July 30, 2012

Nice Little Weekend at Home

With Lola being sick, we ended up planning our entire weekend around her and planned to stay home and relax with her the whole weekend.  That freaked me out just a little because I go a little stir crazy, but it was such a fun weekend.

Friday night, we picked up Lola and then we took a little nap.  The Bennewitz sisters did the nicest thing and brought over wine, whiskey and Mac & Cheese from Noodles.  They also brought gifts for the dogs.  It was so awesome to just hang out with them and eat good food and watch the CRAZY opening ceremonies.  The mixture of music/dance from each decade, children's literature, hospital beds and dancing Abe Lincoln's might have been a little too hard to follow for me.  Once all those crazy things were over, the procession of the athletes was classic and Paul McCartney did a wonderful job for an old man.  I love watching all the different counties come in with their outfits and see how many athletes each country sends to the Olympics.

The fireworks display was one of my favorite parts.  I also love the way that they lit the torch.

On Saturday, we brought Lola is for her check up.  Once we got home, it was go time.  We got everything pulled out of the guest bedroom because we are probably having some house guests early next week.  We moved everything around and finally decided that we are going to use New York as the inspiration for that room.  I will post pictures once it's all complete.  Justin also cleaned up the yard and the garage.  After a good 7 hours of cleaning activities, Katie & Annika came over to hang out for a while.  We played Pass the Pigs, which is one of the best games ever.  We also walked to Creamy Cone and helped Justin check something off his 30 Before 30 list.  He tried a new flavor of ice cream, cheesecake.  I advised him to add Oreo's to the cheesecake ice cream and he was quite pleased with the final product.  We got back from ice cream and decided to play Mario & Sonic Summer Olympics on the Wii.  My elbow hurt after three games of table tennis, but we did almost the entire circuit.  Apparently I've lost my touch a little on the Wii.

Saturday night, I slept for 11 1/2 hours.  I haven't done that in the longest time.  When I woke up and saw that it was almost 10:00 AM, I couldn't believe it.  I was happy that I had finally finished the 50 Shades of Grey last week.  I finally get to move on to some new books.  The third book actually had a good story, but it's still just too much for me.  I browsed through my "to-read" list and picked out a few to start.  Nicole called and said she wanted to head to St. Paul on Sunday afternoon, so we decided  to leave the house for a little while and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Nicole, Maddy, Justin & I went to the Como Zoo.  We saw all the animals and even used up an old Como Town ride card.

We returned home and watched the last Harry Potter movie while relaxing and cooling down.  After dinner, I was craving a cupcake really bad.  We had cake mix, but we didn't have any frosting.  We decided to roller blade over to my parents to get the chocolate frosting that they had left over in their cabinet.  I haven't roller bladed in a long time and my legs were working some muscles that have been relaxing for a while.  It felt good to sweat a little and work for my cupcake.  All in all, I think we spent about $20.00 for the food we made this weekend, yet we were able to keep ourselves busy with things around the house and just relaxing a little.  I think having a weekend like this once a month would be great for us.  We would get so much done and have a little more fun money in the bank.

Thanks to everyone that stopped over and visited Lola this weekend.  We have the best friends & family in the whole world.  Can't wait for wedding season to kick off.  Our first event is this Thursday night as we ramp up to celebrate Nicole & Brian's wedding Saturday!!

July 29, 2012

I Mustache You a Question...

So, we had a crazy week with Lola getting Pancreatitus and having to be admitted to the hospital.  She is home now and doing much better.  It was a horrible week.  We had lots of doctors appointments and lots of medicine to keep track of.  She also went from our thousand dollar dog, to our few thousand dollar dog.

We don't have children, so our dogs are very much our kids and we would do anything we possibly could do make sure they are healthy and happy.  These moments really test that and they are hard and you have to pray that you will be able to do something to make them better and healthier.  There were some moments of doubt while we were waiting on the ultrasound results, but once the doctor told us what she had and what needed to happen, I was ready to celebrate because I knew she would be OK.  Picking her up from the hospital was so nice and relieving.  We got home and I took a nap for the first time in a while.  It was just so nice to have her back and snuggling.

