Wednesday, June 30, 2010


For awhile now, we have been working on Max's big boy voice. When he wants something, we ask him, "How do you ask for that?" His usual response has been "Pleeeeeeeeeease?" He's got the Magic Word down pat, but we'd like him to actually tell us what he wants, as in, "Please, can I have a banana?" He doesn't quite get it.

Now when we say "How do you ask for that?" he responds:

"Pleeeeease... somethin', somethin'?"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Jeff, Chad, Jeremy, Greg, Bill, Paul, Brian, Ryan

Last weekend we took a trip to the Diocese of Madison to attend the ordination of one of Paul's former classmates, Greg Ihm. Believe it or not, I had never been to an ordination before Friday! What an incredible experience. The Mass started at 7:30pm with an enormous procession (I'm estimating 40 priests and 3 bishops) complete with Knights of Columbus, Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, all in full regalia. Bishop Morlino took a liking to Max- we were sitting on the aisle, and both on his way in and out he paused to pat Max on the head, tap his cheek and give him a high-five. Awesome!

The Ordination wasn't over until after 10:00, and we stayed at the reception until 11:15. Poor Max was a trooper- he did really well (relatively speaking) during Mass, but during the reception he tore around like a maniac! Every time he slipped out of my sight, he made straight for the dessert tables... I don't know how many bars he actually consumed without my knowledge, but the sugar high lasted long into the night. When we left, Paul let him burn off some energy on the playground outside the church. Thank goodness, because it still took him a half hour to fall asleep when we got back to the room!

midnight playground visit

As for Fr. Greg, I cannot begin to describe how beautifully he is already living his vocation. This man has given himself fully to Christ and the Church in a way that most people (myself included) can't even imagine. It's evident in every word that comes from his mouth- from the reverence with which he celebrated his first Mass to casual conversations over a bottle of beer at the hotel. Paul and I agreed that the most moving moment of the ordination was when Greg gave his first blessing to his parents. I think we both had flashes of "wow... we could be kneeling there someday..." Later that evening, when we asked Greg how he felt, all he could say was "Awesome. Awesome."

Almost all of Greg's original Immaculate Heart of Mary classmates made it to Madison for the weekend, only one of whom is still in Seminary (Jeremy- we'll be there for your ordination too!) - most discerned that they were called to marriage, but I am sure they are all better men for the time they spent at IHM. It was really great seeing Paul with those guys- they don't get together often, but when they do it is quite a sight!!

trip to the top of the silo at the Ihm family farm

Congratulations, Greg. You are a blessing to the Church!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chillin' with Chubbo

Our little guy has turned into the most well-tempered child in the world. Right around 3 1/2 months, he decided that life's a whole lot easier if you just smile all the time. According to my sister-in-law, if she had a child like him, she might just forget he was there! He may have been graced with a naturally laid-back personality, but I have a feeling the good-naturedness may be half nature, half nurture. Having an older brother means that he doesn't always get the attention he needs at the exact moment he wants it, like Max did at his age. I've let him cry for long moments while Max pulls on my leg waiting for his bagel to be cream-cheesed. If I know he's been recently changed and fed and isn't ready for a nap, I am much more likely to pop the paci into his mouth while he plays in the Exersaucer than to pick him up as I'm trying frantically to get the dishes done.

Max has to wait his turn on occasion too, when Lucian is eating or being rocked to sleep, but I think it is harder on him than his brother. You see, Lucian has known from day one that sometimes we need to wait to get what we want, but Max has had a rude awakening in these past months. I think sometimes he wishes he could go back to living the dream. But I know that he loves his brother and even if he doesn't quite understand it now, he will be so thankful for him someday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Max and Great Grandpa Radecki

Last weekend was my Grandparents' 50th (golden) wedding anniversary, and we celebrated by renting out Camp Hiawatha, a Lutheran summer camp, for the weekend. The only complaint I have about the weekend was that it was TOO SHORT! I love spending time with my extended family, and even though the weather wasn't great we made sure every minute was put to good use.

The kids and I packed up and got ready Friday morning while Paul put in 4 hours at the office. Even with a mound of bags on the living room floor, I was certain I was forgetting a whole host of important things. Amazingly, I can't think of one thing that was actually missing over the weekend.

