Smidge Settles In.

We have had Smidge for about six weeks now, and he has really evolved in that time. The first couple weeks all he did was snuggle and get carried around from room to room. Perhaps part of that was because no one put him down, or perhaps he was nervous. In about week three, he got a lot more lively, quite a bit more confident, and he began to hide around corners just waiting to pounce when some poor victim rounded the doorway…he also stands down by the laundry room and meows loudly in the morning and in the evening when he wants his Fancy Feast. I suppose we spoiled him too early on- we leave him dry food- but he waits for the Fancy Feast. One day i tried to explain to Holden that he had food already- he would be fine- and she looked at me and said “But mommy. He wants his Fancy Feast.” So that’s that.

He is such a sweet cat and he means no harm, but he climbs all over the furniture, so poor Smidgey is going to lose his claws after we get back from Montreal. I feel bad about it, because I know it is painful, and also I feel it’s selfish, but I will be happy to let him roam the house during the day rather than coop him up in the laundry room once those claws are gone.

Anyway. I was in LA for work from Friday to Monday and man it felt good to be there. I used to go about once a month and I haven’t been since last October- almost a year! I miss the ocean breeze, the fashion/people watching and the amazing design. Plus- there are just a million great restaurants and bars and always things to do and people to see.

So then I got home Monday and Bennett had stayed home with Holden because she had a fever, so it was my turn to stay home Tuesday. So Holden and I took Smidge to the doctor for a round of shots before his claw reduction. She looks so big in these pictures, it almost kills me.

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She is growing out her bangs, as you can see, and it makes such a big difference. But she is so proud that she is growing out her bangs and wants her hair to be just like mine- which is the sweetest. She thinks I am so cool. And I know I have a limited time with that, so I’m soaking it in.


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She loves that cat.

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And he’s pretty cute. I like him too. It’s really amazing how clean he stays. He’s always got shiny, soft white hair. Or fur. No hair.

Anyway, I write this as I sit on a plane with Bennett to Montreal. Honey flew in last night and the kids were very excited to see her- as was I. I had so much to do last night, but I would say to her before each thing “Will you come talk to me while i pack?” or “Will you come talk to me while I put the sheets on?” It’s always so fun to catch up with her. She has been helping a lot with my grandparents and now she is helping with my kids, so I’m hopeful that at least she gets some good sleep at night and she laughs a lot. :-)

Courtney and B are meeting us in Montreal tomorrow, and we have a week of really fun activities planned. For example, one day we are taking a cooking class taught in french. B said “Well, I think it’s great. We’ll either cheat by watching the people around us- or we’ll just try to get everyone drunk.” So as you can see- they vacation, and perhaps LIVE, a lot like we do.

Work has been so good. I would say that I have done some of my best work, or the work I am most proud of in the last six months. I had a major presentation a couple weeks ago that just couldn’t have gone better- and positive momentum continues to build. So I’m happy at work and happy at life and though there are certainly things that make me sad- sometimes I just pinch myself and thank God for this life I am getting to live.

Really the only thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to maintain my weight- at least maintain it at a level I like. HA. I can say it’s lack of time, or lack of energy, and while those things are challenges- the truth is that it’s really not as high on my priority list as it should be. Right? That’s hard to say- but it’s the truth. So you know, I’m not thriving on everything.

Anyway- I won’t stress about it this week, but when we get back, I really need to get my rear in gear. It’s just hard. I actually am very tired, and I really do have a lot to juggle, but so does Beyonce. “You have just as many hours in a day as Beyonce.” That’s what I remind myself.

When I get back from Montreal- I have a week or two before I am going to speak at my first big conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I was asked to do this a few months back and I have been super impressed and flattered by the other speakers on the list. So while I will hate the networking- I HATE NETWORKING- I am making myself do it and I know it will be a good experience.

