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    Archive for September 2008

    Enjoying fall

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    We certainly took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful not-quite summer, not-quite fall weather that we've been having this weekend. Mike did his usual long run Saturday morning and in the afternoon we visited Northwoods Orchard with our friends and neighbors, the Posts. Benjamin and his best buddy, Ethan ran all over the grounds looking at the animals and picking apples. We also took a wagon ride around the orchard, which was a delight. Oh yah and I did get the lawn mowed afterall!!

    I took a long early morning bike ride all over town on Sunday and then it was birthday party day for us with parties for 2 of Benjamin's little friends. Reese turned 4 and celebrated with a party at J.E.T.S. Gym and our neighbor Max had his second birthday party outside in their backyard, two doors down. It was a great relaxing weekend and we were all sad to see it end. Of course, this just means that the exciting things are on horizon are even closer - Dan and Katie's wedding being the first - is only TWO WEEKS away!


    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Our beautiful cousin, Kelsey, turned one this weekend so we all traveled down to Milwaukee to celebrate. We drove down in Dad's Santa Fe with Mom and Dad Saturday morning and after a relatively short 4 hour drive we arrived at our hotel in Brookfield. Unfortunately, the weather was miserable. It was raining on and off all weekend, which was supposedly because of hurricane Ike on the gulf coast. Luckily, Erin and Dennis had booked an indoor space at a park, so we were all sheltered from the rain. The party was fabulous. Kelsey was squeeling with delight all day and really enjoyed her birthday cake.

    I was very excited because we bought her the same big blue puppy rocking thing that Benjamin really enjoyed at that age. My excitement was because I knew Kelsey would like it and also because I knew Erin would have to find room in her house for it! Mooohahaha. Benjamin kept himself busy at the party by chasing around the big Mickey balloons, playing pin the nose on Mickey and by spending time with all of our relatives. After the party we all went to Erin and Dennis's house where they attempted to store all of the extra food from the party. We young adults were able to go out and spend some quality time together while Benjamin hung out at the hotel pool with Grandma and Grandpa.

    In the morning Erin and Kelsey met us at the hotel to partake in the free breakfast there and to see them some more before driving back home. The ride home was long, but it was nice to have so many drivers to divide it up. We made it to Rochester around 4:30, which gave us time to relax and unpack our suitcases, which have been stored away finally after many weekends of living out of them. This weekend we are planning on not leaving Rochester, or at least planning on sleeping in our own beds!! And we may actually finish mowing our lawn one of these days, haha.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    We once again headed back up to the Twin Cities this weekend for some exciting wedding-related activities for Dan and Katie's upcoming nuptuals. Mike had a tuxedo fitting on Saturday while Jennifer and I shopped for decorations

    for Katie's bridal shower. We all met up later and enjoyed a delicious meal at The Bulldog in Minneapolis - great place! On Sunday Jennifer, Jen and I all headed out to Broadway Pizza to get ready for the shower. The party was very enjoyable and I think everyone had a great time. Katie got a lot of very nice things, including a special gift from Cindy and I that I made for her. I put together a box that people can put their cards into at the reception, which looks like a suitcase.

    I covered it with homemade stickers representing places Dan and Katie have been, are going to and things that they enjoy together. I think it turned out great and I hope they like it! After the shower we met up back at Joe and Jen's house where they guys had all gathered for a BBQ. This gave us all the chance to relax and spend time with the kids. We managed to get a great video of the very adorable John laughing:

    Seeing him laugh like that reminds me of when Benjamin first began to laugh and how exciting it was. He is so big and seemingly "grown-up" these days, but it only seems like yesterday that he was laying under his Little Einstein playmat, laughing uncontrollably at me while I made some ridiculous noises! How time flies.

    After leaving the Schmitts, we met my Mom and Dad near their house for a dinner to celebrate Mom's birthday,

    which is this week. Then we hurried back to their house for the Bears game/MTV VMAs (bet you can guess which one of us watched which show!). Both Mom and Mike took Monday off from work so the three of us (poor Dad had to work) took Benjamin out to an orchard/farm for the day. It was lovely weather and Benjamin really enjoyed looking at all of the animals.

