Where’s da snow?

January 19th, 2016

Happy 2016. I started this in December when we had no snow…the snow finally came right after Christmas. And then the cold weather came too. Winter is finally here by early-January 🙂

This post was a bit delayed but I’ve also been blogging as part of my Boston Marathon training.

Christopher took 10′ of dental floss and wound it around and around and around some nails in board. He kept winding and winding…and ended up making a functional bow string that he got to test with an arrow that he also made. It all worked well – at least he’s getting some use out of the dental floss in his bathroom!


Colleen hurt her knee at dance practice and couldn’t bend or straighten her leg. Her leg was stuck, and she was stuck. We took her to urgent care. As soon as we swung her legs out of the car to get her into the wheel chair, she said something “popped” and all of a sudden she was back to normal. Yikes. The MRI showed that her knee cap shifted and got stuck on the fatty pad of her knee. Ick. Apparently she has higher knee caps than normal – anyone else have these in our family? She’s back at it again and finished the season strong!


I am still a big believer and follower of my dream list. This one has been on my dream list for years and years, so we finally made it happen. I got my pool table! And a ping pong table to slide on top of it too! It’s been a lot of fun for all of us to play games nearly every day. Love it.




And here’s the man in black all spiffed up for his band concert. Christopher now plays the bass clarinet.


Working our shift at the Scout tree lot (not many trees left at this point thankfully). It was a cold day with frost covering all of the firewood but we managed to get a roaring fire going! Hot cocoa never tastes so good as it does at the tree lot in the middle of a 4-hour frozen shift each year.


Megan wanted to make ginger bread cookies – so we did! She is a master at decorating them. And I helped with some crazy cookies too – can you tell whose are whose?


Merry Christmas!


And they laughed at the bungee chairs. How cute they are watching Harry Potter together.


Great as always to have my parents in town. Thank you for making the trip after Christmas and staying through New Years!


The kids got a rock tumbler for Christmas. It spins and spins 24×7. We dumped some clunky, dirty, drab rocks into it and after a week of clanking, clinking, spinning, grinding, and knocking we starting to see their true beauty emerge – only a month more of this to go! 🙂




Orca and me drinking our morning cup of coffee like we do every day together.


Ninjas? Robbers? That one kid in Fat Albert? -10F air temp. Perfect day for sledding, boarding, and falling! The great part about cold temps is that the sun usually comes out!







We have bugs (and rodents)

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!


October 31st, 2015

Last year we went to watch the finish of the Twin Cities Marathon. That was when I reiterated that I would NEVER run a marathon, and Colleen and I said we would run a 1/2 marathon together. Neither one of those statements ended up being true last year 🙂 I ran my marathon, but Colleen and I completed a 10-mile race instead. The marathon goes from Minneapolis to St. Paul, but takes an indirect route. We ran the “shortcut to the capital” which goes straight from Minneapolis to St. Paul and finishes on the marathon route. It starts an hour before the marathon so crowds are starting to come out and the atmosphere is fantastic. Tons of fun. We ran and laughed and talked and had a great time. Here’s what we had for breakfast before the race 😉 (not a good idea to go to the largest candy store in Minnesota the day before running our race!)


And here we are at the finish. This was a great course and awesome crowds. It is a lottery to get into the 10-mile race so not yet sure if we’ll do it again next year, but maybe we’ll be up for it! Colleen did amazing for her first race of this distance!!! And I loved doing it with her! So cool!!!


First day of school for all of the kids. This year they are all at different schools. Three different bus times in morning and night. Three chances to miss the bus! One of them got rid of braces, one added braces, and one still needs braces!



Colleen (upper left in front) is helping to lead her dance team onto the field at half-time!


Wow does it seem like she grew up fast! It’s been a fun year for her on the dance team. And so fun to watch. Go Eagles!


Football. Grrrr. Create the lane!


What goes up…must come down! Head it Megs!



Erik raved about Amazon Prime so I gave it a shot. Wow does it make it sooooo easy to think of something and then order it instantly. One such purchase was light-up badminton birdies. Megan and I go outside most nights before bedtime and play for 10-20 minutes. It’s been a ton of fun playing in pitch darkness. Here is the camera on a tripod with the shutter open for 30 seconds watching the path of the birdie 🙂


Anyone can go to the apple orchard to pick apples. We go to play a round of one-handed catch with the apples 🙂


We had some friends come up from Illinois so they could check out several colleges along the way, and, of course, see Beth’s lab with their daughter. It was a really fun weekend catching up on old times and hanging out by the camp fire as our stew cooked on the open flames.


