Monday, June 30, 2008

Mommy cards

As you know, my shopping habits are well documented. Between my ebay obsession and wild hairs that I get over the kids' clothes (ex: Jeans! I MUST find jeans for Justin to wear this Fall. And will I wait until August or September when they will be easy to find? Oh no, I must find them now. They will be Gap jeans with the jersey lining. And I will not pay more than I think I should.... I know. I have a problem.).

I was thinking the other day that I wish I had a personal 'business' card to hand out when I meet other moms or try making friends. I've heard of Mommy cards before, but hadn't really thought much about them, as I used to work so much that I had no personal life much less any opportunity to meet other parents with children Malaina's age. Now that my schedule is much more flexible, and we are getting involved in so many more activities, I thought it might be fun to look into. Many of the websites I found wanted a fortune for cards ($35 for 50 cards? Get outta here!), but then I found Vista Print and their very inexpensive cards. I don't know about the quality, but the price was right at $5.99 for 50 cards! This is with shipping, but after I applied a coupon code I found online. Here's what my cards will look like (I blurred out my phone numbers to frustrate all you stalkers out there. You know who you are):

Being the cheapo that I am, I chose the slowest method of shipping @21 days. I'm hopeful it won't be nearly that long. I feel sort of dorky about ordering these, but they are so dang cute that I can't wait to share them with my friends. I don't always like to hand out my regular business cards and I never seem to have a pen to scribble down my phone number. Problem solved!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I May Never Sleep Again

I know people say this all the time when you have kids. But Malaina wasn't that difficult in the sleep department. At about 3 or 4 months, she had a relatively consistent sleep schedule. 2 naps during the day, about an hour and a half each, and bedtime around 9pm until 8am. Totally do-able. But Justin is killing me. He naps for no more than 20 minutes a day, unless we happen to be driving. And it can take me a good hour and a half to get him settled down at night. I finally went to the library and checked out Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. It's a common sense book that stresses the importance of a schedule for the baby. And of course, this schedule should begin from Day One. I started reading the book last night after struggling to get him to sleep once again. A few things seem to be working, but I need to break his dependence on eating in the middle of the night. He doesn't really eat, just snacks & falls back asleep. It's twice as bad, as I am exhausted and fall asleep as soon as I get him snuggled up next to me. He wouldn't settle down last night, and I finally caved at 4 am when I knew he was hungry and wanted to eat. Of course that was also the first time I actually slept last night.

Nap time was nightmare-ish today. He fell asleep at church twice, but didn't sleep for more than 20 minutes each time. When we got home, I followed the book, and as soon as I saw him rubbing his eyes and staring into the distance, I cuddled him, patted him, and laid him in the crib. He went down like a dream, but 20 minutes later he was awake again. I tried soothing him, but nothing worked for more than a few minutes. Then he got MAD. I don't like the idea of 'crying it out', but nothing seemed to console him. I knew he wanted to eat for a few minutes, but I also knew he wasn't really hungry (I had fed him about an hour prior). I stayed strong, and just tried to soothe him by carrying him, rocking him, patting him, etc. No go. This was his first full blown tantrum, and it was hard to listen to (I'm a total sucker for crying, and always want to hold & comfort the kids). After a good half hour+, he settled down again and slept for another 30 minutes, but was then wide awake. Of course he later fell asleep in his Jumper (it's like Ambien for babies).

I'm not one of those moms who hover and race in at the slightest sound, but he seems to wind up really easily when it comes to sleep. I end up laying in bed, listening for him to start to whimper and end up just being really tense and not sleeping at all. I can't do this forever unless I can support a serious caffeine habit. And that wouldn't be healthy right now. I feel overwhelmed, as I know the issue is intertwined with sleep, crib, family bed, and nursing. I know I've given him bad habits, but just don't know how to go about breaking them (or where to start first). I am just so very very tired.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Creme Brulee:1, Self-Control:0

