Monthly Archives: July 2012

2 years later…

When my sister Carrie and her husband Nick got married over 2 years ago, I happily agreed to complete their guestbook.  I made over 100 ‘pre-pages’ where I had spots on each scrapbook page for all of the guests to write little notes, memories, or well-wishes to Carrie and Nick.  Then we set up a little photo-spot where they had their picture taken.

So each couple/family/guest had their own page with a nice handwritten note to Carrie and Nick.  All I had to do then was put a fun backing behind each picture and attach it to the pages on the notes.  Sounds simple right??  Except I failed to realize that I did not know over half of the guests….so trying to match up pictures with the pages was nearly impossible!

I kind of got stuck after awhile….and got frustrated that I couldn’t put two and two together to finish each page and with our wedding things just kind of got put on the back burner.

Then about a month ago I realized that this scrapbook NEEDED to get done and that we were going to visit Carrie and Nick and that I was GOING to have it done by then!

Oh my goodness….there were paper scraps everywhere.  Bob was sick of stuffing the finished pages into page protectors, and I was simply tired of scrapbooking and my limited creative juices had long since dried up!

89 pages later….

Lots of measuring, cutting, an entire roll of Elmer’s scrapbooking tape….

And this book is on it’s way out of my sight to NY!


Waterfalls and Lighthouses

Saturday was an absolutely PERFECT vacation day.  Minus the fact that we both woke up before 8 on a Saturday morning….but that proved to be in our favor.  We drove to Gooseberry Falls in the morning, and beat the big rush that was crowded around the Falls when we finished hiking.

The weather was gorgeous, a little bit on the hot side, but nothing like it has been!

The Upper Falls…

So gorgeous

And of course Bob had to make it ‘fun’ and cause my heart to accelerate as he fearlessly hopped around on the slippery rocks

But I was lucky enough to get a smile out of the deal so I was happy!  I probably would have been out there as well, but now that my camera is attached to me like a 5th appendage those risks and thrills don’t seem quite as enticing!

There weren’t too many people at the Upper Falls which was really nice…but we kept on hiking to the next spot which was far enough away to deter the young families and not so anxious hikers.

I couldn’t get enough of the Gooseberry River….

Found the perfect spot for a self-timer picture!

He was so cooperative taking pictures it was amazing!

This was the Fifth Falls and we were the only people there which was awesome!

We had brought 3 water bottles which at the time had seemed like enough…but somehow we had already drank 2 at this point and weren’t even halfway and our lunch was still tucked away in the backpack.

The bark on this tree was just gone, and I haven’t quite figured it out….

Middle Falls

Lower Falls (you can see here how many people were there!)

So I tried cropping them out…there is nothing more that I hate than random people in my pictures!

By this point I was getting hot and tired, so we kept walking in search of a picnic table to eat at….

After lunch we continued onto Lake Superior

Took another self-timer picture….

Tried to get artsy….and then headed back to the car to get change for the squished penny machine I had already scoped out in the gift shop!

We then headed north to visit the Split Rock Lighthouse.  I have been to my fair share of lighthouses, but this one far exceeded my expectations.  Everything has been preserved so nicely and the tour guide did a great job outlining the history!

The lighthouse and fog horn building (on left)

The view straight down 130 feet into the lake.

I’m guessing back in the day there wasn’t a chain link fence keeping people back!

This is the fog horn house that would make a noise every 18 seconds while weather was bad….they had an example that was 1/10th of the original sound and boy was that one loud!

The stairs up to the light were so neat

But the view from the top of the lighthouse was the best…although there were screens on all of the windows so I couldn’t get a picture!

The best shot I could get of the Fresnel light.  It rests on a bed of Mercury (that is safely enclosed) and relies on a weighted system that needs to be hand-cranked every 2 hours!

They also had one of the three lighthouse keeper’s homes open to tour.

Everything was restored so nicely it was so neat to see everything!

We then walked the 170 stairs down to Lake Superior for an awesome view and photo op!

Absolutely gorgeous

And of course we had another self-timer photo…

And we hiked back up the 170 stairs….and passed a dad carrying a stroller (crazy!)

And after a long day….we finally made it back to our (tiny) tent where we happily took a nap before having dinner!

For dinner we made a salsa chicken potato tinfoil wrap that we cooked over the fire and it was SO good!

And of course…a relaxing evening wouldn’t be complete without Farkle!

And last but not least, a camping trip surely would not be complete without s’mores!

