"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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Science Geek Alert

I just received the following e-mail and I was so excited about it, I had to share it with you all!

If you're not familiar with the Milky Way Project you should go check it out. It's a great science geek opportunity to be a part of mapping the known galaxy, AND you get to see photos from space that very few, if any, have ever seen. How cool is that?

Here's all the information you'll need....

Hello,

This autumn we have some fun new things coming up for the Milky Way Project. There's going to be a whole new way that you can help map the galaxy! But more on all that nearer the time. 

We still have data that needs your eyes over on http://www.milkywayproject.org - we want to go through as much of that as possible before we try and publish our next big catalogue of bubbles. We're looking for more measurements of all the beautiful infrared bubbles that you see, as well as any star clusters, galaxies or yellow balls that you spot along the way.

We're also looking for beta testers for two of our new citizen science projects. If you're interested in helping us test our new medical project, or our new weather-based project then please get in touch on team@zooniverse.org with the subject line MEDICAL BETA or WEATHER BETA.

Meanwhile visit http://www.milkywayproject.org and help us to measure and map the Milky Way!

Thanks,

Rob and the Milky Way Project Team

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Um...

Raelea: "I'm not old enough to have hot flashes, but I'm really hot over here!"

Reasonably Certain

I am almost 100% certain that I am the only person on the entire planet who needs to remove bagpipes AND a hammered dulcimer from her table every night before setting it for dinner.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Timing Is Everything

It's always good to pick the proper time for major events in your family, don't you think?  I mean, no one in their right mind would want to do something like start a major home addition a few days before the homeschool year starts.  That would be....well...positively insane.

Umm, well...No one has ever accused us of being in our right minds, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that we are starting a major addition to the home just a few days before the homeschool year starts.

First  comes the de-construction phase, and the first thing to go is the deck.  Unfortunately, it will also be the last thing to come back (not until next summer).


We will be adding about 800 sq. ft. to the house (400 up and 400 down), enlarging our living room, dining room and TV room, as well as adding another bedroom.  Our boys will finally have a REAL bedroom with a door and everything!  Ah, the luxuries of life that they have gone without all these years.  Our whole family will actually be able to fit in our living room.  What a concept!

Our dear friend, Steve from New Creations, is our general contractor.  We are looking forward to working with him over the next two months as he transforms our house.  I will keep you posted on the progress.  Actually, you will probably grow VERY tired of all the home updates...so much so that you will mutter to yourselves, "I never thought I'd say this, but I wish she'd go back to non-stop talking about Mumford & Sons!"

Let me know when you start muttering that.  I will gladly oblige!

New Songs!!!!

Yay!  It looks like the new Mumford & Sons CD is going to contain TRULY new songs!  Meaning, songs which we have not even heard...ever!  Many of the "so-called new" songs on the album I have had on my iPod for over a year, but apparently there are at least a couple that I have NEVER EVER heard.

Looking forward to Sept. 24th!



Sunday, August 26, 2012

So True

Last night at church Pastor John said something that just really struck me.  He was talking about relationships, and giving grace for other people's failings or perceived failings.  How we shouldn't be quick to judge people based on their actions because there is more going on in most situations than meets the eye.

He kept saying how life is not simple.

Situations aren't that simple.  People's actions and their motivations for their actions are rarely simple.  We do well to keep that in mind.  How easy it is to see what someone says or does and jump to a simple, but wrong, conclusion.

Oh, how I loved to hear this!!  Oh, how I needed to hear this in regards to how I view others, specifically my children.

Reasons, motivations, emotions, deep things of the heart - all complicated, all difficult to discern in ourselves, let alone in other people.

I hope that I can be a person who extends grace and believes the best about others, and I hope people who know me would treat me with grace and believe the best about me.

0-1

Aidan's team lost their first game today (6-13), but they played well. Hopefully, they will win the game on Wednesday. I didn't get to see the game, because of my race and other commitments, but I can look at pictures...and so can you!

Aidan going in for the tackle.

Almost blocked that pass.

Carried for several third down conversions :-)


I said this last year, and I will say it again, one of the things I appreciate about Aidan's coach is the discipline he requires from the boys.  He's a nice guy, but he expects them to give it their all, all the time.  He also requires them to play fair and well, and show respect for the opposing team.  One of the ways he does this is by requiring them to "take a knee" if a player on the other team is injured.  I don't know why, but I LOVE that he has them do this!

