30 April 2011
Today our friend Jim came to visit. We went to the Milwaukee Art Museum, which is one of my favorite places ever. I have to admit, I do have a soft spot for it. Back in college, it's where I had my marketing internship. I loved being able to roam the halls whenever I wanted. It's still, in my opinion, one of the best art museums out there. We specifically went for the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit that is currently on display. It was pretty amazing. The boys were bored after a little while, so I took them over to the Infinity Chamber -- one of my favorite exhibits when I was young. C wouldn't go in, but H thought it was pretty amazing. I'll be going back a lot, I hope. Especially since we are now members.
27 April 2011
Our house is still in boxes -- it makes me crazy. I know, I know ... it's only been five days. But I'll feel so much better once our things are put in their proper places. Today we went to meet H's new teacher. He was really excited, and said he can't wait to go to school (they are on their second Spring Break right now, and start school on Monday). Get this -- there's another kindergartener starting on Monday, so there will be three new kids starting on the same day. Crazy. C's excited too, but they get to ride a bus here and he's very nervous that he'll fall asleep and will forget to get off. I guess that has happened often when the boys went to after-school. Anyhow, afterwards, we took a little drive to Lake Michigan. It's only a mile from our house. And the beach is only 1.5 miles away. Honestly, it's one of the things I'm most excited about living here. It's absolutely stunning.
24 April 2011
A busy, but great day. We met Grandma, Pam, Matt and the kids at the Boerner Botanical Gardens for a really good Easter brunch. The Easter bunny was there -- C said "that's not the bunny. That's just a guy dressed up in a suit." But he wouldn't sit by him. They had different activities and a bunch of animals for the kids to hold. My favorites were the baby ducks. Afterwards, the gang came to see our new place. Next, we headed over to my sister's house for an Easter egg hunt and dinner. And fireworks, of course. Really fun day.
The boys spent their first night in the new home yesterday, and were very happy the Easter Bunny found them! It's been a good morning.
P.S. Why can't my children take normal photos?
P.P.S. Yes, C got a hair cut. He's been begging my sister to cut his hair for him. They had spent the night at her house, and she called us yesterday to see if she could cut it. He loves it.
Brian already had a wildlife rescue. The past owners of the house took down part of the screen so their dogs could just go outside through it. We're going to put it back up, but clearly, haven't gotten around to doing that just yet. This morning, a cardinal flew through the opening and got stuck in our screened in porch. It took awhile, but eventually it did get out.
What a week it's been! The move went smooth, but it's all very overwhelming still -- being surrounded by boxes does that to me, and I'm not sure I'll be 100% comfortable until we are unpacked. Our real estate agent gave the boys each a key to the house when we closed, so of course, they were the ones to let us in on the first day. The new house is amazing, we love the location, and we've already had multiple visitors -- I think we are going to like it here.
17 April 2011
Last night, our friends threw us the most amazing farewell dinner. Emma and Finn had come to our house to stay with the boys. Emma told us the evening was going to be really magical. Finn said that afterwards, we were going to wonder why we were leaving such awesome people behind. They were both right -- I still really don't know what to say. They planned the dinner party around some of their favorite memories with us. We've really had so many great times. Thank goodness we are only a couple hours away, because I know there are many more to be had.
The evening started with hors d'oeuvres and drinks:
Salmon Tartare on the Rocks
Pioneer Woman's Stuffed Jalapenos
Grandma Helen's Olive Cheese Puffs a/k/a First Trimester Savior
Aperitif: The P's Pimms Cup
Sorry, this is going to be a long post, but I need to tell the stories behind it all. Every Christmas Eve. for the past several years, we've spent with The Frigs for a big appetizer feast. These are some of the favorites. The cheese puffs are an annual food I make -- and they were the only thing Penny could eat the year she was pregnant with ARose. The Pimms Cup is a drink we introduced a few years back at a dinner with the Elsmo's. They are so delicious!
Next came the small plates, starting with "Looking Back on a Birthday" -- take-out boxes and spa water.
Brian threw the most amazing surprise party for me when I turned 40. Penny had gone with me to get manicures/pedicures, massages and facials. It was her first time having cucumber water. When we came home, a party was well underway to help me celebrate. And Melissa had put together a fabulous take-out box dinner. It was perfect.
Next came the "Freezer Section Resurrection" and a Belgian Beer Flight. A couple years back, The Frigs joined us in Wisconsin for Easter. We made a bunch of pizzas one night, and this is based on one of our favorites. They were served on Homerun Pizza Platters. You see, H went over to Melissa's house one day, and came home talking about the most amazing pizza he's ever had. He insisted I call her to get the recipe. She nearly died laughing -- it was Homerun Pizza. It's still one of his favorites. As for the beer, Chris picked out seven different Belgian brews, in celebration of many an evening of he and Brian hanging out drinking some delicious beers.
