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    New Look

    Wednesday, December 03, 2008

    Well, as you can tell, the Familie Schmitt blog has a new look - which is possibly temporary for now until I can figure out a way to do what I really want to do with it. I was tired of the old green look, hence the change. Anyhoo, onto the more interesting stuff...(warning: this is gonna be a long one)

    We celebrated Thanksgiving and did a variety of other things with the Schmitt family last week. It was quite a "marathon weekend" sans a marathon! We drove up to Cottage Grove on Wednesday night and Mike and I wandered down to Hastings for the evening to pick up packets/register for the Gobble Gait 8k race. We knew it was going to be a really fun race with the race headquarters at a bar and registration volunteers all rockin' beers at packet pickup! The race was at 8:30am Thanksgiving morning.

    Dan, Katie, Mike and I braved the cold start area with approximately 2,000 other runners. The course is a nice loop around Hastings with the beginning running along the Mississippi River, which was quite scenic. There were a couple of real steep hills along the course and a nice downhill, but overall it was very fun and a nice way to sneak in some exercise before gobbling down our turkey. Cindy made a tasty Thanksgiving meal, which we all enjoyed. Andy and Jennifer along with her Mom and Stepdad joined us later in the evening for pie after we played a couple heated rounds of Left Right Center with Great Aunt Alice, Bert and Cindy.

    On Friday I busied myself with baking cakes for Jennifer bridal shower, but we were all very excited all day for a big surprise. Jen had reserved tickets for the three of us, along with Joe, Jen and AJ to ride on the Polar Express! We didn't tell either boy about what we were doing, but dressed them in their pajamas and drove out to Lakeville to the train depot.

    Funny enough, both boys passed out in our respective cars on the way. When they woke up we let them in on the surprise and although they were still a little groggy from their naps, they were extremely excited. The event itself was so well done. The depot was all decked out in holiday decorations, a tv showing the movie, toys for the kids to play with and a mini-train for the kids to ride on throughout the parking lot. When their mini-train ride was finishing up, the big train pulled up and I honestly have never seen the boys so excited! It was magical. We walked to the Polar Express and a conductor asked each child their name and checked to make sure they were on his "list." Then we boarded the train and took our seats on a commuter car (which suspiciously looked like a Burlington Northern car).

    High schoolers dressed up like elves led some games and songs and later a woman read the Polar Express book to us. The elves also handed out cookies and hot chocolate ("HOT! HOT! HOT! Oooh we got it! Hot, hot, hot - Hot chocolate!") to everyone. After all of this excitement, Santa and Mrs Claus made their way into our car and spent time talking with each child individually. If they proved to Santa that they believed they were given a sleigh bell (just kidding, all the kids got bells). Benjamin was just thrilled with the whole thing, what an awesome experience for all of us.

    Saturday was Jennifer's bridal shower. Andy is the last Schmitt boy to get married and so she will be the last sister-in-law addition to the family and all of us females are thrilled to finally even it up (with the exception of all of those darn grandSONS)! Katie, Jen and I threw the shower, which had a winter wonderland theme, at Jen's house. I finished the cake Saturday morning and successfully drove it to Jen's house without any damage, though for once I had to not drive like a Chicagoan to get it there in one piece! Everyone had a great time and Jennifer and Andy received some awesome and unique gifts. When the shower was over the entire family drove out to Stillwater to celebrate Alice's 90th birthday.

    After dinner Mike, Dan, Katie, Jen and I were able to spend some adult time away from kids and we had a blast! We finished up our weekend by watching the Packers game on Sunday at Cindy and Bert's.

    Our Christmas tree and holiday decorations are all finally out and we feel finally like the Christmas season is upon us. Benjamin is full of questions about every little thing to do with the holiday and we are trying to do our best at answering them. But how does one explain to a 3 year old exactly what myrrh is - I'm not even sure I completely know! As the good Catholic family we are, my family celebrates St. Nicholas Day, which is a tradition Mike and I have taken on as well. Benjamin will have a full stocking, but I'm sure even more questions - "did Santa fill our stockings" - "no, St. Nick did" - "what is the difference between Santa and St. Nick?"

    OH BOY!