Bikes and patios

So it’s the middle of July and I’m sitting here wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Say what?! Some kind of crazy cold front has moved in this week and it’s only hit the mid-60s today. It’s fine by me actually since it makes for great sleeping with the windows open and does wonderful things for my running abilities.

Let’s flash back to last Thursday though when it was hot and sunny. Night number 2 without Reagan at home provided the perfect opportunity to hop on our bikes and explore. Lloyd’s bike had been sitting in his dad’s garage since he was in high school and I just recently picked one up second hand. So basically what I’m telling you is that we have really awesome top of the line equipment :). Maybe not, but they are both in great shape. I’ve been scouring Craigslist in hopes of scoring a deal on a bike trailer so that we can go on family rides, but no luck yet.

After throwing together a quick grilled dinner of marinated chicken and brown rice, we rolled out of the garage, through the backyard, and onto the trail. We hit quite a few downhill areas in the first half of the ride, so we knew we were in for some nice challenges on the way back. We ended up riding along the river and stopped to survey the scenery.

 

river

 

bikes

And of course the obligatory selfies

 

us river

 

Ha, it was a little windy, please excuse the hideous flying hair. Our destination was the downtown area of Mankato in hopes of finding an outdoor patio calling our name to take a breather. Mission accomplished.

 

beer

 

Blue Moon for me and a Michelob Golden Light for him. It was so nice to just sit, enjoy a drink and chat with nowhere else we had to be. We paid the tab, hopped back on the bikes and headed for home. The uphill portions we hit on the way back were just challenging enough but totally doable. We made it home right at the 14 mile mark. Decent workout and a great time.

It was a great couple of days just the two of us but we were so ready to see Reagan when we picked her up on Friday night. She had so much fun with her aunt and uncle and was plenty spoiled. We spent the night at my dad’s house then continued on our trek south to Des Moines on Saturday afternoon.

 

happy hour

 

Patio numero dos :) After hitting up a couple of stores, we stopped for happy hour, Coronas, chips and salsa. Reagan had a milk ;).

 

mall

 

We walked around the lake area at Jordan Creek mall for awhile and watched the ducks. You can guess whose idea that was.

 

bridge

 

Heart completely melts every time I see these two walking hand in hand! We killed some time walking around before it was time to head out to visit our friends that we stayed with for the night. They’re little boy turned 2 so we were in town for his birthday party. It was nice to see some good friends that we definitely miss now that we live further away. It was a long drive home Sunday afternoon, but as soon as we got home we had to turn around and pack Reagan’s stuff back up so we could take her to stay with my mom at the cabin for daycare vacation week two. We are so fortunate to have family that has been able to help us out these two weeks. Saving us a lot of money not having to pay for backup care but best of all giving Reagan a chance to spend time with people who love her so much.

More free time for us this week! We’re in the car right now heading north into Minneapolis for the evening, I’ll be sure to fill you in on the nights adventures! This week is off to a great start. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday as well! And if you’re experiencing the same cool weather we are, try to enjoy it, humidity and 100 degree days are likely right around the corner.

Would love to hear about what you have going on or are looking forward to this week.

Living it up

Hey guys, I’m car blogging this afternoon. We are heading back to Iowa this weekend. First on the agenda is picking up our baby girl! Little stinker has been a complete angel according to the text messages I’ve been receiving. I’m definitely glad that she’s being exceptionally good for my brother and sister-in-law, but I wouldn’t mind if she’d act this good for us once in awhile ;).

Tomorrow we are heading to Des Moines for a birthday party. We’re going to do a quick drive by our old house. Will be so weird to see it now that it’s not ours anymore.

We’ve been taking full advantage of our free time the past couple of nights. Wednesday night was date night. We started out with dinner at Bonfire, a restaurant we hadn’t had a chance to try out yet. It’s technically a franchise, but just a Minnesota one. Most of their locations are in the twin cities area. We were early enough for happy hour, so we started out with a 1/2 price appetizer.

 

app

 

That’s hand rolled pockets that were filled with gorgonzola, cream cheese, rotisserie chicken and buffalo sauce, served with a side of sweet Thai chili sauce. So good that I forgot to snap a pic until we had already finished half of it.

