Wednesday, August 31, 2011

STOP...DROP...PAUSE

Check us out doing the Pause Zumba routine for a contest!
Follow the link to vote for us!!!!!! (click here to vote-sorry the only way to vote is through facebook, it's how the contest is set up)
We Curves members followed our fearless leader Jamie Hamilton to STOP...DROP...and PAUSE...our way off the circuit and into Zumba!







Monday, August 29, 2011

the other man in my life

We spent our 10th Wedding Anniversary out at Sha-Sha with all of our parents. We snapped a few pictures, not one of the hubs and I was taken though. But Bear did take one of me...and the other man in my life. The man who walked me down the aisle 10 years ago, August 18th. The man who cried the morning of my anniversary this year, thanking me for allowing him to be such a huge part of his life. The man who said his head was so far up in the clouds that day and that he couldn't believe how lucky he was. The man who said he almost busted with pride when I asked him to walk me down the aisle. The man who bought me my wedding dress. The man who held my hand for almost all the years of my existence and then graciously handed it over to my husband. The man who knew he wasn't losing his daughter, but gaining a son. The man who has been in my life longer than any other man. The man who tells a bad joke every time we are together. The man who I run to when something goes wrong with my car, or my furnace, or my garage door opener. The man who calls to check on me after every trip we take on the road. The man who spoils my boys rotten (all three of them) and will forever "beg" me for a granddaughter, so he can have another little girl with blond hair and big brown eyes. The man who sends a "thinking of you" card to all of my sisters when our biological father dies, because he truly cares. The man I love as much as life itself. The man I call Dad. My Milo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vagabond Village

Vagabond Village: July 2011LinkWe spent our week long vacation just outside of Park Rapids at Vagabond Village. This was the first week off Bear and I have taken since Australia in 2005! We were long overdue for a week off. We pulled the 79 Starcraft camper and stayed Monday-Friday. This trip happened to connect with our previous weekend with the girls from college. So really we had 2 different camping trips back to back in basically the same area of the state. We came home for a day to wash our clothes and pack up more food. It was so nice to wind down for a week with just our family of four.
We did it all this week too. We fished for sunny's off the dock and the boys each caught their own fish. By the end they were baiting and taking off their own fish too. Parker learned how to cast and even hooked daddy in the butt! We swam in the lake for about 10 minutes and then we were in the heated pool the rest of the week. Hours and hours were spent in the pool. This is the pool and the vacation that Parker learned how to swim. Emmitt was no longer afraid of the water. He turned into a fish too. We grilled our meals outside over an open fire every night. We roasted marshmallows, made smores, and enjoyed the heat! We actually had nice weather the entire week we were gone. It stormed just one night, but in the camper we sat playing games and watching Robin Hood and stayed nice and dry. One morning Bear went for a walk and spotted the Sherwood Forest sign. It said the caretaker was Robin Hood. When we drove by the sign the next day, we read it to the boys and they were on a mission to find Robin Hood the rest of the week. The scoured the woods in search of him. You know "the fox with the clothes on". So the night it rained, we let them pick out a movie and sure enough the choice was Robin Hood.
I was told about this place from my boss at the hospital and she said we had to venture out to the Logging Camp. We got directions and headed out one day to check it out. They have a little general store that has everything in it that your kids think they need. And of course a sweet lady working the counter telling you all about the place and what you can do. We bought honey sticks, old fashion candy sticks and stinky rabbits feet. We fed the fish, that literally jumped out of the water when the food hit the surface. We walked on the trail and saw old logging equipment and learned all sorts of fun facts about logging. The kids chased chickens and turkeys. And we were able to look at the camp where we would have breakfast the next day. It is set up logging style, where you all sit on a bench at a long table, complete with tin dishes and silverware. We waited until the next day for breakfast. When we got back the next morning we were asked how many eggs each family member wanted and if we wanted them all scrambled or over easy. We chose over easy, dad=2, mom=2, Parker=3, Emmitt=1. You were served all you could eat ham, prunes, pancakes, orange juice and coffee. Then your serving of eggs and a family serving of hash browns. The food all came out family style on a huge platter. The kids' eyes were absolutely bulging out of their sockets when they saw all our food! The server had come over with two little logs pieces for the kids to sit on as booster seats. It was so cute! Then we ate and ate and ate. As we were eating we kept hearing groups come in. Large groups. Like 16 and 20 people at a time! I asked just how many people they served for breakfast and she told us 300-500 every day! We are talking this little county road in the middle of nowhere! It was worth it. We paid like $8 for the adults to eat and $5 for the kids. Totally worth it. They serve dinner too, but we just did the one meal there. It was probably the most memorable experience for the kids. It was just so different. The platter, the seating arrangement and the decor.
We also went to Evergreen Mountain. AKA The World of Christmas. It had everything from go carts to bumper boats, mini golf and a maze. The morning after it had rained it was too icky to go to the pool so we hit the road looking for something to do. After a meltdown in the parking lot by both children, we headed into the store. We purchased our tickets for the day and told the kids to pick what they wanted to do first. We bought a bag of rocks with sand and hit the mining trough. We mined for stones and found some beauties. Then it was off to the go carts. The kids were unaware that mom and dad were probably having more fun driving these things, than they were riding in them. They were both way too short to drive, but we had a blast. Even when daddy and Parker pinned Emmitt and mommy under the waterfall during the bumper boat fight! Daddy sent the boys with mommy into the Maze. He totally new that we would be in there forever! I can't find my way out of a wet paper bag...I have zero sense of direction. When we came running back out the entrance to the maze after 30 minutes or so, he and the kid working just shook their heads. Parker finally got us out! It only took 3 tickets and 45 minutes!
We also visited a Bison Ranch, biked the loop, had a couple of icecream cones and made friends with people and kids we are sure to see next year!