And Bebe is working out great so far. Knock on wood. And I made her a deal- I already have to pay more so she can go with my kids to our gym, so I said I would pay for a whole membership for her if she picked up some additional responsibilities for me. She was so thrilled- and I hadn’t even gotten to the list yet when I came home the other day and she had packed the kids lunches, swiffered the floors, emptied and loaded the dishwasher. Man that helps me out so much. Plus, I feel like if I can help her out with something like that- I’m happy to. She still sends money home to her mother in Ghana. And she is working through her masters degree while living with a family from her church. So you know- I may be a little overweight but I got it easy.

Anyway- that’s a lot of thoughts for tonight. I’ll post picture during my trip- or when I get back. Love to you all!

1st Day of 1st and 3rd Grade!

I can’t believe that it’s already week two of the school year…the kids are doing well- D is in the older part of their CP family at school, so he is with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, and Holden is in his old class, the younger part of the family with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. I still want to move her to a more traditional class- and she is first on the list- but she will do fine for now! They are both happy and enjoy going to school every day and that is the most important.

As you can see from these first day of school pictures- Holden was very nervous, while D was ecstatic to be back!

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Holden INSISTED on wearing her jeans AND her jacket- even though as you can tell by Davis’ clothes, it wasn’t that chilly. She was going for a certain look though, so I got behind her in this! She really was NOT interested in thinking about waiting to wear that outfit.


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He is so SWEET to her…I’m so glad they have each other.

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And this is a shot from day two! Again- insisting on wearing the jacket and pant sport suit Honey got her.

ATX Friends.

Hello again! We spent the last weekend of our trip in Austin with friends- two nights without kids and then one night with all the families. It was so fun. We went out for girls night Thursday to a place called Suerte- I love my girlfriends there with all my heart. And then Friday night, all the couples went out, and then Saturday, Carrie and Zach had a pool party at their new house and it was just so fun to see all the kids and watch everyone play together. Saturday was certainly my favorite part of the weekend in Austin.

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These two are like peas and carrots! They have so much fun together...

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And Holden and Mary have a great time together too. Holden finds her a bit bossy- but they work it out. HA!

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The Bennett and Barry boys! How cute are Rex and Weston? So sweet too.

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B and his little mini, Rex. They look SOOOOO much alike.

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The big Bennett and Barry boys- I think they both looks so handsome! 

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And the four that started it all. We are all going to Montreal and Quebec City next Friday- cannot wait! Honey is coming so the kids will have fun too.

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And we actually got a picture of the whole gang! I wish we had done one with all the gang and all the kids...next time!

Honey's House Part II.

We had so much fun at Honey's house- it gets two posts. 

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Their excitement when they saw all the fun floats was so great to see. I was joking with Bennett that basically there were 3 cool floats for every person. :-)

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We also introduced Davis and Holden to the local candy shop. They thought they had died and gone to heaven. And my mouth watered looking at all the treats.

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Honey also had flash tattoos and of course there was tons more swimming with Nikki- which was a highlight for sure.

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While we stayed at Honey's house- there were some guests in the guesthouse that wanted to use the pool one day...so of course Honey wasn't going to tell the kids they just couldn't swim...so instead we drove to San Antonio for the day and stayed at La Cantera. It was such a treat for all of us. Holden wanted to move in and I said I would join her. Honey also took them school shopping- and it was really the first time that we took them in, had them try on clothes, and it was so special. Holden had a grin from ear to ear. You could tell she felt like a million bucks and Davis did too. I told Holden we would make a No, a Yes, and a Maybe pile. The first few items went directly into the "Yes" pile and then she looked at me and grinned and said "I think it's all going to be a Yes, mom." It reminded me of the time my grandma took me shopping at the Gap- in probably the 2nd or 3rd grade. We picked out so many things and I remember glowing from inside out because I felt so special. 

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New light up tennis shoes and an armful of clothes. She was so proud...she loved that the bag was so big and heavy.

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Can't mess around with the sunscreen in Texas...

Oh and my mom found this picture of my dad and held it up next to Davis. They don't look as much alike as say Nikki and my dad, but it's really sweet to see some resemblance. Davis loved the comparison.

