door.  So - we decided to go to Ridgedale Mall instead.  It has an Apple store, and a Santa - I just wouldn't be able to take pictures.  Ok.

So we get to the mall (much easier parking) and head straight for Santa.  A lady at the entrance says that the line is closed.  Santa takes a break from 1-2.  It is now 12:25, but we can start lining up at 1:00 to see him at 2.  I decide to get to the Apple store, pick up our things and see where that puts us.  It didn't take too long in the Apple store - 20 minutes and we were done.  I decided I didn't want to wait over an hour for Santa - so we'd head out to pick up my niece at the U of MN (who was babysitting that night for us) and think about the Eden Prairie Mall. 

So I pick up Sarah....and head to our THIRD mall of the day.  We get to Santa and of course he's on break from 1-2, but it's about 1:45 now and there's only 5 people in line.  We decide to wait, which was the BEST decision because the line quickly grew to 30+.  It still took another 15 minutes once Santa got there...but we accomplished the mission of visiting Santa without losing too much holiday spirit. 

Next year, though - we'll plan a bit better.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Funny

....but first - we booked our tickets to Florida!  I had been holding off because I was waiting for the rehearsal schedule for the play that Katie and I are in.  Rehearsals start in January on Wednesdays and Sundays....but because they only work on 1-3 scenes, it may be scenes that we aren't in.  So I was waiting to make sure that the dates didn't conflict. 

I hadn't gotten the schedule yet, but this morning John and I just decided that we better book it, or we won't end up going.  So I compromised and scheduled it so that we fly out on a Monday, back on a Saturday.  That way, Katie won't miss any big Sunday practices....only a Wednesday night, maybe. 

I swear....90 minutes after I book the tickets, I get the rehearsal schedule e-mailed to me.  And of course, the one Wednesday night we're gone is the one Wednesday night I have practice - not Katie.  Although, my part is small and we're practicing that scene 2 other dates as well....so I think I'll be ok, I just feel shitty about missing it.  But I'll just have to let that go - and maybe the sunshine in Florida will bake away my guilt. :)

Also - John mentioned the other day that we should stay a couple days in a nicer resort - as opposed to all 5 nights in the cheap hotel.  "Then you can get a massage."
I thought about it a second, and how nice that would be....and then realized that I would rather be able to sneak out for an hour and run along the beach.  Isn't that just sick?

And the "funny" for you comes from Katie's part in "Annie".  How do I explain to a 7 year old how to act "drunkenly"? :)  This should be funny.....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Results are in....

Got a call from Katie's new pediatrician this morning.  He had read the results of Katie's blood test and everything looked good.  There were no alarming results.  Her ASO is still elevated, but it's 885....down from 2200, so that was fine.

Her knees are still swollen.  At this point, it's an issue for a rheumatologist....if we decided to take it there, and we're not sure we want to do that.  So, for now, we are just sitting tight.  We'll keep our eye on them and as she grows over the next few months we'll see.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Funny

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The tree is up!

Yesterday we took Katie to have a final blood draw and meet a new pediatrician who, hopefully, we'll be a lot happier with.  We discussed her case with him, and he gave the "ok" to have the blood tests that the specialist recommended.  He seemed to know of the specialists that we'd seen, and mentioned that Dr. Baker - the pediatric cardiac specialist who had read Katie's heart echo was rated as one of the best in the country.  We're very fortunate to have such specialists within driving distance, but it's a shame that it ended up being a waste of time. 

Back in September we discovered that Katie's diagnosis of an "infection" in her knee was wrong.  Incorrect information was passed from the clinic to Children's Hospital and the specialist at Children's misdiagnosed her based on false symptoms.  Long story short - we should have never done 6 months of penicillin, and should have never done the heart echo.  Many, many hundreds of dollars later, here we are. 

So we wanted to do one final blood draw to make sure that the infection rates that WERE showing up in March are no longer at the levels they were.  She DID have a past strep infection, but seems to have nothing to do with her knees.  Come to find out, there may not be ANY problem with her knee swelling. 

So Katie had to have blood drawn....not fun.  She was ok with getting if over with, but we were requesting a lot of tests, so they needed a lot of blood.  They couldn't get it all from one arm...so they had to stick the other one too. Lots of screams and tears later - they still didn't have enough, and wanted us to come back in a few days to fill the last tube.  Ummm, nope.  No thanks.  Whatever the test was for that last tube, we said forget it.  If the results for the other stuff comes back weird, we'll deal with it then....but if everything comes back normal for the tests you CAN do - then we'll assume everything else is fine too.   It was NOT worth seeing Katie in pain.  And she does have bruising on both arms from it - it wasn't just put the needle in, get the blood out...they kept having to move the needle around to (I assume) avoid immediate clots.  So now we wait til next week for those results.

In the meantime, we wanted to cheer Katie up.  The nurse felt so bad that she gave Katie 5 sticks of gum. :)  I told her about a new Christmas dress I had just found for her, but the clincher was that John said we'd go pick out our Christmas tree right away.  We found a great tree at the Lion's Club tree lot...they loaded up the kids with candy canes, coloring books, and even took our picture with the tree and e-mailed it to us.  Which, turned out to be a sweet little picture that ended up making it onto our Christmas card. :)  (And that says a heck of a lot because John and I haven't ever put our own picture on the card!)

Katie and Will loved decorating the tree....as you can see....


 It's always pretty exciting to go through the ornaments, open them up like they are secret treasures.  We're getting quite a collection now and it's fun to remember where/when we got each of them.  Some were made just last year....some were bought when we got married or had kids...and some have been passed down from older generations.

Molly approves....






Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Silly

Instead of a Friday Funny...would you take a Saturday Silly?

This actually happened last night....

We were playing Pictionary on our big dry erase easel.  Everyone was coming up with great ideas and the kids were having a blast.  Will has just been a riot lately with the things that are coming out of his mouth, and what he was drawing.  He'd draw a straight line down, with a circle at the bottom and a scribble in it.....and that was, of course, a man with a hurt leg. 

It was Katie's turn and she seemed to be drawing a boat/bath tub...with water around it and a person standing on the water. 

John shouts out "Jesus!"  I start laughing because it came out of nowhere - it wasn't the answer - and at first I thought he was actually swearing instead of guessing.

So then John, Katie and I all laugh together and Will has a glare on his face.  All of a sudden he stands up and shouts "DON'T LAUGH AT JESUS!  IT'S NOT FUNNY!"

So of course that makes up laugh even harder.....

Will runs over to our little wooden nativity scene that's actually more of a Christmas playhouse set than a decoration, grabs the little Jesus, runs back and continues to shout angrily..."STOP LAUGHING AT JESUS!  HE'S JUST A TINY LITTLE BABY!"

Yeah, we lost it after that. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

The results are in!!

Last night just as I was getting into bed, I checked my e-mail one more time for the day....and there it was....the cast list for Annie.

They said that since they had so many wonderful kids try out, they doubled up the orphans with speaking parts. So since there are 4 performances, each cast of orphans will do 2 of them where they speak, but they will ALL be in ALL of the shows.  Make sense? 

