Monday, October 17, 2016

Just The Three of Us

Andi went away for a boys' hunting trip in Canada this past weekend, so I decided to embrace the calm and stay put for a change vs. driving to our lake cabin. I bet I could count on one hand the number of times we've spend a Saturday or Sunday in the Twin Cities ... which is crazy since we live here!

I typically dread the weekends Andi's traveling because it seems like everyone in the world has their own family's plans. Saturday and Sunday drag on forever; it's different from the weekdays when the kids and I have our regularly-scheduled activities to keep us busy. This weekend though, I welcomed the chance to chance to take things at our own pace. Now that Tory's in school half-days, we've got somewhere to be every morning by 8:25am. I made a list of things to do this weekend, but loved the idea of picking and choosing where we wanted to be.

Friday afternoon, I took the kids to Westwood Hills Nature Center for an outdoor scavenger hunt. Going for a nature hike has become one of my favorite pasttimes, though admitedly, not much ground is covered with four little legs along. Before we left home, I printed a nature scavenger hunt in hopes it'd spur Tory and Aden to walk with a purpose. It definitely worked for Tory! We had the entire grounds to ourselves and enjoyed an absolutely perfect fall evening outdoors.

These two make my heart burst with happiness! I hope they'll always be the friends they are today.

We made homemade pizza for dinner, ate popcorn, and watched Curious George Halloween Boo-Fest that evening. I don't personally love how dark it gets at night now (the sun sets at 6:30pm!), but I do love how easy it is to pull the wool over the kids' eyes and make them believe they stayed up super late when it's really their regular bedtime. Movie night at 6:30pm, bedtime at 7:30pm and Mama's time by 8:00pm = winning for everyone!

Saturday, the kids decided they wanted to see the Thomas the Train exhibit at the Minnesota Children's Museum. We haven't been to the museum in ages (like, three years at least!) so I thought it sounds like the perfect plan. Plus, Aden loves trains these days so I knew he'd enjoy it.

The Children's Museum is currently under construction so it was a little underwhelming compared to the past, but Tory and Aden didn't expect anything less. They had a great time!

Later that day, the three of us walked to a nearby park and played for several hours. We had a great time.

One thing I love about the lake cabin is the way it feels like a mini-getaway every single weekend. We always have something fun planned, but fun takes planning and preparation. This weekend, it was nice to stay home for change and enjoy some local fun and relaxation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola

My mother-in-law offered to take the kiddos for a few hours this morning and Andi's away on a boys' hunting trip, so I had the ENTIRE HOUSE to myself. It was heavenly! I wasn't sure to do with myself first.

After pacing around aimlessly for a few minutes, I got crackin' on my looong to-do list. First up, meal prep for this coming week. I'm on a huge pumpkin spice kick this fall, if it isn't obvious already, so I whipped together two recipes I've been dying to try: Pumpkin Spice Granola and Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites. Now my kitchen smells like fall EXPLODED, and I can't say I mind it. Here's one of the recipes I made today:

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola

Step 1 - Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Step 2 - Mix together:
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 1/4 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Step 3 - Mix together:
1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp. unsweetened apple sauce
2 Tbsp. raw honey

Step 4 - Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix well. Pour over a large baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, stirring ingredients every 12 minutes.

Step 5 - Let cool. Store in an air-tight container.

Add 2 Tbsp. of pumpkin spice granola to 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, and enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from one of my favorite 21 Day Fix inspirations: Spoon Me

One serving of granola = one 21 Day Fix yellow "treat" swap

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Vacation in Alaska - Days 5 & 6

Plugging right along to conclude the recap of Andi and I's Alaskan adventure this past August...

Day 5 of our trip began beneath a bright, open sky in Hope, Alaska. The previous night, Andi and I slept in a tent near (but not with - ha!) our friends Kristina and Alex who graciously outfitted our camping adventure. The four of us enjoyed a simple breakfast of eggs, oatmeal and apples with almond butter seated around the outdoor picnic table, then packed up camp and drove to Girdwood, Alaska for a late-morning hike.

