Thursday, October 30, 2008

Children's Museum with the Masters family

Last Sunday we trekked downtown to the Children's Museum to meet the Masters for a morning of balls, books and bubbles (I'll explain later). I used to work with Sara Masters at RSM McGladrey and we've stayed in touch since we both left our former employer-she's grown to be a good friend. Sara and Jason have their own three-year-old darling, Maren. And can you beat that name--Maren Masters? Jason, she has very high potential from a sports standpoint with that name.

The kids had a great time. We played in the water exhibit blowing bubbles and playing with ping pong balls in the water (by FAR Amy's favorite part of the museum experience). Matthew and I "manufactured" blocks and put them down the conveyor belt-in case you couldn't guess, he loved this. We even listened to storytime and a book about frogs that was acted out quite well by one of the great Children's Museum volunteers.

We also played in the make-believe grocery story and hospital and kicked, threw and bounced from wall to wall in the "ball" exhibit. Thanks to the Masters family for coming out and making the long journey from Shakopee to St. Paul--hoping to see you again soon. Take care of that little Maren.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My golf fantasy

I had the fortunate opportunity to play the White Bear Yacht Club this morning, a private club in White Bear Lake. Dr. Bert and Andy Bert, a friend of my brother's, invited us out for a round (big thank you to the Berts!). The Yacht Club is one of the more hidden gems in the Twin Cities. It's a little short at 6,400 yards from the tips, but it's everything you could want in a private club--lightning-fast greens, meticulous fairways and private-club service across the board. It's the little things that make WBYC special--blue triangle flags donning the WBYC logo, tees and ballmarkers emblazone with the logo on the first tee and water bottles on every fourth hole.

I didn't play that well--although Aaron did shooting 80 with a triple on the last--but it's more about the experience than anything else. Did I mention we played in three hours? And there were about 10 folks at the course. Nice. The locker rooms were pristine, the food was fabulous and they even cleaned our clubs while we ate. A wonderful day through and through.

The question I asked myself on the way home--how can I make this work for me? Clearly, I don't pull down enough to join a course like WBYC. I probably never will. But, I know there are private clubs that are affordable in the outlying areas of the Twin Cities. I was a member at River Falls for a few years, and even that was enjoyable. Could there be an opportunity at Northfield CC? Forest Lake CC? Stoneridge? I know the timing is right now with two kids under 4, but at some point, I need to make this happen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yeah! Mom is home!

Angela took off for Texas on Tuesday for a two-day business trip, leaving me alone with the kids for the first time in a while. While it's not easy handling drop off and pick up, feeding the kids and getting them down for bed at night, we enjoyed our time together. We built bathrooms (Matthew uses tiles from our former bathroom projects to simulate bathrooms in the basement--yeah, don't ask), read lots of books (Amy's a sucker for books now) and at one point both kids had every single pot and pan we own out on the kitchen floor (hey, it distracted them for a full 10 minutes--stop laughing, you'd take it if you could get it too!). 

All that said, we're very happy Mom is home. Quite frankly, we missed her. I know it was only two days, but we all missed her. Amy missed her bedtime book ritual with Mom. Matthew missed Mom "talking about his day" before bed and I missed having someone to rehash my day and the kids' antics with after the kids go down. We're glad she's home safe and sound. 

One other nugget to share. As some of you may know, Matthew is going to be Spidey for Halloween this year. Apparently, he can't wait because the last few days he's taking to wearing his costume around the house nonstop. And now he's taking it to a whole new level. He's referring to himself, as Spiderman, in the third person. "Spiderman needs to eat dinner." "Spiderman is going to sleep." "Spiderman needs his Teddy!" Need I remind you the kid is three years old. Unbelieveable. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yup, these are our kids...

I'm going to start a new, ongoing post series on the HWTH blog. It's called "Yup, these are our kids." It's a little spoof of The Sports Guy's (Bill Simmons for you followers) regular post. 

In this first installment, I'd just like to share some of the faces we see at the dinner table each night. 

For those HWTH readers who don't have the opportunity to see us as much as we'd both like, our kids are loud, head-strong (that's putting it lightly), opinionated, bull-headed, and a little crazy. We wouldn't have it any other way. Sometimes it drives us nuts (OK, many times it drives us nuts), but for the most part we love it. 

