Summer Retrospective

I’ve been absent. I realize this.  And there is wayyyy too much to try and catch up on all of it.  But here’s a summary of our busy summer!


  • Packed up and moved out of Burnsville.
  • Into our new house in New Brighton
  • There was some soccer and birthday parties too.


  • Home Repairs & Upkeep – leaky water main, smoke detectors, brick repair, toilet seats, shower heads, more leaky pipes, catching mice
  • Meeting Neighbors – This was the highlight of our summer.  All the wonderful neighbors that we have met.  Lots of kids.  Lots of baths required after nights of riding bikes, scooters, and ziggles.
  • New preschool for Charlie and summer care program for Maria – new friends & new teachers.


  • A week at Family Camp – super fun – bikes (no training wheels for my kids), scooters, worship, music & friends
  • A sleepover for Maria at Grandpa & Grandma’s
  • Charlie’s first Twins game
  • Daddy golfed and went white water rafting.
  • Discovered a new water park in the area.
  • Labor Day weekend at Uncle Mike’s cabin

It was a little stressful for the first half, but once we were settled in we had lots of fun.  All good stuff!  Ready for fall… more changes coming…

Our 2nd Annual Wisconsin Dells Weekend

After last year’s fun weekend in the Dells, we were more than ready to do it again! Maria had the whole week off from school again, so we left Thursday morning, stopped for lunch with Grandma in Rochester, and then proceeded on to the Dells. What I loved about this, is that it was exactly like last year, and Maria did not figure out where we were going!


Our first stop was the outlet mall for new Crocs for Charlie, and of course, Jibbits for both kids! We then checked in at the Wilderness for our 2 night stay. We got a good 3 hours in before a late dinner and bed. And then up early Saturday for more water fun!


After late-afternoon naps, we headed to Buffalo Phil’s for an awesome dinner! Yummy food (gluten-free for me) delivered to us on a train! Then on to a night of fun with our friends at Knuckleheads! It didn’t take long for Maria and Briann to team up and go on the rides. They even took on the ropes course and had a great time. Charlie and Brooke were stayed on the smaller rides, but Brooke soon learned that Uncle Chad would chaperone her on the bigger rides.


Sunday we got in a little more time in the water before heading home. All in all, a great time!

More Pictures (you’ll notice more pictures of Charlie… this is because Maria was often off on the bigger slides with her daddy!)

Luther Park 2013

We spent the first week of August at Luther Park.  It was a really great time. The only downer being that the pool wasn’t open much and when it was, it was chilly!

Other than that, both kids had a blast!  Lots of scootering, bike riding, soccer, GaGa, singing, dancing, and playing with friends and cousins!

Chad and I had a good time too!  Lots of relaxing and being outside!  Looking forward to going back next year!  Next year I’m going to take more pictures!
Pontoon Ride

Playing GaGa




Wisconsin Dells – Take 1

This past week, Maria had the whole week off from school.  We had talked about getting away, so in August when we found a deal via, we jumped on it and committed to a weekend in Wisconsin Dells at the Great Wolf Lodge.  I was excited, especially once I realized this is the first time we have gone on a family vacation on our own. (not that we don’t enjoy vacations with our families!)

We had a great time.  We didn’t tell the kids we were going anywhere until breakfast on Thursday, when I came out of their rooms with packed suitcases.  We told them we were going to a hotel with a swimming pool.  Anyone with a 5 year old knows we had to limit the anticipation to a matter of a few hours.  I think within 5 minutes at one point that morning, Maria had asked the time at least 3 times.

We stopped for lunch with my parents in Rochester, then we continued on to the Dells.  While Chad checked us in, the kids and I went to check out the “pool”. The kids were pretty surprised to see a whole water park and not just a pool! Maria was hoping for a diving board and got water slides! Then we went and bought a big cup full of candyI figured we were on vacation!  Ha… I figured out pretty fast that a sugar-rush on a 2.5 year old boy is quite a match for this mom!

We spent a couple hours in the water park before dinner and then checking out the arcade and story time in the hotel lobby.

Saturday morning, we were up early for breakfast. We checked out the outlet mall. The kids got new Crocs and got to pick out Jibbits.  exciting stuff for the kids! 🙂  We spent several hours in the water parks, including eating lunch there. We all had naps in the afternoon to prepare for an evening of fun at Knuckleheads, which is like Chuck E Cheese on steroids.  We met up with our friends, which worked out perfectly for the kids.  Maria and Briann (and the Dad’s)  took on the big kids rides, while Charlie and Brooke stuck to the slides and bouncy things.

