Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Construction, and Summer Time

Last weekend Ken & I celebrated our 14 wedding anniversary. He took me on a date to Stillwater, MN for dinner and a gondola ride. Stillwater is a quaint little town on the St. Croix River, on the MN / WI border, only about a 45 minute drive from our place.

Our dinner was fabulous. We ate a restaurant called Dock Side. It overlooks the St. Croix and you can see all the harbor boats coming and going. Then Ken told me that he had booked us the last ride on the little Venician gondola. He had planned that the sun would set while we were on the gondola, but it had rained most of the day, so all we saw was clouds. Fortunately, it had stopped raining by the time it was our turn for the ride, so that was a good thing. The gondola ride lasted for an hour. It was so pretty to see the city lights of Stillwater. With all the lights dancing on the still waters of the St. Croix.

The gondola was made in Venice. The owner had it shipped it over to MN. Apparently the owner of the gondola rides, retired from the tree trimming business, went to Venice, and learned everything he could about the gondola. They had Pavorati playing on board, so it was quite the experience.

School is out, and it's summer time. We've had some great days so far. Summer only means one thing in MN, construction! They are doing construction on the road that our backyard faces. Kevin has been out on his bike every day watching them closely. He still loves construction and the smell of new tar.

We made a schedule for the boys to keep them busy this summer. So far, so good. We've given them some light chores to do, reading and lessons to keep up their knowledge. Summer school starts on Monday, so that will keep them occupied for at least half the day for the next 4 weeks.

I got new hours at work. I was working 7-4. My boss has been working from 6:30 - 3:30 and we were talking about how nice that was. He said the half hour really makes a difference. So he challenged me to it. I said "Sure! I'll give it a shot." So Monday I reported to work at 6:30 am. I am not much of a morning person, I never have been, but this new shift is really nice. Getting up a half hour earlier has not been as hard as I thought. I have been getting to bed earlier, as getting up in time to get to work at 6:30 am, makes it easy for me to get to bed earlier as well. Around 9 pm, I'm ready for bed, as it's been a long day.

Getting off work at 3:30 sure does make a difference too. A half hour doesn't seem like much time, but it sure is. I get to beat the 4:00 rush of crowds running errands. And traffic is much lighter.

Next week is a busy week for sure. I will be golfing two nights next week, taking Sam to get sealants done at the dentist, I'm getting my 10 year service award for working at Dart Transit Co., and it is our last game of adult spring kickball.

Summer sure has a lot of plans on our calendar, and so far it seems to be going by pretty quickly.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Day of School

Today was the last day of school. It is official...I no longer have any elementary school children. Both of my boys will be in Middle School next year. Sam got to tour the Middle School earlier in the week. He surprised Kevin, but coming up to him at lunch and saying HI! Kevin was so shocked, but happy to see him. They thought it was pretty cool that they'll finally be at the same school. They probably won't see each other, but they'll be at the same school.

They must have really told the kids that homework was going to be huge in Middle School, because Sam has said "I'm gonna be really nervous on the 2nd day of Middle School." I asked why and he said "Because you have to do more homework in Middle School." Sam (unlike his older brother) is very responsible when it comes to homework. He hates it, but he does it. I'm just nervous that he'll be at such a BIG school!

I'm a little sad that he is leaving elementary school. His school has been so wonderful and such a huge part of his success in his life. They have been AMAZING. I'm going to really miss them. Next year his elementary school turns 50, so hopefully, we can go to that party and see his old teachers.

Also, I now have 2 Tweens. Yikes! My boys are growing up so fast. I no longer have little boys, but young lads. I'm not looking forward to challenges of raising teenage boys. That is one thing I have no experience with and of course there is no manual. Of course there has been no part of their lives that have come with a manual, so I should be used to that!

I'm happy that my boys are growing up and becoming more independent. It's a great thing. It certainly gives me more freedoms!

On Monday Sam's 5th grade class got to go to Valley Fair. It's a big outdoor amusement park. He had a great time and the weather was PERFECT. His 5th grade class also got to go to a Twin's baseball game at the new outdoor Target Field, but Sam chose not to go. His words "Nah, baseball is boring." The event was in the evening and each kid was allowed to bring one parent. I didn't even tell my husband about that, as I knew it would crush him that his son thought baseball was boring, and that he was also missing out on an opportunity to go to the new Target Field.

