Gesundheit – Hammerblahblahblahgen

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!!!








One Response to “Gesundheit – Hammerblahblahblahgen”

  1. Brooks Thompson says:

    Wow, what a busy fall! Lots of good times and fun things that your family does together. Hard to believe you’ve been with Vue for 15 years. Hard for me to realize that you and Beth will be married for 20 years! Time flies when you’re having fun. Those videos about Beth’s boss and research project are great. Seeing the people that actually suffer with EB and hearing them talk really brings home the message of how important this research really is. Good goal for you and Colleen to run a half marathon. That’s a long, long way. Megan looks like quite the little farmer. Maybe she’ll grow up to be a horticulturist or nutritionist. Genesis looked she was enjoying all your activities. Will be fun to meet her. I love Christopher’s smile in all he does. You are doing a great job. Can’t wait to see all of you.

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