What time is it where you are?

This is Palm Desert, Ca. time...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Holy Cow, do I have some catching up to do!

It is not as easy as you might think...being with your family and trying to squeeze in time to walk back to the office (even late at night) to get in 'blog time'!
Here is a quick update:

Day 6 (June 22) was the finish of IRONMAN...such a wonderful event to experience! I have more pics to add when I get time.

Day 7 was my cocktail 'party'- which was fabulous! My sister and her brave husband Robb, took my kids overnight for a 'slumber party' (did I mention they have three of their own?) and I met my parents for a wonderful evening of cocktails and tapas. We started off at Barrel Room No. 6, which was a FABULOUS place to begin any evening. We ordered a wine that was made specifically for the restaurant- and it was very good. Along with that I enjoyed my first cheese plate...which paired together perfectly, and being able to sit and talk to my parents together was icing on the cake.



Wine and Cheese plate! Yummy!






After Barrel Room No. 6 we traveled to The Beacon, which is on a corner, and has these marvelous gigantic windows from which to people watch and enjoy the beauty of downtown. We stayed there until it got really crowded and we enjoyed more to eat and drink. Our waitress was very nice and the whole evening was just wonderful! (Thank you Erin and Robb!)



The Beacon downtown







My wonderful parents






Since then we have been to the Library, which is a magnificent building in itself. They are very kid-friendly, which doesn't surprise me- because the whole town is great for children/families.
My children where fascinated by the computer games and story time with a craft, in the children's portion of the library. The day we went we learned about bugs, read poems, listened to interesting facts and made a dragonfly from popsicle sticks!


The inside, looking down
the stairs






Looking up, once
you walk in. This is
a really neat piece of
art- the breeze blows
these pieces of metal
and makes it look like
it is slinking around.



I couldn't resist- he was
too cute! Moose are
everywhere here!




Grandpa has promised Jamie that he would take her fishing... and so we went. I accompanied Grandpa because I knew he might need help! (teehee)

We had a great time, although it was a little 'iffy' at first. They all needed their fishing rods with a worm on it right away...all four of them. I must admit- I was not interested in the worm part at all, and wasn't much help to Grandpa except casting out the rods each time they 'thought they had a bite'. After awhile I went ahead and cut worms, put worms on hooks, and re-casted about a million times.


















All together the kids caught about 6 fish. Of course none were eating size, so we released them, much to the groaning of the kids.








Jamie calling home
to tell mom she caught a fish!



















We had one major accident: Cope was holding a hook for Grandpa, let it go and turn quickly to walk away...except the hook snagged his finger and he was bleeding quite bad. He went hysterical at the site of blood (you have to know Cope) and I couldn't calm him down enough to get a band aide on it. Finally he quit crying and jumping around, we washed it, dried it and got a band aide on it. Bobby reminded me I had some "Neo To Go" and I spritzed his boo-boo before we covered it.















Releasing the fish...
waiting their turn to
release one





Today Jeff flies in, and Ill drive over to Spokane to pick him up. We are very excited Daddy will be joining us!
I'm hoping I can find more time to blog, once Jeff gets here...I'm keeping my fingers crossed! More later!

Monday, June 23, 2008

IRONMAN Continued... (Day 7 of vacation)


We were very graciously invited to an afternoon soirée at the Coeur d'Alene Resort City Inns, a local downtown hotel that has a really great upper deck from which to watch the IRONMAN from. Here are the 5 out of 7 grandkids
L to R: Bobby, Tierney, Cope, Jamie and Hayden (Hayden is Jamie's best friend)
(Hi Abby and Jimmy T- We miss you!)

I can speak from personal experience about this wonderful hotel, since for the last 4 years I have been a guest here. The two greatest things about this hotel are the management (very friendly and warm) and the location, since it is literally right downtown. It was perfect for me and the kids, since we just take a right out of our room, and BAM- we are downtown! We walked to everything! A gas station and post office are nearby, as well as an upper deck to relax on.
If you ever do come to Coeur d'Alene, tell the owners I said "Hi!"

Back on Thursday I mentioned us having dinner at Tomato Street. We went to the one in Coeur d'Alene, and oh my goodness- what great food! Our party of 10 consisted of 5 adults and 5 children, and I'm telling you the truth...We sat the 4 oldest kids together in a booth and didn't have to fuss with them the whole night! The restaurant has a neat atmosphere that really needs to be seen and felt. Plenty for the kids to do and not get bored, loud enough they wont be scolded at, and food to drool over. Move over Olive Garden, these fresh and piping hot garlic loaves of bread were to die for! And the pizza...incredible! Service was good and were weren't rushed, or had to wait for anything. Next time you are in the area- you gotta go!











