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    Archive for 2007

    Two Crazy Reindeers

    Sunday, December 16, 2007

    Two Crazy Reindeers
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt
    I hope that everyone is looking forward to Christmas as much as we are these days!! We are on our way to finishing all of our shopping and I hope to have the gifts all wrapped sometime this week. Phew!

    We had a lovely weekend. On Saturday we braved the crowds and did a little shopping (and wine tasting) before Joe, Jen and AJ came over for a visit. Benjamin was beside himself to have his best bud in the house!! We went out to eat at a new-ish place in town, Paradise Pete's. If you're reading this and you're local, I highly recommend a visit. After a rocky first couple of months, they have really improved their menu and we had a fabulous meal. The boys came home and played until they practically passed out. Then they both woke up in the morning and did more of the same. They had a great time.

    Today we did a little more shopping and even fit in a quick visit with the Santa at our local mall. I must say, he's a pretty authentic Santa and Benjamin was very impressed. We almost had to drag him away!!

    I uploaded a few pictures onto flickr from both today and also the past couple of weeks. We've had a few snowstorms this December already. Our first happened during our last visit to the Twin Cities (see last post), so we weren't home to shovel before the snow was covered with a hearty layer of ice. The pictures of Benjamin in the snow are from the Monday after the storm. Mike came home during his lunch hour so we could shovel out the driveway. We haven't received a significant snowfall recently, but I'm sure there will be more to come.

    Good luck to those of you with lots of shopping left!! And in case we don't get back before the holidays...Merry Christmas!!


    Monday, December 03, 2007

    This area of Minnesota was hit with our first snowstorm of the year on Saturday. And because people here are absolutely crazy, thousands of runners took the the trail around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to run the Reindeer Run 5k. Among those crazies were myself, Mike, Jennifer, Katie and Dan. It was truly very cold, but we stuck it out and finished the race anyway and had a great time doing it! Pictures from the race are available on flickr and a video taken at the start line is available below. You can really see how many people there were in both the pictures and video. We were at the front, but it took somewhere around 6-7 minutes for all of the runners to cross the start line.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    We had a great Thanksgiving week! Mike and I were lucky to get the entire week off of work to stay at home and relax and to get a head start on our trip to Illinois. I celebrated my 29th and last birthday on Monday and though it was a little early, we decorated our Christmas tree on Tuesday, which was a blast! Benjamin still says, "WOW! Beauuuutiful" when he sees it! On Wednesday we made the car trip down to my Mom and Dad's house for the holiday. On Thursday morning Mike and I woke up early to drive into the city for an 8k Turkey Trot race. It was a blustery and snowy morning, but the race was still enjoyable. While we were out running, Mom, Dad and Benjamin were busy cooking turkey and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. That night we all stuffed ourselves with turkey and other goodies! Benjamin was treated to a special Breakfast with Santa at Macy's on Saturday. It was a very neat event that we will no doubt do again. It was held in a small room with only us and four other families there. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Nutcracker all came through the room while we were eating to talk to each child individually. This was great because it really gave the kids time to warm up to the man in red before they had to sit on his lap. Benjamin wasn't sure about him at first, but he eventually warmed up to Santa. He climbed right up onto his lap and told him exactly what he wants for Christmas, it was adorable. On our way home on Sunday, we made a stop in LaCrosse to visit the Rotary Holiday Lights Display, which we see every year. They really put together an awesome display this year and we all enjoyed it! Benjamin is still talking about seeing the lights! What an awesome end to a great holiday!!


    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Coffee Time!
    Originally uploaded by Joe, Jen and AJ Schmitt.
    Just had to include this adorable picture (from Jen's flickr) of AJ and Benjamin playing together. They had so much fun laying all of the plates out for their meal and drinking coffee together!

    Mike and I met with Benjamin's head teacher at daycare today for a Parent-Teacher conference. She had nothing but great things to say about him (of course). She is very impressed with his skills, especially his ability to hold conversations with the other (older) kids, which is unusual for his age. Sitting there, at the little table with her, made me think about all of the future school conferences we have to look forward to! Our little guy is growing up, which is hard, but it is also exciting to think about everything ahead of us!

    Nutcracker Suite

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    The Mommys and boys at Macy's
    It is an annual tradition of ours to go to the Macy's Auditorium holiday display with Joe, Jen and AJ. We try to go the day it opens, as the lines into the event are usually much much shorter. Last year we had to wait until sometime in December because Benjamin was in the hospital the opening weekend, so we ended up waiting for over an hour to get in. We were much luckier (and healthier) this year! We only stood in line for about 15 minutes this time, it was great! This year's theme is The Nutcracker and the scenes were very neat. The boys are finally at an age where they are interested in these kinds of things and can atleast somewhat appreciate what Christmas is all about. The end of the walk through the displays is a visit with Santa Claus. We were all unsure of how the boys would react to the man in red this year. They both have been talking about sitting on Santa's lap and asking him for presents, but when put face-to-face with the guy, they might just break! Luckily, they were just a little freaked out, but we were able to get them close enough to take a couple of pictures (while sitting on Daddy's laps).

    The boys and Dads with Santa (they didn't want to sit on his lap)

    I think the experience calmed Benjamin a bit because he didn't want to leave Santa! Now he is talking about how excited he is for Santa to come to his house, haha.

