Friday, December 17, 2010

Presents 'round the tree...

I received a gift yesterday.  It wasn't wrapped in fancy paper and it wasn't bought from an expensive store.  Yet, it was a gift none the less.  And one I really liked!

Now I know it is often frowned upon to see your childrens' achievements as your own, but let's be honest...It's something everyone has done at some point in their lives.  I mean really, that A on a big history test is theirs, but didn't we help them review the study guide?  Or what about that big game winning touchdown. True, they caught the ball or ran, but who played catch with them outside and brought them to all those nightly practices?  Sometimes the great achievement of a child is just what a parent needs after a stress filled day (or season) to improve their mood.

So about that gift...well it came from Bella.  As you may have read in earlier posts, there are definite struggles Bella faces.  There are good days and then there are really challenging days in the areas of academics, memory recall, and concentration.  But yesterday?  It was like everything came together for a 12 hour period.  Everything we worked on in homeschool came easily, including things she had been struggling over for a long period (yeah, I'm talking to you 2 digit subtraction with regrouping).  No constant reminders, independent working, incredible focus.  It was amazing!

Later in the day we proceeded to swim team.  She has been doing well, but she had continued to struggle with the freestyle stroke and side breathing.  Kicking and balancing on one side while taking a breath was a hard feat.  Note I said WAS hard.  The gift continued with a perfect night of swimming.  Side breath/balance mastered!  Kicking on the kickboard without losing control of the kickboard...Nailed it!

The gift was like a recognition of all the hard work she puts in everyday.  It was a glimpse of what she is truly capable of when she is going on all cylinders.  It was a heaven sent reminder of how far she has come and a peek into her future potential.

It was a gift that I will treasure forever and will try really hard to hold on to, especially when there is a hard day.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Snowmageddon! Blizzardpalooza!  Whatever you want to call it, the Rowe Family survived!  In simple terms, there was a good old fashioned snowstorm in MN this past Saturday that hearkened back to the times of Ma, Pa, and Laura Ingalls.  17.8 inches of snow fell between Friday and Saturday night and basically shut down the Twin Cities.  Plows were pulled off the road, travel was strongly discouraged, and even the heartiest of Minnesotans threw up their hands in defeat and stayed home.  Some of you might have seen that the Metrodome, home to the MN Vikings, even gave up.  The roof ripped in three places and poured all of the snow inside the stadium.  Good news?  Maybe now, there will be a new stadium!

Wish I had more pictures to share from the snowstorm, but the ones I took from inside didn't turn out for the most part.  The one picture I have is of the side of a parking ramp.  You can see the big pile of snow off the side and transport yourself here if you like snow and don't have any at your location.  Harry and Erick were outside shoveling for a long time with several breaks in between.  Luckily, some of our neighbors with snowblowers assisted and made the job much more manageable.  Without their help, I have a feeling we might still be digging out.

So now the snow is over for the moment.  Yet Mother Nature isn't done with her fun just yet.  The temps for us have plunged into the -15 degree category (air temp) with windchills at -20 degrees.  The high today will be 2 degrees, if you can call that a high.  The sensation of breathing in and feeling the inside of your lungs start to freeze up a little is something that you never really get used to.  Oh and CNN made a good point today...It's not even Winter yet.

This weekend I think we try to fit in a visit to Santa.  I'm sure all but Bella will complain and say they are much too old for that nonsense.  I am going to try and convince Harry and Becca that we need to join together forces, sit on Santa's lap and ask for some warm weather.  Who knows?  Maybe, just maybe we can get a day in the 30's.  Which right now would feel like a tropical paradise!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


So it's that most wonderful time of the year "with the kids jingle belling" and "caroling out in the snow".  Call me a wimp, but with the temps only reaching the upper teens the last week or so, I won't be going out in the snow for any reason, especially carolling!

This time of year does bring some favorite kids moments.  Almost every year one of the kids says something cute and funny that I swear I will never forget (and yet somehow I do).  If only I had written down the funny comments...Oh well, it does seem like a good topic for a book.  "Classic Christmas One Liners From Kids".  Who knows, perhaps it already exists.  Anyway here is the latest Rowe kid Christmas funny, brought to you by Bella.

Bella-(While listening to the holiday classic "Santa Baby" on the radio...) Mom, who sings this song?
Me- Oh I don't know honey, it's pretty old.
Bella- I'm pretty sure it's Santa's Mom because she keeps calling him honey and cutie.

Other than experiencing precious moments like the one detailed above, us Rowe's have started our whirlwind tour of the holidays.  We spent Thanksgiving at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells and another cabin.  The pictures below show that fun was had by all at the waterpark! 

Due to Harry's birthday occurring December 2, it always feels like someone says "START!" the week of Thanksgiving and it is a mad dash through the month of December.  This year Harry turned 12.  Harry has always put a lot of thought into what he wants for his birthday.  I guess when you have Christmas and your birthday in the same month, it feels like a lot of pressure to make sure you "get it right" because you have to wait a whole year to ask for something again.  Anyway, Harry's request this year was for a drum set.  Now those of you who know Harry or have read about him on here, know that he is very musical.  He already plays the piano and guitar, and he said he wanted to teach himself the drums.  Well, long story short, drum sets were out of the price range for a birthday gift, even a birthday/Christmas combined gift.  So we went a different route.  We entered the world of Snowboarding. 

Now my reasoning for the Snowboard started off sound:  There is a skiing/snowboard club at his school, he's always wanted to do it,  snowboarding would be a good source of winter exercise, etc.  What I didn't anticipate in my reasoning was the true cost.  After the snowboard, boots, helmet, goggles, gloves, bags, and lessons, we were verging very close to the drum set cost.  Oh well, it is good exercise and I don't have to listen to all the practicing, right?

Last Friday, he had his first lesson.  It came in the middle of a good 'ol Minnesota snowstorm.  Driving to the ski hill took 2 hours (should be a 25 minute drive).  FYI, they don't cancel snowboard lessons due to a's kind of what they live for.  Well, I hate driving in the snow.  The highway had about 8 lanes of traffic and the roads were not plowed.  The good news is that I was gripping the steering wheel so tight for the drive, it was like getting an upper body workout. 

Harry did great at his lesson and his instructor told me he was a "natural".  He even got off of the bunny hill and went on a big hill the first night!  He was pretty exhausted from the experience and both he and Bella fell asleep on the way home.  Great for me, because the drive home was no better.  Frozen snow on windshield wipers + snow falling at the rate of an inch an hour + roads still not plowed = Major headache and 1 hour 45 minute drive home.

But as the skiers/snowboarder instructors said on shuttle bus, "The snow is beautiful!"