Tag Archives: Beth

Zoo Member

When we went to the Zoo a few weeks ago I splurged and bought a membership. I splurged because the cost for our family to go to the zoo twice in one year was only $20 cheaper than buying a household membership and since Beth is a pretty consistent “plus” to our family I upgraded our membership to a Household Plus membership for a few extra bucks so Beth can come with us for free (an individual membership was 1.5 times the cost difference between upgrading to the “plus” and Beth buying her own membership) or the kids can take turns bringing a friend. I emphasise take turns because there is no way I am willing to supervise all three kids plus a friend for each of them. No way. I can handle a lot but that would be too much.

Because we now have the membership i feel the need to take advantage of it whenever possible so this past Friday (the kids’ first day of spring break), I loaded up the kids, picked up Beth and we went to the Zoo.

My plan was to test run my 50mm lens at the Zoo to see if I could get by with just the smaller lens when we go to (SHHHhhh the kids don’t know) Disney in a week but the drywall contractor had taped up the basement in a wall of plastic and my 50mm lens was packed in my camera bag in the laundry room in the basement. And the last thing you want to do to a drywaller is mess with their plastic. They are really quite sensitive about their plastic.

So I missed out on playing with my 50mm lens but I did get to practice more with my big kit lens.


Because there is still feet (and feet and feet and feet) of snow on the ground so we skipped the outside exhibits and stayed indoors. It is still fun to walk around and there are many animals to see and places to explore but the animals tend to be of the “yucky” species. For instance, Patrick was really taken with the bat cave.

Even Elise was fascinated by the bats. You would never catch me palms flat and nose squished up against the bat cave glass…. Unless it was Christian Bale’s batcave but I digress. The bats at the MN Zoo fall into the Yuck species category in my book.

The girl really liked the alligators too. Alligators are not so much Yuck but definitely far from the- Oh I would love to cuddle that- species that I favor.


I liked the long furry tailed monkeys. I would cuddle the shit out of the hairy monkeys!


But since I am not allowed to cuddle the monkeys lets focus on my babies. My babies that have grown up so much this past year. Look at that turn out and those boots. Uffda. It will be a sad day when they are big enough to peer over the ledge without a boost.



I think I may be most happy with this photo. I still feel like there is more luck than skill when it comes to my photography. I think this photo proves that either my luck or my skill is improving but whichever it is, I will take it.




This photo cracks me up. Their silhouettes couldn’t be a better reflection of their characters. One is full on, aggressively enjoying the aquarium and the other relaxing and soaking it all in.


For the record (and Beth can vouch for me) I didn’t ask them to pose on this tree. Michael asked me to take a picture of  him on the tree and then asked Patrick to join him on the stump. I will admit to coercing Elise to join her brothers.



Last stop of the day was the kids petting sharks. While they risked their digits for the thrill of touching a bat ray or little shark, Beth and I frantically looking for hand sanitizer for the kids before they reached for their half melted ICEES that were waiting for them as they reached their hands into shark invested waters. Shark and bat rays- Yuck.


Look at the joy on Patrick’s face. The hunt for sanitizer was well worth his excitement.

more photos here


Hand and Foot

Hand and Foot is the favored card game whenever my family gets together so naturally when beth and I counted the hours and realized we had seven hours to kill at the airport, we bought 3 overpriced decks of cards, found a quiet patch of carpet behind a pillar and started shuffling.

Everyday I am shuffling shuffling… Is that song stuck in your head now? Good, it is stuck in my head too. Misery loves company.

Don’t know how to play hand and foot? I started writting out our family’s version of Hand and Foot but as it ends up writing out instructions is really hard. Really really hard. I didnt get past the dealing of the cards before i googled the rules of hand and foot. Here is the link I found. Our version is slightly different but the essence of the game is there. If you have a different version p!ease leave your instructions in the comments. Sometimes when we are feeling adventurous we like to mix it up a bit and tweek the rules. We are crazy like that.

We killed a good hour playing. It was as much fun and killing time in an airport can get with out the assistance of a well mixed bloody Mary.


Emergency Contact

This past weekend we moved Beth into her new apartment. It takes 35 minutes to drive from our house to her house. This is the closest we have lived to family since the short period of time that Steve (Tim’s brother) lived in Bismarck, ND for a few months while we lived there. That was 7 and a half years ago.

The moving went fast with the help of the building’s elevator and the community shared grocery cart. Granted I didn’t help move her out of her previous residence so I may be looking at the moving process through rose-colored glasses!

Every time my Dad helps Beth or I move anything anywhere, he pledges it will be the last time he will ever help us move but we all know that if we ever need him to tell us which way to pivot a couch to get it up 3 flights of stairs, he will be there using his Viking framed shoulders to lift, haul or push “all our crap” into our new space.