    I recently finished up my 6 week Intermediate Cake Decorating class through Community Education. All of the students had to make a cake for our final class and decorate it in 2.5 hours. I decided to try my hand at a mini-wedding cake.

    I am happy with how it turned out, but since I was pretty limited on time and didn't want to spend a bagillion dollars on supplies, it wasn't exactly what I feel I am capable of. Now I'd like to take some more classes on some of the techniques that we only touched on.

    Kids say the darndest things

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Two of our new favorite Benjamin stories:

    Mike: What is your full name Benjamin?
    Benjamin: Benjamin Thomas
    Mike: That's right - Benjamin Thomas Schmitt. What is Daddy's full name?
    Benjamin: Daddy Thomas Schmitt.

    Little did he know how true that was!
    (For those of you who don't know, we passed Mike's middle name onto Benjamin when we named him.)

    Last night Mike put Benjamin to bed and comes to sit with me in the living room. Benjamin is making no noise, so we figure that he's fast asleep. A while later Mike gets up to go to the bathroom and when he comes back in to the living room again, I hear a faint little creak in the hallway. I look over and from where I am sitting on the couch, I can see Benjamin's little head peeking from around his bedroom door. I walk over to him and say, "Benjamin, what are you doing up out of bed?!" His reply: "Hide and seek, Mommy?" I just imagined him in his room that whole time, counting and waiting to come out and find us! Too funny!


    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Ready to Trick-or-Treat!
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    I think Benjamin's sugar-high has finally subsided and his candy stash is well hidden!

    Halloween was a blast this year!! The day started with a party at Benjamin's daycare in his Multi-Age room. Most of the parents were there and all of the kids had their costumes on. The kids had decorated cookies earlier in the day and they were able to share them with us at the party. We went to The Olsons's for trick-or-treating with Benjamin's buds, Sidney and Reese. Our little cowboy really enjoyed going from house to house to get "MORE CANDY!!!" He never really got the whole "Trick or treat" saying down.
    Instead of that, when he'd get up to the door of the houses, he'd say "I want some candy!!" Then after he got his candy, he'd just stand at the door, probably waiting for more. The funny thing was, sometimes the people would give him more! Haha. Looks like he's got his technique down!

    This past weekend was quite a busy one for us. On Friday night I performed in a murder mystery fundraiser at the Plummer House mansion which was called Death by Chocolate. I played an anti-chocolate campainer called Hazel Nutt-Whirl. The entire play revolved around a chocolate theme and local restaurants donated chocolate cakes and candies. Participants were able to sample the chocolate and wines while wandering around the house attempting to gather clues to solve the murder. It was a lot of fun, but very exhausting! There are pictures on our flickr account.

    Saturday morning we drove down to Illinois for my Grandma's 80th Birthday bash. The party was at a very nice restaurant and it was fun to see everyone. Afterward, Mom and I joined a bunch of family at a casino where nearly everyone brought winnings home. The birthday girl won almost $1,500!!

    I also added some various pictures from the past couple of weeks onto our flickr account, including pumpkin carving, so check them out!

    Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    By now, if you haven't heard about the eventful Chicago Marathon, you must be living under a rock! The weather on Sunday broke all kinds of records for excessive heat and humidity. Hundreds of runners were hospitalized and treated by race medical staff. Around noon, runners who had not reached mile 20 were advised to either stop racing or continue the course by walking because the race had been cancelled. Anyone finishing after that point would receive a medal, but not an official finishing time.

    For us, the weekend started off nicely with a visit to the Marathon Expo at McCormick Place for Mike and I and a visit to Sonny Acres (pumpkin patch) for G&G and Benjamin. Mike and I then met his cousin Patti and her friend for a viewing of a new movie, Spirit of the Marathon. The movie was premiering as an entry in the Chicago International Film Festival and thanks to Patti, we were lucky enough to get tickets. The movie was fantastic! I highly recommend watching the preview at Spirit of the Marathon . It is especially enlightening for runners and for anyone who is from or who loves Chicago. The filmmakers really make the city look awesome! Everytime I watch it, I get goosebumps!

    We settled in early Saturday evening in anticipation for the race, which got us up very early Sunday morning. There were many reports of how hot and humid it was supposed to be and it was on everyone's mind. Mike was ready to race, but nervous for what may lie ahead of him. We arrived downtown just before 7am and walked with the masses to the start area. Because of his Boston-qualifying time from last year, Mike was able to get a spot in the first preferred start corral, which also gave him access to a preferred gear check...kind of made him feel like a rock star! You could tell by looking around at the other runners that everyone was taking the weather very seriously. After leaving Mike, I headed to approximately mile 1.5, right across from the Chicago Theatre, where I met up with Mom, Dad, Benjamin, Aunt Mary and Uncle Roland. Last year we were able to get on the news because the ABC news studio is right at our spot. This year you could only catch a glimpse of me, Benjamin, Aunt Mary and Uncle Roland waving as the weatherman rolled his green screen down in front of the windows. Even at mile 1.5, you could see that the runners were being affected by the heat.

    Thumbs up!

    We went on to watch Mike at miles 14 and 16. He was way ahead of his predicted pace and looked strong, happy and healthy!
    Looking good at mile 14!
    We were hopeful to make it to mile 23 to see him again, but he was running too fast and we missed him. Mom, Dad and Benjamin headed home due to the heat, but I met Mike at the family reunite area.

