Sunday, September 25, 2011

How I Mislead Him

Today I bought a pair of super soft pj's on clearance. It's a fine day when my pajamas look pretty cute and now that my life is a bit more harried I am finding comfort in small feminine moments- like wearing comfy/cute pajamas to bed. and brushing my teeth.

Just last week I was thrilled to find out that my new figure made it so that Matt's boxers fit me pretty nicely which basically multiplied my pajama wardrobe ten-fold and now-- the proud owner of MATCHING PAJAMAS.  glorious. We are really making gains here.

Matt commented on how I used to wear cute pajamas all the time when we were dating- what happened? 

huh.  odd isn't it.;)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Twin Cities- Kids Eat Free

Who doesn't love a good deal?!

Bargain divas in the TC area will appreciate this list of places were kids can get discounted or free meals. Apparently these generous establishments haven't met my famished son.  I bet I come out with the better end of the deal.

Thanks Linh for passing this along

Woody’s 6399 City West Parkway Eden Prairie, MN
Woody’s 220 Carlson Parkway Plymouth, MN
Q. Cumbers  7465 France Ave S  Edina, MN
Broder’s Southside Pasta Bar 5000 Penn Ave S Minneapolis, MN
Prima Pasta 5325 Lyndale Ave S Minneapolis MN
Broadway Pizza 4190 Vinewood Ln North Plymouth, MN
Neighbor's Bar & Grill 5772 Main Avenue, Albertville, MN
Time Out (Kids Eat Free + Movie Night) 19232 Evans St, Elk River, MN
Denny’s  4209 W American Blve Bloomington, MN 
Denny’s  815 East 78th Street Bloomington, MN
Green Mill  8266 Commonwealth Drive Eden Prairie, MN
Lone Spur Grill and Bar 11032 Cedar Lake Road Minnetonka, MN
Perkins 951 West 78th Street Chanhassen, MN
Perkins 4201 W 78th St. Edina, MN
Champps 8010 Glen Lane Eden Prairie, MN
Patrick’s Bakery and Café 2928 W 66th Street Richfield, MN
Crave (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Joe Senser’s 16605 County Road 24 Plymouth, MN
Tucci Benucch (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Chipotle MOA Mall of America
Chik Wich Mall of America
Napa Valley Grill MOA Mall of America
Cadillac Ranch MOA Mall of America
American Girl (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Twin Cities Grill (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Carbone’s Pizza 251 West Burnsville Parkway Burnsville, MN
Tony Romas (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Famous Daves (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Kokomo’s Island Café (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
Bubba Gump (ages 6 and under) Mall of America
IHOP  2231 Killebrew Dr Bloomington, MN 
Space Alien's ($.99 Kids Pizzas) 11166 CR-37, Albertville, Minnesota 
Patti J's 5262 Kyler Avenue, Albertville, MN 
Perkins 6730 East Laketowne Drive, Albertville, MN
Byerly’s 800 W 78th Street Chanhassen, MN
Buffalo Wild Wings 550 W 79th Street Chanhassen, MN
Mainstreet Bar and Grill 814 Mainstreet  Hopkins, MN
Davanni’s 14120 South Hwy 13 Savage, MN
Buffalo Wild Wings (4-8 pm $.99) 778 Freeport Ave NW, Elk River, Minnesota
Patrick’s Bakery and Café 2928 W 66th Street Minneapolis, MN
The Station 512 Pine Street, Monticello, MN
Denny’s  4209 W American Blve Bloomington, MN 
Denny’s  815 East 78th Street Bloomington, MN
Mainstreet Bar and Grill 814 Mainstreet  Hopkins, MN
Tailgate Neighborhood Bar and Grill 6042 Nicollet Ave S Minneapolis, MN
Dino’s Gyros 3355 Plymouth Blvd Plymouth, MN
Perkins 6730 East Laketowne Drive, Albertville, MN
Woody’s 6399 City West Parkway Eden Prairie, MN
Woody’s 220 Carlson Parkway Plymouth, MN
Mozza Mia 50th and France, Edina
Pinstripes 3849 Gallagher Drive  Edina, MN
D’Amico  9605 Anderson Lakes Parkway Eden Prairie, MN
D’Amico  3948 W. 50th Street Edina, MN
Lone Spur Grill and Bar 11032 Cedar Lake Road Minnetonka, MN
Granite City 5500 Excelsior Blvd  St. Louis Park, MN
Crave 1603 West End Blvd St. Louis Park, MN
Axel’s bonfire (kids build their own pizza and sundae!) 14120 South Hwy 13 Savage, MN 
Tiger Sushi 2841 Lyndale Ave Minneapolis, MN
Baja Sol 2300 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN
Dino’s Gyros 3355 Plymouth Blvd Plymouth, MN
Sunshine Factory  7600 42nd Ave N New Hope, MN 
Rockwoods (3 pm - 9 pm) 9100 Quaday Ave NE, Elk River, MN

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When The Awesome Goes Too Far

This was probably my fourth or fifth trip to Vegas for work (never been personally.)  It is also the first time when I have had a little bit of free time to look around.  All in all, I kind of got it.  it's like an adult Disney right?  Endless beverages,  activities and pools,  shopping galore . . . but there was also something sort of off about it too.  
As I have grown older, I have started to enjoy more and more the idea of luxury without guilt.  Sometimes  a girl needs a vacation.

