Friday, July 29, 2011

Touch a Truck & Touch a Chicken

Despite the few sprinkles of rain we had today, the kids and I headed to "Touch a Truck" with Nana, Mima, Aunt Dana, Nia, Nolan and the rest of the crew. I had never heard of "Touch a Truck" before but what a cute activity for kids! All of the town's city workers, bus drivers, farmers, etc. brought all their favorite equipment out today so that kids could climb and play in them for FREE!

The girls definitely had a good time playing together in all the trucks.




There were so many to choose from! They had Semis, a S.W.A.T. truck, a garbage truck, an ambulance, a fire truck, a school bus...



And the kids favorite...TRACTORS!


The kids definitely had the most fun playing in the tractors.


Well...except for Blake. He just wasn't feelin it today. Big shocker.


So he just hung on Mima and enjoyed a cookie and sucker.


BUT...when we left "Touch a Truck" and headed to Aunt Di and Uncle Adam's for a little visit, he was suddenly feelin tractors! I guess he just preferred to actually ride on one :-)


 And Addie was lucky enough to DRIVE one today! Uncle Adam let her get behind the wheel (with him controlling the gas of course) and she had a blast.

 

After her little tractor ride, can you guess what she wanted to do next?


Feed the chickens!! And boy did they come a runnin...


Although the chickens were pretty cute, I preferred my bird's eye view for the feeding. Ha!


And good old Blake kept his distance too by hanging on Nana. Smart boy :-) 


We all just couldn't get over Addie, the Chicken Whisperer. She had absolutely no fear with these guys!


And neither does her Uncle Adam.


I was able to catch a quick video of the little chicken lady in action. Please disregard all the conversations going on and my obnoxious voice. I just had to post this though because she is too cute :-)

video

As you can imagine, this is ALL we have talked about today, so we've already planned another trip to Aunt Di and Uncle Adam's house next week for a playdate with Addie's new chicken BFFs. I think Blake and I will just hang in the tractor :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two Cute Chicks

There has been a lot of chicken talk around our house lately. Aunt Di and Uncle Adam got some new baby chicks a few weeks back and Addie has been begging me to go over and see them. It's been a little hot around here so we have been waiting for a cooler day.

Well, when Eric told Addie that he had to run to Uncle Adam's house tonight, she couldn't hop in his truck fast enough. I called Di and told her she would have a little visitor knocking on her door in a few minutes looking for chickens. I figured she would be all over the new baby chicks but apparently she wanted to reconnect with one of the chicks she met a few months back. And as you can see...they aren't babies anymore.

"Holy Moly" as Addie would say :-)


Can you believe that little peanut is holding that big chickie?!!! She definitely inherited her Daddy's bravery because she certainly didn't get that from me :-)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised though. Addie fell in love with those chicks from the minute she laid eyes on them 4 months ago.



And I guess no matter how big your babies get, they will always be babies to you :-)

Addie wasn't home 5 minutes before she was asking when we can go back. Aunt Di...I think you've got yourself a new farm hand :-) But...we are going to have to figure out what to tell Addie when the chickens disappear in a few months and you suddenly have a bunch of chicken nuggets in your freezer. Ha!

It May Still Be Hot, But Summer is Almost Over

I got two things in the mail this past week that made me realize that summer is almost over. Addie's future preschool sent a letter with information regarding the parent meet-and-greet in August and info on her first day of school!! Ahhh!

I also got an invitation to my back-to-school faculty workshop and dinner that takes place in like 3 WEEKS!!! I have really enjoyed the time off this summer, but I am always anxious to get back to the classroom. I just can't believe we are going back so soon!!

Where did all the time go this summer? I swear I had a list a mile long of things I wanted to do. Some have been accomplished, but most have not. For example, I haven't done a SINGLE scrapbook page. Not one. This was actually a New Years resolution too and I am already 6 months in the hole. I guess I know what will be on next year's resolution list too. Ha!

But instead of focusing on the negative, I want to try and remind myself that summer isn't about working your ass off. It's about having fun and enjoying some down time. And we have definitely done a lot of that. I've had a lot of fun girl's nights out, trips to the movie theater, I've managed to read 3 books, do some home decorating (pics of my made-over living room coming soon) and have LOTS of playdates.

