Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maarit Mattson is back...and other moments from our summer

Maarit (aka Maarti) Mattson is back in Northern Minnesota with her lovely parents and little brother Gustaf. Lucky for us, we've had a few adventures with these cool kids this summer. The Aquarium is a favorite stop for everyone, although I sometimes pass on this part of the playing. There is only so much a person can hang out at work, no matter how cool their place of employment is. 

The girlfriends watched the SCUBA divers with interest. 

Our little fashionista cooking and coloring (a girl's gotta have hobbies) while sporting an outfit from Uncle Neal and Aunt Kelly. It is paired with my pearls from when I was a kid. I know, I know, how very New England hoity toity - I had pearls as a child. And yes I do still own some. The ones I wear now though are my nana's so that must count for something. 

Bear! This was one of two we saw in the same afternoon in our neighborhood. Our neighbor reported also seeing one (maybe this one) on our back step looking into our house recently. Yikes. 

Back when I posted about Erica visiting, I didn't know this was on our computer. Here is the beer can chicken in all of its glory. I think there were angels singing at the time also.

A shot (although blurry) of our back yard. 

Big smiles from Maarit and Lucy. Ah summertime. This is on the dock at the Mattson's new house. I look forward to paddling there next summer. 

"Mustaches for Joe" series. A series of photos were taken in honor of our friend Joe who recently passed on to the other side. Mustaches and photography were some of his things. Kudos to our friend Erin for arranging this fitting and funny tribute. 

A bonfire at the Mattsons. They have the most gigantic backyard ever. Wowzers. 

Brighton beach and boats paired with long sleeves. Summer on Lake Superior.

Ryan and Lucy set up the hammock in our backyard. Relaxing ensued. Since swings are one of Lu's favorite things, a huge swing that she can enjoy with her parents is pretty spectacular. 

A PSA from our friend Emily: Goats don't eat tin cans. But they are fun to pet. 

Thinking and holding on tight at the Lake Superior Zoo.

Choo Choo!

Monday, September 9, 2013

West Coast!

Oh the West Coast. How very lovely you are. And your people. We heart them too. Another OMSI friend wedding brought us to the greater Seattle area for a long weekend. After picking Erica Henry up at the Seattle airport (hurrah for seeing far away friends 2 times in one month!) we headed to Olympia to the Henry Palace by the sea (well the sound...well actually an inlet off of Puget Sound). It's salt water for sure though and comes complete with seals, jellyfish and fresh oysters. 

After a nap, we did some dock exploration. There are SO many things living there! I really miss this living next to Lake Superior. I keep expecting there to be little barnacle feet waving at me even after all of these years. So that was fun, to see the barnacle feet all up in the air/water like they just don't care - or are feeding. You know, whatever. 


Heading out for a boat ride.


Helen and Lucy checking out the seals.

Look away coast guard. This is probably - strike that - DEFINITELY not the proper fit for a PFD. But it was the closest we were going to get. 

Lu loved the wind in her hair. 

We stopped at the Hands-on Museum in Olympia for a sand castle building contest and to play a bit before heading up to Mt. Rainier. She could have played in this water feature FOREVER. If you are ever in this part of the state, stop here. It's a beautiful museum. 

Nurse log! This was outside our cabin that we stayed at with friends. Unfortunately Lu didn't get to see a slug on this trip. Se la vi. We'll be back. 

The day of April and Tony's wedding we headed up the mountain to see the wildflowers and get a glimpse of a glacier. Goodness these are big hills. And big trees. Love me some big trees. 

A glacier through the clouds. Ironically, we didn't pack nearly enough layers which is why we are all wearing our rain coats on a beautiful day. (One of the few photos we have of Ryan from the trip because he is so often the one behind the camera.)

After hiking a bit though, we warmed up. Especially the mama carrying her 35 lb child up hill. It was a fun adventure with Brad, Kim and Chloie. 

Apparently there were lots of marmots in these hills higher up than we got. Doesn't it make you just want to sing?

Heading back down. So beautiful.

