Happy Belated Birthday to “Billie” – (a.k.a. Emily Date)

Emily Date had one of those “significant” birthdays on Sunday.

It’s a little-known fact (unless you read last year’s birthday blog), but “Billie” was Emily’s nickname for her first few years. We had to take her in for Bilirubin tests for a couple of weeks after she was born due to the yellow hue of her skin. I guess “Billie” was a better nickname than “Jaundice”.

Emily was a happy kid -- and fashion conscious from the get-go.

She provided us with a lot of excitement in her younger years, like when she sustained a bad cut on her head when she was a year old. It was after that when she started to spend time sitting out by the garage smoking pot (see joint in her hand in photo below).

"Go sit by the garage, Emily. We're not going to allow you to do that stuff in this house!" - That's definitely a stoner stare.

Emily was a great kid — always funny and a sometimes a little unpredictable. Some of the personality traits from her childhood remain, while others have faded — such as a penchant for pretending to be famous statues.

Emily lights the way with her ice cream torch.

Emily always had a few little irrational fears growing up. She’s doing pretty well these days with balloons and clowns, but we didn’t know until fairly recently that she used to be afraid to be in the house alone.

Emily is ready to jump behind the couch after seeing a clown on TV.

Quite a shiner for the star of the Lynnhurst Park softball team.

Emily has always been very athletic and liked sports and exercise. I still remember those first soccer practices when she was 6 years old, gymnastics, softball, and later on, track.

I was so proud of her when she stuck with soccer even when it became apparent that she wasn’t going to be a starter in her senior year. She played for the love of playing and was a well-liked team leader.

She’s tried a lot of sports over the years and loves being active. She’s completed two marathons as well as a couple of half-marathons — the most recent being the Med City half-marathon in Rochester on Sunday.


Here’s one of my favorite photos of her. She was (I think) 14 or 15 and starting to look like the mature Emily we know and love today. The print has a nasty wrinkle running across it. I hope to find a better print or the negative some day.

I think Emily told me once that she doesn't like this photo, but I do like it and that's all that matters.

In 1999 she went off to college in Virginia and life was never the same again — for us or for her. But it was a great experience for her and I’m so glad she was able to do that. She made some good friends at UVA — not to mention meeting a young Mr. Cedermark from New Jersey — even though that friendship didn’t take off until a few years after graduation.

Emily worked as a tour guide during college at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Well, one thing led to another, as they say, and soon Emily and the Cedermark lad were wed and lived in Jersey City. They moved to Rochester, Minnesota almost a year ago to start the next chapter of their lives together.

Emily with Andrew and Craig - the two Cedermark boys she DIDN'T marry.

She married well. As we like to say in Minnesota - Ya, they clean up pretty good, don't they?

Emily has grown up to be a beautiful woman and genuinely good person. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and her heart is in the right place. What a wonderful feeling it is to be her Dad.

She recently contributed to my 5th grade team’s trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in northern Minnesota — both financially and by volunteering to come with us as a chaperone. It was great for my students to be able to spend some time with her. They loved her and she pitched in and worked hard at making sure my girls were on top of things. I and my students can’t thank her enough for spending those 3 days with us.

Emily, Ajoyia and Josh at Wolf Ridge

On Emily’s birthday the other day, I got to run a half-marathon with her, her sister Lauren, Kyle’s brother Andrew and his friend Carianne in Rochester. It was a wonderful time. I’m so lucky to be able to do things like this with my kids and I’ll never forget how great it feels.

Med City Half-Marathon - only 13.1 miles to go! (photo by Kyle Cedermark)

Emily, you’re 30. Wow, that’s amazing to think about — not in a way that you’re getting old, but to think about all you’ve accomplished and experienced already, the places you’ve been — and you’re only 30!

You’ve come so far from little (yellowish) baby “Billie”.

Thanks for being such a wonderful daughter.

Love you,

We have grandchickens!

One of the great joys of parenthood is being lucky enough to be around to see your children have young ones of their own. I experienced that recently and it was quite an emotional day. The fact that Emily and Kyle’s new arrivals aren’t human did nothing to diminish the exhilaration I felt when meeting them for the first time.

Lady Gaga, City Girl and Chicky Baby were born on April 5th, so they were already a little over a month old by the time we saw them. Emily described their arrival in her blog, “Love from Minnesota”. Here are a couple of photos shot by proud Papa Kyle during their first few days.

Left to Right, Chicky Baby, City Girl, Lady Gaga (photo by Kyle Cedermark)

Chicky Baby and City Girl try on Emily's shoes (photo by Kyle Cedermark)

Lady Gaga is a Silver-Laced Wyandotte, City Girl is an Americana and Chicky Baby (remember PeeWee’s Playhouse?) is a Buff Orpington. When we visited them in Rochester a week ago, they seemed to be getting along well, although Emily says they each has a distinct personality. Here’s what they look like now.

