Life as we know it

Our family adventures


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Our graduate

Today Doug and I took the morning off work in order to go to Allie’s preschool graduation! She went to a preschool put on in one of the local high schools and run by high school students who take the class. The main reason we didn’t put her in a preschool last fall was cost, but also because she wasn’t ready. She was definitely ready for this school and I feel very confident about having her go to school next year! Before we went to graduation we went out to breakfast at the Pancake Cafe, a favorite of ours. But before we went to breakfast, we took some pictures of our grad in her pretty dress! I am continually floored by how grown up she is already!
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When we got to school, it was a little chaotic. First with figuring out where to go for the classroom! We went in the door we were supposed to go in but had no clue where to go after that. It was funny because the high schoolers were in between classes and we heard one ask, “why is there a baby in school?” We eventually found our way to the classroom, which was just a few feet away, actually.
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That room was chaos! In addition to all the students, lots of parents were there and it was hot! It was fun though. After a little time in the classroom it was time to go to the ceremony room. They had these adorable cardboard hats the teachers made! Allie’s kept falling off though. After awhile she decided she wasn’t interested. I did manage to get a couple pictures while she was wearing it!
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They had the band there playing as we were walking in! It was so fun. The ceremony was pretty quick and chaotic, keeping with the theme. Each preschooler was matched with a teacher. Each teacher read a poem about the student.

Here’s Allie’s:
“Allie is
Queen Elsa
The calm center of the playtime-storm
A gentle caretaker
Allie”

That describes her pretty well!
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After the ceremony we went back to the classroom for some cupcakes and light refreshments and playing. It got a little less chaotic at this point but not much.
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Peyton enjoyed some playtime as well. Apparently he has many admirers at the Little Lancers preschool. All four other kids in daycare went to school, and Bridget dropped them off and picked them up. The teachers were more than willing to occupy Peyton when Bridget was loading and unloading the other kids.
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Before we left, we got a couple pictures of our daycare bunch. Below are Ernie, Gracen and Allie.
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In this picture, Ava joined the fun. It turns out Ava and Allie will go to the same school for 4K next year!
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Right after the ceremony I wanted to take a picture of Allie wearing her hat and showing her certificate. She was a little grumpy and wouldn’t let me. When we got home tonight she changed her mind. So we took a few more pictures out on the porch.
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We’re so proud of this kid!

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New digs

So this is the view across the street from my our new temporary office.

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Not bad! I’ve enjoyed getting outside more on breaks since we’ve been out of our normal building… but I still miss my Starbucks fix. One of my coworkers pointed out those downtown businesses probably miss us GEF-1 workers terribly! On the flipside… there’s a Chinese place near the new office that is experiencing a large increase in business if today was any indication!

We finally settled into our permanent temporary location today. Well, not settled yet. Important things are still missing… like microwaves… which is why I was one of the people around the Chinese place today! My desk is still too high, which hurts my legs and shoulders. But overall I’m happy with my new “home.” I’ve was nice to be reunited with my regular comouter and two 22″ monitors. That made it a lot easier to work today! Next up is getting some more iffice supplies and to decorate.


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A good day off

Sign #247 that I am getting old: I am crazy excited for our new dryer. Its bigger than the old one and quieter. I did five loads of laundry today and it went so fast! This dryer has some kind of “sensor dry” system that stops the cycle when the clothes are dry… rocket science! Four loads today were bedding, including two comforters and both comforters were dry in less than an hour. You can hardly hear the dryer when its running, which is a big change considering the racket the old one made for the last several months. I think the old dryer was failing longer than we realized. But there’s also new technology as well. This dryer had the function to switch the door hinge, which really helps in our laundry space.

On to sign #248 I’m getting old… I took today off to receice the dryer. I could have gone in to work a half day but I decided to take the whole day off to get the relaxing day I didn’t get on vacation. I cleaned in the kitchen and basement while I was waiting for the dryer. Then after the dryer I went for a run. After lunch I spot cleaned the living room carpet, put baby stuff away, put baby clothes in order and cleaned off the deck chairs. This in between doing laundry.

