Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A recipe and a birthday!

Boy do I have a yummy recipe for you! I found this recipe for One-Pan Chicken Burrito Bowls over at No. 2 Pencil. Since we have a seriously lack of Chipotle here (sad face!), and we love Mexican food, I thought this would be a for sure winner in our house.

Pic from No. 2 Pencil, because I suck at taking pictures of my food.

I couldn't have been more right! This recipe is also super easy. 


2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut up into bite sized pieces
3 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 c of diced yellow onion
1 c of uncooked extra-long grain rice (we used brown rice because we had more of that)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of cumin
2 1/2 c of low-sodium chicken broth (could be a little less, actually)
2 c of shredded cheese (whatever you prefer, we used cheddar)
salt & pepper to taste
diced tomatoes, diced green onions, sour cream, and guac as toppers. 

1. Saute onions in 2 tbsp of olive oil until translucent.
2. Season diced chicken with S&P, add chicken to pan and cook over medium heat until it's started to brown.
3. Move chicken to one side of pan. On the other side, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute uncooked rice for about 2 min or until it's a little brown. 
4. Stir in black beans, canned tomatoes, chicken brown, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin.
5. Bring to simmer then reduce to low heat.
6. Cook about 20 min or until rice is tender and some of the broth has cooked off. 
7. Sprinkle with cheese, let set for 2-3 min off heat for cheese to heat.
8. Garnish with green onion, tomato, sour cream or guacamole. 

It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and makes a lot. Travis had seconds, and there's enough for probably 2 more bowls. Emily ate everything but the chicken because she's weird and picky. Some days she likes certain foods, other days she doesn't. However, we will definitely be adding this to our recipe rotation. 

Speaking of Emily, today is her 3rd birthday! I don't know when that happened. How did 3 years go by so fast? This picture feels like it was yesterday:

We surprised Em this morning by hanging balloons on the outside of her door this morning. She was so surprised! I got a great picture of her shocked little face, and then she laughed and squealed! It was so cute. I hope she talks about it all day at school. We sent her with birthday cupcakes to share with her friends. Tonight we're having a BBQ with family, complete with a "Cinderella" cake as requested by the birthday girl. More pictures to come! 

Do you have any special birthday memories from your childhood?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Running, running, running runningrunningrunning....

Guess what is on my mind lately? Guess what is the only topic on my mind lately?


Just kidding, it's running. No duh, right? We're less than 3 weeks out from running the Ragnar Relay, a 200+ mile relay race with 12 people in 2 vans. There's over 400 teams in our race alone, so it's kind of a big thing. I somehow became the captain, and now am slowly losing all my sanity. Do you know how much organization it takes to coordinate 12 people to run 200+ miles, 200 miles away from home? Ok, it's actually closer to 300 miles away.

There's hotel rooms to book, vans to rent, run legs to assign, food to buy now, food to buy then, safety equipment that every runner has to have (every runner!!), van decorations (oh yea, we should think about that). Plus all the rules to follow, like what happens if we have an injured runner. Please God don't let us have an injured runner!

In the midst of all this,  I still have to train, too. My run legs are 8.2 miles, 3.8 miles, and 5.3 miles. I anticipate to be running around 4:00 in the afternoon, 3:30 in the morning, and then again at 12:15 the next afternoon. Yes, you read that right: 3:30 in the morning. I am not too excited about that, but at least it's my shortest and easiest run.

Also, I know this because I have a very, very detailed spreadsheet to keep track of this all. Organization is my middle name.

Ragnar Relay is craziness. For real. But I'm so excited! Nervous too, but mostly excited. August 15th cannot get here fast enough!

So how am I prepping to run this? By simulating the runs at home, of course. I'm not really running the same mileage, but I did read that the best way to train is to get used to running on tired legs. Which means running twice a day, or every 12 hours. Not all week long, of course, just once a week to prep.

I've started running my normal 5 miles on Thursday morning, a quick 2-3 miles on Thursday afternoon, and then 3 miles again on Friday morning. It's really not so bad. I'm slowly increasing the mileage in that second run, but it feels ok. I'm definitely tired come Friday, and I want to eat everything in sight. But that's maybe not so different from a normal day.

