"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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Snickers!

Snickers, the world's best dog, turns nine today!  She is such a sweet part of our family (except when she's digging in the garbage or pulling friendship bread starter off the counter-top).  

And here is the birthday dog with her new friend, Isabella :-)

Happy birthday, Snickers!  We love you tons and stay off the bed!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

They're Coming!!!

Hordes of middle school students are coming in just a few hours.....hide while there's still time.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back To Normal

Yesterday was the first day, since I got home from the Boundary Waters, that I felt like I was back on schedule here at home. It took a whole week to recover from being gone five days! I'm a little concerned about how long it will take me to get back to normal after going to Scotland for eight days. Not only will I be gone longer, but I will have jet lag to deal with! Yikes!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Raelea Quote of the Day

Before even getting out of bed, Raelea uttered these words: "Can we go somewhere where you get wrist bands, or at least name tags?"

Hmm, I don't think going to the park is going to satisfy her today.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

BWCA 2

Because I, personally, never tire of talking about the Boundary Waters or looking at pictures from there AND because I promised you all a second post about our trip, here it is :-)

This post will be all about WHAT we did while we were there...in no particular order...

We do some of this

And we picked and ate some of these...
We found time to do this...

At night we would play a rousing game of Sticks (think spoons in the wilderness where spoons are in short supply, but sticks are plentiful).  It should be noted that sticks, unlike spoons, sometimes turns into a wrestling match over the last stick.
After every meal, Kara did this...
We did a lot of this, although usually everyone was facing the correct way.
We did some of this...
And lots of this...
We had the perfect rock to do this on...
And then there was more of this...
We liked to do this, especially when it meant passing around the candy bag :-)

That's what we DID.  Here are a few things we did NOT do:
Shower
Use a bathroom that had walls
Look in a mirror
Answer a phone
check out Facebook
Change clothes (underwear excepted)
Go to the gym to workout
Drink cold anything
Complain (not allowed!)
Use a phone (cell or otherwise)

Friday, July 23, 2010

iThingy


Lovin' our new iThingy :-)

Although you can't tell it from the picture, they are all sitting around doing flash cards on the iThingy :-)

Blueberries Fear Us

Despite the somewhat rainy conditions yesterday, we put a dent in the blueberry population at Rush River Produce.  Once again, I can't say enough about this place.  It is WELL worth the hour plus drive from the cities, as these are the best blueberries I've ever tasted.  If you're going to pick this year though you'll need to go soon.  The owners told us they are 80% picked already.

Everyone got involved in the picking...

And here are the victims, all ten pounds of them...(most of which are already stored away in my freezer)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

While The Cat's Away...

While the wife's away, the husband _____________________.(fill in the blank)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back To Civilization

Well, we have made it safely home to the civilized world.  For my first post trip post (I'm sure there will be more), I thought I would take you on a little tour of our accommodations during our stay in the wilderness.

Here we go...

Here is our "front door" -



We had a multi-vehicle "garage" -

Every home needs a kitchen.  Ours was quite large and complete with a lovely dining room as well -


Our living room was spacious -

With a great view -

The home even had a storage room -

And a laundry room -

It was a two bedroom abode.  Here is my bedroom that I shared with two other lovely ladies -


And here are the lovely young ladies that shared our vacation with us.  Although they look, and indeed are, sweet as can be...

they really aren't to be trifled with.


There you have it.  A tour of one of the grandest dwellings on earth.  Hard to leave it and come back to four walls, but it is oh, so nice, to see the rest of my family again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Back and Then I'm Gone Again

Now that I have gotten back on-line after my unwanted sabbatical, I am taking leave of you all for another five days.  I am saying adieu to civilization, taking my two oldest girls, and heading to the remote ends of the earth (or at least the remote ends of MN).  We leave for the Boundary Waters early tomorrow morning and won't be home until Monday evening.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  If you think of us, pray for good weather and NO BEARS.  I really am afraid of bears.  It doesn't stop me from going, but it is something that makes me lay awake at night (for all of two minutes until the utter exhaustion takes over and I fall asleep).  Oh, and pray for no rain, too.  Rain is a real drag!