So again, here are a few of the faces we get from #3 (I'm #1, Angela's #2, Amy's #4--running joke) at the dinner table.

My personal fave's the blurry pic--that's a classic Matthew pose and one that comes out often.

Fall clean-up weekend begins

It's Oct. 18 and I'm pretty sure I haven't mowed the lawn since early August. Now, I'll admit, that's part laziness. No way around that. But it's also attributable to the fact that our weekends have been fairly full lately. 
Regardless it was time to get out, rake the leaves, mow the lawn and start the general fall clean up. 

First step? Create a giant leaf pile for me and the kids to jump in, of course. 
Matthew and Amy helped--I insisted. Good way to work off those Cheerios they had for breakfast. But the big hit of the morning workout was the leafblower and "tractor" as Amy called it (also known as a truck) up the street. Big hit.
We closed the morning session of our fall clean up by putting the leaves into bags--Matthew even did one all by himself! More on the afternoon and Sunday work sessions later this weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The importance of grandparents

Today, I wanted to give "big props" as the kids say these days to a few of the most important people in our lives: our parents. But, not just because they raised us right, made sacrifices and continue to support us (even at this advanced age). No, I want to recognize them for being such a big part of our kids lives. 

We're lucky enough to live within earshot of our parents, just 20 minutes away. Virtually every weekend one of them comes over to watch the kids so we can go out, catch a movie or have a leisurely dinner that doesn't involve the phrase "Hey, Mommy" or "Hey Daddy" a minimum of 500 times a minute. We try to say thank you each time they come over, but it bears repeating. Again and again. 

So, I'll say it again: Thank you.

Not just for the baby-sitting (although we do appreciate that, more than you probably know), but for being such a big part of Matthew and Amy's lives. I grew up living four hours away from my grandparents. While my parents did their best to get us down to Fairview and Rising Sun (small towns in Wisconsin) once a month or so, it just wasn't the same as living in the same city and seeing them on regular basis. 

Matthew and Amy have their own rituals with each grandparent. They "play cords." Build castles. Put stickers on windows. Go for walks. And run through sprinklers. They've known their names and faces since they were just babies. And the kids talk about them all the time. That's worth far more than any baby-sitting gig to us. 

And we hope our parents know that. So, maybe this is the Norweigan in me, but I'd like thank our parents for being a steady and positive influence on our kids' lives. It makes a huge difference. And it certainly makes a difference for us. Thank you--and we love you.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Truck Day

Arik is out of town for the weekend, but that isn't stopping us from having some fun.  Today was "Truck Day" at the Woodbury library.  All I have to say is, what a fabulous idea!  Kids love trucks - not toy trucks - real trucks!  They cleared out the parking lot and filled it with fire trucks, snow plows, buses, giant rigs, a UPS truck and more.  Matthew had a blast.  I think every little boy between the ages of 1 and 5 in the 55125 zip code was there.  The funniest part was that all of the kids were dying to get into the drivers seat - and when they did - they insisted on honking the horn!  It was non-stop!  The kids were having a ball ... while the parents were getting a headache!  

I will attach a few of my favorite photos.  

We had a great time.  After he sat in just about every truck, we went inside for some truck stories and a trip through Lookout Ridge.  It was an awesome morning.  We had lunch at Grandma Jane's house, and then decided to even do naps there.  

If you need a Matthew funny to tide you over until our next post, I will share one little exchange from our morning rush ...

Matthew:  "Mommy, I need this wrench out of my guitar!"
Me:  "Matthew, I don't have time to take that out right now, it will have to wait until we get home tonight.  We need to get going."
Matthew:  "Take it out NOW!"
Me:  "I told you we don't have time right now because we have to leave.  If you don't turn your behavior around pretty soon, we aren't going to see the trucks at all!"
Matthew:  "That isn't very nice to say ... I am not going to invite you to my birthday party!"

Keep in mind, Matthew's birthday isn't until December ...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bird Poop

No funny photos today. I am posting this story from work. Before I forget, I have to share yet another funny Matthew story with all of our readers. This conversation took place on our way in to daycare this morning.