So first I scrolled down to see my name....Mrs. Greer.  I'm a house servant for Daddy Warbucks.  Perfect, I think I can handle that.  Maybe I can channel enough real life experience to pull THAT one off. :)
I think the line in the song is "Your bath is drawn by Mrs. Greer...." and then I pop on over and say "Soap.......no. Bubbles!" 

Then I scrolled to find Katie's name....and there it was assigned to "Molly"......the exact part she was hoping for!!  I really wanted to go wake her up and tell her, but I waited until this morning and she was pretty excited.  I think she'll be more excited when I tell her she's got 23 lines and singing parts in 4 songs......
She is in the "Sunshine" cast - so Friday night and Saturday afternoon she will be "Molly"...Saturday night and Sunday afternoon she will be "orphan girl".

 We start rehearsals the second week of January for performances the first weekend of March.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A reunion

I forgot to mention that while we were back in IA over the holiday weekend, I attended my 15 year class reunion.  It was....well....it was 15 years.  Long enough to find it pleasant to talk with many people you've lost track of, not quite long enough for some. 

I made John go with me....I wasn't sure what I'd be walking into and it's always better to face awkward situations with someone who is removed from it.  He didn't know anyone there really, but said it was ok because he wasn't expected to know anyone's name or remember it, for that matter. 

Oh, and the beer was $2. 

I hunkered down with a good friend from high school and we basically just let people come to us.  I later scoffed at the people that didn't talk to me, but then again...I didn't approach them either.  But c'mon - it has to be their fault, right?  It was really fun to talk with a few people who I wasn't that close to in school....or at all....and we find out now how much we have in common as we get older and have kids.  Three of us have 4 year old boys who we're pretty certain would be best friends if they ever got together.  They seem to be interested in exactly the same things. 

I was unrecognizable to 2 people....1 of whom was a good friend years ago.  I had to say my name for the light bulb to go off....I wore glasses in high school....now I have contacts....hair is lighter, etc.  But I went to the last 2 reunions and saw them.....so I found it a bit funny. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Update

I got an e-mail about the musical and casting for parts....the e-mail basically said you'd have to wait a little bit longer.  So there you go.  Look for an update on casting parts early December....maybe this weekend???

The e-mail did say that everyone who auditioned will be in at least 2 scenes, and have to learn at least 3 songs with choreography.  I'll let you get a mental picture of me dancing up on stage.  (Not THAT kind of dancing you readers with dirty minds! It's a church play for pete's sake.)  So I think Katie will be tickled knowing that....

This past weekend was Thanksgiving and the weather was really quite nice, so it made a nice trip down to IA to visit family.  John and I were talking though and we thought it might be nice to think about doing Thanksgiving at our own house next year - you know, do all the baking and cooking that goes along with the holiday.  We haven't done that with the kids yet and I think we'd like to start.  Neither side of our family has a big get together, and with Christmas just a few weeks after....it seems like a good one to have on our own. 

Well I'm beat.....I was up to have "Pebbles" here this morning at a little past 5 am....and I'm NOT used to that.  I fell asleep and missed the ending of the Grinch cartoon....I'm assuming his heart grew, presents were returned, yadda yadda yadda.  So I'm off to bed after my bowl of cereal that sometimes gets yearned for at bedtime instead of in the morning. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Still waiting...

No word yet on the musical parts.  Still waiting for an e-mail announcing the cast list.  Supposed to come sometime this week.  I would think it would get sent out before Thursday.  In high school it as always very dramatic when the lists were posted on the door of the music room.  The lists were posted on a Friday and the choir director then proceeded to leave town for the whole weekend so that he wouldn't be bothered by people calling to complain about how unhappy they were with the part they were given.  I guess he expected them to get it out of their system in 2 days.

I met my sister and her husband for supper this weekend.  They traveled to my neck of the woods as part of a tour bus shopping trip that they've taken the last 2 years.  One of the 2-3 times I visit the Mall of America all year.

On Sunday I went with friend, Shelley, and my niece, Sarah, to see the new Twilight movie - Breaking Dawn.  As hoped, it was very satisfying.  I don't read to many of the critic's reviews of those movies.  I know they aren't up to par with what's out there already....and I don't try to defend most of the acting in it - sometimes it's quite laughable.....but it's still a fun movie to go to.

Hope you all have a good Thanksgiving.....when I get word on the musical parts, I'll share. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Funny

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tradition.....

I can't really call this 3 generations of tradition, because they're all in the same generation.  BUT it's still really cute.  In 2004 Katie was a cat for Halloween, then in 2007 Will had the honor of being the cat.  NOW in 2011, my great-niece Breqlynn was the same kitty. :)

I honestly don't remember where I bought this....I don't believe it was new.  I'm 90% sure it came in a box of clothes that I had gotten off eBay since that seems to be where I got most of our clothes the first 2 years.  Katie liked being a kitty. (Born June that year.)


The date on this picture is September 24, 2007.  We put this on Will 5 weeks early because we were certain that he wouldn't fit into it later.  (Fat cat.....born July that year.)


And here's Breqlynn the youngest of the 3 while wearing the costume.  She was born in August this year. 
I think she still likes being a kitty.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Auditions

This past Sunday Katie and I auditioned for our church's musical, Annie.  Katie is excited to get back into the musical routine of Sunday and Wednesday night rehearsals.  Last year we had 7 weeks worth of practices and Katie had to be at every one.  She was the only actor required to be at every one because she was in every scene, except one.  This year should be a bit of a lighter load.

The parts get assigned next week, so I'll let you know then, but Katie kicked some serious ass.  She was in the first group of little girls trying out and they had to go up to the piano and sing warm-ups to have their ranges measured.  Katie's range was crazy good.

Then, the woman running the auditions suggested that the girls all sing something together for their audition.  (We were all supposed to have a little song prepared for the audition.)  Katie spoke right up and said that she would rather sing by herself. 

"Oh, that's wonderful, honey.  Where would you like to stand to sing?"

Katie struts (yes, struts) over to the middle of the alter stage and says "Right here."  She continues to belt out her tune and ends to a chorus of applause. :)  I knew she must have been a little nervous, but she just beamed.  She really enjoys herself up on stage.

Then it came turn for her to read her scene.  The group she was in didn't get much of a chance to read through it because there were 1-2 girls in the group who didn't have the first clue about what was going on. The second group got to read it twice....so I hope she was still able to make an impression.  It was also a little unfair at times because they let SOME kids practice their pieces before they videotaped them. (They videotaped all auditions so that they could go back over them later.)  No big deal really - because this is intended to be a fun charity project to raise money...not a theater company looking to cultivate talent. 

I need to remind myself of that because I really find myself getting emotional about this whole process. (Not in front of Katie, of course.) I tell Katie that whatever part she gets, she'll be wonderful, and will have SUCH a fun time - all true.  And she WILL get a part, everyone does.  I just REALLY want her to get the main little girl's part.  Really really really bad.  I've really become a closet stage mom because I will confess to you here, that she was BY FAR the best one there that day.  And although there was one other day of auditions, I'm sure she would have been the best that day too.  (I would never say that to anyone.....) But then it should come as no surprise....isn't that the opinion a mother SHOULD have?  But I feel bad thinking that way because it's a church production and I don't know how people don't get competitive with this whole thing.  Because I really don't see competition among the cast....it's really about having fun.

