Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

We survived our 13 hour road trip!!  I will post on that as soon as I have a few minutes.  I have a lot of pictures I want to share.

We got home late on Thursday so Heidi could attend her field trip to the Sculpture Garden on Friday.  She made an awesome sculpture as a project when they returned.  I will get pictures up soon.

Saturday Heidi went to a birthday party at the Chutes and Ladders Park in Bloomington.  If you have not been there it's totally worth checking out.  It's free and a ton of fun.  I didn't have my camera so no pictures but we will go back and I am sure I will have a post after that!

Sunday, we did a ton of yard work since our lawn started to look like it belonged to an abandoned house.

And we were all back to work and school on Monday.

So, we are still here.  Just trying to catch up.  Hope you are all well and enjoying the summer!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Addition To The Family Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, we had to have the sewer guy come out before the washer delivery guys came.  Due to really old, really clogged pipes (did I mention we have two dogs and two cats?), we have to have him come out about once a year (always on a weekend so I get to pay him weekend rates.  That's awesome!) 

When we pulled the washer out we realized water was coming up again.  The washer sits on top of the drain so unless it's a lot of water we don't always notice.

That was the same day the modem broke.

Over the course of 6 hours we had the sewer guy, the phone company, and the Sears delivery people at our house.  It was an eventful, exhausting day.

When the Sears guys showed up with an electric dryer, I nearly cried.  I was so excited for my new Washer and Dryer to finally be here and it was wrong. 

We had waited for three weeks for the washer to arrive. While we waited we had to babysit every load of laundry.  Since the old washer didn't like to work on the cold cycle and since it was made in 1984 and since they didn't believe in options in 1984, both wash options had at least one cold cycle.  It was a long three weeks and we had tons of laundry to catch up on.

I accepted delivery of the washer but sent the dryer back.  What am I going to do with an electric dryer?!  But, the old dryer still worked so thats a plus.

Two weeks later, the gas dryer finally arrived.  But it didn't fold and put away laundry like the sales man promised.  I guess maybe he was kidding on that part...

I told Heidi the story about how great this dryer was at folding and putting away laundry and how disappointed I was that I was fooled. 

Here's how she made it all better:

What a wonderful child.  I am so lucky!  She had so much fun doing that I even got her to do this:

And this:

Now I just have to teach her how to fold and we are all set!

Aren't my new washer and dryer so very lovely?  I am very happy now.  The only complaint is the doors are on the wrong sides.  I had this problem with my last set as well.  Shawn can get a kit and switch them but I am waiting on our laundry room remodel before we go to that trouble.  Since the gas is on the left and the water is on the right we can't just flip them around.  For now, I will deal with it because these beauties are so much better then the old beasts!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Addition To The Family

A few months back we had Ryan and Jess's family staying with us.  It was a fun filled two months and I am so very happy to have been able to spend the last two months they were in Minnesota with them living in my house.

I often thought, "Hey! Why didn't we do this sooner?"  But I know everything happens for a reason.  And I am grateful for the time I had with them, short as it may have been.

In that time, with four adults, three children, two dogs, and two cats all using one washing machine, for some reason my 1984 model Whirlpool just gave out. 

We had replaced the transmission in it back in December so when it decided not work on the cold cycle any more we figured it was time to put the old beast out of it's misery.

As many of you know, I was greatly heart broken when we had to leave our old washer and dryer at the Minneapolis house.  It was the beginning of the housing crash and we figured that adding high end washer and dryer to our sell sheet would help move the house faster.  I am not sure if it worked but we were out of that house with in months of adding them to the listing.

Ever since we moved, four years ago, I have been dreaming of what my new washer and dryer will look like.  All the extras it will have.  In my fantasies the dryer folds and puts away everything!

It was much sooner than I had planned but with the old beast croaking it was time to go buy the new super washer.  We left Heidi with Jess and headed over to Sears.

I spent the night before price shopping on and knew exactly what I wanted.  But when the sales man explained how that model was made in North Korea Shawn shut it down and we were back at square one.  Only with a sales person by my side.

I hate dealing with sales people.  I don't want someone asking me to rationalize my thoughts.  If I like one better than the other because of the color than that's my prerogative and no one should judge me for that.

