Archive for the 'Family' Category

Holiday Photos

Posted by Karen in Family, Food, Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Isla.
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Family Portait

Family portrait

Punky Brewster shoes

This was the one and only time Isla got to wear her Punky Brewster shoes, because they fit her for this one day only.


A lot of shortbread was made, and as the official shortbread judge, I declare this particular batch of Quentin’s was the best.

schpeck bread

For some reason, there were several equally odd pics of Quentin and I at Christmas dinner enjoying the bread made with speck (yummy bacon-like stuff Q brought back with him from Italy).

Ricky Story

Isla still really loves to have stories read to her!  Grandpa Ricky read to her all about a very hungry caterpillar.

making poutine

Nate & I decided sort of last-minute like to invite a few friends over for poutine & pints on New Year’s day.  Here he is making the delicious gravy, which we poured over plates of homemade fries topped with cheese curds.  Yummmm.

Poutine & Pints 2010

It ended up sort of being Babypalooza!  Look at all those kids!

lady friends & kids

We’re outnumbered ladies!

little bird

My favorite new outfit of Isla’s, which she was working on drenching in drool.


Isla’s first sled ride!  Well, actually, the snow was so wet and heavy that we really couldn’t pull it anywhere, so we just sat her in it in her waaaay too big snowsuit and took pictures of her.


Isla’s first snow man!

And the making of her first snowman:

More Isla!

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Family, Isla.
Sunday, October 4th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Cool things other people did

Posted by Karen in Family, School.
Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Cool thing20080816140706_education_mural.jpg #1:  Sierra was officially accepted into grad school and offered a sweet research assistantship, which will provide funding for her studies!  Way to go Sierra!  You worked really freaking hard for this and totally deserve it!20080816140750_l_f_paddle.jpg

Cool thing #2:  Laurel & Freddie paddled like 20-some miles on the Mississippi River!  Oh yeah, and they got engaged.  HURRAY!

Cool thing #3:20080816141254_liam_pool.jpeg  My nephew Liam won 2nd place in a "Cutest Baby" contest!  (Clearly the 1st place baby paid off a judge.)

Cookie Monster Cupcakes!

Posted by Karen in Family.
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 at 8:12 pm

20080318184916_me_ma_frosting.jpgGrowing up, my mom used to make cakes for every occasion, amazingly decorated with all these different colors and patterns.  But the best of all were these Sesame Street cupcakes that she made for me to take to school for my birthday when I was in first grade.  All the kids thought I was soooo cool.  So when my parents decided to make a trip up here for the weekend I asked my mom if she would teach me ho20080318190720_k_frosting.jpgw to make them.  Here is the result:  cookie monster cupcakes.  While they completely pale in comparison with the ones she used to make, I have to say, I’m pretty psyched at how they turned out!  Severely lacking in patience and motor skills as I am, it’s pretty amazing that they look even remotely muppet-like!  She wanted to teach me to make Oscar the Grouches too, but he is more challenging, with the head popping out of the trash can and all, and I was pretty maxed out after these guys.  Someday maybe…


Weekend Travels

Posted by Karen in Beer, Bruno, Family, Friends, Travel.
Friday, March 7th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

My BFF Katie is preggers and due in like a week and a half (yik20080305074811_bruno_ayla.jpges!) and  Nate, Bruno, and I recently decided to pay a visit to her, her husband Tim (who I’ve been friends with since high school), daughter Ayla, and dog Lofert in Madison.  Poor Lofert has had some leg issues, but is now on the mend, so this was the first time he and Bruno got to play and be best doggy friends.  And since licking babies is one of Bruno’s favorit20080307102230_tube_o_ayla.jpge things to do in the world, he was delighted to see 1 1/2 year old Ayla.  Ayla has started talking more, but has decided the world really needs a new language, and she is just the little lady to invent it.  She also decided that Lofert needed to be renamed Loooowwwwrrry, and we couldn’t help but agree.  Katie’s plans for world domination have really been slowed down by all this baby stuff, but I think it’s clear that Ayla is now ready to be on board. 

Ok so then we went to Colorado for a long weekend.  We started t20080307103306_n_k_snowshoe.jpghings off right by meeting my aunt and uncle in Denver at Wynkoop‘s for dinner and yummy beer.  The rest of the weekend we somehow managed to squeeze in crossword puzzles, stuffed french toast breakfasts, lunch at the Pickle Barrel, a visit with the grandparents, hot tub time, dinner at a fun new restaurant, an O’Dell’s brewery visit, and good times wit20080305074139_pool.jpgh friends.  The weather was funny and gave us a 65 degree day that we made the most out of by going for a hike with the dogs, and then was I think around 40 the next day.  So that day we went for an awesome snowshoeing trip in the mountains!  We were able to get together at Coopersmith’s one evening with Troy and Scotty, and Rick was delighted to spank them all soundly at a few games of pool. 

