Sunday, December 16, 2012


Just a few funny things from the mouths of my children:

Blake: We were in the middle of a shopping trip at Target and I asked Blake to come over to me so I could help him with something.  He turned and yelled at the top of his lungs, "I AM 3 YEARS OLD AND I DON'T NEED YOU ANYMORE."

Josh:  "Mom, what is that book you are reading?" I said, "A book about how I can become a better mommy."  He said, "oh Mom, why are you reading that book?  You are already the BEST mom in the world."  He was my favorite child that day :)

Blake:  We were snuggling in my bed one morning and I said, "Blake, you are so sweet. You must be made of sugar and spice."  He turned to me with the biggest grin on his face and said, "Yes.  And MARSHMALLOWS!  I am full of marshmallows."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Birthday Month

Nov is always a fun month at the Banks house as we celebrate the birth of two out of the three cutest kids ever born.  Josh turned 6 and Halle turned 9.  The festivities start with Josh.  He was the happy recipient of lots of legos, a razor scooter and cold hard CASH. DSC_0918DSC_0923
Later in the afternoon we took Josh and his 4 little buddies to Chuck E. Cheese.  The sole purpose of this party was for Josh to enjoy the TICKET BLASTER.  And he loved all 30 seconds of it.  He ended up with about 500 tickets, which is a lot of tickets in my family!  We decorated the car with window markers saying things like, “Happy birthday Josh” or “Josh turns 6 today.” 
Up next….Halle girl. 
She’s getting a little big for the birthday chair, eh? This year she didn’t have a lot to open.  That’s because Grandparents sent her $$ to spend in an all expenses paid trip to the American Girl Store.  Denver this year.  Not quite as magical as NYC, but a little closer to home :)
I checked her out of school at lunch time and we drove down. She chose Kaya, a beautiful Native American Doll.  She had planned on getting some of Kaya’s clothes, but the store was sold out.  Not to worry….there was an adorable pet bath set that instantly won her over. Now all her AG pets (and she has many) will be neat and clean.  After our shopping spree we headed to the White Chocolate Grill for lunch.  They have special chairs for your dolls, which was a must.  Kaya, Halle and I enjoyed a yummy lunch followed by a massive piece of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. 
But the festivities didn’t end there.  Saturday night was DISCO night at Dance Space.  Halle and her friend Nieve share a birthday.  We invited 14 little girls to join us for a night of disco fun.  The party included games, a cute craft, cupcakes and snacks, and the highlight of the evening—the disco dance.  The girls learned a dance, and performed it for the parents when they came to pick them up.  It was a really fun night. 
PicMonkey Collage

IMG 5044 from Tara Banks on Vimeo.

I’m proud of my kiddos this year. With a little gentle suggestion from mom, they decided instead of their guests bringing birthday presents, that they bring toys to donate to Toys for Tots.  We’ve done this before, and it is such a fun experience for my kids.  And guess what?  They don’t even miss not getting presents themselves.  Not even a little bit. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Top of Utah Marathon

Running a Marathon is kinda like having a baby.  You forget how hard it is, and only remember the good parts—like how amazing you feel when you cross the finish line.  Your mind blocks out the months and months of training, and how incredibly sore you are for days after the marathon is over.  So, naturally, only remembering the good parts made me want to do another one.  7 of us signed up to run Top of Utah.  Only 3 of us made it to the starting line.  Boo for injuries and sickness! 

I didn’t feel as prepared for this race as I was for CIM.  I had trained in NYC, but not with the intensity that I train in CO.  It was just to darn hot (Even at 5 in the morning it was 78-85 degrees).  But once I got back to CO I ramped up my training and was confident I could run the distance.  The race was 17 miles down Blacksmith Fork Canyon, and then the remaining miles ran through Providence and Logan.  I started the race feeling great—miles were flying by and my marathon pace felt easy.  Then at mile 8 my stomach started giving me some grief.  Mile 8 is WAY to early to have anything go wrong.  Stopped at a port a potty and hoped that would be the end of it.  NOPE.  I struggled with cramps and nausea among other things that aren’t polite to mention from miles 8-23.  Lovely.  THEN, at mile 16 my $#&*$ Garmin battery died.  Stomach issues and no Garmin make for a pretty miserable race.  I stayed on pace until mile 18, and wasn’t too far off by 20.  But my body was not going to cooperate.  Which was too bad, because my legs felt fine. 

Rusty met me at Mile 23 and ran with me until the finish line.  I was so glad to have him there, and he just chatted with me the whole time.  It made the miles go by much more quickly.  25-26.2 actually felt great.  I crossed the finish line on my feet, so I’ll consider it a victory even though I didn’t get the time I had trained for.  Oh well….there’s always next time :)

My Mom and Dad also came with the kiddos and it was really fun to see them all cheering at the finish line.  I’m so glad they came!