Beth and I love you Dad.

My mom had the nerve grating task of keeping the kids both occupied and out of the way while the rest of us unloaded the truck. I gladly pushed the cart fill with boxes labelled, “Athletic Training Stuff, Kitchen, Bathroom and Misc” (Yes all that in one box-she is a seriously unorganized packer) one load at a time so I could be relieved of kid corralling detail. Grandma’s are the best.

For so many reasons both selfish and not as selfish, I am so excited to have Beth living in the cities.

I love that there will be family besides Tim and I to witness the heart melting adorableness that is our kiddos in Holiday Programs, Swim lessons and, if I can ever find a dance class that works with our schedule, Dance Recitals.

I love that when Tim and I have to go to one of his work social gatherings that we have someone to watch the kids that won’t run home and tell her mom, one of our neighbors, that I had a little too much liquid courage and could barely sign her name on the check I wrote out as payment. Seriously – you try small talking for 6 hours straight over a dinner that is delicious but served in fairy sized portions by a wait staff that never lets your glass go empty. You would be drunk too!

I love that we can have family dinners with extended family without having to either pack bags and drive for hours or prepare a bed couch for the family to sleep on.

I love that Tim and I can have a random date night without dropping an extra $50-$60 on a babysitter and instead just pay my sister in frozen pizza and hugs and kisses from our kids.

And my possible favorite thing besides having a nearby Reality TV fan to spend an evening (or two) a week shouting at the TV with, is that I can put a family member down as emergency contact on all the school and sports forms. This is such a relief in so many ways. We now have someone who I know will drop anything if there is an emergency and we need them. I have good friends here but only having family close by can give you that sense of unconditional security that comes with knowing night or day, someone has your back.

The list goes on but I will not. I will not because I am making a list of all the places I need to call to change our Emergency Contact Information.

I would never want to live in the same house as my sister again –  we are much better sisters when we are not under the same roof, but I am so excited and filled with joy over the fact that we live within an hour of each other.

Life is good.

You can see pics from the move in process on my Instagram feed. 

Favorite Anniversary

The surprise that I mentioned yesterday, that Beth and I had been scheming about for over a month, was that she offered to take the kids for the weekend – at her house – in Duluth!

The plan was that I would convince Tim that it would be fun for our family to drive up to Duluth and spend the night at Beth’s and then spend the next day hanging out with her on the shores of Lake Superior. He wasn’t excited but because he loves me and because he knows the kids always have a blast he said enthusiastically, “Sure. We can go.” Except it wasn’t enthusiastic. It was more begrudgingly and with a bit of a sulky pout.

The plan was going smoothly. He had no idea and then we rented a pressure washer the afternoon before we were suppose to leave thinking it wouldn’t take more than a few hours and we would be able to leave at noon the next day (Friday) and head to Duluth for the weekend as a family.

Well like every DIY project things didn’t go as expected and at 11am Tim was still spraying and I was getting angry. I had this big weekend planned and he was talking about returning the sprayer and then spending the money to rent it again so we could leave for Duluth as planned. He didn’t know why I was mad. So he took it personally and then I got even more frustrated. I was packing up the kids and the plan was I would pack a suitcase for Tim and I and when I made him pull over at a gas station for a pee break, Beth would be there. We would yell SURPRISE and then Tim and I would switch cars with Beth so she had a van full of kids and we had a car to ourselves with a packed bag. We could go to a nearby resort or we could head home and enjoy having the house to ourself.

Because we were both mad, and because I didn’t want to have to rent the sprayer again when in actuality had hours of spray time if I just drove the kids myself, I spilled the beans. He was shocked and so happy and loved the surprise. He kept asking, “Really?!” It was fun. Tim isn’t a huge fan of surprises so it was great that this one was so well received. As I predicted Tim didn’t want to go to a resort, he wanted to stay home and enjoy the empty house.

I switched my van full of kids for Beth little red car and sang at the top of my lungs to music I liked the whole way home.

Tim was just finishing up the deck when I got home. It worked out perfectly.

We spent that Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday morning enjoying being husband and wife while taking a break from parenthood.

That Friday night while drinking happy hour drinks at Tavern Grill we realized that this was the first kid free weekend we have had that didn’t involve another commitment. Sure we went to 4 AGMs with out the kids but that is a weekend of meetings for Tim and then large social activities with Tim’s co-workers. Fun but not a vacation. The only other time we can remember being without the kids was at my friends Jess’s wedding when I was 7 months pregnant with Patrick. Another great time but not a weekend just for us.

The weekend was much-needed and more appreciated than Beth will ever know.