Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's almost Labor Day ... Summer is nearly over. Here's a recap ...


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The weekend: a blast, some ball, and a blur

Family came to stay this weekend. My aunt, uncle, and cousin arrived late on Friday - ok, technically REALLY early on Saturday. My cousin came to play softball - fall ball in the area. They came after a high school football game in Wisconsin, and they had to get up pretty early on Saturday morning for a softball tournament ... well, back in Wisconsin. Yes, it was just in Hudson, but it sounds funny the way I wrote it, doesn't it? :)

Anyway, I had my grad school orientation, so it was a blessing to allow the kids to spend most of Saturday with my aunt and uncle and cousin. It sounds like they had a really nice time - and another aunt, uncle and two more cousins even got to meet up with them at the softball fields. I was both a nervous wreck and bored out of my mind at my grad school orientation. I guess it was nice to learn many of the in's and out's of what I will be doing for the next two years, but it was also both boring and nerve-racking to hear about ALL that will go on, as well.

I was glad to be with a bunch of teachers, if nothing else, on Saturday, because we ended up getting out early from the orientation, and I was able to enjoy some softball with the rest of the fam for much of the late afternoon and evening. As usual, I stayed up too late talking with my aunt and uncle. Thank goodness my morals allowed me to let us sleep in and miss church. It has been three weeks, but I'm sure God will forgive me this month, since sleep was in desperate need.

Sunday brought some nice weather for some more softball. We also ended up being in the town of a friend (and his kids) and decided to spend some time playing at a local elementary school playground. The kids enjoyed the time to play - and we even decided that a DQ run was in order. As my wife is out of town - well, out of country really - I'm sure she wouldn't have minded that we had dessert BEFORE dinner - much like we did throughout our most recent family vacation. We'll just say it was in 'honor' of our family vacation and hope that flies :)

After frozen pizza and "Over the Hedge", the kiddos enjoyed their baths and went to sleep without much fuss. Sleeping like logs now - I hope they decide to sleep in again so we can have the energy to enjoy yet another highly active week.

We love you, Honey! Hope you read this in Paris and know that we miss you!

Your Family

Friday, August 26, 2011

SeaLife Minnesota and MOA

It's hard to think of a trip to the Mall of America without a journey through the tunnels underneath the sharks and fish. Of course, my daughter loves the rays (not the Tampa/St Pete baseball variety, but these living, breathing marine animals).

The jellyfish were especially intriguing today. Not sure they changed anything at the exhibit ... or that the creatures themselves were any different. Maybe the lighting just seemed different because I was hyped up on my venti mocha from Starbucks this morning.

The horsh-shoe crabs were pretty hyped up, too. They were all over the place inside their tank. This one crawled up the side of the tank that was along the wall of the exhibit. Reaching the highest point it could get to, the crab 'surfed' upside down on the bubbling water and landed wrong-side-up on the floor of the tank. The kids were worried that it was stuck, but it quickly jiggled back and forth and got back on it's feet ... er ... legs? - whatever it crawls around on.

Mr. Seahorse here was looking very nice and 'posing' for me, but this fuzzy picture was the best I could do. Next time, I think it'll be worth it to take my nice camera along, instead of relying on the camera on my new phone - which isn't bad, but still.

My daughter was happy to watch even more rays swim around and over us in the tunnel. Good mood for all, as we eventually journeyed through the gift chop at SeaLife, a Nickelodeon 'Toy' shop, and the Lego World. (No purchases required for happiness - only the promise to put things on a birthday/Christmas list.)

The shark above may be what's scary in real life, but I think my son was just acting. He's seen these creatures more than the normal human being. They were pretty active today, and we even talked quite a bit about the South American tank and the Minnesota Lake Waters as well.

This guy was in the South American waters. His whiskers are cool. Not sure how good he'd taste, though.

This lake sturgeon was pretty friendly. I think that's a smile, but I could be wrong. We can never find any muskie, though. Someday we'll have to ask if they actually have any in the tank or if they just list them on the roll with the others to have us stand around longer, looking for the hiding fish.

We had some lunch after we 'shopped' (really just looked) in the stores. That part of the trip never seems to warrant any pictures, but the kids do enjoy their Asian Wok, and Sbarro food. We even are able to share without incident. Maybe Woody was the key ingredient to a wonderful morning at the mall. Who knows? :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm nuts ...

Seriously? Did I honestly think that taking care of two kids in (or nearly breaking into) elementary school was going to be a 'walk in the park'?

Anyway, my son likes sports (of course), and my daughter likes ... well ... she likes a lot of activities. This summer they both did baseball (well, tee ball for my daughter). They also both swam - once a week, and on the same day. My son did a couple camps/clinics - golf for example. But it was pretty low-stress.

That's over.

Stress is here. As the summer finishes up, school is almost here. So we have two seperate open houses. Yes, on the same day. Yes, at different schools ... at roughly the same time.

We also have fall baseball that night. (Oh, did I not mention that we signed up for fall baseball?) Yes, fall baseball was supposed to be on Saturdays. Oh, but it also comes with practice once or twice a week - Mondays and Wednesays for the first couple weeks anyway.

So, we'll miss that next Monday's practice ... so we can be at flag football practice. Which practices three days a week until school starts. Then we can alternate. Monday - baseball. Tuesday - football. Wednesday - baseball. Thursday - football. And of course GAMES begin shortly after school starts, so we'll include: Saturday - baseball game(s). Sunday - football game.

And that's just my son for the most part. My daughter will begin dance on Wednesdays after school starts as well. She'll keep doing swimming, too. Thank goodness that's during the day - while big kid number one is still in elementary school. See, preschool is only half days, three days a week. Which is nice, because then we can get her gymnastics in during the day, too.

But we do have church school (or faith formation, if you will) starting up later in September. That'll be on Tuesday nights, this year. Oh, and did I mention that fall basketball will register in September and start up in October, too. That'll be on Saturdays, so hopefully it's at different times than the baseball games - which overlap for a couple weekends.

Did I mention that I don't know what time the football or baseball games are yet (never mind the basketball)?

Yep. I'm nuts! Certifiably.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Iowa ... sitting back, relaxing, fishing

The trip to South Dakota, Colorado, and Kansas City was enjoyable. We saw cool national and state parks, took in a couple museums, enjoyed time with family and friends, spent a couple evenings watching major league baseball, and spent some quality time on the road enjoying each other and the views out the window.

But Iowa was a nice chance to relax with my brother and his family. Friday was a time for us to relax and get caught up (well, it had only been a few weeks, so not TOO much catching up). Saturday was fun in the sun - with water and friends from the neighborhood. We went to the little pond to fish with a the kiddos, and we had a blast there, too. You'll notice a couple decent-sized bass were caught. Drake hooked the biggest. And Cade almost hooked a frog somehow. Anyway, we had fun ... but in the end, Sunday had us coming home from our 10-day road trip.