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    Archive for January 2009

    No reason to change out of your pajamas

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    I think the title says it all. We spent the majority of this weekend holed up in our house in our pajamas and bath robes. Sad as that may be, it sure did feel good! All of us have had some form of a cold over the course of the past week and all weekend, so it was good to have the time to recover.

    We did manage to shower and get dressed Saturday night though for a big night out. Our neighbors, Katie and Jason, invited us out to dinner for Katie's birthday.

    They had a babysitter come over to their house so Ethan and Benjamin could play together and the four of us enjoyed a nice adult dinner at a new restaurant in town, Twigs. It was an awesome meal and a very fun night out! I think that the two little guys had a good time as well watching movies and running around like crazy men!

    I guess we also did get dressed on Sunday because miracle of miracles, we ventured out to a store and bought a new kitchen/dining room table!! For those of you who have not been to our house in the last year or so, you may not be familiar with the deathtrap we currently are using as a table in our kitchen. Mike bought the table approximately 9 years ago when he moved into our old apartment. It was from Montgomery Ward (yep, remember that good old store!?) and the chairs never really were all that stable (that's an understatement). We are so very excited for the delivery on Wednesday!

    I just have to comment on what a grown-up little boy we have at our house lately. Benjamin is constantly impressing us with his language, personality and the things he's able to do at this age. Most notably is his quick adjustment to being completely potty-trained. I have to give him all the credit on this one! The whole process went so fast, it seems. Of course it is one of those things that you can look back on and remember as being easy (kind of like childbirth) but really going through it there were some tough spots. Most specifically peeing in a toy aisle at Shopko on day 1. But once he "got it," he luckily has never looked back. In fact sometime right after Christmas, he asked to stop wearing pull-ups to bed. HE asked. So every morning since then, without fail he has woken up with a dry pair of underpants. Of course, he still is excited about his ability, so he askes us every morning to "feel his pants," something that outrightly scared his Uncle Andy on a recent visit! He just thrives on his ability to do something all by himself. We picked up a videogame system for him when we returned a duplicate Christmas present and it is awesome to see him playing his games like a pro. I remember really struggling with our Atari system at the age of probably 10 and here is my 3 year old operating a joystick to make Spiderman swing from his webs. I can't even imagine what he'll be able to do when he's 10.

    We also have been noticing that sometimes listening to him or looking at his expressions are like reflections in a mirror for us. The little facial ticks he has when he's telling a story are beginning to look more and more like exactly what we must look like. He also hears EVERYTHING. If he is in the same room when we are having a conversation from anything as simple as what we did today at work or something as serious as his bad behavior, he hears it...and remembers. We really have to be on our toes. A couple of days ago he told me that I was "driving him crazy!" No doubt something I've said in reference to someone while talking to Mike. He's growing up so fast and I know that some big occasions are just right around the corner for him, like his first day of school, which I know will be exciting and also sad for us. But the more I see of this little gentleman, the more I know that he is so completely and utterly capable of not only succeeding on his own without us but also will most certainly excel at anything he does!

    Yet another funny from him...
    Benjamin: I really like pancakes.
    Grandpa Ed: These pancakes are the best!
    Benjamin: ...forget the rest!

    Mr. and Mrs. Andy and Jennifer Schmitt

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    The last of the Schmitt brothers has tied the knot. Andy and Jennifer were married on Saturday in Cottage Grove. Mike was a groomsman and Benjamin was the ring bearer, which he was very honored to be. He just loved his tuxedo! When we went to pick the tuxes up, he danced in front of the mirrors singing. Many of you have probably seen the video of his walk down the aisle over at Mom and Dad's blog, but in case you haven't, you can see it here: Ringbearer Video Basically what happened was that Jennifer told Benjamin that when it was his turn to go, he was going to be the leader and she would follow him. Well, he thought that meant that she'd be coming behind him right away, so he kept looking back to see if she was coming. As soon as he heard people laughing, the little ham decided to keep up his routine the whole way down the aisle. It took him a while, but he eventually got there!

