Thursday, September 18, 2014

Couch to 5k - The Beginning

I've made it to week 1 day 2!  So far so good. The goal is the Chocoholic Frolic on November 2nd. I'd love to run the whole 5k. Mostly I just don't want to die. 

Technically it's day 3. I tried a few weeks ago to start but I downloaded the wrong podcast and it had me running way more than walking. Add that to the 15 year old "well-loved" shoes and I got shin splints so bad I could hardly walk. I took some seasoned runners advice and got fitted at Marathon Sports. And so far, well after two runs anyway, minimal pain!

I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a runner but stay tuned and I'll let you know how it's going!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blogging on the road

So I figure if I'm really going to do this blog thing I'd better find a way to take it on the road. So today I'm testing out the blogger app. Seems pretty easy so far! We will see if the formatting lives up to my obsessive nature.

Today Katy and I went downtown to see the hip hop and breakdancing contest Ground Breaker Battle. As expected it was too loud for a while but then apparently not. Yea! We picked up some trinkets and some dance moves. Katy got a hand painted backpack from a graffiti artist. I think she likes it. Sometimes it's hard to tell. 
Since the contest was right next to the light rail station Katy was quite distracted by the trains. And because we didn't really have plans for the afternoon we are now riding to St Paul and back. I'm fairly certain I bought the wrong kind of ticket. Doesn't seem to be a huge deal and I doubt we'd get in a huge among of trouble as long as we tried. Anyway it's a nice ride and Katy's enjoying it. I think she might be close to sleeping. 
Speaking of sleeping, we are working hard at an early bed time. The first two weeks of school have been rough for the little nugget and sleep is a large part of that. Our nights are now all about bedtime. It's been a lot on my shoulders and I admit I've been lax on forcing earlier sleep. I'm just too tired! Ha! But with some effort we are now 9pm instead of 10:30-11pm. Still there's some cranky pants happening both at school and daycare. Next week I'll meet with all of her teachers to see if there's something else to do to help her. So grateful to have such a wonderful team looking after her!

We made it to St Paul! Now to turn around and go back to the car...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New School Year, New Beginnings

The summer ended with the last splash in the Linden Hills pool before we hung up the flip flops and got ready for school.
Katy started Hi-5 Pre-Kindergarten this year. She's in an inclusion class, which means there's an aide for the 3-4 kids in class that might have some struggles during the day. For Katy, that's transitions and sitting still. I've met her teacher and her aide and I'm so excited for her to have this time with them. They are both amazing women and teachers. I think it's going to be her best year yet. If only we could get used to the 6:50 am bus arrival. ughA
I'm starting a new beginning too. Since Katy's off to school so early and I have to be up for it, I am embarking on the Couch to 5K program. Ideally I'd lose some weight and not be so sore all the time. Worst case scenario I'm more sore all the time but I'm going to be optimistic and hope that this program is an easy enough start to make a lifestyle change for me. There's a 5k run in November that involves a swag bag of chocolate. Good goal for me I think. We shall see. More to come on that!

Happy September everyone!

End Of Summer Grand Adventure

We're making this Grand Adventure a big one to finish off the summer in style. Katy and I headed to Superior, WI for an early start to Labor Day weekend. Originally the plan was to have a picnic on the shores of Lake Superior but mother nature had other plans. Cold and rainy does not a fun picnic make. But we are nothing if not masters of last minute events.

First stop for doughnuts, of course. We checked out the newest place in Superior, A Dozen Excuses. We went later in the morning on Friday. Since we had gotten in late on Thursday, there was some catching up to do before we left. The selection was fairly limited at the late hour but we got a few raised and some cake doughnuts. They were quite tasty and moderately priced. Judging by the mess we made, they were a hit.
From there, we took off for Duluth and a secret spot for feeding the ducks and geese. It was a cemetery with a lovely pond. Katy nodded off on the way so we took a little time out while Rachel and Evi started.
More bread, coming up!
Our next stop was the Leif Erickson Rose Garden. I enjoyed the flowers, the girls enjoyed their umbrellas.
We stopped home for an indoor picnic. Not quite as interesting as the shore but we had a lot going on so it was probably best.
Browsing online for 'fun things to do with kids in Duluth' I happened upon the North Shore Scenic Railroad's Music and Pizza Train! For your ticket you get a 2.5 hour ride, one half of a pizza and one drink (beer extra of course). A great deal and a great deal of fun! Katy was not quite into it as we were driving there and was concerned about 'the spitting is coming out'. Since she had her first (since she came home) encounter with puking a few weeks ago she's a little obsessed about 'the spitting is coming out'. Indeed she was just super tired and a nap perked her right up. Eventually.
We started in the 1960's era double decker car and made our way to the 1950's car and finished the ride in the 1918 vintage car, right behind the locomotive. The 50's car was my favorite but I'm glad we had our pizza in the 60's car (vinyl seats!). Live music played in the concessions car and was piped over the loudspeakers. There was a bit of dancing in between watching out the windows. I'm so glad we found it, and that there were tickets, and we were all up for it!
The next morning we continued by heading back to A Dozen Excuses. We had a much bigger selection and yet Katy chooses the plain cake doughnut. I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed my Creme BruleƩ filled pastry and I tasted Rachel's and while I don't remember what it was, I remember I really liked it. Swiss cheese brain...
We spent our down time painting nails with our cool nail art kit from the fair (similar to this, with pointy end and brushy end). The girls got their names on their fingers and some assorted flowers and then shiny pink toes. Too bad it was too cold for sandals!
Before we headed home, we stopped by Canal Park for sandwiches from Nothern Waters Smokehaus. We took our time, splashing in the fountains first. And just so you get the true feel, I've included a video with sound. Wouldn't want you to miss out on that!

