Sunday, September 28, 2008

Luciano Liam

Liam has been gracing us with several interesting versions of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" these days. I think it is a result of one of the playgroup classes we take during the week. Here is one version - interrupted by him spotting a "hairerplane" (aka: airplane) through the window. Too cute, I say.

Slam Dunk

More video of Liam and his stellar basketball skills - the boy has game.

Get Your Head in the Game

Liam is exposed to the soundtrack to "High School Musical" regularly thanks to his older sister. There is a basketball scene in the movie with a song called "Getcha Head in the Game" is Liam singing and shooting hoops. He gets really into it. TOO FUNNY!

Translation: "Get your, get your head in the game, gotta getcha getcha getcha getcha head in the game"


When I asked Kate what kind of birthday party she wanted for turning FIVE she told me "a surprise party".  Well, with everyone in town for the wedding, I thought it would be a great chance to do just that! Kate stayed at my Mom and Dad's place on Saturday night after the wedding and Sunday morning we all gathered at home to wait for Kate and surprise her with a birthday brunch party! I made beignets and fruit salad and a yummy cheesy egg dish and we had brunch and birthday cake. It was a great morning and Kate was SO surprised! Here is the video of the "surprise".

Birthday Girl!

Here are some pics from Kate's early bday party.  She wanted a "pegasus" theme, so I did a cloud theme (hence the cloud cake) and had pegasus figurines on the table and pictures of pegasus on the wall etc. She loved it!

Kate's Cloud Cake

We called this "the birthday helmet" - was supposed to be a crown, but - not so much!

Blowing out the candles!

More Wedding Pics

Some shots of the gang at the party - we had soooo much fun on the dance floor.

Wonderful Wedding

We truly had a wonderful wedding weekend. My dear friend, Ryan, married the love of his life, Kersten. Their reception was at the U of M's art museum - complete with guided tours of works of art - and was SO much fun. I saw several people from college that I have not seen in literally a decade, which was surreal. The best part, though, was that SO many loved ones were there - my folks, Patrick, Jillian, Stacee, James, and my good friend Drew. We had a BLAST! The only thing missing was Rin and Morris but Rin was due any moment with her third baby so could not make it. How lucky that my friendship with Ryan is so strong that he is so connected to my whole family. I am so blessed in life.
Here are many shots of the celebration.

Kate- so excited for CAKE!

Mr. and (Dr.)Mrs. James and Stacee Topper

Kate and Jillian - members of the mutual admiration society.

Dancing with my Dad! Yay!

I love these girls.

Friends and Family

One of the most cherished things about our friendship with Stacee and James is that they love and understand and appreciate the joy of Kate and Liam. I literally cannot describe how happy our time together is and how grateful I am that our best friends love our kids as their own. I overflow with joy! We had a some great time together on a picnic near the house, overlooking the Mississippi River on a bluff. It was a beautiful day and the kids got a kick out of running and clambering around.

James and Liam - Buddies

Kate Picnicing

Our Picnic View

Queen of the Hill

Quick game of tag


Our dear wonderful AMAZING friends Stacee and James came for a visit. They live in Boston (color me jealous) and came into town for our friend Ryan's wedding. Ryan went to high school with Stacee and college with me and introduced Stacee and I and it has been solid and wonderful friendship ever since. Thanks, Ry! :-) Anyway, Stacee and James are some of the best people in the world and we had a great time visiting. We wish we lived closer!
We got to go out on the town one night without the kiddos. We had to celebrate!  Stacee is now a professor!!!  Clearly we enjoyed ourselves. ;-)

Fun and the Fair

It is that time of year again! Each fall our church, Nativity of Our Lord, puts on the "Nativity County Fair". It is a fantastic family event with rides, games, food and music - pure wholesome family fun. It is right on the grounds of the school/church and the funds raised go to the school. It takes all week to set it up. Can you imagine what it must be like for Kate and the school children, watching a carnival being set up outside your classroom window?! The excitement!!! :) We had a wonderful time, as usual, and the kids just loved it.

Kate and Liam on the Car Ride

Nick and Liam on the Merry Go Round

Mags and the Kiddos on the Spinning Dragon ride. They loved it!

