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    Archive for February 2009


    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    This weekend we were lucky to have a nice long visit with Mike's brother Joe, Jen and their two beautiful boys AJ and John. We wanted to do something fun and unique while they were here so we first took them to the SPAM Museum in Austin, which is about a 35 minute drive due west from here. AJ has many food allergies, so because they always have to bring food for him no matter where they go, they've depended a lot on the Turkey version of the "meat." AJ loves the stuff. As for Benjamin, he hates it, but still really loved the museum!

    The exhibits are very hands-on and kid-friendly, which was great for the little guys. Benjamin and AJ were also able to pretty much have the place to themselves since the roads were a bit bad Saturday morning and there were not many people out and about. Just to remind us it is indeed still winter here, we received another few inches of snow the night before. After running around the SPAM museum, we went into town and had lunch at the wonderful Piggy Blues BBQ. We were so surprised at the place, which turned out to be a very cute restaurant with delicious BBQ!

    Back in Rochester, later on Saturday, we all went bowling at the same place where we had been a couple of weeks ago with our neighbors. Unfortunately, the bowling alley was extremely busy for the 5:30 cosmic bowling, which we had made a reservation for.

    I think the boys were so tired from the beginning of our day and they did not last more than one game. It was fun though and AJ sure was impressed with his glowing shoes!

    On Sunday we took it easy and spent time hanging out at our house. The boys watched movies, played like maniacs and we got to enjoy our Godson, John.

    He is just such a cute good mannered little guy! Mike and I were able to get out of the house for a while to prepare for Sunday's festivities: our annual Academy Awards party. We tried to have different foods to represent the 5 best picture nominees. We had Milk Milkduds, Frost/Nixon ImPEACHment salsa and chips, Mini SlumDOGS in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button cajun BBQ sauce and The Reader German prezels and mustard. As always we had everyone fill out ballots to predict the winners and I believe I was the one with the most correct answers. It wasn't too hard - Slumdog Millionaire won for most of the awards. It was great to have everyone over again for the party, we always enjoy it! The only downside is that the awards are always on a Sunday and run pretty late into the night. We can always depend on our friends, Jen and Nate, to burn the almost-midnight oil with us until the very end and this year Jen and Joe stayed too. Joe had the day off so they stayed with the kids until Monday morning.

    As with most of you, I am sure, we are all in need of a vacation at this point in the winter. February is nearly over and March is almost here so at least the possibility of Spring is keeping us in good spirits. Sadly, we aren't going to be able to take the trip to Colorado that we had been planning on because Mike took charge of a project at work that has some crucial dates right before and after the time that the trip would have been. So who knows when we will get away. Hey - atleast we have Milwaukee to look forward to (wink, wink Erin!)... ;-)


    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    This was our kitchen while we lived in England 6 years ago. SIX years ago. Wow. That house was such a dump, but it holds very precious memories for us and I will always love it for that. We were once told by a repairman that the "range" in this picture was so old that its twin is in a museum. He wasn't kidding. Before we moved out of that house, I cleaned behind and under the stove, which had not been done in probably as long as that appliance existed. It was disgusting. The washing machine in this kitchen - yes, washing machines are commonly in the kitchen in England - worked for maybe half of the time that we lived in the house. The woman who owned this house was completely disinterested in spending money on getting anything fixed, so we often had to wait weeks and fight with the rental agency for things to be repaired. Behind the kitchen is a small sunroom with a beautiful wood floor. As it is known to do in England, it rained a lot the first few days we were in the house and that wood floor was destroyed by leaking water. Sadly, the room was unusable for the duration of our stay. Living there was quite an adventure.

    Anyway, I was looking through our England-related photos on our old Webshots sites today and was very frustrated to find that you cannot download photos from Webshots into anything other than their software. Well, that is just got good enough for me! So, I decided to start a new project. I am going to move all of our old photos onto Flickr with all of our newer photos. That way everything is contained in the same place. Heck, we pay for Flickr and have unlimited storage, so why not use it?!? So although it may take me days and days, I am going to be slowly adding these photos to Flickr. That means that when you see a bunch of photos of the Eiffel Tower on our main flickr page, it isn't that we've suddenly whisked ourselves off to Paris - we are just adding the photos from 2002-2003.

