Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ryan's Weekend

While Adam and I were in Minneapolis, Ryan had a great time with Grandpa and Grandma.  Here are a few highlights:

Having a water fight with Grandpa and trying out the slip-n-slide.

Learning how to ride a Big Wheel.

First corn-on-the-cob of the season (I'm jealous!)
 On Saturday, he got to attend Grandpa and Grandma's church campout where he played games (and got really dirty!) He found $1.40 in change in the "find coins in the sandbox" game and won a little trophy in the Egg Toss game! He was very proud.

One funny story was that he had a hard time going down for a nap one day, coming out multiple times with all the normal excuses. Finally, he tried a new one, "Grandma, Daddy just texted me and said I don't have to take a nap."  She either thought that was a good enough excuse, or was just tired from attempting to get him down for 1.5 hours, but she didn't make him take a nap after that! :)

 He had a great time and seemed a little disappointed to see us on Saturday night! Thanks for a great time, Grandpa and Grandma!

Twins vs. Royals

 Saturday we went to the Twins vs. Royals game at noon. This was a make-up game from the April 28 game that was rained out. That day, we were wearing at least 4 layers including winter coats and stocking hats. The temperature dipped below 40 at times.  This was...slightly different. The sun was shining, there was no breeze, and it was 91 degrees! Beautiful day for baseball!

We had seats in Section 215 right behind home plate but in the second deck. We really enjoyed this view but my now-peeling shoulders wished the shade came earlier than the 5th inning.

To beat the heat, we walked around after the first inning and found the Anheuser-Busch "Good Sport" kiosk (Main Level, Section 130) and signed up to be Designated Drivers. This is a little tip I got from my sister and brother-in-law. You sign up and get a wrist-band, agreeing not to drink at the game, and they give you a coupon for a free soft drink. They also enter your name in a drawing for a prize. The drink was a life-saver on a hot day and we thoroughly enjoyed our free lemonades!

In the 8th inning, I was excited to see my name on the Jumbotron as being chosen as the "Designated Driver of the Game" I went down to Guest Services to claim my prize.  I got a Twins hat, that unfortunately, has the Budweiser logo on the back, a "We ID" pin (not sure how that will ever come in handy) and a signed baseball.

We had no idea who the baseball was signed by and suspected it was just some random beer vendor. However, after posting it on facebook, an old college friend suggested it might be Alexi Casilla #12. After checking a few examples online, we determined he was right! The "12" was throwing us off since it looked like "Liz" at the end.  We are excited to display the hat and ball in Ryan's new baseball room!

The Twins won the game and had many great hits, so it was a fun game to watch. Besides the high temp, it was a pretty great day. Once we cleared the traffic gridlock, we stopped in Shakopee for some Jimmy John's and then headed home!

Friday, June 29, 2012


Our Minnesota Twins rain-out game from April 28 was being played this weekend, so we headed up to the Cities for the night.  Since I worked the race last weekend, I had a comp day so I was able to take Friday off. Adam went to a teacher planning meeting in the morning, then I headed to the salon to use my massage/manicure gift certificate from Mother's Day and get a haircut. It was lovely spending a few hours getting pampered! Adam had delivered Ryan to his parents, so we hit the PR buffet for a late lunch, then got on the road. We stopped for an appointment with our financial advisor, then traveled on to check in at the Hilton in West Bloomington (great deal on Hotwire).

We did some shopping for Adam at Kohl's and then, since I was starving (when am I not?), made a run for Olive Garden. Our entrees weren't anything spectacular, but I highly recommend the Bella Limonata drink and the Dolcini mini-desserts (chocolate mousse and dark chocolate caramel). To walk off our meal, we headed up France Ave. to Centennial Lakes Park. We've been here several times to walk around the pond/golf on the putting course, but since it was almost dark, we just walked around the lake. It seems to have expanded quite a bit since our last visit and it was a good 1.5 mile route with beautiful landscaping. I highly recommend this green oasis in the City!