"The Feverish F$#k Off" and "Pasta Perfection" were next. The first had to do with an evening Brian and Leif shared. Needless to say, they were in rare form, and the morning after, Melissa and I both had stories to share about our husbands being total jerks -- they blamed it on the Lemoncello they drank. Pasta perfection is based on one of my dinner disasters -- which was one of Melissa's favorite dinner experiences with us. Honestly, the pasta that night didn't turn out like it should, but it was still delicious. We enjoyed the bolgnese with an 85-10-05 wine (Monte Antico Toscana 2007) from a Christmas past.
And then came the finale. Even though it was freezing out, we enjoyed a "Cluster Around the Campfire" and Budweiser Beer in memory of some camping trips. We even had Amy's S'mores -- a wonderful reminder of out last trip.
I'm so sad. I mean, I know this move will be great for us. But it's still sad. It's amazing what happens with you have good friends close by. They turn into family. There are so many holidays and other special occasions we've shared. There's still room for many more memories, but our daily lives have become so entwined, and that will be missed.
"Fan the sinking flames of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine."
- Charles Dickens
Thank you, Melissa, Leif, Penny, Chris, Amy, Graham and Dejan. Campfire still lingers in my hair and I can't stop thinking about what an amazing night it was. You all hold such a special place in our hearts. We can't imagine a more perfect send-off.
15 April 2011
Only a few days until we move. Our days are full with packing, visiting friends, working and trying to keep life as normal as possible for the boys. Leaving is so sad. We live in a fantastic area, with incredible, loving people surrounding us. But new adventures are exciting too. And our beloved house is, well, a bit depressing with boxes all over the place. I'm thinking it's time to go. Honestly, we didn't think we'd be leaving this home. At least for another 12 years. Possibly forever. So many incredible memories here over the past six years (seven that we've owned it). But we'll only be a couple hours away. I know life gets busy, but I'm also convinced we'll be back at least a few times year. And we hope for visitors too. It's why we bought a place with an extra bedroom. Hint, hint. We'll be without internet for over a week. I'll still be around, popping in online where ever I can. But just in case, that's the story of where I am. See you soon.
Tonight was the 100th Birthday Celebration of the boy's school. Pretty amazing. There was a big pot luck dinner, displays, art show and more. We didn't last long. C had a melt down and I had to leave. Thankfully we ran into the Elsmo's who said they would take H. (Actually, as I'm typing this, he just dropped of dessert and went back out with them for dinner!) We did buy this cookbook tonight though. I think we will need to have a little dinner with some of these recipes once we are settled into our new place in celebration of some fantastic memories. The principal, teachers and staff are nothing short of amazing. And we've met the most amazing friends. It's been an absolute honor to be a part of this incredible community for nearly three years.
14 April 2011
13 April 2011
One of the best things about moving is rediscovering items you might not have looked at in a long, long time. We still have many boxes to go through. But over the weekend, Brian and I found our portfolios, which was a blast (now, if I could just find my wedding dress which I can't find anywhere....). Over the years, Brian has given me sketch books and pencils, hoping to inspire me to draw. I just never really feel like I have time for it. And if I do pick up a pencil, I'm frustrated because I'm so out of practice and put it down after ten minutes. But you know what? Once upon a time, I drew. And I liked it! When I went to college, I was practical -- business major with a double specialization in International Business and Marketing. As soon as I graduated, I started taking photography classes and eventually enrolled at Columbia College for awhile, which is the first time I had ever taken real art class since elementary school. Sadly, I only took five classes. It was expensive and very time consuming, and I just I didn't have an end goal in mind. I have never picked up a sketch book since (same goes for sculpture really -- I loved 3D and multi-media work and have never done anything with it). I was also very critical of my work, but looking back, some of it wasn't half bad. Sadly, at this point, it was nearly half my lifetime ago. But for some reason, I'm getting a little inspired. You never know!
12 April 2011
We were hanging out on the sidewalk, talking with our neighbor, Sharon, over the gorgeous weekend. As they headed home -- which is right across the street -- C said (pointing to their youngest son), "he's my reading buddy." I love how this stuff never comes up during daily conversation. So I yelled, asking if she knew this. Which she didn't, of course. Boys really are not great conversationalists. When she asked her son, who was standing right next to her, he said, "Yeah, we are. But all he does is draw unicorns and princesses on our sheets." That's my C! Of course I had to ask him to draw this for me too. I love our chalkboard wall. Which reminds me -- we definitely need to find a space for one in our new house. But I digress. I particularly love the poof sleeves and the eyelashes on the princess. Pretty funny.