Oh yeah, and I did ok too - for me it was really more about DOING the audition.  I've never sung in front of a group of people before!  It was a rush, glad to do it, glad to be done with it.  And it really will be fun doing this together. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Funny

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A trip down memory lane

So, since today is my birthday I thought I would be a little self-indulgent and post pictures of my much younger self.

(Ok, let's be honest....when is this blog NOT self indulgent?)

Anyway....


Here's me about.....oh, 7 I spose.  Note the rockin' Smurf shirt.


My Grandma Hanson and I.  I don't remember her because she passed away when I was 2.
I'm mainly posting this because you can see the light-up picture of Jesus on the wall behind us....see the cord running down?? 
And REALLY....who DOESN'T need a light-up picture of Jesus?


Here's me and my brother and sisters.
I'm only posting this because I look so darn cute....and my brother is in a powder blue suit....


One of my favorite pictures....I've probably posted this before.
My dog, Muskie and my cat, Gizmo.
The cat tormented that poor dog every day they were alive. :)


Ahhh, my favorite spot.
My parents still live in this house - but I can no longer sleep in the linen closet.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

One for the bucket list

I don't really have a bucket list of things I'd like to do before I die, or before I turn a certain age.  Honestly, the thought scares me because if I say it's on my "list" - that means I have to try to do it, right?  Or I at least have to make some sort of effort towards getting it done.  Like running a marathon - would that make it onto my bucket list?  Maybe....but the that would mean I have to commit a handful of months into getting it done.  And I don't know if I'm that passionate about it. 

But here's one for the list, and it's something I've always wanted to do.

Audition for a part in a musical.

I was active in the theater department in high school - but shied away from parts in the musical, choosing only to act in the non-musical plays.  I did, however, play in the pit band my sophomore year.  I had wonderful trumpet solos throughout the play, between scenes and at intermission.  It was the only production my Aunt Carol was able to attend and one of two shows my dad came to. (The other was MASH. :) )  So that production held a special memory for me, and I remember it very vividly.  The play was Annie.

Every year our church does a musical to raise money for their mission efforts.  Remember Katie as Toto??  Well this year, they're doing Annie.  Katie is auditioning for the part of "Molly" - the littlest orphan who has some REALLY cute parts of the play, as well as some solo singing.  She has to have a script prepared as well as sing a song by herself.  She's been working quite hard the past 2 weeks and (I think) is beyond talented and will most certainly get the part if the panel of judges has any intelligence at all.

But that could be the "mom" in me talking.

I got to thinking about how I always wondered what it would be like to audition for a part in a musical.  I'm not much of a singer - meaning I've never sung by myself in front of other people.  Not that I can't - I just don't know if I can.  I know I can memorize lines and deliver them believably; I don't have stage fright.  But what about singing.....
I kind of felt like this was my chance.  It's a show that I know very well.  It will be with a group of people that I've worked with on a musical before.  I'm pretty sure they won't laugh at my attempts.  After all, it's a church production and I think God tries to discourage behavior like that....even for us Lutherans.  So why not?  What's the WORST that could happen?

So next Sunday Katie and I will audition together, and I'm sure she'll get a bigger part than I will...but that's ok.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Big Brother!

Happy Birthday today to my big brother, Jeff.  We're both November babies...his is first.  So...if I want him to remember mine, I have to remember his first.  :)

Question for you folks....
Is it ok to say I hate a 5th grade girl?  Ok - so "hate" isn't the right word.  Let's see...I am STRONGLY annoyed with a 5th grade girl.  She shares the bus stop with Katie and ugh....I can't wait til that relationship is over. 
Last year when I saw that there was another girl waiting for the bus with Katie I was relieved.  There's safety in numbers, right?  (Even though I still wait with Katie every morning.)  Immediately she came off so stuck up and snotty, I was shocked!  She was very tall, so I assumed she was in 5th grade. (I mean, she's taller than I am and her voice is deeper than John's)  Nope - she was in 4th grade last year, 5th grade this year.  About 2 months in last year, Katie and I were standing there and this girl walks right over to Katie and shoves her down.  I kind of lost it, and yelled at this girl that she's not allowed to treat other people like that.  Since then, there hasn't been another incident, and oddly enough - she became almost friendly when I started showing up with "Pebbles" in the morning, but she totally lacks overall friendly social skills.  She's an only child - and her mother only seems to communicate by screaming across the yard to her.  (Mom doesn't come out to bus stop...in fact, I've never seen her.)  I have met her father, and he seems really pleasant.  Very social, nice neighbor. 

And I could understand a child who doesn't talk to strangers, or neighbors they don't know well, a child who only stares at the ground when talking, a child who only mumbles, etc.  I get all those traits, and would expect them.  But a girl who tells me I "don't know anything" and a girl who tells me I "don't know what I'm talking about" in such a snooty tone, and rolls her eyes at me - and only looks up at the sky when talking to me (like she's upset we have to share the same air).....yeah, I don't have patience for her.

Hell, it's gonna be a long year.  I dread crossing the street to wait with her, so I make Katie and Pebbles wait in the garage on our side until we see the bus and it's the last minute to cross.  And I've defended her behavior in my head - explained it away as much I can....only child, maybe not many friends, parental issues, hormones, whatever.  I don't care right now - I still have to deal with her.  So that's my politically incorrect stand for today. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I gotta tell someone

I feel the need to share my great deal idea...but if Katie reads this it;s going to spoil the surprise.  So, I guess I'll just say I went to the "after Halloween" sale at Target and got a bunch of great deals on something we're giving to Katie and Will for Christmas.  Doesn't quite fill my need to share, but it will have to do.

I also have a wonderful idea for another present for Katie and Will that I'm on a waiting list for - but have to clear it with John first.

And thanks to a super great one day sale at the cool toy store in town 2 weeks ago - I have another present for each of them set aside.  I think Santa is the only one left that has to go shopping yet. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

City Planners Meeting

Last night I attended my first meeting at City Hall.  The city planning commissioners were having a hearing about the possibility of WalMart building a new store in our town.  When this news broke about a month ago, a group of people got together to work on making sure that didn't happen.  And although I haven't volunteered with the group, I agree with their position - so I went to the hearing. 

Basically the panel from Walmart (their architect, engineer, real estate agent, and 2 others) put forth a proposal to build in a site zoned for a much smaller commercial business.  In order to get approval to start building the area would have to be re-zoned, and that's why they had to have approval from the city planning commissioners. 

The site in question is currently zoned for a 60,000 square foot commercial building.  WalMart wants to build a 120,000 square foot building.  (A bit of an increase, don't you think?)  Not only is this too much for the area...it's 3 blocks from our house.  I am NONE too happy with the prospect of having a 24/7 WalMart that close to an area where I run, we all ride our bikes and take walks. 