Where’s Waldo? Can you even guess which kid this is? Megan is somewhere in both pictures.



Colleen and I did a color run at the high school this year. Most of the color runs cost tons of money (and then you read how dishonest many of the organizers are), but this is a local race that’s been going on for years that switched this year to making it a color run. Perfect for us! Unfortunately it was the same night as the homecoming dance for Colleen, so she was a little colored in spots still while wearing her fancy dress 🙂 I met up with a few of our neighbors at the start and ran with one of them the whole way. Colleen wore a hat to help protect her hair, which also made it SOOOO easy to find her.






Ya know how they say that most accidents happen within a few miles of your home? Beth was a mile away from home, dropping Colleen off at school in the morning, when an inattentive driver rushing to work decided she couldn’t wait for Beth to completely clear the 4-way stop intersection. Grrrr. Wake up lady. Pay attention. 4-way stops aren’t that hard to figure out. We got the estimate today and unfortunately will be without that car for maybe 10 days. No one was hurt. Life goes on.


And, finally, it’s time to carve the great pumpkin. We rolled it onto a tarp and dragged it into the front yard. Megan has had a blast all day watching the expressions on just about every driver as they go past our house. Mouths agape and thumbs up signs. We weren’t sure what we’d find inside. The shell was about 6-7″ thick, but otherwise was easy to carve through. It’s been a fun spring, summer, and fall watching that thing get bigger and bigger!!!








End of summer 2015

October 5th, 2015

So…I let Christopher log into my library account so he could reserve a few books…I swear I left him unattended for not even 20 minutes. How much trouble could he cause with a library card??? He got a little carried away. Here are the two trips he had to make the next week for all of the books he reserved!!! He’s been working through these over the past month – and loving it! I guess there are worse problems I could have with him 😉



Here’s Megan at her garden plot from her summer classes the past few months at the Chanhassen Arboretum. Check out her out-of-control dill that she’s holding. Eggplant, beets, sunflowers, peppers, you name it. She absolutely loved this class and bringing food home each week that she grew. She has quite the green thumb!


Here’s one of her veggies that they dubbed, “running carrot” 🙂


Running Megan. What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot.


Check out the sign that Colleen painted for us. So cool! Love it! It’s hanging in our living room now. Step 1: Paint sign. Step 2: Live these rules every day 🙂


Colleen ran the Stomp Out Suicide 5k with me this year. We ran into Baymax and Hiro while we were up there. It’s a great race for a great purpose in a smaller city north of the Twin Cities. Every year it has been growing and growing. This year’s featured speaker before the walk was John Moe. He did an awesome job talking about suicide and depression and his struggles and the loss of his brother. My favorite quote was that “depression hates matching shirts” – gotta love it at an event like this. Depression hated everything about the fun and joy and sunshine and matching shirts that day. Fight it every day and spread the word!


For the first time ever we took off a day of work to go to the first day of the Minnesota State Fair. We turned into “those people”, but we did it for the right reason – we got to see Colleen march in the parade.


Swinging at the fair


And here’s Colleen at a high school football game. She dances throughout the game (and of course half-time) and it has been a TON of fun for us to watch. The football team is good, but the dancers are better!!! I proudly wear my bedazzled “Dance Mom” sweatshirt everywhere I go. Well…I would if I had one.


This was right after a kick sailed out of bounds and surprised the dancers at how close it came to them.


We had another great trip up to Grand Marais. Peaceful. Relaxing. Nice weather. No bugs. Great donuts. Fun times. Love my family. Good food. New brewery. Tons of walking and hiking. Kayaking. We would still love it if others joined us in an upcoming year. It is the perfect little town to relax, kick back, engage in conversation, and not get distracted by a million other things that will rot your mind. Who’s in?

Cold water in Lake Superior! This is our first night in Grand Marais this year. We are way out on Artist Point and the kids are at the farthest point on some large rocks jutting into the lake. Another step or two and they’d be in over their heads!



“The” annual photo. Kids have grown just a bit since so many years ago.





Megan and I go here every morning. Our special trip together to get donuts, muffins, skizzles, bismarks, pullaparts, turnovers, roundups, and coffee. World’s best!





Awesome dry river bed. I kept looking back expecting to see a wall of water rushing at us. Guess that only happens in the movies, but still, that would have been cool!