I was really excited to see my friend Paula (who I went to college with in Duluth), her husband Todd, and their beautiful daughter 20080307102454_me_esme.jpgEsme!  Esme has the #1 all-time best baby hair ever!  She has a blonde mohawk that gets kind of squished up in the front, and then a short brown mullet in the back! No hair on the sides or in the middle of the back of her head!!!  It’s truly amazing.  Esme is super mellow and happy and just hung out all wide-eyed pretty much the whole time while we had dinner.  Todd told me some incredible baby poo stories that had me laughing so hard I almost passed out.  Parenthood seems to be really agreeing with them and it is a beautiful thing to see.

And last but not least… we went to a concert of the Irish band Solas! It was great!  They really are ridiculously amazing musicians.  After the concert they were hanging out at a table talking to people and signing  autogr20080305072844_solas_solas.jpgaphs.  Nate got all super shy and we almost punked out, but I realized it would be so stupid to NOT say anything, so we totally talked to them and told them our last name was Solas.  And then they asked us to join the band.  Ok, not really, but we did get this sweet Solas & Solas photo!

Dear Diary, (warning – that’s the kind of post this is)

Posted by Karen in Broomball, Day to Day, Family, Tonsillectomy, Weather.
Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 at 10:22 pm

So I realized I have been kind of hating winter.  Winter is so long here that even for fans like me, the thrill of the cold crisp air and the beauty of ice crystals and snow flakes fades after awhile, and then you need things like broomball and snowshoeing to see you through.  Well we haven’t gotten any good snow for like 2 months, and el tonsillectomy caused me to remove myself from the Grim Sweepers for the season.  Everybody wants to be a Sweeper (duh), and I didn’t want to take up a spot on the team just in the hopes of getting well enough in time to get a few games in. 

However, once I started experiencing serious dread every day at dog-walking time just because I SOOOOO didn’t want to go outside, I realized I was in desperate need of some winter fun.  So I decided to go to broomball practice and see how it went.  I had been working on getting myself back in shape, riding our elliptical, jogging little bits with Bruno, so I felt ready.  I thought, I’ll just play goalie, take it easy, it’ll be fun.  It wasn’t fun.  It was terrible. 

I should have seen it coming when I was flooded with sheer terror just walking from the car to the ice.  But at that point I was already committed.  I let 3 goals in a row go past me, and I felt like I just stood there and wa20080203193325_nate_broomball.jpgtched them.  Tears welled up in my eyes and it was all I could do to not have a total meltdown.  Nate, having knocked in 2 of those goals, came up to me to see how I was doing, saw the tears, heard me say "Idon’tlikethisI’mnothavingfunIwannagohome!" and realized he needed to switch teams.  Smart boy.  I took a moment to breathe and reflect, and realized that if I let 3 goals go in, started crying, and went home, I would be THE BIGGEST LOSER EVER.  So I rallied.  Second half was better, and finally we got to go home.  And then I cried. 

I realized with shock that I was terrified of blood shooting out of my throat.  I logically know that I’m out of that window and no longer at risk of that happening again.  But the illogical part of me can’t stop seeing it and thinking it’s happening.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spit into a sink or on the sidewalk, just to check.  But it wasn’t until that practice that I realized it.  So Nate and I talked about it a bunch, and I did a good bit of thinking on it, because I was pretty freaked out about being that freaked out.

And then Tuesday’s Sweepers game came.  They were going to be short girls, so they had asked a girl from our buddy team, the Skraelings, to play, and Nate had asked a girl from his Walker team.  But that afternoon she told him stuff had come up and she’d rather not play.  Meanwhile, the temperature was dropping, the wind was increasing, and we were heading for a roughly -10 degree, windy night, with windchills at about -35. 

Sierra had been frantically chatting Nate and I throughout the day, saying things like, "They’re totally going to cancel it, right?  I mean this is insane!", and " I don’t understand why I am the only one freaking out about this!!!"  It was suddenly very clear to me.  Either Sierra was going to bail and the Sweepers would be really short on girls, o20080203153816_frozen_cody.jpgr she was going to go and face one of her greatest fears (being outside in subzero weather), and the Sweepers would still be a little short.  Either way, how could I not go? 