Quincy was a nervous wreck while she was gone, so he seems back to his normal self the last few days.  It feels good to have the whole family back in one piece under the same roof.  I also felt horrible that Justin couldn't make it to the Bachelor party he was supposed to go to this weekend.  I was concerned about Lola and if we needed to take her back to the ER, I don't know what I would have done by myself.  Not to mention, the amount of money we spent on these vet bills forced us to take it easy this weekend.

He has been growing an "epic mustache" for the last 5 weeks for this Bachelor Party and he didn't even get to show it off.  He even bought the groom a mustache comb.  He was pretty excited to shave on Friday though.  I think it gets to be a little overwhelming when your mustache hair is curling over your lip and into your mouth.  He shaved it a little bit at a time so he could see a few different styles.  Here are the phases of his stache...

July 24, 2012

Sweet Little Mackenzy is 4

My dear sweet Mackenzy,

You are four years old today.  You were the first baby in our family on either side.  You were our very first niece.

Before you arrived, we never really knew much about babies.  There was this precious little baby in ultrasound pictures due just one month before our wedding and we were excited to meet you.  I remember even going with your mom to one of her doctor's appointments while she was pregnant and listening to your heartbeat.  I remember thinking that your name would be either Emma, Kate or Lily... and then you came and your parents decided on Mackenzy (we nicknamed you Mack Attack for the first year at least).  I remember baby showers for your mom and trying to track down Disney paintings to decorate your room.  

You were our flower girl when you were one month old.  Even though you were so small, you told me just a month ago that you remember that day.  You remember when I got to dress like a princess and reminded me that you were really too little to be my flower girl and it was silly of me to pick you, but you were happy to be there.

I remember the first time we babysat in the fall.  You were so sick that day and I felt so bad.  I was almost relieved to find out it was an ear infection that was making you sad and it had nothing to do with whether or not you liked me.  Justin wouldn't hold you yet because you were too small, but he was a big fan of the "I love my uncle" bib I put on you for lunch.  Your uncle would do just about anything you asked him to.  Hopefully that doesn't get him into too much trouble in the future.

I remember how fun it was to discover kids toys all over again.  I would watch the morning show specials to find out what the coolest toys were for different age girls.  That's what good aunties do.  We got you a McDonald's gift card for Christmas when you were about 18 months old and you knew how to ring it through the cash register that Grandma & Grandpa G had got you.  We laughed so hard.  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was one of your favorites and the whole family had the Hot Dog song memorized.

We have had so much fun taking you on adventures.  We have been to the Circus, your first Twin's game, Disney on Ice, Underwater World, Como Zoo, Nickelodeon Universe, Okoboji and many more.  You helped us realize why being an auntie & uncle is cool - we get to do all the fun kid stuff and be the cool ones all the time.

I love that motorcycle was part of your vocab very early on.  You were never a messy baby and you were always quite dainty, but you LOVED a motorcycle.  Your uncle & I got you a pink motorcycle for your 2nd birthday with a matching Harley Davidson outfit.  I think your dad told you the batteries were dead within the first few weeks - annoying him for that long was worth it because you loved the heck out of the sound of the engine.

Watching you and Fayth together is another one of my favorite things.  I have a friend that has been my friend since the day we were born because our moms were best friends.  You & your sister are also quite amusing together.  You two are very different as well.

You recently learned the concept of secrets and I remember you in the backseat of our car telling us that you hear other people's secrets and you will tell us sometime what they are.  You also had an imaginary friend named Giant for a while.  Thankfully, he was never able to join you when you came to our house because he was busy.  I don't think we would have had enough room for him. 

Happy Birthday Kenzy.  We love you and can't wait to watch you get even bigger.  My favorite things about you right now:  your love of tutus and appreciation for fashion and dressing yourself, the never ending collection of barbies & princesses, the fact that you requested a microphone and guitar for your birthday and you use it while wearing a wig so you look like Taylor Swift, the fact that you never smile & look at the camera at the same time (but those rare moments when you do are amazing), the way you say tomorrow (sounds like to-my-yo) and the fact that you can watch a movie 75 times in a row and never get bored of it.