One of the things I love best about summer is having all my teacher friends and family available for weekday playdates!! My cousin Kris and I don't get to see each other much during the school year because she is a full-time working mama so we have tried extra hard to get together this summer. We were able to play today and the kids had so much fun together! I, of course, forgot my camera so I only got one usable pic on my phone and that isn't even great. But you can see all the kiddies enjoying a nice lunch together :-)


Krissy's hubby Chuck was home today too and the kids pretty much played with him the whole time. He was like a human jungle gym. They loved him :-) While the kids played with him, Krissy and I got to sit and chit chat, which rarely happens at playdates. Ha! Thanks for the great time today Kris!!! I hope you got better pics than I did :-)

In addition to fun playdates, I've also tried to do other fun things with the kids this summer. Sadly, the heat has really put a damper on our outdoor activities so before the school year starts, I am hoping to get to the zoo at least one more time and I would like to get some swimming days in at my parents house and our beach club. Come on Mother Nature...throw us a bone here!

So...has reality set in for anyone else that summer is almost over? Are you happy or sad about it? I have mixed feelings. On one hand I love having "free time" with the kids but on the other hand, we are totally lacking any sort of routine around here and the Type A side of me misses that. Now...ask me this again in the middle of October when we are up to our eyeballs in activities and responsibilities. Ha! At least it will be cool by then :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For Someone Who Won "Best Dressed" in High School...

It's pretty sad how unstylish I've become. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, then you've already heard this complaint. I've felt like a bit of a frump lately, and I'm sure this has NOTHING to do with the fact that I am just days away from my 3 year anniversary as a Stay-at-home-mom :-) I gladly retired my Banana Republic dress pants for Old Navy sweatpants a long time ago, but I always swore that I would try to be a put together full-time mama.

When I made the complaint about my frumpiness on FB, lots of my very sweet friends posted comments reassuring me that I am in fact "stylish" but I really think it's only because I carefully choose which pictures to post online. I mean, you see plenty of me at family parties or girl's nights out but those are the times where I actually tried. I am more referring to my every day style. The stuff I wear to Target, the grocery store, kid outings, around the house, etc. That has gotten SAD my friends. S.A.D.

It's bad enough that I recycle the same ratty tank-tops and tees, paired with my favorite Target running shorts, every single day. But then when you add in the fact that I don't shower every morning, do my hair OR wear make-up most of the time...AH!

Hot mess.

But what's a girl to do? I've sort of lost that fashion bug I had when I was working full time (and had the budget to afford it) so I find myself just standing in my closet every morning with a stupid look on my face. I have no idea what to put together anymore. And the problem really isn't that I don't have clothes, although I complain constantly that I have nothing to wear. The truth is...I have a lot of clothes. And accessories. But no matter what I put on lately, it just seams boring!!

My SIL Meagan brought something to my attention a few weeks ago that may be the answer to my problem: I need some color in my life. I have always been a sucker for neutral colors like black, gray and tan and lately I have been obsessed with Navy. But all those drab colors day in and day out can get pretty BORING!! But I would be lying to myself if I said that I could ditch my neutral colors all together. I LOVE my navy :-) But I do like the idea of adding pops of color to make my wardrobe more fun.

So...step one will be for me to at least chose clothes that are not of the t-shrit/athletic genre. Even a pair of jeans is a step up these days. Ha! But if I could go one step better, and break out some comfy leggings and tunics, I could pair them with a bright sweater. For example, I really love this purple color from the Boden fall catalog.


In fact, I have been seeing a lot of purple lately. I already sent my mom a link to this sweater for her next knitting project. How cute (and easy) would this be with jeans? This is something I could wear to drop Addie off at preschool and then run to storytime at the library with Blake.


And how fun is this yellow color?


This could be my new teaching outfit for the fall. That...and this one for dressier occasions...


But let's get real. Most of the time I don't have anywhere fancy to go, but I love how comfortable dresses and leggings are and I need to find more casual ways to wear them. How cute is this with a sweater and denim tunic?


Since we are on the subject of fall, what better way to add color to my wardrobe then buying a pair of Hunter wellies?!!

But...the neutral practical side of me says that if there is one thing I need to add to my closet this year, it's a pair of FLAT riding boots. I just can't do heels anymore :-)


It all seems so simple doesn't it? Take my boring clothes and add a pop of color for style. Could a hot pink scarf really style up a plain black tee? Or could a purple cardi really take my black Old Navy cotton summer dress from drab to fab? I suppose there is only one way to find out!