Sierra did not bail, and her courage gave me the inspiration I needed to face my own fears.  I had to get out there too.  So we went, we froze, we lost.  My heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest the whole time, but that probably just helped me stay warm!  In spite of letting in a few goals, I felt like I did ok overall, and was absolutely ecstatic at the end of it, because I DID IT.  I felt like myself again. 

I’ve had a few frighteningly realistic nightmares over the last few weeks involving lots of blood in my mouth, most recently Friday night.  So Saturday morning I went to broomball practice again, and made it a point to only spend about half my time in the goal, and the other half running around on the ice.  I needed to drill it into my brain that I am physically fine, not in quite as good of shape as I was pre-tonsillectomy, but fine.  Now I just need my mind to catch up with my body. 

(If you haven’t already, you HAVE to click on that picture of Cody.  It’s amazing!  Everyone looked some version of that by the end of the game, it was pretty crazy.)

Welcome to the World, Baby Liam!

Posted by Karen in Family, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

20080124114009_trevorliam.jpgHere he is!  The newest addition to the Phillips family, and Duoteam’s new nephew!  Baby Liam was born yesterday at around 2:30pm and weighed in at a hearty 9 lbs 4 oz.  We can’t wait to meet him!  I’m sure we’re going to be best friends.  Mother, baby, and rest of family are all doing well.  And based on the background noise during the brief conversation I had with my brother, the little guy seems to already have some strong lungs!

Congratulations, Daniele, Dean, and Trevor!!!

(I know, I know.  You can’t even see Trevor’s face, let alone Liam’s.  But I just couldn’t wait for more photos!  And this one is pretty darn cute with the whole big brother thing going on.)

Christmas in Colorado!

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Family, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 at 1:30 pm

pict0005a.JPGWhat a whirlwind!  We got back the 30th after leaving Christmas eve for Colorado – J&J, Sierra, Steve, me, Karen, and Bruno in a rented Suburban driving cross-country.  We intended to go strpict0001a.JPGaight through, but we ended up crashing for the evening in Columbus, NE, with Karen and Steve’s brother Dean.  His wife Daniele managed to conjure up stockings for us all in the morning, it was amazing!  And Bruno got to play with Maceo, one of their dogs (the other one had to stay in her kennel).

Back on the road to CO the next morning we hit some pretty bad weather in the last pict0013.JPG1/4 of Nebraska…  A few white-knuckle hours later we crossed into Colorado where everything cleared up, and mere hours later we were opening gifts with the family!  I got a sweet shirt, the first issue of Make pict0001.JPGmagazine, and some Climitts for my frozen fingers on my bike – I can’t wait to try them out tomorrow!  Karen got a giant muffin pan, women’s work gloves, portable speakers for her iPod, and some hand / wrist warmers she’s already raving about!

pict0007b.JPGThe next day we went snowshoeing up in Rocky Mountain National Park at a trail I don’t know if I’d ever been on – but it was so cold and windy I neglected to take any pictures!  The wind died down a bit in the trees and the mountains were beautiful.  It was a great break from all the running around.

pict0005b.JPGBruno and Te Beagh reconnected and had a great week playing in the snow.  Regan, two years older than last time they met, was a little less receptive this time – she ended up snapping at pict0007.JPGBruno a few times and one time caught him pretty good on his ear.  I taped some gauze on it so it wouldn’t bleed when he shook his head and he never seemed to mind – heck, he’s an 85 pound dog!  Now if we could just teach him to listen when other dogs say they don’t want to play…

pict0008.JPGThursday we headed to New Belgium brewery for a few samples, then back home for the now-annual Jeopardy game!  This year, instead of making noises to "buzz in" we made colorful paddles to lift.  Laurel drew a nice Christmas tree that ended up on fire – you know, to get the judges’ attention – and I decided it needed a message from a (super-ripped) Smokey the Bear.  Unfortunately that was the pinnacle of our genius for the week – I think we came in dead last in the Jeopardy game.  Ah well, next year!

pict0006.JPGFriday (I think!) we had a nice lunch with Troy and Scotty at Coopersmith’s and got to sample some of their great beer.  It was awesome to see those guys again, even if just for a short time.  Scotty, come back!  Troy, come visit!

