Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Random Summer Updates

Some random stuff from this summer so far...

~Conversation with Riley while she was sitting on the toilet recently...

Riley: (loses her balance). What if I fell in and got flushed down the toilet? I would be gone and you wouldn't have a child (said so matter of fact)

Uh, ok. It's interesting because I think she's getting the concept of death more. We don't talk about it a lot, but you know, Disney's always killing off people so I'm sure she's getting it from there.

~ We went to the beach last week. As usual, the summer feels like it is flying by and I realized that besides a brief visit to the splash pad the week before we hadn't been in water much. I noticed that West Medicine Lake beach opened at 9 am (lifeguards get there at 10:30) so I decided we'd head to the beach early. I was afraid it would be a little chilly that early, but it was the best decision ever. We had the entire beach to ourselves so one of us could plop down in the shade nearby if needed while still being right next to the water.

We brought Riley's sand toys and she settled right in having fun. She even walked way out in the water without holding my hand or freaking out. She's not the water embracing kind of kid so this felt pretty amazing. She did fall in the water once. She was just out of my reach, but I totally saw it coming. I didn't get to her fast enough so she ended up going under water (and proceeded to cry), but also recovered pretty fast. As we were leaving Jesse told her that next time he would help her dunk under water and then would throw her in the air. I don't think she really knows what he meant because she is now really excited to do that next time at the beach.

While we were there we saw a church ceremony take place at one of the pavilions. Apparently, it was also a birthday party and a baptism. After they had their ceremony they all headed to the water where 4 young girls and an adult man were fully dunked in the water for their baptism. The girls were all wearing the same matching pink dress, but apparently the adult man did not get this memo. It was right after they finished their baptisms that Riley fell into the water so anyone who might be concerned about us not baptizing our child can now be eased by the thought that she probably got a little second hand baptism there.

~ My dad's phone company recently upgraded him and gave him voice mail without telling him. My dad's not the voice mail type of guy and has an answering machine so it's just not needed. When you'd call him it would give you a message that his voice mail was not set up. So when I finally got a hold of him and explained this to him there was mass confusion on his part. My dad barely knows how to run the answering machine, or 'recorder box' as he calls it so I knew we needed to get voice mail off his phone. As I was trying to explain what was happening I realized that I needed to give him exact sentences that he needed to repeat to his phone company. He seemed to think that the phone company was somehow messing with his answering machine- "how did the phone company get into my recorder box?". I had to explain that the phone company had nothing to do with his answering machine and that his phone just didn't ring enough for it to pick up. It was pretty painful explaining all this, but my dad was able to successfully resolve the issue with the phone company. Technology and my dad just don't mix.

~ Speaking of phones, I'm not really a fan of smart phones... or my phone... or perhaps my phone carrier. I don't know. I got a lot of feedback suggesting that I get an iPhone, and I do think I would have liked that more than an Android, however, I don't think that's the big issue for me. I actually like Jesse's cheaper Android than mine. We got a great deal going with Virgin, but there's something to be said about working with a company that has store fronts. I recently downloaded some upgrade and it totally messed up my phone... constantly searching for wireless, but never connecting, battery draining in a few hours, usually only getting spotty 3G coverage at home with a quick 4G moment here and there. I called Virgin's support line and they appeared to fix the biggest issue, but then it went back to being screwed up within 20 minutes. I really wished I could have walked into a store and said "here, fix this". A few days later started working ok again, but there are still a couple things that aren't quite right. I like having occasional internet access when out and about, but I think I would have been fine without it too. Of course, I doubt I could actually go back to not having a smart phone, but a little bummed with what I ended up with. Still, I just can't justify an iPhone at this time. Perhaps I take after my dad a little bit and don't mix well with technology.

