august…so far

wow. My blogging skillz have gone OUT the window, apparently! Considering its practically the middle of August and I haven’t said a word or even posted a picture. Gasp.

This summer has just been crazy. I feel like its been one big event that requires all of my attention one right after the other. Shew! But I’m finally feeling like we’re in the home stretch…my Crossings friends are coming this coming weekend and then the next Big Thing is my sister-in-law Sarah’s wedding in the middle of September. ahhhhhh – big sigh.

We just returned from a WONDERFUL week Up North. Old favorites like cliff jumping (but not by me), hiking, World’s Best Donuts, smoked fish and cheese for lunch on the river landing, Sven and Ole’s pizza (oh. so. good.), throwing rocks into Grand Marais harbor and other traditions were indulged in. New memories were made with an epic sunset harbor boat cruise courtesy of the US Coast Guard and one Jesse Sullivan, fantastic live music on the roof of Gunflint Tavern on a chilly night, collecting 8 stamps in our State Park passbook and receiving our first patch (we only have 64 more to visit before we’ve seen ’em all!) and visiting Grand Portage, MN which is on the Canadian border. What a great time!

And the best part was being with our family. Jackson really loves his aunts and uncles and grandparents, all around. I don’t take it for granted that we can see them as often as we do and make memories together like we did this past week. It’s fun too that the Puelston extended family is growing so much this year with two in-laws and a new baby joining the mix by November. 🙂 Happy happy!

So that’s our August so far – recovering from July’s insanity and vacation. Hurrah for a lighter schedule of events for the rest of the month and the chance to enjoy the last weeks of summer in Minnesota.

and to sneak in “foto friday” – here’s one of my favorite “artistic” shots I took this week. This is at the Grand Portage National Monument and is a replica of the fort that once stood there in the fur trading days of yore.

foto friday: reading list

I have a solid list of books in my mental queue, but these two are coming with me on vacation next week.

City of Tranquil Light is a novel about a missionary couple in China. Kyle somehow kept track of me asking for it, though I totally don’t remember doing so! He’s good. 🙂

Don’t Make Me Count to Three has been recommended by several mom friends as a good, balanced book on training and discipline. I’m realizing some habits I’m already falling into in my parenting that I want to nip in the bud and hopefully this book will have some good recommendations.

Did I mention a blissful week of vacation on the North Shore awaits us? Yesssssssss. Just the three (er, four) of us, a lake home, the lake, good food, time to rest, hiking and the sound of waves lapping on the shore. I can live with that for four days. 🙂

What’s on your nightstand or current reading list? Any recommendations for me?

foto friday: jack at play

the boy that is too big

Jack’s new favorite playground is the van. Supervised and key-less of COURSE. I’m not that horrible of a mom. lol. He was climbing all over the seat the other day when I had the camera out and I snapped this one. He just got a haircut and he’s getting so tall…I can’t stand how he’s lost all his baby chub and is becoming a little boy. I mean, i love it, but I hate it. I guess that’s why I’m glad I’m having another baby! They just don’t stay small and roly-poly forever.

Right now he almost always greets me in the morning with, “EAT?” and recently started telling us “STOP!” when he doesn’t like something we are doing. I think he got that from me (not the tone of voice, but the word). He also loves to say “hi” to people when they walk by – no matter where we are. The other night we walked down to McDonald’s for 50 cent ice cream cones and as we were sitting outside enjoying them, a family parked and walked in and Jack exuberantly greeted them with a shouted “HI!” and a raised hand of welcome. LOL. Kyle and I just died laughing. I hope he never loses that uninhibited friendliness. I just love it.

Yeah – he’s one fun kiddo.

foto friday: say cheese!

this photo is a little out of focus, but I just love Jack’s hilarious “cheese” face. He has become so talkative, expressive and interactive lately. Daily I hear, “mom, mom, mom, mom!” about something…it usually means he wants something, but sometimes he just wants to say my name over and over because I’ll say, “What, Jack?” and he keeps on with his mantra, “Mom, mom, mom”. One of these days I should get it on video because it really is hilarious.

say "cheese"!

foto friday +2 days

oops! I wasn’t really around on Friday to post a picture, but here’s one that I actually TOOK on Friday. 🙂 Kyle, Jack, Nikon and I walked around a park in Edina Friday afternoon while we killed some time before Jack went on a date with his Aunt Sarah and Ryan, and Kyle and I went on a date with each other, courtesy of Sarah. 🙂 Jack decided he wanted to “walk” Nikon, so we let him “help”. He is getting so big, I can’t even stand it!

I am so glad Nikon tolerates Jack’s endless and bountiful love and that Jack adores Nikon. He even has to tell the dog “nigh-night” before he goes to bed. awwww. I love my boys.

foto friday: for the birds

looking at the birds

early this morning (as in 5am early) I woke up to two sounds – the first, Jackson crying. He’s been wakeful early in the mornings lately, which I’m not sure what to do about. The second sound was a constant chirp, almost like a smoke detector protesting its lack of battery power. It took me a few moments to realize that what I was hearing was a BIRD!

Yes, the birds have made their way back to snowy Minnesota. It may not quite be “spring” as we know it, but the snow is melting, the temperatures are warming up and I know that in the next month, the green mist of spring will spread across the brown and barren landscape of winter. I always think of the phrase “Aslan is on the move!” when winter starts to melt into spring. Not even the long, cold, icy grip of the past several months can hold over a sovereign God who appoints the seasons.

Our layers of winter clothes will soon be unnecessary and I’ll be able to break out my beloved sandals. 🙂 We’ll pull the deck furniture out of the garage and sit in the sunshine to eat our breakfast. I’ll hang diapers and sheets on the line and Jack will make mud pies.

Later this morning an entire flock of robins, mixed with a pair or two of yellow finches, purple finches, chickadees, starlings and blackbirds filled our chokecherry tree for a morning snack. Jack was enthralled and their morning song cheered both of us on this dreary day. Its heartening to see the bright colors of orange, yellow and pink in their feathers and know that this is the beginning of my favorite 8 months of the year.

foto friday: crazy Minnesotans

so in my adventures as a reporter for a small county newspaper in almost-rural Minnesota, I come across some cool stuff. Add winter to that equation and I come across some CRAZY stuff. Like an entire city festival on a frozen lake. Or half naked people jumping headlong into frigid water on the first of February.

Yes, Minnesotans start getting a little nuts come late January and February, when the temperatures haven’t risen above freezing in weeks and more often than not have been below zero for at least a few days.

This winter I drove our van onto a frozen lake for the first time in my life – that was a little freaky. I saw snowmobiles tear across the icy tundra in a radar run. I watched slightly-nutty individuals risk life and limb to raise money for charity by leaping into the waters of a hole cut in the thick lake ice.

Minnesotans are a hearty bunch. Even if they are certifiable. 🙂

standing on a frozen lake
Wonder Woman comes up for air
Spartans leap in the Polar Plunge

foto friday: the many faces of jack

my son has many expressions. when he first meets people or is in a new situation, he has this furrowed, concerned brow that makes you think he’s mad or concerned. when you finally realize what he’s trying to communicate to you, he gets this excited, happy smile and he nods.

this week he learned the word “stuck” and now says “RAWR” when you ask him what a lion says or “OOH OOH” when you ask him what the monkey says. 🙂 its pretty cute.

the bottom right photo is titled: its a party in my mouth!

I promise my next post will be writing. I’ve not been super inspired recently, which means I need to write more. For me, writing begets writing and creativity begets creativity. mostly I’ve just been trying to get through the “dog days of winter”. Spring will come, right? 🙂