Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dyson Dude

This post has no point, really. Nothing about the kids. No updates on life. I just wanted to share, in case you were curious, that I am extremely irritated by the "Dyson Vacuum Guy". You know the one. The "inventor" who put so much passion and innovation into his vacuum cleaner design that he talks about it via minimalist and european-ish commercials. Now, I know the Dyson is a fantastic vacuum (it should be self-propelled and empty itself of dust, in my opinion, for how much it costs....which is why I don't own one myself) but you will note that the commercials are silent and minimalist, when in fact the Dyson sounds like a tornado. I don't care that it rotates on a ball and appears to glide on air. Additionally, the fact is, to me the man's voice ranks as one of the most irritating of all time. His "s" sound comes through the television like a knife to my ear. And his sing-song brit-ness, so appealing in so many other people, is terribly whiny. I think "annoying sounds" must = Dyson.

Have any of you ever used the "super efficient" dyson hand drying airblade machine is a public restroom? You need earplugs to use it. Jet engine force winds and noise levels in a tiled echo chamber do not make for a pleasant hand drying experience! Kate practically become apoplectic everytime we encounter one of those and holds her hands over her ears and yells "IT IS LOUD" - but louder than the actual jet engine so I will be sure to know that she thinks it is loud. Which makes for a really extra enjoyable public restroom experience for us, and for all the patrons gracing the faclities.

So. In short. I had five minutes on hand to kill and I decided to share my thoughts on the Dyson Dude with you. Enjoy. Back to what I should be working on instead....

More Snow Day Pics

Some final pics of the day:


Kate striking a pose.

Delicious cocoa!

Kate took this pic of me :)

Snow Day

Well it is just a couple days ahead of March, but can we call this "roaring in like a Lion" in hopes that March will leave "like a lamb"? We were graced with HEAPS of snow today. The Twin Cities actually CANCELLED stuff, so you know it is significant if that happens since that is a rare event indeed. Here are some pics of the some of the fun in the snow. Wonderful Nick is not in the pics, because he was shoveling us out while I romped with the kiddos. It was a chilly and fun time, followed by Hot Cocoa and Sugar Cookies for all. Perfect!!!!






Friday, February 20, 2009

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected

This blog is pretty much a testament to how blessed I feel! I am really lucky to have such a wonderful life. An amazing husband, smart and sweet children, a family unparalleled in support and love, and just an overabundance of all the things that really matter in life. I do not take any of it for granted. Recently, I was given a "promotion" where I will now serve as College District President for my district. The details are many, and the role is large and I won't bore you with the specifics, but it is a huge honor and a massive responsibility that I do not take lightly. I have oversight of our chapters in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, as well as management of the district team. I am so happy to embrace this opportunity. As I have mentioned before, my involvement with this organization has provided me friendship and opportunity beyond measure - it has given me a lot, and I am thrilled to be able to give back my time and dedication.

I came into the role just in time for the annual College District President meeting. It was a great chance for me to meet my counterparts and learn A LOT. We really crammed in a ton of stuff in a weekend - meeting from 7am and working straight through in a conference room until dinner. To be discussing and reviewing and learning with such bright women was so mentally satisfying! Of course, we are a social organization as well, so we were sure to get out and enjoy some fantastic meetings in our very wonderful meeting location - New Orleans!!!!

Wow - New Orleans during Mardi Gras is.....interesting. Honestly, I cannot understand why anyone over the age of 25 (max) would necessarily spend their hard earned money to go and surround themselves with completely inebriated, stumbling crazy people removing all sorts of articles of clothing. We were there two weeks before the actual Mardi Gras and it was pretty crazy. Let's just say I am glad I brought a "Bourbon Street Specific" pair of pants for the one hour that we strolled there, because after just walking through that early mardi gras slop, they were pretty much toast. Our group must have looked like such prissy tourists - a group of ladies (not many there other than us, if you understand me) strolling down the street, our heads alternatively on swivels or ducked down out of embarrassment at witnessing something that really should never happen in public or private! :)

Seriously, though, it was an adventure - and now I can check the box on that life experience. New Orleans (aside from Bourbon St.) was just truly lovely and charming, the people were great, and we did some great strolling. We saw parades and heard fun music and enjoyed some delicious meals. Best of all, though, was the company. Such smart women! I get to work, daily, with an attorney, an FBI counter-terrorism agent, a cell-biologist, a lobbyist...the list goes on! Lucky me! :)

Here are some pics from our limited but well used free time in the Big Easy.

These are my fave ever. Beignets from Cafe du Monde. To. Die. For. You have to bend over like that or you will drown in powdered sugar.