That little mind of his never takes a break. If you can picture Amy watching him from her carseat and listening intently ... it is even funnier. She thinks he is amazing. Little does she know that our daily topics of conversation are far from enlightening.


Matthew: "Mommy, what is that on your window?"
Me: "Um, it looks like bird poop."
Matthew: "Bird poop?"
Me: "Yeah, bird poop."
Matthew: "Like ... a bird in the sky?"
Me: "Yep, a bird must have been flying in the sky and pooped on Mommy's car."
Matthew: "But how does a bird poop?"
Me: "Just like people do, they just push it out."
Matthew: "But birds don't have a butt ... (silent thinking) ... maybe they just push it out of the fuzz on their backs ... (more silence) ... like dogs and kitties do...."
Me (trying to hide the laughter): "I don't know that much about birds, but dogs and cats do have butts like people do. That is how they poop."
Matthew: "No they don't, Mommy. When I look under them - there is no butts."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Little Helper

This picture just cracks me up.  Amy is always the first one to join the cleaning crew after dinner.  She loves to climb into the dishwasher and pull out all of the silverware.  She is especially fond of the spoons.  They often end up back in her mouth and on their way to the living room as she runs away giggling.  She is something else.  

I can never leave you without a funny comment from Matthew.  They are my signature blog ingredient.  So ... in the spirit of laughter, here is part of our conversation on the drive home tonight.  

Matthew:  "Mommy, what if you held on to Daddy's foot ... and I held on to your foot ... and Amy held on to my foot?"
Mommy:  "That's interesting, what would happen?"
Matthew:  "We would be a big pile of monkeys!"

Seriously ... I am starting to wonder what "afternoon snack" really means at this daycare.  I may need an ingredient list!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who thinks Matthew can fit in a cooler?

Amy wanted to find out. So, she took the initiative...

Family photos @ Como Park

Family photos are a hot topic of debate for most families. Many decided to go what I like to call the "ProEx route" and get the standard, posed family pics, which are fine. However, we've never really been your ordinary family. We like to take more impromptu, off-the-cuff photos---preferably in black and white. If you visit Chez Hanson, you'll see many of these pics prominently displayed in our living areas.

So this morning, we paid a visit to Como Park to get some family photos. My friend, and former colleague, Nicki Gibbs, graciously agreed to be our photog. She's an accomplished photog--in addition to being a PR and communications maven (she's a group director at Beehive PR, a local PR agency)--so were thrilled when she agreed to shoot the kids. I've seen pics she's taken of her two young girls--they're wonderful. So, we're hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately, it was raining for the bulk of the morning, so we were forced inside to the Conservatory--not a bad "Plan B." We got a bunch of shots and we're planning to get back together with Nicki in a few weeks to review the proofs.

We'll post the pics, or a link to the pics, as soon as we have them. Big thanks to Nicki for getting out of bed (sick, even) and slogging through the rain to make it to Como. We owe you one, NG.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Apples, apples and more apples

I guess it's that time of the year. Apples. You visit these apple orchards and it's apples 24/7. Apple butter. Apple donuts. Apple brats for chrissakes. Regardless of the money-making machine, we had fun. In fact, we sampled many of those items including the brats (and they didn't taste like apples).

We also sampled some wine at the St. Croix Winery right next door--even bought a bottle and plan to assist with the grape harvest in the coming weeks (you actually get to stomp the grapes!).

Finished off the morning by stopping by Central Park in Woodbury. Turns out, this one's slightly smaller in scale than the version in NYC. Ang is hoping to head back with Matthew next weekend as they are having a "Truck Day." Ambulances, fire trucks, etc. The kid will talk about that for months. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it when I return from our annual Brainerd golf trip next weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What have we created?

Just to give you an idea of the level of sarcasm we're dealing with on an everyday basis with young Mr. Matthew. The other day I was trying to get him to bed early. The following is a real conversation:

Arik: Time to go to bed Matthew.
Matthew: No! I'm not tired.
Arik: Well, you look tired. Look at your eyes, they're all droopy.
Matthew: Do you see me yawning?

All that's missing now is a door slam and a few eye rolls. Oh, wait a minute, he already does that, too.

Wish us luck. We're going to need it.