Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

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)!

Nov and Dec catch-up

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

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

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



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


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


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



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


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


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






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




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

We have bugs (and rodents)

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

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


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



Ever see a pumpkin with a tail?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter is coming! Boo!

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)!!!


Hot Cold Hot Cold

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

What a crazy month it has been. Sunny one day and snowing the next. 70F one day and then 20F the next. My snow tires are gone, the ducks are back, and green stuff is sprouting everywhere! We have been busy, even for us. In one week in April all of the following happened: Christopher had a birthday; Beth’s parents came to visit; Beth flew to Washington DC to present at a conference; I interviewed at a local college for a certificate program; Colleen tried out for & then made the high school dance team; and Colleen had a dance competition. Everyone was crazy and running around except for Megan 🙂

Happy Easter!


The first thing Megan does every morning is spritz all of the plants in her room and then feeds her fish. She loves growing things. She has a grow light, heating pad, etc in her room. I have a friend who grows GIANT pumpkins (e.g., > 1000 lb pumpkins). He gave me some seeds (check out how big just the seeds are!) and Megan & I are going to try our luck at growing a State-Fair-winning pumpkin. We filed our seeds. We soaked our seeds. We planted our seeds. Now we wait 🙂


Megan and I found some recipes from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes book. The Frobscottle didn’t taste so bad (I think Beth and I enjoyed it more than the kids) and thankfully didn’t have the intended gassy results as happened in the BFG book!


Colleen’s #1 dream for the past few years has been to work very hard and do everything that she could to make the Eden Prairie Dance Team. Tryouts were this month and she made all of the teams that she tried out for. So she’ll be dancing at all high school football and soccer games this fall, and doing competitions this winter. She is crazy excited about this. Way to go Colleen! This is the big time – Eden Prairie has won the state title in football the last 4 years straight and our coach was national coach of the year in 2014.


Not quite sure what this logo is, but the kids tried to get me to sit on this bench first – stinkers 🙂


We spent a beautiful morning picking up trash around Purgatory Creek. Megan found two amazing treasures – one was a pacifier and the other was a small statue of the Hindu god Ganesha still wrapped in bubble wrap. She even took that one in for show and tell to show off her trash treasure! We had a fun morning and picked up lots of stuff. We were supposed to meet up with the scout troop but we got there late and never quite caught them. Funny how we followed where they had been and still managed to pick up tons of things – interesting 🙂



Grandma and Grandpa Schmidt were in town, guess what that means…


Colleen and I were shopping at the running store and I found a few things with “Brooks” on them…I’ll show you which one I bought when you visit!


This was right after my 18-mile run. I ran 8 miles with a co-worker and we timed it just right to then start Goldy’s 10-mile run right as that race started. It went great (way better than my 19-mile run two weeks later for some reason). This race ended with us running into the Gopher’s football stadium and stopping on the 50-yard line. Hopefully my 20-mile run coming up goes smoothly – and then that’s my last long run before the marathon on May 31st. Crazy how far I’ve come in just a few months (and that the farthest I ran total in 2014 was only about 4 miles!). I’ve lost some weight while training (I’m intentionally watching what I eat) and my clothes aren’t fitting the way they used to. It seemed odd when my underwear also starting fitting kind of funny – they weren’t baggy but instead it seemed the waist was sitting lower (did Beth buy me sort of new hip-hugger, low rise weirdness?). I kind of shrugged it off but it took us a few weeks to realize that Christopher and I have to start doing our laundry completely separately or we’ll never keep our underwear straight!


I’ll have to do Christopher’s birthday questions next month. We had cake but he hasn’t had a party with friends yet – hopefully we can pull that off in the next few weeks. He’s thinking one of those sky-zone type of places followed by a sleep over.


The day before and the day after were beautiful and sunny (in fact, the next day was when I did my 18-mile Goldy’s run). Out of no where it started snowing like crazy for just a little while – just about everybody in the building had their noses pressed to the windows staring out dumbfounded.


