Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful for my little Turkey

Another year has come and gone.  Another year where it is getting harder and harder to remember my life before being a mom.  Although in some respects it seems to be getting more challenging, I would say that in the same respect, it brings a bigger rewarding feeling as you get through it. 

We spent the day how I thought Trevor would enjoy it.  He requested that I make him his eggo waffles for breakfast...I guess I make them better out of the toaster than he does?....I threw in a quick batch of pillsbury sweet rolls that both kids enjoyed.  We headed to Benihana for lunch since that is Trevor's favorite place to eat...but on Sundays they are open at 1pm at the earliest.  If anyone has ever eaten there, their lunch portions are not much smaller than their dinner portions.  So while we wanted to eat dinner on the early side, most of us were pretty full after the big lunch. 

But the lunch was a fun time.  Backtracking a bit....for the past two days Trevor has had a little head cold.  Nothing by far to worry about or to derail him from anything, but as I have previously mentioned, he has a hard time sleeping, nightmares, talking in his sleep, etc.  So he isn't exactly well rested.  Hopefully tonight will be different, but during the last few days he has been very lethargic.  So when we were out to lunch, he seemed tired, but I think he still ate ok and had a good time. 

We came back home, had dinner, sang, open gifts, ate more and played with a lot of his gifts.  As a slight side note....Gwen did a great job today letting Trevor be in the spotlight.  I think it helped having her birthday recently and yet also having some extended family too.  She is beginning to understand her day will come again and she respected Trevor's wishes to open his own gifts, blow out his own candles and more than one occasion today both kids hugged each other and told each other they loved them.  (it warms a mom's heart)

We were able to drag he away from his most prized possession, the 3DS to play with the dart guns, but he also really enjoyed every single gift he got.  The kitten and Trevor and even Gwen got squealing over the spy R/C car.  And because we started the nighttime routine early enough I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing much of Trevor until he reads and rereads his Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  At least he can put a bunch of reading minutes into his reading log now.  But I also had to repeat to him the fact that he CANNOT wake up before 6:30am to read.  And that he would have plenty of time to read before and after breakfast if he got a good night's sleep.  I am happy that he does love to read. 

Looking back at the past year, I know that this year is going to be a significant improvement for Trevor.  We have really found a groove and a lot of his interests and can make sure he gets to enjoy life and learn a lot too.  I can't wait to see what this next year brings to him.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One crazy week

It was a busy week for us, ending on a "last day of being 7" for the young man.  Both kids had school until Wednesday this week and the only activity that didn't happen was Chess club on Monday.  I'm sure Trevor would have wanted it to happen, but at least we were able to keep mostly busy until Thanksgiving.  The kids even had swimming lessons on Wednesday, and I'm sure because most people left for the weekend, she had a private lesson.  Trevor had a few less kids in his class as well. 

Thanksgiving Thursday went off without a hitch...I think.  I did my usual turkey, stuffing, rolls, green been dish.  The kids were kind enough to help with the cleaning the night before and day of.  We had a houseful of 15 people, still missing a few folks but had a good time.

This year Black Friday started Thanksgiving evening.  I picked up a good friend at 10pm and we didn't get back home until about 3:30am.  Strangely enough, I didn't pick up anything more than some stocking stuffers for Christmas, mostly some REALLY good deals on home stuff and some snowpants for Trevor since his have gone missing.  We went from Toys R Us to Herbergers to Kohls to Target.  Kohls was a complete disaster and the one store I could have done without.  Herbergers was the one I came out of thinking that I got a really good deal and it was very well run.  It was a very different night than in the past because of how early the stores were open.  I do think I like it better this way because I could come home and sleep for a little while before the kids woke up.  It did take me most of the day to recover from everything that had happened that day. 

So the rest of the day was pretty low key...finishing up the cleaning...laundry....just relaxing....then Trevor and Russ were going to go to the Wild game, but Trevor decided he didn't want to go.  So Russ took Gwen instead.  I thought Trevor was going to get upset, but he didn't.  He genuinely didn't want to go.  So he and I had a little time to ourselves.  I decided I wanted to have a little date night with him, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen.  He said he was going to be embarrassed only with one other person, but when we got there, and he saw that it wasn't like a table for 10 and only the two of us, he was good.  I had a very peaceful and pleasant conversation with him.  Because we were at a mall, I also asked him to come and get his Christmas sweater with me because I knew they were still having good sales.  That spawned some questions about if I like to shop or not.  I know I have said it before, but I really need to do that more often.  The night ended with us chatting right before he went to bed about what a good time we both had that night.  And I also know that Gwen had a great time too. 

