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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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Monkey Run!


Over the weekend, Joe ran his third (I think?) race of the season and Cece participated in her first mud run! Maybe it's the Olympics that has gotten to me, but I felt so very proud of both of them. Joe might as well have been taking a walk in the park instead of doing a 10K obstacle course and Cece didn't get squeamish about the mud or back down from any of the obstacles.

 Below are a few photos from the day.


Joe ran the race with Jake, Cece ran with Penny. Emily and I carried all of the stuff around, and Jack and Rosie really enjoyed playing in the mud.


One of the obstacles from the grown-up race. Very Ninja Warrior!


Penny and Cece warming up and stretching pre-race... afterall, no one wants a pulled hammy.


And then they were off! I didn't see them for about a half mile until they got close to the finish line.




 She finished strong and got a medal!


Honestly, what can feel better than standing on the podium with your girlfriend?
Congrats again to these awesome little girls! (And congrats to the fellas of course who ran their race and then accompanied the girls for theirs.)

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I'm on a boat!


After a morning of shopping and eating in Stillwater, the birthday fun continued on a cruise on the St. Croix! We had a dinner of BBQ ribs and got to enjoy sitting on the different decks, taking in the view, and looking out for mermaids, of course.

(This is not a photo of the boat we were on because I had forgotten to take one... but I think it probably looked similar to the one that was in front of us.)


This photo turned out really pink-ish, and I liked it so much that I'm just letting it stay that way, even though this is not the true colors of the boat.





Comin' through! Gotta raise up the bridge.



Gotta check below for mermaids too.


I love Robbyn and Cece together. That's all.


Lovely ladies enjoying the sea breeze!



 The girls were a little antsy and squirrel-y, but I'm still glad they came with and also that the weather was perfect to be out for a couple hours. And Rosie looks quite happy, you would never know that she ended up in timeout on the boat...


Once more, I am so very thankful for all of the birthday wishes from EVERYONE over the past couple days. I'm also tremendously thankful for my family and friends who celebrated with me and made me feel so loved. Thirty feels fantastic so far!

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This is 30!


My twenties are a thing of the past! If the last couple days are any indication of how this next decade is going to go, I say bring it. (Though I may need to pencil in more naps for myself...) My mom, sister, my mom's friend Denise and her daughter Jessica all came up to Minnesota/Wisconsin to visit my brother and I for Michael's 21st and my 30th birthday over the weekend. The first photo above was from my first night out with everyone at The Craftsman


(Eek! My food still had a face on it. SO GOOD.)

Michael was working and kindly sent a few extra appetizers and desserts our way. So delicious... please go if you haven't been!


On my actual birthday, I requested a morning in Stillwater, which is probably the most adorable town in the state of Minnesota. 





The girls and I started out the morning at Mara- Mi and shared a cupcake and I got a iced coconut latte... Fancy, right? We then met our group of ladies for a morning of perusing the shops. (I'm pretty sure Joe was glad to be at work for this part of the day, haha.)


We had a delicious lunch at Nacho Mama. We got to eat outside while Rosie took a stroller snooze and  I got to totally enjoy my birthday tacos.

 I also need to add that my dress was a gift from Joe and the girls. I love, love, love when they buy me clothes because they have great taste and they get so excited to dress me up!


 

Just a few pics above from some of the shops. Again, the stores are adorable and all of the displays/merchandising are just fabulous and almost make me want to go back to working retail. Almost.


After shopping we came back to our house (so Robbyn could see it for the first time!) and we shared some coffee and birthday cake that Joe and the girls baked for me. We forgot to get a picture of it before it was cut, oops! But it was definitely delicious (I also love how you can see Olaf waving "hi" from the center!). 

Post cake, we went on a dinner cruise, but that will be the next blog post ; )

I loved this morning because it was reminiscent of  when we lived in Chicago near 79th and Pulaski. For our birthdays, we would walk to Ford City with our mom, shop, have lunch (I would always end up with a new book) and then see a movie complete with Icees and theater snacks. It was always memorable, especially that one time when all of that shopping induced labor and my brother was born the next day!

After all these years, not much has changed and I still just want to hang out with my family, squeeze in a good meal, get my hands on a new book, and enjoy the end of summer while celebrating. August birthday are sort of the best ; )

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Beachable Moments


Greetings from the beach! Over the weekend we packed 50 bags or so for a couple hours of fun in the sun in Hudson. This is one of my favorite days from this summer so far. We started off the morning with a playground visit and then decided that there was no better day for an impromptu trip to the beach since the weather was essentially perfect.

 After spending a couple hours on the beach, we got ice cream from Dairy Queen. (Every perfect summer day must include ice cream). Post ice cream, the girls fell asleep in the car so we drove around a bit of the countryside, looking at land, fancy houses, and horses and cows. We even stopped at a stand for some sweet corn and peaches. We got a lot accomplished around the house, grilled steak  and our newly acquired corn for dinner, and ended the day with another playground trip near our house,









At the beach, Rosie was actually pretty hesitant about getting in the water (I think the waves freaked her out, but she warmed up to the idea of getting wet after she saw some ducks.) Cece frolicked as only a Cece can frolic in the water and then everyone settled in the sand to make a castle which then turned into a volcano.

I've mentioned this before, but boy, pool days and beach days with small kids are so much work. I do know that some day I'll have less on my plate, less in my arms, and not nearly as much to carry and I'll look back and reminisce about chubby legs in bathing suits, kids who smell like sunscreen, and sand in every imaginable place and think "Those were the days!" Because they are. Really. The best days.

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