My Minnesota - Spring Break

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

We were supposed to go to San Diego for spring break. I really, really wanted to get away someplace warm and sunny, but unfortunately that plan fell apart for a variety of reasons. I had taken the week off of work and thought about working anyway, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore some local places that I hadn't had a chance to check out yet. 

First, we met up with friends to check out Can Can Wonderland where we played mini golf and pinball. This place was so visually interesting and the kids had a blast.

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Riley and I spent a lot of time at my rental property in Nordest Minneapolis (part of the reason San Diego was put on the back burner), so we checked out a 'new to us' playground nearby. It was a little fun to imagine that if we still lived there, Riley would have a school right across the street along with this playground... and then I came back to reality when I realized how annoying it would be to live in that small space with a kid. 

We checked out locals murals like the ones on the sides of the Key North Boutique and the I Like you store. The Twin Cities has a ton of interesting murals and it's my goal to check more of them out over the summer.

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We've had a number of friends visit InnerActive and relay that it was a lot of fun so I knew it would be on our list as well. While there were a lot of different play areas to explore, the air pillow seemed to be the biggest hit with my daughter. I on the other hand felt like I was going to ralph with all the kid's bouncing around me. I was happy to sit on the sidelines while Riley jumped to her heart's content. 

Riley spent at a day at Aprils Fools Camp at the Westwood Hills Nature Center. When Jesse and I went to pick her up we decided to explore the place ourselves. We've been there many times, but decided to walk some trails we've never taken before and realized we were totally missing out.

And finally, we went to Sea Life Aquarium. This was technically April 1st, but our first attempt was earlier in the week. We got all the way to the Mall of America only to have Riley get sick once we were in the door. It was a bummer to turn around and go home, but all was back to normal soon after and we were able to squeeze this visit in before our vacation time was over.

And that is how we explore Minnesota during our Spring break. Make sure to check out where Carrie Bayless explored this month and follow the circle around.

Day in the Life - Spring 2017

Each season I spend an entire day documenting our life. I've been doing this since 2012 and at the end of each year I make it into a book. My daughter loves to read these 'stories' and we both get a kick out of the details of our lives from years past. Thanks to My Life in Transition for hosting the day in the life round up. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Riley is 7 years old

Jesse is 42 and I am 45

Lucy the cat is 12

I get to bed late the night before. I think it's about 10:37 or so. Jesse is out of town and I always find myself staying up later than usual when he's gone. My new neighbors, who I have yet to meet, have guests over and are sort of loud out in their back yard. Riley's room is on that side of the house so I worry that she'd be bothered by it, but when I check on her before I go to bed, I see that she's fallen asleep with the light on. She spent the previous night at her grandparents so I think she was quite tuckered out.

I usually wake a couple times a night, go to the bathroom and go right back to sleep. This night was no different. I wake at 12:42, 3:20, and 4:36. I notice the neighbor's outside light is still on at that last waking and it's lighting up both our back yards.

Riley eventually wakes up, and instead of heading downstairs on her own (as she has been doing since she turned 7), she comes into my room. She did this the last time Jesse was out of town so I was expecting it to happen again. She wants help bringing down all the new goodies she got with grandma the day before. I tell her she can make two trips and then ask her what time it is as I have my sleep mask on. She tells me it's 6:57. Huh. She slept in later than usual and I got over 8 hours of sleep. Yay! She proceeds to makes her two trips downstairs while I lounge in bed for a few minutes.

7:08 - I get out of bed and head downstairs. I debate about us going to the zoo to see the baby farm animals, but it's supposed to rain this day and I'm not sure I want to deal with the crowds there. Plus, I have so many to do items that I want to accomplish today. I had to work the day before so my weekend has been compressed into one day. While I decide, I start taking pictures. I am completing a 365 photography project this year, but during the month of April I am also shooting specifically during a challenging hour (hosted by Fiddle leaf Photography - the O'Clock Project). I've settled on the 7 - 8 am hour so I make sure to grab a few (or a lot) of pictures during this time.