Girdwood holds a special place in Alex and Kristina's hearts as they were married there just one year prior. The four of us planned to go for a morning hike on the popular Winner's Creek Trail, then have lunch in Girdwood. But first, Andi needed to charge his camera battery (can't possibly vacation without a camera!), so we made a pit-stop at a quirky, local coffee shop in Girdwood to "borrow" some electricity and enjoy a cup of coffee.

Once our electronics were up and running, we ventured over to Winner's Creek. Many Girdwood visitors hike this trail as it begins (or ends?) at the biggest resort in the area, Alyeska. Kristina and Alex started us on the opposite end, which worked perfectly because we encountered less people that way. The constant jingle of bells attached to Kristina's backpack were a familiar sound as we hiked along with our friends. We never encountered bears or moose during our adventures, but Kristina noted their presence in the surrounding wooded area.

About a mile and a half into our hike, the four of us came to a hand tram used to slowly pull people over the thrashing Glacier Creek below. The metal cage and pulley system is completely safe, but definitely gave our hearts a workout! First, Alex worked to manually pull Andi and I across the flowing river below; then, we returned the favor and pulled Alex, Kristina and their dog Sam to the other side.

We continued to hike the trail until we reached the end, and then turned around and hiked back from where we came. The entire trek took about 4 hours and we were all famished by the end. Kristina and Alex led our car caravan into the town of Girdwood, and Andi choose a restaurant called the Girdwood Picnic Club for lunch. This place was unassuming from the outside, but surprisingly bright and beautiful indoors. The food was delicious, too, or maybe that was just our hungry bellies talking?

After lunch, Andi and I said good-bye to our friends. How lucky were we to have such amazing tour guides to show us all the best spots around the Kenai Peninsula? I loved our time together with Kristina and Alex ... and I definitely caught a hiking bug from them. It was so fun!

Andi and I stayed at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood that evening for our final night of vacation. The resort was big and beautiful ... and so NOT our style. Alyeska was crawling with tourists and full of gift shops, coffee cafes and restaurants. A haven for some I'm sure, but Andi and I prefer quieter, more local spots. I will say the hotel rooms were nice and clean, and a hot shower felt awesome after 24-hours of camping and hiking. Andi and I cleaned up and chilled in the hotel room for a while, then decided to head off to see what else Girdwood had to offer.

First, Andi and I took the resort gondula up to the top of North Face Mountain. We walked around for a bit at the top, then decided to ditch the hotel scene for dinner at a local spot in Girdwood. We wanted to eat Jack Sprat's but didn't have a reservation, so we opted for outdoor seating on the restaurant's patio. It was perfect for the two of us as we like to keep things casual anyway. Neither Andi or I were very hungry since we'd had a late lunch, so we opted to split a steak dinner. Our food was delicious, and the ambiance was the perfect chill vibe to round out our evening.

After dinner, we called it a night and retired to our comfy, cozy bed at Alyeska. We both slept like babies after all the adventuring we'd be up to that day.


Day 6

Andi and I decided to spend our final day of vacation sea kayaking in Prince William Sound. I'd never kayaked before and I'd been years since Andi had, so we thought this seemed like the perfect way to end our Alaskan adventure.

We checked out of our hotel early that morning and grabbed breakfast at a small grab + go cafe in Girdwood called Spoonline. This place was fantastic, though it's quite possibly my excitement for their coffee talking! This was the first time I'd tasted coffee blended with MCT oil and ohmygoodness, it was amazing. (As as aside- Andi and I have been on a mission since our trip to recreate this coffee goodness at home but like everything, it's doesn't taste quite as wonderful as it did on vacation).

