Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apples, apples and more apples

We are definitely an apple-loving family. One of our favorite fall activities is going to local apple orchards and picking our own. I've already been once a few weeks ago with just me and the kids. (I love the Honey Crisp apples and they are VERY popular, so you have to go right away when they are ripe.)

Then this weekend we went again because Steve's favorite apple, Galas, were ready. We tried a different apple orchard this time, and it was GREAT! The other apple orchard we usually go to is a little gimmicky. It's nice and cute and all, but they have this kid "play area" that they conveniently charge for. And while I don't mind that so much, you have to pay with tickets. So you have to estimate your ticket needs and such...too much work.

But this new place is great. You actually drive into the orchard, right up to the trees you want to pick from and then get out from there. It's a great family-run place that is truly out in the country.

So between the apples and the Brewers making the playoffs, it's been a good weekend for us. Here are a couple of pictures from our adventures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Running the Race

On Saturday, Jack and Anna got to do the "fun run." The fun run was total chaos with hundreds of kids around. But at least they held the races by age groups and by heats of 10. Jack and Anna were so excited to participate. Anna ran 25 yards and Jack 50. They both did great and no crying (like some of the little kids early on.) Anyway, there was no "winning," but let's just say that everyone else in Anna's group ate her dust! Jack's race was pretty close, though. Here are some photos. *NOTE: The first picture it's a little hard to see Jack, but he's on the far edge. As his Grandma put it, "That nasty little girl in the striped pants kept crowding him over." :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The "poor me" post

WARNING: There might be excessive whining in this post.

I am tired and sore. Today was our half marathon. I didn't think 13 miles would be a big deal, but it is. Well, let me explain. (And here's where the whining comes in.)

First, I have weird feet. I've always known's genetic. I have really high arches and have had bunions ever since I was a kid. So right now as I'm sitting here, the most sore part of my body is the top of my foot, on top of my crazy arches. They are in so much pain.

The second thing is that I suddenly decided that I should run part of the half marathon today. Yeah, I guess it wasn't enough to walk 13 miles. I thought it would be fun to run part of it, too. I'd walk one mile and then run the next. I did this for about 4-5 miles total. But I got really sore as the run went on and just resorted to walking at the end.

But aside from being tired and sore, it was a really good experience. It was really cool to see the full marathon runners pass me toward the end. It's crazy to think they can run 26 miles in the time it takes me to walk 13. There were great volunteers and people cheering the whole way. It was fun to see the community come together for something like that. So it was really cool to be part of the experience. And by the way, my sister-in-law, Maggie, and mother-in-law, Vicki, both did the half marathon with me. They did great, too. Even Vicki with a gimp knee. (Sorry to phrase it that way Vic.)

I once thought I wanted to work my way up to run a half marathon. But I'm starting to think I'll stick to the 5K. I'll blame it on my funky feet. Ask Steve, they are freakish.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gymboree & Birthday Greetings for Tina

The two subjects have absolutely nothing to do with one another, but I have two things to write about tonight. So those are the breaks, kid.

First off, I went to Gymboree tonight. (For those who don't know, Gymboree is like a "cool" kids clothing store. It's not a snobby boutique, but it's definitely a step up from say Target. Though we do love Target, for the record.) Anyway, the kids needed a few more items to complete their fall and winter wardrobes. My friend, Amber, shops here all the time, and I always insisted I wouldn't be sucked in. Guess what? I totally got sucked in...$200 later and $100 worth of "Gymbucks," which you can use for later purchases, I finally left. I gotta say, though...the only way to shop that place is for sale items. I got some really, really good deals on the sale racks. (That's what we always tell ourselves, right?) My super smart friend, Amber, told me seasonal changes are the best time to shop them. She was right.

And by the way Heather, they have some GREAT boy pants in there that aren't just jeans. I was very happy with the selection and think that alone was worth my trip.

Now on to more important business. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TINA!!! She turns 28 tomorrow (Thursday). It's crazy to think my best friend live hundreds of miles away, but that's the case here. Tina and I had some "non-talking" years after high school, but I'm glad we reunited. This girl is a wonderful, giving person. She's the kind of person that would do anything to help you out. Plus, she's this great dresser, smart, crafty girl who is a great photographer. I hope you have a great birthday Tina. Here's a picture of us from the Mall of America. And you know I must especially like her because this is a great picture of her but a lame picture of me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've entered a new area of parenthood. Tonight I went to my first PTA meeting at Jack's new school.

I'm a big advocate of public schools. Coming from a family of educators, I know how hard these teachers and administrators work. So I was all excited to attend my first meeting.

After dropping Jack off in the gym to play, I went into the meeting and was shocked to see only a handful of people. The kids brought home notes in their folders and we even got a reminder phone call at home about the meeting. The "officers" of the group (mostly teachers) were there, and then there were probably 4 to 5 just "regular" parents there. The officers were ecstatic that there were so many parents there. Yes, people. There are more than 300 kids at that school, and the PTA was excited to have 5 parents. Yikes! That's sad, isn't it?

