Posts tagged ‘camping’


Hey all…Justin and I are going camping this weekend (Yay!!  Brrr!) with our good friends Sally and Larry and their 3 kids: Glenn, Willow and Gideon.  Hopefully Madi (their dog) will be there to play with Malcolm!

We go camping with the Smith’s every year, usually over Labor Day – but that didn’t work out this year so now we’re going in the cold October weather!  I’m packing blankets, sweatshirts and an extra sleeping bag for me!  Justin will probably wear shorts…

Sally has been Justin’s friend since they were little.  Their families would camp together every year, so we’re trying to keep the tradition going!  Here’s a picture from one of our years camping with them.  It’s a recreation of a pic from when they were little – they got tied around a tree together.

Hopefully I’ll have some fun pictures and stories to report next week.  Have a good one folks and as always: BEST WISHES!

October 3, 2008 at 10:16 am 1 comment

Third Anniversary Extravaganza!

Last night concluded a 6 day celebration of our (Justin and I) 3rd Wedding Anniversary. We were married on a sunny (read 98 degrees with high humidity) day in Minnesota at the bible camp that has been part of my life pretty much since I was born, Good Earth Village. It was hot, it was beautiful, it was a huge party! Here we are on that day, July 16th, 2005:

Weren’t we cute in our little wedding outfits? I have to say, Justin looks much better in a skirt than I do! 😀

Anyway…every year we go to McGregor, IA for our anniversary (the first time we did this trip was for our honeymoon, so we just repeat it every year). First, we stopped in Postville, IA, which is where my sister and her family live. We stayed there Friday and Saturday nights.

Saturday afternoon, we took off on their boat and hit the MIssissippi for some swimming, tubing, and sunburning! Here are Justin and I racing down the river:

We spent the day watching Hannah splash in the water, eating PB & J samiches and just having good old river fun. As mentioned above, I got a bit burnt, but it’s down to a nice tan now 😀 Here are some images from the day!

Cruising down the mighty Mississippi with my brother in law, John at the helm.

My older sister, Shannon and her youngest, Hannah looking at the camera for a picture!

Having fun splashing around. Hannah called this “Her boat”. She would get in and either Shannon or Justin would push her around in the water.

My oldest niece, Nicole, attempting to avoid the sun.

John and Shannon also have an inner tube that they pull along behind the boat and give people rides. Justin decided he should give it a try!

Here they are, getting ready to head out – John driving and Nicole as spotter, just in case Justin falls off (that would NEVER happen)!

Oops…guess I was wrong! Justin fell off about 10 seconds after John took off…to be fair, John said it was his fault because he didn’t get up enough speed. They tried again and Justin was able to hold on for another try. He actually went out 2 times. I think his arms were pretty sore in the morning!!

Justin and Hannah had a really good time in the water! He would throw her in the air and catch her and she would giggle. At a certain point, Shannon decided it was better if she didn’t watch any more! Hannah loved it though. She would go back and forth from the water to the beach to be thrown over and over again!

We spent most of the day on the beach/river, but eventually it was time to head back. Here is a great picture (I think) of my two nieces on the way back:

We got back to the dock and John put the boat on the trailer. Nicole spotted a beaver/river otter in the shallows by the dock and we watched it swim. We also saw what at first appeared to be a river snake, but I think it was actually a big crayfish.

After the boat we headed into Lansing to put the boat back in storage and then went to a local restaurant for supper. We then went back to Postville to their house and played cards and drank fuzzy navels for the rest of the night. It was a really good time, and nice to spend time with my 2 nieces (or the nieci as Justin likes to call them). It was nice that Hannah is starting to recognize who I am and call me by name (even if she calls both Justin and I Mae-Mae).

(2 cool dudes after a day of swimming and playing)

We got up the next day and after lunch with the family, we went to McGregor, IA for the 2nd part of our trip. On the way out of Postville however, we were stopped on the highway…for a TRACTOR PARADE!! Yup, that’s right. We had to sit in our car in a line while a tractor parade drove through. Welcome to small town Iowa folks!

Our first night was at Pikes Peak State Park for a day of camping and hiking. The campground overlooks the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers.

We set up our camp and decided to go exploring. Our first stop was to the peak to look out at the rivers. Here is what you can see from the deck:

It really is a beautiful view and on a clear day you can see very far! In front is the Mississippi and in back is the Wisconsin River.

A picture of Justin and I with the rivers behind us.

After viewing the rivers, we took a short hike. They have a few trials at the campsite that have a “sidewalk” that lead you around. The forest was beautiful and it was the perfect day for a hike. There and back it was probably only about a 1/2 mile, but it was fun. We went out to view “Bridal Veil Falls”.

It’s a very pretty little waterfall.

