Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Fall Post

I figured that I had better get a post up for fall since it is almost winter! We have so many pictures to share! The kids had a great rest of the summer - the fair was a blast as it always is, Jr. High has proven to be a fun and hectic place for Taylor and Ian is really fitting in at his new school. My classes are also going well - most are online this semester. This will be the last semester that I will enjoy that luxury!

Here's some pictures from back in July that are mostly from Ian playing t-ball.

And then we went camping for my birthday. We were at the Rice Creek Park Reserve in Lino Lakes, MN. While we really did have a great time for the couple of days we were there, the drunk teenagers across from us on the last night kind of put a dent in things. We ended up calling the police twice and woke up to one of them peeing in Rob's chair at our fire pit at 5:00 in the morning. The pictures are still fun and we plan to go camping again with Uncle Rob next summer.

We also went to the Japanese Lantern Festival at Como in August. The pictures are great, but they just do not do the beauty of this event justice.

These pictures are some random end-of-summer goodies:

Then we come to the Minnesota State Fair. We had a great twelve days of fun and we ended it with the neighborhood breakfast on the last day as we always do. But this year there was a twist - most of us also got fair-dos before we left that morning!

We also have pictures of Ian playing soccer and some from his class during awards day. These are from October.

Last on the list of pictures are the ones from Halloween last night. Taylor was death and Ian was Darth Vader. The weather was great this year!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Como Butterfly Garden, Swimming Lessons & a Rocket Launch

What a crazy busy week it has been in our house. Somehow summer always seems to have a way of doing that, though. We start out with pictures from the Como Butterfly Garden on Wednesday, July 9th. It is a new attraction this summer at the Como Zoo & Conservatory. It was fascinating for the kids, and I really enjoyed trying to get pictures of the different butterflies. We also took some time to go and see some of the animals in the zoo before hitting Como Town once again. We cannot begin to explain how much we love living within walking distance of this wonderful gem of a park.

On Thursday, July 10th I snapped some pictures of the kids during their swimming lessons at the Como Pool. This was the last day in their 1st of two sessions this summer so the teachers were doing a lot of testing to see which children should move up to the next level. Taylor passed with flying colors and Ian's teacher is going to let him try the next level to see how he does. He still has a fear of jumping off of the diving board unassisted, but if you look at the last few pictures of him on the board, the teacher doesn't actually touch him or help in into the water at all. So, we'll see how he does starting tomorrow in the next level.

Next up was the Trioli rocket launch on Saturday, July 11th. The forecast was for sunny skies, temps in the upper 70's (yay!), but winds gusting as high as 40mph. We left early in hopes of getting Panod's new, large rocket up before the winds got too bad, but it was already windy when we got there at about 9:00am. I volunteered to launch my new (first ever) rocket, since it was smaller. Panod has been so patient in helping me build it, and even the kids have taught me so much that they know - I was proud to put it on the launch pad with the other rockets, but I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn't see it again. See, the winds seemed to have a nasty habit of blowing the rockets ever closer to a corn field with plants there were about 3-4' tall. That would make it very hard to find any rocket in if it were to blow into the field - and that's exactly where mine ended up! As I was running to catch my rocket after it launched, I remember the announcer commenting on my fine-looking streamer, and then saying that it looks like my rocket might be the first one we lose today in the corn field. I wandered in that endless sea of corn for 90 minutes after it launched, but eventually I gave up. I got back to the site and announced to Panod and the kids that I had lost my rocket. Sad as it was, I knew it was a possibility when I agreed to do it - and we now knew for sure that Panod was not going to launch his new one. Nobody wanted to risk losing that one! We stayed until about 1:30pm when most everybody that had agreed to launch theirs had - and they were out looking for them in the corn field. lol Panod said he wanted to take a stab at trying to find mine before we had to go, so I started packing up the kids while he searched. Sure enough - after about 30 minutes, he called me on my cell phone to say that he had found it!!! If that's not love, I don't know what is! We were able to get out to the ball fields in Como Park last night when the winds died down to launch Panod's new rocket. It did so well that we ended up launching it twice. Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Finally a Summer Post

It took a while for it to finally feel like summer here. I'm going to use that as part of the reason it has been so long since our last post. There's also the fact that I have ended my spring semester and started my summer semester, the kids have finished up school, and their summer activities have begun.

Our first set of pictures comes from Ian's last days at his school, JJ Hill. His grade put on a play for us all to watch, and then a few days later we were there as his name was called to come and get his kindergarten diploma.

The weekend after school let out, I took the kids camping for a few days. We went to the Bunker Hills campground since it is so close, and we had a blast! I really wish we had brought the camera and taken some pictures, but I'm sure we'll be going camping again this summer and we'll be sure to get some then. If you ever need a close place to the cities to take the kids for a few days, I would highly recommend the campground at Bunker Hills. The sites are clean, big, quiet, and the wave pool was a hit for us.

Our next set of pictures comes from a newly-found family hobby - rockets. Panod and the kids had gone to the monthly meeting back in May, but we all went to the one in June since they had so much fun the last time. Panod, Taylor & even Ian all built rockets to launch on the launch pads that are provided. We also got to watch other rockets launch, and some of them were really, really big. We had so much fun that we are planning another trip next weekend for the July meeting - I'm even going to get in on the fun and launch my own rocket, too!

