Friday, June 13, 2008


This past Sunday, the boys and I traveled to New Ulm to attend my friend Katie's graduation open house. Her sister Jenna graduated last year. I am so proud of both of them! I am blessed to know their family and to have been friends with their big brother Chet, who died of a heart attack two years ago at the age of 31.
Later that night, Danny, Ashley, and I visited Brian at Otto's, the bar Brian manages in New Ulm. We almost had the place to ourselves: the only other patrons were Brian's co-workers who were hanging out at their workplace on their night off (What can I say -- My brother is one cool guy!), a couple of fifty-ish out-of-towners, and Chris the Bartender, who makes delicious drinks. As Brian explained The Mug Club to me, pointing out the long rows of glass mugs hanging from hooks above the bar, and his friend "gambled" for free drinks with the bottlecaps from Lakemaid Beer, another genius brainchild of New Ulm's own Schell's Brewery, I felt like we were starring in our own episode of Cheers.

The next day, the boys played with their favorite New Ulm toys, inlcuding the play-doh fridge set, Uncle Brian's old-school Fisher-Price Western Town, and the new, all-time, play-all-day-if-they-could favorite, Uncle Danny's bar top touch-screen video game system. I don't even know what it's called, but everyone loves it, except perhaps for my mom, who would really like it better if it were somewhere other than her kitchen countertop. He bought the machine on ebay, and it's identical to the video game systems you find at bars; choose your game, put in a quarter (Danny says BRING YOUR OWN but we use his!) and get ready for some fun screen time.

On Monday afternoon, we visited Lincoln Park, which has undergone major changes since the days I used to play there for Vacation Bible School and junior high tennis practice. The trails I used to explore with friends are still there, and along those same wooded trails nestled in between backyards, the boys collected armloads of unique rocks to bring home.

Max holds on tight to Mitchie, worried that his little brother might slide down the hill. Below, Max shows off some of his prized finds.

On the way back to the playground area of the park, Max and Mitch fought about who got to carry the plastic bag full of heavy rocks. I convinced Max to let Mitchell have the first turn, and after Mitchie hauled the rocks a few feet, the argument was settled, and Max got to carry the bag ... until the bottom tore open, and then I got to carry it.

Max and Mitch pose for a picture with Nana Fluegge.

That night, Nana Burdorf and I drove to Swany's Pizza in Courtland to pick up a yummy dinner. I learned that Swany's is owned by one of my cousins on the Fluegge side of the family. Their pizza is among the best I have ever tasted. I ate too much pepperoni and pineapple! Max and Mitch stood still just long enough to snap a photo with Nana Burdorf before she went home that evening.

On our way out of town the next day, as one of our New Ulm traditions, we stopped at Grandpa Steve's gas station, SSL Auto Service Center, to fill the tank and choose candy for the ride home. Grandpa bought the treats ... but not the gas!

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