I know that sales people hate dealing with me.  They ask me a bunch of questions and then show me what they think I want but they are almost always wrong because they can't see what's in my head.  (Ask my last two real estate agents...)

But this guy was different.  He did ask the annoying sales person questions but he understood my humor and connected with me quickly.  When he realized I expected this thing to hold up to the demands of our life and pet hair, as well as actually put the clothes away, he explained the options available and matched me with the perfect washer and dryer set.

Ok, enough about that!  On to the kid pictures!

The day we took delivery we moved the old appliances out to the family room.  (We then had to have the plumber out because the drain backed up, again, but that's another story.)

I came down stairs to find three silly kids playing in the old dryer.

Where's Emily?

There she is!

Oh, man, it's dark in here!

That's much better!

Willy's turn!

They had a blast going in and out for a long time!!  (Someone should brush the hair on these children!  Where are their parents?  Oh, wait.  That's me...)

But, that's not the end of the story.  To be continued tomorrow...

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's For Dinner? Cheese Tortellini with Alfredo and Peas

I have still have not gotten back on track with Meatless Mondays but I was able to incorporate a meatless meal into the week so I am very happy about that!

Shawn was in the BWCA Thursday through Sunday last week so Heidi and I were on our own.  I find it hard to prepare meals for just the two of us so I picked up a few things that I know are her favorites.

One of her favorites is Cheese Tortellini with Alfredo sauce.

I purchased the packaged Cheese Tortellini from the grocery store, the stuff in the refrigerated section, not the freezer.  I also used packaged Alfredo sauce.  It is such a simple meal and I know she will eat it.

I prepared the tortellini according the the package, then tossed with the sauce.  I removed Heidi's serving from the pan and then added some frozen peas and give it a stir.  Within a few minutes the peas were warmed through and dinner was on the table in about 15 minutes.


No pictures this time. Sorry!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fourth Of July Weekend Day 3

For our final day of this beautiful three day weekend we headed to Cabela's in Rogers.  If you have never been to Cabela's go there soon.  And plan to be there for awhile.  It's like Ikea for outdoors people!  In addition a sales floor that has just about anything you want for the outdoors they also have a restaurant and games to play.

Shawn and Ryan wanted to go pick up some last minute items for their BWCA trip so Heidi and I tagged along.

If taxidermy makes you squeamish I suggest you stop reading here as there are about to be a lot of photos coming up. (Terri, this means you!)

When you walk into the store there is a huge, two story, 360 display of animals.  It is amazing!

Heidi loves polar bears and was in heaven being this close to the real thing.  She did touch a polar bears paw through glass once but that's another story for another day.

In a room off to the side is an African display.  I was surprised this didn't upset Heidi. 

Couldn't you just give this guy a big hug?

How real does this look?!

And this one would have come home with us but we didn't have room in the van.

When we have a cabin of our own I will get Heidi one of these.

When Heidi and her cousin, Hunter, were three we took them to Macy's for the Christmas display.  Then we went to the Christmas department to look around.  The kids found foot rests like this, but they were reindeer and I think maybe a polar bear, and they rode them around the store for many, many minutes.  I took video, I should find that and post it on here...  It's really funny.

Anyway, back to our day at Cabelas. 

While Shawn and Ryan were shopping for things like light weight sleeping bags and water shoes, Heidi and I wandered around.

We checked out tents (we like the one with the living room!), we laid on cots (she liked them better than the ones at her school), we played a shooting game (but were so bad we had to have Shawn come over and help us finish), and we wandered over to the home furnishings department (and laid on all of the couches and plopped in all of the bean bag chairs).

Then Heidi and I went to the General Store and bought fudge. She wanted to sample all of it but I'm not that kind of mom. I only let her have two samples. I bought the snickers bar and she bought the milk chocolate. It was very, very good but we could only eat a few bites at a time. I think Heidi liked the little knife they put in the box better than the fudge!

