Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season for...well, everything! I realized just yesterday that we have not had a new post since Thanksgiving! My how time flies!

We have spent the last month doing the usual family holiday things...Thanksgiving celebrations with family were fun, but tiring. Collin, Cousin Avrie and Uncle John enjoying a nap together at Grandma Nola's house....

After Thanksgiving, it was time to start the Christmas season. A Christmas party for the families of 3M employees gave Collin one of his first chances to talk to Santa. Last year, Collin would not go near him, although this year he did agree to sit next to him. I don't think that his reluctance is a bad thing....Although we do have a few Santa themed trinkets around, we don't really promote the concept of Santa at home... If you ask Collin, Santa is the guy that helps parents get presents to everyone for celebrating Jesus' birthday. I am actually pretty happy that he questions the logic of sitting on the lap of some stranger in weird clothes that he's never met before....Call me scrooge if you want, I do think it is an odd tradition....

Collin also had a Christmas program at his daycare one Sunday afternoon. Check out our "Wiseman"....

We also put up our own Christmas tree and decorations at home. I am happy to say that this year we took the time to go to a tree lot to purchase a real tree instead of using artificial...No, we have not yet ventured out to cut down our own tree...maybe next year. I keep envisioning the Griswolds from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (one of the best movies, ever) and can't get myself to take that plunge.

I remember picking out the family Christmas tree every year as a child and wanted Collin to have those same memories. Although our perfectly full, pre-purchased store tree with it's themed ornaments suited Doug and I well as a couple, our family is better suited with a real tree. Our tree and our home is now adorned with an eclectic array of decorations, ranging from new gifts Collin received at daycare to ornaments I had as a child.

(A small nativity scene that my Grandma Rose had in her home and our stockings all in a row...)

We will be opening gifts here, tonight, on Christmas Eve, then heading west to visit with family for the weekend...assuming the weather allows it! It is definitely a white Christmas this year!

And, although I will not taint the actual day of Christmas with anything that could be considered "political", since today is December 24, I just cannot resist sharing one "greeting" of the season that I received via e-mail recently...

To All My Liberal Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Conservative Friends: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family.
Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows,
for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness.
Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives.
Thank you for friends, for health and for grace.
May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From "The Catholic Prayer Book," compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley

Monday, November 23, 2009

A fabulous fall season

Fall 2009

Fall has always been my favorite season. I enjoy the colors of the leaves and the crisp air. Doug, Collin and I have enjoyed a lot about the autumn season every year, and fall 2009 has been no exception.

Ironically it felt as though we skipped fall all together and moved straight to winter when we built the first snowman of the year long before Halloween. Although the afternoon of snowball fights, snow angels and snowmen was fun, we were perfectly content when it melted the following day and fall was here after all!

Once fall was back, we celebrated at a festival held by the church attended by Collin's godparents, Katie and Darin Bartsch. Pumpkin painting, face painting, pumpkin basketball and of course pumpkin golf were enjoyed by everyone, despite the soggy/windy day.
In Collin's world (and Doug's) any day with golf is a good day....

To prepare for Halloween, we took a family field trip to a local pumpkin farm in Andover. Complete with hayrides, a corn maze, a potbelly pig that greets you, and the largest pumpkin patches I've ever seen, it was a great afternoon. We were able to leave with a large pumpkin that later decorated our front step. Collin also had his first taste of homemade pumpkin seeds baked in the oven, made from the "pumpkin guts" that he helped to scoop.

Don't let the picture fool you, this was a very big 25lbs pumpkin!

The weekend before Halloween, Doug was in Ohio. So, Collin and I spent some time with the Butcher cousins Riley, Kalie and Avrie Butcher at "Zoo Boo,"an evening event held at Como Zoo in St. Paul where the employees wear costumes and hand out candy to kids as they stroll through the grounds of the zoo.

"Trick or Treat"...Collin, Riley and Kalie hiding in Charlie Brown's pumpkin patch at Como...

