Archive for the ‘Pool’ Category

No more homework, no more books…

Monday, June 11th, 2012

School’s out – hooray! Beth quit her job and is looking forward to August – hooray! We’ll be out in NH in a few weeks – hooray!

I don’t think I posted this yet…but maybe I did…oh well, shut up and watch it again 🙂 It’s going viral! All you really need to watch are the first 10 seconds!

EPFD Video

I hit 10 years with the department in August – crazy it’s been that long. Lots of great experiences. Last week I did a presentation at school for both Christopher’s and Colleen’s classes – it was a ton of fun. I always really enjoy that and the kids are great & have many good & interesting questions.

Ok – here’s some more Katherine stuff for a bit…ready? Is it too much that I built a reflecting pool in our backyard in her memory? Is that normal? Did you all build one too? It looks nice, huh?

Christopher seems to be getting the most use out of it – he spends hours at a time reflecting. Anybody buying that? So I spent a day leveling the spot for our pool – and I got it all ready…and then it rained for like 3 days straight, and then it took a week for the mud to dry up, so finally 2 weeks later we got the pool set up. But it’s up now, and no support beams have bent this year so I’m somehow getting better 🙂

So I wrote this phrase down probably in February and was going to see if Katherine could use this to communicate better with Erik’s family. I never got around to sending it to her – probably an old one everybody has heard before anyway and it just took this long for it to get to the midwest. Mom, maybe you can still use this when talking to Erik or his family: WHALE OIL BEEF HOOKED. You’re welcome – always happy to help.

So…I thought maybe I could bank up some brownie points and I brought Beth to the Princess Diana exhibit at the Mall of America. Wow – I still can’t quite find the words to describe how I felt about all the dresses on display. And I’m still wondering why they let me into that place but somehow managed to pull every other guy out of line (it didn’t help that Hooters was right across the hallway from the entrance to this exhibit). Oh well – I made the most of it. One room focused on her funeral and had a speech on the wall that was written by her brother – maybe eulogies are just like reading a horoscope in that somehow it applies to most anyone but I still found comfort in many parts of Charles Spencer’s tribute to his sister Diana and that I could relate portions of a speech about a greatly admired princess to Katherine.

Ok…moving on to other topics. Can anybody guess what this is?

Bizarre food crime scene? Bizarre fantasy food scene? Give up? This is what happens when you let boy scouts create devices to try to protect an egg as it is dropped off a 90′ fire truck ladder. Some boys tried to protect their eggs, while others decided to put their eggs in jello, or peanut butter, or bags of flour for the splat effect! And my boy was the former 🙂

Speaking of my good boy. Here’s the day he was initiated into his new “Grease” gang.

That was crazy hair day, and that’s as crazy as he was going to get this year. No colors and no hair out of place. Absolutely crazy!

And here’s Colleen stopped on the bridge as she contemplates whether or not to advance to the next level in girl scouts. Not sure what she decided – guess you’ll have to ask her.

Schooner days was here again for mommy’s birthday. This is the little fair that is staged about a mile from our house. They bring in all sorts of rides and deep fried foods and of course a gigantic bingo tent. It’s always a fun time and holds us over until the state fair arrives.

And then for Beth’s birthday we went and ate outside on a dock by a huge lake and got our kids all liquored up. Nothing says party like a 6 year old drinking beer.

The flowers are starting to wake up in our yard. The poppies only bloom for a day before a light breeze blows their petals everywhere. Crazy how fast they bloom and are gone. But if you catch them on that day they are beautiful. I call this one “Here doggie, here doggie”:

And of course I call this one “Poppy and killer whale”

So maybe it’s my fault for not bringing in the flag before it got dark. But I went to get the flag the other night and about crapped my pants when something fairly big moved at my hand in the darkness. Turns out it was a friendly neighborhood tree frog way up high on the drainspout. He almost got smooshed just like I did to his buddy accidentally last year 🙁

And finally, here’s Megan’s new trick…

Randomness – cross-country edition

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

It’s been a busy month and a half. And not much blogging to show for it. Here’s a whole mess of randomness (and not much wit or comments this time – sorry) that I’ll put out there quickly to get caught up…ready?