We loaded up the car Sunday morning, and with our luck, the car wouldn’t start!  A nice couple who was also on their way out offered to jump the car and thankfully it worked!  We headed to visit Bob’s Grandma and Grandpa J at their cabin and spent a great day visiting and enjoying the sunshine! Sadly I didn’t take any pictures there…

And then it was back to reality 😦 (and we made it home just in the nick of time so I could watch the season finale of the Bachelorette!)


Friday afternoon we headed to Duluth for a weekend camping getaway…I had never been to the North Shore (although I’ve been to the South Shore) and Bob was looking forward to showing everything to me!

We stopped at Spirit Mountain to try out their new Alpine Coaster.  It was super fun BUT not quite like the true alpine slides where you can fall off if you go too fast!  This coaster was strapped down so even at full throttle there was no real danger!

We had a blast…..

And it was a great way to start our getaway weekend!  I went first between the two of us and a grandma was before me and I waited what I thought was forever for her to go down because I didn’t want to have to slow down and I nearly caught up with her at the end!

When we got into Duluth we went to Pine Point Park which was gorgeous!  That iron ore ship that you can barely see in this picture resurfaces later so keep your eye out 😉

Bob was brave enough to wade into the water…I did a little but the water was COLD!

I found this neat piece of driftwood in the grass…

Our next stop was at the Lift Bridge…and I was excited because not even 5 minutes after we got there it went up for a little sailboat!

So neat! And I loved the PA announcer telling people to walk faster and hurry up to get off the bridge so it could go up!

First self timer pose of the trip….

I forgot what this lighthouse is called…but it sat at the end of the pier at Canal Park.

Love the colors…

Bob was so patient with my picture taking…and I love this shot of him! What a cutie!

We watched some more boats go through the canal including some awesome sailors like this guy!

But then the big excitement came when we saw the iron ore ship start heading towards the canal!  These big guys only come through a few times each day so we were so lucky to be able to see it!

This iron ore ship is 730 feet long and isn’t even one of the longest! (the ‘big’ ones are over 1,000 feet!)

Bob was such a happy camper watching….

I seriously didn’t think that the boat was going to fit…but of course there wasn’t any doubt that it would!

Such a neat experience…and we are just so lucky that in the half hour we were at the park it came through!

We walked around downtown a little…but it was so blistering hot that we didn’t last too long in the heat!

Bob found a fountain to cool down in….

And I found a squished penny! Bob is so great about finding the exact stores that have them and is so patient to keep looking until we find them! This one is of the lift bridge….and makes a great addition to my collection!

After this we headed up to Two Harbors where we were camping and I was SO looking forward to eating and just relaxing for the rest of the night but little did I know what was going to happen….

We got to our site and started unpacking the car, I laid out the tarp and started unrolling the tent.  I turned to Bob who was carrying things from the car and asked where the poles were.  He responded, ‘In the box’….well I was holding the empty box.

The poles for the tent remained safely in our garage at home (over 3 hours away!).  So back into the car we went…me fuming in anger and Bob acting patient as ever.  There was a ShopKo in Two Harbors, but when we walked in there was hardly anything on their shelves since they apparently were in the middle of a remodel!

So back into the car we went, and while in the parking lot we pulled out our phones and Googled the nearest Target or Wal-Mart…I was so mad to find out that Duluth was the closest so off we went.

45 minutes later we arrived and my anger had subsided a little bit…we found a 4 person tent at Menard’s and got back into the car for another 45 minute ride.

We saw some horrible lightning and clouds while driving back to Two Harbors, I was praying so hard that our things that we had left out at the campsite would stay dry!  We arrived back around 9:30 to a dry campsite, set up camp in the dark and finally got our hot dogs eaten!


After getting home from Wisconsin…we jumped right back into the swing of things and have been super busy ever since!

On Saturday we got to celebrate Harper’s first birthday!  I can’t believe this sweet girl is already a year old…but she looked more precious than ever at the party!

She kept her party hat on the entire time!  What a sweetheart!

I also snapped this adorable picture of Jon and Harper…they are so cute together and she just loves her dad!

On Monday I was so excited to meet up with a group of friends from my previous nursing job!  These ladies mean so much to me and I can’t believe it has been nearly a year since we all worked together!

Kirstin, Katie, Tracy, Kelly, Amanda

We met at Chevy’s and had some amazing Mexican food, spent some quality time catching up, and laughed a lot!  These ladies are such a blessing in my life and I know we will stay friends for a long time!