I like food, and I'm not afraid to say it. I enjoy preparing it & I enjoy eating it even more (especially if I don't have to do the dishes afterward). In my tiny family, I am notorious for my food cravings. During pregnancy it was gyros, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, milk, burritos, and lots of ice cream. I've been doing well on the 'diet' which I started along with my exercise/ get healthy program this week. It's nothing specific, just keeping a food diary (a first for me, and something I'm not terribly comfortable with), and eating less pasta & bread and more fruits and veggies. Well, after I made the angel food cake to go with my Strawberry Shortcake for Tuesday's party, I had 9 egg yolks left. I hate to waste good food, but couldn't think of much to do with them. Enter epicurious, and their genius search feature. You can enter an ingredient, and up pops a plethora of options. In my search for 'egg yolks', I stumble across Creme Brulee. I love creme brulee, and the recipe looked fairly easy, so I thought "why not"? Well...... I've had two servings today. They were not at the same time, and one was topped with raspberries (another fruit serving!). It was sooooooo good, but I am wrestling with my guilt about this, as I was beginning to feel a little pride in building consistency with better eating habits. I can rationalize with the best of them, but can't seem to do so in this case. I definitely didn't need the second serving, and I probably could have powered through it. But I know myself. I would have obsessed over it. And obsessed. And obsessed. I might have even ended up digging through the fridge in the middle of the night. I'm hopeful I can move on from this (the craving, the guilt), and view tomorrow as another opportunity to make healthy choices. Not every day can be perfect, and the great thing is that tomorrow always offers the chance to improve upon yesterday. Good news: I am feeling more energetic, and am enjoying the BBC class. Bad news: I am SORE (I didn't think I was so out of shape, but I was wrong. So very, very wrong).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's a Des Moines love-fest

That seems like a very un-us thing to say, but both Matt and I admitted to each other this week that we really like Des Moines. When we had to decide which school to finalize our acceptance to, I campaigned hard for Des Moines. I just had a really good feeling about coming here. I thought it would be good for the family (mid-Western values), and good for his academic career (DMU is a top-notch D.O. school). As soon as we arrived here, I knew we had made the right decision. I know part of that confirmation was the joy of no longer needing to commute 2 hours every day (we spent a ton on gas money), but there's a lot going for Des Moines. First, we love where we live. I could trade in apartment living in a heartbeat, but I did end up choosing a great city and a good location (pat on the back to me). I love that everything we really need is within a 5 mile drive - 2 malls, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, church, pre-school. And even better, there's a great trail that runs behind the apartment (which takes us right to the corner grocery). Plus just up the hill & through a small development there's a great park and the library across the street.

The weather hasn't really bothered us either. Snow, ice, freezing temperatures? We're OK with that (granted, we didn't have a driveway or sidewalk to plow). And although today is quite humid, the past week has been beautiful. 80 degrees, relatively low humidity, lots of sunshine. I told Matt that this is the first year since grade school that I have been really excited for summer to start. We've been so busy, and there's so much yet to do. I'm looking forward to 4th of July, swim lessons, visiting the wading pools at the local parks, movies on the lawn at the West Des Moines city hall, possibly going to Minneapolis for a few days, and just getting outside to enjoy the sunshine and cool breeze.

I know that we'll be moving next summer to start rotations, and I'm already sad about that. I wish we could stay in Des Moines, but we're pretty sure it will be better for Matt's career if we explore programs outside Iowa. But the good thing is that we now know how great DM is, and we can always come back. I always envisioned heading back west when we were done with Residency, but now I'm not so sure. Oregon is grey & rainy much of the year, and is getting so expensive. Nevada is a little too desert-y for my taste. California? Well, if it weren't for the traffic, people, smog and outrageous housing prices, then maybe. Utah? Too much pressure to be the perfect Mormon (seriously, I think I would crack under the stress of it all). Arizona: too hot, dry, dusty, and I hate scorpions. Colorado is a contender, but I haven't been there in years. I realize there is much of the country I am omitting - and that it's very early to even be thinking about where to settle. But the point is, DM might be a contender on the list of possibilities. Wait and see folks, wait and see.
Family Picture of the Day: Accessorizing courtesy of Malaina. I don't think this is the last time this is going to happen.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting Healthy

Tomorrow I start a Baby Bootcamp class. No, Justin hasn't joined the military (I don't think his Daddy would allow that). It's an exercise class you do with your baby and a jogging stroller. I found a great program through the Parks & Rec department, and thought that there's no time like the present. It runs for 6 weeks, and meets 3 times a week for an hour. I hesitated to blog about this earlier, as I have mixed feelings about this process. I don't doubt that I'll finish the class, and enjoy doing it. I'm not afraid of that. I'm afraid that I will once again fail to follow through with my good intentions to start living a healthier life. I'm not sure when I stopped having any sense of personal discipline. Was it when I had kids? Or when I started feeling really comfortable with Matt (last year)? Regardless of when, it seems to be a daily fact.

