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After the day at the zoo, Ellie’s big sister Anna had to attend her dress rehearsal so Ellie and I headed over to the church rummage sale while we were waiting. I had worked 7 hours one day setting up and also about 4 hours of the sale. Ellie had been doing lots of extra chores around the house to earn money for the sale.  She is quite the shopper figuring out how much she has to spend. In the end she picked out a My Little Pony bath set, a new floral lampshade, some sunglasses, a stuffed moose for her sister (since moose are her favorite animal) and some Korean nick-nacs for her friends next door (they are both adopted from Korea).  I love how she thinks of others. Just before we were leaving I happened to look out the back door at all the stuff gathered for the sale on the patio and spied a pink bike just Ellie’s size. After riding around the grass for a few minutes I knew it had to come home with us. At home she couldn’t wait to show her Daddy. We all took off with her riding down the street to the cul-de-sac where it is flat enough to practice. It’s hard learning how to ride a bike when you live in the middle of a hilly road. But she’s determined to learn to ride this summer.

I think her expression says it all.


It was the first day around here that actually felt like it could be summer soon. And I got to spend it with my youngest, Ellie and a few of her classmates as I chaperoned their field trip to the Minnesota Zoo last Wednesday. As I arrived at the zoo I noticed the parking attendants directing all the passenger cars to one parking lot and the school buses to another. No problem, I just had to walk about a block to await their bus. I was astonished to see bus after bus after bus pull up, drop off their students and park.  How was I ever going to find my class? Good thing for cell phones. Three phone calls later to the teacher we found each other. We started out at the bird show. What beautiful creatures! Of course we passed the new play area on the way so we had to head back there after the show. The play area started out fun, but before too long Ellie had gotten pushed and Delaney had gotten kicked. Enough of that fun, so we headed inside to watch the dolphin training session. They were demonstrating how they work and train the dolphins. It was so neat to see the newest 9 month old dolphin working along side its mother. Then then girls were hungry so we ate lunch. After that the girls wanted to see the farm animals. They were a little disappointed that the wagon ride out the the farm wasn’t running yet, but it was only a 5 minute walk. There were lots of animals to pet and I think they petted almost everyone. I guess that’s why they have lots of handwashing stations at the farm. Of course we passed another park on the way to the farm so on the way back we had to stop and play there too. I bought the girls ice cream treats. Then it was time to meet the bus. We did pass a few other animals on our way: caribou, moose and tigers. The day had gone by so fast. We dropped off our friends and then Ellie and I spent a little more time exploring the tropics trail and the Minnesota trail. The animals were the most active that I’ve ever seen along the Minnesota trail.

Since we were practically in the neighborhood, we stopped in for a visit with Grandma and Grandpa. We drove with the top down. It was the first time Ellie rode with the top down on the highway.  It was a great day, but it wasn’t over yet for Ellie. More about that in another post. (Is that enough suspense to make you want to come back?)

When Heather T announced to her team that her new kit was called “Sandy Toes” and once I saw the beautiful papers and elements I knew that this photo of my youngest at age one was perfect. She was on a beach and loving getting all sandy, especially her toes.

Since spring only decided to arrive around here in the last week or so there really aren’t any summer pictures yet for the year since that season is yet to arrive.  But I found another cute picture of Ellie (OK, when does she NOT appear cute in a picture?!) taken at the cabin last summer.

Sandy Toes is available at Mscraps

It’s getting closer to that time when our oldest, Brandon, will graduate from high school and things will change. He’s been working hard and finishing the year strong. He has plans and goals for next year. He’ll be off to the University of Minnesota Duluth in 3.5 months. Then things will really change, in a good but bittersweet way.

He asked me to create a graduation/open house announcement for him. Here’s what I came up with:

My amazing Anna strikes again. She competed in a local dance solo competition in the jazz category to “Born This Way”. I think I get just as nervous as she does when I watch her take the stage, hit her opening pose and go through every move in my head as she does them on stage. She had a slight bobble on her first pirouette (later she confessed she was going for a triple instead of a double) but immediately redeemed herself a few beats later with an great Russian jump. Then at the end she added an extra turn that wasn’t choreographed which had me slightly panicked as I was trying to figure out how she was going to fit in all the rest of the moves in the remaining 2 8-counts. But she did.

My layout was featured as a Gallery Standout! Toot! Toot!(see HERE   )

Ellie answers the question “Is it really necessary to give a bunny “bunny ears”?

YES! at least according to Ellie. (Photo from our weekend at Gull Lake while out to lunch at the Pizza Ranch.)

New stitched alpha from Heather T at Mscraps

A few weeks ago Grandpa and Grandma invited us to spend part of their timeshare week with them at a resort on Gull Lake. We were able to join them the first few days they were there. Brandon didn’t come along since it was Prom weekend back home, but Uncle Mark was there. Being the last weekend in April/first weekend in May it was still much to cold to use the lake. But they did have an indoor pool nearby and we went swimming both days we were there. We also did a lot of eating. We ate at the Bar Harbor restaurant which was less than a mile away. The food was good, but the service was slow. At least there was a 2-man band that Ellie enjoyed dancing to that kept her occupied. We also went into Baxter to the Pizza Ranch (one of Grandpa’s favorites) for lunch. Always good, but I always eat too much.  The unit was huge– High vaulted ceiling with floor-t0-ceiling windows facing the lake, a spiral staircase that lead up to our room and a hot-tub room that us girls enjoyed nightly.

It was a month of celebrations for Ellie since she completed her Sparky book in Awana Club this year. That meant lots of memorizing of scripture verses! An entire book-full.

A few days after Ellie completed her book, Dad brought home a cake just the perfect Ellie size to start out the celebrations!

The past few years Jeff has been reading the bible in a year. Every time he finishes the family goes out for Chinese to celebrate. As Ellie was nearing the completion of her Awana book, she thought that that accomplishment deserved a similar celebration. So, another day we took Ellie out for Chinese & sat next to her favorite fish tank.

Finally, the big Awana Awards night was capped off with Ellie receiving her book award!

For the kids it’s about finding their Easter Baskets that are full of treats. For the youngest it’s still about hunting for treat-filled plastic eggs in the woods behind our house. For the family, it’s about celebrating Christ’s resurrection and spending time together.

A few days before Easter Jeff, Ellie and I dyed eggs.