Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vacation: Swimming

Ryan loves the water. With the excessive rain they've had, the lake level is so high that it's only a few inches below the dock. That makes it perfect for Ryan to kick, kick, kick his feet and splash in the water.
We probably spent more time getting Ryan changed into his swim "gear" than he spent in the water, but he had fun swimming in his floatie, with Ashley, and swishing through the water with Dad.

Vacation: Skiing

It's been a while since I've attempted any sort of water sports, but it was so nice on Saturday and Adam's dad volunteered to watch Ryan for a while, so we decided to give it a go. This is how it went...

Ashley (wakeboard)

Adam (skiis)

Courtney (fail)

After eating the lake about 5 times, I finally got myself traveling over the surface of the lake instead of being drug face-first through it.

In my defense, the one ski boot could not be adjusted and was being held together with some sort of pin and wire do-hicky so it was slightly less than stable. Also, I am not that good of a skiier.

It will be a few years before we'll let Ryan ride one of these, but he had fun pretending:

Adam enjoyed taking the jet ski out and together we tried the tandem kayak. It was fun spending some time on the water. Thanks, Chuck, Connie, and Ashley, for letting us play with all your toys!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation: Boating

Ryan experienced his first boat ride on Long Lake in Minnesota. He wasn't real keen on the life jacket since he couldn't really sit down without looking like a turtle retracting into its shell, but he was able to stand in the back to watch the wake, bounce on Aunt Connie's lap, and even took his turn at the wheel.

Would you trust your boat to the likes of this guy?

Vacation: Fishing

Spending time on the lake was Adam's favorite part of vacation. Although he can't wait for Ryan to get a little bigger to become his #1 fishing buddy, there was no lack of fishing partners this weekend with his Uncle, cousin, dad, (and even me!) going out to cast a line or two.

I'm not much of a fishing partner. I don't bait my own hook nor take off my own fish, and I tend to tune out after someone starts a conversation about the dive depth of a Rapala or the nuances of water temperature, depth, and underwater structure on the behavior of large mouth bass. My biggest fishing accomplishment was the new sport I invented, called "Underwater Lure Gymnastics".

Adam was super-impressed.

In all, I caught exactly 2 fish. I snagged a small walleye while trolling and also got the big ol' sunny! You can tell I only bring out my best outfits to fish in, since I know for a fact I bought this shirt 12 years ago.

The rest of the crew was a little more successful, so although there were no trophy fish this year, we did have a very nice meal of panfish, bass, and northerns.

The lake was beautiful, even if the fishing wasn't that prolific.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vacation: Vergas

We were lucky enough to be able to spend a few days at Adam's Aunt & Uncle's cabin in Vergas, MN. His parents and cousin were there at the same time, but the house slept all 7 adults, 1 kid, 1 dog, and 1 cat very comfortably! It was wonderful to be able to be at the lake with family to relax, have some fun, and spend time outdoors.

Vergas is in the Ottertail region of MN (20 minutes from Detroit Lakes) and about a 5.5-6 hour drive for us, depending on diaper changes and the number of stops you make for Concrete Mixers or McFrappes.  Vergas is famous for being the "Home of the Largest Loon."

So, there you go.

Friday and Saturday morning, Adam's mom, aunt, and I took Ryan for a walk on the nice paved path that starts at the public beach.

There are lots of lakes, resorts, B&B's and camping around the area and we are lucky to have a nice place to stay with family. Thanks, Chuck, Connie, and Ashley!

The Swagger Wagon

The day before leaving to go on a 4-day vacation to Minnesota, I made an off-hand comment about how much stuff we had to bring for Ryan and my parents graciously offered to let us use their old minivan. I debated for a day, but in the end, decided it might be a little less stressful trying to decide what to take/how to fit everything if we just went with the van.

Probably turned out to be a wise choice.

That was with the back seat out.

If you click the picture to enlarge, you can just about make out Ryan's face peeking between the seats. No, not that monkey, a little to your left.

I have no problem driving a minivan. I grew up going on vacation in a full-size van, first one named Blueford with sweet curtains and blue carpet to match. Then, one named Geraldine the Green Machine with a custom paint job: a holstein cow on the back so my dad and uncle could claim it as a farm vehicle, plus the words "Mega Dittos" painted on it so it was clear we were Rush fans, as if being a dairy farmer from Iowa taking a vacation to Silver Dollar City wasn't enough of a clue that we were red staters through and through.  Geraldine redeemed her 8 mpg by possessing an almost magical quality of expanding to fit the excess amount of stuff we'd bring home from vacation.  It once held my whole family of 5 plus my Grandma, our luggage and coolers for a week's vacation PLUS a china cabinet and rocking chair my mom and Grandma found antiquing. 

