Saturday, December 27, 2008

Note to Self

When staying at a hotel, always make sure you check the alarm clock before going to bed to make sure that curious three-year old fingers have not turned on the alarm clock to go off at odd hours of the night! (I will look back on this some year and laugh, won't I?)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Claus Came To Town

Merry Christmas, everyone! This house has been filled with excitement since turning the last day of the Advent calendar yesterday morning. Actually, Kyra was quite distraught that it was the last day to receive a piece of chocolate every morning and a new Littlest Pet Shop accessory.

We spent a quiet evening last night having a family movie night in anticipation of bedtime. Sadly, we were unable to make it to Christmas Eve service at our church because we got another snow storm yesterday and the roads were not ideal for driving. I'd say we have approximately three feet of snow in the back yard from all of the snowstorms we've had already this December.

Here are the kids last night in their traditional "Santa Jammies". I honestly don't know how much longer I'll be able to carry on the "matching" tradition because Ian is growing like a weed. In fact, I was lucky he didn't outgrow these before he wore them. Next year I may have to crack out the sewing machine.

Rich and I were amazingly up before the kids this morning but they weren't too far behind. They were so excited to glance down and see the presents beneath the tree! We "tried" to alternate opening presents, but it ended up being futile and in the end, it was pretty much a flurry of wrapping paper. It never ceases to amaze me how much time I spend wrapping compared to how little time it takes to come off.

After everything was open, it was time to play. Of course, there is always "some assembly required!" Thank goodness for handy husbands who patiently read through instructions all the while dealing with impatient children!

At last, everyone is happy and able to play until their hearts' content! In the meantime, Rich and I spent the day enjoying each other's company and watching our annual movie marathon.

We wish you all a blessed holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In an effort to assist in the concept that giving of ourselves is better than receiving, we spent this morning at the local grocery store ringing bells for the Salvation Army. It's so easy to volunteer for and this location was great for us because it was indoors and the store offers babysitting so when Kyra had gotten her fill of ringing, I could check her in at the "Tot Spot" so we could finish our two-hour shift.

The Salvation Army volunteers were so excited to see Ian and Kyra participating. We each got a bell to ring and it was overwhelming to see how many people stopped to put a little something in the kettle. It's a little late this year, but if you and your family get the chance to take a shift next year, it's a worthwhile and fun time!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Emotional Morning

I went to a memorial service this morning for a friend. It was more than a little overwhelming for me and there were many tears though I am confident that Ms. P is in heaven. If you can spare a prayer, please keep Ms. P's family in your thoughts and prayers especially in this holiday season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Memories of Grandma

I have always loved baking around the holidays. Honestly, there is more sugar in my house this time of year than any other as I make oodles of different kinds of cookies for gifts as well as school and office celebrations. I've tried out a couple of new recipes this year, but there are some that are "standards" in my book and this is the only time of year I make them

Today, I broke out my Grandma's decadent chocolate chip cookie recipe. Beware - these are NOT for the calorie conscious! It reminds me why I only make them once a year because (a) my Kitchenaid really gets a workout from them and (b) they seem to call and beckon me at all hours.

I always loved to cook and bake with Grandma, so it is extra special for me this year that Kyra has taken such an interest in baking. Yes, I can usually get things done quicker without her, but these are truly moments that I am going to treasure in my heart for years to come. It's hard to believe Grandma went to meet the Lord almost nine years ago this month, but I know I'm keeping her memory with me by passing these recipes on and I'm praying that the sweet smell of these cookies reaches her up in heaven.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Angels We Have Heard on High

apparently were chocoholics! Today, Kyra and I were at Ian's school stuffing folders and she started singing but instead of "Gloria in Excelcis Deo", it is apparently "Oreo"s those angels were singing about! Gotta love what little ears hear!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Technical Delay

This week Rich is in Chicago. I personally think he should have packed his cold weather gear and gotten a ticket for tonight's game but he's way more practical than I am! So, I was left to watch 'da Bears by my lonesome. He called as Danielle Manning ran back the opening kickoff to celebrate and then I didn't hear from him until just before Robbie Gould went to kick the game-winning fieldgoal - or so I thought! No, he was calling to celebrate the win because he was watching the game on the live Chicago feed as opposed to the tape-dealyed NFL Network feed. Very anti-climactic!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


