Deep Woods and Grand Adventures!

It was just what we needed.

A few days with the kids on the North Shore in Minnesota.

Epic adventures through the deep woods.

On and off the trail.

Smelling the pine woods.

Climbing rocks.

Bonfires every night.

S’mores.

Picnics.

Waterfalls.

Swinging bridges.

Rock cliffs.

Warm days.

Cool nights.

 

 

Lake Superior in all it’s beauty and power.

And quiet.

Hammocks.

Loons.

A cabin in the woods.

Games.

Snacks.

Late nights.

Photo shoots.

Silliness.

Laughter.

The whole family together.

Perfect.

 

 

The Great Eclipse Adventure of 2017

Since my only experience with a solar eclipse was a partial one in 6th grade when I couldn’t get my cardboard eclipse viewer to work and never actually saw anything, I will admit that I wasn’t very excited about the this week’s big eclipse.

But when my sister asked if we would like to adventure with them to see it, I said, “Sure – why not!” I wasn’t expected to actually see anything, but a road trip with her is always fun!

We had a vague plan in place. Meet at my house. Bring food. Drive south to a spot in totality. Perfect.

But Eclipse Day dawned overcast and rainy. We consulted long and hard over several maps and weather forecasts before deciding to head toward Fall City, Nebraska which was in the epicenter of totality.

(Which is a word I have never used in my life until now – but one I used frequently that day – and have already used twice in this post!)

It remained overcast and we drove in and out of rain during our two hour drive. But the kids played “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and every other song from their playlists with “sun” in them to keep our spirits up.

We may have gotten lost temporarily – but we eventually found the party at Fall City just in time for the eclipse to begin.

And for the clouds to settle in.

When it stated to sprinkle, my brother-in-law pointed to a patch of blue sky in the distance and said, “Let’s find it! We won’t see anything here!”

So we jumped in the van with our free eclipse glasses (thank you Fall City Chamber of Commerce!) and started our afternoon of eclipse chasing.

We would drive around for several minutes until someone spotted the sun, then we would pile out of the van on the side of the road and check out the progress with our free glasses.

When the clouds moved in, we would move on. Piling back in the van and heading off in another direction to repeat the procedure.

We were in the middle of a random gravel road somewhere west of Fall City when the eclipse reached totality.

It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Beyond anything I could have imagined.

Standing there in darkness and seeing the sun rise all around us.

Our kids were dancing around the gravel in the sheer joy of the moment. Okay – I might have danced a little, too!

A few minutes later it was over and the moon started to move on.

And with it the clouds, leaving us a beautifully sunny afternoon to watch the moon slowly pass by.

Which we did. In awe and amazement.

We were finally able to try out all the viewing methods that hadn’t work well with the cloud cover.

Like the pinhole.

And it worked!

One of the kids observed that after seeing a total eclipse of the sun – anything else we did the rest of the day would be anti-climatic.

It was.

We made a quick stop at Indian Caves State Park and then snacked our way back home – getting stuck in the hundreds of cars all trying to get across the Missouri River.

And of course we got ice cream.

Because no adventure is complete without ice cream!

 

And this is one adventure that we will never forget.

Once in a lifetime.

Absolutely amazing.

 

Flying By…

Is it just me or did June fly by?!

Wasn’t Memorial Day just yesterday? And now we’re planning July 4th activities!

I can’t believe we’ve already celebrated Anna’s birthday with presents and family and cheesecake!

 “Cheesecake Gobble gobble Cheesecake, Gobble Gobble cheesecake. Cheesecake!”

And Father’s Day.

Which began with a boomerang on the roof, progressed to a kite in the farm pond and ended with bottle rockets and Roman candles.

I’ve spent hours digging out the garden and was surprised to see plants! Real vegetables growing despite the unconventional planting and absolute neglect!

It’s a miracle!

Nate’s band had their first big concert! They did a great job and drew a really nice crowd!

Look at him playing the electric guitar!

And just imagine the great story it will be if they ever get famous and can say their first big concert was on the stage behind Frosty Trete Ice Cream in Bedford, Iowa!

My parents came for the concert and stayed for a visit. We played games, went shopping and had a great auction adventure!

Two of my sisters came for a day! We filled it with talk and laughter and games and shopping.

And eating out. Of course.

I shivered in sweatshirts, sweated in tank tops and huddled in the basement waiting for the storm to pass.

I’ve hung loads of wet laundry in the sunshine and taken them in smelling of fresh air and blue sky.

And was awestruck by the site of billions of fireflies – like twinkle lights bedazzling the sky as far as the eye can see – shining so bright it was hard to see where the stars ended and the fireflies began.

I’ve heard the bobwhite quail, read books, and visited multiple greenhouses.

I’ve laughed at antics of adolescent chickens.

And repeatedly stepped over the baby kitties who have decided to live on the back step.

So much life was lived in the last month!

I guess that’s where June went – in big events, special moments, quiet joys, and the wonder that is found in every day life – if we look for it.

 

My Visit to the Farm

My two year old great nephew came to visit this week with his parents and baby brother. Here’s a look at his visit from his eyes…

My Visit to the Farm

By Dawson

I liked to go to Aunt Melinda’s farm.

I got to pet the baby kitties and touch a chicken.

I got to feed them, too! They really like muskmelon seeds and watermelon rinds!

Did you know that chickens run around in circles?

And they laid an egg in the coop.

Uncle Jan has many, many cows. And they really do say moo!

They are big. But I am brave when daddy carries me.

Uncle Jan has real tractors that I could sit on and pretend to plant corn and peas and spaghetti!

I like to sit on the mower, too.

And the 4 wheeler.

We took a walk to the big pond and saw lots of cows.

Bullfrogs made a funny sound and some jumped in the water and made big splashes!

I threw lots of rocks in the water. They made big splashes, too!

 

I liked to swing on the swing and chase the soccer ball all over the yard and slide down the slide.

i really liked playing with Aunt Melinda’s toys!

Especially the barn and the tractor and the Fisher Price toys.

We played and played until we heard another Amish buggy drive by on the road.

Then I would remember all the fun things outside and we put my shoes on and went back out to do it all over again!

My little brother had lots of fun, too!

We had so much fun at Uncle Jan and Aunt Melinda’s that I cried and cried when we had to go home.

I can’t wait to come back!

Angel Girl’s Big Adventure

Angel Girl had a pretty epic adventure over Spring Break.

She saved her money and bought a plane ticket to Hawaii.

Yep, Hawaii. Land of sunshine, pineapples, palm trees and miles of breathtaking ocean views.

And…. her good friend Grace who is studying there.

The two girls wasted no time!

They toured the Dole Plantation.

Hiked up Diamond Head.

Spent time at Pearl Harbor.

Drank tons of coffee.

Good coffee.

Ate fancy foods in fun places.

And sent us drool-worthy pictures.

They spent hours at the beach.

Swimming.

Watching the surf.

Sitting in the sun.

Relaxing.

And taking artsy pictures with perfectly manicured nails.

Spending every second soaking up the sunshine and time together before they had to say goodbye.

Then she boarded the flight home – sun soaked and tired with sand and salt still in her hair.

Already planning the next trip.

Aloha.