Hello from LA!

Got here Tuesday around lunch and have been pre-prepping for the holiday shoot and last night was our first night on set. Things are going well- I'm glad I came at the beginning to help get everything off to the right start. Here is a picture of Jackie and I (my best work friend- short brown hair on my left) and our agency team from New York.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Bennett is playing super dad. Pico had to go to the vet with an ear infection, Davis had his first night at church choir, he's been installing a condensation pump in the basement, they attended family breakfast today at Ds school, and he has also been collecting and printing five pictures for Holden's show and tell today. She was so funny- she told us about this project- and she was so excited and also had VERY specific ideas around which pictures she wanted to bring. She wanted "one of you and daddy getting married, one of her when she was a baby, one of our whole family, one of nikki and honey, and one of her and elsa..." I wish I could be there to hear her tell her friends about each picture and why it is special. 

And then yes- I signed Davis up for church choir. You know, he wants to be a singer and learn to play the guitar and I have been looking into guitar and where he could sing, etc and then I got an email from our church telling me about kids choir. So I signed him up and they went Wednesday and he really loved it. I hope they do a performance- I would love to see that.

And here are some pictures Bennett has sent me this week:

This is Holden, drawing me. And then apparently she cut my arms and legs off, trying to cut me out of the paper. :-)

Family breakfast at Highlands...

I cannot wait to get home! We shoot from 9:30 pm to 7:30 am tonight and then I fly home tomorrow afternoon.

 

 

Big Weekend.

This weekend we are celebrating Bennett's birthday- I will be out of town on his actual birthday- so Saturday is the new day this year! Then Sunday we are having Sloane over- the day has finally come. 

Then begins our weeks of craziness...next week I leave for LA to shoot the first part of our holiday campaign. I come back Saturday night and then Bennett starts his work events- Sunday-Monday he has GC convention and then Wednesday through Sunday he is hosting a bunch of people from across the country to the Ryder Cup- which is here this year...which is apparently a big deal.

Then we are both home for three days and then Honey comes and I leave for New York for two days while Bennett heads to Dallas for three days, then I get home that Saturday and then I leave Sunday for the 2nd part of my shoot in LA. The shoot is four weeks long. So I'm actually covering very little of it.

Anyway- then we are finally home for a few days and then I think the four of us are going to Disney. Oh my Lord, time is going to fly...

Here goes! In the meantime, some recent pictures.

Holden, in her chosen attire, being Police Girl in our driveway.

Looking sharp for school...

Holden had a plantar's wart frozen off on Thursday- she had named him Mr. Slappypack...and I think she will sort of miss him. Never has a person loved their plantar's wart quite like she did.

More later!

My Ebenezer.

Church is back in season, people. We went to the 11:00 service Sunday and the building was nearly busting at the seams with all the locals who are done going to their cabins for the weekend. And the service was awesome- the pastor talked about what an Ebenezer is- and frankly- I had no idea. Essentially, Ebenezer is a hebrew word that means "stone of help"...and the whole sermon was asking you to think about when and how God has been your Ebenezer. (How many times can I say 'ebenezer' in one paragraph? I know.)

Anyway, I thought long and hard about when and where I can look at my life and just know that God has been there for me- where God has been my rock. And at first, I couldn't think of anything...and then I realized that Minneapolis is my ebenezer.

I had no idea how much I needed to be here. But God did. I had no clue about Davis' ADHD and his need for amazing doctors and teachers and school support systems. I had no idea how much I needed to grow, how much I could learn, but God did. I had no idea how much our marriage would need to grow, and how we would need to have to figure it out ourselves, without the distraction of best friends, or the non-stop support/involvement of family. In every way- when I think about moving to Minneapolis and the things we have learned here and the things we have realized we needed, I know that before I knew what I/we needed, God knew. And while that may not sound like much as a 2nd hand story- I can't stop thinking about how God worked to get me here because He knew what I would need. And how if I had not trusted Him, I would have been blocking the help he wanted to give me. It's crazy to think that someone cares enough about you to go before you- and that if you just trust Him- your life can be changed for the better.

It's very amazing to me and I feel very thankful and even emotional about it. 

And...here are some other fun pictures from the weekend:

I found this really cool "Paint by Stickers" activity book at the company store at work...I knew Davis would love it- and he spent most of Saturday morning creating pictures by sticker. He likes architectural art- building things, following a guide, step by step...