I have fond memories of setting off on our summer vacation, my dad in the driver's seat with his hat worn "farmer" high.

Kind of like this:

After we got a little older and acquired a little more "stuff" and/or friends to haul around, plus the fact that good ol' Geraldine stranded us at a gas station in Sloan (with the china cabinet and rocker), my parents gave up on the full-size van just for vacations and got a minivan for their main vehicle, the first of which was a white Grand Caravan that I actually drove for 3 years of college.  So, you kind of get over the "I'm too cool for a minivan" attitude when you drive it for the formative college years. At least I had a purple and gold vanity plate that read "UNIBUS" so people knew that I knew it wasn't cool. But it was free to me and as most of you know, that will win just about any argument over "coolness" with me.

Now that we have Ryan, I am looking forward to the day I can be a proud minivan owner again. It will be a little bit before we buy one (HOLD ON, Malibu, just a LITTLE LONGER!) but I'm loving the new Sienna commercials.  They do a lot to advance the cause of minivan owners (and wannabes everywhere). 

The minivan served us well after a few idiosyncrasies were explained by my dad: ignore the oil pressure gauge-the sensor is off; don't worry if it starts dinging at you when you stop at a red light; the back door might need a little extra jiggle to get it open; if the brakes feel like they are grinding, don't worry, they'll get better after they get warmed up, etc.  The only thing we got nervous about was our own fault. After noticing on I-90 that the gas gauge "Distance To Empty" was rapidly decreasing, we decided to pass up the Kum & Go by Adrian and go ahead to the Rushmore exit. Tip: there is nowhere to buy gas in Rushmore, MN on a Sunday.  I confess I started to panic a little when the "Distance To Empty" got down to ZERO and we were still at least 10 miles of farmland 'till home. Good news, you CAN go at least 10 miles on zero!

Thanks, mom & dad, for letting us use the van! It was a blessing and we're happy to be seen in a "swagger wagon" anytime!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh Deer!

I have a co-worker "Jared" who has had some rotten luck with deer. Last fall, he hit a deer in pouring rain at 5am while on his way to the airport for a trade show and ended up missing his flight. To show our sympathy, we made some brownies and stuck a picture of him in his car (with a dent), a dead deer, and an image of Thumper and Flower saying "Bambi Killer."  So, today, when my boss sent me a picture of Jared standing next to his busted-up car in the parking lot of the airport, I had to laugh (but also groan). Poor Guy...not again!

Here is what will be posted in the office tomorrow morning (names changed/picture blurred but most of you will know who I'm talking about :).


July 27, 2010

Sioux Falls, SD - Infamous for taking out Bambi’s mother last Fall, a local deer murderer has
struck again, this time obliterating Bambi’s father, ensuring her place in history has an orphan left
to be brought up by the likes of skunks and rabbits.

Jared Montegue, 32, of Smalltown, IA, struck and killed a 30-point buck on I-29 early Monday
morning. It is believed he left the scene of the accident without alerting South Dakota State Patrol or
making arrangements for the memorial service of the 7- year-old father of 1. Tragically, this is the not
the first time Montegue’s silver bullet o’ death has struck the Whitetail family. Less than one year ago,
the mother of this buck’s only child was also left to limp to her death along the side of a South Dakota

 Picture Caption:
“Happier Times.” The last know photo of Mr & Mrs. Whitetail. Little did they know that in one short year, both of their lives would be tragically taken by the same cold-blooded car.
What can be done?
Sammy Squirrel, spokescreature for PRAJD (Potential Roadkill Against Jason Driving) was quoted as saying, “Something must be done. I mean, how much more can we take? Last week I hear of two skunks kicking the bucket on Hwy 75, a pheasant/windshield incident that ended unpleasantly, and now this? What next? Chickens being released into high schools?”  [this recently happened in the town where we work]
Mr. Squirrel  is circulating a petition to end all morning commutes to the Sioux Falls Regional Airport performed by Jared P. Montegue as a two-time violent offender. Anyone wishing to sign the petition is asked to do so by July 31st so it can be submitted to the MWAWA (MidWest Alliance of Woodland Animals) for ratification.
Montegue could not be reached for comment, but the actions expressed in this exclusive photo, submitted by Bard Mercedes, suggest his only remorse is the inconvenience of getting car parts replaced and the potential hike in his automobile insurance rates.
Not cool, Richard. [another nickname we have for Jared]
Not cool.

Quick Favs

Favorite thing spotted in a Hy-Vee parking lot this week: A Boston terrier who was mad about being left in a car on a hot day (rightfully so). So, he was sitting in the driver's seat with front paws on the wheel, not only barking, but HONKING, at people passing by.