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Speaking of Davis, he is still head over heels about Claire. I picked them up from camp Monday and he was like "Can we please go watch Claire's gymnastics meet? It's happening right now!" They both wanted to go so badly- so sure enough, we stopped by and watched her and I felt like a real stalker. Ha. The things you do for your little lover boy.

Anyway- tomorrow is their last day at camp and he has been begging me all week to take him to find a ring to give her- and he wants to open it in front of her like Alfalfa does on Little Rascals. He kills me. So tonight- I guess we will be trekking out to Claire's at Mall of America to find something that meets his vision. 

Honeys House.

The kids literally swam for at least 6 hours every day. They were in the pool before 8:00 am and had to take a post dinner dip every night. And in between swimming, there was a lot of starburst and sausage eating. Plus- the kids started to realize that Honey has a ton of cool stuff hidden in a million places- so they started asking to look in every closet, on every shelf, etc and they found so much cool stuff. Also, they think she is rich because she has a tin full of change. RICH I TELL YOU!

And we got to spend a lot of time with my grandparents, which is always great.

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Texas 2018.

Well, we're back from Texas...and it's always a bit hard to transition back so I'll just spend a little more time reliving our adventures. I'll break this trip into three parts: San Antonio, Honey's House, and Austin.

We flew in on Saturday and drove straight to Kirsten's house. It was so fun to spend the day with Kirsten, Chad, Andy and Frances. The kids play so well together so Kirsten and I just get to hang out and catch up. We're planning on sending Andy and Davis to overnight camp together next summer. We also got to go see their new house- it's going to be beautiful. It's an old mission style San Antonio home and it has a beautiful pool, huge vaulted ceilings and so much space for entertaining. 

The Pearl was so fun- we went to the food hall and the kids played in the splash pad. It was perfect. On the way to the airport yesterday, Holden said "I just wish I got to see Frances one more time..." 

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It was a beautiful night. And that is saying a lot, considering it is Texas in August. 

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They caught several frogs- YUCK!

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So much fun- and that was only our first day! We cover a lot of ground while we're there...so many more pictures to come! 

Vacation Brain.

So we don't leave till Saturday- but I'll just be real honest...my brain has been shutting down little by little every day this week heading into vacation. The good news is- if nothing else, I am an extremely productive person, so I probably accomplished as much as most people in a normal week on Monday and Tuesday- but the bad news is...I'm just waffling around the office, chatting with people, looking at clothes online, seeing what home renovations people are doing on Pinterest...I just have vacation brain. And really there is nothing I can do to fight it.

In my previous job, I traveled 1-2 times a month...in my new job, travel for work is rare and random, so I am realizing that I get a little stir crazy and I am at the point now where I need to get out of here!! :-) I guess it's also a Midwest thing. Everyone takes time off in October, over spring break, and in August- to catch the last bit of summer before fall sets in...

Anyway- I'm excited and so are the kids. Holden's favorite thing to do is pack and she has asked me every day if she can start packing. I did a monster load of laundry last night so I said she could start putting a few things aside tonight. I also told her we could practice gymnastics again as she is newly obsessed with getting on the competitive gymnastics team. 

Bennett gets home tonight- he has been in Seattle all week- so that will be fun too. Last night we went to the pool after I picked them up from camp - tonight I'm hoping we all just hang out. 

ONE MORE DAY!

Summer Spectacular.

I forgot to mention that the title of the last post was a quote from Holden when I was explaining to her that they have Kici Yapi outdoor camp this week, we go to Texas next week, when we come back they have another week of Lifetime Fitness camp, and then we go to the Ohme's lake house for Labor Day. She was so excited, saying "This really is a fun summer!"

Anyway. Saturday night we were invited to some fairly new friends house on Lake Riley. They are friends with Sarah and Nate and we hit it off with them right away. She is a lawyer, he is in Ops, they are both Christians, and yet, they are also pretty irreverent, which is always great by me and Davis. :-) So we have had family dinner nights and date nights and in July they invited us to their first annual party called "Summer Spectacular"- and it really was spectacular. They live on the lake so we had a beautiful beach front party, there were boat rides, games, stand up paddle boards, lily pads, an open bar, catering, a DJ and a KARAOKE MACHINE! We had the time of our lives. It was just so much fun...I didn't really remember to get any pictures. Oops.