Oh, gotta go look from my waterproof cards....

I Was Lost

Without my internet AND without my telephone!  It appears that a very short power outage on Monday night fried our modem/router thing-a-ma-bobby on our computer and, lo and behold, we could not get on the internet OR use our telephone.  Bummer!

Now, the power outage and the subsequent damage was not Charter Communications fault, BUT the fact that they said they would come out and fix it yesterday, but then didn't show WAS their fault.  Grrr.  Actually, when Chris called them they said they would come out and fix it on Monday (as in a week from when it went out)!???  Oh, sure, we can do without a working telephone for a week...hello, people!  Anyway, he convinced them that they really could come out earlier and they said they would be out yesterday.  So, I hung around the house (for the most part) and when 4:45 rolled around I get an automated message from them.  The only part of the message that was understandable was "Charter Communication" and "Wednesday."  They have some serious problems with their automated message system.

Anyway, the second time is apparently a charm, and a technician showed up today at the scheduled time and fixed all of our electrical woes.  :-D

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Clubs, Band Party and Boundary Waters Packing

That pretty much sums up my weekend.

Nina and Molly had their first book club meeting on Saturday morning.  Hopefully, this will encourage the literary bent in them.  They didn't actually discuss a book this time though, so it was more like "Nina & Molly have four friends over."  I'm sure next month will be more book related :-)

Last night, we had the bagpipe band over for a little get-together after the Lakeville parade.  It was a grand time with good friends and good food.  The mosquitoes were especially happy with their food, as well.  

Today, it was time to pack our Duluth packs for our trip to the Boundary Waters.  Nina, Molly and I leave bright and early on Thursday morning for our little adventure into northern Minnesota.  It should be a great time and yet another opportunity to feed the mosquitoes.

Hope you had a great weekend as well :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's Bea-u-ti-ful!

This falls into the "Why Didn't I Do This Years Ago" category.  After lunch (and before room time) today, I ripped up the carpet in our hallway to reveal the original wood flooring.  Wow!  It looks GREAT!

Now, I ask, why, oh why, did I not do this a couple years ago, but instead lived with that nasty formerly-light-tan carpeting?  Well, truthfully, the answer is that, although we knew there were wood floors under the carpeting; we had no idea what type of condition the floor was in.

Much to my delight and surprise, not only was the wood in GREAT condition, it appears that it had been recently polyurethaned prior to having carpet laid over it.  The result, well, you'll see the result in a minute.

This project took all of 2 1/2 hours and was virtually free (well, except that I paid the kids to remove the staples out of the floor - cheap labor, you gotta love it).  All it cost me was a couple dollars and four band-aids (three for me and one for Nina).  Now, we will need to buy a couple transitional thresholds and probably some new polyurethane so that it matches the adjoining dining room, and that's about it!

Okay, now for some pictures...

Unfortunately I didn't take any before pictures,so you'll have to settle for the "somewhere at the beginning of the project" picture.
After my third injury, Evan stepped in to help me get the tack boards off from the perimeter.

Nina, Marcus & Emily got up ALL of the staples, and made a little money in the process.

And, taa daa, the finished product...
Now, I'm thinking we need new doors on the office...

it never ends....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

John Huss Day

Now, if you're like me, you have not the slightest idea who John Huss is.  Well, actually, I DO know a John Huss and he is married to my friend Stephanie, but that's not the John Huss we're talking about here.

Anyway, my aforementioned friend Stephanie brought us some John Huss Day cookies today.  Now if you want a good laugh, click on the John Huss link and find out who he is and THEN take a look at the cookies....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rocks and Red, White & Blue

Happy (belated) 4th of July!  I hope you and yours enjoyed celebrating our country's freedom.