    Jessica and Mike at the finish area

    He finished with a time of 3:13:49...over 10 minutes better than he was even hoping for. He said that he saw many runners go down throughout the latter parts of the race and that he was hot, but it was manageable. We had no idea what was happening throughout the course during those moments. We only found out after we had arrived back at mom and dad's house and started to read newspapers online.

    On Monday, we drove up to Milwaukee to see Erin, Dennis and baby Kelsey. Benjamin was soooo excited to see the baby. He had to know where she was at all times..."Where baby Kelsey!?" It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with them and to see their new house. We are looking forward to heading back down to IL and seeing all of my family at the end of this month for Grandma's 80th Birthday extravaganza!!!!

    Leo's Ladies

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    As I mentioned in my previous posting, my friends Samantha and Tina joined me in an event to honor Samantha's son Leo, who died of a rare condition after being born prematurely. We did the Night Lights Beacons for Babies run and walk. I ran the 8k race and they did a 2 mile walk. It was a complete blast, even though the treatment of the walkers wasn't exactly stellar. I finished the race with a P.R. (personal record) and even though I came in last, it felt great! Mike and Benjamin were also at the finish line. Mike brought me flowers and Benjamin presented me with a medal. It was amazing.

    On Saturday Mike ran his last long run of his marathon training since the Chicago Marathon is this coming weekend. After that we travelled up to the Twin Cities for a Jenkins (Cindy's Dad's side) family reunion. We were able to see some relatives that we don't see very often and also meet some that we have never met before. Benjamin had lots of fun playing with A.J and some of his "new" cousins. We were also able to spend some fun time with all of Mike's brothers and significant others throughout the weekend as well.
    It was also a weekend of exciting announcements....the Schmitt family is going to be welcoming another new baby (Joe and Jen are expecting) and Mike and I are going to have a new sister-in-law (Dan and Katie are engaged)!! So between the fun race, reunion and all of these new developments we had an excellent weekend!!

    Grandma and Grandpa Andrews are still gallivanting around Europe, but they fly home later this week just in time for us to drive down to Chicago for another exciting marathon weekend!!!

    Big race just days ahead

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    I'm not known as a runner. It is my husband who is the expert marathoner. However, I have once again been bitten by the running bug that is always flying around our house. Heck, I have even found that I am enjoying it (and not just the races, the training too!). So get used to seeing pictures of both of Benjamin's parents crossing finish lines.

    I just ran the Women Run the Cities 5K this past Sunday, which is the second race in my series this fall. I actually had no intention of running a race last weekend, but I had Sunday morning open and this race sounded like it would be fun so I registered. It was an all-women's 10 mile and 5k race which benefitted the Anne Bancroft Foundation, a worthy cause. They also gave out some pretty neat technical shirts to all finishers. I improved my time by over 1.5 minutes from my last race, so that was a positive thing for me.

    All of this is basically leading up to the big race which is this Friday. I am running the Beacons for Babies Night Lights 8K here in Rochester. This race benefits the March of Dimes, which is a cause close to my heart. My very dear friends Samantha and Tina are participating with me in memory of Samantha's son, Leo, who died after he was born prematurely. Check back here for some pictures of the race and of our fancy homemade shirts! Oh, and wish me luck!!!

    Kelsey Marie Ryan

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Mom and Dad have some pictures of the new baby cousin on their flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/beatlebugs2001

    New Baby Cousin!

    We have a new baby cousin in the family!! My cousin, Erin, gave birth to a baby girl yesterday (9/14) at 7:14am. She is 7 lbs., 15 oz. and just over 20 inches long. Baby, Mommy and Daddy are all doing well. I will post more details and pictures as they become available...


    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    The collage cake
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    While trying to plan a surprise 50th birthday party for my mom, we knew that it would not be an easy task to get away with completely surprising her! So we set out to create a surprise that would really throw her off. Invitations were sent for a champagne brunch pajama party to be held at 9am Sunday morning. Mom was suspecting that something would be done for her, but she never saw it coming!

    Sunday morning I "ran out to the car" to get a recipe for Mike, who was supposedly making her a special birthday breakfast. Instead, I met all of the party guests out in the parking area outside of my parents' house. My mom was sitting at the kitchen table on her new laptop with her back to the living room and front door, so she didn't see any of the people streaming into the room. She didn't hear us because Mike and I were pretending to fight as we yelled to each other from the kitchen to the living room. Mom turned around to tell us to stop fighting and everyone yelled "Surprise!" I have never seen her so shocked in my whole life. We got her good!!!!

    Other than the pajama party, we also visited the Brookfield Zoo, which Benjamin loved. For some reason the highlight for him was seeing the tigers, which he talked about the whole time we were there! Then we went out to the Schnitzelplatz restaurant for an Oktoberfest dinner. After we finished our meal, one of the waiters was walking around dressed as a German woman in a ridiculous costume, handing out beaded necklaces. I wanted to get a necklace so we all waved him over to the table. Little did I know that the necklace was an entry to a competition up in front of the whole restaurant where the band was playing. I had no idea what I was in for and was getting more and more nervous when the waiter came back with a tray of baby bottles...that were filled with BEER! 5 women (I was one of them) and 5 men were going to compete in drinking their baby bottle faster than the others. Not one to disppoint audiences, I gave it my all and ended up the female winner! The waiter came by with our prizes and I was delighted to see that I had won a Schnitzelplatz beer mug and a T-shirt that says, "Happiness is drinking German beer." How perfect! We had a wonderful weekend in Chicago and were so glad to give Mom a fun and surprising 50th birthday!