Then this week, the kids have been at Kici Yapi camp, which is about 25 minutes from here- and it is put on by the YMCA. It sounds/feels like a traditional camp to me- they swim, do archery, fish, cook out, etc. And so of course I figured this would be Davis' favorite camp of the summer- but "THEY ARE SO STRICT THERE, MOM!" he says. Just goes to show- you can plan as well as you can but at the end of the day- it's all a crap shoot anyway. Ha.

Day One:

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So maybe Davis didn't get the best haircut of his life...UMMM...it will grow out.

Day Two:

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So, we have three more days of work and camp, and then we head to Texas! I cannot wait to see friends and family and spend so many days doing nothing but swimming and eating watermelon and starburst and drinking Coronas. I need a break! Okay, gotta run. More tomorrow.

 

"This really is a fun summer!"

I have really enjoyed this summer. I feel like in some ways it is the first summer that we have truly lived here. We know all the places, we signed up for all the things- I planned ahead and the kids had so many fun camps and activities, we have friends and almost too much to do on any given day, and we've also had time to just swim and walk down to the creek, check up Minne bucket list items, set up play dates, ride bikes, all the things that make summer so great. Oh and we got a cat named Smidge, whom three of us love so much we can't even stand it. 

This past Saturday was fun- we had breakfast downtown at a cute little diner called Barbette, and then we took D for a haircut at Floyd's. Everyone there has tattoos and colored hair- so D and H really loved that. We went and bought colored hair spray afterwards so they could live on the edge a little...at least for 24 hours. :-)

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Look at that mop top!

He had to lose his shirt- almost loses his mind every time he gets a haircut due to the itchy hair shavings. I always feel like I've survived a battle when we finish getting his haircut.

It just so happens that one of the items that has been on Holden's Minne bucket list was right down the street...the giant chairs sitting in front of a giant corporate building. HA! She was thrilled to finally sit in them...and we got a pretty cute picture out of it too!

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It was really a fun morning...and then that night we went to an incredible party at our friends' house on Lake Riley. Then on Sunday we finally had a playdate with Davis' new summer crush, Claire. But I will post about that tomorrow! Hope you are enjoying the last month of summer as much as we are! Exciting things ahead!

You Crossed the Wrong Cat.

So everyone loves Smidge. Seriously- we are all obsessed- he has been the best addition to the Bennett family. He's smart, he's sweet, he's playful, and he's pretty low maintenance. He uses his litterbox, he is pretty good at just climbing things he is supposed to climb...but there is one small problem. He sneaks up and pees on Bennett while he is sleeping. SERIOUSLY. He has peed on him twice and pooped on him twice. And he hasn't had any other accidents- but as Bennett said "This is no accident!" 

So, somehow Smidge must sense that Bennett didn't originally want a cat, but it's a bit sad (and a bit comical) because Bennett loves him and is always cleaning his litterbox and trying to do right by him. Guess he's got to really prove himself. Guess he crossed the wrong cat. :-)

Anyway- last night was really fun. It was gorgeous out so we just went out in the front yard and let Smidge and the kids run around. Holden was working on cartwheels and Davis and Bennett played catch, and I just enjoyed a sparkling water on the front steps. Then, though it was later than we normally start a big dinner, Holden and I prepped some sweet corn and made sweet corn and pork chops. It was really fun. Holden ate TWO ears of corn. She wanted a third but I was worried she would get constipated. HA. 

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This weekend will be fun too- our friends live on a lake and are having a party called the "Summer Spectacular". They are having it catered and are having a DJ and karaoke- I cannot wait! We are going with the Ohmes, so the kids will hang at the Ohmes with two sitters (Lord give them strength). And then Sunday Davis is having a play date with Claire! Finally! I set it up- and he is so excited.

