Sunday, October 23, 2011

Football Weekend!

We had a busy but fun few days around here and the theme of the weekend was football! We started on Saturday evening when my mom, son and I drove to Eau Claire for the high school first round playoff game in Wisconsin.

My nephew, Sam, plays for D.C. Everest in Wausau and we try to attend as many games as we can even though it's a three hour drive, one way. We got lucky with this game as it was only an hour and a half away.

Sam is a linebacker and a team captain. He's a senior this year so it's his final season of high school football. I can hardly believe that four years have gone by so fast. He's quite talented and one of only two players on his team to be voted All Conference by the all the coaches in his conference. He's #49 in the photo above, going out to meet the other captains for the coin toss.

My sister-in-law, Debbie, another football mom and my niece Stephanie were there to cheer Sam and the rest of the team on. Our signs and cheers must have worked, because...

If you look at the next photo and see the final score you'll see that the D.C. Everest Evergreens scored 49 points and their competitors could only put 35 points on the boards. Way to go, team! I will be out of town the next two weekends so the only way I'll be able to see them play again is if they make it to state. That would be great and that's what I'm hoping for!

The next game we attended this afternoon. Mike, the girls and I drove into Minneapolis to watch the Packers play the Vikings. We were given free tickets by our business's supplier. They always give us tickets to this game every year because they know we're Packer fans.

Well, maybe I should correct myself. MOST of us are Packer fans! Emily has to be different and for whatever reason, she has chosen to align herself with a losing team and roots for the Vikings. It doesn't make sense to me either...

Here we are, outside the dome, in the line for security. You've got to be patted down and have your bag searched to enter now. A sad commentary on our society, I suppose.

Yee Haw, the game is about to begin! Out come the flag carrying guys, the mascots and of course, the players.

This might be my favorite scene of the day. The players knelt down in the corner to pray. In the midst of the crowd, they honored God and I loved it.

I also loved when the National Guard carried the flags out onto the middle of the field for the national anthem. It was moving.

Let the game begin! Both sides were playing well and even though the Packers were favored, the Vikings started strong.

Leah looks lovely no matter where she is, a football game is no exception. :)

Here's Aaron Rogers shouting out orders and getting ready to move the ball down field.

Leah looking ferocious as she makes the G for Green Bay sign. Ooh yeah, that'll make the Viking fans cringe in fear. Ha!

This is what makes Vikings fans cringe in fear, the final score! Packers 33, Vikings 27. And so, after seven weeks of football, the Packers are the only undefeated team in the league.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Us!

Mike and I celebrating our 21st anniversary at home. It's become a tradition that our lovely children prepare us a delicious meal and serve it to us in the romantic setting of our library.

On the menu: fish with a bacon and tomato topping, vegetables and bread with heart shaped butter pats. Daniel even shared a bottle of his Izze with us for our anniversary toast.

The chefs were working behind the scenes but this is our handsome waiter.

I can't help but feel blessed to be married to my dear husband for 21 years and be served such a special anniversary meal by our children. Not only was everything tasty, but the kitchen was cleaned and immaculate after the meal.

Thank you, Emily, Leah & Daniel!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mother Daughter Daytrip!

It's been a tradition for the last fifteen years for my mother, daughters and I to take a daytrip to a little town called Stockholm about 75 minutes south of us. Stockholm is quaint in every sense of the word. My husband doesn't do "quaint" but we girls love it.

This year we decided to bring Lacey with us. She loves going on car rides and was ecstatic to be included. That is, until we left her in the car while we explored a few shops.

This shop leaned the paintings they were selling against a railing outside the store. It was very eye-catching on a lovely fall day!

Who can resist a sweet owl sign, beckoning you to enter the store? Not us!

Leah, Mom and Emily. My three favorite women! They have each blessed my life immeasurably.

Next stop, the farmer that sells pumpkins and vegetables. We go there to stock up on more unusual varieties of ornamental pumpkins.

Here's Emily hoisting one of our silver white pumpkin selections. Keep up the weight lifting Emily, you're looking great!

I'm perusing the many pumpkins. I love the cinderella style pumpkins but they didn't have a lot of those this year. No matter, I'm happy with our selections.

What did Lacey do to deserve this evil treatment? Probably barked at the farmer's very large dog who outweighed her by 90 pounds!

Look at that sweet face! You can't stay mad at her for long. She's back where she belongs, being cuddled in Emily's arms.

My wonderful girls at the Bogus Creek Cafe, our favorite lunching spot in Stockholm. They have excellent salads, sandwiches and soups.

Mom and I. I'm so thankful that my mother is able to continue to take little trips like this with us. She's a huge blessing in my life and I thank God for her and the example she has provided me through the years.

Wandering through the town, we put Lacey in Leah's purse so she could join us without getting into mischief. I'm not sure how much she liked it but she sure commanded a lot of attention from passersby!

You might have guessed by the name, but Stockholm is a cute little scandinavian town and they like to celebrate their heritage. Here are some folk dancers entertaining us.

I joked with the girls that I might get a dress like the ladies' and get Mike a men's costume and learn how to folk dance like this. They just couldn't see it. If you knew Mike you'd be likely to agree with them. He's more of an outdoorsman and his idea of dressing up for a costume party is to put on a flannel shirt and cap that both say "Arctic Cat" and call himself a snowmobiler.