Favorite facebook status I read today: Today we talked about David and Goliath at camp. I asked my campers if they would be afraid to fight a giant. Most of them said yes...One camper told me "No, I wouldn't be afraid. I would take my dad's nunchucks and hit him in the crotch..." What are parents teaching their kids today?

Favorite time spent with our beagle tonight: Holding her jaws open while Adam extracted a bobby pin she managed to wedge across the roof of her mouth, braced against each row of teeth. Dumb Dog.

Favorite "deal" made with my husband tonight:  You can grow a mustache like Pavano when you get a signed pitching contract with the Minnesota Twins. Or when you buy a cabin in Alaska and live there all summer. He thought the cabin was more likely, but I said, "Dude, have you seen The Rookie?"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Pits

We wanted to spend some time outdoors today so we loaded up the truck and headed for the Ocheyedan Pit.  By all accounts, it looked like it would be a wonderful afternoon adventure.
As a precaution, we both sprayed down with bug spray and we tucked Ryan's pants into his socks to try to ward off the ticks and mosquitos. He doesn't seem to mind the fashion faux paus.

It got a little bumpy in the stroller, so we switched Ryan to the infant carrier and headed down the trail, following Adam and his fishing pole.
We should have had a little premonition that things were a little less than awesome when we saw this pond:
 But, Adam headed down to the other shore to throw in his line and things were looking up...beautiful, even.

But then, we entered the gantlet of blood-sucking misery and despair:

After about 5 minutes of walking/swatting/sweating/blowing/flicking, I had had ENOUGH! In those 5 minutes, despite the thick layer of spray, I had acquired at least 8 mosquito bites that were quickly swelling to epic proportion.  Apparently, Adam was thinking the same thing because we met him coming up from the water, suggesting that we head for the truck. It was a huge relief to get back to our air-conditioned house where I could put some cold compresses on my welts, especially the three that caused Adam to say "Uh, Court, you might want to take a look at your face." *sigh* This is why I am a terrible camper.  I love the outdoors...except for the bugs and heat and the humidity and the general lack of climate and pest control.

The good news is that Ryan escaped without any bites! Maybe next time I should tuck MY pants into my socks.

I may take it a step further.

Except for the moustache...probably not that far.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Saturday was such a nice day that Ryan and I spent some time in the backyard on a blanket. He requires supervision around grass since he likes to put it in his mouth every once in a while, so I didn't get much of my book read, but it was nice to enjoy the shade and breeze.

Throwing a Ball

Ryan is getting better at throwing a ball! He can catch it when you roll it to him, pick it up, switch hands, and throw or roll it back with either hand (or both). Here's a few video clips of him throwing.

Mirror to Bookcase

Ryan loves looking in the mirror and one of his favorite new things is standing in front of his full-length  mirror and playing with the boy in the mirror!

"If you were as cute as me, you'd be a little vain too!"

Then he discovered he could move himself to the bookcase!

He's definitely got a long way to go before walking, but he enjoyed standing, moving between the mirror and bookshelf, and eventually emptied the entire shelf of books while standing!

New Nursery Additions

I've posted about our Orange and Black "Four Seasons" nursery before, but I put up a few more decorations, so here are a few more pictures.

I added the "R" above the 4 seasonal cutouts. I found it on clearance at Kohl's! I guess there aren't too many "R" names.

Here is the chair corner where we rock and read sometimes and listen to CDs and Ryan's crib with his name in frames above it.

The other additions I put up today were a "Ryan" plaque that is a tradition in Adam's family and two leaf hooks I painted. We've been in need of a place to hang his bath towel to dry and decided to put it at "mommy" height for now so he doesn't pull it down. Later, we can move the hooks down for Ryan to hang his own things up!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Swimming on Sunday

On Sunday, we drove home from MN and Ryan slept door-to-door (yay!) And then everyone voted yea that, yeah, I HAD used the correct yay! See #10.  After unpacking, we thought it would be good to stretch our legs with a walk to the park. I was excited to see we had finally made it to the park during the 3 hours a week the county museum is open! There was actually a lot of neat things to see, like a meteorite that had fallen in some farmer's field in the 50's, armed service uniforms from every war since WWI, a picture of Teddy Roosevelt when he came to visit on the train, and this:

After playing on the swings for a while, we decided to call up Abbie and Wade and invite ourselves over to go swimming and play golf. So, off we went...another trip to Hometown, but it was good since we needed to pick up Nika anyway.

This was Ryan's first experience "swimming" in anything other than a few inches of water.

He loved it! He also had fun splashing as we held him-it looked like he was trying to doggy paddle with one hand. We whooshed around, splashed his feet, and played in the holes on the air mattress. It was fun to see him having a good time in the pool.