There were a bunch of technical climbers at the lodge too. Clearly that wasn't what we were up to that day. We had a wedding to get to after all. 

Wedding location at a spa at the base of the mountain. It was beautiful.

And there was much love. Congrats April and Tony! We got to meet their little guy James as well which was a treat. 

These two played so nicely together. Chloie was a wonderful older friend to Lu. 

After hanging out with the OMSI peeps (Kate and Paul were there too but we don't seem to have any pictures of them) we headed into Seattle. Side note: Our phones were turned off for three whole days! Which also meant that there were fewer pictures taken. That's probably fine though because we just soaked in the experience and laughed a ton. 

At the Seattle Center and the Science museum's butterfly garden. Lucy's big take away from this was that butterflies like fruit, they will not land on your finger although you REALLY want them to, and there were some guys fixing something by the door with a lift. That last one has been brought up several times recently because our neighbors are fixing something with a lift in their yard. It brings the whole thing back for her. 

What? This ol' pupae? 

Because images of the space needle are plastered all over the city and you can also see it from different parts of town, Lucy often exclaimed, "Look! It's that thing that we saw from the car! The space needle!" What a good little tourist she is. 

While in Seattle we stayed with the ever wonderful Dilley-Holstrom-Dillstrom clan. We don't have any pictures of Chris and Jana but here's one of Lucy and Gwen smearing sauces while we made pizza one night. Goodness that Gwen is a cutie. 

Our flight on Tuesday wasn't until later in the afternoon. We stopped by the waterfront, the Aquarium and Pike's Place market. We also went to a little garden near the airport to try and squeeze every last drop out of Lucy's nap. She really did a great job traveling. She did keep asking though where we were going to sleep next. 

Lu's a pro at the Aquarium scene obviously. 

Face painting!

She requested a crab.

This is one of the coolest parts of the Seattle Aquarium. Their underwater dome. You get to peek out into the Sound and see what's swimming by. 

Or crawling by - like this big sun stars. One of these was eating a fish all smooshed up against the glass. The other ones were trying to get in on that meal time action at super slow sea star speed. 

Look at the tube feet! That's my girl. 

Photo from our last Seattle trip - circa 2010.


New photo same location - almost exactly 3 years later.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yes, there are places more north than Duluth

We recently got a spontaneous invite to join Adriane, Steven and Zoella at a cabin on a lake in Ely. Spontaneous is usually the easiest way for us to roll. So we said, YES! I zoomed home after telling about 200 people, that I was indeed holding a live snake at the local Thomas the Tank Engine event and we hit the road. Side note: all of the melting down overwhelmed small children wearing train shirts confirmed that we made the right decision NOT to attend this event with Lu. Maybe next year. 

After a beautiful drive through the wetlands of northern MN, we arrived in time for dinner. Lucy and Z warmed up fast and pitter pattered all over the cabin and the grounds. 

It was a great little get away and lovely to catch up with the Morabito-Teeters. Feeling lucky to know such nice people. 

Ry's photo playing with the HDR effect. The guys, Steven, Scott and Ryan chased what they thought was a moose swimming. Turns out it was "just a swimming deer". Awe well. 

Right before these girls just decided to go for it and get very wet. 

EE girls and their girls.

What a cutie.

A moment of collaboration amidst challenges sharing.

Always with the rock throwing.

Another beautiful sky. 

A walk and some beach time in the morning. Then right before we left it seemed like a shame NOT to go for a little paddle. The water was like glass. There is something so very wonderful about being in a canoe. Lucy paddled too with her wooden spoon paddle. We also looked a wide variety of bugs that had landed in the boat, passing them back and forth on the edge of our paddles/spoons. After a quick trip into Ely to see Adriane's children's garden and have lunch we headed back to Duluth to see Grandma Pam. 

End note: We found a little pool in a garden in Ely that had fish in it. Lucy's statement to me was: "Mama, I can't see their faces." It was hilarious to see that she's so used to seeing fish in an aquarium setting where you can indeed "see their faces".