Then next weekend we head to Texas and it couldn't come sooner. I need a vacation!

 

Hello Bebe

So, this summer has panned out a bit differently than planned. Back in January, I took a leap of faith and signed D and H up for a few camps outside of their normal Kids Club summer routine. Sometimes getting D adjusted to new places and people can prove to be very stressful and unsuccessful- but I had a feeling they could get more out of the summer if they weren't at the school every day and I have not been overly impressed with the schedule and staff at Kids Club lately. 

Fast forward to the first week of June when they were at Kids Club and we quickly realized how much the Kids Club staff was OVER Davis. And because of that- we very quickly became so OVER them. So fast footwork happened and we pivoted D and H into a bunch of different camps and they have been more successful than I thought. Hallelujah. But because school also starts 2 hours earlier and ends two hours earlier this year- and the aforementioned issues with Kids Club- I had also started to think about getting some extra help via a nanny.

My hope was that this would keep them from sitting in the gym from 2:30-6:00, that it would allow them to do more outside activities, and that we could avoid the friction at Kids Club. 

So I have been interviewing people all summer and I think we have found the right person. I am super hesitant to commit to that because I have been burned and surprised by nannies before- but she is on trial this week and next (again to get kids out of kids club) and so far it is going great. Her name is Bebe, she's super energetic, very outgoing, not easily frazzled and she is an athlete. When I said that Davis can be a challenge when he doesn't have things to do- she said "Oh don't worry about that- I'll work him out." HA.

So anyway- Bebe is there this week and next and I am hopeful that this will be a great fit for now and the fall too. Please cross your fingers or say your prayers. 

Cats are Smart.

Cats are so smart. It's kind of shocking, really. Smidge has been a farm cat all of her life until this past Sunday night. She pooped on the bed on Monday and other than that- has gone in the litter box every single time. She cries when she is hungry, she cries and waits by the door when she needs to go down to the litter box, and she is like 8 weeks old. It's insane. 

So far, she is a great addition to our house and she loves nothing more than snuggling with Davis and Holden. I DO think we will have her de-clawed, which I know is controversial, but I like my furniture more than I like that cat. :-)

Bennett has been gone all week in Toronto and this has been a busy and tiring week. I am excited to see him and/but I am also having a girls night tonight because Lordy, I need a break. So we'll spend the rest of the weekend hanging out, going to the pool, etc. and Holden has Emmett coming over on Saturday to play. She is so excited.

Davis is in love again- with a little girl named Claire that he calls "Claire Bear" and he asked for her number at gymnastics and so now I have to call her mom and say "I realize I am a perfect stranger, but my son met Claire at camp and would like to have her over for a play date."

Today when I left for work it was 64 degrees. In July. And I can almost smell the fall breeze- which is way too soon...but that's part of Minneapolis I guess.

Next week the kids have two days of kids club and then we are doing a trial run with a potential nanny Wednesday-Friday. The kids school ends at 2:20 this year- so since I don't want them to sit in the gym and play dodge ball for almost four hours- I'm going to hire someone to pick them up and tote them around to activities until we get done from work. Say a prayer we get a good one. I have tons of anxiety about it. UGH.

Anyway- that's my update for today. Have a good weekend!

Meet Smidge

Well, we have been talking for a long time about getting a kitten but we never really decided on it or against it...but in my heart of hearts, I have known that we aren't the best set up for a dog right now with our busy schedules and the kids are always asking for a pet...and the fish proved to be as boring as I had warned Holden. If I didn't mention this- we got her a fish a few weeks ago because she was begging for a pet and we hadn't made up our mind on a kitten yet.

Anyway- it just so happened that my friend at work, who lives on a farm, had four kittens ready for adoption. So, on a warm summer day when I was feeling high on life and short on adventure, I looked a the kids and said "Your dad is golfing- let's go get a kitten!" So sure enough, we went to pick out a little kitten and have had her since Sunday night. She is soooo cute and sweet. And the kids are beside themselves.

