Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Well, on our THIRD summer here in Minnesota, the Harris crew finally made it down the road to the Minnesota State Fair! It literally is just a few miles up the road from us, right here in Saint Paul. Our first summer we were busy getting moved into the house, and last summer I was pregnant and feared all the smells, heat and walking in my preggo state. So we put the kids in the stroller today and went and met our good friends, the Dunn Family, at the Fairgrounds. WHAT FUN! We really had the nicest day. They call it "The Great Minnesota Get-Together" and it truly was. The hype around this event is absolutely insane and people go crazy for their Fair here. With pretty good reason! We got to see a baby cow being born in PERSON! (Gross, yes, but so amazing!) We got to see horses and pigs and sheep. We saw a Tornado exhibit and, though we walked right on past the famous "Midway" with all the typical carnival rides like "The Zipper" and the "Spin until you Puke" ride, it was fun to see everyone else having a blast there. Want to buy a tractor? Go to the fair! How about a piano? Go to the fair! Now, if you are in the market for a boat or new windows, you might want to fo to the fair!!! Do you need 47 varieties of garlic spices? Get thee to the fair. And if food-on-a-stick is your thing - say, pork chops, pickles, EGGS, pizza, pronto pups (think corn dogs), walleye or even twinkies...the fair has it all.

Yes, it all sounds terribly Midwest, doesn't it?! And it was! And that is what was wonderful. People were nice. It was wholesome and happy. The weather was perfect, the kid's giggles was pure joy, the company was great and the food was, for the most part, pretty darn amazing! Ever had fried cheese curds? YUM! And I am totally serious about that. So good.

Anyway, my feet are killing me, I am a little pink from the sun, and I think I gained 10 pounds, but what a happy day!

Here is Kate sampling perhaps the most famous of Fair Foods - at least a favorite one of is Sweet Martha's Cookies! They literally sell them by the BUCKET. We opted for the small paper cone but you seriously see people walking around with a giant BUCKET OF COOKIES. They are all hot out of the oven and gooey delicious. Here is Kate enjoying some cookies with the obligatory glass of cold milk.

Sweet Liam loved the day. He liked being outside and looking at all the sights. He was such a good baby. Not a peep of complaint. What a guy!

Kate and her Best Buddy Maggie

Those who read the blog know that Kate's best buddy here in Minnesota is little Miss Maggie. She is the sweetest little girl - the Irish Catholic cutie that belongs to dear friends of ours - Tim and Erin! As I have said before, our Minnesota experience would be sadly lacking if not for their friendship. The two girls get along SO well and always have fun together and are just sweet. Here they are on one of the rides at the Fair. Kate is pretty into it, in case you cannot tell! She loved it! Maggie did, too - that is Maggie right behind Kate. They had a blast.

Drinking Buddies! Maggie had some blue colored icey beverage that she kindly shared with Kate. Both ended up looking pretty wasted on blue sugar syrup by the end! Ah, the love! Erin pointed out that on their 21st birthdays it is very likely that there could be recreations of these pics - complete with closed eyes!

More State Fair Pics!

Kate is quite obsessed with horses and "ponies". She loves to play with toy horses and ponies whether it is the more authentic looking palominos and such or the fantasy variety such as pink or purple ponies with rainbow-colored manes. She could play with ponies all day! Well, imagine her HUGE delight when she saw REAL LIVE HORSES at the Fair! She had no fear and all she wanted to do was to pet those horses. She was so thrilled and it was fun to see her big smiles.

We made it a point to try several "famous" state fair foods that we had never heard of until we moved here. Most of which consists of "fill-in-the-blank on a stick". Here Nick samples the famous Fried Twinkie. It is fried and drizzled in chocolate syrup and served on (what else) a stick. Very healthy. Nick thought it was OK. Honestly, I tried a bite and thought I would hurl. I found it to be vomitous. :)

GIANT MASSES OF PEOPLE. They don't call it the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" for nothing. There were SOOOO many people! But everyone was, in true Minnesota fashion, "super nice" (you have to say that with the MN accent, doncha know!)

The kiddos crashed out after a long day at the Fair.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pretty in Pink

Kate after a long day of playing outside!

Polish Jokes...the joke's on us!

Nick just got back from a business trip to Poland. While very busy the entire week, he did manage to have a late afternoon and evening free the day before his departure back to the States! He took the time to explore Krakow as much as he could! During the week he had been in the Polish countryside and mountains and was impressed with how lovely it all was. He was even more impressed with the beauty of Krakow! He said that memorials to Pope John Paul II are everywhere! Krakow, apparently, is a hidden European gem - so beautiful, with street concertos and strolling musicians everywhere, neat little courtyards hidden amongst the beautiful old buildings. Also incredibly affordable as far as European cities go! I loved hearing all the stories he had about his travels - they are too numerous to put down here, and I would probably get the details skewed a little in the retelling, but I will post some pics and that should give some idea!

Here are two pics of St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow. Doesn't it look stunning? I am so jealous that Nick got to see this in person - he said it was beyond amazing.

This is a pic Nick took from his dinner table. Literally! That is his beer in front of him and the umbrella of the cafe table overhead. His table was literally right on the main square in Old Town Krakow!!! He had appetizer, salad, main course, beers (plural!) and dessert for about $20 US! WOW! And the view was free.

This is a picture of a SMALL part of Wawel castle in Krakow.

