Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

June dreams

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the word “dreams” and encourage people all around me to dare to chase their dreams every single day. I’ve worked with many people over the past 8+ years on dreaming, and I often see that people have a hard time getting started because they judge their dreams and then don’t take even the first basic steps to move forward. Some people get hung up on thinking they have to have huge “bucket list” dreams. Or they only focus on one area of their life (Matthew Kelly suggests twelve categories for dreams in his book The Dream Manager: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventure, legacy and character). Or they don’t believe they can make them happen so they don’t ever say them aloud or take any steps.

I say just get started. Don’t worry about whether you think your dream is too big or too small. Don’t worry about whether you know how to measure it or not. Don’t worry what other people think. Or that you’re not sure how seemingly random dreams align with a life purpose that you haven’t found or embraced yet. Don’t focus on “dream” not being the word you would have chosen. Don’t get lost in telling yourself you don’t have enough time or money. Life is passing you by while you debate all the reasons why you disagree with this approach to dreaming. Just take steps every single day – the more steps you take, the more clear your dreams will become. Here are just a few ways that I relate dreaming…

This was a 3-mile round-trip walk to get coffee with Beth. Simple. Peaceful. Enjoying the outdoors. Finding time to talk. Creating space for conversation to happen. Time for just the two of us. Getting to be a bit of a foodie. Seeing more of our city. How many dream categories can you check off?

Rhubarb from our garden. Dreams like this first meant I had to plan and create a new garden. Creative. Physical. Financial. Material. Megan’s dream for 2017 was to “Grow at least 6 different edible plants in our garden”. Creative. Emotional. Adventure. Perfect. I get to bond with Megan while working in the garden. It gets us outside. We have to work hard. Legacy. Character. How many dream categories did this one touch on?

Some of my fitness related dreams this year were: to run two marathons; to finish these marathons with a smile on my face; and to not be saying at the finish line that I never want to do another marathon in my life. Running is very spiritual and reflective for me now. I think about so many things while running. I solve problems. I practice gratitude. I pray. It grounds me. And keeps me feeling good and mentally healthy. Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth is touted as one of the most scenic marathons in the country. Since I was born in Duluth, it was also special for me to run this one. We stayed in a small hotel near the University of Duluth, that also happened to be about 1/2 mile from a bus pick-up. You have to take a bus to the starting line…and it was a bit concerning that the day started out so humid and stuffy that I was already sweating just on the 26.2 mile bus ride to the start. Yikes. The weather really didn’t get any better from there…it stayed humid and got sunny & hot. The rain never came. Ick. I trained really well for this marathon and wanted to run a good race. At about mile 22 the hot weather was wearing me down, so I paused and had a conversation with myself. We decided that if my goal was to really finish this marathon with a smile on my face, and to not say “I never want to run another marathon”, then I had to slow down. So I slowed down. I walked a bit (ok, a lot). It was just too hot for me. It took me a few hours after the race to start feeling better…but I really enjoyed the experience. We had to drive home right after the race, but by the time we got to Hinckley I was ready to eat a monster meal at Tobies. Fantastic place!

My name on a car 🙂

My mom’s name on a wall 🙂

Unfortunately, Colleen wasn’t able to make this trip with us. But the rest of us had fun!

This is with probably 17 miles to still run in the race, and if you squint…you can just barely see the finish line down the shore of Lake Superior…almost there 😉

Lemon Drop Hill is really the only hill in this marathon. And it isn’t much of a hill. But what is unique is that you can see this hill from probably 1.5 miles away, and it looks massive from a distance…like a wall in the road. It’s an imposing sight, but the hill is just a blip and then you get to cruise downhill for a long time afterwards. I still had lots of company at mile 21…

Beth and the kids met me about halfway up Lemon Drop Hill. This was the first time I saw them all race…great to have people cheering you on. I didn’t know it, but a peer of mine at work was there to cheer on his daughter, so he found me 3 or 4 times throughout the race – that was some unexpected fun!

Part of my running journey is to spread awareness to suicide and mental health issues. I’ve made several shirts for my races, and I’ve raised money for other races too to support these causes. I get chills every single time another runner comments on my shirt. I’ve had some powerful conversations while running. This is a cathartic and healing journey for many people. As runner Lori Culnane says, “Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles”. You won’t understand that until you train for and run a marathon. Trust the journey.

My goal was to finish with a smile on my face. That looks like a smile to me 🙂

Finally I was starting to feel a bit better…beautiful day. I’m blessed to be supported by my friends and family. Dream categories: physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, creative, adventure, legacy and character. Boom. Thank you Grandma’s!

Many of my dreams focus on being a better parent, and spending time with my children. An area I feel I can always do better in. I took Megan to see Minnesota United place soccer on the 4th of July. Just the two of us. They lost but it was a good day. And Megan got a few early birthday presents…shirt and a ball…any maybe learned that when it’s just the two of us she brings more stuff home 🙂

Another dream in the works for a while. Creating an outdoor space that is mosquito free, private, a bit sheltered, where we can be near our pond and watch the backyard. It turned out great. Love it.

Brand new dreamy garden space. Close to the house. Sunny spot. This is Megan’s garden. She planted all sorts of things and was very active in keeping it watered and prepped. Having it so close to the house made it much more likely that we’d actually tend to the garden. Very glad we made this happen.

Fruits of our labor!

May Days

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

The first three weeks of May seem to be full of Megan – which of course is a good thing!