Kevin's 6th grade class went on a Paddleboat on the Mighty Mississippi. It was raining pretty heavy and lightening early in the morning, so I was afraid his trip would get canceled, but by the time they left to go it had stopped raining and didn't rain for the rest of the day. Lucky kids!

The kids also got their yearbooks. Kevin's is pretty funny as I get to see all the kids I remember from when he was really little at his birthday parties and such. Wow, the changes. He also pointed out the girl he has a crush on. Aw....his first tween crush. He did ask her to sign his year book and she did and made a smiley face. I guess he got to sign her book too. He got embarrassed when I asked him if he had a crush on her. I guess that's not something a boy really tells his mom. So, I asked "Is she someone you'd like to talk to more and hanging out with her more often." He said "Oh yeah, definitely." Hahaha!

Relationships at this age are much more difficult than in Kindergarten. He had a girlfriend in Kindergarten, and they "broke up" in first grade. Kindergarten is when I learned "there is no kissing in Kindergarten." I'm not sure who kissed who, but it was a wee little Kindergarten peck on the cheek. Then in first grade she "broke up" with Kevin during lunch because he told her that he loved her too much each day, and that was not a good thing. She said "Kevin, you have to stop saying that you love me all the time." And that was it, love affair...Over.

In Kindergarten he was also infatuated with Becky the Bus Patrol girl. She would hold his hand and help him cross the street. He used his best Kindergarten charms on her. And she was the pretty Bus Patrol girl. He thought that was pretty cool as he LOVED the bus.

In 2nd grade, a girl invited Kevin on a trip to Florida with her and her family during the summer. Unknown to both sets of parents, of course. Apparently, her parents had slit, but the dad's airfair was already paid for. Well, that left an open seat and a paid ticket on the plane to Florida, so why not invite Kevin? They had it all planned out. Ha, if only if it were that easy! She was also the girl that wrote a big heart on an autograph page in his yearbook with a BIG heart and inside the heart, she signed her name and wrote BFF. (Best Friends Forever). They are indeed still friends. She is very much a tomboy, and has more "boy" friends than "girl" friends. I suspect she'll have plenty of "girl" friends when she's older (if you get my drift). At least I that is one less girl I will have to worry about during the dating years.

So the first 6 years of school are behind us and now we are onto the challenges and joys of the last 6 years of school. The dreaded teen-age years. Oh, boy....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Guilty Once Again of Blog Neglect - Lots Going On

Well, it has been over a month since my last blog. Yikes, time flies when you are ultra busy. Since it has been so long, I'll give a quick run down (is that possible).

Garage Sale - Did I already blog about this? I don't think so. I had a garage sale at my house & 2 other families went in on it with me. Garage sales are definitely more work than they are worth. It took a whole week of preparation. The day of the garage it rained all stinking day long, so I'm sure that kept a majority of people away, but despite the rain, we still had a decent turn out. Each family that participated make approximately $100 each. Towards the end of the sale we started to buy each others stuff, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of having a garage sale to get rid of stuff in the first place. Hmmmm....

The day after the garage sale, I packed everything that was left over & hauled it off to Goodwill. Definitely, none of it was coming back into my house! There were several items that we ha

d that were worth some money, so instead of throwing it out or donating it, I posted it on Craigslist to try to sell instead. So I had a couple weeks of replying to buyers & arranging pick ups.


I love Free Cycle! It's a great place to recycle household items & such. So far I have gotten lots of really good things from Free Cycle. A piano, a fax/copy machine, a fur coat, tons of cleaning supplies, and lots of other goodies.

This one lady had a posting for a big back of hard back books. All good ones too. So I told her I'd take the whole bag. The value of the books was well over $100 and they were all in excellent condition. I went to pick them up on a Friday evening, only to find out she lives in the hood! Yikes! I locked my doors as I drove to her house & had my cell phone handy. I actually saw a guy shooting up drugs between his fingers on the grocery store stoop outside. Yikes!

