Archive for January, 2010

Anniversary Staycation

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Today is our two-year anniversary. Two weekends ago, Miles and I celebrated by going on “staycation” to do things in Sioux Falls we haven’t done yet (for the most part), despite living here for two years. We were going to stay at a hotel downtown too, but ultimately decided we’d stay at home and save that money. There’s a limited amount of things to do in winter, so most of our list consists of trying new places to eat or have coffee. We also had some built-in free time to get things done (groceries, laundry, work, homework, shoveling, etc.) Here’s the agenda for the weekend, my thoughts on each event and my rating of the experience (based on a 5-point scale).


Red Rossa

After work on Friday, we met for pizza at Red Rossa. I had a pepperoni and green olive pizza (my favorite, next to Taco pizza). I didn’t think I’d eat the entire pizza (six pieces) but I thought wrong. I didn’t care too much for the wood-fired part (though, that is what they do) because the bottom tasted burnt. The flavor of everything else was good, though! We got there at 6 p.m. and just barely beat the rush of people coming into the restaurant. My rating: 3.5


For an after-supper treat, we got mochas at Coffea. There’s been a lot of buzz about the place since they opened but we’re still probably considered coffee newborns (and it’s not on the way to anywhere we go, typically) so we hadn’t ever been. The cream on top was pretty and that was enough to win me over. Not my favorite mocha ever, but good enough to make me go back sometime and try something else. Maybe even stay a while. (For those few of you who recently made a trip to Sioux Falls and missed out on your coffee fix late that evening, Coffea is open until midnight on Friday/Saturday.) My rating: 4.0

Avatar in 3D

We cheated here. We’ve seen Avatar (in 2D) – we’ve seen a movie in 3D – and we’ve seen a movie in 3D at Carmike. But we like movies and we make our own rules. So technically, we hadn’t seen Avatar in 3D and that is why it counts. Anyway, we’re glad we did. And we’re glad we saw it in 2D first. Doing it in this order, we were able to enjoy the characters and the story and the creativity of the world and its creatures – and then on our second viewing we were able to enjoy the technical aspect of it and truly appreciate it, without being distracted by the story or characters. Normally, I’ve got several things against 3D and typically end up taking the glasses off to watch the blurry screen instead. I can get motion sick, I can’t focus with the 3D glasses and that can cause headaches. However, after about 2 minutes, I was able to adjust and really enjoy this movie in 3D. My rating: 5.0



After sleeping in a little, we went to have our Saturday morning coffee date (typically reserved for the Caribou drive-thru,) at Kaladis. Again, we both got a mocha and I decided to try their chocolate chip scone. Yummy. I really enjoyed the scone and the mocha wasn’t too sweet, which is sometimes a problem with other places I’ve had mochas. I will return here for an occasional Saturday morning treat. My rating: 4.5


We went to Braccos for lunch. Since I had a scone in late morning, I opted for something a little lighter and went with chicken salad on a croissant with fresh fruit. It was a good lunch and I’d like to go back and try a burger or something a little heavier. They’re a bit on the expensive side, but their lunch menu prices are a little more manageable and the menu has lots of variety. My rating: 4.0

Pavilion Visual Arts Center

Probably the most surprising thing is that we haven’t been to the Pavilion for anything other than a show or concert in the theater. Since the Science Center seemed to be more for kids (and free on first Fridays!) we decided to put that off for a few years. However, the Visual Art Center is always free and the six galleries are on a pretty regular rotation throughout the year – which gives it major “come-back-ability” points. I didn’t care for every exhibition, but still enjoyed walking through the galleries (and recognizing some artists I know!) My rating: 4.5

Wells Fargo Cinedome

We all know Miles likes dinosaurs. So I wanted to make sure we saw the IMAX film, Dinosaurs Alive! at the Wells Fargo Cinedome, also at the Pavilion, before its run ended this month. I was overall pretty unimpressed. The projector was a little shaky and the whole film seemed blurry – the animated simulations were pretty bad and really made the film seem older than it is (2007). I’ve never been able to get through an IMAX film without having to close my eyes and just listen, so this one was doomed from the beginning. My rating: 2.0