This picture made me laugh. It was a very icy day/night/day when hundreds of people were without power…I’m sure the people in these trucks were up all night working many, many hours, but it made me laugh to see at least 8 electric company trucks in the parking lot of the Original Pancake House at the same time!

Uh…think it’s time to pick this rhubarb? A bit too seedy, huh? It still eventually made great pie! 🙂

The city approved chickens…so we immediately went out and built this in our backyard. Ha – no! This is at the annual plant sale that we go to at Birch Island Woods. 1 minute of feeding chickens is all that we need each year.

Gotta love those double rainbows.

Yes, Megan’s eyes were open. Yes, she was trying to beat me. Yes, she usually is a lot closer to the board. Yes, I whooped her this game! 🙂

Megan’s soccer team was incredible last year. They really started working together as a team in the spring and all of their hard work paid off. This was one of several tournament wins, and they went on to win the state tournament a few months later! Way to go girls!

I got to bring home some mixed reality glasses from work (watch the video at that link to see a demo). Really neat to play around with these. Instead of virtual reality, this augments your current surroundings with additional things to see. First you scan your own home, and then it can do thinks like make robots and animals come right out of your own walls, or let you pretend like you’re shooting holes in your own walls, or play a detective game where it puts clues around your own home. It’s crazy cool, and I’m sure will only get more real! It was fun to watch each of us walk around the house being attacked by aliens and robots!

Poor, sad, neglected puppy. Never gets any attention. Lives a life of misery. Boo hoo.

A month ago I chipped the corner of the mirror on the bottom edge of my bathroom medicine cabinet. I didn’t think much about that until the morning of this picture when I was moving my hand up fast and really sliced myself good. I couldn’t get it to stop bleeding, and it was an interesting struggle for me to even do a quick dart across the bathroom to even get a (thankfully red) washcloth without dripping everywhere. Ugh – I couldn’t stop it no matter how hard I tried, so I eventually got Beth’s attention and we wrapped it really well, and put multiple layers on it. My plan that morning was to go on a 15 mile run (the longest I had run in quite a while, and I was trying a new route). So we got me all bandaged up, and off I went on my run. I noticed many miles into my run that my finger was starting to bleed again. Ruh roh. This was a new route for me, but 7 miles away from my house I found a gas station. I got into their bathroom and un-bandaged my finger, and it starts bleeding a lot again. I’m rinsing it off and when I reach for paper towels to package it up again, I realize that they have NO PAPER TOWELS in this bathroom. Seriously??? Long story, short, this started out looking a bit like the aftermath of a murder scene, but I cleaned up their little white sink the best I could…and then I darted out of the store really fast…and I haven’t been back there since 🙂

One of Colleen’s dreams for 2017 was to run a 1/2 marathon. We did a 10-mile race in the fall that could have gone a lot better. And then we did a 10-mile race in early April that Colleen had hoped would go better (she finished not feeling well at all). We managed to train a bit more before our Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon but not even close to what training plans suggest (we actually only did several long runs together, and she relied on her dance endurance to cover the other runs throughout the week). I was a bit worried about that, but Colleen was very strong on race day (yahoo!), and we ended up having a great long run together. She did awesome in her first 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles)!!! We ran almost the entire way (our only long walk was really around mile 11 I think). She set a new personal record for 10-miles! She finished feeling good! I’m so proud of her for chasing this dream and making it happen! I love running with her. We get to talk and hang out with just the two of us. This is a beautiful course winding around Lake Minnetonka. I hope this is the first of many future runs and races with Colleen (and I hope the others pick it up too at some point)!

April 2017 – Indiana, Rafting, and Puppy Butts

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

We started April off celebrating Chris being Student of the Month. Colleen is still a bit miffed and befuddled that this is the first time anyone in our family earned this award. Beth and I have been waiting years and years for this day to come 🙂 Ha! We are proud of ALL of our kids, and we were especially proud of Christopher as we got to get up early before school to enjoy prepackaged breakfast treats in the school cafeteria with him – makes you want to win this every month, huh?

Not many people out jogging with me on many winter days. They are missing out! I love running through fresh fallen snow on a sunny day. Definitely wakes me up and helps me appreciate the beauty in nature each day! I have a whiteboard in a hallway at work where I write messages and questions each week for everyone to see. We’re currently on Day 4 of a 10-day series on happiness tips. Today’s message was about appreciation, and we asked the question, “When do you stop and take notice?” My favorite answer that someone wrote on the board today was, “When Dave tells me to start appreciating what I have.” If people don’t figure it out on their own then I’ll definitely help remind them! 🙂 Here’s a great 5 minute video that is a great reminder for all of us to appreciate what is around us every single day – I encourage you to watch it (outside is my recommendation) as often as it will bring you energy and happiness.

Absolutely! Nothing is stopping my girls! Try to put them in their place – they will rise again even stronger! I sincerely hope some of our leaders are taking note. Treating everyone around us with respect is all of our responsibility.

Speaking of no one stopping my girls…for anyone who still believes in science, scientists, and the data/evidence they produce…here’s my mad scientist at work! Changing the world and impacting lives! This is where she’s at when she’s working “in the hood”. Her happy place 🙂

It’s one thing to have pictures of puppy butts on cards, but it’s a whole other thing to actually create a “Puppy Butt” card section. Is this that popular of a section that people ask for it and they need to categorize these cards? I wonder what occasion or anniversary is celebrated with puppy butts? Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to find out someday.