There is nothing quite like the excitement of waking up and finding out school has been cancelled due to snow. Ian and Kyra were beside themselves (Iam because he didn't have to go to school and Kyra because Ian was going to stay home with her). We had a brief stint at the sledding hill down the street before we returned home. Ian his friend C had the "best snowball fight EVER!" and Kyra and I made some M&M cookies. It's just been a day that has brought a smile to my face and makes me glad to be a mom who gets to share little moments like this every day!

Monday, December 8, 2008

C'mon, people!

We live in WISCONSIN! Are we afraid of a little snow? Heck no!

I ventured out this morning to do my regular Monday grocery shopping for the week. Now, the meterologists are predicting a big snow storm that is supposed to begin sometime today and go through Wednesday morning. You would think by the way people were stocking their carts that the world as we know it is coming to an end! Now, I can't say that the prospect of 14+ inches of snow thrills me, but it's not scaring me one bit!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

We Do Clean Up Nicely

Last night was Rich's holiday party for his office. In these difficult economic times for many, we are thankful for the blessing of an employer that values each and every employee and treats them very well. We had a fun time and we even won a gift certificate for another night out. But, my feet are done with heels for the year!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Playlist

Another month gone by! Here's the last playlist for 2008 (with some holiday music for your moving pleasure!)

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - John Mellencamp
Forgive - Reliant K
The Old Man's Back In Town - Garth Brooks
Be My Escape - Reliant K
Little St. Nick - John Denver & The Muppets
Get The Sillies Out - Yo Gabba Gabba
Hey Hey - Superchick
God With Us - Mercy Me
How Far We've Come - Matchbox Twenty
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo - Choo Choo Soul
Last Cigarette - Bon Jovi
Bring 'Em Out - Hawk Nelson
Suddenly I See KT Tunstall
Kickstart My Heart - Motley Crue
The Coffee Song - Ralph Covert
So Beautiful - Superchick
Just To See You Smile - Tim McGraw
Whisky Girl - Toby Keith

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Getting to Know Your Friends

My friend, Margie, posted this on her blog, so I thought it would be fun to pass along here so if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? warpping paper (unless it's something really huge)
2. Real tree or Artificial? real
3. When do you put up the tree? day after thanksgiving
4. When do you take the tree down? New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? NO!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? dancing ballerina doll
7. Hardest person to buy for? my father, Rich
8. Easiest person to buy for? Kyra
9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes
10. Mail or email Christmas Cards? mail
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? used potholders with crusted gravy
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Story
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? depneds when I see something
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies
16. Lights on the tree? multi-colored
17. Favorite Christmas song? Little St. Nick by the Muppets
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? always in our house on Crhistmas but we travel afterward
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? yes
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? this year our tree is too tall
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Seeing "X"-mas. CHRIST is the reason for the season, people!!
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? our ornaments are an eclectic mix
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? wireless iPod headphones

Saturday, November 29, 2008

OH! Christmas Tree!

As is our tradition, we set out on Friday to cut down our Christmas tree. Since moving here, we had yet to find the perfect "tree farm" so we set out this for Drumm's Christmas Trees in Maribel. It was perfect and we will be making this our Christmas tree home from here on out.

Finding the perfect tree is very much an obsession of mine. Though we have found some awesome trees in years past, other years the trees have turned out to be, well, quite ugly once they arrived home. We were very impressed with the different varietyies and sizes of trees and I knew we could go a little larger than what you typically will find on a tree lot. NOw, that being said, I am a horrible judge of "actual size". I just cannot see spacial relation when a tree is outside compared to when you bring it in the house. And thus, I fell in love with this tree.

