Sunday, October 21, 2012

Packers Preseason game

Labor Day weekend

For a mini-vacation, Bret and I joined my parents on a road trip to Green Bay for a pre-season Packer's game. We left early on Thursday morning to make the trip to Green Bay, leaving plenty of time to stop for lunch at Red Eye Brewing Co. in Wausau, Wisconsin. The beer was good, but the food probably better.  All four of us only had complements on our lunch. My favorite was the curry pasta salad.... yum!

After lunch we continued on our way to Lambeau. It was cool to see the stadium almost empty.  Even if it was empty, there was a cozy feeling to it.  Slowly the stadium began to fill, and the teams warmed up.  Bret is a big Kansas City Chiefs fan, the opposing team.  It was fun to see the players warm up.  One of the former Iowa quarterbacks was on the KC team, vying for a back-up quarterback position.
At Lambeau
Inside the stadium

KC warming up

Yep they exist, and they are UW at Green Bay students
The game was not incredibly exciting, and first-string players only played a little bit.  However, I think we all had a good time.  The crowd was excited, and while there was a few annoying people I had a great time cheering for the Packers.  We made a number of signs (see photographs below).

We had great seats - only five or six rows behind the touchdown zone - a perfect place to a Lambeau Leap up-close.  Too bad all touchdowns were made at the other endzone... bummer. The Packers ended up winning the game.  Bret was a good KC fan and one of few that supported the Chiefs.  Generally, people were courteous to him and fellow Chiefs.  The high-level of sportsmanship was good to see.

Mom getting excited.

Enjoying the game.  Bret was a sport and wore the cheesehead.

Bummer that KC won. 
On our way back from Green Bay we stopped to see the (almost) exact location of being 1/4 of the way around the world from Greenwich Village in England. We also stopped at Leinenkugel to take the brewery tour.  Not my favorite tour - super secretive, but the beer is pretty good.
Bret, 1/4 around the world.

At Leinies.

All of us enjoying the beer.

Bret at Leinies.

Overall a great pre-weekend trip.  More fun was to follow with the wedding of my favorite cousin on a few days later!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


30 July 2012

For Dad's 52nd birthday, Mom surprised him with driving a tank.  Three tanks in fact. He also got to shoot three semi-automatic guns. There is only one place in the United States to drive a tank, and it happens to be just up the road from Forest City in Kasota, Minnesota. Check out for more details. Because the United States military doesn't provide antiquate tanks for sale, the tanks Dad drove were of British origin.

It just happens that two passengers could accompany the tank driver, and I have the privilege to join Dad in the event.  What an adventure! I can tell you that being a passenger to a tank driver is unlike any other experience.  What fun it was!

The first tank Dad drove was the Abbot.  This was my favorite tank to be in.  Tom (the other passenger, and Dad's good friend) and I were able to stand in the back of the tank and were jostled around fearsly.  We had to hold on tight through a water hole, sharp turns, and rutted track.
The Abbot.

Returning from the course.

The driver and his passengers.

The water hole got the best of Dad.  He's covered with mud!

The second tank, well a passenger carrier, really, had Dad looking through a telescope to drive.  The passengers sat in an enclosed space, and couldn't see anything.  It was a hot day, and incredibly hot inside the carrier.
The personnel carrier.

The third tank Dad drove was called the Chieftan.  This was the largest and heaviest tank, so it comes as no surprise that this tank's purpose on the day was to drive over a car.  A police car, in fact - with lights flashing. As a passenger, one didn't see much, but it was quite fun to roll over the car.  It crushed so quickly; not much of a challenge for the tank.
The Chieftan getting warmed up for Dad's car crush.

Getting in.

That's right, that was a police car.

Dad finishing off the rear window.

The crew.


No, really flattened.

Dad also got to shoot three different guns: a .9mm, M16, and .30 caliber machine gun. The sound was intense, especially the M16.  I decided that I would also try shooting a few for the experience.  I chose the .9mm semi-automatic and the WWII .30 caliber machine gun.  I was terrified, I will admit.  The anticipation, noise, and fear of a kickback were overwhelming. But it was also an exhilarating experience.
WWII machine gun.
Shooting the machine gun.

Shooting the .9mm.

Okay, not great.  I've hit the shoulder.  But, not bad for the first try!
Overall the day was full of fun and excitement.  Dad would be the judge as to his favorite experiences, but I would say being a passenger to the tank's driver was the best part.  I am glad to have been able to share in Dad's experience and be part of his fun-filled day.  This is an adventure for everyone!

Gorgeous Girls on Grand

24 July 2012

Tess's bachelorette party was a two-fold event, a picnic in the afternoon and bar crawl on Grand Avenue in the evening.  The theme of the evening activity was "Gorgeous Girls on Grand"  Tess asked each of us to wear a bridesmaid dress from a previous wedding.  I chose Jackie's bridesmaid dress because it was perfect for a warm summer evening.  The little satchel (which we didn't use in the wedding but came with the dress) was great for holding items and was a hit with everyone.

