Archive for the ‘family’ Category


A few weeks ago (before the great gall-bladder attack of ’11) I spent over a week on an amazing little vacay in Florida. The temperatures were over 70 the entire time; it was PERFECTION.

My grandparents are lucky enough to have a little piece of property there, and they invite their snot-nosed little granddaughter to spend a few days with them. ****Correction: I wasn’t even invited. My mom was invited. Since I have yet to “cut the cord” I tagged along and they were forced to bring me home from the airport with them. Thanks grammy for letting me rest my little blonde head there a few days 🙂

My special man-friend couldn’t accompany me. The first of the year is a crazy busy time for him so he had to hold the fort down here in MN. My gnarly MN feet spent the week deep in the sand. and it was AWESOME. I also saw dolphins EVERYWHERE!!! I have no idea why, but those little porpoises were going crazy while I was there.

Here’s one jumping through the wake of a boat:

Then all the relaxing was over. It was time for Grandma to take advantage of this pasty northerner and put her to work outside. Let it be known: my grandma is a woman who knows what she wants. This time grandma wanted a new patio……and this chipper little MN gal was gonna give her a damn patio.

My grandpa (aka McGyver) set to work and drew out the most complicated pattern known to man. Then we set out with the pavers and cranked out a beautiful new patio for her to enjoy her Smirnoff.

Do you see a pattern in there? You better! We worked REAL hard to match that pattern and it’s award-winning.

One day, (when the boss wasn’t looking 🙂 Mom and I hopped a little ferry over to Cayo Costa State Park which is on a great little island. On the way, a dolphin was right next to the boat.

We spent the day with no one around, smelling nothing but the seashore, buried in our books. Heaven!

Albino MN Girl (me)

The ferry ride home was about an hour, and mom was immersed in her sweet new Kindle. I spent the time snapping away some great pictures (in MANUAL MODE by the way!!!) and LOVED being able to capture some awesome images of Florida.

Yup, that's a dolphin!

Later that night; I heard crazy noises coming from the canal that is behind the house. There was lots of splashing, and huge puffs of air. I figured it was either a dolphin or manatee, and I was dying to see either of them.

Low and behold? A dolphin was swimming up and down the canal behind the house. Now I have a habit of “seeing” crazy things, telling my family about it, and having no one believe me. The dolsophin was not going to disappoint. He came back the next day! Here he is swimming around. (it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a picture!)

It’s so cool being surrounded by such different wildlife. It was much more exciting than the dirty little Northern Pike we have swimming in the water here in MN. Speaking of dirty little fishies; one of the days we also went throwing the line out for a few hours. We don’t go too far out, but we catch some great trout (I think?). The guy we go through; Captain Dick, brings us out each year and is quite the character.

Captain Dick

A huge stogie is permanently in the corner of his mouth. He also uses shrimp as bait, and he bites the heads off all the shrimp!!! Crazy; yes? Anyway, I don’t judge the man because he knows where the fish are. I like fishing with him because I have to bait the hook 0% of the time, and he always calls me dear. It’s the little things right?

McGyver (Grandpa)

Captain Dick cleans his fish everyday in the same place. The pelicans have him all dialed in and wait there for all the fish guts. They go NUTS and fight over them all when he’s cleaning. Pretty entertaining.

It was so great being able to relax with family for a few days. We went on a crazy long bike ride (over 20 miles I think!) and jogged quite a bit. We also rented kayaks for a day. I realized how ridiculously weak my arms were and whined a pretty large percentage of the time. Thanks for dealing with that mom!

Then comes the super depressing part. I came back to this:

That’s my snow-filled mailbox. Sitting on my porch. Apparently it tried to fight the neighborhood snow-plow……….and lost. My lovely neighbor brought it over and thankfully it wasn’t cracked or anything. Welcome back home to the frozen tundra right?

Can I come back to MN grandma? I’ll finish those gutters you wanted, or clean up the rock? Or train the dolphins in the canal? Anything?!?!?

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Protected: Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap-Up

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Today’s challenge is: “Take five minutes to write about how grateful you are for all of the wonderful things that you currently have in your life. Don’t long for what you don’t possess—instead, take stock of all the blessings you already enjoy.”