    Maybe I'll even post some here with some stories about our travels. I promise it will be better than that one time that your Uncle made you watch the slideshow of his family's Smokey Mountain vacation.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    While at the zoo, Benjamin was dicussing exactly why this fish has such a long nose with another nearly 4 year old boy. Benjamin's explaination...

    "Probably because he eats too many hot dogs...and straight things."

    ...Obviously! Haha.

    This was a crazy weekend for us. As I said earlier, Mike was busy with his Winterfest Trifecta activities (see video below) and also was completing any last minute things for the Lace Up Against Breast Cancer race, which was on Sunday.

    Our Valentine's celebrations actually began on Thursday with Benjamin's daycare party. The kids invited their parents to snack time. There were games, a special snack, some crafts and the whole room was decorated in a jungle theme. All the kids wore their pajamas that day as well, which Benjamin always loves. Friday evening Ethan came over to play. The two boys played so well together, they really get along and are so cute together. Benjamin and I decorated the kitchen with hearts and balloons as a Valentine's surprise for Mike on Saturday, however Mike actually surprised US when he came home early from his Stairclimb while we were in the middle of decorating! We were caught red-handed! In the afternoon, Benjamin and I headed out to Foster-Arends lake to watch the Plunge. We were lucky to get there at the perfect time to not only get a seat on the bleachers, but also to get a decent parking spot. When we left, after Mike's group jumped, it was insanity! The weather was cold, but not terrible and it was nice that the sun decided to shine as well. We were both pretty bundled up, so it wasn't too bad. It was a lot of fun to be able to watch the madness.

    Later that evening, we came home and opened up all of our Valentine's Day presents. Benjamin got a Disney cd and a Donald Duck toy (for his "Mickey Mouse thing"), Mike got the new Muppets Show Season 3 dvd set and I got 2 beautiful wall hangings for the basement. That reminds me, I have to get those on the wall before Sunday night, which is our annual Academy Awards party.

    Sunday was the Lace Up Against Breast Cancer race and Mike was out the door early to prepare with his fellow race committee members. Benjamin and I met everyone at the YMCA at around 9am, just as the runners were all gathering together for their run. Mike decided at the last minute to run the 5k race instead of the half marathon because he wanted to be back at the Y to help everyone out before the majority of the runners got back. I manned the food table, which consisted of donated chili, bananas, bread rolls, apples/caramel, and lots of cookies. It was fun seeing all of the runners come through the line for chili. One of our favorite bloggers Steve Stenzel even came down from St. Paul for the race and it was great to meet him in person! Benjamin spent his time munching on snacks and chatting up the runners. He was a really good boy all day. After we all relaxed a bit following the race, Benjamin went over to Ethan's house to play and we were able to celebrate Valentine's Day as a couple. We finally were able to see Slumdog Millionaire, which was outstanding. After the movie we cashed in Mike's silent auction winnings (a Whistle Binkie's giftcard) for our dinner. It was a great evening!

    You would think that after a weekend like that, we would use our day off on Monday to relax, but no way! Benjamin and I drove up to the Minnesota Zoo where we met Grandma Chris and Grandpa Ed, who had the day off for the President's Day holiday (sadly IBM does not celebrate the holiday, so Mike was stuck at work). We walked all around the zoo and because it was a mild day (32 and sunny), we were even able to walk around outside and see the new Grizzly Bear exhibit. Who would even imagine visiting a zoo in mid-February?? That's Minnesota for ya! We also saw an Imax movie called Under the Sea, which was in 3d. It was spectacular and Benjamin was trying to reach out and touch the fish the whole time, so funny. It was a great day and a great chance to take advantage of the fact that Mom and Dad are so close to us now!

    I should be uploading pictures from the Polar Bear Plunge and our Valentine's weekend soon. Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home the day we went to the zoo, which was a huge bummer since I wanted try out some techniques I learned in my class. Bah!

    I just kept thinking: Hot tub, Hot tub, Hot tub....