I got to the lady's house & it looked like an absolute junk yard. The extremely funny thing was that she had a gate on her walk-way to her house. No surrounding fence, just a gate. Hmmmm...Yeah, that'll really work to keep people out of your yard. Your junk yard that is. So I collected my books and got the hell out of there. It was daylight hours. I had my doors locked, and I had my cell phone, so I didn't feel too insecure. I did make a phone call to a friend to let her know "hey, just thought I'd call & let you know my location just incase I mysteriously disappear." One can never be too prepared these days.

On my way home, I got lost. I couldn't back to the Freeway. That was odd. So I took a detoured scenic route of St. Paul. Pretty interesting and I was glad it was daylight. I did happen to drive through the Italian part of St. Paul, which I had no clue existed. Their buildings were a bit unique and it smelled of yummy pasta. I think I might have to venture down that way again on a weekend day and take photos of the interesting buildings and maybe try some of that good Italian cooking out. Oh the things you find while being lost.

Kickball- The adult season of kickball started and yes, I once again am captaining our team. So far we have lost every single game. We are used to that. We play mostly to socialize, capture our youth, and have a few beers with friends, so it's all good.

I was officially elected the Director of Youth Kickball with the EAA. Last year was just a temporary position to see if the program would work or not, and if the EAA wanted to keep it as part of it's program. Tada! Success! Youth Kickball will be played again this fall. I had to prepare a budget and have that approved by the board and it was. Sign ups are starting soon. EAA got a new fancy website this year. It's pretty neat. Definitely a step up from the old outdated design, with lots of new features.

The Kids-I have been busy filling out forms and more forms and more forms for them. End of year field trips, Sam's IEP and Middle School transition meeting and forms, CYC camp forms, and so on. Kevin really has been struggling in math, so I filled out a bunch of forms for him to allow the school to test him for learning disabilities. Turns out he will be placed in a small classroom (about 12 kids) for math only. His reading, and English skills test OK. 6th grade was a bit of struggle for him. I think the new school transition was a bit overwhelming. It's a big school he goes to and the expectations certainly have increased from elementary school. He'd be a straight A student if he paid attention during class & did his homework on time. So his grades were a bit on the least desirable side.

Memorial Weekend - Ken & Kevin headed up to Grand Marais for a father - son weekend. They went to Ken's parents semi-built cabin. They wanted to get some work done on it, but they got busy visiting, fishing, and having fun.

Sam & I stayed home. Not enough room in grandma & grandpa's RV and no place to sleep in the cabin, as it's got lots of work left to do on it. Right now it's basically the concrete floor, the outter shell of the cabin, and an outhouse.

With the two guys out of the house (the two that disrupt me the most and demand the most attention from me), I got so much done! I was able to completely re-organize my bedroom dresser drawers and closet. It is amazing what adding the book shelf has done. It feels so good to finally have that project done and out of the way. I've only been trying to get it accomplished for the last 3 months.

Sam & I took a fun day during the 3 day weekend and went to the horse track at Canterbury Downs. We had a great time. We made some bets, and didn't do very well. We only got $18 back of the $45 we put down. Oh well, so we split our winnings, and came home. But we did have a really good time and I do love the horse track. We did come close to winning big, but close doesn't cut it in horse racing. You either win or you lose. Race # 7 messed with our plans of winning big. Oh well, what are you going to do?

Fitness 19 - I joined Fitness 19 (a strip mall work out gym) a few months ago. I did have some hiccup weeks where I just plum didn't make it to the gym. But I've had lots of time to go as well. I go whenever I get the chance & really try to make it part of my daily routine. I've been lifting weights and working out on the exercise equipment. I can tell I'm getting stronger, gaining endurance, and in the process of shape shifting. Gaining muscle & losing fat. The second week of joining I did the elliptal machine for 20 minutes and thought that would be the end of me, and I was really sore the next day. Well, 3 months later I can endure an hour and a half on the elliptical, feel good afterwards, and not be sore the next day. Definitely an improvement! And holy cow does that thing make you sweat. But I keep this pace up, I'll be fitting into that motivational clothing sooner than later. It is kind of nice to see how many calories you've burned as you go. I can say to myself..."well, there went lunch, there went my mid afternoon snack!" Such a nice and energizing feeling.

