31 March 2013

Easter Day

My sister and her family hosted Easter, and it was so absolutely great to see them. This is crazy, but we hadn't seen each other since Christmas! Life and winter hibernation just got in the way. Tim's mom and dad were there, as well as my cousin and his family. We walked into their house and were greeted by an unfamiliar dog. Turns out, my niece was dog-sitting for Daisy ... a basset hound lab mix. Let's just say, I was completely obsessed with this dog. I'm crazy about dogs with short legs anyhow, but Daisy was like a lab with 3 inch legs. She was adorable and made me melt. Especially when she jumped into our car when we were leaving! She almost came home with us. Anyhow, we had a great afternoon with a delicious brunch, egg hunt for the kids, and even some wildlife viewing -- there were turkeys and even nine deer at one point. Such a great afternoon.

Easter Morning


We stayed up late last night watching Jaws. C got scared and tried to talk his way into our bed, but ended up sleeping with H instead. We told them they couldn't get up until 7:00 am, but by 6:45 am, there were giggles from the room next door. And at 6:53 am, they piled into our bed and said they came for snuggles. Based on how much they were wiggling around though, I think they may have had other plans. After looking for eggs and going through their Easter basket, they did another round of egg hunt in our house.

29 March 2013

Burning Some Steam


H is having two friends spend the night tonight, and has been hyper all day long. I got a little sick of breaking up wrestling matches today, so told H & C to hop in the car and we went on a surprise visit to the nature center. They were moaning and groaning, but ended up having a great time running around. Like they always do. Nothing a little fresh air won't fix.

28 March 2013

We Finally Made it to Rays


Considering how many times we went to Rays MTB last year, I can't believe tonight was the first time we made it this season. C gave up pretty quickly. He gets scared and frustrated -- mountain biking just may not be his thing. Fortunately, I didn't have plans on riding tonight, so he and I hung out. H, on the other hand, is so into it! It's funny, because typically he's my timid child. But when H rides, he has no fear -- and wears a huge smile on his face the entire time. Brian even gave up before he did. The last half an hour, we just let him go nuts, cruising around the trails. I love it.

Decorating Eggs


Today we went to a movie, then decorated Easter eggs. My favorite! I can't believe I'm saying this, but Spring Break is going by way too fast.

27 March 2013

Spring Break Staycation // Madison


The boys are on Spring Break this week. Its certainly nice to take some time out from our crazy schedules, sleep in a bit, and just relax. The last few days were doing just that -- with soccer practice, dentist appointments and a car appointment thrown in the mix. But today, we decided to go on a little road trip to Madison. Our destination was the Madison Children's Museum. It seems that some of the schools in our area are off this week, but most are actually off next week. I was crossing my fingers that it would be the same for Madison schools too. But no such luck, or so it seems. The museum was absolutely packed. I also knew the boys would be a bit old for the museum -- which they were. Still, they got to do everything they wanted and had fun. It was a good destination. Afterwards, we went over to The Old Fashioned, which is right around the corner from the museum, for a little lunch then made a quick stop by Vom Fass to restock my favorite vinegar. It was a fun little road trip.

25 March 2013

Photos from Tournament

Thanks to our tae kwon do instructors, we did end up with a couple photos from the tournament. Thought I'd go ahead and post them. I love the last one of Brian holding the board for breaking. That lady is amazing. She's 77 years old and takes the classes with her daughter, son-in-law and grandkids. They go to a different school from us, but her daughter and I tend to be in the same groups during tournament. She told me how hard her mom has been working on this. I guess her balance has improved a ton since starting tae kwon do. I think it's awesome. And I totally dig the flower she wears in her hair. (Photos courtesy of M. Palmisano & K. Kenyon)

24 March 2013

Venezuelan Visitors


This afternoon, we got to spend time with some friends from Venezuela who had spent a few days in Chicago, and are making their way to New York. José and I went to college together, but it's been a good ten years since we've seen each other last. Now, he and his wife have three extremely beautiful children in tow. It was so much fun meeting them. The best was watching them in the snow. Now, I'm admittedly kind of bitter that it's still here. In mid-March. During Spring Break and right before Easter. But today, I was pretty excited it stuck around. This is the first time they've seen it, and it was super cute watching them in it. We had lunch, caught up, the kids played. It was a fun afternoon. (Unfortunately, as hard as we tried, I could not get a group photograph of all of us to work.)

