February 27, 2013

Insta-Gratitude Days 57-63

It's Wednesday and it's usually the day of the week that I struggle the most, but today, I'm feeling pretty good.  I had the best girl's night with my nieces last night.  They busted out the karaoke machine and had a serious Taylor Swift dance party.  There was a bit of arguing, but it can easily be solved with M&M's and logic.  I am getting much better about taking short videos of these moments.  The first is Kennedy singing Happy Birthday as a lullaby to the new little 2 week old baby that she met last night.

And the other two girls had just settled the argument about who was going to be Taylor for this song.  

So, I know you're all jealous that your entertainment on a Tuesday not quite as amazing and awesome as watching these kiddos in action.  All of this is what is keeping me in a great mood this morning.  

Day 57:  Hopology from Sam Adams - each one was AMAZING

Day 58: Working from home in the afternoon.  I get a million things done with a nice view of my backyard.

Day 59:  My little brother actually thought to bring me a gourmet cupcake from the place he had tried.  It was SOOO good.
Day 60: Helping my niece learn to skate - she did AWESOME.

Day 61:  Playing a game of f**k, marry, kill with a group of friends to finish up Sunday Funday - these 3 came up and there might have been a full discussion on our choices.

Day 62:  Getting excited to see the girls on girl's night.  This little angel let me take this picture a few months ago at her dance class.

Day 63:  Welcoming Kendall to their girl's club.  They were so sweet with the new baby and it was a fun girl's night as always. 

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever had enough." - Oprah Winfrey

Sorry I'm NOT Sorry

Legit, one of my favorite phrases.  Found the hot pink button shown at the bottom and decided to jump on board.

Sorry, I'm not sorry that...

...I dress like a 75 year old man (or B. Spears - love you girl) when I run errands on weekends... gross sweatpants, a coffee stained t-shirt and whatever house shoes haven't had the bottoms worn out yet.

...I like the Real Housewives of New York.  I even liked Washington DC.  Sorry they aren't your favorite, but I love each and every group of crazy rich women - deal with it and I can't pick a favorite.

...One of my top moments from 2012 was meeting Andy Cohen, even though Anna and I froze up and had NOTHING clever to say.  We spend hours each week making you richer, yet we can't even put together a sentence for you.  I am a little sorry to Andy for that.

...I didn't like 50 Shades of Grey.  Sorry, I just didn't, but I tried and read all three.  I would like those hours of my life back.

...I eat cupcakes too much.  I could eat them for every meal because there are sooo many kinds.

...I talk to my dogs like they are people.  I can see them roll their eyes sometimes, but I just ignore it.

...I will rock a temporary tattoo anytime my nieces do because they are fun and a little dangerous.

...I only "run" to get fun stuff from the races, i.e. sweatshirts, medals and energy bars.

...I always have my thumbs up in pictures.  I guess I never know what to do what my hands.

...I'm incapable of making normal faces in pictures.  I always have an extremely exaggerated smile, which leads to my next one.

Sorry I'm not sorry that I'm having more fun than you about 85% of the time.  It's not my fault.

Check out the link below... Happy Hump Day.

February 26, 2013

The Magical Kingdom

Every little girl watches the beginning of every Disney movie as they outline the castle and thinks that someday her wishes and dreams will come true... advice to these young girls - have realistic dreams.  I stuck with the dream that one day I would be able to see Cinderella's castle in real life and it finally came true.

Growing up, my parents took us camping for almost every single family trip.  I wish I had a photo handy of these magical moments in the boundary waters of northern MN.  Don't get me wrong, I adore the north shore on Lake Superior and even chose to go to college there, but I was one of THOSE kids that had never been to the magical world that is Florida.  Finally, my brother called me in November and said that he and his girlfriend were thinking about heading to Orlando and asked if we'd be interested.  Yep.  Even better, we all got to experience the Magic Kingdom for the first time together (except my husband - he's a regular.)

We got there first thing in the morning and watched Mickey Mouse roll in on his train.  I cried when they did the park opening... I wish I was kidding.  Why do you think I didn't take my sunglasses off all day??  Now that I think about it, my brother wore his sunglasses all day too... Does he look like a crier?  Good thing he doesn't read my blog.

