Friday, July 26, 2013

Minnesota Vacation!

Since I haven't posted anything for quite some time, 
you may have guessed that I was on vacation, and you are correct!

Greg & I went to Minnesota, as we do every summer, to see our families and get rehydrated!
It turns out we got some hydration before we even left Arizona!

This was taken as we were getting ready to land.
Look at all the zillions of lakes!

We landed at another teeny airport in Minnesota.
I could see cornfields and forest right from the plane!

The first neat animal I saw was this wild turkey!
Obviously we were moving and so was he.
Looks more like a roadrunner in this picture, but there aren't any roadrunners in Minnesota.

The first sunset we saw after landing in Minnesota

This year, we spent some time with Greg's Dad and Step-Mom first.
Then we drove up to Bemidji, where Greg grew up.
Then we spent some time with my family (Dad, Mom, brother, brother's wife, and niece) at my parents' cabin on Sauk Lake.

The view from my parents' deck!

In Bemidji, we got to see lots of Greg's relatives that we haven't seen for a few years.
His little cousins (triplets!) are 10 years old now, and they're just a funny as ever.
I commissioned McKenna to draw portraits of the guests at the party.

She brought me this after dinner:


I love this picture.  Too bad you don't know the people she drew, because these drawings carry quite a resemblance to the real people.  This picture makes me smile.

This is me! (My name isn't spelled right, 
but at least she knew my name after last seeing me when she was 6 or 7!)
Adorable!  She even made sure I have glasses and eyelashes!

I should have taken lots of pictures at the reunion, but somehow I didn't think about it.
I really like Greg's extended family.  Especially the younger generation.

Greg with his Mom

It rained a LOT on the way back from Bemidji.
I had some difficulty staying away, but I tried hard so I could be a good travelling companion for Greg! 

We picked up some groceries, and look what we missed:

Shoot!  Now I will never get the chance to win a blow up cow!

We also saw this weird fruit . . . 
have you heard of it before?

Some other sights along the way:

a Bald Eagle

A barn with no supports inside!
All the beams had fallen into a big pile of dust.
I loved how the inside of this structure was surprising!

A smiley-face water tower!

Cows in the road!

The black was was trying to urge the brown one back into the field.
I haven't ever seen a herd-cow before!

A cute little house in the small town near my parents' cabin.
It has a cute pointy roof, ivy, and a nice sidewalk right into town.
It seems as if someone scholarly might live there.

Then we got to the cabin and got to meet my little niece, Cora!
She is seven months old and very smart and adorable.
With her Grandma, wearing a pig beanie I crocheted for her.

Wearing a bear beanie I crocheted for her

Did'ja need a close-up of that cute little face?

Here you go!!!

With pretty Grandma

In her raincoat (not just a bib!) with a messy face

And Cosmo was at the cabin, too!

This little lifejacket is adorable (from a brand called "Outward Hound" - ha!), and 
it is appropriate - somehow last year, Cosmo fell in the lake off the pontoon boat.
Mark and Jillian looked back and saw him desperately trying to keep his head above water and looking at them like, "How could you leave me behind like this?!"

Mark & Jillian's bigger dog, Lilly, was also there.  
For some reason, the only non-blurry picture I have of her is this ear picture:

She has beautiful coloring.

My Dad's garden makes the most beautiful raspberries:

I couldn't eat them because of the Crohn's business . . . maybe next year.
But I enjoyed looking at them and smelling them.  They are gorgeous works of art!

Our first evening at the cabin, we went for a ride on the pontoon boat:
My handsome Dad, my brother Mark, and Mark's wife, Jillian

This year, kayaks were at the cabin for the first time, and we were eager to try them out!

So we put them on the front end of the pontoon boat and took them out into the deeper water,
so we could be closer to everyone else.

When we got near the little island in the middle of the lake, 
Greg and I took off in our teeny boats to explore!

It's very restful to kayak.  All boats are restful to some degree, I think, because of the water and the rocking, but kayaks and canoes are especially calming because the sound of the water is LOUD.  A kayak is plastic, so if there are any waves, they make a glurp sound on the bottom of the boat.  I like it!  And they can float in just a few inches of water!