As you can see from the picture, it is indeed a little -um- large. Ricih asked me if I wanted to move the ladder out of the way before taking the picture, but I think it gives a better idea as to the enormity of the tree. In fact, I had to take a break from decorating it yesterday because we ran out of lights! I ended up at Wal-Mart this morning to get a few more strands. I'm thinking (rough estimate) that there are close to 4,000 lights on this tree. I will have to say though, it is by far the prettiest tree we have ever brought home. I'll be sure to post pictures once it is all decorated which is tonight's "little" project.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Are Thankful

Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - Thess 5:16-18

This morning over our Thanks giving breakfast of pumpkin pancakes (a shout out to Ms. M for the recipe!), Rich, Ian, Kyra and I went around the table and listed 51 (we had a sheet with 50 lines but everyone needed equal turns) things we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Some were serious, some were silly - see if you can identify who said what!

1. Bear
2. Food
3. Wonderful family
4. My Children
5. Windown
6. Shelter
7. Community
8. Carrot cake
9. Bacon
10. Apple juice
11. Good job
12. God's abundant love
13. Butter
14. Insects (except for mosquitos)
15. Geocaching
16. Shirts
17. Exercise
18. Napkins keep us clean
19. Good books
20. Family time
21. Noses
22. Family games
23. Football
24. Cars
25. Ground
26. Light
27. Grandmas and Grandpas
28. My husband
29. Beanbag
30. Thanksgiving
31. Cub Scouts
32. Good friends
33. Pens and pencils
34. Easter
35. Schools
36. Scrapbooking
37. Curly hair
38. Animals
39. Fishing
40. Running
41. Paper
42. Cooking supplies
43. Disney movies
44. Coffee & Diet Coke
45. Hands
46. Rootbeer
47. Nappy time and sleeping
48. Music
49. Bread
50. Four seasons
51. Fruit

From our family to yours, may you have a blessed Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and faith!

Monday, November 24, 2008

First Snow of the Season

When I woke up this morning to head out to the gym, I was surprised to see the cround covered with white stuff. It's really pretty to be one of the first ones out in the snow, but then you have to switch your brain into winter driving gear and then it isn't quite so fun anymore!

I walked in the door to Kyra squealing with delight about the snow on the ground. I promised her that after all of our errands were done, we could go out and play. I must say, having the extra incentive of playtime in the snow made her an excellent listener today! Sadly, I know this stuff isn't going to last (it was already melting away while we were out there), but I know full well that winter will be "blessing" us with even more snow than this and I know one little girl who can hardly wait . . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

There's a lesson to be learned here!

As much as I hate to admit it, Kyra is developing a newfound sense of independence. She's very much into being a "big girl" and trying to do things by herself. Rich and I both agree that it is helpful to some degree, but sad in others as she's outgrowing her "baby-ness".

Of course, just because she can do things by herself doesn't always mean it's a good thing. For example, we went to lunch today where they had these small, fat bottles of ketchup. These really irk me because although they are cute, the ketchup comes out way to quickly and you always end up with way more than you originally wanted. Kyra really wanted to do it hereself, but I told her no and she acquiesced. Seems simple and we should be done, right? I forgot to mention that I forgot to replace the lid. Yeah, those bottles may be short, but I have never seen that much ketchup in my entire life! Oh, that child is going to make me die of embarassment yet!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I've been in prayer about something for a while now and I was sitting down for my quiet time and I just had one of those "a-ha!" moments! I guess I never will be one of those people the Lord whispers to; He needs to just use a big, fat stick upside the head!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What were we thinking?

So, last night I went to a jewelry party and Rich took the kids to the Y to swim. He called me on his way home because Ian wanted to see if his friend C could spend the night. Seeing that the only obligation we had this morning was bowling, I didn't think anything of it and gave the go ahead.

C was beyond thrilled to be here and the two immediately set off for the "cave" to play their videogames. I didn't realize it but Rich took a bowl of Halloween candy for them to munch on. We went to bed sometime around 11 and figured they would do the same as well. Imagine my surprise when I head them still going strong at 4:30 a.m.!!! I really do wish I had my camera when I went down there. Amidst the candy wrappers strewn about on the floor and the huge smiles on their faces, you could just tell they were in 7th heaven but on the verge of a serious sugar crash. I laughed out loud when they said "We've been playing ALL night!"

