Friday, October 26, 2007

NEW Adventures in the Life of Brenda #7: I Won Second Prize in a Contest!

WOW! Ok so this NEVER happens to me! Most of you don't know it, but I entered a contest shortly after Abigail was born. I was on the Explore Minnesota webpage and saw they were letting people post lists of their favorite things to do in Minnesota. You could list your favorite fishing spots, your favorite places to shop, your favorite local festivals, etc. Well, I thought it was such a great idea! I mean how cool to get a Minnesotan's opinion and inside scoop on the best of the best of our state! Since I LOVE our state and everything it has to offer and I love making lists, I thought it would be fun to enter a list of my own!

I had to figure out what I would make a list about. I decided on the topic I know best: inexpensive dates! So I started writing down all the places Jon and I love to go that is either super cheap or free! You can see my list at Click on "Romantic Getaways" and pick my list (Brenda's 10 Favorite Twin Cities Dates on a Shoestring).

After I was finished making my list I noticed there was a contest going on for the best list! I kind of shrugged my shoulders and said, "Meh." I mean who wins those things anyway? There were already like a hundred lists up by the time I put mine up and thus I forgot all about it.

Well out of the blue last week I got an email from Explore Minnesota congradulating me for winning Second Prize in the Create-a-List contest! Here's the irony: I wrote a list for cheap dates and the prize was a whole bunch of coupons, gift cards, and free passes to see stuff in the city!!! Let me write down all the neat places Jon and I will get to see/stay at/eat!!!

* 2 FREE admissions to the Mill City Museum (the COOLEST museum in the TC!! Definitely a place to take your kids!)
* $100 certificate for Chambers Hotel or Chambers Kitchen Restaurant (luxury hotel in downtown!)
* $100 certificate for Palomino or Kincaid's Restaurant (SUPER upscale!)
* 2 FREE gallery admissions at teh Walker Art Center & Guide Book
* Graves 601 Hotel Gift Card for a 2-Night stay (another luxury hotel in downtown!)
* $100 Macy's Gift Card
* $125 Gift Certificate for Premier Salon's at Macy's!!!!!!
* Certificate for a backstage tour of the new Guthrie Theater and 2 performance tickets to the performance of our choice!!!
* 2 Mall of America Coupons Books

LOOK AT ALL THE FREE DATES JON AND I GET TO ENJOY AT SUPER UPSCALE EXPENSIVE PLACES IN THE CITY!!!!! I can't believe it!! We love going out, and before Abi was born we went on a date as often as we could! When I worked at Our Lady of Grace, God blessed me with a lot of favor from the parents of the kids I taught and I got lots of gifts in the form of gift cards that enabled us to try new restaurants and go out together for free or for cheap! Well, I don't work there anymore, and so I thought we'd be on our own to create inexpensive dates. Here's the best present from God! This will allow us maybe a year's worth of super hot dates! (2 nights in a luxury hotel?! BRING IT ON! Who wants to babysit?!)

I went online to check out what the Grand Prize and 1st Place winners received and they were packaged deals, like a weekend stay at a resort. You know what? I'm so glad we got 2nd place! That would only be one super date! This way we get to enjoy a ton of dates - I'm so excited I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it! (ok sorry for that lapse into the 90s. I really didn't mean to!) So look up my place in Minnesota tourism history :-)

OH! I almost forgot! These MOA coupon books are WAY more than we could ever afford to spend. The Christmas season is coming up! Does anyone need some coupons to their favorite MOA store??? Let me know! I can hook you up ;-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The World According to Americans

This is so funny it's sad (or so sad it's funny...whichever). Hey, where'd Africa go?!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NEW Adventures in the Life of Brenda #6: An Impounding Headache

I've managed to live in the City parking on the street a year and a half and avoided getting my car towed. I've survived every snow emergency and every stinking leaf removal. But every streak needs to be squashed by a big tow truck.

I was running down the stairs with Abi, the diaper bag, my teaching supplies, and a cassarole dish full of BBQ meatballs bearly on time for my tutoring lesson. ONLY TO FIND...nothing. No car. No happy little Dynasaur waiting for me vroom-vrooming. Then, like in the movies, scenes flashed before my eyes of a sign I'd seen posted the day before: "Remove vehicles from street Tuesday, October 23, 7am - 10pm for leaf removal. HELP KEEP OUR LAKES AND RIVERS CLEAN!" Unfortunately for the lakes and rivers, I opted to forget about the sign and leave my poor Dynasaur on the street for the big street sweeper to gulp up. So instead of spending an extra hour of his "I skipped my classes so I could do my Mid-term projects day" actually working on his Mid-term projects, my husband had to drive me to the impound lot. This meant I had to cancel my tutoring lesson and Jon had to be late for work. Of course I was crying and ashamed. I was feeling totally irresponsible and angry at myself. We were going to have to pay for the towing and the ticket when our budget was already tight. If the roles had been reversed, I would have been furious with Jon, I know I would have. But his reaction was completely full of faith. He told me that it had happened to him a couple times before and that it was an honest mistake. He prayed for God to help us and even cracked a joke about our leaf-removal towing tickets were the city's way of paying for leaf-removal. He didn't even complain about the traffic. I was completely blown away by how he took this in stride and blessed me with his favor. I'm so honored that I'm married to such a man!!

