Breakfast on the Farm

After a three-year hiatus, we made our return to Dairy Breakfasts! We got up so early, I thought we were going fishing, but instead, we were going eating! It’s a hard life.

Mom missed out on the fun because she was in the Grand Cayman Islands, but because the show must go on and the pancakes must get consumed, we forged ahead without her. And even though the breakfast didn’t quite compare to the meals we get to regularly enjoy at Grandma & Grandpa’s house on Sunday mornings, it was still a perfect day!

Spring is in the air (2022)

For some people, spring is for welcoming the animals back from hibernation and witnessing the seedlings turn to bloom. For me and sis, we’re just here for the breakfast in bed with made-to-order bacon, exploring frisbee golf courses, and birthday cake shenanigans!

Jordan Kappen Basketball Camp

At eight years old, I got to experience my first basketball camp in Black River Falls, and I. Am. Hooked.

Besides getting to skip 3 days of summer school, and on top of learning the fundamentals of the game alongside my best bud, Danny, I especially liked the part where I earned the much revered title of “Camp MVP,” thanks to those late night games of HORSE with dad! Not only does that designation grant me bragging rights, but it also came with a cool t-shirt. I’m now pumped to continue my basketball career in style, and with a boost in confidence. After all, if I don’t make it to the NBA, at least I’ll have collected a free wardrobe along the way.

Transformation

We did it! Before Memorial Day arrived, I transformed into a third grader…

…and Genesee became a kindergartener.

Mrs. Miller and Ms Toni taught us well and we LOVED them for it, but the time has come to dazzle our brilliance in front of new teachers and bigger classrooms. We. Are. Ready. For. It. But first, summer!

Rush in the Spring (2022)

Spring soccer with my Rush club team was a blast! After our initial poor performance at the Des Moines tournament, we finished our regular season in undefeated fashion, even with one man down or no subs.

Still, even though winning is fun, the best part for me was participating in the victory lap at the conclusion of each game, because there’s just something about receiving high fives from your smiling, gushing parents fan club (especially since last season’s protocol was to wave from a COVID-safe distance). In fact, this lap of love even topped the feeling of scoring a goal in the final game of the season, after spending most of my playing time in a defender position. You might not have assumed this after bearing witness to my over-the-top celebratory run-dance, but truly, the highlight was not the super impressive, career-building goal that I scored; What I loved most about this season was the receiving line of proud supporters.

Thank you, loved ones, for faithfully cheering us on and for always being there to tie the occasional loose shoe string in the middle of the games. We hear you on the sidelines even if we’re too cool to acknowledge as such.

Surviving Dad’s Birthday Hike

For Dad’s birthday this year, mom surprised him with a fun hike around Devil’s Lake! The weather was surprisingly perfect, and the element of surprise continued when we accidentally found ourselves on the Balanced Rock Trail: a steep climbing path with stone steps on the south face of the East Bluff that is assigned the level “Difficult” (if you’re paying attention).

Although this was Genesee’s inaugural hike outside of Dad’s backpack, she still rocked it! Mom’s performance, on the other hand, was a little more questionable. Thank goodness her shaky legs were unaware they were trembling on a “difficult” path less traveled. Otherwise, the anticipation of death might have killed the mood a bit.

In the end, we lived to see two spectacular views… 1) an overlook of the beautiful Devil’s Lake, and 2) the interior view of our Toyota Highlander from the safety of our seatbelts.

Ready, Set, Action City Trip!

Post quarantine era, I was not mad about the return to field trips, especially when it meant second graders got to splash around at the Metropolis Resort, enjoy a delicious pizza party, and then play mini golf at Action City afterward (for those who could sweet-talk their chaperone mom into getting a sneak peek of the arcade area).

Although you can never go wrong with a water park, the day was initially dampened by the tragic news of a house fire that killed 4 Melrose-Mindoro elementary students. I cried in Mrs. Miller’s class as the news sunk in deeper by witnessing her tears.

So, the joy of a field trip was a timely and much-needed distraction from the sadness and concern that subsumed our small community. I suspect the teachers even gave us more free rein to make happy childhood memories because life felt that much more precious… We played, we laughed, and we even ran our little hearts out in walk-only zones.

Upon my return home, the family dinner conversation held space for every fun detail of my trip, before revisiting and improving our fire drill protocol, and then hugging each other a little bit tighter.

Easter Birthday Sunday

The birthday weekend continued via Easter Sunday’s gathering at the Nicolai household, just as tradition would have it. After egg hunts, basket discoveries, and a baked ham dinner, we returned to my house for birthday cake, ice cream, and the much anticipated gift opening ceremony.

Best of luck to the poor soul who has to play against me in a future virtual or real world competition, because I have big plans to put my newly-gifted Steph Curry shoes and Xbox gaming system to good use. Watch. Out.

Level 8 Unlocked

If my birthday party is any indication of the year that lies ahead, 8 is going to be GREAT!

On Saturday, April 16th, my friends and I took over the Lunda Community Center to test the waters of their swimming pool, climb their tall rock wall, and run circles around their open gym! We enthusiastically covered all of the ground and left no corner untouched because that’s how you unlock level 8! I was so grateful that my pals Colin, Wyatt, Ashlyn, Maddox, Quinn, and Noah made the big trip to Black River Falls to celebrate my becoming of eight.

These days, people call me “Jaeger,” “Jag,” or “Jag-a-lag-a-ding-dong,” and my world centers around soccer, basketball, golf, ice fishing, Pok√©mon, electric scooters, Nintendo Switch games, spaghetti with meat sauce, and Grandpa’s nachos.

I’ve still got my clumsy skills and a big, soft heart, but I’m also becoming quite the drone pilot, and I’ve taken a liking to writing as my favorite subject in school. Other favorites of the year are gold & black (colors), Big City Greens (TV show), elk (animal), and Pizza Ranch (restaurant… especially their cookie pizza).

In the here and now, I am most happy at home, with my whole family, especially my hero, Genesee. In the future, my 8-year-old self thinks I might become a “logo maker” (also known as a graphic designer). We’ll see if that idea stands the test of time, but regardless, mom says I’m a bright kiddo with a bright future, so get out your best sunglasses if you plan to watch how this show unfolds!