We finally found the guys, which was an adventure in itself involving Heidi directing us around the store while talking to her dad on the cell phone, and headed out.
Our last outing of the weekend was a trip to see Justin and Dawn's new place.  It's big and right on a park.  They had spent the entire weekend painting, cleaning, and getting ready for carpet to come in.  I am so excited for them.  I really think they can be happy in this house.  Dawn does such a good job making a place feel like a home, I am sure they will be settled in no time. 
We had fun picturing where the furniture will go and looking in all empty rooms.  But then it was time for them to go back to work so we headed home to end our weekend with some dinner and a nice relaxing evening.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 4th Weekend - Day 2 - Evening Adventure With Fireworks!

Since we are normally camping and entertaining ourselves with fireworks secured from an undisclosed location that may or may not be out of state and not in the cities for 4th of July I was not sure where to go see fireworks.

Here is what I did know:
1. Brooklyn Center didn't light their fireworks for some unknown reason the weekend before and we were all disappointed.
2.  I have been to the Taste Of Minnesota before and I cannot stand the crowd, the prices, or sitting on strangers laps in the capital lawn to see the fireworks.
3.  I have been to the Minneapolis Fireworks that are shot off Nicollet Island and that involves way to much walking, to many people, and no pre-show entertainment (save for the people watching!).

Since Google rarely does me wrong, I consulted it for fireworks options and found a list of displays in the metro area.  Most were really far, in the ghetto (and I am not one for using that term loosely!), or part of my list above.

What did catch my attention was the carnival and fireworks in Richfield.  Richfield is the BC of the South so I pretty much knew what to expect. 

We gathered up Kristen and Taylor and headed out to Richfield around 7 pm.

There was a lot of walking and the heat was stifling but we managed to find a spectacular viewing space.  Kristen and Taylor offered to stay with the blankets and people watch while we checked out the carnival.

I could not believe how many people were at this carnival!  It was very difficult to walk through the crowds and at the end of the night they ran out of soda, all you could get was bottled water.

But none of that stopped Heidi from hitting up a few rides.  We waited in line for this ride for over 20 minutes.  Just as Heidi was about to get on a lady appears out of no where and shoves her daughter to the front of the line.  Here's how it went down:

Me: Hey, the line starts back there.

Lady: What?!  No.

Me: Well, we have been waiting here for over 20 minutes and I don't think it's fair for you to let your child cut in line like that.

Lady: She's not my kid, you have to talk to her mom about that.  (I should mention she was texting the entire time I was confronting her).

Lady: Hey, did you hear what she said?  She said you have to take her back to the end of the line.

Second Lady (Mom): I aint trying to listen to her, she don't run this place.

Me: Maybe not but you are being rude.

Eventually they drifted away and didn't end up cutting in front of us.  Sorry lady, I have had enough of people like you (I worked at Kmart for two years!!) and you are not going to cut in front of my daughter!!

Heidi just kills me when she is on rides by herself.  She knows we are watching and I am trying to take pictures so she either deadpans boredom or makes insane faces.  Like this picture.  She appears to hate this ride but in reality she was having a total blast.

We were very proud of her for going in this one.  It's a kind of maze with a ball pit, rope ladder, those heavy bags you zig zag through, and ends with a slide.  They didn't really limit how many kids could go in at one time so it was packed with sugar uped, sleep deprived, overheating children. 

In an amazing move, Heidi got assertive and sort of shoved a boy who kept shoving into her.  See, she is learning from me!

The final ride of the evening was the carousal, Heidi's all time favorite.  She made a beeline for the Elephant and was so happy to be on it I actually got some smiling pictures out of her.  This carousal was a riot!  The man running the ride had to sit in the middle by the gears.  When he was ready to start the ride he grabbed one of the poles and gave it a kind of running start (like what you do when your manual shift car will not start so you get your friends to push it until you can pop the clutch and then everyone quickly jumps in to the car and you try not to turn it off until you are sure you are in a place where you will stay for a long time).

We were at the carnival for 90 minutes but only had time for 4 rides because the lines were insane and more people were cutting in line.  Some of the line cutting was due to confusion on where the line ended.  The family would be standing there for a few minutes trying to figure it out and eventually they just blended in.

The other line cutters were blatant and just trying to get on as many rides as possible before the show started.  Or they were just rude.

We ended up with two tickets left and no more time so I gave them to a lady standing in line to purchase tickets.  She was so grateful and actually said thank you.  I was floored and didn't really know how to respond so I just said "Sure, enjoy!" and kind of sprinted away.

