Archive for the ‘Exercise’ 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…


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!!! 🙂

Is there such a thing as a free donut?

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

One final Scrambler picture from Schooner Days. I love these pics with the two of them smooshed together. These two went on this ride over and over and over and over.


It’s June – so time to celebrate Christopher’s birthday, huh? Dirt cake, of course!


No backyard is complete is without zombie and monster shooting targets (hopefully this is as close as we get to the real thing but you never know with zombies these days)!


Followed by trampoline, rope course, laser tag, etc. Remember that scene from The Matrix when NEO is dodging bullets? Here’s Christopher’s reenactment of that.


Kids are crazy – I don’t know how they throw their bodies around like that.


Colleen earned the President’s Award for Educational Excellence. Woohoo – so proud of her and all of her hard work and focus this year. There is so much going on with school and dance, and staying organized, and she does wonderful with all of it. You go girl!!


Megan’s soccer season just ended. She had a great year – started out wanting to play defense, but finally is realizing the front line is more fun and rewarding (we know goals and sometimes assists, earn the family ice cream, but we never quite figured out a consistent way to measure ice cream awards on defense – scoring is where it’s at!).


Receiving her medal – way to go Megs!



Coach bought ice cream for the girls after our final game. It’s hard to believe that sometimes we can’t fit two kids on our couch without a fight, but somehow the entire team fit into one booth!


While Megan, Colleen and I were eating our ice cream, just 20 minutes away our house was under the darkest little blip on this map and they were getting some big ol’ hail. Crazy how isolated those summer storms can be.


Christopher has also been busy with sports. He tried a flag football league for the first time this spring. Something to keep him busy in the off season. He had fun doing it and had an amazing last game. He scored several times including the last 2 or 3 scores of the game. This summer he is taking a strengths training program put on at the high school by the football team. His first ever bench pressing and squats. Way to go hulk!




These pictures crack me up. I love the serious faces. Leave us alone, we’re not messing around dad.





How cold is your water straight out of the hose? Yep – ours is that cold too. I don’t know how she did it but Megan was swimming as we were filling up the pool. It felt like ice water. Brrrrrr!


I went for a jog over lunch one day at work and came across these three little dudes wandering around by the side of the road. Little bundles of fur that weren’t even as high as the curb. Cracked me up. Cool little dudes that will turn into masked trouble makers.



I ran a 10-mile course last weekend for Break the Stigma. It was a beautiful cross-country course through Whitetail Woods Regional Park. I’m not one to ever brag about going for a “PR”. I don’t even ever really say “PR”. But you’ll have to check out this link to see my Personal Record for a 10-mile course ( Yep, that’s me – averaged 6 minute, 53 seconds per mile. Wow – that is insanely fast for me. How could it be? Maybe because this course did so many loops and twists and crisscrossing of paths and doubling back that most people ended up taking a slight wrong turn and only ran about 8.24 miles (according to my phone). I bet a ton of people got their best times that day if they also got credit for running all 10-miles 🙂 I probably would have finished about 8:45 min/mile, regardless, it was a beautiful course, for a great cause. Here are some pics from the course – sorry they are blurry (that’s due to my blazing speed!) – took them while running over bridges and trails and past turkeys (or are those raptors?!?!).




On Father’s Day we hit the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. There was one person in front of me and there was only one person working. I had only been in line for about 10 seconds when the dude behind the counter, who was waiting on the only other customer, gave me a wise-ass remark that he’d be with me in about 20 minutes. Without missing a beat I said right back something like, “Glad you’re improving, that will be quicker than last week.” He started laughing and bought me this donut. See mom, being a smart ass does pay off. Nah nah.


Beth and I went to the final Wits show of the season. It was a great show – funny and with great guests. I wrote a small post about something Cary Elwes said if you’re interested. Before the show, and at intermission, you can tweet and they will show some of them on the big screen while people are mingling. Got mine posted just in time!