It was a big year for car purchases. First I got a new car. That let us turn my old car into “the family car” (for Colleen now). I started with a 2007 grey Mazda 3. I told the dealer I wanted the same thing but newer…so I left with a 2014 grey Mazda 3. And then (Beth’s plan all along I’m sure), since the minivan was a 2005, we dumped that and got Beth a new car too while we were there – so now we’ve somehow got three Mazda’s! The minivan was great for us…but Beth sure didn’t shed any tears saying good-bye to it

This past year went fast. We were driving back from the Boston Marathon a year ago when we heard that Prince died. A movie theater in Chanhassen (home of Paisley Park) painted this huge mural of Prince. Pretty cool to see it up close! Maybe I didn’t appreciate Prince enough while he was around, but it’s energizing to see all those out here who were touched by him and his music.

I also often jog under the bridge leading up to Paisley Park. People have written so many message to Prince there. They even have buckets of chalk out so you can add to it. Here’s Colleen adding to it.

I guess it’s not too surprising that life caught up to Aunt Beth sooner than any of us wanted. But she lived her life the way she wanted to and wouldn’t have it any other way. She was amazing at striking up a conversation with just about anyone – always with a smile on her face and could make any situation funny. It was sad of course, but it also brought our family together in Indiana. It is always great to see my parents, plus so many other relatives, and I’m very lucky to still have some great friends from college nearby who made the trip to Rochester. Aunt B made her home a welcome spot for all of my friends while in college and beyond – she was their aunt too! Here’s a short message I posted on Facebook at the time, “Rest in peace Aunt Beth – you are loved and will be missed. For over 25 years I bet her $1 for every Purdue vs IU football or basketball game, mailing the same worn dollars back and forth. I remember her picking me up at college one year during the Old Oaken Bucket game – I never had so much fun loudly singing the Purdue fight song in her car as Purdue stole a win that year! I think she’s the one that taught me how to swing a baseball bat, helped me pick out my first car, and I likely had my first beer with her – heh! She watched out for me in college and beyond – always with love and open arms. I will forever miss the fun rivalry of her poor choice in Indiana sports teams 🙂 Love & miss you Aunt Beth.”




I’m always glad when I happen upon a “sign”…did Aunt B have anything to do with this April cloud???

We saw Mixed Match at the MSP International Film Festival. One of Beth’s advisors in her PhD program (Dr. Jakub Tolar) is key to the efforts highlighted in this film. He was there for Q&A in the theater after the film, along with one of his patients who stars in the film, and he gave a shout out to Beth in the audience – and to researchers everywhere. He is always very driven, and he challenged all of us to sign up to be possible bone marrow donors and to raise awareness to the genetic complexities in ever growing mixed races. We can all save lives (the pic is of Beth doing a simple cheek swab for the registry).

Chris had his birthday party and invited a bunch of boys over to help celebrate. They decided to play all sorts of games after dark while running through our yard (and maybe the neighborhood). It rained recently, and I know I warned them about a few very muddy areas. It made me laugh so hard the next day to see these very deep footprints in the mud! Apparently one kid even lost his shoes at one point – ha! Fun times! Boys will be boys 🙂

Shoe tags arrived in time for Colleen and my 1/2 marathon, and my full marathon! I love that my mom found these before my Boston marathon…I buy them every time now for doses of inspiration!

Here’s our family at Easter. The best picture was when we had that blue fan perfectly centered over Chris’ hair. I think our wall changes as much as we do over the years!

I’m no expert on rafting, but I’m not quite sure they are doing this right. Something seems to be missing…

I’m glad they figured out their problem and actually got out onto water. The river was high due to lots of rain and snow melt…made for a fun day for them! Chris loves all of the activities with his troop…rafting and then Sea Base (off of the Florida Keys) this year, and dog sledding early next year. Fun!



Jan – Mar 2017

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Alright…it’s November 2017 and I’m ready to post my first pics of 2017 (Jan – Mar 2017) 🙂

Santa, (the santas of my childhood anyway), gave me an outdoor camera this year. Fun. Nothing exciting like bears, but TONS of birds and miscellaneous creatures and objects have showed up. The pictures helped me catch up to three deer at a time draining my bird feeder overnight (those pictures were lost during my PC crashing earlier this year – and I don’t plan to recreate them!). I knew something was up when I was filling a completely empty birdfeeder EVERY day! And it helped me figure out how the mice were getting into my hot tub. Sit still long enough and you’ll learn amazing things about the habits of all the critters running around your home! And what really happens to snow tubes, etc that the kids leave out!




Here’s Megan with some gifts – not sure why she’s so happy after getting poop for Christmas. I’m shocked she isn’t in her new Alex Morgan jersey – it felt like she wore that non-stop for days (weeks even!) after Christmas!


I made the 2016 highlight reel for the Eden Prairie News. The way they worded it, it almost sounds like I didn’t run Boston 🙂 Here’s proof! Wow – I still feel so blessed for the insanely powerful and touching memories throughout 2016. Amazing experience – I’m so blessed to have been a part of “The Boston” and to share it with so many important people to me. Although we’d all trade back in a heartbeat the circumstances that led to that weekend, I now count that as one of the most memorable and favorite experiences of my life – that week with my parents and brother (and so many other family members and friends supporting me of course!), and then Beth joining me out there, and being part of the Samaritans – incredible all around.


Random fun over Christmas break.



And so it begins…how do I shut this off? It’s amazing how many letters get sent each day. And from some interesting schools that hadn’t been on our short list – e.g., Colorado School of Mines? Mimes? Makes me wonder what boxes Colleen checked on her PSAT form 🙂 PSAT forms are evil! Pause for a minute to think about how much waste mail the PSATs generate. And 99% of it is completely unread. Ugh.