Kindergarten is fast approaching and I'm sure we will be able to witness more gymnastics, dance and hopefully a little soccer.  Reading and writing has already become a talent of yours as you get smarter each day.  Make sure you always keep a little bit of the princess side of you and definitely keep working on that musical talent.  I will miss the baby/toddler Kenzy, but I'm excited to see you grow up.

See you for our special birthday date on Thursday.

Auntie Steph

P.S. The song at the bottom make me think of you since you are the biggest Taylor Swift fan on the planet.

July 16, 2012

Participate in a 5k - Complete

Another item checked off my 30 before 30 list, Participate in a 5k.  On Sunday Morning, I ran as part of an all girls team in the Twin Cities Color Run.  It raised money for a charity called Open Your Hearts to the Hungry & Homeless - Website Here.  It was 90 degrees at 9:45 AM when we started the race through the fairgrounds, but I was easily distracted by the colorful world around me to let the heat bug me too much.  I ran almost the whole time (for just 2 blocks towards the end, I slowed to a walk, but sped back up again).

Please remember that until Sunday, the longest I have run since high school was about 1.5 miles and that was a struggle.  I've been doing the couch to 5k plan with my mom and we're only 4 weeks into a 10 week plan.  However, the best big sister (in law) in the world has something I admire, persistence.  That sounds like an annoying trait, but it's not.  I'm grateful for it.  She has become wildly addicted to running 5k races (what an unhealthy addiction, geez) and has been asking me to sign up for one.  You can only tell the nicest person in the world "no" a certain amount of times before you're forced to take a look in the mirror and understand why you are afraid.  I either had to say "yes" this time or tell her that I was too afraid, out of shape and self-conscious to participate in a fun run with her.

There is no good way to explain the race, so this will be more visual.  Enjoy!

Once I hit the finish line, I thought I would be so exhausted, but I drank two bottles of water and walked around a little so my legs wouldn't stiffen up and then I got a second wind.  I honestly felt like I could run the race all over again, but instead I went to Schroeder's and treated myself to 2 mimosas, a beer, scrambled eggs and two pieces of wheat toast with Strawberry Jelly.  We saw Spiderman in the theater (I couldn't be in a well lit public place even after my second shower) and then ordered pizza & watched Overboard at home.  It was such a great day.

Fast forward to today... I am so happy that I did the race.  I am a little sore and have had 2 showers, been attacked by the hose and used baby wipes and there are still a few traces of color left on my body.  I had so much fun with Holly & her friends.  She honestly is one of the easiest people in the whole world to be around.  I am so lucky.  Thanks Holly for helping me check one off my list (I don't think this will be my last race) and thanks Justin for coming to cheer us on and take lots of pics and thanks to the other ladies for not making me feel totally lame on my first attempt at running in a "race."  It's on to my next adventure...

July 12, 2012

Minnesota in the Big Magazines

Read the following article:

Northern Minnesota Road Trip -- National Geographic

You almost have to call it fate when one of my favorite places in the whole world is featured in National Geographic Traveler the very month that my subscription began.  Northern Minnesota is a place that holds a very special place in my heart.  Family vacations all took place in the same area of the world as I grew up.  Most families went to Disney World or Mount Rushmore, but we always went camping near the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota.  It was a place I loved so much that I chose to go to college for 4 years in Duluth, which is the gateway to the North Shore.  It's like living in New England, but with Midwest charm and a crazy accent (imagine the movie Fargo.)

I am looking forward a few weeks with a little anxiety because of the lack of lazy and free time.  However, I do have something in the beginning of September to look forward to.  That sounds bad, I am looking forward to all the weddings we are a part of this summer.  I LOVE weddings.  It is the full calendar that is a little overwhelming.  My husband and I are taking our anniversary trip to the North Shore this year using a gift certificate from my parents.  We took a day trip last year, but we were not able to get out of town like we usually do.  So, this is what I'm looking forward to (and the article helped remind me.)  Always find something peaceful to get excited about in your future...

And this was the picture from Random Acts of Kindness website today that I loved as well.  It makes me think of our anniversary vacations.  I seriously have the best husband ever and we have an absolute blast together.  I'm sad he was travelling the state of Kansas without me this week and tonight he was able to stop at his cousins' house in Iowa and hang out with her and her boys... totally jealous.  Can't wait to see him tomorrow.