We spent the weekend at the cabin, which, in my opinion, is the perfect place to be on a hot July weekend :-)  But, all play and no work, well, that just doesn't happen at the cabin, so we started off our weekend with repairing the riprap.  It hasn't been done in 20+ years, so it was about time.  As you will soon see, it looks SO much better now :-)

Here's a little photo walkthrough of the process..

Here's what it used to look like (although this isn't the section that we were working on this weekend).

..
First, you have to remove many tons of rocks...

Then you remove the old plastic and smooth out the area.  After 20 years of ice, etc. pushing against the rocks it was badly misshapen.

Once it meets Dad's approval, the new plastic is laid down and the many tons of rocks are replaced :-)
Doesn't it look lovely?  Now, hopefully we won't have to do that again for another 20 years.
Once the rocks were done, I decided to do my nails for the 4th, although upon completion I think it looked more like I was advertising for Pepsi.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I Love the Boundary Waters

In just two short weeks, my girls and I and four other women/girls will be embarking on our trip into the Boundary Waters.  For you non-Minnesotan types who don't know what that means, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is exactly what the name says.  It's an area of Minnesota on the Canadian border that is set aside as a wilderness area.  To get into the BWCA you must boat, specifically canoe or kayak as only a few of the large lakes at the edge of the BWCA allow motor boats.  So, you canoe in, portage between lakes and camp (as in, tent camp with no running water, electricity, or bathroom) and relax and enjoy God's beautiful amazing creation.  I love it!  There is nothing pulling at your time and attention, just life.  Eating, sleeping, working, praying, etc.  It's wonderful.

I was reading my Crunchy Cons book yesterday and I came across this quote that pretty much sums it up.  Rod Dreher interviewed a man named Eric Brende for the book.  Eric had voluntarily moved his family into a sort of Amish community to get away from the "modern" life.  What he had to say about that time really  resonated with how I feel about my trip into the BWCA.

"This is living, breathing three dimensional reality all the time.  You don't get to turn on TV and watch any kind of pseudoreality.  You don't talk on the telephone.  Everything is face-to-face.   The things that you get you get only because you've used your body, and performed some physical exertion.  It was like shifting from two dimensions to three."
"Out there, it was completely different from what I call voluntary quadriplegia of sitting all day in front of a computer terminal," he said.  "You're using your body the whole time, interacting with your neighbors, enjoying the beauty of nature in all its seasonal variations.  You're using your mind in various capacities.  There are various skills involved.  In fact, the hardest thing about it was the mental challenge, picking up new forms of knowledge and skills that we completely lack coming from the city."
Even Mr. Dreher, who lived in the country for a few months came away with this to say.

There was no buzzing in my head anymore.  I found I could write long letters, and sit for lengthy stretches reading novels.  Prayer became easier.  I started living by the rhythm of the day, awakening at daylight, and going to sleep not long after the sun went down.. I began to feel, well, normal.   I discovered how to be alone with my thoughts, and in turn how to think in a sustained way.
Those two quote pretty much sum up why I love going into the BWCA.  In everyday life here at home, I barely have time to put two thoughts together, let alone ponder deeper truths.  What's for dinner and who needs to go where pretty much occupy all my gray matter.  Honest truth!

I also so enjoy the pushing my body to the limit.  God gave us these absolutely amazing bodies that we hardly even use.  I had no idea what I was capable of until I got on a lake with waves breaking over the side of the canoe.  If you stopped paddling, even for a couple seconds, you would start going backward.  The pain that my muscles felt made me want to cry, but the necessity to keep going if we were to make camp kept me paddling anyway.  I LOVED IT!  Why?  Because we did make it to our camp.  My girls were sitting in the bottom of the canoes praying the whole time.  How cool is that?  When you're up against the forces of nature (which are WAY stronger than I am), prayer becomes a necessity, not a luxury.

Anyway, I know this type of adventure isn't for everyone, but I think too many people are afraid to even try it.  They see only the work and hardship involved (and there is a lot of work and some hardship) and give no thought to the benefits and blessings from such a trip.  Oh, and just wait until you see the pictures from our trip.  You'll all want to sign up for next years excursion :-)