Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Tree vs. Wood Floors: Lesson 2

So...Lesson 2.

Remember my "Life Lesson" that I learned from when our Christmas Tree fell over? How, if a wet wood floor was the biggest of my problems then: life is pretty dang good?

Yeah...I do still feel that way. (And was able to keep that perspective when a drain in our basement backed up/rusted out and created a wet, sloppy mess in one of our bedrooms. Ugh.)

But today, my friends, I'm here to tell you about Lesson Numero Dos that I learned from our fallen over Christmas tree.

I mentioned before that I was pretty hesitant to put a live Christmas tree on our brand new wood floors last year (well, it wasn't so much the tree as it was the gallons of water that go into keeping said tree alive for a few weeks inside of a house...) but the year came and went without (thank goodness) incident and so this year, when those thoughts crept into my mind I was all, "Well...sure. There's a risk. But LOOK!! Last year went so well!".

I shoulda listened to my gut.

When our tree fell, the water in the stand spilled out over the floor and there is sat for up to 8 hours. FYI: Water and wood do not play well together. But THAT my friends, was the minor incident.

We set up our tree, straightened it out in the tree stand, tied it up, watered it and went about life as if nothing happened.

Then, a day and a half later, my hubs went to water the tree in the morning and LOW AND BEHOLD the stand was dry as a bone. I sorta shrugged and figured the tree just was thirsty and we carried on...until that evening when he checked the stand and once again, found it DRY AS A BONE. It was in that moment that we looked at each other and I said, "Oh no. Is it leaking????????"...and guess what?

It was. There was a gigantic crack in the tree stand that somehow had come open, allowing water to leak right out of it. BAH.

So, two entire tree stands full of water had soaked into our glorious wood floors. Those same floors that I've swooned over and loved since the moment we installed them. They swelled. The finish flaked...and I kicked myself for ever thinking that a real tree was an appropriate thing to put on wood floors.

And there is Lesson Number 2 for you: Don't put a real tree on real wood floors.

I went out and procured an artificial tree the very next day and my traditional, die-hard, Real Christmas Tree heart died a little that day. But...I'm not sure my sanity could've handled ONE. MORE. THING. happening to our floors.

The good news is that after running a dehumidifier non-stop since then, they seem to have settled down a bit. We shall see what the next few weeks bring...




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Tree vs. Wood Floors: Lesson 1

As most of you know, about a year and a half ago we "completed" (in quotes because, let's be honest...it's STILL not completely finished!) a big remodel of our upper level (and, of yet I have to post a "finished product" post on). I am a DIE HARD Christmas fan and to me, if you have an artificial tree, you are akin to Scrooge. Or the Grinch. Or Satan himself, or something.

So, while I was leery about putting a real Christmas tree (with which we've had mishaps before) on my wood floor last year, shockingly, the season passed without incident and I was able to enjoy my tree in all it's pine scented glory.

This year, while still having those same leery feelings, we schlepped out to get our tree from an incredibly fun and festive, but ridiculously over-priced tree farm, and set the bad boy up. We decorated it TO THE HILT with the oodles of ornaments we have and I mentioned to my husband that he should probably tie up the tree...but then he got busy with other things and didn't.

And...I'm sure you can guess what happened. 


And THEN some...but THAT my friends, will be Lesson 2. However, for now, something more pressing is on my heart...

As I lay on my belly vacuuming the seams of our wood floors, in hopes of extracting as much water as I could from under them I had A LOT of time to think...

You see, a neighboring community had just experienced a tragic construction accident...a co-workers friend's son is battling osteosarcoma...I realized, in that time on my belly with the shop vac, that GOOD GOLLY. If a wet wood floor is my biggest worry in life, man alive, do I have it good.

Then tonight, I learned that one of my hospital co-workers lost her precious 2 month old baby last night. And my goodness...my heart breaks. This poor mama...I can't not imagine her pain and sorrow and her absolute grief in losing her precious newborn baby.

Friends, hug your loved ones today...and count your blessings.