Today I’m grateful for my family. You’re all probably sick of hearing about them on this blog; but it’s not stopping me. I had a conversation with a coworker today who said, “You’re family seems like one that you’d love to be a part of.” It made me realize how often I talk about not only my lovely husband, but also my brothers, nephew, and parents. When I think of my family, I think fun. Mom, Dad……..that means you did something right! There’s nothing better then when we’re all together, and someone all of a sudden slyly says “I have an idea…….”
Let me just summarize of few of theses “ideas” that have become lasting memories with my family.
– Extended family decides to rent a houseboat for a weekend down the Mississippi River. My family decides to jump off the roof into the water almost giving grammy a heart attack.
– Family comes to my new house for Christmas last year. Mind you this is 6 grown adults and 1 toddler. Entire family gets bundled up and spends two hours sledding down the neighborhood hill.
– New Years Eve Momma and I check into bed early. Wake up to hear that dad and my husband have decided to do a “Polar Bear Plunge” into the lake at midnight. (January 1st in Northern Wisconsin……bad idea)

We’re spontaneous. We’re unorganized. We laugh really loud. I love it.

I’m grateful that these memories were created throughout my younger years growing up. It says something when your parents move an hour away from everyone, yet you can still find one or many of the now adult kids huddled around the cabin fireplace most weekends. They’ve adopted my crazy husband right into the mix; and that was the most touching of all. He may not understand the insanity all the time, but he accepts it………..and 90% of the time he joins right in. (Case in point, when the houseboat jumping adventure occurred, I believe him and my dad made the inagural jump. As the heads of the households it’s only fitting that they have established such a great bromance.)

You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. It’s hard work to maintain the relationships there but at the end of the day they’re the most rewarding.

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Protected: Half Marathon!

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Happy Dad’s Day

I’m a little late in getting this posted, but thankfully I got to talk with my pops on the phone today already. It’s tough living a few hours away from one-another, so Dad: you get today’s post all to yourself!

There are few lessons I’ve learned from my pops that are definitely “blog worthy”. Here are a few (photos when applicable!)

1. Learn how to bait your own hook, or you can’t come in the boat.

My dad is a master fishermen; has been for my entire life. That’s a nice little small-mouth that he reeled in in Northern Wisconsin a few summers ago. Since we were old enough to walk, the kids all came along on fishing trips. He’d help you out at the beginning, but once you got the hang of things you were on your own. That pretty much sums up his parenting philosophy as well. I’ll show you a few times, but after that? You need to figure it out. This applies to his advice on relationships, money, school, etc. I can tell you one thing, this chick knows how to stick her worm on that hook so it won’t fly off with each cast; and that’s because of that guy.

2. Don’t have money for it? Well you probably can’t buy it.

Financially, my dad is pretty conservative. He always chose wisely, and I don’t ever remember him being lavish with his purchases. When the kids went off to college, my parents offered to pay for 50% of our expenses. The other half we were expected to make up on our own; part-time jobs, baby-sitting, whatever it took. I realized VERY quickly how tough it was going to be, and made better choices because of it. He didn’t raise a daughter that’s got 5 credit cards (or even 1 actually), and the LAST place you’ll find me is blowing my pay-check at the mall. I learned early on that I was working my tail off for this money, and it’s a huge waste to blow it all.

3. Children are a blessing.

3 years ago, my dad became a grandpa for the first-time (that’s my ridiculously cute nephew with his grampa at the cabin). I realized then that my dad is truly a kid at heart. He NEVER runs out of patience with his grandson, and he lives for the time they get to spend together. Ever since this little boy came into our lives, he’s had grandpa wrapped around his finger. Makes me pretty confident that my kids will have a ridiculously happy existence with this guy in their lives.  

Dad: Thank you for always always always being there for me.

– You paid my ridiculously high car insurance in high school, but also taught me how to apply for student loans so I could figure out my life on my own.
– You sent me flowers when my first boyfriend broke up with me, but also walked me down the aisle when I married the man of my dreams.
– You got me obsessed with  sports/running/golf, but also supported me when I had that god-forsaken stint in cheerleading.
– You ask when we’re having kids pretty much every-time I see you, but I know it’s because you truly adore the role of “Grampa”
– You raised a girl who could be confident in the words that come out of her mouth, and thinks less about what shade of lipstick may be on.

