Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Recap

We just had the laziest, quietest, most bumming around weekend ever...and it was absolutely wonderful! I usually get stir crazy and antsy, but I tried my best to embrace the relaxation. The weather - chilly and rainy and gross for most of the weekend - certainly helped.

Friday was the only nice day of the weekend - and man, was it nice!! I came home to Jeromy doing yard work (hooray, awesome hubby!!). Linnea and I helped out - I scooped poop (95-pound chocolate lab + LOOOOONG winter = LOTS of poop), and Linnea "did gardening" - wore her gardening gloves and picked up sticks and put them in a bucket. That was Jeromy's idea. I love that he thought of a great, kid-appropriate way to get her involved. Sure, she didn't last super long, but it's a start. Anytime we can involve her in chores and make it at least a little fun is a huge win in my book.

Happy little helper...


Super Helper!!

Coming to get mama!!

After dinner, and bedtime for Linnea, Jeromy and I crashed in true Friday fashion.

Saturday was a slow and lazy start - snuggles and a little TV and stories to start the morning. Much to Luther's pleasure, Jeromy invited him up on the bed (not typical). He loved it, and even put up with some stories and snuggles from Linnea.

This makes my heart happy...

After that, we had lots of playtime and some breakfast. Mid-morning we ventured out to a park and a quick geocache find. It was admittedly chilly, so we didn't last too long. We made a quick stop to Target for some basics, and then had lunch at Subway. We headed home in time for naps - all three of us! We had a little more outside time and yard work Saturday afternoon, but it was getting cold fast! Again...dinner...bedtime...crash (do we sound pathetic yet?).

Sunday morning, Linnea slept later than she has been sleeping - until almost 7:30, which was really nice. We decided to play hooky from church (which always makes me feel bad). But it was nice to be able to have another relaxing day to recover from our busy week previous. We headed out to Home Depot and Menards to look at their options for window coverings. We haven't replaced any of the window coverings in the 7 years that we've lived in our house...and they needed replacement when we moved in. It is time. We found what we liked, but they didn't have the right size and color combination. Boo. Hopefully we'll bite the bullet soon and get them replaced!

We came home for lunch and nap time. Linnea crashed hard, but woke up early. That wasn't too surprising, since she slept so late in the morning. I took advantage of a rainy afternoon, and suggested we watched Frozen. Linnea is not super snuggly anymore - unless she's tired OR watching a movie. I soaked up lots of snuggles while we watched Frozen.

Movie and snuggles!

Oh! One HUGE detail I forgot to mention! As we were getting dressed for the day, I causally asked Linnea if she wanted to wear "big girl underpants." She wanted to, so we went with it. And she stayed dry. ALL morning. We put a pull-up on her when we ran errands...but sure enough, when we got home she was dry! I told her if she woke up from her nap dry, I'd give her three jellybeans. I was really skeptical. But she woke up dry! So we put her back in underpants, and she was dry the rest of the afternoon! She had one accident at dinner, but that was it ALL day!! Woo hoo! We are on a good trend!

So yeah, that's it. Lots of snuggles...lots of inside playtime and relaxing... not a lot of going out anywhere. But it was great...just what we needed I think.

I hope you all had great weekends too!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five on Friday

TGIF!! Can I get an amen?! I'm super excited that it's Friday. It's been a long week, and the Carlsons are in need of some rest and relaxation.

Here's what's on my mind this week...

I wasn't aware of this previously, but this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Many of the blogs I follow have been hosting guest posters to share their journeys with infertility. Reading these stories has been touching, humbling, eye-opening, and heart breaking.

I haven't been through any infertility issues personally, but I have walked with many friends who have. Some stories have ended happily with successful pregnancies and births. Some have ended equally as happily with adoption. Some are still being written.

I hope to be the best support and advocate I can be for everyone who is going through this painful journey.

I have confirmed for myself this week that I legitimately have emetophobia - irrational fear or anxiety of or pertaining to vomiting. I have half joked, half been serious about it for a while...but now I'm sure. All winter I have had huge amounts of anxiety when anyone I knew got the stomach flu, convinced that I was going to get it. After finding out that my mom had the stomach flu right after we spent the afternoon there for Easter, I was up all night, worried that I was going to get sick, or Jeromy or Linnea was going to get sick. Linnea didn't sleep well that night - she was having bad dreams. That just made it worse because every time she cried I was convinced she was getting sick.

