Sunday, May 24

Vacation ~ Day 4

Jams, on his first 'ride' - at Mall of America

Peter joins in on the fun.

Peter's first REAL rollercoaster!

Both the boys had a blast at the Mall of America! James got to get out of the stroller and play in Lego Land! They let the kids got to make their very own race car with the legos and then race them down a couple tracks. It was a lot of fun seeing them play with their cars.

We enjoyed a couple of snacks and I got my favorite ice coffee from Caribou (for those who may not know - I am a TOTAL Caribou snob! - and they are all over Minnesota!) You could tell that the economy is really starting to effect the Mall of America. The were all understaffed and they had removed all of the food venders from the park area. It wasn't like Tim and I had remembered it, but it was still a lot of fun!

We planned on meeting David's brother (Jim) tonight, for dinner. He and his family flew in this morning and were anxious to see everyone (and the boys!). We all had a wonderful dinner - at one of our favorite places - Bonfire!! It was DELICIOUS! It was a little challenging to keep the boys entertained. . . but the waitress was so awesome - she brought the boys their meals before our meals (so that they had something to do/eat!) and then, while we were all eating our own meals - she brought out Ice Cream Sundae's for the boys - with all the toppings in a basket for them to make their own sundae! They LOVED IT! We got out of there pretty late - so we knew that the boys would be nice and tired out from today's activities.
Tomorrow is the funeral for David's youngest brother - so it was nice to have some 'fun' distractions today, for all of us - especially Grandpa.

Thursday, May 21

Vacation ~ Day 3

This morning we had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel (both the kids ate really well!) and we decided that today was going to be 'Como'-day. Como Park started as a conservatory and has since bloomed into a multifunctional Amusement Park and Animal Zoo. Tim and I came here on our Honeymoon, and we have made it a family tradition to visit here every time we travel to Minnesota. It just awesome!

Peter - right away found Fireman shoes and 'jumped into them'.

Here's Pete and Mommy. . in front of his favorite animal of all time!

. . more giraffes

. . goofy look'n animal. . .

cute penguins

My favorite picture of Pete-

Amazed at this one. . . James - seeing the ducks swimming in their pong yells out "Quack, Quack!!!" (which means 'duck'!) . . . and the more I thought about it, the more I was amazed that he even knew what they were. In ALL of James' books, they show duck's yellow and fluffy. . . these ducks weren't even close to being either one of those things, yet he still knew what they were. That 'wowed' me! What a smarty!

Silly Petee-Fay!

We thought - for SURE - that Peter was going to be horrified on these rides, but he did so well! We were VERY proud of him!

And, of course - Peter's favorite thing of all time - DINOSAUR BONES! (this was a new thing they added since last year . . we were super siked that they had this, though!)

Grandma came with us, and watched James so that Tim and I could walk Peter around the park and watch him ride rides. She also gave us some 'fun money', so we got to enjoy some Cheese Curds ('carnival style' - good and greasy!), Peter got dinosaur nuggets and Tim enjoyed his favorite, mini-donuts, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. It was enough to wear us all out, but, unfortunately, the boys decided not to take a nap - I just didn't get it! We wore them out thin and STILL no nap?!? We knew this would make an interested evening for us! (Grandpa stayed back at the hotel preparing for his brother's eulogy for tomorrow's funeral)
We had a couple errands to run before dinner, so after we were done, we met up with the grandparents, Pat and Catherine for dinner at (one of our all-time favorite places to eat) Bakers Square!! With a name like that - I bet you could guess what they are well-known for! THEIR PIES! They must have 15 different kinds of pies. Some are seasonal, but they always have a couple of specialty pies too! I had the lemon creme pie . . boy, was it creamy and delicious! Tim had a warm fruit pie and the boys didn't finish their dinner, so they did not get to have any dessert. (Got to stick to the rules, even on vacation - bending them is for the grandparents :0)
We ate late tonight, so we were pretty tuckered by the time we got back to the hotel. Thankfully, the boys were finally tired and bothersome, so we all went right to sleep tonight!
- Ready for a new day tomorrow!-

Vacation ~ Day 2

This morning was an early morning for us. We were up by 6:15, dressed, fed and out of the door by 7:00. Patrick's graduation was at 9:00 this morning, and it was a 'first come, first serve' seating, so we needed to be there at least an hour early. We ended up getting great seats and an excellent parking spot in the garage.