Today I thank God that my "biggest worry" in life is a replaceable wood floor...and today, I pray for God's grace and love and healing miracles to shower down upon those that have REAL worries. 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stitch Fix Review: 4.0

You know what is more exciting than seeing that your latest Stitch Fix has shipped?

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing is more exciting...so, when I saw on Monday that my fix had already shipped I, of course, was ecstatic and immediately peeked at my order. (How do you peek, you say? Well, you "go to checkout" and voila, there are the contents of the fix that is on its way to you! Just make sure you don't actually "checkout" yet...)

As I compulsively checked the tracking information and then saw my fix was arriving one day early...then TWO days early I was giddy!! And then..."Package could not be delivered in a secure place." WHAAAAAAAAA? Quickly remedied by a phone call to the P.O. Phew. Crisis averted!

Without further ado...following is the super quality fashion show of my latest fix.

First up...this outfit. The Liverpool Reagan Skinny Pants were ADORABLE. Buuuuuut, kinda trendy? And for nearly $100 (well, okay, $88), I was getting cold feet about buying them and then having them be obsolete next winter. I think I'll jump on the plaid bandwagon with less commitment...like a scarf. However, they also fit like a glove. So, there was that. But...ugh. What a dilemma. 



The shirt? RD Style Angus Split Back...can I just say something here? Who invented split back shirts? Cuz I'd kinda like to kick 'em where it counts...I mean, they split right across your butt, making it look like your butt exploded right out of your shirt. No. Just...no.



Next up, Calandra Side Button Poncho...I pulled this bad boy out of the box and thought, "Well, great. If our power goes out, the whole family can snuggle up inside this GINORMOUS poncho to keep warm." But then I put it on and something magical happened. It just...flowed. And hung in all the right ways and did it still feel big? Yes. But not big in a bad way...and then my husband told me I looked "super cute" and HELLO. If your husband uses the words "super cute" it MUST be good! (For the record, my fashionista teenage daughter also concurred.)



Finally...Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, BEETLEJUICE!!!!! 



This 41Hawthorn Benson Blazer (ugh...does anyone else hear "blazer" and think shoulder pads and 1980 with Farrah Faucett hair?!) reminded me of "Beetlejuice" from the second I saw it when I peeked at my order. Some people tried to tell me fun ways to wear it...but I just couldn't get past the Beetlejuice feel to it! Also, it was a bit snug. However, it was absolutely LUSCIOUS. So soft and thick and stretchy and just...wow. But no. And under it? The Sam Hi-Lo Tee which was, well, a tshirt and I think it was supposed to be a looser fit and $44 for a tshirt?! I just couldn't.



I think it goes without saying that this was a 1/5 fix...that poncho did it for me and the pants I would've totally gone for if I had the 25% buy 5 discount, but alas, back they went, along with the rest of it!

And, *sob* *sniffle* *tear*, I've done the responsible adult thing and delayed my fixes until February because: Christmas. Mama can't be spending good money on herself when there are oodles of presents to be purchased!!

Interested in treating yourself over the holidays? Maybe need a good gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list? Sign up for Stitch Fix and get started!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Stitch Fix Review: Version 3.0

My latest fix came on Friday and GOOD GOLLY did I get a box full of wonderfulness!!

I had asked for layering options and in my note said I was "ready for fall" and my stylist, Amy, hit a home run! Knocked it right out of the park, my friends!



Before I get into the photo show of my goodies, I've just gotta say...a fashion model I am not. So, forgive the photos. :)

This coat is amazing! It's called the Claremore jacket and is so stinking cute...took me a bit to wrap my head around it, because I kept thinking "sweater" but when I realized it was supposed to be roomy because: COAT, I was all over this! Flattering? Perhaps not...but cute, and warm and I want to go Christmas tree shopping in it!



Also in this photo shows my Kut from the Kloth Dayna Skinny Jeans which are to DIE for! Soft and fit like a glove. *swoon* The Bolton Plaid Scarf is so cute. Fall and cozy and the colors make me happy! And the red striped "Where's Waldo" (thanks, Dad, for that one) shirt?



