Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Play Ball!

Kate and her pink mitt ready to play ball!

Kate being coached for her big hit!

Kate, in position, for a big catch.

Playing Third.

What a great game!

Kate is such a big girl! She is on a T-Ball team this summer. Her team is the Blue Jays! She just loves it and is such a good little player. The first day that we took her to T-Ball, we had a talk in the car on the way there, reminding her of the rules and getting her excited about meeting some new friends. I said to her, "Now remember, Kate, the MOST important thing of all is....." and then I paused to allow her to fill in the blank. She immediately SCREAMED out, "WINNING!!!!!!!!!!!!". I had to practically bite my lip off to keep from laughing out loud at her. I of course immediately corrected her saying "no, sweetie, the most important thing is to HAVE FUN!". Kate promptly replied "And also to win, Mommy". I told her that, sure, winning could be fun, but in this game there was no winning, actually, and that if you have fun FIRST of all, it does not really matter if you win or lose. She is a smart one. She knows it is usually more fun to win. Nick's and my competetive spirit must be coming through in life because we have never ever stressed winning blatantly. I'm glad to see some competitive spark - it will serve her well. But at age 3 I really think we need to bring the focus to the fun of life! :)

Anyway, all that being said, she did not worry in the least about winning the game. She just had a blast out there. She can hit the ball like a champ and never once hit the T, just knocked that ball into the field. She ran the bases and even made a few scoop catches! When she caught the ball she would hold it in the air and scream "I DID IT!!!!!!!". Then return the ball to base. SO. DARN. CUTE.

Sooooo...here are some pics of Kate at her T-Ball Game. This was just a team scrimmage. She has a game next week! :) We had a blast sitting in the shade alongside the ball field watching the game and cheering her on. So much fun.

A Superior Trip!

Nick and I just returned from a wonderful 5-day road trip! It was amazing! We absolutely had the most fun! The kids stayed with my Mom while Nick and I took a much needed vacation. Nick and I drove up to the North Shore of MN - about a 5 hour drive - to about 50 miles South of the Canadian border. We stayed along the North Shore and spent a few days hiking through State and National forest, exploring gorgeous waterfalls, beautiful meadows and glades and seeing all kinds of wildlife. We also went kayaking on Lake Superior. That was incredible. Cold, but incredible. The water temp of Lake Superior was a cool 40 degrees Farenheit!!! Brrrrr. We were in wetsuits and all kinds of cold water gear just in case of a tip, but luckily we stayed in the boat and dry! Lake Superior was so clear and gorgeous and the shoreline was spectacular. The whole time we were up North, Nick and I kept exclaiming over the incredible beauty of the region. It is so pristine! People really take pride in that area and there is no pollution or litter. It is very sparsely populated, too. When hiking the deeper trails we ran into only one other couple the whole time. You can really lose yourself up there. Our cell phones didn't work, we did not have internet......it was so rejuvenating! We stayed at Lutsen and it was a terrific lodge tucked in the trees with our very own fireplace. And the FOOD!!!! YUM! Everything was fresh, organic, amazing. We felt like we had discovered an absolute treasure. The road trip part was really fun, too, as we made a point of stopping at little quirky, quaint places along the way - and even driving miles off the beaten path to see what we could find - like the cutest cafe in a town of 379 people, or a pie shoppe in "Castle Danger, MN". So fun.

We followed our outdoor adventures on the North Shore with a road trip into the North Woods of Wisconsin. It took a long time to get there as the roads were all secondary at best, but it was a nice drive! My good friend from college was getting married along the shores of Plum Lake so we joined my group of best girl friends from Theta and piled into a rustic cabin tucked in among the trees and enjoyed a WONDERFUL wedding weekend! We spent time on and alongside the lake, celebarated at the local knotty-pine covered pub, and toasted the bride and groom with some seriously delicious Wisconsin beer called "Spotted Cow". The wedding was lovely and it was so wonderful to be a part of it all.

SO! We had an awesome trip, complete with beautiful scenery, exercise, peace and quiet, laughter, good friends and great memories made. Thank you to Mom and Laura Morris who made it all possible by watching the kids for us! And Congrats to Colleen and Dan, whose Chicago wedding we missed because I was part of another one already. Much love!

A "self-portrait" in the forest.

Nick standing "at the edge of the world" (or so it felt!).

Nick standing next to a mountain brook.

Nick caught me, the waterfall, AND the rainbow in this shot.

More Superior Trip Pics

A pic of a huge mass of exposed roots that we came across when we were hiking in Cascade. This is only a tiny portion of the root network.

A pic of Grand Marais. It is this little town (but one of the biggest on the North Shore) of about 1500 people. It is not far from the Canadian border and is the entrance to the Boundary Waters. For Nick and I, it was like being dropped back in a New England seaside town. The lake is so big that it seems like an ocean. There were quaint stores and cafes along the waterfront, some boats gently bobbing in the bay, a lighthouse and tons of charm. The difference was it was so uncrowded, few cars, and was so peaceful and quiet! We found a darling tiny bookshop right on the shores of the lake in a tiny white cabin surrounded by an English garden and spent a long time browsing and sitting in the window seat poring over their wares. We strolled into the Gunflint Mercantile and sampled fudge and homemade soup and walked to a shoreline that felt like the edge of the world in it's silence and seclusion. Loved it!

