Thursday, July 30, 2009

Who do you see?

Erik and I were looking at Facebook pictures.
We came across this picture of me...
It is crazy...
but put pig-tails on this guy and who do you see?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back in time

Tiffany and I thought it would be good to get the kids out and do something new. Three years ago..when we were participating in the History Matters challenge...we found Kelly Farm. We decided that it would be fun to go back in time today and visit this 1860s working farm. It is located in Elk River which is about an hour away. It is really a pretty neat place to visit.
Here is our group of kiddos: Ethan, Emily, Andrew, Trevor, Kevin and Ryan
The kids got a hands-on experience of old-time farm life. It was great to see/chase the sheep and look at the oxen, horses and cows. We enjoyed looking at the farm house and helping clean out the cellar, but I am going to highlight the kids' two FAVORITE parts of the trip (not including DQ). These two spots are where we ALWAYS seemed to end up. In no particular order...
The water pump
The kids worked together to fill the buckets
Then they carried the buckets over to the horses to give them a drink.
This picture reminds me of Jack and Jill. Luckily, no one fell down and broke their crown.
I cannot tell you how many buckets these kids filled and carried today!

The second: The new litter of kittens.
I made the mistake of telling Emily that they were looking for homes for these adorable creatures. I will let you guess her immediate next question and my quick response!
They were so cute....all farms should have a litter of kittens running around.
I don't think we would last very long living in the 1860s..but it sure was fun to visit!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


A few weeks ago, a new business was started in our home! Emily and Erik put together a pet sitting company. They call it Daddy Daughter Pet Sitting. Emily wrote out a business plan. They put an ad out. They have had a bunch of calls. This week we have two guests staying at our home. Our first guest is Klondike. He is a really sweet kitty. He has been hanging in Em's room getting first class care.
He is staying until Friday. Actually, I really like him and yes we keep singing the tune.."what would you do for a Klondike bar." Remember that one?
Kevin the beagle has just been dropped off this evening. He gets to stay until Sunday. He is a sweet pup (year and a half). I think that there is going to be a danger of attachment with this guy!

It is really fun to watch Emily organize these animals and plan their care. She is doing an amazing job! The boys (esp. Andrew) are getting into the spirit of it too.

There is talk of a Mastiff needing a babysitter...
What do you think?
In case you are keeping track.. household animal count this week: 2 cats, 2 dogs and a snake

Sunday, July 26, 2009


The kids are back from camp. This experience was amazing. As you can see from the shirts the theme for this year was bats. They focused on bats. Fun creative choice. The big project for the camp was to build a bat house to hang at the cabin.
Ryan is sporting the T-shirt from last year as he works hard on the bat house.
I didn't know that there were screens in the bat house. Em has informed me that the bats hang on to it. Clever.
We want bats at the cabin so they will eat the bugs. Great idea!
Of course, no bat house can go unpainted and unprotected from the weather. We want our bat neighbors happy.
I love this picture. I cannot wait to meet our new bat neighbors : )
Of course the camp crafts involved bats too. Aren't these bats cute?
The campers had an outing to the Crystal Caves. The cave is really near the cabin. Bats like to live in was a perfect choice for camper exploration.
After you tour the cave, you can pan for gems. It is really fun to uncover the gems and see what you find.

There are some activities that they do every year at the camp:
The time capsule:
They each enclose a picture of themselves and a message. Last year Ryan wrote to the 2009 Ryan to remember that he is the luckiest kid because he gets to go to Kid's Camp. This year they wrote about their camp experiences.

Lake fun:
They explored
and played all over the lake.

The treasure hunt:
They have to figure out the clues.
They have to work together.
To find a the "treasure."

As always the hammock is a favorite place to hang out.
So is the swing set.

There was also the a scavenger hunt and closing ceremonies. Each camper gets a certificate. This year Ryan was honored for over coming his fear of fish. Em was honored for being an assistant camp counselor and Andrew was honored for being a great camper.
Now do you see why these kids love Kid's Camp?

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Call my kids my parents me lucky! Why so much luck in this neck of the woods? Two words: Grandkids Camp! It is the wonderful time when my parents take the older grandkids (I hear Fiona is going next year..hooray) to the cabin with T-shirts and planned camp activities.

Bye grandpa, Luis and Ryan
My kids love it. They been looking forward to it all year. The kids are lucky that the grandparents want put this together each year. They are lucky to have grandparents who genuinely love spending time with their grandkids. My parents are lucky to have these kids in one place and have great relationships with each child. Time with grandkids without parents around is precious (for everyone).
Bye Andrew and Leo.
I really don't think I need to explain why I am lucky. I think the quiet house, sleeping in, time with friends and family sans kids and the laundry I got done all speak for me.
Have fun Emily and Nico.
Good luck Mom!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grandpa and Ry

While we were on our Duluth trip, my parents watched the kids for us. The kids had a blast with their grandparents. Ryan got to spend some good one-on-one time with Grandpa Bill. A few months ago, they decided it would be fun to build a solar car together. This weekend it happened.
Dad found a great solar car kit, ordered it and helped Ry build it in his workshop.
Here they are testing their finished product out on the driveway. It worked like a charm.