Tommy Tom’s (Kristin’s husband) ticker was having trouble, so we went through the trouble of working all day (uh…well…) to make probably 1/2 dozen 100% completely original (what?? they don’t look original?) and custom signs just for him…well, it’s the thought that counts, right? The signs must have done the trick – the surgery went well and he’s doing great many months later now!


For several years, Chris and I have gone to Fort Snelling National Cemetery with the Boy Scouts to remove wreaths from graves (each year they have a wreath-laying ceremony to honor and remember our nation’s veterans, so we are the clean-up crew months later!). This year Megan joined us too! It is quite a daunting view when you first arrive – there are green dots on white markers as far as you can see in many directions. But then you blink and scouts arrive from all over the cities to help out. Proud to help with this one.


The cookies taste good right? Then don’t worry about our secret steps to make them taste so good 🙂


I wore a wrist band for several years since one of my Make-A-Wish children died. It broke on Valentine’s Day this year. “Sir Kolors” was knighted by the VWO (Vikings World Order). They are an amazing group of die-hard fans that took Andres under their wings. This article only very briefly mentions Sir Kolors, but it speaks to the good that they bring to the world. Skol Vikings!


Eerily beautiful morning. Peaceful and creepy at the same time 🙂


I’ll have to dig up a picture of what these three looked like 5+ years ago. I’m sure they haven’t changed a bit!


Here’s what I did with that free poster that Boston Marathon participants received. I added just a few things to it. This is hanging in my office at work. It’s not just about my ego 😉 It’s a constant reminder of so many things – all related to dreaming big, chasing your dreams, and making each day count! What are YOU waiting for?


Here’s Chris with his presentation at the science fair. Our kids may have a connection to getting easy access to Beth’s lab, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to earn their science fair project! Beth makes them work hard! Colleen, and now Christopher, have each won their age group/category for the annual science fair – way to go Chris!!! He also seemed to have a good sized crowd around his booth the whole time. He did a great job!


Peace. Stillness. Winterly world of white.


Our white house is occupied by someone who puts down women, minorities, disabled, etc, etc, etc in very insulting and vulgar ways. There’s no excuse for that. He does it in public and people cheer louder and defend it. It’s got stop. I will NEVER vote for someone who would ever say or think those things about my wife or daughters. It’s not ok. It’s. Not. Ok. Repeat after me, it’s not ok. It’s NOT ok. I can’t relate to the pressures and judgment that women and girls in our society are faced with every single day – but I know it’s real and more prevalent than I’ll ever see. I don’t have any stories or experiences in my life for being felt inferior, threatened, judged, assaulted, mistreated, or losing opportunities because of my gender. But I’m sure every woman/girl I know has felt this way many times in their life. As a friend posted so simply on Facebook, “#metoo is too real we all have to do better“. TODAY is the day for you to help stand up for injustice and inappropriate behavior from anyone – especially our leaders (president, film industry, business, etc). It’s not ok. Stand up for what’s right and make sure ALL those around you are treated with respect. Beth, Colleen and Megan – you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving EVERY SINGLE DAY! Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. I love you, and I’m sooooo proud of you – every single day.


Speaking of a few of my valuable, powerful, and deserving women…


Anyone registering early for Grandma’s Marathon got a bonus’s my jacket! And once again I was training outdoors in cold and snowy weather. I have a love/hate relationship with marathons…Grandma’s would be my 3rd one in two years. They keep me in shape, give me structure, keep me focused, keep me sane…but I’m still not quite convinced this is 100% good for me 🙂 Stay tuned to hear how this one turned out…and the one that followed it…


Nov and Dec catch-up

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Ok…got a new computer (it’s been a pain to find and organize photos without it the way I like)…Beth’s PhD is done…I finished running my 2nd marathon of the year (4th total in the past 2.5 years)…kids are getting settled into school and sports…so I can FINALLY get around to sharing pictures from LAST November and December. Sad, I know. But hopefully I’m back now and can get these out at least once a month again. Here’s to hoping for that anyway 🙂 Yes these are from November and December of 2016. You’ll just have to wait for pics of Beth’s PhD 🙂

Last year I ran my first ever Moustache Run. This is part of Movember activities that raise money for men’s health issues. By race day there are so many creepy looking guys…and I was proudly one of them 🙂 December probably couldn’t come soon enough for Beth!



Eden Prairie made it to the state football championship, which means we got to see the inside of the new Vikings arena for the first time. It is huge and confusing…I can’t imagine what it is like on game day and packed with people. I’m sure I sound like the old man that I’m becoming, but no thanks – watching those games on tv is fine with me.


Look at the guilty face. Poor puppy. Orca loves scratching her back on the Christmas tree. I may join her this year 🙂


I’m guessing this was the same night that I took the kids to be part of the cloud chorus at the mall of america (good luck finding us in this video). There were only so many rehearsals we could take of that same song so we left the chorus early…and ran into the cast from Harry Potter at the bookstore. These characters obviously took what they were doing very seriously – and I think a few were blurring the lines between living in our world and living in their own little Harry Potter worlds. They were the ones with wands and murmuring about spells, so I’ll let them believe whatever they want to.



Genesis taught us how to make Pan de Jamon (or as I like to say, pandejamonium – sorry). So easy, and so yummy. I can eat this for days. Buen provecho! Eden Prairie has a great Venezuelan restaurant to get our arepa fix. I definitely recommend searching for a Venezuelan restaurant near you (wherever you may be)!