7:28 - I make Riley breakfast (cereal and apples) and I eat yogurt and granola. Riley runs out to grab the newspaper and watches some Netflix. Once I'm done eating I decide that we will skip the zoo since there are too many other things to do. I start laundry and while in the basement, I put a coat of stain on one last slat of wood I have planned for a feature wall in my basement bathroom. This is the slowest bathroom remodel ever. It feels like we are getting close to the end, but it wouldn't surprise me if I mention work we're doing on it in my summer day in the life. I come back upstairs and assess the house. So much stuff everywhere.

8:32 - I go get dressed and decide that I need to go to the gym. I've been bad about getting there, but have been on the treadmill at home a lot more so it's not like I've been slacking. We've been going to this gym since Riley was little and we recently decided that after May we are giving up the gym membership. They raised their prices a lot so that's part of it, but we also find ourselves staying active outside of the gym. I hope it's not a mistake. Riley comes upstairs and gets dressed as well. She brings her new stuffed animal up - Kiki the cat. Kiki ends up accompanying us the entire day. 

9:00 - Finally out of the house. I like to get to the gym around 8:30 on Sunday before it gets busy, but such is life. We arrive there around 9:08 and I see that Jesse has texted me a picture of Gooseberry Falls where he and his buddies camped the night before. I drop Riley off in child care and I head upstairs to focus on legs. This is my hardest, but favorite workout. 

10:17 - As we leave the gym, I call Kid's Hair to see if they have any openings this morning. They do - at 11:00. I decide to go home and see if I can squeeze in a shower before going there. I get home, set Riley up with a snack and take one of the fastest showers ever. I end up using too much shampoo which causes me to stress out about the valuable seconds I am wasting washing the extra shampoo out of my hair. I follow it up with a partial hair dry on the "fry my hair, but get it dry now" setting.

10:45 - We get out the door with the few extra minutes buffer I require to avoid the extra stress I put on myself about being potentially late. We show up and Riley is slightly disappointed that we didn't go to the other Kid's Hair near Toys R Us. Riley occasionally asks to grow her hair out, but then will change her mind and ask to get it cut short. I pushed this visit off for a couple weeks to make sure that she wanted it cut and she confirmed that she did.

11:15 - Haircut complete. Jesse texts to say that he's in Duluth and headed home. Riley and I are right near a park so I suggest we go play there for a bit before lunch. Of course, Riley agrees. It's a beautiful morning - you'd never know that there was rain in the forecast. This park has a couple playgrounds and ponds. We play at both, and check for ducks and turtles. We stop and eat a snack and around lunch time the park starts to clear out a bit.

Riley is in a good mood and then she'd not. I'm not sure what happened, but she's super fussy. I play hard mom at first and realize that's not going to work so I softened it up a bit. She then tells me that she's in the red zone. At school, they recently learned about the red, yellow, blue, and green zones. She now knows how they relate to feelings and what to do when you are in each zone. We talk more about what she can do to get to the green zone, but she's still being a fussy pants. I give her the option to leave and get lunch (because I think hunger may also be contributing to her mood) or go check out another area near the pond. She decides to check out the pond and her mood seems to soften a bit so she isn't so cranky.

We decide to leave and I suggest we pick up Jimmy Johns which she loves. She agrees and tells me on the way back to the car that she's now in the blue zone since she's tired. This doesn't surprise me since she often is the day after her grandparents. She says that she's going to go home and color and take a rest (this doesn't really happen, by the way - no surprise). 

12:44 - Finally home after stopping to pick up our sandwiches. Riley looks sad as we walk to the door and then makes sad noises. I ask if she wants a hug and she says she wants one on the couch. We go snuggle for a bit and I notice that our new couch gives us a little more room to do this. I get her set up at the table with her food and agree that she can watch some TV. I've been working on a never ending puzzle for weeks so that's taking up much of the rest of the table so I head to my desk with my food and surf the internet. 

1:45 - Riley has now rebounded which confirms that she needed food. While it did seem like the clouds were coming in earlier, it's now gorgeous out again. I recently picked up some tennis rackets at Good Will and suggest we go down to the park where there are some tennis courts. We walk down the block and decide to use the area where you can hit the ball against a wall since neither of us can actually play tennis.

