Sunday, April 29, 2012

Minneapolis weekend

Adam and I had been looking forward to our trip to Minneapolis for a long time, so we got up bright and early on Saturday, handed Ryan over to Adam's parents, and were on the road by 6:30am. Unfortunately, it began to rain on our drive and was in a pretty good downpour by the time we neared the stadium. However, we could see people inside and the Jumbo-tron going strong, so we paid to park in the ramp, gathered our raingear, and entered the ballpark. Only then did the screen turn to say they were in an official rain delay and the first pitch would be delayed.  Great. The forecast was 39 degrees and 90% chance of rain for the next few hours, so we were pretty sure the game would not be happening, but after finding out that if you leave, you cannot re-enter the park, we stuck it out with the thousands of other (drunk and/or miserable) fans, ate some lunch sitting on the floor by a bathroom (key to rain delays=find a warm hallway and stake your claim), and after about 2 hours, found out the game was postponed until June 30.

It was a nightmare getting out of the ramp so we got stuck in the wrong ramp out and ended up on 394 in a traffic jam and pouring rain.  Between the stop-and-go traffic, the rain, and trying to figure out a map on my phone to see how we could get to Ikea, my car sickness took over.  Let's just say we arrived at Ikea with a full Twins souvenir cup, and it wasn't full of Sprite.

Our hour-long trip through Ikea resulted in a lamp, which doesn't sound too exciting until you know we've been meaning to buy a bedside lamp for oh, about 8 years. We currently use a floorlamp to read at night and when we're reading to turn it off, I just tip it over to reach the switch. As a result, it permanently stands at about a 20 degree tilt. Adam got me a Kindle light for my birthday so now I have a light, but he doesn't. It was time to just pick one out and get it over with.  We saw a desk we loved, but the price tag was too high, especially for something we'd have to put together ourselves.

We checked into our hotel--the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Suites--which is a good option if you want to stay by the mall. The parking ramp is a little sketchy and it's near the airport if planes bother you, but otherwise, it's a perfectly good option with nice rooms-ours included a microwave and mini fridge-, a pool, and you can usually get it on Hotwire for $55. (Pick the 3.5 star hotel in Bloomington East near the Mall of America/Airport).  Although, there's always the chance that you'll see this in the hotel lobby:

We were getting pretty hungry, since the pretzel I had eaten for lunch was now residing in a trashcan in the Ikea parking lot, so we headed to the Mall to eat. We ended up at Ruby Tuesdays and had some decent steaks, then randomly ran into our family doctor from Sibley right outside the restaurant. It's pretty funny that every time we go to Minneapolis, we end up running into someone we know.

The only shopping we did was for a few shirts for Ryan at Children's Place, then we decided to go watch The Hunger Games. I'm on the 3rd book right now, Adam hasn't read them at all, but we both enjoyed the movie. All the stores were closed when our movie got out, so we just headed back to the hotel.

I can't explain how much I enjoyed sleeping until 8am...I really can't. It was kind of the highlight of the trip. We packed up and took a meandering way home, since I missed the 169 exit off 494 (it's currently a disaster area) and ended up in Plymouth before we realized it. Yikes...guess we were talking too much!  But, we eventually got back on track and stopped at Emma Krumbees for breakfast which was decent, but slow, and most of the patrons were at least double our age.  After a DQ fix, we picked up Nika, then went home to unpack since Ryan was still taking a nap at Grandpa and Grandma's, then I eventually went to get him. He didn't seem that excited to see me, but had a great time at Grandpa & Grandma's and we are so thankful they were willing to have him for the weekend.

So, although it was nice to get away for the weekend, it felt like a lot of driving just to go out to eat and see a movie. Hopefully we'll be able to come back up for the June 30 game.

I'd like to actually see the Twins play instead of just puke up their pretzels.

Friday, April 27, 2012


On Friday night, Ryan and I ran to my parent's house to bring Nika to stay for the weekend. Since my mom was out of town, we went out for supper with my dad and also brought my grandpa. So, four generations ate a meal at McDonald's together. Ryan ate every single bit of his Happy Meal: chicken nuggets, apple slices, fries, and chocolate milk. He was thrilled with toy, too, a "Spy Watch" that shoots little disks out. Definitely higher immediate play value than the last two Kid's Meal "toys" he got which was a computer game CD from Taco Bell and a stencil of an eagle from Subway. Say what you want about McDonald's, but they know what kid's want. 

It was a very rainy night, but it was good to see my grandpa again and Ryan loved going to "Old McDonald's"!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

C'mon Baby... the Locomotion.