Steve tells me this sounded typical to him, but it seems crazy to me. I mean, it's only one meeting every couple of months. And they provide free child care! Seems like a simple commitment to me, but I don't know. I admit I'm a "joiner" type of person. (Unlike my friend Jamie who simply insists that she is not a joiner.)

Anyway, it was a good meeting. I'm already volunteering to cut Box Top lids or something like that. I don't know. I'm kind of crazy about wanting to help out with that stuff. Since I work full-time, I'm extra sensitive about still getting to do stuff with my kids' schools. So a lot of times, I end up being that overachiever mom. Oh well, it gives me something to do.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Countdown to Half Marathon

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my mother-in-law talked some of us into walking a half marathon on Saturday. Now it's not like my friend, Amanda, who will actually be running this same half marathon. But still, walking for 13 miles is definitely a commitment.

I've been doing pretty good with running and exercising and whatnot. Some weeks I do great, and then others I don't. But in this past week, I've really been working hard to get my exercising in. It's back to the Jillian DVDs. She's really good at strengthening me overall and improving my endurance. So I hope to stick with Jillian workouts this week. Wish me luck. I fear her more than the half marathon walking!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One more thing...

By the way. The best part of the story (below) is that my wonderful husband didn't even question me. "Maybe Jack will want to be Spiderman for one Halloween event and then a Power Ranger for another," he said.

He's come to know me well over the years. :)

Yes, I have a problem

I've always been a girl who loves a bargain. I blame my mom; she's the best bargain hunter I know. She used to give us a budget for back-to-school clothes shopping. I learned really fast that my money would buy a lot more if I was a smart shopper.

I don't know what it is about finding a good deal...I think it's because it gives me an immediate feeling of satisfaction. But honestly, the best part of finding a good deal is the hunt! "Bargain" places are just so-so for me. It can be fun, but you're expected to find bargains there. The real pleasure for me is discovering bargains where you don't expect them. For instance, I was at Target today and just happened to find some great jewelry and good-smelling candles (not the stinky leftovers) that were all 75% off. I think it made my whole day.

But back to the title of the I have a problem. I've been searching for craft items at Goodwill lately because I'm planning to make a lot of our Christmas presents this year. Earlier in the week when I was there, I just happened to come across a cute princess dress as well. Well that lucky find of the princess dress led to a horrible obsession of me hitting three more Goodwill stores today. (Jeez, it really was three; I'm kind of embarrassed.)

My sole purpose of going was to find other cool costumes. Not that we need mom is making Anna a princess with wings costume (her request), and I bought Jack a Power Rangers costume off of eBay. But I still went, eager to stock our budding dress-up bin. With all my trips to Goodwill, I ended up with the following:

  • Spiderman costume (dress-up)
  • Dory fish costume from Nemo (I don't know why)
  • Cinderella dress-up dress (dress-up)
  • Fairy dress-up dress with wings (dress-up)
  • 2 pairs of wings (I know someone who needs wings for a butterfly costume, honestly!)
  • 2 Incredibles costumes (because they had 2 and now Jack and Anna can pretend together!)
  • Dalmation costume (won't even fit my kids, it was just so darn cute)
Looking at the list, I'm kind of shocked at my obsession. Of course, it's not like a spent a lot of money on these. But still, I admit it's kind of crazy.

I'll likely end up selling Dory and the dalmation on eBay. Unless anyone out there needs them. (Any takers? Here's your chance!) One thing is for sure, though. We're going to have the coolest dress-up bin around.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Day of School

I've been a neglectful blogger. Sorry about that.

Jack started "big kid" school yesterday. He goes for about 2 1/2 hours in the mornings. Our daycare buses him over and then goes and picks him up before lunch. I was excited that I got the chance to experience taking him in for his first day. I was there with all the other proud mothers, cameras and hands and nervous as can be.

Jack did really great until I came to pick him up and I informed him that I would then be taking him back to his old school. "No! You take me home!" he said. The next 1/2 hour went from bad to worse. He did NOT want to go back into his "old school." He cried and screamed and made a big scene. At some point, he even whacked his head on the door because he was trying to keep me from leaving. Looking back, I now realize that I never should have gone to pick him up myself. I should have just let the bus go and pick him up. Oh well, I'll know for next time.

Today, Steve took him into school, and Jack was very excited to tell me about riding the bus to and from school. I think it was the best part of his day. "I get to ride the bus every day, right Mommy?" he asked. I assured him he would, and this made him very happy.

Here are a couple of pictures of Jack on his first day. I had to take one from behind to show how big his backpack is. They insisted on the kids having full-size backpacks to hold library books and folders and such. (Watch out Am; that cute backpack will eventually need to be replaced!)

And just so I'm not leaving Anna out, here's a picture of her in a princess dress-up outfit we found at Goodwill. We were there looking for craft supplies, as I'm on this big kick to make our Christmas gifts this year. When we found this dress and then a leotard with a tutu attached, we just couldn't resist. She love, love, loves them.