Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The House Painting Has Begun!

I came home tonight to the pleasant surprise of a house without shutters and with splatters of white paint everywhere. You might think that sounds horrid, but I am so pleased. It took 3+ years to reach this point, but we are FINALLY getting the house painted. We are keeping the color close to the current color which I thought was a light yellow, but I was wrong. It is actually in the cream colored family, but it must have just enough yellow in it to make it look warm. I love the combination of the light yellow and the colonial blue shutters and porch.

Here are some pictures that I snapped when I got home tonight.

The freshly primed porch (this area needed a LOT of work - I need to get the gutters fixed above this area. Does anyone have anyone they would recommend for gutter repairs?):

The freshly primed house minus shutters - what a different look without the shutters on it! Yes, I included the sign in the photo since I am forwarding these pictures to the College Pro team)

The College Pro Team - we are a "trainer" house, so this is their first group project:Donald scrapping paint off of the garage window:
A random angle of the side of the garage being painted:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Festivities

What an excellent Memorial Day!
We began with the Memorial Day parade

Played in the sprinkler
Ethan didn't last long because he got too chilly:

And finished the day at Paula's annual party. The kids loved playing in the pool even though the water was only 71 degrees!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

You know your getting older when...

you have difficulty sleeping past 6 am!

What happened to the old days when I could sleep until 10:30? These days, a REALLY late sleep-in is qualified by me staying in bed until 8:30 (note, I said "staying in bed", not "sleeping in"!)

Have a great Memorial Day weekend? E & A and I plan on going to see Shrek today. On Monday, we will go to the parade in the morning and then head over to Paula's for a picnic in the afternoon. The boys have also requested some swim time at the club and some biking this weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Walks in the Springtime

I have gone for walks the last two nights. It has been simply beautiful outside while on these walks. Last night, it was a walk by myself. I took both my iPod and my cell phone along on the trip in order to combine a couple of my favorite activities. However, it was so peaceful out that I didn't feel like calling anyone or listening to any music. So, I listened to the sound of my feet on the gravel in the road and to the birds. Surprisingly, there weren't many people out. I also noticed that everything seemed quieter than usual. I wonder if there is a sound change along with a season change. The new grass and leaves on the trees probably all act as sound absorbs; thus, winter's echoiness is replaced by the subdued sounds of spring. As I write that, I find it odd that I refer to the sounds of spring as subdued because that is a completely inaccurate term when you consider that the birds are chirping loudly, but I still need to stick with the word "subdued".

Tonight was another fun walk. I had a box of Memory Works items for Minda, so after dinner I met up with her at Scrapbooks Too. We chatted with Lisa for a little bit and then headed towards Minda's place. We had a nice walk and chat up France Ave and as we arrived, Scott and Andrew returned from seeing Shrek 3. Andrew liked the movie and recommended it. Since he is 7, he is my most age appropriate critic of the movie! I plan on taking Ethan and Alexander to the movie this weekend if the weather is icky. I then said my good-byes and headed for home.

Minda, since I know that you are reading this...if you head up Beard, there is a sidewalk connecting to the other side of Beard and you can access the streets heading toward my house! It is a walkway between two houses and although we have several of these pedestrian by-ways like this, I feel as though I am violating peoples personal space when I walk through them. You can see everything in their backyards and often in their houses. I do my best to not look so as not to invade privacy. Okay, okay, I DID look in one backyard because I really admired the pool and wished that I had one of my own.

I should do some work for work now, but I am feeling too lazy. I think it is time for pj's and some relaxation! Happy weekend!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day and the Angry Hike

Mother's Day...Ahhhh...The day that Mom gets to choose the activities and be spoiled. Is that what happens at your house? Not at mine! Yes, I got to choose the activities, but each of them seemed to lead to grumpiness in my boys. I think that it is payback for all of the times that I was grumpy with my Mom! I do believe that I remember Mom saying, "You just wait - I hope that you have kids that behave the way you do!" Well, Mom, your wish came true (at least this afternoon!). I make it sound horrible, but it was actually quite a nice day.

