Archive for the ‘OCD’ Category

End of summer 2013

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Wow – where did the summer go??? School starts tomorrow!!! It’s been a really good summer – and we’re looking forward to a good year ahead of us.

Our biggest news is that Susana joined our family a week and a half ago. She is an intern with the Spanish school and is from Spain (a small village of 100 people but she has lived in a larger city called Soria most recently). She will be living with us until mid-February, and we are loving having her as part of our family. I’m sure she’s trying to look up what “redneck” means in Spanish…so far we’ve taken her to the State Fair, and to Friday Night Destruction at the car track (the highlight was a figure 8 school bus race), we sewed with glue (hee hee), introduced her to Kristin (one of my crazy college roommates), and we fed her food fit only for animals in Spain (corn – ha!). Fun stuff! We’ve also gone on a bike ride, and showed her Costco, cooked some Spanish treats together, and taken her to the Mall of America, and the Cherry on the Spoon, and to Beth’s lab, and had a small ice cream social at our house with our buddy (helper) families…all sorts of fun stuff!! And she hasn’t asked us to take her back to the airport yet 🙂 It’s been a lot of fun talking to her every day and learning about each other’s country – it’s going to be a great semester! And the kids are exposed to more Spanish which is also great.

A HUGE benefit of having Susana joining us is that we cleaned our house to a level we hadn’t done in 10 years. Bye-bye box of old trophies (Mom and Dad – Are you proud of me? Do I need a box of old trophies to get your love and support?). Bye-bye boxes of old cardboard for making cardboard tunnels in the basement (we made our last one to send the boxes out in style). Bye-bye load after load of toys and clothes and books and picture frames, etc to Good Will. Bye-bye bicycles and scooters and big wheel we left at the end of our driveway with a “Free” sign (draws ’em in like moths to a light!).

I don’t think I could ever get sick of trampoline pictures. They crack me up every time. Goofy poses and goofy expressions and big smiles and bouncy fun every time! Colleen’s aerial now keeps her nose 1-2′ off the ground, but they were a lot more fun to watch when her nose would almost scrape the mat. She’s worked hard on those this summer!

Got some hail! Haven’t had our house checked yet. Lots of people lost windows to their cars and had screen, siding and roof damage. This is the biggest hail I’ve ever seen. The kids had a lot of fun jumping on the trampoline when it was covered in hail. They would bounce and then try to catch hail in their hands when it bounced back up. It was insane when it was hailing to watch the hail hit the trampoline and the hottub cover and the ricochet every which way.

I led my last rocket launch for the scout troop (well…I still have all the supplies and haven’t officially handed it off to any else yet…who knows what will happen). We’ve got over 20 rockets in our house now! Wow – fun – zoom. Is this for the kids or me??? Both? Ok, fine – it’s all for me – and if the kids have fun then that’s just a bonus 🙂

Have you ever looked at those “wait for it” pictures online? You think you know what you’re looking at and then you realize there is more to the picture. Look at the picture that is mostly green with a tree and our yard – and the colorful birdhouse hanging from a branch. The birdhouse had several newly hatched, very chirpy baby birds in it – make a huge racket. Keep looking at the picture…what else do you see?

And we did our trip to Grand Marais again. It’s always great to go up there. It was just us this year. Great weather, great food, beautiful views, good hikes, and great time with all of us together. We went fishing and had worm races too this time 🙂 And lots of the World’s Best Donuts!! I got up to see two sunrises (Colleen joined me for one of them). The first several days were great – lots of hiking, and I jogged twice on the jagged rocks and rough terrain of Artist’s Point (Colleen joined me on one of those runs too). So we are always careful because it is so easy to fall or twist something – and I take pride in my coordination and athletic ability. So everything was going great…up until the day before we left…we just arrived at Judge C. R. Magney state park (where you hike to see the Devil’s Kettle). It’s a great park with a fun hike. I had just gotten out of the car in the FLAT parking lot…was putting sunflower seeds in my pocket and was looking up at Beth who was asking about sunscreen…and then I stepped in a rut and twisted my ankle. Pop. Man does that hurt and scare you. We watched my foot shake a bit for 5-10 minutes, saw it getting red, and maybe a bit bigger, but I decided we were there and it didn’t hurt(much) to walk on it…so we hiked…probably 2.5 – 3 miles total…with 200 stairs near the top leading down to the river (and of course back up when you’re done). Probably not the smartest decision I made that trip. We got home that night and my ankle was as big as a baseball…and then over the next day or two it turned some fun shades of purple. Three weeks later and it’s still swelling every day. Went to the doctor last week finally and they said it is just soft tissue damage…so it should all be good (the two 5k races I ran last weekend, and doing the state fair two days in a row probably didn’t help – that was my attempt to stay still). Enjoy the pictures 🙂