After dinner on Monday, I hurried over to church where my mother-in-law was throwing a wedding shower for our friend Nicole and her fiance Mike.

They ended up winning a contest through the Twins and Target Field and are getting married at the stadium!  So the last few weeks have been busy for them because they have had to change all of their previous plans!  What a busy and stressful time!  Bob and I are bummed that we won’t be able to make their wedding because we are going to visit Carrie and Nick in New York but are looking forward to seeing lots of pictures from Misti who is a bridesmaid! (and also happens to be a HUGE Twins fan so I’m sure she is super excited!)

They got some wonderful gifts and it was such a nice shower!

Nicole and Elly

Since Monday I haven’t been too busy…thankfully! But we have big plans for this weekend so I have been busy making sure everything is ready!

Cabin Wrap Up

We had such a great time out on the water…those are pretty much the only pictures I have!  We just got a new wakeboard so it was awesome to get to ‘break it in’.  I started to waterski when I was about 8 or 9 and started wakeboarding at about 16, so I am definitely not quite as steady on the board as I am on skis but I love the challenge!

The one major downfall with wakeboarding is that when you fall, you hit the water HARD.  Like knock-the-wind-out-of-you hard.  So I tend to be less adventurous on the board while my counterpart has no fear at all (surprise surprise!)

We are happy to have a board that fits us both since my old board had ‘kiddie’ bindings which fit my feet but no chance would fit Bobs and a 130lb weight restriction that I wish I could say I was under!

Someone on the lake has a sea plane and it is so fun to watch it land and take off!

Jake and Aleta

We LOVE to tube while we are up there…and it doesn’t seem to bother us that we are about the only 20-somethings who still like to tube! But my mom is an awesome driver and you get a major workout while trying to hang on!

Bob is pretty good at ‘spotting’

This dynamic duo is ruthless on the tube….

And got some intense tubing in!

My parents went ‘hot-dogging’ but my dad ended up kicking my mom off halfway so he could just ride like this the rest of the way…..

Hahahah…he will go around the entire lake lying on this thing and get mad when we stop!

I wish I would have gotten more pictures of the sunsets…they were gorgeous every night!

These little ducklings were ever present visitors at the dock…but I think all they were looking for was some bread!

Bob managed to fit his feet into my skis and had a blast!

Like I said…he is not scared of anything!

We also spent a lot of time on the jetski…but Bob is not afraid to tell me that he enjoys jetskiing a lot more when he goes by himself….

So he can do crazy things without worrying about me flying off the end!

If we ever couldn’t find Bob…he was without a doubt taking the jetski out for a spin!

Jake and I did a little tubing….and there is always some competition involved to see who gets thrown into the water first!

And same goes for Bob and I!

I was so excited for my mom because she slalomed for the first time in over 10 years!

Bob slalomed for the first time too and he did awesome!

Finally got him to smile!

Jake skied for the very FIRST time and he did awesome!  That was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend…it only took a few tries and he was up!

My dad was in charge of the grill every night and after I installed an ESPN app on his phone he was happy as a clam to sit out on the deck!

We couldn’t go an entire weekend without some kind of project…so Bob fixed one of the steps that had crumbled away and put a new step in!  What a talented man!

So gorgeous!

We played lots of games as well…cribbage, Yahtzee, and Farkle (of course!)

We couldn’t miss the ski show…and Bob and I decided the outfits were much better than the show’s at home!

Mom and Dad

Jake and Aleta

They did a 4-tiered pyramid which was super impressive!

The four of us!

Bob and I were happy that we got to get together with my friend from elementary school, Allie and her husband Aaron!  They live in Illinois now, but her family has a cabin about 40 minutes from ours so we met halfway and had a great time catching up!  We are both nurses now so it is so fun talking about all things nursing but I’m sure Bob and Aaron get tired of it!  Allie has been such a great friend to me for almost 18 years and I am so blessed that we have remained friends through the distance!


So basically the entire 5 days we were at the cabin were spent out on the water…by Monday morning I was so sore and my body was just t-i-r-e-d! But it was SO worth it and we enjoyed every minute!

So this is from day 1….you’ll have to compare us to day 5 when that post makes it’s appearance!

A tiny bit of air…hahah it counts right!?

I could probably have smiled…

Bob rocked out our new wakeboard!

I was happy that I got up slaloming….and had a great time but man is it hard work!

That night a storm came out of nowhere and the winds were CRAZY strong…Bob and my mom went down to the dock to put the boat onto the shorestation and thank goodness they did because this is what happened to our neighbors!

