Friday, July 29, 2011

Annual Maple Lake weekend

Each summer, our family looks forward to our annual weekend at Maple Lake with the Matherns'. I was trying to remember how long we have been enjoying this tradition.
As best as I can tell, it has been an annual tradition since the summer of 2004, since I have the digital proof dating back to that time. So that means it has been at least 7 years. Here Kippy was 3 years old and Abby was 7 in this pic. I love flashback photos... they make me SO nostalgic!

July 22-24, we were blessed with fantastic summer weather so got in lots of water activities. It was great to watch Brac as he showed off his newly acquired water skills on his ski trainer. He is definitely a performer and we just love his expressive personality!
Although getting water in his face was not the thing he enjoyed when he and Kippy tubed together.
Luckily, we had a great solution... water goggles!
Both Lindgren girls tried to get up on skis this year, but weren't quite able to make it happen. We are hoping next year will be their year.
Lance spoiled Denise & me with pina colada's from scratch while we took a sunset pontoon tour around the lake.

Of course the girls couldn't miss the tradition of celebrating Denise's birthday with a homemade cake. This year, Kippy was the baker and made Chocolate Surprise cake, which had cream cheese and choc chips in the center.

It really is a special weekend with great friends, lots of laughs, a beautiful lake and many memories.

Other notable weekend moments:
  • Couple time at the Green Aguana
  • Denise & I being rescued by Steve from a VERY long walk around the lake
  • Kippy & Brac doing endless "canyon ball" dives from the end of the dock
  • Lance training for his next triathlon
  • Abby's meltdown about being splashed
  • Brac's fantastic negotiation skills
  • Bella puking on the carpet after eating all of Bailee's food
  • A 5:00 AM thunderstorm which blew open the front door and soaked the carpet yet Denise somehow managed to sleep through
Being together is a RIOT!
And already looking forward to next year's weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Update on 2011 Theme

At the beginning of the year, I had picked a theme of power. It has been a good guide for me as I navigate through 2011 and I have made progress toward feeling powerful and being more empowered. I have completed a few challenging goals which have been very rewarding as well as some smaller, less obvious improvements. Two of the most measurable steps in 2011 have been in the area of training.

First, back in March, I completed an extremely challenging course at UND called Impact U/Personal Safety and Defense. It was an intensive, hands on self defense class that allowed me to not only be more empowered, but to face some deep seeded fears and begin some necessary healing.

Second, I just received my certification to be a group fitness instructor. I am very excited to have the opportunity to be a substitute instructor at Phatty Natties this fall, with the potential of leading classes by the winter. I am a little nervous to teach my first class, yet feeling so enthusiastic about bringing the benefits of fitness to people. I get to positively impact others, what could be more powerful than that?!
I want to sincerely thank my family and friends for their support and encouragement. I absolutely would not have the strength or confidence to pursue without them and the guidance and presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in my life.

I will continue to work on my power theme in 2011. Remember, life is a journey & an adventure... make the most of it!

Monday, July 18, 2011


A little over a year ago, one of my sister-chics moved away... f a r a w a y.... all the way to Papillion, Nebraska. Thankfully, the distance has never put a wedge in between us but rather made us more grateful for the time we are able to carve out for one another. We have discovered Sioux Falls is a great meet-in-between spot. Last week we met in SF and celebrated a three week belated birthday; laughed hysterically; had a miscommunication on our "meet-spot"; had a near-death experience by almost having a head on collision; explored Falls Park (nearly losing HH in the quartz quarry); shared our life challenges; encouraged one another; ate delicious iced lemon w/ raspberries; cried; hugged; shopped. It was the best 7 hours of therapy I could ever ask for.

Thank you, my sister-chics, you lift me up & recharge my batteries!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Abby's Marching Band Trip

Several months ago, Abby made the decision to join Marching Band to play alto sax. Marching Band is her first official "high school" activity with practice starting at the beginning of June. In addition to practice 4 days a week, she participated in 4 marching parades in June which all were part of the preparation to perform in the International Lions Parade in Seattle. Honestly, knowing that she was going to get to go on a trip to Seattle, WA was one of the primary reasons Abby joined marching band.

I have never been in Marching Band, but Abby was lucky to get some uniform help from her marching band experienced, Grandma Rose, who hemmed up the trousers for Abby. We had to go through a bit of a learning curve on getting the appropriate white gear to wear as a first layer under the uniform and special rolling-heel shoes, but it all came together.

As the trip departure time got closer and we made the necessary packing arrangements, Abby began to get more and more excited about the trip. Of course, friends and family also helped build the excitement by being enthusiastic and supportive. The full reality of this trip-of-a-lifetime began to really take hold.
Abby was part of a large 130 member marching band which departed for Seattle, WA on Sunday, July 3rd. They rode in coach buses for 23hrs straight through to get there. Abby snapped this sunset picture somewhere in Montana on day 1.

Abby texted me early into her trip to tell me that she forgot to put her SD card back in her camera, so I told her she would have to just make due with taking pics using her cellphone. One of her favorite activities was the time they got to spend at the Pike's Street Market. Abby said she loved how colorful and unique everything was. She especially enjoyed the street performers.

The Fergus Falls band performed on Tuesday, July 5th in the International Lion's Parade. Abby said it was a long parade, but that give them lots of time to visit with kids from other countries who were marching near them. Later the band members were honored and thrilled to find out they had placed 1st.

After the parade, the kids got to go up in the Space Needle, and Abby thought the glass elevators on the outside of the building were so fun.

