Thursday, July 24, 2014

Theme Thursday: Trails

I'll be honest here for a second and when I first glanced at the theme I thought it said "trials" and I was like "strange." But fascinating. We haven't had an abstract theme since the reboot and... oh wait. It didn't say trials. It said trails. 

Which is awesome too. Sort've. Except for the fact I don't really hike. Or bike. So I do not frequent the trails around here. So what to do exactly? I could just skip a Theme Thursday but I don't like to skip Theme Thursday.

Here is my most often tread trail. The Deep Blue Something Trail. 

And I am #sorrynotsorry if you now have Breakfast at Tiffany's in your head. Because I absolutely named my staircase personal hiking trail from the band name. And their one hit wonder about a movie they both kinda liked. So they should probably stay together then.

The Deep Blue Something Trail gets me from humid to cool in a 16 step descent. This works in reverse if you head up, it starts off cool and gets more humid. Because our AC doesn't do as good of a job up on the north summit. Only 6 of the 16 mini-plateaus are aided by a handrail much to the chagrin of my mother. Apparently in 1920 they didn't care much for holding on. 

A common question of The Deep Blue Something Trail is what in good gracious is the door on the Sherpa's landing up there before the sharp turn in the path? It is not a laundry chute though most people open it to check. It is the plumbing access. I haven't needed plumbing access since moving in but I find it safe to say if I ever do I'll be glad for the door and not tearing a new hole in my wall. 

Often the trail is best negotiated with a toddler, a basket of laundry or a full bladder but can be accessed any time. Unlike most public trails, because this one is privately owned it is open 24/7. It is also groomed regularly to keep debris out of the path. If a guide is required reservations must be made in advance otherwise the trail is open on a first come, first served basis. 

Happy Thursday Friends! Link up your far more natural trails with Cari and go forth and HIKE! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Root Root Root for the Home Team!

Husband has been working HARD. His promotion involves a lot more meetings and this time of year is just an all around busy time for the company. With the end of the fiscal year, then a kick off of the new fiscal year and all the stuff that comes with that, he's had a lot of nights gone lately. 

Fanatics contacted me about writing for their Family Fanatics Initiative, a blogging challenge to find how sports can bring a family together. Fanatics is a leading online retailer of all things sports. From adults to infants if you need it in your preferred sports team they probably have it including an abundance of baseball hats. They even have things for the canine sports fans that you may or may not have. Either way... good selection abounds. 

As luck would have it, we were in need of some quality family time! And again as luck would have it last week was Husband's departments turn in the corporate suite! So with plans to go to the baseball game anyway I said yes to the challenge of writing about sports. We got an all expenses paid evening to watch a game, eat ballpark food and enjoy some time together care of the good people who employ my Husband. That is a pretty nice perk especially considering all the time he's spent away from us lately. We had a really good time. Parking was a breeze! 2 weeks ago the river ate the parking lot:

See those trees on the other side of the bridge? We parked there this week. It only smelled like river but the water was back where it was supposed to be! It was a crowded game, partly because we were still reaping the benefits of the fake polar vortex so there was no humidity, it wasn't even 80 and it was sunny! It was also free hat night, and free stuff brings all the kids to the yard. But then it was ALSO $2 beer night so... yeah. 

The Ferris Wheel is new this year and this is the first time we had been to the park this season so it was the talk of the night from the 2 year old. He did sit and watch baseball for a few actual minutes but mostly he wanted to explore, chat and play with the free flags that came with the hats. 

See the fruit plate that just happened to be at toddler height? That is pretty much his preferred buffet. If I had moved the bowl of popcorn down there it would have been the best night ever for him. 

We finally sat down as a family unit and watched the whole 7th inning including singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." And while the home team did not, in fact win, we had a great time. We are so lucky to have had this time together as a family and it was nice to mingle with the co-workers and their kids too. 

