Sunday, January 31, 2016

This and That

~ Recently Riley has made some comments about her future as a mother. I'm not sure where it's coming from, but it's now come up multiple times. When she mentioned that a friend wanted to grow up to be a singer we thought she would want the same thing (since she sings all the time), but she declared that she wanted to be a mommy like me. The next week when I dropped her off at school she told me that she would probably have babies when she was my age "or maybe 30 or 32 or 34...".

The best conversation we had about this was on the way to swim class when she wondered aloud "I wonder what I will name my baby when I have one?" I encouraged her to brainstorm ideas and she came up with Henry, Liam, Bob, or Sam for a boy and Rose, Crystal, Mindy, or Laney for a girl. Lol. I wish I could peak into her brain from time to time to figure out where this all comes from. Also, it's funny to think I could be a grandma to a baby Bob one day.

~ Last year I decided that I was going to plan out my own birthday this year. I even thought about going on a trip (perhaps alone, with a friend, or with my family), but that never happened. Instead I decided to plan a day of zen. Unfortunately, I ended up with a cold right before the big day so I scaled back on my plans (I didn't get to the salt cave or the float tank, but will do those in the future). Jesse was a little bummed when I suggested he not take the day off of work as I did. I knew I wanted to do some things that he might not want to do and I wanted some me time.

I started the day out with a massage. Even though she spent the entire hour on my shoulder (which I've recently been having issues with) it was still wonderful and relaxing. I followed that up with a sushi lunch with my husband at Raku. He went back to work and I decided to go book shopping. Once home I shoveled which was actually incredible peaceful as it was so quiet out - just some birds chirping and the shovel scraping against the driveway.

I also read a book in bed, and watched several episodes of Parenthood (I've now since completed the series and am soooo sad the show is over. I don't know how they did it, but I'm pretty sure I cried with every episode - especially the last. I'll miss you Braverman's, annoying bickering and all). Once my people came home we headed out to Byerlys for our traditional birthday cupcakes. I finished up my day gobbling up a chocolate mousse cupcake with my family. I was a very good day and something that I think I will do again in the future - a day for me.

Oh, Jesse gave me a card that day which was super funny because there were pictures of a husband and wife and he took a cream colored piece of paper and put it over the guys head to simulate his own bald head. The week before, my birthday gift was delivered - a treadmill! I mentioned it in my day in the life post, but basically, it's meant to be used with a desk so there isn't a railing/consul that you would typically have. Right now, I have it in my office, but not at my desk. The logistics just weren't working out for that. I pull a chair over next to it so I have something to hold on to if needed.

Apparently, Jesse had asked Riley earlier in the week if she wanted to make me a card and get me a gift and she said no, but the Friday after my birthday she had a total break down and needed to get her mom a gift now! She had the day off of school and Jesse was home with her so I could hear a meltdown happening while I was working in the basement, but I didn't know why. Anyway, Jesse took Riley shopping and she took 20 minutes to pick out just the right card. She then bought a necklace making kit and made me a necklace with hearts and beads that say "mom", "love", and "heart". Love gifts from the heart.

~ Last year we wanted to go the the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie, but for some reason it never really fit into our schedule - whether it was a weekday or too cold or something. Weekdays feel much more manageable this year so we went on a Wednesday night (we were going to go on my birthday, but they are closed on Tuesdays). If you decide to go, make sure to order your tickets online as they are far cheaper than when you pay at the 'door'. We went on a warmer day so I expected there to be a larger crowds, but was still within my comfort level.

Riley and Jesse went down a slide together, although it wasn't that big that she could do it on her own. She also found a small slide that she went down over and over and over and which contributed to her being soaking wet by the time we left. There was a tunnel she crawled through too which looked like a lot of fun for a small one.

It was about 40 degrees this day which meant that ice was melting. Staff was harnessed on top of the structures and gently knocking over ice that was unstable. As we walked under arches, water dripped on us. I stopped at one of the arches to take another picture of the cool icicles hanging down and then almost got hit by some large ones that fell down right in front of my face. Some people rushed over to check on me, but I was fine. I told Jesse that I was grateful that my camera didn't get hit and he pointed out that I should be grateful that my face wasn't gouged open. I suppose. We apparently have different priorities.

