Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Preperation

Well it's official, Summer is over and I'm sad to see it go, but Autumn in Minneapolis is beautiful. The leaves snap into bright oranges, yellows, and reds, new hardy flowers bloom, apples ripen, and the animals prepare for winter. Monarchs are making their way to Mexico, geese fill the parks, and the squirrels go crazy hiding food and getting fatter and fatter.

As for the human population, we withdraw from the lakes and the bike trails and start to turn inward. Suddenly we notice all the projects that we were going to do for summer but haven't. Squirrel-like we run around gathering coats and boots. We begin cleaning rugs, painting, preparing the ground for next spring and soaking up every last ounce of outside before outside turns vicious cold.

We turn inward mentally as well. Autumn is the time to bid farewell to grass and exposed skin, to go through and categorize the beauty of the world. The first snow is usually in Autumn and its everything the postcards brag about. By winter it will be hard and brownish-black. We start to take leave of our neighbors. Halloween comes at the perfect moment. One last time we go door to door visiting and laughing. Soon we'll be lucky enough to catch each other's eye and lift a gloved hand as we rush from heated car to heated house because you'd be crazy to pull down your scarf and breath -2 degree air just to say hi and looking up means taking your eyes off of the icy ground. Only the hope of a snow day and all it's shoveling can reunite our block before March.

Of course winter isn't all bad. Some of my neighbors are people I don't really want to see anyway (as in the creepy, should-I-call-the-police type). And all though the monarchs leave, so do the spiders and mosquitoes. I can go shopping buy frozen chicken and a tub of ice cream, then go straight to the library for an hour before bringing it home to warm it up inside the freezer. And although the snow is ugly, it's equally ugly in my neighbors' yards as it is in mine. It even covers all those toys that really should've been picked up. And very few things in this world can beat the rush of sledding down Powderhorn Park's hill way up from the top, all the way down and across the basketball court. The icier it gets, the faster you go.

So, in preparation for winter I've looked around and made a list. I need to put out grass seed and plant bulbs. Paint a few walls inside the home (I've decided that not even as a renter can I look at white walls for 5 months). Launder the couch covers. And preserve Summer memories that I might have those roses in December...

What We Did Last Summer:

What We Did for Summer

See "In Preperation" posted on September 22 for a larger explanation...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We Painted Dently

Summer made it obvious what the last winter's snow, ice, and salty roads had done to our trusty(ish) van Dently. He needed his rust removed and new rust stop spray paint reapplied. We were considering what color the stripes ought to be this time when inspiration struck. We would be traveling to Utah and thought: Why not a covered wagon?

[Just a quick note: "Art cars" are a common south Minneapolis phenomenon. We're just embracing our new culture here people.]

I liked the idea of traveling from the paternal ancestral home to the maternal ancestral home in a wagon (with air conditioning) but I also liked the wagon because of our new Minnesota hero, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Whenever things get hard in the north, I like to remember Mrs. Wilder and my own progenitors who braved snow and bugs and blizzards in one room dugouts. If they could do it, then I can do it. Our mini-van reminds me of that.

Plus it's fun!

We started with making a template for the oxen. Then spraying it on the hood.


Viola! Cows.

Then David mostly free handed the boards.

And painted the canvas on.

Putting on the final touches and taking off the paint on the windows.

Almost finished.

I need to get pictures of the extra we painted. Long underwear, a fish, some pots, and a lantern all hang off the sides of our Prairie Schooner, Dently.

We Kept Active

Emma finished her softball season in early summer. She had a great time on her first all girls team. Go Green Girls!

Taran and Emma took tennis lessons through the park and rec.

We pulled out the bike trailer and trail-a-bike and made it round the block a few times.

Emma and David of course made it much further. See July 28th post.

We Had a Family Reunion

We took our covered wagon out west for a family reunion. We went through South Dakota and met up with some rock stars.

Look! I'm actually in a photo!

In Utah, we met up with cousins and parents and extended family. FUN, FUN, FUN. Here is a picture with all my kids and their great-grandfather. V. Murray Richardson is my mother's father and a true patriarch.

We took family photos while we were all together. Here my parents reveal their true marital feelings.

And here they are acting normal, but just for the camera.

