Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yet another busy weekend

Saturday morning started with going over to my rental property to fix a running toilet. Unfortunately, I didn't quite fix it and will need to go back to do so, but I was able to get some weeds pulled and the lilac trees trimmed before I headed off to a birthday party.

My friend, Josie, has a daughter (Olivia) who turned 2 years old last week. She hosted a party at the Elm Creek Park Reserve. We'd never been there, but I heard it was a pretty fun park so we were looking forward to checking it out along with wishing Olivia a big happy birthday.We were prepared that there would be a surprise visit. Turns out it was Elmo!

Olivia and her grandma with her surprise visitor, Elmo!

Kisses from Elmo

Riley loves Elmo. Loves. But not this Elmo so much, and I don't blame her. Elmo is supposed to be small and have eye movement and he actually talk. This Elmo? He a did not talk and had a handler guy guiding him (or her) around. Riley saw right through this and wanted nothing to do with it.

Even Mommy Josie got some Elmo love.

Here is a segment of Josie's family. It just happens that I went to high school with a couple of her cousins, but didn't meet Josie until after I graduated. Small, small world.

Don't get too close to the fire Elmo! I bet you'd ignite in seconds flat. (Note handler guy in purple looking out for Elmo.)

Olivia and her family... and Elmo.

Holy crap this park was big. And this picture doesn't even show all of it.

On Sunday Riley got to stay with grandma Suzie when Jesse and I went to the farm with my dad to put the repaired pot belly stove back in. (We had everything except the foot railing which we'll replace later after it is fixed.) My dad decided to polish and paint the stove and 'fancy' it up by adding some metal tape. Such a Frank thing to do.

Check out that new interior.

P.D.Beckwith might be rolling in his grave if he saw that tape. *sigh*

In my last post about the stove I noted there were some dates I couldn't see in the picture I took of the crown. After closer inspection this time I was able to make out that they are multiple patent dates... all in the late 1800's.

When I was little my dad would cut down a tree and then have me pose with an axe or other sharp implement in front of it. Not a man to change his ways he suggested I stand in front of the stove with this piece of wood. He also got his turn, but unfortunately we only took a picture of him with his camera. BTW. Check out the tin ceiling and  walls.Can you imagine how much it would cost to do that these days. Yikes!

I had to take a picture of this clever idea. This spice rack is built into a window that no longer looks outside. An addition was built onto the house so the window looked into an unappealing storage room.Way to re-purpose space into something very useful.

So I don't want to infringe on our renter's privacy, but I couldn't help but take a picture of these dear heads which are hanging on the wall opposite their bed. I can't say that I would be ok waking up to this, but to each their own.

After the farm we went to grandma Suzie's to get Riley and ended up going out to dinner with grandma, grandpa Michael, and uncle Tayler.  Riley was in a fantastic mood and had us laughing throughout dinner. While we were at dinner we happened to notice a bald guy in an orange shirt at the next table. Jesse has a couple of orange shirts so I made a comment about it. A little later the orange shirt guy was up at the buffet when Jesse turned to Riley and asked her "where's your daddy?". She turned around and pointed right at the guy in the orange shirt. Thanks, Riley, for the laugh.

Riley's latest thing is to push a play highchair around the house (side note: my siblings and I played with this same highchair as children). I put some felt on the bottom, but you'd never know it as it's quite loud as it screeches across the floor. I decided to take some pictures to capture this as she probably spent almost an hour going back and forth... back and forth... back and forth...

Yeah, the pictures really don't quite capture what it was like in our house from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Watch this video about 50 times and you will get a better sense.

After Riley ate a good breakfast in her own highchair on Monday morning she proceeded to pick up where she left off the night before... pushing the play highchair back and forth...

Friday, August 26, 2011


Friday morning I woke to a disturbing mouse murder scene in my living room. I neglected to see it at first so I am quite grateful that it wasn't in my regular line of walking. In fact, when I first noticed something off I thought it might be a cat or kid toy lying on the ground, but after closer inspection it was apparent that wasn't the case. Perhaps it was all the blood that tipped me off. Yeah, I'm no CSI, but even I could tell there had been quite a struggle. And the mouse was moved from where it likely died. I don't know why, but I took a picture of it with my phone. I don't plan on posting it, or showing anyone, or even looking at it again, but I felt compelled to take a picture. Say what you want, but I already know there's something wrong with me.

I cleaned up the devastation, and when Jesse came downstairs with Riley he proceeded to sterilize almost the entire main floor. Thank you Jesse. This is the second mouse our cat, Lucy, has caught in the last month (that we know of) so I guess it's time to scout the house for their entry point.

