Sunday, June 29, 2008

Twins win!

I must be in the front row

Twins leading 2-0 in the top of 6

Look what I have!

Guitar Hero Aerosmith is the house!!

It will have to wait for after the Twins game today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Since it's raining, it's time to catch up

Entry To Quarry Hill Summer in Minnesota is a busy time of year.  We only get a few precious months to do what other people take for granted. 

The picture on the left pretty much shows what summer looks like to me as a Dad.  I usually spend the summer just trying to keep up with one of both of the OhPrincess'.

We've already had a pretty busy summer.  So busy, I'll need to get a few things in this one post before we head out for another adventure.  What do I plan on covering?  Pretty much just last weekend.  The rest will be trickled in a bit later.

Last weekend was jam packed with goodness.  OhCountess worked on Saturday, but only until 1.  A real treat for us since Mom usually works until 5 and we don't see her until closer to 6.  She was off early because we had plans...and a babysitter.  But more on that later.

We started our weekend in earnest Saturday morning.  OhPrincess2 had been invited to a birthday party.  This made for something I just don't get very often any more, Daddy/daughter time with just one of the girls.  OhPrincess and I were going to spend some time just the two of us.  I picked a photo shoot as the topic of the time.  To the Plummer House to be exact.

We dropped the little one of at the party and we headed on our way.  "Yippee!", I thought.  I get to share one of my hobbies with my daughter!

Well, Plummer House was closed.  In the words of the wise Spongebob Squarepants, "Oh, tarter sauce!"

Plan B.Quarry Hill Nature Center.IMG_9773

First place she wanted to stop was the main building, also the learning center.  Here's OhPrincess checking out her wing span.  Is that really my baby girl?

IMG_9768I found the turtles.  These are the same turtles I photographed the last time. This time, the turtle in the front seems much more vicious.IMG_9757



Not too shabby.

We finished up our trip out here with a little hike.100_0399 

Here's a shot taken by the princess.  We had a lot of fun and I hope to get out here again when we have more time. 

We didn't make it very far before the alarm went off and we needed to go get OhPrincess2.

After picking her up, we packed up everything the kids would IMG_0338need for an overnight at Grandma's.  Mom and Dad were going on a date!  Oh yeah!  You see, my beautiful, smart and lucky wife won us trip to see The Colin and Brad Show.   Sorry the picture sucks, but we took it with the phone.

This show was hilarious!  We really enjoyed ourselves.  Even the time we spent on stage with them.  What's that?  Yes, me and the Mrs were called up on stage to do game with them.

I played the struggling mime and OhCountess was the lactating wet nurse assassin.  We were playing Jeopardy, but Colin and Brad were our voices, so we needed to lip sync them.  Loads of fun, but no photos.  We were on stage and that wasn't really acceptable. :)

The Mrs let me play some cards there to.  I had loads of fun.

We had some time to kill in the next day before we had to pick up the kids so we decided to go check out downtown Red Wing.

I grew up in Red Wing.  Its a peaceful little river town, but I worry about its future. 

I was shocked by the number of closed retail stores.  Even the stores of the St. James are a far cry from what they once were.  I'm not sure there is critical mass there any more.  Even the mall on the edge of town is really more of a big box strip mall and no one was there. 

The town is still beautiful.  We got some ice cream and even ran into a retired teacher from High School.

That catches you up to last weekend.  This week was RochesterFest.  We've been a little busy getting ready for our family vacation so we missed much of it.  I do hope to post soon about Peace Plaza.  Wow!  What an amazing space.

Tomorrow...Twins game...stay tuned!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The biggest shopping cart!

This thing is huge!!!

Now we are all waiting!

RochesterFest Parade is about to begin

We've got our spot on the parade route hoping it doesn't rain. Should
start any minute!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now this getting frustrating

I've been trying to get the time to tell the story of last weekend.
Almost head it tonight but instead I'm posting this from my phone.

Tonight, first my laptop loses its marbles when applying my user
settings. So, absolutely nothing works on there. And now, Charter is
down until 6am. Did they tell us we would lose everything ahead of
time? No.

Geebus criekies! I even have pictures!

Pretty soon, you will be getting 20 posts a day from me while I catch

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ah yes. RochesterFest 2008

Carnival food for lunch!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's about time

My life is all about time. More importantly, its about time balance and time management.

Here in Minnesota, we value summer like no other place in US. We don't get much of it, and when its here, we look around and see some of the most beautiful places you can imagine. We have lakes and streams and hardwood forests. Not to mention, swimming pools and picnics and LOTS of baseball.

The only problem is we still only have 24 hours and a day and 7 days in a week. Our weekends are still only 2 days long. CRAP! I need more time!

I remember being a kid growing up here. Summers lasted forever! We spent the entire summer just being kids and exploring the world we lived in. We came home when we were hungry or on the off chance we actually heard mom and dad yelling for us to come home. It was a different time. My mom was a SAHM for much of my childhood, but I don't think we really saw her very much. There was too much to see.

