Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Farmer Markets

This post is long overdue. I had every intention of posting last week but then it didn't happen. So now it time to catch up as the last day in September is almost done. 

Let see on September 20th, Mike had his last Cedar Rapids Farmers Market. Sullivan and I decided to make a visit and venture one last time too see all the goods and produce this market had to offer. Compared to when we went to Des Moines Farmers Market a couple of weeks prior, this market was BUSY! Stopping and talking with Mike was near impossible and customers kept coming in to his tent, and he said it wasn't even that busy. He's seen worse. 

Sullivan and I strolled around, didn't buy much but we had a great time.

This past weekend on the 27th, Sullivan and I met up with my dear friend Allison and her new little one Jackson to hit up our very own Cedar Falls Farmers Market. Hey, we got to get our visits in before all the cold and snow come. Our weekends are numbered before the farmers markets will be done for the year. We had a great time strolling around with our littles picking out pumpkins, and vegetables for Allison to make Jackson some baby food. This little sprout will have some yummy eats in a couple of months. The boys were great and the conversation was awesome. We let the boys play and sprawl out while Allison and I shared some scones. Life is Good!

Afterwards, Sullivan and I stopped at our local Fareway for some groceries. Not sure if all the Fareways have them but ours have mini shopping carts for children to push around. Sullivan always seems to eye the kids wheeling around the aisles with these. And me the over protective mom, who nervous my kid would terrorize the store, has never let him use one. Saturday was a different store. I threw all caution to the wind and let him explore. He was so good and only once did he try to sneak something in the cart that I didn't give him. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vacation 2014

**Warning: this post is long and is overloaded with pictures and videos.**

As you already know, I was on vacation this past week. Mike joined in on the fun by taking the afternoon off of work on Friday so we could have a little family getaway. We kept it short since this was our first family vacation. On my list for ideas was to stay overnight in Des Moines, maybe check out the Downtown Farmers Market and take Sullivan to Blank Park Zoo. We did all the above and had the best time. 

On Friday afternoon with the car packed, we headed to the Fairfield Inn in Ankeny. I think my toughest decision for this vacation was where to stay. At first I thought close to Blank Park Zoo, but then thought we would be back tracking if we wanted to go to the Downtown Farmers Market. My next option was to look in downtown Des Moines. I decided to go against this as well since most of those hotels are more expensive and do not offer free parking. So I decided to look for a place close to downtown but not in the hustle and bustle. I wasn't looking for anything fancy, but there was a couple of must in our hotel stay. The hotel needed to have free parking, an indoor pool, free breakfast, and a refrigerator all while being clean, rated fairly well rated and inexpensive. Fairfield Inn was perfect, right in Ankeny which is only about 15 minutes from Downtown Des Moines. The hotel was super clean, met all my requirements, and it was right off 235. 

Sullivan had a great time staying in the hotel. He loved the mini frig but not as much as the elevator and the pool. We got to our hotel earlier on Friday evening to spend some time swimming. He giggled, splashed, swam for over an hour. After we dried off and got ready we headed out for dinner to Jethro's BBQ. I've heard good things of this place from my coworkers who have visited or work in our southern locations. Jethro's was also featured on the show, Man vs. Food back in 2010. The service at this place was excellent. The waitress recommendation were a hit as well. I got the nachos with beef brisket, Sullivan got the chicken strips with homemade mac and cheese, and Mike got Jethro's Famous Combo which consisted of their well known wings and rib. 

In the morning we ate breakfast and were checked out of our hotel by 8:15. Surprisingly when we arrived at the Downtown Farmer's Market it was fairly quiet. We spent the next two hours walking through the closed streets featuring almost 300 vendors. The market was a great experience. It tends to be more of a true farmer's market with tons of vendors selling fresh produce, flowers and baked goods. We did buy a few things, something for everyone in the family: 2 giant cookies, a couple of pumpkins, and some locally made beef sticks. 

Our last stop in Des Moines was Blank Park Zoo. We arrived right when it opened at 10, so again it was nice and quiet. Timing was perfect on Saturday. No alarm clocks, no rushing, no waiting, no busy traffic, and no crowds. Maybe this all had something to do with the big Iowa vs Iowa State game in Iowa City that day, maybe it was because summer is ending and everyone has already had their vacations, or maybe it was luck on our side that day. Blank Park Zoo was more than I expected it to be. This zoo is not small but not too big either. It has a wide variety of animals of which all were out to see our the day we visited. The only thing the zoo had closed was the train rides, but that didn't bring us down. We saw everything from seals to flamingos, lions to "Nemo" fish, birds to giraffes, and farm animals to turtles. Some of my favorites were the giraffes and the lion. While we were visiting the lion, a child was making "roar" noises when the lion decided to reciprocate back. It was so cool hearing a real lion roar. Sullivan and I also got up close to the giraffe and fed him. Again so cool and such a neat experience. Sullivan's favorites included everything about the giraffes and riding the carousel horse. 