Nothing makes me quite feel valued as a dad, as coming home to loving notes such as these. Warms my heart. Who doesn’t love presents at Christmas time? Let me know if you want pictures of what was inside the commode 😉


Do you ever get tired of the annual leaf photos? Fun times. I love fall (and winter, spring and summer too I guess). But it’s hard to beat that perfect fall day!






And it’s days like these when I miss fall even more 🙂 I don’t think we have many more years of snowball fights. How come their main play time together has the word “fight” in it? I should just be happy that they are playing together, right?




Ok, that wraps up 2016 (whew!)…bring on the new year 😉

October catch-up

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

Yikes! It just turned March, and here I am finally sharing pics from October. It’s time to get this back on track! It seems I’m still catching up from all of the posting and writing I did elsewhere as I raised money for the Boston Marathon journey last year. Here’s our current news: Megan scored 4 goals this morning in her team’s soccer win (final score was 6-5 and our team scored in the final 15 seconds for a thrilling end!). Yesterday Christopher won the 8th grade Life Sciences category of the science fair! This is the same category that Colleen won two years ago, so now the pressure is on for Megan in two years! Christopher’s basketball team took third place in the championships last weekend, by beating the same team twice in the same game! 😉 Yep, you read that right. They got a shot off in time during regulation, that sat on the rim and slowly rolled into the net. The refs said it didn’t count (Booo! Get some glasses ref!), so we went to overtime – we were down with 2 seconds to go when one of our boys got a great look on a 3-point shot and put the game away! Another thrilling ending! The prior year this team didn’t win any games, so it was nice to not have another “character building” year 🙂

Last night we watched My Cousin Vinny as a family. I never know how the older movies will land with our kinds. They all watched this one, which was fun. I typically go to IMDB to read the parental advisory beforehand so I know what to expect (and to decide if there is way too much inappropriate stuff going on). The worst thing about My Cousin Vinny was this, “34 f-words, with multiple other dirty four-letter words and three religious profanities.” We made a game of it by counting the f-words throughout the movie – by then end of the movie our count was only off by one – not bad! Last week I watched When Harry Met Sally (something about that movie always makes it enjoyable). Tonight maybe we’ll watch The Blues Brothers (“9 uses of “f–k”. 25 uses of “s–t”. Many hells and damns.” – so our game won’t quite be as much as My Cousin Vinny – too bad they swore so much in some of those movies), and I have City Slickers almost ready at the library for next week. Can you tell I was in the mood for older movies recently?? 🙂 We also recently watched Nerve – I feel like I’m still anxious and nervous days later after that one – way too realistic!

I love this picture. The colors and contrast just seemed perfect that day in October in our backyard to make for an interesting picture (see Mom – she does have braces 🙂 ). And it helps that I caught both of them in a semi-reasonable mood where they put up with my pics for a bit – that gets harder every year!

Megan’s soccer team was at a tournament and were waiting to hear the news of whether they would advance or not. At one point they formed a circle and one of the girls suggested they pray, which turned into giggling, and ended up as duck duck goose. They were a great group and had a really fun season! Our coach is very active and constantly keeping them thinking and learning – exactly what Megan has needed!


Here I am on my annual 30-mile bike ride. Chad is probably 6 1/2 feet tall – at one point we accidentally didn’t realize we got on the wrong bikes – took us a few miles to figure that mix-up out. Ha! Look how far the pedal is from my foot. And he looks like he is on a kid’s bike. Insane.

Happy Birthday mom and dad. I’ll see if I can buy all these and send them your way! The next time you visit we should go back to Minnesota’s largest candy store. They have a whole aisle with candy that you probably found at the newsstand way back when.

Going apple picking is really just an excuse to go to Minnesota’s largest candy store. You can’t do one without the other. I took two of the monkeys with me for a fun morning to beat the crowds at both places.

Somebody loves us!

My finance guy sends us a Boston Coffee Cake every year. We love them every year – soooo good! But this year we got two on the same day. I let him know right away and he said he had to call real quick to make sure he didn’t get charged for two cakes for all 100+ clients!!! He told me a month later that a handful of clients got two cakes for some reason due to a glitch at the Boston Coffee Cake company. Interestingly enough, it’s sort of funny math, but we discovered that two cakes go just as fast in our house as one!

Hard to believe it is the same dog. We’re making sweaters for everyone for Christmas with all the trimmings 🙂

Colleen and I ran the Twin Cities Medtronic 10-mile “Shortcut to the Capitol” again this year. It was a beautiful morning for the race. Started a bit chilly but the sun was out and the crowds were great. I love running with Colleen, and thankfully our names were pulled two years in a row for the lottery for this race!

Posing for the race cameras 🙂

10-miles all behind us at this point! Time for breakfast!

Megan and I walking back to our car after the race. Snoopy in St. Paul.

Colleen (and Carrie) spent all year working hard in her confirmation classes. Although this feels like a “graduation” our pastor made it clear this was only the beginning of their journey!


Megan and her friends for Halloween.

My goal last year was to run 1000 miles outside. I wanted to get credit using an online tool but I was really having trouble getting the apps to work together. At one point it gave me this not-so-inspriational message that I only had to do 492 miles per week to hit my goal. Uh….better start running! I have the same goal for 2017…keeps me active!

Ok, enough for now. I’ll try to get November’s pics out soon!!! 🙂

I’m back

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Ok, I’m back. I was posting to for months while I trained for the Boston Marathon and raised $20,000 (thank you once again for all of the incredible support from everyone). What an adventure! Amazing! But now I need to share pics on this site from the past many months. Sorry for the overload now…and most of my comments are short…just got to get this posted!!!

