573 push-ups + anniversary + lots-o-snow

As I’ve done before, here is a warning that you’re about to be hit with a whole lotta randomness…here goes…

Can you believe the iu football team is so crappy that Bucky Badger had to do 573 push-ups last Saturday when they played??? 573!!! Wow.

The tooth fairy is going broke in our neighborhood. Colleen lost a tooth and Megan lost another one this week. Megan has no bottom center teeth now – she fits in with all of the hockey players up here.

We survived another Halloween. The week after Halloween a local dentist was paying $1 per pound of candy that you turned into him. Christopher gave it some serious thought but changed his mind at the last minute.

Guess which one of our cute kids made the puking pumpkin? Christopher? Nope. Megan? Nope. Colleen? Yep. It took you all three guesses, didn’t it?

They are both so sweet when they are sleeping, huh? Hard to believe either of them ever stay this still – especially not at the same time.

We got at least 8″ of wet, heavy, super-sticky snow this past Saturday. It was so heavy that we had over 30 fire calls on Saturday – morning to night it kept me very busy. Probably half a dozen calls of trees on fire (because the power lines would dip so low) and many power lines down on roads and sidewalks. I thought it would only last a day and then I’d be able to finish my fall chores…4 days later and it’s still white everywhere 🙂 I was up early that day and it was so cool watching the kids come down the stairs. They each woke up on their own, yet all had the same reaction as they turned the corner and came down the stairs. It was the same look as they have on Christmas morning – their eyes would get bigger, they would get a huge smile and yell something like “awesome” or “so cool” – they love the snow and spent several hours sledding and playing outside each day this weekend.

We also started paying the kids allowance last week. $6 for Colleen, $5 for Christopher, and $3 for Megan. They get this regardless of doing chores (although, if they don’t want to do their chores they can pay someone else to do them for them). But now they are responsible for paying for offering at church, putting a portion in savings, helping pay for their school lunch and books and birthday gifts…we’ll see how it goes. I can’t remember whether I got allowance or money for chores growing up, what age that started and stopped, and how much I got…somebody help me with my poor memory and clue me in please.

I started taking an art class at Eden Prairie’s Art Center. I had an item on my dream list related to making something artistic for the house so I looked through the catalog last Tuesday and found only one class that I could still sign up for in 2010. I signed up for it and the first of three classes was that same night. Beggars can’t be choosers – I’ve now taken two soldering classes and am becoming quite the jewelry maker 🙂 Oh yah, who’s getting excited to see what I’m making them for Christmas??? I’m glad I signed up – let’s me dabble with my creative side a bit.

While I’m on the topic…how are everybody else’s dream lists coming? Has anyone read the Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly yet? What are you waiting for – go get it and start dreaming!!!

Last Thursday for fire training they jammed us in a semi trailer loaded up with wood and other combustibles and lit it up. We got to crouch down as low as we could get and watch the flames dance over our heads for 10 minutes through the thick smoke, hoping we wouldn’t get to see a flashover first hand. It was pretty cool training – there aren’t many opportunities in a real fire to pause and watch the flames and fire behavior. The dancing flames and fire fingers are mesmorizing – way cool. Now if only we could do that without getting our gear completely saturated with smoke and soot that would be perfect.

Beth and I had a really, really great time in Chicago for our anniversary. Writing this down will be as much for me as it will be for anyone else. It was so good to get away and talk to each other and have a bit of freedom (yes, we still love you kids – don’t worry). It was an amazing feeling as we drove away from Minnesota and realized we could stop whenever and wherever we wanted for dinner and stay as long as wanted and talk about whatever we wanted. Wow – it’s been a while 🙂 Although I knew I wanted to eat at several great spots in Chicago, we only had one reservation planned in advance for the entire trip. It was at Alinea and was our big anniversary dinner. Alinea is ranked as the #1 restaurant in North America . I can’t even begin to describe our experience there – truly amazing – everything about the restaurant was incredible – taste, sights, smells, wine, presentation, atmosphere, and service – like nowhere we’ve ever been. Here are some pictures that I’m sure will make you think we wasted a ton of money…I am so glad that we went there. This was on my Dream List and made for a very special evening. Dinner lasted over 3 hours and we had 5 or 6 people waiting on us not to mention an army of people in the kitchen.

Here’s the picture I got scolded for taking (stupid flash on the iPhone) 🙂

And here are some representative pictures from their web site – this isn’t exactly what we had on our 20-course menu but it is close enough.

Oops. Although I’m sure your amateur eyes didn’t catch it – that last one didn’t come from Alinea. That’s Beth’s award-winning cake for Christopher’s cub scout cake raffle this year!!! Two years in a row. Maybe opening a bakery is in our future.