Night before the race hanging out with my running buddies Amber and Kayla.

IMG_0166 IMG_0167 IMG_0170 IMG_0173 IMG_0176

Blake’s first day of Preschool

My friends and I are doing co-op preschool again this year.  It is so much fun to be a part of Blake’s preschool experience and get to teach him and see him interact with his little friends.  Plus….it saves me a ton of money.  This year, as some of us have other kids who are in preschool or kindergarten in the afternoon, we decided to try afternoon preschool.  It’s been a pretty rough transition for Blake.  He was so excited to go the first time, then the second time he was tired and wanted a nap, so he was a ROYAL pain all through preschool at Carrie’s house.  Then, at Kimberlie’s house, he just sat on the couch the entire time and refused to participate.  After that, things looked up a bit.  It was my turn to teach last week, and he was pretty happy to be there, and participated in the crafts and circle time.  Hopefully he just needed a little transition time and he won’t be the Preschool Grinch the entire year. 
Blake's first day of preschool

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First day of 3rd Grade and Kindergarten

  We are back home settled into our normal routine.  School came very quickly and the kids are glad to be back with their friends.  Halle just adores her 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Cottle, and Josh ran into kindergarten without a worry in the world.  His teacher, Mrs. Delaney, is the perfect kindergarten teacher. 
Halle first day of 3rd grade
Josh's first day of kindergarten

Goodbye NYC

We had a pretty exciting trip to the airport!  I had set the alarm for 4:30 because we wanted to leave the house at 5 to give ourselves plenty of time to catch our flight.  (Last time we were in NYC the only reason we didn’t miss our flight was because it was delayed—we were extremely late to the airport).  Well….no alarm went off.  Lucky for us, my body is pretty used to waking up at 5am for early morning runs.  I rolled over, looked at the clock and proceeded to freak out.  It was already 5.  We dashed around getting things ready, yanked the kids out of bed, and ran to get a taxi.  We didn’t even have time to do one final sweep of the apartment.  Yeah….left a bunch of my running stuff.  Our taxi driver was awesome and fit an AMAZING amount of luggage into the taxi without making us feel too squished.  We made it to the airport in record time, and caught our flight.  Whew! 

This summer already feels like one long dream, and sometimes I wonder if it really happened.  Did we really live in Manhattan?  Was Central Park our playground?  Did I really eat all that amazing food?  Hands down the best summer of my life.  I’ll never forget it, and I kinda hope I get the opportunity to live in NYC again.  For a longer period of time.  Rusty…..he’s ecstatic to return to Erie and slow down the pace a little.  Me…..Manhattan is pure magic.  Love everything about it.  Even the really annoying parts.  So, Big Apple, Goodbye for now.  But not forever. 
2012-08-04 07.41.13 2012-08-04 07.41.18

Our little routine

This is one of our quirky little NYC routines that I want to remember.  We have exactly 3 doors to get through until we are inside of our apartment.  Each door has about a 10 digit code.  The kids love to enter the code on the keypad, and we need to make sure everyone gets a turn.  Also, I always have the stroller, so I need someone to hold the door open while I wheel Blake through.  This is how it works:

The kids RUN to the outside door and Halle enters the code:

Then Josh holds open the door for me so Halle can enter the code on the 2nd door:


Then Halle holds the 2nd door while Josh runs ahead to enter the code on the apartment door and let us all in.

That’s the way it works.  Every. Single. Time. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Restaurant Week

Oh NYC—how I love all your delicious restaurants.  And all your delicious treats.  Please don’t make me leave! 

Restaurant week was going on during our last weeks in the city.  It’s a chance to try all the fun, fancy restaurants that are normally out of our budgetary reach :)  I have been listening to “Rules of Civility” on my long runs, and was enamored at the part where Tinker Grey takes Katie and Eve to the 21 Club in Midtown.  I immediately jumped online and made Rusty and I a Restaurant Week reservation to have a lunch date there.  And it did not disappoint.  We had such a great time—the atmosphere was upscale and unique, and the food was some of the best we’ve had in the city.  I am so glad I got to have my own 21 Club moment :)2012-08-02 13.38.39 2012-08-02 13.38.55

PicMonkey Collage


As our NYC adventure was winding down, we took the opportunity to do our favorite things one last time.