Ry is so proud of this solar powered car. It was one of the first things I saw when I got home from our trip.

Ryan also got to go to an airshow with his grandpa. My parents' next door neighbor is a retired pilot. Now, he flies in airshows. Dad brought Ry to one of the his airshows.
Ryan is standing in front of a WW2 torpedo bomber.This is the same type of bomber that his great-grandpa Hamer worked on during the war. Coincidentally, his Greatgreatgrandpa Sohl also worked in a factory during WW2 manufacturing this same type of torpedo bomber.
Here is Ryan in front of another military jet. No family heritage significance, just a cool jet. I am sure Ryan planned his outfit to match the jet...we just always think of those details.
After the show, they walked over to the planes and found my dad's neighbor Tim Barzen. Mr. Barzen let Ryan sit in the cockpit of his plane. That was pretty neat. Dad is standing on the wing and Tim Barzen is by the airplane's tail.

Ryan had a wonderful time with Grandpa Bill. I think the car and the show were both pretty cool...but I think it is cooler that he got to spend the time with his grandpa making memories. Thank you dad for the time and the attention you gave Ryan! He loved it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Duluth trip

Just a mere 2.5 hours to the north. It is a cool port city on Lake Superior. It is our 13th anniversary today. These facts come together. Here's how...Erik planned a weekend get-away to Duluth in order to celebrate our anniversary. He checked my work schedule-clear. He asked my parents to watch the kids-agreed. He found a great place to stay-reserved. It was a wonderful trip. It was great to be away from kids and life for a few days.

This is a picture from our window.

Because it seems funny to end my anniversary post about a murder mystery, I am going to talk about Glensheen Mansion first.

We got to go see the Glensheen Mansion. I loved hearing about the Congdon family. Chester Congdon was the richest man in Minnesota in the early 1900s. The home is amazing. It cost the family the equivalent of $30 million dollars to construct the home (not including land and furnishings..which are both amazing too). There are so many interesting things about this home and this family. The pictures around the home and the house itself seemed to portray a loving family. Our tour guide was great. But, there is also intrigue around this mansion.
As some of you may know, this is the home where Elizabeth Congdon (the Congdon's youngest daughter) was murdered in 1977 by her adopted daughter's husband (most probably planned by the daughter for her inheritance although this was never proven). This was barely mentioned out of "respect for the family," but our tour guide did point out where it happened. Fascinating.

Now on a happier note:

Our hotel was linked into the skyway system, so it was easy for us to get to the shore. We had a great time exploring the shores. We found tons of cute shops, watched a movie and ate yummy food.

We walked across the lift bridge and found a cool sandy beach.
According to is the world's largest freshwater sandbar.
We took matching pictures on the shores of Lake Superior. Surprisingly, there were very few people hanging out on the sandy beach. So, there was no one to take our picture together. This is what we would look like on a deserted island.
As we were getting ready to walk back across the bridge, this boat came home. It is called the Blue Heron. It was on a 5 day research trip. It was fun to watch them raise the bridge for it come home.
Happy 13th Anniversary Erik!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fort Snelling

Here in this great state we have many historic sites to visit. Tiffany and I rediscovered them a few years ago. They (The Historical Society) had a "History Matters" challenge. It was to visit six different sites in a summer and earn a prize. We took that challenge.
Here is a picture of Ryan and Trevor from 2006. They are at Fort Snelling learning about different cannon ammunition. Sadly, that program challenge has been discontinued. But we found some favorite places and made a good habit of visiting and learning from these places.

We went back to Fort Snelling on Tuesday. Again, it was so much fun. This time we went with Grandma, Grandpa, Nico and Leo.
Here is Grandpa Bill with five of his grandchildren. They are standing on the round corner tower. Actually it is one of the oldest buildings in Minnesota. It has had many different uses..interestingly one was a beauty shop.
Emily was so happy to get to hold the bugle in the picture with welcoming guard. Today we learned that the soldiers would listen to the bugle to know their battle orders..because the battle field would be so loud.
Grandma and four of the kids joined up for the day. They made great soldiers.
Probably one of the kids' favorite parts of the day was learning about the "8 Piece" money system at the old settler's shop. Back then, they would chop the coin in order to give change. That guide (in the above picture) was really fun to listen to.
Grandpa Bill and my three really enjoyed the blacksmith. They watched him make a nail and a hook. Good times...
Here is a picture of Ry working with the same blacksmith in 2006
We recognized a lot of the same people that work at the fort. They really know their stuff!
Here, Nico and Leo are modeling how the soldiers had to sleep "head to toe." We also learned that 12 soldiers had to share one tiny room. One "soldier" said that in the winter that wasn't so bad though.
We also got to watch musket loading/shooting demonstrations and the cannon was fired. Both were very loud and really interesting.
I renewed my Historical Society watch out Mill City and Pine City here we come!