Then, of course, it actually was Halloween. This year we took advantage of some of the props we already had at home and Collin trick-or-treated as a "doctor". Thanks to Doug's Aunt Shirley Dummer who is a fabulous seamstress, we were able to avoid the scratchy and thin Doctor's scrubs that came with the white lab coat in favor of these hand crafted comfy, soft and thick blue ones just right for a brisk Halloween night.
Dr. Collin inspecting his gear before a grueling night of trick or treating.

We hit the town at dusk and collected a lot of candy, also stopping at the community Halloween party hosted by the church associated with Collin's daycare, Elim Christian Learning Center. Each year they hold a "warm up" station and free hotdogs, cocoa and games for the kids.

November has been spent enjoying the unseasonably warm fall weather. With not a snowflake in sight, we enjoyed time at Grandpa Don's new house just outside of Hector, MN. The tire swing is a favorite.
And, of course, Daddy had to check out the 10-point buck that Grandpa Don brought home after a hunting trip. Never a fan of hunting myself, this appears to be one of those things that Collin has gotten from Daddy's gene pool. He was not a bit scared of the buck and happy to help out where he could!

And, despite all the fun we had enjoying the fall weather, there is one thing that the autumn season is not known for...good swimming weather. So, this past weekend we were able to spend some time at an indoor swimming pool at the Mystic Lake hotel for the weekend with Grandma Nola. Collin made ample use of the pool and took advantage of the time to practice the skills he learned in swimming lessons this summer. It takes a lot to wear out a 3 year old and by the end of the weekend this mission was accomplished!
Time to relax!

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, just one of the many things we are thankful for is the wonderful time spent with family and friends this fall!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honey, will you....

I am going out on a limb and assuming that most married couples have at some time or another been introduced to a variation of the "Honey, do..." list.

You know, the little (or long) list of tasks that you are hoping your spouse can accomplish for the benefit of your family or home...and, admit it, to make your to do list smaller.

Those of you that know me well know that I really appreciate a good list. It is such a nice, concrete way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you are making progress toward your end goal. As I have been blessed with a pretty handy husband, I have really learned to appreciate a good "Honey, do...." list.

Typically Doug is pretty laid back about humoring my requests. He too likes things pretty clean, organized and in good repair at home so, although sometimes my style is more concrete than his, he can at least see my point and is willing to accommodate. I do try to not get too ridiculous with the requests either, and there are plenty of things assigned for me to do on those lists as well.

To make lemons out of lemonade we've strung together a pretty great "Honey, do..." list for his official period of unemployment. The job market is tough these days, and it is important to be realistic.

Now, imagine my surprise when he called me on Tuesday afternoon to tell me that he would be starting his new job on Wednesday!

Timing could not have been better. We were told about the closing of his previous company, Exel, in mid September and were expecting his last day to be early October. That position was extended until mid-October as it took longer to tie up loose ends than expected. He was then immediately offered a temporary opportunity by Exel (who knew they were loosing a good employee, if I dare to brag a little about my guy!) in Ohio to fill an executive position for the last two weeks of October. He was gone from October 19 to October 30. After enjoying Halloween weekend as a reunited family, Doug had 2 official days of unemployment-- Monday 11/2 and Tuesday 11/3, then had his first day at his new job today, 11/4.

We are excited and grateful for this job. Doug is now the Logistics Manager at US Water Services in Cambridge, MN. The commute is 30 minutes with no traffic to speak of, the pay and benefits are good, the hours are typical business hours, and so far the job description seems like a very good fit for his interests and skills.

Guess that "Honey, do..." list will have to wait after all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Still on the way...

Quite some time ago we posted about Doug pursing his MBA through Concordia, St. Paul. Well, he is still on the way to his MBA...and is still holding strong to a 4.0 GPA too!

Being a father, husband and student is no easy feat. Also, as many of you already know, the company that Doug works for was closed this month after their contract was outbid. So, add job searching to the equation and you get a clear picture of what an accomplishment this is!

That said, it has also been fun in some ways. For me, it has been great to see Doug so interested in expanding his education and learning from his courses. It is also great role modeling for Collin, who gets updates on Dad's grades and asks him how school was. Hopefully that education minded attitude will stick when Kindergarten starts in a few short years!

