Sisters, friends, blessed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

60 Years!

We spent an exciting weekend down in Southern MN with my family celebrating my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary!!! What a blessing! Siebert & Joan Steck were married on September 29th, 1951, and are just as adorable today as they were back then.  Seriously. 
The girls and I joined my grandparents, my mom, my aunt, two of my cousins & one of their sons to help decorate prior to the big event. 

I am not sure how much 'help' the kids were exactly, but they sure had fun!  Piper, Hadley & Noah.

The darling couple!

If you were looking for Hadley during the party, she could be spotted 'helping' her nearly 2 year old cousin, Savannah.  They seemed to just pick up right where they left off last time we were in town, and went everywhere together.  Noah's sweet little sister (in the pink), 2 year old Georgi, became part of their gang too.
Piper on the other hand, could be found snuggling up with someone.  Grandma...

Or both uncles would do :)

It was the perfect day for some extra cousin love.  SO special to visit with my cousins in from Ohio & the Dakotas.  And equally as special for Hadley & Piper to have a whole afternoon to run around with their cousins... that total FIVE now!   Hard to believe that sweet little 8 month old Kenzie, pictured with me below, is no longer the youngest grandchild.

Introducing one week old, Asher Michael, pictured with a very proud Grandpa below.  (Mike & Jill's 4th little sweetie!) 

And here is the attempt at getting Grandma & Grandpa with all 7 grandchildren!  It was a hoot, to say the least.

Back out to the lake for a little quiet reading time with Daddy.

And before we could leave the next day, we needed to have the hottly contested race between Hadley & Grandma :)  As you can see, Hadley was really serious about the corn candy prize.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We officially have two little dancers in our house, with 2 sets of tiny ballet & tap shoes to prove it!  After months and months of made up dance recitals on the couch cushions with random twirly costumes, we decided that it was time for them to experience the real thing.  What actually sealed the deal... they have the most fabulous teacher!  Paige is back in town for college, and she just so happens to be teaching a 3 year old & 4 year old dance class at the local studio!  Could there be a more perfect scenario?  :)
This just might be the first time Piper hasn't cried when putting on a skirt!  Not to worry, she nearly cried herself to sleep the first night because she was so tired from the extra stimulation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adventures at the Land

There is rarely a week that goes by, it seems, that Kyle doesn't find some way or another to lure us out to 'the Land.' This past week it was with a drive thru ice cream stop on our way to try the tree swing at sunset. 
Apparently waiting for your turn makes you feel silly?

Much to the girls' delight, Kyle discovered that he could get them even higher by jumping up to push them! 
And just a couple nights ago, we were out there to sit in the ground blind quietly watching for a big buck that Kyle could shoot with his bow. Quietly being the operative word here. With a 3 and 4 year old nothing can ever really be all that quiet, right?
That is Piper and me coming down a rather large & steep hill, that was definitely slippery thanks to a steady rain most of that day.  It was suddenly evident why Kyle needed me to come with... it would have been quite the task carrying two little girls down that slope!

Hadley in the ground blind, wearing black to blend into the tent, enjoying a cute little picnic dinner that Kyle packed.

Keeping quiet went pretty well, all things considered, until Piper suddenly needed to go to the bathroom and required a hole to do it in.  I will leave the rest to your imagination, but let's just say that 'whisper laughing' is really really hard to do in that situation.  See Kyle's face below, as he held Pipey over the hole...

Despite all of our laughter, a doe and her two fawns did come into the soybean field (aka - one of Kyle's self planted food plots!) right outside of the blind for a couple minutes.  Not exactly in the ideal location for a shot, but definitely got the girls excited and gave them a taste of what its really like.  It was an adventure to say the least, but fun/ny nevertheless.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Holding On

I don't know about you, but we have been holding on to summer with everything we've got!  Soaking up as much beautiful sunshine as we possibly can before the fall finally settles in around us.  We 'braved' the outdoors last week, and spent the night camping in our backyard!  Piper even got to experience the stars for the first time (poor deprived child!), and laughed really hard when she realized that is what was sparkling up in the night sky.  We made it the whole night through, but were rather chilly the next morning with the 45 degree temps in our little tent! 

We actually hit the beach this weekend, and were delighted to find that we had it all to ourselves!  Maybe because, unbeknownst to us, the beach had been closed the previous week due to high bacteria levels?  Ew!