    Running Schmitts

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    As you can see from our flickr photos, Mike's relay race went splendidly. He ran in a team for the Great River Ragnar Relay Race. Mike and the other 11 people on his team ran a total of 198 miles from Lacrosse, WI to St. Paul, MN in just under 34 hours. Just to give you an idea of how grueling this was, Mike ran UP A BLUFF for 7.1 miles at 2:30 AM in the DARK! Very impressive! He compared it to adventure racing and said that he had a blast doing it.

    Mike isn't the only Schmitt who ran in a race last weekend. I raced in the MN State Fair Milk Run 5k race on Sunday. Fortunately it was a gorgeous day! The course was much hillier than I had anticipated, but I had an awesome time and ran a great race. My return to the racing world (the last race I ran was back in Sept 2003) has inspired me to keep running and I cannot wait for my next race!

    We spent a few hours wandering around the state fair after the race was over while Benjamin was able to hang out with his Grandma and Grandpa Schmitt. Here is a classic Benjamin story: At dinner that night we were trying to teach him Grandma and Grandpa's first names. First, we told him that Grandpa's name is Bert. He said "Grandpa Bert!" just fine. Then we asked him what Grandma's name is and he responded immediately with, "GRANDMA ERNIE!" We got quite a laugh out of that one! I think that now Cindy will forever be known as Grandma Ernie to Benjamin! :-)

    Speaking of Bert and Ernie...I took Benjamin to see Sesame Street Live Friday night while Mike was doing his relay race. I went down to the Civic Center to pick up tickets Friday afternoon and thanks to a cancellation, I was able to get FRONT ROW, DEAD CENTER seats for us! It was awesome!! The characters danced right in front of us and even came by and said Hi to Benjamin. He just loved it and is still talking about seeing Elmo!

    The Great K.V.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Mike and Kathrine Switzer
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    Both Mike and I had the extreme pleasure of helping with the planning for a visit by Kathrine Switzer to Mayo and the Running Room this week. She came and spoke at Mayo Clinic Monday night where Mike and I helped to sell her book. Mike even was able to go to dinner with her and a few of my colleagues (I was relieving the babysitter). Then Tuesday morning Mike led a run with her from the Running Room.

    If you don't know who Kathrine is, she is the first female to ever enter and run the Boston Marathon. She ran it back in 1967 before women were officially allowed to run in the race and at a time when it was believed that women were not capable of running more than 200 meters (2 laps around the track). She was also instrumental in getting the women's marathon recognized as an Olympic sport (though it took a while -- the first time women ran it was at the 1984 Olympics). Kathrine is a spitfire and was incredibly entertaining and very gracious to us for helping her out. Mike had an awesome time sharing his running story with her and just talking the talk with a fellow marathoner. It was a great experience!


    Okay, its no secret that Mike and I were (are) theatre kids. So I guess it didn't come as a big surprise that Benjamin has really taken to listening to my collection of showtunes in the car. His favorite is Ragtime and he just loves the opening number. He asks to listen to it all of the time and wants it played over and over. We showed off his musical skills to Mom and Dad while driving back to Rochester from the St. Paul Irish Fest this weekend. Dad was able to capture it on film...check it out:

    Baby Shower and Kayaks

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Erin, Jessica and Cicely
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    It has been a while, I know (MOM!)...but I just haven't felt motivated to come on here and write anything. Mostly, it has been the uploading of the photos that I have been avoiding. Okay, well to be completely honest, I have had my nose stuck in the latest Harry Potter and couldn't be bothered. Hey, it was a great book and now that I am done reading it, here I am!

    Erin's baby shower was a success! Mom and I worked really hard (with help from Cicely and Grandma on various things) on the favors and decorations and they looked fab, if I don't say so myself! The room was just adorable and I think everyone had a great time. I posted the picture of Erin, Cicely and I because who knows when we will get another one of these. There are many other pictures from the event on our flickr site.

    Mike and I spent a weekend away this past Saturday and Sunday. As a Christmas present, Mike's parents gave us a gift certificate to a B&B in Sparta, WI. We went down on Saturday and kayaked 4 1/2 hours near there in Ontario, WI on the (appropriately named -- if you know that Dad and I were once in a tribe with this name) Kickapoo River. The water was very shallow due to no recent rain and because the weather was so beautiful, there were all sorts of strange people in canoes out there. But we had a great time and it was nice to get away. Benjamin stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa Schmitt and I think they probably had more fun than they let on about.

    Other than those two things, there isn't much going on here. It has been hot and very dry in Rochester, but we don't mind. Mike ran 6 miles of hills tonight in 85 degree weather with some pretty bad humidity, but he said it went really well. There's nothing like a little extreme Minnesota (summer OR winter) weather to prepare you for marathons!

    Happy 4th of July! (and other stuff)

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Happy 4th of July!
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    It is just a short time before Benjamin and I board a plane to Chicago for the weekend, but I've been meaning to get the newest photos online and blog, so here it is.

    Last weekend I travelled down to Winona to visit friends from college for a fun-filled night. I finally got to see my friend Tina's baby, Eleanor, who is adorable! Tina and Samantha and I went to LaCrosse as a kind of post-baby-celebration. We had a great time. Mike and Benjamin drove down on Sunday and we all were able to hang out for a while.

