The Stream

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Honeycrisp

It is apple season here in Minnasoooda. We sang our way to the happy little orchard where the Honeycrisp Apple was invented this weekend. Little history-it took almost 20 years of using cross over hybrids to develop this apple. We got the Gala from New Zealand, the Fuji from Japan and you guessed it the "new kid" on the block, Honeycrisp from our own soil. It's a hearty tree that does well in cooler climates. It is dynamite and in fact, they're having a hard time keeping up with demand. They say , it's so crisp it snaps and it does. The piece of apple almost pops off into your mouth. Mat downed two of them in the car in a matter of seconds repeating, "This has got to be one of the best apples I've ever eaten." "Dang right! and I second that," is what I said.
We also had a few hay rides, an ice cream caramel sundae, and a few old fashioned doughnuts.

I Heart ( a family effort)

I heart
1) Mat=nothing
2) Mic= Honey crisp apples
3) Beck=God (he always gets the points)
4) Greti= Fancy cheese (shredded cheese)
5) Micah= Yah

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mr. Little Guy

Mr. Little Guy is an elf that lives at the base of an ash tree along the western bank of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, MN.

Kids write him letters and leave them at his door and he personally answers everyone of them on tiny silver-colored stationery. There were hundreds of letters waiting to be picked up when we stopped by.

One kid apparently wrote to him to say he didn't believe in elves, which Mr. Little Guy addresses in this nice letter (click the picture to see it close up).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bouncing Thoughts

1) I think I want to start wearing red lipstick. I dig the 1940 broads and I think it looks classy. Just wondering which shade would look best.
2) Why is it that the time you finally remember you had a coupon, it has expired or you have thrown it out? I must have carried this DQ $1 gift certificate around for, no kidding, 3yrs, and I threw it out 1 week prior to me remembering to use it.
3)HOW ABOUT THAT OPENER TO THE OFFICE? HiLL-ARious. The spot-on awkwardness makes you drop your jaw and cover your mouth.


MOA sounds like some riotous group or playgroup association, but it actually stands for Mall of America---which is located just a hop and a skip from here. It is the largest MALL (I feel like I should type all caps to give it respect) in the United States (by total area); includes a theme park, entertainment district on the 4th floor, and an aquarium.

Kids were happy to try out Toddler Tuesday, especially since it was Nickelodeon themed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twin Cities Round-up

Well, if you are looking for a medium to large city to settle down in, we think we have found a winner.  Not being the big city types, we thought our time in Minneapolis-St. Paul would be a battle.  But we've made a real effort to see as much of the two cities as possible, and can now honestly say we would gladly move here (if our darn families weren't so inextricably fastened to Utah).  We saw a lot of amazing places this week, most of which were free or very cheap.  

The University of Minnesota has a Landscape Garden, which includes one of the best and most complete arboretums I've seen, plus beautiful flower displays, fountains, a hedge maze and vegetable garden.  We left inspired to redesign our yard.  

U of M Landscape Gardens

Yesterday, I rode through downtown Minneapolis in the morning and came upon Oktoberfest just gearing up in the old Mill Ruins Park.  We returned and found the Mill City Museum, the site of what was once the biggest flour milling plant in the world.  It was built there along the Mississippi with a system of canals that used the river's water for power.  Pillsbury and General Mills both started there.  The old mill building fell into ruin and a few years ago they decided to make the burned out shell of the building into a museum.  Next door is a brand new theater museum called the Guthrie.  Between these two buildings, Oktoberfest was going on with a farmer's market and all kinds of local brewers.  A 3 man polka band was jamming, taking requests.  We shouted out the only polka song we know by name, "the Pennsylvania Polka", which they ripped off without a thought.  The kids were dancing and having a great time.

Polka Band at Mill City Museum

Down at the river is an old stone bridge, built in 1883, that farmer's used to carry there crop from the east side of the river to the mills on the west.  It is now adjacent to a huge lock that allows ships to pass over the St. Anthony Falls.  We got to watch it lower a big cruise ship as we walked across.  

St. Anthony Falls, lock and dam

All that walking got us hungry, so we headed out to find a good restaurant, one thing Minneapolis has no shortage of. The beauty of the restaurants here are there a so many independent, original places.  I don't think we have eaten at a chain restaurant in a long time, and have no intention of starting anytime soon.  Next to the little pub we ended up dining at was a locally owned outdoor store where we grabbed deals and met some great people.  