Adam was searching for the "locomotion" song since that was one of his class's vocab words this week. Ryan started busting some moves that would make Vanesa Huxtable and her Soul-Train sneaking-in friends jealous. We only got "take 2" on video and it tamed down a bit, but I still wanted to save it to remember his dance skills and enthusiasm at this age. Watch for his signature moves:  toe-tapping, twirling, kicking, marching, and what can only be described as "windmilling."

Random Ryno-isms

 Understanding Ryan sometimes required a guide. He's picked up a few "miscues" along the way

"Dee-bee-dee-bee-dees" = DVDs
"Cee-bee-dee-bee-dee" = CD's
"lemma-lade" = lemonade
"lemma-lems" = M&Ms
"Arfur" = Arthur

Here's a few more fun facts from the past few weeks.
  • Ryan no longer uses a pacifier. He's been off it for a few weeks now and we seem to have gotten past asking for it. Adam made the change when I was in Chicago and decided it was time when his daycare provider returned some clothing items to us and returned his "my's" too, since he never used them at her house. (I didn't know he wasn't using them for naps at her house.) So, there really wasn't a reason to continue at home either.
  • Ryan has made great strides in potty-training. Although we're not quite into wearing underwear full-time, he is into the routine of using the potty right after he wakes up and will ask throughout the day, or will usually go when reminded. He just doesn't understand going before he "has to go", like before we leave to go somewhere in the car, so we're still in Pull-ups.  He has decided to be Mr. Independent though, and does not want ANY help undressing, lifting lids, wiping, flushing, hauling out the stool, turning on/off water, or pumping soap. He can pretty well manage it on his own, too! Maybe this is TMI, but I find it funny that he just starting going standing up last week without any prompting. I had told him he wasn't tall enough yet, so he showed me how he can do it standing on his tip toes.
  • Ryan's is very keyed in to whether it's light or dark outside. He doesn't think he has to go bed if it's not dark out, but if he wakes up during the night or in the morning, he checks his window and announces, "Mommy, it's not dark out anymore. Can I wake up now?"
  • Going to bed can be a major struggle some nights with crying, whaling,
  • Ryan can also be very polite. Tonight at supper he asked, "Mommy, did you make this supper for me?" I said, "yes" and he replied, "Thank-you, mommy for making supper!" He also tackled me in the backyard while playing football, threw his arms around my neck and said, "I love you, mommy." Moments like these help balance out the night before when he threw an hour-long tantrum with screaming and drooling before bed.
  • He has started to make up songs. He went to a different baby-sitter one day this week and she told me all the songs he sang her (ABC's, Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves Me, B-I-B-L-E) then asked what the song was about an airplane to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider. We determined he was just making stuff up.
  • After Adam spent all last Saturday working on prepping the ground for his swingset, we've made little actual progress on the structure. When a neighbor stopped by this week, Ryan informed her, "It's going to be a LONG time until I can play on it."

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Friday, we went to a carnival at Hospers Elementary. After enjoying some pizza/hot dogs/nachos/tacos in a bag, we braved the crowds and lined up for some games. He played bowling, football toss, fishing game, duck pond, golf, and bean bag toss. We took a pass on the balloon darts.  He won various Oriental-Trading type prizes which he was thrilled with! It was a fun event and he still talks a lot about the "car-ni-bal"

On Saturday, Adam spent all day working in the backyard on "the giant square" which involved removing 5 pickup-loads of sod and dirt, then building a border out of timbers. It will eventually house a swingset which is sorted in stacks in our garage, making the whole thing reek of cedar. It even makes Nika sneeze! My parents came over for pizza that night and my dad helped pound in the re-rod.

Sunday Ryan was a little shy going into nursery, but came out saying, "Mommy, I had FUN today." He loves singing songs in nursery and I have a feeling he's the one sing-shouting out-of-tune but with great enthusiasm!  Sunday night Adam's parents joined us for supper and Ryan had Grandpa laughing so hard during their "tackle pillow fight".

Thursday, April 19, 2012

BonBon Cake

On Wednesday, my department had our monthly lunch and to top off our delicious grilled meal, they had gotten a cake in honor of my birthday.
They had it decorated with Mr. EIFFEL bonbons in honor of a flash mob I was involved in at my previous job. They think it's hilarious to watch this video. Yes, that's me, Mr. bonbons in a giant inflated suit, dominating Lemon Heads with some serious dance skillz. There ain't no shame in my game.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Track Meet

Ryan loves track meets. He imitates the starter and announces "On your marks, get set, go!" when we run races at home. He also has quite the sprinter's stance that he learned from the NFL combine 40-yard dash on TV.  Today we walked over to the JH track meet where Adam was running the discus. Ryan brought the "unofficial" results to the announcers. He also announced that "When I get big, big, bigger, I'm going to play track meet."  He said he is going to run really fast.  And he did, almost the entire way home from the field. He had a slight meltdown at the stoplight since I had to hold him back while the light was red, so if anyone was at the Fareway corner tonight, you're welcome for the show.