One our way back to the blanket a man offered us his left over tickets.  We said thanks but no thanks and he went on to explain why they ran out of time.  He had been standing in line with his daughters for about 30 minutes and they were finally the next people on the ride.  When all of a sudden the carny shut down the ride for "cleaning" with a line as far as you can see.  The funny part is this carnival had cleaned or painted anything since prior to 1998 until tonight.  This poor guy had bad timing.

When we arrived back at the blankets I rewarded Kristen and Taylor with a bottle of cold water for keeping the blankets safe.  They had a lot of stories from their evening of people watching but my favorite was the girl with the tutu.

The highlight of the evening was the fireworks, of course!  They were amazing.  I have to give credit to the city of Richfield for a spectacular display.  It was plenty long, kept moving, and the finally was so full of light you almost needed sunglasses (or maybe that was just me, I am a baby about the sun...).

I was using the Fireworks setting on my point and shoot camera and I got these sweet, psychedelic photos to show for it. 

I am pretty sure the girls had a good time as well.  I got them to both look AND smile so that says something!

And since no holiday is complete without a goof ball picture, this is Heidi in her earmuffs.  Best random thing Shawn has ever brought home!!  She was able to enjoy the fireworks without burying her head in my shirt and covering her ears. 

We didn't get home until after 11:30 and I was sick of being hot but overall we had a great time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth Of July Weekend Day 2

Day two of our in town 4th of July weekend brought us to a horse show at the State Fair grounds. 

Our friend Ashley grew up in a horse family. While she went away to college and now works for a major corporation here in the cities, her family is still in the horse showing business up in Wisconsin.

Her family was in town for this show so we decided to check it out.

I have been to the fair grounds a few times when the fair is not going on and I am always amazed at how different it looks without 5 million people crowding the streets.

Every year we visit the animal barns and I have never noticed this statue before.  Either it's blocked by a cheese curd stand or I am just so excited to pet a cow that I over look it. 

I think it's just beautiful with the little girl and her horse all carved out of wood.  I want a miniature in my bedroom.

We arrived just in time to see a boy Ashley had coached in the past win his class.  Chris tells us prior to the boy getting dressed for the show he was wielding a light saber and running around like a typical ten year old. 

Heidi likes horses and was enjoying her visit to the show.  Then she asked Shawn when the racing would start.  We took her to Canterbury a last summer and I guess she thought that's where we were going this time.  A huge ice cream cone fixed the misunderstanding and she enjoyed the rest of the show.

I have never been to a horse show before and was glad to have Chris sitting with me to explain what was going on.  First they ride the horses around the ring.  Then they stop and are read a lengthily routine which they are expected to ride out for the judges.  Chris explained they are given the routine prior to the show and have an opportunity to walk it through.  That's good because the routine is about 90 seconds long with a lot of different things going on.

We had no idea if Ashley's girl did well or not until the judges told us the outcome.  This is a sport you really have to understand or it all looks the same. So I picked my favorites the same way I bet on the races, Shirt color!

After the show we went to the stables to meet Ashley's family and the star of the show, Eddie.  I love a horse with a persons name, it's even better since we have an Eddie too, but he's a cat.  I am going to pretend no one told me it really is Edward after Twilight.

Heidi was just beside herself petting his head.  We are going to try to arrainge a ride for her when we go to Wisconsin for Chris and Ashley's wedding later this summer. 

The next stall over we met these guys.  Bond is on the right and Gabby is on the left, they are Ashley's Parent's boxers.  Heidi may have loved them more than Eddie but don't tell Ashley that!

The poor babies had been cooped up for most of the week.  They get to come to the show but they have to stay in the stable when everyone is working or sleeping.  While we waited for Ashley to finish up we took the dogs for a walk around the grounds.

An afternoon of horses, good friends, and dogs.  What more could this family as for?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth Of July Weekend Day 1

We spend most 4th of July weekends camping but this year we found ourselves in the cities.  I wanted to take the Walking Tour at the Mill City Museum but when I called for reservations they explained why most 5 year-olds do not enjoy this tour.  I agreed with the man and we decided to make other plans.

Since we will be out of town when Heidi's school goes to the Sculpture Garden later in the month I thought we should check it out so she is able to complete her project when she returns to school.