We had one happy toddler the next day. Talking about baseball and playing with his little flag still. He so enjoyed his family night doing something different than usual! We will have to make this a more regular thing. And coming soon is hockey season which I like even more than baseball. Hopefully we'll be able to make that happen this winter too! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

AMT: 7

It's Sunday. So another Answer Me This where we all link up with Kendra and get to know each other. It really is great fun. 

1. What’s something you've won and how did you win it?

You know how in elementary school they have book fairs? Well... every year in elementary school there was a poster contest about loving reading. In Kindergarten my poster won and I got to pick a book. I picked a Jetsons book about Elroy. There is a plot to the book but I am currently being lazy and I don't want to go find it in my basement. 

2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?

I used to save them all. Now I only save ones that are special or meaningful. I have a small collection of them from really exciting moments. I did save all of our wedding cards. I also save cute card fronts to use for decoupage or things like that. 

3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Barefoot until I get so cold I have to wear slippers. But slippers make my feet hot. Then I found these.

Mine are red leather not brown but apparently L.L. Bean doesn't make the things I have previously bought in red anymore. (They don't have my diaper bag in red anymore either...) I love these, because they keep my feet warm but not sweaty and because they have actual rubber soles you can go out on the porch or to the garage quick without worry. 

4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met? 

In the theater world I have met Edward Albee, William Luce and Phil McKinley.

I have met Ed Begley Jr. He was very funny.

In the music world I have met David Cook, Ryan Star, B.J. Thomas, Jen Chapin, Jim Brickman, Bobby Vinton, Kelly Clarkson.

In the random celebrity world I've met Kevin Bacon. I met him while he was being a musician but really, he's Kevin Bacon and so frankly he is in a category all his own.

I feel like I am missing some people. But these are definitely the big ones. So... take your pick. Bobby and Kelly were like at meet and greets so... not that exciting. But the others were like actual conversations and time spent. (Or guiding them through hallways/bringing them stuff.) 

5. What has been your best work of art?

In 2006 I directed Alan Ball's Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.

I have directed many things but none that I am quite so proud of. It was truly one of the best things I have ever accomplished. 

6.  What’s your strongest sense?

Oooh... um... I will defer to Husband for his opinion.

Pregnant me is a real joy to be around I'm sure. I smell everything.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Theme Thursday: Vacation!

Exciting times around here.
We are dog/house sitting.

We've declared this our swan song but we both know we'll probably get talked into doing this again.
But maybe not. Every time it gets more and more difficult. And with two kids? A lot of hassle for dogs. I would be a terrible dog owner. I am not a dog hater but I just don't have what it takes to be a dog parent. 

We packed up all our essentials and headed across town for what is essentially... a week long vacation. Only Husband is going to work. And we are proceeding like normal. Only not normal all at the same time. Because we're not at our house. (Most of the time, we are still stopping over daily.) 

But still... it's kind of like renting a furnished house for a week.

Which makes it almost like a vacation.

Which, funny enough is the Theme for this Thursday. Go figure.

If you need me, you'll find me here during the first hour of rest daily. 
It helps that it's the most perfect weather week ever. In July of all times. Again. Go figure. 

So. It's Thursday. There's a Theme. I gave you a picture from my fake vacation. You should tell me about your vacations. I am a vacation coveting girl. Unless you're camping. I don't really get camping. But I'll still look at all your pictures anyhow. 

Linking up as always with Cari and Clan. Enjoy your Thursday!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

AMT: In Which I Spill My Guts

1. How did you get your name?

Madeline comes from the books. Yep. For real. My mom liked the name when she was younger and apparently held on to that thought until 1986. I'm cool with it. My name wasn't super popular when I was younger. I only know 2 other even remotely similar aged Madelines. Now I get yelled at in grocery stores/Target/parks. I know they aren't actually yelling at/for me but I turn every time anyhow. I am a Madeline rhymes with paddlin' not Madeline rhymes with fine. 

