Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Recap (and #2, #6, and #9 from the Summer Bucket List!)

We had a WONDERFUL weekend, and I hope you can say the same. It's hard to believe that August is just around the corner! Now granted, Fall is my favorite season, but I'm not ready to say goodbye to Summer just yet!

It was a full weekend of fun - and crossing lots of things off the Summer Bucket List (you know how I love crossing things off my lists!).

The weekend started with a nice Friday evening at home. Jeromy made an awesome dinner of grilled shrimp, and mashed potatoes. Yum. We decided to take a rather impromptu trip to Dairy Queen, to cash in Linnea's ticket. The weather was nice enough that we could bike - thus crossing off #6 on the list (this was actually our second bike to ice cream trip - I didn't recap the first time on the blog yet).

It's a pretty quick ride to DQ, which was nice because it was pretty humid.

We all enjoyed our ice cream...

After ice cream we headed home and put Linnea to bed. I made a quick trip to Mall of America after Linnea was in bed, and then crashed shortly after getting home.

Saturday morning we were up and att'em to cross another list off the list (#9) - blueberry picking! Sarah, my cousin's wife, recommended Blueberry Fields of Stillwater back when I was scoping out places to go. It's a small family run place...just the type of place we like best. I had been watching their website for the last few weeks to see about their availability (the days and hours they are open vary day to day based on the availability of ripe blueberries). So we headed out, and got to there around 8:30. There were several people already picking blueberries, but it was still so quiet and peaceful. We settled into our picking spot, and very quickly filled our buckets. Even though it was early, the sun was still hot on our backs, so we didn't last too long. We wanted it to be fun for Linnea so we took her cues, and left when she had had enough. We got quite a few blueberries, so if anyone has a good blueberry recipe, please post it!

When we were done picking blueberries it was still pretty early, so we decided to do some geocaching in a nearby park area. It was REALLY hot by then, and super, super buggy back in the trails, but we managed to find 5 caches pretty quickly, and had a nice walk. After a quick stop at the nearby playground, we left to find some lunch. (A funny parenting side story... sometimes you have to tell some little white lies. Linnea is, like most kids, immediately drawn to any playground. There was a playground by where we parked, and of course she a) saw it and b) desperately wanted to play on it. We knew that if we let her play first, she'd want to spend the whole time there. So we told her that the trail - which was clearly NOT the way - was the way to the playground. We taught her the phrase "scenic route," and it actually worked quite nicely. You do what you gotta do sometimes, right?!)

We had a very nice lunch at Ruby Tuesdays (salad bar, anyone?!), and headed home and had a napping house kind of afternoon. Linnea woke up happy, and we had a nice little snuggle fest before getting up for the rest of the afternoon.

We packed up a dinner, and went to Lake Harriet. Our friends Jackie, Tom, and Gavin invited us to go to the Art Car Parade (we found out after going that it was the 20th annual...who knew?). Basically, the parade (another one for #2 on the list, if anyone is keeping track) is a very casual parade of all sorts of crazy art cars - cars that people have transformed into works of art. There was a TON of variety - and all of it was interesting and fun! We sat by the lake and enjoyed our picnic, while checking out all the crazy cars. We all loved it! Here's a peek at a few of my favorites...

The inside of this was a pedal pub! Crazy!

Vike Bike!

It was a perfect night. The breeze off the lake kept us pretty cool, and we loved relaxing and checking out all the cars. Thanks, Tom and Jackie, for suggesting it! Same time next year?!

We headed home, and turned in for the night, quite tired after our busy day outside!

Today, Sunday, we needed a bit of a lazy morning. Linnea didn't get the memo and woke up at 6:00, so we bribed her with a bit of TV, and bought ourselves a bit more time in bed - all four of us (thank goodness we upgraded to a king earlier this year... I don't know if we'd have the space otherwise). 