Check out slick with his birthday cake 🙂 The day he turned 13 was the same day he first started wearing gel. He’s a great kid – if anything, he’s offering to help out MORE as a teenager!


Colleen spent a week in Kentucky working on houses with an ASP (Appalachia Service Project) trip with our church. Here she is learning how to use a saw. It was a good trip for her. I still find it odd and a bit frustrating that we send people to Kentucky instead of working to help people in our own state, but I’m glad we help regardless.


Us, and the sky, in St. Louis.


Megan loves playing her saxophone. She is great at it and got invited to play in this special concert. Amazing how much better these instruments sound when finally one of our kids actually practices! Looks like Megan will be our first band kid.


Something bigger than a bunny was in our yard. Fox? Coyote? Wolf?


This is only a few days after planting our seeds. Amazing that this is how a 1000lb+ pumpkin starts!


The universe listens so be careful what you ask for (in my case, I asked for just enough money for a fire pit and somehow Great Uncle Bill responded from beyond). You were a great man Great Uncle Bill – thanks for your service to our country and love to our family!


Our garlic crop/harvest was our best yet this year. Here’s the Megs with a scape.


And here’s our full harvest drying to be used later!


Happy Marathon to me! I made a little poster/tribute with mementos from the race. Cool that my name is on the poster!


I said just one bite…wonder who they learned that from?


I’ll do a future post on Beth’s 3-minute-thesis. After she gave her most recent presentation, we did a quick trip through the science museum where she was presenting. Lucky (?) for us the museum staff said we just happened to be there on a rare occasion when they had the “vaults” open that are filled with tons of things rarely on exhibit. How could we miss that? We followed a path through their storage area and suddenly weren’t sure we had made the right decision. They had things in jars (e.g., deer fetus), all sorts of bones and dead things, and we even had the opportunity to put a clothespin on our nose and skin our own rat. How fun!?!?! Especially before our “date night” dinner. The best part was how excited the museum staff were to show off their crazy displays. Ick.








See what happens when you put things on your dream list? Megan’s apple tree 🙂


Happy Mother’s Day from the kids. She got this, and on Father’s Day I got Colleen coming back from a week away at ASP.


My favorite part of this pic is trying to figure out where the soccer ball is following the penalty kick, and wondering how it got there. Guess we’ll have to work on our wall 🙂


Ahhh, foaming. Rabies?


We had a great time at Niagara Falls. Our timing was perfect – 2nd to last boat of the night – it was mostly empty so we could go wherever we wanted. The boat was fun, but the cave of the winds walk and hurricane deck were even better! So glad we got rain coats and shoes for this 🙂 We’ve been talking about doing this for years on our trip – glad we FINALLY made it happen. And only one of us got pooped on by the seagulls – not bad (nope, wasn’t me, keep guessing).






One of our favorites – Parker’s Maple Barn! And fun to have Sarah and Rose with us too. Yummy maple everything (including the coffee)! Except no fresh maple donuts for Beth this time 🙁


We stopped by my sister’s best friend’s house – so great to see Heather and her family. Their house is hundreds of years old and the type of place where you feel like you could just hang out on their porch all day while your worries blow away in the breeze. Heather feels like such an important piece of my sister’s history and life – words never quite express everything wrapped up in that. Always so great to see her – hopefully we get to see Mike again at some point too!

Our visit to New Hampshire involved lots of chipmonk catching, escaping, transporting and releasing. Seemed like we were in a roadrunner cartoon at times. The best was when the first chipmonk ran in the cage, ate most of the food, and for some reason wasn’t quite tripping the door to shut on him. Fun times.

Rockport, MA is one of my favorite little artsy towns to visit. It was a beautiful day for a quick trip there, lobster rolls, chowder, a local beer, and then off to Wingaersheek beach.




Two pics are jammed into this one. The bottom half is the girls staring at their reflection. The top half is what they are giggling at.



Blueberry picking in Hollis, NH. I think we ate twice as much as what you can see in the first picture. Yummy!



Throw Colleen’s name in the hat for one more person who wants the Cougar 🙂 Except we don’t have a garage big enough to fit it.



Merrimack Brewery. I swear those aren’t all mine 🙂

Well…we got almost everybody to cooperate for this one. Man those Clydesdales are big!!


Love me some strawberry rhubarb pie on my birthday!

And here’s the newest addition to our house. We have two Axolotls now. I call them Axel and Ottle, but Megan has other names for them that I can never seem to remember. We feed them each 10 salmon pellets every other day. But you have to get their attention and then drop the pellets right on their head so they can suck them down. But don’t get your fingers too close or they’ll try to suck that down too. And if they are still chewing or not ready, then you have to reach into the tank to pick up the old pellets and try again. Any volunteers to feed them the next time we’re on vacation?

Where’s da snow?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Happy 2016. I started this in December when we had no snow…the snow finally came right after Christmas. And then the cold weather came too. Winter is finally here by early-January 🙂

This post was a bit delayed but I’ve also been blogging as part of my Boston Marathon training.

Christopher took 10′ of dental floss and wound it around and around and around some nails in board. He kept winding and winding…and ended up making a functional bow string that he got to test with an arrow that he also made. It all worked well – at least he’s getting some use out of the dental floss in his bathroom!