And now it is Saturday.  We spent the morning seeing the new Muppet movie, and I was VERY VERY happy.  I'm glad I had the kids watch the Muppet Show because a lot of it references that as well as a bunch of the Muppet movies.  The kids are familiar with The Muppets Take Manhattan but none of the other ones.  And I know they probably didn't appreciate the 80's music as I did, but WOW....I have a big appreciation for Jason Segel.  I watched him on SNL and learned he co-wrote the story and if that guy doesn't have a perfect understanding of the Muppets I don't know who does.  I hope they do well with the movie!

And now we begin the preparations for the kid to turn 8.  I think I'm ahead of the game and feeling pretty good about being ready for tomorrow.  More to come tomorrow on that event.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Trevor's Turn

With his actual birthday coming up, the time has come to focus on Trevor.  Much to the disappointment of Gwen.  Which is strange because at least Trevor has to let her tag along to his birthday party and I let her have her friend party without Trevor. 

So today was the party, because having a birthday on or near Thanksgiving is not very travel friendly for his friends.  We move it usually to the weekend before so we can stay in the same month.  During the summer, he had asked to have his party at a place termed Chutes and Ladders.  It is an outdoor park that does have some water spraying involved.  I tried to explain that even if the actual park was closed, that they turn off the water around Labor Day.  Trevor thought that as long as it hadn't snowed by his party, he could still have it there and possibly even involve getting wet.  Oh how quickly he forgets how yucky it gets in the fall.  Strangely enough, the same day as his party is the day that we get snowed on. 

This was the second year in a row we decided to get out of the house and let someone else help with the party planning.  Good for me because although I can be organized enough to plan a party, I usually don't like trying to stay low stress when I have to entertain the guests.  This year we went to a party place where they had mini golf, batting cages, a soft foam ball pit/ball shooting area, arcade, bumper cars, and laser tag.  The place was packed with people.  Some probably close to their teens, and some younger than Trevor's group.  But really, it was a great age at least for him to be there.  They didn't get to do the batting cage because it didn't move as quick as he wanted it to, and I didn't know really how it all worked anyway.  But otherwise the kids did get to do everything else.  Laser tag was Trevor's favorite.  Gwen was happy playing the arcade games, doing a mini golf round, and she got into the ball pit early enough to avoid the huge kids. 

Then of course the weather hit throughout the time we were there.  Thankfully, we were able to get home at a decent time, but everyone was pretty hungry.  Immediately, Trevor wanted to get back outside in the snow.  Also thankfully, his snowpants from last year still fit him.  It wasn't quite enough snow to make a snowman...I think...but I know he had a good time sweeping the deck off and finding other fun things to do with the snow. 

It's Trevor's turn to be in his favorite place - the spotlight.  Although officially 8 days away, I think because of the party, I'm calling it in his birthday week now.  I'm excited to see what he makes of his special week!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's Time to Play the Music

So I have no idea who reads this blog.  I do know that it is mostly my immediate family and that my intention for writing this is to give it as a gift to my kids when they are old enough to have their own kids.  Regardless, I don't know how many people understand my interest obsession with The Muppets.  So I will create a short backstory....  Yes as a child, I watched Sesame Street.  I really liked it.  Even when my younger brothers were watching it, I would also enjoy catching an episode or two.  But really I became a true muppet fan when my dad and I would watch the weekly show when it was in its first run.  I know as I was older, I could sometimes catch it on syndication but I will always remember The Muppet Show as an occasion where my dad and I saw it together. 

When Jim Henson died while I was in Junior High, I was very sad.  I knew there would never be another Muppet Movie or Muppet Show like what he had put on in the past.  Granted I was a bit of a snotty teenager thinking about all this at the time, but oh well.  I would like to clarify that I am obsessed more with the Muppets associated with the Muppet Show and Muppet Movies, not necessarily Jim Henson, but I also knew of the association of what he brought to the whole creative side of things.

So I grew up, met my love, and brought along with my obsession.  I have all Muppet Movies, I had acquired a bunch of VHS tapes that I have let go....I think...and tried to continue to collect any DVDs that I don't have, that I think are worth seeing.  Like I said, since Jim Henson's death there haven't been a TON of movies that have measured up to the Jim Henson era.  We named our two cats Piggy and Kermie (both girls) that we got in 1998.  I have a tattoo of Kermit that I got in 2006.  I do have the first 3 Seasons (of 5) that they released via Disney.  Oh, that reminds lucky is it that Disney now has acquired The Muppets?  It's now a permanent attraction at Disney World much to my LOVE!!!  Plus, Disney has got a great marketing strategy and plenty of funds to draw from!

