Monday, February 27, 2012

Hard Knock Life sneak peek

So here's a little video I took yesterday at dress rehearsal.  It was the first real run through with props and music.  You'll notice Katie and a few other orphans have microphones, but they were still working on getting them so the sound isn't as clear as it will be come showtime. 

Oh....and pardon the really shaky part in the middle....I was trying to signal Katie to remember her cue to go upstairs.  Thankfully Kenzie (Annie) is on top of it.  (Side note - Kenzie is also Will and Katie's babysitter sometimes!)  When they run up on the stairs, Katie sings "Santa Claus, we never see."  Then Kenzie says back "Santa Claus?  What's that?  Who's he?"

**If you want to make the video bigger, click the button in the lower right hand corner of the video (the square thing.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Funny

Tomorrow begins a week of dress rehearsals for "Annie".  I hope to get some cute pictures of Katie all dressed up in her costume.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Molly's friend

We have a neighbor cat that visits us often named Dustball. (Fixed female)  She comes over looking for Molly in the afternoons.  I only have to yell "Molly, it's Dustball!" and she comes running to the back door.

For the most part, they get along....through the glass.

Sometimes they meet at the front door....

Most of the time they chat through the back patio door.

Sometimes they get upset with each other.

They both like their space.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One more night - then time to go home.

Friday night we went out to eat for our final night in Florida.  We ate at a place called The Old Salty Dog.  Very yummy food - again, the kids got theirs on frisbees.  I guess if we lived down there, we'd have frisbees coming out our wahzoo.  Ended up coming home with 5!

Will being.....Will.

Katie displaying her most recent frisbee.

Picture of us, thanks to Katie

Time to go home....Will looks sad, but he actually couldn't wait to go home.  He'd been asking for the last 2 days of vacation when we were going to go home.  I once said "Well, maybe we should just live here." 
The terrified look on his face told me that wasn't an option for him.

At the Atlanta airport we had better luck on the return trip.  When we were there on Monday, we had to take a tram to another terminal where we were leaving from.  So, the 4 of us were on the (very crowded) tram to go to Terminal T.  When the doors opened and it was time to get off, John was trying to squeeze through a bunch of travelers who were NOT moving out of the way.  This resulted in him and Will getting off the tram at the right stop, but Katie and I were stuck on the tram as it continued to zoom down the track.  Once the people on board realized that they had separated us....they really weren't that apologetic.  No Minnesota Nice there.
Anyway - at the next stop a bunch of people on the tram pointed to another train across the walkway and said "Just take that one back to the previous terminal, you'll be fine."  One guy even said - just walk down this hallway (as he pointed) it'll get you back to the other terminal.  Ok - Katie and get off and head over to that tram....which is blocked with yellow caution tape with a big red sign saying "Out of order" and "Under construction."  Great. 

The tram we had gotten off of, was still there - doors wide open and wasn't going anywhere.  The hallway the guy pointed to?  A dead end. 

The only way out - was an escalator at each end of the room - going up.  And each had a big sign at the top saying "Exit re-entry.  Alarm will sound."  Ok - so if I went up there, I'd have to re-enter through security.  No big deal, except John had all of our boarding passes....and we had to be ready to board our second flight in about 45 minutes. 

All of a sudden, after sitting for about 4-5 minutes the tram all of a sudden shut it's doors and we watched it shoot down the tracks going the way we wanted.  I figured the tram would take us back down, but when it was just sitting there....with nothing on the screen about where the next stop would be I was hesitant to get back on it.  After about 45 seconds, another tram showed up and the screen said that IT was leaving for Terminal T in 30 seconds.  Katie and I got on - and we magically appeared in front of John and Will about 45 seconds later....on the opposite side where they had originally gotten off. 

This whole thing freaked Katie out - and she was not happy about getting back on the tram on the way home - but we stood right by the doors and were willing to push people out of the way if necessary.  Then we realized that over the course of the week, we had been in a car, a bus, a train, an airplane, a boat, an elevator and an escalator.  A real journey. :)

Day Five - Continued.....Friday Afternoon

After eating lunch at the park, we headed back to Siesta Key for more beach time.  It was still clear and warm. 

Katie and John were able to head pretty far out, and still only be waist deep.

Will opted to be more of a beach bum than a water guy.

We had a buddy that hung around us most of the day because we were eating chips....and apparently he thought he'd get some. 

John and Katie went for a walk and found sea grass, sea weed, and a certain kind of
sponge that smells like garlic.  (We had learned this on the boat ride!)

Day Five - Friday

Again, you may have to scroll back to find the previous days....

