Additional Observations by Cooper J.

Coops and I spent the morning at the beach today.  He was a little bummed about going because it tore him away from watching the “diggers” in front of our house.  There is massive road construction right at the end of our driveway to turn our busy city street into a boulevard…so though it’s a huge hassle, it’ll be wonderful when it’s done, and Coops can spend hours just watching the trucks.

As we returned from the beach to grab some lunch, he noticed that the “diggers” weren’t moving.  He says “mommy…what’s wrong?  The diggers aren’t working!”  I say “they must be having lunch.”  He shakes his head from his stroller, indicating that no, that couldn’t possibly be the reason…and says “no…they must be napping.  We should wake them up.”  I ask “how would we do that?” which is apparently an idiotic question, because he turns in his stroller to look at me and roll his eyes as he yells “wake up diggers!!”

Oh okay.  Well….I should have known!

Photo Challenge

Some good friends and I have begun a new system where we each will issue photo challenges to the others.  It’s not really a “challenge” persay…more of a suggestion.  Nothing is judged.  That I know of.

Anyway, the first challenge is issued by my friend “Homey” and it is to describe what we love best about summer.

If you are a Minnesotan…particularly if you live in Minneapolis, summer is not to be taken for granted.  We wait all winter long, complaining about the cold and the “never-ending winter”, and as soon as those first buds are on the trees, we are outside.  Seriously.  You may think I’m kidding, but I would challenge anyone to come up with other folks in a metropolitan area who love their summers more than us peeps in Minneapolis.

D.Jones and I have always dreamt of living in one of the “lakes” neighborhoods.  What this means is that there is a chain of lakes which loops right through the heart of Minneapolis.  Living on one of the lakes is prime real estate, and well…let’s just say we won’t be purchasing one of those homes any time soon.  But we are happy to have found a house that is a few short blocks off of one of the most popular lakes in the city.  In fact, it’s only 5 blocks to a lovely little beach that Cooper and I love.

So…Homey….here is my take on what I love best about the summer.  It is living in a city that is vibrant and alive from May until October.  It is enjoying a hot summer day at Lake Harriet.  It is watching outdoor concerts at that pavillion you can see across the lake, and it is loving all that Minneapolis has to offer in these fine summer months.

The Lake Harriet Pavillion across the lake from the beach.  There is live music there nightly…as well as a canoe/kayak rental, and snack bar.

Observations…by Cooper J.

Our recently adopted dog Betsy is terrified of Cooper.  With good reason.  She’s getting better every day, though, as evidenced by her following us to the living room this morning and flopping on her back to expose her belly for petting.  I was showing Cooper how to gently pet Betsy’s belly when he looks at me with this shocked expression and announces “Mommy!  She’s not wearing her diapie!”

Watch Me!

The newest member of the Jones fam and I began a new era of our relationship last night.  Betsy and I are attending dog training classes. 

Some of you may recall the slightly unsuccessfuly attempt we made at training Ms. Lola Jones and then becoming Dog Obedience drop outs.  Though, as the very serious dog trainer, Amy, told me last night “the dog never fails”.    Hmm…what are you saying, Amy??

Anyway, Ms. Betsy was the class rockstar last night!  She rocked on the first command of “sit’, though truth-be-told, it had nothing to do with me…she already knew it.  Next came “watch me!”  Who even knew that was a command!?  Not this girl.  Which may explain the above mentioned issues with Lola’s training.  But Betsy seemed to, as she not only held my gaze for the required 3 seconds, but often wouldn’t look away at all.  Awesome!

The most important reason for Bets to be in class, though, is for socialization, as she’s still terrified of our cat, and any loud noise sends her running to the bedroom to hide for hours.  Amy assures me that by the end of 6 weeks, not only will she not be nearly as skittish, but she’ll be social, and is smart enough to run the agility course.  After SIX weeks!?  We’ll see.  She did get my hopes up, though…

Hopefully next Thursday again finds us gloating in the stinkin’ hot gym of the community rec center as Betsy patiently waits for the next command while the Lab, the Poodle-mix, the American bulldog and the pitbull all jump around like maniacs.  Yeah…we rocked it.  Go Betsy!

The Zoo

Yesterday morning was off to a rocky start.  Cooper J. was in a mood and I was racking my brain trying to think of something that may hold his interest and did not involve “digging trucks in the dirt”, which is really all he wants to do lately. 