That is probably my favorite piece from this fix! Long enough for my wonky long torso and the elbow patches just MAKE IT. I love it!



Finally, the Carlynn sweater. I wanted to love it...but I just knew it wasn't my style and that it would sit, lonely and unused, in my closet. HOWEVER...when you're >thisclose< to an "all 5" discount, you try to make things happen and low and behold, I found a taker for the sweater and so now that makes TWO happy people!



I'm guessing you know by now that I kept all 5 items! And, I have some big time guilt about it...I hate spending that much money on myself! But, what's done is done, right? :)

Interested in giving Stitch Fix a shot? You can check out my first two reviews here and here...and here's my referral link! When you sign up, you can start collecting referrals of your own and earn credit toward your fixes!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stitch Fix: Version 2.0

I am almost due to get my next Stitch Fix box...so I guess it's 'bout time I reviewed my 2nd fix, huh?!

This fix wasn't quite as great as my first one...for a couple of reasons, but it was still "okay". Let me show you why:

The Tunic. I had asked for another tunic, because I loved August's tunic so much and it killed me to send it back! Again, my family loved this (I still felt it was a tad big, but maybe that's how it's supposed to fit?), and I agreed! Cute. Comfy. Work appropriate. And the color? LOVED IT! Verdict: Kept! (Duh.)

The Leggings. Confession: I peeked at my fix before it arrived. (Did you know you could do this? When you get notified that your box has shipped, you just go to "check out" and Google the items that are listed! Cheating. I know.) These leggings have a zipper on the back (rookie mistake in neglecting to take a picture of that detail) and screamed 1980 to me...I wanted to hate them. In fact...I hated them until I tried them on and then? Well...then I fell in love. But...they were WAY more money than I would ever spend on leggings (hello, $10 Old Navy leggings...I love you too) at $58 (I believe) there was no way I could justify them. So, my love/hate relationship with them ended very quickly. Verdict: Returned


This Dress: UGH. As in: UGHLY. :) I've seen this dress pop up in other reviews and I never did find it attractive or cute then...so when it showed up in my fix, I did an internal groan, but took one for the team and tried it on anyway. You guys, this dress is just as bad on as it is in pictures. The weird stitching/ruching thing it has going on was just bizarre and super unattractive. My husband looked at it, cocked his head, and asked what was wrong with that dress. Just...wrong. In so many ways. Verdict: Returned (totes, duh.)


This Shirt: When I saw and felt this shirt, I wanted to love it with all my heart and soul. It looked long enough to cover the wonky real estate that is my torso (I have a ridiculously long torso...and just as ridiculously short legs. Hey, we all have our cross to bear, right?!) and make it an appropriate shirt to wear with leggings. But...the slits. This shirt had side slits so high I felt like you could almost see my bra (okay, that's an exaggeration...but you could see the waistband of my pants). This shirt was like the leggings, but reverse...I wanted to love it, but I hated it! Verdict: Returned 


The Scarf. Since I knew I wasn't keeping all five things, I didn't even bother with the scarf. I liked it well enough, but I wasn't going to pay the sticker price on it...definitely would've loved it if I had gotten the "keep all 5" discount, but since I wasn't: Verdict: Returned 


And that wraps up my 2nd Stitch Fix! I continue to get so many compliments on the dress I kept from my first Stitch Fix, and have gotten a lot of compliments on my tunic from this fix...I can't wait to see what's in store for Stitch Fix #3!

Interested in trying it for yourself? Here's my referral link, if you use it, I get a credit and you get to start enjoying Stitch Fix for yourself! Win win! ;)

Monday, August 31, 2015

My First Stitch Fix!

Quite awhile ago, I was talking with a co-worker about Stitch Fix and the cute clothes she had been wearing. She sent me a referral link (and, I'm always happy to reward someone with a referral!) but it sat in my inbox for months. I had even gone so far as starting an account and completing a profile...but I just couldn't get myself to commit to that first box.

