One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

#416 - Roller Skates

This afternoon, I helped TLG try out his new roller skates in our backyard. There are some great photos of this that I will try to post here after our main computer is up and running again. We strapped TLG into his bike helmet and knee pads and I got behind him to hold under his arms when we first got started... but that meant holding most of his weight as he leaned back onto me. Once I got in front of him, holding his hands, he was able to walk a little - but having wheels on your feet inevitably means falling down. He did eventually fall, which was about enough for this adventure today. These skates are the kind you put on over your shoes, and once he graduates to the next size shoe they won't fit anymore, so I hope he doesn't grow too much before the snow thaws. I have a pair of roller blades and I hope we can skate together!

Friday, December 25, 2009

#415 - Christmas New Things

Merry Christmas! The Little Guy got lots of great new things I'm excited to share with him in the coming days. Today's new things included a scooter and a jump rope. The scooter seemed like no big deal, he just hopped on and figured it out, no problem. But he's never tried a jump rope before, so I got to teach TLG how to use a jump rope. Of course it's been years since I jumped rope myself, and the kid-sized one he got was a little small for me, but after trying (with no success) to explain how it works, I finally just borrowed the rope and showed him. He's not a pro yet, in fact he got bored and a little frustrated after just a few times around. But I think when the weather warms up and he gets the hang of it better, he'll really enjoy this activity.

Monday, December 14, 2009

#414 - Mango Madness

This past weekend at the grocery store, TLG pointed at a fruit display and asked, "What are those, Mommy?" I had to look at the sign before I knew for sure those funny greenish fruits were mangoes. Shows you how much experience I have with them, right? How did I grow up in California and not learn how to pick a good mango, much less prepare it for eating?!? So we bought two mangoes and I pledged to figure out how to eat them. After a quick call to my fabulous brother-in-law, who explained they are much like an avocado (in that you have to cut out the large seed in the middle, and you don't eat the skin), we were ready to try it. Tonight I took a sharp steak knife and went to town - the mango we chose was soft and once I cut it into quarters around the seed, I was able to peel the skin off by hand. Then it was just a matter of cutting off the seed and into pieces for eating. It was delicious and now that I know how easy it is, we'll need to add this fruit to our repertoire.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

#413 - Kid Party

Last year, for The Little Guy's birthday, we rented a bounce house place and had a huge party (jointly with another family). This year we decided to go more low-key: we invited TLG's friends from daycare to our house for a birthday party. Two families joined us for lunch, cake, and a pinata (which all the boys loved!) We decorated the house with balloons, streamers, and Hot Wheels stuff everywhere - which was a little overwhelming with all the Christmas decorations already out - but hey, if you're going to have a party, you need to go all out! I don't know for sure if the snow kept some other families away - we sent out a bunch of invitations that people did not let us know if they were coming or not... next time I will know to follow-up with the parents when I run into them or daycare or something! One thing is certain: TLG had a fabulous time showing off his toys to his friends, and got a huge kick out of the pinata. It was definitely a great birthday!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

#412 - Snowed-Out Birthday

Since TLG was born in December a few years ago, we have had good luck with the weather on his birthday weekend, allowing some family members to drive to us (or us to drive to them!) for a family birthday party. 'Twas not to be this year: despite all our planning, Mother Nature forced us to cancel our big family birthday plans for TLG's party today. While I was disappointed, TLG still had a terrific (albeit smaller) family party. We spent the morning playing in the snow at our house, shoveling pathways for our dogs. TLG actually really enjoys shoveling, or at least dragging the shovel around the yard. Then we made time for grocery shopping, not really a fun birthday activity but a necessity! After a quick lunch and nap, we met Grandma and Grandpa at the bowling alley. (Grandma and Grandpa couldn't really remember when they'd been bowling last, but guessed it was over 30 years ago. It was good to see them in action!) TLG and his dad played a game of air hockey (shown) and then it was home for presents, taco salads, and cake. We had a very nice day celebrating TLG and didn't let the weather get us down too much. Happy birthday, TLG!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

#411 - TLG's Musical Performance

This afternoon, The Little Guy and the other older preschoolers and kindergarteners sang six Christmas carols at the community college President's Christmas party. We, of course, videotaped the entire thing, as well as taking photos! All the kids wore the adorable antlers they made (as seen in the photo). We've been practicing the words to all six songs at home for about a week:
- Rudolph
- Jingle Bells
- Kwanzaa's Here
- Hanukkah
- This Little Light of Mine
- We Wish You a Happy Holidays
TLG knew all the words very well, despite being one of the younger kids in this crowd. They positioned him in front of the microphones, but after the second song he switched places with the kid next to him. (Why? You'd have to ask him, I have no idea.) He did great! I was definitely a proud parent today.