With a hearty Paleo breakfast burrito and deliciously warm coffee in our bellies, we ventured back to the town of Whittier where our trip began a week prior. In Whittier, we met up with the crew from Alaskan Sea Kayakers. After fitting us with gear and a brief instruction, our group set out for a day on the sea.

This excursion was like nothing I'd ever seen or done before. We likely saw 10 bald eagles in the first 15 minutes of our trip. We were up close and personal with beautiful glaciers under a dense blanket of clouds. The view was incredible!

Half-way through our journey, two guides with us from Alaska Sea Kayakers led us to a sandy beach for a picnic lunch. They put together an impressive spread of hot soup, meats, cheese, crackers, raw veggies, cold salads and warm drinks to refuel our group for the day ahead. We perched ourselves on logs and rocks, and enjoyed our beautiful surroundings.

After lunch, the group of eight hopped back in our respective kayaks and ventured onward. We toured a small cave and waterfall, then continued onward. Half-way, our guides asks the group who wanted to take the short way back and who was interested in more exploring. Andi and I opted to end our kayaking trip early in an effort to catch the 4:00pm opening of the Whittier tunnel passage. (For reference, we had about 30 minutes to make it.) Our guide laughed and said we had tunnel fever. "We've all had it from time to time," she said. Our goal was to squeeze in a quick hike on another trail before heading to the airport in Anchorage later that evening, but to do so we needed to hit the road shortly. Andi and I paddled with all our might those last 30-minutes of kayaking. My arms were burning, but I couldn't stop now. We had a deadline to meet!

Finally, we made it back to shore and returned our items to the kayak shop. We thanked the owner and hurried on our way to the tunnel passage.

Wahoo! We made it just in time. Andi and I drove through the Whittier tunnel and emerged on the other side of the mountain range. Surprisingly, it was sunny and beautiful on this side. We parked our car at the trailhead of Byron Glacier Trail, and ventured onward. This hike was especially neat because it led you up to the actual glacier. As Andi and I walked along, we reflected on the amazing trip we'd just experienced. Alaska will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Alaska's sheer beauty is indescribable, yet I find myself trying to sum it up with words. It's quite possibly one of my favorite places I've traveled because it's the total package. Adventure, fun, hospitality, ease of transportation; Alaska has it all. I can't wait to go back again someday.   

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Day In The Life - Fall 2016

It's time for another Day In The Life post! Kick back with a cup of coffee and read all about our day on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.

Andi and Heather are 35 years old
Tory is 5 years, 1 month old
Aden is 2 years, 10 months old
Chloe the Dog is 11 years old


1:25am: I wake up to the sound (or maybe the presence?) of Andi walking around our bedroom. He shuts the bedroom windows and in a sleepy state, I wonder what he's doing. It's raining outside and oddly, I can also hear the outdoor sprinklers running.

3:15am: I wake up to the sound of Aden crying out from his bedroom. I roll over and pull the blanket over my head, hoping he'll go back to sleep. News flash: he doesn't.

3:45am: I hear the pitter-patter of little feet down our long hallway, and soon Tory approaches the side of our bed to tell me Aden's awake. "I can't sleep when he's crying," she says in an highly annoyed voice. I return Tory to her bedroom, tuck her in bed, and hit 'play' on her sleep CD.

3:50am: Aden is still crying, and I've had enough! I walk back downstairs to retrieve Aden and carry him back up to our bed. I know he won't fall back asleep here, but at least Tory will be able to go back to sleep and I'll only have one cranky kid today.

4:00am: Aden's wide awake and thrilled I let him out of his room. "Where's my Dad?" he questions, loudly, and I whisper back to say he's laying here in bed. I lay down beside Aden, snuggle him beside me and attempt to go back to sleep. At some point, Aden must kick Andi because I hear a loud, "Jesus! Grrrr!" All the while, Aden's laughing and rolling around.

4:45am: I take a fist to the face myself, and shout Aden's name. This three-ring circus in our bed is growing old, and I remember why we never let Aden lay between us.

