Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Revisiting old memories ... well, not THAT old :)

guess who these 2 are, though ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


"What in the world does my daughter sitting at a picnic table reading books and doing puzzles have to do with 'Swimming'?" you might ask. Well ... this is the nice room she likes to spend time in, just off the observation area. Only one way in and out - past me. I can watch my son swim, and she can "read" books, play with puzzles, and stay safe. We like the arrangement. Works out well, I think :)

My son and I like his swimming instructor, Ryan. He's nice, and a good teacher, too. I'm proud of how far my son has come with swimming - from not liking water in his eyes, to learning how to "side breath" when doing the front crawl today. Yeah!

A bit fuzzy because of the digital zoom, but you can see that Ryan (instructor) is right in there with the kids (two of them today - usually three kids to a class) helping put on goggles, and showing exactly how things are done.

My son is great with the kickboard. It helps him focus on specific things (mechanically) and not worry about sinking. Today they really were working on side breathing, so his long arm strokes were paused to allow him to tilt his head and take a breath.

The video shows a nice example of what he's trying to do. Once he gets the hang of it, he'll be putting it all together for the 2020 or 2024 Olympics, I think. Say "Hello" to the next Michael Phelps ... okay, maybe not, but I'm still proud - and thankful that he's learning how to swim and can be safe in the water.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Regular Monday post?

I guess the year is upon us and with one boy in kindergarden and one girl in pre-school, there is lots to do - especially since it's only 1/2 day kindergarden and 2-days-a-week pre-school. Pre-school days are interesting - with a drop-off at pre-school, a bus stop drop, then a pre-school pick-up and a bus stop pick-up. All within a nice and tidy 3 1/2 to 4 hours. At least I get a couple hours to myself on those days. Which is nice ... for a little bit. I don't know that I want to be alone for too long :) With my son taking swim lessons and my daughter taking dance, the week is already pretty full, but then add in doctor and dentist appointment this past week - and it gets real easy to forget that pictures are fun to see on the blog.

My daughter has grown. She's now at least 50th percentile for weight and 25th percentile for height - which is cool. She was always small - never LOST ground on height and weight, but this time she actually showed some catching up. The doctor commented on her vocabulary and language skills. :) We're proud. I'm told that she also did a FANTASTIC job at the dentist. What a little trooper!

My son still LOVES school. Sometimes he doesn't show it as much, but once you get him talking about things that are happening at school, you can really see it in his face. And picking my daughter up from pre-school is one of the coolest things, because she has this look of pride and accomplishment on her face - and they ALWAYS have something that they made, for us to take home. She's so cute in her pink backpack every school day :)

This weekend was a success in many ways. I should take a picture of the tree my neighbor pruned for me. It looks nice. I don't have to squat/duck to mow underneath it now. Plus, it should keeping growing strong, now that many of the hanging branches and weak parts have been cut off. We got our 10 miles in on Saturday morning - before the Badger game this time. Although I guess it didn't matter a ton, because my daughter still wanted to watch a "kids show" on the television/cable box that was recording the game. I didn't really get to watch and catch up with "real time" action until close to half-time. Good thing the Badgers had their A-game going and only let up a little at the end.

My wife had fun at her golf outing on Saturday, and then our neighbors had a fire Saturday night. Kids were up too late, but they had fun and got enough sleep to have a decent Sunday (or so I'm told). The Park Center Activities Fundraiser was a success on Sunday. My foursome didn't do as well on the course as we would have liked (probably my fault), but it was a good time, and then I got to talk with a lot of my colleagues from Park Center afterwards at the banquet dinner (think "buffet" - but a nice buffet). I got home early enough to spend the evening with the family, wrestling, bathing, reading, and saying "good night."

And it all starts up again :) I'll try to bring my camera on the ride this week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let's see here ... what happened this weekend?

Well, we had a fun Friday afternoon playing around, then Mommy and Daddy each made it over to our friend Jack's house to wish him a happy birthday.