That Was Fun

It's been a LONG time since I ran a road race, something like 20+ years.  I forgot how much fun it is!  Had a blast running the Milk Run today.  Certainly didn't win, much to my children's dismay, but did enjoy myself thoroughly.

We were looking ready to go bright and early this morning.


And looking only slightly worse for the wear after 5K, but sporting those nice Milk Run shirts.


We had so much fun we're already planning our next 5K - Oct. 9 at Bethel College.  I think we'll just keep doing these every couple months just to stay motivated to keep working out.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Race Day



After a summer of training (okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but oh well), tomorrow is race day.  Deb and I will be off to gallop around the state fairgrounds in the early morning hours, all to earn a t-shirt and a free milk shake.  Oh, and the training was super helpful in securing me that coveted barrier spot last weekend at the concert!

If you're not doing anything at 7:45 tomorrow morning, come on down to the fairgrounds and cheer us on!

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's A Small World After All

Well, it's been quite a week.  One week ago today, I was in Dixon for the Gentlemen of the Road festival with 15,000 other people, and tonight I was at the Minnesota State Fair with countless thousands.

We were scoping out the venue for the concert when Dawes' tour bus pulled up.  I looked at the driver and he was wearing a Dixon Stopover shirt :-)  This made me happy!  We wandered around  a bit and then made our way back to the bandshell to try to secure some prime seats for the concert. 

Then the world shrunk significantly.  The girl (Katelyn) we sat next to in the second row at the Dawes concert had camped RIGHT next to our tent on the Page Park ball fields in Dixon, IL, just seven short days ago.  She was also just one row back and slightly over from us at the Mumford & Sons concert, too.  So, how cool is it that at the Dawes concert tonight we sat next to my tent neighbor in Dixon?!  No lie! It was so fun to talk about our shared experiences as we waited for the concert to begin tonight!

Aside from random fans who were both in Dixon and at the MN State Fair, the concerts themselves were somewhat different.  Very different seeing a band with a few hundred other people, as opposed to a few thousand.  This was also supposed to be a "stay in or by your seat" sort of event, which pretty much didn't happen as soon as they sang "When My Time Comes."  At that point people started rushing the stage (which had no barrier), and we joined them, landing a spot in the second row.

Dawes put on a spectacular show...just great music all around!  And hubby got to see how I do this concert-thing.



Ahh, it's been quite a week!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Every Year

It comes around every year on the heels of summer...football season.  Now that my concert going is almost over, football will give me another reason to shout and scream :-)

Tonight was just a scrimmage, but Aidan's team looked like they were coming together nicely. 

 That's my boy, #45 in the black.


Zoe entertained herself making hearts on the track.  She found that infinitely more interesting than watching her big brother.

That's my boy with the ball!  True story: he had to starve himself for two days to drop enough weight to be able to carry the ball this season (there is a max weight for ball handlers at his age level)


And the aftermath of this little scrimmage!  The other arm looks equally as bad...and to think he likes doing this?!
Aidan has the same coach this year as he did last year, and many of the team members are the same, as well.  Maybe we will see a repeat of their successful season, too!  We can hope.

Go, Lightning!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Splendid!

The one disappointment from my weekend in Dixon was that I didn't get to hear the band Dawes play. For some inexplicable reason, they were playing on the second stage, and I wasn't about to give up my spot at the barrier on the Main Stage, no matter how much I like Dawes.  We did get to see them play a song or two with Mumford & Sons, but it wasn't the same as hearing them play their own stuff.

In my disappointment, I decided to go to their Facebook page and see if they were coming to Minnesota anytime soon.

What did I find?

*****This is the point in the post where you insert my squeal of delight*****

Lo and behold, Dawes is playing at the state fair, as in the MINNESOTA State Fair tomorrow and Friday night!

I am chuffed (as my friend Ruth would say)!  I missed them in Dixon, but I get to see them less than a week later AND it's at a MUCH smaller venue AND (this is the best of all) I get to go with my sweet hubby!

Splendid, just splendid!

I Know The Feeling

Zoe: "Mom, I'm trying to eat healthy....it's not going to work!"