When the President's Party was over, we retreated to the daycare for their Christmas party, where TLG made an ornament for our tree and the kids gave a repeat performance of their songs, helped with the younger preschoolers too. Oh yeah, my wonderful hubby and I also played trombone duets, but that was mostly just background noise. Ha!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

#410 - Guitar Karma

About six weeks ago, I sent a box of books and a digital metronome to a soldier overseas who had requested some beginning guitar instruction books. He e-mailed me to say thanks, and since then I've learned a little about him - including that he's been checking out a shared guitar at his base and teaching himself to play for only two months. Today, while attending a board meeting in North Carolina, my fellow board members gave me four guitar instruction books to send this soldier, and tentatively gave me a guitar to ship him later. The music and instruments are part of Sigma Alpha Iota's People-to-People project, which ships these materials to people who need them all over the world. (I just need to get approval from the project director on the guitar part.) I can hardly wait to see the e-mail from this soldier once he receives the instruction books - I told him about them in an e-mail as soon as I had them in my suitcase to bring home.

Friday, November 27, 2009

#409 - Bowling

This morning, we took The Little Guy bowling for the first time. Granted, he knows all about bowling from playing on our Wii so he already knew that there would be a ball to throw to knock down 10 pins (he even knew that it's called a strike!). My dad, my wonderful hubby and I took him to the Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights while we were all together for Thanksgiving. TLG took about three steps into the bowling alley and got very excited to see all the lanes and pines and balls (and funny shoes!) We used the bumpers on our lane and TLG got 73 pins in his first game and 50-something on the second game. He used a 6-pound ball and was able to hold it with the correct fingers and throw it using one arm (though he tried out each arm a few times). No granny-rolling between his legs for our little guy! It was really fun to see him dance around in excitement to try this new thing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

#408 - Shoebox Party

As you know, I enjoy volunteer work. I pack boxes of books for soldiers, I help the local PBS television station, and so on. But this afternoon, I attended a shoebox party. The hosts have this party annually through Operation Christmas Child (a part of Samaritan's Purse) where they pack shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies and candy for needy children all over the world. I brought a few bags of candy and a Wal-Mart bag full of stuff I purchased last week, but I was not ready for the sheer size of this party! They were expecting 60 guests and had a video to help us learn what to pack. I ended up leaving and going to the Dollar Tree store to get more items for my boxes. We had to wrap each shoebox in Christmas paper (which was the hardest part of the party). It was fun to see what everyone was packing and I was glad to help out in this way.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#407 - Xmas Fireworks

This evening, the little guy, my fabulous mother-in-law, and I went to the arrival of Santa Claus at the Summit mall. We were supposed to meet up with a bunch of families from our daycare, but we only ever found one other family. I was surprised at the sheer number of people there! There was a youth choir singing carols, and Santa arrived with a police escort. TLG was close enough to the roped-off walkway to say a quick hello. After that, there was 10-15 minutes of fireworks, which was really fun to see in December! The mall had distributed fancy-lensed paper glasses which made the fireworks look more rainbow-colored than normal. When the fireworks ended, we chose not to stay to shop or meet Santa more closely. What a neat event for the mall to have.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#406 - Trios at Home

As you know, my hubby and I both play trombone in a swing band. We are currently playing the 2nd and 3rd chairs in the group with another local musician (one who's so good, it's his day job!). So this evening, our friend the trombonist came over for dinner and an hour or so of playing trios/duets with us. (Fortunately, we have an amazing Grandma who played with the little guy during the music portion of our evening - thanks Grandma!) This turned into a really fun evening after a stressful day of work... we tried our hand at some classical duets and Christmas trios and had a great time. I'm so lucky to have music as part of our lives.

#405 - Orange Basil Salad

This evening, after a long tough day at work, we tried a new salad recipe: Orange Basil Spinach salad. The dressing was balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. The salad itself was spinach, fresh basil, orange wedges, dried cranberries, red onion, and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds (made fresh on Halloween Eve a few weeks ago). I don't usually serve new recipes to company (see blog entry #406) but this salad was just begging us to try it. And I have to say: YUM! My wonderful hubby (who doesn't like cranberries) and our little guy (who hasn't really tried spinach before) both ate quite a bit of this --- hubby even cleaned his plate. I think we'll be trying this one again before long.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

#404 - November Swimming

Last night, after our big event, my wonderful hubby and I stayed the night at the Atlantis hotel where I had spent all day. We had a very nice room on one of the concierge floors! I wish I could say I slept well, but I'll admit between the energy of a great event, funny noises in the middle of the night, my boss texting me at 3:30am, and the alarm clock going off at 5:30 (no, we didn't set it).... let's just say it wasn't the most restful night. However, this morning after a wonderful room service breakfast, the hubby went home to collect our bathing suits and TLG... and when they got back, the three of us went swimming in the indoor pool. This part of our stay was wonderful, as the water was delightful and TLG was thrilled to be swimming. (He is definitely ready for swim lessons next spring, as he's already experimenting with holding his breath and going under water!) So despite the lack of sleep, it was a great morning with my family, and you gotta love that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#403 - Raising $$$ in a Down Economy

