Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Summer Digs

As I've proclaimed a gazillion times over, summer at our Crosslake cabin last year was one for the record books. We've been blessed with some fun summers in the past, but nothing compares to the memories we created there. And renting the cabin with some of our closest friends made it even better.

Both sets of our parents teased Andi and I about how "good" we had it and how sorry we'd be in the future when nothing would quite stack up to the beautiful log cabin (which was really like a house). And truthfully, the Crosslake cabin was nicer than our house. I mean, it had air conditioning! But the one downfall was how far away it was from our house. A 2 1/2 hour drive every Friday night through city traffic and the same drive fighting cabin traffic coming home on Sunday nights got old. Ideally, we wanted to find an awesome cabin with all the same great characteristics, a little closer to home.

Would you believe an opportunity just like that came our way this winter? Andi learned of a friend of a friend who built a new cabin on Pipe Lake in Wisconsin, just 80 miles from our house. The couple was interested in renting their old cabin on the same lake. I few weeks ago, Andi went to tour the WI cabin with a few friends.

The Pros:
  • Same size as the Crosslake cabin - 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
  • 80 miles away from our house (compared to 160 miles to Crosslake)
  • Fully furnished including all kitchen utensils, plates, etc.
  • 2 docks and a fishing boat already there for us to use
  • A hot tub!
  • 2nd "beer fridge" bar area / kitchen off the deck for snacks and booze
  • Big yard and sandy lakeshore
  • Fire pit
  • Giant wooden picnic table for dining outdoors
  • Downstairs game room
  • Big, attached garage for the big pups to sleep
  • Neighborhood bar a few miles away called The County Line
  • Clean, clear lake water
  • Garden we're welcome to plant vegetables in
  • Bigger lake
  • Only 80 miles away from our house means we'll be closer to home for the baby
  • All the same couples are in for the cabin fun again this year, plus our friends Ellie and Derrick!
The Cons:
  • A gigantic stuffed bear which will be staying with us all summer
  • The only pooch allowed in the house is Chloe (which doesn't make some of our friends very happy)
  • It's not quite as fancy as the Crosslake cabin
  • I was REALLY in love with our old cabin - can a new one really take its place?

Now for some photos ...

Why not start with the lake?

and a big deck for socializing ...

The beer fridge mini-kitchen off the deck
(did I mention that all the dead animals are going away except that one big bear?)

What big bear?
That one. In the living room.

One of the bedrooms ...

Downstairs Rec Room

Main kitchen

Cute little breakfast nook ...

A view of the house from the back (lake side)

I haven't seen the cabin in person (only through Andi's photos) but overall, I'm pleased. We're going to have a great summer with our family and friends. And best of all, we'll be closer to home for baby.

Is it summer yet? I'm ready.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dog Tired

I'm dog tired today. And I've been feeling all "poor me" this week because I miss my husband terribly. You KNOW how I get when I'm feeling neglected.

I think it's a combination of actually working pretty hard this week (did I just admit that?), coupled with my baby internal alarm clock which goes off precisely at 3:00am and this dreary, cold weather Minnesota we're STILL experiencing. I feel like I'm back to the first few weeks of my pregnancy where all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. No energy or ambition to do any household chores or cook dinner for the hubby or baby bump.

Andi's been traveling quite a bit lately and I think that's part of the culprit too. We have this unspoken rule where it's OK not to communicate much while he's traveling. Usually it's fine with me as he's busy and tired and not much for phone conversation anyway. But lately, weeks of hectic travel schedules are getting to me and I feel like all we say is good-bye. Blah, I hate those times on the calendar.

Putting my tired, crabby self to bed now. The laundry can wait until tomorrow.

Focusing on April 12 and our big 20 week ultrasound / baby gender reveal....
Dreaming of cabin time with Andi starting May 1....
Thinking positive, happy thoughts ...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Has Spring Really Sprung?


I came home from Nebraska this weekend where the temperatures were warm and spring-like. 60's and sun where flip flops and no coats were welcome everywhere.

As I drove into Minnesota yesterday, I watched my car's outside temperature gauge tick lower and lower. But I can't complain too much ... most of the snow has melted from my yard and the welcome sight of tulips are popping up in my flower beds. TULIPS! A sure sign spring is around the corner, right?