We stay there for quite a while and I hit the ball over the fence no less than 7 times. What can I say. I played softball as a kid - I'm used to hitting things in a different way. We both agree that it was a fun activity, but decide we should go home since Jesse might be home by now.

2:36 - On the way home Riley tells me that she hopes her dad is home and then says that she hopes he's not home... and then says she doesn't know. She's worried that he will find her new toys she acquired with grandma the day before. She has a couple more stuffed animals and some things from a garage sale that Jesse's aunt had. I assure her that her dad probably hasn't gone through her stuff and she says something like "he better not have". We arrive home and Jesse is already there... and he did not go through Riley's stuff to her relief. She's highly energized by him being home and excitedly runs through all her new things. She talks nonstop and when I start to talk, she interrupts repeatedly. I call her out on it and she lets me talk for a little bit. She's super excited to have her dad home (me too). I take a bunch of pictures and then realize that I should tell him I'm doing a day in the life. He shares that his camping trip was fun, but the slight sore throat he had has turned into something bigger. He doesn't feel well and is super huggy. 

3:03 - I'm super beat. I think I have 13,000 steps on my Fitbit by this time, but there are still things to do around the house. I start the dishwasher, and do more laundry. I bring a load upstairs and put it away. I open up the door to the deck that's off our bedroom and the cat and Riley follow. Our deck chairs had been stacked in the corner under a tarp so I pull that out and set them up thinking it should be safe to do so now that winter is over. Riley grabs The Secret Garden and I read it to her, but she's distracted by the cat, and the bugs that may attack her so we finally give up. She goes inside and I sit in peace and quiet for a few minutes outside. When I go inside, I find her cuddled on my bed under a blanket watching more TV (sigh). I go get the second load of laundry, fold and put that away...and then cuddle with my girl for a few.

3:55 - I head downstairs and outside to fold the tarp from the garage and bring in a recently washed screen for our bathroom upstairs. It starts to sprinkle, but the sun is still shining. Jesse arrives back home after washing his truck and sits with Riley to write a book based on the A to Z Mysteries series she's been reading lately.  I work on the grocery list and it starts to get pretty dark outside. I have no desire to go grocery shopping, but we are desperately in need of food. I decide I need to go alone so I can get Easter basket items as well.

4:46 - At Target. I get groceries, and then Easter basket items - although I'm sure I should get more. I realize before I go to check out that I have some prescription stuff I need to deal with too. My insurance changed this past year and it doesn't cover most of my prescriptions which has caused me to have to stop taking some meds. The guy I work with this day is super helpful and finds me a discount on one of my prescriptions.

5:57 - Finally home. Riley is excited to tell me about her story and I proceed to bring in the groceries and put them away. I hide the Easter stuff in the closet while she asks to do something with me. I'm starving so I make dinner and agree to have her help me make granola which I set out earlier in the day. She loves to help me cook and this is a dish that is easy for her to contribute to since it doesn't involve knives or her needing to get near anything hot. Jesse is in our office working on putting together a video of his camping trip with his buddies. They all have Toyota Tacoma's and do a little off-roading. Jesse has told me that he's not really into the driving over big things, but does warn me that I might not want to watch the video this time (he's correct - the video stresses me out, especially since our truck is not a beater truck).

While I sit down to eat my pasta, Riley and her dad are on the couch reading. After I'm done eating, I see that Jesse is sleeping, or trying to, and Riley is reading to him. Poor guy, he really doesn't feel well.

7:01 - Time to get ready for bed. I urge Riley to go brush her teeth and she pushes back - not something she typically does. She tells me that the dentist said that she should get help brushing her teeth until she's 10. I make her do part of it and then I help at the end. She changes into her pajamas and we head upstairs. It's late so we skip reading a chapter of The Secret Garden and instead read a couple stories in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. Love this book and so does she. While Riley had Kiki the stuffed cat with us all day, she decides she should give Pumpkin (one of many other stuffed cats) some attention since she hasn't done so in awhile. She also brought up her book that she was writing so I anticipate she'll work on that after I'm gone. 

7:36 - Give Riley some love and head downstairs. Jesse is still sleeping on the couch so I go into our office, turn on Pandora and start writing this post.