Tonight I was the lead point person for a major fundraising dinner. We hosted 600 people for a reception/dinner/presentation/dancing. Overall, I'm proud to say the event went very well. Everyone I spoke to had a good time, thought the food was great and the presentation was nice. The only real complaint I heard was that the band and singers were too loud, and though we asked them numerous times to turn it down, it never really got better. Best news of all: We made well over our fundraising goal for the evening. It is a different experience being the point person, staying on schedule and working with the staff of the venue to get everything exactly right. I had a blast tonight (and I only got one blister from my goofy shoes). A job well done, if I do say so myself. Also, a special shout-out to my amazing hubby (who never actually reads this) who put on a tuxedo and volunteered his time to help this evening. I love showing off my handsome better half and though I know big crowds aren't his favorite scene, he is really good talking to people. I'm a lucky girl.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#402 - Veterans Day Parade

I've lived in Reno for 12 Veterans Days so far, and I've never attended a parade. So today, I took TLG downtown to watch the Veterans Day Parade on Virginia Street. It wasn't exactly what I expected: there were tons of JROTC students and veteran's support groups, boy and girl scout troops... all just walking and waving. Yes, there were six or seven marching bands and a couple of horses, but where were the floats? TLG did enjoy seeing the motorcycles and the two or three vintage cars. And he did get really sad when the people handing out candy ran out before he got some. (A big thank-you to the girl sitting next to us who gave him a piece before he totally melted down.) I don't know if we'll make it a habit to attend this parade, but it was nice to acknowledge our veterans' gift to our country.

Monday, November 9, 2009

#401 - TLG's Bubbles

I love bubble baths, and The Little Guy (who loves all things water-related) has always enjoyed them too. Usually we use Johnson's Bedtime Bath (purple bottle) or Avon's kids bubble bath. This evening, we tried a new bath product: Johnson's baby bubble bath & wash (in a blue bottle). The scent is on the fruity side for me - upon opening, I said "Hey! It smells like fruit salad!"... but TLG didn't seem to mind it. It had plenty of bubbles to start, but once we started using soap to wash (I used our regular soap, not the new product), the bubbles just about disappeared. We'll use this bottle, but I think next time we'll go back to our tried and true favorites.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

#400 - Healthy Tree

In the early summer, we noticed that one of the five trees in our backyard was growing brown clumps on the branches near the budding leaves. Concerned, I took a sample to the state agriculture office to ask about what kind of fungus it was and how to get rid of it. I became even more concerned when instead of a fungus, they told me we had an infestation of teeny-tiny bugs that were slowly eating the tree! They told me the only way to get rid of the bugs was to wait until fall, when the leaves fall off, then remove the clumps by hand. This would avoid removing large branches of the tree (which would be bad for the tree) and would get rid of the bugs. So today, I spent 30 minutes standing on a ladder pruning a tree. The branches are pretty high on this tree, so I really only helped two branches today, but every little bit helps, right? We have a long way to go out there before the snow arrives, though. Whew!

Friday, November 6, 2009

#399 - Good Karma

We went out to dinner tonight at one of our favorite places, Red Robin. As I was helping the little guy unbuckle his carseat, I noticed a loud hissing noise nearby. It turns out we had just driven over a large nail and the rear passenger tire was going flat. My wonderful hubby got out the spare, took off the old tire, and then... couldn't get the spare tire on because of a crack in the parking lot that we were parked on. I called AAA, and while I was requesting help, a perfect stranger brought a flashlight over and started helping my dear hubby re-position the car jack to try again. He said he's a police officer and he helps lots of people with their cars, and his wife waited patiently while they worked together to replace the spare and put the pieces back into place. We didn't catch his name at all, but I wish him tons of good karma and owe him a big debt of thanks.

#398 - Sesame Street Love

Today a memory I wrote about my experience at Muppetfest (in 2001) was published online in USA Today's story about the 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street. I submitted the story on Monday, not really expecting to hear anything, and they called me on Wednesday to double-check the spelling of my name and hometown. They said there was a chance it would be in the print edition as well (it wasn't, I checked)... but it was exciting enough to be included in the other great stories that readers sent. I'm proud to be a part of the celebration!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

#397 - Opa!