Sunday morning, we weren’t up quite as early, but managed to get to breakfast and the water park before checkout time.  It was a quiet ride home as both kids slept!  It was a great weekend, and we’re hoping to make it a tradition!
Wisconsin Dells!

Wisconsin Dells!

Wisconsin Dells!

Storytime at Great Wolf Lodge

A few more pictures here – unfortunately playing at water parks and fast moving rides do not go with cameras and my photography skills.

Luther Park 2012

We had a great week last week at Family Camp last week at Luther Park. We had a stressful week leading up to it since our daycare was closed.  But once we were there it was a lot of fun!

  • Lots of friends!  Former counselors and other families who have been there for many years as well.  oh and Grandpa & Grandma.
  • Seeing the kids make new friends! Charlie and Evan were best buddies and Maria just wanted to “catch up” with the older girls. (And using her imagination when making new friends)
  • Campfires!
  • Singing and Dancing and Pretending to be a Puppy
  • Lots of sidewalks for the scooters!
  • A Pool and a boat ride.
  • Tie-Dye.
  • A giant sandbox (volleyball court) and slides
  • Games – Chapel Quest and Pharaoh, Pharaoh were Maria’s favorites
  • Great weather (only one rainy day) and the temps were in the 70s-80s all week.

At the "Park"

Tie-Dye with Carly

Grandpa's Scooter

More Photos

Luther Park 2011

We just got back from our annual Family Camp week at Luther Park!  With some minor disruptions to the week, we did have a pretty great time.

First the snags:

1. Maria not wanting to nap or go to bed the night we convinced her to nap.  Solution: Let her go till she drops and bending the rules for vacation.  Swimming all afternoon without a nap, mostly ensures an easy bedtime. Cousins, an aunt & an uncle who helped us manage one who naps and one who doesn’t.
2. Chad’s motorcycle (which he drove there – 2 hours from home) not starting. Solution: Cycle mechanic in Rice Lake who let him borrow a trailer and hitch.
3. Charlie’s Croup (Virus) – Solution: Pediatrician friend who was at camp with her family. She called in a prescription for steroids and saved us a visit to Urgent Care during the week.

But the great parts:

1. Lots of family time!
2. Lots of friends at camp this year (8 people from the staff of 1995!)
3. Lots of pool time and fun outside activities! Maria’s favorite part was jumping off the diving board!
4. Seeing Maria and Charlie dance and sing and worship!
5. A setting where everyone watches out for each others kids. Where else could you leave a couple of 4 year olds to play in the sand or on the playset while you literally go back to your room or other part of camp?

Playing Fairies

On the Basketball Court

All the Grandkids

Pool Time with Daddy

More Pictures

Summer Weekend

We had a great little summer getaway this weekend. My company took us to Madden’s on Gull Lake (near Brainerd) for our annual summer outing.

The weather turned out to be nice and (not nearly as cool as predicted) so we were able to be out and about.  The biggest drawback was the lack of sleep Maria got. It took us about an hour to realize on Friday night that Maria would not go to sleep with any sort of light on in the room and me in it.  It wasn’t until everything was off, and I hid (on the floor) behind the bed AND Chad told her I would come back when she went to sleep, that she finally stopped fighting it, and just laid down and went to sleep.  Napping wasn’t great the next day either, when she figured out she could climb out of her pack-n-play. Yikes, just hope she doesn’t get any ideas with the crib!

We did get some good playing time in with other kids her age, and also a fun hour in the pool. Turns out that Daddy is the preferred swimming partner for Maria as he is taller and able to play more games with her. Other than needing me to acclimate her to the water (2 minutes) she didn’t need anything from me.

I think I can speak for all of us that we will all be sleeping well tonight!

And on a follow-up, besides sleeping in a hotel adventure, bedtimes have been very smooth ever since I posted last week! I think I just needed some validation and encouragement to stay the course!  I started letting her pick 3 books before we even start reading, so she doesn’t lose count and keep asking for “1 more book”.  So far so good!

Here is one of the few pictures I took this weekend, but how cute is she with pigtails! Barely enough, but we thought it was cute… cute until I had to get all the sand out of her hair last night! Oh and when she puts on her sunglasses she says “I’m rock star!”