At 10:30, when Paul's car rolled into the driveway, we quickly loaded up and went on our way. Both kids were amazing on the drive! Max read books to himself and played with his favorite stuffed animals, Fox in Sox and Snuv. Lucian slept. We have some super traveling kids!

We arrived to see my whole family sprinting across the main lawn, looking like they were running away from a swarm of bees... then I realized they were just playing an intense game of SPUD! If you've never played Spud, you need to read the rules here and then bring it to your next family reunion. Spud is a staple in our family; it's just not a summer family gathering without it! We joined in to play while Max explored the camp with Great Grandma Radecki, and Lucian lounged in the shade.

There was a 4-square tournament, many rounds of Buck Euchre, bocce ball, frisbee golf, volleyball (involving a broken toe and a golf cart "ambulance"), Ultimate Tetherball (a term I've just coined to mean any tetherball match between my husband and my brother... yes, bruising did occur), a midnight lake swim (in which I did not participate), tons of great food, and a grand old time had by all!

Here are some of Max's highlights:

Playing piano in the lodge with Uncles Tony and Ben, and cousin Alexander


Morning coffee with Daddy and Uncle Ben

Ringing the dinner bell (almost) all by myself

Driving the boat (almost) all by myself

Playing with Alexander

And highlights from Lucian's weekend:

Snuggling with Grandma

Snuggling with Uncle Ben

And just being all-around super cute

The weekend flew by so quickly, we all left wishing we had another few days at least! It was so wonderful to spend time together celebrating my grandparents' marriage- after all, if it weren't for them, none of us would have been there at all. We celebrated Saturday night with gifts, memories, and even an original song (can't have a Radecki get-together without one!) Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa, for a wonderful weekend! Let's do it again soon.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Down by the River

Family picture (minus Lucian)... taken by me! Pretty impressive, yes?

Tuesday was a gorgeous day, so we took the boys on a stroll down the Mississippi River Road in St. Paul, right by St. Thomas University. Wow, what a gorgeous area! Either way we looked, the view was great- on one side, the river and lush greenery; on the other side, huge, beautiful old houses... I love to imagine what those houses have seen over the years.

Looks can be deceiving- this situation was not dangerous, I promise.

Max spent most of the walk outside the stroller collecting clovers and dandelions, then exploring a monument to the soldiers of the Great World War, a tall obelisk with a cross at the top, overlooking the river.

He climbed to the top step and wanted to keep going

He got away from us for a minute, around some hedges, and when Paul caught up with him he was down the pathway talking to a family. The woman was speaking to him in Spanish (I think she was wondering where his parents were...) and when she saw Paul, she smiled and they started to walk away. As they turned to go, Max chased after them and yelled "Uno! Dos! Tres! Quatro! Cinco!"

They stopped and turned back, laughing. The little girl that was with them said excitedly, "He speaks a little Spanish!" And so he does- thanks to my mom! She has started dropping Spanish words into conversation with him, and the little sponge picks them up.

We finished up our walk and headed home to put the kids to bed. A great day was had by all- now this is summer!

Our collector

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skinny Dip

Last Saturday was Cousin Alexander's first birthday party! Alexander and his parents (my brother Tony and sister-in-law Catherine) are visiting from Vienna for a few weeks and we got to celebrate his pre-birthday with him. After hearing that Alexander flew over the ocean to see us, Max started saying that his cousin "flew up in the sky" to see us, and that we get to "see Alexander in the ocean".

The birthday celebration was planned as a pool party, but when it turned out to be 59 degrees and drizzling, do you think we reconsidered?


Catherine's nieces and nephews jumped right in, and as soon as Max saw them heading for the pool it was all over. I covered the first round of swimming- the pool was like bathwater, the air was frigid. Max had a blast and stayed in for almost an hour. Then later, Tony and Alexander decided to get back in the water. Tony didn't want to put the little guy back into a wet swimsuit, so he said, "You're going skinny dipping!" Seconds later, Max exclaimed, "Macky wanna go skinny dipping! Macky wanna go skinny dipping!" I can just imagine the inopportune times that phrase will come back to haunt us...

