Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy 10th Birthday, Alexa!!!

Happiest of Birthday's to my awesome, beautiful, sweet and spunky 10 year old today!!  

I love you more than words can express and thank God every day for the blessing he gave by choosing me to be your mama.  
Enjoy being 10, baby girl! 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Las Vegas {Recap - Part 1}

Please don't let the {Part 1} in the title scare you!!  I promise I won't drag out the Vegas recaps.  There will only be two parts total and the only reason I'm breaking it up is because I didn't have enough time to collage all my photos and upload them into blogger last night.  And you can see that I took the lazy route and didn't watermark any of them either. 

Time is of the essence these days as it's clear in me not having written a blog post in over 2 weeks.  My family has made it known that I have been slacking in a big way!! Sorry guys!

Anyways, back to VEGAS!  Adam and I left early Tuesday morning, Sept. 16th.  Our flight was at 8am, so we got up and got a ride to the airport from our friend Chad at 6am.  My mom had come the night before to stay with the girls and having her there sure made saying goodbye to my babies so much easier.  I kissed their sweet sleepy faces, choked up just a little bit and was absolutely FINE being away from them for the rest of the trip.  If you know me, you knew that that was a huge fear of mine (to leave them for 5 days) and I worried I wouldn't enjoy myself at all, but I DID!  And it was GREAT!

We checked in online the night before, paid for our luggage,, our time at the airport went super smooth.  The flight was great and the views from the sky were unbelievably gorgeous (see above). 

We arrived in Vegas at 9:15am and got on a shuttle right away to our first hotel, The Flamingo!

Since check in wasn't until 4pm, we checked our bags and walked around the hotel acclimating ourselves to our new home for the next few days.  I'm kind of obsessed with the Flamingo.  I think I would probably feel that way about any hotel, but we really got to know this hotel like the back of our hands and it seemed to flow so nicely compared to a few others that we walked around in.  It's hard to explain if you haven't been there, but I've heard others say the same thing about this hotel!

We also spent a lot of time walking around the center section of the strip, which is where the Flamingo is located (again, perfect!!)  We saw a lot of street characters and I HAD to get a picture of myself with Optimus Prime and BumbleBee from Transformers for my little work buddy (bosses grandson) Oscar.  He's totally obsessed and literally freaked out when he saw the picture of me meeting them for REAL!

I also got to hold two parrots on my shoulders.  Talk about a cool and terrifying experience.  Adam got in trouble for taking a picture of me because they try to get you to buy the pictures they take, but wasn't the first time we got in trouble for taking pics! ;)

I knew that there would be some fun people watching in Vegas but I didn't realize that it would be as early as 10 am before I saw the first of many to come through the week...a gentleman walking through the hotel in a hospital gown...clearly very naked underneath and bandages wrapped around his head and security trying to corner him.  I won't deny gawking for a bit!

The Flamingo is also the home of The Donny & Marie Osmond Show!  I could pretty much care less about seeing them personally, but was kind of excited to see Donny's mirror ball trophy from Dancing with the Stars in person!

Ok, here comes the funny part of our trip and keep your opinions about this to yourself...HA!  We totally got suckered into one of those "come watch our little presentation on owning a condo (kinda like a time-share but not) and we'll give you free lunch, dinner, show tickets, drinks, ect".  Now, I wouldn't say I'd recommend doing this to everyone, but we got super lucky and it turned out to be really great for us (especially the timing).  They are everywhere, so it wouldn't be hard to find one!  We basically got to 'sleep' through our presentation, had a delicious lunch on them, told them thanks but no thanks on owning a condo and then made our way out with 2 free buffet tickets, 2 tickets to any show we wanted to see in the Flamingo, and basically unlimited margaritas from Carlos 'n Charlies.  Plus, it ended right at 4, so it was perfect timing for us to check into our hotel room.  We talked to a few others who got roped into something similar and it didn't turn out as great for, again it's not something I'd recommend, but it worked out for us AND we saved quite a bit on food, drinks and a show!