So without further ado, here are some candids from the days events!
Some girls sunning at the picnic...
And some cooling off in the water.

And from the crawl in the evening.

Getting ready.

The group at the first stop.

Kristen, Laura, and Mal - Some of the bridesmaids

Tess having a GREAT time.

Gorgeous Girls on
Grand stop #2.

Having fun at stop #3.

Dancing!  Probably the favorite stop on the crawl for the group.

My favorite candid of the night: Tess rocking out!
Final stop of the night - the fish bar, or at least that is what we were calling it because of the giant neon fish in the window.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Winter/Spring Skiing


Last post to catch up - and I am sure that with summer in full swing, you will enjoy reading about snow.  :) Disclaimer:  This one is a long one with tons of photos! Enjoy!!!

Bret and I vacationed at the end of March/beginning of April in Colorado (yep, this post has been a long time coming) with a few friends. With our new found love of skiing, we thought we could take advantage of the winter mountain snow and get in some end-of-season skiing.  Too bad this winter was not really winter at all....

When we arrived in Denver on Friday night, it was a comfortable 50 degrees.  Driving up into the mountains, that temp didn't change that much.  In fact, the whole weekend was a comfortable 50-75 degrees, meaning that the little snow that Colorado received earlier in the year was melting rapidly.  On of the first things we did was stop to see the mountain goats.  Can you find the ram?
Where's the Mountain Goat?

On Saturday we went to Loveland and had an afternoon lesson with a ski instructor to get us back into downhill skiing shape.  I would say that the lesson was more for me than Bret.  He is a natural skier, and doesn't let his head (something like "oh, I am going to die going down this hill") get in the way of the natural movement of the body down the hill.  Our instructor, while a bit gruff, was super helpful. 
Loveland ski slopes - on the way to the top!
Rocking some goggles...
Bret on the lift.
Up and up and up....
Finally to the top!  What a great view!! Note how little snow there was left!
The next day we headed to Winter Park, CO for more skiing fun.  There we met some good friends from Pella, who are excellent skiers (talk about naturals - they haven't even had a lesson!).  Sunday was unusually warm, in the upper 60s, so the snow was slushy; in some places there wasn't any snow at all! All of us ended up taking our coats off and skiing in long- and/or short-sleeved shirts! Overall, it was a frustrating skiing day for me, because I couldn't get the motions I learned the day before to happen.  The afternoon was much better in terms of coordination.  I can't thank Jenny and Bret enough for being so patient with me!
Skiing in long-sleeves.  Photo by Jenny Hesseltine.
Monday, the weather turned, and it mostly snowed/sleeted/rained all day with high-winds.  As a group we decided to spend the day not on the slopes, but in Idaho Springs.  A decidedly quaint, old gold-rush town.  After making it safely down the mountain, we headed to Phoenix Mines for a tour of an non-operational gold mine.  The history of mining is fascinating!  Our tour guide was so knowledgeable about the mining process in 1860 and today.  He made the tour very enjoyable! After the tour we tried panning for gold.  Unfortunately, none of us found any gold nuggets! :(
Entrance to the Phoenix Mine. 
Jenny and Brad rocking the hard hat.
Gold vein in the mine.

Chip panning for gold.
Can you see the gold flecks?
Hoping to find the nugget that will make me rich!
What fun at the gold mine!

After a delicious lunch at Beau Jo's (est. Idaho Springs, but now a chain), Jenny and I headed to the Indian Hot Springs.  I have never been to a hot springs before, and it was an interesting experience.  The springs were used for a number of years before the current building was over the springs was constructed, in the early twentieth-century.  The geo-thermal caves were an underground chamber, dug into the rock, and consisted of four or five baths varying in temperature from 104 to 112 degrees (  I can say that the first bath at 104 degrees was plenty hot!

After the baths we went to pick up the boys at Tommy Knocker brewery - one of Bret's favorites in Colorado.  The evening was spent watching Kentucky beat KU in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.  It was a sad moment, especially for all of the KU fans in the restaurant.

Tuesday was to be another day of skiing, but the weather didn't improve enough for Bret and I, so we decided to head back to Denver early.  We spent the afternoon at the Denver Nature and Science Museum - totally cool!  We saw hands-on exhibits about space, watched a short film about black holes in the planetarium, went to see the live snakes and lizards exhibition, and checked out the dinosaur bones.  We could have easily spent the entire day there, and ran out of time to see some of the other displays. 

Another lizard.


Another dinosaur.

Many dinosaurs.
Overall, it was a great trip.  Honestly, though, the best part wasn't the skiing - it was getting to spend a few days with some really wonderful friends!