~ We successfully saw a movie in the theater with Riley. Jesse tried to take her when Planes came out, but when the previews included dinosaurs and bears it was all over. She lost it and they had to leave. Months later we decided to rent Planes for movie night and the first thing out of Riley's mouth was "are there going to be dinosaurs and bears". Haha. No, kiddo, there will not be. So Planes: Fire and Rescue just came out and we decided to try a movie again. Jesse actually asked the movie attendant what previews there were and it sounded like we would be safe. I mean it's been over a year so I just hoped it would be a completely different experience. There were only two families in the theater (one being us) and we happened to sit right next to each other (kinda weird). Riley did great, although she got a little antsy at some point and got up and walked around... and even once asked to play with my phone (a new thing she discovered) to which I said "no". All in all a successful outing and excited that it's another activity we can add to the list for the future.

~ Also, caught this princess checking herself out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunday Funday

This past weekend felt super busy - partly because I had to work 9 - 3 on Saturday. Remind me to take off all full moon days from work... especially super moons. It was crazy, but I got through it and was looking forward to enjoying my one full weekend day off of work.

Sunday was actually a day packed with activities. First, we had a birthday party in the morning. Pretty genius to have a party from 9:30 - 11:00. Why have I never thought of this? Riley was invited to her first birthday party by a school friend, Amelia, and was beyond delighted. It was held at a park near our house that has a splash pad and playground and we were even able to walk there. There were three other friends from school there, but Riley was still a little shy when we first arrived and refused to play 'pin the horn on the unicorn', but as usual she finally warmed up and seemed to really have a good time. 

Jesse making sure that  no one, besides the unicorn, gets hit.


Jesse and I are a couple of introverts so while I was excited about taking Riley to this party, I was less excited about having to make small talk. Turns out that the one parent I spoke to the most (the birthday girl's dad) was the one name I can't remember. Amelia and her family moved here from Australia last year so it was interesting to talk about the differences in child care and kid's activities. Apparently, there are a lot more options here. 

After food (wheat and dairy free) and games, the kids ran over and played at the splash pad which Riley is not a fan of. I think most kids ran freely over there without their parents, but we joined our kid because we knew she'd need a little support. Luckily, when she saw her friends running around she opened up a little bit and seemed to have a lot of fun. Hopefully, this means that we can have successful trips without her friends there (also a win this weekend is that Jesse took Riley to a pool on Saturday and she loved it).

Riley gave Amelia her present - a Sophia book (which Riley was super excited about because princesses and books are her life), and then she hopped in the wagon for the ride home. 

After eating lunch at home Riley and I headed to my dad's while Jesse stayed behind to do some yard work. We went to the Hamel Parade last year and Riley cried through about half of it because there were a ton of super loud fire trucks. Leading up to this year's parade she went back and forth about wanting to go, but finally said yes when she remembered that they threw copious amounts of candy at you. So armed with headphones and the Frozen soundtrack on my phone we headed over to papa Frank's house.

Dad and the neighbor

Armed with her headphones

Initially, Riley just wanted the headphones on without music, but after the first loud noise she started crying. I hooked her up to the Frozen soundtrack and things improved drastically after that. She was still freaked out, but just ran back to her blanket without getting teary eyed. Baby steps.

Favorite part of the parade

Picking up candy while trying to hold onto my phone tucked into her waist band. She totally looked like a little old lady here.

With the parade over we headed back to my dad's house. I brought some sidewalk chalk and bubbles with to keep Riley entertained while dad and I hung out. The neighbors across the street were having a gathering and invited Riley over to play in the bounce house. Such an exciting day for this kid and so well behaved all day.

I was beat so I called Jesse and told him to be ready to go out to eat. I couldn't even fathom making food for myself so this was a good excuse to go out. I thought Riley would be super crabby with no rest time, a day full of activities, and candy, candy candy... but she was really great. She declared the candy haul from the parade to be her favorite part of the day. Now if we could just find a silent parade.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4th of July weekend

The 4th of July weekend didn't go quite as expected, but was still a wonderful, long weekend... partly because it was long and I didn't have to work for 4 whole days. I had Friday thru Monday off which was pretty awesome. I kinda felt like we should have planned a weekend away until I realized that I would get a 'me' day on Monday and that was pretty exciting.