On My Mind

This is what's going through my mind this morning. LOVE this song!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rewind

If I could rewind my Saturday and relive just one song from the whole concert, this would be it.  The video is not great, but it's the best I can find so far.

Back To Reality

Having been gone all weekend, singing, dancing and generally having a great time was wonderful, but the descent back to reality has been...harsh!  It is always this way when I leave.  The burdens of mothering eight kids and the responsibility of maintaining the household are lifted for a short time and my mind and my body bask in the freedom.  When I arrive home I am immediately confronted with siblings squabbling, laundry that needs to be folded, meals that need to be made, concerns over the many issues in our family, etc.

I was reflecting yesterday on how, despite the sleep deprivation, lack of regular meals and a roof over our heads, I felt so good the whole weekend.  Honestly, I felt about ten years younger, and judging by the pictures of me, I looked younger as well.  When I got back home I felt the weight of responsibility land with full force upon my mind and body again - like a hundred pound weight.

That got me to thinking, "This is not good!"  Although some of my burdens are unavoidable: the kids must get fed and trained, the laundry needs to be done, etc.; some of my burdens I need to let go of, like worries and concerns over the future, worries about what other people might think, etc. So many things are out of my control, yet I carry those worries around with me, as though I could change the outcome.

All this reflecting landed me squarely on Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus says to ME -
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
An easy yoke, a light burden and rest for my soul.  I'm in!

It's Calling Me


This came in the mail yesterday....



Apparently the state of Virginia is calling to us since I never requested any tourist information.  And since Virginia is for Lovers, Chris and I thought we should go there :-)

Okay, maybe not, but it just makes me smile to receive mail that says LOVE across the top.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Good Plan

Raelea: "Mom, I know college is a long way off, but I think I should start saving now because I want to be a lifeguard or a doctor or a scientist.  I'm not sure.  I haven't decided what my career will be."

Then she moved on to a discussion on how radio waves travel through air and to the antenna of your car.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What Really Happened

After posting two brief summaries of our time in Dixon, this post is for those of you that really want the lowdown on the weekend :-)

It was amazing in so many ways, I know that I will not be able to fully recount them all.  Dixon is a beautiful town with so many friendly people.  They made us feel very welcome, to say the least.



Molly and I spent Friday afternoon getting the "lay of the land."  This included some less-than-kosher (although still legal) methods of trying to scope out the festival grounds, which were off-limits to the public.
Here we see Molly traipsing through the woods on the hillside above the festival grounds.

We went to dinner with a new friend on Friday night and then "hung out" around the downtown area and made MANY more new friends.  Met some great people from Chicago, Rockford, and Minnesota. Discovered that our new Minnesota friends know some of our friends back home.  How weird is that?  (actually that happened a couple different times over the weekend!)

Here's one of our new friends!


Got high-fived by Big Mike from Apache Relay and Ross & Ben from Mumford & Sons.

The hand that Ben touched.

Got back to the Campground formerly known as Page Park Ballfields and tried to sleep.  Lots of people enjoying their night made sleep a little difficult.  Fell asleep around 1:00, woke up at 4:15 when the stage crew camping behind us got up and ready for work.

Got in line around 6:00 AM.  I should say, we began the line around 6:00 AM.  Our new friend Denise, Molly and I were the first ones there, soon to be joined by new friends from Michigan, Missouri and Ontario.  

We were chilly in the morning, but then the sun started beating down on us.  By mid-morning we forgot all about being chilly!

Waited in line for seven hours.  Oh, and you know how I said I wasn't going to make the news while I was there...well, I didn't make the news, but we did get interviewed for a local newspaper :-)

Molly and I at the starting line (I mean queue), ready to make a made dash (I mean controlled walk) to the barrier.

Made a very controlled but speedy jog, for the stage at 1:00 PM and landed, once again, the VERY BEST SPOT!  Dead center at the barrier!

Then spent the next 3 1/2 hours standing there waiting for the music to start - and making more new friends.

Apache Relay came on first (on our stage) and did a great show.  They were followed by Nathaniel Rateliff - always quality music!  He was followed by Gogol Bordello. I'm not going to write too much about that because it is the ONE unpleasant event of the whole weekend.  I will just say that I feared for our safety at times (literally) and Molly and my temporary daughter Erin were quite scared.  The momma bear in me came out and over my dead body was anyone going to hurt my girls!  Okay, enough on that.   I will now erase that from my memory card.