For lunch today, I tried a Greek restaurant called "Opa." A co-worker and I were on a work errand at lunch time and decided to stop in. The place is pretty small, only a handful of tables inside with a few more outside. I tried the large Greek salad, which came with a warm pita. It was delicious, romaine lettuce covered in feta cheese with some tomatoes, artichokes, kalamata olives and peppercinis. My co-worker had the spanikopia (spinach pie), which looked really tasty, with a small Greek salad. The man who took our order seemed like the owner, he was a little gruff with the woman waiting the tables but he warmed up once everyone had been served. He even brought us lemon cookies for dessert though we didn't order them! This place isn't really near my work (it's across town in the Costco shopping center) but if I'm ever over there again I'd go there for another bite.

Monday, November 2, 2009

#396 - When There's a Will...

Today, my amazing hubby and I finalized our wills. People have been telling us since the little guy was born that we needed to have a will, and it took us until now to actually do it. We started a few weeks ago with a consultation with the lawyer to discuss our wishes, then we had a second meeting to go over everything and ask questions. And boy, did we have questions! Legal-ese does not come naturally to me. And today was just a quick meeting to look everything over a final time and sign it all. Whew! As my hubby said to the lawyer, "I feel very grown up."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

#395 - Wii Fit

After almost a year of looking at the box (purchased late last year, if memory serves), today we got out the Wii Fit and tried it out. It comes with a balance board and a CD with a bunch of different games (yoga, balance games, aerobics and strength exercises). The little guy LOVED it, especially the ski jump and running games (boy, did he ever run!). One cute thing he did, after running in place for about 10 minutes with the game, he said he was sweaty and he wanted to take his shirt off. It was so funny the way he said it (I know I'm not describing it right, just take my word for it.) I liked the hula hoop game, the yoga stuff, and the ski games. My wonderful hubby was preoccupied watching football today and tending to his knee - did I mention he had knee surgery 10 days ago? - so I didn't see him do many activities. I hope once his knees are recovered this will be something we can all do together. One complaint I have so far: we haven't figured out how to get more than one player in a game at one time, so when we want to take turns, we have to back all the way out and start over. That will get old, so I'm hoping we can figure that out soon. But overall, I think it was a hit!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

#394 - Glow Stick

Happy Halloween, everyone! Tonight, we took our little Spiderman trick-or-treating, but the best part of the day for him was a new thing altogether: a green glow stick. We got the glow stick last weekend in preparation for today, and it's been killing him all week that we couldn't open it sooner. We got all ready to venture out in the neighborhood and got it out at the last minute. (It was like Christmas around here!) As for trick-or-treating, we only did our court and up one side of the next street over before TLG decided he had had enough... though after all the other Halloween festivities this week, I can't blame him. He did help us answer the door for a while, but mostly he wanted to play with the glow stick and eat candy. (Who can blame him?) The photo, left, is from bathtime - we let him take a "spooky bath" in the dark with the glow stick. I didn't know they could go in the water, but it didn't seem to hurt anything and he loved it. We had plenty of trick-or-treaters this year but between the leftover candy and the all the loot TLG collected this week, I do see some sugar rushes in our future!

Friday, October 30, 2009

#393 - Toy Story

Let me share with you today's "toy story": Grammy and Papa sent TLG $5 in a Halloween card this week, and we talked with him about how much that could buy in a store. We told him he could buy anything he wanted. He said he wanted a Buzz Lightyear toy, so knowing that they've re-released Toy Story toys, the two of us headed to a Wal-Mart Supercenter (guaranteed to have more toys to choose from than the regular Wal-Mart we usually shop in). And once we arrived, I told him he could take as long as he wanted to choose his toy. We spent an entire hour in the toy department, exploring and learning about price tags and how much things cost. It was actually the highlight of my day - we talked about the numbers on the price tags, and we walked every single isle of the toy department from bikes to Barbie dolls. It was fascinating to watch him play with every toy he could reach, discover new kinds of toys, and see what got him excited. I got lots of great ideas for his birthday and Christmas!
After learning the Toy Story toys cost quite a bit more than he had to spend, he spent the longest time in the Hot Wheels section, choosing the right one. He finally chose an "American Grafitti" collectors 1958 Corvette that came in a special display case. He loves it so much, he took it to bed with him this evening like a stuffed animal. The little man loves his cars!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

#392 - Daycare Trick-or-Treating

Yesterday morning, I spent a few hours at TLG's daycare helping take the preschoolers trick-or-treating around campus. Originally, I was assigned three kids: my little dragon, plus Snow White and a pink cowgirl. Not having much (OK, not having any) experience taking three preschoolers out in the world, I didn't really think to tell them to all hold hands - though I did ask them to stay together. Silly me, what was I thinking? The cowgirl took off, making her hard to keep track of, and the teacher re-assigned her to another parent by the second stop on our journey. So the dragon, Snow White and I did it all ourselves, holding hands most of the way. Snow White recognized her mother's office when we got there, and when she couldn't find her mom anywhere, she got very upset and refused to hold my hand after that. Thank goodness for her mom showing up 10 minutes later! As for me and the little dragon, we did great. There was about 30 stops for candy in the 2-1/2 hours, and he was a trooper. No complaints, no asking to eat anything, not even any bathroom breaks. What a kid.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

