Thursday, July 31, 2008


It has been a celebratory week for the Harris crew.  Nick has a new job within 3M that he is very excited about.  He is now the Military Market Business Development Manager for 3M's Aerospace department.  It is a perfect blend of his military and business strategy background and I know he is looking forward to hitting the ground running when he starts next week.  I am so very proud of him!

On another note, I have a bit of news as well.  I am now officially a candidate for a Masters Degree as I will be pursuing a Masters in Organizational Leadership at Bethel University!  I am very excited to begin my studies this fall.

There are a lot of great things happening here in Minnesota. We continue to feel abundantly blessed.   

Taaa Daaaahhh

Kate continues to love playing dress up, dancing around, and generally being a precious adorable princess. Here are some pics.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Road Trip

This past weekend Nick and I decided to pile in the car and brave the summer highway - and gas prices - and head to Chicago for a long weekend. We have not done a road trip in a long time, and wondered how the kiddos would hold up. No time like the present! We had been planning the trip for a while and at the last minute, my Mom found herself in the Twin Cities (more on that later) and, being the brave and highly tolerant woman that she is, decided to join us for the trek.

Saint Paul, MN to Palatine, IL (home of my Aunt) = 378 miles. According to Mapquest, that would take 6 hours and 14 minutes.

Yeah. Right.

I propose that someone add features to these driving direction search engines. One should be able to select options such as "number of children traveling in vehicle", "ages of children", "time of day you will be traveling" and "would you like the station identification numbers for Radio Disney at all points of travel along your desired route?". With all this information, the computer should be able to calculate things such as number of potty stops per age of children and food/beverage consumption according to time of day traveling. It should provide a list of radio stations by town along the route. It should provide restaurant locations along the route with kid-friendly menus that are NOT Wendy's or Burger King and certainly not Taco Bell (who eats Taco Bell on a road trip? And if you do, could the computer factor in additional diaper changes for the toddler?).

Alas - such options do not exist. Another option that should exist on these search And, accordingly, alternate routes. Our 6 hour and 14 minute road trip TO Illinois turned into about 9 because of construction. Sigh.

Thankfully, I would like to announce that I have the most wonderful children on the planet. Granted, we DID have a couple of "are we there yet" moments. And there WAS a point where I actually said "I will turn this car around, Kate" - and then I promptly burst into laughter at the fact that those words came out of my mouth. BUT - the kids were fantastic. Liam was particularly surprising in his tolerance of the trip. He was an angel - just super pleasant. And no bad diapers, if you understand me.

The actual visit to Chicagoland was fantastic!!!! We crammed a ton of visiting in - we saw my godparents, my cousins Biddy and Dean and Kris and Dave and all of THEIR kiddos - Sophie, Cassie, Matt, Kate, Clare and Jack (Kate and Liam were in HEAVEN playing with all their cousins). We saw my Grandmother and had a lovely lunch with her - it was really great to have 4 generations of McKenny family together: Grandma, my mom, me and Kate. Nick and I visited with one of my dearest friends, Erin and her wonderful Joe. My Mom got to visit one of her best friends. AND I attended a mini-high school reunion! We took the kids to a picnic where we visited with my high school buddies and their significant others and kids and later we had an adults-only Peoria Notre Dame night on the town. It was wonderful to see my friends and so great to catch up. I had a WONDERFUL TIME. I think Nick did, too! :)

We drove back late on Sunday and the road trip gods were kind. The kids, once again, were angels. Even with a stop for gas and a stop for food we made it home in 6 1/2 hours. Woo hoo!

I am so thankful for the chance to make that trip and see all those wonderful friends and family. Thanks to Auntie Robin and Uncle Jack for the hospitality - and Erin and Joe, too. I am so amazingly, unbelievably blessed with the people I have in my life. What a lucky girl am I!

Here are some pics from the weekend....