July 5, 2012

Happy Birthday America.

Fourth of July is one of the best holidays.  Everyone in the community is invited to celebrate.  It doesn't matter what religion or ethnicity you are.  It's all about celebrating freedom and equality and being grateful for the opportunities presented to us and saying thank you to those who fought for these freedoms throughout our past.  We celebrated all weekend in the blistering heat.

 Team "Run Fo-est" kicked off July with the Warrior Dash at Afton Alps.  Justin and the girls made it in 56 minutes and crossed the finish line together.  The weather was extremely hot and humid that day.  Their race was in the morning, but it was already nasty out.  There were quite a few hills throughout the race, but Justin seemed pretty prepared for the obstacles and didn't struggle as much during the race.  He was very proud of his accomplishments and after a few showers and a nap, he was ready to go on the next adventure.  Congrats to the whole team.  I have a feeling this will not be their last adventure race.  Looking forward to watching them attack Go Commando and possibly even the Tough Mudder next year.  I'm not so sure that I will be joining them, but I could at least be at the next one to cheer them on from the sidelines.

While they were running, I was celebrating my sister-in-law's upcoming nuptials at her wedding shower.  We enjoyed mimosas and cheesy potatoes.  I spent some much needed time with my three favorite girls in the entire world.

They just kept saying cheese and it was hard to resist.  After the morning's activities, we all had to get ready our Haunted History Tour of St. Paul.  It probably was not a good idea to sign up for an evening event after those three have raced.  The temperature was still near 100 degrees and the tour was completely ridiculous.  Our tour guide only talked about ghosts and possibly could have been one herself... I know, that's inappropriate, but we were not happy with the $40 and 2.5 hours we had given this company.  Going into it, I was the only one with any energy...

Annika didn't seem very happy that I was snapping pictures of her cooling off in the fountain.  Justin & Katie weren't even paying attention to me.  The smile on my face was quickly wiped away and matched everyone else once I realized what kind of "adventure" would have signed up for.

The most exciting things we learned in the 2.5 hours:

1. Nina had a brothel and that's who the coffee shop is named after by Katie & Annika's apartment
2. There is a $10 million Scientology church in St. Paul
3. F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in St. Paul (Oh yeah, I ALREADY knew that.)

It was super lame and I do not recommend it to anyone.  Groupon is bound to fail us every once in a while.  That should mean that the next couple we purchase will be awesome.

On the 4th, we took the drive to the Northern suburbs to celebrate with both friends & family.  Before we left, we took the annual pictures with the dogs:

That hat kills me.  I brought out my inner Martha Stewart and brought a fruit flag.  Thank goodness I took a picture before we left the house because the bananas didn't look so great after 3 hours.  I even added some mini marshmallows as "stars."

The party at the Simon's did not disappoint.  Even though it was unbearable outside, we managed to make it all work and have a blast doing it.  They had a puppy pool, a big kid pool and a slip & slide.

Nothing like a few grown men slipping and sliding on the $8.00 version made for children.  Needless to say, the slip & slide only lasted about 2 hours before it popped and could not be repaired.  We were lucky enough to meet the newest addition to the Simon family, Gauge.  He is a 7 week old red lab that has the biggest paws and a wrinkly face and he really enjoyed chewing on the patriotic necklaces we brought.

It's also totally normal for the boys to put a Go Pro on and push all the girls into the pool.  Real cool boys.

We stopped in Champlin for dinner and a swim at Justin's mom & dad's house.  We played with Tyler (J's cousin's little boy) and he lit his first sparkler.  The amusement and excitement that little kids have the first time they see a sparkler or firework up close is one of my favorite parts of this holiday.  We were a little too tired to head anywhere for fireworks, so we rushed home to take care of the baby.

Sorry for the long post.  Hopefully I won't wait as long in between posts next time.  Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July and enjoy the hot sweaty weekend coming up.  Cheers to Gauge (you found a great home for yourself), sparklers and Bahama Mama's (Justin's drink of choice for the holiday.)