I had heard that your first few boxes are usually a bust, that you typically don't get things you love until your stylist has really gotten the chance to know your ins and outs and what kind of clothes you really like. That, along with the monthly commitment, led to my hesitation in completing my subscription.

Apparently my patience paid off, because one day I received a code for a $20 credit (the cost of one month's subscription) and that was the deal sealer. I signed up, but truth be told, I wasn't really looking too forward to my first box because: FIRST BOX.

But then, it came and WHOA NELLY was I impressed! My stylist (Kate) listed to my requests (tunics, bright colors) and I was so happy with my first box!

Let me show you (forgive the horrible pictures...it was the end of a hot summer day and I had a 7 year old photographer):

A maxi dress and fun silver leaf necklace:


Tunic:


Blouse and pants:


So, you're asking, what did I keep? Let's start with what I knew wasn't right...the pants. The subtle damask print was super cute, but the fit was all wrong.gappy in the crotch, not quite right enough at the ankle, just weird. Back they went.

I wanted to love the blouse...like REALLY WANTED TO LOVE IT, but the fit. Again, not right. I love the idea of flowy shirts but the reality is that I usually try them and feel like I'm wearing a maternity shirt. Spending 50 months of your life pregnant will do that to a girl. I blame my children for ruining cute flowy blouses for me. Also, it truly was a bit too big. Back it went.

The dress. I immediately loved the dress...right outta the box and loved it even more when I put it on! Cute, comfy, stylish...I loved it. I was a bit pricier than something I'd buy in a store, but dang. I loved it, so I kept it!

The tunic...I loved the print and color but wasn't sure of the fit. My family said it was cute, even suggested I keep it, but...I just couldn't bring myself to love it. Back it went.

The silver leaf necklace...SO. CUTE. And totally not my usual practical choice but I loved it with the dress and my practical side was telling me, "Keep the tunic!!!", but the less practical side of me said, "Don't listen to her...keep the necklace!" And so, I keep the necklace. Then promptly told my stylist to skip jewelry in the next box so I wouldn't be tempted!

My next fix is scheduled to arrive around midish September and I can. not. WAIT!

Interested in giving it a try? Here's my referral link that earns me a $25 credit when your first box ships! https://stitchfix.com/referral/5074148 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Don't Blink


You know the popular quote, "Though the days seem long, the years go fast"...or something like that? Well, my friends that are parents of little, tiny people, there are no truer words.

Yes, when we are raising up small children and they need our attention for ALL THE SECONDS of ALL THE DAYS, we just don't ever feel like bedtime will EVER COME AGAIN. We begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, we will die of exhaustion before our children are grown adults. That we will suffer a long, slow, painful death from dealing with diaper blow-outs, sleepless nights, temper tantrums, "I do it myself" demands, and a never ending search for sippy cups and pacifiers. But rest assured, my friends, it will end.

The temper tantrums end, the blow outs end, before long they really CAN "do it themselves", and soon those sippy cups and pacifiers are a thing of the past. (The sleepless nights, however? They tend to come back sometime around your oldest child's 15th or 16th birthday...and from what my friends of grown-up children tell me, they stick around forever because a mama's worry never ends.)

Before you know it, your little temper tantruming toddler will be headed off to his second year of college. Your forever sweet and kind eldest daughter will start to get all teenagery on you. Yes, pretty soon, even your "littles" are older than a lot of people's "bigs"...but, they will still be your littles. Even when they are middle schoolers, or part of the "oldest" grade in elementary school, or when they are independent 2nd graders...they are still and will always be your "littles".

I am now that mom that gazes, with slightly misty eyes, at the young mom in Target that is struggling to keep her two year old in the cart while her newborn cries hungrily and I wish that I could really, truly go back, for just a moment, and appreciate when I was that young mom. When I was tired beyond exhaustion, when I wore a permanent spit-up stain on my shirts, when my babies fit in my lap, their whole body...perfectly in my lap. Now they are all legs and arms and creeping on me in height.