The square at dusk.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Liam Sits Up!

Liam started sitting up this week! He is so strong. I keep the boppy pillow around him as he tends to still topple now and then, but he loves to sit up next to his sister and play with all his toys. I could just kiss those cheeks off his face!!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I've Partied with the Hollywood Stars at Club LAX!!!!!

At least that is what my bank is saying! My debit card number was used to charge many, many drinks and tips to a hot nightclub in Los Angeles! Thank goodness I read "US Weekly" Magazine because I knew right away what the club was when I saw the charges on my account - even though I have not been to L.A. in five years! I have no clue how this happened since my card has never left my person. The Fraud department said it could have been a fluke - i.e. Someone's magnetic stripe was not working and when the server keyed in the numbers they did it wrong and it happened to be my numbers - OR someone got my debit numbers and wrote them down and they have a scam at the club with a buddy who works there who will allow them to just give them random numbers. It is essentially the same as credit card fraud except it is REAL CASH that has been taken from me. So frustrating. Needless to say, that card has been CLOSED.

What an odd thing to happen! Well, at least I can say that my debit card number, if not me in person, has been to a hot nightclub in L.A., frequented by the likes of Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan and the skeletal Nicole Ritchie! Ha ha

Wish me luck with getting all of this resolved and getting my money back! I hope it was just a fluke and some creep out there does not have my personal info - we will be on major credit report watch for a while here to make sure it is not true identity theft.

In the meantime, all is well. Nick is in Poland on business (and yes he really is in Poland and not the mystery club-goer in LA! Ha ha) and he gets back this weekend. He says that Krakow is absolutely beautiful. Right now he is somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland doing business and there is no email or easy phone access that does not cost a trillion dollars. I cannot wait to see him on Saturday and see pics and hear his tales of any non-business sightseeing he may have managed to squeeze in amongst a very packed business schedule.

Ok - have to run. Almost nap time here at the Harris household for the kiddos!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Taking Requests

Kate has been obsessed with the concept of Birthdays ever since she attended the fabulous "Princess Party" last week! Accordingly, she has been asking a lot about her own birthday - when it is, who will be there, what presents she will have, what kind of cake she will have. She is really interested in the whole concept. I figure, to be perfectly honest, that I can leverage this over the next month or so when it comes to any behavior challenges! Kind of along the lines of Santa Claus, you know? ha ha

Anyway, so I asked Kate last night, as she was talking about Birthday parties - "And what would you like for your Birthday, Kate?" She thought about it for a second and looked up at me, counting off the items on her fingers as she spoke, "I would liiiiiiiike......a puppy and a vacuum cleaner."

Ok, then!!!!

I gave the standard 'mom' answer - you know, one of those phrases you swear you will never say as a mother but find yourself using almost automatically and without thought - "We'll see!" Though I think it safe to say there will be no canine purchases for quite a while.

Monday, August 07, 2006

O Solo Mio

Kate was incredibly imaginative and creative today! The whole day she was full of imagination. At one point she declared that her rocking horse, who she has named "Ears", was dirty and needed a bath. So she proceeded to use a bucket and a sponge and a fake bar of soap and a towel and "washed" him clean! She then asked me "Mom, what do horses drink?" I told her "Water!" and her eyes widened and she gasped "That's AMAZING!!!! I DRINK WATER TOOOOOOOO!!!!!" Wow.

Later in the day, Kate found a whistle that sounds like a recorder. Only one note, though. She ran around the living room blowing on that whistle incessantly - marching around to her own beat and whistling away. After about 20 minutes of this, my ears were bleeding and my patience was merely a thread. I took a deep breath and asked her to please either stop or do that in another room. She gleefully said "Ok, Mom!" and literally flounced over to the stairwell. Our stairs have a door at the bottom - she started to go up the stairs and turned around and shut the door. Ah. Quiet.

But Wait. Whistle. Whistle. Whistle. It began again. I slowly walked over to the door and opened it. Kate was sitting on the first step, looking up at me with the darn whistle in her mouth. I said "Kate! What are you doing?" I barely had the words out of my mouth when she held up her hand in that "talk to the hand" way, and looked at me with big eyes and said very frankly - "Mom. PLEASE! I am PRACTICING my SOLO!!!!!" Very dramatic. Then she huffed, took a deep breath, and proceeded to work that whistle at all new decibel levels. Heavens, how dare I interfere with the musical genius!

Princess Party

This weekend, Kate went to the 3rd Birthday Party of her best little girlfriend whose name is Maggie! Maggie had a WONDERFUL Princess Party! All the little girls dressed up like princesses and the festivities contained all sorts of fun princess activities - decorating magic wands, making princess necklaces. It was a little girl's dream come true! Kate had a blast - and thanks to the Dunns for having us and throwing such a Princess extravaganza! As much as Maggie loved it, her little guests were just as thrilled I can tell you! Here is a pic of Kate in her princess garb all ready to party. The dress was actually a Halloween costume of mine when I was a little girl living in Hong Kong. I remember going to the fabric alley with my Mom in downtown Hong Kong and picking out the fabric for my princess dress! My little sister got matching fabric in purple. How neat that years later, Kate is wearing it (pinned up because it is a bit too big)! I remember absolutely loving that dress - I hope she felt the same this weekend! And speaking of birthdays, I cannot believe that Kate's is coming up in September! THREE YEARS OLD! WOW.