    Here is a video of Andy and Jennifer making their vows. You can hear Benjamin in the background trying to talk to me, I really tried to get him to stay quiet, but he IS three afterall!

    The reception was at the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Stillwater. We ate German food, drank German beers and enjoyed the tasty cakes I made for the occasion. There was a slight pirate theme to the whole wedding and so the bride and groom requested not only a tiered wedding cake (my first attempt), but also a treasure chest cake.

    It was hours and hours of work, but I think the treasure chest turned out great! It is a french vanilla cake with chai tea buttercream covered in white fondant that I painted to look like wood. Everything on the cake is edible, I made the jewelry, coins and map out of fondant. The other cake was tiers of french vanilla and german chocolate with vanilla buttercream, just what the couple wanted. I brought it up from Rochester in pieces and constructed it and decorated it the night before the wedding. I drove them to the reception location early in the morning on Saturday with a bunch of knots in my stomach, afraid that they'd fall over or something equally as destructive would happen. Luckily they both make it there in one piece!

    After all of that wedding excitement, Mike and I had a chance to sleep in on Sunday and we actually met up with the honeymooners for lunch before they drove off to their honeymoon spot. Then we drove out to Mound to spend the rest of the weekend and all day Monday at Mom and Dad's. This should be our last weekend of driving up to the twin cities for a while, so maybe now we can actually have people drive to Rochester to see us!

    Christmas, part II

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    The entire Schmitt clan gathered at Cindy and Bert's house for our Christmas celebration on New Years Day. The big kids participated in a mystery gift game where we all passed around these crazy wrapped presents as Bert read us a story full of the words "left" and "right." The presents were passed around and at the end of the story we were able to keep the one we ended up with. Mike scored a cookbook and I got a bunch of miscellaneous foods.

    For the rest of the day we did our annual "sixer mixer," Aunt Alice came over, we opened presents and had a nice meal. The house sure is filling up with people on these occasions! Benjamin and AJ enjoyed opening all of their presents. All of the adults exchanged names this year for our gift exchange. Mike and I bought presents for Jen and Katie, Jen had my name and Andy had Mike's. We received some really great gifts!

    The next day we relaxed with Cindy who had the day off and then went over to Joe and Jen's house for an overnight visit. The boys ran around like madmen and Mike and I were able to snuggle with our Godson, John.

    Jen and I snuck out for some shopping while Mike watched all three boys by himself. He really enjoyed spending quality time with all of them and it was great that Jen and I were able to have some girly time too!! We spent the rest of the weekend at Cindy and Bert's and even had a chance to go out to an awesome sushi dinner by ourselves Saturday night. We headed home on Sunday once again to a quiet house and now all of us are back to our routines. It won't last for long though, as we have a very exciting event approaching: Andy and Jennifer's wedding. This coming weekend are the bachelor/bachelorette parties and the wedding is on the 17th. Not sure if I mentioned this before here, but I am making their wedding cakes. I already did a practice round for one and am very exciting to show off my decorating skills!!

    On the running front, Mike is in the midst of starting some serious events soon. He is doing the St. Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon on the 26th and then the planning will finally come together for the Lace Up Against Breast Cancer Half Marathon, which he is helping to plan. For that event he is also participating in the Rochester Winterfest Trifecta. On February 14 he will run up 26 stories of a building for the Cabin Fever Stair Climb and will jump into a lake for the Polar Bear Plunge followed up by the Lace Up Half Marathon on the morning of February 15. Crazy huh?? All of the events benefit charities and all are great causes. If you're interested in sponsoring Mike, email him! We are both also planning for a couple of major running events for this spring. Mike is planning on running the Colorado Marathon on May 3 and I am planning to signup for the Madison Half Marathon which is May 24. Let the training commence!

    We interrupt the Christmas blogging to bring you...