I have kids, a wife and a career now. The freedom of my youth is gone. I'm not complaining, I do miss it but I'm also doing my best to make sure my kids get the same sense about summer, but its a hard battle. How do we not drag our kids into our hectic lives?

The balance in life seems to be the hardest problem I've ever had to solve. I have things I'd like to do, but so does the Mrs and so do the kids. We usually try to lean the priorities to the kids, but frankly, I think sometimes, its too much for them to have things to do. Sometimes its good to just let them do what they want to. Like veg.

Enough of this. Let's just say, summer is zooming by and I can't make it stop.

In my last two quick posts, I showed you two of my father's day presents. They were two ties. I find myself now a member of a very small group of me. I'm am one of the 6% of men that routinely wear neckties to work. My Dad never wore a tie to work. My brother teaches phy-ed now, so he gets to wear sweats and shorts to work. Nope. I still button it all the way to the top and wrap the tie around. My only salvation of personal expression is the tie itself.

In years past, my wife has bought the father's day presents for me and the girls had only a small bit of input into the process. I love my wife, but, well, that's just not as much fun. This year, she asked me what I wanted for Father's Day. My answer, "What ever the KIDS pick out for me." I kind of expected mom to weed out the Barbies and the Littlest Pet Shops gifts. I know they THINK Daddy wants one, but I know that will end. "Dad, since you aren't really play with that, can I..." The classic Fred Flinstone end around gift. I'm a guy, of course I know how this works.

It seems OhCountess took the girls shopping for ties and let them pick them out. She told me she filtered a little bit know that my place of employment can be a little, um, stuffy. There is still a dress code here and the ugly tie day is not greeted with joy.

This tie was picked out by OhPrincess1. and I figure I'd share a little bit about why this tie is really amazing to me.

My 3rd grader really seems to like school. Not always the classes themselves, but she doesn't seem to loath going each day. The school she attends is fantastic and does a great job of teaching what I would consider a classic eduction. Heck, we even still have an art class!

This past year, they were doing a little work in studying the classic artists. She even studied one crazy man called Vincent van Gogh.

In studying the master painter himself, they were given the task of reproducing the classic work, Starry Night with their own little twists.

At right is what she did. Now granted, the school didn't frame and matte it, but we did. It now hangs, with honor, in the bathroom on the main floor for all to see.

According to my wife, she found this tie in Ralph Marlin and just knew I'd love it. She even asked if I knew why she picked it out. Well, honey, of course I do.

I even had fun at work. I got some awesome comments from co-workers loving the tie, but I had to ask them, do you know what it is? My 8 year old does :)

Why spends hundreds or even thousands of dollars on fancy smanshy framed art when you can hang one of your kid's masterpieces? Common on, what would you rather look at while doing your business...a framed velvet Elvis, or Starry Night as seen through the eyes of your child?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day Gift #2

This tie was a gift from OhPrincess1. I love its classic artness.
Again, bold career move or cubicle suicide?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Gift #1

Chosen by OhPrincess2 (5yr). I'm wearing this to work today.
Bold career move or cubicle suicide?

Reader viewers may need to click thru to see photo.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Checking in

According to the last post, it occurred 6 days ago. We were at IKEA, OhCountess and I were enjoying a little quite shopping for furniture and the kids were off behind the curtain, from what sounds like a really fun play area.

We've been so busy, I was trying to remember all the stuff we'd done and seen and shared. It's been quite a time recently.

We are getting ready for our first family airplane vacation. I've travelled for work many times, and near as I can tell, that's a completely different adventure. Last year, we had a wonderful time travelling with the Bodie25 family, but that was by car. This time, the whole clan will be travelling by air. I'm pretty sure, my heads down, headphones on travelling persona will be missing.

To remember where we've been and what we've been up to lately, I went to something far more reliable then my brain. Seems, I have a camera. I do shoot a lot of pictures for their "artistic" value and rarely share pictures of the family, but it dawned on me...why not share some of the more smiley pictures here.

This first picture is one of the OhPrincess girls standing over something very special to me.

When the Mall of America was built, it was built on the site of the former home of my beloved Minnesota Twins. There is a plaque on the floor commemorating the location of the former home plate.

Every year, since OhPricess was born, I've dragged the family to this spot for a picture. It plays out like a time capsule on my desk. I've saved every one of these. Man, how they've grown.

As you can tell from OhPrincess' face, she's done this before. Too bad. Dad's in charge of this one. Someday, maybe they'll appreciate it as much as I do. Doubt it, but I'll still cherish this one.

We've also had a lot of family stuff going on lately. Graduation parties, birthdays and what's that? Is that a baby? Yep, its our new niece! I don't think her big cousins could be more excited. I know OhPrincess2 couldn't wait to hold her.