Maybe part/most of the reason that I love the Flamingo so much was because everything was PINK!  The bed, the curtains, the rug, the elevators..ect.

And the fact that this was our view....The High Roller!

We squeezed in another little cat nap (less than an hour) when we got to our room and then went down to The Paradise Garden Buffet, which was our free meal for watching the presentation.  We weren't seated next to a window but we did have a clear view of outside from our table and got our first glimpse into what Vegas looks like at night.  Lights, Lights and More LIGHTS!!  

Also, dessert bar??  Yes..PLEASE!

After dinner we got ready for our first show in Vegas...The Legends! 

Again, it was a big no-no to take pictures during the show and once again we didn't follow directions and got reprimanded in the middle of Britney Spears' concert.  Oops!

Afterwards we got to take pictures with all the impersonators..The Blues Brothers, Brit Brit, Elvis and Micheal Jacson, who Adam cut off in the pic!

It was also a huge highlight for me to ask #FauxBrit to wear #thepinkheadband in the photo.  She was so super sweet about it and even held up the line to make sure that she 'looked cute' in it before snapping the picture.  

We got a big second wind after watching the show, that we went back out to the strip to experience Vegas life at night.  And let me tell you, Vegas during the day is totally different than Vegas at night. 

It was hard to take pictures of everything, because there is just SO MUCH to see.  But, I did snap some of the different hotels mainly for Alexa and Lillian.  

The Bellagio Hotel was one we knew we had to see at night, as they have the lighted fountain show.  We stood and watched it twice and recorded one so we could show the girls.

We called it a night around 12:30-1am!!

*And just because I still feel like I have to justify the craziness of us being sucked into that presentation and I know a lot of you were probably shaking your heads - we basically didn't spend a dime the entire day (unless you count tipping and shuttles).  Lunch and Dinner were free and so was the show.  All that for 2 hours of our time = a win in our opinion! #cheapskates*

We were both really surprised at how early we woke up on Wednesday, considering Vegas is 2 hours behind!  So, we took advantage and enjoyed some relaxing time at the pool soaking up the sun and staring at all the beautiful palm trees.  The Flamingo has 2 pool areas, one for just adults and the other for families with kids.  We also wandered around the flamingo sanctuary!

For lunch we hit up Johnny Rockets, which was in our hotel and then wandered the strip a bit more.  We went to the north down past the Stratosphere and Circus Circus and picked up a few little souvenirs for the girls.  It was so hot while we were there, so walking the strip in the direct sun was brutal at times.  We ducked in and out of hotels to check things out, but it almost made it worse going from super hot to super cold and then back to hot.  It's definitely a dry heat compared to Minnesota's humidity, but 98+ is still hot however you look at it.  {It was 104 the day we got there!}  Needless to say we took advantage of our free margarita tickets!!

Adam had wanted to see some sort of a magic show while we were there and had purchased some tickets on Groupon to see Nathan Burton, who was on the show America's Got Talent.  It was held at Planet Hollywood and started at 3:30 in the afternoon - perfect time to take a seat and rest our feet and legs from walking so much!  And the show was AMAZING!  Alexa has taken an interest to magic and loves to come up with cool tricks and youtube 'how to' videos.  So, Adam couldn't wait to share with her some of the tricks Nathan performed.  Not that we could explain any of DO they get a giant 12' statue to just appear behind that tiny curtain?  
After the show, Adam got to meet him! 

We sent this picture of Houdini's Magic Shop to Alexa!! :)

For going to Nathan's show, we got tickets to see a hypnotist later that night for only $5 a ticket if we wanted.  We got them thinking that even if we didn't make it back, we were only out $10.