Jeromy made blueberry pancakes with the blueberries we picked on Saturday, and then ran some quick errands while Linnea and I got ready. When he got home, we went over to Minnehaha Park for our neighbor Raia's 5th birthday party. The weather was really odd - chilly, and then rainy, and then sunny, and the cloudy. Despite the weather, we had a great time. We're so thankful for our awesome neighbors, and it's fun to have known Raia since she was a baby!

We went home and put Linnea down for her nap. While she slept, I went over to my parents' house. Also there was my godmother Betty, and her daughter (who is my mom's goddaughter) Kate. Kate is getting married in November, and we are planning a bridal shower. We wanted to cement the date and guest list for the party, along with some ideas. It was really nice to see them, and I'm excited for the wedding in November! 

I got home just as Linnea was getting up from her nap. The last part of the weekend was something I've been VERY nervous about for quite some time. 

Several months ago (maybe close to a year now?) I started following the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. As I mentioned a couple times previously on here, a couple months ago I decided to (GULP!) participate! And just like that...the day was here.

I was SUPER SUPER nervous (understatement), but it went well, and I'm content with how it turned out. I'm planning to write a full post on the experience, but for now I'll leave with my official shot for the project and my story... here's to learning to really fully accepting my body, and celebrating all that it is capable of... (many thanks to Ashlee, for her amazing project and beautiful work.)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Night at the Ballpark! (#5 of The Summer Bucket List)

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I recently crossed off #5 of my Summer Bucket List - a family trip to the Twins game! Jeromy and I generally try to make it to at least one Twins game in a season, although I hadn't been for a few years (Jeromy has had the opportunity to go to a couple games on his own since then). We talked all during the off season that Linnea was a good age for her first game. So...on to the list went "family trip to the Twins game!"

First step was to find which game we'd go to. Most of the games are at 1:10 - nap time, or 7:10 - bed time. However, there are a smattering of games at 6:10 - sounds good to us! During the week leading up to the Saturday, July 19th game the weather looked promising, so we jumped on the tickets.

So, right after Linnea got up from her nap that afternoon, we got ready to go! (As a side note, Linnea threw a complete tantrum when I changed her into her Joe Mauer shirt. I'm not quite sure why, although I think it had something to do with the fact that she didn't want to take one of her favorite outfits off. With a few distractions, we were able to get her mind off of the shirt, and focus on the excitement of the game.)

We decided to take the train because a) it's close b) it's convenient and c) it's entertaining for Linnea. Linnea was super excited as we headed into downtown - she loved pointing out other trains, construction sites (i.e. the new stadium being built), and all the people and cars she saw.

We arrived to a bustling stadium. After a quick photo-op with Bullseye, we headed in. We arrived early enough to get pairs of headphones they were giving away (bonus!). A kind security guard encouraged us to swing by the customer services area to get a first game certificate for Linnea, so we did that, and then found our seats.

Jeromy found us great seats - in the outfield, but front row of the section, which allowed us a lot of space to stretch out, and really good views. We had a good time taking in all the sights of the stadium. Target Field is a really gorgeous ballpark, and I'm not usually one who cares about stuff like that. There was lots to see...they do a good job making things fun with music, announcements, and fun little games and activities on the field. Linnea very quickly fell in love with TC Bear. I honestly think she thought that the little fun pre-game home fun derby they had with him was THE game we talked about going to. For the rest of the game, she was very curious and interested in where TC Bear was at. all. times.

I got a little nervous when Linnea announced "I'm done with the baseball game" before said game actually started. Thank goodness we came prepared with lots of snacks and distractions, and soon the REAL game was underway.

But first...let me take some selfies...

We watched a couple innings, and tried to explain to Linnea the ins and outs of the game. She mostly just asked where TC Bear was. We'll keep working on it... :-)

After a bit, we decided it was time for dinner. Rather than try to all venture out with all of us, I took one for the team, and hunted down the grub. I was being a bit stupid and stubborn, and went to several places to make sure everyone got what they wanted. Fast forward to me walking through half the stadium balancing food for the three of us, with visions of me dropping all of it before making it back. Thankfully, I made it back safely, and we proceeded to chow down

We brought apples too, which Linnea very happily munched on...

