25 July 2008

Happy Birthday Bun

Hi Pepper. Remember when this blog was all about you? Ahh, the good old days. Right?


Look how wise and relaxed you look. You understand.

Pepper recently had to go to the vet. I warned them that she can be grumpy about inspections of her personal self. So they went and put on their armpit-length leather gauntlets, just to be safe. In the meantime, Pepper is snuggling a beach towel and sniffing cautiously. Obviously ferocious. They pick her up with the leather gauntlets, she snuggles into their chest. She goes to sleep. Hmmm, I said, apparently she is only grumpy about MY inspections of her personal self. They decide she needs a bath. Um, I say nervously, maybe you should wear some eye protection? But five minutes later, there's Pepper in a bath,practically cooing and smiling while they doted on her. Well!

Pepper, seven years, and do I really know you at all? You still surprise me.

21 July 2008

Happy Campers

Happy Camper Family

We had quite a weekend, camping our hearts out at Interstate State Park (Wisconsin side). We arrived at dinner time on Friday, set up camp, and began making my Mexican feast for dinner: dutch-oven chicken enchiladas and tin foil nachos. Ole! But what is this? A real Mexican is camping with us? Oops. Well, the (Mexican) friend of a friend joining us got a good laugh out of my fiesta. Thank goodness I left the zombrero at home (due to space constraints).

We had a bit of a rough night, partly due to Bella being an overtired lunatic and partly due to the people in the next campsite. Let me give you a hint: You might be a redneck if.... you bring more than 2 dogs camping, you have so many kids that you need to bring 3 tents, and you like to shout at both dogs/kids while chopping firewood that you're going to "cut their noses off." But, as I lay listening to all the shouting and barking and chopping and tent-stake-pounding-in at 11:30 PM, I thought smugly to myself, "What goes around comes around, assholes. I will unleash my no-volume-control toddler on you at the break of dawn!" But I ended up getting no satisfaction, since they were up at the break of dawn chopping firewood on my head (I'm fairly sure it was on my head. Otherwise, how could it have been so loud?).

The next morning Bella was so excited to open a special camping treat:

Bella loves her new tent toy

She loves it so much that even at home she wants to sleep with the little dolls.

Then it was off on our first geo-cache hike! Which was pretty much a normal hike, except in the middle, five of the adults disappear and root around in the woods. Brent finally found the cache, which was disguised as a big rock!

Emma and Bella on a hike

Brent finds the geocache!!

Then it was weenie roasting time and then a quick run to the St. Croix Falls espresso bar, then swimming on a nice sandy beach, then pouring POURING buckets of gushing rain. The ranger drove around saying there was a possibility of evacuation. So we did what every good camper does when it rains... we all got in our minivans and went to see Space Chimps!!

After the movie it had cleared up and it just happened to be time for the St. Croix Falls parade.

Waiting for Wannigan Parade in St. Croix Falls, WI

We had a much nicer night the second night--I flashed my flashlight at the site next door in annoyance, and after that they all jumped in their trucks and left for a while. Huh. We stayed up late around the campfire, then woke up and had pancakes and sausages and packed up camp before heading on a beautiful bluff hike.

The whole gang on the trail

That picture looks crowded but is actually only 9 out of the 15 of us! Oh and I almost forgot to mention the craziest part... we all have the same minivan!! So if you have a Toyota Sienna and want to join the camping club, let me know!

09 July 2008

Up North

I would like all you anti-global warming people to take a look at this. A nice fourth of July picnic.

A perfect day for a picnic

Is that little girl wearing a parka? A down parka? Why yes! Yes she is! Because it's FREEZING out. A perfect day for a Minnesota picnic? Apparently. Dad found a hiking trail near this picnic site (which we took the boat to) and Bella enjoyed hiking for about 12 feet before needing to be piggy-backed. That warmed me right up, hiking with a 25 lb piggy on my back! Bella fell asleep sitting up in the boat on the ride home.

We had a jolly old time up north taking boat rides, playing at the beach, eating ice cream, and having our (Bella's, of course) every desire be granted by Nana and G'pa. Here we are for Brent's "Half Birthday" Dinner (my parents celebrate in July because it is more convenient):

Happy family up north

The cake was red velvet and was delicious. I plan on finding a recipe to try it out soon.

And a perfect of illustration of doting grandparents: Bella wanted to play with bubbles, but Nana forgot to pack the bubbles, so Gpa made bubble solution and a wire bubble wand.

Gpa's homemade bubbles

And one of my favorite parts about the lake, boating to get ice cream! Bella didn't like to get splashed, so she was usually telling Gpa to go slower. Here's a video of us on a boatride to get ice cream:

Bella didn't manage to stay up for the fireworks, which were shot off over the bay on Saturday. My parents and I got driven away by the mosquitoes anyway.

Fireworks on Lake Vermilion

Heading back to the cabin

On Monday I left Bella napping in a wagon under a pine tree and headed out with a friend to the local quilt shop. I fell in love with the Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt they had on display (similar to this one). However, with New Years Resolution 2008 ringing in my ears, I resisted purchasing a new project! Except for a pattern and some fabric to make toddler pants. I guess that counts. Shoot.

The 4-hour drive home on Tuesday was a doozy. Bella was restless and grumpy and Brent had already driven home, so no one to entertain her. We stopped at a park in Cloquet to get some wiggles out and have a snack. Bella must have noticed that I was longing for Brent to be with us, because she cheerfully pointed out that a daddy right next to us had on "cute pants and a cute shirt."

Another fourth of July up north, full of fun and memories and ice cream, the stuff childhood is made of.