Last nap in his stroller

Last fun play—Skippyjon Jones

Last time at Victoria Gardens
Last time at Church2012-07-29 09.22.25

  2012-07-29 18.13.28

Last Picnic in Central Park—this time up at the Harlem Meer

Souvenir shopping

When we first came to NYC the kids were asking me for souvenirs about every 10 seconds.  So, I promised them that in the last week we were there I’d give them each $20 and they could purchase their own souvenirs.  All summer they were on the lookout for things they might want to buy. The day finally arrived and we went shopping near 8th ave and 47th st—souvenir mecca.  We browsed many, many stores and had a great time.  In the end, Halle chose a doll from Brave, Josh got a B Suway bear (PERFECT), and Blake got an NYC fire truck. 
IMG_2429 IMG_2432 IMG_2434

Outdoor at the Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center puts on a neat week long event every summer.  They have a whole bunch of concerts and performances that are all done outdoors, free for anyone to come and enjoy.  We went on Family Day, and the kids had a great time participating in a very unique exhibit called Tangled.  They each got a ball of stretchy, plastic material, and proceeded to make a big, tangled mess.  It was pretty fun at first when the kids were building the web.  But then things got a little crazy :) Kids were bouncing, flinging themselves like catapults from the web, hanging upside down, and getting stuck in the tangle.  All in all, it was a fun experience, but the kids were ready to get out of that mess!
IMG_2411 IMG_2412 2012-07-28 16.05.03 2012-07-28 16.16.58

Dip in a fountain

Remember this picturesque, serene pond at the Conservatory Gardens? 
2012-07-29 18.40.50

Well, leave it to Blake to spoil the mood.  The kids were enjoying the beautiful flowers, and loving looking at the giant goldfish swimming peacefully in the pond.  Blake was making his way around the edge, when all of the sudden we heard a giant SPLASH.  And then Blake was nowhere to be seen.  Rusty (who was only a few feet away) reached into the pond and pulled out a screaming, soaking wet Blake.  It reminded me of that scene in Tarzan where they all scream, “IT’S a PIRANAH!”  Poor Baby was pretty traumatized.  We stripped all his clothes off, and luckily I had an extra diaper.  So, he got to ride home in the stroller and on the bus in only his diaper. 
2012-07-29 18.51.58 2012-07-29 19.23.33

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rockefeller Center

I think Top of the Rock was one of everyone’s favorite things.  We went at night and it was amazing.  There is big debate in the city about which views are better—Empire State, or Rockefeller.  I choose Rockefeller.  The reason is….at Empire State there is a tall metal safety fence that really obstructs the the view.  You really have to look in between the bars to get a great view.  But at Rockefeller, there is just a huge glass wall, so the view is totally unobstructed.  LOVED IT.  Doing it at night also added to the magic.


We ate dinner at Tang Pavillion, which was the best Chinese we had in Manhattan.  Ended the night with some bananna pudding and cheesecake from Magnolia’s.  Little taste of heaven.                       


NYC from the top of a double decker bus

Nothing says tourist like the sight seeing buses in NYC.  BUT….my parents wanted to see and do as much as possible, and these buses are a great way to get around!  We went everywhere you can imagine, and it was actually really interesting to listen to the tour guides and learn fun and interesting facts about the city.  I can’t even begin to list the places we visited.  One day we did the downtown tour.  Next day the uptown tour.  And finally a harbor cruise. 

526972_4235595775805_723566354_n (2)561387_4235596655827_1617932695_n (2)

(We couldn’t get a good pic, but Blake was fast asleep on Papa’s lap)

Funny story about the cruise.  We were running tight on time, and so we asked on of the tour guides what the quickest way to the harbor was.  He said we could wait for a little shuttle that would take us over, or we could just walk.  It would take 6-10 minutes is what he said.  Now….I should have been very suspicious of that because we had to cross 5 Avenues, but I just took his word for it.  It was over 90 degrees and super super humid.  We walked and walked, then we walked a little faster, walked some more, started running…smack into a building.  We were almost at the address we had been given, but there was a very large building in our way.  We went one direction around the building—dead end.  We went the other direction.  After a few more twists and turns, AND running with the stroller across the Hudson River Parkway, we finally made it with about 5 seconds to spare.  We were so hot and so sweaty!  Lucky for us we had stopped at Carnegie Deli (Rudest place on earth) right before this adventure and we had a nice fat slice of cheesecake, and a giant slice of 5th avenue pie to enjoy on the boat.


I have to say, my favorite views of Manhattan are from the water, so it was worth all the running.  The poor kids, their little faces were SO RED. We saw all of downtown, the statue of liberty, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queensboro bridge, South Street Seaport, and everything in between. 



Hanging at the Conservatory Gardens in Central Park. These gardens were BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t believe we’d never been there before now.

We also hit up Grand Central Station and learned that there is something in the pattern and color of the floor that makes it so you could run from end to end and never hit another person, no matter how crowded it was, unless you intentionally ran into them.  Interesting….