If you’re dumb enough, you can climb off the trial and stand behind the waterfall on the rock shelf. Of course when we got there, there were 3 teenage girls behind the falls in there nice clothes, huge purses and flip flops, standing on the slippery rock and taking pictures of themselves. They then decided it was a good idea to climb up the STEEP path behind the falls and up the hill, while holding their purses and slipping in their flip flop sandals. Smart those girls! We headed back to camp and got ready for supper.

Usually when we’re camping, I’m the one that’s in charge of starting the fire. Having worked at a camp and started fires almost every day for 4 summers, I can get them up and burning quickly. I’m always mocking Justin’s fire starting skills, and decided it was time I gave him an opportunity to shine! He started the fire with one match (which is amazing enough, but there were up to 20-30 mph wind gusts that day, too)! I was so proud of him! It was a really good fire too, and I had to sit there and bite my tongue while he was building it so I wouldn’t shout out pointers to him. I wanted him to do it all himself, and he was amazing!

Here he is tending to his masterpiece.

We had hobos that night (some might call them tin foil dinners, but GEV always called them hobos, so that’s what they are to me). We also made orange cakes, which is a hollowed out orange shell filled with cake batter, wrapped in tin foil and then stuck in the coals. Mmm…they were pretty tasty! We’ll have to do them again!

The next morning we made Egg GEV Muffins…another camp specialty. We packed up, then headed into town. Had lunch at the Beer & Brats Marina as we do every year. Forgot to take a picture of it though 😦 We hit the PIggly Wiggly (grocery store) in Prairie du Chien, WI across the river for a few things and then checked into the Little Switzerland Inn, Bed & Breakfast. We’ve stayed there for the past 4 years, and 3 of the years were in the Alpine Suite (last year we didn’t book early enough and so were in the Rob Roy Suite).

Here’s a view of our room from the door.

We love that place and Becky, the owner is so hospitable and kind. This year we got a special treat Justin’s mom was nice enough to pay for the room for us for our Anniversary gift! Thanks MommaT!!!! We were also greeted by another nice surprise – cheese, wine and chocolate covered strawberries!!

It was all WONDERFUL, and the Strawberry Wine was from the next town over, Marquette, IA. It was so sweet, and a nice way to celebrate our 3rd anniversary.

The chocolate covered strawberries were amazing! The wine was very good as well and we picked up an extra bottle the next day to bring home. We went antiquing that day as well. MacGregor has a lot of really neat little shops and antique stores. I got a stuffed doll of the Wizard from Wizard of Oz and Justin found some nice Mason jars for our canning project later this summer. That night we went to Prarie du Chien and saw the movie “Wall-E”. I HIGHLY recommend it! It was amazing and everyone should see it, purely for the social commentary on the way our world is headed, if not for the wonderful story of robot love! Justin and I were both bawling by the end of the movie. We hit Eddie’s Irish Pub for dinner, then back to the B & B where we watched the fantabulous Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins won the home run derby. It was an amazing TV baseball experience watching Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers hit a record 28 homers in the first round. Unfortunately he didn’t win the whole derby but my boy Morneau was persistent and ended up winning and graciously acknowledged that Hamilton was the real hero of the day!

Next morning we were up in time for the Breakfast portion of the Bed & Breakfast. We ate with Becky (the owner) and her two other guests that night, a grandfather and grandson from Texas. It was a nice meal. After breakfast we packed up the car to head back to Chicago – but one more stop first!

We began a tradition on our honeymoon of stopping at Happy Joe’s Pizza in Galena, IL for lunch. We then play the arcade games, win tickets and get cheap crappy prizes! We usually get one little guy to put on our car dashboard. This year we got a cactus wearing a sombrero pencil topper. Here’s me winning some of our tickets:

I almost feel bad making every basket, as it’s made for kids and I can reach out and touch the rim…but then again, the highest you can get is 10 tickets!

We headed back home and went to pick up Malcolm from the babysitters. He seemed pretty excited to see us 😀 Went home that night and crashed.

Yesterday was our official anniversary so we decided to go out for dinner. Justin had gotten a $100 gift card to Lettuce Entertain You restaurants in Chicago a long time ago, so we decided to dust it off and go to Maggiano’s. It was really fun, and good food too! We got all gussied up and headed downtown.

Justin even wore a suit coat!!

Our food was amazing. We started off with calamari and tomato mozzarella appetizers. Justin and I each ordered a special new item. He got some brazed beef thing, and I got the lobster/sausage pasta. Both were delicious!

Here I am in my fancy dress enjoying my pasta.

For dessert we got an apple crostada with caramel sauce and ice cream:

It was pretty and tasty!

It was a nice way to cap off a good vacation and time spent together. I can’t believe we’ve only been married for 3 years, and then again, I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already! I love you Justin, and I can’t wait for what the next 3 years will bring us!

July 17, 2008 at 12:48 pm 2 comments

Song lyric of the week…

"I bring you pain, the kind you can’t suffer quietly/Fire up your brain remind you inside you’re rioting/Society is slipping, everythings slipping away"
- Slipping from Doctor Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog

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