We don’t always go mini-golfing…but when we do, we do it with goats on a platform. Yep, goats. Climbing up and down a ramp to get food that kids like Megan torment them with. Megan figured out that she could jiggle the machine to get handful after handful of goat food. And that’s what she did.


Psycho eyes. Creepy. Quit looking at me.


Lake Superior is insanely cold. But that never stops Megan…who lures the other two into it too. Wait for it…





We just about had all of Two Island Lake to ourselves. Beautiful day – from foggy start to sun later in the morning. We saw a loon and a few different kinds of ducks. So peaceful. Loved it.











Morning webs


Guess we watered this too much – yikes!


We’re being followed!


Not sure that I’d recommend either of these, and definitely not the combination again 🙂 Mini-Donut Beer (this was ok – complete with sugar on the rim) and Maple Bacon Apple Tipsy Pie (this was a bad combination of apples, bacon, booze, and syrup – not good).


Chris at the fair. He was confident he would win at this game.


And he did! He won a monkey.


He was confident he could win again.


He won a bigger monkey! Just what we need…another monkey in the house.


Summer road trippin’

August 23rd, 2015

This was the view from our back patio. Under attack? Preparing to handle the protesters-who-can’t-logically-express-what-they-are-fighting-for at the state fair this coming weekend? Blocking streets near your own neighborhood is one thing. Trying to disrupt 100,000 drunks who just want their cheese curds could lead to a riot of epic proportions. Sigh, just wish I’d hear a reasonable, civilized argument in between all the news showing crap burning and neighborhoods getting shot up.

The bucket of water that was meant to put out the fireworks took one for the team. Uh…safety first.

Our firework technicians at work. Boom!

Here’s the dance team. Freshmen in the back. Seniors up front. Lots of rules like that. Tradition? Hazing? Do the right things for the right reasons and all will be well.

Look who else made the dance team. Hmmm…I don’t remember trying out.

And she didn’t think she’d ever be a “dance mom”. Somebody could use a ProSpangle Bling Machine for Christmas!

Birthday pies for daddy!!! Stay away. Mine.

How many bunnies do you see in the picture? Seriously??? Laying down??? You’re too fat, lazy, and confident to even stand up to eat under the bird feeder now??? That’s right next to our patio – Orca obviously isn’t doing her job!!!

Mom – did I ever thank you for the birthday glasses? No? Good. Heh heh.

We have a bumble bee hive in an old stump in our backyard. Bumble bees are everywhere. I looked online and it said that bumble bee hives are very rare and that we should consider ourselves lucky. We are! They are awesome to watch bumbling around.




Colleen has been busy painting signs. Megan is going to wear this around her neck all year at school I think.

Megan asked for EVERY one of the different swimming fish in this series for the pool. It’s insane in the pool when she turns them all on at once. Things are attacking you from every side!

Wonder where she got her love of pies from? We kept getting so many berries from the garden, along with our rhubarb, that Beth couldn’t help but keep making super yummy pies 🙂


On our road trip to Kentucky for Beth’s mom’s side’s family reunion, we stopped in Iowa. Our typical rant about Iowa involves hitting deer or getting stuck in snow storms. This time we drove on back roads, gravel roads, windy roads, roads through small towns, etc – and we loved it. I had an urge to drop everything and become a farmer. So close – but we kept driving. It was beautiful. Our first stop was at the Field of Dreams. We watched this movie as a family a week prior to the trip (we must have set the bar so low describing this “old” movie to our kids and how boring it would be that they all said they actually liked it – hee hee). The baseball field is exactly how you’d picture it from the movie. It was the perfect stop to get our trip started. And it’s surprising how popular it is 25+ years later (and they don’t charge admission – awesome!).












The start of me and my minions!!! Watch out world – here we come!

Just passing along this picture for anyone looking for ideas on remodeling their kitchen. Is this what they call Kentucky charm???

I’m very secure in my urges toward quilting. Are you?

So much to do outside the Quilting Museum we didn’t even see what was inside (maybe on our next trip to Paducah)?

Dam sign

Dam trash cans

Dam daughter

Dam son

Christopher showing off his new glasses. What are you lookin’ at.

This is my story to sum up Kentucky. I’m standing near the 6-pack of Kentucky Ale in the liquor store and the clerk was right there. I wanted to know if that beer was popular down there so I asked him, “Do people drink this here?”. He turned to me, 100% serious, and said (as if I was the dumb one he needed to educate), “Sir, you can’t drink in the liquor store.” Uh…huh? I didn’t even respond. Maybe this is a common daily question he gets. I just bought ma’ beer, said “See yinz later”, and I burned rubber leaving the parking lot like everyone else does down there.