Every year as my birthday approaches, I always think "This is the year I get in shape. This is the year I get healthy." I don't think I'm afraid of doing the physical work. I know it's not easy but I'm not looking for a quick fix or miracle pill. I'm pretty sure I'm afraid of the process. Any person who is more than 10 lbs. overweight for more than 3 months can tell you that being heavy is complicated. Losing that 10, 20 or 30+ pounds requires patience, work, and introspection. It's the introspection that concerns me. Taking a hard look at yourself is never fun or easy, and it's been much easier to avoid that process and keep those feelings boxed up. Being a bit of an overachiever with a smidgen of perfectionist (thanks Dad!), I know all about engineered failure. It's far less of an ego blow to simply not try when you know a project is really difficult, and you will struggle. Why risk trying and failing when you can simply not try at all & keep your pride intact?

I had the above discussion with my sweet husband this morning, and while I think he empathizes with me, he also helps me to keep things in perspective. He pointed out that I need to focus less on the exterior, and more on the interior. It's really is about being more healthy. If I can work on that, the physical stuff will improve, too. Or as he put it: "You just need to decide exactly when you'd like to develop adult-onset diabetes". Nothing like thinking about losing your toes to make a walk to the park seem pretty appealing.

It was also inspiring to watch some of the Hy-Vee Triathlon this weekend. On Sunday morning the run portion was headed right past our apartment. Malaina got excited when she saw the runners & wanted to eat breakfast on the porch so she could clap & cheer like the other supporters on the street. I whipped up some pancakes & we all sat outside & watched the runners go by. We talked about what they were doing & why, and I watched the variety of sizes, shapes & ages jog to victory. I'd love to do a triathlon some day, but don't have access to a pool right now. I'm going to have to settle for running in the Race for the Cure in October - which must be important to me, as I actually planned my vacation so that we'd be home that weekend. If Baby Bootcamp can start me on the path to better health, then I'll have another 10 weeks to train before RFTC at the end of October. October 25th is highlighted on my calendar. Good luck to me?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Not much to say, but blogging anyway

We're stuck at home on a Saturday afternoon, as our street is closed down for the Hy-Vee Triathlon. No car traffic until 5pm on both Saturday & Sunday. It's really not a bad thing because Justin is actually taking a decent nap in his crib. Yep, we finally reconfigured the bedroom and put up the big crib. I think he never slept well in the travel crib because the bassinet insert would always shake every time he moved, waking him up even more. Last night was the first night with the crib and he went to sleep there but I ended up bringing him into our bed to eat at around 12:30am. But at least he slept for a good 4 hours in the crib! I know that one day he'll go all night in his own bed, but I certainly wouldn't expect him to transition to his crib AND stop eating at night all in one fell swoop. For now I'm just taking small steps to smooth out the process. If anyone has any advice on getting him to sleep all night, I am all ears (except the cry it out method - I don't agree with it).

Justin also tried rice cereal over the last 2 days. I know it's early, but sometimes he just seems so hungry and I don't know if I'm producing enough milk to keep him satisfied. It went relatively well. He's still not sure he likes it, but at least he didn't spit it all back out. I've been feeding it to him for dinner, then nursing him one last time before bed. I think he's been sleeping a little more deeply, so it may be doing the trick! I forgot how messy those first meals can be. We had to break out the bib, and it was completely soaked by the time we were done.

To celebrate finishing my project I took the kids to the mall yesterday. I had to get a gift for the Favorite Things party, and Malaina wanted to go to the Play Place, so off we went. I found what I was looking for and more! I've been wanting to have the kids' picture taken, and I finally found Malaina a white dress to coordinate with the blue and white shirt I got for Justin. I also picked up a few onesies for the Fall, and some jelly sandals for Malaina (Do you remember jelly shoes? The ones I had were never this cute!)

