Saturday, March 31, 2012

Back in Minnesota

That quite possibly was the shortest week I've ever experienced - which is a GOOD thing. The family thoroughly enjoyed spending a week in Arizona. I am ever so thankful to my parents for letting us crash with them while they were spending their own two weeks relaxing in the Phoenix area. I'm sure we completely 'put them out', but they acted like it was the best thing that could have ever happened. And we DID really enjoy spending the time with them, so I'm sure they felt the same way.

Quick synopsis of the trip:

Friday was a late night into Phoenix. Rental car place (Hertz) was a small zoo (with 20 or so customers waiting to be helped by two agents). It actually took shorter than I expected to get the car - and then we had an easy drive to the place my parents rented.

Saturday was a day at Goodyear - the Reds' spring home. We watched a minor league game (in which a fellow SP alum was playing). My dad even got to share a conversation with Kurtis after the game. I drove back and picked up my wife, and then the six of us went to the Reds major league game that afternoon.

Sunday was our foursome's family trip to the Grand Canyon (or as my son said: "The big hole in the ground"). It was a pretty cool drive through elevation, and the canyon itself was splendid. We got there around lunchtime, so we ate in the Arizona Room. It was good food, but the treat was being seated by the window (pretty cool view of the "big hole in the ground"). Kids even got souvenirs (a plush pet and a necklace ... and okay, Dad (me) got a shot glass, too).

Monday involved my masters class sitting right in the middle of the afternoon (3pm in Arizona), so we took advantage of our MN Zoo membership and paid half-price to venture through the Phoenix Zoo for a few hours in the morning. Highlight might've been the giraffes, but they did have some pretty cool other animals - like a rhino, lions, golden eagles (a pair), and even ... prairie dogs :)

Tuesday brought us some visits from family - namely my wife's aunts and uncle. We took the kids to an organic lunch at the Pomegranate Cafe with one aunt and then headed to a couple parks. We met more family at the second park - a railroad park that had a couple nice playgrounds (including an 'old west' theme at one) and a small train that the kids took a ride on - through a tunnel and over a bridge.

Wednesday was all about going to Hohokam Stadium. We got there early and my son even got Casey Coleman's autograph. Then Samardzija pitched a great game, the Cubs won, and we stayed for the enter game (thanks to my dad picking up tickeds behind home plate and in the SHADE). Go Cubs! This is our year! ... maybe ;) My parents met up with some friends after the game, so this was our (my wife and kids') night to enjoy some tex-mex, which we brought back to the condo and enjoyed thoroughly.

Thursday was supposed to be our last day to relax, so we dove into the pool (my wife and daughter a couple times) - not really a 'dive' of course. Our friends who live in Scottsdale actually had their baby on Thursday morning, so we got a chance to visit with them at the hospital on Thursday afternoon. Lily is such a cute bundle of joy. And we got to meet Max, her older brother, as well. The day was beautiful and we even ended the evening with a couple quick games of 'knuckles' - a new card game my son introduced to us all this week. (We had been playing it all week, along with a few other trips to the pool - which was a bit chilly - but included a nice warm hot tub, as well).

Friday was an early morning, but we were all up-and-at-'em and had a safe trip to Sky Harbor. We relaxed with some early-morning-munchies from Starbucks, Burger Kind and Cinnabon. Then we had a fairly quick flight home.

Arizona was very very good to us. Between baseball games (3), the Grand Canyon, the Phoenix Zoo, autographs, a pool (with a hot tub), a new baby, old friends, and time with family, I'm not sure what was my 'favorite' ... but, you know what? ... I'll take it ALL. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Do you ever feel needed?

I do. That may seem like an interesting thing to hear from a stay-at-home dad, but sometimes we can all get caught up in the rut of everyday life. It seems like the things we do are just things to be done. And it seems like people take the things we do for granted - that even we, ourselves, take what we do for granted. Of course, this isn't always the case. And I've felt both ways lately - taken for granted ... and needed. (but ALWAYS loved!)

Spring has rolled around and I'm not coaching high school baseball. Well, at least I thought I wasn't. After resigning from my position as head coach at a local high school, I thought that my masters program and two more years of part-time school for my youngest would together proclude me from coaching. I got a call on Friday. Made me feel good to be wanted. Maybe I will coach this spring :)

Of course, yesterday was cool, too. My wife hugged me good. And told me what a great dad I was. And told me how much she appreciates everything I do for the kids. I truly felt needed (and ALWAYS loved!) That's my wife. Love her :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Anything can be

“Listen to the MUSN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me -
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.”

- Shel Silverstein

(A little inspiration from ... via @GradnessMadness)

"Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing." - John Andrew Holmes

(... and via

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lady A

So, the weekend was pretty fun. My parents came up on Saturday to help take care of the kids while my wife and I took a couple of nights to spend 'out' together. Saturday was an enjoyable trip to St. Paul for our friend's annual fundraiser for CF - With One Breath. In the past, we have enjoyed the silent auction, apps and drinks, with the bands. This year, they switched it up and did mostly a casino night - with LOTS of donated prizes - as well as some wine and beer tasting and a live auction. We spent a few hours there, won a few prizes, and really enjoyed getting out.

On Sunday, the boys (me, my son, and my dad) enjoyed a Gophers baseball game at the dome. Unfortunately, the UofM nine couldn't pull it out against Stony Brook. We did see an all-american performance from an athlete on Stony Brook - 2 HRs, multiple defensive plays throughout the game at 3B, and a closing inning for the save in the 9th.

Afterward, we had a nice dinner, then my wife and I headed to Target Center for another night out. Thompson Square opened the show. And though we missed most of their act, we did catch their trademark "Are You Gonna Kiss Me ... Or Not?" Darius Rucker rocked the second opener with his new country songs, a couple old Hootie and the Blowfish classics, and a "Purple Rain" finale.

When it was Lady A's turn to come out, they definitely made a production of it. Though I would've rather had them turn the volume down so I could hear more of the beautiful voices and instrumentl tones, we did love the show. They brought a 7-yr-old fan on stage to help sing "American Honey" - and she knew every world! My personal favorite was "Hello World" - especially since most of the song only involves the piano and an outstanding voice - with great lyrics.

Awesome night! Awesome weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Random Pictures and a Bowling Birthday

So, my wife decided that we didn't have enough free-lance videos and photos of the kids NOT doing their normal sports/dance/school activities. She's on a kick to change that. Here is the evidence:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012


Rest in peace, friend.

God bless you, Louie. You were a wonderful dog.
Your friends ... no ... your neighborhood FAMILY!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Successful people

"The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation."

"For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you."
- Neil Degrasse Tyson, in an AMA on reddit, responding to a young man who asked how to find motivation in life.