Rationally, I know that throwing up is not going to kill you. Sure, having the stomach flu is unpleasant, but it comes and goes, and it's okay. But emotionally, I'm just that 9-year-old laying awake in the middle of the night with my blanket wrapping around my head to cover my ears so that it dampens the sound of my sister throwing up after chemo.

This is really random, but I've been thinking about it a lot this week.

My hubby has been a total rockstar this week. He had a big product launch, and has been working extra long hours. On Tuesday he worked his normal day, and then started again at 6:00 PM, and didn't get home until 3:30 AM!! He continued the rest of the week with his regular shifts, without hardly complaining! I can't say that I would have been the same way. I'm so proud of him, and all of the hard work he's done in his (not so new anymore) job.

May is next week. WHAT?! I came to this realization earlier this week, and I couldn't believe it! I'm alarmed, but also excited. I love May - warmer weather, my birthday, Summer on its way! Bring it on, May!

I usually have more to say. But this week I do not. So I will leave you with a picture. I love my little bookworm. She seriously LOVES to read...and it warms my heart.
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend Recap

I have a love/hate relationship with Sunday nights. They are peaceful, and happy...after a nice weekend with family and friends. But they are also the start of another busy week. It was a wonderful weekend...especially today, for our Easter celebration. I hope everyone else had great weekends as well!

On Friday, we decided to have a family dinner date. So right after I got home, we headed out to Big Bowl for of our favorites. It was really nice to be able to slow down a bit and enjoy a nice and (mostly) quiet dinner together. When we headed home it was time for Linnea to go to bed, and then per usual Jeromy and I both crashed. I think we were all in bed before 9:30. Wooooo... :-)

Saturday was pretty low key. I took our neighbors to the airport right away in the morning, and then we slowly got ready for the day. We are preparing to tackle a couple kitchen projects - redoing the countertop and back splash, and replacing the ancient dishwasher we have, as long as we're at it. So on Saturday we stopped at a few places to look at dishwashers. We saw a few good possibilities, though it was frustrating because apparently very few brands make bisque colored dishwashers, which is what we're looking for. There are some out there, but we'll be limited. I'll be honest. We didn't do much else on Saturday! Ha ha ha. It's good to have those lazy days sometimes.

On Saturday I made a crockpot meal (one of the 20 recipes for 14 in 2014). It was okay...but definitely not great. So we had a smallish dinner...bath and bed for Linnea. And then popcorn for second dinner. :-) We watched Tangled on the DVR, because Jeromy hadn't seen it. It's good, but it's no Frozen!

The highlight of the weekend was definitely Easter! Linnea woke up shortly after 6 to find that the Easter Bunny had visited! She was pretty excited, checking out the goods in her basket. 

Linnea's Easter basket...

I think she was most excited by the Frozen stickers/book...

New sunnies

Ready for church!

After checking out the basket, we got ready for church and headed out. Our church has an Easter breakfast, so we got to have breakfast at church before the service. It was tasty - eggs, sausage, cinnamon rolls, and fruit. Yum!

After breakfast, we headed into to the service. It was great. The music was fantastic! I love the brass and drums!! It was a nice treat to have our friends Kirstyn and Dave with us at church. They are PTs, and work non-traditional schedules (and also live across town), so we don't get to see them as regularly as we'd like. 

Photo courtesy of our friend Deb - Linnea, me, Jeromy, and my Dad at church 

Church went pretty well - Linnea sat quietly for most of the service until the end, when she tried to go up front! We headed home after church for lunch and naps for all of us! I napped on the couch, basking in the sun. PERFECTION! 

Once we got up, we headed over to my parents' house. In addition to my parents, my aunt, uncle, and cousin were there, as well as my grandma, and Kirstyn and Dave. A great group! The weather was GLORIOUS, so we had a great time relaxing outside and enjoying each other's company.

My mom (currently a pastor, but always part teacher/educator at heart) made a really cute egg hunt for Linnea. She hid plastic eggs with little treats, candy, etc. around the main floor of their house, with clues leading to the next one. Linnea was a little confused by it at first, but then had a really good time finding the eggs. At the end was a big present...a big box of sidewalk chalk!! That will be lots of fun this Spring/Summer!