Downtown shopping/Philips Avenue Diner/Sinful Things

After leaving the Pavilion, we went to Philips Avenue to shop downtown (it happened to be Winter Crazy Days) and find a snack, since I was losing steam pretty fast. I got an apple pie, a la mode, from Philips Avenue Diner (again, some place we’ve been before, but I haven’t had pie there before so it counts!) We also stopped in Sinful Things and got two pieces of triple chocolate cake to have for dessert that evening. (Yes, that picture is it and that is only 1/4 of a piece – we didn’t know they’d be so big! We had cake for dessert for a couple of days.) It was fun to walk around downtown and check out some of the shops.  Again, surprising we’ve never done that before! We even got someone a birthday gift at one of the stores. My rating: 4.0

Triple Chocolate Cake

Tea Steakhouse

Sort of a steakhouse/cafe hybrid, we ate at the Tea Steakhouse for supper (technically not in Sioux Falls, but a few miles outside). Menu prices range from $9-25 steaks to $3 cheeseburgers. I got a steak dinner because I thought they have to be good if they’re that expensive. I should have gone for the cheeseburger. We spent the most money at this establishment and was the most disappointed with it. At least my Cherry Coke came with a cherry. My rating: 1.5


This month we decided to try out Netflix and after supper, we came home and watched Bolt via their instant stream. The instant stream was fast and we had no buffering of any kind and no download waiting period. A pretty good option for movies we want to see and those we were interested in, but perhaps not enough to actually go out and rent in a store or through iTunes. The movie was so-so in my opinion, but I’ll rate on the Netflix instant stream experience. My rating: 4.0


The Original Pancake House

After church on Sunday, we headed to The Original Pancake House for some brunch. This was particularly exciting for me, because I really love breakfast foods. Miles, on the other hand, will only eat breakfast foods if it’s breakfast time or if I call it “brunch” at an earlier lunchtime. After a wait that was at least 40 minutes we finally got a table. We both ordered omelets with a side of pancakes (after all, pancakes are in their name!) The food took a very long time, which in hindsight, is because we ordered omelets. They’re humongous (maybe made with 6 eggs?) and were baked. So…it takes quite a bit longer than on the stove top. And as it turns out, neither of us liked our omelets. And the syrup for the pancakes (only one option for the syrup) tasted odd, almost like it had alcohol in it (but it doesn’t), so the side of pancakes wasn’t the best, but I ate them all anyway. Also, we couldn’t stop our waitress from refilling our coffee. What is the etiquette here? There was no saucer to turn it over when finished. And Miles would get about two sips before she’d refill his cup. I mean, c’mon! My rating: 1.5

Sertoma Butterfly House

After some errands in the afternoon, we went to the Sertoma Butterfly House. Except for the cake, this was the only time I found opportunity (and remembered) to take pictures. It was really cool, except sometimes I’d get freaked out by the big butterflies flying around like they’re drunk. They reminded me of bats and that’s not fun. We got some good pictures and really enjoyed the experience (view the whole set here). The only downside is, as far as I can tell, there’s not much for “come-back-ability”. At least, not until we’ve got a toddler in tow. My rating: 5.0


Whisk & Chop

Needing a snack in the afternoon because we didn’t eat most of our lunch and I’m pregnant, we stopped by the Whisk & Chop about 20 minutes before they were closing for the afternoon. I got a jumbo sticky roll and it was delicious and huge (I saved half of it for breakfast the next day). The service was great – not once did we feel like a burden to the staff even though we showed up right before closing time. I would like to return for more of a sampling of what they have on the menu. My rating: 4.5