Followed by a really fun, albeit mosquito-ey, backyard pizza party with friends last night, and a special visit from Grandma & Grandpa A today!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to School

Hadley is happily back at school today!  She and Kyle went to a shortened introductory version of school on Wednesday, but today is the first real day, and she could NOT have more excited or ready!  She's back at the same lovely preschool as last year, but gets to go three afternoons a week instead of just two.  We are equally excited for her, and feel blessed that she can go to a school where she feels so loved and welcome. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top Ten: 2011 Family Vacation

We vacationed this past week up on Lake Mille Lacs, and had the most wonderful time just the four of us!  Ahhhhhh sunshine, family, scraped knees, bandaids, no cooking, reading, bugbites, smiling, drinking coffee with someone other than myself, and laughing.  What's not to love? 

10. Bowling ~ was a hoot!  This was Piper's first experience, and she loved every bit of it; from the lights, to Daddy's patient help, to watching Hadley wipe out & drop her ball, she loved it all.  And so did we.

9. Rides ~

We visited Paul 'Onion' (as the girls mistakenly thought it was, hehe) Bunyan Land on one of our first days there, and thoroughly enjoyed the old time feel and several rides.  We topped the 40 foot Ferris Wheel together, the girls bravely tried out the really bouncy Frog Hopper, and Hadley happily 'eeked' her way onto the Flying Swings with me (by .25 inches!).  Here's what Piper had to say about that...

Thankfully, another go on the Frog Hopper seemed to cure those tears.

8. Treats ~ In keeping with last year's vacation tradition, and made certain to find some form of ice cream every day, sometimes even eating it on our preferred mode of transportation while there... the golf cart!

Getting to try her first Chipotle burrito, one of Kyle's favorite things!

7. Swimming ~ both at the resort pool & at the beach.

I could not help but(t) take this next photo :)

6. Golfing ~ We hit Pirate's Cove for mini-golfing one afternoon, and Kyle managed to get in two rounds of nine with all of us tagging along in the cart as well.  The girls were thrilled to get their first taste of a real golf course, and are seemingly anxious to get out there and try it themselves one day, as long as Mom supplies them with lots and lots of snacks :).
It wouldn't be a vacation on a golf course, if you didn't do a little golf ball hunting in the evenings, now would it?  This is the girls' version of golf ball hunting once they were tired of it...
Piper to the left, and Hadley below. 

5. Fishing ~ We all love to fish, and were very happy to have caught some 20+ fish (sunnies with a bass and a perch mixed in) off of three different docks over the week.  That, and no one fell in :)

As you can probably tell from the photo, they are both far more excited about the (dead) minnow that Piper captured, and the (barely alive) frog that Hadley captured than the nice little bass Daddy caught with them.

Hadley requested this picture, as she wanted to show her Grandpa in MN that she too can kiss fish :)

4. Practicing Positive Attitudes (& Patience) ~ Our packing felt amazingly light this year, as we were sans pack-n-play, diapers, highchair, and stroller!  But while we did not need any of the essential baby gear, we did need to strap on a little bit of extra patience and practice our overall positive attitude while vacationing with a newly 3 year old...
First it was, "I don't like the wood chip feel; I NEVER like the wood chip feel", then it was the sand feel, later it was just plain old walking. The best part of it all was being with Kyle as it was happening, making it twice as funny!
And not to leave Hadley B out, much of our 3+ hour drive was spent like this (with Kyle & I snickering so hard up front that we were nearly crying)...
3. Hiking ~ through three different parks was quite the adventure.  It began in the Twin Cities with the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Quaking Bog, followed by Father Hennipin State Park on Lake Mille Lacs, and finally Kathio State Park also on the giant lake.  
Taking time to smell the roses, er oxeyes.
Quick smile for the camera between complaints. 
Believe or not, we actually conquered this 100 foot Observation Tower, complete with open stairs, without a single complaint from Pipey!  The view was worth every nerve racking step...
2. Sister Love ~ I would venture a guess that one of the girls' favorite parts of the vacation was their adjoining bedrooms in our resort condo.  Whether Hadley was serenading Piper to sleep, or waking her up at 6 a.m. to start playing, they LOVED being together. (Showing me just how much they disliked the mosquitos below.)
Apparently standing next to a giant blue ox makes you feel kind of silly?
1. Family Time ~ nothing is more precious.  Every moment together was a blessing, as simple and as lovely as that.  I will hold these memories especially close come this winter, when I need a glimpse of the warm sunshine.