Lest you think I did no relaxing today… the most relaxing part is I didn’t have to leave the house! So Doug took the kids to daycare and went to work, and I started the day watching tv in bed. I sat down with some coffee after the dryer was in and I also sat out on the deck and read a book after I cleaned the chairs.

It is quite funny that I consider that a relaxing and satisfying day off. My definition of a satisfying day off has definitely changed in the last five years!

Tomorrow my work unit starts at our permanent temporary location. I’m interested to see what it looks like. We’ve gotten various information and I don’t know if it will be our normal work equipment or different. I hope we have  more functional work spaces… two monitors would be nice!

Our main building was open over the weekend in order for employees to retrieve personal items. I had more stuff in my cubicle than I thought. We had to box up files as critical and non-critical for cleaning.

It was strange going in. It stunk just as bad as people said. There were big air filter fans everywhere, carpet stripped, ceiling tiles gone, no A/C. This displacement sucks, but at least no one got hurt. And on the bright side… the building could use a little reno.

We’re not supposed to take any of that stuff to our new places because of the smell. I still haven’t opened my box, I have no idea if it smells. Once we’re settled I will print some more pictures to hang up.


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Memorial weekend, version 2014

We had such a busy, but fun, Memorial Day weekend. We tried not to do much Saturday, that day was more for chores.

Sunday, on the other hand, was very very active. We started bright and early with going to the park. Allie was excited to ride her bike there. As it turned out, Mama and Dada are excited for Allie to ride her bike to the park too. Mama had to push the big, but that’s easier than carrying and left the stroller for Peyton.
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Allie loves her hat. Peyton didn’t care for it so much. His hat was one we bought last year that was way too big. It fits perfectly now!
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Peyton always has a big smile when he’s on the swing! And Allie didn’t fall off the swing this time!
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Dada joined in the fun too.
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Allie gets more and more brave every time we go play.
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Peyton played some peek-a-boo.
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On the way home we enjoyed looking at the pretty trees and flowers. I love the flowering trees!
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Next up, we had some lunch and Peyton went down for his nap. That was when Mama and Allie got to plant flowers! That was probably the most tiring part of the day. There wasn’t much opportunity to sit down because the porch was covered in dirt.
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Allie posed with the finished products. When we were buying the flowers and dirt I was thinking we had one more planter. It turned out good though as I put more plants in each pot than usual and it turned out really well! Hopefully they’re not crammed too tightly. I took more close up shots of the finished pots but the flowers were droopy from sitting in the sun waiting to be planted and then from being planted.
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The flowers may have been Allie’s favorite part of the day. After the flowers were done, we headed to Brat Fest for dinner. Unfortunately its another sign of my getting old… we got to Brat Fest and my first thought was “its too crowded, don’t want to be here.” It seems like so many other great Madison activities it gets bigger every year but its just too big. Luckily on our way in to buy our brats, we noticed the kids area next to the entrance. We were able to park on our blanket to eat in a nice roomy grassy area free of dust (it was very windy and Willow Island has a lot of gravel).
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We had been concerned Sunday that Peyton was getting sick as he threw up three times. He ended up being fine though, not sure what it was, maybe teeth (that’s always the excuse when we can’t come up with another).
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In the kids area were, among other activities, bouncy houses. We told Allie she could go in one but on these, Mama couldn’t go with. We were pleasantly surprised that she did go in by herself. She had a great time!
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By this time it was getting late and the kids were getting tired. But we promised Allie we’d find the carousel. So we went. We decided just Mama and Allie would go on it since we weren’t sure if Peyton was sick and would puke going around and around, and we also didn’t want to leave the stroller with such a crowd around.
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Then it was time to go home and go to bed. Well, the kids go to bed. And boy did they need it by time we got home around 7:15. Yikes! We’ve had so much going on poor Allie is having a hard time not getting enough sleep. Dada got to watch basketball after the kids went to bed and Mama got to go to the laundromat. This time took a lot longer becuase we had more clothes to wash. I got it done before 10 though and went to Culvers for the second night in a row after 10 p.m. It was a busy crazy weekend, Mama and Dada deserved rewards. I was planning on running Monday, but there was just no way. My body was still tired when I ran this morning!

