Wednesday, August 27, 2014

heavy air

We started out our journey south by eating lunch at Tim Horton's in Grand Forks...yum!  It was a beautiful summer day when we closed up the windows for our trip.  We stopped in the St. Cloud area for lunch and reopened the door.

WOW--it felt like we had flown from Minnesota to the Virgin Islands.  Hot, humid and pretty oppressive.  It felt like there was a lot of energy in the air...and indeed there was.  The skies were lit with a lot of lightening on Sunday evening and we got some nice rains when we got home.

honoring Grace

On Saturday morning, a light mist was falling as a congregation gathered to celebrate a strong North Dakota woman.

Here is her obit from the Grand Forks Herald:

Grace N. Swanson was born November 14, 1919, the daughter of Lyall and Nellie Spearman. She attended grade school in Warwick, ND, and Honeyford, ND, and high school in Gilby, ND. She graduated Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, Grand Forks, ND, as a registered nurse and received advanced obstetrical training at Lying- In Hospital, Chicago, IL.
She married Clarence O. Swanson on December 12, 1942 in Larimore, ND. They farmed in Hegton Township. They moved to Larimore in 1998. After Clarences death in 2002 she moved to Golden Valley, MN, and in 2011 to Grantsburg, WI.
Her professional career included employment at Deaconess Hospital, Grand Forks, ND, and Good Samaritan Center, Larimore, ND. She was a member of St. Pauls Lutheran Church, Honeyford, ND, and active in Grand Forks County Homemakers.
She is survived by sons, Rodger (Shirley) Swanson, Windsor, CT, and Bruce (Julie) Swanson, Roanoke, VI; daughters, Betty (Loren) Olson, Grantsburg, WI, and Mary Ann Troll, Plantation, FL; nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren; and sister, Martha (Ed) Spear, Brainerd, MN.
She was preceded in death by parents, Lyall and Nellie Spearman; husband, Clarence O. Swanson; son-in-law, Richard Troll; step-mother, Edith Spearman; and sisters Nellie (Ray) Bjornson, Jean (Robert) Snyder, and Norma (Clifford) Juhlke.
Services: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10:30am, St. Pauls Lutheran Church, Honeyford, ND.

Burial: St. Pauls Lutheran Church Cemetery, Honeyford, ND.

gathering at Pizza Ranch on Friday

sisters Martha, Norma, Nellie, Grace, Jean

photo by Grace's nephew David

at the burial

how we remember Grace best--playing with granddaughter Kathryn Grace

traveling north

On Friday, the 22nd we headed the Dodge Grand Caravan north--destination Grand Forks, ND.  We stopped at a Sears along the way and did something we haven't done in a really long time--shopped!  It was fun to see all of the variety of products that Sears offers.  From washers and dryers to Khloe Kardashian clothing and everything in between.

Brad bought a new pair of pants for Grandma Grace's funeral and we got back in our comfortable ride for the five and one half our journey.

I also got a chance to check in briefly with Daddy B--he had a major surgery on Thursday and was already on his way home from Sioux Falls with Mom at the wheel.  Prayers have been answered!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Trenton is 7!

Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy 7th birthday to our charming, helpful, handsome and truly amazing nephew and Godson Trenton Anders Blomgren.

We love you and wish you a wonderful year!

on the road again

On Wednesday, we pulled up stakes, dried out the tent, said goodbye to Trails End and hit the road.  We started at 12:30 and got back to Grantsburg at about 6:00pm.  It was so wonderful to reunite with O and to wash hands in a sink and go to the bathroom in a toilet that flushed.

When we got home, I did 3 loads of laundry and hung them on the line.  I also went to work out at Anytime and did a little catch up on mail.

I love vacation, but there is no place like home.

On the way home, I got a chance to catch up with Mom and talk about Dad's surgery on the 21st.  Praying for a strong medical team and a strong heart for my wonderful Daddy.

Hen dog is 6

It was pretty astounding that one of our campers started the journey as a five year old.  Henry is so much like his Momma--handsome, fun, energetic and a terrific camper.  We enjoyed celebrating Henry's 6th birthday with a final canoe trip around Gull Lake, going to a really cool museum called Chik-Wauk and going out to dinner at the Trails End Campground.