I took most of these pictures when the ice was blue/white since it was brighter, but the ice changed to many different colors... red, purple, green, and so on. Music accompanied the changing of the colors which was fun until it was a fast tempo'd song. A warning to those with sensitivity issues - the fast flashing can be way too much (I had to close my eyes, but even Jesse complained about this). Luckily, it didn't happen too much. There are bon fires to keep you warm (but also an issue for those of us with sensitivity issues), a frozen Olaf, and a 'real' Anna walking around. Oh, there are also hot drinks and food (mostly, cookies I think), but we didn't get any of that.

It's a little spendy, but worth going to see at least once. Jesse was a little confused that it wasn't a 'castle' made of blocks of ice like the St. Paul Winter Carnival used to do (and apparently plan to do in 2018 again), but he still agreed that it was a cool set up. We will certainly go back in the future.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Project 52 - Frost - Week 4


I wouldn't be a true Minnesotan if I didn't talk about the weather. A lot. This past week as I tried to decide what picture I wanted to take I couldn't really decide... because of the weather. At first it was really cold, and then it warmed up, but it was consistently gloomy. In all honesty, I just didn't feel inspired to pick up the camera.

As the week rolled on, I begged for an hour, just an hour, of sun. I don't know how people live in places like Alaska where the sun shines for a few measly hours a day during certain times of the year. No thank you. I need the sun.

I find the lack of sun far too depressing. To top it off, it seemed like everyone went on a sunny tropical vacation this week. Except me. I continue to trudge through winter even though I tell myself every year that I will plan a get away for the following winter. And then I don't.

But here we are at the end of January. I just have to get through February and then on to March which can be terribly snowy, but dangles the promise of spring in front of you. The sun did finally peak out a bit this week (thank you Mother Nature) and the birds have been chirping, which gives me a false sense of spring, but I'll take it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Project 52 - Reflections - Week 3


We went to the Children's Museum this past week and I came to the conclusion that Riley may be getting too old for this place. There were some older kids, even older than her, but I'm guessing they came along for the ride with their younger siblings. Also, lots and lots of pregnant women there which I used to feel like I saw more of. Perhaps, I am so separated from the days of pregnancy that I don't normally notice it. Not sure. Next time we head over to St. Paul we'll probably check out the Science Museum, but it will be sad when we no longer go to the Children's museum as it's entertained us for years now.

Anyhoo, we came across this box of lights and Jesse suggested I take a picture. I quickly did (there were kids everywhere) and I ended up with this reflection.

I knew Riley would have fun with this so I showed her the picture I took and let her be her. And she was... child of many silly faces. This would have been fun to play with more, but we were being overrun by other kids so we moved on to some other adventure. These pictures kind of remind me of those portraits from the '70's where there was a second faded head above the main portrait. Oh 1970's - the decade of awkward photos.

Such a little ham bone this one is. Goes to show that you can find a way to take fun pictures just about anywhere.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day in the Life - Winter 2016

I debated about which day to capture for my day in the life post this winter (hosted by My Life in Transition). Initially, I was going to do Saturday, but realized Jesse would be gone most of the day so it might not seem like a reflection of a typical day. I decided on Martin Luther King, Jr day since that's the day I did last year and thought it might be fun to compare. However, if I had done it on Saturday I would have shown you a relatively normal day after all. Riley and I went to the gym, she got her hair cut, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up soup items, and then went to my dad's to make that soup. A pretty normal, not too exciting, not too boring of a day.

Except that there was some excitement, of sorts, when we stopped at the grocery store. More of an oddity, than excitement I suppose. I parked next to a slightly pimped out CRX with crotch rocket style glasses on the dash, a wounded war vet license plate, and a pair of gold balls dangling from underneath the rear end of the car. As in nuts. You know, scrotum... I immediately wanted to take a picture, because who does that to their car? Who drives around with men's balls proudly displayed hanging from the rear of their car? This guy, apparently.

I mean it's entirely possible it was a joke. My sister owned a sporty CRX 20 some years ago and I could totally see her husband or sons pranking her in this way. But I think it was some young guy who thought it was quite cool. I imagine his buddies chest bumping him in excitement, exclaiming how "saa-weat" his balls were. And yes, I totally recognize that I'm making all sorts of assumptions here.

Initially, I didn't take a picture because I was too busy begging my kid to get out of the car. It was a cold day and neither one of us wanted to linger outside, but when we came back out, the ballsy car was still there so I felt like I had to take a picture.