I started out the day singing at church and wearing a new dress. Yes, you read that correctly - a dress. The last time I was in a dress might have been 2 years ago for Karis and Nick's wedding. The fun connection with that is that I bought the dress yesterday while shopping with Nancy and Karis!

Here is a picture of me in my new dress. The photo is also a double for my 5-month post surgery picture!

It was then time for me to pick where to go or what to have for lunch. I decided upon PF Chang's since we haven't been there for a couple of years. It was absolutely delicious! I thoroughly enjoyed the Kung Pao Chicken and the Mongolian Beef. We tried spare ribs and a type of quesidilla for the boys. Ethan was too frustrated by the chopsticks (he refused to use the "trainer" chopsticks since he felt that he should master the real ones) to really eat. Boy guy, he didn't really like anything. We really expected E to like the food because he loves Sawatdee. We did NOT expect Alexander to eat as much as he did! He devoured 3 crab wontons, a quesidilla, and liked the Mongolian beef. No one liked the spare ribs. I didn't have enough room to try them out, so maybe when we eat the leftovers tomorrow.

We then headed to Moir Park and the trail along 9 mile creek.

It was so nice to see the beautiful spring flowers of trilium, columbine, violets, wild strawberries, and much more. Here are some of my pictures of the flowers:

We had a grand time tossing sticks into the creek and watching them as far as we could or until they were blocked by other debris or rocks. We tossed from the walkway and watched them travel down the creek or we tossed from the different bridges along the trail:

The enthusiasm for watching the sticks and walking quickly dissipated when we reached approximately 2+miles into the hike. It was at that point the we started to hike out of the ravine and back up into the streets of Bloomington. The full revolt started half way up the hill when A cried out that this was an endless trail and that his legs were about to collapse. At that point, both of them cried mutiny and sat down in the wood chips:

I, too, was tired and thirsty (we didn't carry sufficient water with us), so I decided to head back to the car to "rescue" my poor boys. The walk back through the city streets were shorter than heading back through the walkway in the park. The 2 miles back to the car was long and hot. When I got to the car, I realized all of our crankiness - it was 91 degrees!!! No wonder everyone got tired and grumpy.

After we arrived home, I hopped into the shower and all of the grumpiness and resentful feelings towards the boys' grumpiness was washed away. It was a great day full of hiking, flowers, and time with my boys. All things that I love!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Joy of White Noise

Are you dependent on white noise? I most definitely am. It became vividly apparent that both Ethan and I NEED white noise in order to sleep. Sunday morning we lost power in the house due to an old evergreen falling on the power lines two doors down from us. There was quite a bit of excitement because there was actually a fire and everything. I'm not sure how we missed that, but we did.

We spent the day wondering when the power would be back on, being thankful that it wasn't either 25 degrees below or 105 degrees, and planning where to eat dinner. The tree cutters finally arrived late in the day, but we were still hopeful that the energy crew would be right behind them. We were still hopeful that they would arrive as we watched the sun set.

Then, it was time for bed. It was time for bed without my fan and my humidifier! Ugh. How was I going to sleep?? I knew that it would be difficult because Ethan, who is also highly dependent upon white noise, was still not asleep and was popping up out of bed every hour. As I laid down, I had to scream out, "This silence is deafeningly loud!" I could hear every little creak in the house, every noise outside, the guinea pigs getting a drink of water. Each time I started to sleep, a new noise would arise. The most consistent one was Ethan. At midnight I finally asked him to try to stay in bed the next time he woke up. I tried to explain that he just wasn't used to the quiet, so the next time he woke up, he should try to relax himself and see if he could fall back to sleep. I'm not sure how or why that worked, but it did. He finally stayed in bed. Then, the excitement of the beeping things started. The boys had gotten new stop watches that day and had played around with the settings. We heard one of them go off in their room, so we stumbled to their bedroom with flashlights and grabbed both of them. I was certain that I had figured out how it worked and I was certain that I had turned it off. So, we left them on our nightstands and started to doze off. "BEEP! BEEP!" crap...I did not have it figured out. Kyle suggested that I throw it in his van in the garage and not worry about it. Great idea - so I grab the flashlight again and head to the garage to toss the one (notice, I did NOT take both of them!) to the van. Whew....I head back to bed ready for some sleep. Start to doze off and "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!"
What the ?#$????? It was the second timer! This time it was Kyle's turn to take it to the van.

