Wednesday, January 16, 2013


At the midway point of January, I think it's only appropriate to now take the time to recap December … in standard photo montage form:

For the first time in the almost eight years we've lived in Minnesota, we hit up the (free) Holidazzle parade that takes place in downtown Minneapolis. Thanks to neighbor Sarah, we sat in a heated, cozy tent with warm apple cider and hot chocolate. (We are now doomed to ever do it different.) It was spectacular and I only wish I could've captured the expressions on Maci's face as the lighted floats went by … damn the darkness. She was in serious awe – exclaiming and pointing and oohing and aahing! It was child wonderment at it's finest.

Afterwards we hit up the (also free) Macy's annual holiday display on the eighth floor of their downtown store. While the display was equally impressive, the long lines to get in and the fact that Maci was flirting with bed time, made for a somewhat less impressive reaction. She still got a kick out of everything, just in a much more subdued, muted and sleepy way. Apparently I was also pretty beat because I didn't even bother to get out the camera.

Of course we made our annual, and by that I mean second, trip to see the big guy at the Rosedale Mall. Last year, Maci didn't mind the bearded stranger in the big red suit. In fact, she was all smiles. (I can't get over how different she looks just one year ago, sans curls!)

This year, we were far less certain of her reaction as she seemed a wee bit … hesitant.


While we did our best to back her up to Mr. Clause, so as to ease the transition, she still turned to take a peak once she was on his knee and immediately broke down into some seriously sad tears. Not scared, not shy, sad. Luckily, a fabulous employee got a hold of a noise-making duck long enough to divert her attention, dry her tears and at the very least, somber her expression. While the photographer was showing us all these boring, cookie-cutter, serious-faced-Maci photos, our Mae Mo started to take on an inquisitive appearance…

Shawn was like, "Take the picture! Now! Now!" And thus we got the adorable shot above. Create your own caption but my favorite is: "Flying reindeers? Really? Keep talking."

This brings us to Christmas Eve. Having zero activities planned for the day, we chocked it full of fine family fun in hopes of making memories and traditions for years to come. To kick things off, sledding at Como.

Dad and Maci were up first…

Success! (And survival.)

Next up, Mom and Maci…

Crooked success! (And swagger!)

All was going well, better then expected actually. It was colder then a witches you-know-what but we didn't seem to mind or even notice. Maci was seemingly enjoying herself, grinning and giggling all the way down and then asking for more once we reached the bottom. And then, this happened…

Yep. Dad and Maci take two or three resulted in a tuck and roll situation to which Maci was not pleased about. Everyone survived safe and sound, however, thus ended the sledding session for Mae Mo.

When we got home (and thawed out) we watched the Grinch. Not the horrible (in my opinion) Jim Carrey version, but the Dr. Seuss animated original. It was just long enough to entertain Maci Mae but just short enough not to lose her attention. Pretty sure her favorite part was Max the dog who she kept lovingly referring to as Noh-man!

After sledding, after the Grinch, after some lunch and some family napping, we hit up church. If I do say so myself, Maci Mae Mo was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen that night but the little squirt would not stand still for a photo, so the blurry, yellow shot below is the best I could get.

Christmas Eve ended up being absolutely perfect. After Maci went to bed, Shawn and I capped off the evening with some dessert and a little National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Classic.

On Christmas Day, we videotaped most of Maci's present-opening-session but I was able to get a few photos a little later on while she got to enjoy a couple of her presents. That's right, bubble bath and foam letters folks! Man I love presents at this age! Maci took her first-ever bubble bath and was enamored! Bubbles are her jam. That Santa sure is smart…

Everything after Christmas is pretty much a blur. We rang in the New Year around 7pm with the Woodruffs and had a celebratory countdown over chicken nuggets and cheese and crackers. Pretty sure I allowed myself TWO Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Peppers and possibly a shot-glass sized portion of beer. I miss beer. Anyway, it was a good month. Cold, crisp, snowy and full of big events: Shawn's 30th, Christmas, New Year's Eve and of course, a Dad, his dog and his daughter sledding down Ruggles. I kinda really love these people…

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Since Shawn's actually out celebrating a belated birthday with the neighbor boys at Ol' Mexico, I figured I'd use my alone time to recap how it all went down for us when we celebrated him turning the big 3-0.

Let me just start by saying, it's about damn time. It's hard being the older half in a marriage but it's even harder being the older half when you're married to Shawn. He's not the type to let you forget it and he's not the type to make you feel good about it either. Needless to say I was so ready, and probably more excited then he was, to celebrate this milestone. For mine, he planned a little vacation to Chicago so for his, I planned a little stay-cation here at home. Off to Grandma's house Maci went while Shawn and I hit up a T'wolves game, a couple movies, some dining out and some less then successful attempts at sleeping in.

