Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fun on the Fourth

The 4th of July was spent with Collin's "godfamily," the Bartch's, enjoying some grilling and good old fashioned backyard fun! After being well rested from naptime and a mellow morning at home, we headed to Plymouth for the afternoon.
We started out with a belated birthday gift (left) for Zack's 3rd birthday. This gift was entirely from Collin to Zack. We asked Collin what he wanted to give Zack for his birthday and then just let him think about it. About a minute later he had decided on "cheese sticks and a potty book". So, armed with an icepack to keep the cheese sticks cold and a potty book that makes flushing sounds, that is indeed what Zack got for his birthday! The mind of a 2 1/2 year old....

After catching up on that "holiday" it was time for the 4th to officially begin. The boys showed off their various sports skills playing golf, shooting baskets, pitching and kicking soccer balls and taking turns at batting practice for their future Twins careers....well maybe not anytime soon.

Of course, then there is food. Snacks were enjoyed by the boys and margaritas by the adults. Kiley found her hand quite delicious, but once whipped cream came out on top of the dessert that was her favorite. "Beer can chicken" on the grill kept the adults content.

This photo compliments of
"The Bartsch Beat" blog...
(You don't have a copyright, do you Katie?)

After dinner somehow an impromptu wrestling match started and both Zack and Collin took turns tackling, tickling and trampling everyone around them!

Darin versus Collin and Zack in a handicap match...then it is Doug's turn!

Ms. Kiley took a little more laid back and ladylike approach and spent her time examining the world around her...often with her mouth if you weren't watching closely enough. just for landscaping anymore...

Thanks to the Bartsch's for a great, laid back, family-friendly 4th!

Friday, July 10, 2009

It ain't over 'til it's over...

Since our actual 12 year wedding anniversary occurred during the family camping trip, we did decide to take a little time for "just the two of us" on the Monday that we returned, postponing the workweek and reality until Tuesday.

As Collin enjoyed being reunited with his daycare friends, Doug and I enjoyed the Titanic exhibit at the Science Museum in St. Paul and the chance to linger at the various displays just like we had done in the early years of our marriage. I just don't think Collin would have found it very entertaining...the few toddlers that were present definitely did not seem impressed...In fact, I gave one of the audio remotes we had rented there to a grandmother who mistakenly thought that bringing her very young grandson was a good idea...He clearly needed something to do. We saw them again from time to time as we walked around the museum the rest of the day and I was happy to see him playing blissfully with the buttons on the remote, seeming much more content.

We could not be in St. Paul without some time on Grand Avenue, so the rest of our precious afternoon was spent with a leisurely lunch and window shopping. Dixie's on Grand provided fabulous, spicy southern style food and great drinks. The rest of Grand Avenue also gave us plenty to look at and enjoy.
A great final celebration to another great year of marriage!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

S'mores and more...

The last weekend in June we headed for a family camping trip about 45 minutes north of Grand Rapids. Although the weather did not cooperate entirely, it was still a great trip.

We arrived early Friday evening after the long drive. As Doug and I worked on the tent and random unpacking tasks, Collin enjoyed running around in this totally secluded environment and seeing all the camping items that we don't normally use at home. He surprised me (and I think also himself) when he discovered he could climb into the back of the truck by stepping on the boat trailer and hitch. This (left) is how I found him after I had been distracted for a couple minutes with the tent.

We enjoyed the usual camping goodies: bonfires, s'mores, breakfast cooked over a fire in cast iron pans, fishing and fireflies.
It rained quite a bit at night, but the tent held up nicely and there was no reason to abandon the trip. Some mist followed us late morning on Saturday, but not enough to stop us from fishing...we just added another layer and hit the lake! Soon after, the sun came out for an enjoyable day.

Sunday was packing day, and although it was quite windy it was calm by the dock so we did fit in some swimming before we left for home.

The thing that we enjoy most about camping here compared to other sites is that you really are alone with nature. It is a campsite, not a campgrounds so there are no other campers. The "amenities" are few and far between and include an outhouse and a very old cabin that is mostly storage and a shelter in case of heavy rains. There are some private cabins surrounding the lake, but the occupants also seem interested in their own privacy and quiet fishing on the beautiful lake. There is no reason to contend with water sports enthusiasts or people on a boating joyride. Although we enjoy those things too, sometimes it is best to just enjoy being on the water in a more peaceful way.
We look forward to S'mores and more in the future!