A view from the top of Moose Mountain. The trees just go on forever.

Plum Lake Pics

A shot of Plum Lake at night. Isn't it gorgeous?!!!!!

Nick and Ang on the boat ride EARLY in the morning. On our way to the "Plum Lake Poisson Sweepstakes" which is a decades-old tradition among "Plum Lakers" where everyone jumps in the water at one point in the lake and competes in a "Swim Across the Lake Competition". You can see the finish line straight across the lake at the green boathouse. Very fun! Nick came in 1st in the "Over 30" group of folks! :)

Here I am at the rehearsal with my sorority sister and dear friend, Ang. She flew all the way from her home in Amsterdam for this great event!!!!!

The beautiful bride and groom. Look at that setting!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Smiles and Meltdowns

I cannot even handle the cuteness. Both Kate and Liam seem to have grown like weeds in just the past few weeks. Kate is so sweet and sassy. Liam is really starting to be chatty and fun. He has also grown very lovey with me which just melts my heart. Out of nowhere, he will drop what he is doing, run over to me full speed and give me a giant hug. Best. Feeling. Ever. He is such a dream. His hair is getting all shaggy, curly and wavy - he looks like a little rocker or snowboarder or something. I love it. I will cut it eventually, but in this humidity it looks so cute!

Anyway - we have been having a lot of fun, just the three of us, these past days. Nick is in Poland on business so it has just been the three of us! Below you will see some pics of the kids playing - as well as some pics of Liam having a total meltdown as he was ready for bed. I love it. Can you handle the crocodile tears?! Also some pics of the kids cuddling and of Kate showing off her yoga "tree pose". Enjoy!

Even More Pics

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Before the Parade Passes by.....

Our neighborhood hosts a great festival every year called "Grand Old Days". It is a terrific street fair that runs for miles and consists of great bands, food, and fun. There is also a parade each year. We try not to miss it and this year we had yet another great time! Nick, the kids, Patrick and I had fun at the parade. Kate and Liam loved it and the adults mostly loved watching the kid's joy. Though one cannot help but smile at the bagpipes, the middle school marching band bleating out "Louie Louie", or cheering for the shiny firetruck brigade. Kate loved the princesses from the Winter Carnival royalty (it's a uniquely Minnesota thing!) and she was thrilled by the float that had ballerinas from the Saint Paul City Ballet en pointe in swan lake tutus holding onto the barre and waving oh-so-elegantly. Also a big hit - the pounds of candy and mardi-gras-type beads that were tossed our way. After the parade, we strolled the avenue and sampled the food and enjoyed the sights and sounds. Kate - as you will see below - REALLY loved the grilled sweet corn that was as big as her entire body! :) It was, indeed, a grand old day!

Excited hugs at the parade!

Kate is incredibly thrilled at the Parade. Liam....not so sure about this craziness!

Once again, Kate loving the Parade. For the Liam, the jury is still out.

Kate in all her parade glory - beads? Check! "Junior Law Enforcement Badge" from the Police Department float? Check! Early morning sugar rush from Parade candy? Check!

Kate eating some yummy - and giant - sweet corn!


We have had such a fun few days here! My cousin, Biddy, is visiting here is Saint Paul with her two adorable twins Cassie and Sophie. It has been so much fun spending time with them - and Cassie, Sophie, Kate and Liam are just great buddies. Kate is just thrilled to hang out with them; they hold hands and sing songs and skip along. Last night Bid and I were treated to songs from "The Little Mermaid" over and over as we strolled down the street. It is adorable. During the day yesterday, we met up with two of Bid's friends that live here - along with their kids. We went to the zoo, the park, and out for ice cream. Then later went to dinner for a walk and to a children's bookshop. It was so much fun. I cannot believe how well behaved the NINE kids were. They all got along so great and just had a blast. What a fun day. Here are a bunch of pics. Quick question - Biddy and I are cousins. Our Mom's are sisters. So what does that make our kids? Second cousins? Cousins removed? We have been trying to figure this out. I need to google it.

The Kids Rockin' On.....

Look at these giggles - is this not the cutest?!

This pic is childhood. Period.

Kate picked me a bouquet of dandelions. It was the best flower bouquet I have ever received!

Liam LOVED running around in the park.

Zoo Fun

All the kiddos checking out the Orangutans!

Cuties in a Row!

This is a pic of a BRILLIANT game called "Tushies on the Wall". First one to take their tushie off the wall loses. A great way to manage a large group of children. Just genius.

Kate pushing her luck by shaking her booty WHILST playing "Tushies on the Wall". So cute.

Kate on the Zoo's Carousel.