5:00am: It's bells and whistles all around as both Andi and I's alarms sound. "Ugh!" Andi sighs, "What a terrible night of sleep." I concur.

5:30am: Andi leaves for the gym and I'm left to deal with our screaming terror toddler. I turn on the Super Why television show, per Aden's request, but then he freaks because it's not the show he wants after all. I switch the TV to Sesame Street and go to the kitchen to get an applesauce packet and sippy cup for the gremlin.

I log on to Facebook and post a message for my October fitness challenge group. Then, I pull on some workout clothes and head downstairs to squeeze in a 25-minute workout. Today is suppose to be "Lower Focus" on my Focus T25 workout calendar but my legs ache so badly from yesterday's workout, I could cry. I opt for Ab Intervals instead and get about 20 minutes in before one little boy starts climbing all over me.

Three minutes left in the video, and I call it good enough. Most days, I'm able to get in a workout before the kids wake up but today's not one of those days.

6:20am: Aden sounds the noisiest toy we own, a ride-on airplane, and continues to push the sound button even when I tell him to stop. Tory’s asleep in the next room and I'd rather she not wake up on a bad note this morning. I tell my inner self to calm down; just breathe. This kid has me frazzled and it isn’t even 7:00am! I won’t let him ruin my day, I tell myself. I shoot Andi a hate text and I'm over it. Changing my attitude, now.

I'm certain this morning wouldn't seem so dire if it weren't for lack of sleep. Sleep is KING!

6:45am: Upstairs now, I rush to get dressed and brush my teeth. Aden is wandering around me pretending to talk on the phone. “Hello? Gotta go do a lot of work today. Yeah? Gotta work. Bye." I stop what I'm doing and take his picture.

And, just like that, this kid melts my heart. Toddlers!

Aden notices my camera and says, “Oh! You take a picture to send to Dad?" He doesn’t realize my DSLR camera doesn’t send photos like an iPhone. "Hi, Dad! I love you,” he says into his hand / pretend phone.

7:00am: "I want a SNACK!" Aden shouts. "Mommy, get me up. Carry meeee!"

I plop Aden up on the counter and pour him a bowl of Cheerios. "Not that one!" he demands. Alrighty then! He seems to have a strong preference toward Frosted Cheerios this morning. I set Aden at the table with his breakfast (Cheerios, sausage links and an apple) when my phone rings.

7:10am: On the phone is a nurse named Gretchen who's here for a scheduled life insurance physical. I open the back door of our condo building to let her inside, and we exchange morning pleasantries. Nurse Gretchen sets up mobile office at the kitchen table next to Aden. "What's your name?" she asks Aden. "Tory!" he shouts and laughs.

7:30am: Nurse Gretchen takes my blood pressure, weight, height and asks me a series of questions for the life insurance application. At some point, Tory walks up the stairs and sits at the table with us. She seems utterly confused by the whole situation. "Am I next?" she worriedly asks.

7:40am: The nurse takes a blood sample from my arm and then requests a urine sample. Tory follows me into the bathroom and peppers me with questions about the nurse's visit. "Do I have to get a shot?" she inquires with wide eyes. I assure her the nurse is only here to see me, and that she has nothing to worry about. Shortly thereafter, Nurse Gretchen concludes her visit and I show her to the door.

7:45am: I make Tory's breakfast (strawberry toaster strudel and a banana), then she eats it at the table while I warm up two steel cut oatmeal muffins for myself and blend a Pumpkin Spice Latte Shakeology. Suddenly, I'm starving!

7:50am: I shovel bites of breakfast in my mouth between trips downstairs and to the bathroom to make the kids' beds, pick out their clothes for the day, and finishing putting on my make-up. Today, I dress them both for time's sake as we need to be out the door by 8:00am.

7:55am: Brush teeth, everyone!

