Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hooray for progress!

Do you know what makes me excited about the upcoming presidential election? It is that we are breaking barriers and will be marking a first when we elect our next president. This post is not about who I think you should vote for, just to celebrate that we will have an African American President or a Female Vice-President. I am happy for the progress of our country, it is long overdue!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cake Decorating Hobby

Several months ago my friend Ashley asked me to take a cake decorating class with her at Michaels Arts and Crafts store. I wasn't really thinking this was my thing, but it was cheap (only $15) and would give me something to do once a week for a month. After the first class, I was very interested and thought the things we learned after one night were really cool. There were many simple things that our cake instructor taught us that we could easily do to make our cakes look better. She also introduced us to some very cool decorating tools. This is where the part about the class being cheap does not really apply anymore. Of course, you could just have the basic supplies, but then what fun would that be?

Ashley and I have now made it through course 3 and have both sold many of our cakes. Tonight I have made a Thomas the Train cake for the grandson of a woman in town. This is my 3rd order from her. I decorated it using piping get transfer, which we learned in course one. This happens to be one of my favorite techniques however. This cake was a chocolate 11 x 15 with white homemade frosting. (Also, since being in class, I will NEVER again buy frosting in a can!)

I will post a picture of this cake, as well as some of my other favorites.

A visit to the Gardens

The other day I took some of my daycare tots to a visit to the Omaha Botanical Gardens with the help of my cousin. The weather was perfect and we had a great time. One of the things I like best about going to the gardens (besides the beautiful scenery) is that children until 6 are admitted free. This makes it a great place to take the tots. There are several things for them to enjoy there and I get some exercise pushing the stroller on the beautiful paths. I must admit that I do always find myself wishing I was on the tram as it passes us by as we are on our way back to the entrance/ exit.

The most popular area with B when we go to the gardens is the Model Railroad Garden where they feature model trains traveling through a mini- Omaha made with natural materials. B could stand here and watch the trains go through the tunnels, over bridges, and down the track for hours. It is usually a struggle to get him to leave this area. We even got a picture of my cousin standing by the model of the First National Tower where her mom works.

At this visit, we were able to visit a temporary exhibit called KidStructure. This was a variety of outdoor structures that the kids are able to explore, climb, play in, etc. B and the little ones had fun going through all of these. Part of the fun with them though was the sprinkler that was watering some nearby grass!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tears or No Tears?

There were no tears! My little boy went right in and sat down on the line with some of his friends. When we arrived, one of his friends was there with his dad, along with two other students and their parents. I also passed one of his other friends going in as I was walking back to the car. He hung up his back pack and played with some legos in the waiting area, and then they opened the doors. He gave me a hug and a kiss and I told him to have a great day. He took his blue folder and his bag of extra clothes to give to Miss Ann and he went right in. I could see him through the window and he wasn't even looking back out at me. I told myself I couldn't cry if he wasn't, but it does feel pretty quiet and lonely here without him. (even though I have 4 other daycare kids with me!) I hope he keeps up this positive attitude about going to school and that the tears don't start on Thursday. I know when I talk to Miss Laura tonight, she will tell me how proud she was of him not crying today. :) I am so happy!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fireworks...not in July

Usually around the 4th of July we have a family gathering with Matt's mom's side of the family at their spot by the river. Matt's step dad owns a big area along the river and there are several people who rent these lots from him. Each year, he has a fireworks show put on for all of the people who rent from him- plus many, many, many of their friends and family. Several people know one another and walk from lot to lot visiting, eating, playing games, or listening to music. Some people have nice lots with a cement patio, shelter, ceiling fans, lights, campers, etc. and some people have not so nice lots. It is always a fun time at our pot-luck and getting Brock together to play with his cousins until dark when the fireworks start.

This year due to all of the flooding earlier in the summer, we were not able to do our celebration the weekend of the 4th of July. The celebration was held in August, and we had such perfect weather. It was such a nice night and we were able to wear jeans and put on a sweatshirt as the night got cooler.

Tomorrow is...

....the first day of a new beginning. Our little boy is starting preschool. For the next 15 + years, he will be going to school each fall. Sniff, sniff. He is tucked in his bed, his clothes are laid out, his bag is hanging by the door. He will only attend preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12- 3 PM, but I feel so sad. He is my little boy! How can he be this big already? Can I really send him out the door and into school? Am I ready for this? Is he ready for this? Is his teacher ready for this? He has had some attatchement issues when it comes time to us leaving him at his previous daycare, Sunday school, VBS, etc. He usually gets so upset and cries and just breaks my heart. I know it is best to just send him in and go on my way, but I hate to see him scared and upset. The policy at his school is that we have to drop them off and go anyways, so I don't have any options. His teacher is a friend of ours and I know she will be good to him! If you would like to follow her Montessori blog, you can do that here. We visited his room last week and he had the opportunity to play with a few of the items and meet the two assistants. I plan on taking him this week for his 2 sessions and then next week there is no school on Tuesday. Beginning on Thursday of next week, I will have him ride the shuttle bus. We have been talking about this with him and showing him the bus everytime we see it in town. We also have been driving up to his school the past few nights to look at the building. He has a few friends who will be in his class, so I hope he enjoys it. I am so proud of him and I can't wait to hear all about his first day of preschool! Here are some pics from the night he got to visit his room.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