#391 - Pop Candy Featured Reader

As I think I've mentioned before, my favorite blog is USA Today's Pop Candy. Author Whitney Matheson has tons of great suggestions for people like me who love all things pop culture, and though I don't always agree with her (I'm not a big comic book fan, for example), I get a kick out of her writing and suggestions. Well, a couple of weeks ago she decided to start asking readers to submit pop-culture related "Top Five" lists. Of course I had to write one! I'm proud to share today's new thing: I am today's featured reader on the USA Today Pop Candy blog! I wrote a list of dream (fictional) high schools I wish I could have gone to, including the schools from TV shows Friday Night Lights, Glee, Gilmore Girls, Saved by the Bell, and finally Freaks and Geeks. I'm so proud!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

#390 - Disneyland with a Kiddo

The last time I went to Disneyland, I was a college student. So today's new thing was completely different: visiting Disneyland with my family. This was my hubby's amazing birthday gift to me, and it was spectacular! We were there before the park opened in the morning to purchase "ears" for TLG (see below). The lines for rides were very short so we got to try tons of rides! We walked straight on (no waiting!) to Pirates, It's a Small World, Buzz Lightyear, the flying rockets, King Arthur's Carousel and Winnie the Pooh. I think the longest we waited was 30 minutes (for Autopia and the Matterhorn, which only the hubby went on)... amazing. We had lunch in Tomorrowland and went on every single ride there except Space Mountain, which was closed for them to put up Halloween decorations. The only two rides TLG wanted to go on again were Small World and the teacups, and he really didn't like the Roger Rabbit ride. (I forgot how scary that movie was!)
We met Pluto and Mickey Mouse, and saw Snow White from afar. TLG and I had fun playing in Toontown with all the bells, switches and levers all over. We ate popcorn for dinner and stayed until closing time, running to get on "one last ride" (teacups for the boys, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for me). When it was time to leave, we had to stop on Main Street to buy souvenirs including a Mickey light saber for TLG. Then we hiked across the street to IHOP to have pancakes for dinner late in the evening.
What an amazing day we had, and some great memories for our photo album too. TLG is the perfect age for a first trip to Disneyland - he loved seeing all the characters and choosing which rides to go on. And I loved watching him explore and see all the amazing things Disneyland has to offer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

#389 - California Adventure

Today, our family flew to Burbank, CA then drove to Anaheim and spent the day in Disney's California Adventure. None of us had ever visited there before, so it was entirely new for all of us... and it was great fun! We met Mickey Mouse just inside the door of the park, had some lunch, and headed off for some rides. My wonderful hubby's favorite was the Soarin' Over California, I loved the California Screamin roller coaster and the Muppet-Vision 3D (of course). TLG's favorite ride were the bug bumper cars (though he seemed to like the Soarin' ride with his Dad too - upon exiting the ride, he was pumping his fists and yelling about how cool it was). Meeting and posing for a photo with Lightning and Mater was awesome (TLG looks tired here, but I think he was just in awe... when we were done posing, he patted Lightning and said goodbye). We also enjoyed the Pixar Play Parade which had many of our favorite movie characters in it, before they closed the park for the night.

Friday, August 21, 2009

#388 - Darn Fox Tails

We recently had to take our black dog, Ellie, to the emergency vet after hours. (The photo, left, is from the day we adopted Penny over a year ago, but it's a great shot of Ellie too.)
It was about dinner time when she started having weird sneezing attacks... and it got more bizarre when she started sneezing blood all over the kitchen. She continued to have fits as the evening wore on, and by the time my wonderful hubby got home from his evening activity, I was more than concerned. She wouldn't let us get near her, and it seemed to be getting worse. The final straw for me was when she started making a mess on the carpet outside The Little Guy's room as I was trying to get him to go to bed.
Finally about 9:15pm, we called All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, which had a vet on-call until 10:00pm. My wonderful hubby loaded up our poor pup and ran to the other side of town, where the vet had to put her under anesthesia and plucked a giant fox tail out of her nostril. Thank goodness for the doggie ER!
Our little Ellie has fully recovered and we have been keeping the pooches out of the dog run, where the fox tails grow. I do hope we don't have to experience this one again any time soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

#387 - (Really Old New Thing) 50's Party

Waaaaaaaaay back in May, my sister hosted a costume party with a 50's theme, which we happily dressed up to attend. It was an awesome party, and each of my family members showed up dressed to the nines. Even my then-5-month-old niece had a poodle skirt! It was really fun to dress up outside of Halloween, and we had everything from Elvis to a beatnik to a high school coach (see left).