So to finish up the exciting IRONMAN from yesterday... around 2:30, when the kids could not hold on any longer, I took them home for a nap. We awoke around 5:30 and ate my favorite pizza EVER- Papa Murphy's Veggie De-lite and then walked back downtown to the Resort City Inns for the afternoon soirée on the upper deck. Good food and drink and great company, made the evening very relaxed and exciting. We cheered for everyone that ran by and after awhile we all walked down to the finish line where a huge crowd had gathered. By this time is was 10:00pm, and I knew we wouldn't make it to the midnight hour. (If you don't happen to cross the finish line by midnight, you are not given a 'time')


This is right outside
the Resort City Inns






I just looked at the clock, and I have a cocktail reception to go to in 13 minutes! I will try and finish up as soon as possible! I have so much to tell you still!

Ciao'!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

IRONMAN TODAY!


Today is the day the infamous IRONMAN will take place!
When I told my sister I'd be coming for a visit, she said, "Oh- you can come to IRONMAN with us!"
The buzz around town has all been about IRONMAN. Businesses getting ready for the crowds, the streets filling up with cones and flags...the hospitality tents being raised...all in preparation for IRONMAN.

So I awoke at 4:30am, and our family was out the door by 5:30 to walk into town and get to "the wall", which is where everyone likes to sit and watch the first leg of the triathlon- swimming 2 miles in the Coeur d'Alene lake. (which by the way was 59.5 degrees this morning)







(L to R)
Tierney, Jamie, Aunt Erin, Cope
behind me was Uncle Robb,
Grandpa, Jillian and Bobby

We are "On the wall" waiting
for the athletes to jump in
the water and start swimming







We are "on the wall"
waiting for the beach to fill up with
the athletes.
The gun will go off and most
of the 2200 participants
will all jump into the FRIDGID
waters! (59.5 degrees)








Here the beach is starting to fill
up with all the athletes.
The "professional athletes"
have already begun, now the
others are waiting for their turn.










It looked like a school of
sardines flopping around.
All you saw were a sea of
pink and blue swim caps
and arms splashing as they
all entered at once.







It was just amazing to
see how many different
types of people were in
the race! I was in awe of each
one and how determined they looked.
I heard it is not uncommon
for their toenails to fall off
after the race.
Does anyone know if that is true?






This is but one fraction of the amount
of clothing bags the swimmers
will try to find with the help of their volunteers.


















And then there are the sea of bikes
waiting patiently....











The first swimmers out of
the water...these are some of
the "professionals"...











And they begin the biking portion...
112 miles in and out of town.












Of course we then went to breakfast...
Any idea where?

...Yep! Calypsos' baby!!!









And this, my friends, is my
reward for getting up so
early...a blended mocha.
I also had a very delicious
toasted, sesame seed bagel with
scrambled eggs, ham and cheese.




video Starting the race...


Ill have more updates later, as the day goes on. The bike portion is still going strong, and I'm not sure if anyone is actually running yet.
We plan on coming back out around midnight to cheer for those that cross the finish lines before then. (If you don't happen to cross before midnight, you are not officially given a time)
*If anyone IN the IRONMAN is reading this- you truly are INCREDIBLE!
I applaud you for your total commitment in this race!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day two of Utopia here in Coeur D'Alene...


I'm supposed to weigh in today (on my side bar) but I'm just going to tell you I feel like I MUST have lost 5 pounds already just walking all over the town...you can take my word for it, okay? (wink, wink)

















We awoke to hike Tubbs Hill this morning! Our goal was to hike just half of it, as we were then going into town to eat lunch at Calypsos! (my favorite place)
We began our hike going south from grandma and grandpa's, and within 2 minutes we were at the trail head! (Did I mention I love this town?)
The hike was simply spectacular- with beautiful vistas of the lake and its surrounding acreage. All kinds of people hike there: older people with dogs, younger families with kids, serious athletes getting ready for IRONMAN this weekend...and everyone saying "hi" as they walk by you. I had forgotten how much I miss the smell of the pine trees, as I was enjoying the hike. I tried to take a picture of the tall trees, but they literally are so big, they didn't fit in my lens of the camera. Even most of the trees in the neighborhood are gargantuan! (See movie of tall tree below)


Okay, I will admit that halfway through the hike I was getting tired. I think it was the fresh air. I'm not used to so much pure, clean air, and it was affecting my lungs by making me sleepy. Maybe it was the beautiful sunny day that added to my blissful dream-like state, because by the time we were done hiking....all I wanted to do was to sit down in a comfy chair and sip ice tea at Calypsos. Even the kids were chatting to each other saying, "I'm not tired, but my legs are. They are tired of walking." (Jamie) Did I mention I am in the company of 5 out of the 7 cousins, all under the age of 7. (We miss you Abby and Jimmy T!)