10 inches

In April I went in to get my hair cut off. I had a magazine picture that I liked of a cut, and thought I really did want to get it shorter. I was in the mood of not really caring too much about how much I cut off. I was tired of the long hair, all I ever did with it was put it in a pony tail. We ended up cutting off about 10 inches, which some of my friends didn't realize until late that summer that I had actually cut that much off.
The picture of me in the sombrero was about a month before the hair cut when I went out with some girlfriends to a Mexican resturaunt. We were being silly and got a group photo with some sombreros on the wall. I just didn't know if they would want to be included in this post! The picture with B on my lap is the night after I got my hair cut. The picture with hubby is on my 30th birthday at the winery. That was a fun night! This was about 2 1/2 months after the first cut and I had another 3 inches cut off of what had grown out.
My hair grows so fast and now I am back to growing it out again. I wish it would be longer for when I go to Dallas in a month. The shorter length is so much easier to work with, since I am not a big fan of spending lots of time on my hair each day. I must admit that I do love the ease of a pony tail though. I plan on getting it shaped up around the week of September 8th.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

State Fair Fun

Every year we have been taking a family trip to Des Moines to the Iowa State Fair. We have several traditions that we like to do while there. Des Moines is a little more than a 2 hour drive, so it is a pretty easy trip. This year we left on a Thursday and stayed 2 nights in a Drury Inn Hotel and came home on a Saturday night. The area we stayed had a cool shopping center right next door which we enjoyed. The weather and lines at the fair were both perfect. I would say it was our best year at the fair in terms of these two things. Last year it was terribly hot!

We we arrived in Des Moines we headed straight to the fairgrounds. Parking was full, so we had to pay $5 to park in someone's yard, but were pretty close to an entrance gate. Our first stop was the Elwell Family Food Center building with the free popcicles and the Ugliest Cake Contest. Then we headed on to the Varied Industries Building to get our annual picture with Clifford the Big Red Dog at the IPTV booth. This year they were even handing out free Clifford books! Outside of this building is where we watched the demonstration on the ShamWow! Matt had seen this on TV and told me about it on the way up. He wanted me to see it if they had them so I bought one after the demonstration.

Next up we headed to the Little Hands on the Farm area. This is a neat area for kids where they get to work on the farm and then get paid at the end for the work they do. With their money they earned, they can spend it in the store before they leave for a little treat. We have always captured some good pictures working on the farm. This year Brock choose to plant an onion and rode the tractors around the track for the first time.

The Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center was next on our list. This building just opened last year and it gives visitors a chance to see newborn farm animals and maybe even watch a live birth. Brock enjoyed seeing the baby ducks on their slide, the chicks hatching from their eggs, lambs, goats and their kids, calfs, and of course- petting a baby pig. This is another picture we take each year. The baby pigs are always just a few hours old and Brock is excited to pet one.

Since the lines were short for us on this years visit, we waited briefly to see some things up close that we have not done before. One of these things was a front row seat to a view of the famous Butter Cow sculpture. We usually just see it from behind the line of people parading in front of it, and there is really not much difference in the view. The only thing is, you can say you "officially" saw the Butter Cow. This year they also featured the USA Olympian Shawn Johnson. She is from West Des Moines so it was fitting that they sculpt her. What an honor to be featured in butter I tell ya!

The fair is also famous for all of the food it serves on a stick. 2 of the new items this year were fried pineapple on a stick and salad on a stick. While my family did not purchase either one of these, I did snap a picture of the lady behind us in the butter cow line with her pineapple. She said it was not as good as she expected. I didn't actually see anyone eating the salad on a stick, but did take a pic of the sign hanging up for it.

Brock enjoyed a hard boiled egg on a stick while waiting for the butter cow. Later in the day he had a corn dog, and Matt and I had crescentis sandwich. Not a lot of food on a stick eating for us that day.

Our last stop of the day was another tradition we have to get on film. We have always taken Brock's picture next to the sign that shows how tall he is at that years fair. This was the first year for him to stand next to the sign. The 1st 2 years he was asleep in his stroller and last year he was laying on the ground throwing a fit!

Where did you take a vacation to this year?