Holden likes that okay- but she is more of a free form artist. I decided, with all of our stuff crammed in the garage, that I would move some things into the laundry room so they could have a little art area...and it was super simple, and a major hit with Holden. She loves to paint.

But the big focus of the weekend was the first day of gymnastics. Holden asked at least TWENTY times when we would leave for gymnastics, between 8 and 10 on Saturday morning. And it didn't disappoint- both kids were so happy to be there and they LOVED their new classes.

Saturday after gymnastics, Bennett worked for hours on our bathtub, fixing a leak...so that afternoon, I sent him to the driving range. During that time, the kids and I walked down to the creek. It is rushing and gushing and so beautiful right now...but we can't walk down the typical trail we explore because it's covered in rushing water...

It was an awesome weekend, for sure.

 

Ride your Bike and Say Yahoo!

So our basement is empty and the carpet is ripped up...so I have let the kids make it their personal skate/bike/scooter park. This morning, while I was getting ready, I heard what I thought was a little panicked shout. I said "Holden are you okay?" She said "What? I just said "yahoo!" So I said "Oh great- why did you shout 'yahoo'!" To which she responded with "It's fun to ride your bike and say YAHOO!" 

So there you go- a little life lesson from Holden: Ride your bike and say YAHOO!

Okay- so on to the upcoming Sloane play date. It's been 8 months since we scored the last play date. It was right around Valentine's Day if you recall, and Davis got Sloane chocolates, pink tulips, and he also sent her a Valentine's card that when opened, showcased a hamster singing "Shake Shake Shake, Shake Shake Shake, Shake your Booty!"

We got close to another play date this summer, but after a few emails, communication fell off. So when he began to ask me again, I felt like this was the time to really put it in their court and either get the damn play date negotiated, or find some closure.

So I emailed Sloane's mom and basically said "Okay- going to give this one last shot...and if you guys are busy, or honestly, if Sloane is just more interested in playing with her gal pals, I totally get that, but Davis continues to ask- so just hit me with it..." And she wrote back, apologized and said Sloane would love to have the play date and has just been asking about Davis. 

So I shared the good news with Davis- that YES he was going to have a play date and that YES we actually had a date and that YES she would come to his house and on top of that, her mom is going to pick her up after THREE hours, when Sloane's brother is done at a birthday party. 

HIS GRIN was so big. And he jumped up on my bed, flopped his little body and shouted "WOOHOO!" And that was Monday and he has been talking about it non-stop.

After I lit a candle last night, while cleaning up dishes:
"MOM- do you think we could make it smell really good here when Sloane comes over? Like light all your best candles- so it smells so good?"

The day he found out she was coming over:
"MOM, do you think we could turn music on when she walks in the house and it could sort of be like a 'welcome to our house' celebration?"

When saying prayers the other night:
"Mom don't laugh at my prayer, okay? Dear God- thank you for making Sloane and me boyfriend and girlfriend..."

At the grocery store:
"MOM. I need to get these flowers and a card for my girlfriend..."

Even Holden has caught the fever...last night while watching Davis reach for the last brownie, she shouted:
"DAVIS! Leave some for your girlfriend!!!"

Oh he is so sweet- some girl is going to be very lucky to land that handsome lover boy. Thanks to yours truly... ;-)

 

 

 

 

Junior K!

Holden started junior kindergarten Tuesday and she is LOVING it. Her sweet little friend Oliver is in her class- and each morning when she has walked in he has said something like "There's Holden! Holden, come sit right here..." and then he pats the ground next to him. He seems like a real sweetheart- maybe he is a lot like Davis. Who is having a play date next weekend with Sloane- which is ALL we can talk about- and which certainly deserves its own post.

Anyway- here is my cutie. It rained on the first day- so we have a lovely garage shot.

Day One.

Night One. Junior K is exhausting...

Today- eating crackers before school. Ready to go with her Nemo backpack. :-)

This guy...

Melts my heart. Seriously, his kind spirit, his positive attitude, and the way he looks out for me and others, just makes me smile and feel warm all over. He has been so kind and flexible this weekend- he is working so hard on himself. And that is pretty amazing for a six year old- or anyone- to be quite honest. 

Tonight, before we fell asleep, I was snuggling him and I said "Promise you won't ever get to old to snuggle with me?" He said "Nope." I said "What?" And then he said "No. I hope I won't ever get big. Because I don't want to ever forget about you, mom." And I definitely cried a little. I'm so lucky to have him.