Our little family of three loved our first family vacation. We are sure to repeat something like this again next year. I loved making the most with our time together and couldn't be happier with my time off. We have a ton of pictures and a few videos to hold on to this year's vacation memories. I just love the video of Sullivan feeding the giraffe! We bought him a stuffed giraffe as a souvenir and he has not left it alone. He totes it with him everywhere around the house and will not share. So far his name is BIG giraffe.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bonding Time

It's amazing how fast a week can go when you are relaxing at home, not at work, and nothing to do. This week I am on vacation at work. It was a little short notice since I was planning it around our babysitters granddaughter being born, but we have had fun and are making the most of it. Sullivan and I have had a wonderful week together. We've stayed in our pjs until late morning, ventured out to run errands and wash the car, we've visited daddy at work, and we've played, done crafts and had ourselves a little mommy/son date. It will be so hard to go back to work on Monday so I'm trying not to think about it. We still have fun things in store for the weekend and tomorrow is Mommy day!! Sullivan will go back to daycare for a some of the day while I go to the chiropractor and clean my carpets. 

Here's a few photos of our week. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Picture Perfect

Today was a picture perfect day, cool in the morning and then warming up in the afternoon. Today wasn't too warm though, I think high was around 73. We took advantage of this nice weather and scratch on more thing off my 2014 Bucket List

After a lazy morning of watching cartoons, playing outside and eating an egg bake skillet and OJ, we got ready for a picnic at the park. For years, I've had this cute wooden picnic basket and visions of cute picnics under a shade tree. Today I made a couple of sandwiches, washed some grapes, grabbed some carrots, chips and dip and some beverages and drove around for the perfect spot. My intentions were to find a new park in Cedar Falls that was perfect for our first official picnic. We've had "picnics" before, but those were either grabbing subs or pitas and going to the park. This picnic was going to be special. 

After hunting driving around town, we decided the best spot might just be Island Park which was the same spot we took Sullivan to last time. Click here for previous post. He loved this park because of all the slides, particularly the BIG slide. Once we arrived, I realized it was going to be perfect. No one was there, there was a big shade tree right next to the play equipment, and Sullivan was already thrilled to see his big slide again. We played a little and then settled down on our blanket to eat our picture perfect lunch. 

Sullivan had a great time. As the boys were eat their cookies on a break from playing, Sullivan stopped and said "The park is fun." This little boy melts me. I tell you, I get no greater joy raising him to be the best he can while letting him have fun and explore the world. He was sad we had to leave, but I assured him we would be back. Our picnic was such a great time. I'm not sure why it took me so long to plan it or why I waited until the end of summer to finally check this off my list, but we might just make it a weekend occurrence until snow flakes fly or the cold weather keeps us inside.

On a side note, today is Grandparents Day. I want to wish my grandparents a happy day. I have and will still continue to create great memories with them. Sullivan would also like to wish his Grandparents a very special day. He is blessed to have both sets of grandparents apart of his life and love both his gammies and papas very much. You both play a special role in his life and he looks up to all of you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend, it sure was nice to have an extra day off! This weekend was the perfect mix of laid back, hanging with family and spending quality time with Mike and Sullivan. 

Saturday morning I got to do a little shopping by myself. Then Mike and I took Sullivan back to the petting zoo in Waterloo. Late afternoon, Sullivan and I heading back to my parent's house while Mike got ready for a Sunday Newbo Market. We always seem to have a great time back home. Sullivan loves being around family especially his "gamma." On Sunday we hung out with my mom and dad, watched papa mow and blew bubbles with "gamma." Before cutting our trip early due to running out of antibiotics for Sullivan, I decided to take him to the Calmar pool. It's one of the very few pools open until Labor Day. 

It took a little while for Sullivan to warm up to playing in the water but once he was comfortable, he loved it. I happen to like this hometown pool because the kiddie pool is separate from the big pool and it's the perfect height for him to play in. 

Monday was even better sleeping in and playing with my boys. We brought back from my parent's some play food that I played with when I was a little girl. Sullivan has really enjoyed his play kitchen and creating "meals" for us. Seeing all this brought me back to my childhood and all the imagination I had with this play food. I could't tell you how many times I played restaurant with anyone who would let me. I also had the chance to organized all of Sullivan's toys and clothes. Hard to believe but his long sleeves, pants and jackets are all ready to go for the cool weather. Hoping you all had a fantastic Labor Day weekend!

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