My Dad worked his typical magic with an amazing meal. His famous smoked ham - seriously it's like meat candy it's so good! Cheesy potatoes, salad, rolls, veggies...YUM! And of course, pie for dessert!

Reading with Kirstyn...

...and Great Grandma...

Four generations!

It was a great way to end a nice weekend. Here's hoping this weather will stick around! It is wonderful!! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Friday

I (along with the rest of the world) am (not so) patiently waiting for Spring to actually come, and come to stay. While it's definitely been nice to have less snow, warmer temperatures, and sunnier days overall, Mother Nature has not been consistent. It may say April on the calendar, but I still need a bit more convincing. :-)

Here are the random thoughts and things in my heart and head this week...

It's Easter on Sunday, and I'm super excited! As I get older, I enjoy Easter more and more. When I was a kid, I was all about Christmas (and still am), but Easter is definitely climbing the ranks of my most favorite holidays.

I love that Easter is in Spring (at least according to the calendar) - the season of new life and new beginnings. And that's what Easter's all about too! I love the brass and drums at church. I love proclaiming "Christ is Risen!!" and realizing fully what that phrase means.

When Linnea started talking excitedly about the Easter Bunny this week, I realized I haven't done a great job preparing Linnea for the true reason for THIS season. For Christmas, I think we did a good job. For every mention of Santa, there was at least one conversation about Jesus. And I think she really got it. She knew it was Jesus' birthday. Of course, she knew that Santa was a part of it all too, but she knew he wasn't the biggest part (at least I hope she did).

Explaining that it was "Baby Jesus' Happy Birthday" was pretty easy. Linnea understands birthdays. We get a year older. We celebrate. It's a special day for that person. But Easter is harder. How do you make crucifixion and resurrection understandable for a 2-year-old? So as the week has progressed, I've talked about why we celebrate Easter. I've also taught her, "Christ is Risen!" I hope these little steps help her remember the importance of Easter. And of course, the Easter Bunny will be visiting too...

Some of my best moments this week were in the dark and quiet as I was putting Linnea to bed. Our days are sometimes crazier than I'd like. A lot of rush, rush, less play time and fun than I would like, and some crabbiness on both of our parts thrown in. But in those moments as we snuggle, read, and sing together before bedtime, all of that goes away. Linnea has become SO expressive. I used to sing the songs to her, but now she usually sings with me. I die a little each time she moves her hands and arms to the music or wiggles her little head or puts her lips just so to say the words. Ahhhh. Love her. She helps me slow down and savor those moments. Side note: One song that's regularly requested is "Jesus Loves Me." Lately she's wanted to add everything in sight to the song. It got to "Jesus Loves Linnea, Mama, Daddy, Luther, teddy, Murphy (her stuffed dog), blankies, Frozen, special book (her photo book she likes), bed, signs, lotion, soap, and light" before I enforced the rule that we just keep it to four. So now it's usually "Linnea, Mama, Daddy, and Luther," although earlier in the week "Elsa and Anna" got their chance too.

Have you seen this? I saw it (and then posted it) on Facebook this week, and it's sticking with me.

I love to think about what the world would be like if we could all look at things through these eyes.

I've realized I'm a bit sappy and deep in the post... so just to mix things up, I'll share that Linnea sneezed a huge, messy sneeze yesterday and immediately wiped it away with her arm, getting snot EVERYWHERE before I could even do a darn thing about it. Afterwards, she had this shocked and surprised look on her face like, "what have I done?" All either one of us could do was laugh about it. Ahhh...the glamorous life. :-)

While we're on bodily functions, Linnea started going on the potty at daycare this week!! This has been a VERY long time coming, which is crazy considering she's been going on the potty (although not potty trained) for pretty close to a year! I don't know quite what the block was for her - too busy, nervous? I have no idea, but I was honestly starting to get concerned. I was planning on connecting with our daycare provider to see what we might do to move forward, when I got the e-mail at work from her, saying Linnea went! That was Wednesday, and she did it again Thursday! Hooray! Hopefully this is the start of a good trend!