Tulum and Maya Book Edits - I was on a roll this last month with these. I got quite a bit done. I do this when ever I can get the chance with all my free time I have. LOL... Those Maya were pretty crazy, yet interesting people. Keeping their 400 some gods and their 17 calendar system straight is a big task. Now try doing that with out confusing or boring people. I think the edits are going well, and I'm keeping the information as interesting and easy to follow as possible. It is amazing how incredibly complex of people they were, yet how completely zany at the same time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Email Conversation With Kevin's Science Teacher

Here is an email conversation I had today with Kevin's Science Teacher today:

Oh the joy of parenting!
From: W

Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 1:28 PM
Subject: Kevin Science Notebook

Hi Mrs. Bley,

I am Kevin’s science teacher and I should have written a month ago. My apologies.

Kevin is a great kid. His smile is contagious. He is a pleasure to have in class and one of the nicest kids I know.

Unfortunately, he is very, very behind in his science notebook. I have asked him daily about the notebook and he just smiles and says he can not find it. A few moments ago I sat down with Kevin and we were going to start a new notebook----but then told me he found his at home.

For him to get the work done he is missing, he would need to work into summer vacation. I think a better plan is for him to get the current work done and we leave missing work for when he has time. He hopefully has a list of current assignments (a pink sheet) and sent another home with him today. In the notebook pages are number with 1a on the front, and 1b on the back, then 2a/2b, etc.

What ever work he can get done between today and next Tuesday, I will give him full credit.

Thank you. I would appreciate your thoughts or ideas to help get him back on track.

Sincerely, Mr. W

On 5/6/10 1:42 PM, Bonnie" wrote:

I guess he's going to be a very busy & grounded boy for the rest of the school year then. And if he has to do homework over the summer to pass 6th grade, then so be it. He's done it to himself by not being responsible. He can't go through life thinking everyone is going to hold his hand and give him a pass for not doing what is required or expected of him to succeed.

Please email me the full list of what he needs to do. You are being too nice to give him full credit for assignments he is being too lazy to do. He has realized through the school years that there really are no consequences for late or missing assignments, since teachers are no longer allowed to put the fear of God into their students about class work. (Sorry for that rant.)

Kevin really enjoys your class & he talks about you all the time. So, you are getting through to him & he's been learning a lot from your class.

Email me anytime & let's get this kid back on track.


Hi Mrs Bley,

Thank you for the reply. I like your philosophy.

I asked Kevin before we emailed you if he thought it would ok to send you a message. I always let kids know I am sending a message---good or not good. Anyway he said---oh my mom just sits at a desk all day and has nothing to do. Oh, the ideas kids have about work and the world---makes me laugh.

He should have a sheet with him. I will make a point to have him come see during flex or study time. Most important is that he brings the notebook to school. My philosophy is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks again,

Friday, April 30, 2010

Garage Sale, Dentist, and That's Not My Name

I've been busy since my last blog. Gee, why do I feel like each time I blog I'm going to confession...Bless me father for I have sinned, my last blog was April 13, 2010. I have ignored mine and all other blogs 17 times...

Last weekend I had a garage sale at my house. Two other families went in on it & it was HUGE! It took the whole week before it to get ready for it. It ended up raining on garage sale day, so we couldn't put any of our stuff outside on the driveway, so my garage was packed. The people who went in on the garage sale came over & helped out all day Saturday. We had a good time. We each sold about $100 worth of stuff, of course making money off of each other. You know it's a good garage sale when you start buying each others stuff. We sold our trampoline and bought our neighbors outdoor basketball hoop. Towards the end of the garage sale, we were giving away things free to people who even just spent $1. We closed it up & I took Monday off of work to tear down & hauled off 2 van loads full of garage sale rejects to Goodwill. All of the big ticket items that did not sell, I took pictures of and posted on Craigslist. So this week, I've been busy coordinating Craigslist pick-ups.

