Friday, November 22, 2013

Baby Birthdays!

These two little cuties both turned 1 a few months ago!

Adrian worked very hard to pick all three of those up!

Unfortunately, for Adrian's party, I was having too much fun watching the kiddos play, and I forgot to take photos. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you how adorable it was! His amazing parents set up an inflatable mini water slide and water play table for him and his friends to splash around on. All the adults laughed so hard watching them squeal and run around!

Norah wasn't too into her smash cake.

All these photos were taken at baby Norah's fabulous pink party. With all of her grandparents present, this little princess was definitely spoiled-as she should be! The party helped to break in their new house as well!

So many wonderful things have happened for both families in the past year or so, and it's nice to see it happen to such great people!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Summertime at the Caves

When you think of Iowa, what do you envision? Vast expanses of very flat land covered in corn, correct? For the most part you are correct, and if you stumble upon Maquoketa, Ia you would not believe it's in the same state.

Having a free weekend, we decided to pack up the camping gear and go on an adventure. Part one was driving over to the Mississippi and driving along it on Hwy 67. It's a very scenic and quiet drive.

We then just randomly pulled into a camp ground. It turned out to be fantastic! It was sheltered from the big Mississippi by a couple of islands that created this wonderfully calm sanctuary. We threw our tent up at the mouth of a trail and headed out with our fishing poles. Where we threw our lines in was gorgeous! The fish were jumping and it was just beautiful out side.

The next day we headed over to Maquoketa Caves State Park for part two of the adventure. Here you can experience everything from a prairie to sheer rock walls, and we unintentionally hit every corner of the park. Many of the caves required head lamps and stomach crawling, so we opted for just the large gallery type caves. Bosley was very excited about the whole thing, until....

After the caves there were a lot of trails heading off over ridges. I pointed us back towards the car and we started to hike. We were distracted by the scenery and as it turned out, had a false sense of security in our location.

We hiked for over an hour before we realized we were lost. Coming from underground can really mess with your sense of direction. What we didn't know is that the cave lead us under the road we were basing our location on. So by trying to reach the road, we inadvertently got deeper in the park. We eventually broke through the trees and ended up in a huge prairie. 

Completely not where we're supposed to be. 

My phone was dead so there was no hope of calling for rescue. We should have turned around, but we kept walking, then it dead ended. With no other choice, we doubled back. 

Like good parents we planned ahead and brought no water. In our defense we were only going to be there for an hour. Now 3hrs in on an almost 90 degree day, Bosley flung himself desperately into the very next stream. Much of the hiking was up steep embankments then back down the other side, and Bossman was getting tired. This meant Erik and I had to take turns carrying him. 

By retracing our steps, we eventually made it back to the cave and we realized we were on the wrong side of the road. Before we could get back to our air conditioned car, however, we had to climb almost 200ft of stairs back out of the crevasse.

Next time, I want to do more cave exploring, less forest walking, and I WILL have a map.

Someone call Caesars...

I have their next commercial model!!!
Bosley got his first classic Westie cut yesterday, and he couldn't be more adorable!

When I've asked for the Westie cut before at other groomers, it turned out horribly! I went to Yuppy Puppy this time and am very pleased. He even got a toy to take home that he is paws-itively in love with!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Summertime with my Sister

My only sister lives in Montana and rarely gets to come home, so her coming for a visit during her birthday was a huge treat. She is one of those special people that I can pickup with like no time has passed no matter how long its been. This is probably because we have been through it all. We shared a room growing up, which created this close bond, but also tested it several times. We are only 13 months apart and were often mistaken for twins growing up, but at times couldn't be more different. I love those differences. She sees things in a completely different way than I would at times, and its great having that grounding.

Erik won at mini golf. He blew us out of the water! I was inconsistent and would shoot a hole in one then shoot an 8 on the very next hole. I did have somewhat of a trick shot on one hole. This one you have to jump your ball over a 'creek'. My ball went straight into the water hazard, hit a rock just perfectly causing it to jump up into the air and land on the other side. We were all shocked! Needless to say, I did the best on this hole. It took the others several tries to get across.

Hanging out back at the farm.

Playing Just Dance on the Wii was so much fun!

We were the only ones to catch anything when we went fishing on the river. We all got caught in a downpour and had to hide under a bridge, Erik got poison ivy climbing back up the bank and fell on a dead animal, I got wrapped up in the same tree three or four times, and dad spent the whole time re-worming hooks and didn't really get any fishing in. Just like when we were kids. That weekend was too short.

Erik's poison ivy ended up spreading everywhere, so he had to go on steroids to knock it down. These turned my usually cuddly teddy bear into a moody badger. I don't think he'll ever wear shorts in the woods ever again!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Summertime at the Grotto

Looking back at my phone's photo album this morning, I realize just how much we did and just how short summer really was. The temperature here is currently in the teens which is making me feel it even more. Here is a look back at a few of the adventures we went on while it was still bright, sunny, and warm. 

Shortly after our trip to St. Louis for the 4th, Erik and I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law. While there, I wanted to show Erik the Grotto of the Redemption. This is a famous little spot back home that, being from a Catholic school, we would take a class trip to about once a year. I have fond memories of running around this small labyrinth of stony paths and staring in awe at all the shiny stones. 

The swans weren't as feisty as this sign leads you to believe

Looking up at the inside of the dome

Saddie's niece and nephew came along. They are both so sweet!

Gotcha! Had to sneak a photo in before he realized it!

This really is an amazing place and a small wonder. All the small intricate details and hard work that has gone into and continues to go into this project is awesome. If you ever swing through West Bend, Iowa I recommend you stop in.

We took Bossman along with us so he could have fun with his cousin puppies. After a small spat over a toy and an emergency trip to the vet over a scratched eye, which turned out to be fluff - thank goodness - they had fun ganging up on people.

It's grandpa's turn!