Happy Friday, friends!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Recap

Is it seriously mid-April already? Good grief! I better get going on my 14 in 2014 list...I've been slacking. But with all good things...all good things. Here's how my weekend went...

On Friday, we met up with our friends Josh and Katy, and their daughters Myah and Ani at one of our favorite local eateries... the 5-8 Club! It's always a little crazy to have a relaxing dinner and conversation with three little kiddos in the mix, but we did pretty well. It was really nice to catch up - they are friends from church, but when they recently moved to Eagan, the commute to Eden Prairie for church didn't work for them. So it's been a bit since we've hung out. It's fun to watch the girls interact - they are very sweet with each other, and you can tell they are fond of one another. We're trying to be intentional about hanging out with them more often - especially when we won't see them at church anymore!

After we came home from dinner, it was time for a quick bath for Linnea and then off to bed. Both Jeromy and I crashed, after a long week of work. I enjoyed catching up on some Ellen from the week.

On Saturday, we enjoyed a slow, lazy morning. Snuggles in bed, a yummy breakfast, and a little bit of playtime. Mid morning, we headed to Menards to take a look at some storage bins. Living in South Minneapolis, we are "blessed" with a one car garage. And with two cars, a lawnmower, a snowblower, a tiller, and approximately 74 large outside toys for Linnea, it's not cutting it anymore. The plan is to get a larger storage bin to go outside of the garage. Our hope is that it'll be big enough to hold a couple of the larger items, and free up some space in the garage.

After Menards, we dropped Linnea off at my parents' house, and headed over to Feed My Starving Children. As I said in my last post, FMSC is one of my favorite charities! I always LOVE volunteering there. It was especially fun, because we were there with our faith group from church. Our faith group is a small group of 4 other couples about our age from our church. Most of the group has been together for almost 7 years! We've been through a lot together, and they are some of our dearest friends now. (Josh and Katy, referenced earlier, were a part of our's hard to not have them be a part of it anymore!). I was happy because our friends, Nicole and Scott have decided to join our group. I met Nicole through my New Mamas class, even though we had both been members at Immanuel for several years before that! Nicole and Scott fit right in, and I'm so happy to add them to the mix. We had a great time conversing and packing meals. FMSC has a new facility since the last time we've been there, and it. is. AWESOME. The whole group was able to pack almost 100 boxes of meals. The food we made is enough to feed 58 kids for an entire year. Isn't that amazing??! I LOVE FMSC!!

Me, Jackie, and Alisson, looking very fetching in our hairnets...

After FMSC, Jeromy and I enjoyed the freedom to run some errands just the two of us (file this under "signs you know you are old, boring parents who don't get out much") :-) Since Linnea was still napping at my parents', we figured we'd take advantage of the time. We had a quick lunch at Which Which (have you eaten there? Yum!), and then stopped at Walmart (which I HATE, but that's beside the point), and Costco. I'm excited, because for the first time, we got Linnea an Easter basket. It was REALLY fun picking out little toys for her, and I can't WAIT to see how excited she is next week to learn that the Easter Bunny stopped by.

After that, we picked Linnea up and headed home. Linnea practically begged to walk to the park, and I really can't turn that down, so the two of us headed over to one of our local parks (me on foot, her on her tricycle). She enjoyed climbing around and going down the slides for a bit, before heading home for dinner. I love how much this girl loves to play!

After dinner, bedtime for Linnea, and a nice hot bath for mama, Jeromy and I settled in for a movie and popcorn date - The Avengers, which he's seen before, but I had not. Even though I don't generally like movies that have any sort of violence, suspense, etc., I do enjoy me a good super hero flick. It was pretty good.

Sunday morning we headed over to Somerset, WI to spend the day with Jeromy's family. It's so nice to have them close, since they lived in IA before they moved here. Since we spend Easter with my family, we decided to go over there to have an early Easter celebration of sorts. Per usual, it was very casual. On my list of "must do's" this year was to dye Easter eggs - we haven't done it yet with Linnea. My mother-in-law went a little nutzo and hardboiled 60 eggs for us to dye!! Linnea lasted about 5 minutes, but we all had fun. :-)

Linnea and my brother-in-law C.J, ready to dye eggs!

Checking out the eggs...

Eggs in the dye bath

Happy to be dying eggs

Finished products...pretty!