This time around it was Daddy's turn to get wet, and I got to snap pictures from the safety of the cement in long pants and a sweatshirt. Max would have stayed in the water forever... I am thoroughly convinced that we have a real live fish on our hands.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Max at Mass

This weekend, we had a professional family picture taken for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. Trying to get 20 people together at one time can be difficult, so the shot was planned for Sunday morning, meaning that we needed to find a church with a Sunday evening Mass.

Enter Holy Spirit Parish in St. Paul. According to (an indispensable tool in our bag of tricks), they had a 5:00pm Sunday Mass. Great! So we arrived to see that the church is beautiful- brick and stone with stained glass windows, tabernacle front and center ... and, uh oh, great (echo-y) acoustics, perfect for a wound-up 2-year-old! We were one of maybe four families there that had small children, and definitely the only ones with such a performer as Max.

Here is a sampling of what the other parishioners were treated to during Mass-

The gathering hymn was "All Are Welcome", which Max sang repeatedly throughout the service (especially when everything was silent), using his personal rendition of "All America, All America!"

Paul whispered to Max to please take his finger out of his nose, which was met with a response of "Take ME out to the BAAALLL-GAME, take ME out to the CROWWWWD!" at full volume.

Out of the blue, he said "What the heck? Macky say what in the heck?" I tried in vain to not react, knowing that a strong reaction would just cause a repeat performance... apparently I am not good at hiding my feelings because he looked at me, giggled, and said even louder "Macky say WHAT in the HECK??" (Where does he hear these things?)

I will be glad to return to St. Joseph's next Sunday, a parish overflowing with small, rambunctious children- where we are just one family of many who are trying to juggle crazy kids. There, we are the rule instead of the exception. There, 75% of the cars in the parking lot are minivans. There, we feel at home.

Do you hear what I hear?

As I plopped down in our computer chair to check my email, I heard the familiar "whoosh" of the chair cushion. I realized that it is one of those sounds I hear so regularly that the sound itself has begun to evoke a specific reaction from me- in this case, something along the lines of "Ahh, a few moments to myself. The kids are sleeping/napping/occupied".

Some other sounds of my typical day:

The sound of Max's door opening as he sneaks out after he's been put to bed (thunk, followed by sshhhh as the door drags across the carpet)

The sound of the doorbell ringing when no one is at the front door (faulty wiring, I think)... now my response time is super slow, and I am surprised if someone is actually standing there!

The sound of Paul's car pulling into the gravel driveway as he gets home from work (followed by a sigh of relief from yours truly)

The sound of Lucian snoring ("ok, now he's really asleep") ... usually followed by the whoosh of the computer chair...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Grand Old Day

On the first Sunday in June, the city of St. Paul shuts down a 15-block stretch of Grand Avenue for the biggest block party in Minnesota. After a very early morning Mass (7:30... not our usual m.o.) we met up with my dad and headed into St. Paul for the 10:00 parade. The parade didn't get to us until an hour after it had started, so Max and Grandpa took lots of strolls down the street while we waited, each time coming back with a different food item (cheese curds, lemonade, corn on the cob...)

Max LOVES parades, even if there is no candy thrown. He stands at the curb and dances, waving at everyone who passes. We got to see, among other things, a middle school marching band, a group of Irish Wolfhounds (oh memories!!), police cars and fire trucks, and bagpipers!

After the parade, we began the trek down Grand to the children's area of the festival. Twelve blocks later, we finally looked at a map and realized that we had started on the exact opposite end of the street and would have to go the full fifteen blocks before we made it to the kids games and pony rides. Oh, and by this time Max was sound asleep in the stroller.

We decided at this point it would be silly to turn around so we kept trucking. By the time we got there, Max was awake once again, so he got to spend some quality time with Grandpa and Daddy while Lucian and I took a break from the stroller in some shade. He made it down the blow-up slide with Daddy and chomped his way through a delicious Mango on a Stick (genius. genius.)

A fun day was had by all, even with our lack of planning. 30 blocks in flip flops without sunscreen is a long hike! But the kids were great (well-shaded in their stroller, don't worry!) and it was fun to be out and about on a gorgeous early summer day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Circus Clown and the Monkey

We were walking through the park yesterday when Max saw a low-hanging branch on a nearby tree. "Macky wanna hang! Macky wanna be a monkey!" he exclaimed. So Paul proceeded to lift him up so he could hang like a monkey from the tree, complete with sound effects and all.

