Royal Wedding Breakfast

I had been thinking about having a little get-together to celebrate such a GIRLY occasion with a bunch of girlys- but I procrastinated. The day before the BIG DAY, I was doing a friends' hair who insisted it wasn't too late to throw something together. So that's what we did- we threw it together.
Everyone contributed by bringing something delicious and breakfast-y. Well, everyone except me; I burned the steel-cut oats, unfortunately. Especially if you've smelled burned steel-cut oats- it smells like gross popcorn, oddly enough. 
Despite the smell, we had a great time. It was so adorable watching the cutest little girls watching a "real life PRINCESS" get married. They were all LOVING IT! But I think their mom's liked it a little more. And yes, a few tears were shed. What can I say, we were touched. I loved watching Prince William- he looked so smitten with his new Bride.
The whole thing was absolutely beautiful and I'm glad I could experience it with my friends who share my passion ;)

*Sorry about the poor picture quality. My camera is officially dead, so I took pictures with Carolyn's camera and I had it on the wrong setting. Lame.



These cute kiddos must have been good kiddos (or 'worthy' kiddos as our Gospel Doctrine teacher jokingly suggested). The Easter Bunny came and spoiled Tol & Ad with new swimsuits, undies, books, toys and TREATS galore! 
The kiddos woke up SO early- earlier than they did on Christmas!- and waited until their lazy parents got out of bed to go egg & basket hunting.
After everything was found and opened we got ready for and headed to church... on a TOTAL sugar-high.

Here they are all ready for church in their Easter garb.

 After church, the kids put their new bubble-blowers to work and ate their lunch out on the deck. From the looks of this picture, Tol might have had a bowl of bubbles for lunch.

Then it was off to the Barney's house for a DELICIOUS Easter dinner and another egg hunt for the kiddos.
It is a exactly a week after Easter and we are still living off candy.

Now that my kids are getting a little older, I really tried to incorporate the 'reason for the season' into our Easter. I hope it really sunk in and that my kids gained some sort of deeper appreciation for our Savior. I'll admit, that is something that I, as a mother, struggle with. I feel a constant urge to teach my children the scriptures and about the Gospel, but for some reason I can't find the right way, or the way that fits or feels right for MY family, but I still try. Tol & Addi are smart and I think they get more than I give them credit for, but I still feel we are too focused on the wrong things. Yadda yadda. Being a mom can be a tricky job...
Anyway, I do have a testimony that our Savior was Resurrected and that He lives. I am beyond grateful for this miraculous event that paved the way for me to live with Him alongside my family FOREVER and EVER. 
I love the peace that comes from having this knowledge.

Hope you all had a HAPPY EASTER!


Friends with benefits

One of the coveted things to have here in Rochester is a membership to the  
Rochester Athletic Center
Our neighbors are one of those fortunate families 
and we were fortunate enough to be invited as their guests. 
We prepped our swimsuit bodies by going to Perkins for breakfast, 
which was fun and yummy. 
 Then we went to the RAC and swam and swam and swam. 
My kids LOVED being in a pool again.
After swimming, Dave and Pat played some serious racquetball
 For some reason I only got pictures of swimming.

I've introduced them before
but the Sullivans are our next-door neighbors
They are here for Patrick's Colo-rectal Surgery Fellowship
which is only one short year. 
BUMMER for us
They are leaving the first of July to Atlanta 
where Pat will make the most fantastic real-life (with a real paycheck!) doctor
We have loved getting to know Pat, Kristin and the girls  
and will miss them all SO much, probably more than I can fathom.
But I certainly am grateful we've been able to get to know the Sullivans 
and look forward to future vacations to visit each other!


The Lamborns do CHICAGO...

with the Barneys.
{Hewitt. Brandon. Kerstin.}

Such a fantastic little get-a-way. Chicago is only about 350 miles from Rochester so the Barney's and us decided to spend a long weekend there.
I first have to add, Dave and Brandon went to Jr. High and High School together so they've known each other for a long time. Brandon also went to the U for Medical School and is here @ Mayo for his Radiation Oncology Residency. Match made in Heaven, right? We love the Barneys!

Dave & Tol @ the La Cross train station.
 We decided to take the AMTRAK train to Chicago instead of driving. It was a great little way to travel (if you're not in a hurry to get there). The seats were SUPER roomy and comfortable, compared to an airplane anyway. It was also cool to see parts of the country we'd never seen.
Here we are having lunch on the train and us at Chicago's Union Station upon our arrival.
Brandon had an unexpected something at work (BUMMER) the day after we were scheduled to leave so the Barneys ended up coming out the next day. The night we got there we went to Weber Grill. For those of you who know Dave, even remotely well, knows he is the GRILLING MASTER. Weber is a household name (in our household anyway) as that is the name Dave spends all his birthday and Christmas money on; we've got lot's of Weber grills, smokers and gadgets. So you can understand why Weber Grill was our first stop.