Last but not least are just photos I've gotten that show, even here in the Midwest, kids like to have fun.

This weekend looks like the time I might be able to get caught on some blogger type things. I've been tagged by Greg, and actually have that started.

I've started a bunch of other posts of varying topics. I've gotta catch up on some Father of Five reading. The storms look to continue here in the Midwest. Should be fun. I'd like to try and photograph some lightning. Anyone else want to stand outside with a camera?

More soon!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Thank you

Even the folks at IKEA know how to treat us parents. They have a playland! (We didnt know)

Friday, June 06, 2008

More Birthday Celebration

Snacks and a treat at "The Scary Place!"

Happy Birthday!

Good times at Nickelodeon Universe!

5 years ago I called a special girl with the news

5 years ago at this very minute, I had just witnessed the most amazing thing. I grabbed my cell phone because there was one person I needed to tell.

Ring, ring.

"Hello!" said my mother-in-law, "well, did it happen? What are the details?"

Still giddy with excitement, I said, "Can you put OhPrincess on the phone. I need to talk to her. It's very important."

"Oh, come on, she won't mind...just tell me!" the MIL insisted.

I'm getting a little anxious here. Gee whiz! Just hand her the damn phone. "May I please talk to OhPrincess?"

I had made a promise to OhPrincess that she would be the first person I would tell about the birth of her new sister. This promise was very important to me and Mom. See, to us, having another child is very much a family activity, well, not the making of the baby, but you know what I mean...

"You aren't going to tell me are you?" she asked with disappointment in her voice.


"OK, but I'm gonna listen on the other line," she's a persistent one.

"I'd really appreciate it if I could talk to OhPrincess alone. This is a family matter."

"Fine." (Guys, fine is a woman's way of being pissed off. It's never fine)

"OhPrincess, it's Daddy."

"Hi Dad!"

"Honey, you are the big sister of a little baby girl. Her name is OhPrincess2. She weighs 5 pounds 9 ounces and she really wants to meet you. I'm gonna have Grandma drive you to the hospital in a little while OK?"

"Dad? Can I see her when I get there?"


Happy Birthday OhPrincess2! 5 years old. It seems like just yesterday. Daddy's little miracle.

I love you!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Nits Cleaning of the Garage: a retrospective

Today, OhCountess was working, she's worked every weekend since we got back from Vegas.

The weather here in MN started out a little muggy, but at least it wasn't hot.

The task I gave myself today was to tame the garage. A winter of neglect had taken my once orderly garage and turned it into a 2 stall. I know, I should be grateful to have a 2 stall garage, there are many people that don't have a garage. But alas, I built this house with 3 stalls and even put in a work bench. Its in the back, buried under all the crap on the right. I want my space back. Click the picture to see it clearer.

I had high hopes for the day. I played some ridiculous online poker on Friday night, totally fun and a bit profitable. No more hangover, time had healed that. The neighborhood was buzzing with kids, so mine joined in the fun.

I am a nit and this how I clean my garage each spring.

As is my S.O.P. (standard operating procedure), I clean first the recycling area. Its the easiest. This is also home to many spiders. I don't mind the spiders, but since OhPrincess1 got some ticks, OhPrincess2 is a quite scared of them. Cleaning this area makes a lot of spiders homeless.

I like to clean my workbench next. It has a maple top and is quite handsome. This also gives me a place to put my Diet Dr. Pepper and a radio. Since Rochester FINALLY got a real rock station, I can clean my garage to some good tunes!

I discovered that I missed a bottle of fluid with water in it last fall. It was a cleaner to be used in the pressure washer. This particular fluid appears to be strong enough to eat paint because it ate the paint off the bottom of the cabinet it was in. Yikes! I cleaned it up with water, but the sludgy paint in the bottom was really a mess. Note to self: double check the garage in the fall for bottles of stuff.

With the workbench squeaky clean, I turned my attention to organizing and removing the contents of the garage. I am a bit of a nit, but I like my garage clean from wall to wall. Cob web and dust bunny free is my motto! As OhCountess likes to describe it, "It looks like we are having a garage sale!" Everything must go! (outside)

It takes a while to put away things that can be put away and then move the larger items outside, but by this time, OhCountess had returned home.

By the time the last item had been either moved outside or put away, we looked to the west. FANTASTIC! I thought to myself, a thunderstorm is approaching. And it looked dark. My plans were dashed to complete the job. As is customary in a nit cleaning of the garage, the last step in the process is to pressure wash the floor with soap and water and the squidgy it to shiny perfection.


Oh well, that will have to wait a week or two. Tomorrow we have to our first graduation party of the season. Here's the final picture. I had hoped it would be from the outside, but with the storm approaching we just ran into the house. As for the mound in the middle, the Mrs told me that much of it is going to Goodwill or garage sales. We can only hope.