I want to see this snowman try to shop for clothes that will fit!


Sad picture. Poor Frosty. See you next year.


I know I’ve written before about how much I love trampoline pictures. Always crack me up. The kids jump every day but they are always doing things to make it even more fun (dangerous?). Dog? Balls? Craziness!





Medusa hair!





The ducks are back! They stop by the pond several times each day. Not yet sure if they’ll lay eggs near our pond again but it’s always fun to have them visit so much and be so comfortable there (despite Orca’s behavior toward them – bad doggie!). We’ve also been hearing pheasants again. We haven’t spotted them yet but they are hiding somewhere in or near our backyard.



Do you recognize her with glasses? Can you believe we already received mail making us aware of when driving classes start!!!!


Spring break. The pictures are backwards but we first went to Chicago and then stopped at the Wisconsin Dells for 2 days on our way back. These are the bar stools in Wisconsin that Beth wants in our house some day. And some big animal heads on our wall too!



We had an amazing time in Chicago. I got to run several days (I always love running through the city streets early in the morning as everything wakes up and the city comes to life). It was windy along the shore for a 13-mile run but I made it. Funny – as I was running I started seeing more and more people with race #s. I eventually came to the start of a 16,000 person 8K run that was happening. Had I planned ahead I would have signed up for that possibly. We bought City Passes which made it so much more enjoyable to see the Field Museum (natural history), Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and the John Hancock Tower. It was a whirlwind tour but we saw tons of places and also got to eat so much great food. Beth and I ate at Alinea again – absolutely amazing. The best meal of our lives. Wow was it great!!! It was only 16 courses the night we went but somehow we still got enough food (plus the 11-wines in my wine flights).

Should we have been scared that this was by our night stand in our hotel? Having lived downtown Chicago for many years we aren’t surprised by noises of the city.


The kids had more fun in the lobby of the John Hancock (throwing rubber bouncy balls in an empty lobby late at night) as they did at the top of the building.





Watch out – here come the dolphins right behind you!





Check out the next two pictures – only a few difference in the past seven years 🙂




Chris and Sue!







One dessert is never enough…so we ordered four! This was at Topolabampo. It is a restaurant that Rick Bayless runs (he’s there nearly every day). Rick has three restaurants and this is his most upscale of the three. It was ok but we would never go back for the price – instead we would go back to his Frontera Grill in a heartbeat every single time instead. It has wonderful food. Live and learn. Glad we went there but once was enough.


2015 March Madness

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Up until today we have had no snow on the ground recently. Our biggest snow fall all year was only 4″. It’s been in the 50’s and 60’s the last few weeks. But today…March 22nd…we are supposedly maybe getting our biggest snow fall of the season at a whopping 5″. Crazy winter. It’s been so nice that just this week Megan helped me get out all of the lawn furniture and we setup the trampoline! Things changed fast today 🙂


Christopher reads for an hour or two most nights and is always asking me to get books for him from the library (all of our kids are good readers but he’s been in “the zone” for a while). I helped him clean up his room this month. Every time I reserve books for him from the library they come with a little slip of paper in them. This isn’t even all of the slips we found (just in his room!). And most of these books are hundreds of pages.


With the spring thaw Megan was excited to see what the ice dams were making for her! Not sure if she decided this was a better treat to eat or weapon!



I’m glad the postman hasn’t figured out yet was is in the boxes we get from St. Louis around the holidays.


It was great weather for the Get Lucky 1/2 Marathon. I was just about the only one not wearing green. I’m in training – I ain’t got no time to mess around running 13 miles in a sports coat or carrying a pot of gold (note: this course was an out-and-back so I got to see this leprechaun several miles back and he was missing his jacket, and his pot of gold was no where to be found). Despite my strict training regimen, I did partake in the pizza and Finnegan’s beer afterwards 🙂


Dang leprechauns visited our house again in the middle of the night. Nothing but trouble (and sugar).


Lightning is imminent? If I have the kids jump long enough on the trampoline, and I run a cable to our house, think I can generate enough power to cover some of the lights they never turn off?