Linnea did so great. She did a pretty good job of sitting still. She happily munched on dinner, and took in all the action of the game. We had a really good time - it really exceeded my expectations!

Around 8:00, we had made it to the 7th inning stretch, and decided we had better head. We knew the train would be busy, and we wanted to be sure to make our escape before Linnea got too tired. So we packed up, and headed out - but not without a couple more photo ops and a stop to get a helmet ice cream sundae - a must!

As we suspected, the train was pretty busy. Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long, and Linnea was too hyped up and sugared up that she didn't mind. Before long, we were squished into the train (with seats, thankfully) on our way home. We got home pretty late for Linnea (around 9:30), but we were all happily in bed and crashed for the night before 10:00.

Our night at the ballpark was honestly one of my favorite family times of the summer. Linnea did great, and it was so fun to introduce her to the awesomeness of our hometown team. What an awesome night!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weekend Recap (x2)

I haven't been good about my 5 on Friday or weekend posts...time is just flying by! So, for my own sake (as this is part blog, but mostly journal for me), I'm going to recap the last two weekends.  Yeah, it's Tuesday night, but at least you get two for the price of one, right? Here we go!

Last Friday we headed straight to my parents' after work for dinner. I think I've mentioned before that both my mom and I married really good cooks. My dad, like Jeromy, is an awesome cook. We had a great dinner of mushroom Swiss hamburgers and potatoes. It was so good! After a long stretch of busy weeks for both of us without a lot of time together, it was nice to have some nice quality time together. We got home and put Linnea to bed, and then crashed for the rest of the evening.

Last Saturday, Linnea and I decided to head down to "our lake" (Lake Nokomis) to watch the Minneapolis/Lifetime Triathlon. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that we live close to the lake, and so many fun events are held there. I did the triathlon as my first event with Team in Training 6 (!!!!) years ago, so it has a special place in my heart. Linnea and I had fun ringing our cowbells and cheering for the bikers. It's fun to pass on the love of events like this to Linnea.

The coolest thing happened when we got down to the lake to watch the race. A cop was there directing traffic. We pulled up (on my bike, Linnea in the bike trailer) and got ourselves situated to watch. The officer approached us. I thought he was going to explain what was going on, not realizing that we were there to cheer. But he wasn't - he approached us to ticket Linnea. For wearing her helmet! He had a cute little "ticket" with his name and the date, noting that Linnea "got caught" wearing her helmet, and is entitled to a free ice cream cone at Dairy Queen! I thought it was so awesome. I don't know that Linnea totally "got it," but she was excited when I told her she could get ice cream with it! This may be the first - and only - ticket I'm excited about Linnea getting!

Shortly after we got back from the race, our friend Alisson, and her daughters Megan and Lauren came over. Alisson, who is a Norwex consultant, generously offered to come over try some products on our bathroom. Our bathroom is (admittedly) pretty gross. It's old, and the tub always looks dirty, no matter how hard I scrub it. So while the girls had a good time playing, we spent a good part of the morning scrubbing down the bathroom with various Norwex products. While it will still require some maintenance, it definitely helped a lot! We had lunch together, and then they headed out so that Linnea could go down for her nap. I joked with Alisson as she left that you know you have an awesome friend when she volunteers to come over to basically clean your bathroom! Amazing! You're the best, Alisson!

After the ladies left, I headed out to meet Jackie for a walk around Lake Harriet. Unfortunately, it started raining just as we met up. Thankfully, we both had umbrellas, and decided to just brave the rain. We had a super nice chat - she's my longest close friend...we've been through so much and I'm so thankful for all our time together - especially those catch-up chats.

I got back as Linnea was getting up from her nap. We ran a couple errands, and came home for dinner and a quiet night at home.

Sunday was gorgeous. So we decided to bike to one of our neighborhood bakeries for a donut breakfast. Yum!

