Catching Up

Mike and Sophia went to a Father-Daughter event at the end of January.  They had a double date with friends of ours and had a wonderful evening of dancing, laughter and fun.  Here they are right before they left for their big date.

Night Out
Sophia & Her Friend Enjoying Kiddie Cocktails

The weather continues to be below average making it less than desirable for outdoor activities.

Arctic Air

We hosted the annual Super Bowl Party at our house.  We got a little creative with an old tablecloth to add to the football theme.

Football Field By Mike & Sophia

Sophia made sure we didn’t forget what day it was by marking it on our daily board.

Super Bowl Sunday

Sophia made Seahawks and Broncos Rainbow Loom bracelets and sold them for $0.50 each. I forgot to take of photo of them, but trust me, they were super cute and sold fast! Daphne was exhausted the next day.

All Tuckered Out

Sebastian had his first of two band concerts of the school year.  The concert included performances by the 6th, 7th & 8th grades.  They all did a great job.

7th Grade Band – iPhone Photo

Sophia had her own musical performance this week.  She played two pieces of music at a piano festival in front of judges.  The festival was at a nearby college.  I wasn’t able to be in the room with her when she played, but she said it went very well.  She will find out the results later this week.

Festival At The College of St. Scholastica – iPhone Photos

We enjoyed my work of art…this giant cookie after dinner on Saturday.  I think I finally have it perfected.  Homemade cookie dough (my secret recipe) baked in a 9 inch springform pan. Crispy, chewy and delicious!

Cookie Perfection

I tried to find inspiration outdoors for a few photos, but came up somewhat empty-handed.

Winter Branch
Birch Bark
Swirly Sky
More Empty Branches

The week ahead looks busy with school conferences, a piano lesson, gymnastics, basketball practices and a tournament.  We may try to fit in some skiing on Sunday if the weather permits.  We are enjoying the longer days and are looking forward to warmer temperatures in the long, long range forecast.

November Ramblings

Today is my first official day of vacation.  I am taking the week off to begin Thanksgiving preparations.  I don’t actually need the whole week to prepare, but always like to spend a day attending to household projects that get neglected throughout the year – touch up painting, going through closets and giving away clothes that the kids have outgrown, organizing our storage room and working on things that I have put off due to lack of time.  Today is project day, tomorrow is cleaning day and Wednesday is cooking/baking day.  By Thursday, we will be set to host our 19th Annual Sullivan Thanksgiving for 12 people + two dogs.

Before I delve into “project day”, here’s a recap of what’s been going on in our household during the past few weeks.

Thanks to the end of daylight savings time, it is just getting light out when I leave for work in the morning and is dark when I leave work at the end of the day.  Here’s what I see when I leave my office.  I can’t wait until the days begin getting longer even though the sunsets are beautiful.


Sebastian’s basketball season began a week and a half ago.  In his first game, he scored the first six points for his team.  He has the same coach as last year, the mother of one teammate’s and good friend.  We are looking forward to a great season with several returning kids from last year, plus a few new team members.

The Shot Is Up

When Sebastian isn’t busy with basketball practice or games, he has been diligent in his music studies.  This year in band he is learning to play an instrument – the baritone.  His teacher has asked all students to practice with their instrument’s for at least 10 minutes per day.  They haven’t learned how to play the various notes yet, but need concentrate on producing sound and the proper hold on the instrument.  Here’s what happens during practice with our dog, Daphne, in the room.

Daphne has been recovering slowly and continues to take a half tablet of prednisone every other day.  She had her 8th birthday yesterday and celebrated with a new toy – a rubber chicken.

Daphne And The Chicken
Daphne vs. The Chicken
And The Winner Is…Daphne

Sophia continues to take gymnastic classes on Tuesday evenings.  She loves her teacher and enjoys an hour of balance beams, floor mat exercises and parallel bars.  She has also been busy at school with her weekly choir group and a performance for a Veteran’s Day all-school assembly.  She talks about having a bit of stage fright, but really enjoys music.  We are looking forward to watching her class perform The Grinch Who Stole Christmas in a few weeks and the school’s winter music program in mid-December.

