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Ellie did slow down for awhile…long enough to take a few photos.

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The weekend after our birthdays was absolutely gorgeous. We decided to spend the afternoon hiking at the Lowry Nature Center. Jeff had fun testing out his new video camera. I had fun taking photographs. And Ellie had fun exploring.

I’ve also made a few layouts already using some of the photographs from that day.

 

Two days before Halloween and the girls ask, “Are we going to get pumpkins?” Of course we are! And of course we headed to our favorite spot: Peter’s Pumpkins and Carmen’s Corn. Jeff passes this place on his way to and from work daily and we love seeing Anna’s former Spanish teacher, Carmen when we visit.

OK, so maybe Anna is a bit big for a wagon ride.

Ellie is a much better size (at least yet this year) for Jeff to pull.

Not so fond of this odd-shaped pumpkin. It went back.

Jeff and Ellie headed one way looking for the perfect pumpkin.

While Anna headed another way.

Here’s the one Ellie liked.

Anna picked this one.

And Ellie needed a second one for her doll this year.

Pumpkin weight lifting.

Girls among the pumpkins.

Jeff and the girls and pumpkins.

Me and girls and pumpkins.

Sisters.

Carmen and Anna. Carmen was Anna’s Spanish teacher for six years.

The MVC All Star girls helped out at the annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk” held at Lake Nokomis a few weeks ago.

Tiny, Lexi (and pooch), Anna and Morgan.

“Madonna” from the St. Paul Saints was there.

Posing with “Madonna”.

Anna having fun.

The team getting instructions from Coach Krisan.

Anna’s group that headed out to meet the participants.

Some of the moms (Nadine, Lisa and me).

The MVC All Stars.

The Purple Team cheering on the walkers at the starting line.

These girls know what they are doing…look at that “toe pop”.

Even “Goldy” from the University of Minnesota braved hanging out with these girls. They almost loved him to death and he had to make a quick escape.

Highlights of the event captured in a layout for Anna’s scrapbook.

After enjoying the morning hiking around Gooseberry Falls, we headed back to Duluth, picked up Brandon and went to Canal Park for the afternoon. It’s a great place to look at the boats and ships, eat, shop and people watch.

Watching the activity on the water.

Canal Park is famous for the Lift Bridge. We arrived in time for the raising of the bridge to let a large ore ship out to the open water of Lake Superior.

Standing directly under the Lift Bridge as it is lowered, Ellie wasn’t so sure that she wouldn’t be squished.

Aren’t we a cute couple. I wonder how many pictures we have like this from other years with the Lift Bridge in the background?

Our little darling at the Canal.

Our college kid in his new town.

Our beautiful daughter overlooking the beautiful City of Duluth.

The family.

Ellie enjoying the ride. It won’t be too much longer that Daddy will be able to carry her.

Throwing rocks in the lake.

Jeff giving advice for picking out the perfect skipping rock.

The men hanging out (as shot from the hip).

Another photograph shot from the hip, but I still like the line of her body.

Love her cute feet.

Ellie had a blast feeding and chasing the gulls.

You won’t see this too often– a grown middle-aged woman doing cartwheels in public…but the family dared me to.

Gooseberry Falls is a favorite stop among Minnesotans. As it’s name implies there are waterfalls. There are also lots of rock to climb over as you cross the river, trails to hike and just places to sit and enjoy the beauty.

After our dinner with Brandon in Duluth the night before we headed north into Two Harbors to our hotel and some swimming. Gooseberry was only a short drive away the next morning.

Jeff and Ellie crossing to the other side of the river.

Posing by the middle falls.

The view from the top of the middle falls.

Cautiously exploring the river before it cascades over the falls.

Gotta love this girl.

A quiet spot just below the upper falls…just starting to show a bit of fall color.

Anna.

Me.

The trail.

It was Anna’s 5th year participating as an MVC Jr. Cheerleader. It has given her an opportunity to perform on the field at the Dome during a Vikings home game many times. The first few years they held two camps each year–one during the summer for a preseason game and the other in the winter. Lately however, this has changed to be a once a year opportunity early in the regular season. After three days of practice the girls were ready to try out the field. It was only about 8:30 in the morning, but boy those kids had a lot of energy. As an alumni of the MVC I usually have the opportunity to help out. That means unlike the other parents, I get to hang out on  the field.

Anna at her morning field practice. Since she is one of the older girls she was in the back row.

Trying out the opponents bench.

The entrance. Love those poms held high!

Look at that hair go.

Ending pose with her MVC All Star teammate and friend, Lexi.