.... BUT, the forecast is calling for 3-5 inches of snow on Wednesday. Please, weatherman, tell me it isn't snow, I mean so. Another chance for snow in the forecast for the weekend. Could it really be?

On the news tonight, they said we should feel lucky because Minnesota's March average snowfall is 10 inches and we've only have 3.5 in the Twin Cities this month. Lucky? Is that really the word you'd use?

Say it isn't so ...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Home, Home At Last

Phew! I made it to Nebraska last night.

Yesterday after work, I hopped into the car with Chloe and made the long and boring 7 hour drive to my parent's house. Except really, it wasn't that boring. I'm one of the those weird people who actually doesn't mind driving by myself so long as the weather's good and it's light outside. And thankfully, yesterday was beautiful weather. It was still 55 degrees in my parent's home town when I pulled in last night around 10pm! Lord how I missed you, springtime. Before the trip, Andi loaded a bunch of music on my iPod so I listened to new tracks by Adele, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Taylor Swift and old-time favorites from John Mayer and the Dixie Chicks. Random mix, I realize. I've, by the way, always been the BIGGEST John Mayer fan ever and last night I listened to every single album of his. When was the last time you did that with your favorite artist? Some of those old school songs had me reminiscing the days when Andi and I first starting dating and the first time we said I Love You. I was having fun, I really have to admit.

My parents and I stayed up until 1:00am this morning talking and catching up and then I slept wonderfully last night. No crazy pregnancy dreams, alarm clocks or city life noises to jolt me awake at 4am. Last time Andi and I were back here, we bought a new full-size bed for my parent's guest room so there was even a cozy bed with soft sheets to snuggle into. Wonderful, I tell ya.

Today, both my parents are off work so we're venturing to Lincoln for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Grisantis, to celebrate an early birthday lunch for my mom (her birthday is Sunday). I fully plan to devour all the buttery bread they'll bring me, their all-you-care-to-eat salad and tomato basil soup. TO DIE FOR. Yum! This afternoon, I'm hoping to do a little shopping. In my haste for packing, I forgot sensible shoes so I'm hoping it's warm enough for flip flops today until I can purchase a new set of boots to wear the rest of the weekend. I also got a fabulous email from Gap for 30% off any purchase this weekend and 5% of the purchase goes to the charity of my choice (I chose Juvenile Diabetes research, a disease that touches our family in so many ways). Best thing is, you can share the coupon with friends and they get 30% off their purchases too so if you want the coupon, comment below and I'll forward it over. I just love sales, and a 30% off coupon is a great reason to buy some more pregnancy clothes, don't you think?

Tomorrow, my cousin Jen is coming to town with her adorable baby Lauren so we're heading over to my aunt's house to see them. I haven't seen anyone since Christmas so I'm dying to see how much Baby Lauren has grown and talk all-things-baby with Jen and the family!

What a great weekend ahead. I'm so thankfully for awesome family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Northern Minnesota Getaway

A few months ago, Andi bought a Groupon for Chase On the Lake resort in Walker, Minnesota which included one night's stay, a $50 meal coupon and a day of snowmobiling. At such a great discount, we thought a road trip up North would be the perfect little getaway for us to relax and reconnect sometime this winter. Except, as the winter calendar ticked away and the more pregnant I became, we realized snowmobiling was less of an option for us. My thoughtful husband called the resort last week and traded in our snowmobiling adventure for a day at the spa and an upgraded night in the resort's two bedroom condo overlooking Leech Lake.

On Sunday morning, we loaded up the truck and left our Crosslake cabin for the very last time. As bittersweet as it was to leave, our destination to spa appointments helped ease our sadness and we reminded ourselves of the fun summer ahead at our new cabin in Wisconsin (more about this in another post).

We brought Chloe with us on our weekend getaway, but pets weren't allowed in the condo section of the resort where we were booked. Chase on the Lake does offer select hotel rooms for guests with pets (with a non-refundable deposit) so Andi and I went back and forth about sneaking her into the condo or calling the resort for the hundredth time to downgrade to a pet-friendly room. After many discussions this weekend (apparently, this was a pretty big decision for us), we opted for the pet-friendly room to play on the safe side. I knew Chloe would bark if we left her alone and I didn't feel up to the confrontation with the hotel staff if she got busted. I don't think Andi was all that pleased with me for siding with that option, but eventually he agreed and we checked into a smaller, pet-friendly hotel room which was still very nice.

