Sunday, February 20, 2011

Big Trucks!

Yesterday was another gorgeous day...sunny and in the 70s!  We had already committed to spending the time outside doing yardwork, but we had one fun thing we wanted to do with Pres first....go to the McWane Center to check out their "Big Trucks" exhibit.  They partnered with a local company and had several roads closed near the center so they could bring in various heavy machinery.  They had a couple of different cranes, a backhoe loader, skid steer, firetruck, dumptruck and an excavator.  

Pres loved his new hat and checking out all of the machinery up close.  He knows the names of most large machines by sight, so according to Steve he ran around pointing and shouting out the names of everything.  

If only this thing had a key, I would be out of here!

Dang, this steering wheel is hard to turn!

"Giant Esavator"...well not really, but every excavator is a "giant" one to Pres

What is this ball stuck on anyway? 

After 45 minutes, Pres started to lose interest.  I think waking up at 5am and running around downtown in the sun pooped the boy out.  But what a fun way to spend some time with Daddy!

We capped off the day later that night with some frozen yogurt.  It was so nice, that we walked to the shop and sat outside to enjoy it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is in the air......well not really at our house.  This morning Steve got up at 4:30am to catch a very early flight.  So no hot date with my honey tonight.  In fact, last night as we were lying in bed (exhausted), we both admitted that we hadn't signed each other's Valentine's Day cards.  We laughed and decided that we would save them for next year.  Oh is really just a day for Hallmark and florists to make money anyway.  It doesn't matter since we celebrated our love for each other Friday night while dining out and then singing along with Brad Paisley.

We also gave each other a VERY romantic gift....BodyBuggs!!  What is better that getting healthy and losing weight for each other?  So for the past week we both have been wearing these sexy little black bands around our biceps that measure how many calories we are burning.  Then we have to input what we eat, so we can see if we are burning more than we are consuming (the key to losing weight).  We ordered them mid January, shortly after we joined the gym and got committed to a more healthy lifestyle.  We received them a week ago, set our goals, and have been having fun being competitive with each other since then.

Since the first of the year, Steve has lost 7 lbs and I've lost a couple.  Steve is MUCH better at monitoring what he puts in his mouth, hence his better results.  We are both determined to lose a few of these stubborn pounds and get firmer.  Since we got married and had children, we have not made time on a consistent basis for working out.  Though it has only been 1.5 months since our workout plan started, that has all changed.  I cut my hours back from my job so I can make it to the gym every weekday, and Steve goes straight to the gym after work before we have dinner.  Of course, we eat a little later now, but that is okay because we are both happy with the results we are seeing and feeling.

As for the kids, today they had their Valentine's Day parties.  I walked in a little late to Preston's party (which was at 11am), and guess what I little angel sleeping at the party table.  All of the other kiddos were enjoying their lunch, but not my baby.  According to his teacher, he drank his juice, pushed his plate away and laid his little head down and went to sleep.  When I walked in, I kissed him and rubbed his back, but he didn't stir.  It wasn't until I lifted him up to hold him that he woke up.  Of course, he perked right back to his active self for the rest of his party, and here is Pres for his class photo.

Then Pres and I went down the hall to Bennett's party which was also in full swing by the time we got there.  She was excited to see us, and stopped eating to come give us a big hug.  Most of her classmates know Preston, so he got several more hugs from the "older girls."  Once the kids finished eating, they decorated cookies, had a special Valentine's Day book read to them, and then exchanged cards and goodies.  It was a fun party, but Bennett was much more excited to come home and check out her loot in her special box that she created.
I hope you all enjoyed your special day and had a Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Steve ran his first 5K this morning, and did very well on this chilly morning...finishing at 29:40.  Though he has been running over the past month, building up to the 3.1 miles and improving his pace, he had a couple concerns.  Last night was a late night due to the concert, and he's been fighting a cold.

Of course, we all had to go down to support him.  We were at the starting line, but never saw him cross with the mass crowd.  So we moved to first mile marker, and we didn't see him until he almost passed us.  We then went straight to the finish line, and waited patiently for him.  The kids ate some cheerios and hung out, while I got the camera ready.  Then before I knew it....there he was!

