Wednesday, September 19, 2018

go irish

Time to balance out all that Penn State nonsense with a trip to Notre Dame!

We drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house Friday evening, dropped off Mae, and took ourselves out for a little date night with a wine tasting and Thai food. The next morning, we got on the road early and took advantage of the van's built-in DVD player to introduce Mae to "Tarzan" and "Finding Nemo." We set up a mini-tailgate at the car before walking to campus, and we arrived just in time for the "Concert on the Steps" where the band performs on the steps of the architecture building. I suspected that Mae would enjoy it; she was complete enthralled!

Afterwards, we walked past a few of the band members, and a girl offered to let Mae try out her snare drum. Mae was a natural! She also got to play a xylophone (glockenspiel?)

Before we walked into the stadium, Mom predicted the game with eerie accuracy. Notre Dame would take an early lead, followed by a 4th quarter Vanderbilt touchdown reducing the lead to 7 points (it was actually only 6 points). At least we saw a good game, ending with an ND victory. Mae stayed with Grandma outside the stadium and ended up sleeping in the stroller through the entire game, only waking up when we met for dinner afterwards.

On Sunday, we attended Archie's Baptism. He was very curious when the deacon poured water over his head and even reached up to grab the cup and try it himself! Christopher and Emily hosted a little party in the church basement after the ceremony. (I haven't been down in that basement for YEARS, and it really took me back to my gradeschool girl scout meeting days.) Welcome to the church, Archie!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

penn steak

Last weekend, we packed up the car and drove to Penn State for a weekend with friends, fun, and football! We arrived Friday evening at the Airbnb house we shared with Dan's college friends Kevin and CJ plus CJ's wife Catherine, and their daughters Abby and Maren. After a quick dinner downtown (it still amuses me that this idyllic little college town is referred to as "downtown"), we did some last-minute shopping to find Mae a Penn State shirt. I kind of love this oversized jersey-style one we found (it would be even better if it were Notre Dame instead).

Saturday morning, we gathered our snacks and rain coats, and drove to campus for a day of tailgating. We were prepared for dreary, drizzly weather but the football gods blessed us with a very temperate, overcast day... perfect tailgating weather. Mae had tons of fun "playing" cornhole, watching a giant Jenga game, and running around with CJ and Catherine's daughter Abby who is about 6 months older. They raced each other around the padded base of a nearby set of practice goalposts which became an obstacle course, a balance beam, and everything else their 2-year-old minds could dream up.

We worked all week preparing Mae for the tailgate, teaching her Penn State's favorite cheer: one group yells "We Are!" while another responds "Penn State!" Mae had a hard time getting the hang of it, and every time I yelled, "We Are!" she yelled back "We Are!" Then I would correct her, saying, "No! Penn State!" She finally got the jist of it and now when I yell, "We Are!" she responds "No! Penn Steak!" Sigh. We'll get it right eventually. (In related news, CJ and Kevin are now planning to open a cheesesteak shop in State College called "Penn Steak.")

After lunch, we walked to the Creamery, the famous University-run ice cream shop. Mae fell asleep in the stroller almost immediately and missed the entire 45-minute wait time. She woke up just as I was finishing my bowl (Butter Pecan) and helped me eat the last few bites plus some of Abby's leftovers.

Catherine and I took the kids back to the house while the guys went to the game. We had a relaxing afternoon watching movies and eating pizza. Abby introduced Mae to her dinosaur obsession, and we watched "The Land Before Time XIV." (Yes, there really are 14 of those movies.) The guys witnessed a long, tense game ending with a Penn State win in overtime.

Sunday morning, we went to church before our long drive back home. We stopped once for lunch, and drove the last 5.5 hours straight through!

Such a fun weekend! (Don't worry, Notre Dame fans. Mae will get her ND experience in a couple weeks.)

P.S. Happy 6th anniversary to us!