Then, what we had been waiting for ALL day, Mumford & Sons came on and did an amazing show as always  I don't have too many pictures from the show for two reasons.  One, it is really difficult to take good pictures at a concert  and two, because I wanted to experience the show not photograph it.  It is lodged forever in my memory, I'm just sorry you couldn't have been there.


Mumford & Sons finished up around 10:45 and we headed over to the historic Dixon Theatre for a concert by Jerry Douglas.  

It felt good to be inside, sitting down, and able to use the bathroom whenever we wanted to!  Uncle Jerry is an AMAZING musician and played beautifully, but we were TIRED, so we listened and dozed intermittently...until  Mumford & Sons (sans Ted) joined Jerry onstage (at about 1:45) for three songs.  As you might expect, and as you have seen it was wonderful.  Much more intimate than the big festival.

Hiked back to the campground after that and finally put my head on the pillow at 2:40 AM.  Up at 7:00 and back home we came.  And now it is all just a BIG, HAPPY memory!


In A Word (or two or three)

Now for a recap of the weekend in a single word (or a couple words) -

Amazing.
Memorable.
Tiring.
Hot.
Long.
Lots of walking.
Beautiful.
Stalking.
Frightening.
Crazy.
Too fast.
Too little sleep.
Too little food.
Too little water.
New friends.
Crazy connections.
Amazing security people.
Kind townspeople.



By The Numbers

Quick numerical summary of my weekend  -

Time away from home: 58 hours
Time driving: 13 1/2 hours
Time sleeping: 7 1/2 hours
Time standing in line: 7 hours
Time standing in front of a stage with NO music playing: 3 1/2 hours
Time listening to amazing music: 8 hours

Meals eaten: 2
New friends made: Too many to count
Steps taken: Around 40,000
Memories made: More than I can count
Times we asked, "Do you know....": Many, many
Times we heard, "We don't know yet.....": See above



What Were YOU Doing?

So, out of curiosity, what were you doing at 2:00 AM this morning?

This is what I was doing...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dixon Bound

And we're off, on what is sure to be a weekend of fun, festivities and many good memories!

If the promised wi-fi is up and working,I will keep you updated.  If not, you'll have to just imagine the fun I'm having!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Only The Necessities


When camping, it's important to only bring the necessities!



Well, how else do you expect me to keep you all informed of the comings and the goings in the town??

One can never bring too many cameras either, don't you think?

Hmm, I guess I'll need a tent and sleeping bag as well....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Lazy, Rainy Morning


I love mornings like this!  I only wish it wasn't laundry day.

Surprise!

I went to make my bed this morning, and this is what I found.

Wasn't it nice of Mumford to leave Chris a little present under his pillow?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Times Have Changed

I was talking to Emily tonight about buying film for someone's camera, to which she replied, "What's film?"

Wow!!  I mean, I know they don't know what an 8-track is and LP's, well they're coming back now, but I understand if they have never seen one of those, but film...really?

Ahh, youth these days!

Progress

In the world of bonding with an adopted child, progress frequently comes slowly and in unexpected ways.

This morning, progress looked like an eight year old asking, "Mom, can you hold me like a baby?"

So there, right in the middle of making breakfast, I picked up my big boy and rocked him and sang him the same songs I sang his siblings when they were babies.

This is progress!  That he would let me hold him and treat him like a baby is a good sign.  It's a sign that he wants to have a mommy to take care of him.  He wants to trust me to meet his needs instead of feeling like he must always be looking out for himself.

When his sisters wanted me to pick them up and rock them and sing to them he said, "She did this for you when you were little!  I didn't get to have that."  And it's true.  All of my other kids were rocked and held and sung to, and they learned to trust mommy's love for them.  Slowly, much slower than we had anticipated, Marcus is learning to do the same.  This makes my heart very happy!

He Knows A Thing Or Two

Me: "Mumfie is getting in trouble.  She's bored."

Marcus:  "That's true.  That's what happens when you're bored!"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Like A Speeding Freight Train

Friday is coming!!  So, instead of preparing for the coming school year, I am listening to this....



Don't worry people, the concert will be over in just a few more days, and you will not have to deal with my mild obsession anymore!