We took a shuttle to the Rio and then walked to The Palms hotel for another fabulous buffet dinner.  We met another couple from Minnesota while walking - they had been on our shuttle and had the same idea to walk across the street to The Palms for the buffet.  We ended up eating at 3 buffets during our trip and this was our favorite!!  They were also the only one who included an unlimited amount of beer and wine with the meal. ;)

We were uncomfortably stuffed when we left there and the walk back to the Rio to get on the shuttle back to the center strip didn't even help.  I was literally hunched over! haha
We made it back in time to get in line for the hypnotist show.  They said to get there AT LEAST an hour early to get good seats, which meant we stood for an hour and a half waiting.  It was the one and only time I felt like I was going to get sick in Vegas.  My stomach was full, my legs and back hurt from all the walking and I was delirious from the heat.  But, once we were let in and the show started - it made the pain of standing there miserable and waiting so worth it.  I haven't laughed that hard in such a long time.  SUCH a great show! 

Thursday we took our time getting up and got our things packed up as we were going to switch to a different hotel that night.  We checked our bags and then headed to Madame Tussaude's Wax Museum.  We had gotten a really good deal on this through Groupon, too! ;)

This was one of our favorite experiences.  We loved walking into the first room of A-List celebrities thinking, wow - there are quite a few people here...and then realizing the people were statues...and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE! haha

Adam and I had fun posing with our favorite celebs! 

Do you spy #thepinkheadband anywhere?? ;)

Included with the Groupon was for Adam and I to get a wax sculpture of our hands.  I didn't even get a picture of them, but we DID get them home all in one piece by carrying them on the plane with us.  They are still in the box and I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but Alexa and Lillian thought they were pretty cool.

...stay tuned for Part 2 on Thursday.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Thoughts {Vol.3}

The girls started D.A.N.C.E this week!!  Excitement has engulfed our house.  The girls are utterly giddy and cannot stop tapping their feet or doing any form of leap and turn through the house!  They've been introduced to their new teams and seem to be fitting in exceptionally well, Yay!  I've also started my carpooling schedule with 3 other mom's and epically failed on the 2nd day by forgetting to pick one of Alexa's teammates up for class.  I think I've apologized over a dozen times now and I'm almost certain they all think I'm crazy!  Oops!  Poor Alexa is completely embarrassed! I'm also the mom who asked to take 100 pictures on the first day, which is when Alexa went into this whole tirade of "i'msorryguysmymomwritesthisblogandneedstotakeover100picturesofusadaybutit'skindacoolbecausewegetalotoffreestuffandwe'rekindalikemodelsandyeahsosorryinadvanceforallthepictures". And it had to be written like that because, like...that's the way she said it, super fast and like, duh!  
She's turning 10 soon, you guys, feel sorry for me!! 
Oh, and I kinda tell them they are super famous models otherwise it would be nearly impossible to get them to pose for pics.  So, there you have it, I suck at carpooling and feed white lies to my kids!

Speaking of Alexa turning 10, the girls both have birthdays coming up next month, which means party talk has been going on in our house.  The issue is they both have so many damn friends.  Not that it's a bad thing.  I want my kids to have all the friends in the world, but when they start talking 'slumber parties' and wanting to invite all their school friends, dance friends, church friends, neighborhood gives me straight up anxiety!  I think we have a couple ideas worked out, but haven't fully committed, so I'll save the details for another post. 

Last weekend we took the girls to See's Candies to use a gift card that had been burning a chocolate loving hole in our pockets.  We bought enough candy to last us an entire year, but somehow we managed to eat it all in just a few days.  We also took the girls on a more extensive school clothes shopping trip to P.S., Old Navy & Target.  It was a lot of fun actually.   I spent the rest of the weekend doing a lot of cleaning and organizing.  I worked mostly on closets...specifically the girls'.  I purged a lot of their clothes and bought some closet cubbies for each of them.  So far we're loving it.  They picked out all their clothes for the entire week Sunday night and it's been working wonders for Adam in the morning, as he's the one that's typically getting them ready and on the bus.  Plus, their closet and dresser drawers have stayed exceptionally neat and tidy.  It's only been 4 days, but I'm hoping that this little bit of organization will keep in tact the rest of the school year at least.