As the city staff discussed the proposal with the WalMart panel it was clear that the proposal fell WAY short of what the city required in order to re-zone the area.  WalMart's building was not up to their code, it was (admittedly) endangering neighboring wetlands, and according to MNDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) the adjoining roads would have to be completely re-done before construction takes place - a cost that WalMart was NOT going to shoulder.  At one point, one of the city commissioners questioned WalMart as to why they even brought this proposal forward?  "If I was WalMart, I'd bring my "A" game...this isn't it.  It seems you are doing nothing but wasting our time and yours."  (Thunderous applause)

And then the public hearing opened and anyone who wanted to go on the record could step forward, address the council and speak their mind about why or why not our town should have a WalMart.  And boy, was there a lot of public interested in the issue.  Not only was the entire council room packed, 2 overflow rooms were full as well.  I was in one of these rooms and we watched the proceedings on a giant video screen.  Everyone that stood up to speak spoke about why they didn't want WalMart at that location or in our town at all.  (All but 1....there WAS 1 guy who wanted WalMart....because he was the current leaseholder for their new optical store if this location got built.)  A sweet moment came when an older gentleman approached the podium and everyone started clapping immediately in our room before he even spoke.  He was the owner of ACE Hardware and had been in business in our town for 29 years.  His dad had started the business 50 years ago, and he had plans in place for his son to take over next year...but wanted to be sure that he wouldn't be put out of business by a big box store. 

The public statements were amazing.  So emotional, so many different reasons for NOT wanting this to be built, etc.  I was totally expecting to see Kevin Bacon walk to the podium, read from the Bible and explain why he just wanted to dance. 

After 90 minutes of public pleas, the council voted unanimously to deny WalMart's claim for re-zoning.  BUT it's not over....they also have a proposal with the city council at the end of November.  And then, I guess they can keep submitting proposals forever if they choose to do so. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Dorothy

...and of course Molly wanted in on the action.

Batman!!

Don't worry....it's Will!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Ok - I'm a bad mom because I haven't taken a picture of my kids in their costume yet.  Most of you would say - that's ok, tonight is Halloween.  True....but they've had their costumes on for parties and other events 4 times already.

They each have their school parties today.  I sent Katie off with her costume, hair in braids, and Halloween pencils to hand out to her class.  Will goes to school in his costume with little dinosaurs to hand out to his class. 

I don't have my extra 2 year old (Pebbles) today so I think Will and I plan on eating lunch with Katie at school.  That will be my reward for heading out for a run while the kids are in school.  It's just so cold!!  BUT I have to do it because I don't get a lot of opportunities to run outside these days and I didn't do it this weekend. 

This weekend John and I watched Paranormal Activity.  It was streaming on Netflix, and we thought we should watch a scary movie since it was Halloween weekend.  So, Saturday night we settled in to watch it.

Here's a summary of the story from IMDB.com:
After a young, middle class couple moves into a suburban 'starter' tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be somehow demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to.

And here's a clip....I did watch it...and then my computer froze....so I'm done now, thanks.  And since John isn't here right now, I'm gonna go watch fluffy bunny cartoons or something.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye

This has been a week of goodbyes....

I had the Disabled American Vets come pick up a donation of clothes and household goods on Wednesday.  John cleaned out his closet, as did I.  I had also been sorting the kid's clothes for a while and donated ones that I didn't think would sell at a garage sale.  Included in this pile was our high chair and their old convertible car seat. 

Honestly, it took me a long time to be ok with letting these two items go.  I knew we weren't going to be getting any use out of them and they have both been collecting dust for a while.  So, I set everything out in the driveway and made peace with letting them go.  I'm sure someone who needed them would find them.

That's why I was so surprised 2 hours later when I returned to find everything picked up, EXCEPT the high chair and car seat.  Suddenly these sentimental items have now become annoying bulky space eaters!!  How quickly things change. :)  I don't know why they didn't get taken....I've donated car seats to them in the past.  So, they'll get posted one last time on Freecycle, then I'll load them up and try Once Upon a Child.  I can't really stomach throwing out the car seat.  It's so ironic....the one item I spent hours researching, testing, to be sure it would keep my loved ones safe - is the one item that might have to be thrown away at the dump.

Also making it's way out of our house is Will's train table and train/track set.  He picked out 2-3 trains that he didn't want to sell, but we posted the rest along with the table on Craigslist yesterday afternoon.  By 5:00 I had 3 people wanting to come ASAP and pick it up.  I notified the first responder and her husband just picked it up this morning.  I bought the table and train/track set almost 2 1/2 years ago off Craigslist for $80.  It was Will's 2 year old birthday present.  We have video of him coming downstairs to find it, and it's just adorable.

So I thought I'd try to sell it for $80 and see if I could get my money back.  Not only is it bittersweet to let it go, it's gut wrenching to know I could have probably gotten $100 for it. :)  That's ok.  Will is past the train stage....on to Superheroes.

Oh, and Will got $10 for selling it - after all, it WAS his table. He's got his eye on a Zurg toy from Toy Story.....

Monday, October 24, 2011

First of the Halloween parties....

Today after school, Katie had a Halloween party at her dance class.  Have I told you that Katie is in a dance class?  Hmmm...maybe not.  Ok - well, once a week for an hour...and they work on Jazz, Tap, and Ballet.  The fall session is wrapping up and we need to decide if we are going to continue into the spring and be part of the recital....oh hell.  I spose we will.  She seems to be liking it more and more now that she is remembering some steps and can show us at home.  If we continue though, I think I'm going to only do one dance type instead of a "combo" class. 




Katie also has auditions coming up for our church's musical in March.  This year, they are doing "Annie".  How FUN will that be?!?!?  So Katie is auditioning for the part of an orphan girl.  She has 2 pages of script to work on and has to sing a song by herself.  She can pick any song....so right now we're trying to think of a good, fun, easy one.  The audition panel suggests "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music....that might work, if Katie can remember the words....but I'm open to suggestions. 

Tomorrow we are trick-or-treating at one of the local grocery stores...the nice carpeted one.  They always have a Halloween party and hand out yummy treats like juice boxes, cartons of milk, little packages of carrots, bunny crackers, decorated cookies, apples, etc.  Then more Halloween parties on Saturday and Monday.  Getting good use out of the costumes, that's for sure. :)


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Something to read....

Thanks to my friend Shelley for sharing this....she oftentimes tells me what I should read. :)

For those of you who like to click....here's the link to a wonderful article from the Star Tribune on the upcoming marriage amendment.  For those of you who don't like to click...here is the article.....


Minnesotans will be voting in the fall of 2012 on whether to ban marriage for same-sex couples in our state Constitution. This issue should not have been thrust upon us. But now that it has been, we have an opportunity to transform a shameful referendum on the lives and legal protections of our fellow citizens into a historic victory for families and respect for human dignity. I will be voting "no" -- against the amendment -- and I urge my friends and all Minnesota voters to do the same.