On Saturday, I slept in until after 8...possible the best thing about vacation...then we packed up and headed to Perkins for a late breakfast. Even though I'd tried to stave off the hunger with crackers in the morning, I still got sick before breakfast. But, I felt better after some toast, eggs, and hashbrowns. I ran into one of my colleagues here, which was funny since I know about 3 people who live in the City and we happen to be at the same restaurant at the same time!

We did a bit of quick shopping at Southdale and then it was time to head to the game!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My First Race

On Thursday, I took off for Des Moines to work my first race. Our company sponsors Victory Lane, so we set up a game/activity in Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway so those who have Fan Walk tickets can stop by throughout the day during the practices and qualifying rounds. On Thursday night we stopped by 2 stores at Jordan Creek Mall and then ate at P.F. Chang's so I didn't get to my hotel room until 10:40. This pregnant mama was tired and the work hadn't even begun!

Friday we were up bright and early to get to the track on time and spent the day letting people play Plinko to win various types of swag. It was upper 80's and sunny the whole day, so I was very thankful for our awesome tent, even if we almost lost a team member who was close to achieving lift-off when the helicopter landed!

There were a few other people thankful for our tent too...I love this pit crew member's "water-bottle pillow." He slept like that for a good 30 minutes and they were grateful we shared "the only shade in the entire place". 

Friday night we ate at Granite City which, despite the good food, didn't sit well with the baby. We headed to Orange Leaf after supper and instead of getting to taste the fro-yo I'd heard so much about, I gracefully puked in the parking lot. My team was pretty accommodating, though, and got me a bottle of water, then drove me back to the hotel so I could crash at 8:30. I'm kind of used to puking in front of co-workers, but it usually happened more due to Chicago traffic than morning/all-day sickness.

Saturday we spent another day at the track and this day was much busier. The Plinko game was a good idea because it doesn't require much explanation and with Indy cars roaring around the track all day, you can't really count on being heard. I wore earplugs most of the weekend!  At 4:00 I headed out, dropped off one of my co-workers on the way out of town, then drove the 4 hours home.  I was starving at that point and picked up a roast beef sandwich in Missouri Valley but could not find the DQ that had been listed on the Hwy sign (do you have to keep driving past Arby's and McDonald's into town? Because it's not on the other side of 29. so I was fuming all the way to Onawa where "LAAAAA!"(angel choir) there was a DQ right off the interstate. I believe I had a newbie cashier because she couldn't ring up by Peanut Butter Cup blizzard in chocolate ice cream and had to wait for someone else to become available to help her (it's under "R" for Reese's...wonder if she also looks for the Oreo one under C for cream-filled cookie). Also, why does DQ not have cheese balls on the menu? They always have them, but they are nowhere to be found on the menu. They should just put on the sign "Don't buy the fries..they're terrible...get cheeseballs instead. Your gut will hate you but your tastebuds don't care".

Okay, sidetrack city here.

Anyway, it was a good weekend and it's always fun with these ladies! I'm glad I was able to help out. I'll keep my "racing culture" comments to myself (except the New Balance tennies with colored socks phenomenon was NOT expected) and I think I'll be more into the races in August when it's Nascar and we actually have a car to cheer on!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


To welcome my boss's family who just moved to the state, one of the gals in my department hosted a BBQ/potluck. We had amazing food, as usual, and the (tons of) kids had a blast playing together. Ryan loved driving the little motorized tractor (although he did not know how to lift his foot off the pedal to stop so he was a bit of a hazard to everyone in the vicinity) and one of the older boys gave him a ride in the battery-operated mini-Gator.  There were lots of fun "farm" toys, but the kids had the most fun chasing around the poor cat.  Don't be deceived by the picture, Ryan usually picked up the cat in much worse ways!  It was a great night and I am so fortunate to have such fun work friends!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Ryan is excited to announce that in December, he's going to be a big brother! To many of you, this is not a surprise since I've been dreadfully slow in posting (more on that later) but I wanted to still record a timeline of sorts so our baby knows how all the excitement of announcing went down!

April 12 (4.5 weeks): Positive pregnancy test. Adam was gone doing something that nights, so I brought Ryan to the library after work and picked out a book about being a big brother. When Adam came home that night, I told him to go in and look at what Ryan was reading. He was very excited! Then came many weeks of keeping a secret!