My meal was the Thai Chicken Salad, which included fried wonton strips, crispy chicken and a spicy peanut dressing. The best part though was the mandarin oranges and fresh pineapple slices on the side.

 

dinner2 

 

It was really good! I’m always a little leery when ‘spicy’ is in the description, but the dressing was actually not that spicy at all and they used just the right amount. I had a couple of bites of the roll but I wasn’t that impressed so I left most of it. It would have been really good with some oil for dipping though.

Lloyd had the rotisserie chicken, which I had seriously considered and will probably try next time. I stole a bite or two ;).

 

Lloyd food1

Really juicy and flavorful, served with buttermilk-bacon smashed potatoes and green beans. Great dinner overall and we will for sure be going back sometime.

After dinner we ran around to a couple of stores, I wanted to pick up some paint samples, and then made our way to the movie theater at the mall. It had been ages since we had been to a movie. Pre-Reagan we used to go to movies all the time, so this was on our must do list for this week. It’s really slim pickings right now. Where are the summer blockbusters?! Considering that we hadn’t been to a movie in so long it should have been easy to choose since we hadn’t seen any of them. Most of the options sounded really awful though. We settled on Neighbors. We were in the mood for comedy so it was either this or Tammy. I had heard a lot of negative about the latter so Seth Rogan and Zac Efron it was. It wasn’t great, but it was decent and we left feeling pretty satisfied with it. I did laugh several times so we’ll call it a win! 

Thursday night recap to follow. We found a fun activity that we had been looking forward to having the opportunity to do for awhile which included doing a little exploring around our new home and a beer on a patio. Score! ;)

Time to turn my phone into a hot spot so I can publish and then a quick dinner stop. If you’re reading this then I guess it worked, ha. Have an awesome weekend!

The 4th and stuff…

Good Afternoon! It’s been awhile. I’ve been having some technical woes. I have a laptop for work but don’t blog on it for obvious reasons. Our home computer is a super old (in computer years) desktop. Have to ever tried to blog on a desktop?! Yeah, it’s less than ideal! So I always have to go into my office and sit down at my desk to post. Made it seem like a job really. Thanks to an awesome family member who just upgraded, I’m laptop blogging finally! Hopefully this will make things a little easier.

This is kind of a crazy week around here. Reagan’s daycare is closed for the week while they are on vacation, the downfall of an in home vs a center. But we’re making it work. Lloyd took Monday off and stayed home with her and I did the same yesterday. Last night we took her to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for the rest of the work week. My sister-in-law is a nurse, which means long shifts, but she only works a few days a week. She happened to be off Wednesday-Friday this week, so she was kind enough to take my wild child in for a few days. It was a little rough taking her last night. She’s old enough now that she understands that we were leaving her there so we could go home for work. There were random times during the car ride when she would just suddenly burst into tears. We would ask what wrong and she would sob that she didn’t want us to go to work and that she wanted to go home. Ahhhhhhh! Rip my heart out. So hard to deal with. I know she’ll have a great time with them, it was just hard to leave her when we knew she was upset. I spent half the car ride frantically Googleing (is that a word? Spell check begs to differ with me) ‘3 year old separation anxiety’ :). Any advice moms that have been through this?

In the meantime, we are trying to take full advantage of our childless week. Starting with a workout this morning. It’s been ages since Lloyd and I have had a chance to go for a run together. Alarms went off bright and early at 5:30 and one push of the snooze later we rolled of bed and got ready to run. It was such a beautiful morning. Cool AM temps and just a touch of a breeze. Enough to keep the bugs away anyway and that’s crucial lately. We hit the trail and got 4 miles in.

 

run

 

Not too bad, especially since it’s been so long since we’ve run together, and it’s always an adjustment running with someone when you are used to going it alone. I love morning workouts, beating the heat and getting the day off to a great start.

I suppose I should back up a few days and recap our 4th of July. We headed to the lake for the long weekend and enjoyed some pretty fantastic weather. Reagan has lake life figured out.

 

dock

 

Feet in the water with drink in hand. That’s my girl! :) With all the rain in the area over the last month or so, lake levels have been really high. Like so high that the end of the dock was underwater. Lloyd spent half of his 4th in the lake working on fixing it and raising it back up. The view looks so different now with the end of the dock off to be repaired, by the sunsets never disappoint!

