Thursday, September 24, 2015

Party in the prairie

Last weekend we went to Party in the Prairie at the Richardson Nature Center. It was only the second year for the event and the great part about it was that it wasn't insanely packed. It was gorgeous day and Harriet and I got there right at the beginning. We later met up with my friend Elissa and her extended family and then Steve and Eloise came after naptime. We had so much fun at this event.  There was a 1K/3K, crafts, insect collecting, raptor demos (Eloise's favorite), nature hikes, hands-on time with reptiles, invasive species tattoos, virtual scavenger hunts, food trucks and bluegrass bands that played through the night. We did our best to do everything.

 Harriet was the first kid of the day up on the rock climbing structure.

 We checked out Elissa's brand new mural inside the nature center. Very beautifully done.

A bit of a low point on this wonderful day was the 1K/3K race (we wisely opted for the 1K). Initially extremely excited about it, Harriet quickly hated it. She wined and complained virtually every step of that .75 mile "run". I wanted to strangle her.

While she lagged far, far behind me (even though I was only walking) I stopped and took pictures of the beautiful scenery.
Lucia, Grace and Harriet the naturalists. They loved going out into the field, catching insects (some kids got a giant toad) and then bringing them back to the observation tent.

They dumped the contents of the nets out and then put the cool stuff in little jars for everyone to see.

At the end of the night we sat on a blanket, drank the new glarus cherry beer we brought, watched the beautiful sunset while our girls held hands and danced to the music up by the stage. It was one of those moments that for just a little bit, our busy lives slowed down and I just sat back and thought about what a wonderful life we are able to lead.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Monarch Festival

Last weekend, we had a blast at the Monarch Festival at Nokomis. I heard about it from a friend at work and apparently it has been going on for years unbeknownst to me. We saw dozens of people we knew there, which made it even more fun. Harriet was the absolutely perfect age for this, Eloise was a bit young. There was a parade, puppet shows, crafts, demos, monarch tagging and releasing, food and bands throughout the day. We went at the beginning for the kids' butterfly parade. We had kind of thought that Eloise would be in it too so we were going to let her wear the butterfly wings. Harriet needed a costume so I came up with something quick and made her into a caterpillar. Her costume was really a hit! 
It consisted of a yellow half yard of fabric, a old skirt I cut up for the black stretchy fabric, white was ribbons and the head was a Mexican wrestling mask. Perfect!

Eloise didn't cooperate so our buddy Lachlan happily wore the costume. All the kids got a packet of milkweed seeds for participating in the parade.

This tent helped kids make milkweed seed bombs.

Hands-on activities at this tent. Shockingly, Harriet touched that little beast.

Harriet helped pull the ink across her screenprint.

I love this screen print. The festival was promoted for both English and Spanish speakers so this poster is also in both languages. 

Her favorite thing she made is this finger puppet we finished at home. Hours of entertainment. We also finished up a clay caterpillar by baking it home. 

In conclusion, I highly recommend this event to anyone. It was very well organized and it entertained, educated and engaged kids.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer wrap up

This summer was busy with very little time to post what we were up to, so here goes. Here is summer in pictures minus the stuff I previously posted. Above Steve and Harriet went camping at Lake Maria State Park with some of our friends and their kids.

Open Eye Theatre traveling puppet show came to our neighborhood.

Rolling Stones for my birthday at TCF stadium.

Up late biking around the city for another year of Northern Spark.

One of my favorite pictures of the summer taken while at a picnic/concert at Lake Harriet with my college friend Jenny and family. We went to the lake for concerts almost every Sunday in the summer.

 We had a great time in the Pride parade this year. So much wonderful energy after the ruling for Marriage Equality had just been announced. I love this parade.

Our neighbors Megan and Tyler's new baby ducks. They are giving us a run for our money with their urban farm they have going.

 Fourth of July party.

 Fun with friends at the party.

Patriotic at the Edina 4th of July parade with our buddy Lachlan.

Harriet's 5th birthday party at Beard's Plaisance at Lake Harriet. From left: Eloise, Lucia, Byrdie, Harriet, Lauren, Gracie, Holden, Mae and Achille

Harriet wanted a Meloetta in battle form (!?) cake so that's what I made her. It's from Pokemon, but she doesn't really know much about pokemon, but a friend at daycare is really into it so she is too.

Harriet's best buds from daycare, Achille and Gracie. Achille moved back to France and so it was very fun for them to reunite. They spent a lot of time together while he was back for 2 weeks.

Gracie's dad, Ryan Liestman, playing at Lake Harriet. Achille and Harriet get close to the action on stage. Harriet seemed to be having the best night of her life that night.

Harriet swimming at Cedar Lake.