First of all, I oppose this marriage amendment as a Minnesotan. I have worked most of my 85 years to make this state a place where anyone who works hard and obeys the law can succeed. Individual merit does not depend on a person's race, religion, sex, or the gender of the person he or she loves and raises a family with. We Minnesotans have the chance to pass on a legacy worthy of our history. It is time we declare definitively that gay men and lesbians are a treasured part of our community. We can do that by voting "no" on the marriage amendment.
I am a lifelong Republican; the roots of my political life go back to 1940, when I was in the ninth grade at St. Cloud Junior High School. At a mock convention, I nominated Wendell Willkie for president against FDR. I have been a delegate to Republican conventions, from county conventions to the national convention. I was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1964 against Eugene McCarthy -- and for governor in 1982 against Rudy Perpich. I lost both of those elections, but I've never lost my desire for a strong national defense, a limit to spending, less government regulation, and the promotion of individual liberty.
Personal moral values and religious beliefs are appropriately taught in families and houses of worship. But in a free society we must allow others to live according to the dictates of their own consciences. There is nothing in my Republican value system that supports marriage bans in our Constitution, so I also oppose this amendment as a lifelong Republican.
I oppose the amendment as a businessperson. A key to fostering a strong economic climate is attracting and retaining the best talent. Period. Gay men and lesbians are among the most talented people out there. Needless and hurtful laws like the proposed marriage amendment drive them away. They also drive away innovative people of any sexual orientation who simply want to live in a place that respects and celebrates the diversity of life.
As a married man, I oppose this marriage amendment. My first marriage of almost 40 years ended with my wife's death from lung cancer. I am now married to the former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Kathleen Blatz. Marriage is deeply important to me. I have lived long enough and have been married long enough to know that it is fulfilling, but not easy. Many things can undermine a marriage. But my happiness has never depended on depriving others of their happiness. My marriage has never needed the exclusion of others from marriage. I am not threatened by seeing others find love and celebrate it.
Finally, I have to add that I oppose this marriage amendment as a father and grandfather. One of my sons is gay, as is one of my grandchildren. I love them dearly. I want them to find love and peace in their lives, to have someone they can count on, and to be protected by the law. Far from defending families, this marriage amendment is an attack on my family. It is an attack on thousands of families across this state. I won't sit by and just let it happen.
So I oppose this amendment as a Minnesotan, as a Republican, as a businessperson, as a married man, and as a father and grandfather. The bad news is that we are going to have to spend the next year fighting a useless and hurtful constitutional amendment. The good news is that we have the chance to become the first state in the country to vote down such a proposal.
We need do nothing heroic to defeat the amendment. We need not change our fundamental beliefs or values. We need only be the best version of ourselves -- a people who don't slam the door on others, but instead bring them in from the cold.



Wheelock Whitney is a member of the Steering Committee of Minnesotans United for all Families.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekend visit to IA

We traveled down to IA this weekend to visit family.  First time back in about 2 months.  We were able to give my niece from college a ride home too, so it felt like there was a double purpose.  Since we were going to be back we planned a casual baby shower for my great niece as well....she's 2 months and way too cute for her own good. :)  2 months - 8 months is such a great baby age....they've gotten used to their surroundings, are able to allow themselves to be calmed down by other people, and able to just stay awake long enough to give smiles and interact without crawling or walking away from you.

Makes me think it would be fun to have another one....but then I realized I can go home and am pretty confident in saying that I'll be able to sleep through the night without having to wake up.....and that seems too good to give up.

I'm not posting pictures today because I don't have time - I have to get a shower in and then trot off to a meeting this morning.  It's a week of meetings.  I have another one tomorrow for the technology referendum they are trying to get passed for the school.  I hope it goes through - it's very much needed and will benefit many students...including mine. :)  Lots of stuff getting voted on this November...there's also that MN marriage amendment they are trying to push through.  There are some wonderful editorials being written about that.....I will post 1 or 2 this week as well.

Oh, and stay tuned for pictures of some pumpkins we are making.....they are pretty darn cute.  John is carving the big one this weekend....whether he knows it or not. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Funny

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Getting caught up

It's been such a busy fall!  As each week begins I think to myself - ok, this week shouldn't be as busy as last week....but somehow it always ends up being crazy!  There's always so much to do!  And it isn't like we haven't been getting things done, new stuff keeps popping up too!

Maybe it'll make me feel better to make a list of all the things we have gotten done over the last 2-3 weeks:
-mowed lawn
-cleaned out garage
-cleaned out 1/4 of the basement
-sorted out my "counter 'o papers"
-kept up on laundry
-made it to school on time
-got Halloween decorations up

....ok those last 3 were just to make myself feel better

Things I want to get done:
-clean out Katie and Will's dressers, making room for cold weather clothing
-sort through toys in Katie's room
-sort through toys in Will's room
-clean out the other 3/4 of the basement
-paint the master bedroom
-make dentist appointments for the kids
-get Katie in for a blood draw
-make an appointment for insurance appraiser to take a look at our windows
-schedule a goodwill pickup
-get toys ready for the kids' garage sale October 21 at the rec center
-make cupcakes/salad for baby shower next weekend
-get new battery put in truck

I choose not to add all the daily crap to that list like sweeping, folding clothes, washing dishes....because that would just depress me.  The list was long enough.  I will try to cross of 2-3 things this weekend, but c'mon....that bedroom isn't getting painted just yet.

Ok...on to better things.  Last weekend, instead of tackling anything on my to-do list, we all went to a local apple orchard and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  Here are some great pictures from our outing.



Will's bag was by far, the heaviest.

"Daddy, can I PLEASE have an apple?"
It's so nice when they beg for things they can actually have!

Will wasn't going to let anyone carry his bag of apples.


Friday, October 7, 2011

2 posts today...can't forget a Friday Funny

Thank you!


Thanks for all your kind words about my race results!  It was interesting to look at them afterwards.  For the run times, I was in the top third....for the biking, I was in the bottom half.  I guess you can tell which I had done more of.  And would I do it again?  Sure!  It was a fun event and perfect weather.  I'm trying to get my head around doing the YWCA triathlon that some friends of mine did this past August.  I declined due to my lack of swimming skills, but I think I could do it....we'll see next spring.  I like these "women only" events.  I doubt I would ever do a co-ed multi-sport event. 

So that's the end of this season....next year I'd like to do:
- 10k in the spring.....there's on in Chaska that I might do.
- triathlon - in August
- 10 miler?
A couple weeks ago while John was out of town on his company golfing trip, my niece Sarah and I took the kids to Como Zoo and Como Town.  I had purchased Groupons for Como Town getting us unlimited ride bracelets and a couple water balloon games.  I was trying to upload a movie of Sarah and Katie on a ride, but it isn't working.  They went on this ride that went pretty high, pretty fast and I was surprised Katie wanted to go on it.  Sure enough, 20 seconds into it, she was asking to get off, so they stopped the ride and let them off.  The attendant thought that was a new record. :)

Here are some pictures from that day......


Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Funny

Monday, September 26, 2011

Race Summary

My duathlon race was yesterday, and I thought I would summarize the whole thing while it's still fresh in my mind....sort of as a way of remembering things I want to remember.  Before that though, I have to give a BIG thank you to my husband, John.  He sacrificed basically his whole Saturday and most of his Sunday so that I could be out busy with other things.  He took the kids to parks on Saturday, packed them up and got them to the race on Sunday, and took the BEST race pictures I've ever had!  Thank you!

I was gone all day on Saturday for a workshop with a local non-profit group I volunteer with.  I was there from 8:30 - 4:30...with an 1 1/2 break where I went to pick up my race day packet and attend a race talk where they go over tips and info about race day.  So I was kind of beat come Saturday night and had no trouble falling asleep.

I woke up around 5:15 Sunday morning, dressed, had breakfast, and spent some time re-packing my bags to make sure I had everything.  Here's what I brought along:

Transition Bag (Bag that stayed with my bike in transition area...had things I might need as I switch from run to bike to run)
- Towel to lay things on
- Banana
- Extra water bottle
- Extra nutrition bar
- bike helmet
- sunglasses

Extra bag I carried with me before race started....and then got stashed in the bushes with hopes it would still be there when I got back:
- sweatshirt I wore pre-race
- sweatpants I wore pre-race
- water bottle
- 2 nutrition bars (depending on what I felt like eating later)
- gloves
- $5.....again, just in case

I left the house, bike pre-loaded, at 5:50 am.  I was able to eat breakfast, drink some orange juice, and didn't feel very nervous - just excited.  That it, until I got to the parking garage near the race and saw the HUGE line of cars waiting to get in and park.  Then I got nervous, and frustrated that I didn't leave the house earlier.  Actually, it wasn't that bad, and I was parked and on my way to the race area by about 6:15, just as it started to RAIN.  It was pitch black, so you couldn't tell if it was really cloudy or just a random shower.  Soon enough it stopped, and I decided it was just Mother Nature's blessing of the event.  I made it into the transition area and got my bike "racked" by 6:30.  I was SO relieved to see both of my friends right away.  One had her bike racked 6 rows away, and the other was right next to me.  (It goes by your race number)  Given that there were just under 1500 participants, I think I got very lucky!

So, it's just after 6:30....race starts at 7:30, and my wave started at 8:00.  LOTS of time to stand around, visit the bathroom, etc.  There were lots of porta-potties, but really long lines.  We found a secret treasure of a bathroom....hardly any line....but no doors on the stalls....so, you just suck it up and get to know people real quick.

Soon enough it came time for my wave to start and again, I was lucky that my friend Anne was in my wave.  Our friend Vickie, had already been sent off 10 minutes earlier.  Anne and I paced ourselves pretty well for the first run section.  It was 1 lap around the lake, which was 2 miles.  We both knew we were running fast....but neither wanted to slow down.  We were passing people left and right for a while.  My time for the first 2 miles?  17:11.....that's about 8:35 per mile.  I'm QUITE happy about that leg of the race!!!!!

Now on to the bike.  First of all, I found my bike!  Believe me, when you see a sea of 1500 bikes...you're a little unsure about whether you'll get turned around and lost or not.  I ate 1/2 banana, drank some water, put on my helmet, sunglasses and got my bike unracked.  And I jogged my bike out to the mounting area where we could get on our bikes.  My transition time was 2:07....pretty good for a first timer.  Honestly - I thought about just copping a squat for 15 minutes and then get going.... :)

On to the bike....it felt SO good to sit down after standing for almost 2 hours.  My legs were tired from the run, but now there were doing something different so it wasn't too bad.  It did take me 2-3 miles to really get into a nice groove.  Remember all those people I was passing on the run?  Well, they were passing me right back on the bike.  It's funny because you realize there are "runners" who are doing a running/biking race...and "bikers" who are doing a biking/running race.  :)  There were TONS of fancy schmancy speed bikes....you know the kind where they're practically laying down flat and ZOOMING by you?  I was just glad there was plenty of passing room, and I could just do my own thing.  Don't get me wrong - I did pass people, but certainly was more of a passEE than a passER.  I also enjoyed the Power Beans (jelly beans...with a kick) that I had stashed in my bike bag under my seat.  I had 2-3 on each lap and it was just enough of a treat to keep me motivated. 

So we had to do 2 laps of about 11-12 miles.  There were lots of hills....some quite long and strung out...but it always helped when there was a group of people at the top yelling for you to "put the hammer down!" and  "Get up here!"  I did the first lap in about 52 minutes, and the second lap in about 53 minutes.  Oddly enough, I thought that I really pushed harder the first time around, and took it easier the 2nd time around.  Guess not!  Total bike time - 1:45:07.  There WAS a crash on the first lap that was really scary.  When I got there - the ambulance was putting a girl on a board, with a neckbrace - her head was bleeding, but she was awake. 

Got back to the transition area, racked my bike, drank some water, took my helmet off, took long-sleeve shirt off and tied it around my waist...and I was off.  Transition time: 1:51. 

On to the final 2 mile run.  Just as I was heading out of transition area I saw John and the kids.  SOOO happy to see them.  I really did help push me along cuz I knew as soon as I was done with this last lap - I'd see them again.  Remember all those people on bikes who were passing me??  Well, I passed them right back on the run..at least those who had passed me on the second lap. :)  There were SOO many people walking!  Honestly, my legs wouldn't let me walk...they wanted to keep moving.  I couldn't do a normal stride, it was much shorter...but I kept it quick and moving.  And it helped to pass SOO many people. :)  Coming up on the finish line I passed a whole bunch of people because I really didn't want anyone directly in front of me when I crossed the finish line. :)  My second run time: 19:51.  I'm happy with that because I didn't want to go slower than a 10 minute mile. 



Overall, my total race time was 2:26:07.  When I was adding segments up in my head weeks before the race I thought - 20 minute first run, 2 hour bike, 20 minute last run.  That'd be pretty average for me and put me at 2:40:00.  Then as the race got closer, I started thinking about an "ideal goal" time and came up with 2:15:00.  Sooooo, I ended up being closer to my goal time than my average time....and I'd call that a success. 



Another positive would be that I'm not sore today.  I don't feel any different than I would if I would have run 5-6 miles yesterday.  My shoulders are a bit tired and sore from sitting in the bike position for so long, but they're always tired and sore. :)  I was also supposed to go to our church picnic after the race and run their 3k race...but I was too late.  It took forever to get out of the parking garage!  So they had already sent the runners off when I got there. But that's ok. :)  Knowing that I could have done it was good enough for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Active weeks!

Boy, we've been pretty busy with things since school started.  I'm still convinced I'll forget to take Will to school some morning.  So far everyone is liking things, although Katie says that she doesn't like the bus this year because there's never a place to sit.  Will has jumped right in and talks about friends he's made already.  It's pretty cute.  I drop him off, and he runs up to either Joshua or Will C. (my Will is Will P.) and says "Hi guys, what should we do today?" 

We've also managed to go to the Hyland Park book festival (7th year in a row....thank you very much!), took my niece Sarah and the kids to Como Town/Zoo, went camping last weekend, and saw the Foo Fighters.  Oh, and don't forget that I'm still training for the duathlon in....4 days.

