Friday, August 22, 2014

Minnesota Trip #3: Happenings

I have finally reached the final post of our Minnesota trip! It only took me a week to complete this. I'm not so good at blogging consistently.

I've broke these posts into 3 categories: Anniversary, Family Time, and finally "Happenings".

Instead of writing a book of all the fun we had, I am going with a bullet-point approach. It's Friday. Brain is fried and attention span is not so fantastic.

Here are a few of my favorite things of the trip:

  • Waking up every single morning to views of the lake. Does it get better than this?!:

  • Morning runs. Most days I did a 5 mile route that goes on a road behind the lake, and then another road through corn fields. After being stuck in the desert for the past 6 years....seeing all that green was rejuvenating.
  • Lots of coffee enjoyed while looking at the lake.....
  • One morning Ryan & I headed to Glendalough State Park. If you're ever in Ottertail County - I highly recommend checking this out! There's a nice 5.5 mile paved path that loops through forests and around 3 different lakes. Forgot to take pictures - but it was gorgeous!
  • Swimming with my nieces & nephews. Last time I swam with my nephews - I could throw them around. Now? They were throwing me around and pushing me off the rafts! Next summer, they'll be doing this to Ryan, I am sure! ;)
  • Several evenings we went on boat rides where I would read and look at the lake more, while Ryan fished.
  • One of the evenings my Mom came out with us. After the sun went down - we were surrounded by probably 20 loons! It was incredibly serene and beautiful....
(it's hard to see, but the little black dots are loons)
  • Ryan, Mom, & I rented kayaks one of the days - and spent the whole afternoon tooling around the lake.

  • My brothers smoked a pig for our family reunion. WARNING: If you are a vegetarian for animal reasons...don't look below. It's a bit gory ;). I have to say it was delicious!
This vacation gave me exactly what I was hoping for! Spending time with family filled the little hole in my heart. And being on the lake recharged my mental battery. We returned home feeling restored and happy! Thank you, Mom & Dad for graciously hosting us. And thank you, Minnesota!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Minnesota Vacation #2: Family time

The utmost highlight of this trip was family. And I'm not just saying that because the only people that probably really read this blog are my family. ;) I mean this with the utmost honesty.

I have to say we were quite successful in seeing as many family members we could possible squeeze in during our short time home.

  1. All 5 of my siblings were at the lakes for the weekend. Plus spouses. Plus their children. Which makes a happy bunch of 18!!!!! My mom hired a photographer to come out and take photos. And although photos can make us groan in agony (especially the men) - I am so glad she did this. It's not very often we got that many people in one place at one time!
  2. Saturday my Mom invited her siblings to her house for a get-together. She came from a family of 8 children, so as you can imagine - that can make for a large group! We had a grand total of 36 people at that gathering, and it was awesome. Most of that side of the family Ryan and I haven't seen since our wedding, so it was so awesome to catch up with them.
  3. Friday & Saturday Ryan's Mom and his step-dad came out to spend time with us! They fit in with our family seamlessly. I am very blessed to have in-laws that I get along with so well.
  4. Tuesday Ryan and I headed to Wahpeton, ND to have lunch with my Grandma. We got to see her new apartment and it was wonderful to get some one-on-one time with her. Growing up in a big family, "one-on-one" time is rare - so this was awesome. My Grandma is an amazing women. In her 90's she still exercises 6 days/week, and it's nearly impossible to find someone to beat her in scrabble. I pray I've inherited her genes!
  5. Tuesday & Wednesday my Mom came out and stayed with us. Again, one-on-one time is rare, it was really nice to get some down time with her. Unfortunately, my dad was only able to stay out Sunday night - but our time catching up with them is priceless. We had so much fun!
  6. We also got some SERIOUS play time, swimming time, and snuggle time with our nieces and nephews. This time I hold so close to my heart. It is so much fun to watch their personalities grow, and get to know each of them better every time we see them. Seeing how fast they grow made my heart pine to move closer to home......
I never seem to take enough pictures....but here are a few snapshots!

This is me with my niece Anna! She is full of energy and stories - and is such a little fish! That girl could swim and swim and swim. I, too, was like that as a little girl - and a big girl. ;)

Ryan and Dad out on the boat! Ryan is sporting a fishing hat of my Dad's that my Mom is not a fan of. It is quite a practical hat, I must say. Sunday evening we set out for a boat ride with a pitcher of gin & tonics. The men did a little fishing, and Mom and I enjoyed the sunshine...

This is our sweet niece (and God-daughter), Evelyn. She is such a good baby!! While we were there, she was so close to figuring out how to crawl! I would not be surprised if she isn't crawling by now!
This is Ryan, Grandma, & I on her porch. It was so fun to catch up with this beautiful woman I look up to so much!

Ryan and his Mom re-united!

This is my nephew (and God-son) Kolin out on the paddle boat fishing! All my nephews are quite the fishermen - they take after their Dad's! Ryan would go out on the dock to fish, and within minutes - he'd have a crew of nephews by his side fishing too. It was too cute!

My sister Lisa and I! This weekend went way too fast (as always) - and I feel like we didn't get quite enough time to catch up. Our Sunday morning run got rained out, but we will be making that up next time :)
My Mom and I! It was fun to relax with her after her busy weekend of entertaining. I love the sign behind us - it is so true....

Whenever we visit, I have strong desires to move back. But I do have to say, that moving away from family has truly made me learn the value of time spent with the one's you love. I really try to make every second count - as when I lived close to them, I took these "lake weekends" for granted. Saying goodbye always brings me to tears - but this time it wasn't so bad, since I know I'll be seeing them in 4 months!!