April 16 (5 weeks): My 30th birthday! Adam planned a surprised birthday supper with my family and I felt so sick that night, it was hard to celebrate. Now they know why I was acting a little weird! I felt sick pretty much from this day forward :-* 

April 17 (5 weeks, 1 day): Adam and I celebrated our 8th anniversary!

June 3 (11 weeks, 6 days): On the morning before we were going to break the news to my parents, we decided to talk to Ryan about having a baby in our house and him being a big brother, so at the breakfast table, we turned off cartoons and told him we needed to tell him something. Here's a portion of how the conversation went.

Me: Ryan, remember how we've talked about maybe someday we'd have a baby come live at our house?
Ryan: Yeah
Me: Well, we ARE going to have a baby come live at our house! A long time from now, we are going to have a new baby in our family.
Ryan: Yeah.  Mommy, the baby is in your tummy.
Me: How did you know that?
Ryan: Aunt Abbie tell me. (Abbie claims she never said anything like this, but does admit she coached Ryan to pray "for a brudder or a sister" which he's done a few times at suppper.)
Me: Well, thanks Aunt Abbie for giving you the "circle of life" talk. :)
Ryan: Mommy, I want to watch Cat in the Hat
Me: Okay, but Ryan, do you know this means you are going to be a big brother?
Ryan: Yeah
Me: You are going to be a GREAT big brother!
Ryan: Yeah, I want to watch Cat in the Hat
Me: Okay, but when we go to grandpa and grandma's house today, when I ask you if you have something to tell grandma, can you say, "Grandma, I'm going to be a big brother!"
Ryan: Yeah
Me: Can you practice? When I say, "Ryan, what do you want to tell grandma?" What are you going to say?
Ryan: Gramma, I'm going to be a big brudder. Can I watch Cat and the Hat now?

The same sort of thing played out when we told my parents. We were there for Sunday lunch along with Abbie, Wade and Saylor. When we sat down to pray, Ryan started and said (with coaching), "Thank you I'm going to be a big brudder. Amen. Can I have some watermelon?"  Our family was, of course, excited! I also called my sister Megan that night to tell her the news, and make sure she wasn't selling a few things I wanted to borrow on her garage sale :)

June 4 (12 weeks): I had my first doctor's appointment here in town and it included an ultrasound. Everything looked great and the baby was measuring right at 12 weeks. It was good to see him/her jumping around and the little heart beating! I was also a little relieved that there was only 1 baby as I had some irrational fears about having twins!

That night, we stopped by Adam's parents house, saying we were running errands in town and sat down to have some ice cream together. That's when Ryan announced that he was going to be a big brother! They were happy for us too and we called Adam's brother that night so all the immediate family knew. We decided not to share it publicly yet since I was leaving for mour big company meeting in Wisconsin the next day. I was sick a few times that week, including the morning of my big presentation, but made it through okay.

June 9 (12 weeks 5 days): After dropping off my parents on our return from Wisconsin, Ryan and I went to tell my Grandma at her house and my other Grandpa at the nursing home. I don't think either of them saw it coming but were happy. Two of my cousins on my dad's side are due in Nov. and Jan. so my grandma might have 3 great-grandchildren in 3 months come winter!

June 11 (13 weeks): I decided to announce at work by bringing 3 dozen caramel rolls as treats. Ironically, another guy in the office had brought in birthday treats the same day...3 dozen caramel rolls. I put a note in the breakroom that "Half of the rolls are from O. and half are from Courtney. One of us is celebrating a birthday and the other is announcing that the newest Ranch Hand will be arriving in December! You decide which is which." Since the birthday guy is 60+, it didn't take people long to figure out!

I also posted the "I'm going to be a big brother" picture along with this picture announcing the due date on Facebook to make it "facebook official." This is certainly the fastest way to get the word out and it's kind of fun to see all the "Likes" and comments pop up!