8:00am: Aden dumps Q-tips onto the carpet, because, of course he does. I scramble to pick them up while barking orders for the kids to get their shoes and coats on.

8:10am: Out the door, through the main lobby of the condo and into our attached garage. It's like herding cats to get the kids to the car and buckled into their car seats. Outside our parking lot, I'm greeted by backed-up traffic for blocks at what - I swear - is the longest stoplight in Minneapolis.

8:15am: "Please I roll down my window, Mom?" Aden asks, as we wait. "Tory, I roll down my window, k? Thank you, Tory" he tells his sister. He's obsessed with rolling the backseat window up and down whenever we're in the car.

Aden sees a skid steer construction vehicle in a nearby parking lot and says, "Oh, cool! See it? Wow!" to no one in particular. He loves all things that GO these days - trucks, trains, cars, construction equipment; you name it. A typical boy.

8:25am: I park the car, and Aden and I walk Tory into school. I was worried about the transition to a new preschool this year -- new teacher, new friends, new building -- but Tory absolutely loves her class this year and funny enough, so does Aden!

Tory excitedly greets her girlfriend, Ryan, who was absent yesterday. All the kids line up with their backs against the wall and Little Brother Aden lines up right alongside them. "Goodbye, Miss Jess!" he calls to Tory's teacher as she leads the group of kids up the stairs to their classroom.

8:40am: Aden and I walk through the big double doors toward the parking lot, and suddenly his legs give out beneath him. He plops down on the ground refusing to budge, and tells me he's sad because he wants to go to school with Tory. Oh, boy.

I reassure him we'll be back to pick up Tory soon, but it doesn't seem to matter. "Come on, Aden!" I urge him as parents and teachers walk past us and chuckle. Finally the threat of carrying him to the car ignites enough ambition to get up and start walking again.

8:45am: Aden and I drive to Andi's office just a few miles away to drop off a belt and a pair of underwear. He sent me a text message earlier in the morning requesting we bring them. On the way, Aden asks where we're going and I tell him to Daddy's office, then to the library. "We're going to the library, we're going to the library! Hi-ho the derry-o, we're going to the library!" Aden sings from the backseat.

Aden runs up the front entrance to Andi's office and charges down the long hallway inside. Andi's in a meeting, so we quietly (rather, barge) inside the room. Andi embraces Aden in a hug while I discretely set the underwear and belt on a corner of his desk.

9:00am: Next up, the library; our usual Wednesday morning stop. I remind Aden of the library's quiet rules as we're driving there. Fortunately, we're usually the first and sometimes the only people at the library so early in the morning. Aden and I play trucks together, read some Halloween books and color a picture. He's surprisingly well behaved considering the morning we've had.

I cherish the mornings Aden and I spend together while Tory is at school. He's quiet and sweet, and soaks up every bit of attention I show him. I also know first-hand how quickly these toddler years fly by, so I try to be present in the moment as much as possible.

10:00am: I let Aden check out a few books from the library, then we drive to Old Navy to use up the last 50 minutes of time until we're due to pick up Tory. It just so happens Old Navy is having a 40% off sale, so I stock up on long-sleeve shirts and pants for Aden, and a pair of shoes for Tory.

10:40am: After we leave Old Navy, I swing through the Panera drive-thru and order a coffee for me and bagels for the kids. Tory's always so hungry after school, I like to have a snack or lunch ready to go as soon as she gets in the car. (No idea how she'll make it through kindergarten next year; the kid eats allll day long!)

Aden and I drive down the road to pick up Tory from school. On the way, I call the massage place where we have a monthly membership to see if they have any last-minute appointments this afternoon. They do; it's my lucky day!

10:55am: Aden and I walk into Tory's school, and wait in the lobby for her teacher to bring the class downstairs. One of Tory's classmates, Marshall, is so excited to see Aden he embraces him in a big, warm hug that nearly topples Aden to the ground. Aden doesn't seem to mind though, and the two boys proceed to march around the lobby pretending they're dinosaurs. Ms. Jessica, Tory's teacher, thanks her for the artwork she gave her this morning and Tory beams from ear to ear. Five weeks into the school year, and I'm already in love with the community of friends we've made here.

