Friday, July 31, 2009

goodbye July...

I can't believe the month is almost over, but it was fun while it lasted...


* We enjoyed a visit from my old friend/college roommate and her two fun kids, Kylee Paige (shown above, with the flowers she picked for us) and Zane.

* I got some subtle warm highlights in my hair, and my split ends trimmed. I'm still determined to grow it out! (And I have usually caved by this point, so maybe I will actually make it this time...)

* We have kept our vow to give the renovation projects a rest for a couple months, after the frenzy this spring, and I've been reintroducing myself to crossword puzzles and library books while sitting out in the sun.

* Although it's been a little slow lately, I am loving my job (I got to meet a world-reknowned surgeon, a sweet 81-year-old deaf lady, a forensic examiner, and a nutcase all in one week!)

* We're receiving a series of rabies vaccinations, just to be safe. (Still haven't caught our bat, but we haven't seen him in a couple weeks so we're thinking he's a goner by now!)

* We've been playing board games instead of watching TV, and one in particular left Esther and Winn and me laughing until we were crying.

* We spent a couple long weekends away (in Illinois and Wisconsin) with people we love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

at the lake.

Ashton and Daddy


Boat Ride


Goin' for a stroll


Chillaxin' by the fire


Dinner in Hayward



Kid(s) in a candy shop



Winn's afro

Monday, July 27, 2009

summer days.


We are home and refreshed from a weekend on Lac Court Oreilles. Even though it was cool and rainy part of the time, it was relaxing, and we played cards and went on walks to pass the time. And anyhow, a campfire with Smores is just right when it's cool and wet. It warmed up and the sun came out on the last day, just perfect for sitting on the dock in our swimsuits with the kiddos while the guys went water-skiing. Then we went tubing behind the boat. Winn got a stiff neck from taking a spill, but the boys were nice not to flip me.

This was our second year to join Chris and Rebecca for their little family vacation at a friend's cabin. I noticed again how comfortable we are with them, and what good friends they have become to us. We can talk about serious things around the fire pit, or about silly things in the kitchen. We can have a crabby morning and still like each other when it's over. We love it when their two-year-old Ashton comes to give us a goodnight kiss, even when it's accompanied by snot from his cute little runny nose. And baby Marryn can wrap her sweet self around your finger, even when she leaks through her diaper onto your pants and spits up on your clean shirt. Yes, it was a perfect time, and I will post photos tomorrow.

My siblings took good care of Sajak and The Ladies and our house and garden while we were gone, and there were fresh flowers and clean sheets waiting for us when we got home (Peggy, you are golden). It took me two and a half hours this afternoon to mow the yard. And then I went to the Clinic for my third of four rabies vaccinations. I pinned a sparkly silver butterfly to my tanktop for the occasion, to dress up my ripped jeans and flip flops. For some reason this injection hurt more than the others, and I can hardly lift my left arm.

My body has been begging for more iron, so we grilled sirloins this evening. Grapes were 99 cents a pound at the supermarket, so I rinsed some of those to go along, and made some more salad, although it still didn't put a dent in the two ice cream buckets full of lettuce in the fridge.

After supper we went outside to enjoy the evening, Winn working in the barn while I pulled weeds in front of the house and plucked Honeycrisp apples from the branches that were weighing too heavily on the two young trees. I threw one of the apples to Sajak and he made a game of it, carrying it around all evening and trying to get us to take it away from him but not letting us. Then I took one of my summer library books out to the swing under the tree, listening to the hum of the weed-whacker in the background as Winn did the trimming where I mowed earlier in the day. I noticed that it must be time to do laundry because he was wearing black socks with his shorts and tennis shoes. Every so often a bicyclist would pedal by, as they often do on our county road because it is nicely paved with slight hills and curves. When there are eight or ten of them, speeding by in unison in their helmets and spandex, you can hear the swoosh of their tires on the pavement.

I came inside after eight, when the evening breeze made goosebumps on my sunburned skin. Now I'm tempted to slice the watermelon that's on the counter, but I will save it for company tomorrow evening.

Friday, July 17, 2009

bats in the belfry.


Yesterday our friends Sheila and Rodrigo joined us for dinner. We had salmon on the grill and fresh potatoes and lettuce and green beans from the garden. We really enjoyed their company and chatted the evening away, and it was probably about 11:00 before we said goodbye. Much to our relief, our new little winged friend didn't make an appearance all evening...

His name is Bart. He's a bat. I'm afraid we must have sealed in a nest of bats in the attic when they put the new siding and gutters on. I think we've caught most of them by now, but there's still a stubborn one who has been making an appearance the past couple of nights. When I was in college, I used to be the brave one, swinging a tennis racquet around to protect my roommates from those evil flying mice in the dorm. Not so much anymore. Now I depend on Winn to come to my rescue. Sweet, huh? Except that my dodges and shrieks garner more laughter from him than protection.