    Earlier in the week we surprised Mike's Mom for her birthday by showing up for dinner...and staying for two nights! While up in the cities, we played with AJ and Benjamin's uncles/aunt and even snuck in a little time away for some drinks and dinner with Joe and Jen.

    The 4th was relaxing, we didn't really do very much. Mike ran a 5 mile race in Stewartville that morning and Benjamin and I came out to watch. He did really well despite some pretty bad humidity. Other than that, we just grilled some hot dogs and spent some time watching Benjamin play in his new sandbox from G&G Andrews.

    The newest batch of photos also includes some shots of the All Comers Track Meet, which Benjamin has run in twice. The Rochester Track Club puts this event on for kids of all ages. We're still trying to get Benjamin to run the full length of the race by himself, he gets kind of overwhelmed with the whole thing. His favorite part is getting a mark from a marker on his hand at the end (a way for the volunteers to know he got a ribbon), he thinks it makes him very special!

    As I said before, we are off to Chicago in just a couple of hours. We are throwing Erin a baby shower on Saturday and all sorts of out of town family will be in. Benjamin can't wait to see his "Great Ahma"!!!


    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    Our family at Benjamin's birthday

    The last couple of weeks have been very hectic for all of us. It has taken me that long to put any recent pictures on our photo site, so now there are a lot of new pics there.

    Benjamin turned two on the 27th. Mike and I went to his daycare that day to celebrate with all of his friends. We brought party hats and cupcakes for everyone to enjoy. Benjamin was in love with the attention, especially when everyone sang Happy Birthday to him! That night our friends Eric, Reese and Sidney came over to help us celebrate some more. Benjamin was able to eat a second cupcake that night and was popular enough to receive many singing phone calls and one video call as well. We had his birthday party on the following Saturday, the 30th. Family drove all the way in from Illinois and Wisconsin. We had gorgeous weather, Mike made fabulous food, and everyone had a great time! Sunday was a very relaxing day for all of us. Benjamin spent time playing in his new sandbox and using all of his new toys and we just enjoyed sitting out in the yard without feeling like we had 100 things we should be doing. Benjamin is in his new BIG BOY bed, which he just loves. He has been sleeping so well in it, too. It is hard for us to walk into his nursery and not see his crib, he is growing up soo fast.

    I also uploaded pictures from father's day. We had a picnic at a lake with Mike's parents, Dan and Jennifer. While I was out of town for a work-related conference, Mike and Benjamin went to a party to say farewell to some of Mike's running friends who are moving back to Norway. Benjamin had fun running all over the house and yard at the party.

    The day before father's day was the annual cemetery walk for Rochesterfest, which I like to participate in. This year I not only played a character, but I also wrote my own script for the day. Basically this involves standing on a grave for about 4 hours in god-awful heat, reciting the same 6 minute script over and over to groups of about 20 people. It is grueling, but I love it.

    I think that is about it. We are glad to have the month of June be done and gone, as it was a really rough one for both Mike and I. And now we have some exciting things to look forward to in July and beyond: including Erin's baby shower, a weekend away for Mike and I, more camping trips, a huge relay race for Mike, the state fair, and many visits with family and friends.

    Amuzing Race

    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    Amuzing Race - Team Rojo
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    So Mike and I participated in an awesome fundraiser this Saturday. The Rochester Public Library Foundation organized an "Amuzing Race" (based on the tv show, The Amazing Race, of which we are big fans). We were in a team of four with my good friend Lora and her brother Lance. The organization and efficiency of the race was unbelievable. We raced around Rochester from location to location collecting clues and completing challenges. We built a birdhouse, did orienteering in the woods, caught fly balls while attached to teammates, flew paper airplanes, seached VIN numbers on a car dealership lot, and had a WHOLE lot of fun! We unfortunately didn't win the race, which was likely due to a large number of things that slowed us down, including Mike taking a fly ball in the stomach (OUCH!). We did come in 19th place out of 35 teams and we are already strategizing next year's race!!

    We once again visited the German American Institute in St. Paul which hosted a Sommerfest on their grounds on Sunday. Some of the Schmitt clan met us out there for German food and drink. Uncle Andy and Jennifer took Benjamin on a horse-drawn carriage ride, which he really enjoyed. We all had a great time sitting outside on a beautiful day, listening to the German bands!


    Monday, June 04, 2007

    We survived our first camping trip with Benjamin and had a great time! We went to Frontenac State Park with the Olsons and Skalskys on Friday night and stayed through Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, it rained on and off all weekend, but we did sneak in a hike in the sunshine and two great campfires! Benjamin was a trooper. Though he did do his share of exploring, he loved camping with his two buddies: Sidney and Reese. He slept really well both nights in the tent and enjoyed eating smores by the campfire! We are already looking forward to our next camping trip!

    Memorial Day Memories

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    We just had an exhausting, but very fun weekend!! Grandma and Grandpa Andrews came up to visit Friday night and then Uncle Joe, Auntie Jen and AJ came down on Saturday. Mike and Joe ran the Med City Half Marathon Sunday morning and both ran faster than they had expected! We hung out with everyone all weekend with nice weather, it was great! We have some pictures on our Flickr site that we took and I also included some of the pictures from Mom and Dad because they were just too good!!

    Our adorable nephew, AJ, is a musical talent! Here he is singing Neil Diamond's
    "Song Sung Blue," this child is amazing!!


    Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    We spent our last weekend visiting Mike's family in Menasha, Wisconsin. We stayed with Mike's godparents, Aunt Loretta and Uncle Harold, and were joined by Grandma and Grandpa Schmitt for the trip. Benjamin's Great Aunt Monica, cousins Kevin and Brenda, their significant others and kids also came out for a barbecue and trip to the zoo on Saturday. Benjamin had a great time playing with his cousins, Tristan and Austin!! We had fun going to the N.E.W. Zoo in Green Bay, as you can see in our new photos on the Flickr account. Only another month before Benjamin turns 2!! We can hardly believe that the time is almost here, yet when we see how much he is growing and learning everyday, it seems very real.

    Memorial Day Weekend is in a few days. Mike and his brother Joe are gearing up to run the half marathon at the Med City Marathon on Sunday. Grandma and Grandpa Andrews are also coming up for the weekend to hang out with us and we are very much looking forward to having a relaxing weekend here with everyone!

    Mother's Day

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    For Mother's Day, I decided that it would be fun to take Benjamin to the brand new Curious George exhibit at the Minnesota Children's Museum, so the three of us trekked up to the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon. We ate an awesome lunch in the Marketplace of the St. Paul Macy's, which is right down the street from the museum. Then we spent a couple of hours running around all of the exhibits (I'm not sure who had more fun, us or Benjamin!). After the museum, we drove to Midtown Global Market, where they have many many different ethnic food stalls, grocery stores and other things for sale. We picked up some amazing food and then headed over to Izzy's Ice Cream in St. Paul for our dessert...YUM! It was a wonderful day and we were able to visit 3 places that we have always wanted to go to, but never had the chance! Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! I hope your day was as fantastic as mine...

    Here is a video of Benjamin and I making a music video at the museum...

    Little Eric Clapton

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    We visited Grandma and Grandpa Andrews this last weekend in Illinois. We had a great time and we were able to spend a little time with some of my aunts/uncles/cousins. Benjamin became completely infatuated with Grandpa's guitars and here is a video of him showing off his music talents. Just an fyi: in case you don't yet know, he has taken to calling both of his Grandmas "Ahma" and his Grandpas "Ahmpa." My Mom filmed this video and that's why he yells out "Ahma!" at the end. What a ham!

    I should also have some pictures posted later today from the past couple of weeks.


    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    We've had some problems with our site recently, but it looks like things are up and running again. Don't you just love technology??

    Bahston, Chowdah and Rain, Rain and more Rain!

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    We are back from an exciting adventure in Boston and abroad. Hopefully all of our faithful readers now know that Mike finished the race with an awesome time (3 hours, 26 minutes and 21 seconds)!! Mike at Mile 14 of the Boston MarathonUnfortunately, the weather in the northeast US decided to turn for the worse the day before the race, so he was forced to run (and we were forced to spectate) in less than ideal conditions.Team Schmitt at Mile 14 of the Boston Marathon It was somewhere in the lower 40's, rainy and REALLY windy. When we greeted Mike after the finish line, we could hardly even stand upright with the forceful wind. It was crazy. We were blessed to have both sets of our parents and two of Mike's brothers along for our adventure.Schmitt brothers at the Boston Marathon finish line To celebrate Mike's achievement, we dined at Legal Seafoods on some tasty seafood and champagne.Cheers to the champ!

    After spending three nights in Boston for the race, the three of us took a side trip out to Cape Cod. Hyannis, Cape CodLucky for us, the lovely weather continued and as we were told, the area experienced one of the worst April storms ever. However, we made the best of the situation and enjoyed ourselves regardless. We ate lots of seafood, drove to the tip of the cape (Provincetown) and took in all of the amazing summer houses throughout all of the quaint towns. Later we drove back toward Boston and stopped in Plymouth to see the rock and the Mayflower II. Mayflower II in Plymouth, MA The weather improved and the sun was shining that day. Benjamin loved seeing all of the boats! Also, I think his new favorite animal is a "Lobfer (lobster)." He is still talking about them! Back in Boston we toured the Samuel Adams Brewery and visited Harvard University and the surrounding area.Daddy and Benjamin rubbing John Harvards foot for good luck Of course, after we left Boston, their weather jumped up into summer-like temperatures. Ah well, Murphy's Law, I guess (thanks MOM).

    I have posted lots of pictures from our trip on our photo website (you can see some samples througout this posting). And I also have added a couple of videos to our YouTube account.

    Boston Marathon coming soon

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    Boston Marathon coming soon.
    Originally uploaded by McKei.
    This picture is of some ads for the marathon that are apparently up all over Boston right now. I wanted to post this here to first of all get everyone excited for what is to be the biggest race of Mike's life and secondly to encourage Mike to keep up his excitement!! It can be easy to focus on the pain of training or the stress affiliated with planning for the race but when it comes down to it, the most important thing is that he is accomplishing a life's dream and a goal that most people will never reach. Back in 2005 he was defeated by a short 48 seconds while trying to qualify for this race. He overcame his own demons and came back to Chicago in 2006 to finally achieve his goal. Now the only thing he has left to do is to taste the sweet feeling of finishing the most elite marathon in the world.

    Good luck Mike!

    For the third year, cable network Versus (channel 35 in Rochester) will provide complete, live, national Boston Marathon coverage from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CT. A same-day, encore presentation of the Versus telecast will air from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT.

    Dancing Fool!

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Grandma and Grandpa Andrews visited this weekend. We had a nice and relaxing time with them. Grandma shot this video at a restaurant in town that had a band playing...