I’ve been taking the kids out one-on-one with me to talk about their dreams for the year. Megan and I went to Yo Yo Donuts this weekend (Christopher was camping, and Colleen had dance competitions all weekend, so it was just Megan and me). We talked about some dreams, ate donuts, got a 99 cent tiny ice cream cone for her too, bought goo at the running store (she likes picking out the flavors – which I let her try before I run), looked at bike helmets, and I let her pick out an air freshener for my car. She’s been talking about buying a Christmas Tree air freshener for my car (not because my car stinks – but just because she wanted one). She ended up picking a purple tree (actually, a 6-pack of purple trees) that makes my car smell like a candy factory. Wow – those trees are powerful. I’m worried I’m going to smell like a big fruity lollipop every time I leave my car. Fun times.


She loved the size of this cone. Perfect!


We weren’t sure what this car freshener would smell like? I’m glad she didn’t pick that one!


Global what???

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The rest of the world had a record hot year while Minnesota has one of the coldest falls ever – really? Is that how it works? I still love the winter and our seasons – no complaining here. Bring on the cold and snow!

We graduated from running down the hill to jump in the leaf pile. Now you have to sit & balance on a tiny snow board and get dragged down the hill. Wheeeee!




Another fun night roaming the neighborhood. Christopher is second from the left, Megan is the werewolf, and Genesis is on the right. Christopher and his friend were gone for hours and ended up in another neighborhood with some friends…including a group of girls…first we heard of that happening with him and his buddies. And so it begins.


Colleen and her friends did an awesome job as Alice in Wonderland this year.


Love it. Now get to bed so I can eat all the good stuff!


Beth and I went out several weekends in a row to celebrate our anniversary…a few nice meals (La Belle Vie finally was one of our stops), went to Wits (with Weird Al Yankovic as a guest) and also did Prairie Home Companion’s every-few-years joke show).



We did the zoo on a nice, crisp fall day. This zoo is great for the animals (natural habitat surroundings and lots of land) which means it isn’t always so great for the humans, but this day we got to see several animals fairly close up. We even had a moose come right up to a fence which was fun.







My version of this is that I asked Megan to take the cattails from the pond and carefully throw them over the hill so that the seeds didn’t all land in our yard…I’ll have to write that down for her next year 🙂


Remember that big rock that used to be right next to the driveway? You remember it. The one that didn’t used to be sitting in the street? We have cars crash into our yard every year – slight curve going downhill in a residential neighborhood – why wouldn’t everyone drive crazy fast and out of control? The lady who moved our boulder last week almost made it a 1/2 mile from her house. She also almost took out me, Orca and two of our kids. Hitting the rock deployed her air bag so I got to be first “on scene” 10 seconds after she crashed. Drive safe everybody!!!


Something about snow on pumpkins makes me want to take their picture every year. Going from scary teeth to old man toothless smile.


It seemed like a good idea at the time to leave the trampoline up for one snow storm. But then the weather turned and it looks like it won’t get above 40 until May the way things are going. Sigh.


Baby got back. Having fun at the intern festival for our school.


The snow chairs are back!


This snow man is going to need an all-over body waxing!


Gesundheit – Hammerblahblahblahgen

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Happy October! What an incredible fall! Beautiful every single day – this weather is amazing. Lovin’ it!

Genesis (accent on that first ‘e’) joined our family in August from Venezuela and will stay with us through January. It’s been great getting to know her and show off the area once again. Fall is such a busy time for us with school and sports but hopefully she isn’t feeling too neglected. I guess her culture is different from ours because we took her to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the first thing she did was start shoving Colleen around…



No rickshaw to be found so Colleen found the next best thing.


These three stink at hide and seek. Worst ever.


This is what happens when you send daddy to the farmer’s market alone with the kids. The lady told us they can live in your home and that they are pack animals so we’d have to take more than one. Duh – who would take just one to live in their home?


You do everything you can to raise respectable kids that won’t embarrass you wherever you go…and look what happens…whose kids are these?