After our time at the Mall, we headed to Old Navy so I could look for a rashguard for Justin. I found swim trunks for him last weekend, but Matt suggested we get a rashguard to help keep him warm in the pool. Being cheap, I wasn't happy with the price of what I found at Old Navy, but I did rustle up some good stuff in the 50% racks. Malaina scored 4 new t-shirts, a sweater, and new jeans, and Justin got 2 pairs of jeans. It seems weird to be buying long sleeves and heavy pants right now, but I know that when October rolls around I'll be happy I squirreled those away. Seriously - when long sleeved t's are $2.50, I can't say no. I think I take even more pleasure in finding bargains because I know that the kids' clothes will not always be so inexpensive.

Friday, June 20, 2008

One more thing.....

I found this story while online today. Ok, first, Kudos to you Jenny Masche. I can't imagine dealing with 6 1-year olds all day every day. And the fact that you found the time to train for and run a marathon within a year of giving birth to those little ones? Amazing. But seriously, as much as I admire you Jenny Masche, I'm too busy feeling crappy about myself because I can't even muster the energy to brush my teeth every day much less run for 2+ hours every evening. (Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with me - sometimes I'm going about my day and suddenly realize that it's 2 pm and I haven't brushed my teeth. Thankfully those are usually the days when we haven't left the house yet. Usually).

Thanks for making the rest of us moms feel inadequate, Jenny Masche. Thanks for making me realize that I don't have any real excuse not to exercise. Time to get my behind in gear and start exercising on a regular basis. (I have a related story about this, but am holding off for a few more days. The delay and related story is shame-based, and more about my own laziness and poor self-image than anything else. Stand by for more personal revelations on that. But don't hold your breath, it's really not that interesting. I hope. I haven't read it yet, but I feel like this holds shades of Such a Pretty Fat).


I just finished my project,and I am both relieved and exhausted. Not to bore you, but....I essentially re-wrote the company's yearly marketing plan in 4 days. It should have taken me a minimum of 2 weeks to do this, but I had 4 days. It turned into a 50 page PowerPoint complete with financial breakdown by product, etc. etc. etc. Yay for me. I shouldn't complain about the work, as generally it's not too stressful. But I felt incredibly guilty when I was done because Justin seemed so excited to have me cuddle and play with him for a while (he must have been staying up for me, as he didn't fall asleep until 10:30!).

I think I must be delirious from the stress of the week, because Matt and I have been talking about getting a mini van. I never thought I would be That Mom. But after taking the drive to Chicago in the confines of the Jetta, I think it's time. We've even gone so far as to talk to the bank about financing. I'm partial to the Odyssey or the Sienna, but am still not 100% on taking the plunge. As my cousin Stephanie said (in reference to driving her own recently acquired Sienna) "I feel like such an old bag driving it". I guess it's all in my mind. Right? Maybe if I go for this, I won't feel so inadequate:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chicagoland Fun

We had a great time in Chicago last weekend - when we finally got there. My plan was to leave early on Friday morning so that even if the drive took a little longer, we'd get there with a little time to shop before having dinner with my Aunt Rose & Uncle Kurt. We did manage to hit the road by about 6:15 on Friday morning, but Plan A quickly turned into Plan B, as we started seeing signs saying that I-80 was closed at Iowa City (yes, I did check the roads the night before, but I didn't see anything about this). Around Altoona we decided to be smart and turn around to take the 35 up and over to the 20. Definitely a better move, but a 6-6.5 hour drive ended up taking 11 hours. Oh yeah, take 4 people, add 11 hours of travel and do it all in the Jetta. That's a recipe to either bring you closer together or make you want to kill each other. Thankfully, we made it there in one piece, and were impressed that traffic wasn't that bad for a Friday afternoon. I also made the mistake of not having a complete Illinois map with us, so we didn't know we could take the 20 directly into Chicago, and ended up taking the 61 down to Davenport & across the 88. At that point, what was a few extra hours, right? Helpful hint: if you're going to the Chicagoland area, make sure you bring your quarters and dimes. I didn't realize we were going to hit 5 toll booths on the way to our hotel, and I was glad I had a few dollar bills that the toll takers could break for me (instead of the cash -free wallet which is my SOP).