Here are some pics of when we were out on the East Coast. Cousins and playing board games with Grandma & Grandpa are great fun!

On our drive back home we stopped by the Great Wolf Lodge for a shortened vacation and met up with some friends who were already there.

And Easter came and went. We had a beautiful day for it. Here are some Easter pictures and Colleen wearing a furry hoodie that she got that day.

There was a double rainbow on the way home from work last week. And one of the rainbows was the brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen. So I started trying to take pictures with my iPhone (uh…yes mom, I pulled over and came to a complete stop before taking each picture). It was off to my side so check out my face reflected in the sky with the rainbows…cool, huh? Hee hee.

Christopher walking over the bridge to start on his path to being a Webelo. Next week is the egg drop – and also time for me to start planning the rocket launch again this summer.

We’ve had choir shows at school for all three kids (here’s Christopher on the mic).

Megan has gone through several phases lately…she focuses very intently for a week or so and then moves on to something else…the last 3 mini-phases have been running away, stacking stuffed animals on soccer balls for pictures (and also posing with Orca), and catching fish & water-walking-bugs from the pond.

Here she is one of the times she was all set to run away (complete with back pack full of stuffed animals plus others she could carry in her hands). I told her I wanted one last picture to remember her by…

Followed by balancing stuffed animals on soccer balls and with Orca…

We stocked the pond again with cheap feeder goldfish from the pet store. Megan has done an amazing job of catching those little fish over and over and over (and thankfully releasing them right away). So far we still have yet to have any of our kids do a dive into the pond…one of these days…

Good things come to those who wait. Sure it’s over a month later but we finally had Christopher’s birthday party. It was a pirate theme this year and of course included a sleep over. The next morning the boys had fun building boats out of whatever materials they could find in the yard. They did an awesome job…and the boat looked great…but didn’t stay upright so well in the open water…

It must be May…soccer (both girls), baseball (just Christopher although Megan is talking big about softball for her next year), and Mother’s day with banana-fudge malts & burgers at Convention Grill (super yummy!). Megan is at it again…she scored two goals last week (which means ice cream for all of us – yahoo!).

Ok…enough randomness for now…take care everbody!

EPFD goes prime time

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Did you see this video during the football games last weekend? I’m not in the video but there’s a certain fire department in this nationally televised video. Sweet.

We spent New Year’s Eve with our friends who have a house on a big lake in Eden Prairie. The ice wasn’t that thick but we still ventured out a little ways and had a fun time. The kids spent a lot of time with sticks attacking any dead plants poking up through the ice. We shot fireworks from the ice and our whole family had a sleepover that night. Fun times for all. And then the next morning on New Year’s Day I got up way before anyone else was even stirring and ran a 10K race 🙂

Christopher’s scout pack had an “ool” party a few weeks ago. Megan and Christopher spent most of the time blowing water through long foam tubes at anyone who got in their way. Megan shot most of her water backwards behind her but Christopher targeted head shots. Fun times.

Have you ever scanned the people of Walmart picture compilations? Always good for a sad laugh or two. So after swimming I promised Christopher that we would spend his $10 Walmart gift card that he was awarded for selling so much popcorn for the pack. It was a really cold day in early January in Minnesota but there we were in Walmart with my kids wearing flip flops and crocks – so here’s my “people of Walmart” contribution. Maybe next year I’ll have them wear spandex and tube tops too.

This year has been crazy in terms of very little snow. We get an inch or two every now and then but the weather gets above 30F and it melts soon after falling. Finally this past week we’ve gotten several inches spread over several days but I see warm temps next week too. This makes for interesting sledding conditions and wardrobe. Here the girls are playing in their pajamas while sledding on a pathetic covering of snow. Wheeeee!