Minnesota Harvest not only has apple picking, donkey butt coffee (I know this will be a shocker, but we tried it and it wasn’t nearly as good as it sounds), and a sunflower maze…but also is the weekend home of Cactus Willie (You don’t know Cactus Willie? Sometimes sings with Boxcar Bob and their latest album is “I Just Don’t Look Good Necked Anymore” – did that help ring a bell? I have to admit I really do enjoy that music while I’m there!).



Largest candy store in Minnesota. As long as a football field. Every kind of candy you can think of. Amazing. We limited the kids to $3 each and somehow that worked out just fine. I ended up spending $20+ on just myself though 🙂


My Christmas shopping is done for all of you.


Dude at Don Pablo’s had Colleen stand on the bench wearing that monster hat and then he shouted at the top of his lungs “Attention everyone – it is Colleen’s birthday and we want you to help us celebrate…”. We were expecting the typical embarrassing song but none of us had ever heard anyone shout that loud in a restaurant like that before. It got everyone’s attention. Fun stuff.


This is what several of the windows in our house look like. Megan has been researching how to grow all sorts of plants. We’ve been buying new fruits and she carefully dissects the seeds and plants them just right. Some are in windows, some are in the freezer, some have dates on the calendar when they need to be moved, or frozen, or unfrozen, or whatever. She is really into it – still not sure how we’re really going to grow orange, lemon, and lime trees in Minnesota but I’m sure she’ll figure that out too!


This is an 8-minute video but way cool. Pearl Jam played a concert in St. Paul a week or so ago on October 19th. Eddie Vedder is the lead vocalist for Pearl Jam and invited Dr. Jakub Tolar onto the stage. Dr. Tolar is one of Beth’s bosses at the University of Minnesota and he does amazing things with pediatric blood and marrow transplants. You can watch the video and see the powerful connections that he makes – so cool! Here is what Dr. Jakub Tolar said at the concert (seriously – how many times do you go to a concert and hear a Dr. speak about transplants, genetic disorders, and gene editing?!?!?!):

VIDEO 1: Cause The Wave: EB Research Pearl Jam Xcel St Paul MN 10/19/14

“You have no idea how the 30,000 of you boil down to a single kid that Ed had in his hands in my hospital yesterday. He’s the real thing. When you listen to his music, his lyrics, you know that it goes to your brain, your heart, to your marrow. I am a bone marrow transplant physician and what I do for a living has lots to do with what he does for a living. What we both do is give people hope. And that is why almost immediately we understood each other because he’s the real stuff…When you go back home to your loved ones remember that this is a man who understands that the essential is invisible – it’s down, down here (heart & inside you) and he gets what we all need to know which is if you want to fight a disease like EB, you go to and you do something about it. You don’t just wait. Thank you!”

Here’s another video on this topic. As Dr. Tolar says…do something about it…don’t just wait.

VIDEO 2: Cause The Wave: Eddie Vedder and the EB Research Partnership

And while I’m talking about Beth’s work – here’s the window sill outside of her lab. I was a firefighter for 10 years and I’m still puzzled over this one 🙂


Colleen and I did a few 5k races this year. This one was to support a nearby fire department. Cool how the fire department draped the flag over power lines, huh?


Christopher’s worst nightmare…not spiders, snakes, or heights…but balloons popping…


It was a busy month for me and Make-A-Wish. Two of my wonderful wish children went on trips. One went on a Hawaiian Cruise and the one below went to Disney World. Amazing kids and families. Do something about it…don’t just wait.


Pick on someone your own size 98 (Christopher did ok holding his own with this guy).


Can you believe that none of these shots went in? Camera angle (and not being able to tell ball direction) make it look so easy. Looks like a ninja is shooting on Megan in the first one!