After leaving Chloe and our bags in the room, we navigated to the Copper Door Spa inside the resort for massage appointments. I was a little nervous about getting another massage during my pregnancy. At 12 weeks, I had a treatment at another spa in the Twin Cities and experienced some spotting and cramping for a few days after. I'm not sure if the massage was directly responsible, or if it was just a mere coincidence, but it was scary! This time, Andi specifically requested a pregnancy massage for me and I hoped for the best. And thankfully, everything turned out fine. It wasn't the best massage I'd ever experienced, mostly because I was under the impression they had one of those cool tables with a hole cut out in the middle and that wasn't the case. The therapist had me lay on my side instead. It was still a nice treat to be pampered.

After our spa appointments, we were starving and set out on a quest to find some lunch. While the resort itself was really nice, there weren't very many restaurants open in the tiny town because it's basically the one month of the winter where there's no ice fishing or snowmobiling. We noticed many of the restaurants had "winter hours" which didn't include Sundays or were completely closed for the month of March. So, we walked across the street to Benson's Eating and Drinking Emporium (isn't that a fun name for a bar/restaurant?) and shared a burger and nachos.

The rest of our day was spent lounging around the hotel room, taking naps and reading baby books. We brainstormed baby names and Andi asked me if there were any baby topics I wanted to discuss, which I thought was very sweet. We used our $50 meal credit at the 502 Restaurant inside the resort for dinner. Andi ordered Scallops and I had a Cobb Salad. We sat at the bar because well, romance in nearly dead when you're married and sometimes we prefer sitting at the bar instead of a stuffy table. I enjoyed my meal but as our bartender/waitress commented, she knew Andi's scallops were "questionable" when she served them to him. It wasn't his favorite meal. (Our bartender was a friendly but interesting woman. Who says that to their customer, by the way)?!

Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Walker and would definitely come back to visit someday. Mostly, I really loved spending three technology-free days with my husband.

Now back to the crazy ...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trip Down Memory Lane

Andi and I are spending the weekend at one of our favorite places on Earth: the cabin.

We left work Friday afternoon, grabbed the pooch and headed up North for a relaxing weekend. The snowy landscape isn't exactly the same as our intended Spring Break vacation in Nicaragua, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper and still pretty relaxing. Maybe it's my pregnancy hormones taking over ... I was nearly brought to tears when we pulled into town last night. All our great summer memories came flooding back; oh how I missed this place. Andi commented that even certain smells or a glimpse of something small reminded him of our awesome summer here. We have so much love in our hearts for Crosslake.

We grabbed dinner to-go at Rafferty's Pizza (chicken alfredo, OMG SO GOOD!) and snuggled up by the fire with a bottle of wine (for Andi) and a glass of water for me.

It's amazing how soundly you can sleep in the country. We both snagged a much needed uninterrupted 8 hours of zzz's last night. It's so peaceful here.

This morning we woke up to light snowflakes falling outside. It was a beautiful scene outside our window (until I remembered how over winter I am). We got dressed and drove into Nisswa to meet our friends John, Carna and their little son Parker for breakfast.

There's a St. Patrick's Day parade in town later this afternoon, but at this point more snuggling by the fire and maybe an afternoon nap seem to be in order.

Tomorrow we're driving 50 miles North to Walker, Minnesota for a night's stay at Chase On The Lake. Andi booked spa appointments and we've got more relaxation in store. Maybe some time outside if the weather warms up a bit.

Happy mini vacation ...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It Happened AGAIN

Remember last June when I told you my husband received a hand-written letter from thanking him for his valued support?

It happened again. AGAIN!

Yesterday, Andi received another hand-written note thanking him for graciously spending our entire life's earnings at their little online store. Alright I may be exaggerating a smidge but seriously, what dollar amount do you think he's reaching to trigger them to send these messages? Any guesses?

Yeah, I don't know either...

Husband, you've got some splainin' to do!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Re-decorating here too ...

Felt like I needed a change today. A new blog layout will do.

Call it spring cleaning ...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


With a new baby joining our family this summer, there's quite a bit of re-organizing needed to ready our little home. Our small spare bedroom will become a nursery and Chloe's room (the space above our garage) will transition into a spare bedroom. Housing our guests in the garage is not the most ideal circumstance, but that's our only option for now. I'm choosing to view it as a distinguished mother-in-law apartment, minus the comforts of a kitchen or bathroom.

