Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Our Freakin' Weekend

Freakin' awesome weekend that is! Saturday was a gorgeous day and we spent a good few hours outdoors hiking and playing in the woods. Sunday was cold (I'm ready for winter to be over with), but we still went to the  Blank Park Zoo for our behind-the-scenes of the new giraffe barn! We got up close and too personal for Harrison, with the giraffes!

These hiking boots got some action for the first time since June when we were in Big Sky, Montana! We've been hiking around Central Iowa, but those hikes haven't required anything more than my tennis shoes. It felt so good to get in nearly four miles of walking/hiking, even if it was on a flat terrain.

We figured any regular hiking trail would be extremely muddy so we chose to walk on a paved bike path. Of course, we went off the trail a bit to explore in the woods, but mostly we walked on the trail and in Water Works Park.

Checking out the ice on the river. The minis had never seen an ice jam before and got a quick science lesson.

We also got to see a beaver's dam. While we've seen these many times, it's still cool for all of us.

Two "of the coolest things on this hike," according to the minis: the horse boarding place and a train going by on the tracks while we walked next to it.

 By this point she was complaining about her feet hurting. I honestly thought we had only walked around a mile and told her to keep moving. It wasn't until we were sitting in the restaurant eating chips and salsa that we realized we walked almost 4 miles.

We tried Nacho Tequilas for the first time. We're kind of Mexican food snobs and I have to say, we were impressed with this place! Their margaritas were excellent, food was fantastic, and they had decent vegetarian options. I love the fact that they're on GrubHub too! That will come in handy for a mid-day pick me up during the week!

 Max asked to watch The Goldbergs because some of his friends watch it. We gave in and let him watch the first few episodes. Obviously there was a tense moment.

Sunday we relaxed with bagels in the morning and spent the afternoon at the zoo!

We saw the lion cubs for the first time! They were adorable. If it wasn't so cold outside, we could have watched them all afternoon.

Listening to the lion roar.

 Elizabeth spied the two vultures together: "oh, are they best friends?"

The giraffe tour was the highlight of our weekend! The giraffe zoo keeper told us all about their giraffes at the zoo, how they train they, and we even got to feed them (a lot!). The giraffes were VERY interested in us (as you can see), but the middle mini had a complete meltdown when a giraffe went after his hair in hopes for a treat. The tour came to an end shortly thereafter.

My sister (also known as Aunt Jenny) hit this Christmas present out of the park. I prefer the minis to get experiences for Christmas rather than toys. This was a fantastic gift!

This one almost got my hair!

This was a great middle of winter pick-me/us-up! Although, with the taste of warm weather lately, I'm more than ready for spring to get here. We've got some pretty exciting weekends coming up that will keep us busy right until we leave on our spring break adventure! We can't wait!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Eating Green Beans With My Fingers and Other Oddities That Come With The Daycare Job

Being a daycare provider has effected my life in many, many ways. As with any job, there's both positive and negative effects. I'm lucky because the positives far outweigh the negatives. Obviously since I'm heading into year seven of daycaring. In those seven years I've picked up a lot of....we'll call them habits, that I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have acquired in any other field of work.

The first being what I call "the teacher voice." It's that authoritative, being able to talk over a dozen kids voice. It's the voice I use to call to my kids on the playground that makes every other child playing stop and get ready to go too. I've had to apologize to numerous parents sitting on the park bench watching their child play. It's the voice I've acquired that makes every child in the Target toy section behave (every child but my own of course).

Then there's that wonderful mothering everyone instinct. It's now second nature to take care of everyone around and make sure they're okay because that's what I do every waking moment. I recently was sitting in a business meeting when another person sneezed. Without even thinking where I was, I asked "bless you. Do you need a tissue?"

"No thanks," the poor gentleman replied, as he started to get back into our talk.

"Are you sure?" I asked again, a habit I've come to ask the daycare kids and my kids. I've learned the hard way not to take their answer seriously the first time because the answer will always be no, even if they have snot covering their face from that sneeze.

My fellow businessman looked at me questioningly and said, "no really, I think I'm good." I slowly realized the conversation that had just taken place, but I couldn't stop myself from saying the rest that I'm accustomed to:

"Okay, let me know if you change your mind. The tissues are just right here." Luckily we all laughed about it, but I've also caught myself handing out a napkin to someone during a business dinner. I did stop myself from wiping their mouth (that time at least).

Then there's the unfortunate habits I've picked up from my kids (my three and daycare kiddos), like looking at the tissue after I blow my nose (boogers really are fascinating, apparently). The kids have an odd aversion to fresh green beans. They MUST be canned green beans (no added salt. I shit you not, they can tell the difference and comment if I buy the wrong damn can). They also prefer to eat them with their fingers, one at a time. Like they're savoring each and every green bean they put in their mouth. They also do this with salad. They refuse dressing on their salads and instead use their fingers to eat each piece of lettuce/spinach/kale/arugula until it's gone. 

So odd but at this point I don't think much of it. We once had dinner guests over and served green beans. All of the other food was finger food (burgers, fries, watermelon slices, etc.) so I when I put the green beans on plates I didn't even bother with forks. My poor friend was clueless and gave me an odd look as I dug into my green beans with my finger just like my kids. She politely inquired about silverware. I didn't even realize I was doing this until this embarrassing encounter. Luckily, my friend is a good sport and laughed with/at me.

