Monday, February 27, 2012

Birkie Weekend at the Cabin!

Six in the truck makes for a cozy ride up north. 
Good thing it's just over two hours and no longer!

Plus there's the dogs...  Lacey, and

Theodore.  Note that she is sitting on a pillow while Theo's
got the floor.  He wonders what is wrong with this photo!

Here we are on race day, watching at Main Street!

As you can see, we're not alone!
The whole town and then some turns out to cheer on the skiers.

Here comes Tad Elliott, skate winner of 2012 American Birkebeiner!
He managed to cover 50K in 2:04:48.  Not a bad day's work.

More skier's coming in, both classic style and skate alike.

After the race, the skiers have to collect their belongings from
this sea of bags.  There are a lot of volunteers and they've got a system down.
Between the Birkie and the Kortelopet there are almost 10,000 skiers,
that's a lot of clothing and bags to distribute!

We enjoyed our meal at the Lost Land Lake Lodge,
home of the world's best fish fry!

Emily and Jessie before they head out on the
snowmobile on the lake.

The cabin at night from the lake.
We went for a long walk with the pups.
Even though it was a lovely night, it felt good to come back
in and warm ourselves by the fire!

Bruce and Perky joined us for the weekend,
making it even more fun.

It's become a tradition to head north to watch the American Birkebeiner, the largest cross country ski race in North America.  We are the fortunate recipients of being a stone's throw away from the race course.  The Birkie, as it is affectionately called, attracts skiers from all over the world and is quite an event.

Last year the temperatures were brutally cold so this year's milder weather was quite appreciated by skier and spectator alike.

The girls and I promised to give the Kortelopet a go this year but the lack of snow and ability to get out and practice killed our dream.  There's always next year, right?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shopping is MAGIC in Vegas!

My sister and I just returned from a trip to Las Vegas.  No, I'm not a gambler.  At least, not in the way that comes to mind when you think of Las Vegas.  We didn't put a single nickel in a slot machine while we were there.

So, why does one go to Vegas, if not to gamble?  We were there to attend four different buyer's markets that are held in about a week's span in February.  My sister has a store that sells tack (equestrian items) and apparel.  Lately she's been branching out on the apparel side a little more and she wanted to go and do a little shopping and a lot of looking.  However, her hubby didn't want her to go to Las Vegas on her own and that's where I came in.  Escape the cold winter in Wisconsin for few days in February to shop for cute, fashionable clothing with my sister?  Twist my arm!

We had four full days to shop and we made the most of it.  The first couple days were spent bargain hunting at the Off Price show.  Don't let the name throw you.  Vendors were selling really beautiful fashions there, but yes, there were plenty of bargains to be found as well.  We methodically went up and down each aisle, scouring countless racks, looking for items that were a good fit for her store.  Our third day found us wrapping up a few orders at Off Price and then checking out the Accessories the Show hall right next door.  We found the most amazing purses there and I cannot wait until that shipment arrives.  They are one of a kind, handcrafted beauties and I will be saving my pennies to buy one... 

Our final full day was reserved for MAGIC, the granddaddy of shopping excursions.  MAGIC is huge.  It cannot be contained in one convention center and must be split into two separate locations.  Somehow we ended up at the wrong vendor hall but there is a shuttle between the two, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  Can I sum up MAGIC in ten words?  I'm not sure, but I'll try:  Fashionable, Loud, Busy, Eye-popping, Trendy, Overwhelming, Freebies, Fun, Huge & Exhausting! 

We tried to methodically canvas the show but after a while we just kind of gave up and wandered.  There was so much to see and we only covered a fraction of it all.  When we approached the Miss Me area, a guard at the roped off entrance asked if we had an appointment.  No, we did not.  Access denied!  We turned to leave but my sister's account rep from Chicago happened to see us and called us in.  Magically an appointment opened up and just like that, we were picking out summer fashions.  What fun! 

All in all, it was an extremely busy, action packed trip.  Shopping for a store is nothing like shopping for pleasure.  It was work.  Hard work.  Our days were long but productive.  While any purchase made for a store is a gamble, I'm confident that we selected well and I can't wait for all our beautiful fashion picks to come in and hit the racks!  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Frosty Winter's Morning

We were blessed with a gorgeous view yesterday morning!  When I awoke and looked out my window, this is what I saw:

God's amazing handiwork.  It is though He dipped a paintbrush
in frost and painted every twig and blade of grass.

Oak leaves up close.

Lacey looking bright-eyed on our morning excursion.

Even soybean fields are a thing of beauty on a frosty morn.

My two walking buddies: Theodore and Lacey.

Every view is more beautiful than the last!

I love how something as humble as a blade of grass can be so breathtakingly beautiful.

A closeup of prairie grass.

More contrasts with the gold in the grasses and the frost covered trees.

While I'd appreciate more snow on the ground,
I have to admit the landscape is lovely!

Even scrubby cedars look good with a coating of frost.

Yet another picturesque view of one of our little wetlands.

Call me weird, but I enjoy winter!  I love the fact that I live in an area with four distinct seasons.  I'm missing the snow but days like this help make up for its absence...   May you find God's beauty in your surroundings, wherever you may be.