Hope you had a great weekend- we did. More to come on that!

He's a Grader Now.

Davis started first grade on Monday! We have been so excited about first grade because it is in first grade that the Continued Progress program begins. Essentially, on Monday, he started in a class including 1st, 2nd and some 3rd graders. He has one lead teacher, and that lead teacher (a female) partners with a male teacher next door. His class also has two assistants, so there are three teachers in each room. The class is called a family- and everyone calls each other by their first names, including the teachers. The idea is that this type of learning environment cuts down on bullying, and leverages the fact that you can learn more from people that are older and more experienced than you. It also provides the opportunity to focus on say reading at the first grade level, while if you excel at math, you can learn up with the 2nd graders. This program is the whole reason we have wanted Davis to go to this school- as it's not our neighborhood school. 

So he started Monday and he was just beaming over the fact that he is a grader now. He was so happy and confident walking into school, and has had a great attitude every day after school. 

Monday morning, of course I did the quintessential first day pictures, but Davis really dialed it up with his ideas for poses.

Yes, he insisted on climbing up in the tree...he was quite certain this would nail the essence of his first day as a grader. And clearly- he was right.

Holden was very excited for Davis- she can be super supportive of him and on his first day, she certainly was. She has her first day of Junior K this coming Monday and she is so excited to have her special day too.

We had a really great summer. The kids had three weeks off at the end- one in Texas, two at home, to just play and feel like they had a true summer. And I was a bit worried that they wouldn't want to go back to school- especially Holden. But she marched right back in on Monday- and as she did- all her little boy friends at school shouted "Hi Holden! Where have you been?" It was adorable.

Anyway- we did some fun things ahead of school Monday to celebrate the end of summer...and Holden really SHOWED up with her fashions along the way.

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The sass level is at an all time high- and while it's cute in clothes- we are really working with her on her tone. I don't like it. I say "Where is my sweet Holdy girl?" She is going to be a boss.

And then Davis, on the other hand, very often pulls on a t-shirt or shorts BACKWARDS and wears it that way all day. Whatever works.

Minnesota feels like it has the best ice cream in all the lands. I'm not sure it's true- I'm not a big ice cream eater- but Sebastian Joe's is a cute little place to get ice cream and that is where we went on Sunday. The kids like climbing on the turtles in the yard.

I"m semi-sad that summer is over, but luckily, I've always loved fall and September is such a beautiful month here. There is a classic breeze in the air and that quintessential autumn smell...so I'm not too sad.

Today- Carrie and Zach get into town and I know they will be enjoying the fall weather this weekend. I'm so excited to see them- I'm also excited not to have guests for a while afterwards. :-)

Oh and since this is a place of updates- did I mention that our basement flooded? Twice? Replacing all the carpet, the tile, etc. What a nightmare. A literal shit show if you know what I mean. But that's boring to talk about...we'll get it taken care of.

Have a good weekend if we don't talk til Monday!

 

Turks 2016.

It started in 2015- my gals and I stayed for a weekend at Hyatt Lost Pines and we pretended we were in Bora Bora for fun. So this year, while in Austin for the weekend, we tagged everything Turks 2016, like we were in Turks and Caicos for the weekend. Silly, yes...but fun.

Anyway- my girlfriend Meredith came in from Dallas and she and her husband got a room at Hotel Van Zandt so we were able to take advantage of the rooftop pool. It was nothing short of heavenly. 

So we hung out there all day until we heard there was a free happy hour downstairs in the lobby. Which we took FULL advantage of. We thought we were so sneaky going back for seconds and thirds, though I'm sure they could NOT forget the grown women who showed up in swimsuits to an indoor happy hour. No pants, no problem.

Anyway- later that night we sobered up and got ready for dinner...

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Some candid shots...

I don't know what I am doing here- but it makes me laugh...and then we went out dancing. But oh my lord, it was too hot to dance and I felt like the wooden shoe box of a dance club we were in was going to go up in smokes at any minute- so we mainly hung out outside. That's how hot it was. I don't usually let anything get in the way of dancing...

SO SWEATY. And such a good time. We are already planning Antigua 2017- which is actually happening in Arkansas.

Magic Middle.

Courtney and her cousin, also a middle child, refer to themselves as the magic middles in their family. In this post, I'm talking about the middle of our trip, which certainly claims the title of "Magic Middle" too...