I still do my long runs on Sundays to keep up the long miles. This past Sunday I woke up to rain and wind: not my ideal running weather. If it were a race or something that I had to run in, then I'd tough it out. But for a training run? Bump that! I settled in with a nice long movie and ran on my treadmill for 1:20:00. I run slower on my treadmill, but I figure that time is about what 9 miles takes me. I'm good with that. Running on the treadmill always feels like cheating, but it's better than not running at all.

Hopefully I will be ready to rock it out in a few weeks here. Fingers crossed that all of our runners are healthy and no one drops last minute. I'm praying for our overall safety and health until then, and during the run. Team D'range'd Dozen is going to kick some asphalt!

What's on your mind lately? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: Welcome to the Great Mysterious

For my August book club, we chose to read Lorna Landvik's "Welcome to the Great Mysterious". Lorna is the daughter of the church's old pastor, so I guess some of the older book club members feel a special connection to her books. Most are set in Minnesota, and we've also read "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons", which was pretty good.

The description from Goodreads: "Broadway star Geneva Jordan reluctantly agrees to take care of her twin sister Ann's son, a boy with Down's Syndrome, while Ann and her husband take a vacation. Returning home to Minnesota, Geneva steps into her new role every inch a star, but the boy and an interesting man begin to open her heart."

Not much to go on, if you ask me. But the story is pretty simple and straight forward. I enjoy Landvik's writing style, which gives you enough detail with out being over the top, and she keeps it interesting to carry you through the book.

Geneva is every bit a Broadway starlet, so taking this role as caregiver to a 13 year old boy with Down's Syndrome is quite out of the box for her. But she sucks it up and plows forward with good intention. When they find an old book that Geneva and her sister made as kids, called The Great Mysterious, things get a little more interesting. The book asks "the big questions", and each member of their family was supposed to write in an answer for questions like "What is the meaning of life?" and "What is true love?". It's fun to hear the answers from her different relatives, and get a little insight into some of the characters. I also think it gets the reader pondering what their own answers would be. I haven't decided what my answers are, but it did get me thinking!

It's also interesting to see Geneva's character evolve as the book goes on. She goes to being quite self-absorbed, to caring and understanding that there is more to life than Broadway.

Overall, I thought this was a wholesome book that makes you laugh, cry, and ends on a nice note. 4 stars from me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lake Days

Part of living in Minnesota is going to the lake. I mean, the state nickname is "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Everywhere you look, there are lakes!

Which means that on hot days, that's where you find most people. Now, this Florida girl is definitely more of a pool person. I like to be able to see the bottom, not worry about what's swimming with me, and I believe a healthy dose of chlorine is good for just about everyone (the Surgeon General personally told me that, so I know it's legit). However, real pools are few and far between up here because of our long winters. So, over the past few years, I have been getting acclimated to swimming in lakes.

Ok, that's not true. What I do cannot be called "swimming". I put my bathing suit on, and stand in the water. Sometimes even all the way up to my shoulders if the water is warm. But usually my suit doesn't even get wet. We're still working on it, ok?

But when it's hot, it's still nice to dip your toes in. Since Travis grew up swimming in lakes, he's trying to get Emily used to it, too. I'm ok with that; I don't want her to be paranoid like her mama. So on Monday when the temps reached nearly 90 degrees, we headed out to Side Lake for a dip.

My favorite "beach" here is McCarthy Beach, which is a state park. You have to pay $5 to get in, or $25 for a season pass. The beach is long and skinny, but it's shallow for yards and yards, and they have a little kid section roped off. There's not much in the way of weeds or wildlife either, so I'm pretty comfortable there.

But instead, we went to a house at Side Lake. Travis build a slide for a customer that goes off their dock, and he needed to make some minor changes and thought it would be fun for us to go too. It was fun! The water is still really cold, but once you get in it's not so bad. Emily took a while to get up enough guts to stick her feet in, and then stand on the dock steps that are in the water, and then finally walk around in the shallow area on her own.

Imagine my surprise when she decided to go down the slide, all on her own! I was slightly freaked out at the idea, but Travis stood at the end and caught her. Once she started, she didn't want to stop!