All the single ladies. The girls like to stick together (photo by Steve Date)

Emily and Kyle are great parents. They’re nurturing, but want the kids to grow up and learn to fly on their own. Dad takes the flying a bit too literally, however.

City Girl looked good on take-off, but the next few seconds were not impressive. (photo by Steve Date)

Of course the girls aren’t our first grandanimals. Peet’s been around for 3 years now. At 21 dog years, he’s a mature, loving big brother.

Peet gives Chicky Baby a little brotherly peck. (photo by Steve Date)

Peet gives lil' sis Lady Gaga a pony ride. What a good brother. (photo by Steve Date)

They’ll be old enough to start laying in a few months. Can’t wait to have my first grandchicken omelet.

Wait a second — that’s a little creepy, isn’t it? But if the eggs aren’t fertilized, they’re not really potential great-grandchicks, right? Oh well, I’ll figure that out later.

"Who's my pretty girl?"

"Say Mama -- MA . . . MA"

Honkers Hammered at Home . . .

. . . but nobody got too shook up about it, because it was baseball on a nice summer evening and that’s all that mattered.

I had my second outdoor baseball experience of the year last night, courtesy of Emily. She invited me to come down to Rochester and go to a Honkers game with her. While not Target Field, Mayo Field has it’s own charm.

Rochester Honkers cheerleader doing her honkin' best.

The Honkers play in the Northwoods League, which is a summer league for college players from across the U.S and Canada — kind of a pre-minor league. Players are not paid, thus preserving their NCAA eligibility. According to the Northwood League website, “each team is operated similar to a professional minor league team, providing players an opportunity to play under the same conditions using wooden bats, minor league specification baseballs, experiencing overnight road trips, and playing nightly before fans in a stadium.”

"Slider", the Honkers' mascot, is probably a good guy, but his big head does kind of block the view when he sits in front of you.

Some of the best entertainment at any ball game is provided by activities other than the game itself. “Slider” is a good-natured mascot (even though he is inexplicably not a goose). He made a point to slap a high-five with each of the 963 fans in attendance. He actually got us twice after we moved seats.

This is either a great photo op or a very odd family.

Like all good small town or minor league teams, the Honkers have lots of low-tech games and contests between innings to amuse us. There was a race between a kid and a ball-fetching dog, a “big shoe” race between two kids running from second base to home plate in opposite directions, a water balloon sling shot contest where if you hit the “Ci Ci’s Pizza” ad on the outfield fence you would get a prize from Perkins (?!?), and a dizzy run where everyone had to spin around and then run a race. But to me, the most funkily bizarre one was where they had a little kid try to kick a shoe so it would land (and stay) on a card table about ten feet away. He could kick the shoe as many times as he could in a minute that seemed like 10. The kid was exhausted and frustrated and I’m sure pretty pissed that he didn’t win anything.

No, these ladies aren't drunk and mooning the fans, they just finished spinning around with their foreheads on a baseball bat and now they're trying to run. The crowd loved this one.

The Honkers got trounced by the Thunder Bay Border Cats 11-3. Emily and I left in the 8th inning and walked to Rosco’s Drive-In for a root beer float. They were closed. Bad night?

Nah, it was a great night. Thanks, Emily. Can’t wait to do it again.

It’s nice having Emily back in Minnesota

On graduation day in 1999, Emily received a letter from the University of Virginia saying that she had been accepted from their wait list. It was one of those life-changing moments. UVA had been her top choice and we were all thrilled that she would be going to such a beautiful, prestigious college in a wonderful part of the country. I knew I’d miss having her around for the next four years, but any misgivings about that were entirely blown away by the fact that she was going to be able to have a life experience such as this.

Emily and Peet show me their secret cave in Whitewater State Park

She did come back to Minneapolis for a short time after college and had an apartment in northeast Minneapolis, but then went on to be a teacher in New York for the past five years. Now she’s back, living in Rochester — new husband, great dog, new house, new life. She’s happy — and I’m liking it a lot. Last Friday I drove down to help her do some work around the house. We didn’t get much accomplished, but it turned out to be a great trip. She decided that since they were planning to come up on Sunday anyway and Kyle had to work Saturday, she and Peet would ride back with me and spend the weekend.

Emily and Peet looking down at the swimming beach at Whitewater

We had a nice lunch together on a patio in downtown Rochester. Then we stopped at Whitewater State Park on the way to Minneapolis for a little hike. It was beautiful — the scenery, the conversation, the time together. I’ll never forget that day, because it was at that park that I really realized how nice it’s going to be to have these kinds of opportunities after 11 years. Kyle’s residency is four years and I know there’s a good chance they’ll move away again after that, but I’m going to cherish these times and never forget how lucky I am to have Emily, Kyle and Peet in my life for a while.

Peet and I went for a walk at Lake Harriet on Saturday. He seems to like Minnesota.