Kate and her Great Grandma

The Harris crew with my Grandma

The Peoria Notre Dame next generation

Me with my good friend Steve Gorman from PND

Nick and I out to dinner in Chicago with the PND'ers

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Last night Nick and I went to a very cool art exhibit. It was a gorgeous night - a perfect 72 degrees and a beautiful full moon. My mom took the kids last night, so Nick and I headed to downtown Mpls around 10pm! We joked that we had not left to go out that late since the early days. We met my brother, Patrick, and his wonderful girlfriend, Jillian, downtown for drinks by the river. After a nice cocktail, we went for a stroll along the riverbank down to the Stone Arch Bridge. Patrick, the photographer extraordinaire that he is, knew about a very cool art exhibit that was going on there. It was so great. Red Bull is sponsoring a FREE art exhibit called "Illume" which showcases the best of action and adventure photography in different categories like "Spirit", "Energy", "Sequence" etc. Each photo is encased in a huge black box, only visible at night when the box is illuminated from within. If you were to stroll by during the day, you would just see a shiny black box. The boxes of light stretched across the mighty Mississippi, with the beautiful crisp Minneapolis skyline as a backdrop. The juxtaposition (yes, I am whipping out an "arty" word) of the modern photography and city against the fact that we were strolling on a historical stone arch bridge while an entrepreneurial accordian player attempted to infuse a bit of a Paris feel to the evening was quite enjoyable. The experience was great and the photos were fantastic - I cannot believe how crazy/brave some of these athletes are....and how crazy/brave/creative the photographers must be to think of the shots and be in the position to take them! If "Illume" comes to a city near you I recommend it....but I have to say what made the exhibit for me was the locale. Were it in an exhibition hall it would have lost at least 50% of it's wow-factor. Below are some pics that, for legal reasons I probably should tell you, I screen-grabbed from the Illume site. Full credit to whoever snapped them! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008


Wow! When I signed into the blog this morning the "hit tracker" showed that the blog had been viewed 11, 111 times! All the ones were on display! :) That is pretty amazing. With the length of time that the blog has been in existence, that adds up to over 300 hits a month. I am pretty humbled that we have so many loving friends and family that they want to check in regularly on our little crew. Granted, it IS possible that a large portion of those hits are from my mother...but I also know that she is far too busy to account for all 300 monthly hits. :) Thanks to everyone who checks in and sends us their love. I am really grateful for this technology as a forum to keep in touch and keep us connected. Much love from blogger-ville!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Falling for Minnesota... Taylors Falls, MN! Over the holiday weekend we took the kids, my Mom and Dad to a little town about an hour away from the Twin Cities. Along the St. Croix river, it boasts great hiking, gorgeous views and a quaint "downtown". Glaciers once ran through the St. Croix valley, carving it out and forming amazing rock formations and incredible "potholes" - a very cool geological phenomenon. The kids loved hiking along and scrambling up and down rocks and shouting "echo!" into cavernous potholes (thankfully safely fenced by the parks service). It was such a lovely day and we finished up by heading down the road to ride the alpine slides and do some go-karting. Too darn fun!

We all scream...

For ice cream, of course! On our holiday jaunt to Taylors Falls, we stopped and had lunch - followed by icey and creamy dessert - at a "frozen-in-time" malt shoppe. We all loved it.

Mighty Miss

The other night we took the kids for a stroll along the Mississippi - a straight shot down some blocks from our house. It was a nice evening stroll - and for Kate an evening sprint in some parts as you can see. :)

Water baby

On the 4th of July we brought out the "Nemo" sprinkler and the kiddie pool. Both were huge hits with Liam and he spent most of the day hopping from sprinkler madness to pool splashing. Nick even joined in the fun. Pardon Liam' thumb half down his throat...the poor little guy is getting his molars and is gnawing away these days.

Jamma Jamma Jamma Jamma....PJ!

For those of you who are familiar with Sandra Boynton, the title of this blog entry will come as no surprise to you! :) Here are some PJ pics of the kids. The satin number is Kate's OBSESSION. She got it at "Tahget" for valentine's day and loves to wear it. Here she is with Gramps. And we also have Liam in his Chinatown jammies with Pak, Jillian and Nick. Too cute.


Here are some pics of the kiddos just hanging around here and there!

Texas Hugs

Nick is beaming with pride. I believe that visions of Friday night lights and two-a-day practices filled his head last night. You see, Liam has a new favorite game. Last night, as Liam was running around in his dinosaur jammies and Nick and I were sitting on the floor playing with the kids, I asked for a hug from Liam. He turned around and looked at me, a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and ran full steam toward me, tucked his head and shoulders down and plowed into me. I absorbed the impact with an "Oooof" and slight rock backward and Liam continued to drive forward, pushing his little feet in in in in in to the carpet, one after the other, pushing with his shoulders and shifting his weight until I was flat on my back - - both of us giggling the whole time. He positively pealed with laughter and delight and bounced right up squealing "again again again"! So we did it again. Nick declared "those aren't hugs, those are TEXAS hugs". And then Liam turned his football tackling attention to Nick. It was amazing how instinctively he drove right through the whole tackle. Great form for a 2-year-old, I tell ya ;). Look out Cowboys - here comes Liam Harris. Tee hee