We got home and got ready, and decided to go to the zoo. We didn't have a whole lot of time, but the beauty of the membership is that we can go just for a bit, and don't need to feel guilty about the cost!

We took in the bird show (which we had attended in the winter, but didn't realize that they do it outside during the summer...awesome!). We checked out some of the animals, and rode on the new carousal, which Linnea LOVED.

We had lunch at the zoo (which was surprisingly really good), and headed home for nap time. It was so nice outside that Jeromy and I lounged around outside while she napped (Jeromy was awesome and brought out my hammock for me). I read a bit...snoozed a was great.

My parents came over in the evening and we met up with the WOWZA/MANZA group for dinner at my cousin T.J.'s new restaurant, Tiny Diner. The nice weather continued, allowing us to eat out on the patio. It was such a great way to wrap up the weekend! I'm so thankful for these dear friends!

This past Friday I had a good day at work and came home to a very happy household. Life with an almost three-year-old can be a little never quite know what you're going to get. So it's REALLY nice when it's smooth sailing. Linnea was in great spirits. We played outside, and had so much fun "whilla-hoopin' (mama's new favorite Linnea-ism). SO fun. We ended the night with a great family dinner, and some good relaxation.

Saturday morning we enjoyed some snuggle time in bed before getting going for the day. Jeromy took Luther to the vet for a quick follow-up appointment while Linnea and I got ready. When "the boys" got back, the three of us headed to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Jeromy had seen on Twitter the night before that my cousin T.J. (executive chef at Tiny Diner as mentioned previously) was going to be doing a demo there. Since we were looking for something to do, hadn't been to the Farmers Market in a long time, and always like to support our family, we thought it'd be a great thing to do. The market was a TOTAL zoo. It took us forever just to park. We finally found a spot and made our way through the market. It was fun to watch T.J. demo, and always fun to experience the sights and sounds of the market.

One of the sweetest moments is when we came across a little folk trio. The musicians were kind enough to allow Linnea (and another little guy about her age) to try strumming their instruments. It was so sweet to watch Linnea give it a try, and see her satisfied grin when she helped play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

After the market we went home for lunch and naps. After nap, we got ready to go to the Twins game! I'll do a separate post on that, because of the sheer volume of pictures alone. Spoiler alert. It was awesome and we had a super good time! The game kept us out late (for Linnea), so we all crashed when we got home.

On Sunday, Jeromy headed out early to go golfing with some buddies. After a little bit of a rough wake up (I think the late night before was affecting her a little bit), Linnea was in really great spirits. We watched a little TV and snuggled, and then got up to get ready for the day. After a quick stop at Target, we went to church. Jeromy doesn't like the contemporary service and church, so whenever he's not able to go to church, I try to bring Linnea since she and I both like it. We had a great time. Linnea did well - mostly sitting still quietly for the service. It was pretty sweet because at one point while we stood up to sing she made her way up the front (we were in the second row) to say hi and give a hug to my mom (who is one of the pastors at our church). Linnea also pretty much danced her way through the service, which I just love.

After church, we stopped quick to check out party supplies for her upcoming birthday party, and then went to Noodles for lunch. My girl LOVES her mushroom stroganoff!

Shortly after we got home and Linnea went down for her nap, Jeromy came home. The weather was pretty hot, and he had been up early and then golfing all morning, so he took a nap too (let's be honest, I took a snooze as well). 

When everyone was up, we headed over to my parents for another great dinner - this time steak and baked potatoes. Linnea was in great spirits, and we all had a nice evening. 

After dinner we went to one of my favorite local ice cream places - Sebastian Joe's. It was National Ice Cream Day after all - just fulfilling our civic duty!!

After ice cream, we parted way with my parents, and went home to put Linnea to bed.

So there ya go! Did you make it through all of that! It's been a really fun last few weeks - and this was just the weekends! I've got a couple other updates that I hope to do for a Friday post this week. Stay tuned!