Eventually the sun started going down and the bugs started making an appearance. We literally had to pry her away from the dock, and I had to hold her hand while we dried off so she wouldn't run back out. She loved it!

1st lake trip of the summer: success

Do you swim in lakes, or do they freak you out, too? What do you do on a hot day to cool off?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Runners Tell All: Nutrition & Fuel

It's time again for our monthly link up, hosted by The Lady Okie and Sunshine to the Square Inch. Every month is a different topic discussed by runners of all ages and skill levels. The list of topics can be found here.

This month we're talking about nutrition and fuel for runners. I don't feel like I'm super good at this, but I am getting better. I'll talk about what works for me, but of course every body is different. What works for me may not work for you. You just have to play with it!

Here is what I've figured out for my body as far as regular nutrition goes:
- stay away from high fiber foods on a high mileage week. (Peanut butter is a no go for me)
- lean proteins like chicken and fish are where it's at! Also, lots of veggies (could definitely be better here!).

Recently, when I ran the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, I really paid attention to carb loading the week before. This can get tricky, because when I think "carb loading" my brain naturally goes to "EAT ALL THE CARBS!" land.

But carb loading really only means eating maybe an extra 30-90 grams of carbs a day. So for me, that meant maybe half a bagel with lunch. I also ate more rice and cous cous that week, rather than potatoes because it seems like those carbs work better for me.

The day before a race, I really restrict carbs. Here's what my menu typically looks like:
Breakfast: coffee and banana
Lunch: chicken caesar salad w/light dressing and a few croutons
Snack: walnuts
Dinner: chicken or fish, cous cous, veggies

That is exactly what I ate and had a really great, strong half-marathon!

Fueling the day of the race is something I have down to a science for me, but again, every body is different! I typically have one cup of coffee in the morning, followed by a Honey Stinger waffle.

I am that obnoxious girl who runs with a fuel belt and avoids aid stations. I don't want to risk eating or drinking something unfamiliar and have it backfire on me! I have two water bottles that hold around 8 oz each. For anything over 9 miles, I take two packs of Honey Stinger Energy Chews, but stick to just one for 6-8 mile runs. No fuel needed for 6 miles and under. I typically eat one around 45 minutes/5 miles in, and then again around mile 8 or 10 depending on the length of the run. I eat them all at once, rather than a few here or there. That would fluster me because I'd either have to hold the package the entire time, or keep unzipping and rezipping the packs on my belt. I also started adding in Salt Stick tabs around mile 6 to help with electrolytes. The jury is still out on that one.

Last month, I was the lucky link-up winner and received a pack of Nuun electrolyte tabs. (Thanks Beka & Amanda!)

I just tried one this weekend for my long run. I filled up one of my bottles with water, and one with the Nuun (watermelon flavor). Nuun is kind of weird because it's all electrolytes, so it's not sweet at all. I didn't like it before but it was ok while I was running, which kind of shows you that your body will accept what it's craving/needing regardless of taste. The tabs are meant to dissolve in 16 oz of water, so I drank the rest after my 8 mile run. I was still physically tired, but I didn't get the same bloating/headache that I get from being electrolyte deficient. I'll try it a few more times to make sure it wasn't a one time thing, but I think this may work for me!

Post run, I typically eat a banana but I'm bad in this area, too. I'm not hungry for the first few hours after a long run, so I tend to forget to eat. For dinner the night after a race, it's always the same thing: big, juicy cheeseburger! So healthy, I know.

Want to hear more about how other runners are fueling their bodies? Check them out here:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

StitchFix Review: Box 1

You guys, I am so excited to share this with you! StitchFix is kind of blowing up on the blogosphere. I just heard about it for the first time in early June, and immediately signed up. Like, no thought given, I knew this was for me! Here's how it works:

StitchFix is an online personal stylist. You create a very detailed style profile about your size, likes, dislikes, etc. You can even link them to your style board on Pinterest so your stylist can get a better feel for things you like. Then a real, live person in California reads your info and picks 5 items to send you. It can be 5 clothing items, or maybe 4 and an accessory. You pay a $20 "styling fee", which is then credited to you if you purchase one of the items. Bonus: if you buy all 5, you get a 25% discount. Holler! Also, you can get referral credits if people sign up using your referral link. (Here's mine.) You choose how often you want a box sent. I originally chose every other month, but just changed to every month. Because I'm a glutton.

