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.....