Adam and I leave for Vegas next week.  It feels like it has crept right up on us, however, this week leading up to it has gone super slow.  Isn't that how is usually goes, tho!  We're pretty excited about it and could both definitely use the break and some time just the two of us, but it's no secret I'm terrified of leaving the girls for 5 days.  My mom will be with them for part of the time and Adam's mom the rest.  So, they are in good hands, but still....WAH!  I just really hope I can go there and enjoy myself instead of worry so much about what's going on back home.  #realtalk

I'm so excited for Fall.  It's such a pretty time of year, which unfortunately doesn't last nearly as long as I'd like it to.  A few people have been blogging about sweaters, boots, scarves, pumpkins, leaves, PSL's and everything else Fall related, it's kinda hard not to get excited.  As soon as I get back from hot and sunny Las Vegas, it's going to be all about FALL!  Temps in the 50's today make it seem like Fall already, but I am just going to go ahead and pretend it's not here until I get back from my trip!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five on Friday

{One} On Labor Day I ended up taking Lilli into Urgent Care because her knee.  The day before she had slipped and fell on the trampoline and had cried pretty hard when it happened and then really favored it the rest of the day/night and the next morning.  She flinched pretty bad when I pushed right below her knee cap and wouldn't dance around or play with her sister and friends.  She had acted kind of similar when she broke her elbow, not really crying about it, but I could just tell that something just wasn't right and knowing she started school the next day, I just needed the peace of mind.  She ended up getting a few x-rays done and luckily the doctor thought that they all looked ok.  He still really monitored the way she walked and moved it around in a few different ways and put some pressure in different spots and said he still wasn't convinced it wasn't a bone injury, so he had the radiologist take a further look at the x-rays and lucky enough again the radiologist didn't see anything abnormal either.  She was sent home to put ice on it and take some ibuprofen for the pain.  She definitely favored it for a few more days but seems to be moving around and dancing like normal now, thank goodness.

{Two} The girls and I set a goal this summer to find 50 geocaches.  And up until Monday (the day before school) we had found 45.  So, we made it our mission to find 5 more that day and we DID!!  Adam came along with us and we had an absolute blast.  I've said this a million times, but this has really become such a fun family hobby for us.

{Three} Last weekend I was talking with my friend Amy and we had somehow gotten on the subject of fitness and working out and both mentioned that we had wanted to get up early and walk in the mornings.  Conveniently, we live a block away from each other so we decided to get up and walk together.  What better way to hold yourself accountable that to know your friend is waiting at the corner for you at 6am!! ;)  It's only been a few days, since we just started this week, but we have enjoyed it SO MUCH.  I not only love getting that power walk in each morning, but having that extra girl talk is so nice, too.

{Four} I'm still kind of in denial that school has started.  I don't think it's going to hit me until next week when dance starts and our schedule gets super crazy.  But, so far the girls have loved every second of school.  They are making new friends and enjoying their teachers so far.  I just have such a good feeling about this year.  It's going to be a great one.  I took this picture of their backpacks the night before their first day and then took a step back and thought about all the amazing memories that these bags will carry this year. :)

{Five} Lilli came home off the bus yesterday just beaming.  She had something to tell me and she just couldn't wait to share the good news.  She got all the way up to white (the highest) on her behavior chart and got to pick a prize from the prize box.  She chose a bright pink pair of Harry Potter glasses and is pretty much obsessed with them...AND she looks dang cute in them, too!  There had been some issues with her behavior in Kindergarten.  She is such a class clown and was always wanting to chat with her friends and make people laugh.  {personally, I also think her teacher was a little bit hard on her...after all she was in kindergarten...behavior like that is kind of expected, right?}  Anyways, I feel like there was a lot of negative focus on that last year, so when she was rewarded for her good listening skills and exceptionally great behavior already in 1st grade we couldn't help but celebrate.  Way to go, Lilli! :)

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

I would have to say this is one of our most memorable Labor Day weekends to date.  Typically with getting the girls in the 'back to school' routine, we try to keep it pretty low key.  This weekend, however, was anything but and we loved every second of it.