Clarice was my Great-Grandmother's name. I love my middle name. I wanted to use it for baby girl's middle name too but I was vetoed. But I am happy with what we chose so it's all okay. Also, we pronounce it like my Great-Grandmother did so not "Hello Clarice" ala Silence of the Lambs but Clarice rhymes with Paris. 

My last name which I am not going to publish right here and now... well want to know a secret? Not like an actual secret but something that you probably don't know? I kept my name when we got married. Want to know why? Because I wanted to. Because it is my name. 

No really. You see, I really like my name. It has a flow. You know how when you're naming a child and you practice saying the first and middle name with your last name over and over to determine if it works? Well my name has that. And I have always always always loved my name. It has a good flow. Consequently, Husband's last name does not flow. It is one syllable. And when paired with my first and middle name acted as a big old period. Blah. 

So I kept my name. Simple. Easy. (SO much easier with no name changing paper work.) Fun fact: my name is pretty uncommon and includes a silent D. Yep. Very Polish. And a silent D. It's nearly ALWAYS mangled and I am very very used to it. If it bothered me Husband's last name is very easy so I would have switched. But I like my unique last name.

Coincidentally, my initials are ideal for Wheel of Fortune bonus round letter guessing. MCD. And if I had changed my name my initials would STILL be exceptional letter options and I would use P as my 4th consonant if I had the wild card. True story.

C has his father's last name and so will baby girl. Just in case you were wondering if we did the whole hyphenating thing, we didn't. 

2. Do you have a set time for prayer in your day? 

Lately no. I used to have a morning ritual but now it's kind of when I need help, grace or as I am falling asleep.

I should probably get back to a routine. 

3. Did your mom work or stay home (or both)?

Besides a brief stint in 10th grade when her company was bought out and she was job looking she worked. I always liked that she worked. I still like that she works even if her job has long hours and she doesn't get home until late sometimes. I never minded day care. Or coming home alone with my brother. 

But you know, it was nice when she was home too. 

I basically just like my mom. And everyone knows that if mom is happy everyone is happy. 

4. Do you vote?

It depends what we're voting on. If it's a race or situation I feel strongly about I sure do. For instance I always vote for President, Governor, Senators/Representatives and Mayor. I also vote for levies and ways that my area wants to spend tax dollars. 

My parents always took us with to vote. It was at my elementary school. I always got one of the stickers. I turned 18 at college, in Iowa and I REALLY wanted to vote at a booth, so I registered with my on campus address. The next time the Presidential election rolled around I lived in Missouri for grad school and it was also my hometown mayoral election so I re-registered at home and absentee voted. They don't give stickers for absentee voting. It was sad. And the experience was underwhelming. 
The Minnesota sticker
I went to my first caucus for the Presidential Election in 2012. The joys of living in Iowa. We get a say before anyone else. But this also means we get commercials longer than anyone else. And because we are in the QCA we get all the Illinois commercials too. It REALLY makes me mad when they don't tell me which state they are running in. Then I turn the TV off and do actual candidate research. 

The Iowa sticker. More patriotic, less what I grew up with and therefore wanted.
I usually don't vote in primaries however.  

5. What's your favorite drink?

I love Fountain Coke. (I know Whome, I drink too much sugar pop.) 
Fountain Coke tastes so so much better than any other kind of Coke and McDonald's Coke is the best of all the fountains. I've been told it's because they calibrate their syrup on a more frequent basis so it stays sweet and fresh and delicious. 

I also really like frozen strawberry margaritas. But Husband thinks that tequila tastes dirty so I actually don't remember the last time I had a strawberry margarita. I am pretty sure when this baby comes out I am going to have one though. 

6. How are your photography skills?

Not professional quality and not as good as Husband's but I can hold my own. I am getting really swell at the composition and have even managed some great shots in manual! Here are some of my favorite pictures I've taken in the past year or so. I took most of them for Theme Thursday hosted, shockingly, on Thursdays at Clan Donaldson. Just in case you want to try your hand at stretching your creativity and photography skills. It's sure helped me!! 