So, my eldest is now upstairs in dreamland and I am sure C is as well. You are only young once, so we'll see if they ever do that again!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Where's the yellow line?

Ok, perhaps this is about as exciting as my life gets on a Friday night, but Rich and I are sitting her watching the NFL Network re-broadcast the 1985 Bears beating the Packers. Wow! Football has come a long way in 23 years! We're having fun watching it, but we miss those little things like HD and the first down "yellow" line. This is classic TV!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I Did Last Weekend

2008 Crop of a Lifetime from Stephanie Burdett on Vimeo.

He's a reject!

Rich attempted to give blood this afternoon but since we were in Mexico in September, he's been deferred for a year as a malaria risk. Oh well, at least he got lunch and a free pint of ice cream for trying!

Monday, November 10, 2008

So thankful

I was able to get away the last five days to the Lifetime Moments annual Crop of a Lifetime. I've developed so many friendships with these wonderful ladies and it's just a fun weekend of laughter and creativity.

I am also very thankful to Rich who is the world's best husband and daddy. Not only does he take vacation to allow me to go to this event on a yearly basis, but he relishes every moment of being a temporary "stay-at-home dad". Kyra and Ian packed so much in over the weekend, I am surprised they were even awake when I got home last night. Oh, and did I mention he did the dishes, mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned the bathrooms? WHAT A MAN!

I am also thankful to have been able to visit Nordstroms during their semi-annual sale. I am SO thankful that I don't have one of these near me as I would be in some serious trouble. I had the most wonderful time shopping for new bras and other items that you really don't want to do or have time to do when you have kids in tow. (and a big "HA!" to Stephanie - I did manage to use the "bra" label again.)

So I am back, refreshed and ready to function better as a mom. As much as I love my kids, I need these short breaks from "reality."

Friday, November 7, 2008


LOST: my voice. If found, please return to me ASAP. I really don't feel bad, but it's really annoying when you are around friends you haven't seen in a year and you really can't talk to them because all you do is squeak. UGH!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November Play List

Ok, the start of November got away from me so I am delinquent in creating this month's play list. I actually downloaded quite a bit before the Fall 50 and since it was good enough for 11.1 miles, I figured it would be good to combine some of them for this month (because there are some really good ones on here!)

It's Not My Time - 3 Doors Down
Everlasting God - Lincoln Brewster
Rock What You Got - Superchick
So Beautiful - Superchick (can you tell, I downloaded an album by Superchick?)
Copacabana - Barry Manilow (yes, Ms. E. - he still continues to haunt me!)
I Like To Move It - The Party Cats
Womanizer - Britney Spears
Bring 'Em Out - Hawk Nelson
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings (yes, that does make 3 months in a row, but have you heard this song?)
Party In My Tummy - Yo Gabba Gabba!
Something to Say - Matthew West
Happy Birthday - The Ting Tings
Viva La Vida - Coldplay (possibly right up there with "Check Yes Juliet")
Oh! Gravity. - Switchfoot
Working Man - NewWorldSon
Live Out Loud - Steven Curtis Chapman
Gone - Switchfoot

Now, get out there and move it, move it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Did anyone get the number of that truck?

We had dinner last night at a local restuarant and I ordered something that was on "special." UGH! Big mistake! This has not been a pleasant day around here. At least Kyra was a sweetheart and Rich came home and took the kids out for dinner. I'm feeling a little better as of now, but I doubt I'll be visiting that establishment any time soon.i

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick Or Treat

Here's my trick-or-treaters on Friday. Thankfully, the weather wasn't all too bad for late October in Wisconsin. I was so proud of Ian. He came up with the idea for his robot costume all by himself and just needed a little help in putting it together. He got a lot of compliments for having a homemade costume. As for Ms. Kyra, she really understood the concept of trick-or-treating this year and really got into it! She stayed energized throughout the neighborhood and had a great time sorting through all of the candy!

And, since I was oh-so-greatful my hubby didn't have to travel, I made Halloween themed cakeballs (from a picture posted at Lifetime Moments) for his office party. They were pretty fun to make and the inside was red velvet cake. Wrong on many levels, but fun nonetheless!