Of all four Disney parks, I was most excited about this one and now that I've seen it, it's probably my third favorite.  Doesn't mean I don't love it, but seriously... no food for vegetarians.  We didn't make any reservations anywhere, so that might be part of the problem, but I survived all day off of candy, apples and grapes.  Also, no beer anywhere.  I got really excited when we got to Gaston's Tavern and I ordered a Lefou's brew.  Don't be fooled friends, that is just frozen apple juice with some sort of marshmallow topping.

We did all the rides we wanted to do pretty early in the day, so we were able to circle back to a few.  Space Mountain was AWESOME.  I kicked Justin's butt at the Buzz Lightyear Space Adventure.  We saw two different parades.  We did the ride that never ends - I mean It's A Small World.  Pirates was really cool.  The new Under the Sea ride was also one of my favorites.

We had a blast with Tim, Jen and her family.  We took them to the Haunted Mansion and they did Space Mountain with us.  We also spent some time waiting in line for different characters, but we gave up each time because the lines were so long.  I would recommend meeting characters at Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom unless you're doing a character breakfast - which is a must when we go back with the nieces.

This might sound a little cheesy, but I don't think my brother and I have ever had a more fun day together.  We didn't fight at all and genuinely seemed to enjoy the fact that the other was there.  Love my little brother and I'm glad we got to experience Disney together.

WARNING:  Not a real tavern - I repeat - NO BEER.
A few things happened to us other than the food/drink situation.  My husband was sure that Splash Mountain would be my favorite... and then this happened:

The other part of Magic Kingdom he was excited for me to see was the Main Street Electrical Parade... guess what - that doesn't happen every night.  We did get to see an amazing laser light show that takes place on the front of Cinderella's castle.  We also got to see Belle's castle and Prince Eric's castle from Little Mermaid - both were new to Justin.  They are working on Snow White's castle/ride and we definitely saw the Tangled tower behind some construction barriers.  I have to say that the castle's were everything I wanted them to be.  I have raised the stakes now and I'm trying to figure out how to get the suite in Cinderella's castle.

Beauty & the Beast Castle

Little Mermaid Castle
THE Castle
Tangled Tower
I can't wait to go back there with the little princesses in my life.  It really was magical.  The fireworks were amazing.  Thanks for being awesome Walt Disney and having crazy awesome dreams.  My hat is off to you.


February 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

Totally random, but I found this today and encourage you to try it out.  You just type in your information and explore the blog world - around you or far away.  Maybe you are curious about people that live in Kansas - have they ever been to OZ?  Or maybe you just like seeing pictures of sunshine so you check out Arizona.

On to my weekend,  I barely left my house and it was amazingly awesome.  Friday night, my whole family came over for a little happy hour at my house.  My brother and Jen were in town for the weekend just checking out some suburbs.  I'm not getting my hopes up yet, but it sounds like she is applying for some jobs in the Twin Cities and possibly saying goodbye (temporarily) to South Dakota.  They brought us cupcakes from Cupcake on University.  HOW HAVE I NEVER BEEN THERE?  Check out their website if you're local and make it part of your plan next weekend.  
Saturday was our big adventure out this weekend.  My niece has been asking to go skating since January and this weekend was clear on everyone's calendar, so we made it happen.  My sister in law, Holly, and her family came down to St. Paul and we went skating.  It was both of the girls' first times.  Kennedy might be a little too young, but she is pretty fearless and tried a few times.  She had way more fun being pushed around on the chair or laying on the ice and letting us pull her.  
Kenzy did such a good job for her first time.  She pushed the chair for a while and then switched to just holding hands and before the first hour was up - she was able to do this:
I have coached lots of kids through their first time on the ice and I would say she is in the top 10%.  She didn't give up and she had lots of fun.  She learned how to get up on her own - which is one of the hardest things.  I can't wait to take her again.
We followed up skating with lunch which was amusing.  Kennedy decided to play dress up with all my accessories.  That girl loves an iphone.  She is two, but she knows how to turn the camera around so she can see herself and she was able to take 19 self portraits within in the first 30 seconds.  