Even if my future as a folk dancer is doubtful, we had a wonderful day and I hope you enjoyed a little peek at a darling little town on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Egg-Straordinary Talent!

Have you heard that you can balance eggs on end

on the first day of fall? We've done it before and it turns out I am

pretty good at it. Just another talent to add to my resume,

I guess. Daniel and I thought we'd try it again today.

As you can see, I managed to get one upright...

Daniel was a little more challenged so he resorted to

using a little salt to help keep his egg upright.

I managed to get three in a row before Daniel started

banging on the counters and sent them rolling.

The leaves are changing here and fall is definitely in the air.

Welcome, Autumn!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sigh... My Heart Belongs To Paris.

What seems like a million years ago, my daughters and I were wandering the streets of Paris. I had remembered reading about a well-known bookstore, called Shakespeare & Company when I was perusing the guidebooks back in the states. After we settled in our apartment on our first day, we went out for a walk in the evening to look for this bookstore. Imagine our surprise to find it just a couple minute's walk away. To make our visit even more memorable, they were celebrating an anniversary and had free wine and a lovely French woman singing beautiful songs (in French, of course).

If you knew me, you'd know I can no more pass a shelf full of books without stopping to browse than, say, my daughter walking past a shoe store, heh heh... So, here I am, browsing books on a lovely summer evening almost three months ago. A little slice of heaven on earth. We ended up visiting more than once as we came to know our sweet Parisian neighborhood.

I can hardly believe that I was ever afraid to go to Paris. It all seems silly now, but I was. Maybe afraid isn't the right word. Intimidated might be better. I'm grateful that we were able to safely and successfully navigate the streets of a large city where we don't speak the language. It's given me a lot more confidence to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and push myself to try new and unfamiliar things.

So, what are you afraid of doing that you just keep putting off? The biggest thing is to just get going. Don't be held captive by fear. Take baby steps, get moving and see where the Lord leads you! You may find yourself blessed beyond your wildest dreams!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Wish I Could Say "Happy Birthday, Sam!"

Leah, Samantha & Emily

This is a photo from Brenda (Mike's sister) & Tony's wedding in 1999. The girls were flower girls and Sam was Brenda's personal attendant.

The girls on Fathers Day.

You can see by the expressions on my girls' faces just how much they adored their cousin.

Today is my niece Samantha's birthday. She would have been 23. We lost her in a devastating car accident in July of 2004 and life hasn't been the same since.

Even though she's been gone for over seven years, we think about and speak of her quite frequently in our family. She was the best big cousin to all my children. She would faithfully take them under her wing and play with them at every family gathering. I'm sure at times it was boring and their incessant desire to be with her probably got old but she never complained. She was always loving and kind to them and they adored her! Actually, adored might be an understatement. Worshipped is more like it.

My oldest daughter just said to me the other day, "When I get married, after asking Leah (her sister) to be a bridesmaid, the next person I would have wanted would have been Sam."

We know our loss cannot compare to Mark and Teresa's, but we miss her and grieve all the same.

We love and miss you Sam, but we know we'll see you again someday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

MN State Fair 2011

Our family took our annual trip to the Minnesota State Fair yesterday. The last few years we've gone on opening day, which (in theory) is less busy. I don't know, it seemed to be pretty busy yesterday! It was a gorgeous day. Maybe a lot of people wanted to get out and stuff themselves with lots of junk food like we did!
Daniel at the DNR fish pond, one of our first stops. Doesn't he look cool with his aviator sunglasses? He thought so. He wore them all day AND night. Kind of like hanging out with a rockstar!

Mike likes to listen to Garage Logic with Joe Soucheray so we had to stop and take in the show for a while. We were rewarded by entertainment from...

The "Spoon Man"!
He was really good, not limiting himself to just spoons.
No, he used a variety of utinsels: BBQ forks, butter knives, pie servers...
We've got some real talent up here in the Midwest!

I always get a kick out of the tiny, "about a" right in front of
the Foot Long Hotdog sign. Guess they're not a full foot long, are they?
Is nothing sacred?!

We stopped in Heritage Village and toured the circus train.

Take a look at these giant pumpkins! The winner was almost
850 pounds!

I love the seed art. All these artworks are crafted with seeds. Amazing!

I couldn't resist taking the Marine challenge and Emily joined me. I wanted the Marine cap and I had to hang there 75 seconds with my chin above the bar to get it. No problem, right? Ha ha! Wrong! I didn't even get close at 52 seconds. I have made a vow to strengthen my upper body and go back there next year and get not just the cap but the t-shirt which takes a full minute and 45 seconds. I've got a year to work on it and I intend to do it!
Note that I dropped my sandals for the challenge. I think they should pro-rate it for more "mature" persons like myself. One of the young Marines complimented me, "Good job, Mom!" when I got down. I didn't get the cap but I am now the proud owner of a Marine lanyard. :)

So, which car should be my midlife crisis car?
A Chevy Camaro?

Or a Ford Mustang?

Daniel looking good at the Cub Farm.

Speaking of farming, we love the giant cob of corn statue.

Imagine how fast our lawn would be mowed if each of our children
had their own riding lawn mower! The only problem is that they are red,
not Kubota orange like their father's lovely tractor.

Daniel on the Spam throne.

Emily had to try the sweet corn ice cream. She shared with all of us.
It was actually very good!

Our last sweet treat at the fair:
Shakes from the dairy barn. I always get strawberry.
This year was a first, I couldn't finish mine!