No snow makes the kids be more creative indoors this time of year. Between the dog and other kids, Megan was lucky to build a chain this long!

I laughed when I first saw this picture. Doesn’t it look like Christopher just left his job as a Chip’n Dale dancer wearing a checkered g-string? This was us earlier today at the pinewood derby race. Christopher took 7th place in his pack – not bad considering I had him do quite a bit of the work on his car this year. Here are the 3 amigos, followed by results of one of his heats, and then some of the kids in his den.

We also just hit a major milestone in our household. Colleen lost her very last baby tooth/molar. Does that mean we can’t put off braces much longer???

Good week so far…

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Tonight Christopher had football practice from 5:30 – 7:00 and scouts from 7:00 – 8:30. So…Beth dropped him off at football practice and then I showed up a bit later, watched practice for a while and then pulled him early from football with just enough time to get to scouts. While I was watching football practice I read some old email and found out that scouts were encouraged to wear their favorite Minnesota sports team jerseys because there was going to be a guest speaker. So Christopher and I decided he would just wear his football jersey to scouts. The guest speaker turned out to be John Shevlin who played Minnesota Gopher football, was the team captain one year, and still has some college records. He gave a little talk to the kids and then they had a contest to see who had the best Minnesota sports clothes on. So Christopher goes up to the front of the room along with 10 other kids. The other kids had Vikings and Twins and Gophers jerseys and hats, but there was only one kid up there with an Eden Prairie football jersey, pads, and cleats 🙂 So they held a hand over each kid’s head and you’d make noise for your favorite. Christopher got down to the final two kids and then he blew away the competition. His prize…an Earl Battey bobblehead (he played for the Twins in the 60’s). Too funny.

Notice anything else in that picture? Hint – it lets me check another dream off my dream list.

I ran a 5k race Saturday morning. I normally run the Plymouth Fire Department 5k this weekend each year but the night before I decided to run a 5k at the Eden Prairie high school (because it was closer and I could bike to/from it). I ran the race, talked to a friend for 30 minutes afterwards (while eating sushi, salad and brownies as I mentioned before), and then we took off. So last night (Monday) the doorbell rings at our house and it turns out that I came in first out of the 40-49 year old males. Coming in the top 3 in a race for my gender & age is on my dream list (check that one off). I think this race is legit and counts – but maybe now I’ll leave that as a recurring dream that I try to achieve each year. I know older and younger people finished ahead of me but luckily none were between 40 – 49!!! I won $20 to a great local restaurant, a $50 massage, $20 at a sports store – sweet!!!

Remember how I said last year that I setup our new pool (10′ x 20′) and put the wrong sized boards under each support bar and that the weight of the water-filled pool overnight bent half of the bars? We took the pool down this past weekend…here’s the damage… 🙂 They still did their job (thankfully!!!).

The football player tonight at scouts talked about eating right, exercising and setting goals. He said parents are right when they say to eat veggies & fruits and play outside. He also said he never had a computer or Nintendo when growing up and that you should play outside. So we’re driving home and I was asking Christopher what he learned. I asked him what the football player said about Nintendo and video games. Christopher’s response to me was, “if you want to play them you have to play them outside”. I said, “What?!?!?!?”. He repeated his answer…and I believe (at least I want to believe) that Christopher knew the right answer and was just being funny. But I never know with him 🙂

After the scout meeting I had Christopher go up to the football player and ask him for a tip. So he asked to see Christopher’s stance. They both got in stances and faced each other. He then told Christopher to move his feet closer together, put less weight on his hand, get his butt up, flatten his back, etc…it was a fun moment to see them working together on that.

And finally, we went to another Friday Night Destruction at the race track recently. We went with some friends and had a great time. This time in addition to figure 8’s, flagpole and school buses they had lawn tractor races. It was insane how fast those things went on the straight-aways. Zooooooommmmmm!