School Rumble/Netflix

Finding School Rumble Netflix was the biggest factor in deciding it might be worth it to have an account. If they have something as hard to find as this anime (of which we couldn’t find part 2 of season 2 online anywhere for months – a week later they were all available on Hulu) then we knew it would be a good source for finding new shows and movies to watch. We watched from the disc, and as always, thoroughly enjoyed the show. I only wish it were available on instant stream. My rating: 4.5

A Taste of the Big Apple

For supper, we ordered pizza from A Taste of the Big Apple. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a driver working that night, so Miles had to go pick it up. We got a pepperoni with some cheesy garlic bread. It was delicious and everything I wanted Red Rossa to be (but no burnt taste!) It will definitely be at the top of our list when we order pizza – which admittedly isn’t often, but that might change now. My rating: 4.5

Star Trek

Miles had purchased the newest Star Trek on blu-ray for a Christmas gift to himself. While we saw this movie in the theater, we thought it would be a good way to end our evening at home relaxing and enjoying some good cinema. We also tried to find LOST clues in the movie. There are few. My rating: 4.5

Overall, it was a great weekend. We got to try some places we haven’t been before and did a few things we haven’t done before and it was overall a fun time. We’ve already revisited some of the places! (I went to Kaladis last week and we held our Saturday coffee date at Coffea). My overall rating of the weekend: 4.5


Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

We worked on the nursery this weekend. I decided I wanted to paint a wall, based on the colors in our nursery bedding/paintings I did. So we got paint. And I painted the wall.

Wall, before Wall, after

Then we decided we were going to buy the crib this weekend too. And assemble it.

Dino crib

While we were at Target, we noted that the Pack n Play we were planning to purchase was in stock. So we bought that, too. And figured out how to set it up.

Pack and Play

I had purchased a car seat earlier in the week, so we unboxed that.

Car Seat

All while rewatching season five of LOST.

Then last night we hung up the canvases I painted over my Christmas break.

Baby dinos and leaf Baby dino

You can see the whole set on Flickr. The only pictures that show the most accurate color for the wall are the ones with the canvases on the wall. The others look really bright. If I were to change anything on the paintings, it would be the triceratops. He looks goofy and has no neck. But, he looks the same on the bedding of which I was basing it off of, and I didn’t want them to not match. I guess we’ll just be teaching our son that even goofy looking people belong.

After-Christmas Christmas

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Well, since the little lady posted about her post-holiday purchasing, I’ll do the same. I made a special Wishlist in Amazon that I used to collect, ruminate over, discard, and, eventually, purchase my items. I finally concocted a collection (nay, plethora) of presents that came, with shipping, to $96.97.

The List:

Most surprising, I think, is the fact that I didn’t purchase any PS3 games. I’m as surprised as you are! There certainly are such games on my list, but I feel like I need to complete a couple more of them before I go purchasing additional ones. Also, time is a factor, as video games can benefit from multiple days’ momentum. Case-in-point, Bryan Johnson was kind enough to lend me, by way of driving to my house and handing to me, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I have yet to drop the game in and play a level. Now, that might change with Holli’s class schedule, since it’ll give me a fair chunk of down time on Tuesday evenings, but I still can’t feel justify purchasing a whole new game with what I currently have available to me.

Also surprising is the lack of music on the list. There was an mp3 album I had in mind, but the shipping pushed me past the point of purchasing it. However, I’ve been nickel-and-dime-ing (I mean, ninety-nine cent-and-one-dollar-and-ninety-nine-cent-ing) my way into a respectable amount of new music lately. Much of that new music is reflected in I’m the John. It’s more than that, though. I find it harder and harder to buy albums of music. My favorite bands, certainly, will get a full album purchase, but it’s so easy to listen to new music that I don’t need to own it. I can fire up any number of music services, some of which the artists, themselves, may have uploaded to, and play whatever hot new song or band is coming out. This is free. Those songs I can’t live without, get a $.99 purchase from iTunes or Amazon MP3. The rest get forgotten.

