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    Archive for October 2008

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Jessica set off on a road trip early Friday afternoon and I worked from home while watching Benjamin. She drove to Round Lake, IL to visit The Rogers and attend a concert from a classic band from her youth - NKOTB (aka New Kids on the Block). She had an absolute blast and likened the experience to The Beatles playing at Shea Stadium due to the fact that at certain points in the show it was difficult to hear the music over all the women (notice I didn't say girls) screaming at the top of their lungs for those "heartthrob" boys. The rest of her weekend was spent catching up, lounging around, and overall relaxation. Then on Sunday Jessica got to fulfill part of her obligation of being the maid of honor in Erin's wedding by shopping for bridesmaid dresses.

    With Mommy away - I had the awesome opportunity to spend the weekend with Benjamin - just the two guys. I had a lineup sure to fit any child's dream. We woke up early on Saturday morning and made our ever famous farmers market run. Among our top finds were: eggplant, swiss chard, heirloom apples, Japanese Kale. On the downside there were no Brussels Sprouts - they were out before we got there :( From the market we went to coffee with some runner friends and Benjamin's friend Abby.

    That afternoon we made our way to Historical Hysterical Halloween being held at The History Center of Olmsted County. Most of the activities took place outside so thankfully it was a gorgeous autumn day. Benjamin got to dress up in his T-Rex costume that Jessica slaved over for the past two weeks. What are you going to be for Halloween? The array of activities consisted of making pumpkin bead necklaces, colored sand art, musical instruments, a spooky schoolhouse, a tractor ride, a train raid, roasting marshmallows. We were there for about 2 hours and left no stone unturned. We spent that night watching old school Scooby Doo and the Muppet Show - two of my (our) favorite classics!

    As you may know the weather here in MN turned bitter cold here on Saturday night and wind started howling! That was followed up by a nice dose of rain and yes SNOW on Sunday! I decided rather than sit inside and watch it all come down that we would have our own road trip to Kellogg, MN, home of Lark Toys. They have an exquisitely ornate merry go round with hand carved animals. We rode that

    ate pumpkin ice cream (thankfully it contained no egg) Mmmm pumpkin ice cream on my face!, and played with their vast amount of toys all afternoon. Benjamin's favorites were the toy horse along with a puppet stage, and a hand carved wooden circus.

    Of course on the way home we just "had" to stop at Pepin Heights apple store to sample their various apple varieties and world class apple cider.

    Mommy came home about 5:30 and we spent the rest of the night together as one big happy family.

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Apparently Benjamin is all set for Kindergarden, or at least that's what the good people of the Rochester public school system told us on Friday. In our city, kids have to go through a screening process sometime between the time they're 3 years and 3 months and the summer before they begin school. The screening involves a hearing test, vision examination and several small "games" to look at their readiness. He has great hearing, perfect vision (literally) and did really well at the activities. He did struggle with a "repeat after me" game where the teacher said a number and then asked him to repeat it. She started out small -- teacher: "2" Benjamin: "2" teacher: "6" Benjamin: "6" teacher: "9 3" Benjamin: "4 8" teacher: "7 2" Benjamin: "1 5." He just didn't give up, it was so funny. She'd say 2 numbers and he'd come right back with 2 of his own. It wasn't that he isn't capable of repeating her (he did it fine after she explained it in depth to him), but he just had to throw out 2 numbers of his own like it was some kind of one-upping game. He wasn't trying to show his abilities, he was trying to BEAT her at her game!!!

    We spent the rest of Friday at Oxbow Park, which has a small zoo, hiking trails and a playground. Since most kids are in school, the place was empty. It was a gorgeous day and it was nice to finally have a Friday free from packing suitcases or cleaning the house for company. I can't even remember the last time Benjamin and I spent a Friday doing something fun!! We even managed to see a porcupine gettin' down:

    On Saturday, after Mike's long run with his running group, we drove out to Fountain to spend some time at Drury's furniture looking at extremely beautiful, but extremely overpriced kitchen tables. Then we stopped by an apple orchard and picked up a bag of Courtlands. It was a nice sunny drive to/from Rochester. Sunday morning I went out on a long bike ride through most of town. We are so blessed to have about 60 miles of paved bike trails here for running and cycling. I don't know what Mike nor I would do without them!