It was SO much fun to spend five days with my mom, my sis, and my grandparents. It actually rained most days- but we still had a blast. Holden was listening to my mom talking about all the food and snacks she had gotten for our visit when she interrupted and said "We should have a party!" And because she was so persistent and didn't let it go- we DID have a party. And it was so much fun. I had such a great week seeing my kids feel so happy- being in their favorite place with their favorite people.

Party pic montage!

She swam in her party hat- and she slept in it too.

Donald Trump combover...about the only thing I care to reference when it comes to that disgusting human being...but that's neither here nor there, right? Ha.

Holden picked a "4" and Davis picked a "7" even though he doesn't turn 7 until November. But together, as 47, it made me laugh.

Sweet snuggles with my girl!

Donuts with nanny and grandpa- she really wore her Snow White pajama gown a good majority of the trip...and then my mom got that old tiara out for her, plus some high heels and she was in heaven.

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When she wasn't wearing her gown- she was wearing this!

Holden was OBSESSED with the sting rays at Sea World's waterpark and DESPERATELY wanted to swim with them. And Nikki and I debated who would be brave enough to go in with her, UNTIL, we saw one of those huge beasts essentially become vertical and wrap it's wings around a woman's legs. And then and there we decided that Holden's dream of swimming with the sting rays would have to come true on another day. With other people.

Davis, on the other hand, was quite literally disgusted. "THESE ARE THE WORST THINGS I EVER SAW!" He said..."WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE, THIS PLACE IS TOO CRAZY!" He said.

Night and day, those two. Such a fun time...

Texas, oh Texas.

Historically, I have been known as a homebody. And while I do enjoy traveling more now than I used to, I would still say I like to be home, in my own space, with my routine, feeling comfy and cozy. So, when I say that I wasn't in a huge rush to head home, after 9 days in Texas...that is saying something. We seriously had the best trip. And because I don't feel like I can adequately give it words, I'm just going to post pictures with a couple comments...starting from the end and I will work my way back to the beginning.

We spent the last weekend in Houston with Katie and her family- and I knew it would be great to see her- but I don't think either of us realized how well our kids would get along. At one point, Brayden looked at Katie and said "So this is what it feels like to have a brother...I love it." And both of my kids said multiple times "Mom, I don't ever want to leave my new friends. Can we just stay here?" My heart nearly burst out of my chest.

The four of them: Holden at 4, Brayden at 7, Davis at 6 and Callie at 5.

The boys wrestling- as they did all weekend- and not a single complaint or injury.

Holden was so happy that she and Callie both had princess gowns to wear to bed. How much does Callie look like Katie? It kills me.

I love this pic- Holden's face is pure joy that she is a) getting to have a sleepover and b) it's in an Anna and Elsa bed!

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And then, of course, the next day Holden woke up feeling super sick and we had to take her to a doctor. She had an earache- but I think there had to be something more because she is still at home with a fever even though she has been on antibiotics since Saturday. Poor thing.

Davis being tossed into the air to do a double back flip (??) by Ray.

The three big kids goofing around while we waited for pizza...

The boys wanted to dress the same. I don't know if there is a sweeter kid than Brayden. He is so kind and thoughtful. His smile reminds me so much of his mama. And Callie is all spunk and personality- also a total sweetheart, but a little fire in her too. 

I would be fine if they grew up and decided to fall in love and get married. 

Saturday night- their community pool had an ice cream social...with real ice cream and then at one point they threw all of these adorable floaties in the pool- giant donuts, ice cream cones, huge Smarties candies, and all sorts of things. Holden was in heaven...and the cool water felt good to her fevered skin.

We had so much fun. I was sad for it to end...but I do see some family trips together in our future. And can you believe we didn't get a single pic of Katie and I? It's driving me crazy!!!

 

Just a Kid.

Sometimes you remember that you are just a kid in a grown up body. That's how I feel today. I cannot wait to get the heck outta here and get to Texas to see my friends and family and just have a week of care-free fun. 

I can't wait to see Nikki at the airport, I can't wait to spend the week with her and my mom in Fred. Just hanging out by the pool, hopefully drinking Coronas and eating Starburst. Maybe we will make some margaritas- maybe we will talk about life and love- and maybe we will laugh and play card games or make something cool. Who knows. The world will be our oyster. 

I can't wait to see my grandparents- I always look forward to that. I can't wait for them to see how much Davis and Holden have grown. The beans, of course, cannot wait to get donuts with them.