We went to the St. Paul Farmers Market (and went to the Minneapolis Farmers Market the following weekend) and then walked across St. Paul to watch people finish the Twin Cities Marathon. St. Paul has several Peanuts sculptures. I’m not sure what Colleen’s deal was but she was mad at Lucy for picking on Charlie Brown all those years I guess. Somewhat related – Beth and I went to see Wits this past Friday night and one of the skits was Lucy and Charlie Brown having a conversation. Lucy was in complete denial about ever moving the football and instead turned the table on Charlie Brown and implied he was a bit delusional and crazy (e.g., a kite eating tree, a dog that thinks he’s a war pilot) and she even took it so far as to say that Snoopy had died many years prior. It was a funny skit and I may never look at Charlie Brown the same way again. Wits is always great. After watching the finish line to the marathon Colleen decided that she and I should run a 1/2 marathon next year – I’m very excited to make that happen! Will be a great time for us!



This is the lake I run around during lunch. Check out all the ducks last week – as far as the eye can see. They are enjoying the fall weather too!


We went to the fire open house again. They replaced the car burns with this sprinkler demonstration. It was very powerful and told a great story. No home sprinklers and you lose everything. Home sprinklers and your stuff gets saved. Are you listening?


Of all the cool trucks to get his picture taken next to at the city-wide open house (e.g., fire trucks, swat vehicles, huge snow plows) this is the one that Christopher chose. Made me smile.


The best part about this picture at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is that we get scolded for being within 1′ of the sculpture. Uh, ma’am, please back up if you’re going to stare at the monkey butt. I see now that I had many security guards captured in my photo and yet they still caught us – they are good.




Arepas. Yummy, yummy arepas. Genesis has made these for us a few times now – you fill them with meat or eggs or salad or whatever (just not chocolate sauce – that’s where you draw the line we figured out). Yummy!




Hammerdrunkenwoodandnailgame! Beth and I went to the Purdue vs. UMN football game. We sat 3 rows up on the 40 yard line, right behind the Purdue bench. Great seats, beautiful day, amazing weather. We went to a few tailgate parties of people we knew. Hammerblahblahblahgen is what Boilermakers were made to do!






Our annual picture in leaves.


We went to the arboretum. Took lots of pictures. Had fun in the leaves and on the trails. Genesis’ dad is a professional photographer in Venezuela so she had tons of fun with the camera and showed off her skills.



15 years? Can you believe it? Selfie with mouth full of brownie.


Last race of the year. Way to go Colleen!


Colleen brought home special glasses so we could watch the eclipse. It was sooooo cool. Taking a picture from my phone through the glasses wasn’t nearly as cool. I swear the sun looked like a beautiful, well-defined crescent instead of a glowing blog through the glasses – oh well.


Megan’s green thumb still working this year. Our final harvest of carrots. Nice work all season keeping us fed with healthy food!!!


And this is how you do it!!!








Summer – Part III (Maryland)

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

I think Megan’s face says it all. Swimming in Maryland is like swimming in Lake Superior.


I know, I know, I shouldn’t have. I’ll spare no expense for my parent’s anniversary. Happy Anniversary B & B!!!


Beach time!




Surf’s up!






Colleen walking down the beach trying to be as normal as can be.


Check out the mermaid! Name this movie…”New seashells?” One of my favorite lines from a Disney movie 🙂


Olaf gonna melt.



Serious face. Touching part of 911 destruction. We will never forget.


Poor Evinrude. Megan had this critter on top of her sand pile (look closely) but a wave came and swept Evinrude away. I didn’t see this part but Beth said Megan was chasing this disgusting soggy dragonfly in the water but she couldn’t catch it in the waves. A dad saw her chasing this and must have thought she lost her goggles or something so he put his hand in the water to grab what she was chasing. Beth said the expression on his face said it all when he picked up this nasty thing – ha! Serves you right to try to be nice and help my kids! 🙂





Beth chose the wrong seat at this meal. We went to lunch with Kate and had a fun time catching up with her. She chose a fun place to eat too!


On this trip we had crab dip, crab cake sandwiches, crab balls (those must have been some big crabs – yucka yucka yucka), crab soup (two kinds), and boiled crab. Yummy, yummy, yummy.