Beings that my track career ended after 8th grade when I would be the "sympathy" 2nd or 3rd string runner for the 200 meter dash, I'm hoping we can keep his track dreams alive. With his genes (and hilarious "elbow oars"form) he's more likely to find himself marking off the discus throws than anchoring a relay.

Monday, April 16, 2012

30 Years

Let's play Jeopardy!

Answer: 30 Years

  • How long have The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms been in effect?
  • What is was the age of actor Alan Ruck when he played Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (still remember watching this with Stef. W. in her first house).
  • How many years younger does this 70-year-old look because of her raw food diet?
  • How long ago did the first Pizza Ranch open?
  • How old is this Senorita?

It's sad, but true, folks. Today was my 30th birthday. I stayed up until 1am the night before baking 2 cakes for my co-workers and they repaid me in grand style: coffee in the morning, flowers from my department, then they took me off for a Mexican lunch, complete with sombrero.

Adam and I had been planning to go out for supper, but he had actually planned a surprise night out with my parents, my sister's family, and his parents. We ate MORE Mexican food and then headed to his parent's for more cake! 

This is one of the few cakes I've ever had for my birthday that I did not make myself, but was made by the talented Sara Crane and it was delicious!

 The pictures are from my phone, so they are not the greatest, but you have to see the 2 cutie-pie cousins who were just as excited about the birthday bash!

Thanks to everyone who remembered me on my birthday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


After a 5-hour car ride, Ryan was ready to run when we arrived in Minnesota. Thankfully, there was a playset at the church where Great-Grandpa's Birthday Open House was being held. Ryan had a good time playing on the swingset with Uncle Andy and some of Adam's cousins' boys. He was also excited to see Ashley & Brandon, whose wedding shower I also attended this weekend.

At the party, Ryan was also very excited to explore Great-Grandpa's 1951 Massey Harris tractor, which was his first tractor and is still being used on the farm today! Ryan loved sitting on the seat pretending to drive, so imagine how thrilled he was when Cousin Josh took him for an actual ride on it!
Later that night, after Ryan had an epic meltdown (not that surprising considering he'd endured a 5-hour car ride, then a 4-hour delay to his usual naptime), Cousin Josh came to the rescue by offering to take him for another tractor ride on Uncle Dan's big tractor. If you ask him about it, he'll tell you three things:
1) He got to drive
2) He saw 2 deer but they runned away
3) They beat the Kubota (driven by Dan, Verlyn, and Andy)

We drove home again Sunday morning and although it was good to see family again, I'm not volunteering to take a 2-year-old on a 5-hour road trip 2 days in a row again for quite a while.

Even if there are tractors.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday, Great-Grandpa!

 This weekend, Adam, Ryan, Andy, Kim and I headed up to Mi-SO-ta (as Ryan calls it) to celebrate Adam's grandpa's 80th birthday. 

 There were four large cakes decorated to match some of Cliff's favorite activities: farming, missions, carpentry, and deer hunting.

 Each table was also decorated with pictures and props from some of his favorite things: fishing, carpentry, refinishing furniture, farming, hunting, the cabin, and grassroots government.
Happy Birthday Great-Grandpa!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ryan and Lincoln on the Farm

While I was in Chicago last week, my sister and her kids came to visit. I was bummed to miss out on seeing them other than our night at Bridges Bay, but glad they were able to schedule in some cousin time with Ryan.

Emily and Lincoln came to play at our house one afternoon and Megan said they had a good time putting on a "play", pounded the tackling dummy (see video), cruising in plasma cars and "fixing" tractors.

They also went to my parent's farm and had more fun riding in the Kubota with Grandpa and feeding cornstalks to the cows. These two are having more and more fun as they grow up!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Advice from Ryan

Yesterday while Ryan and I were making a paper airplane, he tried to get my attention by slapping me on the cheek. Although I'm not sure he really meant to hit that hard, I wanted to be consistent in my discipline so I sat him in Timeout and told him hitting was not okay. He writhed and screamed for a bit but calmed down in a few minutes so I went in to get him.

I always try to reinforce why he was in time-out by asking him, "Ryan, why where you in time-out?" 

He responded, "Because I hit mommy like this."

And then he slapped me again.

Just to show me.

Glad he learned his lesson.