We had lunch, and then Linnea and I both took naps. :-) Yay, lazy Sundays! After nap, and a snack for Linnea, we headed back home for dinner. I took a bath, and watched Long Island Medium (anyone else LOVE that show?!).

Ready to face another week! I hope you all had a great weekend as well!

Friday, April 11, 2014

14 in 2014 - #3 Complete!

#3 Finish - and order - Linnea's 1st year photo book

This one has been a LONG time coming. If I remember correctly, I started this book when I was in the midst of my 30 Before 30 Project (or shortly there after). It very quickly became bigger (and more expensive!) than I ever intended or imagined.

I set out to create a photo book/journal/scrapbook of Linnea's first year. So much happened - so many milestones, so many memories, and of course so many pictures! I wanted a place to put it all that could be a keepsake for us - and for Linnea too.

So I got to work on Shutterfly. And when I say work I mean hours upon hours upon hours. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist...especially with things like this.  I formatted and re-formatted pages. Loaded more and more pictures. Read blog entries to get my journaling just right. The pages started to add up, and by the time I was done I had almost 100 pages! Holy crap!

In case you were wondering, a nearly 100-page 12 x 12" book through Shutterfly costs about $200 retail. Also in case you were wondering, I was not about to pay that.

But as Shutterfly often does, they ran a great deal where I could get 50% off. After some encouragement from Jeromy (who is good at talking me down from the "I can spend that much" ledge), I submitted the order.

And just a few days later, the book came! Take a look at a few of my favorite spreads...

I am overall SO happy with how it turned out. It was worth all the time, and even worth the money (which is saying a lot). I was an editor in my "past life," and as my colleagues always said "once an editor, always an editor" - which means I've already found a few typos/errors. But I'm trying to focus on the end product as a whole.

One frustrating I was looking at the book I found that one of the pages had a smudge on the text. I didn't think much about it, but when a co-worker friend was looking at it she brought it up and said I should bring it to their attention. I think she was right - if I'm paying that much, I want a book that doesn't have any errors (or at least not any of their errors). I contacted Customer Service, and they immediately offered to send a replacement book at no cost. Although I didn't really feel like I needed a new book, I really appreciated it. I figured we could put one away for Linnea, or have a back up in case something should happen to one.

But then the replacement book came. Immediately I noticed that the quality wasn't quite as good. The colors weren't as vibrant. And while there was no longer a smudge, at least a 1/4 of the pages were cut poorly, leaving 1/4" or so of white space on top, and cutting off the bottom (which in some instances cut off pictures). This was worst than the first! I try not to be too picky, but again...I spent a lot of money, and I want it done correctly. So I contacted Customer Service again, and after a few back and forths, we settled on what I think is a fair offer. I kept both books, and got a 50% credit for the cost of the original book. I'll take it!

I will not do a book of this caliber for years beyond one for Linnea, but I will do something comparable for any children after Linnea. It was a lot of work, but in the end it was fun and absolutely worth it!

Next up is to make a book of our Puerto Rico trip - and cash in on some of that credit!

Five on Friday

This has been the LONGEST. WEEK. EVER! Not really...but a couple of factors, including working my late shift on Wednesday instead of Thursday have made this week seem to go at the pace of a snail...who's really old...crawling through really hot, oppressive weather... well, you get the idea!
Here are five things on my brain this week...

One thing I haven't mentioned on here before is my deep love of Ellen DeGeneres. Seriously. She's my favorite ever. I think she's such an awesome person (or at least seems like it) - so generous and genuine, funny, and positive. She's a role model in my life, and her talk show is one of my very favorite shows. (Meeting her, and going to a taping of her show is a bucket list item of mine, so if anyone has some connections, hook a sister up, mmmmkay?!)

Anyways, I love love love this video from this week. Warning: I learned the hard way that if you watch this, you will cry from happiness. So don't watch it at work. Unless you want to cry at work. (I used to make fun of my mom for being such a sap and crying when she was happy. Now I do it all. the. time. I am old. Or emotional. Or both.)

Jeromy and I are volunteering at Feed My Starving Children this weekend, and I'm really excited! It's one of my favorite charity organizations, and I love volunteering for them. For those of you who aren't familiar, FMSC is local Christian organization that packs and ships meals to starving kids across the globe. They have worked with food scientists to come up with super nutritious, safe foods for starving kids to eat, to help get them healthy.