I thought we’d check out Como Zoo.  I mean…it’s free for one thing.  And it involves monkeys.  Ya can’t go wrong.  Can you?

We got there and spent the first 10 to 15 minutes in the amusement park area with him running fron ride to ride, but never really stopping to see what each ride was all about.   I spent the same amount of time trying to coax him to “follow me to see monkeys”.  When he finally did, and we finally got to the monkey area, he was less than impressed.  Next up we saw some seals, which he thought were pretty cool.  As we were checking them out, I overheard a mom walking by say “the Sparky show starts in a few minutes!”.  Sparky show??  As in seals!?  I remember that show from when I was little, so I convinced Coops it would be awesome.

We had to sit on cement bleachers for far longer than any 2 year old can, while waiting for the show to start.  It was around 11 a.m. on a Thursday…who knew the joint would be packed!?  So, here we sit…squeezed together like the sardines that are about to be fed to the seal, on a hot, very humid Minnesota day.  Not the most pleasant of opportunities, but hey…if it keeps my toddler happy, I’m up for it!

He was begging for food the whole time, but I had no way to navigate us out of our seats, so with the promise that we’d get a “treat” afterwards, he patiently watched the show little girl sitting next to us.

When I was little the Sparky show seemed feature length.  Now I realize it lasts all of 7 minutes.  So soon we were on our way to get chocolate dippin’ dots…at which time he also spotted a red, orange and black Boa Constrictor  stuffed animal that he “needed!”  After the snake purchase, all live animals were nothing more than an annoyance, so we headed back to the car.

What this morning actually looked like broken down by cash and time?

9:35 – load child in car

9:40 actually leave home after running back inside to get his green tractor that he “needed”

10 a.m. Arrive at zoo, unload stroller, child, green tractor, sippy cup and camera.

10:08 a.m.  Enter main zoo entrance where “donation” of $2 per adult and $1 per child is requested.  Realize I have no ones on me, and throw in a $5 spot.

10:10 to 10:25 a.m.  Watch child run crazily through the amusement park area

10:25 a.m.  Convince him to walk to monkey area

10:30 a.m.  Arrive at monkey area only for him to show disinterest

10:35 a.m.  Watch seals swim around

10:40 a.m.  Overhear random mother talking about Sparky show.  Head towards amphitheater

10:47 a.m.  Find seats in amphitheater.  

10:47 to 11 a.m.  Corral Cooper Jones.  Attempt to keep him from following other children by telling him the show is starting soon.  Over and over and over again.  Advise him it’s not polite to stare at the little girl next to us with the drooling problem.

11:00 to approximately 11:08 a.m.  Watch show.  Cooper watches drooling girl.

11:08 to 11:15  Attempt to leave very, very crowded amphitheater.

11:15 spend $8.25 on 1 small chocolate dippin’ dots and 1 diet coke 

11:20 a.m.  Spend $9.50 on stuffed Boa Constrictor

11:30 a.m. Exit park and return to vehicle.

Time spent – 2 hours

Dollars spent –  $22.75

What happened to the zoo being “free”?

Oh, and P.S.  Thank you Como Zoo Staff for posting the note that advised us guests that the stuff smeared on the monkey cage glass was, in fact, chocolate pudding. 

Road Trips, Surprises, Harleys and New Beginnings

Friday morning D.Jones, Cooper and myself hit the road on a journey to K-town.  With portable DVD player for the little dude in the backseat, tons of snacks, and some shades, we were on our way!  It was a beautiful day and the usual 6 to 6 1/2 hour ride didn’t really seem all that daunting.  In fact, it seemed like a fun little adventure.  Especially since the boys traveled solo on the last trip home, so I was happy to be along.

Everything was moving right along, and Coops was doing fantatically by the time we got to Madison.  We were well aware that parts of Wisconsin had been hit by some horrifying amounts of rain and had already passed some farms that had us wondering if they always had a lake in the middle of their fields, so at that part of our roadtrip, we decided to skip the road construction between Madison and Milwaukee and instead continue south to take the “scenic route”.  Or so we thought.  To make a long story short, Wisconsin road crews could use a little help in the planning department because when a detour is set up and you follow it for miles, and miles and miles, it should not end at a flooded road.  Nor should it end at a “T” with no further instructions.  After a few such encounters, we finally happened upon a road that we thought would get us to our final destination, only to witness the horrors that floods bring.  Homes floating, folks trying to reach their homes in boats, and all sorts of disaster.  It was incredibly sad so I feel bad complaining about the length of our commute, but at close to the 9 hour mark, the three of us almost couldn’t take it anymore.  Cooper was crying and hysterical in the backseat and couldn’t even be comforted by “Cars Movie” and Lightening McQueen.  D.Jones and I felt the same in the front seats.