11 April 2011
The day was moving along just fine. I was so excited because it was time for me to pick the boys up from their after school program. I love the feeling of knowing I'm about to be reunited with my kids after a long day. It makes me a little bit giddy -- even though they usually start arguing in the car ride home. On the days I have to go into my office, my routine is something like this. I take the train, walk home, then I swing by the house, let the dog out, pick up the car, and then Storm and I go on a ride to get the boys (poor guy's been home by himself all day, after all). We made to after-school, picked up the boys, and everything was moving along just fine. But then....
after about a mile, we started smelling a horrible burning smell and tons of smoke. I thought it was one of the cars around me, but it wasn't going away. All I kept thinking about was "just get me home so I can deal with this!" After all, I had slap-happy kids, a dog without a collar or leash on in the car and no husband around. In the meantime, I was checking my car gages to see if something was overheating (but didn't notice anything). And the kids were yelling at me telling me how bad this was for the environment. But I wasn't stopping. By this point, I may have even rolled down the window and yelled at some bikers to get out of the way because my car was smoking (they were being really poky). And another lady may have said something about fire. But I was only seven blocks away from my house! About two blocks after that, suddenly the car "freed" up. It was like something was blocking something (I know a lot about cars, as you can clearly tell). I looked in the rear view mirror, and there it was, laying in the street. A blue UHaul blanket! It had been in our garage, must have gotten stuck under the car and started burning! The strange thing was, no one stopped me! Not even the police car I drove by in my stinking smoking car). I didn't notice anything hanging down when I approached the car after the picking the boys up. I have no idea where it was hiding. After the blanket fell onto the street, I still didn't stop. We got home, I put the dog inside, and the boys and I went back to the scene. By foot. Someone had moved the blanket to the alley. I picked it up to bring it back to our garbage. About two blocks into our walk, H informed me it was still smoking. Needless to say, we came home and doused it with water and the car is sitting outside the garage for the evening. I mean, really. Have you ever heard of something like this happening?
In hindsight, I should have pulled over as soon as I noticed the smoke. I mean, that stupid blanket could have easily gone up in flames, taking us with it. We are pretty lucky, if you ask me.
10 April 2011
What a glorious weekend. It was in the 70s and 80s. Too bad we had to spend most of it inside packing. But I'm not at all complaining. It was still amazing. H spent most of the time outside in the yard and riding his bike up and down the street. C stayed in his PJs until it was time for a shower, then he would get back in PJs. He leads a rough life. H did get him outside a bit -- he sat in the wagon playing his beloved DS (which is now somehow broken and unfixable -- great... Looks like "Destructo" was at it again. It's been awhile since he's broken anything -- but I'm so ticked it had to be this. Especially because I'm sure he'll miss it while we are at closings, moving, and so on over the next couple weeks. Grrrrr....) Finished the weekend up with a great sushi dinner, ice cream, dog walking and a little bike riding. Most excellent.
07 April 2011
06 April 2011
Well, our Florida trip finally had to come to an end. We had a little bit later of a flight so after the boys and Papa had a little match of Monopoly, we went to Barefoot Beach for an hour for some sandcastle building, sea shell searching, and body surfing. While we were there, our beach neighbors, who were fishing, caught a baby hammerhead shark. Pretty cool.
It was sad saying our good-byes today, but so many exciting things going on. Like, only two weeks until we move! And I found out my parents will be coming back to Wisconsin a month earlier than I thought, which is pretty exciting. I haven't discussed it at all here, but my mom is was diagnosed with cancer in October and is currently going through treatment down there (do you really blame them at all for high-tailing to warmer weather? not me). Only one more chemo left, and lots of piece of mind seeing how incredibly great she looks and active she is. I told my dad on the way to the airport that you almost forget she's going through this. Doesn't she look amazing? They have been in Florida since beginning of December, and frankly, I'm ready for them to come home now.
We had a great trip. And the bottom line is this -- after six months of only having Brian around on weekends (and all of those spent either getting the house ready or packing), it was SO nice to just be together as a family. I'm a little bit sad tomorrow is only a few hours away.
05 April 2011
Woke up to a cloudy day that was teasing us with rain. I ran the big loop again this morning (more like ran-walked ... I'm lame, but this humid heat just kills me). Came home, and swam. Decided to go to Naples for lunch, and as we were driving there, the rain came. Good timing. Came back, and Brian and I went to the mall while the kids and Nina swam. The boys went with my parents neighbor fishing on the 18th hole of the golf course -- my mom and I met them there on our bikes. We had sent down my beach cruiser for my mom -- it's going to be a great bike for down here. Gorgeous sunset and dinner at home. Great last day.