So when you go to volunteer, you spend a couple hours scooping dry ingredients into plastic bags, sealing and packaging them, to get them ready to be sent out. It's enjoyable work, because you get to chat because it doesn't take a ton of concentration, and the time goes really fast! I also love that it's easy enough that kids can do it - and often do! It's so important for kiddos to be able to learn the importance of giving back at an early age, and I love that FMSC helps to do that! Unfortunately, Linnea is still too young to help, but she'll have a good time with Grandma and Grandpa.

I came across this quote today: It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. - E.E. Cummings

I really like it. I've struggled a lot previously (and sometimes still do) with the comparison game... "So and so is my age, and does this and that" or "Maybe I should be doing XYZ like that person." Things like that. As I've gotten older, and a bit more settled into my life, I've started to gain the confidence to become and embrace who I really am...trying not to worry about what I could, should, would do. But just be Becky...and continue to strive to figure out what that means.

I have had a couple encounters with super crabby people this week, and it just makes me sad. Now I certainly have my crabby moments, but I work really hard at not acting on it. Admittedly, my family and friends see my crabby sometimes...I think that's natural. To me, it's a whole other thing when you are crabby, rude, or just plain mean to strangers. I was driving to work on Wednesday. I had been driving in the right lane, but then switched over to the left lane to let a truck merge in from the ramp. I was blocked in for a bit, unable to shift back to the right, but I kept at or a little above the speed limit. Out of nowhere a woman came tearing up behind me, flashed her brights (as I was trying to get back over), and then zoomed back me, flicking me off very angrily. Seriously? The world would be such a better place if we just cut each other a little slack, and tried to assume the best in people.

I also, for the first time in a while, got hung up on at work. It happens sometimes...just part of the job I guess. But it had been a very long time since it's happened. I won't go into details, but when I was calling to be friendly, and provide some help and insight, I got talked down to, and hung up on. How do we get off treating people like that? I will continue to strive not to.

I have the greatest friends ever. I'm still on a happy high after my WOWZA dinner last night. The WOWZAs are my very best friends - mostly girlfriends from college, but all awesome, wonderful, amazing women. We had a four hour dinner, that seriously flew by. We laughed until we cried. We cover the full spectrum of topics. I am so so so thankful for these beautiful women. It makes me smile to think of us as old ladies, still up to our goofy shenanigans. Because I'm CERTAIN that we will be. :-)

Jackie, Rach (visiting from Kentucky...hooray!!), and Sus

Sarah, Me, and Kirstyn (we were missing two...Bethany - overdue with her second baby and LeElla - who lives in Kentucky

Don't I have beautiful friends?! They are gorgeous - inside and out. I love you, ladies!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Recap

Whelp, another great weekend is in the books. And as always, it went by way too fast, and here I am back to reality. Weekends  - especially as the weather starts to get nicer - are my fuel! It's amazing how weekends can make a long work week previously - and a long work week ahead - a lot more manageable!

On Friday, we got to visit our friends' new baby - Sofia! Andrew and Janelle, Sofia's parents, are good friends of ours from Luther. Their oldest, Noelle, is just a few months younger than Linnea. It's is always a good time to spend time with these dear friends! We have a tradition (this is our third time now!) of having a pizza dinner after a baby arrives. One of our mutual favorite local pizza places, Parkway Pizza, is very close to Andrew and Janelle's. The non-new baby family picks up a couple pizzas and treats the new baby family to some of our favorite pizza. Throw in a couple adult beverages, lots of good conversation, and playtime for the girls, and it's a wonderful evening!! I didn't take any pictures - bummer! You'll just have to trust me that it was fun! :-)

Saturday morning, I was out the door bright and early for my Big Climb. As I referenced in my previous post, I did the stair climb with a few of my co-worker friends in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We met as a group up in our office (it was super convenient because it took place in Capella Tower, our office building) and got changed into our matching team shirts. Yup, we're hardcore! Then we headed down to the skyway level to get started.

The climb itself went really fast, which I was expecting from our training sessions. A little secret is that climbing 48 floors does not take as long as one would think! We were done in around 17 minutes - and that was with a couple water stops, and pausing to take a few photos!