Rather than go back and re-number all my new things, I decided to just add this now, with this totally adorable photo of our family.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#386 - Local Water Fun

Today, I took TLG to the local waterpark for our first visit. While we did visit the waterpark in Branson last summer, neither of us had ever been to the Wild Island park here. Going on a Wednesday was a great idea: we had no trouble finding chairs to stash our towels, but I could easily see how a weekend would be really crowded. Not to mention, it was the hottest day of the year so far! Also, children 3-and-under are free every day, so that helped my pocketbook a bit! We arrived shortly after opening, got a locker and got right in the water. The splash area was not TLG's favorite, so we only went there for a few minutes. But the kids' slide area, the river, and the wave pool were each big hits and we visited each twice! TLG loves to be in the water so much... we may have the next Michael Phelps on our hands. I went down some of the kids' slides with TLG the first time or two, but after that I got "Mommy, you stay at the bottom and catch me. I can do it by myself." What a big boy! And all day, I got lots of: "Mommy, I love you." It was a great afternoon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

#385 - Surprise!

This weekend, I threw a surprise birthday party for my wonderful husband. I had lots of help from my hubby's parents, who assisted with everything from planning to getting him out of the house... it turned out to be about 30 people over for dinner and cake, ping pong and good times. All of my family from California drove in, which helped add to the surprise (they had all called to say "happy birthday!" throughout the day). I know it wasn't a complete surprise for him (he told me I asked him some weird question about surprise parties months ago, so he suspected something was going on). But all the logistics were a surprise - where, when, who. It was especially hard for me not to mention it in front of TLG, who is really good at surprising me with what he'll remember and bring up later! And since I'm a terrible liar, that part was difficult too. But what a special birthday party! Thanks, everyone, for your part in the surprise.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#382 - #384 - Convention New Things

After my wonderful hubby and TLG went home, I stayed on in Chicago another week to attend a national board meeting and five-day convention. While I was there, I...

#382 - Shared a Hotel Room with My Fantastic Mother-In-Law
One thing you should know: I have the world's best mother-in-law. She and I have a lot in common, and I am extremely lucky that we get along so well. I had convinced her to attend the convention with me, and we agreed that staying together would be best for all of our wallets. I really enjoyed sharing the convention highlights with her, attending concerts and workshops, and reviewing all the day's activities. I am so happy I got to share this with her!

#383 - Watched "Flight of the Conchords" Season 1
If you like quirky, musically-related television shows, and if you've never seen this one, please add it to your Netflix queue. Brit and Jermaine are two New Zealanders living in New York City, trying to make it as musicians. They are hilarious, and each of the songs they perform plays out like a music video in the episode... and each song is a different style, from pop-techno, to love ballad, to disco, to French rock. Hi-lar-i-ous, and kept me in stitches while I was waiting between board meeting and convention activities. Season 2 is also out on DVD but I haven't seen it yet.

#384 - Limo Ride to O'Hare
Yes, instead of a shuttle ride or a private car to O'Hare airport, I got to ride in a limo. (No, I didn't ask for a limo, and no, I'm not anybody important. They just had over 800 people all going to O'Hare at the same time from the same hotel. They brought out the big guns.) The last time I rode in a limo was at my wedding over five years ago! It was really classy and made for a great last impression of my time in Chicago. No frills in the car, I will report, but it was fun to pull up at the airport and feel like a million dollars.

#380 - #381 - Chicago (Day Three)

The next day in Chicago, we had a blast...

#380 - Taking TLG to a Children's Museum
We visited the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville, IL. We were only there about 45 minutes before they closed, but it was AWESOME. I don't know if TLG liked the wind toys, the hands-on construction area, the water toys, or the giant mazes best. Part of that was my wonderful hubby and I were like kids in a candy store - "Hey, look at this!" (Then from the other side of the room: "Wow - check this out!") TLG didn't stand a chance with the two of us crazies. If you are ever nearby with a little one, I urge you to go and see this place.

#381 - Family Visits
We also spent a good portion of a day driving around Chicago and visiting various members of my extended family. We had lunch with my great-aunt who turned 91, and one of my uncles. It was such fun to hear stories of my Dad and his brothers when they were children! And we had dinner with two sets of uncles and aunts, plus one cousin and her twins. TLG was happy to have kids to play with, and I had a great time visiting with my family (who I don't see nearly often enough).