Also absent were baby items. That’s because Baby Rausch got his own financial and physical gifts this Christmas, which he has yet to thank anyone for.

What did you guys get for the Holidays?

After-Christmas Christmas

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

We got money for Christmas from several individuals – all put together, with Miles’s bonus, we had a pretty good amount. We wrote down a list of various ways we’d like to use it. Some would take up all of it, others only part.

Purse This “wish” list included:

  • MacBook (or MacBook Pro) to replace Miles’s current MacBook, purchased in 2006, which does need replacing sometime.
  • Maternity clothes for Holli (we’d get clothes anyway, but it was still on the list).
  • Paying off Miles’s car (we’re pretty close to paying it off, and my car will need to be replaced within the next year or so).
  • New video camera (a small one that will be quick and easy to film moments with the baby – currently in the running: Flip Mino HD, Kodak Zi8, iPod Nano).
  • Droid (or maybe the Nexus?) for Miles (his cell is pushing four years old).
  • Plane tickets to Ohio (to visit Bryce and Lindsey).
  • Put all of it in savings (since we’ll have major expenses coming up in a few short months).

Floor RugAfter making this list, we found that some of these might not work out – paying off Miles’s car would take up a little over half the amount, I’ve got only a few more weeks to be able to travel via airplane (and motion sickness has been a big issue) and I need to save all my vacation days for maternity, and just decided to hold off on a new laptop. We gave me a budget for maternity clothes, and I only went $0.65 over that. I got one cardigan, two camisoles, 8 shirts/blouses, and one pair of brown dress pants (the only color I still needed). Yippy!

Since the money was given to us as a Christmas gift, we know those persons want us to spend at least some of it on fun things for ourselves. Our first plan was to save 2/3 of it and with the other third we would spend it on a video camera and split the remainder between us to spend how we want. With this plan, I would have gotten chairs for our dining table. We currently use card table folding chairs. Gag me. The problem lies in that the table will be hard to find chairs for (it was Miles’s grandparents and his mom stained it and gave it to us) and I’ll want to get six. Ultimately, we decided against the two-thirds/one-third plan as we aren’t ready to make a video camera decision and we’ll just need to consciously save up for dining table chairs. As for matching (or possibly strategically mismatching?), I’ll just need to go into a store with one of the leaves from the table I think.

Entrance RugSo we put it all in savings and decided that right away, we both could take $100 of it to spend however we want. We’ll still possibly get some of the things on the list eventually, like the video camera and cell phone (and we already got me maternity clothes) but for now it’s going to stay in savings. Miles is still working on his $100 wish list, but I’ve already spent mine.

  • $20 – Purse from Gordman’s with a coupon. Something on my Christmas list that I didn’t get and would have had to pick out myself anyway.
  • $30 – Rugs from Target so my favorite rug at our entrance doesn’t get destroyed by winter and to warm up the upstairs living area. The hard wood floors make it very chilly.
  • $35 – Electric griddle from Amazon, something on my Christmas list that I didn’t get. I love to cook for us and friends, but sometimes I just want to do it all in one shot.
  • $10 – Dry-erase calendar board from Amazon, also something on my Christmas list that I didn’t get but I think I’ll like.
  • And with the remainder of my $100, I got a special hot chocolate from Caribou.

Most of you looking at my list probably think it’s a little lame. But it’s totally me. Yes, the lame part. The things I want are almost always practical things. (i.e. dining room chairs, maternity clothes, etc.) All the fun things on the first list above came from Miles. (You can bet I’m the one who put “Pay off Miles’s car” on that list.) His list will be more interesting, and will include PS3 games and Blu-ray movies, when he decides what he’s going to get. But I’m excited about what I got and the deals I got for them.

But why am I defending myself to you? It’s my blog, anyway!

Christmas Card

Monday, January 4th, 2010

In case you missed it, we’ve got a new Christmas card in our sidebar. Or, you can just view it here!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!