Apologies to everyone who has ever stayed in our basement. Don’t be jealous of Susana – instead, you should thank her for giving us that push to make that bedroom actually look like a bedroom!! Hope you like it 🙂 Maybe you can come stay in it sometime 😉

Megan eats way too much junk food and four of her teeth just fell out one morning. Roots and all. Darn orthodontist – you stop by just to say ‘hi’ and they find a gazillion things wrong with everyone’s mouth. Somebody gets braces in a week or two, too. Megan’s reward for getting teeth yanked was a fishing trip that afternoon – she caught 11 fish! Colleen caught 4 fish. Susana and Christopher didn’t catch any!!! Susana said the tooth fairy brings presents in Spain, so Megan was delighted to find a puzzle, a small air-rocket, and two other presents under her pillow the next morning – and she got to keep her teeth – lucky girl! She didn’t complain at all about getting them yanked and they said she was a perfect patient – awesome job Megan!

Ok – enough for now – best wishes for an incredible school year to all of the kiddies!!!

Summer is in full swing

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

I’ve got to get back to posting more frequently – where does the time go??? So much is going on!!! We found out that we get an intern from the Spanish school – yahoo! She’ll be here mid-August through January we think (maybe December – plenty of time to figure that out). She’s from Spain and we received a short letter from her this past week – hopefully we get to talk to her soon. We’re excited and a bit nervous as we try to get the house together but it will be a great experience.

I’m so proud of Colleen. She got 10+ inches of hair cut off and donated it to Locks of Love. I think her new hair cut looks fantastic and it’s an amazing feeling to have your kids making choices on their own to give back and help others. Way to go girl!!!

I found several races and walks to support causes that I care about. I took the kids to the Crohn’s Walk this year. We made our donation, stuffed our faces on granola bars and apples, and then walked a few miles. Do you like their picture inside of the giant inflatable colon? Erik should have bought one of those instead of a bouncy house to liven up any party! Colleen also ran her first 5k with me. We did the run-walk-hope 5k for the Logelin Foundation to support widows and widowers with young families. This was founded by the guy whose blog I’ve followed for years from Minnesota whose wife died right after giving birth. I’m also doing the Stomp Out Suicide – Run for Awareness 5k in a few weeks. The Make-A-Wish 5k got rained out a few weeks ago – the roads were closed due to flash flooding. I already did the Eden Prairie Fire 5k this year and I’ll do a 5K for the Plymouth Fire Department in a few months. And Kristin’s coming up again to run the Milk Run with me at the MN State Fair – guess this one doesn’t quite support a good cause like the others, huh? 😉

We had a big ol’ snapping turtle wandering around our yard. The marsh is a few blocks away and Round Lake is 1/2 mile away…not sure where it was headed but we’ll be on the lookout for some baby snappers in 9 to 18 weeks. Wikipedia said they will “travel extensively” and here’s your fun fact of the day – impress your friends tomorrow with this one…the female snapping turtle can hold sperm for several seasons, using it as necessary. “Earmuffs” kids…they didn’t give details about Mrs. Turtle but it made me think of that old joke where the man and woman are riding in the elevator, she’s going to donate blood on floor 4 and says she gets paid $20, and he’s says he’s going to floor 3 to donate sperm for $100. They run into each other the next day and he asks where she’s going this time and she says “Mmmmmmph!” and holds up 3 fingers. Way to go Mrs. Turtle – however you do it.

We traveled to St. Louis for the 4th of July. The kids went there the week before and then we drove down to pick them up and stayed a few extra days. It was good to see everyone. We went downtown for their big fair and saw some of an air show with lots of acrobatic planes. In the picture of the arch you can barely see a plane way beneath it. The view along the river by the arch is great. And the weather wasn’t scorching for a change down there which made for a perfect day. We saw a double rainbow while driving down there. I think that’s the 2nd double rainbow I’ve seen this past year (hard to see in the pic – and hard to take that picture while driving ). And both rainbows were full – could see the whole thing. I keep looking for more signs – Katherine and I never had much to say about rainbows or double rainbows but they are still awesome to see. We did the City Museum again while we were there – this museum/playground is an amazing place full of fun and places to explore mixed with the right amount of safe risks for your children – if you have kids and are going to St. Louis this HAS to be on your list. Here’s a fun article about the City Museum and it’s approach to lawsuits.