We did get through Back to the 50's again this year, but we did not get any pictures this time around. Grandpa Bob even paid us a visit that weekend and he really enjoyed the old cars.

June 14th was a big day for us,too. We went to the Star Wars exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The pictures really tell most of the story, but there is something really scary about a six-year-old who knows the difference between all of the different droids.

And then there are all of the summer activities. These pictures are from a trip to Como Town & a train ride that a neighbor got tickets for and shared with us.

Both Taylor and Ian are involved in swimming again this summer. Taylor is also playing tennis every morning in Langford Park, and Ian is doing t-ball again this year. I will be getting some pictures of those goodies this week to post here. Otherwise, we are all doing well & we hope that your Independence Day was as fun as ours was.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

May '08 Raptor Release

We just spent this morning participating in a raptor release at the Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington. Taylor has been volunteering at the Raptor Center over at the U of MN since September through their RaptorCorps program, and we were all thrilled to be a part of such a fun event. There were Bald Eagles, Hawks and Owls that we could all view before the release. And there was this amazing outdoor playground that the kids got to play on. It was the biggest one Panod and I have seen outdoors.

The three raptors that were released back into the wild were a Cooper's Hawk, and two Red Tailed Hawks. Two of them had been found with broken wings (one of those had been shot!) and one was found ill with parasites. All three were nursed back to health and deemed able to return to the wild.

Panod had been bogged down with work this past week, and I have been swamped with finals in these last two weeks of school with a full load. We are getting through it, though - we are just really looking forward to the slower days that summer will offer us. Oh - and Panod and I are looking forward to a quick one-mile run in downtown this Thursday. Wish us luck on getting good times!
Raptor Release May 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

PK Does a 10K

You read it right - Panod ran a 10K this weekend. And the weather - well, let's just say that if there was actually a way to explain the weather he had to run in, I would place it somewhere near a hurricane snow storm. The snow that was falling was more like small hail pellets, and the winds were driving it into the racers faces at 40-50mph. It was just awful weather to run in, but he really did not complain at all. He did do his nervous laugh a couple of times in the car after the kids and I pulled up to drop him off, but he braced himself against the wind as he got out of the car, and posed for a quick picture before heading off to the race. The kids and I could not stay for the nearly two-hours that it was going to take for the race to start and Panod to run the course. (Ian had stayed home sick from school the day before, and he was clearly fighting a sinus infection.) So, we took off and had breakfast at the Highland Cafe & Bakery. The food was good (and warm), but all we could think about was how cold poor Panod must be as we watched the winds and snow whip by the windows of the Cafe. We were able to get back to the race and park the car where we could sit in it and watch the racers come across the finish line. We were not able to find Panod in the large crowd, but he called as soon as he got across. He managed to run the race in 1 hour, at a pace of 9:40/mile! We are so proud of him!!
Get in Gear

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Taylor's 12th Birthday

I don't think that anyone who has helped make Taylor's day so special can believe that she is already 12. It has been a wonderful day!

I have to rewind to last weekend, first. The weather was beautiful! The neighborhood kids got motivated and they tried to break the world-record for hopscotch. With Taylor and a neighbor at the helm, they were able to get it up to 500! It stretched down the street, around the corner, and around another corner. The best part is that the kids kept making the adults do the hopscotch. The pictures are at the beginning of the birthday album, and they are hilarious.

Yesterday, Panod went ahead and gave Taylor a present a day early. He got her a real rocket! They spent part of the day yesterday putting it together. It was a great lesson for Taylor in following directions, and she did a great job. They finished the rocket today and then they went and fired it off this morning. Everyone was thrilled to see it take-off and land safely (though farther away than they had planned since it was a little windy.) It was also launched again this afternoon, and we were able to get pictures of that one.

After lunch today, the four of us met Grandma, Bumpa, Uncle Rob, Aunt Jen and Cousin Kane at Chuck E Cheese. We spent the afternoon playing games and opening presents. Grandma and Bumpa got Taylor her own fishing pole and a really nice tackle box. She can't wait to use them this summer! And Uncle Rob and Aunt Jen went with the world-record theme and got Taylor an incredible 2008 Guinness World-Records book! The best part is that it has pictures of all of the incredible people and the things that they have accomplished. This is sure to be a huge hit not only for Taylor, but the entire neighborhood gang.

Taylor's last gift was given to her this evening. I was able to track down a gently used unicycle, and I think that she is going to be great at riding it. She has wanted to try and learn how to ride one for a couple of years, and this one presented itself late last week.

Thank you so much to the family and friends that have had a hand in making Taylor's day special. And to those who couldn't make it today, we love you and we think of you often.

Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mother Nature Has an Interesting Sense of Humor

Yep - that's snow. Eight inches of the wet, slushy stuff fell on Monday & Tuesday (4/01/08), and left us with a mess to clean up on April Fool's Day. The kids are on spring break this week, so the timing has worked out well for them to take full advantage of what will likely be the last snow fall of this winter/spring.

Panod and I got the privilge to go and see the Blue Man Group play on Saturday night, thanks to UrbanPlanet. This was an amazing show! Even though a majority of the group we went with had seen the show in Vegas, we all really enjoyed it. It was humorous, exciting, loud and the opening act, Mike Realm, was fantastic.