First Pigtails!

Luther Park Family Camp

For the 2nd year in a row, we spent a week at Luther Park for their annual family camp week.  It was a great time. What a difference a year makes with Maria! She was not apprehensive or too cautious at all!!  As soon as she was out of the car she was running across the parking lot to greet Sherm, the camp director! She didn’t even know him, but over a matter of a few minutes grew to love him! And all week was looking for Sherm and giving him hugs!

My parents arrived shortly after we did, and my brother’s family made it up Monday right after lunch, so Maria got great time with family and made a LOT of new friends!

She also was ready to play and went with the counselors for games the first evening we got there without looking back, just took a hand and walked across camp with a complete stranger and other kids.

By the end of the week, she was getting tired. I imagine the late nights, busy afternoons, lots of fresh air and activities, and sleeping in the pack’n’play were taking their toll. Starting Wednesday, she took 2 naps each day, which is a lot considering again the strange place, pack’n’play and so much going on!

She was able to conquer her fear of the loud chapel by Monday evening and realized it was loud, but that she got to jump up and down and sing and dance!  She is still requesting the “Na Na Na” song several times both days we’ve been home!  It was a great experience and I loved just seeing how much she loved being at Luther Park!  My parents started taking us when I was 3 and I worked there in college, so it’s got a lot of memories for me and hopefully more to come!

In the Pool

Bath Time!
Taking a Bath

Sherm & Maria
Maria and her BFF Sherm

Grandma & Maria
Grandma and Maria

Maria & Aunt Melanie
Aunt Melanie & Maria

Maria & Uncle Mike
Maria & Uncle Mike

Closing Worship
Up front during Closing Worship

The Family
The Family (minus Melanie & Chad)

More Pictures

Weekend and Catchup

We spent the weekend at Ruttger’s for my company’s summer outing.  It was a nice weekend, and so much more fun than last year. Last year, I was still fairly new to the company, plus I was on maternity leave, plus somewhat immobilized with a 3 month old to care for!  This year I hardly felt immobile! We were definitely on the move!

The ride up to Ruttger’s was not fun, but Maria was plenty tired coming home on Sunday, so she slept most of the way.

Monday, we went to Como Zoo and met up with Maria’s cousins, Jana & Luke.  We then stopped and visited Grandpa and Grandma (Chad’s parents) on the way home.  She napped all the way home (with a detour for longer nappage), plus then played in her crib for an extra hour without fuss!

Today Maria was back to daycare, and I was back to work. She looked especially cute in her tie-dye that she made at camp, but this picture was taken at the worst time of the day, right when we’re home from daycare and starving! Plus, I wouldn’t let her hold the camera.  She’s got a lot of smiles, but not always!

Vacation and Catch-Up

Well, if you missed me, it was because we were on vacation, and I don’t like to announce that to the whole world for reasons like this. Anyway, we went to Luther Park for family camp. My parents were also there, and my brother’s family joined us later in the week. We went to family camp as kids and as many of you probably know, I worked there in college.

It was a great week, but by the end, Maria and I were ready to be home. Chad left on Wednesday night, and as the week went on, Maria got more and more tired. She napped twice a day while we were there, and went down pretty consistently and without much fuss. I was impressed considering she just had her pack’n’play!

But mealtimes were hard. I think she was a little off dining with probably around 100 people in one big dining hall! And she didn’t like her “bible study” group either. I think it was all new, and then I left her with people she didn’t know.   Things she did love though: the slide, the pool, and her cousins!!  And apparently her pack’n’play, since she whimpered “nigh nigh” when I packed it up on Friday morning!

We got home early Friday afternoon, and spent the rest of the afternoon laying low before going to bed early!

Saturday, she and I ran some errands, and she took 2 naps in the afternoon, before we all headed to friends’ baby shower. Maria was a trooper and stayed out past 8. Even after taking a recorder to the face, she was going strong. May have had something to do with the juice boxes and watermelon she discovered!

Today, our friend Karin and Jackson stopped by on her way home. We hung out and had lunch. Maria and I ran some errands this afternoon, and then all of us went to the park. All in all a nice week, and unfortunately tomorrow is back to the grind!

Some pictures:

Dirty Face

Maria and Daddy




Beth & Maria