Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve

Kris: Well the day started with a white awakening.   Overnight we got about 6 inches of snow.  Here's a pictures of my front patio showing the snow depth.

Since we knew the snow would slow our driving a bit we scurried out the door and up to Mark's to take care of the dogs.  Here's him shoveling our way up the front steps.

We got the dogs outside and fed, then Mark and I had to get busy with food prep for both today at my family's house and tomorrow's at his family's Christmas.  He made deviled eggs...

I worked on a cream cheese dip

And we put up most of the Christmas decorations at my house since the dogs like to eat them.  But Mark showed me today that he has this cute little "tree in a bubble" on his side table that they seem to leave alone.

Mark: I just got this out the day before, I saw it when I was getting the wrapping paper out and decided I was going to have at least one Christmas decoration out.

So we got to my parent's house in time to make the popovers for brunch/lunch.  After lunch we cracked open a fantastic red wine my sister, Deb, brought.   Here is her showing off glass #1

Mid-afternoon is started to snow again.  It was the big, fluffy flakes.  Between that and the pine trees full of snow, I felt it was a great opportunity for a picture out on the deck.  Thought it turned out pretty well but my hair was soaked by time we got back inside.   Still worth it :)

Mark: I like this picture! Merry Christmas!

Got a few pictures in front of the tree.   The only way to get Onyx the cat to sit still was to drag his climber into the living room. 

Midday we had a conference call with Mark's Dad and his brother Michael and sister-in-law Cari.  Mark's Dad is down in Arizona so they open gifts via conference line and/or video conferencing.  I get to go shopping!  Got a couple great gift cards from his Dad :)

Before dinner, Mark and I ran out to see this house in Waconia that has a huge light display every year.  It's put to music and he even has his own website and radio station.   I'll try to get some video up on YouTube but here is the link to his website:

Mark: This was amazing! I was a little speechless. We took a viedo of the light show and will post later.

When dinner finally came around we were already stuffed to the gills.  But after a big slice of lasagna and garlic toast we had to put an end to all eating for the night.   So we vegged in the living room and started opening presents.   I'll spare the lists of everything we got but we both got some great stuff and were interrupted by Santa Claus! He stopped by for a visit and even gave Deb a kiss on the cheek!

(it was Mom and Dad's friend Ron so Mrs Claus need not be worried :)

So we finished up gifts around 8:00 or so, sat around chatting for a bit and then we needed to hit the road to get back to our "kids".   Mark ended up dropping me off at my house while he ran up to the dogs and then is currently on his way back down to me.   It made more sense for me to stay at home so I could get tomorrow's dessert baked and cooled and also divert a crisis from work.   Long story short, a customer that has an event coming up on Saturday was having registration issues and people weren't getting charged the right amount.  Luckily it's super easy for me to get into the system remotely so I helped him identify the problem (which was actually someone else in his organization making changes in the account that he didn't know about)
While waiting for Mark to come back, I was bringing out some garbage and recycling and realized the snow is at "snowball stage" now.  The fluff has turned to slightly sticky so I made myself a quick snowman.  Probably only like 8" tall

Mark: This was really cute, I missed it the first time and had to have it pointed out to me.

And here I sit typing the blog to finish the night.  We will likely report back again after tomorrow's Christmas with Mark's family.   Really hoping the next round of snow that is expected doesn't completely mess up driving.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shopping and wine

Kris: We are finishing up a few final small Xmas gifts today and it landed us at the Mall of America.

Tonight is Christmas cards, wrapping presents and watching the Vikings football game.

Just trying to have a relaxing Sunday. Mark treated me to a nice lunch at Crave with a glass of Malbec for me and

their Bloody Mary bar for Mark. He's very happy now ;)

Happy Holidays to all!

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Location:Mall of America

Breakfast Buddies and Winter Waddle (and Holidazzle) - Part 3

Mark: So it is Sunday morning and Kris is making breakfast, mmmmmmm...., while I post the last update from yesterday.