He came around the corner looking strong, and he gave the final stretch a little kick and plowed through the finish line.

After the race, we were walking back to the car while Pres was pointing out a variety of transportation vehicles: firetruck, ambulance, crane, delivery truck and then a policeman on a motorcycle.  The policeman was very friendly and invited the children onto the back of the motorcycle.  I thought for sure they would chicken out, but they both hopped on long enough for us to snap their photos.

Brad Paisley in Birmingham!

Last night Steve and I attended the Brad Paisley concert at the BJCC.  It was so much fun and a wonderful way to spend the night.  We started our night with dinner at Bottega Cafe with Brian and Shannon, and then went to the concert.  Darius Rucker opened for him, and he was great!  He played all of his country hits, a couple of the Hootie & the Blowfish hits, and then closed with Purple Rain by Prince.  He sounded just as good in person as he does on the radio, and I was not disappointed.

After a very short break, Brad Paisley came on stage and sang all of my favorites and one or two I wasn't familiar with, but enjoyed.  He did a great job at working the crowd, coming out on various stages in the audience (one very near us), and walking around on the floor (surrounded by bodyguards, of course).  The name of this tour is "H20 Frozen Over," so he had a lot of cool water effects.

The one thing that surprised me though, was his number of guitars.  I have never seen so many!  He was like a female performer who does costume changes, but rather than change clothes, he just picked up another guitar.  He has a red one, a blue one, a glittery one, a rainbow one, but my favorite was a white one with blue paisleys all over it.  He did a great job strumming, and we were all impressed with his jamming skills.

Walking in front of us through the crowd!
My brother is not the biggest country music fan, but he went along because Shannon wanted him to, so I think he was surprised to see me dance the entire concert.  In the area where we were seated, most of the people around us stayed seated (don't ask me why), but I was there to enjoy myself, and that is exactly what I did!  I bobbed and sang along for almost every song.

Cameo visit from Alison Krause for "Whiskey Lullaby"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Lucky Lady

I want to start off by thanking my wonderful husband for allowing me to go on my THIRD girl's trip in the last 12 months!!  I also need to thank my in-laws for helping babysit and drive my kids to school while Steve was at work.  I feel so lucky to have such loving family members to allow me these breaks, and even more lucky to have so many friends that I want to see and spend time with.

This past weekend, I flew to Los Angeles to meet up with two of my eldest and dearest Peoria friends (who no longer live in Peoria)....Betsy and Chelsea.  We have known each other for over 16 years, they stood up with me in our wedding, and have been true blue friends to me for all of these years.  You know they are great friends when we don't have to see or talk daily, weekly or even monthly, but we pick up like we never left off everytime we are together.  I love these girls, and we had a phenomenal time together!

We chose LA since Chels has never been, and Betsy is a regular there and loves it.  I could have gone anywhere, as long as we were together.  We all met up on Thursday afternoon at our hotel: The Roosevelt Hotel.  It is a historic hotel in a great part of town with several wonderful bars.  We started by enjoying a cocktail by the pool and splitting a meal.

Then we walked a couple blocks to get a pedicure and catch up more.  The place was a little iffy, but we survived without any problems (that we know of yet).  After hitting a couple of stores on the way back to our hotel, and getting our photo taken in front of Michael Jackson's star, we worked up an appetite and decided to freshen up and hit the town.  Since we all love our Mexican food, we wanted to kick our weekend off with that.  Betsy chose a place that Jennifer Aniston raves about, Marix Tex Mex.  The place was hoppin, and we had a delish dinner along with some margaritas.  Since that was our first day there, and we had traveled all morning, we called it a night early and headed back to our room. 