After the Jr. practice we headed outside for my A-Team practice and performance on the Plaza (more on that later). Some of the other activities on the Plaza include a round of “Fan Feud” pitting fans from each team against each other. Anna got selected to represent the Vikings fans.

Anna waiting her turn to represent the Viking fans.

I think she got the toughest question!

Showing off her prize for playing “Fan Feud”.

Back to the game and on the field during the second quarter waiting for the other girls to arrive in anticipation of their half time performance. My job was to keep 200 girls corralled and away from the Detroit Lion’s bench while shooing their parents down to the corner.

Anna on the field.

Mother and daughter on the field.

The Jr. Cheerleaders celebrating what would be the last touchdown the Vikings made that game. At least they were still winning at half time.

I did get a good view of Anna performing. The only bad thing was that it was mostly of her back. I choose to stay on the back side of the field to have a better view rather than from the front of the routine where I’d only catch a glimpse of her. Even from the back, her kicks are still amazing!

This was my favorite shot of her performance and one of the few times she was facing my direction.

She’s still smiling.

Love her enthusiasm.

(The video stops about 10 seconds before the end.) It was a great performance and a program that she’s enjoyed for years now. I know it has made many wonderful memories for both of us.

The end of September marks a tradition of riding in the Headwaters Bike ride near Papa’s cabin with my Dad and my brother, Dan. This is my 10th time in 11 years riding the 45 mile route. I missed the year Elinor was born since there was no way I was getting on a bicycle less than a month after giving birth. This year was also one of the few times we’ve had nice weather. Oftentimes it has been raining, sleeting and even snowing. It did start off rather cold and sunny, but we warmed up quickly.

Bundled up at the start of the ride.

At the first rest stop we all shed at least one layer of clothing. This stop always has good wild rice soup and chocolate chip cookies. I need to fuel up for the hardest stretch of the ride with lots of long hills.

At one point in this hilly area Dan waited for me and asked if I’d seen Dad. Nope. So Dan rode back to find Dad. Turns out he had turned back to find me, not realizing that I was ahead of him. We stuck a bit closer after that. Our next and final rest stop was in Nevis where Jolene and Justin joined in the ride.

The last 11 miles of the ride back into Park Rapids are on the Heartland Trail.

We stopped for pictures at the bridge over Lake Belle Taine. The bridge is actually on the far side of the lake from Papa’s Cabin. There use to be an old trestle-style wooden bridge at this location that my kids use to love climbing underneath. It was replaced two years ago with a concrete arch span.

  A few “staged” action shots as we neared Park Rapids and the finish.

Happy riders! Dad, Dan and I completed 45 miles. Justin and Jolene finished 11 miles. All were heroes!

 

Since dancing with the Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders A-Team we’ve had the opportunity a few times a year to perform on the field with the MVC during a game. It’s always exciting and nerve-racking and brings back lots of memories. This year the opportunity came early to perform a pre-game routine before the September 18th game. It was a busy morning with practices for both the pre-game routine and our routine for the Plaza.

The A-Team in the Dome. They let the cheerleaders have the field before the teams do in the morning. That means an early call time.

Anna came prepared for the early morning chill.

It was a morning that threatened rain by the time we were to perform on the plaza. Since the ground was wet, we had to modify the beginning of our routine to stay off the wet pavement. The drizzle stopped just prior to dancing and as soon as we were finished it started again.

The MVC A-Team dancing to “Shut the Phunk Up”. (I start 3rd from the left in the front row on the ground and quickly switch to the back row.)

After this routine on the Plaza it was back inside the Dome to our seats on the field. Now field seats are either great (if the play is in your end) or terrible (all plays at the other end). It is fun to be so close to the action and actually hear what is going on.

The MVC and A-Team perform together to “Pause”. I’m somewhere  in there! And I have the distinction of being the oldest lady out there dancing.

On the field together…we had fun even if the Vikings lost.

Our town’s annual celebration, Steamboat Days, was just last weekend. One of the highlights is always the  fireworks display. This year did not disappoint us. Jeff and Ellie and I arrived about an hour before the show so Ellie had time to try out the inflatable toys:

I ran into one of Anna’s new teachers, Deb, while waiting for our kids at the jumper.

The downtown scene.

Not sure what the blue and green guys were all about…

Waiting for the fireworks.

Eating mini donuts while waiting for the fireworks.

Finally, watching the fireworks. Ellie was getting a bit tired by this point, but she didn’t want to miss a thing.

The display was awesome and lasted a good 25 to 30 minutes. Thanks Steamboat Days!