Friday, August 29, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

a worthy cause

Freya was blessed with the fantastic genes of her Great Papa in the hair department.  She has thick hair, a lot of it, and it grows quickly!  She had asked about getting it cut before school started, so I called Kameon to set up an appointment. 

We had talked about donating her hair since she wanted to cut a lot of length off, and after talking to Kameon, we decided to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  Pantene has partnered with the American Cancer Society to create real-hair wigs for girls/women battling cancer.  So far, they have donated over 24,000 wigs to ACS!

Before: braid

 Before: hair down


That is a 10-inch difference!  I am so pleased that her beautiful and healthy hair can go to someone who not only needs it, but will appreciate it!  I highly recommend donating through Pantene as the hair goes to women fighting cancer for free (Locks of Love charges for their wigs based on the recipients income - boo!).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ft. Stevens annual camping trip

I managed to stack my vacations this year and just happened to get back from Minnesota a few days before the camping excursion down to Oregon.

I got home the evening of Monday, August 4, went to work the next day to be sure the payroll errands happened, then took off later that afternoon to meet everyone else down in Warrenton.  So much driving!

Here are a few pictures from the trip.  I took a lot this time but they are some what repetitive so I chose the good ones.

Apparently, being toddlers is tough work


Uncle Skip worked with Ilsa on riding without training wheels and she caught on fast!

The big event was Peyton's 2nd birthday party, for which Tresha created a Cars theme.  We all received passes in the mail as our birthday invitations, with a car that best resembled us and a special lanyard too. There was an obstacle course for each of the cousins to perform while the birthday boy and Jensen waved the checkered flag at the end.  It was so perfectly creative and tailored to Peyton who loves cars, or anything with wheels, for that matter.

Everyone got tattoos, special cups to drink out of, and fun prizes for finishing the race.


And that's where the pictures stop.  I'm sure someone took more, I just don't have any of them to add to this post.  So just imagine that the weather the entire week was beautiful, the wind wasn't so bad, the kids got to play in the water for once, and our family enjoyed having an RV for camping!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

at the top of the world...sort of

Three years ago, my friend Lisa packed up her family and moved and I was sad.  In all actuality, the blame is to be put upon her husband, Rick, because they moved all the way to northern Minnesota, where he was born and raised.  I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I'd never see her again and our relationship would wither away to birthday texts and random Facebook postings.  

To make sure this didn't happen, she made a plan that a few of us fly out to the MN (Minnesota will forever be referred to as "the MN" from now on) to enjoy a celebration called Angle Days.  Now you are wondering what that refers to, so here is a quick back story:

The Angle Inlet (where Lisa and her family live) is a community in the Angle Township, Lake of the Woods, Minnesota.  It is based around Young's Bay Resort which was built by (and is still run by) Lisa's in-laws, Big Rick and Patty.  Lake of the Woods is actually comprised of several islands and goes into Canada as well.  The only way to get to the Angle is to either drive through Canada or take a boat across the lake.  It's a bit secluded, to say the least!

Stacey and I researched plane tickets and found the best way to get there was to fly into Canada and have Lisa pick us up at the airport there and drive us back into the States.  It sounds weird, but we didn't have many choices!  On Thursday, July 31st, we flew Seattle--Calgary--Winnipeg (stamps in our passports!), Lisa met us at the airport, we the grabbed some dinner in Steinbach, then we drove to the Angle.

The law says you have to make declarations to Canadian or U.S. Customs when crossing the border, so the Angle has this little booth at Jim's Corner with a video phone where it can be done.  Below you can see Lisa happily reporting that she smuggled two Americans into the U.S. from Canada.

Jim's Corner also has a nice big board for all of the local activities.  Most of what was up there had to do with Angle Days since it was what was happening next.

Mr. Tyson Jace McKeever who showed us all of his awesome toys first thing in the morning since he wasn't awake the night before to do so.

Several beautiful shots from the deck of the Angle store, including my beautiful friends and a sweet little five year-old.

Let's not forget Miss Andie Joy, who does not pose for pictures.  She is much like a mythical 2 1/2 year-old unicorn who enjoys spending time at the local restaurant/bar (Jerry's) rolling balls back and forth across the pool table.

On Friday afternoon, Rick (Lisa's husband who should not be confused with his father, Big Rick), took us for a boat trip around the lake to some of the islands.

As we approached Flag Island, we saw some large majestic birds perched on the rocks near the dock. Upon further inspection, the majestic birds turned out to be big, smelly, stupid pelicans.  They were super obnoxious and noisy.

We also went to Oak Island to the beautifully remodeled Sunset Lodge for some drinks and then somehow also went to another part of Oak Island to the Sportsmans Inn for dinner, including one of the best blue cheese burgers I've had the pleasure of eating in my entire life.  It was easy to be confused by all of the islands, lodges, and resorts after boating around a giant lake and having a few drinks and only Rick's directions to decipher.  But it was fun!