On Saturday morning, Daddy (me) went for what was supposed to be a 10 mile run (turned into 8 because it was warm and I was dehydrated). The rest of Saturday became a day to recovery after a short lunch with our neighbors (and watching the Badger game on DVR). Of course, my son went to a birthday party at a bowling alley ... well, it also had laser tag and bumper cars, so he had a blast! I took him before my run and stayed to watch him bowl his first game. He bowled left-handed for that first frame. Afterward, I asked him if he wanted to bowl right-handed since that's what he does on Wii. He was excited to try. Apparently, though, he is a left-handed bowler, because he decided to go back after trying right-handed. The Badgers won, so we were all happy about beating Wofford. Our friends in Brooklyn Park had a birthday party later Saturday as well - which was fun. Didn't take ANY pictures of all this (why? I don't know), but there was a big inflatable slide and pool that my son LOVED going down.

Sunday was RELAXING (for me, anyway). I know my wife was BUSY cleaning bathrooms. I did help by washing the floor. We made it to church - which is always a nice Sunday morning family event. Music was AWESOME - even moreso than usual. My girls were "twinners" as you can see by the picture above. Packers lost ... ugggh ... poor ending for the weekend. But ... then my son and I ended up getting to go see my Aunt, Uncle and cousin because they were in White Bear for her softball games. Dinner with them was nice. Too bad my daughter was in a bad mood and didn't nap really well, otherwise all of us would've gotten a chance to get together.

All of this is, I'm sure, quite boring to most, but to me, it was our weekend. My son did have his stuffed-animal friend home from school for the weekend since it was his week as the star of the week. Roscoe got to wear Pappy's "church shirt" for the weekend. Now he goes back with somewhat of a story. Another weekend done, another fine week begins :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glad to have Mommy home

The first two pictures are the types of things that happen when your kids know how to use a digital camera, you leave it laying around (or let them hang onto it), and you don't have to pay for prints :) I also found that my son holding up his fake hamster (zhuzhu pet?) with a great smile, and more pictures of my duaghter at dance lessons were not up on the blog yet, so here they are!
Mommy got back from Boston yesterday around dinner time. We were all very happy to have her home. She brought back some fun things for each of us. My son got a Red Sox mini-bat to go with his other two mini-bats (Diamondbacks and Padres ... also both brought back from trips by family members). My daughter got a bear dressed in a Boston sweater with a lobster on it (... now that I think of it, maybe my gift was the only one with a lobster - I'll have to check on that later), and I got a shot glass add to my collection. I even got the okay to start getting out all my glasses to display in the guest room. Pictures will surely come later :)

My daughter LOVES school. The other day, she told me, "It's fun to come school" as we were leaving school - so I had to tell her teacher. Between having fun at school and not wanting to leave dance class the other night, I can't imagine her liking her two learning experiences any better. My son has been "star of the week" at school this week (I think because his birthday was Monday). On Monday his teacher read the little booklet he filled out about all his favorite things and his family members. Then, Tuesday, he took in something to show a special skill - his baseball glove, of course. He wanted to take in his bat to show how well he hits - but Daddy nixed that idea and asked if his glove would be okay. Yesterday, he tood in something from his "babyhood" with a little note about it - Rusty, his little puppy that Mommy used to use to put on "The Rusty Show" in the car on long trips. (My son was also supposed to take in a huge tracing of his body, decorated and labeled - but Daddy thought it was due today, so it's going in today.) Today he also takes in his favorite book (which happens to be "Frog and Toad" - a book I just bought him for his birthday).

Friday, September 11, 2009

My little girl's first day of preschool

Sunflowers and roller coasters ... are cool!

My son planted a sunflower in the garden earlier this summer. It bloomed two days ago, so I took a picture. Then two more flowers on the plant bloomed yesterday. They looked pretty cool this morning, so my son took another picture.

I promised a video to show that my son actually had a good time on the dragon roller coaster at the fair, so here it is. I really don't know if I could've handled this one. The little coasters really throw around big bodies. I learned that down at DisneyLand with my son when we went two years ago. Now, he can go by himself. Yeah! I'll take the pictures, thank you very much :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weekend Fun

Met up with our friends from the Fox River Valley in Wisconsin this past weekend. With all bustle about school starting, I didn't get a chance to post the fun we had with them on Sunday at the Splash Pad in St. Louis Park.