I Went Shopping By Myself!

Granted, I had to go at 10:00 at night to Kohl's, but it was a wonderfully relaxing trip without having to worry about chasing children out of clothing racks (which probably means I spent more money too!)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun With Vegetables

Since Rich was originally scheduled to be out of town at the end of this week, I had gotten tickets to take the kids to go see Acts 1:8 Ministry's presentation of Veggie Tales Live in Green Bay. Ironically, I kept putting off buying tickets because it was never at the forefront of my mind. When I did get around to booking them, some tickets had been "released" and we wound up in the fifth row just left of center stage. I honestly think Kyra's eyes were going to pop out of her head when she saw Larry up on stage larger than life. Seriously, if I didn't have children, I would probably still have gone to the show. I just love the Veggies and their message. Now of course, I'll be singing Veggie Tales songs well into next week, but 'tis a small price to be paid!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where does she come up with this stuff?

Now mind you I had a gap in between my kids so I am "lacking" when it comes to memories as to when Ian did stuff versus when Kyra did stuff. BUT - this girl CAN talk and some of the stuff she comes up with just cracks me up. None of it is necessarily bad, but someone has to be saying stuff a lot that she repeats it (and sometimes even in the proper context).

So, back to my story. I cam home yesterday from the gym and the house was just beginning to wake up. I heard Rich upstairs with Kyra and it sounded like the two weren't exactly getting along (my little girl is SO not the morning person). Usually, I just let them settle it amongst themselves because Kyra will jump at the first sight of Mommy coming to the rescue. Finally, they started down the stairs, Rich looking particularly exasperated and Kyra stating, "Mommy! Daddy's not cooperating!"

Aaah, only three years old and already she's realizing that the men in our lives are never going to see things our way! My dearest Kyra, you are wise beyond your years!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

He Just Knew I Had Too Much on My Plate

It's going to be fairly busy here in the next 10 days with preparations for the LM crop in Detroit. Ian is off of school on Thursday and Friday not to mention finding time to carve the pumpkins and trick-or-treating on Friday evening. In addition, I've known for about three weeks that Rich would be traveling the latter part of this week. So, I've been praying for calmness in the midst of chaos. Well, today Rich called me to tell me there was a scheduling "snafu" and his trip this week has been cancelled! Of course, this now means that I have to prepare something for his office's annual Halloween potluck, but I'll trade a batch of cake balls for having him home any day! Thank you, God!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Further Proof

In case anyone doubts my insanity, I made it official yesterday by participating in the Door County Fall 50. In a nutshell, it's a road "race" (seeing that we aren't ultra-competitive, we prefer to call it a run) starting at the top of the Door County Peninsula in Gills Rock and running down 50 miles to finish in Sturgeon Bay. The miles are split up into 10 legs and as a team of 5, we each ran two legs. I ran a 5 mile leg and a 6.1 mile leg. It was honestly the most beautfiul run I have ever taken part in and I truly was honored to be a part of this team and enjoyed spending time with such a great bunch of women.

This is our team bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the starting line. We stayed in Sister Bay, so we had a very short drive up to the starting line.
We also decorated our car with our team name. I don't have all the pictures back yet, but we had quotes from Forrest Gump on a side window and "We Run Like Girls" on our back window.
Here's Nadine. What a sweetheart! She ran our 1st and 6th legs! Not only is she the mommy of an 8-month old, but she ran the Fox Cities Half Marathon just a little over a month ago! And by golly, she did not let the woman in the tutu beat her!
This smiling girl is Miss Jennifer and I am so proud of her! She ran our 2nd and 7th legs. Prior to this race, the longest run she had ever completed in competition was an 8K (4.78 miles). Her first leg was 5.6 miles with two vicious hills! And she did it all with a smile on her face!
Miss Heather is our team organizer and most experienced runner. She took the longest leg of 7.3 miles and the shortest leg of 3.0 miles. She also had one of the most picturesque runs through Peninsula State Park. She also takes almost as many pictures as I do as a fellow scrapbooker.
If you think Ms. Hilari looks irked in this picture, it's probably because I snapped it right after she came up a monster of a hill. Despite that, she absolutely flew through her first and 10th legs! She is the funniest germ-a-phobe I have ever met!
This is me somewhere on the first of my two legs because I'm smiling. I don't think I'll be running time in the next couple of days though. Every inch of my leg muscles hurt.