Saturday afternoon was spent lounging around.  I finished the 3rd Nora Roberts book in the bride quartet and made a vegetable soup in the crock pot   We had a nice warm dinner and then took the dogs for a walk. They were so happy to be out running around in the nice weather.  After dinner, we curled up for a movie.  We watched We Bought a Zoo.
I'm not a Scar Jo fan, but I love Matt Damon so much that she didn't bug me in this movie.  I loved this story and the little girl in this movie was so adorable.  This is the first movie in a while that I would purchase and watch numerous times.
Sunday morning was relaxing.  We made vegetarian chili in the crock pot for lunch and had AMAZING corn bread muffins.  I must have the taste buds of a southern girl because I love corn bread.  We had lunch with my in laws and chatted about our Disney trip - I just can't talk about it enough.  After lunch, we headed over to Minneapolis to Bloody Mary Sunday Funday at Brady & Kelsey's.  We had a good afternoon eating banana cream pie and enjoying bloody's and playing guitar hero.  Last night, we watched the Oscars.  I have just a few thoughts.
  • Seth McFarlane did way better than I thought he would.
  • I love Harry Potter - especially when he's dancing and singing.
  • Red heads are taking over Hollywood.
  • I really can't stand Kristen Stewart and I can't figure out why she was there.
  • I love Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Day Lewis and I'm totally OK with both of them winning.
  • Anne Hathaway is getting better at being a normal person at awards shows, but she should keep her nips under control... not attractive.
  • Jennifer Lawrence falling down was a great moment and she recovered beautifully.
  • I love musicals.
  • I missed Gary Busse barking at people on the red carpet.
  • E's "mani-cam" was dumb.
  • I loved Sam Jackson's velour suit.
That's all for my weekend.  Now, I'm going to read about other people's more exciting adventures :)

February 22, 2013

Drink the World, Travel to Space (Epcot)

Everyone I spoke to that had gone to Epcot as a child said it was the worst.  No roller coasters or fun shows to see.  I've come to the conclusion that it is really fun if you are of legal drinking age - then you can go on the "drink the world" tour and it is amazing!!!!

We arrived to Epcot around 1:00 PM on Thursday and I was officially at Disneyworld.  Alice in Wonderland was being her usual weird self and jumping on and off benches right at the gate when we walked in.  Side note: this led me to believe that characters run through the parks all day long so I kept waiting to see them... that isn't reality - more on that later. We decided to head straight to the Soarin' ride and get a Fastpass (thank you book of Disneyworld secrets.)  Our Fastpass time was six hours out, so we started to head around the World Showcase.  This is literally a circle of "countries" surrounding a large lake and each one has food, beverages and shopping set up in buildings that are designed to look like the countries themselves.

We started in Mexico with the boat ride and some shopping - no tequila or burritos.  We briefly walked through Norway - mostly so I could tell my Grandma.  The fun began when we arrived in Germany - those are my people.  Beer, beer and pretzels.

It's amazing how a cold beer can help keep my annoyed feelings towards large crowds of people quiet.  We continued our stroll around the world and stopped in Morocco.  By this time, I had figured out that you had to wait in line to meet characters.  LAME.  I was still sure that this was only an Epcot rule and that's probably why my friends didn't love this place when they were younger.  So, instead, Justin & I started creeping on the characters using the zoom on the camera while we sat on a curb with our beer.  Looking back, we totally looked creepy.

And yes, I'm wearing the same outfit from Universal because we were brave enough to conquer the two parks in one day.  Do you understand now why we found beer so quickly?  We had already fit in an entire day of activities and it wasn't even 2:00 PM.  Lunch time?  Nope, it was dessert time.  We had found Italy and decided to wander into Tutto Gusto (means everyone's taste) and find out if they have Cannoli's and wine.  We were in luck!  We sat in a nice little room with couches and ordered a flight of red wine and a Cannoli to split.  I highly recommend this place - the service was UNREAL.


After leaving Italy, we headed towards Japan.  We needed some real food.  They had beautiful gardens everywhere and as we walked through the flowers and ponds, we saw two things that we needed immediately - Sake and Sushi.  I had never had Sake - other than Sake bombs at Chino Latino in Minneapolis.  I surprisingly really liked two of the three that we tried.  The most traditional - we made the mistake of just drinking it quickly and it's something that is supposed to be sipped... I don't do well with those drinks.