I dropped Maci off Friday afternoon and immediately after, we ventured to the Target Center in hopes of seeing Ricky Rubio's debut game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. While we were mildly disappointed when he didn't even suit, we quickly recovered once we sat down, damn near court side, and saw a life-size K-Love. Seriously, I walked right by the dude when we came in through the players entrance. We were so close we could've spit on Alexey Schved. No joke. We were in awe. We were totally those people not even trying to play it cool. Anyway, with the best seats we've ever had, some tasty chicken strips and fries and a T'wolves win, our weekend was off to a good start.

The next day, I awoke at 6:30am (#%*!), Shawn shortly thereafter at 7am. (So long sleeping in … hello crack of dawn.) With such an early start, we decided to head off to breakfast at Keys Cafe. Bad decision. It ended up being the worst experience with the worst service and the worst food we've ever had … and … that's all I'd like to say about that. Bleh. To recover, we trotted 20 yards north to the St. Paul Bagelry, grabbed our favorites to go and hit up the movie theatre for the first of our double feature: Argo. We were elated to find it still in theatres by the time we were able to go and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was phenomenal. Go see it. When it comes out on DVD, rent it. Then watch it again. Totally worth your time if for nothing more then it's got the greatest 70s paraphernalia ever. It also happens to be based on a true story, it was directed by and stars Mr. Ben Affleck and it's dramatic while still being hilarious. Two thumbs way up. (Fine holiday fun.)

To kill some time between talkies, we headed off to D'Amicos for a (fantastic) light lunch and then ended our double feature with another favorite: Silver Linings Playbook. Also phenomenal. I love this movie for so many reasons. It's witty, cynical, hilarious, awkward, touching, inspiring and downright genius at times. Most of all, I love it because it highlights mental illness issues in such a new, relateable way, that you don't feel the stigma of the disease in the character's flaws, you feel for them as plain and pure people instead. Truly, truly awesome. Go see it. Plus, you get to look at Bradley Cooper the whole time. Come on.

So after some bball Friday and some movies Saturday, we attempted a redemption breakfast on Sunday and headed to Colossal; a small cafe over on Como in St. Paul our neighbors are always raving about. We love our neighbors for many reasons but now we get to add restaurant recommendations to the list. It was superb, delicious, affordable and downright cozy. Shawn had an omelet stuffed with everything but the kitchen sink while I ventured old school with the biscuits and gravy. Dee-lish. We were both impressed and more then stuffed thanks to the ginormous cinnamon roll Shawn also order as sort of an appetizer. Note for next time, get the roll to go!

When we got home, we took the time to rearrange the living room to make room for the tree we'd be fetching that afternoon, whilst also fetching our daughter. After attending a birthday party for a favorite little of ours, we headed south during the first and worst snow storm of the season. Not the greatest idea we've ever had but it couldn't be helped. As it turned out, the further south we got, the better the roads were. Screw the city plows, rural was where it was at! Long story short, we made it home safe and sound, our tree strapped to the roof of the Tribute and our daughter buckled in the back with the beginnings of what we'd soon find out to be another biblical illness. Ironically, after being away from her and missing her like madness the whole weekend, we actually stayed home with her all week while she was down with the sickness.

All-in-all, I'd say Shawn's 30th birthday stay-cation was a success! But I didn't stop there. Oh yeah, just when he thought I couldn't go any bigger then a weekend at home (HA!), I went and bought him his TV! Not just any TV, the TV. The TV we've been hemming and hawing over for literally years. I'm not kidding. When I went to Best Buy to purchase the damn thing, some of our old records showed our first consultation for such a purchase was in 2008. For you non-math majors, that's four effing years ago. That's a long-ass time and a whole lot of me putting up with an obsessing-Shawn.

After my last attempt to buy him a (tube) TV, circa 2001, I should've known not to try and surprise him again but apparently I didn't learn my lesson. The first time around, Tammy accidentally spilled the beans. This time around, it was none other then Best Buy themselves that blew the cover right off my hidden mission. I took off on Saturday with the cover story of Christmas shopping for Mae Mo. I bought the TV and set up pickup with our (previously mentioned) wonderful neighbors. Just as I'm heading out of the parking lot, proud of my purchase, I get a call from Shawn asking if I had something to tell him. Playing it cool I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. Yeah, umm, turns out, Best Buy TEXT him that his order was ready for pickup! #$&*! (Reason 182 why I hate texting.) I didn't even think to ask if such a thing could occur lest I buy a TV under his Best Buy account. For the love of Pete.

It worked out in Shawn's favor though because he got the whole weekend to take it out, set it up and play. We are now the proud owners of a Samsung, 46", LED, 1080p, 240Hz, Smart, 3D, HDTV. That translates to a whole bunch of shit I don't know how to use. The only photo I seem to have is below from Maci and I's Christmas Eve Grinch viewing. It's a skosh bigger then our old bute and Mr. DeBoer lu-uves the 3D…

Happy Birthday again my husband! We've now been together exactly half of your life time and in my humble opinion, 30 never looked so good…


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