We also hit Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill a few times. Great atmosphere and amazing Mexican food. Super yummy. Every year I get older I love and crave Mexican food more (maybe that’s my taste buds dying off and this is the only food I can taste anymore – hope not!). Or maybe it’s just the margaritas! It was so fun to be able to go out and not care when our table was ready and saddle up to the bar and just hang out and chat with the bartender. We had forgotten what that was like and really enjoyed that lifestyle again.

And of course Cafe Iberico for some great Spanish tapas and sangria. They know how to make authentic Spanish food which seems to be a rarity with all of the crappy tapas places these days.

And we hung out with all of the pretty people that Saturday night while eating some great new Asian-fusion at Sunda – sushi, sake and so much more. The Chicago nightlife is amazing – we had a special card from our concierge that I presented to the hostess lady at about 9:30 p.m. She said it was still a 2-hour wait but that the card I gave her would drop that to an hour and half. We waited and drank and stared and drooled at the pretty people (Beth gave me permission) and then ate funky food until after midnight and walked home. That’s another thing we loved – walking everywhere!!! I miss Chicago. We miss Chicago. Someday maybe we’ll move back – or at least spend more vacations there. We also saw Billy Elliot (Beth really enjoyed that) and went to see a comedy show at 2nd City. We got there early enough that we sat in the front row – which we had never done before. I won’t go into details but let’s just say I got a special dance by the hottest new female rap group – “Bitches-n-Gravy”. Beth still starts giggling picture that skit. I’ll forget where we stayed so I’m going to document it here for future trips…we stayed at the Talbott and loved it – great smaller hotel with an outstanding staff and service. They knew it was our anniversary and put us on the top floor like I asked for – made for the perfect trip.

Ok, enough about Chicago…I’m hungry now and have to go snack on something!

2 Responses to “573 push-ups + anniversary + lots-o-snow”

  1. Grandpa T says:

    I read your blog update the other day, but didn’t have time to comment then.

    WOW ! Your anniversary celebration sounded great. It was nice Beth’s parents could come up and give you some time away together in Chicago. Mom and I looked at Alinea menu a week ago. Sorry, but I didn’t really see much that looked like real food or appealed to me. I’ll stick to Applebee’s – I usually can identify their food. Glad you had such a nice time and enjoyed yourselves.

    The picture of the snow is pretty, but you can keep the snow to yourselves for a few more weeks. I’m still trying to get all the leaves picked up. Right now I’m up to 94 32-gallon barrels for the season. I need to rake some more tomorrow so I’ll be just under 100 for the season. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t gone over the 50 pound limit yesterday so I went out and weighed the barrels. They ranged from 30 to 43 pounds so I was safe. The average of all 15 was 35 pounds. No wonder I’m tired of the leaves by now 35# x 95 barrels is a ton and a half of leaves.

    For some reason I would have guessed that Colleen had the puking pumpkin. In the one picture she seemed to be enjoying holding the messy seeds. Nice job on the jack-o-lanterns and costumes.

    I haven’t read the dream book yet, but have to go to the library tomorrow to turn in a book. Maybe I’ll see if the have it. Mom told me that the “Bucket List” is on TV tonight. Like I said bucket list is more appropriate for me.

    Nice job on the cake Beth. Congrats on taking first place again. If they find out your bakery background, they my disqualify you in the future. You did have me fooled, it did look like something from the Alinea menu.

    Your soldering class sounds like fun. I’ve been telling mom that I want to get a welder and start making and selling lawn art – start saving your old metal hubcaps, lawn mowers and any other scrap metal you come across. I told her we wasted money on the recumbent bike that I just got her. With a welder I could have reconfigured the old exercise bike we have in the basement.

    On the other hand – crouching down in a trailer with fire dancing overhead doesn’t sound like any fun. Might be pretty and mesmorizing, but I think I’ll pass if you want to take me along on that fire training.

    Better go – mom just said the bucket movie just started.

    We love and miss you all. Wish we could be spending Thanskgiving together this year. We’ll be thinking of you. Your family and all of our family are at the top of our list of blessings we are thankful for. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. Brooks Thompson says:

    Well, dad said everything I would have commented on, except I don’t remember ever giving you an allowance. I think we believed that you were a member of this family and so you should have to do chores without getting paid. I think we just gave you money when you needed it and before you got a job. But, you weren’t very old when you had your paper route. I love reading your blog – your family is so busy and sounds like you always have fun together as a family. That was a cute cake Beth made and what a coincidence since I also made a spider cake when Daniel was in cub scouts. All the cakes were raffled off to raise money and our spider cake brought in the most money!!!

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