The Auditorium:

Patrick walking:

Pat stopped at our row, to shake Peter's hand. . . you would've thought that Peter just met the President of the United States (well, at least last year's President) He shouted "Patrick shook my HAND!!!" Pat (and the other graduates around him) got a good laugh from that.

The proud Mother and Wife:

James - of course - was completely calm, collected and respectful during the entire ceremony. . . oh, wait, did I mention that sarcasm is my second language of choice??? After the first three trips out to the front hallway, Tim and I decided that he wasn't going to get any better, so I took him outside - where other parents were with their 2 year olds - and let him run around and get that last bit of energy out. As I was walking James down the flight of concrete steps, I accidentally ram my *hurt* finger into a metal poll, sliding down the railing. That hurts SO bad!!! I was grinding my teeth and trying not to scream, but I knew that it would start to bleed again after that. So, after surrendering all of our assets for the parking fee (a WHOPPING $7.00!!!! - I couldn't believe it! We were there for an hour and a half!) . .I asked the parking guy if we needed to take out a small loan, or if he just wanted us to hand over our 401K now . . .not very godly of me, I know
-we headed back to the hotel (I re-bandaged my finger), then we all went swimming, took a bath and got all dressed up for Pat's Celebration Dinner - at a FABULOUS upscale pub.

The kids were very good during dinner and ended everything on a good note tonight.

Vacation ~ Day 1

Today was Patrick's graduation party, so we got a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast to start out our first morning of vacation. The sun was out and shining bright today . . a perfect day for an outdoor open house. We got to meet many of Patrick's childhood friends, some of whom we knew. Peter and James took their afternoon nap at Pat's house and woke up to a house full of little boys. There must have been at least 8 of them, all between the ages of 9 months to 6 yrs old. They all went outside and kicked balls, threw rocks, played with a mini-set of bulldozers (using a 'generous' portion of Pats grass as 'mulch' - sorry Pat!) and blew bubbles. They had a blast!
bonus: none of us got sunburnt!

Patrick's Graduation Open House:

Many of Pat's friends, neighbors and family came to congratulate him at his home on Sunday.

It was a fabulous party with amazing food - Catherine did a fantastic job!!
The beautiful cake:

James, chilling in the shade:

Patrick and his graduation gift, from his lovely wife, Catherine:

{a weekend fishing trip to catch fresh walleye (super yummy!)}

Patrick and his new Masters Degree Plaque:

After his party, we all headed back to the hotel, to change (into warmer clothes, it gets down to the 40's still, in MN, at night) and headed back to Pat and Catherine's house for some Jimmy John subs. The kids started to get restless, so we had to end the night a little early to get them to bed at a decent time. But, we sure had fun today!

Saturday, May 16

And, off we GO!!!

We will be leaving this morning for Minnesota. We have Tim's Uncle's burial and Tim's brother's graduation to go to, all within the same week, so we are going to (hopefully) take advantage of this trip, since it will most likely be the one and only vacation trip we take this Summer.

{13 hours + 2 kids + 1 large coffee = vacation!!!!}

Please continue to lift Tim up in prayer. We are still in 'job hunting' season, here. I pray that he won't be discouraged, but that maybe he will be hired soon and be able to relax about this process. Thanks, so much!

Wednesday, May 13

Mommy's New Do

For my Mothers Day gift, Tim bought me an 'all inclusive' hair-spa day. It included a shampoo/cut, highlights and lowlights, dry and a style. I told my hairdresser that I was looking for something new, and that I was at her mercy. She played around with my hair, felt the thickness of it, tried a new part (who knew you could part anywhere but just down the middle!) and showed me what colors and what style she was thinking of. I told her to go with it . . . (plus - what I didn't know I was going to get - I received a five minute head massage after my last rinse that just about put me in a trance)


(side-view . . really does the color more justice too!)