Of course, "fun" is also sometimes what you make of it. Many of the courses so far have been interesting and helpful to his field. Some, however, were less than enjoyable. In those cases, you make fun. On the trip up north this summer, Doug submitted the final paper for the rumored hardest course of the program. Once his grade was received, a bonfire "in honor" of this class ensued....

Congratulations, Doug on your continued success. We are so proud of you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Must've never met a toddler...

Whoever coined the phrase "Happy Birthday" never met a toddler. When Collin knows his birthday is approaching, it is non-stop chatter, anticipation and excitement. He knows his birthday is in September, so when he knows that the month is here, get ready! And from talking with other parents of busy toddlers I know this experience is not unique to our family...
Really, to be honest, we should be wishing a happy "birth-month," because the month of September was filled with celebrations.
Some are small and happen because the moment just feels right. For example, for Collin's birthday we got a good deal on the 3 "Mighty Ducks" movies. Well, there are 3 of them after all, so on a Friday night in early September after a long week of work and having a good family dinner, of course we give an early gift. Just one of the movies elicits a huge grin and round of "thank yous" and we settle in to enjoy the film. Two more movies to go...not so bad, right???????????????
Then there is the "family party" and the "friend party" which of course need to occur on different weekends. Most of our family lives about 2 hours away. As Collin shares September birthdays with 2 cousins Dylan and Tyson and his great-grandfather, the family birthday party is held at a central location mid September where we have a cake and gifts for all the September birthdays.

The morning of the 27th, Collin's actual birthday, is a party itself. Doug and I greet Collin in his room with party hats and noisemakers. After breakfast (can you call a cupcake breakfast?) we officially begin the day and open presents from mom and dad. Yes, the 2 remaining Mighty Ducks movies were still unopened until that morning!

The "friend party" consists of Collin's toddler friends from the metro area and their parents. The Rosenau clan is large enough with all cousins present, so adding more kids to the mix would not be classified as a celebration for anyone...So, on Collin's actual birthday we celebrated with his friends Zack, Bryce, Ashlyn, and Kylie.

A home-made "hockey" cake/cupcakes
went well with the game that ensued
in the garage and outside.

We were blessed with good weather for most of the day, so there was plenty of "non-hockey" outdoor play too, including wagon rides, baseball, golf and plain old running around! Inside there were toys and the newly opened presents to choose from!

Fun, fun, fun!

Then of course there are those who can't attend these parties due to their own schedule conflicts but are a big part of Collin's life. So, visits, phone calls, emails, text messages and cards from other family and friends happen throughout the month as well.

How fun birthdays are at this age. And what memories they bring back, even though those memories are only 3 years old too!

Then...And Now...
September 2006
September 2009
On Collin's birthday we posted a birthday wish for him. As the month has come to a close, we now hope that he had a great birth-month too!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

5 Steps to becoming a great Sword fighter

We found some time earlier this fall to go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival as a family. Many families have traditions about the State Fair, but for our family it's the Renaissance. Doug and I went regularly for years and it is the one outing we have been consistent with each year since we became a family of three. We have not yet been disappointed.

Our first purchase of the day, and the only thing Collin asked for the whole time we were there, which is quite a feat given all the toys and items on display. No wooden puzzles or stuffed animals...he went straight for a "bad guy fighting" sword.

We never decide too far in advance what day we will go or how long we will stay. Instead, if we see that a Saturday is turning into a beautiful fall day, we change our plans and head to the Renaissance! Easy to avoid the rain, wind and "too hot" or "too cold"days of a Minnesota autumn. Once we are there, we walk and browse and eat until we are ready to go home. Sometimes that is just a few hours, sometime that is many hours. So far it has been a recipe for success.

We keep our expectations realistic...we know that we are not attending as adults anymore, but as a family which automatically changes the dynamics. The first years it was remembering which "privie" had the cleanest and least crowded diaper changing area. Then as Collin began to walk, it was giving him enough freedom to explore, while keeping enough structure to maintain his safety and our sanity as well. This year he was a full participant in the world around him and I can safely say we had the best year yet.

Strolling the grounds 2009. The crowd was minimal even though it was a beautiful day. The news had predicted rain for the weekend, which I think kept crowds away. It was a beautiful sunny day! Because of this, Collin was able to take the lead in exploring the event, which he loved.