The garage sale was part of my 2010 house cleaning and organizing project. It is amazing how much stuff you accumulate over the years. The kids are getting older, so we can have nicer stuff. But we had to sell off the old stuff to pay for the new stuff. to us..but gently used. Although, tonight I did build a bookshelf for my bedroom that I bought at Wal-Mart for $25 That was a sweet deal. Now I have room to put more books on, which clears up space in other places, which of course clears up stuff in other places.

May is turning out on the calendar to be the month of the Dentist. I had my 6 month teeth cleaning appointment a couple of weeks ago. They took X-Rays and turns out I have a filling that has come loose from the tooth and I have a cavity starting between the filling and the tooth. So I have to have a filling replaced. Kevin has a braces adjustment in May, and both kids have a teeth cleaning appointment with the Dentist. I might have to take notes from my big sis and do some retail therapy after my filling. Of course I'll probably just come straight home and go to bed as I'll be recovering from a cocktail of good meds for relaxant and pain.

This last month we have been dealing with Sam not liking his birth given name. Nope, he doesn't like it. He likes even numbers and Sam is an odd number of letters and so is Samuel. I told him he could spell his name S-A-M-M, which would give him 4 letters, is unique from any other Sam at school (and there are a few), and he still gets to use his name we picked out for him when he was born. Nope, he didn't want that. He'd do that at school, but at home, we are to call him "Cat King". that is an odd number of letters, but I guess since it has the word "cat" in it, it is somehow O.K. for him to use.

He loves cats and he is the king of all the cats at our house. So Cat King it is. Sometimes we forget and he reminds us. He received a birthday post card from the hospital he was born at. He was quite upset they did not know he had changed him name from Samuel to Cat King, so he took a pencil, scratched out Samuel, and wrote Cat King above it. There, now it was fixed. Luckily, his name changes rarely last long. Eventually he goes back to letting us call him by his real name. Which is good, as I believe this is about the 3rd or 4th time he's changed his name. He's been Snot Rod, Number 44, and now Cat King. Those have been the longest lasting ones that I remember anyway.

I think Snot Rod was the most memorable, as at a family reunion, he told some family members that we really did not know (distant relatives, of a relative, who belongs to another relative) and he introduced himself to them as Snot Rod. I admit, Cat King is much better than Snot Rod!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guilty of Blog Neglect...Once Again

Seems to be a bit of a theme with me…Hmmmm.... nor did I win any of the radio contests...maybe next time.

I joined Fitness 19 (a workout club) a little over a month ago. So far I've been pretty faithful at going 5 times a week and getting a work out in. I can tell I'm starting to build muscle. Things are shifting, but nothing that is noticeable to anyone else yet. These things take time as my fitness trainer that I got to work with told me. He said "Stay off the scale for a while, as you will be gaining weight while you build muscle." Building muscle, but burning fat and muscle weighs more than fat.

I only met with the fitness trainer one time. I got that as part of my club membership. It was a good deal. He was very informative and got me on the right work out path.

After I joined the club, I did some motivational shopping. I bought a bikini, a skinny pair of jeans (my goal size), and a size small shirt. I have them hanging on the back wall of my closet, so that every time I open my closet door. There they are, staring me right in the face. It's good motivation. I need that.

I have found that working out is quite fun. Odd, I thought I'd NEVER say that! I get alone time. Hmmm…alone time…now that is nice! Alone time & get in shape, BONUS!!! No, "Mom, when's dinner!? Mom, are you done working out yet?! Mom, he won't stop bugging me!!" That is what I got when I tried the in-home work out DVDs. After I was done rearranging furniture, and was just getting into that work out zone…queue in kids yelling. No, I just say "Mom's going to the gym, I'll be back in a while!" And out the front door I go.

The club is very convenient too. It is just about 5 blocks from my house. Couldn't get much closer than that! Did I mention it was cheap. Close, cheap, alone time…Jackpot!!

In March I hosted a "Purse Party". It was fun. I had a lady come into my house that sells replica handbags, scarves, jewelry, ect… I invited all the girls and had about 10 show up. Not too bad of a turn out for something like that. My house looked like a purse warehouse threw up in my house! Wow, she had quite the inventory. My kitchen table was filled with jewelry. My living room was covered in handbags, purses, and wallets. It was crazy.