I had been promising Riley a night in the tent in the back yard, but for one reason or another (mostly rain) it hadn't worked out until this day. It might not have been the best choice since it was the day before the 4th and plenty of neighbors had already started celebrating with fireworks and my kid hates loud noises. After we set up the tent and made dinner I convinced Riley to go for a walk with me. Jesse did legs at the gym and said they felt like rubber... and they must have because he didn't change his mind even when I announced that we would be stopping for frozen yogurt on our walk.

Usually, she just east some of mine, but really wanted her own this time.

I'm guessing we settled into the tent a little after 8:00 pm and I set Riley up with a movie. Even though it was past her bedtime I knew she wasn't going to go to sleep anytime soon. I was going to read, but played on the iPad for awhile. 

But then the random neighborhood fireworks went off and it was 'convince Riley that the fireworks were not going to hurt her' time. I tried to get her to look at the fireworks, but she acted like I was trying to torture her. She had just seen fireworks on a video at school so I thought she might think they were at least cool to look at even if the noise scared her, but nope - she wanted nothing to do with it. 

And yet, she wanted to stay out in the tent. Her big eyes were filled with tears and she had a scared look on her face, but she was determined to sleep in the tent. She seemed to think I had some control over all the neighbors who were lighting fireworks so she was a little frustrated with me too, I imagine. She laid there with her hands over her ears along with my hands over her hands, and for awhile she wore her headphones. At one point I tried to turn over to fall asleep (the fireworks were quite random with huge breaks between), but she just crawled on top of me trying to get me to cuddle with her. After a couple bathroom breaks and offers to let her sleep inside she finally fell asleep close to midnight in the tent... and then woke at 5:15 and would not go back to sleep. *sigh*

Friday - 4th of July

Bright and early Riley and I headed back into the house. Jesse has a bad back, but it's been feeling great the few days prior to this so he wasn't going to mess anything up by sleeping in the tent. Riley crawled into bed with him and ended up sleeping another hour or so. I headed upstairs to sleep and tossed and turned before I probably got another hour under my belt. At 8:00 am (so late for me) I finally got out of bed and wanted to get this day rolling, even if I was exhausted. 

We started out with a trip to the Bauer Berry Farm to check out their strawberry patch. We'd never been to this location before, but I was quite happy with their set up and it's not too far away from our house which is a huge deciding factor for me. It's nearing the end of the strawberry season here so I was hoping we'd still get a good batch. We were directed to our row which was already partially picked that morning, but apparently not very well. This left us with a bunch of small strawberries at first, but then you could tell where the earlier pickers had stopped as the berries became larger and more plentiful.

Strawberry patchin'

Photo credit: Riley

We picked way too many strawberries, but I was able to freeze most of them. I should have done more as I haven't been able to keep up with eating the rest and already they are beyond ripe.

I didn't once pick up my DSLR this weekend because I didn't want to haul that around with me, but I wish I had so many times... like next to this filed of dried grass. It looked so much prettier than captured here. Also, love how I can ask Riley to go stand by something now and she totally goes into pose mode and not always silly face mode. I'm glad she still tolerates me taking so many pictures of her. After I take a picture I usually hear "let me see, let me see". Someone likes to see herself on camera. :)

Ready to freeze

We stopped by the grocery store at some point this day and picked up the fixens for strawberry shortcake - one of my favorite deserts. The rest of the day was pretty mellow. We played outside, attempted a nap, cooked dinner on the grill... and hoped to go see the fireworks that Riley previously agreed to, but she put the kibosh on that after hearing the fireworks the night before.

We hoped that since she didn't nap she would crash at bedtime and not be bothered by the fireworks, but that was just silly to think that would actually happen. Once the first really loud BOOM went off she started crying and didn't want to be left alone. I was across the hall watching a movie on the iPad in bed. I had a migraine and was actually hoping to go to bed early, but after Jesse's attempts at calming Riley didn't work we agreed she could sleep in bed with me like she did last year. So I continued to watch my movie while Riley was supposed to be sleeping next to me. Jesse had given Riley a mantra of sorts that went something like "Go away fireworks" that she was to repeat to herself, but she didn't think it worked, because... well the fireworks didn't go away. So I came up with a new one for her along the lines of "you can't hurt me fireworks", which seemed to make more sense to her.

