Deep Woods and Grand Adventures!

It was just what we needed.

A few days with the kids on the North Shore in Minnesota.

Epic adventures through the deep woods.

On and off the trail.

Smelling the pine woods.

Climbing rocks.

Bonfires every night.

S’mores.

Picnics.

Waterfalls.

Swinging bridges.

Rock cliffs.

Warm days.

Cool nights.

 

 

Lake Superior in all it’s beauty and power.

And quiet.

Hammocks.

Loons.

A cabin in the woods.

Games.

Snacks.

Late nights.

Photo shoots.

Silliness.

Laughter.

The whole family together.

Perfect.

 

 

Gathering of the Clan

Labor Day Weekend means one thing for my family – The Kamp-Out at Nana and Papa’s.

This gathering of the clan is a highly anticipated last hurrah of the summer.

Three generations.

Massive amounts of food.

Very little sleep.

The coffee flowed as fast as the conversations.

Laughter rang out as stories were told and memories made.

We took our hammocks to new heights.

And welcomed new friends from bonny Scotland.

Who arrived as strangers and left as family.

Dear people who laughed with us and found such joy in learning our traditions.

And fell in love with our sweet corn.

And us.

And we with them.

We played games.

Went wading in the river.

Took endless rides on the Ranger.

And just sat in the sunshine, watching the littles.

Remembering the days when it was our babies who were enjoying Papa and Nana’s house.

And cherishing the fact that another generation gets the same opportunity.

We took our annual trek to ”the Rock”.

And posed for the annual picture.

And learned that a vuvuzela will attract all the cows in the neighborhood.

It was a sweet time.

A weekend full of precious moments with people we hold dear.

A true gathering of the Clan!

 

 

The Great Eclipse Adventure of 2017

Since my only experience with a solar eclipse was a partial one in 6th grade when I couldn’t get my cardboard eclipse viewer to work and never actually saw anything, I will admit that I wasn’t very excited about the this week’s big eclipse.

But when my sister asked if we would like to adventure with them to see it, I said, “Sure – why not!” I wasn’t expected to actually see anything, but a road trip with her is always fun!

We had a vague plan in place. Meet at my house. Bring food. Drive south to a spot in totality. Perfect.

But Eclipse Day dawned overcast and rainy. We consulted long and hard over several maps and weather forecasts before deciding to head toward Fall City, Nebraska which was in the epicenter of totality.

(Which is a word I have never used in my life until now – but one I used frequently that day – and have already used twice in this post!)

It remained overcast and we drove in and out of rain during our two hour drive. But the kids played “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and every other song from their playlists with “sun” in them to keep our spirits up.

We may have gotten lost temporarily – but we eventually found the party at Fall City just in time for the eclipse to begin.

And for the clouds to settle in.

When it stated to sprinkle, my brother-in-law pointed to a patch of blue sky in the distance and said, “Let’s find it! We won’t see anything here!”

So we jumped in the van with our free eclipse glasses (thank you Fall City Chamber of Commerce!) and started our afternoon of eclipse chasing.

We would drive around for several minutes until someone spotted the sun, then we would pile out of the van on the side of the road and check out the progress with our free glasses.

When the clouds moved in, we would move on. Piling back in the van and heading off in another direction to repeat the procedure.

We were in the middle of a random gravel road somewhere west of Fall City when the eclipse reached totality.

It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Beyond anything I could have imagined.

Standing there in darkness and seeing the sun rise all around us.

Our kids were dancing around the gravel in the sheer joy of the moment. Okay – I might have danced a little, too!

A few minutes later it was over and the moon started to move on.

And with it the clouds, leaving us a beautifully sunny afternoon to watch the moon slowly pass by.

Which we did. In awe and amazement.

We were finally able to try out all the viewing methods that hadn’t work well with the cloud cover.

Like the pinhole.

And it worked!

One of the kids observed that after seeing a total eclipse of the sun – anything else we did the rest of the day would be anti-climatic.

It was.

We made a quick stop at Indian Caves State Park and then snacked our way back home – getting stuck in the hundreds of cars all trying to get across the Missouri River.

And of course we got ice cream.

Because no adventure is complete without ice cream!

 

And this is one adventure that we will never forget.

Once in a lifetime.

Absolutely amazing.

 

Medal Worthy

I survived July.

That should get a medal.

I will admit to a feeling of relief when I could move the calendar page to August.

And speaking of medal worthy –

Nathan got his driver’s license last week. Our fifth and last child is officially a driver. We survived years of parallel parking lessons, endless white knuckle practice drives,  and worrisome first solo trips.

And – drum roll – this is the only time that we showed up at the courthouse with ALL the necessary paperwork and documents the first time!

I mentioned that fact to the Driver’s licence guy, who, incidentally, was the same one to issue all five learner’s permits and all five driver’s licenses through-out the years.

I asked if they gave out medals for that.

His reply, “Not usually. maybe a pat-on-the back.”

I’ll take it.

We also picked all the peaches before the coons got them!

I even thought about getting them in the freezer!

I’ve also thought about the fact that school should start soon.

And that I should probably put away all the VBS things that are sitting in piles in the basement.

And that the garden should be watered.

I can just guess what you’re thinking right now – “Wow, she is really rocking August! Somebody should give her a medal!”

I know, right!

Just wait till September!

 

 

Whale of a Week!

You should see my house right now.

VBS prep and the County Fair just collided on our schedule and my house looks like Hobby Lobby on Black Friday.

I have pool noodles in the dining room, glue bottles on the kitchen table and a shark costume on the living room floor.

There’s piles everywhere.

My mind is just as cluttered as my house.

This year’s VBS prep includes costumes for a turtle, a shark, and an octopus.

I’ve never made a shark costume before and the instructions on Pinterest were vague. “Put the shark fins were you think they should go.”

Seriously? I’ve never even considered where shark fins should go!

You don’t want to know how many times I’ve ripped out Sharky (as we now affectionately call him!)

And then there’s the octopus.

I kind of went a little wild with the tentacles and the entire costume has a life of it’s own.

 

 

Every once in a while I take off the VBS hat and put on the 4H leader hat and help with projects, design the club’s backdrop and help write project reports.

And occasionally I’ve even put on my mom hat and cooked.

But more often than not, when one of the kids will ask about food and I’ll tell them to cook something.

We’ve eaten a lot of hot dogs.

My poor husband should get a medal.

Our conversations have been a bit one-sided this week and have gone like this –

“How’s the best way to attach elastic straps to a turtle shell made of cardboard and flannel?”

“Can you print the 4H sign?”

“Would you make some coral reef from this spray foam? And paint it?”

“What should we use to pad sharkie’s head?”

“Can you find the 4H backdrop?

“Can you pick up elastic on your way home?”

“Where do shark fins go?”

“Can you tell me again that I’m wonderful and that I can do this?”

And he does.

And I do.

And little by little we’re gaining on it.

The next 10 days are gonna be crazy!

But one way or another – we’ll make it!

 

PS:  Where do shark fins go?!