It was getting windy, and immediately after this picture was taken, my wide-brimmed sun hat blew off into the lake!  Greg rescued it for me. (Thanks, honey!)  I had the same problem all week with the hat's wide brim.  I typically have been able to find cloche-style hats that fit closer to my head while still blocking my eyes from the sun, but this year, the only hats available were wide-brimmed 70s styles and fedoras (which I despise).  I was so perturbed by the hat blowing into the lake multiple times that I placed an order for this little darling before we even left the cabin.

Item picture

Thanks, Jillian, for letting me buy exactly the same hat as you . . . 
which means I have tried it on and I know it fits my pin-sized head!

The sunset was beautiful that evening:

Most afternoons, we took the pontoon boat out into the middle of the lake, armed with floaties, snacks, drinks, and the JetSki.

Here's Mark, flexing his big biceps:

My Mom was kind enough to watch Cora so that Mark & Jillian could enjoy the water and sun.
But she also doesn't mind playing with her Grand-daughter!
Grandma and Cora in the pool!

Here is my cute Mom, peeking through the leaves!

On Thursday evening, I sat on the dock for a while, listening to the birds saying goodnight.

These particular birds wanted some snacks!
Of course, I obliged them; I love ducks!

I like to dangle my feet in the water.
And it was breezy enough that the mosquitoes weren't biting.
Neither were the fishies!

Me + my iced tea!

My Mom came out to join me . . . 

The almost-full moon started to shine for us 
see the cute little birdie in the tree?

 And the pelicans on their sandbar got ready for their evening party.

Soon, the clouds began to roll in . . . 

YouTube link

And it got pretty dark!

 That night, we had a big storm with rain, wind, and hail!
Later, there was a lot of lightning!

On Saturday before we left, Greg and Mark tried out the special t-shirts I gave them for Christmas.

Greg started with "Iron Man":

Then Mark whipped out his shirt and played the drums:

This is the amp that came with Greg's guitar t-shirt

Then we gave Cora a chance!


Greg was able to spend quite a bit of time noodling around on the guiter

My Mom works really hard to get all the food planned out and organized for these weeks at the cabin.  THANK YOU, MOM!
And THANK YOU, Dad for getting groceries and making food (especially the dee-licious Rice Krispie bars for me!) and getting the kayaks all polished up and clean and ready for us, and for making the lawn pretty and doing all sorts of other things to make our stay idyllic.


I made it especially difficult for everyone food-wise this year with trying to keep to a mostly low-residue (and gluten-free!) diet . . . but we still cooked over an open fire!

I even had s'mores.

Greg cooking hot dogs and looking hot himself

After all that beauty, you must be wondering if there's anything bad about Minnesota at all!

Well . . . yes.  BUGS.

Every morning, there are brand-new HUGE spider webs all over everything.
I don't know how they do it all so quickly!
This is a new sort of spider I haven't seen before.
Gird your loins for this gross-ness: when my Dad tried to brush one of these bad boys off the table with his hat, the spider burst!

I have been looking around online to see if I could figure out what this spider is called, but I didn't find her.
Do any of you know?

I also saw a long-jawed orb weaver on the pontoon boat minding her web.

After researching the spiders, I feel quite itchy.
It's not as if Arizona doesn't have scary creatures, too . . . but they seem shyer and less common, for the most part.

Of course, it's always good to get home after any trip.  This one was the first travelling I've done since this most recent bout of fatigue and since I have been dealing with the Crohn's business, so it was more challenging.  That stinks.

Thanks to my family for letting me sit around in a stupor when I needed to recharge and for being kind and patient with me.

On Sunday, we got to visit a church that felt very much like home to us.
It was held in a middle school, and it was small, relevant, and friendly,

I saw this posted in the hallway and wished every school would get on board with serving FOOD to students instead of crap.

These little faces made us happy to get home:


And then I ran into this at SuperTarget the next day and was even happier!

Gluten-free, low-residue, fewer calories than plain peanut butter and SO MUCH YUMMIER!