The North Shore Reunion

We made some sweet family memories last weekend.

All of Jan’s family (except for our Matt) gathered at his brother’s cabins in northern Minnesota.


Grandpa, Grandma, uncles, aunts, and lots and lots of cousins.

Traveling from four different states for a few days of fun in the north woods.


Cousins that seldom see each other wasted no time in having epic adventures.

Climbing waterfalls.




Rock Climbing.



Wild blue berry picking.

And wild blue berry eating.


And a one-of-a-kind Purple Lupine Olympics that included a Grand Prix, pine cone toss, target shooting, and a fire starting contest.

The camp fire was always burning.

There were s’mores every night.




Too many marshmallows.

And sweet, sweet fellowship.


Hashtag Birthday

Birthday’s are made for surprises.

And Angel Girl is the hardest to surprise!

But this year – Pedro pulled it off!


It was the Thursday night before her birthday – and she suspecting nothing.

Pedro gathered up four cousins and they drove the two hours to our house stuffed in Pedro’s car.


They hid the car and planned the epic surprise.

Angel Girl got home from work, wondered why dad was grilling so many hamburgers, put down her water bottle in the kitchen, rounded the corner to the dining room and jumped out of her skin at the sight of Pedro and the cousins waiting for her!



They had a hilarious supper, followed by crazy dance moves in the driveway and a wild adventure to the abandoned house and low water crossing.

Poison ivy, bug bites, photo shoots, and much laughter.


They spent the night eating popcorn and rice krispie bars while watching old VHS movies that were favorites years ago.


And were up at first light to be on the road to make it back to the city to work.

A short night and a long drive.

But they had almost fourteen hours of jam-packed, fun-filled wonderfulness.


Happy 18th birthday Angel Girl!



The Force was with Them

What could be more exciting than watching the much anticipated new Star Wars movie over Christmas break?

Unless it was watching it with cousins.



Especially cousins in costumes.

A whole slew of cousins in epic costumes!


Everything from Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker to R2-D2.


Chewbacca and some Ewoks.

886368_10205378770646287_509271128307715090_oAnd Porkins and Biggs – two X-wing fighter pilots, just to name a few!


This wasn’t just a movie viewing – it was an epic event!


And yes – the force was with them!

Graduation Times Three

Eighteen years ago my oldest sister had a baby girl.

A few months later my youngest sister had a baby girl.

Then a few months later I had Pedro.

three cousinsThree cousins in 6 months.

They grew up together. Playing. Laughing. Pretending. Sharing toys and adventures.

Somebody joked that it would be a crazy spring when they all graduated!

It was.

Three different graduations.

Three different parties.

Three different towns.

Three different weekends.

cousinsThree close cousins who suddenly grew up.

Three unique and amazing kids who share so many zany memories.

Three very good reasons to celebrate!

Now go forth and conquer cousins!

We’re so proud of you!

The Pretty Princess and the Frog Legs

Look who came to visit Auntie Melinda!

DSC_0340 Our very special Anniekins! (and her four brothers!)

And since Anniekins is totally a girlie girl who loves high heels and sparkles, we spent a lot of time wearing princess dresses, reading princess stories, listening to Disney songs for hours, and playing with dolls.

At least we girls did. The guys did their own “man-stuff” (well, other than one little incident with some dress-up clothes that we got pictures of that I won’t post on line if they send me more chocolate but will totally be a part of some graduation videos someday soon! I prefer my chocolate really dark, boys!)

They spent their time jumping off roofs, having water gun wars, playing Zombie tag, and perfecting their survival skills.

Which of course, involved frog hunting. Thank you , Bear Grylls.

Their first attempt yielded one pathetic little frog.


Which  Andrew very carefully butchered and they cooked both bites of meat from the frog legs on my stove and ate them.

Then they ate massive amounts of pulled pork sandwiches and chips and finished off the cookies. So much for living off the land!

But they were determined and a later exhibition – that including sneaking over to borrow Grandpa’s fishing net in the middle of the night – yielded one nice big bullfrog.

Which they also cooked up and shared bites with any who wished to try it.


And – in a surprising twist of fate – Anniekins – who is definitely more of an ice cream and sprinkles kind of girl (heavy on the sprinkles please!) – took a taste and loved it! She grabbed the rest of one of the legs and picked it clean! But Grandpa – who grew up eating lutefisk and pickled herring – politely refused to try it.

And yes – I ate some! It tasted like fishy chicken in case you wondered.

And yes, I would eat it again – especially if it meant the guys didn’t try for bigger game. I’m not sure Auntie Melinda is ready for coon, or ‘possom, or even wood chuck!

And remember my darling nephews, I like my chocolate dark! 🙂