Keep up the positive spirits and strength Dad!!! You’re doing awesome and are in our thoughts all the time (you and Mom both). You’ll be home before you know it so I hope you got through all the movies and books that you wanted to! 🙂

Friends and family edition

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

We had an awesome, awesome trip down to Florida and back. We were able to see so many friends and family on this trip – it was great. Thanks everyone for your hospitality! The trip started with a quick visit to West Lafayette where we saw college roommates. Then we headed to Rochester and on to Indy. Each stop was great. I’ve got so many pictures I’m going to post those and not do that much typing now. Enjoy.

From Rochester to Indy. It was great to just hang out by the pool all day – the kids had a blast. Jackie taught us all some new dives 🙂

After leaving Indy we headed straight to Mammoth Cave. It was cool. The kids liked it – especially Colleen who is now saying she wants to see more caves. Our guide was very funny and made it a great two hour tour.

Here’s Beth proving that there is definitely a climate & temperature difference once you exit the cave.

When I was in New Hampshire a month or two ago I remember somebody talking about all of the bats dying on the East Cost. After you left Mammoth Cave they had you walk across a foam solution that killed whatever it is that’s killing bats. I was wearing sandals…so my shoes and my feet are now bat friendly.

We stayed in Huntsville, Alabama and made a quick visit to the national space museum. They had tons of really cool stuff. I don’t consider myself that into space but just being there made me want to learn a lot more about past missions and equipment.

Fried green tomatoes – yummy! Also included in this meal were collard greens, buttermilk fried chicken, and gumbo. We finished this off with grits for breakfast the next morning. It was all great…well, except for the collard greens which were nasty 🙂

Somewhere in Alabama.

Here’s the view from our balcony. It was a great location and the hotel had everything we needed. And we luckily only lost one towel from the balcony all week 🙂 Ooops.

Hanging out with the cousins. Having fun. Playing in the sun.

How can you come down here and not play mini-golf at one of the huge, super-cool places. I was the score keeper and coincidentally cleaned up on the mini-golf course.

We also went on a 2-hour pirate cruise. They did a great job with this. The trip included tatoos, a squirt gun fight, swabbing the deck, sword fighting, firing a cannon, and hoisting up a treasure chest from the deep sea. The kids loved it. We also got to see dolphins swim right up to the boat which was cool.

If you squint you can see dolphin fins in the distance over Megan’s head. So cool.

Megan turned six – woohoo! We have always had parties at our house. Megan wanted to go to pump-it-up this year so we gave in. Not my favorite way to throw a party but their staff was great and Megan and her friends had a great time.

The Relay for Life has come and gone. It was very stormy that day so it got moved inside the high school…but then the high school lost power (I was actually outside of the high school driving a fire truck to monitor sparking power lines about 100′ from the high school while my family was inside the high school) so the event started in a backup location with no power – not an ideal situation but everything worked out. Beth and all 3 kids stayed maybe until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. and then Colleen and a friend stayed with me until about 2:00 a.m. There are activities every hour so they learned how to do the Thriller dance starting at 1:00 a.m., and participated in a frozen t-shirt contest after that, plus gourney rides, snacks, etc. It is a fun yet powerful event.

Here’s how I spent the night of my 40th birthday…fire training…out on the lake in our fire boat. The pump on the boat is loud, hence the ear protection. We can spray water from the lake out through the hose on the boat – wheeee!

This is back before our trip too. The tres amigos showing off their new trophies at the end of baseball season. These three have played basketball and baseball together this year (and are in the same scout troop) – and they are all three playing football together starting in another week or two. Baseball was great for Christopher – he really improved a ton which was fun to watch.