Saturday we spent the entire day with our friends Chad and Amy and their sweet girls Macy & Sydney out on their boat "Tide the Knot" (Chad and Amy's first big purchase when they got cute, right?) on the St. Croix River.  It should be noted that all odds were stacked against us with potential rain in the forecast, Lilli waking up not feeling the greatest and oooh, you know...getting our Escape stuck in park after using the emergency parking break.  Thank goodness for Chad and Amy's patience and the proper tools because Adam insisted we get it fixed before we left.  Only about 2 hours after we had planned to leave, we were finally on the road with our fingers crossed that any and all bad omen's had disappeared.  
{for the didn't rain a drop, Lilli was perfectly fine and Adam and Chad fixed our car!}

It was smooth sailing once we were on the boat and out on the water.  The girls loved sitting huddled together in the lower cabin area, especially when we went over the huge waves.  It was so cute to hear them squeal with excitement.  

We never got a good picture of this, but Amy and I both wore practically the same black dress as a swimsuit cover up.  I swear that the more we hang out the more we find that we have in common.  Even silly things like neither of us do the grocery shopping in our family. Ha!!

The girls had a BLAST sitting on the back of the boat while Chad drove super fast.  

We drove all the way out to an Kinnickinnik Island and anchored the boat near shore and spent all afternoon hanging out on the beach.

Amy and I cracked open a bottle of "Kinky" and put our feet in the sand.  It was heaven, I tell ya!

Being in the water is one of Lilli's most favorite things on earth.  She could swim all day long no matter how cold the water is.  So her being able to play on the beach and to jump in the water whenever she wanted was such a fun experience for her.  And to be there with her best friend was the icing on the cake.

Alexa and Macy spent the majority of the time basking in the sand, frolicking in the water and meeting new friends around the island.

The rain that was supposed to come never did and it actually turned out to be the most perfect day.  Amy and I couldn't help but enjoy some floaty time!!!

Alexa and her beef sticks!!  She came up and asked me for 4 beef sticks and thinking she was going to give one to each of the girls, I opened them all and handed them to her.  She then proceeds to lick all 4 of them and giggled and said...these are ALL mine.  Such a goof!

The water was super shallow, so the girls could swim out pretty far and still be able to touch.  And they absolutely LOVED jumping off the back of the boat.


Adam is getting Chad just as obsessed with bags as he is, so when they saw some guys next to us pull some boards out of their boat, they just about jumped out of their beach chairs.  Ok, they did jump out of their beach chairs and ran right over to them to see if they could play with them.  Adam walked back completely deflated and said that they were going to play with their wives.  Well, 2 minutes later the guys walked back over and asked if Adam and Chad still wanted to play because their wives were perfectly happy just hanging out on the beach and in the water.  They played a few games {and beat them} and then spent the rest of the time throwing  a football around.

We didn't leave the island until about 5:30 and even then still didn't really want to leave, but knew we had to and wanted to get something for dinner.

We stopped at House of Coates for some amazing burgers on the way home and kept Macy with us for a sleepover.  Sydney had already fallen asleep, so she just stayed home.

We picked up right where we left off on Sunday.  We met up with Amy and Chad at a nearby park for a picnic and then came back to our house.  The girls swam and we played bean bags.  Adam cooked us an amazing Mexican meal and we sipped on beer-garitas!  Sydney and Macy slumber partied with us again, which the girls LOVED!

Monday was our chill day.  
We ran a few errands and got the girls ready for their first day of school!!