I don't usually remember my dreams, but I remember very vividly that this morning I was dreaming that Winn had caught the last bat, and I was so happy. And then I felt (not saw, but felt) something fly just inches above my head (shudder). I sat up and saw that the clock said 6:15 and then had to duck to miss...none other than Mr. Slimeball Bat taking a dive-bomb for my head. (I have no idea what he was doing up at that hour--I thought they were supposed to be night creatures!) I screamed "There's a bat in our room!" and Winn went in search of him, broom in hand.

No luck this time, but he did spend the day researching bats (incidentally, you could take a bat 500 miles away and drop him off, and somehow he would find his way home--pretty fascinating if you think about it--but amused I am not--they still must die) and discovered that a five-gallon bucket of water would make a good trap. So tonight we set out four of them around the house. He is supposed to land in the bucket for a drink and be unable to fly out. I'll keep you posted.

But for now I'm headed to bed because Bart will probably be waking up soon and will be in search of some breakfast, and I don't intend to be sitting at my computer waiting for him.

Monday, July 13, 2009

busy barn.

We're keeping 'Big Red' busy. This time it was to help our good friends Chris and Rebecca (love them!) welcome the newest addition to their family. Her name is Marryn, and she is a sweet little peanut, as you can see...



Her big brother Ashton is just as cute...




On Friday evening we (about 50 of us) had pink cupcakes and 12 feet of sub sandwiches and lemonade (pink, of course), listened to Miss Debbie sing a beautiful song, prayed blessings over Marryn, and visited outside in the warm summer air, among other things. My camera was missing on the night of the party, so I didn't get any photos. It did, however, show up the next day in my laptop bag (where I had apparently stashed it on our Illinois trip), so I snapped some pics to show you what I did for centerpieces at the five tables. I stole the idea from Tiffany, who used it a few years ago at a baby shower for my friend Andrea. All it takes are some trifle dishes with blue-tinted water, rubber duckies, and fake bubbles (in my case, iridescent Christmas ornaments)...


Sunday, July 12, 2009

star-gazing.


It was Winn's idea. To take a sleeping bag out to our field last night and look up at the stars. The weather was perfect. And it was so still.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

bath time.

Now that we're country folk, Sajak doesn't get a bath very often. But we just couldn't stand his stinky self any longer (nor subject our company to him), so today was D-day. He's not a big fan of the hose, preferring the luxurious tub in the city. (Tough luck, Fido.) I'm sure he'll make a mad dash for the pond before the day is over, but for now he smells purdy.



Before Sajak's bath, Winn and I spent the better part of the afternoon weeding our forest...er, I mean, garden. It had gotten quite out of control. Thankfully, our plants are persistent and don't seem any worse for wear. You know what they say about corn ("knee-high by the 4th of July")...well, ours has passed my shoulders in height now. And our potatoes are the perfect size for digging up, rinsing off, shaking some salt on top, and popping in the mouth. Mmmm. We've also been enjoying picking our salad just before we eat it and adding almonds and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and sometimes rice. This week we ate it alongside spaghetti with our dinner guests from North Dakota (please say a prayer for Gerald as his cancer has spread and they will be making more trips back here to Mayo).


And since I've been so terrible at posting lately, I'll play catch-up by trying to recap a few of the happenings over the past few weeks ...

** Had our friends Ben and Andrea (and kiddos Ayla and Paxton) here for a visit from Alabama. We hadn't seen them in two years and really miss having them here in Rochester. Their three-year-old Ayla calls us "The Farmers."

** Got together with an old group of friends while B&A were in town. Originally there were six couples, but one moved away and the other wasn't able to come that night. We all started a young couples' marriage group when we first moved to Rochester six or seven years ago. It had been ages since we'd all gotten together, so it was fun to hang out again and visit and see how much their kids had grown.


** Hosted our first movie night in the barn. Big screen, surround sound, excellent acoustics, popcorn and root beer. You should join us next time!

** Had the youth group over for a scavenger hunt and "fair" food (caramel apples, corn dogs, popcorn...).

** Baked homemade chicken pot pie with Jimmy and Peggy and enjoyed it for dinner, along with fruit pizza and a board game (boys against girls...sadly, the boys won).


** Travelled to Polo, IL, to hang out with nearly 100 of my favorite people at a campground last weekend. (A family reunion of sorts--three families who started getting together four generations ago and remain close to this day.)

Grandpa and Grandma


Sister Carrie and Niece Eavan

** Celebrated my sister's 18th birthday with dinner at the A&W Drive-In and croquet on the lawn.