Learn English you dumbies. We’re smarter than you’re! Heh heh.


This is what I have written on my dream list for one of my recurring dreams, “See at least one sunrise per year. Sunrises provide a unique opportunity to show how the journey can be as fulfilling as the destination. This is about why I see the sunrise, and what I’m thinking about, and who I see it with, and the effort of getting up early and consciously doing this.” Colleen also wanted to see a sunrise this year. So…we made it happen! We got up at 5:30 a.m. and walked 100′ to the beach 🙂 The morning didn’t look so good at first.


Lots of clouds.


It’s early. Why did I get up so early?


And the sky wasn’t looking so good. Where are you sun?


But then things started to change a bit.


And then they changed a lot! This is what we got up early for! Boom!




Fort McHenry. Sod. Bricks. Big flag. Must have been cool to see that the flag was still there in the morning.





Inner Harbor.


It was really great getting to see Pam and Wally while we were on the East Coast. Fun conversation and cool seeing where they live.


Dragon boats.


What a depressing start to a journey across the country. Hey kids, only 2200 miles to go (on the SAME road!).


Megan using her new birthday gift for hundreds of miles across the country. Thank you B & B! 🙂


We always plan to order Chicago-style stuffed pizza while in Chicago. I was honestly really trying to be a good dad and order a fruit pizza from the menu. It sounded very fruity with fresh fruit and maybe a little healthy after a week’s vacation. So…I place my order and it was hard to hear from a cell phone in the hotel’s lobby. The lady read it back to me and I said to Beth, “I don’t see s’more pizza on the website but I think she might have said “s’more pizza”. I checked the web site again but didn’t see it so we chalked it up to me mishearing it. Uh…we definitely didn’t get a fruit pizza…and I ended up getting more votes in my favor for Father of the Year from the kids 🙂


All we talk about is the…

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

…weather. I know. Weather, weather, weather. That’s all we talk about. I might as well perpetuate that stereotype by writing about it and sharing several pictures. It’s cold. Cold, cold, cold. And snowy. Cold and snowy. Brrr. Yesterday’s paper said this is the 4th snowiest winter on record and the coldest winter in 36 years. Brrr. Interesting, even though it has been so cold, only one single-day record was set this season…and that was for being warm…a 47-degree high on December 28th, 2013. Crazy. Crazy cold. But I still like it. And I’m fine with shoveling. Maybe it will kill the chiggers in our backyard 🙂 Did you see the picture from my phone of the crazy -21F (feels like -42F) weather forecast and it says “Fair” – uh? What?

I’m proud to announce that we won the 2013-2014 neighborhood Christmas light challenge once again. It took until mid-February but we outlasted all other houses down the entire length of our street and turned our Christmas lights off last once again. Sweet. Where’s our prize?

And check out that view from the top of the IDS building that I ran up 50 floors. You can see the Metrodome with the roof already gone (by now the entire building has been destroyed as they prepare to build a new stadium).

I had a great trip to Vail, Co. My 9th year in a row going out there. Beautiful scenery. Good weather. Didn’t get that 1′ of snow that I was hoping for but it was still great conditions in most areas.

Christopher is now officially a boy scout. He crossed over the bridge. Woohoo! And I snuck in a few photos that were recently sent to me from past scouting events. What’s that green stuff we’re standing on in that one photo? And his basketball team made it to the final four. They played their best game of the season to advance but then got beat by a really good team. Christopher played a great game – got several rebounds and played tough defense on some of their best players. We went out to dinner last night and he didn’t finish his pasta (which was a fairly small portion to begin with). That’s not normal so I asked him what was going on. His response shocked all of us…a day we thought we’d never see coming…he said there was too much parmesan cheese on his pasta. Our jaws dropped. We were all stunned 🙂

Colleen is still dancing up a storm and did great in all of her dances at the competition last weekend. And Megan talked mommy into making crepes this morning – her favorite 🙂

Happy Birthday Grandma! Enjoy your special day 🙂