We buzzed quickly through England and Canada.  We walked through shops in England (and bought my dad some guitar picks) and we watched a band in Canada that were all wearing lumberjack shirts.  Our last country was France.  I had read that you MUST try desserts and champagne in France... weird, that's exactly what we did.  I pretended to be able to understand them when they spoke French and then I would tell my husband what to say back.  He's such a good sport.  It was here that I realized that it doesn't matter how expensive champagne is, I just like it better when it's mixed with something.  I obviously didn't let it go to waste.  Oh yeah, and we creeped on Belle.  She is my favorite princess.

We got back to our ride and I was a little tipsy from all my sampling.  Soarin' is a ride where you feel like you are hang gliding over California.  It was awesome and totally worth getting a fast pass for.  We also checked out their boat ride that explains what the scientists at Epcot are doing as far as farming and food production.  Since I've recently become always been a geek, it was really interesting to see all the different ways to grow fruits & vegetables.  Spaceship Earth is what is housed in the giant golf ball that everyone in America could recognize.  It is a cheesy trip through time, but I recommend that as well.  We laughed at the end when it shows you in the future.  Apparently, my robot is going to take care of my dogs - they are so high maintenance.

At the end of the day, I give Epcot an A+ for good food, good drinks, lots of variety and a very good time.  If you have children with you, they have a few new things that keep the kiddos busy - some sort of secret spy mission.  I saw quite a few parents actually enjoying themselves while the kids tried to solve clues in each country.  I was watching because I was wishing that I was a kid so it wouldn't be totally weird that I wanted to participate in a secret spy mission... but I had a few drinks, so that could have been part of it.

Happy Friday!!


February 20, 2013

Insta-Gratitude Days 50-56 (and a little WTF)

Today is just one of those days.  I'm wearing pants that are begging to be returned to the 1960's.  They are green corduroys that I've had since high school and I finally looked at myself in the mirror and said WTF?  I need a serious wardrobe makeover.  As I'm finally realizing that this is a serious issue, I look in my lunch bag to see what I packed for a morning snack and this is what I pull out.

I can't even get my picture to rotate... but seriously?  Am I an active participant in my life?  I must have a four year old pack my lunch and buy my groceries and a fifteen year old dress me.  I'm giving myself an intervention.  Good thing I have the following things that I'm grateful for... and it's a damn good thing that I have found a husband, because there's no way I'm attracting anything of the opposite sex with my current lifestyle.  Must think classy...

Here are the things I was grateful for last week:

Day 50:  The excitement of Kelsey when I brought her the Hogwarts keychain from Harry Potter world.
 Also, I must say how excited I am that she created her own 30 Before 30 list and started a blog in the last week.  I had a blast drinking lots of wine helping her create and set up her new blog this week.  Check her out at Witty Wanderlust.

Day 51:  Lola's birthday!!!!  Also, Valentine's Day, but the birthday of my only daughter is higher on my priority list.  She is seven years old now and I'm still as obsessed with her as I was the day we adopted her.

Day 52:  Spending time with all three nieces.  This is Kennedy's new "smile" - I feel very confident that I am not responsible for teaching her duck lips, but I do find lots of enjoyment out of doing it with her and taking photos.
Day 53:  My husband and his friend - both exhausted from a hardcore game night (this photo was before midnight) and seriously, maybe Justin needs  wardrobe intervention too... that is a Star Wars sweatshirt with goggles... maybe that's why our marriage works.
Day 54:  I know, I'm obsessed with my dogs.  But even though they have completely different personalities, I like to think they swap comfort secrets.
Day 55:  An accountability partner - yes, she's my running partner sometimes, but more than anything, she holds me accountable.  If I make a plan with her, I feel extra pressure to actually follow through.  This led to me running 3 miles Monday with a below zero windchill.  Don't worry, I've already sent her this message:

Day 56:  This little gem was floating around Facebook the last few days.  It is a picture of one of my best friends, Katie, participating in track and field day??  The socks/sandals combo + fanny pack + matching shirt/headband + multi-colored shorts = My favorite picture of her EVER.  
Hope you have a fantastic second half of your week.  I will be working diligently on becoming more classy...