Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Diversity Training

On our way to Michigan, Soren was chatting away with an older Asian woman as we got off one of our flights. They talked about the usual chit-chatty stuff...whether Soren likes flying, where he was going, how old he was...

A little while later in the airport we passed another, entirely different older Asian woman. Soren looked at her, waved and said "oh, hi again!"

Then as we were waiting for our flight we were playing with the luggage carts. As we were playing we found a friendly African American attendant who pushes the wheelchairs for people who need assistance in the airport. He was funny and pretended that he was going to crash his (empty) wheelchair into Soren's cart. They played around like that for a minute or so.

Then, a few minutes later another entirely different African American wheelchair attendant came by. Yep, you guessed it, Soren went out of his way to say "Hi again!"

Uh, yeah. Guess we need to step outside our ethnic circles just a bit more?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why Michigan is Really Cool, Reason #4: Trailriding

We've never taken Soren out trailriding while we've been in Michigan. Somehow it always seemed like that was too much for him. We've had him on horses out in the ring, but didn't ever go out on the trails.

Big oversight.

When we went to Honduras earlier this year we learned that Soren loves trailriding and that he's quite happy to ride all day.

Well, I certainly didn't have to tell my Dad about that twice! We loaded up a few of the horses...

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...and trailered out to some local trails...

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...unloaded the horses...

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...for a lovely ride in the woods.

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We even brought a little picnic for our break.

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Soren and I rode together for most of the ride, but in the end he insisted that he could do it himself - he was right!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why Michigan is Really Cool, Reason #3: Cousins

Soren is lucky that he has a cousin, Luke, who is only three months different in age.

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During our visits the boys are pretty much inseparable. It is so awesome to see.

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And since - thanks to the bounty that is United Airlines - we get to go to Michigan usually three times a year, Soren and Luke have really developed a lovely friendship. (Although, truth be told, either of them would probably be enamoured with any like-sized person who shares his devotion to all things train-related.)

Of course, it helps that there are so many fun things for boys to do together at Grandpa and Grandma's house.

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You know, things like chores....

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Those horses do need some sustenance after all the fun we have with them.

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And then there is the Kubota and the Gator which are just perfect for touring the neighborhood.

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There is even the fun of jumping on the stroller and convincing Grandpa to push you up all the hills on our walk to Windmill Island.

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And having a buddy to ride the antique carousel with once we did get to Windmill Island.

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Which was of course made all the better by knowing that while the boys played on the carousel Grandpa and Grandma were holding our place in the l.o.n.g. line for the pancake breakfast!

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It just really coudn't be better.

Oh, and Luke isn't the only cousin attraction in Michigan. Sweet little Riley will soon be big enough no doubt to keep up with his older brother and cousin.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why Michigan is Really Cool, Reason #2: The Haircut

Ok, so I suppose that Michigan isn’t necessarily known specifically for stylish haircuts. But Soren's personal barber does happen to live there...

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Grandpa still is the only person who has ever cut Soren's hair.

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Which explains why Soren doesn't just have one hair style. Then length of his hair depends entirely on how recently it has been since we've seen Grandpa.

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They both take the experience quite seriously.

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My dad, because he wants to show off how handsome his grandson is.

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And Soren, because he worries that smiling might make him accidently wiggle.

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But the end result is always the same: an impeccably groomed, ├╝ber cute little boy.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Why Michigan is Really Cool, Reason #1: Max

I know you’ve met Max in this blog before. But really, could you ever get enough of this precious little guy?
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I literally cannot stop smiling when I see this cutey doll.

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I can’t quite wrap my mind around his title of “horse,” since for his style, size and personality “puppy” would feel so much more appropriate.

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And, you know, if he was just standing all alone his cuteness really couldn’t be beat. But bundling him up in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny harness…

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…and attaching it to an itsy bitsy teeny weeny cart…

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…and pulling a few small boys (and one Auntie)…

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…well, could it possibly make me squeal more with delight?

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I don’t think so. Max, the mini, rocks.

Bumped – Hurrah!

Yes, we did it again. Bumped on a trip to Michigan. Hurrah for us! Hurrah for other travelers who needed to get to their destination at some pre-arranged time! Hurrah for overbooking!

Hurrah for DVDs to pass the time (and really cute headphones!)

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Hurrah for French toast making a really great finger food while we waited!

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Hurrah for Chicago O’Hare having endlessly fascinating distractions (like these awesome lights in the United tunnel.)

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And most of all – hurrah that more free tickets mean that we’ll be back in Michigan for Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 04, 2009

The State Fair

I love the fair. Well, it is probably obvious to all who read this blog that I love festivals, carnivals, street fairs...any excuse for a fun family outing!

The Oregon State Fair is no exception. Love it. So we filled our pockets with cash and headed out...

Soren saw that you could stand in line to get your picture taken with these huge "plumped" chickens and insisted that he had to get on the action. Check out the little poser:

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Yes, this is the same child who runs from me when he sees me aiming a camera his direction. Perhaps I should have plumped up chickens with me at all times?

After we left there he said "Mom, wasn't I brave?" I admit that those chickens were a bit creepy but I didn't realize he'd had to bolster his resolve to bear the experience!

At the fair, Soren is all about the rides. The canoe ride is one of his favorites:

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Is this the look of happiness, or what?

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Interestingly, he was all about riding rides with other children this year. He'd make friends in the line or just go jump in a helicopter to share a ride with another child.

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But, he wasn't the only child working his social magic in the lines...

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Check out this sweet little beauty who wanted to ride on the back of Soren's motorcycle with him!

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The animals at the fair are always a treat.

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But, in addition to rides and animals, who can forget the limitless selection of unhealthy, expensive and oh so tasty fair food!

Like fresh squeezed lemonade:

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Corn dogs...

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...which are definitely a Soren favorite.

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This year though I made it my special mission to find something that I'd heard about years ago from my friend Arin. This was our year to find the fabled deep fried Snickers!

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I was a bit surprised though when they handed me what I thought had to be yet another corn dog. But, nope, there was a mass of melty chocolate, peanuts, and nougat in that fried bundle.

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Sadly, I don't think we even finished it. It was pretty goopy. And Soren, who just thought it was another corn dog didn't even try it! He just held it up so I could get a picture. Next year I think we'll go for the Fried Twinkie!

Better check the newspaper to see what festivals we can find next!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Balloon Festival

In addition to the balloon night glow, there was a lot of other fun stuff happening at the Balloon Festival.

We got up early one morning to watch the balloon launch.

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It started with The Star Spangled Banner as the American flag was carried to the sky via balloon.

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Most of the time Soren just ran around and played with Auntie Christine. (Rolling out of bed and running to a festival meant that I didn't exactly plan Soren's wardrobe selection very well...hence the fact that he's wearing his pajamas and Auntie's sweatshirt!)

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But it was fun to get up close to the huge, beautiful balloons.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Little Red Caboose

One of Soren's favorite stories:

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Happy Blogiversary!

Today marks 3 years - and 500 posts! - since I started The Soren Gazette. Happy Blogiversary to us! I'm so happy to have this little record of the random sayings, thoughts, experiences and events that comprise Soren's life. 500 little glimpses into the details of the days as Soren grows up. I only wish I had started it earlier!