Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Party in a Garage!

Dave and I have been mildly intrigued by the culture of Minnesotans to throw a party in their garage. It is the Thing to Do.

On any mild summer night, you can drive through a neighborhood and see several garages bustling with people at a party. Some garages have couches. Some have TVs. Others just have several lawn chairs around. It is not a phenomenon that only happens in our neighborhood. It is a Thing To Do. Maybe winter is so long and miserable, the garage is the perfect outdoor living room. Maybe people don't want to get their house dirty. Maybe it's just a good space.

Our neighbor threw her grandson's confirmation party in their garage.

Another neighbor routinely throws parties centered around sports games in his garage.

Graduation parties are a big deal up here. (meaning bakeries put out signs luring in customers for the perfect graduation cake. Delis advertise meat platters for grad parties. Attendance at museums and such is down in June because of grad parties, etc) Most families host one...and several are hosted out of garages.

Dave and I attended our first graduation party this past weekend. The hosts served up yummy taco salad, cokes, and graduation cake out of the garage. People chatted and ate in the backyard, the driveway, and the yard. But Dave and I ate in the garage. We had to. There were photos of the graduate posted on the walls telling the story of the girl from Kindergarten to senior high. All together a successful party, and we were probably the only ones who took a keen interest in the venue.

This garage party talk has sparked quite a few discussions at my workplace. Most co-workers who came from out-of-state think this is intriguing; native Minnesotans always ask, well, where did you have your graduation party?

I think.

A church fellowship hall.

Maybe that says something about where I grew up too.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jack on the Timberwolves bringing more Orange to town

Number four draft pick Wesley Johnson from Syracuse will join another former member of the Orange, Johnny Flynn, on the Minnesota Timberwolves team.

Jack remains dubious on whether this will actually make the team any better, but one can always hope, can't we?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Year Four

I have a great husband.

This morning I pried myself out of bed before 6 am and trudged downstairs with a very awake Jack in my arms. Right by the coffee pot, my husband had a basket of flowers and a nice card to wish me happy 4th anniversary.

Dave has come to be a very thoughtful gift giver. This year, I got a flower containing geraniums, which is significant because they are the flowers for year four. Geraniums symbolize peace, comfort, and gentility that comes with a relationship maturing by year four.

What's even more impressive is that Dave had to go out of his way to order this basket of flowers from an actual florist. Most people my age tend to drop by Walmart or Target to pick up flowers or order them off the internet. Nope, this required an old-fashioned floral call.

Dave got up to have breakfast with me. I had golden grahams, strawberries, juice, coffee, and an egg. He microwaved some oatmeal for himself. He has to work tonight to cover the NBA draft. I arranged to have a picnic with friends. We are going out to dinner this weekend, courtesy a dinner gift from Dave's folks.... but I guess this shows we've settled into a peaceful normal that's expected by the fourth year of marriage.

We've been a couple for about nine years, married for four, and now we have a little game changer to keep life interesting. I don't gush about private feelings on the internet. That's not me. But I will say Happy Anniversary, Dave and I love you.

And I've already looked. I'm getting daisies next year. (You know, they look like the ones you took out with a weed-eater a few weeks ago.) he he.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kids with Crowns in News on Tour

We do parades in a very big way here at my station. This year we also expanded our News on Tour to get out in the cities and do the news live....Here we are from the Tater Daze festival looking all inspirational and windblown:

I had the fun job this year of interviewing the kids in the crowns, who supplied us with some fun trivia. They don't do beauty pageants up here, which is downright sad. After all, what's a festival without a queen? Who wouldn't want to be Miss Tater Daze? or Miss Whiz Bang? or Miss Frolics? or Miss Duk Duk?

It could be worse, as any southerner knows. Somewhere, there is a Miss Poke Salad, Miss Red bud, Miss Pine Tree, and I even judged a Miss Easter pageant once.

Instead, the crown wearers here are generally kids in elementary school who go to a series of picnics with officials and are quizzed on their city and their event. A group of 5-10 kids are picked to wear matching dresses and a crown (or a suit and a hat if they are boys) and go to city ribbon cuttings and other city parades. The kids in Brooklyn Park ride on a giant baked potato in several area parades.

I interviewed them on camera and the entire batch did rather well, even though they were disappointed their reigns were ending the following day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A time to Skype

We've used Skype with Jack since he was one day old. It's a great *free* way for us to connect with family across the miles.

