Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First Day of Kindergarten!

"Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way."
-Dr. Suess

Our family woke up bright and early this morning to send Cece off on her way to her first day of kindergarten. We had a big family breakfast (French toast and farina with applesauce), put on shiny new shoes, packed a lunch, took some quick pictures, and then dropped Cece off to embark on her education.

I started regularly writing this personal blog about five years ago now and have loved having a place to record and share our family life. (And then be able to go back and relive it!)

 It really all started with Cece  and our adventures together during the day. Some days they would be big (road trip to Chicago!) and some days they would be small ( road trip to the Target dollar section!)

I knew on some distant day in the future that I would be sending off a school age kiddo to kindergarten, but I can't believe that day is already here.

Cece, you've added so much light and brightness to my life. Sometimes I think I dreamed you into existence. And I realize that's can't be true because I couldn't have dreamed up a daughter as wonderful as you are. Even though I don't feel it always shows, being your mom and being home with you for the past five years has made me a better person.

 I hope you love school. I hope you come home excited to tell me about the kids in your class, your teacher, and what you learned that day. I hope you always love "arting" and reading and going to bed with a pile of books even when we tell you it's time to sleep. I hope that even when things are hard, you always tell me and we can work through it together. I also hope that I don't get nearly so emotional and weepy  every new school year. (Because, seriously, this is ridiculous.) I wish you a spectacular day and a fantastic school year and I absolutely can't wait to hear how it all went!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ren Fest 2016

Over the weekend we put on our flower crowns and  got a chance to partake in our favorite end-of-summer tradition... The Minnesota Renaissance Festival! How do you even pick a favorite part? It's all the things we love...  knights, jousting, mermaids and fairies (because those are totally part of history), performers of all sorts, and the occasional turkey leg, of course. 

This year, Cece got pulled on stage to be one of the tiny troubadours. I'm glad she gave it a try even though she was nervous at first. See her in the corner playing the triangle?

If you can't tell, the girls and I found the mermaid cove to be absolutely captivating. It never gets old. We may have entered the line three times to visit the mermaids and receive gifts of gems. (By the third visit, I had Joe go on without me so I could go eat a blooming onion by myself... See? Something for everyone.) Also, I loved how we had to tell Rosie to stop petting the mermaids tail so we could get a photo.

We visited the Princess Court where the girls could dress up (although both opted not to. Cece insisted on wearing my skating dress from the 1998 ice show... I mean, you really can't compete with that kind of vintage ensemble : )

Also, Cece decided that her heart's desire this year was to try out the big trampoline. What's more fun than watching your first-born voluntarily get catapulted into the air?

The answer is watching your two-year-old also get catapulted because you gotta do everything that your big sister does!

It's not a true festival day without pony rides!

Or archery.


Oh yes, and the juggling and breathing of fire also cannot be skipped.

We met a variety of characters on the street including this wind-up mechanical man.

The girls insisted on riding the enormous rocking horse. Who were we to stop them?

I'm glad to say that we did manage one family photo from the day... sitting on the throne of swords. To be framed, no?


Sherwood Forest and Fairy Wing forest proved magical as always. (Even through walking with little ones over the forest terrain always stresses me out a little)

After about four years of Renaissance Festival visits, we FINALLY managed to see a live joust to end the day. While eating ice cream. I'm sure that's how spectators used to do it back in the day. It was very clangy and bangy, but still fun!

I think the most amazing part of the day is that we were at the fest for about six hours and the girls (without naps) held it together and had such a great time! No naps, but also no meltdowns of any kind. Not when it rained a little bit ("Oh, it's just a little Scottish weather!") or when we had to hike for miles in the mud to get to and from our car, or even when we had to leave a fun event.

Thank you to my family for such a wonderful day and to all of the fantastic people who continue to put on such an entertaining  festival. We may be back again before the season is over!
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Remembering Grandma Geneva

I've had the privilege of knowing Grandma Geneva for about 11 years. And although I've known her for much less time than her own kids and grandkids, I still feel broken-hearted and deeply saddend by her passing this week.

Although the details of her life have been recorded here, I need to make it clear how bomb she was. I am going to miss her greatly, but I will always be inspired by her.  As the matriarch of a huge family (six children, 24 grandchildren, and 33 great-grand children) she still always managed to make everyone feel special and welcomed, no matter the circumstances or size of the crowd on any given day. (This is no small feat. I can barely remember the names of my own two children some days.)

Even when I was super new to the family (and nervous!), she would always chat me up with smiles and kindness and ask me about what was going on in my life. Being a couple states away from my own parents and grandparents, it meant a lot to be accepted so warmly.  I loved seeing how much she enjoyed life and adored her family, always attending events (from weddings to first birthday parties) and giving the most thoughtful gifts. (Jars of homemade salsa were among our favorites and the handmade baby blankets will forever be treasured.)

I am inspired not only by her unwavering love for her family, but also the beautiful 60-year partnership she shared with Joe's grandpa. They did everything together and radiated happiness while doing so. I feel blessed to have witnessed what that kind of companionship looks and the legacy of love it leaves behind. Those are true relationship goals. 

My own grandma passed away two years ago and I hope she and Geneva can bump into each other in heaven and chat it up (and brag about all of their grandkids, of course). 

Saying goodbye is so difficult and painful, but I'm doing my best to remember that we are so lucky to have had someone in our lives that makes goodbye so hard.

We will remember and love you always, Grandma Geneva.

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