#376 - #379 - Chicago Firsts (Days One-Two)

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been away so long. It has been a crazy couple of months here. I'll try to post more regularly as I notice new things in our lives! In the meantime, I just got home from 10 days in Chicago and have a handful of new things to share:

#376 - Waterfall Swimming
The first hotel we stayed at had an indoor pool with a giant (fake rock) waterfall. It was beautiful to look at but GOOD GRIEF the water was cold! We swam anyways, since TLG loves to be in the water... he thought it was the greatest fun to swim back behind the waterfall. Of course we couldn't stay in there long because our lips were turning blue.

But I would be remiss in talking about Chicago if I forgot to mention the

#377 - Rental Car Upgrades!
Leftover from my previous job, I have a membership as a Hertz Gold Club member. Somehow we got upgraded from a mid-size SUV to a new Cadillac Escalade... which was awesome! Leather seats with warmers, tons of room to spread out, a smooth ride, a satellite radio, and best of all, a GPS. OK, we knew we were getting the GPS because we paid extra for that - but thank goodness we had "her" with us. We were only 90 minutes late to the...

#378 - Major Family Reunion
One of the reasons we took this trip was to attend a major family reunion in Auburn, IN. There were about 35 members of my husband's extended family in attendance, including a bunch of kids. We were late NOT because of the GPS but because we failed to double-check the driving time in advance. Oh well, we still got to visit with everyone and eat a good meal. While we were there, one of my hubby's cousins gave TLG a...

#379 - Fishing Lesson
I'll admit I've never been fishing. I'm not even sure if my hubby has, either? Outdoorsmen, we are not. The park where the reunion was held had a small fishing pond, and the cousin's children clearly had plenty of experience. While we didn't let TLG actually fish any, the two of us stood there for quite some time watching. I asked our cousin to explain what he was doing (since I obviously was at a loss for words), and he did a great job telling TLG all the steps to catching a fish. I don't think they caught anything, but that wasn't really the point.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

#375 - TLG's First Sleepover

As part of our date night last night, it was also TLG's first sleepover at Grandma & Grandpa's house. In over three years, he's never spent the night anywhere without either me or my wonderful hubby. I will tell you TLG loved, loved, loved spending the night at my in-laws' house. I don't know all the details about what they did, but we did get a few cute photos like the one here. (That's a popper hooked to a push-toy that TLG likes to run in circles with.) I'm not too proud to tell you that I was nervous and a little sad unless I was distracted by a trivia game or a movie... I had trouble falling asleep and kept listening for him even though I knew he wasn't here. *sigh* He had a blast, went to bed late and got up early, and fell asleep in the car on the way home (just the way a sleepover should be).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

#374 - Wings & Games

My hubby and I went on a special date night tonight and had dinner at a new place: Buffalo Wild Wings. We chose it because it's right next to the movie theater (and we chose to go see "Monsters vs. Aliens" without TLG tonight). It's a bar/grill type of place, and it was pretty crowded, but we got a table right away. We enjoyed the food, I had delicious wings with medium sauce (pretty spicy, actually, but they were great) and we shared some cheesy potato wedges. Hubby, who doesn't like wings, ordered a burger and said it was great. But the best part of dinner: I had heard about the trivia games they have, and our waitress brought us an electronic console so we could join in... it was really fun! The first game was popular music trivia and we didn't do so well, actually. But the second game was general trivia and we did great - though what do you expect when out of 10 questions, one was about the Muppet Show and two were about cars? We came in 5th in the restaurant out of 20 people playing. I can definitely see us going back here again sometime soon!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#373 - Emergency?

As you probably know, TLG had his 3rd surgery in February and it was a great success. All the work the surgeon wanted to complete was done, and he has been healing quickly and completely. But I admit it, I am a worrywart of the first degree. This weekend I noticed some things around his scars that didn't look quite right. So this morning, I called UC Davis to ask a nurse about it. The receptionist didn't even let me talk to the nurse, and told us to come right down for an afternoon appointment! Well! Let me tell you how much I flipped out. I assumed this was an emergency and had a terrible time calming down. Turns out what I saw was just scarring and was completely normal, the surgeon actually made me feel quite silly for coming in to see him, but HEY you can't be too careful with MY CHILD. Right?!? This was the first time we had to rush to UC Davis - all our other visits were carefully planned - and that drive is not fun when you're a nervous wreck.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

#372 - Violin Lesson

I don't know what possessed TLG to ask to see my violin tonight. I hadn't mentioned it in ages, I didn't think he even remembered I own one. I know I've never shown it to him. But tonight, of his own free accord, TLG asked to see my violin. So I brought it out of storage and TLG used the bow while I did the fingering to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He was very careful with the violin and understood that it wasn't a toy like his little guitar (also shown in the photo). But he loved making a song come out of the violin and wanted to do it over and over again. I'll be interested to see what instrument he chooses to play when he decides he's ready.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

#371 - Landlocked Marina

After we left the movie, we headed someplace else I've never visited: the Sparks Marina. This man-made marina is near I-80 in nearby Sparks, and boy was it crowded on this windy (but sunny) day! There's a nice playground that was crawling with kids, so TLG didn't play there for long. Instead, we wandered down to the "beach" which seemed to me to be so windblown that the dirt under the sand was showing through. TLG loved running up and down the lifeguard stations, which weren't being used at this time of year. We walked down the beach to three different stations before heading back. We didn't stay too long, since the wind was pretty fierce, but we might have to check it out again on a day when we could wade in the water. I wonder how crowded it is in the summertime?