Today was the model rocket event for our scout pack. I was in charge of organizing it this year. Today started off with thunder storms (last night) and a windy & very cloudy morning. I went to the field early today to test a few rockets and see how the field was. There were clouds all around us and I was very, very close to postponing the rocket event until tomorrow. The weather forecasters were all saying to do your indoor stuff today and that tomorrow would be beautiful. Well…I took a chance on the weather clearing and it did just that. We had a beautiful day and a great rocket event. Maybe about 20 scouts showed up and it seemed like everyone had a good time. I enjoy building new rockets and then launching them. I had two unique rockets this year that were crowd pleasers 🙂

Here’s the Decaffinator. It is made out of styrofoam cups that I hot-glued together. I had no idea how well this rocket would fly but it actually flew very straight and was fun to watch. After its second launch the first 4 cups broke off…but I was still able to launch it one more time – just as a much shorter version. The kit showed a picture of a 14′ rocket made out of 116 cups…maybe I’ll work on that one for next year 🙂

And here’s a 2-stage flying saucer. It has two motors – so it went up a bit, paused, and then the 2nd engine ignited. At that point the saucer split into two separate pieces – the first piece falls back to earth and the 2nd piece shoots up even higher. One of the coolest things about this “rocket” was that as each piece fell back down they spun in a cool way (and slow and straight enoug that scouts caught them each time).

I was very relieved to pull off a successful rocket event this year and am already looking forward to next year.

Mom & Dad – Stay strong! You’re in our prayers every day. Keep those attitudes positive and this will all be behind us soon enough!

Wow – lots of photos! This post got to be quite long – wake up now!!!!!

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!!!


Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I spy with my little eye…a strawberry pie!

For the first time ever we truly played a board game as a family. And I loved it. A lot of fun – for all of us. Yes, we’ve played some of my favorites for years but those games either have no strategy (e.g., Pretty, Pretty Princess) or they are stacked in favor of the parents (e.g., Blokus). But this time we played monopoly (the Chicago edition). It took us about a week, but we finished the game. Colleen and Christopher played – and Megan was the banker and official dice grabber/distributor. Christopher started the game off by just going around the board – I don’t think he bought a single property after the first one or two times around the board. He would pause to consider properties but then decided he liked his money too much to spend any of it. Needless to say, I was the first one out, followed shortly by Beth, and then Christopher had no problem trouncing Colleen too. He raked it in. Somehow everything seemed to go his way. He had both get-of-jail cards. He had a hotel on the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) which was the most expensive property on the board. On each of our final turns we thought we were safe because we ended up stopping just before his properties…but then I rolled a 3 to land on the Sears tower, Beth rolled a 4 to do the same, and Colleen (several turns later) also rolled a 4 to do the same. Stinker. And…he could have cleaned up a day or two ago but he didn’t want to spend much money on houses and hotels. That’s the last time we play with him!!!

Let me ask everyone who lives in Nashua this question? Is being ranked #1 in the country by CNN’s Money magazine a blessing or a curse? Is it the kiss of death? Eden Prairie is #1. We’re #1. We’re #1. We’re #1.

We watched a deer eat whole heads of flowers off of plants in our yard in single chomps…and then we sent Orca after it. Lucky for her it ran off – I’m not sure what she would have done if it had just stayed there.

Another firefighter gave us his old 15′ pool for free. So I found a somewhat level spot in the yard and set it up real quick when Beth’s parents were out here last month. The instructions just say find a “level” spot -they don’t say how level is level. After a few days it became apparent that my definition of level and their definition of level were a bit different. To further complicate my leaning pool situation the side that was downhill is of course where I had positioned the drain plug which ended up being about 1′ underneath the pool and impossible to get to due to the weight of the water. We tried this pool out to see if we would use it but it also had a leak in the air ring that kind of supports the pool…so here’s the picture of me draining the pool. I don’t know why they give you a drain valve – my method seemed to work just fine and was a lot more exciting. Just like watching the huge bucket dump tons of water at the Great Wolf Lodge! We then went out and bought a brand new 15′ pool, I moved just a bit of dirt to give a pool a better chance of surviving the summer, and the kids have loved it ever since. Every night they go out there. And during the day with sitters they are in it all the time. Fun fun fun. I love Christopher’s happy dance – he just needs some country music and a cowboy hat and he’d be all set.