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We brainstormed a lot of names on the way home from the farm: Orangey, The Great Bambino, The Sultan of Swat (the kids have been watching the Sandlot quite a bit lately), Bridget, Penny, Tillie, Frito, etc. but landed on Smidge after Holden suggested it. 

We think it's a girl, but we also felt Smidge could be a bit more flexible than Bridget.

Anyway- Bennett got home....and he pretended to be annoyed for about 24 hours...but I will just mention that this guy who claims "I'm not a cat person" has bathed the kitten and sent me four pictures of her today while he was working from home. So I think we're going to be okay.

Smidge has really taken a liking to Holden- they are quite the pair and Holden just totes her around everywhere she goes.

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Not sure if you can tell- but there is a little Smidge peeking out from under her left arm. 

I'm just happy we didn't come home with the pig that lives on my friend Barb's farm. HA!

YOLO! You only live once!!

Summer Heat.

We had some real deal summer heat this weekend- it was AWESOME! We joined a new gym- the one where the kids have been attending camp- so we tried out their pool this weekend and it was really fun! We love our neighborhood pool but it can get a little crowded and it's nice to have a change of pace. 

We also went to the driving range which was a pretty good activity for all four of us. Davis and Davis are GOOD. They can crank it. Holden and I were not so good. But we still had a great time. I have to remind myself of how beautiful it is here in the summer. The skies are blue like a blue hydrangea in full bloom and the grass is green like the checkerboard scene in Alice in Wonderland. It's so colorful and alive.

And of course we also just goofed around at home...as you can tell by these pictures taken while both kids were sitting on me on the couch. Bunny ears are all the rage right now.

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Also- I decided to try my hand at Rhubarb pie. Bennett helped me make the lattice work top. He has eaten almost every slice of that pie, which is especially fun since he turned up his nose at the  idea of a rhubarb pie initially. :-)

Bennett Ryan Fam Jam.

The Ryans came to visit us this week! We had a lot of firsts. First Twins game, first big fireworks, first music festival for the kids, first rained out 4th of July parade, and first time surviving 8 people living together for 5 days. We had fun, but to say we are exhausted, is an understatement. Enjoy these fun pictures!

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These boys are so handsome and have grown up so much. They picked up right where they left off and had a great time together. Porter likes to be entertained at all times- and Davis is perfect for that. :-)

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Walking to the parade...I shouted something like "It's only raining if you think it is!" and the heavens opened up and down came the rain.

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It was a beautiful night for a Twins game. I find baseball very boring- but it was so nice to sit outside and eat a hot dog and drink a beer. The kids loved it too.

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The fireworks show starts at 10:00 when the sun sets so we usually don't make it- but this year we were up and at em so we went for it. I'm so glad we did.

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Got this selfie with D at the park. Hello TEETH!

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On Thursday the dads golfed and Carrie and I took the kids to the park. The next day, we shopped, and the dads took the kids to Minnehaha Falls. This picture was taken there...

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We also swam in the creek by our house on a hot humid day...and the kids caught a small perch!

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Then Friday night we went to the Basilica Block Party. I could tell that most of the crew didn't want to go- they felt tired, in general and of each other, but I was not missing it. It's a beautiful music festival on the steps of the Basilica and due to Davis' connections- it's an open bar and VIP seating. Plus, the weather was beautiful. So we went and we got to hear Prince's band, The Revolution, jam to all his hits with a stand-in lead singer. It was AWESOME. The kids, the parents, and everyone had a blast. 

And now, back to the regularly scheduled programming! Back to work tomorrow. Hope you had a great 4th of July!

Rolling Stone.

It has been almost a month since I posted. June has been a whirlwind, to say the least. We went to Chicago, I went to Vancouver, I gave a talk to 1500 people in Orlando, and then last week I went to Mexico City to visit Best Buy Mexico. Oh and we also had two sets of visitors: Nikki and Kirsten and Chad. It has been such a fun month- but it has flown by in a hot minute. This was my first full weekend home- with just the four of us. And this will be my first full week in the office since the third week of May.