We stopped and listened to some of the comics and other performers. At one point we heard music from a distance and could use some rest so we sat down thinking it would help to keep Collin entertained. Next thing we knew dancers came out with hockey sticks...yep, really. It was the Highland Fling Scottish weekend, so the dancers did a hockey themed dance, which of course had our little boy amazed. There is just no avoiding that game!

Food for the farm friends too! We had our share of turkey legs and chicken on a stick, but couldn't leave out the animals. In the past, Collin has enjoyed petting zoos but not the up close feeding. This time there was no hesitation as a hungry sheep enjoyed some lunch.

What an arm! I remember attending as a child myself, playing the games and winning certificates with my name on them and colored feathers. This year Collin played some of those same games, including the one pictured here where you knock down pictures of bad guys like dragons and evil knights with bean bags.

The highlight of the day, however, was sword fighting. I don't recall this game before, but until now it was not something Collin was old enough to do, so it may have escaped notice. This year, however, he was enthralled. Kids and adults are able to put on fencing attire and fight (complete with an announcer to provide a play by play and to ensure a fair fight). The goal is to pop the balloons that are attached to your opponent's helmet. Although his souvenir sword is still well loved and used to this day, the chance to actually "fight" with a sword was of great interest to him.

So, here are the Top 5 Steps to becoming a great Sword fighter:

Step 1. Eat ice cream and intently watch others for close to an hour. This ensures that you will have your strength from a good meal and you will have gotten a chance to learn some cool bad guy fighting moves.

Step 2. Find a wench who can help you get into your fencing gear.

Step 3. Find a worthy opponent. In this case, Daddy will do nicely.

Step 4. Use those skills and pop those balloons! The size of your opponent does not matter. Remember David and Goliath? No fear!

Step 5. Raise your sword victoriously. Look very serious while doing so...sword fighting is no joke!

Knowing that we would not find anything to compete with the sword fight experience, we ended the day on that note and took our little warrior home, close to 8 hours after arriving! Another great day at the Renaissance.

And, we felt very safe on the way home knowing we were protected by such a great swordsman...Of course he did fall asleep in the car, but I am sure he would have woken up if a dragon would have attacked.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday to our little boy!

A Boy is...
Scuffed up knees, a freckled nose
with dimples here and there.
A daring, caring, sharing heart
a mass of tousled hair.
Boundless curiosity
the spirit to explore.
Two twinkling eyes, a smiling face
and energy galore!
A love of life, a bit of sass,
a source of untold joy.
A wonderment,
a dream fulfilled
God's miracle...a BOY

(author unknown-

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Rosenau Family Golfer

This year Doug volunteered some time at the PGA Championship which was held nearby in Chaska.

This meant that Collin and I were also able to attend one of the practice round days for free. I am not a big golf fan, but even I was impressed with the arrangements at the Hazeltine course where the event was held. Since it was just a practice day, the golfers were also very laid back and sociable. Collin was able to collect some autographs and enjoy golf at its finest!

If you ask Collin, Daddy was "working with Tiger Woods"....Neither Collin nor I saw Tiger Woods...he practiced each day before we are even out of our pajamas. Daddy, however, did indeed "work with Tiger Woods" on the final day of the event in his role as volunteer Gallery Control, Special Teams...which meant he closed off his assigned area to spectators as the golfers walked through. Collin and I did not care too much about missing Tiger though...because we got to see the Rosenau family golfer!

In previous posts, I have referenced Collin's love for golf. In particular, there is an instructional golf DVD by golfer Tom Lehman (aka "man hits ball") that we have at home which Collin enjoys regularly. Now imagine Collin's surprise when he got to actually meet Tom Lehman...the "man" himself!

"Man hits ball" actually hitting the ball!

Tom, myself and Collin...I think he's a bit star struck!

Now that Tom Lehman is a "real" person, his previous nickname of "man hits ball" seems to be put to rest. Instead, Collin now says "Tom Lehman" in a very precise, serious way that is just adorable! The best part, of course, was watching Collin thoroughly enjoy himself!

Feeling right at home....walking the grounds and holding his souvenir golf ball....

Thanks to the PGA "fore" the fun day!