I will only mention the Winter Waddle 5K in passing as I plan on writing up a post race blog over on my "Work in Progress..." blog, and I am sure Kris might have a thing or two to say about the "race" in her running/racing/training blog as well.

Winter Waddle 5K is by far the most unusual race I have ever run in. This is a race that need a lot of help if you ask me and probably not one I would race again but hey you have to try everything once just for the experience. I will post a picture as a teaser and hopefully you will follow the links to go read more in our other blogs. 
Kris: Yes I have to completely agree that this was probably one of the more interesting 5ks I've ran.  Especially since I am out of shape from not really working out the past two months.  Check my blog later today or tomorrow :)

YES! This is the actual starting line and you are looking at the race course.

After the race and post race snacking we headed home to my house to let the dogs out and stretch their legs for a while and change clothes before heading down to the Holidazzle Parade. Kris mentioned the possibility of trying to fit the parade in this weekend and as far as I can remember I have never been to the Holidazzle Parade. (Kris: Always fun when I find that I'm bringing Mark to do something new together.  I've been to the parade before but it's been probably close to 10 years) We drove down and without telling Kris where we were heading first I made a bee line straight for Caribou Coffee for a warm drink to watch the parade with. I am beginning to think that the coffee flows like water and it is being taken as an assumed thing because Kris did not even look up or even plesantly surprised when I pulled into the parking lot. ;) 
(Kris: Hey, I was tweeting about our wonderful day when we pulled in...and yes, maybe assumed that we were going to be stopping for a Caribou drink...give me a break   :-P  Oh and while I was waiting in the car, "Christmas in Sarajevo" by Trans Siberian Orchestra came on.   First time I've heard it this Christmas season.  Best Christmas song ever!!)

So with drink in hand the next objective was parking, which turned out to be much easier then I anticipated, the lot outside the Library was wide open and that lot is right at the end of the parade route. Unfortunately we had to pay $5 in the little envelope, which in hind site was unnecessary as no one was checking who parked and paid during the 30 minutes we were watching the parade.

So now that the car was parked and we were at the end of the parade route we decided to walk a few block and try to find a good place to watch the parade, which we eventually did and learn a little about parade watching as well. Here are a few pics that I took during the parade.

Kris with her warm drink.


Our view of the parade coming down the street.

A lit up Twins Snowman. Where was Ragnar when you really need him??

One of about a dozen attempts to get a good picture of us with the parade in the background.


End of the parade, a non-lit Twins Snowman. Again no Ragnar!!

All in all a very busy day and fun day!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Breakfast Buddies and Winter Waddling - Part 2

Kris: "Team Dogs" and I had a great time at the Breakfast Buddies event this morning.  We brought my parents along as my Dad has been interested in caching.  Mom.....maybe not so much but she enjoys tagging along.   After catching up with many of our caching friends over omelettes, hash browns and orange juice, we headed out to grab a few caches in the area.   The event was out in Waconia, MN where I grew up and graduated from so it was fun to be out around my stomping grounds.   We picked up a few caches with Mom and Dad along and then dropped them back at home.  There was a new cache Bullseye published the night before that was a 3.5/3.5 so we decided to go give it a shot. 

There is alot of snow on the ground and we had to trek across the big open field to come to an area that has this interesting little "moat" around a tiny island.  Considering how perfectly round it was it HAD to be man-made.   We got to Ground Zero and looked around for a few seconds.  Then, Mark re-read the description.  Between that and the terrain/difficulty rating and the large tree we were standing by, I knew this meant I needed to climb.   So up I went.  And sure enough, taped to a large branch was the cache.   And can you believe it, we were First To Find! (FTF)   Since the cache was published yesterday and there were so many people in town for the Breakfast Buddies event we were sure someone had been here already.   We were so excited.  Made my frozen toes worth the trek :)

Mark: I was hoping that Bullseye could be my 900th find but after we took a look we decided that it would not be good to try this with Kris's parents. My 900th Find ended up being Rotten Egg Cache, which ended up being a challenge for my 900th.

