Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Minnesota Scrapbook

These are a few pics of the kids and I that I had taken while we were on a walk. I thought we got some cute ones.

And these are just a few miscellaneous shots that I liked throughout the whole week.

And then these are a bunch from a walk. It was a beautiful day and it was just a great time. Again, a few favorites.

And this last one is an ode to my oldest. She loves the camera. I know Julie took one and I took a couple, I think, but the rest are hers. She got some good shots.

Boating on Portage Lake

Well, I've given much thought to how to do this. There are too many pictures, but I want to share so many of them with my family that I'm posting a ton. I didn't think the slideshow worked all that well, so I've spent a lot of time loading them up one by one. I've limited this set just to boating. There are many more to come of this week with family. I'm going to be brief. Just enjoy the pictures.

Verena, Gertie and my Dad on the boat.

My stepmom Judy and my Aunt Jean. Two good-looking chicks.

Ethan and Dad and Judy's new pup, Becky.

My Aunt Jean even got out on the tube with Grace. I insisted she wear that ridiculous life jacket. She thanked me later. Trust me.


I stole this one from Judy. Me and my little girl.

I think Chad looks like a true captain with his crew of boys.

Gertie and me again. She loved tubing.

This was Grace's favorite place on the boat. You could find her here.

Enjoying the ride.

No words necessary. (Except that is Hunter, for those that don't know.)

I just like back shots of cousins. What can I say?

Foxy lady.

Verena and Bethie. I miss them already.

Baby V. What will I do when she grows up?


Becky getting a little lovin'.

Gracie and Gertie.

Abandon ship!


When you pull three kids behind a pontoon boat, the kids quickly discover they've got a pretty stable ride. So they start on the tricks. Here they are:

Julie and John enjoying the sun.

Chad and Tate made it out for a bit too.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Marge Turns 80 (Figuratively, not Literally)

We just went over to John's mom's to say hello when we got to town, and then family started appearing out of nowhere. It was such an unexpected treat, that first night. I couldn't stop smiling. All this family, some of whom we hadn't seen in a long time, and some of whom we'd never met before. Gertie was getting reacquainted with all her cousins by running up and down the sidewalk. Quite entertaining. It went on for a long time. Huge giggles.

This is Ted (Brianne's boyfriend) and Hutch (John's brother-in-law) and Brianne (Hutch and Nancy's daughter). I was truly all smiles just watching them interact. They were having a good time.

This is Tricia and Heather, John's sister Barb's girls. Aren't they sweet? I got no pictures of Barb or her husband Steve, or of Becky, their other daughter that was there. I did not spend nearly enough time taking photos in South Dakota. I really regret that.

Even though this isn't the best picture of Marge, I love this picture. I just like how it shows this handsome grandson of hers (Drew) sitting next to her and soaking her in. And she's soaking him in. She loves her grand kids.

And this is John's Aunt Suzie and his brother Mark's wife Janine with their son Zachary. They looked great and it was so fun to see them again. Mark and Janine live very far away, and we don't get to see them all that often any more. Janine and I took our big girls shopping, and we had a great time together. I remember when Zachary was born in South Dakota, and I would go over and visit them after school and snuggle that little baby up. Good memories for me. He's grown since then.

And here is Kaelyn. She was wanting so badly to dig into those mints, but she was waiting for everyone else. Polite little girl! She is John's sister Nancy's granddaughter. Even though I had heard so much about her, I hadn't met her until this visit. She was a spunky little treat.

And John's sister Nancy MADE this beautiful cake. Isn't it gorgeous? She made our wedding cake too. It was perfect. Thanks, Nancy.

Now this was a planned family gathering, but a surprise birthday party for Marge. She really doesn't turn 80 until September 29th, and this was taking place on August 2nd. And we didn't bring out the cake until after all the eating had been going on for quite a while. A few people had stopped by and told her happy birthday, and she was very confused. (But maybe starting to catch on just a bit.) She told me later that it took quite a while for it to sink in that all these people were there to celebrate her birthday. She was very touched.

And this was a big deal to our family. John's siblings are spread from coast to coast. I think we were all together a little over fifteen years ago for Mark's wedding, but never since then. All of Marge's five kids and their entire families made it back for this birthday. And some of those kids have families, and they brought them. Marge had only one granddaughter who didn't make it, and she had a good reason. His name is Levi. He was born just ten days after this party. He is super cute, and I can't wait to meet him.

And this is Nancy, cake baker and sister extraordinaire. Isn't she cool?

This is Tricia and Grace. Aren't they cute? This picture reminds me of one taken at Heather's wedding many years ago, after Tricia had fixed Grace's hair before Grace marched down the isle sprinkling flower petals down the isle with real thought and precision. Oh, memories. I love this family!

And these are some of John's cousins, and some of their kids. Good looking family I married into!

John's brother Mark in blue visiting with Marge's brother Steve in the hat. That is what I think my man will look like in twenty years. I'm good with that.

And this sort of picture may be my all-time favorite. I would like to line pictures like this along the hallway where many people line up the graduation pictures or the wedding pictures. I think you should have pictures of cousins eating Popsicles or ice cream or some sort of summer treats together during family get-togethers. It's pure joy, isn't it?

And here are the "little girls" running off to do big girl things together. Pushing the stroller, the biggest "little girl" Savannah acting as babysitter and general "Person in Charge." The two younger girls, Kaelyn and Gertie, just relishing in some summer freedom. Happiness.

Then we took Gertie to the pool in the park. She's cute. And I like her. So here she is.

And again.

And now you need to fast forward in your mind through way too many fun family moments and cousins swimming and playing and getting reacquainted, and siblings laughing and getting to sit up late and talk on the porch in the woods (or something like that. I wouldn't really know because I was going to bed early). I didn't get my camera out, and we don't have pictures. Only memories. And they are good ones. They'll stick with us.

But here we are at the place Barb (John's sister) and her family rented. She hosted a birthday party for Nancy and invited us all out to share in the fun. Ryan and Heather are gaming experts. Really. And I am not. But I still like to play. Anyway, they brought out this game where you put the bottle on top of the pipe, which is stuck in the ground, and then you throw the Frisbee at the pole and try to knock off the bottle. You have to do this while holding a drink in your hand, and when the other team knocks off your bottle, you have to catch it before it hits the ground. Got it? Good. Here we go.

Ryan is super good at this game, and he's teaching Ethan everything he knows. Ethan is duly impressed.

Heather is having the same effect on me.

But I'm not catching on as fast as I should.
And my Ethan goes in for the kill. I don't remember if he got it. Sometimes he did. Sometimes he didn't.

Here is Dan's wife Lisa enjoying the show. It was a good show.

John's brother Dan up on the deck with Tricia and Marge.

And I like this picture. Aren't they cute?

And this counts as one of those cute cousin pictures. Girls like horses, you know. The cutie in green is Mark's daughter, Allyson.

And here is my man with his boy. I'm crazy about them. A good ending.