11:00am: On our walk to the parking lot, Marshall's nanny invites Tory, Aden and I to play at the park with them after class. I politely decline, knowing Aden will have a short window before meltdown ensues since he was awake so early today and it's also my babysitter afternoon. Wahoo!

I buckle the kids into their car seats, and surprise Tory with a chocolate chip bagel. She's thrilled! "Thank you, Mom!" she exclaims, and takes a big bite of her still-warm and gooey bagel. On the way home, Tory rattles on from the backseat about her school day. MJ got two "shush's" taken away from him at group time, so he won't get a prize from the prize box at the end of the week. She's very concerned about this matter, and repeats the story at least twice. They also learned about the letter "C" and made a Cats on C's craft.

11:15am: We pull into the parking lot of our condo and see the neighbor boy, Dominic, outside riding his bike. The kids are so happy to see each other. "Jen, come see me!" Aden shouts from his open car window as I park my car in the garage.

Jen (Dominic's mom) and I chat for a bit while the kids ride bikes and trikes around the drive-way. A scuffle ensues when Dominic brings out a squeaking toy panda bear, and Aden wants to hold it. Eventually, Jen decides it's time to go inside for lunch. She and Dominic say good-bye, and I let Tory and Aden ride their bikes outside for a few more minutes.

11:30am: Tory, Aden and I head inside our condo and I make lunch for everyone. The kids get the rest of the Panera bagels, grapes and yogurt and I warm up some homemade chicken tortilla soup with avocado for myself. I ask the kids if they'd like to try some, but they both decline. Their loss! It's really tasty, and perfectly fall. While I'm in the kitchen, I also boil noodles for Aden to eat at dinner.

Aden is so tired, he can barely keep his head upright. In fact, he eventually lays it down on the table right next to his plate. "Come on, Mom, let's go downstairs," he says. You know Aden's tired when he asks to lay down for a nap!

12:30pm: In his bedroom, I change Aden's diaper and replace his jeans with pajama pants. He sits at the end of his bed in one last protest against resting, but eventually makes his way into the covers. "You put raccoon outside?" Aden asks. "Horse and airplane, too?" Lately, he doesn't want any stuffed animals or toys inside his room while he sleeps because they are too scary, he says. After Aden's snuggled into bed, I read him two library books, Spooky Spooky Spooky and 10 Little Brooms.

12:45pm: Back upstairs, I clean up the lunch mess and unload / load the dishwasher. Tory gets out an oversized map of the United States I bought her a few months ago, and continues to color in the details of each state. This map was the best $3 I've spent at Target; it's kept her busy for countless hours and she's still not finished!

1:00pm: I ask Tory if she'd like to read some of the Halloween books Aden and I picked out at the library, and she agrees. Of course, I don't mention that we went to the library this morning without her and fortunately, she doesn't ask. Tory has a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) while she's busy at school.

Together, we curl up in a chair together and read Ladybug Girl, Five Little Monkey Trick-or-Treat, Halloween ABCs and a princess Halloween book.

1:30pm: I'm feeling super tired and snacky all of a sudden, and throw back a few handfuls of Tory's trail mix without even thinking about it. I'm immediately disappointed with myself for eating it because a) it's not very healthy - darn chocolate!, and b) it always gives me a stomach ache. My willpower is terrible when I'm tired.

1:45pm: My mother-in-law, Janie, arrives to babysit the kids for the afternoon. Janie is our new "hired" babysitter once a week, and it's the best arrangement!  The kids love her and she's familiar with all our rules and routines. It's also the first time I've had any scheduled "me time" in over a year.