I am extremely tempted to get the whole series via a non-disney supplier of the Muppet Show.  I do know that Disney decided to edit the shows individually and not include everything as originally shown.  It makes me sad, but I don't know that I'm the type of person to care a whole lot about one particular show, I just like being able to watch a show here or there and get into the big skits like Pigs in Space, Swedish Chef, and Muppet Labs.  I do wonder how much longer they are going to wait to release those last two seasons!  Maybe after their new movie?

Yes, I am very excited to see the new Muppet movie.  Like I said, its now a Disney property and they are promoting the heck out of it.  I already got a free movie pass when we do go.  But the reason I'm really writing is that although I had watched most of the Muppet Show series, I thought I should break it out in preparation for the movie.  I would like the kids to be at least knowledgeable about the music they will hear at the movie.

And so it begins.  I decided to start at the beginning even though I thought the beginning was a bit slow.  Fortunately, I hit the kids at a perfect time in their lives.  Because the show was less than a half hour, it keeps Gwen's attention and Trevor is ROLLING around laughing so hard about everything in the show that he often misses most of the next thing that happens because it is so fast moving.  It just gives me such a warm feeling to be able to share this feeling with them.  Thankfully, I think I have a good thing to throw on the TV when we are looking for a quick pick-me-up. 

For those of you that are interested:  I'm pretty sure that Trevor's favorite part is anytime Stadler and Waldorf talk.  He knows they do or say something funny.  But the one he is currently quoting all the time is a skit that Fozzy did about the Wild West where he came in and held up the saloon with pickles.  You have to ask him about it if you really want to see something fun!

So 15 more days until the release!  It's time to play the music!  It's time to light the lights!  It's time to get things started!!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Deck Project

Funny thing about how projects always seem to become more than what they are intended to be.  And other funny thing, they never seem to be COMPLETELY completely done, there are always improvements to be made or grand ideas to put in to make it even better.  But with today comes the point to that we can say the deck project that was originally slotted to take a month, started the beginning of August has come to a close.  We had our final final final inspection that was passed in a matter of seconds after the inspector arrived.  I went back and looked at our permit record and noticed that although originally it was something that started the beginning of August, we had the first inspection with footings on Sept. 12th....which means from the time that there was absolutely nothing but holes until the final deck board and railing was up was a little over 7 weeks. 

Originally the project simply entailed tearing off the old deck boards and replacing them with new ones.  However, once the deck boards came off, there was warped boards, no appropriately used footings, and glued ledger boards (instead of screwed in).  So basically the frame was completely unusable.  Ok...tear everything out.  Dispose of old lumber.  Draw out new plans.  Discuss with city building and planning on a few occasions.  I have to say....I LOVE our city building and planning people.  EVERYONE that I dealt with, permit approval, inspectors, even the operator getting me to the correct person was so fast in getting back to me, or so helpful with questions I had (even if I had no idea what I was asking about) and generally had a very laid back attitude which for me was nice. 

Because we had to go the route of getting a permit, we decided to wrap the deck around our 3 season porch.  We had to have 14 footings.  We found 5 but the previous builders were only using 2 for the deck and neither was actually doing anything other than leaning on the concrete.  So we had someone else come out and dig 11 footings because we could use 3 of the ones they already had.  And then the same company came back and poured the cement and put in the anchors.  Then came the construction.  My dad came over once a week, sometimes more as we were his designated Habitat for the Family house this quarter.  Since he has retired, he has been doing Habitat for Humanity via 3M once a week in St. Paul or wherever they are working for that month.  Russ had been working on the deck during the weekends whenever he could get a free minute or two.  Derek and Brian came over and helped out as well. 

And now we have this gorgeous, beautiful, large deck that is fully inspected and good for the life of the house, or at least as long as we are going to be there.  We were planning on having a deck party but with the yucky weather coming up and the lack of time with other events going on, I think we are going to try to keep it clean and have a joint Thanksgiving/Deck party on the same day. 

Thank you to my dad for making this all happen and thank you to Russ for rearranging your house project plans to help make it happen as well.  It is beautiful!  I am posting the deck pictures on facebook because I feel like I mess up the format of this when I post pictures.  The only picture I did not take is the one of the bench that was added after the inspection today.  Perhaps more benches will be built as we have a little bit left over decking material.  Or maybe I can get my privacy fence after all.