Monday we went to a cookout with the Swansons. I took my camera but didn’t think to take it out to take pictures! It was fun seeing everyone though. We don’t see them nearly enough and they’re only an hour away!

Today we were back to work. The rest of the week doesn’t calm down too much though. Tomorrow I’m taking the day off because our new dryer is being delivered and installed! Then I get to start doing laundry. They told us at the store to make sure and use it right away to be sure its working fine. I will gladly do that… it will be nice to do laundry at home! The other big event is Allie’s preschool graduation on Friday. Where does the time go? Hopefully we’ll have a bit more time for relaxing next weekend.


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Madison Twilight 10K

Saturday night I ran the Madison Twilight 10K. A couple years ago the Madison Marathon made some changes to move the full marathon to November. They have a half in November too. In May now they have the half on Sunday morning and the kids’ race and 10K on Saturday night. This half was going to be my goal half, but I wasn’t able to start building my mileage soon enough to train for it. So I decided to try the Twilight 10K.

Unfortunately with it being a twilight race, it didn’t start until after the kids went to bed. So I had to go by myself. I like to take a picture with the kids before I leave!
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I was nervous about the night race, but looking forward to it too. I was entered in the Haunted Hustle 10K last fall, which is also “twilight,” but starting at 4. That is the race I missed with pneumonia though. I think this one was a lot different being four hours later. I tried my best to eat right and minimize physical activity through the day. But we did go to the flower store and Target after picking up my race bib.

Anyway, after the picture with the kiddos, I headed downtown. I left my energy chews on the bookshelf at home 😦 I’m not sure they would have helped but it was disappointing. Anyway, it was looking like a beautiful night for a race. And you can’t get much more picturesque for starting than in the shadow of the Capitol.
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I could tell from the start this was going to be a hard race. My legs felt like bricks immediately. I tried my best to relax, but it was hard because I started out too fast, as I tend to do. I ran the first mile and a half until Observatory Hill. I ran mile 1 in 11:06… nearly two minutes faster than my normal! Mile 2 was Observatory Hill, so that one was 12:43, which is still a bit faster than my normal pace. Once I finally got to the top of Observatory Hill, I was starting to doubt how much more I could run. The sun was setting so I decided to make a quick stop and snap a few pictures on my phone.
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At least it was pretty! After the hill I ran almost the next mile. My time for mile 3 was 11:48. As I neared the 5K mark, I was getting pretty tired. I decided my goal was to run about a half mile and then walk a bit. It ended up working out to walking up hills and through the water stops. I actually got into a pretty decent rhythm with a pretty decent running pace.

A little past the 5K mark the course flattened out, so that helped. My last 3 miles were more my normal pace, so I was still running faster since I was also running too. My splits miles 4,5,6: 12:56, 12:30, 12:59.

The race course mostly followed the Crazylegs and then after Camp Randall turned back onto the Capital City Trail path back toward downtown. The last turn was onto State Street and then back into the Square. Once I turned onto State Street I was determined to run the rest of the way. The finish seemed so far away! Once I finally turned onto the Square, I felt like I was moving in slow motion. But then I finally crossed the finish. And I even had some race pictures I liked, and they offered free downloads!
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My official time was 1:17:59. which really surprised me! Even though I had such a hard time, this time was 2:18 better than my last 10K! I’m not in a big hurry to run another night race. Its just hard to run at night, especially on a nice weekend when we’ve got stuff to do! I will say, however, that it was kinda fun to turn the corner into the Square and be greeted with all the spotlights, the announcer announcing me and all the people cheering.

My next goal is to train for the Madison Mini in August. And in between, I’m choosing my next race primarily as a race my family can actually come with me to see!