Months ago when I asked Christopher what was on his dream list this year, he said to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky. He got to eat lots of Kentucky-fried chicken (because that’s what the buffet had in the one spot that we could all eat each night at the reunion). The reunion was 20 miles from the big city of Paducah, but we did find this KFC on our way out of town. Livin’ the dream!

We stopped in Bloomington, Indiana to see Leanna w/ her kids, and to walk around IU’s campus. We all ate lunch at Mother Bear’s Pizza. Not that I would ever judge or compare schools in Indiana but this shows the quality of an education in Bloomington. We ordered the right amount of food for lunch – 3 huge mistakes (including a repeat mistake) later by the “morons in the kitchen” (as our waiter called them) and Leanna had a pile of food taller than her! We would go back there in a heartbeat. Order something slightly different from what is on the menu and you’ve hit the jackpot of free food. Our problem was how to get them to stop making mistakes in the kitchen so we could just leave the place. Guess you’ve got to be good at something, huh? Campus was beautiful as I remembered it – we keep wanting to show Colleen schools that we pass.

We had an awesome quick visit in Indy. Amazing hosts as always! Great to catch up with everyone and to see all of the kids – wow how they’ve all grown!!! Thank you Egolds!!!

Don’t think for a second that Beth had any better luck than I did.

Pizza with Phil and Pat. Great to see them and to see Aunt Pat up and about and looking great. Always great to stop and catch up on things in Rochester.

It is hard to not think about Rochester and “the flag pole” but this little trailer and VW Bus served the best ice cream we’ve ever had in Rochester. Too bad that the flagpole is putting the flagpole out of business. This new place is easy to miss as you drive by but I recommend that you stop there!

We must have caught Dave and Beth on laundry day – why else would you wear those t-shirts? Aunt Beth sounded like she’d love a Purdue blanket from us – not sure what she would do with it but she said we could send her one. It was great to see Aunt Beth and Uncle Dave, and to see that Aunt B is doing well. We are thinking of you all the time and continue to send happy thoughts and prayers to everyone in Rochester. Boiler up!

Hail, hail to old Purdue! All hail to our old gold and black!

Harry’s Chocolate Shop near campus.Home of the world famous Baltimore Zoo.

The next pictures in future blog posts won’t be so small of our cute little pumpkin (weeks later she’s already past 100 lbs – more to come next month).

And here’s the start to our cute little pumpkin’s vine.

A beautiful arrangement of buds from the cute little pumpkin’s vine.

Is there such a thing as a free donut?

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 (http://wayzatatiming.com/roadraces/2015/BreaktheStigma/10mile.html). Yep, that’s me – averaged 6 minute, 53 seconds per mile. Wow – that is insanely fast for me. How could it be? Maybe because this course did so many loops and twists and crisscrossing of paths and doubling back that most people ended up taking a slight wrong turn and only ran about 8.24 miles (according to my phone). I bet a ton of people got their best times that day if they also got credit for running all 10-miles 🙂 I probably would have finished about 8:45 min/mile, regardless, it was a beautiful course, for a great cause. Here are some pics from the course – sorry they are blurry (that’s due to my blazing speed!) – took them while running over bridges and trails and past turkeys (or are those raptors?!?!).




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


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


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


Marathon Pics

June 27th, 2015

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

I also fortunately had an article published online about my experiences: http://minneapolisrunning.com/its-not-about-the-marathon/#.VY3rfbbbKmQ

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



A note from me to my fan club.

IMG_2466sd copy

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


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





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


Breakfast of champions!


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


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


And I’m off!


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





You take a picture of me…


I take a picture of you.


Still enjoying things at mile 19




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



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





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


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


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


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





Got home. Crashed for a bit…


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


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




Where did May go?

June 3rd, 2015

What a good boy – bringing a flower to mommy on Mother’s Day weekend. Christopher has been playing flag football in the spring. It’s been fun for him but I think he’s ready for the real deal in the fall again. Next week he starts a strength training camp put on by the football team – I think I started playing around with weights about his age – great life long habit to get into. I think he’s doing anything he can to finally be able to beat me up 🙂


And of course our standard Mother’s Day lunch at Convention Grill. Mmmmm,mmmmmm, goodness. Yummy burger, great fries, and all washed down by a super thick chocolate banana malt.


Sprinkler under the trampoline was a new one – kept him cool and wet but it makes it a lot harder to bounce.