    Everywhere you look around here now are shining examples of why living in a place with seasons is great! Soon we will have plenty of examples of why living in a place with seasons is not so great, so we are trying to soak in as much autumn as we can!!

    Sunday night Mike watched the Packers while he made us a to-die-for meal of Kale Ragu (I know, it doesn't sound like it, but it was AWESOME!). Benjamin and I napped. Monday was a blustery, rainy day so Benjamin and I stayed home and I began the work on his Halloween costume. If you have even briefly talked to him in the last month and a half, you'll know that he is going to be a T-Rex. He is very very excited. I am praying that he doesn't decide to change his costume choice anytime between now and Halloween. I can just see it now, "No Benjamin you WILL wear the T-Rex costume!! I don't care if you want to be Buzz Lightyear now - Mommy spent 20 HOURS sewing this costume!!" Pray for me.

    Mike is ready to begin his big home improvement project for the season: installing our baseboard heater in the basement. We actually bought it last winter, but kind of stalled on putting it in as the warm weather came and we didn't really need it anymore. We are sort of planning on totally redecorating the basement actually, so now with heat, we will actually want to spend time down there!! Just in time for winter and hibernation!

    Mr. and Mrs. Dan and Katie Schmitt

    Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    What a perfect day for a wedding! Dan and Katie were married on Saturday and they honestly could not have asked for a more beautiful day, I think.

    The weather was gorgeous, the ceremony was so special and the reception was loads of fun. It was also great to see family who came from far away (I'm talkin' to you Duane and Sarah!). Katie was a stunning bride and it was so apparent all day that she and Dan are madly in love.

    Right now they're in Door County, WI on their honeymoon, hopefully having an excellent time.

    Benjamin decided that a wedding celebration would not be complete without injuring himself, so he went ahead and ran into a table in the basement of the church after photos, but before the ceremony. He has a nice black eye and a pretty big cut under his eye that seems to be healing nicely. Being the trooper that he is, he pulled himself together and was a very good boy for the rest of the day.

    On Sunday, Mike and I attempted to cheer for the Twin Cities Marathon runners, but rainy weather really mucked up our plans. It was so cold and wet that after standing in the rain for about 10 minutes, we decided to call it quits. We spent the rest of the day indoors, watching football and taking naps. After all of the preparation, it is hard to believe that this weekend is over and Dan and Katie are married! Next wedding to conquer is Andy and Jennifer's in January and we are ready for the challenge! :-)

    How do you entertain a 3 year old at a funeral luncheon?

    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    Give him a digital camera!

    My dear Great Aunt Mollie passed away last week. She was an amazing woman whom I have and always will look up to. She worked at the business that she helped create until she was 88 years old! Though she lived a long (she was 95 when she died) and full life, she will be greatly missed. However, we are all left with great memories of her...like how she would slave in the kitchen over her world famous soup that her nieces and nephews all fought over!

    I traveled down to Chicago with my Mom and Benjamin for the wake and funeral, which gave us an opportunity to see my family. We enjoyed spending time with Great Grandma and Uncle Mark, who we won't get to see as often as we'd like. Aunt Clarice and Uncle Terry were kind enough to forefit their bedroom for the three of us so we could crash Sunday night.

    Mike stayed up in the Twin Cities for Dan's bachelor party on Saturday night and then stuck around to watch the Packers lose on Sunday.

    Last night a friend of mine from high school, Rae, came up with her husband on their way to a conference in Fargo. They stayed the night at our house to break up their drive a bit. I hadn't seen her in probably about 10 years, so it was nice to catch up and finally meet her husband!

    Everyone is in high gear for the wedding weekend and we are very excited for the big day to finally be here! I will no doubt be back next week with loads of photos and details...stay tuned!