We were a little giddy to get going!!
Photo: Here we go!!

Yeah, there was a lot of picture taking... time for a selfie!
Photo: Feelin' great!! (selfies are a must when you're stair climbing) #babygotbuns

Pausing to have some water with one of my honorees, my dear friend Rachel's mom
Photo: Water stop with your mom, @rachelhaboubi #babygotbuns #lls #bigclimbmpls

They posted pictures of people who were fighting, or have lost their fights to cancer. It was pretty powerful. I loved seeing my big sister during the climb...
Photo: I love you, Beth! #babygotbuns #lls #bigclimbmpls

All done and still smiling! (our team name was Baby Got Buns - see the shirts?)
Photo: #babygotbuns is finished! 48 floors at the Big Climb Minneapolis. Not bad for a Saturday morning

It was nice to start early, because then I was able to get home early - I was back by 9:30 or so. The weather was so nice (read: not snowy or frigid), so we decided to head to the zoo! In true 2-year-old fashion, Linnea was super excited to go (cheering, asking a bunch of times if we were there yet, etc.). Then we got to the zoo, and she was a total grump. She sat in her stroller kinda pouty, kinda dazed, and didn't show much interest in anything we were seeing. She acted a lot like a teenager! So after an hour or so of wandering the trails, and quite a few whines from Linnea about being hungry, we decided to go find some lunch. What happens when we walk out of the zoo to go get lunch? She throws a fit that she wants to see the animals. Oh boy.

This was about what Linnea looked like the whole time...

 When we asked Linnea what she wanted for lunch, she said a hot dog. This isn't a common response for her (it is almost always "pasta"). We asked her a couple more times, just to be sure. So we decided that Culver's sounded good - some place pretty close that we enjoyed too, that Linnea could get what she wanted. We pulled into the parking lot and Linnea declared that she wanted pasta. Luckily, I was able to convince her that grilled cheese and applesauce sounded good, and that's what she settled on getting there.

We had a great lunch - man, Culver's is good. (We forgot that, and then remember every time we eat there.) Linnea had a great time - and we were all able to enjoy some custard for dessert, thanks to a couple free coupons! Yum! Linnea literally licked her bowl clean.

We made it home for nap time, though it was a bit of a fight (more tantrums about wanting to go to the zoo and see the animals). She slept for a good bit, but then woke up cranky again. (This has unfortunately been kind of common - I think we might need to get some blackout shades so the sun doesn't wake her before she's ready.)

It took her a bit to calm down, then Jeromy started dinner, and Linnea and I walked to our little grocery store to get some spinach, which Jeromy needed for dinner. Have I mentioned I love our neighborhood??! Thanks to Jeromy, we then enjoyed a delicious pasta bake, then bath and bed for Linnea, and a bath for me afterwards!

Sunday morning we got up and headed to church. Linnea's usually pretty good about sitting through at least most of church, but she was in some sort of mood on Sunday, and she was done before we even sad down. So I went to church, and Jeromy and Linnea played in the gym. I have to work hard to not feel like the bad mama who can't make my kid sit nicely through church. 

After church we headed home for lunch. Linnea and I took another walk to the grocery store for a needed ingredient (sense a trend?). Linnea took a nice long nap (and I took a little snooze too). After naps, our great friends Jackie, Tom, and Gavin came over for play time and dinner. We had a great time! The weather was gorgeous, so we enjoyed a nice little walk/bike ride around the block.

How cute are these little biking cuties??

 We had a good time working on planning a joint family trip to our alma mater. We've got it booked for June! We can't wait!

After they left we had a little more play time, and then it was time for bed...and then back to the grind.

Thank goodness for wonderful weekends!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five on Friday

And just like that, it's Friday again! It's helpful to have these kinds of regular posts, to help keep me on track with my blogging (although admittedly I posted my "Weekend Recap" on Tuesday...). we go...