One of the only pics that came out cute from Bourbon street because so much ickyness is going around in the background of other ones! :)

After Sunday Brunch at Brennans.

Oh yeah?!!!!

A conversation between Nick and the kiddos at the fine dining establishment, "Applebees", during dinner:

Kate: Dad, I love you THIIIIS MUCH (stretching her arms wide).

Nick: Katootles, I love YOU THIIIIIIIS MUCH (stretching his - much longer - arms even wider).

Kate: But your arms are longer! Not fair.

Liam, chiming in: Dad, I love you thiiiis muuuuuch (stretching his arms wide).

Kate, seeing an opportunity: Liam, that's nice, but MY arms are longer.

Liam, not to be outdone: Yes, but MY arms are SMARTER.

end of conversation.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chinese New Year

Kate's Mandarin Class put on a little show for Chinese New Year! I am constantly amazed at how much she absorbs and retains of the language. Too darn cute! Here is some video from the program....


video

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sisters, sisters....

As many of you know, each year I get the absolute treat of spending a weekend with 6 of my dearest and most wonderful friends in the whole world - my Theta sisters. Fifteen years ago (ack!!! when did THAT happen?!) we all pledged together and have been laughing together ever since. These weekends give my abs a serious workout from all the giggles, and smile lines become more permanently etched in my face thanks to these fantastic women. People often ask me why I am still so involved with Kappa Alpha Theta at "my age" - after all, aren't "sororities" for college women? My answer: because Theta gave me one of the greatest gifts of all time in giving me the chance to know these women, and to grow with them and share life's joys and sorrows - and for me to be able to help give that kind of gift to as many women as possible is my pleasure. My path on this earth is easier, more joyful, and more meaningful because of these women - and all of the amazing women that I meet through Theta. You could not find a group of more dedicated, bright, loyal, accomplished and unique women. Because of the gift that Theta has given me, it is only my pleasure and, I feel, my responsibility to give back as much as I can. Give unto others as you would have them give unto you. Theta gave (and gives!) great things to me, I want to give back.

Here are some snaps from our fantastic Miami weekend! We got to celebrate an engagement on this trip and now we all are thrilled to know that we will get to reconvene yet again within the year for a wedding! I have enjoyed time with all and any combination of these ladies in Chicago, Boston, the woods of Wisconsin, the ice of Minnesota, Brazil, Japan, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York and all kinds of places in between. Connecting over jobs, birthdays, break-ups, illness, wedding showers, baby showers, weddings and "just because" - we are so happy to share life's moments and most of us leave the weekends with no voice left and running on empty body wise from staying up too late giggling but running with a recharged soul. We are spread all over the world, literally - from St. Paul to Amsterdam - and we all value our friendship so much. It is a great model of care, support, and friendship for my own daughter. Lucky lucky me.


Heading to dinner in Miami

Pieces of my heart! Best gals.

This kind of sums it up.


This sums it up, too. :) The bride to be, by the way, in the pink! :)

Great time had by all.

Luck be a Lady

Nick and I had an adults only getaway to Las Vegas!!!!!! It was such a fantastic trip. We went to witness Nick's sister (Ava) get married to her love, Tommy. Two Harris girl weddings in 6 months! Fantastic. We had an awesome time - with terrific meals, fun nights out, and wedding wonderfulness. Luck truly was a lady and we walked away with more than when we got there, so it really was a super trip. Here are some snaps.



Showgirl pose - when in Vegas...... (note - this Miss American Paegant was at our hotel that weekend, I may have been mocking them here)


Awww......


The Happy Couple (even though Tommy does not look especially thrilled in this pic, trust me he WAS! He is just not a picture guy)


The Harris', Woodsons, Longshores, and Albrittons. AKA, Nick's Aunt, Mom and her kids and their spouses.


Mr. Dapper winning in Vegas. He humored me and sat at a slot and won big! :) Isn't he so handsome?

The Perils of Laundry

Our washing machine kicked the bucket. It has been an ornery little bugger for a while now, so it is a good thing that it will soon be hauled away to appliance heaven. I pause to reflect on all the fun times - that stinker pulled all kinds of hilarious pranks on me - like the time the lint trap got so full that the force of the spin cycle/draining shot the mesh catch across the room, sending geysers of water all over the basement. Hilarious. Or the time that Nick noticed a slow seeping water trail sneaking across the floor from underneath Mr. Washer. So fun. Oh! Or the time when Mr. Washer absolutely refused to run any load of any kind of size without going completely unbalanced and rocking and banging it's way across the basement floor, sounding like an army of crazy people were trying to knock through our house. That was so funny. OR, my favorite and last operating memory of Mr. Washer before I pulled his plug - when he got stuck in "wash agitation" mode for three hours and refused to drain or spin and I had to hand wring out a massive load of kid clothes the night before leaving on a trip which was also an extra delight for my RA hands. Bye Bye Mr. Washer.

