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.