The city fireworks started around 10 so she and I talked while she had her hands over her ears. I told her about fireworks that don't go "boom" like sparklers and some that make more of a whistling noise. She got really excited about this and said she wanted to see those in the future. When I took a pause in the conversation she asked me to keep talking about the sparklers. I think she realized that talking helped her ignore all the popping and boom noises she was hearing. I finally got her out of bed as I wanted her to see some of the fireworks. From our house you can see some of the higher ones above the trees so we headed back to Riley's room where the view is the best. She really, really didn't want to look, but when she finally allowed herself a peak she loved it. Absolutely loved it and at some point even took her hands off her ears. 

After the fireworks were done she kept talking about how proud she was that she took her hands off her ears and that she was so brave. It was pretty cute. Unfortunately, we were up until at least 11 this night - another late night.


We work up not having any plans for this day, but ended up with a pretty full day. After the gym, we met up with my in laws for lunch and then after Riley's nap/rest we headed over to West Medicine Lake. I often forget about this park, but it's such an easy place to get to from our house and has a kid friendly beach and a playground. We didn't bring swim suits, but I'd like to come back here sometime soon to play at the beach.


Wow, this was just a really lazy morning which I don't often give myself permission to have. We did keep ourselves busy at some point with purging a lot of Riley's toys. Luckily she was on board with giving so many toys to other children although she was a little confused when we dropped 4 bags of stuff off at Good Will. Apparently, she thought we were going to bring them to some kid's home.

Then we made the brave move to go to the Mall of America on a weekend, but it really wasn't that bad. And Riley actually agreed to go on a ride. We've had minimal success with this in the past so we were surprised that she selected to go on this Swiper car ride where the cars whipped around the ends. Not only did she love it, but she wanted to go a second time (and perhaps more if we didn't insist it was time to go home).

Clearly unflattering picture of me, but look at how excited my kid is!


This was going to be my day... well at least part of it as Jesse got home just before 2 and shortly before that some guy came to measure our windows (we're getting new windows!!!). I went to the gym in the morning and then went for an overdue massage.

I won a gift card at work for a massage about 2 - 3 years ago, but just never made it a priority. Today was the day. I used to have an amazing massage therapist, but she moved onto a new position in holistic care far from me. I've seen a couple massage therapists since then, but none have quite fit the bill for me. Part of it is because I have a jacked up body and don't do well with deep tissue type massage. The last woman I went to was clearly new and kept referring to her teacher. She was nice and fine and all that, but wasn't great.

This time this massage place told me that this guy was supposed to be the perfect guy for my chronic pain as he has clinical experience, but I didn't love him. He said a lot of things that were right on about my type of pain so I trusted that he knew his stuff, but he didn't really follow what I asked  (he also talked too much, and had rough hand skin which kinda grossed me out - is that weird to say?). I felt ok when I left and I didn't have the pain I was afraid I might have getting worked over like that, but I certainly didn't feel relaxed like I had hoped (honestly, I recently had an MRI that I felt more zen after than this).

Oh, and he played with my hair and then pulled it, but didn't tell me what he was doing at first. Yes, I was a little weirded out by it especially when he noted that he was jealous of my thick hair, but he finally explained what he was doing.... apparently, it helps stretch your fascia muscle on your scalp.

Anyhoo, I don't really want to complain about it, because it wasn't terrible and he did teach me a couple things about some muscles. And in the end, I had a pretty good morning on my own. I even picked up sushi for lunch and had some alone time before the window guy came over. I might have to schedule more days off just for me.

And next year? I'm optimistic that we'll see fireworks, but will probably settle for watching them through the bedroom window again. Riley can't hate them forever, can she?