And I cannot wait to spend this weekend with my girlfriends. Courtney is picking me up and then all my best gals are getting together by the pool for the afternoon and then we have reservations at one of my favorite old-school Austin places that night. Kirsten is coming from San Antonio, Meredith is coming from Dallas, and then about 6 of my local gal pals will be there. It's going to be so much fun.

AND THEN, Bennett has decided to turn a work trip into a fun trip and he will meet up with us on Friday and will go with us to see Katie and her family in Houston. Can't decide if we will go Friday (that was the plan) or if we should spend a night together in Austin with our co-ed group of friends and go Saturday. Both would be fun...

Anyway- I am like a kid and I can't wait to get out of work and I can't wait to get my nails done tomorrow and pack my stuff and get this party started. :-)

Before I get this party started- we'll go to Holden's Pixie Hollow play and Davis' end of summer family picnic, and then tomorrow night, the boys are going with Nate and his boys to the Twins game...which will allow Holden and I to get ready for the big trip!

EEK! Cannot wait. Smell ya later.

 

 

Month of Fun.

We are having so much fun watching the Olympics. Mainly the swimming. The kids are having so much fun being foot loose and fancy free instead of going to school. And I just realized that they have three weeks of that. How fun for them! This week they are home with Katelyn, next week we are in Texas, and then the last week of summer, Katelyn is keeping them for the week again. This is working out beautifully. I wanted to give them a little break before school kicks in and I didn't even realize that it will happen- until I thought it through today!

It will make the transition back a bit more difficult- but we'll deal with that later.

So Kelley informed me yesterday that Elsa and Holden are so excited that they are both going to be winter fairies in the play this Friday. Which is news to me because Holden is like a steel trap when it comes to what is going on at Theater Camp. Every time I ask her about it- what did they do? did they sing? did they dance? did they act like animals? what was her favorite thing? she responds with commentary about snack time. "Well, I like it because we have snack time and today we had strawberries and gummi bears..." 

So there you go.

And here is a little peek into our mornings. Davis has been coming in around 3 or 4 in the morning pretty regularly- and honestly- though it gets crowded at times- I don't hate it. He is going to grow out of that desire to snuggle up with us so quickly so I think I'll let it ride. And then Holden comes in around 6 because she is awake for the day...and when she comes in, the door is left open for Pico, so this is sort of what 6:30 looks like in our house.

Picture one more adult in there and it's a pretty full bed. :-)

Damn you, Bat!

Have you started watching the 5 part ESPN documentary on OJ Simpson? It is mind-blowingly incredible. There is so much information and cultural context that you get while watching it that I don't know that you could pick up otherwise. Bennett and I have been watching it non-stop.

Friday night, we were sitting on the couch at about 10 pm with all the lights off, watching the third episode, when all of the sudden something flew across our living room, at about eye level.

I FROZE and slowly said "WHAT. THE. FUDGE. WAS. THAT." But I knew deep in my heart what it was. It was a bat. In our house. In Minnesota. So, of course, Bennett jumped up to find a broom, and that is when the chaos ensued. I could only hear it though because I was hiding under a blanket, refusing to come out, until it was gone. I was sweating bullets and Davis was shouting as the bat DIVE BOMBED him throughout our kitchen and living room.

He was shouting at me to help him, as he propped both the front and the back doors open, but I was paralyzed. 

We never did find him and now I live in fear of it landing on my face while I sleep or biting me with his super sharp fangs as I reach to open a blind or a curtain or a cabinet. Davis SWEARS he flew out the door- but I have no confirmation. I have no closure. Its the WORST.

Anyway- that was the big drama of the weekend. I've hardly slept since. 

Aside from that, we had the Schneiders over for dinner Saturday and just hung around on Sunday. Last night we walked six blocks down the street to one of our favorite restaurants and had dinner. It was a beautiful night and I felt very lucky that we can do that in our new neighborhood.

Katelyn is with the kids today- Holden and Elsa have theater camp every day this week and I can't really go to work late and then leave to pick her up at noon each day- so Katelyn has been helping- which allows Holden to go to camp and Davis to stay home or go to the park or pool or whatever. They are both super happy about it. She just sent me these pictures!

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Happy Monday!

Play Dates

The Davises are making moves. Finally. I've been coaching them on social interactions and how to make friends since we got here three years ago, and they both just had their first, completely unprompted play dates this weekend.