You would think that buying a new beautiful washer and dryer set (Mr. Dryer was no picnic either, a super cranky old guy) would make me happy. It did not. For as much as these things cost these days, I expect them to lumber through our house gathering the dirty clothes themselves, sorting them, washing and drying them, and then folding them for us and making sure to put them away neatly. I don't think that is too much to expect for what we are asked to pay. HOWEVER, being without the machines (and the consequent travel now needed to get to clean the clothes) I am quickly becoming more than happy to fork over as much as I can to get the machines here. Nick and I went on a hot date to several appliance stores last week and found the best service, prices, and options at Sears. The only glitch is, the machines will not be here until Friday the 5th. So over 2 weeks without a washer/dryer. It is a real joy with kids - you should try it sometime! :)

I cannot wait for our new German friends to arrive and get to cleaning zee clozing. We were lucky to find a great GREAT deal on a Bosch set - same price as the good Kenmore set at Sears. It will NOT fold our clothes for us, but promises to be zo very qviet and evvishent vis ze cloz. :) Is that culturally insensitive? woops. Special thanks to our new foreign friends, the Miele set at the lakehouse that has been doing double duty on our behalf. We really are doing our best to support the global economy. ;)

I need more Diet Coke, Stat!

I know, I know, I know!!!!!! I have been horrible about updating the blog! I cannot believe it has been since Christmas. That may be a record. I have been working on my Thesis, which has to do with the impact of social networking on leadership development in the millennial generation - so I think I was just "tech'd out". Also, I have had the good fortune to be traveling an awful lot these past 4 weeks, so when home I have just been enjoying time with the kids and playing catch up. Well, and working on Ever After Gowns, and my thesis, and other school work, and laundry (more on that later! Can you stand holding out for the sure-to-be-thrilling laundry news?!!!!!).

Before I post pics and tales, here are some tidbits from the kidlets:

Kate, on inauguration day, strolls into the family room at the lakehouse with hands on hips and a very know-it-all expression on her face. She demands "Mom. WHY is Barack Obama on EVERY single Television in the house?! What is up with that?!" (she really said that, no lie)

Me: "Well, because today he becomes the President of the United States and it is a very historical day and we are watching it."

Kate: "But IIIIIIII voted for John THE CAIN"

Me: "I know, sweetie, but Mr. Obama is our president now. No matter how anyone feels about the man, or who they voted for, the job that the president has to do deserves our respect." I have since had this same conversation with her all over the Twin Cities - at Target in the book section where there are children's books with Obama's face everywhere, when we drive down our street and she reads Obama yard signs everywhere (still), and, yes, last night during the Superbowl when she noted that the new Pepsi can commercial logos look exactly like the Obama campaign symbol. Smarty pants mcgee - you cannot get anything by this one. She has said she would like me to NOT buy the Obama drink. NO worries there, I'm a Diet Coke girl. I think she is just super ticked that the candidate she picked did not win. It is a competetive thing.

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Driving around town after dark with Kate in the car last night, we passed a house all aglow with Christmas lights. Still. This from Kate:

"Oh COME ON PEEOPPPLLLEEEEE. Christmas is OVER. Like SOOOO Over!!!!! Time to take down the lights, dontcha think?!!!!!"

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Liam is in copycat mode. Big time. He basically repeats anything that comes out of Kate's mouth.
K: Mom can I play the driving game on the wii?
L:....driving game on the wii?
K: Mom can I please have fruit snacks?
L:.....fruit snacks?
K: Mom Liam pushed me.
L: Kate pushed me.

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The bunkroom at the lakehouse is operational. Liam is positively THRILLED to sleep in his new big boy "bump bed" as he calls it. I hope it has not been aptly dubbed by him, but the kids look awfully cute snuggled up and giggling in the dark in their "bump beds". Liam is such a big boy. Sweet and darling and he has me wrapped around his finger. I have to restrain myself sometimes, now that he is in a big boy bed at home as well, from just snuggling him to bits when I go and check on him at night. Such a sweet sound sleeper now that those pesky tonsils and adenoids are gone!

Well, big day ahead and lots to do - maybe even some more posts. Need to go grab a diet coke :)