There’s 10,000 other reasons I love my Daddy, but I think you get the picture.

Love you pops!

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Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was filled with lots of activities. Last Thursday we celebrated hubs birthday with a nice little evening together. I’m still very much a novice in the cake-baking department, but I managed to whip up a nice little cake for my man. He has a thing for white cake so the boxed versions work real well for us. He also digs these little candies so I try to grab them each year.

He was EXTREMELY happy with the cake, and I felt ridiculously domestic for a good 30 minutes or so. Then he got a few presents (a DIY/Home Improvement book, a new golf shirt, and a hammock for our new back-yard) that he was pretty excited about. I’m a big nerd and I make him pose with each present after he opens it. He’s used to it after this long but I still love our dorky birthday traditions!

Saturday we had a wedding for a good high school friend of mine. The colors were a deep teal and accents of bright green. It was surprising, but a really cool combo. I am a huge nerd and took ZERO pictures the whole time, but I did rock this little number from Ann Taylor LOFT and felt pretty foxy (bummer it’s such a blurry pic, but I promise it was good stuff).
Sunday we were able to go to a Twins game with my family. It was my nephew’s first game and honestly; he wasn’t too interested. I must say the ballpark was pretty child-friendly, but three yr. olds are a hard bunch to keep entertained. His schedule was all off but he finally dozed off in the 7th inning. Here’s my fave pic of the day, my nephew snuggling with his awesome uncle (my hubs).
They love each other. It’s sick. And by sick I mean adorable. 
This week hubs is out of town for a few days, so I expect lots of posting to come your way. Have a great week!

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I realize that although many of you are home-grown Minnesotans, I do have readers from other areas of the country. Something that’s a common aspect of our lives is “the cabin”. Here; most of you will appreciate this visual:

Ahhh…….heaven. That was my view all weekend at what I deem my “happy place”. My parents lake-home in Northern Wisconsin. They recently sold their house, and have moved full-time out to the lake. It’s a life-long dream of theirs and I reap the benefits! I booked it up to the cabin Friday afternoon, and stayed the weekend. Here’s a glimpse of my weekend; hopefully you’ll understand why I love it so much!
Friday afternoon
Arrive at the cabin around 6pm. You’re greeted by a happy yellow lab who wants to play in the lake. You gladly accommodate his requests and a 20 minute game of fetch ensues. 

Then you’ll stumble upon your dad, who wants to show you all the turtles that have burrowed their nests in the driveway. Some have recently hatched and the lake is now FILLED with little turtles. 
Head into town for dinner and enjoy some thin-crust pizza at the local bar/restaurant. You end the evening watching the sun go down across the lake. Ahhhh heaven.  (see first picture)
Saturday morning, you wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee with your pops on the end of this dock. Catching up on life, hopes and dreams. Many a deep conversation will occur on the end of this dock. 

Your mom will convince you of how amazing and fun kayaking is. You will agree to go kayaking with her, and silently curse her tomorrow when you can’t lift your arms anymore. 
Check out that sandy lake bottom. Calm water, sun-shining, awesome quality time with the momma-san. Again, heaven.
After dinner, you’ll load up the cooler and hop in the boat for a little lake cruise. Captained by this guy:
Who happily makes the boat jump waves, guns it across the lake when you want to feel the wind in your hair, and zooms up to beautiful houses so you can stalk the inhabitants. No biggie. You’ll fire up the grill that evening for some BBQ chicken and steamed asparagus. Relaxing afterwards with a nice strawberry margarita.
The sky opens up so all fun is moved indoors. No need to worry. Momma always keeps a cabinet full of s’more supplies, and she feeds her adult daughter’s craving for this late-night snack: microwave-style. 
Sunday morning unfortunately it’s raining, so the outdoor activities are limited. You’ll wake up to the smell of Sunday tradition; pancakes and bacon drifting into your room. Snuggle under the quilt for just a few more minutes and then it’s time to get out there. Again…..heaven.
There’s my weekend for you. I love it. I hope you all have a place that brings you such peace and relaxation. Sorry it’s not very exciting but it was just the rejuvenation I needed after my crazy work week. Counting down the days until the next cabin weekend…..

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