This week's AMT is brought to you by the number 6, the letter M and the word Kendra. Thanks for hosting 

Friday, July 11, 2014

It's Friday. So Here's 7 Quickish Things.

1. That One Soccer Game

Apparently the World Cup is still going on. The thing about not having cable is that I didn't see any single second of any of the World Cup games. Well... it's possible I subconsciously did a few weeks ago when we were at a bar killing time before a wedding reception started but pretty much that shouldn't count.

And I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire during my "Read the whole series in July: 2014." That's the one with the Quidditch World Cup. Kind of fitting maybe. Apparently the Vatican is not condoning the "two popes World Cup" thing. And you know I was really into it when you put it that way because... it's still a soccer game. Yeah. Whatever.

2. The Non-Polar Vortex Returning

Hey-O! It's not actually the Polar Vortex it's residual weather from some tropical storm. But I'll admit it. I am kind of excited that it's going to be chilly this next week. So anyone who's disappointed in the weather can go ahead and blame me, but I'll be the preggo who is not suffering for a full week in July. Any respite from being hot is good by me. I am fully aware most people who are pregnant in July are saints. Clearly this wasn't meant to be one of my sufferings. (Which all but guarantees a sweltering August.)

3. Mowing the Yard

My next door neighbors are polar opposites. On one side we have Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and he is OBSESSED with mowing. Just obsessed with mowing. There was a point when his yard looked like this:

And he mowed. But this guy also power washes his sidewalk weekly and washes his truck multiple times per week. I am pretty sure he just needs a hobby. An indoor one preferably because he is ALWAYS in the yard looking at us. But whatever.

The other side... well they mow when they feel like it. Last summer it was literally once a month. And their grass was knee deep before they'd mow every time. (Yes, they were ticketed.) They are doing a better job this year with an every 2-3 week yard clean up.

It's nice to be in the middle. We're never as bad as one side so even if we let the lawn grow a little longer than I'd like because of rain/unforeseen circumstances it never matters as much. We always look good by comparison without looking like total nutters like Marky Mark.

4. All These States Are Legalizing The Mary Jane

I sure do not need search engines finding me because of that word. Here's the thing... I understand that it helps with taxes or something. I don't know. What I do know is that I disagree with legalization. Because it stinks. And if it was legal I feel like I would smell it more often.

5. Toddlers Are Funny

All these opinions and big feelings. And there is no reasoning with them. If today they like Elmo they will not like Elmo tomorrow.

6. Baby Names 

Nothing stirs the pot quite as much as baby names. People LOVE to give you opinions before a birth but usually keep their mouths shut when a smushy infant is looking at them. Have you seen this list floating around? Clearly Colleen is a trend setter already. 

The one hope here is that since the list is based on searches and not actual "what kids were named" data that people changed their minds about naming future generations: Khaleesi or Django. 

Here's a hint: Neither our girl first name or boy first name are on this list. But both middle name choices are. 

7. Have A Good Weekend 

That's it. Have a good one. Stop over at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Theme Thursday: Bright

You know that one song? 
If All the Raindrops? Well the third verse is about how if all the sunbeams were lemonade and ice cream! Oh what a sun that would be! (Please don't subject yourself to the Barney version. Laura Doherty's version is lovely and far less obnoxious.) 

Too bad at our house instead of lemonade and ice cream you get a bowl of rice Chex with raisins and Craisins. I lovingly call this breakfast trail mix. It allows a certain toddler to graze eat which is pretty much how mornings go around here. 

I like how red Tupperware glows in the sunshine. It's a bright, happy Thursday. 

And funny enough, that is the theme of the week over in the O-Clan Corral. So you go link up all the bright and happy in your world and I'll peruse them. While listening to Pandora, playing cars and possibly stealing a rice Chex or two. But you'll never prove it. 

Have a delightful and bright Thursday. Even if it's not perfect like it is here today. No. Really. It's perfect.