However girl does not need a view at all times.  I present the view from the bathroom at dinner tonight. 

Too far Vegas. . . . Too far. . . .

Now two things:

1. I am petrified of heights.  WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?!?!

2. This is just wrong. A simple clean bathroom would have sufficed. Girl does not need luxury at every minute of every day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Book Worth Reading

My book club recently picked the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to read and I think I finished it in about 3 hours.  This is an easy read that was so worthwhile.  I don't make book recommendations all that often- despite being a pretty active reader but there was so much in here to think about.  Much of this memoir is about the larger issues of race being a factor in quality of healthcare-- something that is still a factor today.  My husband attended John's Hopkins and there were quite a few comments about how that institution is perceived within the Baltimore community during the time of when Henrietta Lacks was treated and how that perception has changed slowly over the years. I really want him to read it so that we can have our own little family book club discussion.  So Matt--- consider this a hint! It's on my bed stand! 

Sorry for the absence of blog posts lately-- I have been traveling for work for a week and haven't had a whole lot to talk about nor time to post it.   Trip was good overall though- caught up with some pretty meaningful people in DC and am now in Vegas enjoying. . .well, Vegas.

I am taking the red eye home tonight- which is my first time taking a flight like that-- so we'll see how tomorrow goes.  Family breakfast following my 5:56 arrival!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Lines

So I haven't addressed the adoption bit of our life in a while.   This was a big. g. g. deal for us and still is.  I for some unknown reason have always dreamed of a big, mixed, adoptive, madhouse of a family.  Even when I get distracted with other life goals, I always come back to this one and think: eye on the prize, dana.  If nothing else, this is the dream.

When the adoption courts in Ethiopia slowed down pretty significantly we were put into a position of choices.  (opportunity.)  Partnering with our agency, they recommended that if we *have* the capability of having more kids biologically and we want to have a large family that it might be worthwhile to pursue that as a back up.  A worst case scenario for us would be getting into this process, holding onto it for years and then having the country close to US adoptions suddenly.  This is a very real fact of international adoption and something we knew was an unknown going into the process.

That said, Ethiopia is very committed to adoption.  So committed in fact, that they have gone from hearing 30+ court cases a day to hearing 5 or so-- in order to ensure that each situation was ethical and in the best interest of that child.  Hard to argue with that.  Also hard to not anticipate that we could be in for a long wait!!

So, we put another line in the water and sure enough the Irish, Catholic lineage came through. We are now in conversations with our agency to figure out the right path for us.   Likely, we will either go on hold until immediately after the next babe is born and anticipate adopting an older infant that would be between the two children.  Although this seems insane (which I admit, mildly is,) we wouldn't be bringing our adoptive baby home until likely after court closure in ET next year- which would put us more at the Irish twins timing than the true twins timing.  

The other option is to hold out for a year plus past the birth of the baby and adopt in birth order but know that our kids could be very close to the same age.  There are some pros and cons with each of these plans that I would be happy to share with you privately- but know that deep thought and prayer is going into how we build our family.

What we will do in either scenario is wait and see until the baby comes as to how we are feeling.  As I have said before, James is a fairly easy little boy and was a fairly easy little infant.  I know better than to think this might always be the case.

On a slightly different topic:

My agency, whom I love, sent a link to a popular adoption blog last week that I wanted to share:  

After the Airport

It's about the realities and hardship about adoption.   I was teary in parts of this narrative and especially liked the following:

"You cannot just be into adoption to adopt; you have to be into parenting."

There is so much about this that resonates with me. When we told people that we hoped to adopt from ET (in particular) people commented that we were following in the Jolie-Pitt footsteps. Yes, but no. We aren't adopting because it's trendy, we are adopting because we want to be parents.

The friends I have met in the adoption community are no different than any other parent I have met-- and the perspectives aren't different: parenting isn't to be romanticized without a honest portrait of the challenges. Any child that joins your life is full of joy and challenges.