Lately, Jack has seemed to get it that there's a person on that screen that makes interesting faces and sometimes interesting noises.

Other times he just looks at the screen and screams. But I don't have a picture of that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

You can see us coming

They wanted more of a presence in the parades.

They got it.

Clouds over Chaska

This is what the sky looked like on Thursday night when a record number of tornadoes ripped through the state. We just got a rain shower and some really gusty wind that knocked limbs out of trees.

1889 baby

I am already starting to come up with great outfits for Jack to rue one day. I'm sure he'll say "you dressed me in what?"

Well, he spent last much of last Saturday in a dress. When my grandfather was a boy, he spent much of his time as an infant or toddler in a plain, white dress. I actually copied a pattern out of my grandmother's trunk to make Jack one to wear out to the museum site. I can truly say it's much easier to deal with than pulling on and off baby pants or unbuttoning one piece outfits. Maybe dresses are the way to go for infants.

I forgot to try it on him before we showed up that day. And, you guessed it... it barely fit. He was busting out of the arms and the dress would not close in the back. Luckily it was cold, so Jack stayed bundled in blankets. We pulled a bassinet into the kitchen where we had the stove going.

Jack was very well-behaved for a rainy Saturday, and he sparked several conversations. The front desk often asks visitors what their favorite part of the site is. One little girl said "the baby." That made the day worth it.

The Reception

I'm sure you all are thinking this is the longest series of blogs about a single wedding ever.

It is .

Luke and Brianne's wedding was fun and Italian and patriotic.

The bride and groom walked in under the saber arch. I didn't get a good shot of it during the ceremony, so here goes.

At the head table, Luke paid tribute to his friend, Paul, with a photo, candle and tipped chair. Luke served with Paul, who was also a Captain in the Army. Paul was from San Antonio. He was an Eagle Scout and a West Point graduate. He died in Afghanistan in January, after committing to be a groomsman in Luke's wedding. Dave and I had breakfast with Paul and his mother when we visited Alaska in 2008, so we can personally say that this seemed to us to be a very nice young man and a true loss for his family and our country. Luke didn't want to replace him in the wedding party. So, this was how Paul stood by Luke on his special day. Luke gave a brief toast to his fellow service members and to his friend that was truly the most moving part of the entire day.

Other fun highlights....

Brianne is also called Sunshine by those of us who know her best. Why? because for years she's been a professional clown and if you know Bri, you know she takes this very seriously. She's been to clown college. She doesn't break character when she's in her clown attire. AND she's so popular she doesn't even advertise and stays as busy as she wants to be. At one local festival, I think she takes pride in the fact her line stays longer than Santa Claus. To sum up Sunshine, she gets joy out of making people happy.
The wedding singer called Brianne to the floor, had her put on her nose and clown shoes for a special dance. Brianne was wise to all of this, and she had a special nose for Luke to wear. He played along. Then, her family trumped all by coming out to the dance floor in clown noses. This was really fun and cute.My dance with my brother:

My dance with Brianne's dad, who was a constant on the dance floor. He likes to dance with the ladies, and he got everyone on the dance floor. He is an excellent host.

One special moment also came with the Last Couple Standing. My Grandfather wasn't feeling the greatest, and he was going to sit the night out. I persuaded him to get out to the dance floor by pleading, "C'mn Pop, this is a game you might win. And you always play the games you are going to win."

They will be married 61 years in November, so they won this competition easily.

Luke and Bri cut the wedding cake with a saber and the grooms cake with a bayonet. The couple made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project as a wedding favor in honor of their guests. The night ended with a nice rendition of America the Beautiful. In the years to come, I'll remember the event as a beautiful, yet thoughtful and meaningful memory to mark Memorial Day weekend.... as a day not only to remember some of America's best and brightest, but a time my brother married a wonderful girl.

PS... Jack slept through the entire reception.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Ceremony

I was Catholic once. At least that's what a poster said.

I forgot about this until I was looking through my Syracuse pictures looking for pictures of Brianne and me for the previous entry. And there it was....One of our graduate friends was very involved in the Catholic Student Association on campus. When the sign up list for a group outing to tour the Wine Region of Central New York came up short, she asked the class if anyone wanted to go fill some slots. Go drink? Sure, why not? Several of us non-Catholics signed right up and had a fantastic time on gray Saturday. We posed for a few pictures and thought nothing of it.
Until later that year when someone spotted a brochure in the student union.
There we were.... a baptist, a methodist, a jew, and an agnostic or two... posing as the poster children on the brochure for the Catholic Grad Student Association. We had a good laugh about this.