This was such a no-brainer for me for several reasons. Living in small-town America, I have very limited clothing choices. Let's face it: Walmart is just not an option. We have one small boutique that sells cute stuff, but again - limited selection. The closest mall to me is 1.5 hours away. As a working mother with little to no time on her hands, driving 1.5 hours to go to the mall and then take the time to really look is just a hassle. Leaving the kiddo at home helps, but it's still an all day thing.

So let me repeat: StitchFix sends you clothes to try on in the comfort of your own home. You have 3 days to send back whatever you don't want or didn't like. You also get to send notes back to your stylist why you didn't like it, so that each box you receive after is hopefully better than the first. Another plus: shipping back is free! StitchFix provides a postage paid envelope. So, wanna see what I got? I know you're dying to know!

They even send you a styling card with suggestions on what to pair your items with!
Zad - Lenor Arrow Charm Long Necklace - $38

I liked this necklace, and even want to start adding more accessories to my wardrobe. However, at this price point I thought "cute, but not that cute." I also like to wear more white gold and silver, which I noted to my stylist. Returned. 

Honey Punch - Natalie Striped Jersey Maxi Skirt - $58
I pretty much knew right out of the box that this skirt was going back. But, I thought I'd give it a try. You never know right? That's what this whole thing is about.

Ridiculously long!

This skirt was wayyyy to long. I could hike it up, fold over the top, and wear it as a dress! I did like the jersey material which was thicker and hung nicely. It's actually a blue and white stripe. But since I never wear skirts and would have to get this hemmed, it was a no-go. Returned.

Daniel Rainn - Melodie Smocked Detail Polka Dot Print Blouse - $68

Pouty Face

I really, really wanted to love this shirt. It was a nice summer shirt, light weight and loose. It's actually a light grey with barely-noticeable white polka dots. I loved the hennley-style neck line too. But ultimately, I thought it looked too big and I felt really boxy in it. Detailed notes back to my stylist. Returned.

41Hawthorn - Flynn Colorblock Sleeveless Blouse - $58


Another one I wanted to love! I thought it looked super cute on the style card, and out of the box it was very nice. I normally don't pick red but liked the details here. The shirt is actually navy blue, and a light sheer fabric. I had to wear a cami underneath, but thought it looked nice with my bermudas, or would look great with shorts, too, like the style card suggested. Again though, it was just too big. Noted. Returned.

Collective Concepts - Pamela Mixed Stripe Cross-Front Top - $58

This is the shirt I kept! I really loved it from the second I put it on. It is a nice, thicker weight so that wrap style stays put, although there is a little snap to keep it secure. The stripes are more of a cream, so I thought it looked good with my khaki bermudas. It also looked really nice with black slacks, so would be perfect for the office in the summer. The back is a little longer than the front, which provides a nice amount of added coverage. It's a little on the big size, but not enough that I felt it was too big. Kept!

So, overall I think my stylist did a bang-up job on my first box. 3 of the tops I really liked, but due to the sizing issues I decided to change my size on my style profile. Hopefully the next box is even better! I also mentioned that I'd prefer no skirts/dresses or jewelry. I'm hoping for a nice scarf though, and maybe some pants!

I'm sure you've guessed by now, but I obviously scheduled my next fix. It won't be here until Sept. 10th since I had originally planned on every other month fixes, but that's ok. I noted that it starts to get chilly here in September, so I'd like some transition pieces for Fall. Fingers crossed that the next one is just as good, or better!

I highly recommend this service to any other busy women out there who don't have time to shop, or maybe don't like to shop, or don't even know what they're looking for. If you want to check it out, and maybe give me a credit, go here!

What do you think of my first fix? Have you heard of StitchFix? Any questions for me - I'm happy to answer them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mid-week Check In

Hello and happy hump day! If you haven't seen this video, watch it and get with it, ok?

I have tons of fun things happening today that I can't quite contain myself.

1) A group of us are going out to lunch today for a send-off lunch for an employee. It's sad that she is leaving, but she's moving on to a better opportunity so I'm happy for her.