 

sunset 

 

This was the view right before fireworks started. The next door neighbors put on a pretty amazing fireworks show every year, so we took in the show from their lawn. Reagan had skipped her nap that day so we put her to bed before they started when we couldn’t take the crabbiness any longer ;). Clearly she was tired because she didn’t make a peep, even when this was happening directly overhead.

 

fireworks1

 

Almost looks fake, but Lloyd actually captured it on his iPhone. With patriotic music playing along, they put on an almost 40 minute show! The rest of the weekend was more of the same. It got super hot on Saturday, so I curled up on the couch and watched a Lifetime movie to stay cool for awhile. Totally lame, I know.

I fear we are nearing the end of naptime as we’ve known it. A missed nap used to be super rare. As in, I can count on one hand how many naps she had missed in her lifetime. In the past week, it’s been 3-4. Yikes. According to my research, thanks again Google, about 1\4 of kids give up naps by age 3. I may have one of them. A little concerning though since she only sleeps around 10 hrs at night, so she really does still need a nap. We tried to put her down on Sunday afternoon with the intent of heading home after she woke up, but we couldn’t get her to stay in bed. So we pretty abruptly loaded up the car and were on our way to avoid subjecting my family to any more of miss crabby pants. I suppose parenting had to get difficult at some point huh? :) I’m sure a lot of it is the new found freedom she has with being in a big girl bed. Hopefully the newness wears off soon and we can figure out a new norm, cause it’s not a whole lot of fun right now.

I’ve got some work to finish up, I’m just using some break time right now. Then I’ve got to get ready for date night! It has been far too long. We definitely need to find some regular sitters in the area so we can make this happen more often. Have a lovely afternoon and evening everyone. And if anyone has any parenting advice in this area, feel free to send it my way :) She still has her sweet moments thankfully, so I guess we’ll keep her ;)

 

July

Rainy Days

I participated in a mud run yesterday. It was completely unsanctioned and I was the only one who showed up  Winking smile.

 

mud1

 

Our weather has been ridiculous lately! We have received 6 1/2 inches of rain over the last three nights, and they are forecasting an additional 2 inches today. There has been all kinds of flooding, road closures, and even mudslides in the area. I’m pretty much over it at this point and don’t care if I ever see it rain again. I realize that is a completely ridiculous statement. We’ve been lucky that we haven’t had any flooding near our house and no water in our basement. I know there are many people in the area that haven’t been so lucky.

This all added up to a messy run yesterday. I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I left my house. It was my least favorite running weather. Sunny, hot and incredibly humid. Major props to those of you who enjoy heat and humidity. Even more to those of you who enjoy running in heat and humidity. You are amazing. These are not weather characteristics I particularly enjoy. Like, at all. But for some reason I decided it was a good idea to tackle 4 miles over my lunch break, at high noon! I was inspired by a post Caitlin recently did on embracing the walk break, and decided right away that a run/walk combo was the best way to tackle the mileage.

 

flowers

 

I did have some lovely scenery! My strategy was to run hard for 5 minutes and then walk at a pretty brisk pace for 2 minutes. This actually worked really well for about 2.8 miles. Then I think the heat started getting to me because I started to feel a little sick to my stomach during my run portions. I slowed my pace a little and switched to a 3 minute run/2 minute walk. It did the trick and I made it to the 4.01 mile mark in 36:34.6. It averaged out to 9:07/mile. Pretty decent considering the amount of walking that I did, and I’m pretty sure if I had run the whole time at a more moderate pace, my time would have been about the same. I was sweating buckets by the time I returned home, so I’d call it a success.

After I finished up an afternoon of work, I got started on dinner. Thanks to my handy dandy meal plan that I made on Sunday, I didn’t even have to think about it. I cut up and roasted a couple of heads of broccoli with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and Lloyd fired up the grill.

 

turkey burger2

 

Turkey burgers on a Multi Grain Sandwich Thin with a slice of cheddar, ketchup and mustard. So satisfying and a pretty darn quick week night meal.