Early Saturday morning Laurel and Freddie took off driving for LA via Las Vegas.  Crazy kids! pict0003.JPG The rest of us went by my Grandparent’s new place in Fort Collins for a visit and some snacks.  They miss Chicago but seem to be settling in well.  Then off to City Park to break in Justin’s new sled!  Quentin went over a jump a few times on his stomach and I thought he was going to faceplant, but we all survived without injury.

pict0005.JPGThat night Karen and Steve’s aunt and uncle came up from Denver for another visit to Coopersmith’s – perfect, since they had so many beers I wanted to try!

pict0006a.JPGEarly Sunday morning we were back on the road, and this time we took full advantage of the DVD player built into the Suburban – everyone watched (and I listened to) the first 12 episodes of Lost!  Crazy.  Good weather the whole way, Bruno was perfect in the car, and we got to meet Dean, Daniele, and Trevor for lunch in Omaha.

Finally home and collapsed into bed.  Great to see everyone and celebrate together!

Halloween in Chicago

Posted by Nate in Family, Friends, Homebrewing, Travel.
Thursday, November 1st, 2007 at 12:03 pm

img_3741.JPGTook a quick trip to Chicago last weekend for a super-fun Halloween party: Heaven and Hell(icious)!  Now that Laurel and Freddie live upstairs from my usual Chicago destination, they decided to throw a joint party and decorate the downstairs like a creepy idea of hell and the upstairs like heaven.  It was awesome!  img_3767.JPGNot sure you can see the amount of detail that went into heaven, but they laid down white paper on the floor (looked good and protected against spills), hung blue plastic on the walls, blew up a million balloons, hung streamers, and even printed a ton of gorgeous cloud pictures to put on the walls!!  No idea who these people are but it shows some of the decorations…

img_3714.JPGKaren and I went as a portable (pirate!) bar, and won in the informal costume contest!  Who could resist a working tap and snack vending machine??  No one.  (You can’t see it, but Karen has a three-compartment snack vending machine like you see in grocery stores.  I rigged it so it was free, and we filled it with bar snacks!)
Laurel dressed up as Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas — including a hand-stitched patchwork dress!  Whoa.  Clearly the costume judges were being nice to their out-of-town guests to have overlooked her…  :)

img_3715.JPGCody brought back out his creepy baby outfit.  Creepy.  Karen let him rest on her bar.dsc01067.JPG

A great time (and much pumpkin ale) was had by all!  Happy Halloween!

Holy update, batman!

Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Family, Friends, Work.
Thursday, August 9th, 2007 at 10:02 pm

Well, I finally remembered the password to the blog so I can update it (just kidding, we were just busy)…

j_bach1.jpgA belated picture from Justin’s baseball game bachelor party – he got to play a game on the field and had to try to throw balls past a goalie.  My only gripe with the Saints (hi, Cody!) is that their fabulous prizes are sometimes just medium.  Ah well, we tailgated and a good time was had by all!

veggies.jpgKaren and I are once again part of a CSA share – that’s Community Supported Agriculture.  We’re splitting the share with two friends, so we’re getting half – but believe me, it’s a lot.  Today, for instance: breakfast was CSA potatoes, green pepper, bought corn and onion and hot pepper, and friend’s tomato slices, lunch was slow-cooked cabbage and apples and spices, and so on.  Lots of veggies.

s_car.jpgSierra’s POS car finally died an ungraceful death.  I believe it’s been towed and donated as I type.  The brakes went out on her in rush hour traffic on the interstate.  Unreal.  There was just enough pressure she could slow by pumping the hell out of them…  Glad she’s safe, and glad that guy’s gone.  This shot is her getting the last of her stuff out after we abandoned it in front of someone’s house for the weekend.

brunoellie.jpgWe dog sat a beautiful white lab-ish dog from Nicaragua – via friends of Sierra but currently being minded by the Walshes while the friends hike the Appalachian Trail.  Wonderful dog, but shed an unbelievable amount of white fur.  Combined with Bruno’s we were vacuuming every other day – a terrible gray mixture of fluffy dog hair.  But she sure was cute!

s_challenge.jpgThe Mississippi River Challenge happened!  One of the most work-intensive weekends of my recent memory, combined with a lot of "hurry up and wait"…  At left is a shot of Sierra on night one describing how she’s going to attack the river tomorrow — lies, as it turned out…  phillips.jpgBut, hey, look at all those bottles!  Who could paddle fast after a night like that?  Well, look to the right:  these guys.  Steve and Jack and Trevor came in literally 10th out of … a lot of paddlers.  I know it’s not a race, but woo hoo!

kp_challenge.jpgAt left is Karen at the Fort laying down the law at the ID tent.  Nice walkie talkie…

And there you have it.  It’s been, how do you say…  busy.