Stacey and I were spoiled to be able to stay in the newly built master suite at Rick and Lisa's house where we could sleep in, wear pajamas until midday, and drink lots of coffee while lounging in their comfy living room.  And the gun rack in the back?  That belonged to Rick's grandpa and was very tastefully placed on the wall in the dining room because there was no where else to put it.

We did some shopping at the store, finding this awesome shirt for Mark which depicts Rick and his younger brother, Brian, happily fishing together.  It isn't really them, but the resemblance is uncanny.

Saturday we enjoyed the full spectrum of Angle Days, starting with a stop at Jerry's for some delicious Bloody Mary's, then watching some of the booths/tents being set up, followed by a walk around the campground, and then we were off to the Golf Cart Races.

Tyson was there, and so was the back of Andie.

Lisa and I manned the hook baiting station, complete with live minnows (shout-out to Minnow Chris!), where contestants had to take turns grabbing a minnow from one of the buckets on the table, baiting the hook, then dropping the hook into the cup on the pole.  We were honored to have to take the half-dead and mostly-dead minnows off of the hooks so that the next group of people could bait their hooks.  I'm glad I grew up fishing and having to bait my own hooks, otherwise there might have been some vomiting happening.

Stacey took on the build-your-own-campfire station, which consisted of 4 piles of wood where each group had to built a wood tee pee, piece by piece.

It was a pretty funny site, with ages ranging from elementary school to grown and retired.  Kids learn how to drive tractors, golf carts, and trucks at a young age around here, and they definitely drive with abandon.  I almost got run over twice trying to motion the drivers to steer away from the baiting pole!

After the Angle games were over, we drove to a few more landmarks, one being the northernmost part of the continuous 48 states.  It was as beautiful as the rest of the area and so incredibly serene.

I finally caught Big Rick in action, talking to one of the patrons at the store.  Though I didn't get a good picture, there is a single gas pump behind that lady, near the docks.  Lisa tells a good story about a younger girl on a Vespa scooter who filled up one gallon of gas, then drove away with a wave without paying.  Since everyone was eating lunch inside the store, it wasn't worth running after her for the $4 worth of gas she owed.

Here are my girls in the Kubota on our way to Jim's Corner to water flowers.  There is a custom stereo system which hooks up to your phone, so we jammed to a few favorites as we bumped down the gravel road with our coolers and buckets full of water.  When we got there, it rained so hard that we didn't have to water, and then on the way back home, we saw a strange, loping, furry creature run across the road not too far ahead of us. After describing it to Rick later, he said it was most likely a lynx.  Because that happens every day, if you live in the Angle.

Dogs run rampant in these here parts.  They also mysteriously disappear when misbehaving.  Or so I've heard...

Rick put together a little minnow racing track for their tent that evening and Tyson made sure it was set up correctly.  A few of the minnows were too cold and a bit stunned because they hadn't really "defrosted" enough to get their wits about them by race time.

Tyson and Ruby doing a test-run.

Cheater-pants' 1 and 2 physically flicking their minnows up and down the shoots so they would win their races.

Frick-frack and Sassafras who were most likely on their way to doing something naughty.

The freezing cold dunk tank with one of the waitresses from Jerry's being targeted by Tyson.  The kid has great form, you have to give him that!

Rick took us out to try to catch some fish on Sunday afternoon.  I still can't believe how beautiful the view was, before we'd even left the deck of the store.

Tucker, the sweetest, cutest, biggest behemoth of a dog that ever lived.  He was very hurt that he wasn't invited on the boat with us and wouldn't get out so we could leave.  Rick had to pick him up and carry him back to land.  Then he cried and yowled and made a big to-do.  It was adorable.

Fishing with Rick means he does all of the work setting up your line while you drink your beer and then you just hold the pole and hope for a bite.  

We were out there about an hour, then realized we needed to get back and started talking about packing it in and suddenly Stacey got a bite!  Thanks to Rick's hard work, one of us caught a walleye and our trip was complete.

We made Patty (Rick's mom) take a picture with us to document that she was there too and she begrudgingly obliged!

The McKeever residence with the new addition (our master suite) on the upper left.

The cute little fish cleaning hut.  Smelled like vomit, but super adorable from this far away.  No idea why anyone would be running toward it...

Last picture I took of my lovelies on our way to Jerry's for some drinks and girl time before our early morning departure the next day.

I am thankful to have friends who will willingly travel with me.  I am thankful to have friends who want me to come visit them.  I am especially thankful for a husband who will take the helm so that I can enjoy just being some one's friend (and no one's mom) for a few days!