    Well, he began to enjoy them only after we successfully convinced him that the loose chickens were NOT going to try to eat him. We stuck around Mound for the whole day and Mike was able to watch the first half of the Packers/Vikings game on the big screen before heading back home to Rochester. What an enjoyable weekend!

    We have heard that summer is not officially over, but it is hard to overlook the frost we had last night. Winter will all too soon be upon us, but not until Familie Schmitt enjoys the fall as best as we can! Next weekend we are off to Milwaukee for Kelsey's first birthday - how could she be so old!?

    Our mission

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    While hiking at Lake Carlos State Park this weekend, Mike posed a question: "Would you like to do a mission with me?" I thought he was asking me to move to some remote tribal lands to be missionaries - HA! - but thankfully he was thinking along the lines of something much more reasonable. Together we decided to fulfill his mission: Visit all of the state parks in Minnesota. We didn't really set a timeline for this, since who knows how long such a task will take with growing kids, upcoming school years, winter weather, etc., etc. However, there are two stipulations: 1) At least 2 members of Familie Schmitt must be present and 2) we must at least picnic, hike or camp at all of the parks (so no drive-bys count).

    And so it begins, Familie Schmitt to visit all 74 Minnesota State Parks...

    (crossed off parks have already been visited within the stipulations)

    Our weekend away...

    Thanks to a great Christmas present from Mike's parents last year, we were both able to spend a getaway alone in Alexandria this weekend. We stayed at the Cedar Rose Inn, which was a very nice B&B in town. After driving there Saturday morning, we stopped at Fat Daddies, a really cool sports themed restaurant with a nice menu, for lunch. Then we drove out to Carlos Creek Winery, the largest winery in Minnesota.

    It was a beautiful day, so after tasting 5 of their wines, we ordered a full glass and sat out on their patio listening to live music. The winery also has a couple of gift shops, an orchard and a fun outdoor maze that we attempted. After heading back to the B&B for some book reading/relaxing, we went to dinner at the Sixth Avenue Wine and Ale and were sadly disappointed with the service. So after dinner we stopped by Walgreens to pick up some dessert and went back to the B&B to relax in the whirlpool.

    After our breakfast the next morning we decided to spend our day hiking at Carlos State Park. It was a beautiful yet windy day and we had a very enjoyable time on the trails. We worked up quite an appetite during our hike, so we drove into town for lunch before leaving Alexandria. We stopped at Doolittles, a Minnesota chain restaurant with 4 locations. The food was AMAZING! It surely made up for our disappointing dinner the night before!!

    We had reservations to camp at Lake Maria State Park, which was about an hour and a half drive from Alexandria, but we didn't need to arrive before 4pm. We decided to wander around St. Cloud for a little while on our way since neither of us had ever been there. We popped into Granite City Brewery, which actually started in St. Cloud (the granite city), before heading back onto the road to our campsite. We arrived at the state park around 5:00pm, loaded up our backpacks and hiked a mile or so into the campsite. It was nice and remote and right on a tiny lake. Watching the sunset from our spot was spectacular. We are camping pros, so we set up our tent quickly and started cooking dinner, which was a Tuscan White Bean Soup - YUM! After eating dinner and roasting some marshmallows (which Mike risked his life for - we had to carry the wood all the way from the car with only twine wrapped around it - yikes!) we headed to bed early. The morning greeted us with swarms of mosquitoes, so we decided to skip our day of hiking and instead we visited the Albertville outlet mall and spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful day at the Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis. As most of you are aware, the Republican Nat'l Convention is being held in St. Paul and so we have many visitors in the area right now. It was fascinating to see many limos and buses drive by and to see people from places all over the world eating near us and walking by, even if they were Republicans! (wink, wink)

    Our fun weekend unfortunately had to come to an end, but we were happy to get back to see our Little Man! He had an awesome time with Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Bert visting Como Zoo, baking a cake

    and even eating at McDonalds! He has a lot of stories to tell about their time together, but very much enjoyed telling us about the monkeys at the zoo. He told Grandma that he "wants to stay and watch them the whoooooooole time!!!"