Tuesday, May 12

Handmade Potatoes - literally

On Sunday afternoon, I woke up at 3:00, got up, dressed and started to make the preparations for my Mother's Day meal, for my mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law. I boiled the noodles for macaroni and cheese, got out my cake pans for the chocolate cake for mom (a favorite of hers), already had the chicken marinating in the fridge and started on the potatoes, for grilling out. I called a best friend of mine to get the recipe and got out my 'slicer' for the potatoes. I noticed that I wasn't getting them really cut right, and that they were a little on the thin side, so I (stupidly) thought, "I'll just lift the blade up a little". Well, without going into much detail (for Becky's sake - mostly) here's my hand after two Urgent Care visits. . .

I, officially cut the tip of my ring finger (rand hand) clean off. I screamed for Tim, and he got me paper towels to wrap my finger in, got both the boys out of bed, got their shoes on, put the 'tip' in ice and we were off! They couldn't sew it back together, but as long as I could still play, I could've cared less about what to do with the tip!!!
I went back on Tuesday, had the bandages soaked off (mostly . . near the end of the 1 1/2 of soaking it, she had no other choice but to 'tear' the rest off). I had it re-bandaged and will have to go back again, on Thursday for my last Urgent-Care-Supplied-Bandage. The rest of the time we'll have to gauze it ourselves. I DO, however have some wonderful and amazing blessings that have already surfaced from this accident. . .

1) It was only the tip, and NOT my whole finger!
2) I didn't do any major nerve damage
3) The Urgent care was down the street from our house
4) We only had to pay $200 for the entire visit
5) Tim - who is still unemployed, was home during this accident and was also home to take me to my second visit (which was very, very painful!) and hold my hand
6) My in-laws live very close, and they jumped out of bed to come pick up the boys from the UC and take them away from the situation 'at hand' - (ha, ha, ha)
7) My mom is an excellent cook, and could've finished the meal with her eyes closed!
8) God is good. . . and cares about me and even little things like fingertips. Praise God!!!

Needless to say, I wasn't able to make the cake, or make ANY more of the dinner, for that matter. Instead, my MOM had to finish cooking it. Which wasn't the point of having her over, in the least, but she was more than willing to do so.
I would sure appreciate any prayers. Today was very painful and at one point I thought that I was going to pass out! The nurse added a double layer 'moist' gauze, this time - hoping that I won't have to go through THAT again on Thursday. I pray that I don't! We are leaving for vacation soon, so please pray that everything is in tip-top (ha, ha, ha) shape!! Thank you!!!

Peter The Wiz

Peter came running up to me one afternoon yelling

"Look, Mommy . . look, a rectangle!!"

I looked down and found that Peter had 'drawn' a perfect rectangle with his Etch-A-Sketch.

Wow! I can't even draw a set of stairs on that thing!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Peter was doing his 'school work' (as he likes to call it) in his Kindergarten Workbook, and we were talking about letters. Well, it had been a while since we have gone through letter recognition, so I was treading it slowly. He took off like a bandit! He remembered everything we had learning thus far, and he loves learning - so that makes it easy on me!
One of the pages we were working on, I wanted him to use the color of the word. So, 'RED' would be written with a RED CRAYON, etc. So, he eagerly picked up a red crayon and wrote 'red' in lowercase letters.

I, then, said "Great . . now write 'red' in uppercase letters" Thinking that I would need to help im remember what they looked like, I asked him if he would like help. He refused, insisting that he did it all by himself - and wrote 'RED' in all capitals.

I was impressed!!! So, I thought I'd mix things up a bit and said, "Now write the word in 'small letters'." He did just that . . .

I laughed at how small the letters were and asked Pete why he decided to make them SO small? He said to me, "Oh, you said 'small' letters . . did you mean 'lowercase' letters?"

Whatever, my 4 yr old just outsmarted me - nuts!!

I don't know what we're going to do with this kid . . .

but we sure love this boy!!!!

Sleeping Stinker

I started noticing different pieces of clothing in James' bed each time I would get him out. I thought to myself "I wonder where they were coming from?" So, I snuck into his room, one afternoon, during his nap time and found out that he was reaching through the posts of his bed and pulling out his dirty laundry, bunching them up into piles - so that he could SLEEP on them!

What a stinker!!!

So that's why I can't find all of his clothes on laundry day!?!