Friday morning was quite leisurely, with us chatting in bed for 2 hours before hitting the showers.  When we finally made it out of the room, we were starving and dying for some caffeine, so we grabbed a light meal at the Coffee Bean and then headed downtown to the garment district for some bargains.  We all went there hoping to find specific items (I wanted a light coat and fun boots), and we all came away with something.  Unfortunately, I didn't find either of my desired items, but I did get a good deal on a hair straightener!  While walking around, I must admit that I have never seen so many shoe and accessory stores.  For those who LOVE shoes, it was a dream come true.

All of the walking around made us hungry, so we left to grab a bite and then hit some more stores!  If only I was wearing my pedometer because we logged some serious steps that day.  After freshening up again, we went to a great tapas place with Betsy's sister, Melissa.  Then we went to see Grace Potter and the Nocturals at a sold out show!  Melissa works for Hollywood Records, and was able to score us great tickets to the show, and we were able to meet this future rock star!  Though I had never heard of her before going that night (which really doesn't say much since my iPod is still playing "hits" from the early 90s), I had a great time and really enjoyed her music.  We had several drinks while rocking out, and thought we were going to get crazy and head to the bars, but the short drive back to our hotel made all of us sleepy.  Why is it that we couldn't hang?

Oh well....we had a big day planned for Saturday since it was our last day there.  So we got up early, grabbed a bite at Coffee Bean again, and then walked up to Runyan Canyon, hiked, took a few photos, and walked back.  The 3.5 mile jaunt made me feel less guilty about all of the calories I consumed the day before, and it gave us all a nice burst of energy!  After showering, we drove to Santa Monica to check out the beach and do some more shopping.  Of course, we had to grab lunch to sustain us, so we chose a place with sidewalk dining so we could people watch.  Santa Monica has lots of street entertainers and interesting people walking around.  In fact, we watched one little act breakdance on the sidewalk for awhile.  They were incredibly strong and had great muscle control to do some of the crazy moves they did.  However, when they started pulling from the audience, we were out of there!

Notice the verbiage written on the stop sign

At the Santa Monica Pier, Saturday
That night we hit a hip little Asian place near our hotel.  We all enjoyed another wonderful meal, and more fun stories.  Thank goodness Chelsea has a memory like an elephant because she was reminding us of all kinds of things from our days back in P-town when we were all single.

Sadly, we had to get up at the crack of dawn to head back to reality on Sunday.  And though I spent the majority of my day traveling, it was well worth it since I got to catch up with some of my besties.  I have always heard that a woman should feel lucky to have one "close friend."  I guess I am REALLY lucky because I have four women that are such a huge part of my life, and after spending time with two of them this weekend, I was reminded of how blessed I really am.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Short Reprieve

Sorry for being such a bad blogger lately.  We have had a stomach bug that keeps passing from one person in our house to another.  Just when we think we have rounded the corner, and everyone is feeling of us gets hit with it again.  Though Bennett wasn't feeling quite herself last Friday, she felt better on Saturday, and fortunately the weather was we celebrated!

The weather has been rather cold and rainy this past month, so we were happy to get outside and burn off some energy.  We decided to pull out the new bikes that Santa brought and their scooter and head up to the library parking lot to ride around.  Our good friend, Michael and his daughter Lily, met us up there.  The kids had fun on their bikes, and enjoyed a quick trip to the library to check out some books and movies.

That evening Steve and I had a "date night."  Though we are good about getting babysitters and going out without the kids at least monthly, we rarely spend a night out alone, so this was a nice treat.  We made it an early night and got a good night of sleep before going to church on Sunday. 

Unfortunately, I woke up feeling crummy, and as the morning progressed I kept feeling worse.  By the time we got home, I was feeling awful and returned to bed.  I took a four hour nap, yet couldn't get out of bed for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.  I was incredibly crampy, had a headache and just ached all over.  I never could eat anything that day, so though I woke up Monday feeling better....I was weak.  I powered through the day thanks to coffee and a work-out and now I feel MUCH better!

Tomorrow I head off to L.A. for a girl's trip!  More to come on that in a few days!  In the meantime, pray that Steve and the kids stay healthy this weekend while I am away.  Nothing is worse than caring for sick kids, or being sick yourself and having to care for the kids.