Little Davis was invited over to a friend named Liam's house...and Bennett was invited to go golfing with Patrick, Krissy's husband. They were both excited, and it sounds like, from both of their accounts, that they went well. 

Holden and I can rest a little easier tonight. ;-)

The kiddos got haircuts this weekend- and Davis now looks like he is ready to drive a car.

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He wants a full-on mohawk- but this new look is keeping him happy for now.

But he is still my little snuggle buddy.

Busy Week.

Sorry I haven't posted much this week- it's been a busy one for me. And it's been SO NICE to have Bennett home so I could do the many things I needed/wanted to do. I cannot tell you what a difference it is to have help. I know that sounds crazy- but it's just amazing.

So Monday I worked out. Tuesday we had our agency in town from New York so we took them out for drinks and appetizers. Later Tuesday night we had the Neighborhood Night Out at our neighbor's house. Wednesday we had a new doctor's appointment for Davis after work, and then last night I had my team over for book club while Bennett took the kids to dinner and a movie. 

My favorite thing of the week was last night's book club. I have a team of 8 women right now- varying ages, perspectives, backgrounds, but I really adore them all...so I invited (read: made, i'm their boss) them to be a part of at book club and the first one was at my house last night over wine and appetizers.

Separately- I've been wanting to start a thing where a group of women from all different backgrounds get together and talk about great things- but I haven't really figured out how to start or whom to invite- and then you get into this thing where you will hurt this friends feeling if you don't invite them- but you really want to create the right dynamic...

ANYWAY- I realized after book club last night that I might have created the very thing I am after with my team of gals at work. I didn't get any pictures from last night- but to give you an idea- here are a few of the ladies at work.

We had a great time and the next one is at Jackie's- she is in the middle with short hair. She is inviting a financial planner to talk to us about how to get smart on the stock market. !!! I'm so excited. 

National Night Out was fun too- the kids loved it. Especially when the cop showed up with his motorcycle and handcuffs.

Holden just be-bopped around the party like she had known our neighbors for years. I would look over and see her tugging on a lady's shirt, asking her to open her water bottle for her.

Davis spent most of his time stuffing his face with brownies while I wasn't looking- as you can see above.

Anyway- it was a fun and busy week and this weekend we are having Krissy, Patrick and their kids over Saturday night for dinner, and then on Sunday, Davis was invited to his first play date. :-) So that is exciting. I'm happy for him.

Have a good weekend.

TGFH.

We had so much fun with Honey in town. It went so fast, it was unreal. I feel like she was here for five minutes. But they were a GREAT five minutes (actually 3 1/2 days). She got here Thursday night and we were all hungry so I wanted to take her to dinner where we could sit on the patio...but everyone else had that idea, so we had to sit inside. We still had fun.

Holden is like Honey's mini-me while she is around. She wants to do everything like Honey, and everything WITH Honey. Its very sweet. 

Friday, my mom spent the day with the kids while I worked. I didn't take the day off since we're going to Texas for a week in about a week and a half. They had a blast and were beat by the end of the day. Started the day with donuts, then went to the park, then went to the pool, and Honey was so surprised how much they have learned this summer and how well they swim! Davis showed Honey how he could go off the diving board and when he told me about it, he said "And she didn't even have a heart attack, mom!!"

Saturday morning we went to Holden's soccer game- and my mom loved getting to see that...and of course on the way there we stopped for breakfast, and Honey whipped her sprinkles out of her purse and they had sprinkles on the go. Only Honey...

Then we stopped at the Farmer's Market so Honey could enjoy some Minnesota sweet corn and fresh tomatoes. 

Davis dropped a giant canteloupe while browsing, so we have canteloupe for days too! Also that afternoon, my mom watched the kiddos while i went to a workout and perused a few shops on my own. It was so nice!

Then Sunday morning we got up fairly early and had breakfast at French Meadow and then to the Loring Park Art Fair. I wish I had taken pictures at the art fair, but I didn't bring my phone. Guess I was just too busy enjoying myself. But it was lovely and Honey bought me a really great photo that I will hang and share here. I am obsessed with it- you will see why.

That afternoon we went to the pool- and despite the looks on their faces- we all had a blast. It was SO hot, Honey said it was as hot as it is in Texas. So we just HAD to go take a dip in the cool water.

Davis also got to walk through his kindergarten portfolio with her while she was here too. Though he complained she took too long. ;-)

We had so much fun and I was so happy to have her here for the weekend. TGFH! Thank God for Honey!