Colleen hurt her knee at dance practice and couldn’t bend or straighten her leg. Her leg was stuck, and she was stuck. We took her to urgent care. As soon as we swung her legs out of the car to get her into the wheel chair, she said something “popped” and all of a sudden she was back to normal. Yikes. The MRI showed that her knee cap shifted and got stuck on the fatty pad of her knee. Ick. Apparently she has higher knee caps than normal – anyone else have these in our family? She’s back at it again and finished the season strong!


I am still a big believer and follower of my dream list. This one has been on my dream list for years and years, so we finally made it happen. I got my pool table! And a ping pong table to slide on top of it too! It’s been a lot of fun for all of us to play games nearly every day. Love it.




And here’s the man in black all spiffed up for his band concert. Christopher now plays the bass clarinet.


Working our shift at the Scout tree lot (not many trees left at this point thankfully). It was a cold day with frost covering all of the firewood but we managed to get a roaring fire going! Hot cocoa never tastes so good as it does at the tree lot in the middle of a 4-hour frozen shift each year.


Megan wanted to make ginger bread cookies – so we did! She is a master at decorating them. And I helped with some crazy cookies too – can you tell whose are whose?


Merry Christmas!


And they laughed at the bungee chairs. How cute they are watching Harry Potter together.


Great as always to have my parents in town. Thank you for making the trip after Christmas and staying through New Years!


The kids got a rock tumbler for Christmas. It spins and spins 24×7. We dumped some clunky, dirty, drab rocks into it and after a week of clanking, clinking, spinning, grinding, and knocking we starting to see their true beauty emerge – only a month more of this to go! 🙂




Orca and me drinking our morning cup of coffee like we do every day together.


Ninjas? Robbers? That one kid in Fat Albert? -10F air temp. Perfect day for sledding, boarding, and falling! The great part about cold temps is that the sun usually comes out!







We have bugs (and rodents)

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Megan surprised us by bringing home some critters from school. She was one of the lucky ones who got to bring home beetles that they had been observing. And she got to bring it home in this big plastic container – with NO TOP. She said they don’t climb out. Uh huh, Beth was not convinced. And it was fun that the more we looked in there, the more bugs we saw that weren’t part of their experiment. Look how cute they are snuggling in the corner. They lasted indoors for a week longer than Beth wanted, and now I hope they have dug deep in the ground outside because the cold and snow is a comin’.


Not only do we have bugs, we also have an infestation of pumpkin-squirrels! What else do you do with a monster pumpkin besides put it just beyond your back porch and sprinkle with bird seed every so often.



Ever see a pumpkin with a tail?


Ok, while I’ve got the pumpkin theme going I’ll include just a few more.

Here we are visiting our friend’s monster pumpkin (he is the one that gave us the seeds this year). His pumpkin ended up over 1400 lbs this year and was his largest ever!

This is the smaller of his two pumpkins in his truck in our parking garage at work. He had people guess the weight of the largest pumpkin that they could see from our office windows.

I had a few more pictures from the races last month. Here Colleen and I are right after the color run. What? You say there is something on my nose? Huh? Mind your own business.

And here we are at 6:30 a.m. waiting to start the Minneapolis Marathon’s “short-cut-to-the capitol” 10-mile run. Insane how many people get up so early to make this such a fun day!

Colleen has been absolutely loving her painting class this year. And her projects have been turning out amazing. Here is her “warm-cold” (or hot-cold? something like that) – it got chosen for a big display at school.

She did such a good job painting that I took her out for donuts 😉 Colleen and I have been going to church (she needs to take notes during a dozen sermons this year as part of confirmation). Every several months I take each of the kids out one-on-one to talk about dreams and how the year is going. Colleen and I went to Yo-Yo Donuts recently. Yummy – check out the s’more donut!

As if the donut wasn’t enough, we got a box of pumpkin cookies from St. Louis too. The kids’ first guess was Halloween socks or shirts. Nope. It’s hard to beat getting a box filled with cookies! Grandpa has it all figured out – cookies are awesome!

Would you give these two candy? Or would you scream and run?

Here’s Orca’s costume. I had nothing to do with this. I think I’m the only person who owns a “Purdue football” (footall?) shirt. It was on sale at the Purdue bookstore. Wonder why? There’s no way anyone would buy one of these (or want to be seen buying one of them), and of the people who buy them, I can’t imagine there are many who don’t soon burn it! Basketball season should be fun this year – the team is looking good!

We finally went to our first men’s gopher hockey game. They won the game we went to, but our favorite part was watching six kids all jammed in the penalty boxes. Boys will be boys. It was fun to watch.

I love this picture of Megan in the fall. She’s not a fan of having pictures taken of just her that will be shared. She was helping me a ton this day – taking care of my fall chores outside. She’s an awesome helper and good at keeping me company. We gathered a bunch of sticks and built a nice camp fire too!

Warm fire. Check. Legs up. Check. Beer on table. Check. Book in hand. Check. Loving a beautiful fall day. Check.

We kept the trampoline up until they could jump in a bit of snow. And then I rushed to take it down the next weekend (forecast is calling for 7-10″ of snow now – not sure when I’d get another good chance to get the trampoline in before winter!)

Winter is coming! Boo!

Summer road trippin’

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

This was the view from our back patio. Under attack? Preparing to handle the protesters-who-can’t-logically-express-what-they-are-fighting-for at the state fair this coming weekend? Blocking streets near your own neighborhood is one thing. Trying to disrupt 100,000 drunks who just want their cheese curds could lead to a riot of epic proportions. Sigh, just wish I’d hear a reasonable, civilized argument in between all the news showing crap burning and neighborhoods getting shot up.