National night out. This year we probably had the best turnout ever since we have lived in our house. It was a beautiful night and many neighbors from adjoining blocks came over to our block. Lots of new faces, it was so great.
Throughout the summer my mom took Harriet out of daycare and brought her over to my mom's condo for swimming and playing with a friend's granddaughters. Harriet loved hanging out with these older girls and doing plays. My mom also enrolled her in a couple classes through Southwest community education.

World's biggest sunflower in our alley on one of our nightly walks around the neighborhood after dinner.

My dad's semi-retirement party at Muffuletta. Starting Aug. 1, he has been going half time at the county attorney's office. A big milestone for him. 

 Steve and Harriet went to the State Fair together.

We did a lot of biking this summer now that Eloise fits nicely into the seat on the back of my bike (formerly Steve's bike). Last year she would have fit in there, but her head is so small no helmets fit her. Even this year it doesn't fit snugly, but we felt she was safe. She loved being on the bike and Harrriet loved having her bike along too. Above enjoying some ice cream at Calhoun.

Well I think those are some of the highlights. It has been a VERY busy summer for us and so far the fall continues to be the same. Hard to sit down and write something.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


We had a very busy end to the summer. The exclamation point was the wedding of my younger brother Adam and my new sister-in-law Ari. We took Harriet out of her second day of school early so we could get on the road to Milwaukee. We made surprisingly good time driving down and were able to make it to a BBQ Ari's aunt and uncle hosted. It was nice to meet a lot of Ari's extended family. Bonus, we got to meet our new niece Sofia who lives in London.

On Friday we explored downtown Milwaukee a bit and made a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum with my mother, father and his girlfriend Vicki.

The girls were very excited about the animated movie we watched in the IMAX theater. Harriet seemed especially blown away by the planets and huge screen.

The live butterfly exhibit was great fun as well. The butterflies landed on as we walked through.

It's basically a calmer version of the state fair butterfly house.

We had a ton of fun and Harriet and Christina were already very knowledgeable about the butterfly lifecycle after their recent experience raising monarchs. Even Eloise kept saying "Chrysalis!"

More butterflies (these are from a nearby exhibit). The girls had a chance to walk through the museum and see things I remember seeing when I was a kid.

One highlight was trying to find the rattlesnake button in the Native American exhibit.

Friday night we had a rehearsal/groom's dinner in the Third Ward at a place called Kasana. We dropped the girls back at the condo and Christina's college roommate and friend Meagan babysat for us so we could go back and have a night out with everyone.

Saturday was wedding day and we had varied schedules and places to be up until the mid-afternoon ceremony (I was the best man). I hung out with my brothers, Adam and Dave, Ari's step-brother David and Adam's friend AJ. I ate way too much cheese, shot some atrocious pool, then got dressed.

Meanwhile back at the airbnb we rented, Christina entertained the kids and got them ready for their big day as the flower girls. Because we only had a shower, Eloise got a bath in the kitchen sink. She loved it!

Fast forward a couple hours and we're in the old safe room at the Pritzloff building while my childhood Rabbi, Ron, went through the blessing to wed Ari and Adam. They also signed their wedding katubah.

Then the guests gathered and were seated. The ceremony was done "in the round" kind of like a Shakespeare play or the U2 360 tour.

Everything is a bit of a blur here. Christina and I were working to keep the girls calm and focused. Christina had to be in her seat in front (as she was reading early in the service) and we wanted a target for the girls to walk towards. I walked in with Ari's sister Jesse. And then..

In hindsight we should have had an plan to ensure that if Eloise got tired (or loud) we didn't have to leave with her. That didn't happen so I missed Christina's reading, then she missed most of the remaining ceremony. Ari's father made the huppah out of metal and her step-mom made the covering. It was very impressive, quite an upgrade from the wood umbrella stand version I made for our wedding.

#‎mcedelmanwedding‬ was the official hash tag for guests to use for all things related to Adam and Ari's wedding. 
Here is the happy couple with Harriet and Eloise. We took family pictures just after the ceremony was complete. The girls were so cute! Beyond my own wedding I don't recall being so excited to see the professional wedding photos. The day was foggy, drizzly and party cloudy making for beautiful photos I'm sure (hopefully we can post some of those in another post soon since we didn't take a ton ourselves).

Flower girls!

Lots of dancing. the live band was so great. Lots of Motown and current hits. Everyone seemed to be on the dance floor. Above Eloise and Ari had a little dance.

Here is our night view from the 12th floor airbnb we stayed in downtown. The dome you see is the Public Museum's IMAX theater. The condo was an easy commute from all the events we had, but the only downside was the parking was initially confusing and a fire station down the street was fairly noisy.

Sunday we had a beautiful brunch at Ari's parents' house. Here is a photo of the three cousins, little Sofia is 3 months old. 

After a nice meal and some more time chatting with everyone we got back on the road. It was probably the most packed four days we've ever had, but it was a great weekend. The wedding couldn't have been better, we saw/chatted with a lot of people and we are thrilled for Ari and Adam.