It was hard not to laugh but I did reinforce that we shouldn't hit. He agreed and said, "God wants us to be kind to each other."  I have no idea where he got that line, but let's hope it sticks more than the "no hitting" did.


Today Adam and Ryan were playing football in the backyard when Adam rolled his ankle. He hobbled over to the deck to sit down. Ryan grabbed the football, hustled over to Adam and announced, 

"Daddy, sometimes that happens in football. You just have to walk it off."

You think he's heard that before?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Family Photos


Easter Morning

We went to Adam's Dad's church for the Easter service and heard a fantastic message. After church, each child received a balloon to go along with the "Surprise Party!" message.

 Adam's Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, and her fiancee were visiting and Ryan loved playing with A & B, who he'd had a blast with at Christmas.

After a delicious ham dinner (which Ryan finally ate about 45 minutes after the rest of us were finished), Ryan got to go outside for his first outdoor egg hunt!  He had a blast!

Ryan got to spend the afternoon playing with Grandpa and Grandma. He had a very fun Easter and has enough candy to last him until next year!

Easter Morning Egg Hunt

When Ryan woke up on Easter morning, he was excited to find several treats hidden in the living room and music room. He soon caught on to looking for not only eggs, but also other wrapped candies and the pieces to his new zoo Lego kit!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bridges Bay

For my Dad's 60th Birthday, my family decided to spend a night at Bridges Bay Resort.  When we arrived on Friday afternoon, we dropped our things in the condo and headed to the waterpark.  Ryan's first experience, unfortunately, was getting dumped on by the huge bucket of water that slowly fills and then pours on the unsuspecting saps (us) below. This scared him a bit, but he did end up having a good time floating in the lazy river and shooting hoops, which seemed to be the popular choice for all the grandkids!
After waterpark time, we had pizza in the condo and birthday cake for Grandpa! Then, we headed down to the lake for a little fishing! Ryan caught his very first fish!

It was fun to see the grandkids playing together and having such a great time with Grandpa & Grandma.

 As usual, it was a challenge to get a shot of all the grandkids together, so if you're wondering if I poor-man photoshopped a picture where Saylor was looking onto a picture where the rest of the kids were looking...
...why yes, yes I did. Thanks for noticing.

On Saturday morning, the kids had an Easter Egg hunt which they thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks, grandma, for the Fun Dip! :-/   We hit the waterpark again in the morning, then cleaned up and had lunch together before all heading home. It was a really fun time and we are so thankful we were able to spend this time together!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chicago Day 4

5:00am My bed
Wait, no, that's not right...that must be where I WISHED I was. Much too early!

6:00am Cab
Having run out of motion-sickness patches, I gritted my teeth and tried to will-power through this 30-minute cab ride. It was not great, but I realize 6am is a much better time to be trying to get to O'Hare than the time I have been doing it for the past 4 years (5:00pm on the Thursday before Memorial Day).

6:45am Aunti Annie's Pretzel Place
The 70ish lady behind me ordered a Nathan's hot dog wrapped in an Auntie Annie's pretzel with Nacho Cheese sauce to dip it in. Breakfast of Champions. I, on the other had, opted for a much-healthier paper cup of cinnamon-sugar pretzel sticks and a Vitamin Water.

8:00am Gate E5
Play "Guess who's from South Dakota"...and watch CNN.

10:00am Sioux Falls Regional Airport
Collect my bag (which is making it's first trip around THE baggage carousel the moment I walk in. (Did I mention I love this airport?) and head on home.

12:00pm Home
Make myself a grilled cheese sandwich and eat an apple. My body can only take so much fancy food/dining out. Sometimes I crave simplicity more than anything.

12:45pm Desk
Back at work!

Thus ends my adventure in Chicago! I learned a lot, even if some of it was "geek speak" over my head, met some good people, got to see my friend and cousin, but missed my family and got way behind on work. But, sometimes, it's good to mix it up a bit and expand my horizons. I'm sure I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chicago Day 3

8:00am Conference Room
People started talking...

2:00pm Conference Room
I ate this:

5:00 Conference Room
...People stopped talking.

5:05pm Michigan Avenue
I enjoyed a nice walk down Michigan, this time while it was light out, and loved seeing the beautiful tulips.

5:20pm H&M
 I only had about 30 minutes to shop, so I beelined it for H&M which is apparently what 700 other people decided to do as well, but I did manage to find a cute dress.

6:00pm Lou Malnati's
I met up with my cousin, J, who is on Chicago semester right now, at Lou Malnati's, my favorite Chicago pizza place.  We enjoyed a deep-dish Chicago Classic and I had to indulge in the chocolate chip pizza with ice cream that has haunted my dreams since I had it last Spring.