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Because I couldn't configure it to stop playing everytime this webpage opened, I've deleted the embedded video of Mike being interviewed by local news for the Polar Bear Plunge, but if you would like to see the video, visit this link:
    Taking the Polar Plunge

    Cosmic Baby

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    We took Benjamin bowling for the first time ever this weekend. Who knew what a fun activity bowling can be for a three year old?! Katie, Jason and Ethan reserved a lane and called us up to see if we wanted to join them. I must admit I was a little unsure at first. Children + Big hard bowling balls = potential head injury for Jessica. But actually both of the little guys really enjoyed both the bowling and the requisite arcade games at the bowling alley. The Posts kicked our butts, but we scored enough to hold our heads up high. Benjamin is excited to hit the lanes again sometime soon!

    Grandma Chris and Grandpa Ed came for a visit this weekend as well. It had been a while since they were able to come down to Rochester, so it was fun to have them here. Mike made another wonderful meal Friday night and while he was out for a run Saturday morning, Mom and I spent some quality time at the mall. It was a great weekend!


    Wednesday, February 04, 2009

    I'm a little late in my weekly post, mostly because I wasn't sure if I had anything interesting to say. On Facebook I recently did a posting (that nearly everyone on that site has also done) called 25 Random Things, where you list 25 things about yourself that others may or may not know about you. Anyway, one of my items was that I'd like to be able to write witty and entertaining blog entries. Instead of coming on here and writing what we did all weekend, I wish I could write funny anecdotes about our lives like so many successful bloggers. Our life with Benjamin is full of funny little situations, which I know people would like to read about, but I'm just not confident enough in my writing abilities to expand on most of them here. I guess it is something I'm working on, so bear with me.

    I'll get the weekend report out of the way - Mike's parents came down Friday night to visit and to celebrate Bert's 64th birthday. Chef Mike made a delicious meal of sausage and peppers for everyone. They stayed until Saturday afternoon, so we accompanied them to a furniture store to shop for entertainment centers for their new tv and they took us to lunch at one of our favorites: Jimmy John's. Mike and Benjamin spent all afternoon at a friend's house making cookies to auction off at the Lace Up Against Breast Cancer run on February 15th. This gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time at the movie theatre. I saw Frost/Nixon and Revolutionary Road back-to-back. Both movies were outstanding. On Sunday we lounged around the house and only left the house for a couple of hours to have lunch at our home-away-from-home. We caught some of the Super Bowl inbetween watching the more family friendly Puppy Bowl and dinner. Benjamin and I tried to wear the 3D glasses for the halftime extravaganza, but the experience was nauseating at best.

    Monday evening, I took a solo trip up to National Camera Exchange in Roseville for my camera class Christmas present from Mike. I took the Digital SLR 2 class and was very impressed by the knowledge presented. I'm trying to learn how to use my new camera and up until now didn't even know what ISO or Aperture meant. I know more than maybe I even need to now! Hopefully I'll be able to show off everything I learned soon.

    Benjamin has been very curious about death lately. I suppose all of this started when he came with me to my Aunt Mollie's funeral a couple months ago. He was full of questions, which I really tried to answer in a sensitive enough manner for his age. Now everytime he hears one of us say dead, dying, die, death or any variation, no matter the meaning, his ears perk up and he says, "WHO died!!?!?" I don't get the sense that he's scared of death or that his curiosity is morbid in anyway, he just is talking a little more than usual about it. We've been trying to hint that maybe it isn't appropriate for him to use words about death so much, like when he's playing with his toys, but that plan may be backfiring. While taking a bath, he was playing with some Elmo and Ernie pirate ship figures and was saying (what Mike thought was), "You're gonna DIE!" So Mike told him to not say that. But it turns out that he was saying, "You're gonna DIVE." as they were taking turns jumping off of the boat. And of course, to a three year old, the more you focus on something that they can't do, the more they want to do it. So because Mike put an emphasis on the whole "DIE" word, now he's testing us and saying it more and more. This morning he was singing songs for his friend Salty who "died, is under the pillow and is all yucky." He told Mike that if they play games and sing, Salty won't die and won't be yucky anymore. Fortunately for us, he doesn't seem to understand the permanency of death. Therefore, Salty was brought back to life and all is good in the world again. God help us when he decides to sing songs for Aunt Mollie...