Therein lies the rub... if it had been my day in the life day I would have had a better camera on me than my phone. You would be able to see the gold balls in all their shimmery, glimmery, glamour. Instead, the crappy picture I took is trapped on my phone since I seem to no longer be able to transfer them to my computer. You can Google 'gold car balls' to see what I'm talking about. On the other hand, don't. That will probably open a Pandora's box that is better left sealed tight.

I did text the picture to my husband who was putting some new struts on our Tacoma. He met some other Tacoma truck lovers who offered to do it at a cheap price so he was spending the day with them. Our truck didn't need new struts, but my husband insisted that we should in case we need to haul 400 lbs or more. You know, because we do that... never. Our truck hasn't needed a lot of it's upgrades in my opinion, but they keep happening. So while I was internally (and with the text, not so internally) making fun of the CRX guy, I actually had a husband, who in his own subtle way, was adding balls to our truck.

When at my dad's house, I showed him the picture and shared that the license plate says that the car owner is a wounded vet. My dad astutely noted that perhaps his nuts were what was wounded. Perhaps indeed, dad. Also, I have to make note that, at 43 years old, having a conversation with my almost 88 year old dad about men's balls made me feel like I really am an adult. There was no embarrassment discussing this topic with my dad - only a shared chuckle like a couple of adults do.

At any rate, as I noted, I didn't document Saturday so let's actually talk about the day I did document... (also, it just occurred to me that at the end of each year I make a book out my Day in the Life posts which my daughter loooooves to read. Perhaps I should start with the next paragraph instead?)

Monday, 1/18/16 (MLK, Jr day)
Riley is a few weeks shy of 6
Jesse is 41 and Jo is 43
Lucy the cat is 11

The night before, I behave myself and don't get lost on the internet or Netflix. I head up to bed at 9:15 and start my new book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. It's only two hours since I finished Eat, Pray, Love, and I have a little bit of a hard time shifting gears, but then I'm engaged. They are both memoirs involving the topic of faith, but are clearly different books with a different tone. I read until a little before 10:00 and go to bed at a responsible time (for me).

2:02 - I wake up because I'm too hot or I have to go to the bathroom. Typical stuff for this time of the night. I take a blanket off, go to the bathroom, and then fall back to sleep right away.

4:30 - Up again.  Also very typical for me. I go to the bathroom and realize I just had a dream where we owned 4 cats who used to be toddlers. Apparently, there was a law that you had to bring the cats with you where ever you went. Jesse was walking to the car with one and I had two. They were wriggling about in my arms and I was struggling to hold on to them. I decided to leave the 4th cat at home and take the risk of breaking the law. I go back to sleep and spend the next two hours in light sleep with many dreams. None of which I remember.

6:12 - Except I have a dream that I think is real. I wake (or so I think) and try and take a picture of my clock, but the picture isn't turning out. Moments later when I really come to, as Jesse is getting out of bed, I realize that I've been sleeping the entire time. I'm also amazed that Riley is still sleeping as she usually yells out to us by 6:01. I decide to stay in bed and get more sleep if I can.

6:45 - Riley is finally yelling out. When I go into her room I see a huge pile of books by her bed so I assume she was up late (Jesse later confirms that she was up at 9 pm when he checked in on her). We hang out in her room for a couple minutes and she picks up the cat repeatedly - a new and constant activity for her.

I send Riley downstairs while I start to make beds, put her books away, etc... and then decide to hop back in bed and read more of my book. Why not, we all have the day off. Jesse comes upstairs after setting Riley up for breakfast and snuggles back into bed with me. Riley starts yelling about a tissue box that's empty as if it's urgent for it to get replaced stat. Jesse reminds me that he has to take the truck in to get it aligned. When he and his truck buddies replaced the struts the alignment got way off. I offer to pick him up so he doesn't have to wait, but he thinks it will only take an hour or so.

7:13 - I head downstairs and get Riley a second bowl of cereal. Even though I lazed in bed for a bit I want to start doing things. As I've mentioned in previous posts, if I don't 'get up and go' I might never get the motivation to do anything all day. I find some dishes to wash, and a bathroom garbage to empty, and finally do a load of laundry that probably could have waited another day. Jesse leaves just before 8:00 and I make breakfast while Riley cuts a heart out of paper and then decorates it.  I sit down to eat eggs and a banana and get lost in a few games of solitaire. Riley comes into my home office and clearly needs my attention.