Megan’s dream this year has been to plant an apple tree. You know I can’t resist supporting someone’s dream. So we planted two apple trees in our yard (the price was right, only $25 per tree from a local plant sale). Megan loves taking care of plants – she was a big help digging this hole! Now we just wait about five years for our efforts to pay off!


This is what spring soccer looks like mid-May in Minnesota – ha! Ok, it was unusually cold that day, but guess whose child only wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt while all the other kids had on hats, gloves, long sleeves, pants, and ear muffs? Even Megan was cold after this one.


So I see this big polyphemus moth (what, that’s not what you call them?) on the ground in the parking lot when I get to work. Not moving. And he’s in pretty much the same spot when I leave 9 hours later. Not moving. It is cold. There is no shelter or vegetation around. And we had a similar moth a few years back emerge from a cocoon in one of our bushes. So I pick him up and put him on my jacket in the seat next to me in my car and head home. About halfway home he starts moving a bit and then starts beating his wings a ton. I still didn’t think he would be strong enough to fly but before I knew it he took flight and started flying all around my car. It got me cracking up as I wondered if anyone in the cars next to me could see this enormous flying whatever going all around me and my car 🙂


Some things haven’t changed at all in the past 35 years. Christopher’s buddies have all started solving the rubic’s cube so finally Christopher gave in and we started playing with it too.


Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool. This is a well deserved break. Grandma and Grandpa T hardly rested at all when they were here. I loved the visit and we had a great time staying busy working around the house, talking, see a soccer game, going out for dinner & ice cream, going to church, visiting the farmer’s market, sewing (thank you!), etc, etc, etc. Thank you for everything – it was great seeing you. Love you all!


Cheers at Maynards on the water while Grandma and Grandpa are in town!


Last time Grandma and Grandpa T were in town we got a new ladder because someone didn’t think my old $10 ladder from an estate sale was safe enough. It’s been laying by the campfire ever since so this time we burned it. And of course how can you resist not standing it up in the fire?


Christopher has been in a leadership club all year that culminated with a presentation to the principal and other teachers. I had to laugh when they sent a picture that night and he was wearing a skull shirt that day – and his buddy didn’t show up so he had to present alone. Fun times.


Grandpa forced us all to go to Freeziacs. Thank you Grandpa.


We changed the rules up a bit to play “speed monopoly” which ended up being a lot of fun for everyone. Everyone quit before we could declare me the winner (get your own blog if you don’t like how I summarize things – heh heh).


This first picture is what the water tower looked like the whole time Grandma and Grandpa were here. Grandpa kept saying they are painting the tower. I said that was dumb and that this was a magic show. And if not a magic show then one of those giant swing rides at the state fair. Grandpa insisted they were painting it. Uh…check out the 2nd photo…don’t you feel dumb now…it’s very obviously a magic show…and then look at the 3rd picture…ta da!




And it’s gone – totally amazing. It’s not painted – it’s just gone. That’s magic! How do they do that?!?!?


Rumor has it that when Christopher first showed this to mommy she thought it was a tank – hee hee. Don’t mess with us or we’ll send over our killer turtle tanks!


At what point do you realize your career is a bit off track when you are spending 241 hours putting 68,827 legos together to make a giant peacock for the arboretum. And whose job was it to count those legos? I swear I have never seen this kit at the lego store in the Mall of America. (note: Our local paper had an article on this a few days after I typed this post. Little did I know that there is an elite group of only 12 professionals in the WORLD recognized by The LEGO Group for their constructing skill and enthusiasm – and we have been blessed to see Sean Kenney’s work who is one of this elite group. I love it that they say they certify for not only skill but also “enthusiasm”. Dude, you got mad Lego building skills but for a 40-year-old you just didn’t show enough enthusiasm to the art – maybe you should stick with the kids jumbo blocks instead.)


We got to watch some turtle log rolling at the arboretum. Just when a few turtles would get balanced on this log, another turtle would come along and get the whole log spinning again. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.


Schooner Days came a weekend early this year so it beat Beth’s birthday by a bit. In the first picture if you look very closely and let your eyes focus on the right hand side (just below where those bars cross to make an “x”) you can see the carnies kid playing with his toys inside of the fenced in area (he blends into the background) – he was just feet away from the swinging cars of this ride. Insane. We couldn’t watch him – we were all afraid he would stand up or get distracted. And then check out Megan’s expression in the second picture – she doesn’t get that from me 🙂



Hot Cold Hot Cold

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

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!