Purse Parties are the new "thing", although, it's not the multi-level marketing thing. There are no pressure sales, no sales pitches, and no pressures to become a purse consultant. She just brings her purses and sets them all out & away you shop. You like it, you grab it, you buy it. Simple as that. She stays for a couple hours. That's it. Pretty easy! She does have hostess rewards, so it was worth it. And, I'm turning into quite the handbag hoarder. I'm addicted. I decided it was so much fun, that I might have to make it an annual thing to do. Two things women can't have enough of…purses and shoes!

For our Easter Festivities, we went to a nice Brunch with Ken's side of the family. It was really good. I indulged and blew my diet that morning! I don't think I've been to a buffet that large before (except at one of those Buffet Restaurants). They had this lovely chocolate fountain. Endless flowing chocolate…what's not to love about that!

After we stuffed ourselves silly (no one left hungry) we all went to the MN Zoo. It was a gorgeous day and it felt good to walk some of that brunch buffet off! At the Zoo we saw the grizzly bears (one of my favorites at the zoo, I could watch them all day). One of them was having fun playing in his little lake, playing with a stick and his toes. Ah the life..

Then we went to see the Farm Babies in that section of the zoo. We did see two cute little goats. As we were leaving the veterinarians, brought a pair of newly delivered goats to the barn. Back in we went after the mama goat and babies got put into their pen. They were so funny trying to walk right away. Their little tails were wagging and their little legs were shaking.

Last week Bon Jovi played at the Excel Center in St. Paul. I went to the concert with 3 of my girlfriends. Ken & Kevin went to the concert on a dad/son event. Ken was the coolest dad ever that night. Kevin was grinning from ear to ear and he enjoyed it a whole lot. It was a great concert! They put on a great show. We had pretty decent seats too. Ken & Kevin's seats were directly across the stadium from me and the girls. We girls went out to dinner before the concert and then when the concert was over, we all stayed overnight at one of the gal's house and sat in her hot tub. So we made it an entire day out. It was a pretty fun girls day/night out.

Spring has come early for Minnesotans, and I am really enjoying all this nice weather. We seemed to have a pretty mild and short winter. Boy, I sure could get used to that!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Caller Number 7

All month long I've been listening to the radio. They have gone money winning contest crazy. Hey, I'm all about winning money for free! Who isn't?

One contest is "Pay Your Bills". You submit your bill (under $2,000) to the radio station. Then you listen at 7 am, 9 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm. If they call your name, you have 10 minutes to call in and claim the prize. Which is the amount of money your bill was. And for a bonus, if you signed up to be a fan of their radio station, they will pay you double the amount of money your bill is for. So far...they haven't called my name. Hmmm.... I guess I'll keep listening. The contest is only for this month, so I still have some more days for my name to pop up. Please, PICK ME, PICK ME!!!

Another contest they did was "21 G's with Luda and the Peas". This contest you listen to the radio station between 8am and 9 am, when you hear a Black Eyed Peas song or a Ludacris song, when the song is over, you call the radio station. Caller 10 wins tickets to the pre-show, and the concert. Now, I would never be able to tell the difference between Ludacris and Jay Z, or T I, or Timbaland if it weren't for the nifty little song identifier on my radio. I didn't really want to go to the concert. I was interested in the 21 G's. Caller 10 not only got tickets, but their name got put into a drawing for $21,000. Now, who doesn't want to win that kind of money just for being caller 10? So every day I listened and called, listened and called. I never got through, always got a busy signal. I was beginning to think my phone was blocked or something...Until on St. Patrick's Day...I heard the song and I called, and called, and called. I could not believe my ears when I heard a ringing phone instead of a busy signal. I had to check I dialed the right number. Yep, I did...Oh boy...ringing, ringing...." are caller number 7"

WHAT!! Caller 7! Lucky 7 on St. Patrick's Day. No, just say I'm number 10! Pick me! Pick me! So tonight I sit at home. No hanging out with Fergie and Ludacris, and a bunch of other people I'd never recognize. But I do not win $21,000 either. Nope, nadda for caller 7.