June 18 (14 weeks): Celebrated Father's Day and  I took my first "pregnancy belly" picture. Not sure how well I'm going to keep this up, but I know that when you're feeling as big as a firetruck down the road, it's nice to look back and see where you started. I feel like I'm showing earlier this time, which is common, and I'm not in as good of shape since I don't work out now and used to a lot before Ryan, but I am actually starting at the exact same pre-pregnancy weight, so it'll be easy to compare as I go!

For anyone who's still reading (sorry so long), here are a few of the FAQ's that inevitably come with pregnancy:

Q) How are you feeling?
A) Sick, tired, generally blah.  I feel about the exact same as I did with Ryan...nauseated most of the time, throwing up about every-other day, hungry all the time with nothing sounding good to eat, heartburn, exhausted, and just trying to make it through the day, accomplishing the basics like work, supper, laundry, putting Ryan to bed. This is my biggest excuse for not blogging much along with the fact that computer work seems to be one of my triggers for feeling sick.

Q) Are you going to find out if it's a boy or a girl?
A) Nope. We have a 20-week ultrasound scheduled but are going to try not to find out. We like surprises!

Q) Do you hope the baby is born on 12-12-12 or on Christmas?
A) The baby is due on 12-17-12 and I was 2 days late with Ryan, so I'm not planning to go that early and certainly don't want to go that late. Of course, it's all in God's hands, but I would just like to have a healthy baby who's had plenty of time to develop and doesn't push my patience at the end!

Q) What does Ryan think about all this?
A) He, of course, has no idea of what this is all about but so far seems fine with the idea. When we showed him the ultrasound he said, "Mommy, that's the baby in your belly" and he'll pat my belly, saying, "Hi, baby! I love you! I'm your big brother!" He sometimes talks about a brother or a sister but we're trying to prepare him that it's not going to be a 3-year-old playmate, but a baby who won't be able to play for a while. He'll be 3 and 3 months at least by the time the baby arrives, so I think he can be a bit of a helper. He's grown up a lot lately and it's definitely time for him to stop being an only child. :)

Q) Do you hope/think it's a boy or a girl?
A) Honestly, I'm fine either way. I'd love a girl and all the fun new experiences that would come with it, but it would also be awesome for Ryan to have a playmate, plus we have tons of boy clothes and toys already.  Right now I'm thinking it's a boy, but I never really had a good feeling with Ryan and was actually thinking girl at the end. Adam thinks it's a girl and he'd be equally happy with either.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Adam spent the first part of Father's Day weekend enjoying two College World Series baseball games with his brother and dad. On Sunday, we had a delicious dinner at my parents' house and enjoyed some much-needed afternoon naps. At night, we decided to head to Le Mars to the Ice Cream Parlor with Adam's parents. I hope Adam had a great Father's Day because he deserves it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Farm Tour

Each year the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance puts on a Dairy Open House and this year the farm tour was held at my dad and uncle's farm! The farm has been in our family since 1960 and used to be run by my grandpa and his sons. After he died in a farming accident, my grandma and her sons ran it until my dad and one uncle took over. They now milk 140 cows, raise their own calves, grow 550 acres of crops, and feed 500 hogs. Ryan loves going to the farm and was excited to go on this special tour of Grandpa's farm!
After a quick breakfast at the Agropur cheese plant, he got to ride on his first school bus ever! Don't be fooled by the look on his face, he was thrilled to get to ride a bus!
We had to put on some blue plastic booties to "protect the herd and protect ourselves". 
Abbie's a little more excited about them than Ryan.
 It was awesome to see so many people enjoying my dad's farm!
He checked out the calves and cows, including two one-day old calves.
He also got to watch a sheep being sheared.
The Kansas City Chiefs mascot, KC Wolf was also on hand to promoted the "Fuel up to Play 60" NFL program.
Ryan sat in grandpa's big red tractor.
He got a cow hat from the Dairy Princess and had fun playing in the corn.
 After the tour, we got back on the bus to catch a ride back to the cheese plant where they had ice cream. Nothing like a Champ cone at 11am!
It was a great morning and the other friends that brought their kids there said they had a blast. WIDA did a great job putting on this event and we couldn't be prouder of the way people were able to enjoy the family farm!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Relay for Life