First FABULOUS meal of a weekend of FABULOUS food.
The next morning we decided that we didn't pack nearly warm enough. Dave bought this beanie and I laughed at him the whole trip. It looked funnier in person.

While Dave was in Walgreen's buying the hat, I stood outside this hotel with the crowd waiting for President Obama to emerge. He was in town for a campaign fund-raising something. He didn't end up coming out the front doors, of course, but this is where he stayed. 
I'm a total "star junkie." I don't care who it is or if I'm a fan, or not- I turn a little stalker-ish. Maybe I'll tell those stories at a later date.
After we ate our 2nd FABULOUS meal @ EATT, we headed to THE NAVY PIER and took the kids to 
 They played 'FIREFIGHTER,'

 climbed through the nets, 

and were builders in the 'Skyline.'

Tol loved the 'Kid's Town.' He pretended to drive the bus FOREVER!
And Dave and I may or may not have had a drawing contest called "depicting Chicago." And we also may or may not have had an intense game of checkers. The Children's Museum isn't just for children :)

We were SO lucky to be at the same place at the same time as the EASTER BUNNY! Addi had to get in on that action. 

The Barneys got in that evening and the first thing we did was grab a Chicago-style deep dish pizza at Giordano's. DELISH!

After the kiddos were all snuggled and sleeping in their beds, it was time for the REAL party to begin! Brandon, Kerstin, Dave & I got our Canasta on. Love that game!

 View of Lake Michigan from our room.

OMG!! is all I have to say about this little piece of heaven you are looking at. We went to the Bongo Room the next morning for breakfast and it was the most AMAZING breakfast food I think I've EVER experienced. Seriously. What you are looking at is the breakfast Dave and I ordered. It's called something like Triple Chocolate Tower of French Toast. Basically, it's 3 fat slices of chocolate chip infused chocolate bread stuffed with maple mascarpone that is sitting in a banana creme brulee sauce and topped with chocolate shavings and fresh banana. There are no words to describe this type of eating euphoria.
Let's just say it's a good thing we walked a mile to the restaurant; it was nice to have already worked off 1/8 of a bite of this thing. But I have to admit the calories were totally worth it! Can't wait to get back to Chicago for this reason alone.

After breakfast we walked to Chicago's famous Shedd Aquarium where it was opening day of their "Jellies" exhibit. The line to get in the door was at least 2 hours long. Thankfully we had 2 strollers with us so we were able to enter through the 'accessible entrance' which had about a 20 minute line. There are perks to pushing your 4 year old in a stroller.

 The next day (until we had to head home) was spent at Navy Pier aboard the one and only SEADOG!
I bought these tickets on Chicago's GROUPON having no idea what it really was. It ended up being AWESOME & hilarious! You can click the link to go to the website if you want to read about what it is. I definitely recommend doing this if you're in the area. Pure butt-rock adrenaline funniness :)

Dave and Brandon's green-screen picture. Actually, this is them waiting to board the vessel.

Tol & Ad waiting to board.
This was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Chicago was a beautiful city with LOTS & LOTS of character. We thought the BEST thing about Chicago (from our short exposure) was the food. Every meal- down to the train station's Chinese food & popcorn- was SO SO YUMMY! We can't wait to go back and explore more of it :)
And it was a BLAST being with The Barneys. We are certainly blessed to have them as good friends.



Some girls got together for a FUN & FANTASTIC night away in the cities for something called Time Out For Women. I had heard mixed reviews about the whole thing, but I decided a night with the girls sounded FAB. Plus, the conference ended up being really good and inspiring so it was a win-win!

After Friday night's meeting a bunch of us met for dinner at The
Newsroom. The food was great, and so was the  decor and double-sided mirrors in the bathrooms (refer to the pics). It was such a funny night... and it carried over to our hotel room til the wee hours of the morning. 
We were much too tired for the Saturday morning speakers so when we finally woke up and got ready, we went to HELL'S KITCHEN for breakfast. HOLY COW the food was amazing! 
The rest of the day was spent absorbing all the words of wisdom and beautiful music at the conference before we headed back to Rochester as rejuvenated, refreshed and VERY SLEEPY women!


Reader's Digest version of UTAH

The kids and I took advantage of our their SPRING BREAK & went to UTAH! We left a NASTY snowstorm behind and were welcomed by BEAUTIFUL blue skies. Perfect timing! 
We had a wonderful visit and are already counting down to when we get to see our family and UT friends again.

