Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the funniest guy we know!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Olson's go to Target Field

Destination Unknown 2013 Revealed

We packed up on a Saturday morning and headed for Minneapolis. With just a quick stop in Virginia for snacks and a Twins hat for Parker we continued on to our destination. The boys continued to ask where we were going. Barrett would just tell them "we're goin' on a bear hunt." Which of course drove them nuts! Emmitt just groans and says, "dad stop teasin'." Parker actually at one point said, "I think we are going to a Twins game." We quickly realized we may not be able to get away with this so smoothly in the years to come. But for this year, it was a success. Considering we all had Twins shirts on and they didn't pick up on it.
We got a little closer to downtown and Parker noticed the MN Twins flags on the light poles. We just kept lying to them, telling them that Minneapolis people are big Twins fans just like we are Bronco fans. They seem to be satisfied with all our answers. And of course, we were on a bear hunt after all. Barrett said he would give a dollar to the first kid who spotted the bear.

When we parked and started walking towards the stadium, Parker finally said..."I guessed a Twins game and you guys said no." He was actually a little bit bugged by the fact that we didn't fully tell him he guessed it. But we told him he still had to find a bear. And that we didn't want to ruin the surprise for Emmitt.
When we walked into the stadium Barrett leaned over and told Parker that the field was going to be just a little bit bigger than he is used to. When the boys finally saw the size of the field they were in awe.

I was in awe myself. We had just finished making the rounds of the stadium shops and food. Grabbed us each a souvenir from one of shops and started to make our way back to our seats. Right out side our section is Tony Oliva! He's just hanging out, taking pictures with his adoring fans. Now my Tony Oliva story is one of the best. Here's our history.
Back in 2001, I completed my internship at Lifetime Fitness in Bloomington. Every morning I had this older gentleman ask me to walk his laps with him. The guys all around me griped quite a bit, because they were working for an income and when somebody asked you to workout with them, you got paid. I didn't care either way, I was donating my time as part of my internship and sort of liked being picked over them. Finally after about a week of this guy picking me, one of the guys I worked with asked me if I even knew who he was. I simply said, his name is Tony. He laughed and told me to go home and ask my boyfriend who Tony Oliva was. Well Barrett was more than surprised to hear that I had been walking laps and shooting the breeze with Tony Oliva for quite some time. We quickly came to the conclusion that the man was well aware that I had no idea who he was and was frankly probably sick of talking baseball with a bunch of boys who would have annoyed him during his workout. Fast forward 12 years and he's standing outside of our section. I quickly ditched my family in their seats and bolted back up to the group of fans. When it was my turn I had to remind Tony that we had a brief history and he simply said, "where are you working out now?" I sadly had to tell him that I moved all the way up to Int'l Falls, but that I would walk with him again if he made his way North.

Emmitt did find a bear after all. An overpriced stuffed animal is exactly what he needed. But he loves it and he was on the lookout for TC the entire game! Sadly, the real TC never came close enough for a photo, but momma took a couple of shots from far away for him to see whenever he wants.

Parker picked out a necklace. It was made from a baseball and wove into a super cool piece of boy jewelry!
Guess who is SEVEN! That's right, my boys!

And how about THIRTY-THREE. Oh yeah, ME!

Barrett questioned my seat selection motives right off the bat. I told him the seats were worth the money and the net behind the plate would protect the children from flying balls. (tee, hee, hee)

There was plenty of snacks, funs races, and the jumbo-tron dance parties to go around to keep the kids interested in the game. We started off with 5 runs in the first inning and then n.o.t.h.i.n.g the rest of the game. Bah!

I Play Ball!

Ball 2013. Tee-ball, baseball, sunflower seeds, sitting in the sun, picking worms, pitching machine, getting a hit, learning to throw, clapping, understanding a play and spending time with family and friends. What a fun season! Most nights we were split up as a family. Barrett would take one kid and I would take the other. They typically had games on the same nights, just 30 minutes apart, which would leave us running to separate fields and barely making the end of the other games. But we always had extra family come for support and had a blast enjoying the first part of our summer.

Emmitt enjoyed playing with his buddies. It didn't matter if they were on the same team or not, they had fun no matter what.

Emmitt and Andrew
Emmitt knows I have this thing for catchers. So when he gets a chance to strap on all the gear he makes sure I know it! He actually does pretty good getting the ball back on the tee. Most of the time with his glove hand, but at least he gets it on there for the next batter.
Two peas in a pod. Grae and Emmitt. When they weren't playing together, they were hanging out or picking dandelions at their brother's games. Parker and Noah were on the same team so it made for lots of Shikowsky/Olson fun.
Parker had his first season in Pitching Machine. The first few games were really a struggle for his team. Almost all of them were first year players. So the machine definitely took some time getting used to. 30-mph pitches flying at you isn't something you do everyday. He caught on pretty quick and really liked batting practice.
Parker really liked playing first base. He seemed to enjoy the positions that had the most action, but also were the most challenging. 
Last Game of the Season Team Photo
This group of kids is the die-hard group. They came to all the games consistently and finished out the season.

We had lots of fans in our little stadiums. Grandma Audrey and Papa Dave, The Riley family, and Papa Milo all attended some of the boys' games.

Emmitt has played a few years of tee-ball already, so this year he was able to work on improving his skills. He loved batting and running and of course picking up worms under every base.

My little worm guy. In tee-ball you can only advance one base at a time, which is just enough time to tip over the base, grab a few worms and finish rounding the bases. By the time he touched home plate, we would have a handle for me. 

We Are Junior Rangers!

 My boys really do love any kind of "aminols." They spotted these new additions at the Rainy Lake Visitors Center and scooped them right up!

They carried them around for part of their activity book. Making sure they could see what project they were working on.
 Parker quickly learned that there was more to becoming a Junior Ranger than asking for a badge and a stamp! His booklet proved to be a good challenge for him. Lots of thinking involved in regards to protecting our resources. I was surprised to hear that he's actually been listening on those hikes in the park!
Even Emmitt was quick to answer his own booklet's questions. His hand got sore at one point from all that coloring so daddy helped him out.

Filling in all those letters was a challenge. Here's me tracing one in the air for him to figure out. I was sort of refusing to give him the answers.

All done with his booklet and ready to be sworn into his new "position."
So cute to see this! The boys being sworn in by one of our outstanding volunteers.
And a round of high fives to make it final.
Really proud of his badge. He noticed right away that it looks like mom's. When I asked him if he liked being a ranger, he said yes! Then he followed it up with, "I want to be one when I grow up." I quickly asked him if he wanted to be a "police-type of ranger" or a "story-teller-type of ranger." He said a story-teller...well folks, we may just have a future interpreter on our hands.
Emmitt quickly noticed that his badge was bigger than Ranger Lowthian's.

On the way home we saw a couple of deer that "must have been here because we are Rangers now" says Parker!

It's official! Now we just need to start planning our National Parks vacations!