Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Burn Out

OK- all last week Matt and I stayed up to watch Michael Phelps race. We aren't swimmers, but we're addicted to dramatic TV. And let me tell you- we were ECSTATIC when the US won the men's 4x100 meter relay. I literally- was jumping up and down in the living room. Great TV. So when I was googling Michael Phelps the other night, someone asked him what he's listening to in his IPod- and it was "Go Getta" by Young Jeezy. So obviously, it's on my play list and I love it. :) I have a crush on M.P now. He's not that great looking, but any guy who can rock a speedo is good in my book. :D

In last week's Duluth News Tribune there was a cute article by Sam Cook about those of us watching the Olympics. I laughed so hard at work when I read this, and I sincerely asked my boss if we could just open the office an hour later. That would make it more manageable to stay awake during the day and still be able to get my MP fix at night. Sadly, he is all done at these Olympics- so I have to settle looking at him through blog sites for at least the next week or two and then he'll settle into obscurity until 2012 London. :) So here's that Sam Cook article, it's great:
I am going to have to have a frank conversation with my bosses soon. I’m going to have to ask them a very basic question: How can you expect me to get to work on time when I spend half the night making sure Michael Phelps gets another gold medal? Am I the only one in this pool? Here’s how it happens: You flop down on the couch just to “see what’s on” at the Olympics any given night. You’re just going to watch for a few minutes. Next thing you know, you’ve developed a deep bond with the men’s gymnastics team, or perhaps a women’s beach volleyball duo. You can’t just leave them in mid-competition. It’s like eating potato chips. You want to quit, but you can’t.

Four hours later, you stumble off to bed muttering about those Chinese women gymnasts. Women? They can’t be old enough to drive. Some of them look hardly old enough to ride a bike. You drag yourself into work the next morning, and someone comments on the huge bags under your eyes. Bags? Those aren’t bags. Those are the Olympic rings in flesh, baby.
OK. I know the Chinese duped us with the electronic fireworks in the opening ceremonies. (What gives? Aren’t fireworks a mainstay of the Chinese economy? And they give us digital Roman candles?) And, yes, there was the matter of the lip-synching at the same ceremonies. Fine. Whatever. Just bring on Kara Goucher and Phelps and those cool underwater cameras at the swimming venue, and I’m welded to the couch for another night. Here’s what I like about the Olympics: Biceps. Quads. Lats. Traps. Abs. Glutes. You look at those athletes and you realize — oh, that’s how we’d all look if we spent a little more time in the gym. I’m not specifying genders here. I just think the human form, sculpted to perfection by years of training, is cool. However. I have identified some Olympic issues. The balance beam, for one. Abolish it. Ban it. I find it much too scary to watch those young women doing flips and twists and mid-air splits, then trying to land on a piece of split-rail fence 4 feet off the ground. I can hardly watch it. And, Phelps, dude, hike that Speedo up a little bit. It’s riding a little low on the glutes, if you know what I mean. I’m afraid something’s going to snap and it’s going to unravel right down to your ankles. And some of my women friends have raised an equity issue relating to beach volleyball. Specifically, how come the women wear bikinis, but the guys wear shorts and shirts? Frankly, this lack of equality hadn’t occurred to me, but I sympathize with my friends’ concern. One more thing. Synchronized diving. Why?

OK. Kara runs the 10,000 meters at 9:45 a.m. today. I’ll talk to the bosses about that, too. We’re going to need about a half-hour break.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jack- 4 months!

Yay! Jack is 4 months old this month! What a big boy.. he's getting some fuzz on his head which you can kind of see. :) Let's see... what can he do now? Well- he squeals and laughs a lot! He is so incredibly loud, he could definitely blow an ear drum! He can almost sit unsupported (he's really close), he can almost roll over without help, he stands all of the time and loves the jumperoo. He holds himself up when on belly (see above), he grabs with one or two hands, shakes and pulls on things. He's incredibly strong, he can tear stuff up. :) He's also teething right now- but he's really good about it. He is a very sweet little boy- just a cutie pie.
There's been some speculation on who he looks like- most definitely me and my family! Which is cool because Olivia really favored Matt but is now gaining more of my facial features. :) Jack really looks like my Uncle David who passed away 6 years ago. As an interesting side note- Jack was going to be named David, but I wanted the boy to have two middle names like Olivia does. So half way through my pregnancy I decided that instead of honoring only one uncle, I would honor all of my uncles AND my Grandpa by giving him Bryer as a second middle name. Bryer is my mom's maiden name, and since the name hasn't been carried down yet, I figured this would be my way of carrying it on. :) Olivia's middle names are Ann Kent- Ann is after me and my mom and Kent is my grandmother's middle name. I always wanted my children's names to have some meaning that I could pass on as a neat story and I think I accomplished that. :)

Duluth Zoo with Great Grandma Linda & Great Grandpa Dennis

This weekend we went to the Duluth Zoo with one set of my grandparents- Dennis & Linda. What a great afternoon! Olivia had a wonderful time, Jackson just liked being outside, and it was so great to see my grandparents and Olivia interact. Since then, she calls Linda "nanny great" and Dennis is just "pa"- which is what she calls her Grandpas. So here are my favorite pictures:

Jack loved the monkeys..