Our spare bedroom/future nursery still sports the original green wall color from the previous owner. I've never even changed the curtains. For us, it's just that - a spare room we use to store all of Andi's clothes, his many sets of bags and his camera equipment. I literally refer to it as "his" room; whenever I'm tired of looking at his bags or work papers laying on the table, I set them in there for him to sort out later. I'm not sure where I'll put all of his stuff when the baby arrives. Maybe he can put his stuff away in the first place? Now, there's an idea ...

Spare Bedroom

The room above the garage is in need of attention too. We built the garage during the summer of 2007, painted the walls and put in hardwood floors. Since then, it's been home to Andi's home office, my sister-in-law Lindsay's apartment and finally Chloe's hang-out space while we're at work during the day. We added a bed out there a few years ago and a few visitors have stayed there including my brother and 3 of his 20-year-old friends during their visit to the Twin Cities last summer. The room's got potential (it's heated and air-conditioned so it's not as rustic as you think), but I've never taken the time (or money) to make it into anything other than what it is: a hodge podge.

Garage Space

I'm not planning to make any changes until after we learn the baby's gender in April, but I started researching decorating ideas this week. For the baby's room, I took to Pottery Barn Kids' website to scout out some overall design ideas. I'm not interested in having a theme for the room; you won't see any trains or pink butterflies here. I envision a soothing and welcoming space for our baby, especially if I'm going to be spending A LOT of my time there in the next few years.

For our new mother-in-law apartment, I'm using a bed and breakfast we stayed at in Vancouver as inspiration. We spent a night or two here for our one-year anniversary last year and I remember it being simple and peaceful. I think it'll be pretty easy to recreate with our own spin.

Vancouver B and B

This weekend, Andi ordered a new headboard and bed frame from Amazon, as well as a wooden desk for the new spare room. Soon enough, it'll be time to pull it all together as we get ready for baby!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Facebook Purge: An Update

Last month I wrote here about my frustration with Facebook. And, I vowed to give myself a Facebook timeout as I was literally flustered with other people's postings. Because of Facebook! Something that's suppose to be fun and social and here I am getting all worked up over poetry quotes, event invites and exercise updates.

So, how do you think I did?

Well, I haven't given up Facebook completely. Partly because I manage business pages for work and also because I do enjoy staying in touch with friends and family.

But, I have ...

  • Un-friended post-ers that get under my skin. If you're someone who's regularly posting workout statistics, famous quotes as status updates or come-to-my-event invites, we're likely no longer connected. These aren't people I'm really close to anyway, so I doubt they miss me.
  • Threatened to de-friend my husband because he's a classic "come to my event!" and "thanks to everyone who came to my event!" post-er. I can't really un-friend him can I? Come on, he's my husband. But I can tell him how annoying it is. Every day. Until he stops.
  • Weeded through my friend list. Do I really need hundreds of friends? People I haven't talked to in over 10 years? Probably not. 
  • Decreased the frequency of my own status updates. I've tried to be more mindful of what I post there. Does everyone in my Facebook circle need to know I could use a car wash? Nope. I've resolved to only post meaningful updates, photos, etc. 
 I can honestly say I feel better about it all. It feels good to take charge of something so simple. Why did I allow myself to get so worked up about something so trivial?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I've finally found my energy again (hello 2nd trimester!) and am getting around to all those household projects that've been piling up since January. Last week, I rearranged our bedroom and cleaned underneath the bed (that's always a nasty job).

And last weekend? I tackled my closet. Oh man, did it need it!  

We live in an old house and our closets are really small. In fact, I keep my clothes in our bedroom closet and Andi uses the spare bedroom closet for his. I don't think the baby's will even get a closet. I'm planning to use a tall dresser and maybe some pull-out baskets for the nursery.

I don't know how my closet gets so messy but it happens about this time every year. And every spring I take an entire day to clean it out and give away all the stuff I didn't wear the season before.

Four hours later ...

... and FOUR BAGS of clothes for Goodwill. Wow.

Love the feeling of FINDING clothes in my closet again. I promised myself I wouldn't let it get that bad again. Ha! Until next spring's big clean...