2) It's book club night! I'm always so excited to go to book club. Mostly because it involves wine and good food, but also great ladies and great conversation. A little about books and a lot about everything else. We're also going to a local restaurant that just underwent a ton of big changes and finally reopened their dining room. I'm excited to check it out!

We read "Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl" by Susan McCorkingdale. This sounded like a light, funny read when I first read the description. Save yourself a ton of time and skip this book. It wasn't funny. It was whiney, self-involved, and pretty pointless. The wasted hours spent reading this book are some I will never get back!

3) My first StitchFix box is coming today! I will post a full review after I open it and see all my goodies. If you want to check it out, and sign up before I post my review (and help a sista out!), you can use my referral link here: Alison's StitchFix. No shame in my game!

4) Tomorrow, hubby and I are going on a date! Say what!?! My sister-in-law rents the garage apartment of a co-worker who has a daughter just a little bit younger than Emily. (Follow that? Sorry, it's confusing) Co-worker keeps saying that Emily should come over and play, and sister-in-law offered to take her for the evening to do just that. So, hubster and I are going to a newly opened restaurant, and then maybe bowling.

Side bar: did you know they serve alcohol at bowling alleys? I truly did not know this for quite some time, probably because the last time I was an avid bowler was in elementary school. I am quite sure that a rum and coke will make me a better bowler.

So, I don't have any real updates for you, but lots of fun stuff to come. Most of it involving eating out, which is my favorite.

Also, did you notice the lay of the land has changed a bit? I thought it was time for a change. I just can't figure out how to get rid of that dang color block way at the top. Anyone know how?

What are you looking forward to? Have you heard of StitchFix? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend Recap: Running & Weather

Hello all! I hope you had a lovely weekend.

I started the weekend off right by running the 3rd Annual Red Ore Run right in my own town. Sometimes, I love not having to travel for races. Getting to wake up at a reasonable time before a race definitely beats the 3am wake up call.

This race is a 5K/10K, plus a 1K for the kiddos. Last year I ran the 10K as my very first 10K. It was hot and humid, but some people had their sprinklers set up along the way and there were plenty of aid stations. I finished in 54:06, under my goal time of 55 minutes.

This year the weather was sunny and cool at 60 degrees. Could you ask for any better weather? I think not! One person still had their sprinkler set up, which I ran through even though it wasn't hot. Running through sprinklers is just fun! I started off way to fast, and couldn't settle into a decent pace until mile 3-4 (Hello 8:13 pace, wayyyyy to fast for this girl!) I guess the weather was just making me feel good! Anyway, I finished in 53:15, which is a PR for me - yay! One I probably won't beat any time soon, but that's ok.

I don't have any pictures from the race, but I do have to share the t-shirts from this year. It's a new design, and I'm not sure I really dig it. Care to guess what it reminds me of?

It's supposed to be a pile of taconite pellets. But I think it looks like a pile of something else, if you catch my drift. Taconite is the end product from the iron ore we mine up here on the Iron Range, just an FYI.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful, except for the weather. We're getting a Polar Vortex. Please remind me - this is the middle of July, no? What the heck, North Pole? Send your vortexes somewhere else!

So, we've had a bit of rain, and our high today is only 61 degrees. At least it's getting up to 70 tomorrow. But really, a high of 70 in July? This is nuts! The lakes are still really cold, and we probably will not be getting in one until at least the middle of August. By September, our summer is pretty much over. Glad we got that trip to Florida in!

How was your weekend? Are you getting cooler weather from the Polar Vortex?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Running in Florida

Hello again!

Just one more post about my trip to Florida, and then I promise I'll quit.

So, obviously, I had planned to run while we were in Florida. My carry on was pretty much only running related items: shoes, extra running outfit, rain jacket, light-weight jacket (definitely not needed!), running belt, Garmin watch, charger, etc. Heaven forbid that stuff get lost!

I planned on running 3 times while we were there, and had kind of mapped out my runs before. I knew I wanted to do 3, 4, and 6 mile runs. I knew it would be much hotter and more humid than I'm used to, so I had no set work out goals in mind. I was just running to run.