The views of the city were fabulous on the crystal clear day they visited.
If you look, you can see Mt Rainier in the background along the horizon.
Abby must have been missing us because she generously got each of us unique key-chain souvenirs from the Space Needle. Every time I talked to Abby, she would be telling me about another "awesome" thing she saw or event she participated in. It was so nice to hear her enthusiasm especially after being subjected to her "teen-tude" so often of late.
On Wednesday, July 6th, the whole group got to take a 6 1/2 hour whale watch boat ride in the Puget Washington state sound area. They were treated to seeing a pod of killer whales! I was much more excited about it than Abby was since whale watching is a bucket list item for me. Unfortunately, Abby gets motion-sick (she gets it from her dad) so the 3 hr boat ride to get to the whales & then only see them for 20-30 minutes, before another 3 hr return ride was not really worth it to her. She did say that she is glad she got to go. Abby and her friends spent time naming as many of the whales as they could and I am sure she will have memories of it forever.

On Thursday, July 7th, the buses headed back to Fergus Falls, but not before making one more stop in Glacier National Park to go white water rafting. There were 10 kids per raft under the guide of the Glacier Guides Montana Rafting Company on the Flathead River. It was a 2 hr trip and from the sounds of it, the kids loved it.

A very tired, and much missed Abby got back to Fergus Falls in afternoon on Friday, July 8. We were surprised when we got a call that the kids were going to be back by 2 PM, since they were expected much later at 7:00 PM. Since Steve was gone on a motorcycle trip, it gave Kippy, Abby and me a chance for an all-girls weekend, where we were able to ask Abby tons of questions and hear all about the trip. Sounds like the only downer for Abby was not having a working camera, since she forgot to SD card at home. I thought, however, that her cell phone pics were pretty good anyway.

Kudos to the Fergus Falls Band Boosters club for arranging for such a memorable trip for the kids and to the fabulous directors, Mr. Kummrow & Mrs. Weise for their guidance!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our little water bug

Angelique is swimming for the Fergus Falls Flyers summer swim team. This is her first experience with swim team and our first experience parenting a swimmer. There is a definite learning curve.
First off, many of the participants who are 10 years old, like Kippy, have already been a part of swim team for several years. Kippy has had to basically work just to learn the proper form and has yet to really figure out which stroke she likes the best. We have been trying to navigate the registration process and learn how to track and record seed times to get her in the right heats. I have to admit we have missed a deadline or two already.
Angelique swam in her first meet on June 29th in an outdoor pool in Fargo. She swam the 50 backstroke and the 50 breaststroke. We could tell that she definitely was running out of steam at the end of the 50 meters, but that is probably due to training in a 25 meter pool and needing more conditioning.
She did really well for her first effort, however, she said she definitely does NOT want to swim the backstroke in the next swim meet on July 9th in Morris. She is going to give freestyle a try at that meet.
Angelique told us that she likes swimming "practice" more than the swim meets. She has practice 4 days a week for 45 minutes, so lucky for her there are lots more practices than actual swim meets. She will swim in just two more meets and the season will be done by middle of July. Hopefully, it is an overall positive experience so she will want to do it again next year, especially since we have finally figured out how swim team works!

We are proud of her for trying new things. One thing we know for sure... chlorine is very hard on the swimsuit and on the hair. Angelique's hair has lightened considerably and her practice suit is completely faded and stretched out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

All American Fun!

We have had perfect weather this 4th of July weekend. Lots of time for outdoor fun, socializing with friends and great food. It has been our first holiday where our family of 4 hasn't been able to all be together, since Abby left on Sunday for a Marching Band trip to Seattle, WA.

Some traditions have had to change a bit, but we are so happy to be able to spend time with great friends, laugh and share in the excitement that surrounds celebrating the 4th of July.

Thankfully, no one was injured during the backyard sparkler extravaganza.

While two moms captured the activities to preserve the moment.

Steve rescued the broken "mega sparkler" and had time to write his own name in the air. Ha!

Good friends, good times, great memories...

Their joy is infectious and a disease I would love to have every single day.
Kippy with her patriotic companion, Bella, while out enjoying the Walk of Flags. Blessings and thanks to those who have defended and still defend this great Nation and preserve our FREEDOM.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A little Jazz and Modern

It has actually been three weeks since the dance recital, however, I find it takes me that long just to recover from the crazy that happens when you have two dancers in the house. I know what you are thinking, two girls each just taking 1 dance class, how hard can it be? Maybe it is because I am the reluctant mother of girls who dance. I can't help thinking during the numerous staging rehearsals, dress rehearsals, pictures and performances "Volleyball, basketball or softball players would be SO MUCH EASIER."

Despite having a less than enthusiastic mom, the girls both really loved their year long dance season as well as their instructors.
Angelique absolutely loved modern dance. She has taken 2 years of ballet, but felt much more connected to the natural movements of modern dance. Her joy of performing did really work to melt my reluctance and show me that Kippy is meant to move.
Abby chose to be in Jazz dance again this year. She loves learning the routines and socializing with her classmates during the year that leads up to the recital. Abby really matured and advanced in the two years she has been dancing Jazz.
Another big change this year was that the girls performed their dance pieces twice. They had a performance on Wednesday night and repeated the performance on Friday night.
Doubling the performance made me feel less irritated by the expense of their costumes PLUS it worked out beautifully because Steve & I weren't able to attend both performances because of the Oakes All School Reunion, but still got to see them dance. Grandma Shirley helped out by coming Friday and staying the weekend with the girls. She was very proud of her granddaughters.
The three week break from "the crazy" allowed me to breath and really appreciate the poise and confidence that dance brings to both of my girls. I am sure when the dance season starts again this Fall, I'll be the reluctant dance-mom signing them up, writing big checks and carting them to the weekly practices for 9 months and grumbling about it...
but I hope I take some time to remember the joy it brings to both Abby & Angelique to perform. Congratulations to my dancing girls, who persevere despite their less-than-supportive mom!