This weekend is my Big Climb. What is a Big Climb you ask? I'm glad you asked! The Big Climb is an event sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). It's a stair climb in which participants raise money for the society, and then climb either 48 or 96 floors of a downtown office building. I love supporting LLS, because it directly supports research for leukemia and lymphoma (which is what my sister had). This year, it just so happens that the event is being held in Capella Tower - my office building. Because it's in my building, it was advertised quite a bit. I had some co-workers who decided to form a team, so I figured it was a great opportunity to support an organization near and dear to my heart. I've done several events through Team In Training, which is also part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But TNT is quite a commitment - fundraising, training, and time-wise, so it's been hard to do much with TNT since Linnea's been in the picture (my last Team In Training event was May 2012, when Linnea was about 8 months old).

Last event with TNT...Green Bay Half Marathon

So yeah. Tomorrow bright and early myself and 5 co-worker friends will be climbing 48 floors (yeah, we went the easier route) in support of LLS. I am SO proud to have been able to raise $1,140 in memory of my dear sister. I will be thinking of her ever. single. step. 
Speaking of LLS and Team In Training, I am likely going to be starting to train with Moms in Training, a spin-off of Team In Training specifically for moms. It's a scaled down version - fewer training sessions, less fundraising, a shorter (optional even) event at the end. I've struggled a lot with the decision. When I've done Team In Training, I'm in 110%. I go to all of the trainings, I exceed my fundraising, I rock (or at least try to rock) the event.

I know that Moms In Training would be different. Even though there's only one practice per week (Saturday morning), I know I wouldn't go to all of the trainings, because Saturdays are just too precious for me to give up. They are the days we have for the three of us.

I know I could meet the fundraising goal, but I don't know that I would blow it out of the water.

So yeah. Still deciding for sure. I will need to make a decision in the next week or so. So stay tuned...
I think I have an unhealthy addiction to chocolate. I didn't really realize the extent to which I am addicted to chocolate until I ran out of chocolate this week. I had been surviving off some dark chocolate M&Ms in my desk at work, and some dark chocolate kisses that I got for Christmas. But then they were both gone. And I was sad.

I mean it's not like I gorge myself of chocolate, but I do enjoy a little piece of chocolate as a palate cleanser of sorts. I usually pack a Dove Promise or a kiss in my lunch box, and it's just perfect.

Now I am forced to dig through my pockets and wallet to find 25 cents to go to my supplier the convenience store to buy a little chocolate (the sell 2 pieces of bite size chocolates for a quarter) (which is exactly what I did today).

Please tell me I'm not the only one. It's getting a bit ridiculous. I think I need to go get some more Doves this weekend.

I've been thinking a lot about customer service lately. I sort of work in a customer service environment, and definitely have a better appreciation of customer service since starting my job. And am also much more critical of customer service as well.

I have had a couple experiences with Customer Service this week. The first experience was on Monday. We had unexpectedly met up with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend at Mall of America for dinner. We were a little late than desired to get there and get settled. We decided on Buffalo Wild Wings, even though I was a little nervous is would take too long.

So we put in our order and waited. And waited. And waited. For 40+ minutes we waited with no acknowledgement from the waiter. Nothing. I don't like to complain, or get people in trouble but we had a two-year-old who was fading fast, and were pretty hungry and impatient. So I asked to speak with a manager. While we waited for the manager, our food came. But it was cold. The manager came over and we explained what happened. She offered right away to get the food remade. We explained that we didn't have time to stay (by then it was past Linnea's bedtime, and we still needed to get to our car and get home). So sh offered to rush order our food, and box it up for take out...and invited us to take the cold food home too...AND she comped our entire bill. Wow. I was really impressed with the generous offer. She definitely made up for the experience...and then some!

The second experience has been with Shutterfly. It's a long story, that I actually will talk more about in another post, but I'm working with them in regards to mistakes in a photo book I recently ordered. So far, I'm less impressed with this experience. It's still in the works, so hopefully the experience will turn around.

It's a wonder what difference Customer Service makes - both for better or for worse!

What Customer Service experiences (good or bad) stick out for you? 

And of course, I have weather on my mind this week. Mother Nature teased us... giving us a taste of Spring early this week, only to dump 7" of snow on us yesterday into today. I'm beyond even being frustrated or crabby with it. I'm just ready for Spring. I forget what it's like to walk outside without a coat...or to go outside and be hot.

But now it's April, so the end has gotta be in sight, right? They're predicting 60s...maybe even 70s (???) next week!

I just got these shoes this week, and am very much looking forward to wearing them (sans snow!)

How are you faring this week?