We finally arrived in K-Town and were happy to be greeted by Papa, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Betty, Doug’s brother Tom and niece Suzette.  With a little of Pa’s pizza, our long commute was almost forgotten.  Almost.

One reason for our trip was to attend a party for my sister-in-law (Doug’s sister) Rozann and her husband Jordan.  They recently purchased a wonderful resort and are moving there permantly to take over the place.  There was one last hurrah planned at Chuck & Ann’s house for a fun send-off.  Since we were recently honored with some unexpected guests (Chuck, Ann, Kristine, Dickey and crews) for Cooper’s 2nd birthday, we decided it was our turn for a surprise and we showed up without mention of coming.

It was awesome!  Seeing the look on Kristine’s face when we walked up the driveway was all I needed, but it was rivaled when Ann also realized we were there.

The party was fabulous!  Rozann and Jordan received one super cool custom-made sign for their new place, there was delicious food had by all, and Cooper and Doug even got to take a dip at what I’m now calling “Resort Rhey”. 

Cooper’s day couldn’t have been better.  Before the party, Papa took him to a car show where he got to sit in a 1940 Chrysler.  At the party, Auntie Rozann showed Coops how to work a scooter, he got to play with Jordan, Colin, Emma, & Tyler, he consumed massive amounts of watermelon, and the kicker…..he got to sit on Chuck’s Harley…and even rev it!

That, added to the fact that he got to ride Uncle Tom’s tractor the day before made for one unbelievably exiting weekend for Mr. Cooper Jones.  He talked about it the whole way home, and has continued to talk about it since.

So, to Chuck & Ann…thanks for a splended soiree.  We truly enjoyed ourselves.

To Rozann and Jordan….good luck, happy fishing (okay, that’s really just to Jordan), congratulations, and let us know when the bar is open for the our small Jones crew of three!

To Colin & Jordan, Emma & Tyler…Coops can’t wait to see you and hang out again sometime soon.

To Uncle Tom & Auntie Chelle from Coops – Thanks for the tractor ride and for letting me play with completely freak out on Frank and Josie.

To Papa – Thanks for letting me steal your “hot rodder magazine”, and for being such a good Papa.  See ya soon!

To everyone else…thanks for making our trip a special one.  We miss you all already~

The Jones Family Road Trippers

GNO

I have a group of friends from high school who are still my nearest and dearest.  Some of us are moms, some are wives, some are busy in the corporate world, some are all of the above….but the crazy part is…we’re still friends.  Or, maybe it’s not so crazy.  But I know it’s not the norm.

As everyone knows, it’s hard to set aside time to go out and relax and get caught up, so to remind ourselves that it’s also necessary, we’ve instituted a monthly GNO (girls nite out).  Sometimes just a couple of us show up, sometimes all of us show up.  It’s an open invitation to a different location each month, and whoever can show up does.

Anyway, this GNO got me thinking about some other wonderful women (gasp!  Women!?) in my life and last week I enjoyed a different sort of GNO with them.

Here we are…

 

These are two of my nieces, Jennifer & Caitlin.  Their birthdays were both pretty recently and it was a good excuse for our GNO, so we made a night of it…

We started out downtown Minneapolis checking out a local band at Peavey Plaza.  Then we headed over to Acme Comedy to grab tickets for the 8 pm comedy show, and ended up eating dinner at the comedy club.

Some halibut, salmon and steak later, we were all in tears watching this guy.  Seriously.  He’s hysterical.  If you get a chance to check him out, do it!  Although, the joke of the evening was that Caitlin had requested to see Sex And The City for our GNO and I said I didn’t want to because the risque nature of the movie was not something I wanted to sit through next to my nieces, no matter how old they are now.  Well…let’s just say that the movie would have been the better choice for that…but not nearly as funny.

So to Jen & Caitlin…thank you for humoring your aunt and coming out for a night.  I loved it!!  Unfortunately that means you’re going to be stuck doing it again.  Soon.