Thursday, November 3, 2011

MN State Fair - August 2011

At this point, August doesn't seem to have ever happened. One thing I know for sure is that we made our annual trip to the MN State Fair. It's been a tradition in my family for decades and we hope to instill our love of the great Minnesota Get Together in CT. There is so much to do, eat and of course there is the people watching.

This year Christos and I escaped to the fair for a date night to consume all the goodies we would miss when we went with CT. His nut allergy is somewhat limiting so we knew there were old favorites that we'd have a hard time resisting.

Since finding safe food for him to eat caused a little bit of stress we decided to put the focus of our visit on showing CT all the fun activities the fair has to offer. We went to the Miracle of Birth barn, the cow barn and the horse barn, where we ran into a soccer friend of Christos' who was grooming her horse for an upcoming show.

We screamed (okay, maybe it was just me who was screaming) while going down The Big Slide. CT wasn't sure what to think of it last year, but he really enjoyed it this year. We went twice.

First are a few pictures of of CT's first time down the slide last year.

And here we are this year.

We didn't have any of these delicious treats this year.... (Darn you Sweet Martha for manufacturing your dough in a plant with nuts!)

...but we did enjoy some of this delicious treat.

It was a long fun filled day where lots of memories were made.

And a pair of really dirty feet on a very tired boy.

My third and final trip to the fair was with my dear friend Doreen. She had scored a few tickets to the Maroon 5 and Train show at the grandstand. Beforehand we indulged one last time in some delectable treats. Pronto pups, shrimp and deep fried chocolate chip cookie dough. The concert was excellent and a great way to end the summer!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Memorial - Month Five - August 2011

In August we didn't do anything specific to memorialize Xander. Two days prior, August 19th, was the International Day of Hope founded by Carly at To Write Their Names In The Sand. In my own ways I recognized the day be raising awareness on Facebook and lighting a candle.

On August 27th we unexpectedly lost a dear family member. Christos' great Auntie Sue passed away. The legacy she left behind is one all mothers should strive for. She was kind, full of love, told great stories of her grandchildren always filled with laughter and she gave the best hugs on the planet. I remember the first time I met her she didn't give me the option to hug her goodbye and I'll never forget the giant tight squeeze she gave me. I wasn't even part of the family yet but that didn't matter because even with her large family she still had endless amounts of love to go around.

The day after she passed away, CT and I were playing on the sidelines at Christos' soccer game. We had just sat down for a snack when two beautiful butterflies fluttered by directly at eye level.
It was as though they were waiting for us to slow down enough to take notice so they could strategically fly across our line of sight. I believe it was Auntie Sue and Xander telling us that they were together and wherever they are it's very beautiful.

Rest in Peace, Auntie Sue. Give our Xander one of your generous hugs. We miss you a lots.

August 2009

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Family Summer Vacation 2011 - Part 2

This post has been a long time coming. August certainly got away from me and now September is half way over.
The second half of our trip we traveled north to Crystal Lake, IL where Zach and his team, the Brooklyn Park Bulldogs, were competing in the CABA World Series baseball tournament.
The first night we were there was opening ceremonies. There were boys from all over the United States and Mexico there for the tournament. It had been a long day of traveling for us so we didn't stay the entire time, but long enough to see the teams announced and some of the entertainment.
The hotel had a pool which was one of the highlights of the trip. It was so stinking hot so it was nice to take a dip at the end of the day to cool off. The kids loved it.

The Brooklyn Park Bulldogs had quite a bit of competition in each game and although they went home empty handed, they had a lot of fun and a great learning experience. CT's love of baseball keeps growing and growing. He loved watching and playing with the big boys.

On our last night in town we took the boys to play mini golf. It was CT's first time playing and he really enjoyed it.

What? You don't play soccer in your hotel room?
Mmm, Dunkin Donuts

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Night Sweets

A couple cute videos to start the week off on a fun note.

Tonight CT and I were at the the grocery store. A few times while we were there the employees were saying things over the speaker system. He was confused. He couldn't figure out where the talking was coming from. I probably confused him more when I said they were talking to him. By the third announcement he put his box of fruit snacks in the air to show to the mysterious invisible lady who was talking to him that he was getting Nemo fruit snacks.

*Yes, I occasionally feed my kid sugar cereal for dinner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Family Summer Vacation 2011 - Part 1

Most everyone knows that Christos is a soccer player and fan. It is his oldest love. Older than cars and lawn care. So when we learned that the English premier league, Manchester United would be playing the Chicago Fire, we decided to take a family trip there to see the game. This vacation quickly became so much more than that. The vacation was divided into two parts, so I'm going to write it that way.

On Friday, July 22nd we packed the Subie and headed southeast towards northern Indiana where my dear friend Molly and her family live. It was a long 8 hours, but we only stopped 2 times and CT handled it better than expected.

When we arrived, we were presented with a delicious home cooked meal made by Sean (Molly's husband). Flank steak with a rice/kale/garlic dish and zucchini cakes. Most of the meal was made with ingredients grown from their garden. It was the best meal we had the entire trip. So Good!

The kids made friends quickly and explored their overflowing toy room. I don't think CT has ever seen so many toys.

After a storm-filled night, we woke up to humidity. We decided to venture out to the local farmers market. After working up a sweat and appetite at the playground, we headed to their favorite hot dog joint for lunch. The highlight - Dum Dums for dessert. A major bonus for three nut allergy kids. (actually only 2 because Nora tested negative this year.)

We attempted to sneak in a nap before heading to the city to go to the game, but CT was too excited to have live-in playmates. So we decided to hit the road early in hopes that he would sleep in the car before we got to Soldier field. We left at 2:30 thinking we'd have time to spare before the 4:00 game.

HA!! - Chicago laughs at us Minn-snow-tans. "You plan poorly, you fools."

"You're a cool city Chi-town, but I want my money back."

We did not make it to the field by 4:00. It wasn't until 4:45 that we passed the field after sitting in traffic for an hour and a half. Passing the field meant that we were failing miserably at finding a parking spot. We finally parked downtown and high tailed it for a half hour in the 90 degree heat to the field. We made it to our seats at 5:30; well into the second half. I was not happy. But we were there and tried to make the most of the moments we had watching one of the best soccer teams in the world.

The only things that made the adventure positive were an air conditioned car, a kid who napped over an hour and seeing Manchester United score 3 goals in the final 30 minutes of the game.

Proof that we were really there.

After the game we were herded out of the stadium with the other 61,000 (a record for the new Soldier Field) smelly, sweaty and deodorant free fans.

We hiked to Buckingham fountains with Christos' friend, Kyle and his friend, Jared who had gotten tickets with us and made it to the field in time to actually enjoy the game. We briefly met up with our neighbor's, the Silver's, who were also vacationing in Chicago that weekend.

Since we spent so long trying to get into town, we decided to eat dinner there. We failed miserably at that too and ended up cooling off in Potbelly to have a quick bite to eat.

What an adventure. We did it together and that's all that matters.

Once we arrived 'home', the kids were in bed. Molly was half in the bag so we decided to join the fun and crack open a growler Sean had been saving. I can't remember what it was, but it went down well. It was fun hanging out, having some adult time and spending time with Molly, one of my dearest oldest friends.

The next morning we chilled out with Molly, Sean and the kids. It was raining outside so they kids played while we all chatted and tried to figure out what to do with the day.

(You're welcome, Mols.)

Since we were heading north for the second leg of our journey, Sean suggested a pizza place in the city for lunch. Coalfire made delicious fresh ingredient pizza. The staff was very nice and accommodating for our 3 rambunctious kids. It was a great way to end our stay with them.