8:15 - I mention going into the basement and Riley gets excited to go on the walking machine. Jesse just got me a treadmill for my birthday (which isn't until next week). We were talking about how immobile I've become since working from home. I still get to the gym, but my daily step count without the gym is around 3300 and it's recommended that you hit 10,000. I'm not likely to bundle up at lunch time in the middle of the winter to go on a walk so I said it would be nice to have a treadmill at home. I suggested we look for a used one that folds up, but he got me one for standing at my desk. I really don't have the type of job where I can walk and work... for the most part. Plus, the treadmill is made to be with a special desk so now my desk (which is at standing height) is too short. Anyway, I love it, but it's a pain to move and you need to move it next to something since it doesn't have any railings to hold on to. I greatly appreciate his gesture so we'll make this one work one way or another.

Riley and I head downstairs and I repeat the rules of the treadmill to her (1.2 max speed, fully stopped before stepping on or off, only when dad or I are standing right there...). Once she's had her fill she plays and I attempt to turn on the TV in the next room (since the treadmill is currently facing that way), but something is wrong with the remote or TV so I have to move the treadmill towards my work computer and pull up Netflix there. Between walking on the treadmill and awkwardly moving it, my lower back ends up killing me. Riley eventually settles on Play-doh and I turn on I'll Have What Phil's Having, a travel food show. Riley stops and watches part of it too in fascination as Phil eat an ant (it tastes like crunchy lemon).

While I'm on the treadmill I see Lucy the cat sitting on the front plastic part for while. She wanders off, but then suddenly is on the treadmill in front of me, scrambling to get off, and I'm doing all I can not to trip on her and die. Since there are no bars to grab on to and the console is a separate device sitting on my desk in front of me, I'm not sure what to do, but Lucy finds her way off the death machine and I recover from the jarring experience.

9:20 - We go upstairs and I jump in the shower while Riley chases Lucy around. Jesse comes home when I'm in the shower and starts making Riley lunch. Once out of the shower, I look at the clock and point out that it's only 9:38, but he just shrugs and notes that Riley said she was hungry. I don't dispute that as she has been eating food left and right these days. She's totally going through a growth spurt as the pants I just bought a few months ago are already too short.

Jesse announces that he wants to get going to the Children's Museum as he anticipates it will be busy. I finish getting ready and grab Riley some clothes while she finishes eating.

10:15 - We all bundle up (it's 7 below outside) and head off to St. Paul.

We didn't realize the Children's Museum was under construction and some of the displays are closed, but it was all worth it  - especially when we got to the Disco room. Riley can be timid in many situations, but I knew she was really interested in this activity so we encouraged her to jump in. It was so interesting watching her slowly warm up to it, but then totally embrace it. She's a complete performer once she can get past the initial fear.

Bumped her nose on some plexiglass she didn't realize was there. 

Too short pants

Disco room!

12:30 - I'd worried that my back would be hurting during our excursion, but I am relived that I feel fine. We're all starving and luckily, I looked online before we left to find a restaurant nearby. I knew Mickey's was down the road and that my people had never eaten there, but then I discovered Ruam Mit Thai and knew we had to check it out. So glad we did. Often when we try new Thai places we have our regular dishes to help up compare it to our favorite (now gone, Chaing Mai Thai) so Jesse had the laab salad and I had the pad see yew, and we shared spring rolls (Riley had spring rolls and rice). We were very impressed with not only the food, but the level of service as well. I think this may have been the best pad see yew I've tried yet. If only it was closer to our house, but I'm sure we'll find a reason to come back.

Writing down what she saw at the Children's Museum

This reminds me of my childhood. I couldn't go across the street so I would walk down the block
and scream "Kara" over and over until my friend came out of her house. 

1:35 - We head back home and have Riley take a rest. She actually falls asleep which is good because she had an active morning and still has swim class later. I watch an episode of Daredevil  - a show that Jesse has recommended - while he goes downstairs to play a video game.

3:00 - I'm freezing (it's minus 1 now) and even a cup of hot tea can't seem to warm me up. I fold the laundry I washed earlier (which means that earlier I also put it in the dryer at some point) and then I go downstairs to cuddle with Jesse, but he seems pretty into his game. Instead, I go sit on the massage chair. It's  by a window that leaks big time, but I grab my heat pad, a blanket and my book. It doesn't take long my me to feel heavy lidded and once Jesse goes upstairs I decide to turn off the lights and take a little nap. I stay in the massage chair, but recline it back and curl up in a ball. I'm out.