Here's a few pictures from the find.

One of me in the tree holding the cache:

And one of Mark in the center of the little island.   In the middle of nowhere!

We also captured a short video of the find and posted it to Mark's YouTube Channel:

Mark: Now we are off to go run the Winter Waddle 5K and then the Holidazzle Parade.

Breakfast Buddies and Winter Waddling - Part 1

Kris: As we sit waiting for my putsy girl Sugar to finish up eating her breakfast,

we are working our way back to my place to feed the cats and then out to Waconia. MnGCA is putting on a breakfast buddies at a restaurant in Waconia for area cachers to come get to know each other and go caching together after breakfast. My Dad has caught a lingering interest in geocaching so we will bring my parents along for breakfast and out to find a few winter friendly caches.

Be good kids. Back later :)

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

A New Home and Home for Life

Kris: So this morning after Mark was up until 1am working, we got up early to get back to feed the cats, grab coffee and a bagel sandwich and get to Mark's Moms to start helping Michael and Cari move into their new house. Michael rented the biggest truck available and we helped them get all they needed from storage.

As we were leaving the storage unit, our minds were on caching since we think we found a great location to put a cache. But of course when we did an area search and without meaning to, happened to see a small cache with a geocoin in it. On the story that we needed to go by the post office to drop of a FedEx envelope (which we actually did need to do), we took a long route to their new house, grabbed the cache, hit the P.O. and made our way to their house. Unpacking was 10x faster than packing and Michael and Cari got Papa Murphys pizza for lunch as a thank you for helping with the move.

Then for a few hours in the afternoon we were at the Mall of America volunteering for Home for Life ( an animal sanctuary where I sponsor a cat named Olive). I was loving holding onto two of their cats Peaches and Spyder while Mark was having a blast handling Anook and Dodi (great Dane).

They were there taking donations and people could cone meet the pets and we would tell them their story and about what the sanctuary does. I'll spare the details, just check out

It was a long tiring yet very fun day. As we left the mall we grabbed a warm drink and then saw the mascot for the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant walking around so of course we had to ask for a picture...

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Location:Eden Prairie,United States

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chilly weekend caching and another event cache

Kris: Heading out this chilly morning (20 degrees F) to pick up another State Park or two on the south side of the cities. Hoping I have enough layers on to keep me warm! Not running today, just going to hike it. There are a few letterbox caches in Sakatah that would be nice to grab since I haven't gotten any of those types yet.

Side note: stopped at Michael and Cari's new house this morning to drop something off. So happy for them but also jealous of the seriously awesome place they got for a great price!!

So to briefly recap yesterday, we were picking up temp caches all week as part of the Poker Fun Run event. Yesterday morning the final cache was placed at 3 am so when one of the dogs decided to wake us up at 5am by throwing up on the foot of the bed ( sigh...) we saw the cache and couldn't resist getting up to go for it. Somewhat unsurprisingly we are second to find.
Went back to my place to take care of the cats and get in a quick nap before bringing my car in for routine service and scouring the area for caches until the event at 4:30 pm. And what a fun event! Well run by cachers RudeRat and Red Devil - we played multiple games of poker/ Texas hold em /etc with different cards we got for getting the temp caches during the week. Unfortunately we didn't win any prizes but had a great time meeting new people and catching up with friends. It was definitely a "who's who" event of Minneapolis cachers :)
Here is a pic of our Wild Card hats:

So back to today, we are heading out soon and will report back on anything exciting

PS - and to the cacher(s) that picked up the travel bug I dropped yesterday and were too impatient to wait for me to log it in the cache this morning and just moved it from it's old location screwing up it's travel logs which is extra sad because it's a brand new bug and now it's first move is actually wrong and was "stollen" from my inventory last night and now looks like it moved out of it's first location twice ....("inhale")... please at least give me a day to move the inventory and obey proper caching etiquette instead of messing up it's route. Thank you...