Oh, how I long to pick them up and have them snuggle their little heads onto my shoulder. Wrap their little arms halfway around my neck, because that is all the farther they will reach.

My baby girl is the balm for my aching heart...she still fits well enough in my lap. Her little hand still fits perfectly in mine. I am still the center of her world and I feel like I am grasping at straws because I know, all too soon, that she too will outgrow my lap. That someday, she won't want to hold my hand. And that there will be a day when I will not be her first choice. Her best person.

So for today, I hold close to that. I cherish every snuggle, every hand hold, every tender moment my older kids oblige me with and especially those times when they grasp my outreached hand and hold on, just like they did when they were little.

Moms and dads of wee ones, I know you're tired. I know you want to cry when your two year old is melting down for the 15th time of the day. I know you think you just. can't. wait. until you can wear fancy clothes again and sleep all night and leave the diaper bag behind...but trust me when I tell you to soak this in.

Every last exhausted moment.

Inhale it.

Embrace it.

Revel in it.

Because before YOU know it too, those babies will be big and your lap will be lonely.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Valleyfair!!

How can it be three weeks since my kids came home from camp?! I can't believe 1.) That it's been that long and 2.) That I haven't posted in THREE WEEKS!! 

And I have so much to say.

Anyway, we went to Valleyfair on Tuesday. 



Anyone that's read around here for any amount of time knows this is an annual trip our family has taken since, well, I think since it opened in 1976!! I've only missed a few trips since I started going (perhaps when I was 5ish?) and hot dang, I try to move mountains to make sure I can make it! (Look! It's me! Looking old! And haggard!)


We arrive shortly after the park opens and stay until they kick us out! We leave a bit chubbier, a lot exhausted, and all sorts of happy!


This year did not disappoint...in fact, the forecast called for storms and with a morning rain shower, we practically had the park to ourselves for the whole darn day! It was awesome being able to basically walk up to a ride and have little to no wait time!


It was a fun, glorious day!


Friday, July 10, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids At Camp...Day 6

THEY'RE BACK IN MY ARMS!!!!!!



Driving home from picking up my loves from camp...one of them (Dubya) received the "Tall Tale" award for always trying to get his friends to believe crazy stories and the other (Belle) recorded the prestigious "Camper of the Week" award, for being the all around best camper and for acing her Firearms Safety test!!)! She also received a Nalgene-style water bottle for this award!

The stories and new friendships abound...they made great connections, Belle made a friend from Costa Rica (I was right, she was with the group asking about how to say different food words in other languages!) and loved her bunk mates. Dubya also hit it off with his bunk mates!

Both kids are happy they went to camp, Dubya didn't really have any tough times, Belle said Night 2 was her toughest night, then she was fine! 

Man alive, did it ever feel good to wrap my arms around them!

Now, we head home to unpack and get ready to watch the new Minion movie at the drive-in tonight!!

My mama heart is full and happy...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 5

You guys...

We are

ALMOST

THERE!!!!!!

13 hours until I can wrap my arms around your necks and kiss you and love you and call you George!!! Or, you know, like Jack said, "Yoy". (Inside family joke...)

THIRTEEN HOURS!!!!

Today, I caught a glimpse of this on the camp blog:



Seeing those genuine smiles made my heart sing!

Can not wait to see you two tomorrow...morning can't come soon enough!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 4

On our way to morning activities today, I called dad and said, "ONLY TWO MORE WAKE-UPS AND WE CAN GET THE KIDS!!!"...dad asked me how old I was, poop head that he is. In other news, WE'RE ALMOST THERE, KIDS!!!

So close to having you back home...so, so close!! Eeeeeeek!!

It's like camp knows I needed to see pictures of you...so far, all the photos with campers in it have included the two of you! Sure makes my heart happy to see you in those pictures. I wonder who you've made friends with and what you're favorite thing has been so far. 

I seriously can not wait to have you guys back. To wrap my arms around you and hear all about your camp adventures. Our home just isn't quite the same without you two here...so I've decided, you can never grow up and move out, okay? We've got a nice bedroom in the basement where you can play video games all day when you're 35...how does that sound? ;)

Tomorrow should go quickly...and then, we wake bright and early to join you at camp!