My dad went down to help as well and I guess a gust of wind came and our Shorestation started lifting up and my dad somehow held on tight and kept it in the water!

The storm knocked down a couple of trees so we went out with a hacksaw and took care of them!  Hard work with a little saw….

That night we set off some fireworks which was fun….

We had fun with sparklers….

One of the fireworks that we got released a parachute after the actual firework!  How awesome is that…we ended up getting a few more for another night!

Fountain in the soccer field

Sparklers x4

Then we went into town where we watched the REAL fireworks….

I love watching fireworks…and for a small town the show was really good!

So pretty!

We ended the night with a little more sparkler fun….


Jake and Aleta

Lunch and Parade

Continuing on for the 4th of July (it is going to take me a LONG time to finally catch up!)….the local firemen hold a luncheon fundraiser that I look forward to all year!

But first we set up our chairs in our usual spot for the big parade (and by big I mean big for a town of 200!)

We got brats, hotdogs, beans, coleslaw, and sweet corn…it was delicious!

yes I do have a thing for ketchup 🙂

It was over 90 degrees outside…so a few cold pitchers of beer tasted good!

Bob and my mom got ice cream, and I got nervous when I saw chocolate cups that looked like mini Reese’s in the ice cream, but I quickly tried one and instead of peanut butter they were filled with raspberry!  Crisis averted…phew!

We watched some serious fishing go on…in the man made pond filled with fish!

My awesome parents!

Jake and Aleta

Bob did NOT want his picture taken….

But he finally relented!

We then meandered back to our parade watching spots and sweated it out for a bit until the parade started!

Bob sat by our bucket that we made into a target to try to entice the people in the parade to throw candy!  We left with the bucket half full which was very successful! (and enough tootsie rolls to last for a year…)

Love small town parades!  This cracked me up!

It was a great parade….lasted only about 20 minutes but thankfully it was short because it was SOO hot outside!

We cooled off in the afternoon and watched the Coney Island Hot Dog eating contest…and we cheered Joey Chestnut on to a victory yet again.  Good thing we ate our hot dogs before watching the contest…..

Poisson Sweepstakes

Bob and I were SO excited to be able to make a long weekend out of the 4th!  We headed up to the cabin and were looking forward to having an unheard of 5 days up there!

Wednesday morning we participated in one of my favorite 4th of July traditions…the Poisson Sweepstakes.  48 years ago, this swim across the lake was started by a couple who wanted their kids to be confident that they could swim to shore in case of emergency.

So we loaded up and were transported to the opposite side of the lake, where we jumped out and got ready to swim back to the dock.  I swam competitively through high school and in the past, this swim was just a nice warm up for me (it is about a half mile long).

It is not so much of a warm up at all anymore, and I was EXHAUSTED when I touched the dock in 5th place.  I guess each year is just going to get harder and harder…

Aleta took 2nd!

I was seriously struggling! And with my worst place ever I don’t have much hope for the future!

Jake did great as well!

Pops didn’t swim, but kept a great lookout on the boathouse!

Mom was pretty tired when she finished but swam well!

Bob was the only one smiling at the end!

The official finish!  They now have a timing system that prints out times for each place…pretty fancy!

It may not seem like a long way across….but I promise when you get in the middle of the channel it really feels like you are never going to get to the other side!

I guess Bob was a little tired….

There was record turnout which was awesome!  All of the proceeds from the t-shirts go to the library which is awesome!

The person who wins gets their name on the fish and one year I did win the 4th of July swim and was so excited…but then they did another race in August and someone beat my time so I think my chances of getting my name on here is pretty slim….

The crow is awarded to the person who finishes last!  (and hopefully no one in our family will ever win this!)

Jake and Aleta after the race….

Bob and I….I decided next year that we are going to have to train a bit because they do married couple scoring and we need to improve our times a bit!

Mom and I…they also do scoring based on parent-child and we typically do pretty well!

The whole group!

My dad was such a great photographer but happily handed the camera to me as soon as I climbed out of the water!  I absolutely LOVE traditions and this is one of the many that I hope to keep for years to come!

Sweet Harper

I met up with one of my good friends Bri, and her sweet (almost!) one-year-old Harper.  It was blazing hot outside but we went to the park to do a quick photoshoot.

She is seriously the happiest baby…but I learned quickly that taking pictures of a one-year-old is NOT easy!

There were lots of snacks involved….

Lots of loving…..

Some very STRONG looks….


Camera grabbing….

But most of all…adorable smiles!