The bucket of water that was meant to put out the fireworks took one for the team. Uh…safety first.

Our firework technicians at work. Boom!

Here’s the dance team. Freshmen in the back. Seniors up front. Lots of rules like that. Tradition? Hazing? Do the right things for the right reasons and all will be well.

Look who else made the dance team. Hmmm…I don’t remember trying out.

And she didn’t think she’d ever be a “dance mom”. Somebody could use a ProSpangle Bling Machine for Christmas!

Birthday pies for daddy!!! Stay away. Mine.

How many bunnies do you see in the picture? Seriously??? Laying down??? You’re too fat, lazy, and confident to even stand up to eat under the bird feeder now??? That’s right next to our patio – Orca obviously isn’t doing her job!!!

Mom – did I ever thank you for the birthday glasses? No? Good. Heh heh.

We have a bumble bee hive in an old stump in our backyard. Bumble bees are everywhere. I looked online and it said that bumble bee hives are very rare and that we should consider ourselves lucky. We are! They are awesome to watch bumbling around.




Colleen has been busy painting signs. Megan is going to wear this around her neck all year at school I think.

Megan asked for EVERY one of the different swimming fish in this series for the pool. It’s insane in the pool when she turns them all on at once. Things are attacking you from every side!

Wonder where she got her love of pies from? We kept getting so many berries from the garden, along with our rhubarb, that Beth couldn’t help but keep making super yummy pies 🙂


On our road trip to Kentucky for Beth’s mom’s side’s family reunion, we stopped in Iowa. Our typical rant about Iowa involves hitting deer or getting stuck in snow storms. This time we drove on back roads, gravel roads, windy roads, roads through small towns, etc – and we loved it. I had an urge to drop everything and become a farmer. So close – but we kept driving. It was beautiful. Our first stop was at the Field of Dreams. We watched this movie as a family a week prior to the trip (we must have set the bar so low describing this “old” movie to our kids and how boring it would be that they all said they actually liked it – hee hee). The baseball field is exactly how you’d picture it from the movie. It was the perfect stop to get our trip started. And it’s surprising how popular it is 25+ years later (and they don’t charge admission – awesome!).












The start of me and my minions!!! Watch out world – here we come!

Just passing along this picture for anyone looking for ideas on remodeling their kitchen. Is this what they call Kentucky charm???

I’m very secure in my urges toward quilting. Are you?

So much to do outside the Quilting Museum we didn’t even see what was inside (maybe on our next trip to Paducah)?

Dam sign

Dam trash cans

Dam daughter

Dam son

Christopher showing off his new glasses. What are you lookin’ at.

This is my story to sum up Kentucky. I’m standing near the 6-pack of Kentucky Ale in the liquor store and the clerk was right there. I wanted to know if that beer was popular down there so I asked him, “Do people drink this here?”. He turned to me, 100% serious, and said (as if I was the dumb one he needed to educate), “Sir, you can’t drink in the liquor store.” Uh…huh? I didn’t even respond. Maybe this is a common daily question he gets. I just bought ma’ beer, said “See yinz later”, and I burned rubber leaving the parking lot like everyone else does down there.

Months ago when I asked Christopher what was on his dream list this year, he said to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky. He got to eat lots of Kentucky-fried chicken (because that’s what the buffet had in the one spot that we could all eat each night at the reunion). The reunion was 20 miles from the big city of Paducah, but we did find this KFC on our way out of town. Livin’ the dream!

We stopped in Bloomington, Indiana to see Leanna w/ her kids, and to walk around IU’s campus. We all ate lunch at Mother Bear’s Pizza. Not that I would ever judge or compare schools in Indiana but this shows the quality of an education in Bloomington. We ordered the right amount of food for lunch – 3 huge mistakes (including a repeat mistake) later by the “morons in the kitchen” (as our waiter called them) and Leanna had a pile of food taller than her! We would go back there in a heartbeat. Order something slightly different from what is on the menu and you’ve hit the jackpot of free food. Our problem was how to get them to stop making mistakes in the kitchen so we could just leave the place. Guess you’ve got to be good at something, huh? Campus was beautiful as I remembered it – we keep wanting to show Colleen schools that we pass.

We had an awesome quick visit in Indy. Amazing hosts as always! Great to catch up with everyone and to see all of the kids – wow how they’ve all grown!!! Thank you Egolds!!!

Don’t think for a second that Beth had any better luck than I did.

Pizza with Phil and Pat. Great to see them and to see Aunt Pat up and about and looking great. Always great to stop and catch up on things in Rochester.

It is hard to not think about Rochester and “the flag pole” but this little trailer and VW Bus served the best ice cream we’ve ever had in Rochester. Too bad that the flagpole is putting the flagpole out of business. This new place is easy to miss as you drive by but I recommend that you stop there!

We must have caught Dave and Beth on laundry day – why else would you wear those t-shirts? Aunt Beth sounded like she’d love a Purdue blanket from us – not sure what she would do with it but she said we could send her one. It was great to see Aunt Beth and Uncle Dave, and to see that Aunt B is doing well. We are thinking of you all the time and continue to send happy thoughts and prayers to everyone in Rochester. Boiler up!

Hail, hail to old Purdue! All hail to our old gold and black!

Harry’s Chocolate Shop near campus.Home of the world famous Baltimore Zoo.

The next pictures in future blog posts won’t be so small of our cute little pumpkin (weeks later she’s already past 100 lbs – more to come next month).

And here’s the start to our cute little pumpkin’s vine.

A beautiful arrangement of buds from the cute little pumpkin’s vine.