As crazy as it sounds to run over 11 miles in a single day, there were over 60 individuals who ran the whole race SOLO. So, no, I don't think I've gone totally over the edge yet. The weekend was filled with lots of laughs and inside jokes, some of which I can't really post here. For those of you in the "know", I'll leave you with this parting image because you all know what we did!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three Lousy Points!

Alright, this is going to sound really silly but it's also one of those "yay, God! Look how far I've come moments."

Every year, we have to take a health risk assessment for insurance purposes. We get slightly lower rates if we do and this year, they are actually "charging" more for people with risk factors such as smoking, obesity, etc. So now, in addition to just feeling good having lost all of this weight, we also have an incentive to keep it off! The assessments were last month but the follow up appointment to get results was today for me.

The one thing I really like about this test is that it shows your year-to-year progress. My first year, my score was 65 which isn't exactly great, but it's not where you want to be either. I actually scored negative points that year for being morbidly obese. Well, today I am a 97 out of 100! The only item that "held me back" was that my cholesterol ration was just a couple of tenths over the acceptable range of "excellent". UGH! So close! I always hated ratios in math class!

So, that's the good news of the day not to mention the fact that this year, I got a better score than Rich so I have bragging rights for the next year!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Fruitful Day

It was a busy day today! I was reminded by Ian this week that we had not yet been apple picking this year. Kyra picked up on it too so we took a road trip to Hillside Orchard in Casco today. It was the perfect day today too! Here are the kids in the tractor-pulled wagon ready to set out for the orchard.

Even though Ian loves apples, I think he secretly loves apple picking because he has free reign to climb the trees. Of course, these trees were a little smaller than the orchard we visited last year so a few apples were knocked down in the process!

Kyra also got in on the picking! In fact, she had to have her own personal bag. I had a hard time getting a picture of her looking at the camera today though!

We also were able to do double-duty as the orchard also featured a pumpkin patch. Ian found a perfect pumpkin right away; however, Kyra was a little more picky! This one was too big, that one was still green, that one had a bug . . . and on and on. Finally, she settled on this one.

So, here we are with our harvest. It was a great day and I'm sure those kiddos will sleep well tonight!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hug Your Loved Ones

Last night when I went into the office, I got an e-mail that the wife of one of our Milwaukee attorneys passed away very unexpectedly. Making it even more emotional, they had recently announced that they were pregnant with their second child. My heart is just breaking for the W family. Please keep them in your prayers

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Waking the Dead

If you may recall, a few months back, we had a very loud incident with the smoke alarm. It has been quiet in our house ever since until the other night when I put a pot of water on to boil for some pasta for a recipe I was making. Apparently, the smoke detector is highly sensitive to steam (though I've never had a problem before) and it went off AGAIN! This time though, both Ian and Kyra were already in bed sound asleep. Rich was finally able to get the piercing noise to stop and I went upstairs to check on the kids. YEP! Sound asleep! I guess they inherited their ability to sleep through anything from their mom!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kyra!

It's hard to believe three years have gone by since we welcomed our baby girl into our hearts and home! She makes me smile (and want to pull my hair out a lot of times, too!)

The big party is tomorrow, but she is in full birthday glory today!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

If You've Gotta Work Out Anyway . . .

Make your workout count! Eric Harr, fitness pro and author of Goal Digger Fitness, will donate $5 to the humanitarian organization CARE for every hour you exercise and log here.

How cool is that? Now get out there and MOVE!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Play List

Brrr! It's getting darn chilly for my morning runs! Time to get some more good tunes. I may add another list as I am training for the Fall 50 and I have quite a bit to do to be in shape to do it. Here's what is on the list for October:

Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings (yes, I brought it over from last month but it's just a great song to run to!)
Your Grace is Enough - Chris Tomlin
Unbreakable - Fireflight
Something To Say - Matthew West
Gotta Be Somebody - Nickelback
Viva la Vida - Coldplay
Runaway - Bon Jovi
All American Girl - Carrie Underwood
Feels Like Tonight - Daughtry
Sin Wagon - Dixie Chicks
We Go Together - Grease Soundtrack
I'm Gonna Catch You - Laurie Berkner
Stay Strong - Newsboys
Definition of Me - Steven Curtis Chapman
Tell Him - Vonda Shepard

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We're Back!