Friday we woke up, had breakfast and decided it would be a good day to head to Myakka State Park (about 30 minutes away).  It was going to be a warm, sunny day.....until later afternoon/evening when there was a chance for showers. 

The brochure for Myakka Park said that alligators were "abundant" and gave instructions not to feed them or approach them.  Here was a sign just in case you forgot....

Our first stop was the canopy walk.  It's a walkway suspended 25 feet above the ground and extends 100 feet through the hammock canopy.  Completed in 2000, it's the first public treetop trail in North America.  The world's longest walkway is in Peru. 

When you get to the end, you can climb a wooden tower that soars 74 feet in the air to get a good view of the Florida wetlands/prairie.  

Pretty big alligator sunning himself.

The kids got really good at spotting these little geckos.  In fact, they are so common in buildings in Florida that they are called "house lizards."  Luckily, we only saw them outside.  I think from what I've read, this is a brown anole lizard.

Day Four - Thursday

We didn't want to have too much planned the next few days because we wanted to spend as much time at the beach as possible.  It was going to be 2 beautiful days and we wanted to take advantage of it.  Katie was upset because we didn't think we'd have time to get to G-Wiz (a children's science museum)....her #1 activity on her list.  It was just hard to think about spending a whole day inside.  So I made her a promise that we'd make a special trip to The Works back in MN which is an older kid's museum concentrated around "how things work".

We went down to the beach after breakfast.  Since we weren't staying in a hotel - we were on our own for breakfast.  We had picked up a box of cereal, milk, bread, jelly, and coffee the night before so we figured that'd get us by.  It was so nice down in the sand we stayed there til about 1:00, and then headed to a little shopping village to grab lunch and do some shopping.  The sand was insanely soft.  It had such a nice feel to it, it was hard to keep your hands out of it.  And the crazy thing was that after you rub your hands around in it....your hands actually felt cleaner - not dirtier.  And you didn't have the yucky "I have sand all over me" feeling.  It brushed right off. 

We ate lunch at a place called Gilligan's....and it was happy hour. :)  After lunch we found some t-shirts, a Christmas ornament for our tree, a necklace for Katie, and a space ship for Will.  After shopping, we hit the beach again and stayed there til after sunset.  It was just beautiful.  I took the opportunity to run along the beach - which is a very popular thing to do.  The sand is so packed down in some places from high tide that it's very easy to walk/run on.  So I ran about 1.25 miles upbeach and then ran back.  It was so wonderful and something that I wish I could do every day - what a treat!

I'm not sure what "cracked" in Will, but he got SUPER excited to be on the beach today.....he said he was being the "Red Tornado"....

When I got back, John went for a swim out in the gulf....he said it was a little cold at first, but pretty nice. 

I got a bunch of beautiful sunset pictures and I'm hoping one will look nice blown up bigger.

Day Three Continued......Wednesday afternoon

After the aquarium, we grabbed a bite to eat in their diner and then waited to get on the boat that would take us out in the bay.  We were doing an "explorer cruise" through the aquarium that would take us on a little nature walk on a small man-made island, and allow us opportunity to spot dolphins and other sea life out in the bay. 

We did get to see some dolphins diving around in the water, and some pretty awesome houses that we were told are only occupied a few weeks to a few months a year. 

It's hard to tell the difference between sea sickness and boredom....luckily, this turned out to be boredom.

On the way back to the docks, the naturalists on board threw out a net to see what they could scoop up.  We were lucky enough to get to see a big sea horse, a puffer fish (which they made "puff up" and was quite funny), a bunch of different types of crabs, a sea urchin, and a handful of different kinds of fish. 

After the boat ride, we headed south a bit to check into our condo/resort.  We stayed at a place called The Palm Bay Club.  We got a condo in their "Tower" which was right on the beach, and plenty of room to spread out for a few days. 
Our home for 3 nights.

The first night on Siesta Key we went to eat at a seafood place just down the road from where we were staying called Captain Curt's Crab Shack.  The kids got their food served on a cool frisbee they could take home.  We all split a dozen raw oysters too - well, John and I split it.  Katie did have a few bites. 

Will had some fish sticks....and found that he rather liked tarter sauce sucked through the straw.
Ick.  So would you rather eat raw oysters....or tarter sauce via straw?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day Three.....Wednesday

If you haven't read Day 1 or Day 2.....scroll back and start there.