    Benjamin's response to the Chimpanzee Riding on a Segway video...(unfortunately Flickr cut the video short, but you'll get the idea)


    What can I say? Christmas is over and we are all a little disappointed and relieved. Were were able to sneak in a couple of days at home in between our travels, but from December 23-January 4 we were go-go-going!

    Mike had some extra vacation days to use up before the end of the year, so he was able to take a few days before Christmas off along with me, which was great. We worked really hard to not make present shopping stressful this year and I think it turned out to be really enjoyable actually. Christmas Eve was a great day. I made pierogis for our Christmas dinner at Mom and Dad's and Mike prepared for our special Christmas Eve dinner. Before we went to church that evening, we drove around Rochester looking at the Holiday lighting contest entries and winners. Benjamin oooh'ed and ahhhh'ed at every house. We went to the mass with the children's choir which Benjamin always enjoys. Father even brings up all of the little kids (there are hundreds!) to the altar to talk to them about Christmas, it is so cute. After church we went home and Mike finished up dinner. The meal was AMAZING. He made fresh mussels in a garlic-ey, onion-ey sauce with veggies and a great salad. It was one of those meals that you always remember, definitely in the top 5 greatest meals we've ever had. Benjamin had one of his favorites - grilled cheese and tater tots. Funny enough, we had planned on getting him McDonald's (a big step for Mike), but every single McDonald's was closed!!

    Benjamin was eager to get to bed - or rather to wake up on Christmas morning - so we put out the cookies, milk and carrots for the big man and his crew and Benjamin made record time getting into bed and falling asleep with no complaints. Mike and I refilled our wine glasses and got to work at putting all of the presents under the tree. We actually were off to bed early with excitement as well! Morning came quickly, but thankfully Benjamin didn't wake up too early (7:30).

    First he opened his stocking and then we all headed downstairs to the tree. I think Benjamin's first gift open was his guitar, which he was very excited about. He also got his "Mickey Mouse thing," Batman shoes and mask/cape, some workbooks, games and even underwear. Santa was very good to all of us! I got a new messenger bag for riding my bike to work and am registered for a class on how to use my camera.

    Mike got lots of spices, some Yak Tracks (for running in the snow), some cool clothes and his favorite movie - Spirit of the Marathon, which is about the 2005 Chicago Marathon. After all of the presents were open, we ate breakfast and packed up the car to head up to Grandma Chris and Grandpa Ed's house in Mound.

    We enjoyed a very relaxing Christmas day at Mom and Dad's. We started off by opening our stockings. Poor Benjamin, his was so small! Then we ate an awesome meal, which included the pierogis that I made. I think they would have made my Grandma Andrzejewski proud! After letting the food digest, we started in on the mound of presents under the tree. Once again, Santa was very good to us all!

    Mom and Dad were the lucky recipients of adirondack chairs for their backyard fire pit along with many accessories for nights out by the fire.

    Mom and Dad were our kind hosts for a few more days of hanging out and then we drove back to Rochester on Sunday to spend three days at home playing with all of our goodies. On Wednesday we dropped Benjamin off with Grandma Chris while we spent New Years Eve celebrating at Dan and Katie's house. For being relatively new at hosting events at their own house, Dan and Katie sure do know how to throw a party! We had a great time. The next morning Mike and I dragged ourselves out of bed and drove into downtown Minneapolis for the Team Ortho Polar Dash 5k race.

    It was cold, but not horrible and though the course was unexpectedly tough, we both had a great run. Mike even came in 17th place out of almost 400 runners, just seconds away from 2nd place in his age group. The course was really scenic, along the river just behind the Mill City Museum and new Guthrie theatre. We ran under the new 35W bridge and along an area which is still covered with debris from the tragedy. It was a very solemn experience. After the race we met up with Mom, Dad and Benjamin and then made our way over to the Schmitt house for Christmas #2.

    To be continued...