What a wonderful experience for all involved.

Happy birthday Hen dog!  You are a master "war" player.

Also have to mention the little friends the kids made--Lily and Jason who were camping right next door and who happen to hail from St. Paul.  Its a small world after all!

change in plans

Our family had spent time on Sunday scoping out a place for an overnight camp on Monday night.  We packed up our gear on Monday morning and decided we better stay put at camp because there was a significant amount of gray low lying clouds to our west.  Smart choice.  We spent about 3 hours on Monday afternoon in our tent--happy there were very few leaks (a little rain on the ground and A's sleeping bag was right against the tent wall so got a little damp).

We played cards, read books and just enjoyed the beautiful rain coming down onto our tent.  During the storm, Brad made some of the most tasty grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever eaten.  The rain let up and we hiked to the camp store to get out of the tent (change of scenery) and enjoy a candy bar.  Thank goodness for chocolate and plenty of warm, dry clothing.

pan glumpies in the morning

glowing tent in the evening

canoeing our way in

We got up on Sunday, the 17th and had a nice egg breakfast.  Then we readied ourselves for a two hour paddle from the landing at Trails End to a campsite that we heard was quite nice on Seagull Lake--Miles Island.  We were scoping out sites for our overnight camp plan on Monday the 18th.  Brad and the two youngest were in one canoe and myself and A were in the other.

We had quite the adventure getting through the chute from Gull Lake to Seagull (A and I did anyways) and then winding our way around the copious islands.  Our original destination was occupied, so we ended up landing at our third choice.  It was quite lovely indeed.

After some exploration and some fishing, we then headed back to camp.  I had made the poor choice of not packing a lunch so the boys were struggling with low energy issues, Brad accidentally leaving his life jacket on our exploration island (he discovered his error and safely headed back about 15 minutes into our return trip).

We got back to camp, had lunch and then did more poking around the campground, making floral arrangements, enjoying watching the little chipmunk who had a burrow right inside our tent, hearing the rapids, enjoying the sun.

We then made dinner and settled into our tent for a restful sleep.

Brad admiring our floral bouquet in his new thrift store jacket (found in Grand Marais)

at the landing

at Miles Island

I hiked to the tip top of miles island

Henry enjoying the sun


the decorators and their beautiful bouquets enjoying an evening snack

Saturday, August 16, 2014

on our way to the end of the gunflint

We are on our way to the great north.  The kids are playing charades and we have about 200 miles to go.

We made it!  The kids were incredible travelers and we arrived at about 3pm--about 6 hours in the car.

We made our camp at lucky number 13 at the Trails End Campground.  We all pitched in to set up the wall tent and the kids commenced at exploring.

Culvers in Two Harbors--our lunch spot on the way in and the way out

starting the set up 

view from the rock outcrop just above camp

all set up

one member of the eagle family that had a nest right by our site

view of our tent from the rock (near the eagle's nest)

the kids exploring!

Friday, August 15, 2014

packing for the Gun Flint/BWCA trip

My husband Brad is the best travel companion.  I don't think he can say the same for his lovely wife, but he is truly wonderful at getting things put together.  I salute you Bradley Cole and thank you for being such a great travel companion!

swimming lessons complete!

The three Olson kids did a phenomenal job in the pool this year.  A passed guard start so will be able to take lifeguarding class when he is 15 and become a lifeguard.  K passed  level 3 so will try out for Swim Club this fall.  O passed Bubbles, but because of his age, will spend one more year in the class and then will probably move to level one.

Swimming is a great lifelong sport!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

productive day!

three wall hangings done for the classroom--horray!  I didn't get a chance to take a photo of them hanging yet, but that will come with a later post.  One was O's baby quilt that I sewed a hanging sleeve on and the other two are for right inside my classroom door where there was a really ugly wall.  Attempting to make the classroom space beautiful and inviting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

busy busy busy

Today I started to feel the crunch of the time to get the classroom ready for the school year.  I'm so excited and so eager to see those sweet little faces in just three weeks!  I'm trying out some new stuff.  Trying to make the classroom a little softer with adding fabric to the walls, some pillows in the reading corner, an artificial plant, a smaller teacher desk, looking for some nice little fish for a fish bowl and maybe some hermit crabs.

calling Orson

Yesterday afternoon, our family was dining at Subway after a fun weekend camping with the Knier family.  While dining, we saw the news of the passing of Robin Williams.  Immediately, I suspected his depression had taken over and called him to take his life.  Not long after, it was announced that my suspicions are not unfounded.  Depression is so deep, hard to fathom.