PPS - due to technical difficulties and me not realizing it was because my app needed an update, this is being posted at 5 pm instead of 11 am when I wrote it :-P
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Location:Owatonna, MN

Monday, November 30, 2009

Can't NOT Smile at This

Kris: So we came upon this ADORABLE video when we were looking at a Philip DeFranco YouTube channel and I've been insisting on sharing it everywhere with everyone.  I've watched it probably 10x in a row now and each time I feel a little better and smile and laugh a little harder.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Patience is a virtue! (and $10 extra bucks)

Kris: Were trying to trade our tickets for different seats but ended up blindly selling our tickets for a small profit. Searching until after kickoff, we managed to find a nice guy just trying to sell his tickets. As we could tell he was tired of getting yelled at by the scalper that would give him $100 for his $138 worth of tickets, we quietly offered him $110 cash and he GLADLY let us have them!

Mark: I also out bid another guy who also offered $100. Who knew $10 could be so useful.

Kris: Granted we got in a few min late but 1) we got in and 2) we got better seats :D

Here's our view:

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Door Buster Madness and the Return of Christmas

Kris: So we had a great first Thanksgiving together yesterday and stuffed ourselves silly at both my parent's house and Mark's Mom's

Today we slept in and did some shopping. Some gifts and some for ourselves. Like this shiny new coffeemaker for $13 :)

This evening was Xmas decorating at my house. Neither of us have brought out our decorations in a few years so we had a lot of fun together setting up the tree and the villages. It's so exciting to have someone in my life that enjoys Xmas as much as I do!

Notice my Mav under the tree already. :)

Mark: Excited to setup the village this year without fearing that it becomes chew toys.

Tomorrow morning we go to a Mpls Breakfast Buddies. Will be my first.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blogging at the backyard fire

Kris: Relaxing and eating dinner fireside after a fun Sunday. Took our friend Steve and our other friend Steve ( in a Speedo) to the Vikings game. On our way home we saw a cache get published in the area and tried to get the FTF. Unfortunately since we had the less accurate GPS, we ended up second but it was really nice getting to meet other area cachers.

So we end our evening by the fire and I'm thinking a final marshmallow of the non-winter season is in order.

Mark: Notice the wine glasses in the right side of the picture! :)

Kris: what better way than to end a relaxing fireside dinner than with my love and a glass of red wine :)

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Obsess much?

Kris: So a quick report. We picked up the Myre Big Island park and our first 25 mile Hiking patch.

Mark: Lets give a little more credit to this park, drove around like a madman to all the different stages of the Safari cache and then about a mile trail run to the final. And we got lucky again with the Hiking club word on the trail to the cache. Saved us about half of the total distance.

Kris: We were hoping to get two other parks but thanks to the stupid sun going down at 5pm these days we made only one... Barely...

We reached Rice Park as the sun was going down but was determined to get the cache and the Hike. Mark was irritated by this truck who blocked the road not knowing how a 4-way intersection works, Didnt they know we were in a hurry? :-P We were running around through the cache stages and made the grab. It was now too dark to see my feet. So we grabbed the flashlights and took off down the trail. I thunk I stubbed my toe about 5 or so times bur luckily no face-plants.

Found the word pretty quickly, with another educated guess on where the post the word on the trail, after finding the word we walked through a boy scout troop camping and left the park to head for home. Made it back into Owatonna on fumes. 2miles to empty

But now I am typing as we are waiting for our buffalo chicken strips at Perkins. Mark is updating his Facebook

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Morning mud bath

Kris: Here is how our day looked when we started our day in Iowa. Foggy and cool

But we had a blast doing our first trail run together down in Des Moines Iowa for Living History Farms. Thanks to cousin Eric for putting us up for the night. What a blast! Trees, water, hills, ropes, holes and MUD!!!

To read more of our personal accounts of the race, check out our individual blogs on the right.