Early summer is here! I’ll call this piece, Scapes & Berries. Megan left me strict instructions to pick berries each day while she is in St. Louis. This was my first day’s harvest. And I ate every single one of them (the berries, not the garlic scapes – well not yet at least)!!!


Marathon Pics

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Here are pics before, during, and after the big day. It was an awesome experience. Loved the journey and everyone’s support. I’m blessed to have so many people cheering me on – I know who you are and appreciate every word of encouragement and happy thought sent my way! You helped me make this happen!

I also fortunately had an article published online about my experiences:

Training. Kicking in the final stretch of the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon.



A note from me to my fan club.

IMG_2466sd copy

This is all that you need to run a marathon. Even this may be more than some people need.


I kept my body fueled like a finely tuned machine. Here is just some of what I ate the day before the marathon 🙂





Chilly morning on race day. Absolutely perfect weather for a marathon!


Breakfast of champions!


Fresh as a daisy. Ready to run farther than I’ve ever run in my life.


With Jen, my co-worker. We signed up on our own and only later realized the value of having someone else following the exact same training plan and going through all of the emotional and physical ups and downs as we hit new milestones week after week.


And I’m off!


Time for selfies with co-workers, friends, and family along the way.





You take a picture of me…


I take a picture of you.


Still enjoying things at mile 19




Official photos posted to Facebook by the race organizers. I saw most of the photographers, but I didn’t see this one.



Final hundred feet. I may just make it after all.





Post-race meal – time to recharge! Yes, that’s eggs and sausage on a pizza. Wow, was that good!


And of course a flight of different bacons, garlic knots, cinnamon rolls, and a pickled flight. Yummy!


This one was great but maybe next time I’ll try the flight of Bloody Mary’s!


My KCMO fan club was also out in full force on race day, cheering me on from hundreds of miles away!





Got home. Crashed for a bit…


And then went out and mowed the lawn while wearing my marathon finisher’s jacket. How come I don’t have life threatening “grass allergies” like everyone else? No fair 🙂


It was an awesome day. Great family and friends – couldn’t have done it without you. Hope to see you all at the next one!!! 😉




Marathon Week 5

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

This past month has been a blur – I think this is the fewest pictures I’ve taken in a month in a LONG time. So…I guess this post will be more about me and my current dreams 🙂 I have this recurring dream list item to post at least one blog update each month – I need to start making this happen before the last day of each month!!! But at least it’s happening – without my dream list these would rarely get posted.

Thirteen weeks until my marathon. 13 days until my 1/2 marathon. Ran 12 miles today. Crazy to think that the farthest I ran all of last year was 4.23 miles. And insane to think that just five weeks ago I was nervous and excited to run (and planned my afternoon around) just a 5-mile run. I’m following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan as closely as I can – so far it’s working great for me. I only have minor aches and pains that go away within a day of my long runs – hopefully I continue to stay strong (physically & mentally). I started eating Gu on my runs…gooey yumminess to keep the energy up…I’ve been warned by many people that it will cause tummy issues but I’m doing fine so far. I just wish the weather would improve. I am trying very hard to run outdoors for all of my runs but I’m getting sick of the below zero temps on slippery, icy, snow covered paths. I did 3-miles on a treadmill at work which about drove me insane, until I followed that up with 42+ laps around an indoor track to get 6-miles in one freezing night. I likened that mentally to running my marathon – drove me crazy to keep going around and around. My phone app had no idea where I was running most of the time either – it couldn’t track my distance accurately and had me running in mid-air and outside the building – wheeee. Here’s the craziness it came up with:


While I’m training for my marathon I also have finally decided to focus on my dream of finding my 6-pack abs (they say we all have them but we just need to find them!). This is a great goal while I’m training for a marathon because you get back from running and feel like you can eat anything and everything you want. It’s an easy trap to fall into so being even more conscious about what I’m eating now is paying off. And get ready…once I find my 6-pack I’m showing everybody, all the time. Christmas photo – yep. Selfies – yep. Work meetings – yep. Stay tuned 🙂

It was my 10th year heading out to Vail for a ski trip with the guys. The 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships were going on while we were out there so the Vail Village had extra energy and a lot more people which made for fun evenings.