We next jetted over to the Como Zoo and McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul.  They are both free (with a recommended donation of a few bucks).  The kids loved the gorillas and big cats, and we loved that it was relatively small and didn't stink too bad.  The conservatory had a great floating garden with lovely waterlilies, a Japanese Garden and a huge collection of bonsai trees.

Water Lily at McNeely Conservatory

It was clearly time for ice cream and pastries, so we headed to Grand Ave. in St. Paul.  We hit Bread and Chocolate for just that, a nice chocolate filled pastry.  We then moved down a few blocks to the Grand Ole Creamery and got some great waffle cones with admittedly marginal ice cream in them.  But the ambience along the street made up for it.  A block off Grand is Summit Ave., where row upon row of old time mansions reside.  If you had money and lived in St. Paul at the beginning of the last century, you lived on this street.  There were no less then 3 weddings going on in the front yards of these houses as we drove by.  The beautiful St. Paul cathedral sits like a book end at the end of the street and the State Capitol is off in the distance.

Summit Ave, St. Paul

Mic heads out next week, so we only have time to hit a few more places, but we're already in deep thought about our next adventure.

Becket meet Shaw

I Heart

I Heart

1) Blowing bubbles off the roof top with the kids, while watching as the sun goes down
2) Getting two things done at once: the washing machine fills up while we're blowing bubbles off the roof top.
3) Brand-new razor to shave my legs
4) Gorillas and Giraffes: simply fascinating
5) Couscous

The Archer Farms prepared boxed meals at Target, namely, the sun-dried tomato pasta (threw some fresh tomato, avocado and Parmesan and apricot currant chicken--those are the ones I've tried so far. Fast, easy and oh so delicious.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Manly Men in Tights, a true story

So, Mat's been biking his little buns to work every morning to the VA. Every morning he walks in the doors clanking his bike shoes across the tiled floor sending off a smoke signal that he's arrived and ready to begin the day. AND, every morning he receives a warm welcome from the get my 5 cups of coffee in before I have to go to work crew. This group arrives extremely way early before they have to punch the card and we don't know why---- a social thing I guess. Anyway, they've become like his crazy so-called extended family, who are very friendly and nice. Picture Norm entering the bar at Cheers. That's Mat, but he's in his bike outfit and slightly glistening with perspiration.
On Monday, this particular morning had a bit of a quiver to it and called for warmer clothes--you got it, tights. He proceeds to put on the rest of his gear and arrives at the VA, does his usual tap dancing down the hall, but no welcome. No one looks at him, not a one. No one would even acknowledge he was there. In fact, Uncle Joe tells him to stop scratching up the floors with his shoes, to which Mat quickly reflexes, "I'm not scratching your floors." What happened? Well we think it was the tights because the next morning he wore his shorts and his family was all of sudden back and greeting him with a smile.
Conclusion, the world isn't ready for men in tights, bike tights. I don't want to start anything here, but I think I have every right to start a bike to work in Tights day, maybe a Tights parade, a Tights flag, maybe get a Tights law passed to accept those men wearing tights (Lawyer friends, Cheneys--Rollins help me out here). Maybe after everyone is desensitized to the tight spandex they will become more accepting and celebrate it rather than hate it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I had a dream

I had a dream the other day that I was giving Obama some advice on how to run his campaign and how to change America for the better. I was sitting there in a school lunch room, on a round table, in an outside court, chit-chatting with Barack and Michelle. It was all so casual. He really liked my ideas and was going to use them. He offered me a spot on his campaign team, but I declined (three kids and traveling--and I'm not really sure who I'll vote for, if I'll vote at all).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wish ya shoulda woulda coulda

You know how you have those thoughts that scream at you to do something differently, but you choose to snub it and carry on in your own ways?
Well, my mega-phone thought was this:
"Don't put that bottle of Soft Scrub now with bleach into the recycling bag where it is in reach of curious toe-headed Micah!"
What actually happened:
I, in my rebellious way like to buck the system. Sooooo, thinking I can get it all put away before she even notices. I decide to take 10 minutes to finish cleaning the floor.
Moral to the story:
Listen to those darn thoughts as to avoid shoving handfuls of water into your baby's mouth drenching her shirt that is now starting to show signs of little bleach spots. Not to mention that I can't put her down for a nap fearing that she we drift away into an endless sleep.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