Hmmm, where should I start.  Well, I'll start with the simplest entry first.  I have a movie to upload from Como and pictures from camping.  And since I have to get Will to preschool in 20 minutes, and I have a meeting all morning today - you'll have to wait for those.

We've known the Foo Fighters were coming to St. Paul since May, I think.  We didn't buy tickets right away because it was on a school night.  Who would we get to babysit?  All our babysitters were still in school and would have to get up early the next morning - probably wouldn't be able to babysit til midnight the night before.  If only I knew someone who didn't have to be up early the next morning....

But wait!  I do!  My niece, Sarah would be a freshman at the U in September.  So....I may have dropped some hints about trying to get a late class on Thursdays when she went to register.  Luckily, she was all about late classes, so it wasn't a problem.  I was able to pick her up the afternoon of concert day and she babysat the kids, put them to bed. 

Ok - now for the concert....it was great!  The opening band, Rise Against was a LITTLE to loud pounding for me.  I think my chest rattled and shook for 10 minutes after they were done - great stage work, cool music, just too much bass.  We had been sitting in different seats for the opener because we got there a little late and didn't want to make all the people in our row stand up just yet.  But then the real owners of the seats showed up and we had to move.  We got in our row and I said something to the woman sitting by us - who happened to be sitting in our seats - something like "Hey - we're 5 &6 but don't worry about it, we'll just scoot down for now."  She gave me a dirty look and scooted herself and her husband down.  Well.....obviously she misunderstood me and I'm thinking to myself, I'll have to apologize for the misunderstanding once this bass pounding roar is done with. 

The opening act finished and everyone in our row got up and went upstairs - we followed.  We wanted to look at t-shirts, go to the bathroom and find some drinks.  We get back, the Foo start and they are beyond wonderful.  We decided that this was the FOURTH time we were seeing them....but we may be forgetting one in there somewhere.   My neighbor lady wasn't back yet so I could enjoy my elbow space.  But she and her husband returned 3-4 songs in, stood for about 2 songs......AND THEN SAT THE REST OF THE FRICKING CONCERT!  He stood for a few songs here and there and I could see out of the corner of my eye her pulling on his pants leg to sit down.

Now, let me take a moment to describe where our seats were at.  We had fricking awesome seats.  Fan seats - not just casual listener seats.  We were on the side of the stage (not directly on the side, but towards the front a bit) and in the 10th row.  Let's just say, I could see the sweat, and the sideburns.  Knowing how much it probably pissed her off that EVERYONE was on their feet the whole show, I made an extra attempt to jump and dance as close to her as possible and scream as much as I could. :)  You know, doing my little part to help her "enjoy" the show. 

It reminded me of a Pearl Jam that my friend Shelley and I went to in July 2006.  Again we had pretty good seats (fan club seats) - on the floor, row 29.  Anyway - we were enjoying all the people around us - except this little blonde chippee directly in front of us.  She was in her early 20's and there with her boyfriend.  During Pearl Jam's set she constantly insisted on taking pictures....not of the band....but of her and her boyfriend.  You know, when you hold the camera in front of you to get an off center picture of yourself?  Well, he was NOT having it and getting annoyed because he wanted to enjoy the band, and she kept whining about how she wanted to take their picture.  She easily took 15 pictures of the two of them....along with our angry faces in the background....getting blinded by the flash. 

And....we did NOT go through her purse, laughing at how much make-up she brought to the concert, using her powder, etc.  We did not.  Nope, not us. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Funny....among other things


Want to hear something else funny?  We're camping this weekend.  Outside.  In a tent.  Any other time, that wouldn't be funny, but it's like 48 degrees here right now....with a high of only 60.  :)  So - I'm leaving the swimsuits at home and packing mittens and hats.  And Katie hates wearing layers - so it should be REALLY enjoyable. ;) 

However, the thought of everyone snuggled together in a tent with a ton of blankets, no bugs, and able to sleep late because it doesn't reach 75 by 6 am does sound kind of nice.

On the duathlon training front.....I was going to do a bike ride today with the 2 year old while my two were in school, however that's going to get nixed because I have to go to the store to get food and work on getting things packed.  So, maybe I'll still get a 30 minute run in tomorrow, and I am FOR sure biking the entire race route on Sunday.  That'll be my big ride before backing off for the rest of the week, and just work on hydrating and stretching.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back to school

But first.....a training update.

So I ran my 5 miles last Friday.  (I had only run 3 miles in the last 10 days, and surprise, surprise - 5 miles was a bit tough!)
Then I had a pretty busy, active weekend - Monday came and I was beat, and it was windy and hot.  Enough excuses for you??  So I ran 3 miles, and then biked 5 miles.  I'm happy I did that because I discovered that the transition from running to biking isn't so bad.  In fact, I didn't really have trouble with it at all.  I was happy to get to sit down on a bike, and my legs were happy to try something new. 

I also tried a Power Gel before getting on the bike.  I'm experimenting with food that I'll be eating during the race.  I'm going to need at least 1 thing to eat that will help replace lost electrolytes and energy...and also something that can kick in pretty quickly.  So after the 3 miles, I opened up the Power Gel...and oh my Lord...I thought I was going to get sick.  It did NOT taste like I was expecting and I had to wash it down with a crap load of water.  That said, I felt so much better 15 minutes into the bike ride, and I really could have gone farther, but I had to get Will from preschool.  So far, I will plan on eating breakfast before the race....but I may only get down toast.  Then I'll eat a Kind bar (YUMMY!) 30 minutes before the race, if I feel like it....then 1/2 banana after the run....(I always have a banana after runs)....and something else midway through the bike....it may just be the Power Jelly Beans.  Although they are really chewy, I can eat 1-2 at a time and they are easy to pop in. 

Today, I was planning on taking the 2 year old out for a bike ride while my 2 are in school.  We'll see....it's pretty darn chilly at 43 degrees.....but I'd like to get 10 miles in at least.  Once I get moving, I know I'll be warm enough, but I'm more concerned about her riding in the trailer in a constant wind. 

Now on to school.....we are in our 1st full week of school for everyone and so far - it's been a great year. :)  Will LOVES his preschool and knows about 5 kids in his class.  His teacher says he is being a good listener, which at this point is all I'm shooting for.
Katie really likes 2nd grade, even though there's more homework this year.  She'll have 3-4 math assignments to do at home every week.  And we also have spelling tests to get back into.  So far, it's been pretty easy to get her to make time for it.  She also started a dance class this week - and says it's lots of fun.  Again, we'll see....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember that duathlon thingie? It's in 14 days!

So I've been getting ready for this Iron Girl Duathlon....but it's kind of freaking me out that it's in 14 days!  They have a "suggested" training schedule, and I'm not even close to following that because I just don't have the time to commit.  So I've been doing what I can, when I can. 

The race will be a 2 mile run, 22 mile bike ride, 2 mile run.  It helps that I can run that distance already and I don't have to focus as hard on that as I would have had to last year.  I'm still running, but not because I have to train - I just like to get out and run. 