My first run was the 3 miler, just to get my legs going again. I ran around my parent's neighborhood, which was shockingly very active for 6:30 am. That's when all the old people are out walking their dogs! Minnesota nice has rubbed off on me, because I say hello to everyone I pass. A few people didn't really know what to make of me. I started off kind of slow, and it was warm! So imagine my surprise when I finished up at an 8:41 pace! Surely that was a fluke.

The second run I decided to go down to the beach and run along the sidewalk that spans most of Delray Beach. It's about a mile and a half from one end to the other, but then crosses the road and runs in front of the huge mansions down there. Not a bad view! I couldn't see the ocean for a lot of the run because of the trees that grow along the way, but it was nice to hear the ocean and smell the salt air. That was also a pretty busy run! I think if you're running in Florida, you have to get up early to beat the heat. There were tons of other runners and walkers, also looking shocked when I said good morning. What's so wrong with being nice?!

Again, it was a hot one, but I still managed an 8:36 min/mile. I'm starting to attribute this to the lack of hills. Not even a little incline going on. Also, I was in a hurry to finish up and go dip my toes in the water!

What's better than finishing up your run by going into the cool Atlantic Ocean? It was really nice to just hang out for a minute alone by the ocean before heading back to the house. Also, I ended up giving someone 50 minutes of free parking at the meter. Apparently you don't have to pay before 9:30 am, which was clearly stated on the meter but it was just too early for me to be paying attention to those kind of details. That's me, just paying it forward!

My final run was 6 miles on July 4th. This run had the one and only hill I encountered all week: a highway over pass. South Florida "mountains" are either bridges or land fills! Yuck! This was a good long run, although I only saw one other runner along the way. But the last part really nice. I passed an old horse farm, and some quiet, gated communities. Of course, I was just running by the gates. No entrance for me! This run was really humid and warm too. I was completely drenched in sweat by the time I finished up, but still managed an 8:57 overall pace. Pretty good to me. 

I'm not sure if I would be such a dedicated runner if I had to deal with that heat and humidity all the time. Right now, I'm looking at those runs as Ragnar training (just a little over a month until we're running Great River!), as that promises to be a hot and humid two days. 

I really love running when we travel now. I feel like I get to see way more of the area than if I skipped. Bonus, I get to eat more fun foods after a vacation run!

Do you run on vacation? Where have you had some memorable runs?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Florida Trip: part two

Hello again! I'm here to follow up with the rest of our trip, because I know you were hanging on to the edge of your seat in anticipation!

We ended up having a little tropical storm while we were down there, naturally. Scofield's come to Florida? Let's give them rain!

So on Tuesday we went to the Boynton Beach Schoolhouse Children's Museum. My mom has been on the board there for years, and was even President for a year or two. It was really neat for her to finally be able to bring her granddaughter there, and show us off a little. It's like a "Please Touch" museum, with lots of interactive things to do and play areas.

Emily is such a girly girl and loves playing house, making food and taking care of the babies. These were definitely her favorite spots in the museum. She also liked the fake train but was not all too hot on the whistle. Too loud!

On Wednesday we made the treck down to Miami to go to the Miami Seaquarium. The weather started off hot as blazes, but then it rained while we were watching the orca show, which helped cool things down. By the time the show was done, the rain had stopped and it was just slightly overcast  - kind of perfect! I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in the Seaquarium. I've been there a few times in the past, and I don't think the park has grown at all since I was a kid, but the prices have sure jacked up! If you go, try to find discounted tickets or a coupon.

The best part was how close we got to the seals and sea lions. My mom even fed them! I wasn't touching the slimy fish, but it was fun to watch! 

Afterwards we decided to go find a place to eat. I was thinking that it would be better to go to a restaurant than try the typical fare at the park (burgers, hot dogs, fries, that type of thing). We saw the Rusty Pelican restaurant at a marina right at the beginning of Key Biscayne after we crossed the causeway on the way into the island. We decided to go there, except we missed the entrance and ended up driving back across the causeway again! It was $1.75 to cross over again, which we decided was worth paying rather than the hassle of trying to find another place nearby. 

Let me tell you this: there is nothing rusty about the Rusty Pelican! I felt totally under dressed the minute we walked in the door. It was way nicer than we had expected, but the food was delish! 

