Monday, January 26, 2015

Life is Fragile

Finn is playing with snow.  He loves to cook!

Bubble Bath
Cooking with snow

Finn also loves to feed himself which works well unless its something like ice cream!
Luke, Liam, and Aiden got the amazing opportunity to skate on NHL ice at the Xcel Center where the MN WILD plays hockey!

AJ is action and he has improved so much!

AJ exhausted on center ice

Liam (right) in action



Luke as goalie

John and his boys

Sweaty and tired going into the WILD locker room

Switching gears on pictures....This is Greg and his son running the kids run at the Twin Cities Marathon

John and his running buddies.  Greg is on the far right

John ran his marathon PR at the Twin Cities Marathon and qualified for Boston after training with Greg.

A chilling memorial to Greg at the hockey tournament on the morning following his death

By the title of this post, you can probably guess that it isn't going to be a post about our busy lives with the boys and their activities.  We did have a big week with some fun events and I will let the pictures do the talking with a few captions above.  

Our week, however, ended with some very tragic news reminding us of how fragile life really is.  A dear friend and running partner of John's had a massive heart attack and died suddenly on Friday while playing pond hockey at a local tournament.  Greg was 45 years old and leaves behind a wife and two young children (ages 4 and 1 year). He was a seemingly healthy guy, marathon runner, loving husband and father, business man, and hockey player.  There were no indications prior to this that anything was wrong and the initial autopsy results have been inconclusive.  The incident was a total shock to our running community as well as his family and numerous friends.  Greg was an amazing guy who loved life. His smile was infectious, his attitude was always positive, and he made you feel like you were the most important person on earth whenever he saw you.  His death has given a new perspective to the little things we struggle with on a daily basis.  Our hearts ache for his wife and young kids who will grow up without the father who loved them so much.  Please pray for Greg's wife, children, and extended family.  

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Here's to our "normal" week...

My kitchen "helper" or maybe not so helpful helper.  He actually pulled out the oven drawer on his own to reach the top of the stove.  

Finn loves to ride around in Luke and Liam's hockey bags

Teaching Finn some knee hockey

Luke and Liam got to be the "Captains" in a recent game
After some really cold weather, we had a break in temperatures and day or two in the 30's.  Finn enjoyed being outside a bit.

Wearing the Captain patches!

Luke and Liam completed their 1,000+ piece lego city set.  This is a picture they asked me to take of the outside.

And the inside...they are very proud.  Lots of hours spent on this not to mention the hours spent finding all the teeny tiny legos that fell on the floor.
This is the first week in maybe a month that I don't have dozens of pictures to pick from for a post.  We didn't celebrate any major holidays, no birthdays, no parties, etc...We had a very normal week for us and that's o.k.  Our normal weeks are fairly busy anyway, so its tough when you add a lot of extra things.  So here's to our normal week!

A couple of updates....Luke, Liam, and Aiden are back into school.  It has been a little hard getting them back into a routine after so much fun over Christmas break.  For the next six weeks, Luke and Liam are taking a class one day per week after school to learn how to play chess.  Both have always wanted to learn how to play so we will see how this goes.  They are very good checker players!  Luke and Liam are still playing lots of hockey and Aiden is enjoying soccer.  We are doing lots and lots of skating on the outdoor rink and Aiden has really improved.  We no longer have to coax him to go out and try to skate, he is going out on his own and loves it.  He gets pushed around a lot with the older kids he plays with and he has really gotten a lot better.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Birthday #2 and Party #2

Aiden's birthday friends getting ready to snow shoe

Finn isn't sure what we are doing, but he's ready to go!