We got an unofficial picture of just the kidlins.

It was hard to get them all facing the right way.

By the time we tried for this picture everyone had had it.


13 years, 5 kids, and still looking good!

We started the family reunion with my father's side. He likes to think we descended from Vikings. Of course the truth is we were farmers who couldn't even farm dirt. So we jumped ship and moved to majestic North Dakota.

Here's some of the stuff my family left behind, besides the dirt...

All kidding aside, my Aunt Elaine gave a wonderful family presentation. She even made Krumkake. YUM!

While the kids made Viking helmets, shields, and swords.

That and no alien's gonna read his brain waves! Sorry mommy, had to put it in. But you know we all LOVE it!

Calvin and Grant do battle.

This is my father and his big brother. My dad is the one that's winning.

He wins because he got to keep his hair.

And that is Hasleton humor for you. I'll stop now.

We went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House. It was our first temple open house.

It was lovely.

The reception:
David and Kirsti.

Jared, Samantha, Robert and Kristi.

Emma and Joey.

Charlotte and Willa.

We went to a park and hit each other with foam swords. After thought: We let the kids play too.
Oops more Hasleton humor, sorry.

My definite favorite part of the reunion was the adults only lunch. It was great to sit with my parents and siblings and spouses and talk and laugh uninterrupted. Thank you Olsen family for making it possible!
Mommy, Kirsti, Pili and PJ.

More summer to come...

We Did Summer Camps

One of the things that makes Minneapolis great is its Park and Rec. system. They have a rec. center at almost every park, offer free ice skating (some have free ice skate rental) in the winter, and sports. This summer we took advantage of the awesome summer camps they offer.
Emma started summer off with an American Girls Camp. She and bunch of like minded girls made jewelery, sewed outfits for their dolls, learned history, and had a tea party.
Then Emma and Taran participated in Camping 101. They learned how to start and stop a camp fire, roast marshmellows, identify flora and fauna, and sang camp songs.
Enoch and Calvin went to Space Camp. They read stories, ran around with friends, and made a model of the solar system.
Taran and Enoch did one last camp called Helping Hands Camp. They helped clean up a local church, organized a food drive, and did other things in the community while hanging out with friends and eating snacks.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the kidlins at their camps, but I did some of the projects that the camps inspired:

Emma created a room for Josephina. She painted walls, made decorations, and a rug.

Here is Enoch's model of the solar system.

We Visited Paradise

Once again, David's co-worker, and our friend, Kathy, offered us her little piece of paradise on Lake Leavitt. For three days we relaxed, romped, and reveled in mother nature's glory.

A view of paradise...

What makes it Paradise?

A lake to explore...

Space to play...

Delicous treats...


And a toasty fire...

Make Paradise!

Thank you, Kathy, for your generous gift of peace, beauty, and fun.!

We Cooked and Shopped

Summer in Minnesota means watermelon, tomatoes, basil, and more at the farmer's market just blocks from our home. We made several trips. Taran took this picture of Willa, Emma, and mommy holding beautiful flowers and basil from the market.


To our delight, Emma worked on her culinary repertoire this summer. She mastered Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls, among other offerings.

Taran gives it four stars.

Amy and Ronny Came to Visit

Early in August my old college chum and always friend came from Eureka to Minnesota with her boy Ronny, just to see us! As usual, I didn't take many pictures. Having too much fun watching 80's chick flicks, avoiding the heat, seeing the sites, avoiding the tornado, cooking, avoiding the noise of 6 cooped up kids.
We had great fun hiding from the heat at the Mall of America, the Science Museum, and the Riverview Theater.

The muggy Minnesota heat was supposed to let up so we planned to do all of our outside fun then. That's when the torrential rain hit, for days. And then the tornado hit. So, the kids set up a war room in the basement.
Emma found some red paint and added details. That's my girl.

Stir crazy, pants-less, but still lovable.

Amy and I (and Cheryl) finally broke free and went out on the town. We drove past the storm torn homes and ruined trees to try a Cuban restaurant some sweet old men at the Y are always talking about.
Victor's is very good and you can write on the wall.

We went to Izzy's Ice Cream. We got the Izzabella. Then waddled home. Oh yeah!