So our road to our adoptive child is still ongoing. I am thoughtful of the fact that we would have likely received a referral to our beautiful child this month and that the timing isn't right for us now. To be honest, I am a little sad to be missing this opportunity now but am confident that we will know when the time is right for those next steps.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gusto Next Steps

Having a mission this year has been helpful for me. . . and dare I say it has been helpful to our marriage and family identity.  We are a few months from the end of the Gusto year and I have been reflective lately.   This summer I felt I was living in a realm of gusto but not necessarily intentional gusto.  Scratch that.  Not necessarily fun gusto. We did the play which was really fun. . . . And I started a new job. . . and we decided to have a baby which was also fun. . . all things individually seemed like a swimming plan but combined were surprisingly overwhelming.

I am not one to shy away from a busy schedule but there were times this summer when I felt that I was being completely non-committal is all areas of life-- in the new job, in my relationships, in my parenting.  What did I do well? sleep.  I slept a lot.

I am not ashamed that I pulled back from life as much as I did in the early months of this pregnancy.   It didn't feel like much of a choice to be honest.  I did what I could do and what I needed to feel healthy and happy.  

I am now in my second trimester and am feeling quite a bit better. I am not as tired as I once was and I am back in the gusto attitude.   Matt had this awesome experience this summer which left me thinking that I would like to try something new.   So I am announcing my latest gusto endeavor.

Yep.  I am the proud owner of a ukelele.  This picture might also closely match my physicality in a couple months.  Which is the real reason I am taking up the uke.  To match my  belly. 

The other night I played my first song "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen".  No further analysis needed-- it just happened to be the first song in my ukelele song book.  F, C G7 bitches!  2 more chords and the next chapter is MINE.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Camping in the Tundra

Camping was a mild success.  It was really cold this weekend so that was a struggle for all of us but especially for James who couldn't resist the lure of the water.  Uncle Matty was a hero with James though-- generally able to keep him dry despite his interest in throwing items in the water.  Below I captured the "life-cycle" of the shovel.  Think of it as a flipbook of sorts. 

Shovel in hand




Friday, September 2, 2011

F*cking EARS!

We lost another hearing aid yesterday.  It was found but only because our day care guy is a freaking saint.  James and possibly a buddy at his day care decided to take apart one of his aids and stick it through the holes of our day care deck/patio.  Our guy is wonderful and said that he is going to TAKE APART the boards of his deck to retrieve it.   So nice-- we are really thankful for his help. 

James. . . . Please, please please leave the ears on!  please? No more recruitment of buddies with better fine motor skills. . .  lovies, mom.

In other notes, we are going camping this weekend.  My brother Matty has never gone and wanted to make it part of his gusto activity for the year.  Nice.  We borrowed some equipment from friends to supplement what we owned and are headed to NEVIS for the weekend!   I'll be back with more details on the adventure. 

Happy Labor Day! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Blessing of a Birthday

So I turned the ripe young age of 32 over the weekend.  I still have a very childhood appreciation for "the birthday".   It's not just my birthday though-- all birthdays.  Despite some depression symptoms from time to time, I really like being happy-- doesn't everyone prefer happiness to despair?  Just saying- when given the opportunity to have foolish fun, one should take it.  There are lots of opportunities in life to be serious and boring-- let's look for the exception and embrace it.  Viva the celebration.

One thing I like to do on my birthday and the birthdays I plan for my family is to have a memory associated with it.  I had a couple years where I "worked" on my birthday followed by something else non-descriptive.  No more.  This year (gusto year especially) I wanted a strong memory attached to my 32itude.

We went to the FAIR.  I am not a fair person. . . more precisely, I am not a crowd person. I know there are people out there who love the fair and do it every year but this was really a special event for us. 

We took Matty and James on a food journey extravaganza.  We tried a couple of the new foods-- including the breakfast lollipop which was 'eh' and the thumbs up sweet corn ice cream with the butter bacon sauce.   Although the new food was fun to research and try, we found that most of us just wanted to eat our favorite classic junk food- donuts, corn on the cob, cheese curds, corn dogs etc.  James took a particular liking to the lefse and alligator.

Cheese Curds and Corn Dogs

James also went on his first ride at the fair.  We said choo choo quite a bit that afternoon!

Did anyone else ride this at the State Fair?  Any one else get bugged by the racially charged pictures on the side? Seriously folks-- this train shows a white man with a gun chasing off animals and 'darker' folks in a loin cloth complete with a bone in his hair.  ugh.

Later that night, Matty baby sat for us so that Matt and I could have a date.  We had mock sushi and went to Harry Potter. Nice!

One of Matty's gifts was some really awesome cheeses and crackers so we came home after the movie and played cards and ate cheese. 

Nice memories all around. Not something that will get lost in the day to day humdrum of work and parenting little people.  Thanks to my family for indulging me in the awesome.  ;)