We did a quick family photo shoot after church yesterday in preparation for our annual holiday card.  With my remote shutter release in hand, we snapped many, many photos in the hopes that we would end up with a few good pictures.  By the end of the day, the photos had been edited, uploaded, organized in a card and 50 copies were ordered.  With a number of discounts applied, I was able to get 60% off my order and had them shipped for free!  It’s nice to have that project crossed off my list in only mid-November.  We had thought of waiting until we received some snow to make for a more “holiday” card, but if recent years are any indication, we would have been waiting until January.  Here are a few pictures that didn’t make the card.

The Girls
Father And Daughter
Siblings With Their Dog

Our big news this month is that after 14 long years with our old SUV, we purchased a new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder a little more than a week ago.  Sebastian has been awaiting the arrival of the newly designed vehicle for months.  When it finally arrived at the dealership, he was beyond excited.  After test-driving the optioned out model, the whole family was in love.  We decided on a lesser trim level to fit our budget and were able to get one brought in from the Twin Cities that matched all of our requests.  We are in love!

Our New Purchase

We can’t wait to try out the 4WD after the first snow of the season.  Speaking of the weather, although there is no snow in the forecast, the week ahead looks to be spectacular for northern Minnesota in November – highs in the 50’s and no precipitation in sight.  I guess we will have to use the sun roof instead of the 4WD for now.  I’m not complaining.

An End To “Spring”, CleanWare, Basketball & An Angry Bird

With highs near 50 yesterday, today’s weather was a bit of a shock to us all.  I think we were hoping to ease back into winter slowly, but instead we have snow, wind gusts over 30 mph and wind chills in the negative digits.  Hard to believe I took Daphne out for a walk last night in capri length athletic pants and a light jacket.  The beautiful sunrises also came to an end this morning when the cloudy skies took over.  I did catch these photos before work yesterday morning.  It was calm on Lake Superior which led to some great reflections on the water.

Mirror Image
Calm Waters
Blue Sky
Along The Boardwalk


The kids have been busy with a number of things in recent weeks including Sebastian’s invention project.  He was given materials before Christmas break to document and create an invention to display at his school.  He had to keep track of his time, the process, trial and error, cost along with documenting the problem and solution that his invention was designed for.  Sebastian’s idea was to create a product that could keep meal time tidier.  Silverware creates a mess if you lay it on the table.  If you put it on your plate, it can slide off and make messes on the table, floor or your clothes.  Sebastian designed two utensil holders that clip onto either side of your plate to hold your messy silverware.  He used small Tupperware containers, magnets and clips and came up with a very cool product.  He displayed his “CleanWare” invention and a poster board at school yesterday.  Here’s a snapshot of his display.



When he wasn’t busy with his invention, Sebastian has been busy with basketball.  He plays for an area youth rec basketball  league.  His division is made up of 5th and 6th graders, although his team has only 5th graders.  The height advantage of the other teams makes it a bit challenging – as shown in the picture below.

Tip Off

He has a great coach and an awesome group of kids on his team.  It’s been fun to see the progress they have made since the season began in the fall.

Shooting For The Basket


Sophia finished up her last swimming lesson before Christmas and has now jumped into gymnastics.  She would have liked to do both gymnastics and swimming, but it would’ve been a bit crazy to have two sports and religion class during the week along with homework.  I don’t have any pictures to share of her gymnastics class, but did snap a few pictures of her new hat last night.  We found the hat during a quick trip to Walgreen’s during the holiday break.  A big display of several of these plush hats were positioned right inside the door.  Of course once Sophia had it on her head, it was hard to say no.  I did actually say first.  By the end of our mini shopping spree, Sebastian had found a cool sock monkey and Sophia had an adorable Angry Bird hat.

Happy Angry Bird
Sad Angry Bird
"You Lookin' At Me" Angry Bird