Today has been super busy with work and tonight I need to need to get some cleaning done as we have friends coming to visit this weekend as well as shop for a birthday gift and a couple of other things we need around the house.

 

table1

 

A certain somebody is going to be disappointed that she can’t go to the park tonight, but it’s raining again so that’s definitely a no go. It’s so hard to say no to that ornery but sweet little face! Wish me luck on convincing her to run errands with me. She has been giving us such a hard time going to bed this week and I feel like I haven’t slept the past 3 nights with wind, thunder and pounding rain keeping me up half the night. Fingers crossed we get a quiet night.

Enjoy the rest of your day. Tomorrow is Friday, cheers!

A moment to breathe

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………finally a moment to breathe! It’s been so go-go-go lately, I don’t think I’ve had more than a minute to sit down in the last week or two. Last weekend we had house guests, which is great, but it threw a wrench in meal planning and grocery shopping for the week so we ended up winging it all week which left me feeling disorganized and a little like we were living in chaos. Lots of stuff on the horizon too, so it’s not likely to get any easier in the coming weeks. I just need to get my butt in gear and plan ahead better. Broken record, I know. Overall today was a good one though. It started with my breakfast obsession.

 

yogurt1

 

I posted this recently, but it’s bound to make a few more appearances here, possibly a million more because I think I may have had it every day this week. Same as before, plain greek yogurt, honey, pure vanilla extract, peanut butter, mini chocolate chips and this week it got an extra kick with the addition of ground flax. I can’t get enough! I added a frozen blueberry waffle with almond butter an hour or so later. Super satisfying!

I took this photo on Sunday after she insisted on wearing a dress and finally let me put her hair in pigtails. Seriously, who is this kid?!

 

Regs

 

She looks like she’s five years old! This photo was a miracle in so many ways. #1, she never wants anything other than 1 ponytail. She doesn’t even let me do that very often and when I ask to try anything different, she immediately lets me know she’s totally over it. #2, she won’t sit still for pictures anymore. Like seriously, every picture I get of her that is decent lately is when I get a picture of her doing something. Absolutely never posing! #3, I was a complete tomboy growing up who refused to give into my mother’s desire to have a sweet little girl, so you rarely found me in dresses, much less smiling about it! I can’t even believe she is mine……until that fiery independent attitude comes out and reminds me that she is ALL mine Smile.

She’ll be 3 in August and has been totally happy in her crib, never once even trying to climb out. This week we decided, eh, let’s convert it into the toddler bed, give it a try and see what happens. Our parenting style in a nutshell ladies and gentlemen Smile.

 

bed1

 

She totally digs it! There have been several times when we’ve noticed it’s been quiet so we peek into her room and find her like this. Sitting in her bed reading books! Be still my heart. I love this kid so much! Prayers are being said nightly that she continues to do well with it and not spend her nights emptying out that bookshelf.

Yesterday I decided to whip out the Nike Training Club app again. I had been on a bit of a hiatus, instead just running for my workouts the past couple of weeks. Holy moly, it kicked my butt. As it should have since it was called the Butt Buster! I warmed up with 2 miles on the treadmill then ran out to my garage where I have lots of open space and no worries about getting sweat on the concrete. The workout looked like this:

 

NTC

 

The verdict: I could barely walk to the mailbox today. Which I loved. I love being sore. It’s proof I really worked after all. Give this one a try and you won’t be disappointed.

Dinner tonight was so simple. Too simple to be as delicious as it was. All good things begin with garlic sautéing in olive oil after all.

 

dinnerprep2

 

The mushrooms and garlic ended up getting cooked with rice in beef broth, and the broccoli was roasted. How does roasting broccoli make it taste like french fries?! I don’t know but I’ll never complain about it.

 

dinner

I sprinkled on some parmesan cheese and it was the stuff dinner dreams are made of. Sometimes the easiest things turn out the best. I love that.

We’ve got a busy weekend ahead. I have tomorrow off work because Reagan’s daycare is closed for the day. Her teachers, which happen to be a husband and wife, are taking a long weekend to go camping. So we’ve got plenty of things on our list to keep us busy for the day. I’m hoping that includes getting her to ride in the jogging stroller so I can get a workout in. I think I can make it happen if I promise her we run to the park. Wish me luck. My father in law and brother in law are also visiting for the weekend, so lots to get ready for that. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we find some fun stuff to do so we aren’t boring hosts Smile.

Happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend!

Land of lakes

Hey guys, hope everyone had as great of a long weekend as we did. Can’t believe June is just a couple of days away and that it is really summertime now. One of my favorite things about Minnesota is the great outdoors, and we definitely took advantage of that over the holiday. My mom has a cabin on a lake here in the state, and we are so much closer to it now that we’ve moved here, so we spent 3 days enjoying lake life.

 

lakelife

 

One of my favorite views in the world! But I totally forgot the lime! I didn’t notice until I looked at the picture, so I had to head right back inside and rectify the situation Smile.

Friday night Reagan got to try out her Disney Fairies fishing pole. I can’t believe what a big girl she is becoming. The kid totally got how to fish. She had only seen it done a few times before, but she knew she was supposed to hold the pole and wait. Then she caught her first fish, and started reeling it in like a boss!

 

fishing

 

She was so proud of herself and couldn’t wait to tell everybody that she caught a fish. I wasn’t quick enough to snap a shot because I was too busy recording video of it. She’s watched it on my phone probably no less than a dozen times since.

Of course, there was plenty of hammock time enjoyed as well.

 

hammock

 

That’s the life!

I picked up some potted flowers at a local greenhouse over the weekend, and tested out my green thumb on Monday after we got home. I’ve never actually potted my own flowers before. I usually just grab one of those hanging baskets you can get anywhere and voila!

 

flowers

 

Looks good now right?! Ask me in a couple weeks for an updated photo Winking smile 

I ended my weekend by keeping a promise to myself and finally doing some weekly meal planning. I said last week that I was going to do it and by golly, I did! Nightly dinners for the week include:

Monday: Breakfast burritos (eggs, sausage, potatoes, onions and peppers rolled in whole wheat tortillas)

Tuesday: Turkey meatloaf (recipe coming soon, I’ve almost perfected) and quinoa with mixed veggies

Wednesday: Grilled chicken and baked sweet potatoes

Thursday: Leftovers from earlier in the week

Friday: Pizza Spaghetti Squash from Iowa Girls Eats

Saturday we are heading to see some friends for a party to christen their new deck so we will be grilling out.

With that, I am off to get my chicken out of the fridge and the marinade so it’s ready to hit the grill once my loves get home. Enjoy the evening!

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Get’n it together

I know, posts 2 days in a row. It’s probably freaking you out right?! It’s ok, we’ll work through it together.

It’s a sad fact that my husband isn’t really the handiest guy in the world. I have a dad who can do or fix about anything, so it was a bit rough going from that to marrying a city boy who prefers to pay to have work done for him. Now that I’ve completely deflated his ego, let me tell you that he can totally rock putting patio furniture together!

 

furniture

 

It may have taken 2 nights, but that’s really just because we got lazy half way through and decided to finish up last night. We can now officially dine on the deck. And I’m completely confident that neither the table nor chairs will collapse Smile

 

completed

 

Nailed it!

Before that though, we had to fulfill a promise to Regs and run around outside for awhile. She knows that there is a playground just a little ways up the trail so we get pretty suspicious when she tells us she wants to go walk on the trail. Sure sweetheart, might you actually want to go play on the swings rather than go for a walk? Winking smile 

 

piggyback

 

Her little legs can only carry her so fast so sometimes she needs a little pick me up. I figure the extra weight is good for me so I’m happy to oblige.

I’m also more than happy to polish off the container of roasted garlic hummus taunting me from my refrigerator. I picked it up at the store on Monday on a whim and have been quite satisfied with the purchase.

 

snack

 

I’ve been devouring it with pretzel crackers as an afternoon pick me up every day this week.

I’m off to throw some quinoa in the rice cooker for dinner and then we are heading out to look for some new living room furniture. We had planned to wait a little while before buying anything but the Memorial Day sales may just lure us in. Enjoy your evening. Tomorrow’s Friday after all and the start of a long holiday weekend! Cheers!

Any fun holidays plans on your horizon?