    Spring Fever

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    We've been so busy enjoying the beautiful weather lately that we haven't had time to blog or upload pictures! There are a couple new pictures on flickr from the last couple of days and we hope to have a great video of Benjamin uploaded soon!

    Benjamin is just amazing. He learns so much in a day; he is always surprising us! He has always loved to look at books, but now he is very into listening to the stories. Every single night, without fail, he asks to "rock??" He really prefers it if Daddy rocks with him, but he settles for Mommy occasionally, too. He loves to have us hold him in the rocking chair in his room and read him books from his collection. We play some soft music and put a low lamp on and before you know it, he's ready for bed. Mike participated in a series of classes at IBM about early childhood literacy and development and as a follow up to what he has learned in the class, they've asked to come to the house to film "rocking time." Benjamin is joining his Mom and Dad in the multi-media-celebrity world!! Heehee.

    Grandma and Grandpa Andrews are coming up for a visit this weekend, hopefully the warmer temperatures continue! The next weekend is A.J.'s 2nd birthday and Easter, so it will be a full weekend of fun!!

    Some cute pictures

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Here are some really cute pictures from this weekend. We spent some time with Mike's family up in the Twin Cities. Benjamin was able to be crazy with his cousin and see all of his Uncles and Aunt as well as Grandma and Grandpa! Mike, Dan and Katie also ran the St. Patrick's Day Human Race in St. Paul. It was a very nice weekend.


    Is it spring yet?

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Winter is dragging on. Everyone seems to be looking forward to warmer weather, us included. We long to be able to hang out on our deck or let Benjamin ride his bike up and down the street while our neighbors stop by to talk. Summer cannot come fast enough!!

    The truth is that I actually attempted to write this entry once before, last week, but the program totally spaced out and I lost everything I wrote. Is there anything worse than composing a witty, informative blog only to have it wiped away?!? So, here is my second attempt:

    We enjoyed a nice quiet couple of days at home this past weekend. We were able to start our most recent home improvement project (redesigning our upstairs bathroom) and spent some quality time together playing and just hanging out. The previous week threw us for a loop with two huge snowstorms that left behind feet upon feet of the cold white stuff. Grandma and Grandpa Andrews drove up in the first of those storms and made it safely to our house Friday night. On Saturday, Mike and I drove up to Minneapolis during day 2 of the storm for the Twin Cities Food and Wine Experience, which we really enjoyed. We were able to taste a myriad of beers, wine and foods from local and national companies. Local chefs were on hand to give presentations on cooking and local foods. The biggest celebrity chef there was Rick Bayless, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to as he got ready to give a talk on Mexican food and beer pairings. I talked to him a bit, but unfortunately Mike was somewhere else tasting foods, so he missed out! Grandma and Grandpa were able to stay an extra day to be at our annual Oscars Party and also to accompany Benjamin and I to music class on Monday! It was a treat for us all.

    Here is a video that G&G took of Benjamin reading aloud (notice how he keeps looking up to make sure that he's being watched!).

    Of course, we are looking forward to our upcoming trip to Boston in April. Mike will be running the 111th Boston Marathon and has been training for the past few months.

    Grandma and Grandpa Schmitt will be visiting us this weekend. I have class on Friday and Saturday and Mike has a big training run scheduled for Saturday morning, so we will be quite busy. Next weekend will mean corned beef and cabbage for us!! Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!!

    Rule Britannia!

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    We're baaaack...

    The Schmitts are back in the USA! We had a great time in England!! We have had some photos posted on our flickr site for a couple of days already, so go check them out.

    Here is a not-so-brief synopsis of our trip:
    We flew out of Minneapolis on Monday (2/12) to Chicago where we caught a flight that just managed to get out of O'Hare before the big snowstorm hit. The flight to London was long and uneventful. Benjamin did really well during the flight, sleeping a bunch and watching some of his movies. When we landed in London, I realized that I had left Benjamin's passport on the plane and went through a huge ordeal to get it back so that we could be processed through passport control. Needless to say, we were happy to finally meet up with Roland who helped us carry our luggage by tube to the flat that he shares with Cicely and a roommate. We arrived at the flat around 3pm on Tuesday. Benjamin and I desperately needed naps and so we slept for a couple of hours. Next the four of us went down to the pub where we had a drink and FINALLY got to meet Cicely! After enjoying the pub, we went back to the flat for some Indian takeaway, which both Mike and I had been craving for YEARS! Yum.

    On Wednesday, both Roland and Cicely had to work, so we were on our own. We decided to go to Harrods to shop around and visit a special guitar exhibit at the store. We had planned on going to the London Aquarium after that, but since we were having so much fun wandering around the toy and kitchen sections of Harrods, we never did. Then we met Roland and Cicely at Rainforest Cafe where we had a very nice Valentine's Day Dinner.

    Thursday we traveled by train to Winchester, where we once lived. I had made arrangements for us to stay at a studio B&B, which was above the garage of a very lovely home where the owners lived. This allowed Benjamin to run about and be as loud and he wanted to be without disturbing anyone. The owners were even nice enough to give us a portable crib and toys for Benjamin! We met an old friend at Ask, one of our favorite restaurants, for dinner and then walked down to our favorite pub. Benjamin loved the Black Boy Pub, which is decorated in a very eclectic style, including a stuffed "doggie" on the floor. Benjamin and I left Mike to enjoy his friends while we went back to the B&B to get some sleep. The next day we had our full English breakfast and then walked into the city center to see the sights. Benjamin had fun playing at the park near the Mayor's house and we were able to walk around the Cathedral, where I even saw one of my old co-workers (who remembered me!!). We had lunch at a pub and walked up to our old house, which was EXACTLY the same as we left it. That evening, after taking the train back to London, Cicely made us some tasty lasagna, which allowed us to stay home and get some much-needed relaxation.