First stop: Trader Joe's! Have you ever been to Trader Joe's? Oh, I love it! I know, it seems weird to make our first Chicago stop at a grocery store, but Trader Joe's is not just any ol' store. First, it's very reasonable. Second, they have some sort of fancy gourmet items, but nothing too outlandish. And Finally, they carry my very favorite soap, lotion, scrub, and shave cream. And again, it's VERY reasonable. I happily stocked up on all my fave bodycare stuff, as well as snacks and water for our trip (including the most awesome dark chocolate covered pretzels - delicious, but they don't exactly agree with Justin. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten half the bag in one day. But I digress). I also picked up a bouquet of flowers for Aunt Rose - again, beautiful & reasonable (and I always try not to arrive empty handed to a dinner invite). We jumped back on the freeway, and after paying a few more tolls, we made it to the hotel - the Courtyard in Schaumburg. I was disappointed that they didn't have a mini fridge in the room, but otherwise it worked out well. Malaina got the sofa bed, they had an indoor pool, and everyone was happy.
We headed to Elgin to meet up with my Aunt & Uncle, and had a great time catching up with them. My cousin Stephanie was there, too, and her two girls. All three girls had a great time running around, riding bikes in the basement, making cards on the computer, and just being young girls. After a delicious dinner, we headed back to the hotel, and fell into bed.

We got up on Saturday morning to a bright, sunshine-y, humidity free day! We drove down to the Aurora outlet mall to do the shopping I missed out on Friday night. I found a few good deals, and then it was back into the car and over to Lincoln Park Zoo. Parking was crazy, as half of Chicago decided to head out to Lincoln Park and the North Shore of Lake Michigan. We finally unloaded the troops and cruised the zoo for 3 hours. It was free! And it's a great zoo. We saw polar bears, tigers, lions (Malaina was wide-eyed at the lion gnawing on a giant bone right in front of her), giraffe, ostrich, rhino, monkeys, birds, and my favorite: the river otter. We loaded our weary travellers back into the car, and went exploring to find the cupcake shop I had been obsessing about: Sweet Mandy B's. Located in the Lincoln Park/ DePaul neighborhood, it had a sweet little store front, and zero parking. Matt dropped me off and circled the block while I ordered my 'cakes. I found the staff to be a little lacking. The girl was a little irritated when I wasn't ready to place my order within .03 seconds of walking through the door. She gave me the stink eye while I looked over the goodie case (cookies, cupcakes, cakes, pie), and seemed irritated when I asked a question or two. I completed the transaction, and was glad that I was the only one who made the trip inside - the interior was tiny, and claustrophobic to me. As I walked past the cafe on the corner to wait for Matt to pull up, I chuckled to myself when I overheard a lady at an outside table exclaim to her young daughter "Ooooo...look! She went to Sweet Mandy B's and got cupcakes!". Unfortunately, my cupcake bliss had to wait, as we were both starving by the time we got back to the hotel (Saturday evening traffic - not so good, especially when we were going OUT of the city). Saturday must have been my lucky day for the month, as we ended up trying the Weber Grill Restaurant. I've wanted to try this place for years, and I was not disappointed. It was a bittersweet experience, as the food was fantastic (we shared prime rib, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, a chopped chicken salad, and onion soup), but the kids were both super cranky by the time the food hit the table, and Matt ended up walking Justin back to our room while I finished eating. We finished the night with Matt & Malaina at the pool - one of their favorite things to do together. I didn't even have the energy (or the stomach space) to truly enjoy a cupcake, so I saved them for another day.

Almost as tall as a polar bear (OK, not really, but don't tell her that)

"Uh Mom, what exactly do you think you're doing to me here?"

Mmmm... Weber Grill Restaurant. I give it 3.5 out of 4 stars.

On Sunday we were poky about getting up and out of the hotel, and didn't make it downtown until about noon. Of course first priority was to shower Daddy with presents (a customized Starbucks card with his favorite drink on it - a Grande Hot Chocolate - & the promise of NCAA '09 Football for the Wii). We parked at Soldier Field, and walked over to the Shedd Aquarium. This was a great idea in theory, but not quite as awesome in reality. You see, Sunday being Father's Day, the main floor of the Aquarium was free to everyone. Needless to say, it was a tiny bit crowded. We decided to pay for tickets to see the entire Aquarium, and even sprang for the SpongeBob movie in 4-D (quite an experience, and probably more fun if you are under the age of 8). We managed to find good seats to the dolphin show, and really enjoyed seeing all the fish, turtles, frogs, and other marine animals. The Caribbean Reef exhibit in the rotunda was very cool - a huge sea turtle, manta rays, sting rays, tarpon, and more.