I love you, my sweet kiddos, more than you will ever know.

Two wake-ups my dears, two!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 3

After tonight, we will be over 1/2 way through..."over the hump", as Uncle Josh says! Dad left me this sweet note this morning...I suspect he's feeling the same way I am!



I hope today was easier for you...in fact, I hope that your worry and unease was short lived and my anxiety over your lonesome hearts was all for naught. Today I caught a glimpse of each of you on the camp blog...one of you in "class" and the other on a canoe. Gracious, sweet loves, do I pray that you are enjoying yourselves! Seeing those photos made me heart a little lighter...



(Photo creds: camp)


Gram and I did some shopping today...it was good to have my mind and body busy, I find that when I am idle for too long, I start to worry.

Funny story, at suppertime we were doing "Roses and Thorns"...my "thorn" was that not all of my kids were home. I asked your two younger siblings on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (I'm lost without them) how much they missed you, they both said "10"! But then Baby Girl added, "But when they're not here, I don't really remember them." and she proceeded to let out the silliest laugh!

That little sister of yours has been the balm for my lonely heart.

Time and again, people keep reassuring me that this is a great experience for you...that even if you don't enjoy it, you will discover things about yourself (determination, resolve, perseverance) that you will be able to draw on later in life.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity times infinity...Friday will be here soon!


Monday, July 6, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 2

Here I sit, 1:25pm, and wondering why today, of all days, is dragging by so slowly. How is it that they other days of summer flew by in the blink of an eye? Will it be this way all week?

Today has been a bit easier for me...I hope you two have found the same. The vice grip on my heart was lessened, ever so slightly, when I woke up this morning. I knew we had all made it through the night and were just that closer to seeing each other again. (Man alive, you'd think it was all summer that you guys were going to be gone, not 6 days!)

I refreshed and refreshed the camp blog until THERE IT WAS. An update. Not the camper photos I was hoping, no scouring each photo trying to search out my kiddos, but still an update. They spoke of the fun at supper time the night before, while the campers asked others how to say "food words" in different languages. I could imagine you two being a part of that conversation...oh, I can not wait to hear your stories!

People keep reassuring me that this is harder on me than it is on you and gracious, do I hope they are right. I never had a camp experience, so I can't relate to how you are feeling, but "they" say that you are having a blast. That you are kept so busy that you don't have time to be homesick. Goodness, do hope that is the truth.

Dad has also been struggling...wondering how you two are doing and hoping you are having fun. 

4 nights to go, my loves...4 nights.

Here's to having them go quickly!!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Open Letter to My Kids at Camp...Day 1

Oh my aching heart. All week long, I tried to be so strong for you two...encouraging you and cheering you on and talking you through your doubts and fears regarding camp.

(Even while dad tried to sabotage my efforts with his, "But I don't want you to go! I'm going to miss you!!" exclamations. Ugh.)

Then today, sweet girl, you nearly broke me. When you clung to your dad and your soft whimpers escaped your mouth? You nearly did me in. I wanted to scoop you up and tell those camp people, "On second thought...forget it. We're outta here." and all the while your brother grinned with excitement.

I'll be honest, it was he that I was most worried about, not you, sweet girl. You with your quiet confidence, your maturity, your determination. I thought you'd breeze right through this. I think, if you had had a friend along, that it would have made it a bit easier...what I hope you'll discover over the next few days is that you do, indeed, have a friend along. 7 of them, actually, who you first knew as strangers. I hope and pray that you'll connect with them. Maybe not all of them, but at least one. Or two. They seemed like nice girls...each of them that we met, and my prayer is that you create new friendships and find someone that you connect with.

And sweet boy, I sure hope you sail through the week as well as you did our good-byes. I hope you and Austin (I am so, so grateful you have a friend along!) have a blast and make new friends, as well.