The Naturalist is explaining the snow shoes

Our buddy, Andy (younger brother of twins Jack and Charlie)

The whole gang looking for animal tracks

It was plenty cold enough and snowy

Landon, Aiden, Luke, and Keaton

Everyone did really well with it


Warming up after being outside

The naturalist brought in a snake for us to check out

Finn and Charlie

Touching the snake

Even Finn touched the snake

Aiden's Winter Celebration Cake

Singing Happy Birthday 

Aiden and his girl friends (Annika-left and Reagan-right)
We celebrated Birthday #2 and Birthday Party #2 over the weekend.  While Aiden turned five last weekend (Jan 2), Luke and Liam turned SEVEN this weekend (Jan 11).  Since we flip flopped weekends for parties, Aiden's party was over the weekend (the day before Luke and Liam's birthday).  I was hoping to find something different for Aiden's party.  The parks and recreation system in our area is fantastic so we decided on a party at the nature center.  It is a new building with lots of windows and fun stuff to see and do.  Since it is inevitable that the weather will be cold and snowy on Aiden's birthday, we went with a winter celebration theme and he chose to do a snow shoe party.  Although it was a little tricky getting on all the snow shoes (and keeping them on), everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It was bitter cold, but no one complained.  We did not stay out for very long, but we took a short nature hike to look for animal tracks (we only found deer poop).  After the snow shoeing, we came inside to meet a snake, and then enjoy cake and presents.  Overall, everyone seemed to have a great time.

On Sunday, we celebrated Luke and Liam's 7th birthday.  They used the gift cards they received on their birthday to buy a 1,000+ piece lego set that we will be working on for quite some time.  They also did some skating in the backyard, and finally we went out to dinner with friends after their second hockey game.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

January is the month for Birthdays

Finn made another attempt at the ice rink with the walker that John made for him

He's really trying and wants to learn.  He screams when we won't let him go out.

The neighborhood open skate complete with sandwiches over on the middle center/left side

Getting ready to skate at his birthday party

Liam getting ready to skate

All geared up.  Luke, Liam, Aiden, and Finn

Luke and Liam have shown a lot of improvement playing hockey this year

MN Wild Hockey Cake

Luke and Liam's friends at their birthday party

Aiden and Dad

Finn is "running the clock" with Kevin

And he loved every minute of it

The boys skated hard and they were starving afterwards!

Birthday party friends

Singing Happy Birthday

Clearly, this is Luke's favorite part!

Opening gifts

Luke and his MN gopher shirt from his buddies, Jack and Charlie.

Liam loves his knee hockey stick

Liam and Luke with their buddy, Jack

Finn being goofy

Here's proof that Mom was actually there since I am rarely in the pictures

Luke with his inflatable hockey stick

The inflatables sticks quickly turned into weapons, of course.

Aiden started soccer over the weekend and was so excited!
January is a big birthday month for us because we celebrate three birthdays.  This was the first year where we decided we would need to do two birthday parties.  However, when your birthdays are only a week apart followed by Christmas and New Years, planning two parties is tricky.  In the past, we have had one party for all three boys so the planning logistics were a bit easier.  We would do the party around one of the two birth dates.  This year, however, Luke and Liam are going to a different school than Aiden and they all have different friends.

So, we started talking to all three boys about what they would like to do for their birthdays back in October.  When Luke and Liam said they wanted to have a skating party, we knew we would have to plan early.  Finding open ice at this time of year in Minnesota is nearly impossible.  We considered having the party on our backyard rink but thankfully we opted against this because we had several setbacks with the rink this year.

I finally found a place to rent ice where we could actually play hockey (the boys wanted to play hockey, not just skate around) so we planned Luke and Liam's skating party.  The ironic thing about all of this is that the only date possible for the party (based on ice availability, scheduling, etc...) was Aiden's 5th birthday (January 2).  We invited several neighbors, friends from school, friends from their hockey team, and a few twin friends that we have played with since we were born.  The boys enjoyed some time to play hockey with their friends followed by pizza, popcorn, and cake.  We celebrated Aiden's birthday that night at a special dinner restaurant of his choice.  Aiden's party will be this weekend (the day before Luke and Liam's 7th birthday).