So we woke up early Wednesday, had breakfast at the hotel as we had done the previous morning.  Thanks to the complimentary waffles, eggs and cereal we hadn't had to spend $ on breakfast yet.  We had gone swimming at the hotel pool each of the 2 nights we'd been there.  It was chilly, but not terrible.  Plus, soaking in the hot tub afterwards always made it worthwhile.  We had the entire pool area to ourselves each night which was also very nice. 

Wednesday we had to pack up though and move to a new resort/condo on Siesta Key Beach.  We figured we'd save money by staying at a $100 a night hotel for a few nights, and then splurging and staying on the beach for 3 nights. 

We had plans to go to Mote Aquarium today with a 1:30 pm boat ride out into Sarasota Bay to see animals, fish, etc.   Then we'd go check out our new place at the beach.  The aquarium was a lot of fun.  I think the best part was the building with the loggerhead turtles, manatees and dolphins.  The dolphin area was under construction so we weren't able to see them, but the turtles and manatees were amazing!  There were 2 huge manatees that swam around and when Katie and Will stood along the tank, one would come up and give them kisses through the glass.  He did this every 90 seconds or was way too darn cute. 

Here comes the smooch!!!!

The manatees only eat Romaine leettuce and are really, really stinking adorable.  I think they are one of my new favorite animals.  Unfortunately we didn't see any out on the boat because they don't like the colder water.  So they actually head north in the Gulf of Mexico during the winter months and spend it along the northern coast were all the power plants are.  But usually in the Sarasota area they said there are between 60-100 manatees in their waters. 

Katie as a green sea turtle.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day Two Continued.....Tuesday afternoon.

John and I were beat after we got back to the hotel Tuesday afternoon, but the kids seemed to have this bottomless source of energy because they wanted to go mini-golfing.  We had found this place that has alligators that you can feed after you golf on something resembling a pirate ship.  We all got changed and headed to check it out.  It was pretty cool - you used these long poles to dangle little bits of dried meat in front of the baby alligators (still about 4 feet long) and they would chop at it. 

After golfing, we drove up to Longboat Key and Lido Beach - which is an area just a bit north of Sarasota.  We walked on the beach for a bit here where the sand was softer and whiter than Caspersen.....but still not as soft and white as Siesta Key that we'd see later. 

Day Two......Tuesday

The kids woke up early....apparently the time change made no difference to them because they seemed to start stirring as soon as they saw the clock hit 7, even though it was an hour earlier in MN.  In fact, they did that every morning.

On the agenda for today - hit the beach.  We had read about Caspersen Beach which is the southernmost beach in Venice, FL.  Here, they say, you can find a collection of great shells, along with shark teeth.  So we headed off with high hopes.  It's not quite as easy as they say....but we did find a few.  The shells were also quite large and very unique looking. 

When we first started out from the was a little cloudy and felt comfortable (temperature wise)...when got to the beach, it was hot!  I was wishing that I had thrown in John's and my swimsuit, but was thankful that I had the kids' along.  Oh well, whatever we got wet would dry out eventually. 

Katie and her shells.

Will's favorite shell-find.

The beach here was pretty rough - lots of rocks, and the sand was quite dark and black in spots.  They say this is from the erosion of the rocks, shells and teeth that collect there from the Gulf currents.

Caspersen Beach

We left the beach and drove into Venice to find a place to eat lunch.  It quickly became apparent that this little town was FULL of retirees that had nowhere to be at 1:30 pm on a Tuesday because traffic was HORRIBLE and there wasn't a parking place to be found.  Finally we found a place on the outskirts of downtown called Pineapples Island Grill where we had a nice lunch outside before we headed back to Sarasota.

Day One.....Monday

We left early Monday morning for the airport.  Our plane was leaving at 9:05 am, and we wanted to be heading for the airport around 6:30 am.  So I got up and started the coffee about 5:30 am, and started waking the kids up at 5:45 am.  I had clothes laid out for each of them so that there was no time spent deciding what to wear.  We were all packed - done mostly the night before and all we had to do was eat breakfast. 

We were on the road around 6:30, and had parked the car in a lot and were being shuttled over to the terminal with about 2 hours before take-off.  Security was the next hurdle - the kids had to take their shoes off, and the three of us were escorted through the metal detector while John got "body scanned."  It went very smoothly and quite quickly, so we had plenty of time to get to our gate, grab a snack and hit the bathrooms. 

Katie and our plane.

We first flew to Atlanta, GA.  We had about an hour and a half before the second flight which was just enough time to hit the bathrooms, grab a bite to eat and allow Will to spill lemonade all over his pants.  :)  Luckily, I had thrown in an extra pair at the last minute before we left - it was just a bit to cold to change into shorts just yet. 