Adam's mom watched Ryan on Friday afternoon when Adam took off for the College World Serices with his dadd and when I came home from weork, we decided to head over to the track for the Relay for Life event. We talked to a few people, Ryan played a few games for prizes, and painted a suncatcher. Then, we listened to the Opening Ceremony. Sue is a 21-year cancer survivor, so she went and walked the Survivor lap, then we grabbed some supper from the concession stand.  Ryan exclaimed "They have everything I want!" (i.e. hot dogs, Cheetos, ice cream)

Ryan was anxious to "race on the track" so we headed out to take a few laps. He ran/walked at leat 5 laps and I think his "racing" stance put a few smiles on people's faces (although he obviously did NOT want his picture taken!)
We are thankful for Sue's triumph over cancer and are grateful for this event that raises money for a good cause. It was also a fun activity and gave us some good exercise!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kalahari Waterpark

The night we arrived at the Kalahari, we explored the indoor waterpark. I don't have any pictures, because we were having a fun time in the water! Ryan was pretty skeptical of the splashing/fountains/water cannon, but got braver and braver when it came to slides. He finally found a medium-sized slide that he loved and went down it at least 25 times in a row!

He tried out the outdoor waterpark with my parents once and on the last night we spent a few hours there all together.  Here are a few shots of the outdoor park:


 After floating in the lazy river for a long time, Ryan was ready to jump in!

One for the money, Two for the show...
 Three to get ready...
 ...and Four to go!

  We had a great time at the waterpark and hope we can go back sometime!

Moosejaw and Buffalo Phil's

 There are many fun places to eat in the Wisconsin Dells, but none came more highly recommended by my co-workers than MooseJaw, so we went there on Tuesday, our first night in town.  Ryan loved the Moose on the delivery car and was fascinated by all the taxidermy inside.  I had the Beer Cheese soup and we shared a Pepperoni pizza. It was excellent and Ryan ate 4 slices! He was being pretty silly with his moose antlers on!  My parents brought him back there a few days later and apparently it was more melt-down than meal on that visit, but I would highly recommend this restaurant to families on vacation!

Friday night was the other night I had available so we went to another kid-friendly restaurant that was recommended to us called Buffalo Phil's. It turns out to be very similar to MooseJaw in decor, head gear, and delivery car-topped-by-animal, so it was either owned by the same people or there was a serious Hatfield vs. McCoy type feud going on. As a side note, I'd probably watch the mini-series Moosejaw vs. Buffalo Phil's a bit quicker than the bloody battle of H vs. McC. Just sayin', History Channel.

Anyway, the special feature of this restaurant is that in one of the rooms, the food and drinks are delivered by train! Ryan loved watching the train go by our booth and I was surprised it only suffered one de-railment.
Ryan had a taco and I had a delicious bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup and cheese enchiladas, but they serve much more than Mexican. I also tried their homemade grape soda, but it turned out I still wanta Fanta instead.

This isn't a great picture, but I loved all the cowboy boots on the mantel, the long-horn steer and the full-size buffalo on a high shelf (because we all know you don't put stuffed buffalo down where the kiddies can touch them--makes their fur oily).

 After the meal, Ryan liked looking around at all the "pretend" aka dead animals and like sitting on yet another arcade game sans quarters.

Other than these restaurants, Ryan just got to eat at Arby's on the drive up (did you know they serve Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?), McDonald's one lunch with Grandpa and Grandma (he LOVED the penguin train toy from his Happy meal) and Culver's on the way home (epic fail--ate nothing).  Otherwise, they had sandwiches and breakfast in the room. I'm sure there are many other great family dining options in the Dell's, but these were the two we tried and we highly recommend both!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wisconsin Fun

Besides the waterpark, Ryan and my parents found some other fun things to do while I was in meetings.

One day, they checked out the playground/sand area at the resort.
 Another day, they went on the famous "Ducks" which are land/water hybrid vehicles. I remember going on them as a kid and Ryan liked riding on the river and saw a deer, turtle, and wild turkey during the ride.
They also came downstairs to the Vendor Fair on Thursday afternoon in time to try the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine and Ryan got a ride in the pedal car we're giving away as a promotion.