I'm In Denial

Don't even try to tell me that it's August 13

***lalalalalalalalalalala  I can't hear you lalalalalalalalalal***

How can August be almost half over already?  How, I say?  We are starting school on September 4, which leaves me exactly 21 days to prepare. Umm, except that I have things planned for those 21 days...well, not ALL of them, but some of them....so, that leaves me something-less-than-21 days to prepare for school!

As you can see...



the school room is in a state of disarray!  My desk has not been touched since June 3 - except to pile more stuff on it.

Well, it's not all lost.  The bookshelves still look reasonably neat...crowded, but neat.

OH, and let's not forget that we are starting a major addition on the house sometime between now and when school starts.  Nothing like adding a little chaos to....chaos.
 

*****lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala*****

Sunday, August 12, 2012

So They Say

You've heard it said that "man cannot live by bread alone."

What I'm wondering is can woman live by hummus, carrots, almonds, Oreos, and Coke alone?  At least for two days?

The camping rules in Dixon are "no fires or stoves."  This leaves cooking anything out of the question. I'm already spending a chunk of change on this little trip, so I don't want to spend even more on food.  Not to mention, no food or beverage is allowed to be brought into the festival grounds on Saturday.  Perhaps a day long fast of just water is in order?  The water's free :-)  Well, it's free inside the festival.  No drinking water will be available in the camping area.  (we're camping on a baseball field, btw)

No cars next to your tent either, which means I will be lugging a cooler across a baseball field as well.  This will definitely limit the size of the cooler I bring!

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit!  I am going out for Thai food on Friday night, as I hear there is an excellent Thai restaurant in Dixon, IL.  Maybe if I eat a lot on Friday night I won't be hungry at all on Saturday?!

And now...FIVE MORE DAYS!!

The following video will give you a preview of what is sure to be one of the finest moments of the whole festival!!  I CAN'T WAIT!

 

It Makes Me Smile

I've made an interesting observation while browsing my Facebook wall the past couple days.  Ever since Romney picked his running mate, people have been expressing their opinion of his choice.  The thing that has made me smile is my news feed on Facebook.  I was noticing today that I have friends (and family) on both sides of the political spectrum.  This makes me happy.  If there's one thing I don't ever want to do, it is surrounding myself only with like-minded people.  In my opinion, differences of opinion bring intellectual growth.  The thoughtful and respectful exchange of opinions is a great way to educate yourself and solidify your own beliefs.


As I've said before, I rarely, if ever, use my blog for political purposes.  That has not changed, nor will it ever.  There are plenty of blogs out there to satisfy those that are looking for such a thing.  My political opinions do not define who I am, nor do your leanings define my opinion of you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Movie NIght

The fun continues during Chris' week off work!

Last night we hosted a movie night in our backyard, and invited neighbors and friends. After borrowing a projector from some friends (Thanks, Greg & Kelly) and renting a screen (really cheap), we set up lawn chairs and watched The Lorax and (later) Prince of Persia! Thankfully the rain that plagued us all day only dropped a few sprinkles last night. It was a blast! I hope we can do it again sometime soon.

The early showing pleased the younger crowd.

You can't go to the movies without Dots, Junior mints...

and, of course, popcorn!
It was kind of like going to the drive-in without having to drive!

7!

Sorry, I missed EIGHT.  I know some of you are horribly disappointed about that!  Life happens.  Anyway, on to countdown day seven.  One week from today, Molly and I will be getting in our car, driving 6 1/2 hours, and arriving here....

Special thanks to Samantha for traveling to Dixon today to scope out the place and then sharing it with us all!  You see, I'm not the only one who is over-the-top-excited about this concert/event!  The entire town is gearing up for what is sure to be an amazing weekend!

Should Have Slept In

Raelea, upon hearing that she could NOT eat her Dots Candy for breakfast:  "You mean I got up at 7:15 for nothing?!"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Is Getting Serious

My love for the mailman, that is!  He keeps bringing me wonderful things!

Yesterday if was this...

My new favorite dress from Title Nine, that I got on sale :-)  I love, love, love it!!!!!

And then today, the darling mailman brought me these!!!!
Oh my, this IS getting serious!