And next week, on Tuesday, Carrie, Zach, Porter and Mary Mae are coming for five days. Needless to say, most nights, I have been falling asleep around 9:00 pm.

Most things in June have been fun. Some things have been less fun. My grandmother was back in the hospital- though she is back out and I understand from the doctors that if she paces herself, she will be back to herself in the next few months! And I have also been paying close attention to the immigration situation- and it is really weighing me down. I have never felt so ashamed of my country and the people in charge. I have never questioned our future or the position of humanity as much as I have in the last week. The way we have handled the families that are in such horrible situations that they are willing to carry their newborn children, and only their children, because they can bring nothing else...with them as they traverse a month long journey with no promise of help or safety...is nothing short of appalling. Where is the human decency? And for those, like Jeff Sessions that are quoting the bible, I just want to throw up. If you know ONE thing about Jesus- it's that he is about love and acceptance and he says "Let the children come to me..." Seriously- I can't really talk about it too much without feeling sick.

Being in Mexico City as all of this was happening was especially difficult. I felt I owed them all an apology. And the irony is sooo rich...here is Trump calling them animals and saying they cannot "infest" our country- and truly, the people of Mexico have far better manners and are far more gracious than we are in America. WE are the animals. TRUMP and his people are the ones infesting this great nation. It just makes me sick.I have zero tolerance for it.

Anyway- 90% of June has been amazing. So I will try to focus on that. Gotta choose joy- and focus on that- while not ignoring the rest. Gotta do your best to help the rest.

This past weekend was SO fun because we had zero plans and nothing but time...it was awesome. We hung out at the pool- Holden jumped off the diving board for the first time! We grilled out, we did some yard work, we played with walkie talkies...it was just awesome and relaxing. Here are some pictures!

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Bennett and I at Surly Brewery- we took Kirsten, Chad and the kids there. They have a great outdoor space- so it was really fun for all of us.

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Kirsten and I- we went to dinner at Martina and it was incredible.

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The cathedral in downtown Mexico City.

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One of the main government buildings in downtown Mexico City.

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These beautiful live green walls were spotted all over the city- so gorgeous. Honestly- Mexico City was far more green and beautiful than I ever expected. There are certainly some very poor parts- but I expected that. I was more shocked by how clean, safe and cosmopolitan the rest of the city was.

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The food wasn't so bad either. We ate so much seafood and avocados and I'm sure we left much heavier than we arrived. HA!

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Holden loves this new pineapple drink holder she got this weekend. "It's fancy and it's like a disco ball, mom!"

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Davis was coaching her on how to jump off the board- it was really sweet. She was so proud.

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And tonight Holden wanted to make some blueberry muffins to have for breakfast tomorrow. She is growing up so much- she loves to make her own lunch- this morning she made her own bed, without being asked, and completely unprompted. And she is growing out her bangs- hence the shaggy hair. :-)

Clarity.

So I have been debating switching Davis and Holden into our neighborhood school for the last three months. I haven't loved the communication with his teacher- and while that is probably pretty common- the difference with the program the kids are in is that you have the teacher for 3 years. So, I've been fed up with lack of communication, and I haven't wanted Holden to be in the same class as Davis, which is also part of the program (just for a year) so I started to look into our neighborhood school. But all along, I was also quite a bit nervous about making a switch because- for all of my complaints- Davis has a great IEP manager who meets with him one on one- and he is really happy and confident- which hasn't always been the case. And of course, Holden is happy and has made friends too.

So I've been really torn. And I've researched and read up on each school, and I've talked to the principals and the IEP teachers, and I've prayed about it, and I've asked literally everyone's opinion...but today I was stressing and praying about it and I just asked for a very clear sign...

Anyway- fast forward to this evening when the boys went to jiu jitsu and Holden and I went to return some things at the mall. I could have gone to our neighborhood mall- that's what I would typically do- but instead I decided to go to the Mall of America. So we shopped around- I have a charity gala this week for work and needed to find a dress- and then we walked upstairs because Holden insisted on going to see the kids shoes. We were there no longer than five minutes when her teacher walked by. 