Because of the aforementioned snowstorm, our flight was delayed a couple hours so we had LOTS of time to kill at the airport.  We ate nasty and over-priced airport food and the kids played in the playplace (GENIUS idea) while I read.
Tol was SO excited to go to Utah that he woke up at 3 am that morning.  He woke up, made his bed, showered, got dressed and came upstairs to watch recorded Spongebob episodes until I woke up.  Needless to say, he was out cold before the plane was in the air.

Lunch @ Hagermann's with Lee, Grandma Alice, Aunt Lorainne (Lee's sister) and her husband, Whitney. We rarely see these guys so it was great to see them and catch up.

The kids LOVE their Utah dentist so we made time to visit Dr. Johnson.
He really is the BEST pediatric dentist. And they had ZERO cavities!

My girlfriends rented a cabin in Midway for a little girlie get-a-way while I was in town. First, we indulged in a little PC Outlet shopping then went to the YUMMIEST dinner at Maxwell's. I usually can't pass up Loco Lizard when I'm up that way, but now it's going to be a toss-up.  Maxwell's was AMAZEBALLS!, right girls?  Then we headed to the cabin where we stayed up WAAAAY too late talking. The next morning we had an amazing breakfast, thanks to Jen. And there may or may not have been a few of us who got a little obsessed with a puzzle. I forgot how fun (and nerdy) putting together a puzzle is. 
Oh, and that pic if Kristen with the tissue up her nose; she was a sniffer (which is a MAJOR pet-peeve of mine) so she stuffed a cork in it. Thanks Kris.
 It goes without saying that it is always a pleasure to spend time with these gals, but we definitely missed both Kriste(i)'s, and Keri.

The pics below are the views from both sides of the cabin. I took them from the deck. So pretty!

Lucky for us, our trip overlapped with Candice's Utah trip!  Lucky for me because I was able to get my hair done.  Oh the luxuries I took advantage of!  We both worked in the salon and that was super FUN working with each other again. We also met for a DELICIOUS Mimi's breakfast and shopping at the "Horsey Mall" one morning before she headed back to Cali.

 We had a lovely day with Jan at Gardner Village. Before we fed the ducks, we had lunch at Archibald's and shopped at a few of the adorable shops there. The kids LOVE their Grammy Jan and were able to spend a whole other day with her at Wheeler Farm.  Jan really pulls out all the stops for these kids and rolls out the red carpet when they're with her. Thanks for the great day, Jan!

Chel and Becca went to Mexico for almost 2 weeks. LUCKY DUCKS!! And it just so happened that they had a layover in SLC on their way back to Seattle. Me, Jess and the kids (my parents and Curt were at a mandatory basketball banquet) met them for a Cafe Rio picnic at the airport. It wasn't the longest of visits, but we'll take what we can get. I mean, how perfect was that timing? It was SO FUN to see Chel and Becca and their BRONZE BUNS!

Chuck-A-Rama with the Bollingers.
Old traditions die hard.

Auntie Jess took the kids on a special date. They went to Chuck e Cheese for a while but got bored (shockingly) so they ended up going bowling and to Chick-Fil-A instead. The kids are STILL talking about their "Auntie Jess" date- they had so much fun! Jess is the BEST! My kids just ADORE her.

Lee took us out to dinner at Mimi's (no such thing as TOO much Mimi's) and to dessert at The Sweet Tooth Fairy. I think the highlight for Tol was filling up Lee's Natural Gas Honda. Can you believe we filled his car half-way for $2.12?!! I want that car for that reason alone!.. and a few other reasons, as well.

A trip highlight for me was the Nelson/Pugh reunion. We were neighbors growing up, but just saying we were neighbors doesn't quite cut it. We were much more than just neighbors, we were more like family. I have SO many memories involving these guys. Lori was my second mom and Kaiti was the older sister I never had. Chad lived in the circle playing basketball (I was SURE he'd make it to the NBA).
For some really dumb reason, I haven't seen these guys in ages! It was SO great catching up and reminiscing of the old days. It was a bummer that Brian and Tricia couldn't make it, but we LOVED seeing Nanc, Lor, Chad and Kate.

The day before we left were were able to meet my darling grandparents at Corner Bakery for lunch, then we went back to their house to hang out for a while. I had to get a pic of my Gramp taking out the garbage; he had one hand on the garbage and one keeping his pants up. I don't think his cane was helping him much. My cute gramp- I offered to take his garbage can to the curb for him but he is one stubborn dude and insisted on doing it himself (like everything else). I should mention that he was in the hospital just a few days prior to this, too. I just adore my grandparents and feel so blessed to have had so much time with them and that my kids have been able to have a relationship with them, too.

The worst part about visiting Utah is having to say good-bye when it's time to go home.
But it is good to be home. And weird that Minnesota has, in fact, become "home."