I believe that was the end of the odd noises, but by that time all sleep schedules had been disrupted. Most of these noises/activities would have been missed if I had had my white noise. Since I shouldn't be using a humidifier this time of year and since the fan is not loud enough, I promptly placed an order for a white noise machine. It is one that I have wanted since I was in grad school. I cannot wait for it to arrive. Now, if only it ran on battery power...I had best start searching for one of those!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Very Full Saturday!

Whew! I am exhausted. It is 9pm and I am ready for the day to be finished. The exhaustion stems from three points: staying up too late, getting up too early, and having a very busy day today.

The staying up too late happened when I went over to a friend's house last night and watched the movie Bobby. It wasn't a movie that I had ever planned on watching, but was pleasantly surprised by it. I enjoyed the different story lines of the different lives that were impacted by Bobby Kennedy's campaign and stop at the Ambassador Hotel.

The next point of getting up too early happened because I can no longer sleep in in the morning! Why? I don't know. I suspect it is because we don't have any light filtering elements in our bedroom. We have sheers with light yellow curtains over the top. So, when the sun comes up, I am up within the hour.

It was then time for the usual Saturday morning routine of the vain attempt to get some cleaning done. Of course, the drive to get some cleaning done was further induced by the fact that my in laws were arriving today in order to see Ethan's Angelica Cantanti concert tomorrow. So, it was a morning of cleaning the guinea pigs' cage, sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming, doing laundry, and changing beds. Whew! When you sit at a desk all week, doing housework can be exhausting. It was then that it was time to head out to Sociale Gourmet to be there by 11 to prep 12 meals for the next month. I have been an avid bi-monthly participant in the meal preparation. It makes life manageable and reduces our trips for eating out, so it is well worth the 1.25 hours for me to prep 12 meals!

I got home, ate some lunch, helped Ethan wrap a birthday present, and then headed to Vertical Endeavors in St. Paul for Jakob's birthday party. This place is amazing (check out the link) - it is a building full of climbing walls. What I really liked was that there were areas that the boys could climb without having to have a spotter. The ropes were rigged up to some sort of spring system, so they were safe, but independent which means that they all climbed and climbed for 2 hours. After staying and chatting with the adults for a little while, I headed out in search of coffee. No one knew where to get coffee in the area, so I took a wild guess and started to look around. Now, you need to understand that I know NOTHING about St. Paul and I have a horrid sense of direction. So, I ventured only as far as I dared and I was unsuccessful at finding coffee. I then turned and headed back to Vertical Endeavors when it started to pour. Rather than brave the elements, I stayed in the car and chatted on the phone. It was really comforting and peaceful to watch the rain on my windshield and to hear the rain on the metal and glass of the car. It always brings to mind one of my favorite memories from my childhood - sitting in my bedroom on my pink canopy bed in our house on 5th street during a summer storm. My room faced the street and I would watch the rain splash on the blacktop and the sidewalks while it softly landed on the grass. Then, my room would fill with the smells of ozone, mud, and musty wood from the windowsill. It would always fill me with peace and happiness. Those same sensations fill me today when I sit in a rainstorm.

Well, I am getting sleepy and I am now reminiscing about my room on 5th St., so I will just say the rest of the day included a bike ride to DQ, a visit to Ethan's piano teacher, a fun game of "I Spy" using an I Spy book with Alexander, and now some computer time. I am going to need to go to bed soon!

Tomorrow is busy, too, but not nearly as full. Ethan's Angelica Cantanti concert is tomorrow afternoon and that is the focus of the day!

Have a lovely evening!