"Vagabond Village"

Top Ten of our Family Vacation
10. The meal at the Logging Camp
9. Emmitt is no longer afraid of the water
8. The nights in the camper
7. Catching grasshoppers and frogs
6. The many nights around the fire in silence and making smores with Tolberone and Reese's PB cups
5. Searching for Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest
4. Emmitt caught his first fish
3. We all had tan lines on our feet from our sandals
2. Parker learned how to swim with out a life jacket
1. Good ol' family time

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lake Kabekona 2011

We spent the first part of our week long vacation on our 2nd Annual Kabekona trip. The weather was perfect, the kids all renewed their friendship and us parents were able to actually hang out and play games together. The kids are at the perfect age, they just basically needing watching, but can totally interact with each other and play and play and play.
One of the cutest parts of the trip was when we adults were enjoying a few beverages and playing games, the kids all built a kitchen. A kitchen made of random beach items, complete with sand food served on kick boards. The would go around and take our order and then bring us our food. They made the menu up, which was hilarious! You could order from the specials listed: "Qwece" (quiche??) "eney stew" "eney side" "sea souflea" and of course "BACON!" We roared with laughter when we saw it! Seriously where do kids come up with this stuff?!
We literally lived in the water. The kids all swam and floated on tubes, played in the sand and enjoyed the sunshine. We adults finally figured out that the kids are going to wake up at the same time they always do in the mornings, so why not start drinking at noon and go to bed at 10:30?! SMART!!!! It was so much better than struggling to stay awake and getting just a few hours of sleep and then mustering up the strength to do it all over again the next day!
The kids would watch movies at nap and bed times all together piled in one cabin. We would all just stand in the water, which is like 4 feet deep, most of the day and visit. And eat! Oh did we eat! I made the round of Sha Sha Nachos and Teas for every body again this year. It was a hit again! And we all had to make s'mores every day too. The kids loved making them after lunch! No need to keep them up late at night just for s'mores right before bed.
We plan to continue to make this an annual trip. I am so so so glad we girls from college kept up with each other after all these years. It's so fun catching up and letting the kids play. The guys are all so used to us it's crazy! The morning we left (we missed Annie and Nick-since they had already hit the road) we took our group shot. We set the camera up and the girls piled on the hammock and the guys stood behind us. When the timer went off and us girls viewed the pictures...it was so funny to see the guys had all crouched down behind us! We have them totally trained!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom-will there be enough room?

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom-will there be enough room?
That was the theme of our 4th of July float. And it was A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E! The theme of this year's parade was in honor of the Falls Public Library's 100th Anniversary. So I thought up this little theme for us mom's to do with our kids. Boy did we have a blast prepping, decorating, and participating in the festivities.
I had Auntie Tolle (Linda) paint a 4x8 sheet of Styrofoam just like the book cover. This book is a very well known children's book, but apparently "my generation" is the group that it is well known by. Many older adults had never heard of it. It took Linda all of 2 days to crank out this huge book cover. I had her paint a shout out splash on the back too, wishing the Library a Happy Anniversary!
I borrowed some PVC palm trees from another local business owner. Us moms glued tons of alphabet letters on the trees so they would look like they were "falling" out of the tree. Bear was a great help figuring out how to secure all the props on the trailer. The huge hex nuts we used to weight down the palm trees were perfect! The braces he placed to make sure the sign didn't blow over during the parade were perfect. The invisible line he secured the sign with was great in theory until Jillian and I snapped them both off in the middle of the parade.

We had just 3 different nights of decorating. One night we prepped the trailer with the green grass, started adhering the grass skirts around the edge, and worked on the palm trees stands. The kids always started out helping us and then it turned into the moms in the garage working while 10-20 kids ran around in my backyard playing with each other! Another night we had the kids make paper mache coconuts. Now that was a giant fun mess! They also had to come back to paint them...well they started to paint them and then we had to finish. By the time float day came, it looked really, really awesome!

One of the best parts was the freezies we handed out! Each mom bought a few boxes of freezies and froze them, then we loaded them into coolers on the float and had the kids hand them out during the parade. We passed out 5,000 freezies in Int'l Falls!!! 5,000! And we ran out at the end. We also tried to just give them to kids, not all the adults. Which makes me wonder just how many people are downtown on the 4th of July? It's amazing.
The kids were breaking apart all the freezies and literally freezing their hands off. It was super hot and humid that day, but they dug out their wool mittens to get the job done.
I of course had colored spray from last year. So I made sure to use it up on any child with in my reach that was willing. Noah and my kids were all over having their hair spiked and sprayed.
The only bummer about being in the parade is missing the rest of it. I really thought that when you lined up you would see all the floats, but you don't. Most of the kids were okay with that, because once we got moving there was no stopping and less time to think. We were sweating our butts off handing out 5,000 freezies!


Here is our whole group. All 25 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom kids. The shirts they all wore/made turned out super cute too. We were losing letters all over the place, but it sort of went with the book! The walking Alphabet was a total hit with the spectators and the judges. We took 3rd Place in the themed category and won $100. We donated the money to the Children's Library and were able to purchase new books from each group of siblings that participated in the float. The books that are purchased with have a seal in the front cover saying "Happy 100th Anniversary-From (name of the kids)" The librarian is going to let me know what books are purchased and from what kids so that the families can go check out the book that has their children's names listed. I had to sneak a little lesson about donating to your community in there somehow.
After all was said and done, we demolished the float...with the help of my 2 nieces and the boys. It was sad to see it go, but it had been so much fun! Parker found a great way to use the coconuts in the end...a helmet and matching football.