Tae Kwon Do Tournament


Yesterday we participated in our second tae kwon do tournament, and walked away with seven trophies and a metal (they ran out and had to order more, so above is just a few of them). Besides Brian, who either really doesn't mind it, or puts on a good front, tournament really puts us all out of our comfort zone. We didn't participate in forms this year, since we were on vacation and missed a good amount of time from classes. Instead, we all did breaking and sparring. Here was the low-down of the outcome:

C // Breaking (step-over jump back, flying side kick) 3rd, Sparring 2nd
H // Breaking (reverse ax, flying side kick) 1st, Sparring 4th
B // Breaking (reverse ax, flying side kick) 2nd, Sparring 2nd
A // Breaking (step-over back swing kick, hopping hook, 360 back) 2nd, Sparring 3rd

The boys did really great, and I'm so proud of them. C absolutely loves sparring and has no fear. He also did well in his breaks even though he set up the boards wrong and had to do the highest back kick I've ever seen in my life. Before you break, you need to stand up and announce what you are doing. Because of his speech issues, he always gets so nervous to do that. H said he never needs to spar again, but you should have seen him break thought boards. He was confident and didn't waiver a bit (although, he said his voice was completely shaking). It was awesome. Brian and I compete at the same time, so I never really get to watch him which stinks.

You can see the carnage of my breaks along with the trophies. I broke every board first try. The other person I competed against did really well (I've gone against her before and she's extremely balanced and graceful) -- but then on her last kick she fell and hurt her ACL ... and still got first place. I'm trying not to analyze that too much. Sparring was fun. I got to compete against two other women from my school, and two from another one. Knowing all of these ladies, I knew it would be tough competition. I, along with two others, got a bye the first round. I really wish we could spar everyone, but it just takes too long (I still think I would have come in 3rd or even 4th though). In my first match, I got caught up in someone's gear. Made it through the last match, but I was in pain. As the night went on, my foot started getting bigger and black & bluer. Let's just say, I'm glad it's spring break and I'm taking it easy on the exercise front this week. Ouch. The thought of putting on shoes is making me cringe.

P.S. My little camera is dead (!!!) so I didn't get any photos of the actual tournament. Unfortunately.

20 March 2013

Inspiration Files :: Japanese Courtyard

Courtyards! I cannot get enough of them. This house in Sanbonmatsu is designed by Hironaka Ogawa. It occupies a space twice as large as most of the neighboring home, "so the architect designed a gently sloping roof to play down the scale, then removed sections to create a central void." (via Dezeen, photography by Daici Ano.)

17 March 2013

A Birthday and the Brat Stop


Today was Brian's birthday, and we had such a fun day. The boys insisted on breakfast in bed. We both chose the special of the day -- Lucky Charms -- with a banana and coffee. I kept telling Brian I had a surprised planned for him, but didn't give any clues. Even the kids didn't know what we were doing, for fear of them spilling the beans. We hopped in the car and drove. Forty-five minutes later, we pulled into the Brat Stop in Kenosha. And who was waiting for us there, but 16 of our friends from south of the border. We barely saw the kids, who spent most of their time riding the carousel and playing games -- while the adults enjoyed some afternoon beer and bloody mary's. Cannot remember the last time that's happened, but it was pretty awesome. We all had such a great time. The surprise worked, and Brian was happy. Success. The only downside, is now we cannot stop talking about how much we miss these people.