It was a pretty cool place. The entire spray park is enclosed by a small fence with a gate so that small kids can't run in and out of the water area. Plus, the spray park itself is only part of the big park.

I think my daughter showed us how to dance. I'm just not sure where the music was coming from. Maybe from the birthday party at the park shelter right outside the splash pad area? Pinata, anyone? It looked like fun. We should've joined in for the candy!

The spray hoses here looked cool, and my son liked playing with them. One thing that was kind of weired was that there was an older boy (maybe 8, 9 years old?) who would get water in his mouth and then "spit" it out on our kids shoulders. We could a good bath after that - for sure. But overall, all the kids there were well-behaved ... including ours! :)

My daughter had a blast playing with the squishy football. She treated one of the younger kids there kind of like a dog, though. She would throw the ball "near" him and he would go pick it up and bring it back (kind of throw it back, so not exactly "fetch", but you see you it might have looked).

It was really nice to see our friends from Wisconsin. We don't get to see them as much since we moved to Minnesota and they moved toward Appleton, but since they have family in the Twin Cities now, we'll take advantage. The kids played well together, even though their twins (one boy, one girl) are over a full year older than our son.

In fact, I think our sons would play ALL day if they could. Their only problem is that one "hates the Cubs, loves the Brewers" ... and the other is sane - that would be MY son! I'm just joshing , but really, it was kind of funny to see a boywearing a Brewer shirt and hat playing so well with another boy wearing a Cub shirt and hat. If you're a baseball fan, you'll notice they both like the left-fielder for their respective team :)

There was a softball field in the park, so the boys (who had brought their gloves, balls, and bats) played some ball and even got to take BP off the old man (that would be me). After the splash pad, we made it back to our friends' sister and brother-in-law's place for a little BBQ. The kids continued having a blast with each other - especially the boys. And it was hard to leave. But, hey, school started this week. Yet another fun ride begins :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1st Day of Kindergarden :) ... :(

My big guy went to school yesterday! :) ... :( He's getting big ... quickly.
I don't know if WE are ready for this, but he certainly looks like it, doesn't he?
My wife was going to take him herself, but them my daughter decided to put off her nap ... and we all drove to school. I made the command decision to let my wife go in with him all by herself, so that my daughter wouldn't make a scene. I think it went well. When I went to upload the pictures today, I noticed that we (we? ... I think mostly Mom!) took 26 "first day of school" pictures. We could almost scrapbook :) ... almost.

He gets to ride the bus most days, so even though Mommy dropped him off, the big guy got to ride the bus home. Now, I'm not saying my wife's anxious ... but ... school lets out at 4pm. We were at the bus stop at 4:01pm. I'm guessing no bus is that quick, but better safe than sorry. Twenty minutes later, our happy, smiling kid got off and said he had a great day. Thanks Mrs. Rigazio!

(Post Script: We met our new neighbors that live just around the bend last night. First, the mom and her little one were waiting for her son to come home at the bus stop with us. We talked and realized that her son was in the same kindergarden class with our son. Cool! When our son got off the bus, nobody else did ... including the little boy who was just new to the neighborhood. The mom called school and later we heard that the bus eventually dropped him off right at their driveway. But ... we put some things together, too, later. You'll have to stick with me here. Apparently, kindergardeners get a "choice" time and our son played checkers. Cool. He liked that and told us some other things he did, like making an "apple calendar" and singing song(s) and reading book(s) - not noting whether it was one or more of either. As the evening continued I decided to ask about friends. Did he play with anyone in particular. Yes, a boy who spoke a different language played checkers with him. Hmmm, our new neighbors are originally from Mexico. Then I asked him who he sat with on the ride home. A boy in an orange shirt with dark hair. Hmmm ... was this the same boy he played checkers with? Yes. Hmmm ... let's put two and two together here. That boy should've gotten off with him. My wife went over to our new neighbors' house later in the evening with my son, and low and behold ... new friends that go to school together ... and SHOULD'VE gotten off at the SAME bus stop. My son felt bad that he didn't help his new friend by helping him get off at the right stop ... but plans to do so from now on. And he has added a new neighborhood AND school friend in one day of school.)