Monday, July 29, 2013

Cousin Camping

     This weekend was our annual cousin camping weekend. Every year on the last weekend in July my family gets together with our cousins and second cousins and grandparents and great aunts and uncles and all the like to camp together. It's not any back woods camping by any means, lots of campers and bathroom facilities nearby. But it's always so much fun. This year (as many of you living in Minnesota experienced) we had temperatures in the 50's over the weekend! The forecast for Saturday said 70 and sunny, but it didn't exactly go quite like that. There were clouds covering the sun most of the time and scattered raindrops fell throughout the day. But we made the best of it. 
     We started Saturday morning with some Tai Chi in the park led by my aunt. I've never done Tai Chi before but I really enjoyed it. I was expecting to be like yoga, but it was much less physical and much more mental, meditative. It was an interesting experience due to the screaming kids, raindrops and wind surrounding us. But I still enjoyed it. We proceeded to build a fire and make campfire pizza sandwiches for lunch (best things in the world!). There was a lot of catching up and laughing and munching and smiles. Later in the afternoon we had a few intense volleyball games going. My forearms were bright red and swollen by the time we were done with tiny bruises forming. I also bruised my thumb. It would be nice to know how to properly play volley ball and avoid such injuries. I was not the only one injured from those games either! It was extremely fun though. 
     We always do a big meal on Saturday evening where everyone brings a dish to share but then we grill our own meat or whatever you choose to bring. This year I made a massive amount of pasta salad and only about half of it was eaten. Good to know for next year to not make four boxes. Our nights always end with a large campfire circle and lots of laughter. Sooner or later something really inappropriate comes up and with the encouragement of smart phones outrageous laughter ensues. Going to bed the first night was cold and uncomfortable. It was in the mid to lower fifties and we did not properly utilize our blankets, so both Tanner and I were cold all night. Also our air mattress of course had a leak so laying on my side really meant laying with my bony prominences hitting the ground. The next night we used a nice, newer air mattress with no leaks and slept underneath our warmest blankets/sleeping bag. I slept much better.

Failed first attempt at campfire pizzas.

64 oz of Gatorade anyone?

Cousins meeting miss Annabelle for the first time.

I think she's starting to look more and more like my sister.

Gracie the pug!

Best breakfast always made by dad.

Swollen and lightly bruised arms from volleyball.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

To be a Gypsy

     Laying in my bed this morning reading about other people's adventures gave me a strange pang in my stomach. I spend much of my time reading about other's adventures (whether they be fictional or not) and most of the time I really enjoy spending my time doing so. But every once in a while I get that feeling. Why not me? Why was I set out for a "normal person" life? Why am I not across the seas shooting amazing photography and staying with random people and experiencing all these things that most people don't get to experience? Why am I not a super talented musician with the networking and financial means needed to be world renown? But to have a life like that takes a lot of sacrifice. Because if I had a life like that, I wouldn't have the love in my heart that I do now. Sometimes being a "normal person" isn't the worst thing in the world. Someone's got to do it. In this normal person life I have laughed a thousand times till I cried with my sisters and my family and a few close friends. I know what it is to be in a deep, selfless love that overrules anything and that I would truly give up everything for. Growing up with and learning so many lessons along side this once teenage boy who is now my husband. I know true pain and loss and hurt. I have experienced the little things, attending wedding showers and baby showers and feeling the excitement for others for their journeys through this life. Feeling everything that comes with the young stages of public elementary school, the embarrassment of middle school and the pressure of high school. What it means to really work for something. I feel like so much of my generation thinks that the worst thing in the world is to go to school, get married, buy a house, have a kid and then grow old and die. Just because its normal does not mean that its plain and untouched by excitement, love and adventure. I so often see idealizations of success that are almost imaginative. After having the love that I do now, I would not trade anything in life for this person that I have given my heart to and have accepted his heart in return. It may not be the most glamorous life. It involves a lot of just being together and not necessarily doing anything else productive. A lot of people also assume that their jobs are simply pointless and unnecessary. For the most part, unless you're still working at like a block buster movie store which would be crazy because I haven't seen one around for years, your job is probably important. Even if you work at a coffee shop. Think about how many people's days you've brightened. How many different people you get to see and meet every day. Most jobs in the world are necessary (note, not ALL, but most), and someone's got to do them. And often times that's the "normal" people of this world. You and me. But the thing that many don't understand is that you can live a normal life, and still have experiences. Still be unique. Still be happy. A crazy, adventurous, gypsy-like life is not always attainable or necessary for your time here on earth to be a pleasurable one. It may seem like you have such an insignificant life in the spectrum of this world, but in the spectrum of the universe, we are all tiny specks.

Monday, July 22, 2013

98 years

     This beautiful woman is my Great-Grandmother. On Friday she turned 98 years old. She is so lovely and lively that it makes my heart swell when I think of her. I have fantastic genes coming from this woman. Like I said, she is at 98 years old now and she still lives in her lovely house by herself. She still loves to garden and sit outside and visit the "old people" at the nursing home (many of whom are about 20 years younger than herself). So often I worry about time. I worry that I'm not living my life to the fullest or that time is passing by too quickly. It feels as though it slips through my hands like tiny grains of sand. My Grandma never talks about being fearful of the passage of time. To me she is inspiring in that way, that she is satisfied with how her life has turned out and you can clearly see that family and love are some of the most important things to her. She carries herself with such an elegant grace and she truly brings happiness to all those who meet her. In the small town where she lives, she knows just about everyone, and I know so many people that aren't actually related to her but they love her just the same. I have been blessed to have such a wonderful woman in my life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Baby for August

     I did a cute photo shoot a couple of weeks ago with my friends Sean and Ryann. Ryann is pregnant with their second child and is due in August. It was a hot, muggy day when we took these, but she still managed to look like a goddess.

So sweet.

How adorable is she??

Monday, July 15, 2013


     I've been struggling to keep up with blog posts it seems! I've been getting busy hanging out with people, doing pictures and now I will start training for my new job this week! A couple of weeks ago I finally joined the rest of the world and got a smart phone. So far I do quite like it. I don't have much time to play games on it but I enjoy the camera (and instagram!) and the ability to stay connected with people. Also, I am notorious for getting lost, and within the 10 days or however long its been, I've used the GPS multiple times to get me unlost. So my blog post for today will consist of pictures and words of what I've been up to currently...

Currently watching: Mad Men Season 5!
Currently reading: This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Currently loving: This stretch of summertime freedom I've been experiencing with a little gap in my work schedule. I've gotten quite a bit of things done that I've wanted to do for a long time, like give our living room a little makeover, do a lot of cleaning and reorganizing, learning how to sew, making delicious food from fresh veggies from my grandma's garden...

Summertime sunset at the cabin.

My little nub making funny faces.


My baby kitty who lives with my parents now.

Warm summer nights on the porch with cool candles.

Loving my niece.

My new gem. Vintage ladder that my grandpa was going to throw away at our cabin.

 Entertainment for a solitary evening.

 Beach day with my lady Cati!

 My pretty succulents.

 Looking fly for a lazy afternoon of strawberry lemonade.

Strawberry Lemonade at Good Earth.

 Tanner and his little toothless cousin at a family reunion.

Hair curlers for a wedding shower.
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