I Thought She'd Never Ask

What every science-geek mom wants to hear from her seven year old -

Raelea: "Mom, will teach me chemistry sometime?"

I love that girl!  Yesterday she learned all there is to know about prisms, and now her brain has apparently moved on to chemistry.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Verdict Is In

Having hereby completed my viewing of the A&E version of Pride & Prejudice, I do declare that said version is far superior in every way to the newer, shorter movie of the same name  Procurement of said superior version will be pursued forthwith.

A Whole Week!

I get to spend a whole week with my hubby, and I couldn't be happier.  Not that we're going anywhere or anything.  It's just that he has the whole week off because, as you remember, we were supposed to be in the Black Hills.  Instead he is doing things like taking me out to The Buzz for breakfast and letting me sleep in :-), as well as taking us to the Waterpark of America and the Dakota County Fair.

I could get really used to having him around!  I love my husband!

***he's feeling a little neglected because of all these Mumford related posts, I just want to publicly declare: Chris is WAY better than Mumford & Sons in all the ways that matter - he just can't sing quite as well <3 babe="babe" nbsp="nbsp" ove="ove" p="p" ya="ya">

Nine!

Don't worry, if you're already tiring of these countdown posts, there are only eight more!  This video was shot over two years ago.  They all look so YOUNG!




And a special shout out to my friend Donna who is on her way to Bristol for the Stopover show there!  Have a great time Donna, June, Janice & Virginia!!  Tell them we'll see them in next week!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

10!

What perfect timing!  As we begin the countdown to the Mother-Daughter Road Trip, Mumford & Sons have released the first single from their new album!  So, without further ado, I present to you "I Will Wait"



It's the official audio, no video footage of the boys with this one.  You may recognize the song from seeing it on the blog before as "Nothing Is Written or simply "Untitled", well they've revamped it and renamed it and released it today as the first new single since Sigh No More.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Let The Countdown Begin!

Amassing an impressive display of self-control, I have refrained from starting my countdown to Dixon posts.......until now!

Sorry folks, I can't take it anymore!  Let the countdown begin!

Last time, it was the Middle-aged Moms' Road Trip, this year it's the Mother-Daughter Road Trip.  In exactly eleven days, Molly and I will embark on our little drive to Dixon, IL for a weekend of adventure, new friends, and amazing music.

Molly has made our official countdown calendar, so we are ready to go!  Stay tuned for the video of the day!

Anyone Want To Come With Us?

I happen to know someone who is selling a ticket to the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Dixon (at purchase price).  If you are interested in getting a ticket to this sold out show, contact me.  You won't regret it, trust me!  It is going to be AMAZING beyond belief!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Almost Forgot!

How did that happen?  I almost forgot that NASA is landing a rover on Mars TONIGHT!  NASA is landing the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars at 1:31 AM EDT in what they describe as "Seven minutes of terror."

They are trying a totally new approach to landing the rover which involves a giant parachute and going from 13,000 mph to a stop in seven minutes.  This will be interesting!

The rover is tweeting as MarsCuriosity, so you can follow the excitement on Twitter.

Second Choice

We were supposed to start our week-long vacation to the Black Hills this past week, but then children got jobs and football try-outs got scheduled...and our week-long vacation went down the tubes :-(

But, alas, there were other options!  So instead of a week-long camping trip, we opted for a weekend trip to a Minnesota State Park with the subset of the children who were available.  Aside from a scary storm on Friday night, we had a great time exploring Nerstrand Big Woods and we have the pictures to prove it.

Marcus trying to start a fire without matches.  Didn't go to well :-)

Going camping in our family ALWAYS involves taking a hike!  Thankfully there were NO mosquitoes, as in NONE!  Beautiful place to hike, btw.

Hiking also requires the mandatory picture of the kids.

While I was snug in my sleeping bag last night, Chris & Aidan took a dark and scary hike to the waterfall to take cool nighttime pictures of the falls.  

Swinging was on the agenda today.


As was a long jump competition.


And another visit to the falls during daylight hours.

We came home tired and smelly, but we had a great time.  After being away from home three weekends in a row, I am prepared to stay home next weekend......and then it's off to Dixon :-)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!


Looky, looky at what the mailman brought me today....



ARGHHHH!!!  We leave two weeks from TODAY!  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!  It's almost countdown time.  Brace yourselves!