Find Joy

There is a whole lot of Yuck happening right now around the world, and while I know it’s important to know what is going on, there are times when I need to just take a few steps back and just focus on what is immediately around me.  Focus on my family and all of the things I am grateful for, but always conscious of the things that I can do to hopefully make the world better in some way.  Sometimes simply deciding to smile when all you want to do is cry can make a difference.  I can’t personally focus too much on everything that is wrong in the world, so I choose to focus on what is right. I choose to remain an optimist.

Walnut Grove 40th Pageant

So, for our anniversary, Josh decided to surprise me with a random nerdy outing. Unfortunately for him, I talked him into giving me a hint and I accidentally figured out what the surprise was. Whoops! Due to my bookwormish tendencies since I was a child, we were heading to Walnut Grove, MN to see the annual pageant that is performed in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It’s a bit of a drive, and made for a late night as it is performed outside and doesn’t start until 9pm, but it ended up being a really fun day since we both appreciate a bit of cheese, but also history, and we of course both took plenty of pictures to share with everyone.

So, the first place on our list was at someone’s house. It was quiet and we weren’t sure if parking there would lead to us being tied up and hidden in a barn or an actual sod house. Turns out they actually have recreated sod houses (very few if any original sod houses remain).

It was extremely hot out, but we made the most of it.  It was actually not that hot inside the sod houses, and the main one was surprisingly nice.  Apparently at one point the owners actually let people sleep overnight as a fun B&B.

Lap of luxury.

 

Cozy, but not awful… it stays nicely cool in the summer and I imagine it warms up well in the winter months much as I imagined when reading the books.  Granted, we got a more realistic look at what most sod houses started out as with dirt floors and without plastered walls.

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Photo Dump – Tea Parties, Dragons and More!

I have so many random photos from the past few weeks/months, so it feels like the perfect time to do another photo dump and figure out just where all my time has been going and because I wanted to save the pictures for reasons, but then they somehow never made it into a blog post, so here we go!

Can’t say that a book makes a very good pillow, but you know…

Not gonna lie, we’ve had a LOT of ice cream so far this summer.

Finally Josh joined us at the zoo!  Haha!

Playground break during carnival fun!

Phoebe had a picnic for her stuffed animals, and I included their names so no one is confused as to who is who.

Can’t have too many Bowser pictures, right?  He’s slowly growing!

The first and last time he held Bowser.  They get a little freaked out by his tiny claws.

Feed me, Hooman!

Best kitty ever.

Sleepy boy.

Before our pancakes were cooked.

Love when they bring me home colorful art!

He really is the best cat…

This one, however, is very naughty. 😉

The other reason for this photo dump is because I’ve just been really busy and distracted by other things.  Time to settle down and create a schedule for myself again, methinks!

The Long Weekend – 4th of July Style

It doesn’t need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway. I love a 4 day weekend.  It’s even better when you really only have a small portion of it planned.  We knew we’d be going to the carnival on Sunday, but that was it. So, I started our Saturday day off the best way possible. I took the kids to Costco.  Not my best idea, but it needed to be done and we got a TON of water balloons.  The kids decided we needed to have a water balloon fight at some point.  They were not on their best behavior, however, so we ended up heading straight home after to Costco.

The kids could not have been more excited for Sunday to arrive, and it actually worked out really well because the carnival wasn’t nearly as packed as it is on the actual 4th of July and it was wristband day, which meant that for 5 hours the kids could go on as many rides as they went.

Phoebe wasn’t quite as adventurous as last year, but Enzo was even more so, which wasn’t the end of the world, but at times made it difficult because each kid wanted to be on different rides pretty much every time.  We met up with my brother and sister-in-law like we usually do and their two boys, which is always great for the kids, but I think we were often split up most of the time. Ha!  It was also surreal getting this glimpse into the future when our kids are even more independent than they already are.

It’s nice right now because neither of them really care whether or not they have to go on a ride by themselves, but I admit it was nice when one of them requested that we join in on the fun.  All too soon they’ll be off on their own and not want us cramping their style.

We did have one scare (which thankfully I didn’t find out about until afterwards) where Phoebe wandered off.  I was in line/on a ride with Enzo and Aiden and Josh and Steve were watching Malcolm and Phoebe when apparently Phoebe wandered off in search of me. Steve and Josh split up to look for her and thankfully found her quickly when Steve found a woman who was bringing her to Lost and Found.  I think it’s time we have a set game plan and a long talk with both kids on what to do if one of them gets lost.

Back to the fun!

As we were getting ready to leave, this little robin wandered a little too close to the little kid rides and not surprisingly small children started chasing it, so Josh ran and rescued it from the fray and took it somewhere safe.  I was about ready to adopt it, but after calling the Humane Society the woman assured me that our little friend should be flying in a few days and since we had no idea where his nest/tree was, the best bet was to take it a little away from all of the chaos of the carnival.  So cute!

On Monday, I blissfully found myself alone at Target and it was quiet and empty and magical.

I later found myself at IKEA where they were temporarily out of the bed I wanted for Phoebe (boo!), but they had a fantastic cabinet almost 50% off for my office!  Score!!

We also cleaned Bowser’s cage.  (Not all of the lights are in use on top of the cage… they’re to keep Vega off.  His new home should be arriving around the 14th next week and then we won’t have to worry about it!

Okay, time to wrap this up!

Road Trip Part 6 – South Dakota Reptiles

Not gonna lie, getting hit with a major snowstorm when we arrived in South Dakota was not something I had planned for. I could have sworn I had checked various forecasts and they were all good.  Whoops.  Go figure that it was during my turn to drive that the roads got nasty.  On the plus side, I did see a coyote when it calmed down a bit and a few other critters. The weather did mean that we would need to find some indoor activities, though, because we didn’t bring any cold weather gear with us.

Thankfully, not too far from us was The Reptile Garden.  You really can’t go wrong with reptiles, right?  Plus it’s guaranteed that you won’t need a jacket inside and that always wins for me. I admit I was a little put off by the initial cost, but it ended up being worth it.  They had an enormous collection of critters, some of which I have never seen in person before.  There was also a really neat greenhouse that had some birds, snakes and lizards completely out of cages, which was unique from what we’ve been to before.

There were a few “shows” throughout the day, so we decided to check out the snake show. The kids got a little bored until the trainer (are they called trainers??) started pulling out actual snakes – many of which were venomous and therefore extra cool.  Enzo even got to ask a question after raising his hand (which was possibly even more exciting) and he asked what Rattlesnakes eat.  We got up close and personal with one too when the gal put the rattler on the ground with this 2-3 foot high clear barrier surrounding it.  The kids, especially Enzo, were stoked.

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