WARNING: This is going to be a photo-heavy entry!

What can I say to describe the last week? Our journey started on the 19th as we drove to Milwaukee to spend the night before taking off early the next morning. We had my birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and then promptly headed to the hotel to go to sleep. We woke up Saturday morning at an unuasually early hour and made it to the airport only to find there were "maintenance issues." So, instead of going by plane, we were put on a bus to O'Hare. Actually, it took just about the same amount of time as it would to fly and the bus was comfortable.

The kids were extremely well-behaved on the flight down to Mexico. The drive to the resort was eye-opening. There is such a huge contrast between the luxury resorts and the villages that surround them. I did my best to point this out to Ian and Kyra.

The resort itself couldn not have been more perfect for us. They had an "Explorer's Club" that we could check the kids into. Each day, they had a schedule of activities and Ian would choose what he wanted to do and we would check him in and out. We did have the kids in there for lunch and dinner so Rich and I could have a quiet dinner each night. By the end of the first day, Kyra was counting to ten in Spanish (Ian can get even higher). We have nothing but good things to say about the kids club. Kyra and Ian both enjoyed their time and their teachers. The pictures above are a couple of the various kids' activities. One night they had a "show" and another night, they took part in the Mexican fiesta. Kyra and Ian were "co-winners" in the "Viva Mexico" contest. When you had the sombrero on your head, you had to shout "Viva Mexico!". Ian was the most entusiastic and Kyra was just a ham!

Aside from the kids' activities, there was no shortage of things to do at the resort. Each day we started with a huge breakfast and then headed down to the beach/pool. We spent LOTS of time in the pool! Kyra was a little hesitant the first few days, but by the end of the week, she was "swimming" like a pro and jumping into the deep end (provided we were there to catch her). They both also enjoyed the ocean trampoline (which made Mommy seasick).

When the kids were busy with the kids club, we got to play too. Rich participated in Beach Olympics. Here he is after a game where they had to pass flour over their heads in a line. We also played quite a bit of beach and tequilla volleyball (and yes, the latter does involve beverage).

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the food and drink available! It was actually overwhelming and we often didn't know what to choose (although I would have been just as happy munching on fresh guacamole and chips). Even my pickiest eater found new things to try! Ian discovered he loved pollenta and he found that everything (including bacon) tastes better with Nutella! In the evening, we went to several "adult" only restaurants including Asian, French and Italian. I discovered it is far too easy to drink a bottle of Merlot by one's lonesome when said bottle is left at the table (but oh was it good!). Kyra, in true princess fashion, has an affinity for being served by room service. In fact, I am surprised that she did not demand a fruit plate and tres leches cake (Miss M, I may need a recipe sometime)before nap time today! The kids also discovered rather quickly that the bars were not for adults only! Their favorite drink? "Happy Kids", of course!

On Wednesday, Ian got to go on an excursion with us to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. The view was absolutely spectacular! It was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen! The boys also found a "virtual" geocache.

And here is the Mexican equivalant of the squirrel - the iguana. The first time one of these scurried across my path, I was a little freaked out. But then I soon realized they were EVERYWHERE and, much to Kyra's delight, they were really fun to chase! But you could sneak up on them (and with the help of an ultra zoom) get some decent shots of them!

In addition to everything else, Ian was able to go snailing, snorkeling and kayaking for the first time. He is extremely excited about snorkeling and even wants to keep practicing and is interested in looking into scuba lessons. I think we may have opened a(n expensive) can of worms here!

We got back late last night and the kids were exhausted though extremely good travelers. We're all a little sad to have left our slice of paradise, but at the same time, theer's no place like home! I look forward to catching nup with everyone soon!