Kate High in the Sky on the Ferris Wheel

Nick and Kate - Self-Portrait on the Ferris Wheel together

Kate's First Day of School

Kate is so excited to be back at Nativity School this fall! She goes to school every day this year. In Minnesota she misses the cut-off for Kindergarten by a few weeks.  She is academically more than ready for school, but socially we think it best to keep her with her "official" age group.  I was the youngest in my grade by a lot - going to college at 17 years old. Being the youngest has an impact more socially than anything  - everyone drives before you, turns 21 before you, and even reaches better sports peaks before you just because of general physical development. Nick and I thought long and hard about whether to move her forward or keep her right where she is. She is in the perfect spot. She is going to school M-F instead of 3 half-days so she is not bored. Her teachers are fantastic and we are seeing leaps and bounds of advancement already.  She is loving it!  Now she is right on track with her age group, and has a lot of kids in her class in the same boat, that turn 5 this month as well but are not old enough to advance to kindergarten yet.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A New Time, A New Look

No - you have not accidentally clicked on the wrong blog! I have a new background template. I just felt like a change :)  It reflects all the changes going on here in our lives. Nick's new position at 3M (which he loves), Kate starting school this week, and ME starting grad school this week!  Lots of great things going on with the Harris family.  We remain abundantly blessed.

The Colorado Kids

Nick, Kate, Liam and I just returned from a wonderful family vacation. We decided to try taking a trip together for no reason other than to spend time together and explore a new locale. No other family, no special events to attend - just a good ol' fashioned family trip. It truly was a "planes, trains and automobiles" trip - but I am happy to report it was fantastic and we had a great time.

A lot of people thought we were nuts taking a 4 year old and a 2 year old on such an Odyssey, but our theory was to get it out of the way, and get them used to it now. And they were wonder-kids. We flew to Denver at the crack of dawn and promptly climbed into a rent-a-car and drove 7 hours to Durango. There was not a peep of complaint from the kids and the time flew as we drove through endless varieties of scenery.

The first full day in Durango was a challenge. It poured rain, Liam suffered an asthma attack prompting a trip to Urgent Care, and as we were heading to the pharmacy to pick up his breathing meds, Kate puked all over the car. Lovely. We chalked all of it up to altitude adjustment, cleaned everyone up, settled in for a cozy rainy chilly family day in the condo and everyone got a great night's sleep. The bright side was all the icky stuff happened on a rainy day and the rest of the trip was spent truly in perfect weather and perfect health. My RA loved the cool dry air and the kids were so tuckered out at the end of each full, fun day that they crashed and Nick and I could relax on the couch with some wine and watch the GOP convention from afar - even though in real-time it was unfolding just blocks from our own house back in St. Paul.

We explored charming downtown Durango, traveled to Silverton, CO, took a Hum-V trip into the mountains, saw a cowboy show, rode a steam train, trekked to Mesa Verde, hiked beautiful trails, and so much more. At the end of the week we put our super kids back in the car for a long drive to Colorado Springs where we visited the Air Force Academy and the Garden of the Gods. I even got to connect with a Theta sister there for dinner. Then it was back to Denver for a flight home. Nick and I really were amazed at how easy it all was and how great the kids were. I guess we planned well, and that helps, but really the kids were angels. We awarded them gold medals for being the best vacationing kids ever. Below are many, many pics of our adventures. Enjoy! We sure did.

Garden of the Gods

Gorgeous fun. If you have never been, try to get there. So great!

Go AIr Force!

We paid a visit to Nick's alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs. It was so great to observe noon meal formation and then we got a private tour of USAFA! I loved getting some insight into what life was like for Nick back then. INTENSE! The kids thought it was really cool.

Hiking Spruce Tree Canyon

We went for a nice hike along Spruce Tree Canyon. The kids loved it and we had such a nice time. The kiddos are great little hikers!

Mesa Verde

We took a trip to Mesa Verde and it was fantastic! We all loved seeing the ancient cliff dwellings and exploring. It is incredible to think that people have been living there since 700 A.D in some capacity up until about 1400. I cannot imagine how they even got there - it felt like the top of the world. So beautiful. Here are some pics of our visit there, including climbing down into a Kiva. They kids were game for anything!

More Mesa Verde!