The impound lot is definitely a place I wouldn't want to visit after dark or by myself. There was even a newspaper blowing down a darkened alley with a cat screeching in the shadows (no joke, kinda). We were in good company, however. It seems the leaf-removal caught many a city-dweller offguard including Jon's old Gunny. They do not let babies into the lot, however. Maybe they are afraid of the babies sneaking in a crowbar and peeling out with a stolen car. I guess I could see that. Abi did have a sneaky gleam in her eye. Oh that same sneaky gleam she gave me before she blew out her Sunday dress in the middle of communion. The same sneaky gleam she gave before she raked all our leaves into the street, snubbing her nose to the LAKES AND RIVERS.

Well, I suppose my already tarnished record couldn't stay semi-blemished for long. I always knew I couldn't be an above-average leadfoot. Not with the way I drive. I guess the impound lot taught me to get my head out of the clouds and realize that I am one of the millions in this country that define the term "average motorist."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two Months of Abigail: The Illustrated Version

Here's some recent shots of Abigail. I know I haven't been good about getting pictures of her up on the blog. I'll try to do better!!

Here's that sweet little face!

Look how long I am Momma! I'm in the 91st percentile!!

Abi is trying REALLY hard to make her hand hit that blue moon!! She concentrated all morning and finally hit him once on purpose!

Gee, Mom. I think I need more toys.

Now she's smilin'!!!

Scary is right!!!

I love my Abi-kins!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NEW Adventures in the Life of Brenda #5: Autumn has Arrived

Fall is my favorite time of year. There are many reasons why I like fall above all other seasons. This morning was one of those reasons. It was the type of crisp morning where one fires up a hot pot of coffee, warms up some oatmeal, and slips into some sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Abi had just gone down for her morning nap and Jon had just finished his homework for later that day. He and I snuggled on the couch with our warm beverages and before you knew it we were giggling and guffawing at nothing in particular. It was just a fine fall morning and we had each other to laugh with. Jon ended up missing the bus this morning and he had to take the car to the University and pay $12 for parking. But it's been a long time since we just relaxed and enjoyed each other. As I kissed him good-bye, I felt confident that I had just spent $12 the best way I knew how :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Two Months of Abigail

After 8 blissful weeks (2 months) of Abigail, I have to say I am completely addicted to being a mommy! Abigail makes being a mom very easy. She now takes her last feeding at 10pm and will wake between 4:30 and 5:30 am (6-7 hours of sleep!). That time will slowly (as the weeks progress and her tummy gets bigger) stretch to 7am. Hooray! She's on a nice flexible 3 hour schedule which makes planning the day easy and hassle-free (for the most part). She has also learned how to will her hand to her mouth (as the picture dictates!) so she can suck her thumb and soothe herself back to sleep when the firetrucks leave the station nextdoor :)

Abigail is right-handed as you can see! Jon tried to get her to suck on her left fist and she did for a moment. Then, sneakily, oh so sneakily, her right fist made its move toward her mouth. Then, with both fists side by side, Abi made the switch and dropped the left fist. HA! I laughed so hard. She has also made friends with her stuffed Tigger and her musical octapus (both of which have faces). She loves to smile at them and wave at them. Knocking Tigger over gives her an extra special thrill ;)

She will also lie on her back and take unaimed and uncoordinated swings at hanging toys. She gets so excited she makes noises, which also amuses her. What was that I just did? she wonders. Did I just coo? Whatever I did, it made all the big people laugh and clap! She's on her way to a down-right giggle!

Her two-month check-up was today, which means Abi received her first set of shots. I had to pray for strength and courage for Abi, but really I was saying, "God, give ME strength to hold my daughter as she gets pricked with 3 big needles!!!" And I did cry silently as I sang Jesus Loves Me to her. She gave 5 big, red-faced wails and then went to sleep. Oh that sweet little Abigail!

Now for the interesting stuff! She weighed in at 12 lbs 5 oz (89 percentile) and was 23 1/2 inches long (91 percentile). My baby is BIG! Her baby acne is clearing up but her cradle cap (baby dandruff) has just begun. Yuck.