8:00 - Riley calls for me. I walk upstairs and she notes that she cannot find her pencil to write her story. Of course, she finds it on her own anyway. She's allowed to read, write, or color after I go downstairs as long as her light is off by 9:00. We find that she usually falls asleep around 8:00 or 8:30.

8:57 - Jesse wakes up, takes some meds, hangs out at his computer a little, but heads up to bed around 9:18. I decide to add a picture from Friday to Instagram and then continue with this post. Realize that I should upload my pictures I so do that before heading to bed. 

10:19 - I finally go to bed with over 15,500 steps for the day. I sleep like crap. Jesse is making sick noises and something is up with Lucy. She's all over me and wakes me multiple times. Twice, I get up because I wake to her puking and have to clean it up. It was a pretty miserable night and I worried that it made for a hard night for Jesse too since I had to turn on the hallway light was making noise, but turns out he took enough cold medicine that he didn't remember a thing. He had no clue. Not sure what was up with the cat, but she has been fine since then and I got a wonderful night sleep the following night so all is good.

And that, is another day in our life.

April 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month (or in the case of this month, my 7 favorite - I just couldn't narrow them down any more than I did). Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

In March, I had an opportunity to rent a friend's studio to take pictures of my nephew. Quentin is about to publish a book about his experience riding his bicycle from Minnesota to Canada, and a local magazine, Immersion, wants to do a cover story on him. He was allowed to choose his photographer so he called me. Such a good nephew. :) I'll share those picture later, but I wanted to share some other pictures from that day. 

I brought my daughter along to the studio and she agreed... as long as she could bring her cat costume. Deal. I also brought the tripod so I could get some pictures of us together. I've been trying to get in the picture more. I want to document that I'm here, but I also want to capture moments between Riley and I. Luckily, she loves to get silly in front of the camera with me.

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Make sure to check out the wonderful, Chrissy Mazer, and follow the circle around. We're looking forward to what April brings us!

My Minnesota

Another month has gone by where I stayed close to home. On the other hand, my husband has been camping in Minnesota a couple times this winter... yes, camping in the winter... in Minnesota. He's nuts, but I'm a little jealous that I didn't get to go with him. That is, if we stayed in a hotel room at night. He neglected to bring the camera along, but I can imagine the hikes through the woods and how peaceful it must have been.

Instead, my big Minnesota moment this month was spending a day at the Animal Humane Society with 12 riled up 1st graders for my daughter's 7th birthday. It was nuts, but wonderful at the same time. The Animal Humane Society is great for many reasons, but they did a fantastic job hosting this party. I would highly recommend them.

Make sure to check out the awesome Erin at Erin Blair Photography to follow the circle around.


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March 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

In February, I continued taking a picture every single day. It's not so hard to do, but the challenge is to find interesting moments and challenge myself. Most pictures are of my daughter with a scattering of my dad... and a random capture of the cat or a plant. One of my goal's within this 365 project is to take more pictures of my dad, collect his stories, and turn it into a book for the family at the end of the year.

This past month, we celebrated my daughter's 7th birthday, my dad's 89th, and had some surprisingly warm days for February. This winter has gone remarkably fast and it really seems that spring is within reach.

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And that's a wrap for February. I'm looking forward to what March has to bring. Make sure to follow the blog circle around starting with the wonderful Alexis Fischer Photography.


I finally did it, you guys! I created a new website. Yes, this one! I've been meaning to make the move for some time and we're finally here. It's been months in the making and I keep changing my new site around... and likely will until I get it just so... and then I might change it again after that. That doesn't really matter, because in the end I want a site where I can feature my photography. Plus, I still want to blog, but maybe not as much. Who knows? I can be indecisive about these things.

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The important thing is that you're here. Welcome!

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I used to blog over at Life As I Know It about my family which eventually turned into a mish mash of a photography and a family blog. While, I'm no pro, photography is my passion and something I've loved since I was young. It's come and gone out of my life in the past, but a few years back I dedicated myself to learning as much as I can about it. I've connected with a great community of photographers and I'll be linking to them from time to time in my posts. Make sure to go check them out as they are all worth the peek.

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Again, welcome... and thank you for stopping by!