Had some awesome beef stew for the post race food and now we are off to get cleaned up and cache our way home.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

"What's in the fridge" dinner and heading for the border

Kris: In an attempt to get down to Ames Iowa before too late tonight, my sister is feeding my cats for me and I can straight to Mark's after work to throw together a dinner (premade buffalo strips, corn soup and hawaiian bread)

and get out the door. Staying at his cousin's place tonight to start our busy weekend.

Mark: For just a thrown together dinner, it is very good! Just ask Rugar.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DAM cache at Wild River and Interstate Hike

Kris: We decided to go straight to Wild River and come back to Interstate since we needed to get there while the office was still open to borrow another GPS. Here's a rundown of our quick jaunt at Wild River -

2:20 Get to Trail Center and spend 15 minutes in line just to borrow out the GPS
2:45 Park down at the Trail Center and jog over to Stage 1 of the Safari cache
2:50 Get the Safari cache and think we have plenty of time to go get the DAM cache
3:05 Get to DAM cache site and can't grab the DAM cache because there are bikers on the overlook
3:10 I get somewhat impatient and casually walk a small trail to sneak a peek under the overlook and spy the DAM cache.
3:15 More people come to hangout on the overlook and so we sit on the bench, trying to be casual until they leave
3:17 Four scruffy looking hikers decide to put down their packs and grab a snack right outside the overlook area. No way I can get the DAM cache with them standing in view.
3:18 Mark and I try to figure out why the hell this park is so much busier than every other park we've been at...
3:20 People on the overlook finally leave. I start giving the hikers the evil eye hoping they will leave

3:23 I get impatient for the hikers to leave. I casually pretend to check out another foot trail along the other side of the overlook and crawl hands and knees up and under the overlook to grab the DAM cache. As I'm signing the DAM cache, Mark informs me more (friggin') people are walking our way.
3:25 I get the DAM cache put back in it's damn spot and we start our run back to the trail center.
Mark: DAM she is good!!

3:50 Get back to Trail Center and grab the history cache. Most expensive container I've seen!

3:58 Just make it back in time to return the GPS as the park lady was turning out the lights.
Mark: Unfortunately we still have to come back to Wild River State Park to complete their BIG Multistage History I Puzzle Cache. The cache in the picture gave us coordimnates to the 6 differant stage areas where we have to figure out clues. In the end it should be worth it, they are handing out a Pathtag to everyone who solves the puzzle. Bling Bling!!

Phew! Now all we had to go was get over to Interstate park in time to run the hiking trail and find the Club word. It was a very rocky trail but very pretty scenery going along the river.

Luckily the word was only about 1/2 mile down the 1 1/2 mile trail so we got that in time to hike/run back and take a few pictures on the overlooks and in the pothole area.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

2 down 2 to go

Kris: Picked up the Boom site cache with a little extra searching. Mark: A lot of extra searching.... spent way to much time searching for this one. We didn't have our GPS (loaned out for the day) and were trying to find it with just our iPhones. Ok that kind of sucked...note to others, use via Safari and not the Maps Application (Maps tries to find the closest address from GPS coords, in Safari show you the actual location) to pinpoint coordinates. Stepped out the depth of the earth cache at Boom Island and then headed out to William O'Brien.

Mark: What Kris failed to mention is that figuring out how deep the cave was was not one of the requirements, I need to read more carefully.

Long trail run here to a tradational cache and the Hiking Club word. Luckily we did the hike trail in reverse and found it a much shorter distance from the car. It was a very hilly run/walk up to where there was a cache placed (this park office had GPS units you could borrow) but we made the grab and headed back, in total about a 3.6 mile trail run.

Along the way I found a nice place to rest.

We needed to hurry out of here to make it to Wild River State Park before their office closed, need to borrow another GPS, and then then back to Interstate State Park before dark so we can get the Hiking club word and be done for the day and with the State Park along the St. Croix river.

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