Didn’t scare me one bit. Didn’t even think about it – I just crossed the line and left whatever happened next up to fate.


This is what Beth brought home last week. She got to grade that entire stack of papers. She is the TA and she found out which way the crap rolls. Shhhh – don’t tell anyone in the class – but many of their answers ended up being graded by a 9-year-old 😉


Megan and I continue to have fun with the Candy Chemistry Kit. Not sure if we’ve figured out how to use the candy thermometer yet. It seems like we know what we’re doing but somehow all of our recipes end up looking and tasting about the same. Case in point, this picture is of our salt water taffy which looks a lot like hard candy 🙂 Luckily it all tastes great.


Someone left a pillow on the floor and bad doggy decided it was for her.


Beth and Colleen are out of town at a dance competition all weekend (Fri – Sun). Christopher has a basketball tournament. They have won two games and lost one which means we get to play at least four games this weekend. Every time we get home it feels like we’re getting back in the car to play again. Our next game is tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8:30 a.m….if we win that one we play an hour later and then we’re done. It’s been a fun season – go Eagles!



Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Everyone else has opinions, I have data! I give partial credit to Watts S. Humphrey and W. Edward Deming for that one. I met and spoke with Watts on several occasions at Carnegie Mellon and am still influenced by his dedication to metrics and improvement. I know, data & metrics, sounds boring – I’ll try to keep this fun.

In 2014 I completed over 25 items from my dream list. Some big, some small, but I kept moving and focused all year long and had a crazy great year with so much to be grateful for. I have a list of dreams in 2015 that is just as long – and this time next year I’ll have another 25 things completed. What’s the secret? I keep this list visible, look at it all the time, share it with others, know when to adjust it, and constantly keep moving forward knowing that small steps are better than being paralyzed by not knowing exactly what the big picture or long-term plan is. I have smaller, repetitive items on my list. And I have some big, scary items on my list for this year. So what’s big and scary this year? Under the assumption that I stay healthy…I plan to run my first marathon in May. Want some data for why this is scary?

I started using a FitBit last year and also started tracking my runs with mapmyrun. Looking at all the data for 2014, my average run was 2.03 miles and my longest total run in 2014 was 4.23 miles. Yep, 4.23 miles. That’s it. I ran 85 times for a total of 201 miles (including 30+ days of “streaking” at least 1-mile as part of a challenge). Since I typically ran over lunch I just went out and back real quick. Please don’t do the math and tell me how much further I have to run to complete a marathon. I used FitBit for a good part of the year too. Fitbit tracks all steps and said I went 1,668 miles and took over 3.6 million steps when I was wearing it. Sweet. Fun data.

I’m not sure what changed but for some reason a marathon (which has never even sounded close to being a good idea), doesn’t seem that daunting. Funny, given that only just today I finished the official “Week 1” of the 18-week training plan. I’m sure I’ll soon be faced with reality but it’s fun to think “I got this” for as long as that will last. I set out to prove something to myself last week since I had never ever run a total 26.2 miles in the span of one week before. I intentionally slowed down my runs (I still need to slow them down more) and was relieved when the week’s summary came back showing I ran a marathon in just under 4 hours – divided up by 6 nights of rest 🙂

marathon week

But you can’t trust all data. Christopher’s team played basketball a few weeks ago and they must of had dads from the other team keeping score. Before the first half was over they had the score at 111 to 6. And it didn’t seem to bother them one bit. At least they were consistent, when we should have gone to double digits at 10 they also gave us an extra one-hundred points, so the final score for a 28 minute game was something like 126 to 115.