Sports and exercise. Colleen and Megan finished up soccer. Megan had an undefeated (one tie) season due 100% to the incredible coaching. Christopher went to football camp and is getting ready for the fall season to start. Megan just took a week of lacrosse which she loved (she was one of three girls in a group of over 20 boys). This coming week Christopher and Megan take tennis lessons. Christopher also just got back from 4 days at scout camp. He had a blast – highlights included shooting a BB gun, archery, and a rock climbing wall. The water was cold so they didn’t spend much time swimming but it sounds like they had plenty of other things to do! Colleen has been busy with dance and gymnastics – she’s working on perfecting her aerial. The kids are also loving the trampoline that we bought. They spend their days running from the trampoline to the pool and back and forth and back and forth. Megan also successfully completed Safety Camp. This program combining police, fire, etc. started in Eden Prairie 20+ years ago and has spread nation-wide. All children entering 3rd grade are eligible to participate and it fills up every year. Great program – and the kids love it!

This has also been a month filled with compulsive counting showing our craziness. For instance, how can I do kid’s laundry and end up with 17 unmatched socks? Interesting, the load after that (after I had the kids hold a contest to see who could find the most socks hidden in the basement and office and under their beds) resulted in almost as many unmatched socks without making many pairs. As we prepare for our new house guest we cleaned up toys in the basement. Megan is finally ready to depart with some of the toys for younger kids. The first go around resulted in 7 big trash bags full of toys that went to Goodwill. The second iteration is looking like several more bags will go. As we cleaned up the basement we found eight fully functional remote control cars all with working remotes – we even figured out that if we put them all next to each other and turn them on that one remote can control almost all of them – that made for some insane driving to have all of the kids controlling all of the cars at once – watch out!!! I’m working on 9 rockets at once too – prepping for the scout rocket launch – we’ve got fins and nose cones everywhere – not sure if the kids or I have more fun 🙂 I was also cleaning up old power cords, telephone cords, speaker wires, etc. Over the years it’s amazing how many times (dozens of times) I must have thrown out toys and electronics but didn’t throw away the power cords. So now that I’ve recently thrown away the power cords I’m sure some random whatever will show up and I won’t be able to power it up – oh well, I’ll wait for that day to come.

We rescued a bunny from our egress window well. Grrr. Stupid bunnies. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. Just glad it didn’t tear up my pond net.

I took the kids to Extreme Race Day at Canterbury Downs (about 20 minutes away). In addition to horses (not so extreme) we saw jockeys riding camels and ostriches. We didn’t stick around for the zebras. The camels weren’t that thrilling but the ostriches were a riot. Most jockeys fell to the ground but the winning jockey and ostrich made it look easy and he even was on the jumbotron holding on with one hand while pointing to the camera & crowd as he crossed the finish line. Fun stuff!

We successfully survived another birthday party. Megan had 9 girls over for a pool and trampoline SpongeBob party. We are still trying to get the water in the pool back to normal a week later but other than that it was a great party. Beth once again did a great job planning everything and making sure Megan and everyone else had a blast! Megan got a beanbag for her birthday from us and she has been sleeping in it every night since she got it – love it! Megan’s new self-assigned chore is to pick wild berries every night – we’ve had these prickly vines growing for years that only produce a few berries but this year the bushes have gone crazy and are producing berry after berry after berry – we just made some berry crisp last week. Yummy!!! Nice work Megan!!

And the highlight of Megan’s week…we finally went fishing. She caught a sunny (sun fish) on her first cast! We fed the fish for a while after that but managed to reel in a few more that night. She got a fishing rod for her birthday so I’m sure we’ll be out some more. She really liked it. She’s been asking a lot of questions about being a vegetarian lately and isn’t quite sure where she stands on fish. She was surprised to learn last week that Colleen wasn’t born a vegetarian 🙂 I thought that was cute – she has said a few times this week that she is now a vegetarian but then we had bacon, and then we had hotdogs, and I’m sure if we have salami she’ll give in again. That’s how Colleen started too – pepperoni and salami were the last to go for her. We have all started eating a lot healthier the past several weeks. Not that we were that bad to begin with but we’ve stepped it up and it’s been great for all of us.