I do have to force myself to make time to bike.  I've gotten some decent rides in - but have only been able to manage 1 longish ride a week. (10-13 miles)  Last Thursday I didn't have my 2 year old babysitting child to watch so it was just Will and I.  I threw him in the trailer (well, not really THREW)...and I tried to bike as long as he would let me.  I was able to go about 7 miles before I felt like I was going to die.  It had been a loooong time since I pulled him in the trailer!  Then we stopped to play at the park, and I made it another 2 miles home.  So.....can I double those 9 miles and count it as 18.....maybe 15????  C'mon....I'm pulling 60 pounds of kid and trailer!

Here's my training plan for the next two weeks.
9/9/ - 5 mile run while Katie and Will are in school (no 2 year old this day)
9/10-9/11 (weekend)- John is out of town so I am busy entertaining kids...have fun outdoor activities already planned.
9/12 - 5 mile run while Katie and Will are in school (no 2 year old this day)
9/14 - bike with 2 year old while K & W are in school....hope to go 12 miles
9/16 - bike with 2 year old while K & W are in school....hope to go 15 miles
9/17 - nice, easy 30-40 minute run
9/18 - bike duathlon route...22 miles
9/20 - practice transition from run to bike to run.  Run .5 mile, bike 2-3 miles...repeat 4 times.
9/21 - shorter bike ride with 2 year old....5-8 miles    ????
9/23 - shorter 2 mile run    ???
9/24 - NO BEER :)
9/25 - RACE DAY

Anyway - that's my ideal 2 weeks....may not all happen, but it helps to get it all lined out.  Must do's are the duathlon route and transition practice.  Everything else will shake out and work in when I can.  It will help if the weather stays as nice as it has been.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Funny

Here is a Friday Funny dedicated to my parents who celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary yesterday. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

College Days


Here is my niece, Sarah, and I at the Twins game this past Monday.  She started classes at the University of MN this week, and has now been up here for 10 days.  Do you remember going away to college?  Being alone for an extended period of time for the first time in your life?  She's handling it like a superstar, much better than I did. 

I sort of remember the few weeks leading up to leaving for college...staying up as late as possible, spending every last second with old friends, promising that things wouldn't change.

And then you go your own way to a place where people don't know anything about you, and vice versa.  In some ways it's wonderful, and in others, terrifying.    Eventually things do change (thankfully) and you begin to shift worlds a bit.  Suddenly your focus is more on college and less on hometown life.  For some, this takes months, for others years.  But it does happen.  And hopefully you walk away with amazing friends from college and a few tried and true friends who stuck with you from high school.

I pulled out my diaries from college cuz I thought maybe there would be words of wisdom in there I could pass along.  I kept a diary/journal for each year of college....I thought maybe there would be something in there about my first few weeks...but no, just mindless dribble about boys.  Honestly - it was like Facebook on paper.  I had quotes, song lyrics, movie lines, you name it....all having to do with adolescent boys.  To read it now is like to bang your head against the wall, scream, and have an intense urge to shake the girl who wrote this crap until she realizes that life has a way of working itself out, if you allow it.

Note:  The last diary is 100% about John...and is kind of entertaining to read....but he also makes random appearances throughout the other books too. :)  I guess I always had my eye on him.

But college these days has changed SO much from when I was there just 11-14 years ago.  (Oh, holy hell, has it been that long??)  Anyway - in those days I didn't have a cell phone, no one had their own laptop, no wireless Internet, no skyping, no Facebook, heck - e-mail was just catching on!  I was paying $.10 - $.15 a minute to call anyone.  There was one month my phone bill was $300! 

So hang in there freshman Sarah!  Feel free to leave your own horror college freshman story to make my niece feel better!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Renaissance Festival

This past weekend we went to the Renaissance Festival here in MN.  You can imagine my SHOCK when John suggested it on Friday as something to do over the weekend.  I've always wanted to try and get there, but never thought John would be up for it....let alone suggest it. :)  So you better believe I wasn't gonna let him change his mind.

We left the house about 9:30 Sunday morning armed with sweatshirts, coats, etc. because we weren't exactly sure what the weather was going to do.  The forecast called for sunny/partly cloudy skies...yet it started raining on the way there.  It was a bit windy and chilly, but the sun came out later and it turned pretty nice.

We walked up to the front gates and it was really funny to watch the kid's faces as the people in their get-ups started yelling at everyone coming in, making fun of them, you name it. Their eyes got big, mouths open....  And I don't think they understood why a few were yelling "Save the children!  For God's sake don't bring in the children!"

But as soon as we got in the gates, the kids were met by a woman in a very fancy dress, handing out "jewels"...made Katie's day.  We watched a juggler attempting to juggling ping pong balls with his mouth and Katie and Will thought it was funny that he stole a guy's hat from the audience and he yelled at one little girl to "SHUT UP KID!"  Then he went on to ask if her Daddy was here...she said no.  He said "Good, then I won't get my butt kicked."

John did some archery, then I shot 3 arrows (only 1 hitting the target), and Katie shot 2...both hitting smack in the middle. 

Here is "Legolas" showing off his skill.  John shot probably 10 arrows...all hitting the target, most right between the eyes of the smiley face....poor little guy.



We played a couple games, the kids went through a maze, then we watched the "Puke & Snot" show - a comedic team of two guys trading insults and puns for 20 minutes.  It's the longest running show at the Renaissance Festival and I had seen it 20 years ago when I was there the last time.  The kids were too young (thankfully) to get many of the jokes, but they laugh at them all and Will liked the fact they were on a "pirate ship".

Then we went and watched the Armored Joust...was crowded, but we got good seats on the grass.  That was pretty cool to watch, and I think the kids liked it too.

It wasn't "completely" fake....the jousting poles they used would snap and splinter from the blows, so it must have smarted a LITTLE bit.  Then the joust turned into a sword fight.


Katie and Will shaking hands with our side's knight.
After that, we headed to a magic show at Katie's request.  I found one listed, so we headed there to get seats.  The fact that it was called "Pizpor Magic Show" didn't deter us.....maybe it should have.  (Piss poor) :)  Again - it was really funny, and most of the jokes were over the kids' heads, but they laughed at some of his bad tricks that they could tell weren't real. 

But the best "bad parenting" event of the day was when we took the kids through "The King's Dungeon".  A display of torture devices used throughout this time in history....complete with mannequins.  It had a nice little description of each device and what it was used for, which Katie was nice enough to read to all of us. ;)

Will is not so sure what to think of the mannequins that appear to be screaming in pain....

It goes without saying that Will got freaked out....but wanted to immediately go back in once we were outside.  What can I say....I guess we're all a little morbid.
This sign reads: "Men who repeatedly got drunk were locked in the dungeon overnight then stripped of their clothes and chained to an empty ale barrow and forced to walk the streets for three consecutive days."
See...we're teaching things that every kid should know.
 

We headed home about 3:30 or so... and covered in dust and dirt. :)  But it was a great day, and we'll be sure to head back in 6-7 years when the kids understand more of the sex jokes.