I give Janie the low-down on Aden, and offer some suggestions for dinner. Tory wants to show Grandma Janie how she can "read" the Halloween ABCs book by herself, so she takes a minute to do so and Janie beams. I listen to Tory tell the story, and then I say good-bye and head out the door for my afternoon away from home.

2:00pm: I hop in the car and drive to my massage appointment. I haven't had a massage in ages, and my legs are so sore this week from my workout program. I can't wait to lay in a dark, quiet room for an hour and just relax. I'm a few minutes early, so I jot down a few notes from the day on my iPhone.

2:30pm: I check in for my appointment, and I'm greeted shortly thereafter by my therapist, Karla. She's chatty (not my favorite) but knowledgeable, and talks through most of our time together. I'm forced to perk up and be social vs. falling into my previously planned sleep trance. I suppose it's a good thing as I leave feeling refreshed and re-energized.

3:45pm: I leave my massage appointment, and drive to Andi's office (for the second time today)! Since Janie began watching the kids on Wednesdays, Andi and I have been using part of that time for a weekly date night. Yes, that's right, a weekly date night! I'm not sure we've spent this much time alone together during an average week since before we became parents.

4:30pm: I arrive at Andi's office, and wait around for him to finish up a few work calls. Then, we stand around the kitchen area with a few of his employees and talk for a while. It's nice getting to know some of the people in his office, but I'm also feeling twitchy standing there doing nothing while my precious babysitter time ticks away.

5:30pm: Andi and I decide to take advantage of this beautiful fall day, and go for a walk around Lake Calhoun. The path around the lake is packed with walkers, runners and bicyclists; apparently everyone else had the same idea this evening. Andi and I take our time walking and talking about anything and everything.

6:30pm: Andi chooses Urban Eatery for dinner, so we walk across the street and grab a table. I'm not drinking alcohol this week (on my own accord; I feel the need lately to cut back on weekday drinking), and it's so tough not ordering a glass of wine during date night. I order hot tea instead, and give Andi the go-ahead to drink without me. We decide to split edamame, Thai chicken lettuce wraps, beef kabobs and Brussels sprouts for our meals. All of our food is very good.

7:00pm: Andi says he wants to see the kids before bedtime, so I send Janie a text message and tell her to keep them awake until we get home. We pay our bill, and drive toward home. As soon as Andi pulls into the parking lot of our condo, I remember my car is at his office. We leave again, pick up my car, and drive home separately.

7:30pm: The kids greet Andi and I at the back door. Janie bought Aden some new trucks, so he excitedly shows up how they light up and make noise. Aden is bouncing off the walls with energy, and Tory is half-asleep in Janie's lap on the living room floor. It's a long day of no sleep for our little preschooler! Tory snuggles into Andi's lap as soon as he sits down on the sofa and the five of us talk for a while.

7:45pm: Janie says good-bye to the kids, and shows herself out of the condo. Andi and I take Tory and Aden downstairs for bedtime. Typically, Andi reads to Tory at night and I read to Aden and tonight is no exception. After Andi reads to Tory, he comes into Aden's bedroom to give him a good-night kiss. Tory's already asleep, but Aden's still jumping around on his bed. I threaten to take away books if Aden won't lay down in bed, and he finally obliges. I read him Humpty Dumpty and Five Little Monkeys before tucking him into bed and turning out the light.

8:00pm: Andi and I each take time to lay out our workout clothes for the next morning, then we crawl into bed together. I ask if he wants to watch a television show, but he says he'd rather read his Kindle for a while. I look over a few minutes later and Andi's fast asleep with his head propped up against his pillow. I'm in this weird in-between stage of not being tired and being exhausted all at once. I consider getting up and working on some Beachbody Coaching stuff at my desk in the kitchen, but think better of it. I know I'll feel better tomorrow after a good night's rest.

8:15pm: I turn out the lamp on my nightstand table, and fall asleep a few minutes later. A short, but sweet ending to a perfectly normal day in our lives.

The End.