 

Kids These Days.

When I went to the dentist- it was misery. It was a boring old office, within a drab office building, the carpet was old and brown and the walls were tan. My dentist's name was Dr. Bear- and that was about the only thing I remember liking about him. He always wore one of those tight white jackets with a high neck that made you wonder if it was actually dentistry attire or a straight jacket. And the worst, the very worst, was that he ALWAYS had spit webs in the corner of his mouth. It wasn't clear spit, it was white spit, as if the whole day he somehow hadn't opened his mouth wide enough for it to stretch and break, and like he desperately needed a damn drink of water. 

I remember thinking "Of all people to have a gross mouth situation- my dentist?" Blech. I hated going to the dentist. I still do. And I found that I also have anxiety when bringing Davis and Holden to the dentist as I did this very morning. They've been a couple times, but one time Rachel took them and another time Davis took them. So today was my first visit and you can only imagine my surprise at how different their dentist experience was from mine.

First of all, the whole ride there, they kept asking if this was the fun doctor, with the tree house. They have very vivid imaginations so I said something like "I don't know that a DOCTOR would have a TREE house in their office, but that's a fun idea..." 

And then we get there and there is a damn tree house in the front waiting room. And a flat screen TV, and books and animals and art out the ying yang. 

I didn't get a bunch of pictures, but the tree house was so big that I could comfortably get in and hang out. I mean, look at Holden's face. Just wait till she goes to Disney!

So as you can imagine, they don't mind going to the dentist at all. They did great, and they each got to pick out a toy when they left. Holden picked a jump rope and Davis picked a whoopie cushion. 

Okay, this is kind of an awkward picture, but LOOK HOW LONG HER LEGS ARE!!! SHE IS ALL LEGS. WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? And yes, she got amazing new high tops that she is so proud of. They light up with each step.

 

Oy vey. Kids these days.

 

 

Weekend in Review.

Thursday night, Davis came home from school early with a fever, and he didn't really feel so great all weekend. I'm hoping that some of the vitamins he is taking (for immune system) will start helping, but we're also seeing a new doctor with him this week and plan to talk through everything going on with Davis- from challenges, to meds, to just his general cruddy immune system...though I can't say that is unique to him, Holden has a wimpy immune system too, and really, Nikki and I do too. So anyway, Bennett picked him up from school and Holden and I had a little dinner date. We haven't done that for a while, and she was thrilled.

She LOVES to go to the mall when we have our dates, so I let her pick, and of course she chose Cheesecake Factory. If she ate all her dinner, she could choose a dessert. Of course she ate all of her dinner. Girlfriend loves sweets. And food in general. We were talking the other day about how she has such a keen sense of smell for a little girl. She will say things like "It smells like rain, mommy..." and sure enough- hours later, it will rain. Or she will walk into a room and say "It smells like chocolate with marshmallows on it in here..." and sure enough, something sweet will be cooking somewhere. Anyway. Maybe she will be a chef!

She let me have a couple bites. Just a couple. Then we walked through the mall so I could return a few things. I asked her to smile for a picture while waiting in line somewhere and this is how she posed. She is such a ham.

So that was Thursday night and then Friday night- we typically go out to family dinner together, and we very often go to Barrio. This Friday, we were sending Kirsten pictures, showing her we were excited about her new job. This is what we sent her- us cheers-ing over margaritas!

Saturday, it rained all day. So we went to Home Depot and watched some movies and I got really adventurous and cooked an Indian dish- Chaan Masala. Geez- the smell of Indian spices wafting through your home is unbeatable.

I picked these beautiful purple flowers for two planters on my front step...and they are gorgeous, but man they stink. Salvia. Who knew? I sure didn't...of course Holden noticed right away.

Chaan masala- basically chickpea curry. It was really good- but it would have been better as a side. After about five bites, we were both sort of over it. Same taste over and over and over...but it was fun to cook. 

And then Sunday, Bennett needed to pick up some dress clothes, so we went to the big anniversary sale at Nordstrom. And because the kids were so patient, they got to go on two rides. 

This was the first weekend all summer when we haven't gone to the pool at all. We will have to make up for lost time this weekend. 

Things I'm Into...

I've been trying some new things lately- some more recently than others, some with more clear impacts than others- but I am very excited about these new things so I thought I would share here. 