We also got to see the storm roll in over Miami from the other side of the bay. Kind of neat!

Thursday and Friday we mostly just went to the pool, finally blessed with some nice weather. It turns out that Emily LOVES the pool. She did really great learning how to kick, but still isn't willing to float much on her own (with the help of floaties). I think the part she loved the best was taking a "break" to go eat pretzels on the lounge chairs. That started happening every 5 to 10 minutes, until she was spending more time out of the pool than in!

Friday night we went to a neat festival put on by the city of Boynton. For the 4th of July, they reserve a big room inside a building at the city park right along the intracoastal waterway, and limit the party to 100 people. So we got to eat a catered dinner inside, and then sit on the second story deck to watch the fireworks over the intracoastal. We went down to the "festival" part too, where there were 2 live bands, and tons of stuff for the kids. We stood in line for an hour to get Emily's face painted, but it was still fun listening to the bands and sipping adult beverages while we waited. :o)

Our view over the intracoastal. The fireworks were actually to the right of this picture, right in front of where we sat. 

My cutie!

Emily did great with the fireworks, again - completely unexpected! We heard a few before hand, and she kept saying "those fireworks hurt my ears when they go 'pop pop'!" Travis held his hands over her ears during the show, and she just sat there, mesmerized by the display.

We packed all our stuff up with heavy hearts on Saturday to fly back home. Emily kept saying that she didn't want to go home, and asking if we were coming back to Florida. Of course baby, some day! I think she meant like tomorrow...

The return flights went really well, with a little help from Delta this time:

I never knew you could purchase food and wine on the plane! Well, I knew you could do that in first class, but not economy! So, we enjoyed some tasty snacks, and I had a mini-bottle of wine. It was really only one glass worth, but it looks bigger than that! 

We had a great trip, one that I'm hoping Emily will remember for a long time. I'm so thankful to my parents for putting up with us for a week and shuttling us all over hill and dale. But I know they loved it too! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Florida Trip: part one

I'm back! We survived our trip to Florida and made it home in one piece! We had a great time, despite a little tropical storm making it's way through mid-trip. But we had some gorgeously sunny days, too. I posted pictures on Facebook, but felt like doing more of a recap here. So, get ready to be photo bombed!

Saturday started bright and early at 4 am to catch our 6 am flight to Minneapolis. This was Emily's first time on a plane, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. I bought a couple of movies on my Kindle, and loaded the diaper bag with books, string boards, a baby doll, crayons & coloring books, and food. Turns out, she flies like a pro!

Emily was quite content to watch her movies with a snack and her baby. She even fell asleep near the end of our long flight. The flight to Minneapolis is a short 45 minutes, but our flight to Ft. Lauderdale was 3 hours. I was a bit worried that things would go south after to long on the plane, but she did great!

I have to give a quick shout-out to all the Delta employees we dealt with on this trip, and even the TSA agents in security. Everyone was so kind and helpful, and really seemed to want to make things easier for us. We always go to board first, and getting through security was super easy. It was like they saw us coming, thought "oh boy, you've got your hands full!" and let us right through.

We made a quick trip to the beach that night to see the ocean. Emily's first time!

She liked the beach and collecting shells, but she was not too thrilled with the ocean! The next day we ended up going for a real beach trip, bathing suits and all. Emily was willing to get in the water with one of us, but there was no way she was letting go of us. Talk about a death grip! But she mostly stayed on the beach and was content to play with her sand toys.

After a few hours in the hot sun, we walked to Boston's on the Beach for lunch. It just started to rain after we sat down, so we had perfect timing! Emily has got the beach babe thing down pat.

Looking good in my shades!

Monday we went to the zoo, followed by a trip to the "world renowned" Cuban restaurant, Havana. This was Trav's pick, and was so, so good. Definitely made up for trekking around the zoo in the heat and humidity!

They had a splash pad at the zoo, and Emily was totally excited about it. I planned ahead and brought her bathing suit, so we got her changed into it and settled in to let her play. But the second I led her to the little fountains, a bunch of rambunctious boys came by and scared her. That kind of ended the splash pad experience for Miss Emily. Oh well, it was lunch time anyway!

That's all for now, but there's more to follow!