8:30pm American Girl Store
I loved these books as a kid but grew up too fast to get in on the doll craze. Still, it was fun to walk through the store.

8:45pm Lego Store
I picked out a green "Lego mat" for Ryan's new Lego table and also got a little Duplo Zoo kit for him as a gift. He's going to love this store when he's older!

9:00pm Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
J showed me one of Hershey Square's most popular people...the sample lady at Ghirardelli. We enjoyed our caramel-filled samples while drinking in the amazing aroma. If I wasn't already stuffed from Lou's, I would have bellied up to the ice cream bar here, but the line was too long to stand around, so I didn't end up buying anything.

9:45pm Sheraton Hotel & Towers
After saying good-bye to J, I trekked back to the hotel and tried to form a packing strategy. It was a good thing I had checked a bag (not that my 3 giant ziplock bags of larger-than-3oz. liquid or foam products could have gotten through security anyway).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chicago Day 2

8:00 am Conference Room
People start talking...

6:45 pm Conference Room
...people stop talking.

8:30pm Michigan Ave.
After meeting during the "networking cocktails" event, two other restaurant attendees and I decide the to brave a chilly walk to find something more than hors d'oeuvres.

9:00pm Cheesecake Factory
We hoof it all the way down to this fine eating establishment where we're told the wait is 30 minutes. Thankfully, there is a table in the bar and we promptly order and eat while sharing insight into each of our jobs. Meeting these 2 was the most helpful part of the conference.

10:30pm Sheraton Hotel & Towers
We cabbed it back. It was cold.

I do not have any pictures from Day 2. I could have taken a picture of the giant Marilyn Monroe statue we went past, but didn't want to look too much like a tourist. Not that my sensible shoes didn't already give me away.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chicago Day 1

I was in Chicago for 3 nights this week for a work conference about emerging mobile technologies. Instead of boring you with details about the conference, I'll summarize using my list of foursquare checkins.

6:00am Sioux Falls Regional Airport. 
I realize the picture below is perhaps the least interesting I've ever posted, but I appreciated the free wi-fi in the new business lounge so I could get some work done before my flight. I love flying out of Sioux Falls.  In fact, here are 9 reasons why FSD is better than O'Hare:
  1. New parking lot. 3 minutes from parking to terminal and you don't have to remember what level of the garage you're on, nor catch a ride on a shuttle.
  2. No lines at the "self-check" kiosk which the counter person will help you with since there is no one else in line to help.
  3. Arriving 1 hour before your fight is completely adequate and gives you time to shop the pheasant and Mt. Rushmore souvenirs.
  4. No sitting on the floor. There are plenty of chairs. 
  5. Wi-Fi is free!
  6. There are no middle seats.  You have a 2/3 chance of getting a window seat and 2/3 chance of getting an aisle.
  7. The person you sit next to you on your flight knows someone you know. Guaranteed.
  8. TVs in the boarding area are tuned to Price is Right or SportsCenter, not CNN #knowyourmarket
  9. It's fun to play "guess who's from South Dakota" vs. a visiting business traveler. Duds from RCC Western Wear are a dead giveaway for native Dakotans.
  10. No first class jealousy. We're all in the same boat, here, people.
11:00am O'Hare airport cab line.
This puke-free cab ride was brought to you by Trans Dermal Scop (my motion sickness patch)

12:00pm Sheraton Hotel & Towers
This $10 salad has no taste and my frapuccino tastes like glue, also brought to you by Trans Dermal Scop

3:00pm Sheraton Ballroom
Pre-conference workshop

6:00pm Italian Village
I got to meet up with my friend, Aftin, who works in Chicago. When we sat down in the lower level and saw mostly veal and the occassional rabbit leg on the menu, we left a tip to cover our water glasses and bread and headed upstairs to more recognizable fare. My shrimp and broccoli pasta didn't have a lot of taste, but I was still wearing my patch, so this might not have been a fair assessment.

8:30pm Sheraton Hotel & Towers
I did some work at the hotel but the side effects of the medication (dry mouth, drowsiness, and blurred vision) became too much and I had to call it a night early.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

Happy Palm Sunday!
Ryan got a palm branch at nursery and even though it was broken in 3 places by the time we left church, he was still enthusiastically waving it around/hitting it against an moving or non-moving object nearby.

Even though it's only April 1, it was 92 degrees today, so we dusted off the old sprinkler and broke it in for the year. Ryan insisted on riding on dad's shoulders or mom's back to run over the sprinkler, but slowly warmed up to it. 


 After a nap, I brought Ryan to Windmill park where he had fun playing at the park and also liked checking out the windmills and running over the bridge.

I hope we have many more Sunday afternoons like these!