To Market, to market, to buy a fat.....vegetable

We went to a local farmer's market last weekend to partake of the colorful produce. While we were there, a local band was performing and entertaining the kids. Don't you just want him to be your Grandpa?We also stopped off at Coptic Festival (similar to Greek Orthodox, but Egyptian) to support Mat's coworker Noha. May I say that Egyptians are beautiful people. Their half-moon, rich eyes really put an exclamation on their face. Anyway, they had some great gyros and falafel. Unfortunately, it was raining on the bounce houses so the kids sat while Mat and I indulged. I keep telling the kids that if they would just open up their taste buds to more options, it would be a mini bounce house adventure within itself. They didn't go for it. Lambe! (get it? lame, but lamb because of the gyros)
Later, we got in the car to go check out Eat Street, where dive restaurants of foreign foods are wedged in between one another between 19th and 26th. We were in the mood for some Thai, but we could only find Vietnamese so we looked up a local Thai restaurant, which brought us within walking distance from our house. We parked the car and trekked upward to Amazing Thailand where we found a quiet patio outside as not to disturb the other paying customers. How do you say fantastic in Thai?

I Heart

New sharp crayons
Flubby men running with no shirt on
Farmer's markets
Long sleeve shirts (for the moment)
Seeing Mat walk through the door

Monday, September 8, 2008

The way home (well, temporary home)

I missed my first flight ever! I called to check and make sure my flight was on time while en route to to the Vegas airport and come to find out it had already left, 4 HOURS AGO. I wasn't told of the change so I was making a plan B with the Priceline operator to cut me some slack and not charge me any fees, which thankfully I wasn't. I did end up leaving the next morning at 6:45AM and luckily my Uncle lives in Vegas and had a place for my entourage to stay.

Here goes my Hollywood thank yous for sending me off:

Thank you to're too, too, too, kind for putting us up for a couple of months. My kids have bonded with their Grandma and miss her oh so much. Well, if you know the lady, she'll give you the shirt off her back to take care of you. We had such a nice time and got to do so many things with her. It was time well spent!

I'd like to thank Dannielle for the nice. new, and BIGGER carry-on bag that could be stuffed to the max with heavy items such as books! We also had time well spent with you and the fam too.

I'd also like to thank Aunt Trish for driving us down and I'd like to thank her van for not overheating while I had a quality/heartfelt conversation with the Priceline operator.

I'd like to thank Nan for letting us drop in and finding a port-a-crib for our dear baby Micah. Oh and thanks for the yummy muffins.

I'd like to thank an old acquaintance, Alicia Heideman, for lending us that crib.

Allie, tip of the hat to you, for letting us share your palace bedroom.

Uncle Scott, if it wasn't for you, I would have had a lot of strange looks and probably would have missed, yet, another flight. He even gave Micah his watch to play with while I did my gate check-ins. We forgot to give it back to him when we started down the terminal. When I realized it, I came running up the terminal to hand it off hoping he was there. If you can close your eyes and picture this.... it was a scene right out of a movie..."SCOOOOOOOTT, YOU FORGOOOOT YOUR WATCH!" In the meantime the flight attendant is flagging me down, but assuming she was mad, I chose to ignore her for the sake of the watch. Then I realized she was telling me that my Uncle Scott hadn't left (weep, slurp). He was waiting right where he left me at the gate. The flight attendant flashed me that flight attendant smile of hers and told me to scadattle.

Thank you kind stranger on flight 774. You were a parent having empathy for another parent and decided to see me to the baggage claim WITH three over-stuffed, heavy, carry-ons, three carseats, one double umbrella stroller, and three kids.

Thank you Mat for picking us up. It was a relief to see you!

Little Miss

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Heart

I Heart
Having dinner already prepared ahead of time for time is on my side
Not having to pay a fee to an airline for having missed my flight--for I'm leaving on a jet plane
Sitting on the dock of the bay of the lake watching the Sunday sun disappear
Memories; all the fun I had in Utah
The cool Fall weather in Minneapolis...all the leaves are brown, and the skies are gray
Reunited (with my husband) and it feels so good

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rhino. See Rhino. See Rhino Run.

Meet Rhino. Rhino likes to go for rides on the mountain top. Rhino is happy. Rhino's family is happy.
Meet Jane and Sally. Jane and Sally are eating afternoon chocolate cake. Jane and Sally like chatting about current events and discussing the weather. Jane and Sally are delighted to go on a scenic ride through the extraordinary mountains. Jane and Sally are giddy.Sally spots cattle. "Hello, bovine!," she exclaims. Sally likes cattle.

Jane takes notice to the landscape. "Isn't it marvelous!" she cries out. Sally agrees.
Jane gets the offer to drive. Jane finds it pleasing. Richard and Joe also find it suitable.UNTIL.........


Jane and Sally return to the valley to seek comfort from their Grandma's robes. Jane and Sally are once again giddy and eating afternoon chocolate cake.