This is the Field Museum, which is located adjacent to the Aquarium (and the Planetarium). We did not have a chance to visit on this trip, but will another time.

When we were done at the Aquarium, we headed back out to the suburbs to find some dinner. We were going to take the 20 out of Illinois, so it made sense to head towards Schaumburg to eat before we made the killer drive home. (Seriously, if you're going to Chicago, I advise staying in this area. Woodfield Mall is right there, along with a ton of restaurants, hotels, IKEA, and several major freeways. Plus we saved at least $150 a day by not staying downtown).
Daddy requested Chicago-style pizza for his Father's Day dinner, so here's where we ate:
I panicked a little when we were driving to the restaurant. There were 2 Lou's in the area, and the first one we stopped at was take-out and delivery only. I was so glad when we pulled up & discovered this was a sit-down restaurant. And that they could seat us right away. Justin was cranky again, so I didn't get a shot of the pizza before we dug into it. I can say that it was DELICIOUS. We took the rest to-go and after a last, hopeful check of the Iowa roads (I-80 STILL closed), we started the drive. I finally had the chance to sample my cupcakes, and here they are:

The upper left corner is Banana Chocolate Chip. Below that is Creamsicle. The yellow are Lemon, and the far right 'cakes are Red Velvet (they didn't have a huge selection of flavors). First, I'll say that I did not eat them all in one sitting. I may be a cupcake fan, but I am not a glutton. Very often. I even shared! What I liked about them: The Lemon were the very best. The cake was light & moist, and tasted like lemon, but not in an overwhelming or chemical way. The Red Velvet were good, but the batter didn't seem smoothly mixed, and they weren't quite as tasty. What I didn't like about them: The Creamsicle were not good. The cake was bland & flavorless, and the frosting was sickly-sweet. The Banana Chocolate Chip was just not cupcake material. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good either. I also thought that the frosting application was sloppy. I really like it when the frosting is piped on the top of a cupcake. Net/net: These were not nearly as good as Valley Junction's own Carefree Patisserie.

The drive home was both faster and uneventful. We stopped outside of Dubuque and grabbed some soda to help us stay awake, but otherwise there were no delays or problems. Malaina watched Annie on the DVD player, Justin slept, and Matt and I talked. That's the one advantage to road trips: I feel like Matt and I get to catch up on so much stuff that we don't chat about on a daily basis. We stopped outside Ames so I could feed Justin, and finally made it to our front door at about 2:45am on Monday morning. The drive home took about 7 hours - much better!

The only downside to the trip is that I have not gotten to bed before 2am any day this week. Part of that is due to this monster project I've been trying to complete, but I'm not happy about reverting to my night owl ways. Justin is usually wide-eyed & awake at 7 am, and I don't operate well on 5 hours of sleep (at least not unless there's a nap during the day.....and there never is). Now I'm hungry & craving cupcakes. I may have to rustle one up when I finish this project tonight (they added more stuff to it and gave me a 24 hour extension. Thanks). I definitely deserve it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

3 months old

Justin is now 3 months old! It's hard to believe that 3 short months ago, we were still waiting for him to make his grand entrance. He has changed so much in that short amount of time, and is such a sweet little boy.
Likes: Chewing on his fingers, drooling, pony rides, jumping in his Jump Up, riding in the stroller, smiling at Mom, laughing at Dad.
Dislikes: Bed time, nap time, laying on his tummy.
Favorite Toy: Green frog
Favorite Food: Milk
We went to Chicago this weekend, but I am massively busy and I will blog about it later in the week (Note to Self: do not attempt to drive across the state when half of it - including the freeway- is under water. You will not make good time). I have a 2 week project to do by Wednesday night (yes, it was given to me this morning), so all other activities are on hold until that's done. My only saving grace is that my boss goes on vacation on Thursday, and I will have 6 days of peace and quiet.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Family Visit, Part II

On Monday we changed plans, and instead of heading to Winterset to see the covered bridges, we headed out to the zoo! We had never been to the local zoo, and we were all pleasantly surprised. It was an overcast day, which was actually good because it kept us all a little cooler.

