Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Civil War Day

Near our home is a place called "Murphy's Landing". It is an 88 acre park re-created to resemble life in Minnesota between the 1840's and 1890's. Nearly all of the buildings in the park are original - homes, church, school and mercantile actually built in that time frame and moved to the park from various parts of the south metro of the Twin Cities. Costumed interpreters teach about life on the frontier, farmstead and villages.

We'd never been to Murphy's Landing before, but with Juancho's recent budding interest in American history, I thought it would be a perfect place to go to this summer. Juancho has been especially interested in the history of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, so when I learned that Murphy's Landing opening weekend this year was a historical re-enactment of the Civil War, complete with an appearance from Old Abe himself, I knew we had to go! We had a great time learning all about history, meeting Abe Lincoln (who was a short chubby fellow...nothing resembling the 16th president except the suit and tophat!) and seeing how a one-room schoolhouse functioned, playing schoolyard games of the 19th century and various crafts and other things. I'm sure we'll be back again this year...in fact the kids may even attend one of their "Pioneer Life" summer camps! It's always great when learning is disguised by great fun!

Here's the pics...

Laura & Angie wait patiently while Mom buys the tickets
Angie says "C'mon Mom!"

Juancho & Laura walking down the path into the frontier village

Angie has fun playing with pioneer schoolyard toys.
This one is a stick that doubles as a baton.
Looks like Angie is enjoying it...I know a
cheap gift to get her on her next birthday... :)

On the other hand, I probably won't be getting
stilts for Juancho...

...Laura either.
Minnesota's 5th Infantry Battalion demonstrates
how a cannon is loaded and fired. They fired
3 rounds...boy were they loud!

John & Laura pose by the cannon.
Angie was scared by the loud
blasts and decided she was going to
"stay away from that thing!"

Juancho intently watches and listens to
Abraham Lincoln's speech which told all about
his life and accomplishments. Since then
Juancho has been telling everyone that the Civil War
ended on April 9, 1865 and Abe Lincoln was shot
just 5 days later.

"Abe Lincoln" signs Juancho's biographical
book about the president, which Juancho brought
on this outing for the very purpose of getting it

We call these scenic shots on the banks of the Minnesota River our
"Pioneer Day Senior Portraits". Laura opted out...
here are John & Angie's shots...quite photogenic! :)

Juancho & Laura pose as gargoyles at the
top of the steps. They learned a new word this day...
it was "gargoyles".

One final shot of the 3 outside of one of the
authentic pioneer era homes.
What a fun (and educational) day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dinner on the Deck

Even though it isn't officially summer yet, we've been enjoying the benefits of the warmer weather...like planting flowers and veggies and our favorite - eating dinner outside on the deck! These pics of Juancho, Laura & Angie were taken a few days ago during our first 'Dinner on the Deck' of 2009!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

18 Months as Family

Friday, May 8, 2009 was our year and a half anniversary of our Gotcha Day. We love celebrating things here and 18 months as a family is definitely something to celebrate! So far our family celebration days have always included a meal at Los Andes, which is a Colombian and Ecuadorian restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. This place has an authentic 'Bandeja Paisa', which is a nationally recognized Colombian dish that our kids love. The meal at this restaurant is HUGE, so John and Laura always split it. They also are able to have a bottle of Pony soda (a malted pop beverage...definitely an acquired taste!) or a Colombiana soda (a type of orange pop). Sometimes dessert, but we are usually too full by then.

The menu includes "Cuy Asado", which is Roasted Guinea Pig! We haven't tried that yet (nor will we ever...), but were a little curious what the unnamed meat in our 'carne empanadas' might be! They were yummy nonetheless! :)

Our friends Ty & Cassie joined us on our 18 Month Celebration of family - we loved having them along! Here are pics...

Goofy Dressel Family pic...

Juancho & Dad - he's loving his 'bandeja paisa'

Laura is also enjoying her fave Colombian meal and Pony soda!

Little Angie LOVES her Papi!

The Dressel Crew...looking a little more 'normal'
(Why do you think Robert & I look so tired?!?) :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

5th Grade Track & Field Day

Do you remember the Track & Field days that perhaps you had in school back in 5th and 6th grade? At John & Laura's school, they have special Track & Field days for all grades. Yesterday (Friday, May 8th) was John's Track & Field Day.
John is strong and fast, but doesn't routinely engage in overly-physical play. He will probably be doing a soccer camp this summer, and loves to ride his bike with his dad or place chase with the neighborhood kids, but isn't exceptionally athletic. He is, however, extremely competitive! So I wondered how Track & Field day would go for him.

I got to the school with my fold out chair and my backpack of sustaining goodies for the boy (and he routinely came to me saying "Mom, I'm hungry!" I found out that John would be competing in the 50 yard dash, the ball kick (distance) and the egg/spoon race.

Before every race John would come running over to me saying "Mom, I'm nervous!" and I'd repeat the same reassurances back to him "Do your best. Doing your best means that no matter what place you come in, you gave it your all! You'll do great!" But the whole mumbo-jumbo about how it didn't matter what place he came in was entirely lost on John. He is extremely competitive, right? So 1st or 2nd place it needed to be...otherwise it was failure in his mind.

50 yard dash went by in a...flash! John crossed the finish line milli-seconds after the winner...so John got his first 2nd place! I wanted to take a picture of him right there on the finish line, but in a split second decision (after he realized that the entire 5th grade population was just feet away from him), he said "no Mom, that's embarrassing!" Later I was able to snap this unsuspecting pic! The red wristbands indicate a 2nd place win, and the white wristband indicates 'participation' (meaning he didn't get 1st or 2nd prize on that event).

The other event he got 2nd in was the ball kick. The competition was to kick a kickball the farthest. John's went off center...if it had been a straight kick I think he would have easily gotten first! (spoken by a true proud mama, huh?)

He was not at all pleased that there was an event he did that he didn't place in. In fact he came in dead last. The event was the egg/spoon race, and this race does not work for overly competitive boys who want to move as fast as they can in a race, but with this race, moving slowly and more methodically is what wins it for him. His egg dropped constantly as he tried to move as fast as he could across the field. After picking it up multiple times, the rest of the crowd got ahead of him and he came in...last. He was not so happy and brought his blanket over to sit by me and sulk for a while. But about the time the class tug-of-war competition came around, he was ready to snap out of it.

After the event was done, we got to meet up with Daddy (who had to miss the event because of a work meeting he couldn't change) and went out to eat for lunch before John went back to school for the rest of the day.

Juancho with his friends