Katy enjoys her first candy necklace from our stop at Hepzibah's Sweet Shoppe. Or rather, she didn't enjoy it but tried hard to. She kept wanting me to bite it for her. sigh.
As always, Katy falls asleep shortly after we hit the road. As in, she's asleep sometime in between when I buckle her and I get in the car to drive. A wonderful way to round out the summer.

Summer Fun Comes To An End

Some of the best days are at the end of the summer. National Night Out is one of those days. We love our neighborhood, our neighbors and friends. I'm so happy that Katy can grow up with these kids and hopefully create long lasting friendships.
The end of the summer wouldn't be complete without the Minnesota State Fair! As with the past two years, I took two trips. One trip was for me to check out the entries I put in the Creative Activities show (and eat fair food of course). Skunked this year, no ribbons. My favorite comment from the judges was on the stuffed dragon. "It is soft and cuddly, but bears no resemblance to a dragon! Needs modelling, dragons do not have floppy ears. No expression or personality-no teeth." Whatever. Maybe I should have called it a happy baby dragon? Anyway it's still fun to see my stuff in the cabinets (even if the sweaters were shoved in the way back, you couldn't even see the elephant on Katy's sweater for crying out loud). Not bitter, no, not me.
The following day we headed out together. I found an open park & ride station and loaded up the girl and her stroller. Probably the last year for that I guess. The Kidway rides were great as always, the bumper boats being the favorite again. We added the trampolines this year. Katy loved it but I wished the kids running the place had at least a tiny bit of energy for it. They all looked pretty much asleep. I think the highlight for Katy was the misters outside of the grandstand. I bet she would have spent the day there if I didn't pull her away.

One last hurrah at Midway Stadium at a Saints Game before they move downtown to their new home. We finally catch up to Max and Adam who have been so busy this summer we haven't seen them at all! Most of the time was spent at the playground and bounce house as per usual but it was Zombie Baseball night so it made for good people watching if nothing else.
And just before school starts, we head up to Superior for more fun but you'll have to check out the End Of Summer Grand Adventure post for that :-) 

This summer wore us out! So many fun things to see and do, so little time. Guess it's time to rest up for school...

August Grand Adventure

This Grand Adventure started at A Baker's Wife Pastry Shop near Lake Hiawatha. Holy cats, this was some good eats. Katy and Evi both chose cake doughnuts with sprinkles and Rachel and I tried some danishes. We also got lattes and I brought home a loaf of the double sourdough bread. Very inexpensive and one of the best places we've gone so far. So good that I'm glad I don't live around the corner from there or I'd be there every day.
Our activity for the day was a stop at the Children's Museum. The girls waited (mostly) patiently while I signed us up for a membership. Should have done this years ago! Then there was face painting, dinosaur stomping and dancing and cooking in the 'around the town' room. Then we headed the Thomas the Train exhibit and finally up on the roof, where the girls played with lots of instruments.
I think we have two thumbs up for this Grand Adventure. Now with our membership to the museum, we can go again and again! And we'll definitely be back to A Baker's Wife for more delectable treats. We followed this up with the potluck and soccer game (see Summer Fun Part 2 post). It was a little too much in one day. But we made it through half of the soccer game and fell asleep soon after. At least Katy and I did!

Summer Fun Part 2

The summer was in full swing when we attended the Angel Foundation's Water Park Night. They closed the park to the public so we could all enjoy an evening of fun. Sadly it was a bit chilly but we had fun despite that. Katy splashed around and I lounged in the warm water. Because it started later in the evening, Katy got to wear her jammies home. She found that her pinwheel prize had great fun in the hand dryer and she got to get warm at the same time. It's the little things...
A rainy day pirate ship and three showings of The Pirate Fairy while mom cleaned the closets.
We joined around 170 other people at the Ethiopian Kids Community Summer Camp in Paynesville, MN. So many adoptive families gathered together to celebrate their kids. We missed the group picture by seconds, we just couldn't run fast enough! We set up our tents, had lunch and went out for ice cream and got back just as the beach opened up. The girls had a blast swimming and playing on the playground! (although Katy felt the grass was a little long) Then it was time for dinner in our traditional Ethiopian clothing and great food by Katar River Restaurant. It was so good! After dinner we gathered for s'mores. Evi headed to bed soon and Katy was my night owl as usual. Then Evi got up early. Good thing we had our own tents!
Katy got her first scooter and managed to slow down our walks by quite a bit. Who knew it would make us slower! 
A yearly event, the Uptown Art Fair. We enjoyed the food and I got to glimpse at the art as we walked by. That's fine, we weren't shopping anyway. It's just fun to look.
We joined our friends Brody and Piper for the Dakota County Fair. It's been probably 30 plus years since I've been there. It's in Farmington, where my grandparents lived. We used to get money from grandpa to go have fun. This year Katy enjoyed the horse riding contests and the midway rides and didn't care so much for the barns. Too smelly. The ferris wheel is the highlight I think.
We took our first kayak ride on the lakes! I've been wanting to do it for years. I've wanted to take Riley but she's too skittish. Then Katy was too young. We've finally made it. Next year she may get her own paddle but for now I'll do the steering. What a great ride and fun time with my girl.
Rachel and Evi joined us in August for a short, half-weekend. There was some splash pad fun in St Louis Park.
Then we joined the EKC folks for a potluck and a MN United Soccer game. We brought Sand Pudding to share. (not traditionally Ethiopian, I recognize that) The Abogida Roots dancers put on a demonstration, which Katy crashed. You just can't stop the dancing when it's in your feet! Unless it's my feet, then apparently I'm not supposed to dance. Just ask Katy. A good time was had by all. The girls enjoyed the game and they won!
Next up, another Grand Adventure!