Ms Paulsen has had both Davis and Holden and she is my favorite teacher, period. So we know her well enough and Holden is always telling her stories about our girls night out and Ms Paulsen has always joked that she wants to join us. So, when Holden asked if she could join us for dinner, she did. It was really fun and easy to talk about things- and I told her a bit about my struggles with the school decision. 

I let her know that I have talked with the school and got Davis moved into the upper class- so he won't be in the same room with Holden, but they would be in the same school "family". And I told her that I actually wasn't that worried about Davis, but more worried about Holden, and whether or not she would be a good fit for the multi-grade classroom next year.

And she was the first person, that without asking, looked at me and said "You know Sam- Matt Gabrielson (the guy that will be Davis' new teacher next year) is probably the best teacher at Highlands. He is incredible. If you can get him in his class- that's amazing And I'm not worried about Holden. Actually- there is such a gap between kindergarten and 1st grade- that we spend a great deal of time assessing kids and making sure they have the extra help they need- so there will be lots of focus and she will be okay." And then without me even asking, she said:

"If I were you- I would give it one more year and reassess the situation."

And then I said "You know, one other bad thing is that I wouldn't be able to keep having Jessie as Holden's tutor..."(there is a rule that you can't tutor kids that you also teach at school).

Anyway- the conversation ended and then I went home and told Davis about it and he looked at me funny and said "that's crazy. talk about an answered prayer." And the real crazy thing is- I hadn't even thought about it in that way. But seriously- hours earlier I had said "Please God- just give me clear direction. Something I can't mistake..." and then all of that transpired.

AND THEN, she texted me and said "Thanks for dinner, Sam. That was so fun. And also- if Holden needs a tutor next year- I would be interested..."

So how about that? :-) So awesome. I feel very relieved.

Hot Time in the City.

Well friends, I've basically been on a blog break. My grandmother has been in and out of the hospital and I don't know if it was my subconscious at work- but somehow I took the time that she was not home off. Anyway- she's back home and doing well and I'm ready to get back into sharing the day to day highs and lows of the Bennett four. HA. 

This past weekend was a definite high...a couple weeks ago I was feeling stir crazy and I suggested we go to Chicago for Memorial Day. I really don't travel as much with my new role- and I guess I miss that a bit. So, I booked some hotel rooms and we drove to the city for the weekend. Now. That is a long drive. 7 hours door to door. By the end of each drive- we were about ready to kill each other. But- by the end of the weekend in Chicago- we all agreed it was worth it.

We went there without any plans- so there was really no pressure. And for being there about 40 hours- we really did a lot! We walked Michigan Avenue, we went to Navy Pier, we took a boat cruise on lake Michigan, we ate dinner on Rush Street, we ate at Yolk, and we even had a little time to swim. Our first hotel had an indoor pool- but it was a crazy temperature high this weekend so I looked up a hotel with an outdoor pool and cancelled our reservation for the first night, booked a new one instead, and we were able to spend a little time at the rooftop pool on Saturday. It was so hot! The kids had a great time and said their favorites were the candy store and the face fountains in Millennium park. Here are some pictures!

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They call this their smolder. And then try to see who can smolder better. If one breaks- they shout "You broke my smolder!"

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The only bad thing about this great picture is the Trump sign in the background. BARF.

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Boat tour!

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Smolder for Davis, smooches for Holden.

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Holden really likes to do things like me these days. She BEGGED me to let her carry my purse around the city Saturday night...also she begged me to buy her this special pink, sparkly lip gloss we saw that day and she reapplied all night. The next day she was getting ready, putting on her lip gloss and then she started to complain about her eye lids burning. Over and over...finally I said "Well what could it be? Did you put anything different on your eyes?" And she finally confessed that she had put the lip gloss on her eyelids so they could sparkle too. So sweet. But a painful lesson to learn for sure. More tomorrow.

Videos?

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