It turned out to be much hotter out than I expected. Well, I guess it was the 90% humidity that was more than I expected. But we were able to enjoy ourselves and found a few ways to cool down.

We were looking for a nice, cheap, cultural activity to enjoy for the afternoon. We did not know Target was going to be there with a ton of free activities so that was an added bonus!

We were pleasantly surprised to find the Walker was open to the public free of charge, there was a craft center for the kids, a wheel for the kids to spin for prizes (Heidi won a magnet, button, and a pencil), and a bluegrass band.

Shawn and I had never been to the sculpture garden before. A few weeks ago I read about a massive outdoor yoga class being held on the lawn. Now that I have been to the garden I am sorely disappointed I missed that experience. I am dying to take an outdoor yoga class and I think that would have been amazing!

I absolutely adore Heidi's school. I recommend Bernie's Montessori School to anyone looking for childcare in the downtown Minneapolis area. If we could keep Heidi there any longer we would but she has to start her new school in Kindergarten, it's their rule.

Judy, the director, uses all of the downtown resources to her and the children’s benefit. They take the best field trips and learn so much more than I would expect every day (such as, Heidi can tell you the difference between a butterfly and a moth.)

Judy, through these field trips, has introduced our family to some museums and ideas we would have never considered. I find it interesting that when we travel I take a lot of time to find museums, zoos, other local attractions yet I don't do that here in Minneapolis. Do you know how much culture we have here? I sure am having a lot of fun discovering it with my family.

I should mention, it's Heidi's idea to pose by all of these statues.  She had a fantastic time checking out all of the sculptures that were in the shade and cool to lean against.  I like this one a lot.  It is called Reclining Mother and Child, one of Heidi and my favorite past times.

While hanging out on the cool granite of the Reclining Mother and Child sculpture Heidi noticed this girl caring her cat. I tried to take the picture without the girl’s mother noticing so it is horrible but I giggle every time I see it. She eventually put the cat down, who was on a leash, and he looked like a fatter version of our Pete. We all had a good laugh thinking about having Pete at the Sculpture Garden.

This was the last of the large, cool sculptures in the shade. And just about the end of Heidi smiles until we entered a building over an hour later.

Who the heck knew this thing is a giant sprinkler?! And it's not called the cherry on the spoon, it's called the Spoonbridge Cherry. I know when it was on the news a few months ago, while being refurbished, they called it the cherry on the spoon. But these are the same people who don't know Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park are two different cities so I guess I should not try to learn new things from them.

Anyway, the Spoonbridge Cherry was shockingly huge. We were absolutely amazed at how much bigger this thing is in person and now I get all the hype.

This would be our Christmas card if we weren't looking so hot and sweaty!

We spent some time walking around the pond getting sprayed with cool water as the wind blew.  It was a great way to cool down.

I thought it would be a good idea for Heidi to practice her swimming in the pond so I tossed her in.

HA!  Just kidding!

We saw this wedding party getting their pictures taken.  I felt so bad for the guys in their tuxes.  They all looked like they were melting.

As we walked through the garden the wind picked up a bit and we heard these amazing wind chimes. 

This sculpture is called X With Columns and that was exactly what it is. People were climbing all over it. I wonder if that's what the sculptor had in mind when he created it.

I really liked this one.  It reminded me of a tornado.

I think we might have seen about half of the garden when Heidi started to melt so we headed towards the Walker for air conditioning.

On the way we found the Bluegrass Band so we stopped to listen for awhile. They were really fantastic! We enjoyed a few original songs on the lawn and Heidi found a spot in the shade.

There were so many people out enjoying the day. I smiled at knowing no matter the kind of music, if there is a concert someone is taking their shirt off.

I wish we had caught the name of the group. I would really like their CD.

Our next stop was the Walker where it was downright cold. I didn't take any pictures because I don't think its okay to take pictures of an art museum. We wondered around for about 30 minutes. We probably saw about 30% of the exhibits but that's okay since I know we will be back.

Then, before it was time to head back to the car, we stopped at the craft station.  The project was to build your favorite Minneapolis or St. Paul attraction or landmark.  Heidi picked the North Mississippi Regional Park Pool.

Now I know she is ready for her sculpture assignment at school.