*bridge pic: Grandma and Erin (with Jillian)
Tierney, Bobby, Cope and Jamie

*rock pic: Bobby, Cope, Tierney and Jamie (l to r)

*climbing up pic: Bobby, Cope, Jamie and Tierney (b to top)







Once lunch was over, we (my mom, my sister and myself) were craving an iced coffee drink, and decided that if we took it to the park and let the kids play some more, then it would totally negate the calories laden in it. So off we went walking across town to the park, where we spent another hour just talking, sipping our yummy delicious iced coffee drinks, and enjoying the sunshine.








Another park-
McEuen Field...right
near Grandma and Grandpa's
house!




















Tierney playing with Jillian Me resting in a "blissful dream-like state"


We decided it was time to go back home and rest a little bit. We would meet back up and start "cocktail time" at 5:00pm at Grandma and Grandpa's, then try a restaurant called Tomato Street.
I have snuck away during this 'rest time' to walk over to the 'office' and make my entry for the day! I will post more tomorrow, as I have a bucketload of pics to share with you!
CLICK ON ANY PIC TO ENLARGE IT!
Let me know if you have been to any of these places, or if I missed a good place to try!




Here in downtown, they have
flowers everywhere...

This wheelbarrow was just
one example.

All the street lamps have
hanging flower baskets.










The beautiful
Coeur D'Alene Resort
-
which I aspire to stay in
at least 1 night someday!
They have a 'floating green'
associated with their
golf course








Entrance downtown
to the shops, lake and beach

















Being half Irish- this is
one of my favorite places
to shop!
All Things Irish
(website coming soon)










A really neat building downtown
that has a great waterfall
feature at the front of it











Not only a great example of the
beautiful old houses here,
but notice the church steeple
in the background.













On a recent field trip to Grandpa's office downtown, the girls (Jamie 5 and Tierney 7) used the bathroom and were gone a long time. I went to check on them and found them huddled over the sink washing their hands. For a split second I thought all my preaching had finally sunk in...until I overheard something about cupcakes. They were talking about the soap in the bathroom smelling good, like cupcakes. It turns out to have a positive effect on little girls, and I must make a mental note to buy some when I get home. If you would like your hands to smell like cupcakes, then purchase some Bath & Body Works hand soap called "Warm Vanilla Sugar". It really does smell yummy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In my next life....Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Yesterday the kids and I flew up to see my family in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Each time I come here I seriously ask myself, "Why am I living in Palm Springs, California?"

The first thing I noticed while still in the air was how green the ground was. Mostly because it was all pine trees, but in the spots where there were no trees, it was green. I'm guessing it was grass, only because it would take a ton of spray paint to color all their sand...oh wait- they don't have sand in Coeur d'Alene! So one obvious difference is...no sand, and everything here is green. Love it already!


We stopped off at my parents new place (soooo adorable and I want to buy one) and they had their windows open wide, and blinds pulled up! I ran around the house trying to shut them all so the sand and heat wouldn't get in, but Mom explained they have no sand. "Oh yeah, right."

I slept with the windows wide open and a cold Nordic wind was blowing gently around the room. I must have stared at the ceiling (in awe) for over 15 minutes before I realized there was no snow coming, and once curled deep down under the 2 comforters and my flannel pajamas...I slumbered quite heavily off to sleep.

I awoke to my children whispering my name at 6:41am, asking if they can go play downstairs. I told them to go back to bed, as it was too early. They slumbered off until 8:00am and got the 'ok' to play downstairs (surprisingly rather quietly) until I awoke in the now 'too quiet' bedroom at 8:03am.

Calypsos' child-friendly play area-
What a great idea! Mom can relax
with a Chai Latte while the kids play!
BTW- the food was INCREDIBLE!




Coeur D'Alene is so breathtaking, and everyone is so friendly here. We must have walked several miles back and forth the downtown, hitting the local coffee shop (Calypsos) for lunch, going to Fort Sherman park, (which the whole community got together to build for the children) (CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE)
walking past the lake,'scootering' over to Grandma and Grandpa's house,
picnicking in the front yard, and most importantly- going to FigPickles Toy Emporium for a treat. <---check it out for yourself! At 4:00 pm is the Farmer's Market downtown, which we will 'scooter' on down to and check out!
Homemade furniture from the Farmer's Market









Looking down the street at Farmer's Market










Before I go (for now) I want to say hi to Cindy and Scott DiQuattro- "Hi guys!!!" You would love it here! Stay tuned for more!