Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paying it forward

We had a unique experience tonight. I took the kids to the Mall of America tonight to go on some rides (sorry, to clarify, this is Arik writing tonight). We had all intentions of visiting our neighborhood carnival, but it just wasn't doing it for us (read: We felt 99 percent of the rides were unsuitable and unsafe for small children). So, we hiked it over to the Mall.

As we were walking in the door, a woman approached us and gave us 15 "mystery tickets" for rides at the Nickolodeon Universe (Mall of American's theme park).

This is a huge deal because, A) These mystery tickets were good for free rides, 100 free "points" (more in a second) or free points for a year, and B) These points ain't cheap (i.e., they're $1 a point).

We gladly took the points. I thanked the woman. And, we went on our way. And, we had an absolute blast on the rides (burned through 50 points and probably about 10 rides each in three hours). And, we learned after presenting our tickets at the first ride, that we had one of the 100 free points tickets.

But, I couldn't help but think back to that woman. She could have easily just thrown those tickets away. Put them in her pocket and never looked back. But, she stopped me. And gave us those tickets. Without knowing who I was or what I was about. Without thinking twice.

Why would she do that?

Point is, it doesn't matter. She paid it forward. And, I plan on doing the same tomorrow and this week.

As much as we are constantly reminded how horrible and selfish people can be, it only takes a moment like this to remember how wonderful, giving and gracious people can be.

Think about that for a minute and consider one way YOU can pay it forward this week.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Matthew's first Twins game

It's a huge moment for any father and son: your first Major League baseball game together.

Earlier this month, my brother and I took our Dad to his first outdoor baseball game in 20-some years.

This weekend, I took Matthew to his first baseball game ever.

We had a blast. We ate popcorn and mini-donuts. We walked around Target Field. We even met up with some of Matthew's Hale classmates who were also at the game. And, it was a perfect day (and the Twins won!).

All in all, I couldn't have asked for more for our first game together.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hanson's hit the Fair!

The annual pilgrimage to Roseville has come and gone. We hit the State Fair on Sunday afternoon and had a blast. I am pretty sure Matthew inhaled an entire bag of mini-donuts in about 3 seconds. He absolutely loved going "by HIMSELF" down the giant slide, and got to try out the Space Needle for the first time.

Overall, a good trip.

This year marked a big milestone for us - first year without a STROLLER! Woo hoo! The kids are growing up so fast, but it was so nice just to carry around a backpack for a change. Well ... I take that back ... one of us had Amy on our back for about a 1/3 of the time ... but she did a pretty good job. That is just a long way for her little legs to walk!

I am sure you all saw Arik's post on the cost of going to the Fair. Who would think that a State Fair would cost that much money for a family of four? Amazing. I would love to know what these events are like in other states. Do other people dream up crazy things to put on a stick too?

We tried a couple of new things this year - a breakfast burrito (not what I expected, tasted too much like a fajita), and some italian fries (total rip off). Outside of that, we stuck to the basics - mini-donuts, Sweet Martha's cookies, roasted corn and pronto pups! YUM!

Enjoy the photos. For those of you that follow me on Facebook, I posted a few more out there too!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Has the State Fair become too expensive for the average family?

You tell me:

* Admission: $30

* Tom Thumb Donuts: $7

* Coffee/water: $4.50

* Breakfast Burrito: $3.75

* Six total rides of the Giant Slide (4 for kids, 2 for adults): $12

* Skyride for two kids and two adults: $11

* Two Pronto Pups: $7.50

* One cup of cookies and one small milk: $6

* One ear of corn: $3

* One chocolate malt and one ice cream cone: $8

* One order of italian fries: $4.75

Grand total: $98.50

Now, keep in mind, we split most of these food items four ways (the cookies, the donuts, the ice cream). This number could have been much, much higher.

However, when you look at it from a different perspective, it doesn't seem so bad. $25 a person for six-plus hours of entertainment. That's cheaper than a lot of other events we attend or activities we do. And, truth be told, we love the fair.

But, I'll ask again: Has the State Fair become too expensive for the average Minnesotan family?

Note: Photo courtesy of Mr. Outdoor Guy via FlickR Creative Commons.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Matthew goes to Kindergarten!!

The day has finally come - Matthew has started school! Today was his first day of kindergarten at Hale Elementary. The school is just a block from our house, so it was really fun to walk him down there as a family.

Overall, I think the parents did pretty well. I had a lump in my throat all morning, and it just kept getting bigger as the moment to leave him at his little table grew closer. He seemed fine with it all. Just waved and said goodbye after a couple of hugs. I got out of there quickly, because the tears were starting to well up.

The school had coffee and donuts for the kindergarten parents in the cafeteria. That was fun! We took Amy down there, and had a little "snack" before we walked back to our house. We got to meet a couple of other parents - one of which had a child in Matthew's class. We are really looking forward to all of the people we are going to meet in the area with the start of this new adventure!

There are a lot of kids in the neighborhood, but not a lot of kids on our street. This is going to be great!

We got to tour the after school program, called Minneapolis Kids, yesterday afternoon. From what we saw - Matthew is going to love it! We wanted him to go today for at least a little while. His school day is from 7:30 to 2:00. He starts so early, so we were worried that he would just be exhausted. We decided to get him at 4:00.

When Arik and I got to the room where they were playing, Matthew looked up and said, "I don't want to go home yet!"

That's a good sign - right?

We are so proud of him, and so glad that he had a great first day! Good job Matthew!


Those of you who keep up on the blog know that Matthew is a HUGE fan of costumes. Well, on Monday, my Mom got him a new Transformers costume from Target. He was having a fun day with both grandparents ... and yes ... you guessed it ... they both spoiled him rotten!

Now that he has two costumes, he thought it would be fun to rope Amy into his obsession. Check out our little mini-Transformer!

It was way too big for her, so I rolled up the legs and sleeves. She didn't like that very much. She preferred them long and loose.

Never a dull moment with these two!