If you ever see me doing something odd, just assume I picked it up from daycaring. Chances are pretty good it came from my own daycare experiences or from the kids. I blame them.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dinner Table Adventures: The Tale of Spaghetti Squash and Shitty Pants

You might have seen my Instagram video that showed my sobbing five year old crying about, mmm...nothing. Absolutely nothing. She simply spent the first ten minutes of dinner crying. Then she was fine. Completely and mind-boggling fine.

I would be shocked, but "interesting" things happening during dinner time seems to be the theme this week. Monday night a mini gagged on a lima bean and nearly lost all of their dinner all over the table. We had to resort to a 'no more talking to each other' rule when the other two ganged up on the near puker because they were worried he was going to ruin their dinner by "puking all over our plates."

The next night was our detailed discussion about hens reproductive organs and we had to ease fears that any eggs we had in our refrigerator WOULD NOT turn into baby chickens overnight. For real, a half hour of our family dinner was taken up talking about chickens. Then we have sob fest night.

That brings us to tonight. Dinner was spaghetti squash mixed with vegetable pasta (because they don't like "just plain spaghetti squash") with homemade tomato sauce, green beans, and peaches. Everything was great until the middle mini decided he couldn't stomach spaghetti squash. I informed him he would have to eat (as he has done hundreds of times before) if he wanted his small bowl of treats (M & M's and a few Twizzlers are huge treats in this house). We were treated to another gagging incident.

While the oldest laughed at him, he suddenly stopped, his eyes grew huge, and he said, "I think I pooped my pants from laughing!" This sent the other two into fits and giggles, as I rolled my eyes, looked at my husband and said, "all I want to do is actually eat my dinner." Thankfully it was a false alarm ("toots and poops are a lot alike," or so I'm told) and there was no more gagging, choking, or shitting incidents and everyone got their treats.

Can't wait to see how dinner goes tomorrow night.

Here's a quick video of only part of the hens and roosters discussion we had. Clearly it was near bedtime.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Let's March To Try New Things

We tried quite a few new things this past weekend! It's easy to do the same ol' same ol' but we made a point to try a new coffee shop that has been on my try list for a while now, new activities, new movies, restaurants, and a new hike. Bonus that it was another three day weekend for the minis and me! The highlight of our weekend was the tour of the state Capitol building. Here's the other highlights:

Freedom Blend Coffee has been on my try list for months. I really love their story mission (read about it here). The inside of the coffee shop was cozy, the coffee pretty good (my raspberry mocha was made perfectly), and their food/treats satisfied us all. The first thing anyone tells me when I mention this place is "oh, but that neighborhood!" Yeah, it's not in the best area, but truthfully, it's not terrible. The building is gorgeous and new. We will definitely be going back, especially since the minis approved too!

 Max approved of the hot chocolate

Our next stop for the day was the Women's March at the State Capitol. We didn't get to attend last year, but we made the extra effort to go this year. I'm not sure how much the minis took away from it, but I wanted them there to experience everything. I hope it's one of these things that in the years to come they'll remember it and relate to the March. Of course, they had more fun playing in snow piles and with friends than listening to the speakers (I kind of predicted that one).

Towards the end of the March, we decided to go into the Capitol building to take the tour. It was easily the best part of our weekend! To read more about it, check out details here.

I was amazed at the decorative details of the Capitol building.

It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to do some walking, shopping, and eating in the East Village after our tour.

A Moscow mule and grilled cheese was my treat for the day. This was our first time eating at Quinton's. It has typical bar food, good drinks, and the minis approved (and went out of their comfort zone of the kids menu favorites).

"Mom, take a picture of the dog peeing on me!"

Swinging at eating cupcakes at Molly's Cupcakes.

I put on my blogging shirt when we got home that evening because, as usual, I spent the night writing. Of course, I always have to have multiple things going at once and watched movies while I wrote. I actually got a good amount of work done.

Coloring before bed.

Sunday we saw not one, but TWO movies at the theater! We opted for a relaxing morning at home, complete with homemade pancakes. We took the minis to Flix Brewhouse for an early afternoon showing of The Greatest Showman. The movie was fantastic!

Shopping at Target and watching the game...and watching the game when we got home too.

Sunday night Hubs and I had a night out to see The Post. I rarely choose to go to movies for date night because there's usually hundreds of other things on our Want To Do List, but I was dying to see this movie. It was eerily foggy out and we got home just in time for thunderstorms to start. Needless to say, I slept really well as it rained through the night.

Monday was a fantastic day! We didn't do a whole lot, but stuck around home and did things. The minis played while I slept in a bit (I came down to quite the mess), we cooked and did weekday meal prep, we baked cookie sandwiches, and the highlight of the day: a "hike" in the rain/drizzle on the bike trail near our house. It was a great and somewhat relaxing Mom and Minis Day after our busy weekend.

Harrison learned the hard way the joy of cutting an onion, "um, mom! My's getting really hard to see now." I gave him plenty of warnings about cutting onions, but it didn't stop him from slightly panicking when his eyes got watery.

The rules of our hike/walk: jump in as many puddles as you want, play in as much mud as you want, but don't slip on the ice. We covered it all successfully. 

The part that had us in stitches: Elizabeth saw several backyards with playsets and no fences. She suddenly took off running into someone's backyard yelling, "oh mom! Can we play at these parks??!!?" I had to quickly grab her and explain to her that those were people's backyards. "But there's no fences??" She was thoroughly confused and completely a city kid.

Our new wall hanging we scored at Raygun over the weekend.

No more three day weekends in our immediate future, but the next couple of weekends are FULL of fun! We're eagerly counting down the weekends until Florida!