So...does anyone else have some simple style tips to spice up a wardrobe? Any accessories you really love? I know I can't be the only mama out there looking for some tips and tricks :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

That's So Pinteresting! Gallery Walls

You can expect many more "That's So Pinteresting" posts from me in the future because I am totally and completely obsessed with Pinterest. I should have never downloaded the iPhone app OR accepted the invitation my mom sent me because I have literally lost hours of time on this site. But there are just so many awesome ideas!!! Speaking of which...

I am currently in the process of redecorating my living room. I am working with a practically non-existent budget so other than buying some paint for the walls, some new blinds, and possibly a few (cheap) decor items...I have to work with what I've got. We are rearranging and swapping some of our couches and furniture pieces to see if they look "new" in a new room. Ha!

Anyway, one of the things I REALLY want to incorporate into this room is a gallery wall. I have always loved gallery walls and even though I have a few mini versions around my house now, they are all very symmetrical. I kind of have a case of O.C.D. when it comes to symmetry in my decorating.

For example, this is the type of gallery wall my O.C.D. could handle...


But I want to branch out and be a little more fun and daring. This style could be a start with different styles/shapes...

But since I am working with a budget here, I can't go out and buy ALL new frames when I have sooooooooo many at my house that I could reuse and/or repurpose. I also want to use some non-picture items in my gallery wall but I am not sure which will work best. I think the use of mirrors is pretty cute...

And I really like how this one uses vinyl word art. You can find words and cute sayings everywhere now.


And I LOVE the use of letters. I see a lot with just solid wood or metal letters...

But then I came across this idea and I was sold!

I have so many frames in my basement that no longer have glass. Eric thinks I am such a weirdo for keeping them but I've always told him that I would find a way to use them. How CUTE would one (or more) of these be in a gallery wall? I also have scrapbook paper coming out of my ears so that is something I wouldn't have to buy either.

And finally, I thought the use of a chalkboard was pretty neat in a gallery wall...


I'm not quite sure if this will work in the wall I am picturing, but I still thought it was a pretty neat idea. I have been kind of obsessed with the whole chalkboard trend lately (I still have an idea in the works for the kids playroom). Isn't this a cute idea too? A chalkboard in your entryway with inspirational quotes/sayings/poems/etc.



I feel like this could be a great way to use an old frame too.

Ahh....so many ideas...so little time. I am excited to start my room and start playing around with gallery wall ideas. Does anyone else have a gallery wall in their house? Did you use different frames and/or non-picture items? I am totally open to any other ideas so please feel free to comment and/or leave me some links to Pinterest. I am always happy to have a reason to go back on. Haha!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It Wasn't the Smartest Thing I've Ever Done...

But I decided to run the Sundowner 5K last night in 118 degree weather anyway. Now that's what I call dedication :-)

But I'm not going to pretend like I wanted to go. I signed up for this race over a month ago, when temps around here were in the 80s. Then I slowly recruited two friends...Joe and Barb. Barb use to be a runner years ago and has just started back up. She was really wanting to do her first 5K and I was all, "Sign up for the Sundowner"! And she did.

So now I had two friends committed to this race with me. I knew early last week that it was going to be hot that day, but I had no idea that it was going to be as hot as it was. Then the news started throwing around all these Heat Advisories and I started to freak. I am just not good in the heat, especially running in it, so I told Joe and Barb I was going to bail.

Two minutes later, I got text messages from both of them telling me I needed to suck it up and quit being a baby. I also got text messages from my mom reminding me that heatstroke comes on in an instant and I had two children at home to think about. A little over-dramatic...but that's my mama. Eric also told me I was crazy for running but the peer pressure got the best of me and I went to the race anyway.

When we got there, we were in the shade and it didn't seem that bad out!


Yes...we were already sweating but it didn't feel like 112 degrees. So I decided I would just run what I could, and walk the rest if I got too hot. Plain and simple. That was Barb and Joe's plan too so at least we were all on the same page :-)


While we were lining up to start, I was blown away by the amount of people that came out to run, regardless of the weather. I even ran into my BFF Tiffany's parents who were at the start line smiling and having fun. Everyone seemed excited so I got excited too. The gun went off and we were on our way.

The course was on a trail through the woods so we were in 100% shade. I thought this was the best thing going for us. That first mile was pretty easy. Everyone was keeping good pace and when I saw the first water stop only 1/2 mile in I thought we were golden. We would have sprinklers and water every half mile and that would be just enough to get through the heat.