If I had remembered I'd been Catholic once, maybe I wouldn't have been so nervous as a reader in a Catholic church at my brother's wedding. I had to walk in front of people...which makes me incredibly nervous. I fell in front of everyone at my senior prom, but that's another post. Anyway. Not only did I have to walk in front of everyone, I had to bow going and coming AND do it all twice for two separate readings. My brain went temporarily on the blink because I chose to do all of this in four inch heels. I was way too worked up about all of this.
I did not fall. I did just fine.

My brother's wedding ceremony went beautifully. The bride was stunning and beaming. Parents shed a tear or two. My brother looked happy and handsome.Since it was a military wedding, he and his best man, my brother John, wore their fancy Army uniforms. They spent part of the morning leading up to the ceremony getting their uniforms together. Luke and his bronze star. John and his purple hearts. We are so proud of them both....but anyway...Soldiers marched down the aisle at the end of the ceremony and there was a saber arch. Just before Luke and Brianne walked through the last set of sabers, the soldiers crossed sabers below and wouldn't let them pass until Luke kissed Brianne. He dipped her and when she was back upright, they said "welcome to the Army,
ma'am!" They did a similar thing while entering the reception. There were several cheers.

And the smallest dude in a tuxedo was a very well-behaved Jack. He seemed mesmerized by the colorful stained glass windows and by his Mema who was feeding him a bottle. He did get a little warm, so by the end of the ceremony he was giving a shout out to Risky Business by going pants-less.

Some of the group probably thought I was rude because I was taking and texting pictures frequently to relatives in Arkansas. They got to experience the wedding on an iPhone, and I bet they could still see the happiness of the newlyweds.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Camryn Joy is here!

We are an aunt and uncle again! My sister, Jessica, had her baby girl, Camryn Joy yesterday in Shreveport. Camryn weighed 5 lbs 1 oz and was 18 inches long. She has red hair and Slatton feet. (That's long and skinny feet for you who don't know)

She's exactly 3 months younger than Jack and we can't wait to meet her.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What if?

I still remember the day I found out I got rejected from Columbia's graduate school. Actually, I was wait-listed, but same difference.

I knew from the moment I pulled the envelope out of my campus mailbox that this packet was far too light to be an acceptance letter. I made it back to my dorm room before I started crying.

I know now I was more enamored with having a degree from an Ivy League college rather than getting a solid broadcast journalism foundation. So rather than gamble with a wait-list and then pay off the enormous debt that comes with an Ivy League education, I looked forward to an assistant ship and the challenge that awaited me at my second choice, the Newhouse School at Syracuse University... which is actually quite prestigious in itself.

I never knew on that first day of class that in a small graduate class of 28, I would meet both my future husband AND sister-in-law.

But I did.

It wasn't until after graduation that a chain of events starting linking together. A casual date became a meaningful relationship which only became stronger when Dave and I moved a thousand miles apart. He got a job in Shreveport. We still liked each other. We decided to get married. He asked his cousin to be a groomsman in our wedding which left us one very important bridesmaid short. I asked Brianne who was our good friend from our days at Syracuse. She came to Louisiana and met my brother, who was also in the wedding party. A casual wedding weekend became a meaningful relationship which only became stronger when Luke moved thousands of miles away to Alaska and then to Iraq. He got a job in Utica. They still liked each other. And they decided to get married.

People say 'all things work out for the best', but this is the one instance in my life where I have clearly seen a disappointment play out into the greatest thing ever. By getting that rejection letter, I found two very important people that I can't imagine life without.... which is a heckuva lot better than paying student loans on an Ivy League education.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Coming attractions

Stay posted for Luke gets married

Back to Work

When I started using my DVR to record Oprah and Dr. Oz, I knew it was time to go back to work. That, and my bank account texted me and asked if it was on a diet.

So, I've been back at work since Wednesday and have reached a new level of exhaustion. 5:30 comes much earlier in the morning when you have to get up and down all night with no make-up naps during the day.

On my first day back with my child in daycare for the first time, I am assigned to do a story on daycare abuse. Seriously folks. I appreciated the irony.

But Jack was fine and I am fine and so far it feels like Christmas everyday when I go pick him up after work.