Olivia "resting"


OK folks- everyone wants the Wiggles pictures- and what a day it was. Let me just say, we were EXHAUSTED afterwards! It took us 4 1/2 hours to come home (should only have been 2 hours) because of rush hour traffic, construction, potty breaks, and of course- senior citizen MN drivers were out in full force. Yikes. So here they are!

The Big Red Car: (Olivia was SO excited once she saw the car and realized that we were really going to see the Wiggles- she was on the brink of tears, waving, jumping up and down, etc. It was SO worth it!)

This is her waving and dancing to "Big Red Car"

Then the yellow Wiggle (Sam) came up the stairs, 2 feet from where we were! She almost LOST it and was waving like crazy.

This is the whole gang, (Dancers, characters, and Wiggles)

Olivia got a new Wiggles shirt (which is huge on her right now), and a Wags the Dog doll (her favorite). We also got a Henry the Octopus for Jackson because he couldn't come with us:

Jack's First Solids

Well, Jack is 4 months so we started rice cereal. At first, not so much interest- now he loves it! :)

Duluth Maritime Festival

Well about two weekends ago there was this (what we thought) small festival happening in Canal Park and we thought it'd be fun since three sailboats were coming, blah blah blah. Well, 25,000 people later, we quickly realized that this was NOT a small festival. We were SUPER fortunate to have three authentic sailboats from the early 1900's come to the Duluth Port. Our plan to tour the boats was pretty much gone when we heard on the radio there was no more available parking in DULUTH, and that if you were able to walk there, you'd be in line for hours. Well, we never got to tour them obviously, but we went on a harbor cruise and I got some cool pictures of the boats. The sails aren't up, but they are still beautiful!

This is the Niagra (also the largest of the 3 boats that came). This one has real cannons on it, and they actually shot cannon balls out into the harbor- which we didn't get to see, but you could hear it over in Superior (about 6 miles away) and people who were in Canal Park said it shook buildings!!:

I can't remember which one this is. This is the "middle" sized one. I couldn't get a good picture of the small one.

Here's Olivia and I. She was TERRIFIED when the boat started out (we've done this cruise a few times with her) because this is the first time it was a really choppy ride. When the boat went out onto the lake, it was rocking and rolling- you could barely stand up. Water was spashing up the front of the boat- I was getting sea sick! But once we toured the harbor, it was just fine. That's what a 5 mph wind does on our big lake.

Jack on the other hand, LOVED it, and was squealing during the whole thing. :)

Backyard Picnic

Olivia absolutely loves doing picnics, and on this particular day it was perfect outside so we made sandwiches for dinner and ate outside. Very fun!
And Olivia is always picking me flowers, and now my gorgeous marigolds are slowly being picked one by one. But here she is- bringing me another one. :) That's ok- we had fun planting them, and now she enjoys picking them!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jackson is in the paper! :)

Here's the direct link to the post:

Jackson Matthew Bryer Strand new arrival
Duluth News TribunePublished Sunday, August 03, 2008
I WAS BORN: April 4, 2008, in St. Luke’s hospital.
MY PARENTS ARE: Sara and Matthew Strand of Superior.
MY SISTER IS: Olivia, 2.

MY GRANDPARENTS ARE: Jay and Cindi DeRusha of Superior and Fred and Renae Strand of Iron River.
MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS ARE: Ron and Barbara Bryer of Springhill, Fla.; Dennis and Linda DeRusha of Cloquet; and Bernice Strand of Mendota Heights, Minn.
MY PARENTS CHOSE THIS NAME BECAUSE: They love the name Jackson. My middle names are after Daddy’s and Mommy’s families.
PARENTS’ WISH OR ADVICE: We hope you continue to be happy and healthy and grow to be great friends with your sister.
SOMETHING SPECIAL: Mommy was induced on your due date and had a four-hour labor! You were so fast and easy, and you hardly cried at all. You also became a fast favorite of the nurses because you are so easy-going.