I got my chance to keep score this morning. My early days with the HeathKit prepared me well for the intimidating user interface of the Daktronics 3000. I think the “3000” stood for how many years old the score keeping system is.



Ready for more data? How many plows does it take to remove an inch or two of snow from the highway in Minnesota? One? Two? Three? More? Looked out my window at work and I almost missed their parade! I now have a data point showing where traffic jams start.


How about this for data…an hour or so of work at Feed My Starving Children, packed enough food for hundreds of meals. Genesis helped us and we packed enough food to feed seven people, every day, for an entire year (or, hopefully help feed their family and village throughout the year).


Colleen collected lots of data over the past few months while working in Beth’s lab. She wrote it all up and created an awesome presentation for the science fair. She did a fantastic job preparing for the science fair and ended up winning first place for her age and area (8th grade Life Science). Nice work!!!


We’ll have to continue to gather data but it appears that the rule is they only let one person win each year whose name either doesn’t contain a ‘v’ or start with ‘s’ 😉 (the other winners were: Spicher; Syed; Varun Saini; Smrithi; Verma; Anvi; Voehl; and Janvi Shah)

Speaking of Colleen…I realized that I asked her a bunch of birthday questions last year but never actually put them on my blog (oops). Here they are:

Colleen’s 14th Birthday

My favorite food is…apple sauce
When I grow up I want to be a…scientist (not sure which kind)
My favorite restaurant is…Punch Pizza
My favorite possession is…phone
My favorite color is…yellow
My favorite song is…Imagine Dragons
My favorite book is…The Selection
My favorite movie is…Fault in Our Stars
My favorite holiday is…Christmas
My favorite season is…Fall
My favorite thing to do is…dance
If I could do anything tomorrow I would…hang out with friends
It would be a really good year this year if…I get on the dance team

Some data is more subjective. Here’s Megan simultaneously using and loving her Christmas gifts (she requested not to be shown in this picture). She’s baking cookies and also making candy from her Candy Chemistry set. There’s a big jar of blue sugar water in front of her to make crystal candy (4 cups sugar to 2 cups water – ick).


Here’s data showing what happened to our backyard when I accidently left the hose on overnight. Yikes. I hope the neighbors don’t notice.


Ice Castles came to Eden Prairie this year. They were cool to see but not quite as neat as I was hoping. We had a fun time and got some good photos.


Megan chose to stay home so we replaced her in this photo 🙂



One down, eleven to go 🙂 In theory you’re supposed to travel all over Minnesota to find these scavenger hunt items, but it would be great if more of them come to Eden Prairie instead.


Here’s a data point showing that Genesis will be in trouble when she is ready to fly back to Venezuela. She arrived to Minnesota carrying two bags…when she brought everything up from the basement to move into the new host family’s house in January it took over 10 ten trips and was about 20 bags of stuff. Uh….good luck with that. We were all shocked. The other host family was worried they would have to go home to get a bigger car…but we packed it in and still had room for their kids too!


Not sure if Megan was going to go bowling or finish the snowball fight with Christopher based on the size of that mega-snow-ball she was building.


Christopher proudly made Tenderfoot in scouts (psst, don’t call it Stinkyfoot or Tenderheart – both are close and possibly accurate, but not quite correct). He actually had it all done months ago but due to football, wrestling and basketball we haven’t been able to make the meetings. Congratulations Christopher!


And here’s some data from Lumosity. Who knows if I’m really getting smarter and if these charts will go up and up regardless of what I do. But I do like that it asks about sleep and happiness. When I first started it I was grumpy most days so that has improved over time (I really needed those two and a half weeks off at Christmas). I also still am reminded that I need to get more sleep…got to make that happen. My favorite thing to do is compare my stats to the age group that mom is in to see how I compare 🙂