At the start of summer I had the kids make a list of things they wanted to do this summer. I cut a few lines for you to read. Need a translator? I think all interpretations of the first few lines somehow work (I can read it at least 4 ways with different meanings – I’m sure there are more), although this could be fun that first week back to school when Megan has to write about what she did 🙂

And finally, I was so glad to hear that mom was able to meet Bil Bihlman (my roommate from freshman year) as part of his long bicycle journey across the United States (too bad dad couldn’t make it work out that day too). He is a very neat person and is on a several month journey from California to Virginia, which he then decided to extend by biking up to Maine (and then will bike back to Indiana). I think this is how Forest Gump started – he may never stop. It’s all for a good cause – Riding for Hope. Incredible story that the ex-governor and mayor stopped by the same restaurant that my mom and Bil were eating at – I think that type of things happens to Bil all the time and it doesn’t even phase him.

Ok…more than enough for now…take care everybody. Happy Birthday Dan!

Where did July go?

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Wow! It’s been a long time. Since I last wrote:

(1) Beth found a new job
(2) with mixed emotions Beth quit a job
(3) we’ve all been to St. Louis
(4) I flew home for a week while they stayed longer in St. Louis
(5) Anne and her four kids + Earl came to MN for 4-5 days
(6) had a scout rocket launch
(7) celebrated National Night to Unite by driving a fire truck around to many block parties
(8) had 10 yards of mulch and 8 tons of crushed granite delivered
(9) and I’ve been proposed to (yep – and not by Beth)
(10) In writing this list I came up with another OCD type of thing…I hate the number 9. 7 is good. 9 is as bad as it gets.
(11) went to Friday Night Destruction
(12) finished celebrating Megan’s birthday

So where to begin? Hmmmm….I guess in the order above…

(1) & (2)
Beth’s new job is with Beckman Coulter. The best part is that it is exactly 5 miles away from home. The commute was really wearing Beth down so this is perfect. She starts the 2nd week of September – the same week the kids go back to school. I’ll have to get a picture of her getting on a bus her first day too!

(3) & (4)
We went to St. Louis for Beth’s high school reunion. I think we would both say the reunion was 10x better than we expected it to be. It was at a bar near SLU (St. Louis University) close to downtown St. Louis. They only served appetizers so it was great to not have assigned seating or tables and you could bounce around all night talking to everybody. It was a really fun time and Beth got a chance to hook up with many old friends that night and also later on in the week. The kids had a blast with their cousins all week. One of the highlights in St. Louis is going to the City Museum. I know I’ve written about this place before – it is truly an amazingly awesome place – so cool – makes you want to be a kid again.

(5) Anne and Earl, and Anne’s four kids drove up to MN and stayed for several days. It was great to hang out more, and I know Beth and the kids had a lot of fun each day playing and talking and seeing the sights. Having the pool in our backyard has been great for the kids – they are in it every night and any kids that come over are always out there too – great, cheap fun. The Mill City Museum and Mall of America were the highlights (Patrick celebrated his birthday while he was up here and he wanted to go to the Mall of America on his birthday).

Not my fire – I take no responsibility for all that smoke 🙂

(6) Next year I am running the cub scout rocket launch for Christopher’s pack/den/whatever it’s called. This year I paid close attention as there are tons of little details such as alien masks, inflatable aliens, space suit for me (ok, despite what the last guy did I’m not doing this), etc. Because Christopher was going to be in St. Louis and would miss the scout rocket launch we went the weekend before and tried out all of his rockets. Wheeee.

(7) Guess what we handed out to the kids on National Night to Unite??? Give up? There were 112 block parties this night in Eden Prairie and the fire department ended up hitting most of them. I got to drive the big red truck around this year which made it extra fun. There has been a lot of bad weather the past few weeks so I’ve been on a lot of weather related calls. Last night a page went out saying a deck collapsed that was holding 20 people. We ended up sending a ton of rescue squads, fire engines, ambulances, and police cars. There were people everywhere – like a scene out of a movie. Luckily (as far as I know) there were no serious injuries – but this will be a party that those people talk about for a while. The pink fire truck will be in Eden Prairie next week to help raise money for cancer – I’m sure it will be quite a sight.