#370 - $30 I'll Never See Again

We thought we were being fun, exciting parents when we tried to take TLG to see the movie "Monsters vs. Aliens" in 3D today. Instead, TLG (who admittedly was the youngest kid in the theater) got really scared of the things coming out of the screen... and we chose to leave the movie after about 20 minutes. With the extra charges for the 3D glasses and the popcorn/soda we bought, that's a good $30 we can't get back. I knew the movie was rated PG going in, but he loves Madagascar and has seen Shrek, so I thought the people at Dreamworks were on a roll. TLG also loves Monsters Inc. (which is a Disney/Pixar movie but, hey, it's about MONSTERS). Oh well, at least we tried.

Friday, February 6, 2009

#369 - Cracker Barrel

This morning I had breakfast at a Cracker Barrel. These famous restaurants don't exist on the west coast, so I'd never gotten to try it. I had a delicious meal, the best of which was the fresh apple cider. I don't remember even trying grits before, so I made a point to taste them (verdict: not a fan, even with milk and sugar). It was funny to me (and my good friend Kim) that they still have a smoking section, which we were guided to when we agreed to "first available table" - smoking sections just don't exist anymore where we live. After our meal, we checked out the in-house store, where I found a great extra-long straw that looks like glasses to bring home for TLG. Great variety of odd toys, clothes, spring time decorations, we spent a good amount of time looking around.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

#368 - Musings on Travel

Today I flew Continental Airlines from Reno to Phoenix to Charleston, SC to Asheville, NC. I have flown to Asheville before, many times actually, but usually Delta through Atlanta, GA. So here are some of my random thoughts about this trip: 1) Continental made me mad by no in-flight movie, AND wanting to charge for any drinks (even bottled water), though I did hear they are going to discontinue this practice. Apparently I'm not the only one who got angry about this. I paid good money for my ticket, and I can't even have a free drink? Or a movie to pass the time?!? 2) The Charleston airport really knocked my socks off - spacious, clean, lots of food choices. I would happily fly here again, if only I took a different airline. 3) Man, this is a loooong trip. Flying Reno-Atlanta-Asheville takes a little less time, but it feels like a LOT less time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

#367 - Thomas Live

This afternoon, The Little Guy and I went to see Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends in a live production. As it turns out, TLG is a little shy to meet any costumed characters up close (see photo), but he enjoyed the show fairly well. It was unfortunate that the show began at his normal naptime so he was not very enthusiastic during the audience participation sections of the show... but he didn't want to leave, either. The show itself was about a circus coming to the Island of Sodor, and since TLG has never been to a circus, either, I'm not sure if he really understood the plot. But he liked seeing the trains on the stage and seemed to enjoy the music, most of which he knew from watching the Thomas TV show. I got him a new light-up toy from the souvenir stand, and he did wave it around quite a bit during the show. One funny thought: there were cookies in the meet-and-greet area, and TLG didn't want one, nor did he want any popcorn. He settled on M&M peanuts (a boy after my own heart) but blew me away with not wanting a cookie!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

#366 - TLG's First Basketball Game

My husband and I both went to the University of Nevada, Reno and therefore we both know how to "Back the Pack." (For you uninitiated folk, that's the Nevada Wolfpack.) Tonight, we took TLG to his first Wolfpack men's basketball game. We started the evening by visiting the bookstore to purchase new shirts for all of us, because you have to dress the part to attend a Nevada game! Then we proceeded to the game... My boss let me have his tickets, since he was unable to attend, and his seats were great. From our vantage point, we could clearly see the game, the cheerleaders, the mascots, and the band. TLG loved seeing the mascots best of all, though at first he said they were "bears" instead of wolves. He quickly figured it out, though, and we all had a great time. We clapped along with the music, ate tons of popcorn, and cheered on the team to victory! We did end up leaving before the game ended, since it was well past TLG's bedtime, but we stayed long enough to ensure a win.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A General Blog Message

Happy 365 New Things to me, and a Happy New Year to you! Now that I've completed my entire year's worth of new things, I intend to update this blog as I discover new things, either for myself, or to share with my family. Thank you for keeping up with me over the past 365 new things, and now that I'm free of the burden of all the time scouting of new things, I hope to have a little more free time to do everything else!