Friday, September 9, 2016

Family Vacation 2016 - Black Hills, SD & Devil's Tower, WY

I'm back-posting here because I'd like to update our adopted seminarian, Br. David.  I figure this is a good way to let him and everyone else know what we've been up to!

August was a busy month!  Monica and I left to Denver August 9 & 10 to visit Colorado State University.  CSU has a Music Therapy program that Monica is interested in.  Out of state tuition is crazy expensive, but who knows what God may have in store.  We were able to take a little trip over to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  Here are a few shots Monica took with her GoPro.

It was an incredible trip and a bit of a whirlwind, but it was fun to spend some time with my nature girl.  She loved the mountains and is seriously considering CSU.  I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up there.  Monica was definitely in her element.  I also found that CSU has a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) group on campus.  We've had several amazing priests, youth ministers, and speakers go through the Twin Cities that are products of FOCUS so I definitely trust Monica in their hands!

After our 2 days in Denver, Monica returned to MN and I headed to Texas.  I stayed there for a week with TX Grandma cleaning up, helping her with her retirement paperwork, and trying to convince her to come back with me to MN.  It was a long week, but we finally made the 2 day drive back from Texas.  It was a fun road trip.  I'm so glad to have her here!

This was taken on Monica's birthday.  Unfortunately, her classes at Anoka Ramsey
started on August 22nd so she wasn't able to make our family vacation to the Black Hills.
She stayed home with TX Grandma and the dogs instead so she wouldn't miss classes.
We left for the Black Hills on the 20th and drove straight through to our cabin rental near Lead, SD.  We rented through VRBO and stayed at a beautiful cabin with 4 bedrooms that could accommodate up to 14 people.  It was great to have a place to come home to after sightseeing each day.  Here are some of the highlights:

A very windy stop at Chamberlain before crossing the Missouri River into western South Dakota.

A mandatory stop for dinner at Wall Drug....of course!

Girls enjoying the cabin kitchen.  Pretty nice digs, huh?

Trout fishing in Spearfish Creek.

Not even sure where we were!

Side trip to Rochford for trout fishing.

What trip to South Dakota is complete without a visit to Mt. Rushmore?

A side trip to Hot Springs where we also had the privilege of seeing a bison along the road!

Gabe finally was brave enough to try the water slides!

Being the good Mom, I actually fried up the trout the kids caught for one of our dinners.

Picnic lunch at the entrance to Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

Someone took a panorama.  

Prairie dog, mule deer, and Jr. Ranger free cake from the Rangers for the 100th Anniversary
of the National Park Service and free entrance to the park!
It was an incredible family trip.  And, of course, we hit the ground running when we returned by heading straight to the Minnesota Get-Together, the State Fair!  The girls worked the Caramel Apple Booth again, and Paul & I worked a ticket booth at the Midway to raise funds for the Band Boosters. Now we can check that off our bucket lists!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Back to School - 2016

I can't believe I'm actually going to post anything.  Seems with social media there's not much left to say here.  With Instagram and Facebook, I can pretty much update whoever wants to know right from my phone so why come here?  By chance, I received a comment on a post from 2014 when we remodeled our house to put in the mudroom.  I was so drawn in to reading other posts so here I am....blogging again!

The kids were back to school today for another year.  Monica is full time PSEO at Anoka Ramsey Community College taking 3 classes.  She does go back to the local high school for Chamber Choir and Jazz Band.  Today she was home at lunch time and said it felt weird to not have to go up to her locker or see anyone from her grade.  She's slowly easing into what her life will probably be like from next year on when she starts college.  Crazy!!

Maria started her Sophomore year at the local high school.  She doesn't have a first hour so she doesn't have to be there until 8:30AM.  We're still working out her transportation.  For now, the plan is for her to drive in with Paul so she can start logging her driving hours.  Her permit came in the mail today so she now has no excuses not to drive!

Queen's Caramel Apples
Working the booth at the State Fair yet again!

Molly, Lucas, and Gabe started at St. Charles Catholic school.  Molly is our 8th grader, top of the heap, and leader of the pack.  Lucas is a 6th grader....uniforms are new for him as they are for Gabe who is in 5th grade.  Gabe said everyone was nicer than he expected!  What do you expect from Catholic school?!

Jane and Niko were back to Woodcrest Spanish Immersion today.  Jane is in 3rd grade and Niko is in 1st.  They were nervous but excited for their first day.  I braved the rain with Elizabeth to drop them off at their classrooms.  That was exciting!

So it's back to a quieter house with just the dogs, Elizabeth, and Texas Grandma here with me.  It was still a busy day with a Costco run, laundry, and paperwork.  However, I have no classes anymore and work is holding off.  Nice!

Jane and Texas Grandma at the Deep Fried Olive Booth
MN State Fair - 2016

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