But we did not have water every 1/2 mile. The next water stop was at the 1.5 mile marker and the water was warm. Eww!! That's when I realized the rest of this race was going to suck. By the two mile marker I could feel my face turning red. I needed some water or a sprinkler or something but when I rounded the corner at about 2.5 miles and saw that the water table was EMPTY I about died.

I slowed down and tried to decide if I should just walk the rest of the way, or just keep running so that I could finish and get this over with. I really, really wanted that cold bottle of water waiting for me at the end of the race so I just pushed on. I ran as fast as I could (which was barely faster than a walk at this point) and then when I saw the finish line in the distance I just went for it. Crossing that line has never felt so damn good!

And all of my running buddies weren't far behind me. My friend Tiff's Mom (pink shorts) made it in great time and so did my friend Barb!


This is how we ALL felt at the end :-)


Even Joe was smiling when he finished. On the inside. Ha!


Even though we were all sweaty and disgusting, I made everyone smile for a picture with the medals we TOTALLY earned :-)


And then we went to collect our post race reward. BEER!!! Ice cold.


Joe thought he deserved two for that race.


While I was in line, I ran into one of my old High School besties!! Jamie and I haven't seen each other in at least 2 years so it was great to catch up!


That, my friends, is the best part about running. Meeting new and old friends and having fun. I will never, EVER run a race in that kind of weather again, but it was certainly an accomplishment. It just makes me that much more excited for the fall. Ha!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Farewell Harry Potter!

I was 20-years-old when I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time. My mom had a copy of it, along with The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban. I made fun of her at first for having these "kiddie books" but when some of my other friends in the English department started talking about them (and the movie that was about to come out) I figured why not give them a try.

I ended up reading all three books in one weekend. I couldn't put them down! The nerdy, English-major side of me was in love with the writing. J.K. Rowling was (and still is) one of my favorite authors. I look up to her for not only her talent, but also her passion and determination. If you have never read about how she got started with Harry Potter and how hard it was for her to sell her first manuscript...you should really take the time to do so :-) She is an incredible woman.

Although I tried to play off my interest in these books as an "English major thing", the truth is that I was in love with this story. I was in love with Harry, Ron and Hermione and I honestly felt like I knew them. I felt like I could throw on my Hogwarts robe and wrap my Gryffindor scarf around my neck and join them for a game of Quidditch. I waited impatiently for each new book (and movie) to come out because I couldn't wait to know what happened to my friends next.

Okay...you can all call me a dork now. I'm fine with it. But I think you would be hard pressed to find a Harry Potter fan that doesn't share the same passion I do. I mean...it's been 10 years since I picked up that first book and I can still remember every time I waited in line at the bookstore and every time I anxiously drove to the movie theater with my BFF Tara to see the next flick. 10 years is a long time to love a series and a group of characters. And when I think about all that has happened in those 10 years (graduating from college, getting my first big-girl job, meeting Eric, marrying Eric, having our babies, etc.)...it's hard not to be sad that it's over! I'm not good with goodbyes.

And that is why I knew I would probably shed a tear or two when Tara and I watched the LAST movie today.


And I did. But only twice I swear :-) I just couldn't help myself. The movie was SO good. And as we walked out of the theater with the Harry Potter theme music playing in the background...I think Tara shed a tear too. Or she was just sad that her Junior Mints were gone. Either way...it was emotional.

And what do people do in the movies when they are feeling emotional and have to say goodbye to someone?

They make-out of course.

So Tara gave Harry a little smootch before we left.


And so did I.


I know what you are thinking...two grown, 30-year-old women kissing a Harry Potter poster outside a mall?

Nut jobs.

But hey...cut us a little slack okay? We are in mourning.

But in all seriousness, Tara and I had so much fun today and even though I am a little bummed that it is the end of an era, I am so glad that Tara and I have all these memories together. Harry Potter is one of the first things we bonded over when we became friends 7 years ago and to this day, she is one of the best friends I have ever had. So I guess I should thank Harry Potter. Not just for being my "friend" all these years, but for bringing me closer to one of my best friends.


Thanks, once again, for being my HP companion today Tara! Here's to 7 years of friendship and many MANY more to come :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blake, Harry & Bill

My poor little B-man has a killer summer cold. He woke up with it this morning and has been cuddling with me all day. I just don't understand how you catch a cold in the summer? I mean...we were swimming in our pool yesterday (in 90 degree weather)...