4 ish - I hear a toilet flush and Jesse walk upstairs to wake Riley. I hear him walk down the creaky stairs alone which means she was out cold. I go back to sleep, but eventually hear a phone ring and decide to get up. I have a bad kink in my side that tells me sleeping in that chair wasn't the smartest choice, but I wanted to stay where the heat pad would still reach. I shuffle upstairs and snuggle with Riley. She's still really sleepy until the cat comes in and then she super awake.

When we go downstairs, Jesse sets Riley up with a snack and lets her play on her Kindle. Lucy and I join her for a bit and then she asks for more food so I oblige. At some point, she puts down the Kindle and makes an 'open' sign for our home office.

5:00 - It's time to get ready for swim class so I get Riley changed and all ready to go when I see it's only 5:06 and we don't need to leave until 5:15. I decide to finally check Facebook - the first time I've done so all day. It used to be something I checked all throughout the day, but I was getting sick of it so I made myself cutback. At first, I had to tell myself that I should do something else, but I'm at the point where I have to tell myself I should take a quick look to see what people are up to. It's still a time suck because I suddenly realize it's time to go. While I was lost in FB for those few minutes, my lovely husband went outside to warm up the car for me. Love him.

5:15 - We're off to swim class. I get in the car and go to close the door when I feel a snap in my rotator cuff on my left arm. It hurts really bad and I think for a moment that Jesse might have to drive anyway, but I buck up and head out. A few blocks away I make a right turn and something pops back into place in my arm, but it continues to hurt the rest of the evening (and after that too - I can't raise my arm up the next couple days without major pain). At least that pain in my side from sleeping on the massage chair is gone.

Jesse often takes Riley to swim class and I stay home and make dinner, but he doesn't like the winter logistics of changing her after class at the swim class building. They have a men's changing room or a woman's changing room and he always feels weird bringing her into the men's room. During the warmer months he'd just throw clothes over her swimsuit and bring her home wet, but it's too cold for that so I'm on swim class duty. I'm totally fine with that, but Jesse often gets her popcorn on the way out and I don't so I think she prefers to go with him. Also, that popcorn machine right by the door is many parent's nightmare. I hear so many arguments as parent's try to get their kid's out the door about this.

5:30 - We're informed that the swim teacher is running late, but we'll still get our 30 minute class. Riley was worried when she didn't see her swim teacher as she didn't like the guy who teaches the class before her's ("he say's kick, kick, kick too much" according to her). We're waiting for her favorite, Ali, to show up, but Zong walks in the door at 5:45. I'd never met Zong before, but had heard about him as Jesse thinks he is the best. I watch him with his small 2 person class and also agree that he is fantastic with these kids. He's challenging them while being super encouraging. Yay Zong.

6:30 - Finally home. Riley's eating noodles, a cheese stick, and crunchy green beans. I warm up some leftover chili and cornbread.

Showing me her homework page before dinner.

Mom, take a picture of this... all day long.

Still reading that book.

6:49 - We start Riley's bath and then Jesse gives her a bath while I start to write up some of this post.

7:28 - We head upstairs where Riley gets on her jammies, brushes her teeth and picks out a book for us to read together. Afterwards, I pick out 4 books and she sings the order she wants to read them in. She gives me a big hug and demands that I stay. She's done this the past few nights, but doesn't put up too much of a fight when I insist that I'm leaving.

7:50 - I head to the basement to watch Narcos with Jesse. We are slowly making our way through this show, but I would highly recommend it.

8:40 - After finishing an episode, we head up to our home office where I continue to write up this post while listening to the Yoga station on Pandora. Jesse monkeys around on his computer for a bit, but then goes upstairs to read at 9 pm.

10:10 - I finally head upstairs for bed. I check my Fitbit and have made it to 9600 steps today. Close enough to 10,000. I lay down, but once in bed I can't get settled. Was it the spicy pad see yew and later, spicy chili? Is it that I am super hot all of a sudden, especially my feet? I put on my sleep mask since that usually does the trick. It's magical how fast I can fall asleep with that on, but it's not working.

10:35 - I get up, go to the bathroom, and run cold water over my feet. I hop back in bed, put on my sleep mask and conk out. I have a relatively normal sleep night, but wake up three times instead of two and Riley gives me a second morning of getting to sleep in a little bit.

And that's our winter day in the life.