This story sums up how I know that Max and his uncle Liam will be such good buddies as they grow up. Not because Liam is a monkey (well...maybe) but because they both have the same love of life, and they don't let anything stand in their way. I was going to wait to write this post until I had my own sweet action shot of Liam on his unicycle (one that I didn't steal from my in-laws), but being that he just had a birthday, plus the fact that Max has asked me every day for the last two weeks if we can go "see Uncle Liam at Rapid City", I figured it was about time to tell the world about Liam the Magnificent.

It would not surprise me a bit if Liam either became a priest or ran off to join the circus... he has that much personality. The first time I ever met Liam at St. Mary's parents weekend, he was three years old. He ran into Paul's dorm room, threw a football at me and proceeded to tackle me to the ground. It was love at first sight. In fact, he and Paul had an ongoing argument for the next two years about whose girlfriend I really was... an argument that only came to an end when he was the ring bearer at our wedding!

Now six years later (six!!) I see in Max that same sparkling, gregarious personality, and I couldn't be prouder. Yes I may have my hands full, but if he turns out like his Uncle Liam, I have no worries for his future.

Maybe they can join the circus together!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A man of discerning tastes

Lucian had his first taste of ice cream this week- I'm amazed that we waited this long! It was an exciting moment as Paul brought the spoon to Lucian's lips. We were expecting wide eyes and a big smile... or his tongue sticking out searching for more. Instead, we got this:

Whose kid is this??

Friday, June 4, 2010

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

Yesterday was the first time I've seen my mom in a week. I don't know how I used to go months without seeing her, because just seven days now seems like an eternity! Now she's finally home from Denver, so we made a trip to the zoo with the boys. Last August, my grandma bought me a zoo pass that admits me, a guest and any children under 3 years old for free! It was such a thoughtful gift- daily passes to the Minnesota Zoo are not cheap, and with small children it is a relief to not have to worry about "getting your money's worth" on any particular visit. If we go and someone is having a bad day, we can just leave! No harm done.

On our drive to pick up Grandma, we sang what has become our zoo "theme song"... it goes like this:

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
How about you, you, you?

You can come too, too, too

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

As we drove, Max started adding his own verses to the song:

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
Wiiiith Grandma, Grandma, Grandma

Aaaaand Lucian, Lucian, Lucian

Aaaaand Mommy, Mommy, Mommy

Aaaaand Macky, Macky, Macky

Aaaaand Ben, Ben, Ben
(and here I interrupt to tell him that sorry, Uncle Ben can't come with us)
Aaaaand Grandpa, Grandpa, Grandpa
(sorry honey, Grandpa can't come either!)
Aaaaand Cody, Cody, Cody
(Cody's not coming, we can't bring a puppy to the zoo)
Aaaaand Grandma, Grandma, Grandma...

I love the zoo, but usually I go with other friends who also have children. That means I'm in charge of my own kids full time. It is still a ton of fun, but it also gets to be pretty stressful if Max gets it in his mind to run away or Lucian gets sick of the stroller. Yesterday with my mom was the most stress-free zoo visit I've ever had! She took Max's hand and walked him to the exhibits while I strolled with Lucian. It was a weekday and not too busy, so we got up-close and personal with all of the awesome animals. I decided earlier this year that my favorite zoo animal is the otter, and to my delight Max seems to have the same opinion. We spent long minutes watching them float and dive before we made our way to the bears.

Max's other favorite spot is the tropical fish tank. Following the trail through the tropical animals leads to a cool, dark room with soft music and a huge wall of water. He pressed his nose to the glass to follow the constantly moving sharks and neon colored angelfish. When we thought he was finally ready to leave the aquarium, we walked up the path a few feet until Max suddenly realized he couldn't hear the music anymore! He bolted back into the room and found an open space to dance for a few more minutes. Our boy really loves his tunes!

Lucian was perfect for the whole three hours we were there, only fussing right before lunch. That sure made for an enjoyable trip! I didn't bring my camera this time, and it was kind of nice to not think about getting a good shot of Max- instead I could just watch him enjoy himself and soak up new information. So the pictures I've included are from previous zoo trips, to give you an idea of how we spent our day. I'm sure we'll be back soon! Gotta make the most of my pass before August!