We got to Sarasota around 4:00 pm.  John won the contest of "Guess the Color of the Rental Car" with gray (Cheve Impala), put the car seats in (which we feel were grossly overcharged at almost $20 a day...but, what are you gonna do?)  Then headed off to find our hotel that we'd be staying at for the next 2 nights.  Once we got unloaded we drove off to buy Katie a pair of swim goggles because we couldn't find hers before we left MN.  We found a swim shop still open and grabbed some goggles along with some sand toys, sun block and a frisbee. 

Will and John outside the swim shop.

Katie wanted her own picture.

Last stop was supper at Trader Vic's.....a cool little dive right next to our hotel.  Supper was topped off with a perfect slice of Key Lime pie - which John and I split because the kids each got ice cream with their supper. 

Our room had 2 queen beds, which initially had Katie and Will sharing a bed.  About 2 hours in though, Katie had had enough of Will and she and I switched places.  I don't blame 7 am I had had enough too!  Will was a kicking, bed hog of a worm. :)

Florida Vacation....

Good grief - where do I start?  We got home last night after spending 6 days in sunny Florida....well, partly cloudy Florida.  The weather was funny - it literally would change every 10 minutes.  It would go from sunny clear skies to partly cloudy, to fully cloudy, and back to clear again within an hour it seemed.  Overall I think we had great weather.  It rained when we got down there Monday afternoon - in fact, the airplane couldn't land at first because of the wind, so we had to go back up and circle around again. 

So, I've been thinking about how I should cover our trip on here, and I think I'm going to take Katie's idea and do a post per Florida day....with an extra post here and there if I have too many pictures.  If nothing else, it will be a reminder for us about what we did each day.

And though I can remember WHERE we ate....can't remember WHAT we ate at each place so here's a summary.....the kids survived on a menu of hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets and pizza.  John and I ate some yummy seafood over the week which included crab, grouper, mahi mahi, raw oysters, tuna, shrimp, and some others that I'm forgetting.  It's a good thing I didn't take my fish oil vitamins along because I obviously didn't need them!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Silly Saturday

This just makes me attention to the title of each position in the upper left hand corner.  Sorry it's so small!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nap time....

Ahhh, it's nap time right now for the little one that I watch.  My oldest is at school and my son is having some computer time.  I am supposed to be working out, but have chosen The People's Court and a can of pop over that....for now. 

Even though the weather has been very cooperative, I haven't gotten outside to run 3+ miles since around New Years.  I have gotten back into the treadmill, but only 2-3 miles at a time.  It's all I can muster to do in the basement.  I feel good about the upcoming running season though and my races that I want to do. 

So far on my "want to do" list is.....
- a 5k in May for "Get Your Rear in Gear" - a colon cancer coalition event.
      "We are sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends who have been affected by colon cancer and want to do something. Some of us are colon cancer survivors while others are those who work to honor those lost to this disease. We are a coalition that has formed 5K's and other events in cities across the country, working together with health care providers, corporations and the media, to encourage people to "Get Your Rear in Gear" and talk about colon cancer with their doctor, their loved ones and everyone they know. Together, we will positively impact this disease."  A bunch of us are running in honor of a friend who passed away from this last year.

- a 10k the day BEFORE the above race. :)  It'll just be a moving kind of weekend.

- possible a 5k in May for a fundraiser I did last year....they had a good t-shirt last year.

- the 5 mile race in July for Hopkins Raspberry Festival....IF the temperature is below 100 degrees....ok 90.....ok 85. 

- a YWCA sprint triathlon......swimming/biking/running.  Which one of those is the MOST dangerous? :)  For me anyway....  But I can do it.

- and probably the Ragnar Relay.  WHAT is that, you ask??? 

From their website......
"JOIN THE RAGNAR NATION: A 2 day party in a van with a side of running.
Ragnar Great River is a unique team event that combines running with a traveling party, scenic views, smelly vans, and lasting memories. Ragnar Great River is for everyone, from the novice runner to the 10x marathoner.
Starting in the beautiful river town of Winona, runners will encounter challenging terrain and beautiful scenery as they run ‘up river’ along the Mississippi, ending in Minneapolis with a finish line party worthy of 200 miles of stamina, courage and teamwork."

Basically a team of 12 take turns running legs of a 200 mile race from Winona to Minneapolis....through the day and night.  You catch some shut eye in the van while you can. :)  We are trying to get together an all female team.  In theory it sounds like fun.  Thankfully we have marathoners on our team who are already assigned the longest legs. 

So that's that.  Oh, and quite soon I plan to run a to crystal blue 70+ degree weather........