And then today he is a sickie-poo! I'm hoping it's just a quick little cold and we will be up and running again tomorrow :-)

And speaking of tomorrow...my BFF Tara is arriving for our Harry Potter finale!! I can't believe I've managed to wait so long to see this movie. I am SO excited to see it, but SO sad to say goodbye to my man Harry.


But with all endings comes new beginnings (like that segue?)

A new season of Guiliana & Bill started tonight and Eric and I couldn't wait to sit down and watch it. We seriously love these two. They are about as real as you can get in Hollywood and I love that they just put it all out there. This season looks like it's gonna be a good one, but there is just one thing that I can't understand.

What did Bill do to his hair? He always had the cutest hairstyle (Eric wears his hair the same way :-) and then he debuted this come-over tonight and I don't get it!! Too much time with Donald Trump?


Even with the new hair though...he is still such a handsome man. And Guiliana is gorgeous. What I wouldn't give for her wardrobe!!!!

I realize this is a crazy random post, but it's all I got tonight friends :-) Hope you had a happy Monday and stayed cool in this heat!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

50 Miles in 4 Weeks & BBQ Detox

So we've been pretty busy around here lately. Lots of BBQs, family parties, playates, etc. and as we all know...summer get togethers don't always have the healthiest selections of food. Hello cheeseburgers, hotdogs and chips-n-dips :-)

This was the first weekend in a long time that we didn't have any plans and KEPT IT that way. We took advantage by doing lots of relaxing and playing with the kids. We did take care of a few chores but other than that, we took it easy (and are still taking it easy as I type this on my couch :-)

I think one of the best things about staying home this weekend was having the opportunity to detox some of that party food. For all the running I have been doing lately, I should be in tip-top shape! But when you consider all the garbage I've been eating...it's no wonder I haven't really seen the scale move.


But speaking of running, I am VERY proud to say that I hit a new goal for myself this week! About a month ago, I decided that I needed some kind of motivation to get me out the door when I was feeling tired. I wasn't really digging the Bridge to 10K program like I thought I would, so I decided to set a Nike+ goal to run 50 miles in 4 weeks. I thought I would surely be able to get over this 4-mile rut if I had a certain mileage to hit. The first week I had two solid 4 mile runs and then by the third week, I kicked it up to 4.5 and then this past week, I ran my first 5 miles straight! No walking!! I did it for the second time this morning and it felt great! Nike+ even gave me a "medal" for reaching my goal.

But now it's time to set a new one. The reward for reaching my goal this time was a new pair of running shoes. I have been trying to decide on a pair for a couple of months now and I FINALLY decided to stick with my trusty Nike Air Pegasus. They didn't let me down this whole year and I have already been fitted for them so I thought what they heck...I'll give them another go. Plus, when I managed to find them for $58 (vs. $90) I was totally sold! These are the ones I scored such a great deal on.

The colors are a little bright, but Eric told me they make me look fast. Haha! They are just as comfortable (and even a little lighter) than my last pair so I'm very happy. Oh, and like I said, I got them for a steal. Dana's SIL Nikki is an avid runner and when she found out I was looking to buy new shoes, she told me about this fantastic website called Holabird Sports. I like to think that I am pretty savvy when it comes to finding online deals and the cheapest I could find these Nikes (in my size of course) was about $79. So when I saw that this website had them for $58 (no tax, no shipping) I was pumped!! I managed to get my new shoes, insoles, and a pack of socks for just over the price of these shoes on Nike.com. Woohoo! Thanks for the great tip Nikki!!!

So like I said...I need to set a new goal. One of my New Years resolutions was to run more often and possibly work up to a 10K or 15K race so maybe I should just set a new distance goal this month. I can run 5 miles now and it would be awesome if I could get to 6 miles this month and be able to run it comfortably. If I could get to 6, would it be so hard to get to 9 by November for the Hot Chocolate 15K? Yikes! That's 3 5Ks back-to-back. Not sure if I can handle it. But it's fun to try! And now that I've got my new shoes, I'm ready to go :-)

So has anyone else started running this summer? My good friends Barb and Jenny are already on weeks 4 and 5 of the Couch to 5K and Barb is going to attempt her first race with me this Thursday! She thinks it will help her motivation and I couldn't be more proud of her. My BFF Tara has also started a new running program and has promised to come to Chicago this fall to run her first 5K with me. WOOHOO! Oh, and my BFF Mandy has also signed on for her first 5K in October and she is going to smoke me. Her and her hubby are straight out of a fitness magazine. Seriously people. But I am still so excited that we will get to run a race together :-)

Well that's all I have for today friends! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!