Malaina loved riding the camel, and kept telling us that she wasn't scared at all.

Justin was SO good. He rode in the Bob, napped, and didn't make a peep the entire time we were there!

As soon as we got into the zoo, Malaina insisted we see the elephants (and kept at it the whole time). When we finally moseyed over to the elephant area, she took a look at the mom & baby & completely lost interest. I think her favorite part was being squirted by the baby elephant statue!
I recommend a visit to the zoo. It's a really nice size to see in just a few hours, and there's lots to do - feed the animals, ride a camel, ride the train, etc. We wanted to try and hit the Science Center, too, but just ran out of time. That night we had dinner at PF Chang's (so good!!), and made it an early night. Yesterday we took a jaunt over to the mall and Malaina played while the boys strolled through Scheel's. We had lunch at Panera, then Matt and Malaina went to see Kung Fu Panda (highly enjoyed it), and the rest of us went to Valley Junction and the Heart of Iowa store to pick up a few local goodies for them to take home. Then it was off to the airport (via a newly found shortcut - avoiding flooded Fleur Drive). Justin's expression shows how we all felt about Grandma & Grandpa leaving.

Now we're scrambling to get ready for the long weekend in Chicago - catching up on laundry, cleaning, and I'm trying to finish a blanket for the new Baby Payne (isn't she precious??). I'm just grateful that the one thing I did get accomplished this week was to mail my Father's Day cards. They might actually reach their destinations on time!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A busy weekend

Grandma & Grandpa Engle came to visit this weekend! They travelled from Gardnerville, NV to see Malaina in her dance recital, and to meet Justin for the first time. We went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday, and had a great time seeing all the beautiful produce, sampling Kettle Korn, and Dad even chatted with a few other Aussie Shepherd owners. Malaina got to ride the train, and could have done that all day. Justin was sacked out in the Bob the whole time, but I think he enjoyed himself, too. Later that day we put Justin in his Jump Up (see video below), and I guess he was so worn out that he fell asleep! After dinner we went to Snookies for a little ice cream and Iowa atmosphere. Sunday was a quiet day, and we had to abandon going to Pella in favor of staying dry and off the flooded roads. Grandma and Grandpa got some one-on-one time with the kids while Matt and I snuck away to a movie. What a great weekend! We should be off to Winterset today to see the covered bridges.

Justin in his Jump Up! He seems to enjoy it, and it always cracks me up when he gets some momentum. (Ignore the conversation in the background)

My Ballerina

Malaina performed in her first ballet recital on Friday. The Capitol City Dance Center performed La Bayadere at the Drake Performing Art Hall, and Malaina's Creative Movement class participated in the role of snakes, complete with snake charmer. She did not have any stage fright, and did a great job in her part. We're so proud of her!

She was a little wishy-washy about going to dance class towards the end of the year, but I think performing in the recital (and having the chance to watch the more advanced dancers) has convinced her to continue taking lessons in the Fall. We'll move from a half hour class to an hour class, and they will even learn a little tap dancing! The Website is here Capitol City Dance Center, and I like them for their small class size, close location, and reasonable price.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Our Louisiana red beans finally came on Monday, and boy were they good! There are not many things that live up to their memory, but I am so glad these did. Even Malaina enjoyed them, especially when we started telling her stories from our time in Louisiana (and calling her our Cajun Queen).

Here's a little shot of Justin, hanging out with his buddy Henry Bear. And one when he woke up from his morning nap. I don't like the pacifier in pictures, but he looked so cute all bundled in his blanket (and cuddled up with Daddy).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just call me Velma?

Matt and Malaina were getting ready to run an errand before dinner......

Matt: Ready, Freddie?

Malaina: (filled with indignation) I'm Not Freddie! Freddie's a boy's name! You're Freddie!

Matt: If I'm Freddie, who are you?

Malaina: I'm Daphne, you're Freddie and Mama is Velma.

Matt: And who is baby brother?

Malaina: (rolling her eyes as if we should already know this) He's Scooby.

I guess we know what we're dressing up as for Halloween. And should I be worried that she thinks of Justin as the family dog?