Father’s Day

Monday, June 16th, 2014

I know I’m a day late, but in honor of Father’s Day I can proudly share the following that I learned from the best 🙂 I still get just the Saturday and Sunday newspaper delivered (can’t quite let go of this physical newspaper that I read – maybe I’ll go electronic soon enough), but sometimes before big holidays the Star Trib delivers an extra paper for free on Thursdays. I recently got a postcard saying (thanks for my loyal readership and…) due to costs blah blah blah they would start charging for those Thursday papers. You mean charging for the Thursday papers that are 100% full of holiday ads? So now I’m paying extra for delivery of a paper full of ads that I didn’t ask for? And the default option is to just start charging me? No no no, not on Father’s Day, I won’t stand for that, what would my dad do? Darn tootin’ – I told them where to stick those papers and ads. Happy Father’s Day dad – hope you’re proud!

This is from a while ago but I thought it was also a fun fathery-type of memory. For Valentine’s Day the teachers sent a note home saying Christopher’s class would visit a local assisted living facility. When he got home that night I asked him how his party was and his only comment was that it was fine but he had to share it with old people. Heh heh. That about sums that up.

I’m often asked what I remember most about Father’s Day growing up. I think for me it was all of us getting together and singing this song to show how proud we were of New England!

What? Nobody else remembers that? Something to remember for next year then, huh? Don’t let those traditions die before they even start. Dum, de, dum, de, dum, dum, da, dum, day. Oh New England.

Dad – if you get tired of your current job maybe you can join this dude, or start your own blog of ice cream in New England.

Who else finds themselves clicking the unlock button on their car remote repeatedly as they approach their mailbox or garden shed? Anybody? Just me? One of these days it will work like magic and you’ll all be amazed. Great idea for a Father’s Day gift for me next year.

Alright, enough, on with the blog. Happy Father’s Day dad! Thanks for everything over the years!

I meant to share this earlier – my blog has gone global!!! Thank you Susana 🙂


Speaking of Susana…Susana, do you remember that frozen waterfall we took you to? Here’s what it looks like after a wet and rainy spring! Big difference, huh?


Colleen and I got our picture in the paper for running a 5k to raise money to beat cancer. Don’t anybody show the picture in this link to Beth – I’ll be in trouble for sure.

Colleen and I are doing a streaking challenge. Using MapMyRun we are trying to run 1-mile per day for as many consecutive days as we can. My streak is 18 days in a row and counting! Christopher has joined us on a few runs too – fun stuff! We did a mile for Father’s Day. Had to run that mile to jog off the crepes from breakfast in bed! Did our usual pizza and ice cream, lots of jumping on the trampoline, and ended the day with a big camp fire and s’mores.

This is what we did on Mother’s Day. Zoo, burgers, and malts. Lucky for Christopher the bears weren’t hungry!


Megan’s first softball game ever was played on the field behind her. Do you see home plate? Look closer. See it now? Still can’t – look closer. See that huge puddle – home plate is under the water somewhere. Megan scored three times – I don’t think she touched home plate for any of those runs! 🙂


I love watching the kid’s soccer games. And I love watching Christopher’s football games. Basketball is ok too. But softball and baseball…no comment. I focus when Megan is up to bat. Her new technique is to let the kid-pitch balls hit her so she gets a base. Christopher and I have been bringing footballs (yes, more than one – how else can you knock the other person’s ball out of the air) and books to the softball games, and we alternate between playing catch and reading. But she is so cute in that catcher’s gear and her oversized bobble-head helmet 🙂 Some of the softball moms are psycho – haven’t quite let go of not winning their high school championship game I guess. They are 8 year olds and it’s just a game – settle down.




Guess how many of these turtles Megan caught?


Schooner Days! Wheeee!


Christopher and Megan passed their latest Kung Fu belt tests. What technique, huh!


I think this was the free form dance part of the kung fu test


And here they are with the new belts.


Paella…socarrat is getting better each time…this was our best attempt yet!! Yummy!!! Who’s coming for dinner?


We’re heading into 5 straight days of rain and thunder storms. Time to build that ark.