The rest of this past week has been a little uneventful. Actually, it went really fast. Wasn't it just Monday? No complaints, of course. As long as the weekend doesn't go too fast. I didn't even take many pictures of Riley, but I did get a fun video of her in the bath last night.

Psst, there's a spider on your head.

Monday, August 22, 2011


A couple weeks ago we decided that Riley was going through a growing spurt. She was constantly wanting to eat, her sleeping was way off, and she was a bit on the crabby side. This week it appears she has kicked into high gear and has the energy of 40 wolverines (credit to Jesse: I asked my husband for his input on an animal that I could compare Riley's energy to this weekend and he insisted on wolverine). She's absolutely exhausting! Doesn't she realize that mommy is closer to 40 than 20 and can't keep up with her?

It didn't help that Riley was getting up earlier than usual each day. As in 5:00 or 5:30 am. Ugh. She'd be a little crabbier in the morning, but otherwise it didn't seem to effect her too much as she would just take a nap a little earlier. However, it started to wear on me. She has also been on the run more which means we are on the run more. The only thing that seemed to stop her was putting in an Elmo DVD. I'm not a huge fan of letting her watch TV, but it happens. She's also a big fan of books (she can get her Elmo fix that way as well), but the DVD has a captivating effect on her (disturbing? helpful?).

Saturday we intended to go to the Minnesota Zoo bright and early, but since she was up before the crack of dawn she went down for a nap around 9 am. We're used to having to change plans at the last minute to accommodate her so we just went to the zoo around noon. During the high sun. And apparently when everyone else heads to the zoo. It actually wasn't too bad when we got there, but got thicker by the minute with people. At any rate, we haven't been to the zoo in years and, boy, has it changed! We decided to check out the farm area first.

Once we got there we started with the goats.

Next we moved on to the cows and the pigs, but she seemed more interested in running around and checking out the other kids. Or just running. Who knows what was happening - I was just trying to keep up. I thought she would act a little surprised (or startled) by the size of the cows since she really has only seen them in books and as toys. She looked at them, said 'mooooo' when prompted, and then seemed to care less.

It may look like she is trying to get away from the cow, but she is just trying to squirrel out of my arms so she can run around.

We then headed over to the chickens. I don't think she stopped long enough to actually look at them so I took a picture for her.

And finally, in the farm area, we checked out some horsey's. She gave me a few minutes of her time before letting me know that it was time to move on to something else. Again, I was a little surprised she wasn't as shocked by the size of a horse.

The picture above was taken between a picture Jesse took and a picture I took so I am not sure who to credit. I'm including it for artistic purposes.

More horses on the way out of the farm area.

Once we headed back into the regular zoo area we realized Riley was pretty hungry. We had snacks and water, but she was chowing through those pretty fast and we knew it wouldn't last. This led to walking through one side of the zoo rather fast. I snapped off a few pictures quickly as we passed by, but didn't capture many. I look forward to going back another time when we can enjoy the zoo at a slower pace.

After this there was a whole bunch of stuff that we breezed right through so we could go eat some zoo food. We finally got to the food and it was...meh, as expected. It filled our bellies. And it was right next to the splash pad so we let Riley sorta walk into the water. It was enough to satisfy her curiosity before we moved on to more animal viewing.

She enjoyed this turtle stature, but really enjoyed the little boy who it touching the turtle's head in the picture above. I think she could have just spent the day at this spot playing with the boy.

Monkeys and duckies. Oh my!

Jesse was running after Riley and missed these turtles. He's a pretty big fan of turtles so I felt I better at least get a picture of them. I even asked a guy if he would move (and he very generously did). Too bad it's blurry since I was in snap and run mode.

Moments before she ran off to the right.

I was so beat when we got home that I practically dozed off on the floor when I was hanging out with Riley. (She may or may not have been watching Elmo so we could get to her stop moving for a moment or two.) She was nice enough to make sure I didn't actually fall asleep by banging on my chest whenever she saw me close my eyes.

Sunday was another early rising. It didn't help that I actually woke before Riley and couldn't get back to sleep. It was another big day since we had a wedding reception to go to for Jesse's cousin. The wedding proved to be a recap of the day before in the sense that either Jesse or myself were running after Riley constantly. Towards the end of our visit she discovered her 2 year old cousin, Jackson, and became giddy with excitement as she chased him around as well.

Of course, she loved playing with the balloons. It's strange to think there was a time she was petrified of these things. 