(8) I’m not as young as I used to be. As Beth says, who works harder than me in the yard? No one. I had two helpers from a landscaping company yesterday – their job was to move the 8-tons of granite to the backyard. My little hill in the backyard was too much for them – couldn’t handle it – said they would be there all day if they had to bring it up the hill. So I told them just to pile the granite around the fire pit at the bottom of the hill and I’d take care of it. A day later and it’s all up the hill and on the paths. Big babies 🙂 I let Christopher help me mow a bit tonight for the first time. He pushed the mower through the middle of the yard, then turned it and curved back up towards the garden – and then I had him turn off the mower. I asked him if he ever remembered me making lots of straight lines and going back and forth – we laughed as we looked at the massive, random “U” he made from one side of the yard to the other.

(9) I took Megan to her first soccer practice yesterday. I’m not coaching this season which I have mixed emotions about but I think it’s the right decision given everything that is going on. As we were leaving and walking to our car in the parking lot I heard a sweet little voice yelling “coach Dave, coach Dave”. I turned around and one of the little girls from last year’s team was yelling to me. She was the one that I wrote about before that I made big strides with. She wanted to say hello and then said something that I didn’t quite understand so I asked her to say it again and she said “I want to marry you”. So sweet. Her parents were laughing – I don’t think she told them what she had planned to say to me. I said maybe she would want to marry her new coach but she said no. Makes me want to coach again – maybe in the spring.

(11) Ok, so this isn’t Beth’s favorite thing to do but she was a great sport this year. I love watching the figure 8 and flag pole races and we got to see school buses race (at one point they were 4-wide going around a curve on this tiny track). As we were driving to the race track Megan was asking if she could be in the race – I think she changed her mind once we got there. The kids had fun picking cars – amazingly Megan picked every car right all night – it helps when you can change your pick at any time to the car in the lead! They even had a pick-up unexpectedly drive out the back of the “short bus” as it was driving around the track. The night ended with the Green Mamba jet car burning two cars stacked on top of each other. This thing has a jet engine and puts out incredible heat. Fun!

(12) Remember that birthday a few years ago when I didn’t tell Beth what I wanted and I got the stone pig for the yard? I guess Megan wasn’t clear to mommy what she wanted this year and ended up with a big inflatable rolly thing that kids aren’t ever going to master. The funniest part about this is that I inflated it indoors and then we couldn’t find a door that it would fit through to get it outside!!!

OCD randomness

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

This past year I’ve definitely started knocking more things down. For example, I’ll reach for something in the medicine cabinet and knock over something small like chapstick. But what is super cool is that my reflexes and reaction time this past year have become amazing. I catch 90% of the things that I knock over. So as that chapstick is falling to the ground my hand has already shot out and caught it. I guess if I’m going to get more clutsy as I get older then I might as well improve in other areas.

Who else in the family taps the back of their finger nails on walls, rails, doors as they walk down halls or stairways? Common – don’t hold back. I’ve been doing this forever. Sometimes I have to tap in groups of 3 or some other number – or I have to tap a few times to get that perfect tap (just enough contact with the nail only, but not too much contact). Or how about this one, whenever I pair up my shoes it drives me nuts if they aren’t facing each other properly. The left shoe on the right side just won’t do. Hey, it’s not like I can’t stand the sound of metal utensils scraping against someone else’s teeth? Heh heh. And maybe I do still play with imaginary friends, but if they weren’t so darn competitive then I’d be able to stop – they just won’t quit or let me win – grrrrrr.

I remember as a kid I used to try to double-back on all of my paths (e.g., if I came in a building a certain way then I would want to leave by retracing my steps). I think that was a big thing for me in New Jersey. I also still try to keep my sock drawer as neat as possible. But this one isn’t because I’m obsessive, it’s because I read in a magazine a while ago that guys with neater sock drawers get more action. Every little bit helps 🙂

Ok, enough with all that craziness. Am I alone with that – or am I the normal one?

We had a fun 4th of July weekend. Spent a lot of time at Round Lake for the festivities – bike parade, music, games, you name it…

Colleen and a friend used a big slingshot to launch 9 water balloons at Christopher and a friend (who had 9 of their own to shoot back). Here they are waiting for a balloon to splash over them.

Colleen won the hula hoop contest for her age group at the 4th of July contest. Here she is wearing the grand prize…

Beth wrapped the kids in toilet paper for another event. Hee hee hee.

Buzz buzz buzz.