Sunday, September 9, 2018

Other Summer Adventures

We've had a lot of other stuff going on the last month and a half, so here is a quick synopsis.  We checked out the new Pizza Ranch in Crystal a few weeks after it opened.  They also have a new dessert, chocolate cactus bread.  Parker immediately asked for it instead when I handed him the regular stuff.
We've taken lots of walks, including a couple to a nearby grocery store.  The kids have quickly learned they hand out dum dum suckers at the checkout and they love it!
A huge milestone at the beginning of August was Parker trying out the traditional zip line.  Perhaps he was inspired by our trip to Madison's Place because he hopped right on one evening and asked me to push him.  It's one of his favorites at the park now.
We met a couple of our ECFE friend's that same evening and had a great time playing.
Summer adventure club kept Parker very busy during the day.  We got a few pictures from his amazing one to one para.
 He often got hugs from friends at the end of each day and they really looked forward to seeing him each day.  I love how accepting they are even though Parker doesn't communicate in a traditional way.
There was a lot of park exploration this summer.  Esme is becoming more adventurous each day at our home park and we found a lot of things to spin at Schaper Park.  It's a new park we checked out last week that has a ninja warrior style training course and is handicap accessible.
 We closed out unofficial summer by grilling.  I was able to grill on the Weber quite a few times this summer.  I even perfectly cooked thick cut bone-in pork chops.  Just dogs and brats this time.  I hope to fire it up a couple more times before winter.
Another quick summer in the rear view mirror.  Fall is always a busy time for us, but I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

First Week of First Grade

Once again, we started the week with out annual labor day breakfast at Panera!  I brought the kids food from home, I got a quiche and Jimmy got a breakfast sandwich.  Then, we all shared a bearclaw.
School started on Tuesday.  It seems like just yesterday he was starting Kindergarten and here we are with a big first grader!  I cheated a bit and took his first day pictures the evening before because rain was forecasted in the morning.  

Kindergarten is on the left and first grade is on the right.
This comparison is a little deceiving, but he definitely looks taller!
 He had a phenomenal first week!  He has the same teacher as last year and that he had over the summer, which helps with the transition back to school.  I vividly remember how difficult starting all day school was for him behaviorally.  It took months for him to figure out the routine, but once he did, he excelled.  He is already making great strides just 4 days in.  His teacher sent the pictures below.  The one on the right is from Thursday.  He typically needs a lot of support and redirection for worksheets, but he was doing it independently already!  We also got a sweet message that he has been able to complete his calendar math worksheets without needing highlighter to trace.  He just looks at the sample and do it. 
I have always been so proud of this guy, but this week has me beaming especially bright!  Way to go Parker!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wiffle Wars, Saints Game, and a Free Night Cap

The final adventure of my vacation was in St. Paul.  We went to CHS Field early for a charity wiffle ball tournament. Wiffle Wars benefited the Hendrickson foundation, which provided hockey opportunities for kids and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.  It was a hot and steamy afternoon for our first visit to this ballpark.
 Jimmy cooled down with his first malt cup since he was a kid.
MN Wild mascot, Nordy, pitching to the MN Twin's TC Bear
 A bunch of local celebrities participated on 4 teams.
 I was rooting for the orange team which consisted of:
KFAN's AJ Mansour
Former MN Twins Pitcher, Glen Perkins
Former MN Wild Center, Darby Hendrickson
NHL Defensemen, Paul Martin
Kare 11's Jana Shortal and Dave Schwartz
I've never actually watch wiffle ball and was unaware of the rules, which are much different than baseball.  I finally figured it out about halfway through the first game.
 TC Bear was pitching at one point and got hit with a ball.  Luckily, Nordy was there to revive him!
 The opponent finally started figuring out the long ball, so Glen and AJ stood on the wall in an attempt to prevent home runs.
They won the first game and were on to the championship.  This game had some more hijinks and some crazy good hits.
Another big win and they took home the trophy!  It was a very fun event for a great cause.
We had a little time to burn before the game started so we watched warm-ups and grabbed some cheese curds (they were so good!)
It's a little hard to follow when you don't know any of the players, but minor league baseball is just as much about the atmosphere as it is the game.  They do fun games between innings and really strive to entertain the crowd.
We left a little early to check out Rival House Sporting Parlour.  They sponsor AJ Mansour in the Initials Game on KFAN.  They play it every Friday morning and you get a free beer and $3 appetizer the weekend after AJ wins.  We were in luck since he won the day before.  We aren't big beer drinkers, but they had Angry Orchard on tap, so we both got that.  We also ordered (more) cheese curds and sriracha honey wings that were to die for!  The food was taking a very long time, so they gave us another beer (Golden Road Mango Cart) and comped it all! 
They also had great taste in art with their scrabble tile bathroom signs, although I think mine are better executed.  Rival House for the win!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Minnesota State Fair 2018

The second adventure of my week of was the Minnesota State Fair.  I look forward to this day every year!  We brought the kids with us this year and we all had a blast.  It started out pretty chilly, but warmed to the low 70's.  It was a very cool fair this year, which is pretty rare.
We started with two fair staples and one new treat.  Cheese curds, lefse, and mini donuts!  My parents  and nephew were at the fair too and we spotted them from time to time.  That's my dad feeding the kids donuts.
The Little Farm Hands exhibit opens at 8am and we always try to hit it early, before it's crowded.  Parker wasn't interested in the apron this year, but Esme loved it.  It took some encouraging to get her started, then she did really well.  The basic concept is that you feed animals and harvest goods to sell at the farmer's market.
You get a paper dollar after selling your goods and can trade it for a treat.  Both kids got a juice box.
Parker and Jimmy took a trip down the giant slide, then we grabbed a cone of Sweet Martha's cookies!
We briefly walked through some animal barns then went on a mission for lunch.
Esme was begging to get out of the stroller at this point and I was very glad I brought my carrier.  We shared a Papa Pup and I grabbed a Jonny Pop.
Esme took a nap on my back while we met back up with my parents and Jayden to share a big bucket of fries.
We ran in to TC bear on the way to the alphabet forest.  Esme was enthralled and Parker asked him for a hug.  It was the cutest!
We spent 15 minutes or so at Alphabet forest.  Parker didn't tolerate the activities very well, but Esme could have played with the ducks all day.
One more quick stop at Rainbow play systems for Parker to burn energy and then we got two more food items and headed for the exit.
Fresh baked brownie and fry bread taco completed our fair food journey.
Until next year...