Jesse with his cousin, Cheryl, (sister of the bride), and Jesse's mom, Suzie.

After I took the picture above they all posed so I could take a nice picture of them together, but my phone camera sucks and it turned out rather blurry. Besides I think this one has more personality. BTW,they are watching Riley go wild after Jackson (Cheryl's son).

Cousin Jackson showing off his skills while Riley stands in admiration.

It was a little scary how excited and wound up Riley got when faced with boys about her own age. I thought they don't go 'boy crazy' until they are a little older. Is this what we have to look forward to?

Monday morning Riley once again got up at 5:30 am and the first word out of her mouth was 'Elmo'. Sigh.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Staycation days 6 - 9

This week is going by so fast that I am already starting to forget the details from just a couple days ago. Let's see, what did we do Thursday?...


Riley was a little off and on this week so it's been all about keeping her busy when needed, and down for a nap when needed. We started off the day with a walk and a stop at the park.

After a nice big nap Riley woke up just in time for Jesse to walk in the door... and for me to leave for a massage. This was my little treat this week and so worth every minute of it.

After the massage we walked over to Oak Hill park where Jesse's company was having their annual picnic. Oak Hill park has a lot of green areas with pavilions and benches, but it also has a large playground, a separate toddler playground, and a splash pad. We hoped to play at the splash pad, but that didn't work out as it just got too late. Riley seemed to have an extra load of energy Thursday afternoon which was especially challenging after having such a relaxing massage. Jesse took her over to the playground to burn off some of that energy and the first thing she headed towards was this monstrous slide.

I wasn't sure how she would take to being so high up, but she loved it and insisted on going down it several times.

I then hopped on a swing with Riley and swang and swang and swang. It seemed a lot easier than running around the park after her and she seemed really content. While we were swinging Jesse was eating. I figured I would keep swinging with Riley until Jesse was done eating and then he could help feed her while I ate. Unbeknownst to me Jesse loaded his plate with enough food for all of us and kept eating and eating and eating... waiting for us to return.

I grabbed a hot dog to eat which I almost never do (except if it was an all beef, natural casing hot dog). I took one bite and remembered why I don't like regular ol' hot dogs. Riley has never had one at home, but I'm pretty sure she eats a fair amount of hot dogs and corn dogs at her daycare. Apparently she was starving because she couldn't eat my hot dog and watermelon fast enough. She would have a mouthful and still point to the hot dog and say "puppy". Ugh, I hope not kid, but cute that you think that's what a hot dog is called.


I work at an online University and we were holding commencement for our graduates this weekend. I had an opportunity to volunteer while learners checked in so I jumped at it. A normal day at work may entail helping learners navigate through challenging issues so it is nice to see them delighted to be at the end of their academic journey. I even got a hug from one of my learners that I have worked with extensively. I'm glad I went in for this experience on my week off.

After that Jesse, Riley and I headed over to see grandma Suzie and grandpa Michael for a little bit and then came home and watched a movie (Love and Other Drugs). It was a pretty low key day.


A old friend of mine was having a garage sale so it seemed like a good excuse to go see her. Life has kept us busy so we haven't hung out in forever. It was nice to see her (even if it was only for 15 minutes) and we got a few goodies for Riley. Thanks Stephanie!

Nothing else too exciting this day. Went to Target. Went on a walk. Played at the park. Grilled burgers and ate on the deck. Played with the water table. Took some pictures of Riley. Watched the Viking's preseason game once Riley went to bed. And that's about it.

Before Riley went to bed we spent some time in the spare bedroom. Riley likes to turn on the radio and the light and, if I'm in the room, get up on the bed (she needs my assistance). Unfortunately, you can't see in these pictures how she was rockin' out to the music (Love Shack, for one). She was banging her head up and down - that's my little rock star.

What button should I push next?


It took a little push on both our parts, but Jesse and I took Riley out for a bike ride in the morning. Strapped in her Burley she enjoyed her ride from our house, down the parkway, around Lake Calhoun, and back. It was about a 7 mile ride and impressively she kept her sunglasses on the whole time.

We stopped at the toddler playground near the lake where she was able to swing right next to the lake.

After her midday nap we went to the Rec Center Water Park. At first she seemed to really enjoy it, but after about an hour she had enough. I really didn't take any good pictures there so these will have to suffice.

Our brave little child headed right for the stairs for this water slide. Maybe in a few years sweetie!

You may be asking "where is the water?". Yeah, I said the picture weren't any good.  And, besides, when not taking the above pictures with my phone we were in the water enjoying it.


Back at work. Enough said. : (