    On Saturday Cicely and Roland accompanied us to Cambridge where we met Cicely's Mom for lunch and did some sightseeing of the colleges and river area. After spending a nice day being guided around the city, we took the train back to London and had dinner at Giraffe, a very cool restaurant that we really loved.

    After taking some pictures at key London landmarks, we visited Greenwich on Sunday, where the Cutty Sark is usually docked, but the ship is currently under repair. Roland, Mike and Benjamin trekked up to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian while Cicely and I did some shopping. We also walked through the Maritime museum, had Sunday lunch at a pub and ate some yummy crepes from a street vendor. We headed back to the flat after a full day of sightseeing to pack up our bags and relax before our early morning departure. Cicely very graciously helped us with our luggage and kept us from getting stressed out about traveling on our trip back to the airport, even though it was her day off. The flight from the UK was about 2 hours longer than the flight to the UK, so it took some real strength to make it the whole flight. By the time we landed in Chicago and departed to Minneapolis, we were all on edge. Jen picked us up at the airport Monday evening and took us back to the house for some yummy Chinese food and then we headed back to Rochester. We were all sound asleep by 8:00pm and up again this morning at 6:00am feeling unexpectedly refreshed!! I’m sure it will be an early evening again for all of us!

    All in all, we had an excellent vacation and really loved spending time with Roland and Cicely. We were able to experience things we loved about the country all over again and even discovered some new things. We also accomplished something we have always dreamed of doing: traveling overseas with our children. It wasn’t always easy, but in the end, it was completely worth it. We can’t wait for Benjamin to be able to look back at the pictures and know that he was able to fly to another country before he even turned two!!

    Cousins Weekend

    Monday, January 29, 2007

    Cutie Cousins

    We have had the pleasure of hosting AJ at our house for the past 4 days. Benjamin has been having so much fun hanging out with his cousin, that I am sure he doesn't want AJ to go back home!! We did so many fun things and had a great time. I took some pictures of the two guys and they're on our flickr page...check them out!

    Mike also ran the St. Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon this weekend. He finished with an outstanding time!! Congrats to Mike...onto Boston!


    Monday, January 22, 2007

    This is fun!
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    Benjamin and I went out into the cold today to have some fun in the snow we received this weekend. We enjoyed walking up and down the sidewalk looking at the snow. Benjamin even tried to walk through the snow, but got stuck and needed some help from Mom. This wasn't his first experience in the snow, but it is the first one we documented. I'll have a video of the experience online soon!


    Friday, January 19, 2007

    Those of you who knew me when I was growing up might remember that I had a certain affinity for ranch dressing. It must be genetic:

    Happy 30th to Mike

    Monday, January 15, 2007

    Lots and lots of candles
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt.
    For those of you who don't know, I threw Mike a 30th birthday party on Saturday. He knew he was getting a party, but didn't know any of the details! The party had an England theme because his present from Benjamin and I is a trip to England in February. Everyone was asked to dress up as an England character or personality and our guests really met the challenge! We had Mary Poppins and Bert the chimney sweeper, Dr. Who, Ozzy Osbourne, Supernanny, Elton John, Bridget Jones, the Beatles, lots of soccer players and fans and many many more creative costumes. I was very impressed! I made Shepherd's Pie, which I am told was very tasty and served many other English-treats! The party was a big success, as you can see by the photos online at our Flickr page. Now we just have to figure out all of the details of our trip to London!!!!

    Here is a video of Mike blowing out his many many many candles!

    New Videos!

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Here is Benjamin enjoying his new kazoo, which he got from his Great Uncle Steve and Great Aunt Elaine for Christmas!

    This one is of Benjamin and AJ having a good time together!

    Christmas, Part Two

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    The three of us trekked up to the Twin Cities on the 29th in anticipation of our second Christmas celebration. We had dinner with the Kopeskys on Friday night and did our Christmas thing on Saturday. Bert and Cindy created an Amazing Race game for all of us kids to play throughout Cottage Grove, which was tons of fun! I really didn't want to have to rub it in any further....but I have to mention the fact that Mike and I did come in first place! :-)

    We opened gifts for what seemed like hours and hours after the race, but had a great time doing it! All of us received wonderful gifts! Benjamin really enjoyed spending time with his cousin again. He gets so excited and crazy when he sees AJ! They both love to run around laughing and screaming excitedly, it is hillarious.

    All of the Schmitt kids and grandkids made their way through sleet, snow and rain to Rochester on Sunday for a New Years Eve celebration. Mike and I threw together an awesome meal of Indian food and we all relaxed and rang in the new year together. Happy 2007!!

    By the way, I forgot to mention our visit with our very good friends, Kristen, Jamie and Gavin in my last blog entry. They finally were able to meet Benjamin and I finally got to hold little Gavin, who is just a cutie! It was wonderful to see them again! It had been two years since we last saw them, so we are hoping that it won't be another two years before we see them again!