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Mall of America and the zoo

Continuing backwards on our Minneapolis trip… ending at the beginning.

Friday morning we started out with the Mall of America, since it was still pretty chilly. It was very convenient to get to since our hotel was right across the street. We walked over a pedestrian bridge to get there.
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We got there around 9:30 before the stores opened. We went in by the Lego store, so spent a few minutes playing with the Legos outside the store.
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Peyton was fascinated watching the rides at Nickelodeon Universe next to the Lego area. We talked about getting some tickets to ride a few, but we didn’t end up having time.
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Allie liked looking at all the fountains.
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We got to Build a Bear right after they opened.
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Allie picked a bear and then picked a sound to put in the bear.
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And then she changed her mind and picked out a horsey.
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Then we stuffed the horsey…
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And gave the horsey a bath!
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We dressed the horsey in a cape with matching necklace and two sets of shoes. Allie named the horsey Danza, after the horse she picked for the Kentucky Derby. She held onto that horsey all weekend! She also changed the horsey’s name a few times. Right now she says the horsey is Sophie’s Cupcake, one of the horseys she liked from when we went to Canterbury Park.

After Build a Bear, we went to the Disney Store. I had promised Allie we’d go to the Hello Kitty store to buy her a Hello Kitty necklace. I have a picture we took by the Hello Kitty store when we went to Minneapolis in 2011, but apparently the store isn’t there anymore! So we went to the Disney Store instead.
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Allie picked out a Minnie Mouse necklace and bracelet set and we picked out a Lightning McQueen car for Peyton. He was more excited to suck on the box!
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We had lunch at the food court. Dada let Peyton try his burger. It was funny because he’d put his mouth on it, but he doesn’t know he’s supposed to bite the food off.

After going back to the hotel for a nap for Peyts and swim for Allie, we headed to Como Park in St. Paul for the carousel and the zoo.
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It was Peyton’s first ride on a carousel horsey.

Then we headed over to the zoo. This zoo is a small free zoo just like the Madison zoo.


Peyton’s favorite animals were the monkeys and the fish. Its a good thing its a small zoo. When we were only about halfway through, Allie got really tired and didn’t want to walk anymore. She ended up going in the stroller and we had to carry Peyton. That’s getting to be a bigger challenge these days! Especially since I’d forgotten the carrier for him.

We wrapped the day up with a little play in our room. Peyton’s been doing this silly thing where he puts his Easter bucket over his head.
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Big day for the Durso kiddos!

It was a big day here for the Durso kiddos. This morning Peyton had his 15-month appointment. He’s great! He weighs 22 pounds and 6 ounces, 44th percentile. He’s moving up the charts for weight, and I feel that every day! He’s really chunked out. He’s still a shortie though at 30.2 inches, 17th percentile.

The biggest news for Peyton though is that he took his first unassisted steps tonight! Its funny because we were just talking at the doctors about how he was going to walk any day now, and it ended up being not even 12 hours later.

Allie’s news is that she has been officially accepted into 4K for next year! My baby is growing up! The school was our fourth choice or something, but I didn’t expect to get our first choices since we’re non-residents. Her school is La Petite Academy. We’re looking forward to going in the next few weeks to take a look around! Its getting real here for school. We have to figure out how we’re going to coordinate once she starts school. The plan is going to be dropping her off in the morning and having her take the bus to Bridget’s after.  It was so surreal looking at the calendar included with the letter! She starts on Sept. 2!

In other news, we won’t be back into our normal building for eight weeks or more. Right now I’m working in a hot conference room at a non-ergonomic work station with a slow computer and teeny tiny monitor. We’re supposed to find out our permanent temporary location by Tuesday. All the rumors are of a location on the east side, which isn’t going to be very convenient for our commute. We’ll figure out how to make it work, I guess! Its too bad we won’t be staying where we are this week. I’m in the Madison call center, which is very close to Doug’s office, so its been a really convenient commute. We’re starting to get some information on how we can pick up our personal items from the building.