I'm reading again. Let me share some background. Since about junior high- I've always been a fiction reader. I've always been reading 1-2 books at a time...on top of school books (when I chose to read those...ha). I think around the same time I became a mom, I sort of stopped reading fiction, novels, etc. So that's been about six years of time where I have been reading the news, and short articles, instead of anything long or of significant substance. 

When I think about why- I think it's usually because after work and playing with kids- I have either gone to bed or done something like watch TV, or even just read short articles that don't require as much mental investment.

So anyway- I started a book club for my team at work- and I've been reading that book "Crucial Confrontations". I'm trying to teach these passive midwesterners how to have a healthy conversation even/especially when there will be confrontation.

 

AND, I ordered a book called "Brain Rules" which I'm actually enjoying even more. I ordered it based on a referral from a blog I have been reading about ADHD- but honestly I haven't quite figured out how it has anything to do specifically with ADHD, and that's fine by me because it's just brilliant in general.

Clearly there is a theme here. Books that will help you: TAKE NO SHIT and SURVIVE/KICK ASS at work and in life. Which should tell you a little something about where my head is. HA! So anyway- I'm very excited about reading again and I'm still unpacking why I've shifted from fiction to non-fiction. I almost have zero interest in fiction- which is SO WEIRD for me. When I think about why, I'm sort of like "There is so much real stuff to learn about out there- I don't have time for this fake stuff right now..." 

I'm also VERY into Orange Theory. Which is a new type of gym that has been rolling out across the US- essentially it's group circuit training- but what is unique about it is that you wear a heart rate monitor and it syncs to a giant screen on the wall, showing your heart rate and where you are from a color perspective. So, for example, when you are warming up, you are in the grey zone, and then as your heart rate goes up, you move from grey to blue to green to orange to red. And the "Orange Theory" is that you want to spend at least 12-15 minutes in the orange zone to create optimal burn- in the session and after.

Really- I like it because:
- It's as tough a work out as I did with Ahmad- first time I've worked out like that since we moved
- It's circuit training- so not matter how much you think you're about to die- you also know that that section is bound to be over soon
- the music is loud and great and you feel like you're at a club
- there are all types of people there- at all levels of fitness- because you're really just watching the screen for your numbers, and competing against yourself
- it's right down my street
- my friend Kelley turned me on to it- so we go together, which is what makes me get up and go at 7:30 every sunday morning. also, i got carrie, in austin, turned on to it so we are always texting each other notes and encouragement about it.

So anyway- I like orange theory- I'm really enjoying it and I'm feeling changes to my bod, even though the scale isn't showing them quite yet. 

So, reading about Brain Rules has made me aware of so many other things- sleep, food, exercise, etc actually impact the way you age and your performance...and while I know this isn't news, the way he writes about it so factually and practically, has really changed my perspective on my daily decisions. SO, between this book and the blog about ADHD, I've also gotten into vitamins and a few supplements. Nothing crazy- just making sure we're all taking daily vitamins, fish oil, and a few things specific to Davis and ADHD. So we'll see if we notice any changes.

Travel! I'm also very into travel. I think it's a few things- 1) not wanting to feel stuck in Minnesota all the time- the months get long come winter, 2) feeling like it's a good way to substantiate and reward ourselves for how hard we work and 3) wanting to give Davis and Holden great opportunities and a strong world view.

So, we're planning and saving so we can do some fun stuff this fall, winter and spring. The kids' schools close for two days in October- so we are thinking about going to Disney. August and September will be VERY hairy for us work-wise, so it will be nice to have a few days to relax and have fun together. Then in December, we were invited to a wedding in Savannah- and I'm just dying to go to Savannah and especially for a wedding. It's the best way to try new cities- a well planned, well done wedding, which I know this one will be. It's black tie and I'm sure we will have so much fun. Not just because they will plan a fabulous weekend, but also because it's Courtney's little brother, so we will get to spend the weekend in Savannah with Courtney and B! And Nikki is going to keep the kids, so they will be in hog heaven.

And I simply cannot wait to go to Texas for a week in a couple weeks. I so need a break and I cannot wait to see my friends and family. Of special note is the fact that the kids and I are going to Houston the last weekend of our visit- to see Katie and her family! I haven't seen my college best friend now in three years- since I've been here and she has been in Singapore. So that will be sooo fun!

So lots of new fun things going on- I'm feeling refreshed and like I'm growing and changing and that always feels good. :-)