His body of work is impressive.  My most enjoyable and what came to mind first was his character Mork.  It debuted in the late 1970s when I was spending quite a bit of time watching television.  Our pastor used Mork in his sermons quite often so that made Mork and Mindy even more endearing.  One of my favorite handshakes in our morning meeting circle is shaking hands like Mork and saying Nanu Nanu.  The kids get a kick out of it and I do too.  Thank you Robin Williams for sharing your gifts with the world!  Your candle may have burned out, but your legend never will.

stone soup

K was able to test her acting chops this week as she was "Ivan" in the short play Stone Soup.  A was one of the directors during the week long practice and then performance.  I think they both enjoyed themselves and learned a little in the process.

Liana Marie is 16

Happy sweet 16 Liana Marie Blomgren.  You make everything look so effortless.  How in the world do you do it?  We love you and wish you many more happy birthdays.

missed paths

Bummer!  My wonderful dear Haley from VI was going to drop by our house on Friday night as she was in the state visiting her parents.  She texted me and my phone ran out of minutes, so I wasn't able to communicate with her.  She made other plans...oh well, hope to see her at Christmas!

fun with college friends

On Thursday evening, our friends Trish and Bob invited a group of Mankato friends to their lovely home in Woodbury.  It was great to catch up and talk about some old times, but also enjoy new stories of our lives.  Thanks Bob and Trish!

swimming lessons

that time of year is here once again--time for swimming lessons.  O is in Bubbles, K is in level three and A is in guard start.  He should be able to take his life guard certification when he is 15, so that would be a fun way to spend a summer.  Teaching little ones how to swim is something I see in his future.

Here is a picture of O on his first day (August 4).  Daddy took him and he was a wee bit reluctant to get into the pool.  My friend Shannon took the photo for me, her daughter Claire has the fancy pink goggles.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

dinner is served

This year, I signed our family up to provide a meal for the Luther Point Staff during Vacation Bible School.  It was really great to have them here and watch the kids interacting with them.  O, K and A have all enjoyed their wonderful programming.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Last night, K went to VBS at Glen Park for evening one of five days of meetings.  There are four counselors from Luther Point who are leading the activities for the 1-6th graders.  Two of her very favorite counselors from our time at Grandparent camp are there!  And they will be coming to dine at our house tomorrow night.

Barbara is in the center of this photo in green sweatshirt

Logan did a selfie with some of his favorite campers 
This morning, A went to sports camp with the same counselors...he had a blast!  It's a really great way for our kids to get exposure to the camp experience without leaving home.  Thanks Ezekiel Lutheran!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

ski party!

Yesterday we went up the Bud and Betty's for the day--partly to pick up the camper we will be taking to the Madison area this weekend, partly to visit the Quintana clan and partly to put up the wall tent we will be taking to the Boundary Waters in a few weeks.  Saturday dawned beautiful and bright.  Brad wanted to teach Ibby how to drive the boat so she can take it out whenever she likes.  During those lessons, Ibby also learned how to pull waterskiiers.  Turned out that we have five young water skiiers in our family.

The McPheeter's once again offered us their ski trainer and this time, two Olson kids and three Quintana kids successfully skiied.  It was a treat for sure.

Hotdog Henry

Jumping Joe

Daring Dehlia

Awesome Anders

Kinetic Kathryn

happy 46th brother!

August 2, 1968, Kent, Kurt and Kyle Blomgren welcomed their new baby brother, Cory to the world.  Happy birthday dear brother.  I'm so pleased that you let me survive childhood...although it looked a little suspect from time to time ;)

there's a 2 year old and remembering her uncle who passed away 5 years ago today

Sweet Kesleigh Rae is celebrating her 2nd birthday on a little island in the Pacific. Her Momma wrote this sweet tribute: Someone pinch m...