In that moment of good-byes, my mama heart was crumpling. I was fighting tears and trying to dig down deep for the strength I knew you needed. The ride home wasn't any easier and I kept asking God to be with you. To soothe your worry and give you peace and confidence to not only make it through this week, but to be able to enjoy it.

So now, I sit. Tears at the ready. Constantly refreshing the camp blog to see if I can catch a glimpse of you, to read your faces and body language to make sure you're okay.

I love you both so much and already miss you like crazy.

Friday can't come soon enough...


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our Spontaneous North Shore Vacation...

We are sufficiently rested and "back to real life" after our "off the cuff" vacation to Minnesota's beautiful North Shore! (Not to be confused with Hawaii's North Shore, which, I'm sure, is kinda pretty too...)

Back to the "off the cuff" part...the hubs and I are notoriously "Type B" personalities. At the beginning of summer, we sat down and plotted out our free weekends and discovered that we had one. ONE. One entire free weekend all stinking summer long. Anyway, we decided that we would make that our family trip/camping weekend. Well, days passed, weeks passed and suddenly we found ourselves at the beginning of the week prior to the weekend that we were supposed to go camping...with no plans.

We were about to scratch the weekend, when we decided to just see what we could find. One resort wanted 300 bucks a night (ouch), one campground was full, another full, we weren't finding anything available on the state parks website. In one last "Hail Mary" pass, the Mr. called a campground on the North Shore. The lovely lady that answered the phone was a wealth of information. She told us that while her campground was full, Tettegouche State park was just up the road and she suggested we call the ranger station there.



Turns out there are a couple of State Forest campgrounds nearby...here's something new I learned: State Park campgrounds are 80% reservable sites and 20% first-come-first-serve...however, State Forest campgrounds are 100% first-come-first-serve! The ranger told my handsome groom that we didn't have a single worry about finding a campsite on Friday. One of the two State Forest campgrounds would have availability.

And, we found that out Thursday morning. Yes, the morning before we planned to leave! Enter: Mission: Pack and Prep for a Spontaneous Camping Trip!

Here's the other funny part...we didn't own a tent until Thursday night.



To our absolute delight, the weekend was fabulous! Probably one of our most enjoyable vacations!



We found a campsite on the Baptism River in Finland State Forrest...our kids bee-bopped the shores of Lake Superior day after day. We visited and swam in Temperance River State Park (in hindsight, not as great of a decision as I originally thought, but definitely the highlight of the trip!), we toured Split Rock Lighthouse, we enjoyed Gooseberry Falls State Park, we put on miles and miles of hiking in the parks, we ended our trip with a stop at Duluth's Glensheen mansion. What a place that is! Of course, my kids kept whispering the whole time, "Is THIS the room she got killed in?!", to their disappointment, the tour guides are instructed not to talk about the infamous Congdon murder...thank goodness for Google! :)







Arriving home Monday night, we were dirty, bug-bitten, exhausted...and our hearts were happy!

Spontaneity can be amazingly rewarding...as evidenced by the memories we made over the weekend!




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sun-kissed and Happy



Ahhhhhh, life is good.

My house is clean(ish), my children are still sleeping off yesterday's fun, the weather is FANTASTIC, we are sun-kissed and happy. Can't life be like this year round?

My brother got married over the weekend...the weather was PERFECT for an outdoor wedding. A bit on the warm side, but I'd take that over cool ANY day!

Yesterday I was thinking...everyone should experience Minnesota in June. June in Minnesota is nothing short of Heaven on earth. The days are long, the bugs are still tolerable, the weather is GORGEOUS and the sunshine abundant. I am absolutely blessed that my job change has allowed me to enjoy these days with my kids!


One other reason to enjoy Minnesota in June (or July or August...)...our lakes! And rivers. The mighty Mississippi flows right through our sleepy little town, my parents have river access and holy moly do we appreciate it! My baby bro is in town and yesterday we played on the river for a solid 4 hours and it. was. GLORIOUS! 

Well...my phone alert just went off, reminding me that morning activities are starting soon, so I'll sign off here!

Until next time...

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