"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How Did I Survive?

I've been going through a lot of old pictures the past few weeks, getting ready to put together a slide show for Nina & Molly's graduation next summer.  I know it's still a ways off, but come January (when the grand baby is due), I will pretty much be useless for anything but holding the baby!

Since both girls pre-date digital photography, I have to scan in pictures of them prior to about 2004.  Looking at all these old pictures, I am really not quite sure how I survived all the cuteness that was going on around here.

I have proof....

Yes, it is no small miracle that my brain didn't just explode from cuteness overload!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We Thrived

Not only did we survive our little wilderness adventure, we thrived in the wild.  It was yet another amazing time paddling, portaging, swimming, singing, eating, relaxing, and rock jumping.

Never has the Quetico heard so many Disney tunes, sung with so many different lyrics, at so many hours of the day!  We woke up to very loud loons most mornings, and went to bed to somewhat quieter loons each night. We watched a pair of bald eagles whose nest was just across a little bay from us. We ate lots of very tasty wild blueberries.  We paddled through rivers of lily pads.

We got many scrapes, cuts and bruises. We drank a lot of lake water. We laughed.  We slept.  We thrived!

My sister Deb and I talked a lot about how thankful we were that our mom began this tradition of going to the Boundary Waters/Quetico.  She had to be almost 50 when she started going in, and she proceeded to make trips for 20+ years.  I believe she was 71 when she made her last trip in.  Molly, Nina and I were privileged to take two trips in with her.  She taught us so much about how to thrive in the wilderness - how to eat well and pack light.  Because of my mom's adventurous spirit, Molly has now been into the Boundary Waters/Quetico FIVE times.  She was only nine when she went for the first time, and even then she was portaging Duluth packs. Now she can portage a canoe like a pro.

I am hoping this is a tradition that will continue for many, many years!

Three tents, three hammocks
Lots of trees and rocks

And you should see their muscles now after the trip!

Free water massage

Looking down on our campsite - we're at the cleared spot across the bay

A little rock jumping after lunch

Our view every night

The happy campers waiting for our tow

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

And Away We Go

We head out early tomorrow morning for our little adventure in the Boundary Waters. 

Very much looking forward to getting away from the civilized world and resting my heart and mind.

We'll be out of touch until Monday evening.

So long.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bears, Backs, and Bad Weather

These are a few of my least favorite things...

Well, not always.

Just when I'm going into the Boundary Waters.

We leave for the Quetico a week from today.  I can't wait to get away from civilization and relax, but one of the problems with getting away from civilization is that you are away from civilization.

That brings us to the above list. 

Bears.  I am afraid of bears.  Not so afraid that I won't go camp in their habitat, but afraid enough that I will volunteer to sleep in the middle of the tent, as I'm sure the bears will go for my friends on the outside walls....sorry, ladies, self-preservation is a strong feeling in me!  And while Molly and my sister may be sleeping out in the hammocks at night, there is NO WAY you'd catch me out there!

Backs. I am actually in favor of backs.  They are very helpful when portaging packs and canoes....provided that they are working properly....which mine is not currently. I have seven days to get my back in a condition where it can support me and a 48 pound canoe...at the same time...in an upright position...over a rocky, hilly portage...Currently, I celebrated because I could hoist my left leg into the car without using my hands to lift it up when I went to the store this morning.  Yay for progress!  It's going to have to come in miracle proportions in the next seven days!  I don't think the six other people are going to want to portage me!

Last, but not least, bad weather.  I am a big fan of bad weather when I'm safely at home.  I love watching the trees bend, the lightning...I love it.  Not such a big fan of it when: a) you have no way to get advanced warning (i.e., no radio or sirens), b) you have no place to hide from it and c) you are surrounded by lots and lots of trees just waiting to topple onto your tent.  If you think I exaggerate, you can read about the Boundary Waters Blowdown that occurred in 1999.  While that happened 15 years ago, just last week a storm trapped several campers underneath trees, and they needed to be rescued...which up there is challenging, as you need to either be portaged out or get to a lake big enough to land a float plane on.  Let's just say, "help is on the way" means "help is paddling in to find you after you send someone out to let them know you are in trouble."

Like I said, I can't wait for our trip!!!!!  Really, I can't! But you can bet I'm praying that my back heals and that the weather is peaceful while we're there.  I don't pray about the bears....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What The.....?

We just got back from our most lovely vacation to Michigan.  The weather was great, and aside from the biting flies and one particularly mosquito infested hike, it was a grand experience.  We started out in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula, and then trekked down to a state park near Mackinaw City.

The aforementioned state park, Wilderness by name, was a very unique experience.  First off, it is on the shore of Lake Michigan, which is very sandy and Caribbean-blue.  I actually named the area the Caribbean of the Midwest.

Now I've been camping for 46 of my 48 years of life.  I've been to many, many different types of campgrounds - state parks, national parks, private campgrounds, KOAs, Jellystone...you name it, I've camped in something like it.

The campsites on the lake-side of this park were very crowded which, in and of itself, is not that unusual.  The weirdness about this particular park was that almost everyone else seemed to know each other.  I felt like we were walking into some great big family reunion!  Literally, there were campsites with ten tables set up all together.  People would be walking down the street to a neighboring campsite with their beer in one hand and dinner in the other, and they would all hang out together.  It was a little bizarre.

That wasn't the weirdest part though.  Next on the weird list were the refrigerators!  Yes, refrigerators. Not like you have a fridge in your RV. NO!  As in you are camping in a tent and you bring along two large dorm-sized refrigerators. And it wasn't just one group that did that.  Probably half of the campsites had fridges!  "Okay honey, let's pack up the sleeping bags, tent and fridge!"  Who does that??

Anyway, that was weird, but the weirdest part, by far, were the large rugs people had outside their tents or campers.  We're talking 14' x 20' rugs...Persian rugs....living room sized rugs!  I have NEVER seen people have full sized 20' x 20' rugs in a campground.....until now!  Now, as I said, it was a sandy place, so I can certainly see a nice door mat outside your camper/tent to keep the sand out, but this....I just don't get it!?

Anyway, enough about weirdness.  Here are a few of the 300+ pictures from the week...

 We spent a lot of time doing this...

And looking at things like this...

Saw a few of these as well...

And a lot of these...

We did a little of this in Lake Superior, and a lot more of it in Lake Michigan...

We spent a few hours doing this around Mackinac Island....

 And then we saw lots of these...

We spent a lot of time doing this, which looks incredibly like hiking, but is really "Going exploring" (a much more palatable term to certain children)

 And we spent a LOT of time looking at this...

The only thing that could have made it better is if Evan, Erin, Nina & Molly were along with us. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

And Everyone's Off..

Said good-bye to these lovelies yesterday, and they have safely made it Northern Ireland (at least that's what flight tracker told me at 2:30 am).
Now, it's time for the rest of us to depart.  We're off to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a week of camping and fun!

I am sure I will have plenty of photos and stories to share once we arrive back home!  Have a great week, folks!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Quiet Over Here

As you may have noticed, the number of blog posts has greatly diminished as of late.  I'm sorry about that.  Time does not always allow for putting out a blog post.  For those of you that are Facebook friends, you know that I am frequently posting over there.  If we're not friends on Facebook, feel free to send me a friend request.  You can also keep up with me on Instagram (@barbiscrazy).

Don't worry, I will still be out here blogging as time and subject matter allows.  I love my blog buddies!!!!